March 22

These People say they've been to Jupiter

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Reading time 8 min.

Throughout history there have been on occasion those strange individuals who have stepped forward claiming to have been whisked away to other planets of our solar system and beyond. These accounts are always deeply bizarre, eyebrow raising and inscrutable, but some of the weirder of these are those accounts from the many people who claim to have traveled to the planet Jupiter. It is uncertain why Jupiter should be such a popular destination for would be space travelers, but there are quite a few accounts of people claiming to have been there through methods ranging from UFOs to astral projection, and here are some of the more bizarre of these.

One of the weirder accounts of travel to Jupiter, although they are all weird, is the account by a man named Charles Jevington, who was an eccentric homeless old man who lived in the village of Thursby, near Carlisle, in North West England. He was mostly seen as a jovial, kind old vagrant who wandered about the outskirts of the village and was affectionately referred to as “Old Charlie.” For years he entertained people and was well-liked and accepted among the villagers, and then one day in 1955 he simply vanished after a local woman saw him sprinting across a field towards the woods with a haversack on. After a few days with no sign of him, it was feared that something bad had happened to him, and concerned for his safety the local law enforcement went about searching a large swath of area around the village for Old Charlie. When absolutely no sign of him was found, the local constable contacted authorities in West Yorkshire, where it was thought he had family, but they still could find no trace of the missing man. He had seemingly just stepped off the face of the earth, and maybe he had.

No word or sign of Jevington was forthcoming for 5 years, and then suddenly out of the blue he appeared one day in August of 1960, wandering about and acting as if nothing had happened and he had never been gone at all. People were puzzled at this sudden reappearance, and when he was approached about it good Old Charlie had quite the tale to tell. He claimed that he had been hiking through the woods when he had come across “one of those flying saucers” and its occupants, who were apparently collecting plant samples around their craft. After conversing with these strange beings for some time, they told him to get his things and come with him for “a long ride,” and so he accepted. That was when he would be seen rushing back to their ship across that field with all of his belongings in that haversack, hoping to jin them on their strange journey.

According to Jevington, these aliens took him all across the galaxy in their advanced craft, and that they had in particular spent some amount of time around the planet Jupiter, which he claimed had four rings. Indeed, according to him all of the outer planets of the solar system had rings around them. This was quite an odd detail, as at the time the planet was not known to have any rings at all, with Saturn the only known ringed planet, and so this crazy statement was considered proof that he was out of his mind. For some time he was relentlessly ridiculed, but Jevington remained adamant that he had indeed been to Jupiter, and he one day proclaimed he was going back to join his alien friends to move off to their world. True to his word, he would vanish again, this time for good, and he has never been seen since.

Rather eerily, years later in 1979 the Voyager I space probe would discover that indeed Jupiter had four rings, the Thebe gossamer ring, the Amalthea gossamer ring, the main ring, and the halo ring. Not only that, but just as Jevington had claimed it would be found over the years through further exploration that all of the gas giants of the solar system did indeed have rings, it is just Saturn that has those prominent enough to be seen from Earth. Does this mean that Charles Jevington had actually seen Jupiter and other far away planets up close aboard a spacecraft or was this just a lucky guess? How would this uneducated homeless vagrant know all of this otherwise? What really happened to him during those 5 years he was missing? Who knows?

There are many other such reports from the 20th century, and considering the very outlandish descriptions it seems that this all must merely be wild imaginings mixed with the pervasive popularity of the occult and UFO phenomena of the era. Yet such bonkers tales of travel to other worlds have persisted well into the modern day as well. One practitioner of astral projection named Monal Bhoyar gives a typically bonkers account of this, claiming to have traveled to Mars and Jupiter in 1975, 1976, and 1977. Bhoynar claims that his excursion to Jupiter was carried out in August of 1977, and he makes it very clear that these observations of the planet were made before the Voyager II passed the planet. Of Jupiter he would say:

There is preponderance of yellow and purple colours in the sky of the Jupiter. No other colour was seen in the sky of Jupiter. There was a greenish shade in the yellow, which was in the sky. The clouds were of the purple colour, they were gathering together rapidly and disappearing rapidly. These clouds were quite thick having greater density as compared to our clouds. They moved just like moss on water. If we throw a stone in the pond, this moss quickly moves away and quickly comes together, similar was the movement of the clouds of the Jupiter. On the Jupiter there was dim light similar to the light present in Maharashtra at about 7.30 pm. in the month of September. I did not see the Sun there. The sky on the Jupiter was not blue like ours, but it was darkish. I saw three full moons in the sky situated like the sign of “therefore” in mathematics. It appeared like a triangle of the Moons. Then I saw four full moons at a time, as if a square of the Moons ia formed. Later on, I saw many moons about five to six, at a time, – all were half-moons On my right hand was their lighted half portion, while on my left hand was their dark half region. The moons were shining considerably less than our moon, and were smaller in size than our moon, about 3/4th the diameter of our moon. I saw a band of multiple black round bodies in the sky as is shown in the figure, like a scorpion. In my previous experiment of Mars, I felt that I was standing on the ground of the Mars. But this time, I could not feel that I was standing on the ground of the Jupiter; I felt that I was floating. There was black rock. There was no dust. There was no breeze of the wind. There was no sound of any kind. There was no beauty seen in the sky, as I saw in the sky of the Mars, so I did not feel enthusiastic and happy. On the contrary, I felt depressed and morose. On the Jupiter, there was no water, running or stagnant. There was no human, no beast, no bird, no insect, no plant, and no other life. I could not see any Astral body, too, on the Jupiter.

