Grand Illusions is the culmination of a trilogy of works by one of America's most freethinking ufologists. More blunt but no less provocative than his previous books, this is Gregory Little's finest work to date. Grand Illusions , following People of the Web (1990) and The Archetype Experience (1984), fine-tunes Little's thesis that was ignited by Carl Jung and John Keel--namely that archetypes are intelligent energy forms within the electromagnetic spectrum which can physicalize and account for virtually every anomalous event in ufology.
Little has theorized that there is indeed a mystery, or grand illusion, behind UFOs and related phenomena. He also suggests that many ufologists also harbor their own illusions concerning these phenomena. Words are not minced and punches are not pulled. Little calls for the death of the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) and, acting like the criminal justice psychologist that he is, points a finger at the rampant hoaxing and paranoia within the ufological fold.
This is strong stuff. For many involved in ufology, the aspect that first got them interested was the tales of real alien beings piloting the saucers (e.g., The Humanoids, Flying Saucer Occupants). A similar sense of interest (and pleasure) is attained, ironically, from reading Little's analysis, and rejection of, these same aliens. Ultimately, we all want to get at "the truth." The proffering of the alien-UFO motif in the media has made alternatives to the ETH all the more rare, especially for American ufology. Thus, the release of any non-extraterrestrial UFO book has become a major event. And a book that can explain the concomitant baggage that has glommed onto ufology is that much more of a treasure.
Little mentions the oft-repeated notion that the evidence for crashed saucers (notably the Roswell case) would prevail in a court of law, and states unequivocally that the case would not win. In this, his thrust is valid; however, what I feel he means to say is that the evidence for crashed saucers is not the "experimental" (scientific) proof required for its veracity. Legal proof is of a different nature, and the case for crashed saucers could probably be "proven" in court. Under the microscope of experimental proof, which requires more tangible evidence, no crashed saucer story holds up.
But even experimental proof is problematic. The scientific method, while powerfully effective, is composed of two elements that are fallible (i.e., both sense data and pure reason can be deceptive). In other words, our perceptions, liable to being erroneous, cannot lead us to conclusions with absolute certitude. This seems to aim at the heart of fortean philosophy, in that the best that can be said in reaching a conclusion is that it is the most accurate possible approximation.
What seems striking in its absence, noting that Little's background is in counseling psychology, is that no mention is made of the benefit to be gained through knowing the mechanism of abduction. If the process is known (do people "tune-in" the grays with the magnetite in their brains?), then the trigger of the experience can be reversed or halted, abductions can be stopped, and the true healing of the abduction syndrome can begin.
Still somewhat mystifying is the process by which the archetype and the percipient attune themselves to each other to "create" a UFO experience or abduction encounter. Specifically, how do these psychoid energy forms adapt their physical shape and behavior to the culture and expectations of the percipient? How, and from where, does this energy gain the knowledge to accomplish this feat?
These are minor quibbles. What is important is that Little has plunged ahead, forging his thought from what he has encountered, rather than ramming the data into preconceived beliefs.
You should add this instant classic to your UFO bookshelf.