The Jinn Hypothesis & Modern UFO Phenomena

This essay introduces an intriguing hypothesis that modern UFO phenomena may be linked to the concept of Jinn in the Islamic tradition. It examines the parallels between the characteristic features, deceptive nature, abduction narratives, and possession themes found in both UFO encounters and descriptions of Jinn in Islamic sources, suggesting that UFO encounters may represent contemporary manifestations of ancient Jinn activities.



Since the publication of a ground-breaking New York Times article in 2017[1], the UFO phenomenon has experienced a remarkable surge in mainstream attention. The article revealed the existence of a secret Pentagon program, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), which investigated unidentified flying objects. The disclosure included videos captured by military pilots displaying unidentified aerial phenomena exhibiting extraordinary capabilities. This revelation sparked widespread public interest and ignited a paradigm shift in the way society views UFOs. The mainstream media, once hesitant to cover such topics seriously, began to engage in more extensive and in-depth reporting on UFO sightings and encounters. This newfound openness has led to a wave of declassified government documents, testimonies from military personnel, and further acknowledgment from authoritative sources, contributing to the ongoing discourse surrounding the enigmatic nature of these unidentified aerial phenomena. Only recently senior military officer Karl Nell unequivocally stated, ‘Non-human intelligence exists, it has been interacting with humanity and this interaction is not new, it has been ongoing. There are unelected people in the government that are aware of that’[2].

The UFO phenomenon has transcended mass media to permeate various academic disciplines, attracting the attention of scientists, psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and anthropologists alike. Beyond sensationalism, researchers from these fields have recognised the significance of understanding the cultural, psychological, and societal implications of reported UFO sightings and encounters. Professor Gary Nolan, an award winning immunologist, has not only acknowledged the existence of the Phenomenon[3] but is engaged in studying it and its physiological effects on humans via a scientific lens.

This interdisciplinary engagement reflects a growing recognition that the UFO phenomenon extends beyond mere speculation, warranting serious academic consideration for a comprehensive understanding of its multifaceted dimensions.

Epistemological Groundwork

In an age marked by hubris and prevalent epistemic delusion, it is critical to appreciate how little we actually know, both as individual human subjects as well as a human species. Often, the perception is one where we have almost everything figured out, with just minor gaps here and there that need filling, and it is only a matter of time before they are. This could not be further from the truth. The Enlightenment saw a cognitive revolution in Western thought which, contrary to common belief, drastically stunted as opposed to bolstered the aspirations of science. We are unable to, it seems, explain the world intelligibly, but instead can only provide reasonable explanatory theories in its regard. The distinction between intelligible concepts and intelligible theories is important, and is one that was well understood by the main drivers of said cognitive revolution: Descartes, Newton, Hume, Lock et al.[4]

For empirical enquiry, the conceptual distinction between mysteries and problems is realised post-fact—once the investigation has concluded, then we are able to appreciate what knowledge we may have access to with the right ideas and which knowledge is outside the limits of our cognitive capacity. In the inherited religious jargon of Christendom, there is the natural and the supernatural. Loosely, the former is that which, at least in principle, our understanding may reach. The latter is what is borne directly of the Divine and His intervention, and is therefore hyper-rational, or beyond the bounds of human perceptibility. In the Islamic vocabulary, our binary is one of ghayb and shahādah. Literally, ghayb is that which we are not privy to—what we are absent from—while shahādah is that which is witnessed. The ghayb is the realm of the Divine, angels, and indeed Jinn.[5] The realm of shahādah is that which we inhabit. The ghayb has access to shahādah, but not necessarily vice versa. God alone is the absolute knower of ghayb and shahadah. Q 59:22 states: “He is Allah, besides whom there is no god, the knower of ghayb and shahādah. He is the Merciful, the Mercifier.” Felicitously, a passage in Sūrah al-Jinn employs this attribute of God. Q 72:26-27 reads:

[My Lord is] the knower of ghayb and shahādah, so He does not disclose His ghayb to anyone, except to a messenger of His choosing, for He then dispatches before him and behind him guards.