This particular account was apparently published in various newspapers in India, such as the Indian Express and Tarun Bharat, among others, and the witness even claimed to have sent his amazing results to the Indian Prime Minister on 27th October 1977 and received receipts as proof. Is there any truth to it? Another perhaps well known excursion to Jupiter allegedly carried out in more modern times was that concerning the far-out tale of Ingo Swann, who was allegedly a psychic with the power of remote viewing, which basically entails being able to witness things happening in different locations far away from the person’s actual physical body. In this case it was far away indeed, because Swann would claim that in a remote viewing experiment along with fellow psychic Harold Sherman they had managed to project all the way to Mercury and Jupiter to make observations of these places before the U.S. had even launched its Mariner 10 and Pioneer 10 space probes to explore these regions of the cosmos.

While at Mercury, Swann claimed that he had discovered that the planet had a thin atmosphere, a magnetic field, and solar winds, and that its sky was painted with constantly shifting lights akin to the Aurora Borealis. He also claimed that Mercury had a primitive form of plant life like a sort of lichen, which covered the rocks on the surface. Shockingly, when the Mariner 10 did a flyby of the planet just 3 weeks later, it found that indeed Mercury was very much as Swann had described it, although the probe was not close enough to be able to verify the presence of lichen on the surface. It had been previously thought that Mercury had no magnetic poles or any atmosphere at all, but Swann had apparently seen this first, and the Mariner 10 findings backed this claim up somewhat.

Concerning Jupiter, Swann described it as a frigid place with a noxious, poisonous atmosphere possessing a myriad of colors like a “giant fireworks display.” He also said that he had seen vast, raging tornadoes on the surface, as well as ferocious winds far stronger than any on Earth, and he claimed the planet also had strong magnetic forces and a 30,000-foot-high mountain range. Eight months later the Pioneer 10 passed Jupiter and saw that many of these predictions were all strikingly true. It was impressive enough that it was seen as very accurate, and former American astronaut Edgar Mitchell was reported as saying:

He described things and gave details that were not known to scientists before the Mariner 10 and Pioneer 10 satellites flew by and got the information. These are things that Mr. Swann couldn’t have guessed or read about. His impressions of Mercury and Jupiter cannot be dismissed.

Another who praised Swann’s strange findings was former scientific consultant to the U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who said “His impressions of Jupiter, along with his experience with Mercury, most certainly point the way to more experimentation.” It all seems very impressive, but it has over the years become apparent that the story was perhaps played up to be a lot more amazing than the actual facts suggest. One of the problems is that only the things that matched up with what was found by the space probes were apparently reported on, when in fact there were many other details that were flat-out wrong and just not mentioned. Indeed, renowned science fiction author Isaac Asimov found that half of Swann’s observations were wrong, and that the other half could have been lucky guesses based on information already available on planets in science books of the time. Even more damning still was an assessment made by famous astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, and author, Carl Sagan, who at one point said after looking through the whole case:

Recently, two courageous American mystics made an “astral projection” trip to Jupiter, describing the nature of the planet prior to the arrival of the Pioneer 10. I was asked to examine the accuracy of their account. If their reports had been submitted in my elementary astronomy course, they would have received grades of “D.” These reports were not better than what can be extracted from the worst popularizations of planetary astronomy; they were filled with the most obvious misunderstandings both about Jupiter and Pioneer 10. There is no evidence that any mystic has done better in guessing the nature of the planets than he could do without his mystical powers but with the ability to read the better elementary astronomy books.

This was pretty damning, and in the end it appears that the few things the two remote viewers had happened to stumble upon as correct were played up in news reports and a legend was born. It is important to note that in later years Swann did not stop making claims of the weird. In the 1970s he began trying to establish psychic connections with plants, and through these activities he claimed that he had learned of an impending ecological disaster through mental images projected into his mind by the plants. He wrote of these efforts and other various psychic pursuits in his 1975 book To Kiss Earth Good-Bye. Considering the time-frames involved coinciding with heavy drug culture and the damning skepticism against him, whether any of this planetary travel was achieved through the use of mind powers or the tripping of balls is left open to speculation and interpretation.

Why Jupiter? Why, indeed. Maybe it is the mystery of the planet itself, or the fact that we know little about it, but one thing that should be self evident is that officially no human being has ever been there. Yet these stories persist and add to the lore of the numerous mysterious people who have claimed to have been all over the solar system. Delusion and the ranting of the unwell or something else? It is hard to say, but it is all an entertaining ride nevertheless.

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