The domain of UFO inquiry is rife with secrecy and opaqueness, and I’ve recently begun to analyze the degree to which ciphers and symbols are an essential component of any nonhuman intelligence’s possible communication.
In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Act 1, Scene 2, Polonius, wise but vain windbag, conveys the following now often-quoted advice to his son Laertes:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
This admonition suggests that truth and self-knowledge are paramount, and perhaps mutually dependent. Shakespeare offers a metaphor, comparing the inevitability of night following day to the notion of being honest with oneself and others, that can be interpreted as a comment on the difficulty of uncovering or verifying truth. It proposes the idea that truth is often elusive or hard to discern, much like trying to grasp the nuanced and complex nature of human character. The same applies to the problem of finding truth in the ongoing search for answers concerning the possibility of nonhuman intelligence in our earthly midst. Can it also be communicating with us?
It is into this domain, where secrets intertwine with unspoken truths, and verifiable information is elusive, that a book appeared with a stunning claim. “Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts” by Allen H. Greenfield, published in 2005 as its first digital edition, delved into the enigmatic realm of UFO phenomena and its connection with ciphers, secret societies, and historical figures involved in the study of esoteric traditions.
The book in its latest edition presents an exploration of how certain individuals, termed “Illuminati” or initiates, have interacted with and understood UFO phenomena throughout history, often using ciphers and secret communication methods to discuss their findings. Greenfield’s account is that these efforts were largely independent (but aware) of each other until a more or less “magical” moment in 1974, when an apparent deciphering revelation came to light.
One of the books being studied by the illuminati was “The Book of the Law,” by the controversial mystic Aleister Crowley, who in turn claimed that the manuscript had been dictated to him by a nonhuman entity named Aiwass in 1904. “The Book of the Law” was intriguing to the “illuminati” because it contained multiple codes and ciphers that seemed tantalizing in their promise to reveal important esoteric secrets.
What appears to make Greenfield’s book relevant is its promise to offer something substantial to an area that has received little attention: the decoding of messages from nonhuman, perhaps spiritual or interdimensional, intelligences here on earth. Little-known and little-discussed, several lines of effort have been devoted to treating the UFO/UAP phenomenon as something that produces a kind of “information” that, using one method or another, can be decoded to reveal some hidden message for humans. That is why the case of Aleister Crowley, who was instrumental in the occult revival of the 20th century, is relevant: Greenfield argues that Crowley’s book contains a cipher specifically associated with UFO phenomena. For some reason, a number of other names appear in Greenfield’s book, including Kenneth Arnold, known for his 1947 sighting of unidentified flying objects; Gray Barker, author and UFO researcher; and Dr. Fred Bell, a contactee who communicated with an extraterrestrial being named Semjase. It’s not clear what their appearance in this book serves, but Semjase is also named by other alleged contactees, as in the famous case of Swiss UFO contactee Eduard “Billy” Meier. The messages communicated to Meier were often explained by him in unadorned language, as in this 1989 interview:
Perhaps we can already sense that Meier’s interview (which contains material he has stated elsewhere) invites one essential question: Are there really messages for humans that exist in some encoded system from extraterrestrial or nonhuman entities? We might, for example, take note here of Meier’s plain-spoken and easy-to-comprehend messages and guidance, which contrast with the fantastical premise of an advanced being from another star system coming to earth to share wisdom with obscure or isolated individuals. We see Meier’s simple summary of what he witnessed over a long period of time:,
All the laws you can find out through meditation, through initiation, through your feelings, and through your own thinking.
This is the only instruction given to Meier for humans, in addition to a call for greater consciousness over the planet and each other. No secret cipher, no esoteric guild, no hidden symbols.
