[Introduction]: In the summer of 1959, Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh were spending their vacation in Switzerland.
They went to see Mrs. Lindbergh’s publishers, Kurt and Helen Wolff, who were residing at that time in Zurich.
Kurt Wolff had persuaded Jung to work with Aniela Jaffe on the composition of his autobiography, and the Wolff’s saw Jung from time to time in order to discuss the work in progress.
On August 2, the Wolffs invited the Lindberghs to go along with them on a visit to Jung at his Bollingen retreat. In a letter of December 11, 1968, to Helen Wolff, Lindbergh set down his recollection of the visit.
Jung had become interested in the phenomenon of flying saucers, or unidentified flying objects, in the early 1950’s, had replied to written questions by Georg Gerster on the subject in 1954, and published his own book in 1958.
In a statement that Jung issued to United Press International in August 1958, after the report had been spread by the press that he believed the “Ufos” to be physically real, Jung stated:
“This report is altogether false. . . . I cannot commit myself on the question of the physical reality or unreality of the Ufos since I do not possess sufficient evidence either for or against. I therefore concern myself solely with the psychological aspect of the phenomenon. . . . ”
[Charles A. Lindburgh] . . . I looked forward, especially, to the possibility of listening to Jung talk about “flying saucers,” for I knew he was deeply interested in them.
I recall Jung talking about the depths of the lake at our side, and relating these depths to the human subconscious.
We were sitting together in a small room, you, Kurt, Jung, Anne, and I. Finally, the conversation shifted to “flying saucers.”
I had expected a fascinating discussion about psychological aspects of the numerous and recurring flying saucer reports.
To my astonishment, I found that Jung accepted flying saucers as factual.
On the one hand, he didn’t seem in the least interested in psychological aspects.
On the other, he didn’t seem at all interested in factual information relating to the investigation of flying-saucer reports.
When I told Jung that the U
He asked me how I accounted for recent flying saucer reports in Europe—especially a series of sightings along an apparently straight line of flying-saucer flight.
He referred to Donald Keyhoe’s book about flying saucers.
I told Jung that, while I had not seen Keyhoe in recent years, I had known him intimately many years ago.
(Keyhoe accompanied me, in another plane, when I made a three-month tour of the United States in the “Spirit of St. Louis,” in 1927, under the auspices of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics. He and I usually occupied the same suite of rooms at the hotels where I stopped.)
his book, cited alleged reports that the British De Havilland Comets which disintegrated in air had been reported hit by “unidentified flying objects.”‘
I said that I had been in close contact with the De Havilland Company and its engineers at the time, because Pan American Airways had on order and option a number of Comets, and I was a consultant
to Pan American in this field.
I told him that the cause of disintegration was fuselage rupture resulting from fatigue and inadequate basic design, and that in my conferences with De Havilland personnel and other engineers
concerned, no mention had ever been made of “unidentified flying objects.”
I also mentioned to Jung the high-level Pentagon conference cited by Keyhoe, again in the early chapters of his book, to substantiate his claims about the reality of flying saucers. Keyhoe wrote that this conference had been called because of the alarm caused by flying saucers and their sightings, that it was highly secret, and that the officials attending the conference felt the situation was so alarming
and serious that the information discussed should be withheld from public knowledge.
I told Jung I had been working closely with the Air Force, as a consultant, at the time, and that Pentagon officials were not alarmed by reports on flying saucers, but astonished at the stories they read about
flying saucers in the newspapers.
The conference was called as a result of the plea, “For God’s sake, somebody tell us what it’s all about.” It was not a secret conference.
So far as I could judge, Jung showed not the slightest interest in these facts.
I then described a discussion on flying-saucer reports I had carried on with General Spaatz (an old friend and Chief of the United States Air Force).
I had, laughingly, asked Spaatz how I could persuade one of my sons that the flying-saucer reports he had read in a Reader’s Digest article were not true.
Spaatz, in his dryly humorous way, had replied: “Slim, don’t you suppose that if there was anything true about this flying-saucer business, you and I would have heard about it by this time?”
To this, Jung replied: There are a great many things going on around this earth that you and General Spaatz don’t know about.
Thereafter, I departed from the subject of flying saucers.
I can’t believe that Jung was as uninterested in either psychological aspects or facts relating to flying saucers as the Bollingen meeting made it appear to me.
I wonder if there wasn’t some reason that day for his not wanting to talk about the subject, even though I can’t explain in my own mind what it would be.
I was fascinated by Jung.
One intuitively feels the elements of mysticism and greatness about him—even though they may have been mixed, at times, with elements of charlatanism.
I liked Anne’s not unadmiring description of Jung as “an old wizard.”
In the highest sense, he seemed like that to me in the wizard setting of lakeside Bollingen.
And in this instance, the “Old Wizard” just didn’t open his mind to me on the subject of flying saucers.
It was a great experience for us, that visit with you and Kurt to Bollingen, one Anne and I are deeply grateful for and will never forget.
Jung was such an extraordinary man, surely one of our time’s great geniuses.
My admiration and respect for him remain, and I continue to find tremendous stimulation in his writings; but I approach his statements and conclusions with even greater caution than in the past.
I realize I have used the term “fact” loosely, as though the physical and psychological could be completely separated, as though the real and the intangible have no relationship in essence.
In a sense, every concept forms its own reality, and with this sense in mind, I think a more interesting discussion might have taken place with Jung. ~Charles Lindbergh, C.G. Jung: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 406-409