The proliferation of UFO/UPA document and footage declassification, along with the forthcomingness of many retired government officials with regard to their experiences in dealing with these mysterious phenomena, has rudely unmasked our ignorance and emphatically brought pertinent questions to the fore of the scientific, socio-political, and religious fronts. What are these UFOs? What are their sources? What motivates them? What is the most reasonable explanatory paradigm that may account for these phenomena?

It is noteworthy to cite a helpful principle here; namely, “There is no fret over terminology.”[6] There is a hierarchical, epistemological decoupling between the name (ism) and the named (musammā). The named is the essence and what ultimately matters, while the name may change depending on context and decision. The essence of a thing may be identified through its attributes and characteristic features. If a rigorous comparative analysis indicates that an unknown phenomenon matches a known one in its qualities, deducing that the two are equivalent would be a reasonable conclusion. That technological sci-fi terminology is used for one and traditional religious language has been adopted for the other should not be a deterrent in identifying them as one and the same thing, given a unified set of essential properties cited in both.


The Religious Link

Religion has a crucial role to play in understanding the UFO phenomenon. This is highlighted in the works of Religious Studies Professor D. W. Pasulkas on the topic. Both of her books American Cosmic[7] and Encounters[8], the latter being her more recent publication, have quickly become best sellers. A study of world religions reveals that almost every religion not only speaks of mysterious beings that descend from the heavens but speaks of their intent and purpose.

In the Islamic context, a notable and immediate correlation emerges through the concept of Jinn. Islamic theology incorporates belief in Jinn, entities of the ghayb mentioned in the Qur’an, possessing free will and existing alongside humans and angels. Examining the UFO phenomenon vis-à-vis Jinn offers a unique perspective, as many reported encounters share striking similarities with traditional descriptions of Jinn activity. The correlation between Jinn and UFO experiences brings a valuable perspective to the broader discourse on unidentified aerial phenomena. It also provides an avenue for Muslims to reconcile Islam with the mystery of the Phenomenon.

The UFO-Jinn Hypothesis

In this essay, the exploration of the Jinn hypothesis in relation to the UFO phenomenon will focus on four key areas of overlap that highlight intriguing connections between the two realms, suggesting that they are one and the same. Namely, these are:

  1. The characteristic descriptive features of both phenomena,
  2. Deception as a fundamental theme in each case,
  3. Abduction and the Jinn, and
  4. Possession parallels.

The first area of examination centres on the presentation and characterisation offered in reported UFO encounters, drawing parallels with traditional depictions of Jinn manifestations in Islamic sources. Secondly, the theme of deception, a recurring element in both UFO narratives and Jinn encounters, will be scrutinised to discern shared patterns and motifs. The third aspect involves the analysis of reported abductions, drawing comparisons between descriptions of extraterrestrial encounters and the historical narratives of Jinn involvement in human affairs. Lastly, the article will delve into the parallels between possession and attachment, exploring instances where reported UFO phenomena echo the concepts of spiritual influence attributed to the Jinn within the Islamic tradition. Through a focused exploration of these four key areas, the aim is to shed light on the compelling confluence between the Jinn and the UFO phenomenon, offering a unique perspective on this enigmatic subject.

Here, it is crucial to emphasise that our approach to understanding the UFO phenomenon is not enforced by theological motivations. The primary Islamic sources, the Qur’an and Sunnah, allow for an extraterrestrial interpretation of the phenomenon in question. Hence, there is no theological pressure to interpret the UFO phenomenon as necessarily equivalent or related to Jinn. Secondly this is not a ‘Jinn of the gaps’ hypothesis; we are engaging in a comparative study, analysing and correlating the data to reach a rational hypothesis.

The Jinn

A recently published article by academics from Harvard and Montana University, titled “The Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis: A Case for Scientific Openness to a Concealed Earthly Explanation for Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena”, makes a case for the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis (CTH). CTH suggests that the beings responsible for the UAP/UFO phenomenon are not from another planet, but are instead native to the Earth and have simply been hidden in some way[9]. Those familiar with Islamic teachings would immediately recognise that this trait of a non-restrictive earthly presence whilst being generally hidden from human perception is a typical quality of the Jinn. The Arabic word jinn[10] means to be hidden, veiled, or concealed.