Meier’s (or Semjase’s) emphasis on the simplicity of such messaging is also evident in many of the 14,000 trance readings given by Edgar Cayce, for example:
- “Smile always – and LIVE the smile!” (Edgar Cayce reading 1819-1)
- “Think never that the opportunities have passed…It is never too late to begin…” (Edgar Cayce reading 909-1)
- “It is just being kind, just being gentle, just being patient, FIRST with self and self’s relationships to thy fellow man.” (Edgar Cayce reading 416-7)
- “It is not all of life to live, nor all of death to die; for one is the beginning of the other.” (Edgar Cayce reading 2842-2)
- “Remember that others have as much right to their opinions as self, but that there IS a level from which all may work together for good.” (Edgar Cayce reading 1819-1)
- “Then set definite periods for prayer; set definite periods for meditation. Know the difference between each. Prayer, in short, is appealing to the divine within self, the divine from without self, and meditation is keeping still in body, in mind, in heart, listening, listening to the voice of thy Maker.” (Edgar Cayce reading 5368-1)
- “No one may BUY goodness. No one may sell goodness. Goodness is LIVED.” (Edgar Cayce reading 349-13)
- “Be GLAD you have the opportunity to be alive at this time.” (Edgar Cayce reading 2376-3)
We also have Meier’s notes, which describe sobering but logical interactions with a race known as the Plejarens, as documented in the book “The Essence of the Notes,” compiled by Maurice Osborn (pp 198-202):
In the book, Meier’s notes are explanatory in form, such as:
Why they don’t reveal themselves publicly 3.18-26
The reason why the Plejarens do not contact the governments of Earth directly is because, without exception, all Earth governments are led by people that are hungry for power and seek profit. They would only want to gain access to their beamships so that they could exercise absolute control over the Earth. Then, they would try to capture the cosmos because their greed knows no limits. They cannot even create peace and friendship on Earth between nations or even within their own country. Imagine what they would be like with the power of a beamship and all of its technology. The Plejarens have no interest in revealing themselves publicly. The spirit of Earth humans is very limited and narrowly developed in religious slavery. They would worship extraterrestrials as gods, as they have in earlier times, or greedily attempt to take possession of the beamships. In addition, there are millions of people that would become hysterical and be lost in spirit. Because of this, it is better for them to make contact with individuals and slowly prepare them for open contact.
Discovering people’s true thoughts 64.37-57
In order for the Plejarens to discover the true thoughts of people on Earth before 1977, they ordered Meier to produce lectures and articles for the world’s mass public. Through these things, they were able to examine mankind’s actual responses to them. This was necessary because they were not allowed to analyze the innermost thoughts of human beings. After several articles in newspapers and magazines as well as broadcasts over radio and TV, the Plejarens were successful in learning the truth. They discovered that governments were very interested and issued special orders in different countries, the broad public confronted this information earnestly, and ufology groups did not take the information seriously. It was the ufology groups that were the most important to the Plejarens and this was very depressing to them.
They determined that Earth humans are unable to dedicate themselves to the concerns regarding the existence of extraterrestrial beings and their craft. The so-called ufologists, who are supposed to be spreading the truth and preparing humanity for the coming extraterrestrial contacts, have humiliated themselves as primitive, semi-scientific sects that spread their nonsense of self-constructed theories which lead mankind away from the truth instead of guiding them towards the truth. This shows that Earth humans are still not sufficiently prepared for real knowledge that could help them with the coming of extraterrestrial intelligences. They realized that the development they assumed humanity had in regards to real enlightenment was just an illusion. This resulted in a new calculation of probability which stated that humanity will not be ready to realize the existence of extraterrestrial life for another 200 to 300 years.
In light of this lucid simplicity, we return to Greenfield, whose thesis is that encrypted messages from nonhuman races are given to several kinds of recipients, but not all will know how to interpret the information. Individuals are thus not the only intermediaries for these “messages;” there are, according to Greenfield, other categories of contactee, each claiming to have knowledge of hidden messages in some form. This includes messages within secret guilds and ancient cultures, many encrypted for initiated leaders or specially prepared persons.
