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Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  461 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Over two decades ago, eminent scientist Vallee wrote a provocative book about alleged UFO landings, folklore, and certain unexplained phenomena. That long-out-of-print book--which discussed the most interesting reports of more than 1,000 apparently reliable witnessess--has become an underground classic and is now being reissued.
Paperback, 372 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary (first published January 1st 1969)
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Heidi The Reader
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Jacques F. Vallee was one of the first scientists to closely study UFO phenomenon. He goes beyond a simple examination and compares it to the fairy religions and mythologies from the past. Passport to Magonia is one of his most well-known works.

Vallee also mentions, in the new preface that he wrote for the book in the early '90s, of the difficulties that he had compiling the thousands of eyewitness accounts that are included in Passport to Magonia. I suppose with the easy connections to the inte
This is THE book- it's a masterpiece in the ufology sub-genre in fact- that made me fall in love with Vallee and his work in the field of ufological studies and research. Always taking an open-minded, objective and scholarly approach in his quest and devotion to the scientific study of ufology- all qualities, by the way, which have become his trademark, making Vallee indeed one of those rare gems since he was originally trained as a scientist- He received his Bachelor of Science degree in mathem ...more
Read this back in grade school - as a kid who read lots of flying saucer books starting in third grade or so, this book was one of two (I wish I could remember the name of the other) that really had an impact on me and shifted me out of the classic "metal ships/nuts and bolts" school of thought by focusing on how much overlap there was between folklore and 20th century UFO reports - NOT in a CHARIOTS OF THE GODS mode, but in an actual folkloric sense. Fascinating and probably helped me not becom ...more
Owen Spencer
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This author documents and discusses the UFO/alien phenomenon, and fully acknowledges its existence, without succumbing to the temptation to speculate. The author makes four major points: 1) Modern UFO/alien accounts are extremely similar to events recorded throughout human history describing manifestations of gods, angels, demons, fairies, dwarves, giants, monsters, etc. The similarities are so striking that most or all of these manifestations appear to have a common origin. 2) Science is an app ...more
This book is rightfully considered to be a classic within the Fortean field. The author, Jacques F. Vallée, was a consultant upon Project Blue Book and colleague of J. Allen Hynek. He is an esteemed professor even today, and one of the most level headed individuals to take on the UFO field. This book is the first where he formulates the beginning of a challenge to the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. Perhaps, this book dares to say, the UFOs and their 'visiting' inhabitants are not in fact from anot ...more
Denver Michaels
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must read for any student of the paranormal. Vallee takes modern-day UFO reports, the airship sightings of the 1890s, fairie lore, etc., and places them in a cultural context. Basically, according to Vallee, we are dealing with the same phenomenon; however, secondary characteristics of the phenomenon are able to change in a way to be understood by the cultures of different places and time periods.
Mark Tallen
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a fascinating read and it well deserves its place in my ufology book collection. It is considered to be a classic seminal book on the subject and after reading it, I can see why. If I had to choose between this book that was originally published in 1969, or his 1988 book called Dimensions, I would choose the latter. The reason being because Dimensions contains much of the material from Magonia and more. What Magonia does have that Dimensions doesn't is an excellent catalogue of case ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an odd, odd book, but an interesting one. It's basically divided into halves: in the first half, Vallee compares UFO close encounters to older stories of fairies and elves, while the second consists of a long list of UFO encounters with dates and other pertinent information.

Other than to note that stories of fairies and UFOs contain many similarities, Vallee doesn't really come to any conclusion -- in fact, he makes it quite clear that coming to a conclusion isn't what he's interested in
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
An undoubtedly important book in UFO lore, but no longer a must read. It shows a clear link between ancient folklore and modern ufology, but in this modern era of paranormal research that is a near-accepted fact. While this may be the book that helped shape that view, it now feels like a long read proving something that is already proven. The appendix is interesting but has not been updated, not including anything that happened in recent decades. Still, a good, though not vital read, but an impo ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I read this as a teenager. Vallee seems to think that accounts of fairies, gnomes, pixies, etc., are really sightings of aliens. Interesting...
E.S. Wynn
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a unique book! It posits a theory on UFOs that is very interesting, very unique and hit me almost totally out of left field.
Beverly Garside
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very informative read. Vallee's research compares modern UFO sighting and abduction stories to folklore and fairy tales going back almost 1000 years. He takes on the founding doctrine of one of the UFO religion's denominations' (and UFO-ology is indeed a religion with warring denominations) theology that UFOs appeared in our skies after 1945 because of inter-planetary concern over our development of nuclear weapons. Vallee's research deals this theory a fatal blow.
Vallee compares t
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was my first Jaques Vallee book I have read and it did not dissapoint. In this book Jaques compares many modern day (for the time as this was written in 1969) UFO sightings to folklore, religious lore and myths of the past. He presents the argument that many similarities can be drawn between the UFO phenomenon and stories of old from flying objects, similar entities, gases, food and interactions. He paints this canvas with no attempt to come to a conclusion that will settle your mind, inste ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an terrific book that relates aliens and UFOs with folklore. While Ufos and aliens are a more recent phenomenon, its overlying themes remained similar to other types of folklore from the past. As one folklore tradition is transmitted from one community to another, some details are dynamic, while others stay the same. Vallee is an engaging writer who does a terrific with using primary sources. He also has an appendix for a comprehensive list of ufo sightings and abductions. Not to mentio ...more
George Ramos
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first major book to demonstrate the connection between modern tales of UFOs and alien abductions and the fairy tales and myths of the past. Two-thirds of the book lists dozens and dozens of examples of high strangeness from the past that describe the same types of events that can be found in UFO literature from the past several decades. Vallee makes some surprising conclusions, showing that the phenomenon is not the result of "little green men" visiting us in spaceships, but like the fairy f ...more
Shaun McNamara
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A true classic of the genre. Vallee started to move away from the 'UFO as nuts and bolts spacecraft' theories, and look on these often bizarre encounters as something more akin to folkloric tales from past centuries. When i first read this book i hated it, because it bent my presuppositions beyond what i was comfortable with, at least at that time. As the years have gone by i have come to see that this is a truly inspired work, and the theories contained within it are some of the most interestin ...more
Bret McCormick
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This impressive examination of strange encounters was published in 1969. It is so comprehensive I find myself wondering what an updated edition would look like. Vallee offers some fascinating observations and, almost fifty years after the fact, still manages to astound. Recommended for any who would like to break out of the redundant take on UFOs offered by the uninspired TV series so common on television.
Benjamin Manglos
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: research
While I think Vallee's argument in Magonia is an intriguing and important one, I think it ends up being his weakest. Some interesting similarities between folklore and UFO lore are drawn, but I was ultimately unconvinced that they were entirely the same phenomena. I think his argument evolved into something far less theoretical and more convincing and his later books are better for it. Still, it's far better written than the average work on the paranormal and therefore recommended.
Richard Alan  Scott
The first half of this book is a fascinating compendium of word of mouth sightings of fairie folk and little people, and the consequences of encounters with such. This leads into a painstaking review of UFO and alien sightings and how the aforementioned fairie lore leads us into the obsession with UFOlogy. What an amazing book to have in your collection of folklore and alien encounters. There are enough stories in here for a hundred great movies and TV episodes, we'd never run out.
S.E. Ellis
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is a reason this is still so highly recommended after decades. It's that good.