Before delving into the comparison between the Jinn and the UFO phenomenon, it is essential to establish a basic understanding of the concept of Jinn as depicted in Islamic sources. In Islamic theology, the Jinn are entities of the ghayb created from a type of smokeless fire (Q 55:15). Unlike angels, Jinn possess free will, in that they are able to make moral choices, rendering them accountable for their actions. Islamic traditions, including the Hadith literature, expound upon the diverse nature and capabilities of Jinn, depicting them as beings capable of shape-shifting, invisibility, and traversing vast distances at extraordinary speeds. Their objectives can vary, with some Jinn choosing benevolence, others malevolence, and some remaining neutral. Notable references in the Qur’an to Jinn include Sūrah al-Ḥijr (Q 15:27) and, more comprehensively, Sūrah al-Jinn (Q 72:1-15). These passages provide insights into their origin, abilities, and role in the cosmic order. This foundational knowledge will serve as a crucial lens through which we explore the intriguing parallels between the Jinn and reported UFO phenomenon.


Within the realm of presentation, the UFO phenomenon reveals itself through a diverse array of forms, such as luminous orbs, unconventional aerial craft, sightings of peculiar creatures or cryptids, and the iconic Grey Beings[11] frequently linked to extraterrestrial encounters. A prominent illustration is the 2004 USS Nimitz encounter, where military personnel recorded and witnessed unidentified aerial objects exhibiting unprecedented manoeuvrability,[12] as well as the well-documented 1961 Betty and Barney Hill abduction, vividly describing their interaction with the classic Grey Beings.[13]

Similarly, the appearances of Jinn, as delineated in Islamic sources, remarkably parallel the manifestations reported in UFO encounters. Abū Thaʿlabah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “The Jinn have three forms: one form like dogs and snakes, one form flies through the air, and one form comes and goes.”[14] This particular narration from the Prophet outlines some of the different and possible manifestations of the Jinn. Many expressions of the UFO phenomenon described above are in perfect alignment with this narration. There are objects that are seen flying through the sky. There are encounters where these UFOs, or UAPs as they are now known, seem to suddenly appear and then disappear into thin air. There are encounters with strange beings, whether they appear in the form of the stereotypical Greys or other forms.

Delving deeper into the richness of Islamic teachings, Dr. ʿUmar al-Ashqar provides a comprehensive perspective on the diversity of Jinn manifestations. He states:

Sometimes the devils come to man not by way of waswasah (whispering insinuating thoughts); rather they appear to him in human form, or a person may hear a voice and not see a body. Or they may appear in strange forms, which come to people and tell them that they are from the Jinn. Sometimes they lie and say that they are angels, and sometimes they call themselves “men of the unseen”, or claim that they are from the spirit world. In all cases, they speak to some people directly, or by means of one person who is called a “medium”, whom they possess and they speak on his lips. Or the response may come in the form of writing, or it may go further than that and they may pick a person up and fly with him through the air, and transport him from one place to another. Or they may bring him things that he asks for.[15]

This passage not only outlines the potential of the Jinn to take on various forms, but also their deceptive nature, something we will touch upon in the next section.

The Jinn’s inherent ability to shapeshift and seamlessly assume different forms offers a conceptual framework that enables us to comprehend the diverse manifestations observed in the UFO phenomenon. This unique characteristic of the Jinn allows for an expansive scope, aligning with the various reported shapes and appearances attributed to unidentified aerial objects and beings. By acknowledging the shapeshifting nature of the Jinn, we gain a lens through which we can explore and potentially explain the multitude of forms and presentations witnessed in UFO encounters. A pertinent and valid question that arises here is: the ability of the Jinn to shapeshift may explain the various beings people have encountered, but how does this account for the physical crafts that are witnessed by so many people? There are two potential answers:

  1. There is nothing in the Qur’an or Sunnah that puts a restriction on the forms Jinn can take. Hence, it may be a possibility that they can take on the form of inanimate objects.
  2. The Qur’an states regarding the Jinn: “And the jinn––every kind of builder and diver” (Q 38:37). It also states: “They (the Jinn) would make for him (Prophet Solomon) whatever he wished of sanctuaries, statues, bowls like pools, and heavy cauldrons” (Q 34:13). Thus, they are explicitly referred to as builders. Accordingly, it is not a stretch to assume that they have built or developed their own technology.