Perhaps that is why Greenfield also discusses the roles of various individuals and groups in the development and transmission of esoteric knowledge, including Louis M. Bimstein (Max Theon), a high initiate and early contactee with UFOnauts; Madame Helena Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society; and Meade Layne, founder of the Borderland Sciences Research Foundation and an early UFO researcher. And yet another category of witnesses to these encoded messages appears in the work of various influential figures in UFOlogy who also explored the problem of secret messages in relation to studies of paranormal phenomena – this group includes Woodrow Derenberger, a West Virginia contactee; the renowned science fiction author Philip K. Dick; Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist who explored UFOs from a psychological perspective; and John A. Keel, known for his research into the Mothman phenomenon.
As mentioned earlier, Greenfield’s claim is that the discovery of a particular cipher in the 1970s marked a significant shift in the way UFO phenomena were communicated and understood. This change, he adds, also coincided with a shift in UFO encounters from personal interactions with entities with specific names like Orthon and Aura Rhanes to more impersonal experiences with “Grays” and “Blonds” To this point, Greenfield references the names of various UFO contactees who have told similar stories in their own books: George Adamski’s Flying Saucers Have Landed and Inside the Space Ships, Howard Menger’s From Outer Space to You, and Travis Walton’s The Walton Experience. Adamski’s own accounts provide a clear example that closely follows the pattern of messages and information reported by other contactees. The extraterrestrials, according to Adamski, resembled humans but were more advanced, both technologically and spiritually. They were described as peaceful and concerned about humanity’s path, particularly our use of nuclear weapons. As with the experiences reported by Meier, Adamski’s encounters with extraterrestrials resulted in messages of peace and warnings about the dangerous path humanity was following, particularly concerning the use of nuclear weapons. They emphasized the need for spiritual growth and the importance of living in harmony with the universe. Similarly, they also included philosophical and spiritual teachings, focusing on the idea of a universal order and the interconnectedness of all life forms across different worlds. As with Meier and other contactees, the claims made in Adamski’s book “Flying Saucers Have Landed” were met with skepticism and criticism, and were often dismissed as fabrications or the result of delusions.
However, in all honesty, any advanced race would already have developed some kind of an ethics of universal sustainability, and for a planet accelerating toward the precipice of self-destruction, what other message could be more important to convey? None of what these individuals have communicated, regardless the controversy of the source they claim to have heard it from, seems irresponsible. None of these messages advocates detachment from local reality or toppling any existing order. On the contrary, it is well to remember that messages which have encouraged fighting against a world order have come exclusively from the actions and words of revolutionary troublemakers here on earth. There is no record of anyone having been instructed by any non-human or extraterrestrial intelligence to overturn anything.
Greenfield goes to certain lengths to ensure that we know that the discovery of an esoteric cipher – the primary point of his book – has historical roots in Masonic orders:
In the early 18th century, Craft Masonic bodies formally merged in a Grand Lodge that included Speculative Masons; these individuals—mostly aristocrats of wealth and power—were not skilled at the building arts and had no direct connection, in most cases, with the rich lore of Rosicrucian and Masonic legend. They settled on a system of three initiatory degrees, the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. This tri-fold system does indeed correspond to the communication of the formal guild secrets of Operative, or practical Masonry, but has little of the metaphysical meaning and a distinct feel of incompleteness. Later a so-called “Royal Arch” degree, which attempted to deal with many questions unanswered in the Craft degrees, became popular with Masons. The Royal Arch came to include the communication of a Secret Cipher, cleverly built upon angles and dots and directly translatable into English. This would seem to suggest a late date for the cipher, but it corresponds to the Key to the much older Aiq Bakir, the Hebrew Qabala of the Nine Chambers, and is an obvious English adaptation of a much older cipher. In its present form it decodes easily and has been so often exposed in the last 150 years that its value as a cipher is actually now greatly diminished.