Jacques Vallee manages the impossible: he maintains his position as a serious scientist looking at hard evidence with skepticism and a rational eye, while coming to the conclusion that the UFO phenomena is something quite different than "nuts & bolts" craft.
Joey Madia
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a foundational book for UFO enthusiasts. Vallee draws parallels between UFO sightings/abductions and fairy lore, a premise also explored by many other researchers, including John Keel. A bonus of the book is a list in the back half of 923 documented sightings from 1868 to 1968. It is an invaluable resource.
Mr B
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. All the fluff has been taken out of the reports and you are essentially shown the common themes in all sightings and experiences.

I was left thinking there was a double bluff by world governments. How do you convince people there are not
real UFO's? Make them up .. so no one can tell the difference between 'real and 'fake'.
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jacques Valee's earliest attempt to put forth his hypothesis equating modern reports of unidentified vehicles and their occupants with myth and folklore of the past, accompanied by an accounting of such reports from 1868 to 1968. Rather a dry read, but the hypothesis is intriguing.
Tom Kenis
Food for (outlandish) thought.
Absolutely foundational and required reading for anyone curious about UFOs and the Phenomenon in general. Vallee is the standard in this field.
Taede Smedes
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ufo-s
Vallée is, next to J. Allen Hynek, one of a view scientists who take UFOs seriously. However, Vallée has a unique view on UFOs, which he tries to explore in this book. He argues that the UFO-sightings from the 1950s onwards are continuous with the sightings of flying airships in the late 1900s, who are continuous with earliers sightings of fairies, elves, gnomes, etc., as well as with religious miracles, Maria-apparitions, etc. UFOs are thus the space-age folklore. This book thus describes the p ...more
May 16, 2011 rated it liked it
I primarily started reading this book as it is considered one of the classics in its genre. Also, Jacques Vallée is a reknowned astronomer-turned-ufologist, on who the lead character in "Close encounters" was based.

This was one of the first book that didn't treat UFOs so much as visitors in spacecraft from other planets, but drew paralels to the phenomenon of fairies, gnomes and such, that bear many similarities with modern UFO experiences. In this sense, it's definitely an important volume on t
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Vallee's thesis is that there are folkloric parallels between UFO reports and phenomena of the mythic past -- encounters with the Fair Folk, zeppelin sightings in the 1890s, religious apparition, etc. While there's an interesting kernel to his theory, I'm not quite sure some of the sources he draws from are meant to be taken in a spirit of anything besides allegory -- Ezekiel and the Wheel, for example.
Bryan Hole
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed Vallee's book. To be honest, the idea of UFOs has always intrigued me and bored me at the same time. Vallee's hypothesis really pulled me in and really put into words what I had always felt were two linked ideas. At times he didn't conclude his ideas as much as I thought he could have though he made compelling arguments; he just didn't seem to pull them all together into one unifying argument in some cases. Great study though.
Ran Prieur
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not that well written, but in terms of the ideas, extremely important. Vallee was the smartest of all the big UFO investigators, and this was the first book-length argument that UFO's are not spacecraft from other planets, but something much weirder, that has existed for thousands of years and appeared differently to different cultures.
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Excerpted from wikipedia: Jacques Fabrice Vallée (born September 24, 1939 in Pontoise, Val-d'Oise, France) is a venture capitalist, computer scientist, author, ufologist and former astronomer currently residing in San Francisco, California.
In mainstream science, Vallée is notable for co-developing the first computerized mapping of Mars for NASA and for his work at SRI International in creating ARP

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