Interestingly, in Islam, Arabs, and the Intelligent World of the Jinn, Amira El-Zein points out that the pre-Islamic Arabs knew the Jinn to be master craftsmen who manufactured legendary swords that outperformed swords crafted by humans[16]. Logically speaking, if the Jinn could outdo human technologies in the past, there’s no reason to assume they cannot do the same today. The swords of the past are simply being replaced with the military jets of today that are being outmanoeuvred and outdone by these UAPs.

Furthermore, Q 38:37 also outlines a connection with water, highlighting that some amongst the Jinn are divers. Another reference to this is found in Q 21:82: “Among the devils were those who would dive for him (Prophet Solomon) and do other works than that.” This connection is further developed in an authentic narration found in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, where it is mentioned that Satan (who is a Jinn) places his throne upon water whence he sends out his troops to create dissension[17]. This link to water is of interest because many UFO sightings have been observed around and under water. They are referred to by some as USO’s (unidentified submerged objects). In a recent interview, Admiral Tim Gallaudet acknowledged that UAPs had been observed under water; not only this, but that on numerous occasions they had been seen entering and exiting the sea[18].


The deceptive nature typical of the UFO phenomenon closely aligns with the characteristics attributed to the Jinn in the Islamic tradition. Pioneering ufologists like Dr. Jacques Vallée[19], in works such as Passport to Magonia[20] and Dimensions[21], and John Keel[22], known for The Mothman Prophecies[23], extensively delve into the deceptive aspect of UFO encounters. Vallée emphasises that the UFO sightings often display tactics of misdirection and illusion, manipulating the perceptions and beliefs of witnesses. This mirrors the deceptive nature of the Jinn as described in Islamic sources.

In his research, Vallée highlights instances of apparent UFO sightings that later reveal themselves to be hoaxes or misidentifications, indicating a deliberate effort to deceive. Additionally, John Keel, in his exploration of anomalous phenomena, documented cases where witnesses reported encounters with seemingly extraterrestrial beings, only for subsequent events to unfold in ways that contradicted initial perceptions.


The deceptive nature of some Jinn is explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an. For example, Q 7:27 states:


O children of Adam! Do not let the devil deceive you as he tempted your parents out of Paradise and caused their cover to be removed in order to expose their nakedness. Surely he and his soldiers watch you from where you cannot see them. We have made the devils allies of those who disbelieve.

Q 4:120 states:

The devil only makes them false promises and deludes them with empty hopes. Truly the devil promises them nothing but delusion.

These, and other similar verses, reiterate the deceptive tactics of the Jinn, particularly in luring and misleading humans. Similarly, the UFO phenomenon often involves instances of misinformation, unexplained disappearances, and altered perceptions, echoing this same concept.

Vallée’s research further underlines the parallels between UFO encounters and this deceptive nature of the Jinn. Both phenomena involve encounters with elusive entities that challenge conventional understanding, and the deceptive tactics employed suggest a shared intrigue in manipulating human perception and belief systems. In his book The Messengers of Deception[24], Vallée states:

The absurdity of many UFO stories and of many religious visions is not a superficial logical mistake. It may be the key to their function. According to Major Murphy, the confusion in the UFO mystery may have been put there deliberately to achieve certain results. One of these results has been to keep scientists away. The other is to create the conditions for a new form of social control, a change in Man’s perception of his place in the universe.[25]

Islam teaches that evil Jinn, just like whatever entities are behind UFO encounters, also attempt to distort our perception of reality. Evil Jinn (devils) desire to turn us away from fulfilling the ultimate purpose of our lives which is to worship God. By examining the intersectionality of Vallée’s insights with the qur’anic portrayal of Jinn deception, a compelling narrative emerges, inviting a deeper exploration into the interconnected realms of UFO encounters and the beings from the ghayb described in Islamic teachings.