In other words, the roots of this cipher appear to trace back to ancient Qabalistic methods, suggesting a deep historical lineage bearing no fewer than three distinct sources:
- Greenfield points out that the cipher he discusses is directly traceable to the Qabala of Nine Chambers, a Hebrew-based cipher of ancient origin. This cipher was traditionally used for decoding mystical writings, names, and sacred texts. Its adaptation for use with the English language in modern times forms the basis of the cipher Greenfield explores in the context of UFO phenomena.
- The cipher, as it appeared in the 1970s, was an adaptation of these ancient methods to the English alphabet. It used the 26 letters of the standard alphabet, laid out in a specific pattern (such as a grid or a 26-point star), facilitating a new form of esoteric interpretation and communication.
- As mentioned earlier, a significant connection is made to Aleister Crowley’s “The Book of the Law” (Liber AL vel Legis). Greenfield suggests that this book contains the complete cipher of some non human race and that the physical description of Aiwass, the alien who provided the information to Crowley, aligns with modern depictions of extraterrestrial entities. The entry pointed to the unlocked cipher is a mysterious ‘grid’ page of Crowley’s manuscript, which additionally states that, “for in the chance shape of the letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries that no Beast shall divine. … Then this line drawn is a key: then this circle squared in its failure is a key also. Abrahadabra.” See Crowley’s below:
Crowley’s book, largely a combination of mythology, arcane references to symbols from the dark ages, and undecipherable strings of characters and numbers, became the stuff of Gothic lore in the modern age, but held many secrets which could not be unlocked, given the strange writing that peppered the book. The 1970s saw the full transcription and decoding of the book’s cipher, repeats Greenfield, and this included the grid above and markings resembling keys to the Royal Arch Masonic Cipher. This decoding effort was reportedly aided by contributions from various individuals and groups, such as “the OAA in England” (currently untraceable) and a man named Frater Lamed of QBLH in America, who developed computer software to decipher the code.
So much for the historical contexts behind Greenfield’s assertions about deciphering Crowley’s manuscript with apparent information from some non-human intelligence. Up to this point, we may accept that the cipher (if indeed there is “one” such cipher) seems to have been found in a series of distinct, autonomous, unrelated sources. But having established this, we must now turn to the central question posed by Greenfield’s claims: how is Crowley’s cipher containing non-human information decoded? To get at this, we turn to the cipher itself.
Yet here is where Greenfield becomes as mysterious as the cipher he discusses, for, after first offering a relatively comprehensive context of the problem, the second half of Greenfield’s book fails to provide any detailed description of the exact calculations or algorithm used to generate thousands of variants of the “cipher star” or how the cipher itself was decoded. While the book suggests that this process involves a complex blend of qabalistic techniques, adapted for use with the English alphabet, along with the application of computer software, we learn nothing of the supposed extraterrestrial intelligence or cosmic wisdom hidden within “The Book of the Law.”
I was able to locate another source that described the computational approach in these terms:
Later Frater Lamed of QBLH created a twenty six pointed star (one point for each standard letter), and, with mainframe computer technology used over a ten year period, developed the Lexicon Computer Program which, anchored on the A, can generate many thousands of alternate ciphers. Since then, research has been ongoing by a scattered informal network of New Aeon Qabalists.
Here is the key portion of Greenfield’s book describing the decryption method:
There are letters along the top of the page, and it would seem to be obvious to continue with the alphabet in the manner indicated, but the clue is in the numbers down the side. A is written instead of 1 which suggests that B is 2, C 3 and so on. Fill in all the squares on the grid in this manner, repeating the alphabet when one gets to Z. To proceed to the next step the instruction is written on the page, for those who have eyes to see. “Then this line drawn is a key? The line drawn is a diagonal line across the page. If one reads any diagonal across the square one gets the order of the English alphabet to be used in the English Qaballa. Whichever diagonal is read the order of the letters is obtained. There is only one order which can be obtained and all 26 letters appear in this order. Crowley writes, “Then this line drawn is a key…and Abrahadabra.” “Abrahadabra” is an 11-fold word, and counting down 11 spaces and numbering the letters thus obtained in sequence gives one the “Value of the English Alphabet.” Thus we have both order and value, as mandated in Liber AL [the Latin title of Crowley’s book].