The abduction phenomenon, commonly associated with extraterrestrial encounters in the context of UFO narratives, points towards fascinating parallels found in Islamic sources where similar experiences are ascribed to the Jinn. The abduction experience is subjective and can vary in its specifics from person to person. However, the unifying theme is that, generally, the abductee is paralysed and taken aboard a craft by non-human beings who then proceed to conduct a variety of terrifying exams on them against their will, and eventually return them back to where they were abducted.

Professor of psychiatry John E. Mack, in his book Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens[26], challenges the lazy handwaving that attributes such encounters to mass psychosis or hysteria, emphasising the individualised nature of abductee experiences[27]. Based on his research, he suggests that there’s more to the abduction phenomenon, and that these are actual events being experienced by people.

This perspective aligns with narratives from Islamic sources where individuals report being abducted by Jinn. In one such account documented by Bayhaqī[28] (d. 458/1066), a man recounts his disturbing experience of being forcibly abducted by Jinn during the caliphate of ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭtāb, Allah be pleased with him. The account states:

A man from his people, from the Anṣār, went out one night to pray ʿIshāʾ with his people, but some Jinn abducted him, and he went missing. His wife went to ʿUmar and told him [of her missing husband]. ʿUmar asked his people about him, and they confirmed that he had gone out to pray ʿIshāʾ but had gone missing. ʿUmar told the woman to wait for four years.

When four years had passed, the woman went back to ʿUmar and informed him [of her case]. He asked her people and they confirmed the case. He told her she could now marry, and she did. But her [first] husband returned and raised a dispute [over the marriage] to ʿUmar, Allah be pleased with him. ʿUmar said, “One of you disappears for ages, his family does not know whether he is alive or not [and then he turns up, making claims]!” The man replied, “O Leader of the Believers, I have an excuse.” He asked, “And what is your excuse?” The man replied, “I went out to pray ʿIshāʾ one night, but some Jinn captured me, and I [was held captive] by them for a long time. Then, some muʾmin – or muslim (one of the reporters, Saʿīd, was not sure of the exact word used) Jinn waged an attack on them, fought them and beat them, and took captives. They took me amongst the captives, but said, ‘We see that you are a Muslim man, and it is not allowed for us to keep you captive.’ So they gave me the choice of staying with them or returning to my family. I chose to return to my family. They set off with me. By night, no one would say anything to me; but by day there would be a stick I would follow.”

ʿUmar, Allah be pleased with him, asked the man, “What was your food when you were amongst them?” He replied, “Difficult [stolen?] food, and what did not have the name of Allah mentioned over it.” ʿUmar asked, “And what did you drink when you were amongst them?” He replied, “jadaf (a type of drink that does not ferment).”

ʿUmar ruled that the man had a choice to either get back the ṣadāq (dowry) he had given [and have his marriage remain nullified], or take back his wife.[29]

Furthermore, we find similar accounts mentioned by Ibn Taymiyyah[30] (d 728/1328) in his Essay on the Jinn[31]. Where it is mentioned the people are taken from their homes and then returned, in some cases they are taken through closed doors[32]. These accounts serve as a remarkable intersection, shedding light on the shared theme of abduction experiences in both UFO encounters and Jinn encounters within the Islamic tradition.

Possession and The Hitchhiker Effect

The aspects of possession, attachment, and what is colloquially referred to as the ‘hitchhiker effect’ within the UFO phenomenon draws curious and rather compelling parallels with similar themes found in Jinn encounters. In UFO literature, the hitchhiker effect refers to the notion that individuals who have had UFO experiences may continue to attract or be influenced by the Phenomenon over time. Professor D. W. Pasulka interestingly states the following in her book American Cosmic:

Witnesses and researchers often report the strange feeling that once you become aware that there is a phenomenon, it becomes aware of you. They report that the first sighting is just that—a first—and then others follow. The uncanny feeling that the objects are aware, or watching those who are watching them, is common.[33]

In his The Mothman Prophecies, Keel documented instances where individuals reporting UFO encounters found themselves persistently entwined with the phenomenon, experiencing ongoing sightings or paranormal occurrences. Researchers have also outlined that these ongoing experiences, whether in the form of consecutive abductions or visions, are in most cases negative, and have a devastating impact on the contactees and their families.