“The line drawn and the rose cross symbol bear a striking resemblance to the area where the key is revealed, “ notes Smith. But one cannot appreciate this without the original handwritten text at hand. As I have discovered the “rose cross” (which looks like a circle with a simple cross superimposed, or a gun site, or register mark) may contain other secrets. By following the line drawn down from the top of the page to its end at the “rose cross” one can find a method for obtaining both order and value in a single operation, after moving the block of four letters suggested by the “rose cross” to the page top at the upper end of the diagonal line…
Jake Stratton-Kent puzzled over the strange string of letters and numbers in Liber AL 11:76: 4638ABK24ALGMOR3yX2489 RPST OVAL “What meaneth this, o prophet? Thou knowest not; nor shalt thou know ever. There cometh one to follow thee: he shall expound it.”
“When I first had my attention drawn to the existence of a purported English Qaballa, my first reaction as a quabalist was to use it on this meaningless string of digits and characters,” Stratton-Kent tells us. “I converted all the letters into their numerical equivalents in the E.Q, and added them to the numbers in the series.” In the original handwritten text, the string of letters and numbers is divided into two lines, the first ending with “Y” and the second beginning with “X.” Stratton-Kent goes on: “There are seventeen numbers and letters in the first line and eleven in the second … but in the manuscript the ‘X’ at the beginning of line two looks like a multiplication symbol so I made this calculation; 17 x 11 = 187, the numerical value of the phrase ‘ENGLISH ALPHABET.’” (p.29-30)
This sort of decoding is basic cryptography, typically either of the kind where each character is represented by a fixed number and the numbers are added (as explained elsewhere in this article) – this is basic numerology – or where a line crosses over text, and the intersecting letters assume a numerical value. I find it difficult to imagine that it took ten years for a computer programmer to decipher this approach, but worse, the deciphered result is not particularly esoteric, as we can see.
However, as we can infer from these tangential descriptions, it remains impossible from Greenfield’s account to verify the final step that he claims to have accomplished: decoding these variants to extract meaningful information or messages. All we can be sure of from the accounts in this book is that this decoding process drew upon qabalistic and esoteric knowledge. In all probability, the computational or algorithmic requirements of the process seems to have exceeded Greenfield’s ability to understand or document them. The book’s primary value, then, is in being among the first to combine historical analysis, personal accounts, and theoretical exploration, weaving together elements of UFOlogy, occult traditions, and secret societies to present a unique perspective on the intersection of these fields. And despite the absence of decipherable “messages” from any verifiable source here, a focus on methods such as this should be a worthwhile direction for researchers.
But what about messages as shared by other contactees? Were they enciphered or hidden in some symbolic code? The late UFO contactee Betty Andreasson Luca, of whom I’ve written previously, and her husband Bob Luca were certainly very open about their experiences, and below, in an extended interview, we can hear Bob describing secrecy and deceit – but not from the aliens, but rather from the government itself:
Similarly, here are both Bob and Betty explaining their experiences at length – no mention of any encoded information in this hour-long conversation:
Similarly, Edgar Cayce and Billy Meieir’s messages are devoid of cryptic secrecy. If anything, the messages that they received are too simple and direct to encode in secret form. Beyond this, what would be the purpose of convoluting a message for humanity? We should suspect that these encryptions were the result of interventions by certain (human) individuals for their own selfish interest. Crowley was certainly a problematic individual, and Greenfield is not a diligent presenter of algorithmic method.
If the principle to thine own self be true is to be honored, then truth should be easily accessible, not wrapped in enigmas.