Similarly, in the realm of Jinn encounters, Islamic traditions speak of possession and attachment. There are accounts where individuals claim to have been possessed or influenced by Jinn, experiencing profound changes in behaviour and well-being. The Qur’an alludes to the idea of Jinn having an impact on the human condition. Q 2:275 states: “Those who consume usury do not stand except like those driven to madness by the devil’s touch.” The verse highlights that the evil Jinn can drive a human to insanity. On the authority of Anas ibn Mālik, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “The devil may flow within the son of Adam as the blood flows in his veins.”[34] Hence, Muslims are encouraged to seek refuge with God against them and to avoid any contact with them.

The convergence of these experiences suggests a shared aspect between the two phenomena. In UFO encounters, abductees and witnesses may report a lingering connection to the phenomenon, akin to the attachments described in Jinn encounters. The narratives from both realms highlight the potential long-term negative psycho-spiritual impact on individuals.



In this essay, we have merely touched the surface of this enigmatic yet titillating topic. Notwithstanding this, the similarities between the UFO phenomenon and the Jinn are striking. The proverb-cum-cliché goes, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” The shared characteristics between UFO encounters and Jinn experiences suggest that the enigmatic entities behind these phenomena might indeed be the Jinn. This provides a seamless interpretive framework for Muslims to reconcile the Phenomenon with their tradition. Furthermore, it is an invitation for non-Muslims interested in the topic to dive deeper into the Islam tradition. Its rich, uncompromising theo-philosophical foundations are, perhaps counterintuitively, able to provide amenable, flexible, and robust conceptual paradigms necessary for a protean world.

Assuming the proffered hypothesis is correct—that the Jinn are indeed behind the UFO phenomenon—leads to an interesting question. Why would the Jinn choose to manifest as technologically advanced aliens in contemporary UFO encounters? One speculation could be rooted in the prevailing materialistic zeitgeist, where the guise of technologically advanced beings unsuspectingly aligns with a secular materialist worldview. This adaptation endows the Jinn with a more palatable rendition in a context that predominantly values technological prowess and scientific explanations. In the broader context, the Islamic narrative of the evil Jinn misleading humans from their purpose of worshipping God remains pertinent. By appearing as advanced beings, the malevolent Jinn could certainly seek submission and adoration from human subjects, diverting them from worshipping the Divine, as they have done throughout history.

In essence, the parallels between the Jinn and UFO encounters offer a unique lens through which to examine the complexities of this Phenomenon. Whether viewed through the prism of Islamic teachings or contemporary UFO literature, this comparative exploration invites further reflection on the interplay between religious beliefs, evolving worldviews, and the enigmatic entities that traverse the boundaries of our perception.


[1] Find the New York Times article here:

[2] Karl Nell, SALT conference, find at 3:15. Video link:

[3] Garry Nolan, 7News, find at 1:45. New York Times article link:

[4] Chomsky, N. (2014) Science, Mind, and Limits of Understanding. Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2024). For a more brief articulation of the epistemological and historical phenomenon by the article’s author, see the link below:

[5] Theologically, there is relative ghayb and absolute ghayb. The former category is that which is not known to man, but ignorance thereof may be alleviated via some change, including God bestowing this knowledge upon whom He will (see Q 72:26 quoted shortly). For example, and relevant to this discussion, extraterrestrial life, if it exists, is from the ghayb, but future human generations may discover and interact with alien life forms. It is ghyab for us, but would be shahādah for them. Absolute ghayb is knowledge that is exclusively God’s. The best example of this is the Hour and when it will be established. Q 7:187 states: “They ask you about the Hour, ‘When will it take place?’ Say, ‘Knowledge of it rests with my Lord; none can reveal its coming except He.’”

[6] The original Arabic wisdom reads: lā mushāḥḥah fī al-iṣṭilāḥ.

[7] Originally published in 2019. The full title is American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology.

[8] Originally published in 2023. The full title is Encounters: Experience with Nonhuman Intelligence.

[9] Lomas, T., Case, B. and Masters, M.P. (2024) The cryptoterrestrial hypothesis: A case for scientific openness to a concealed earthly explanation for unidentified anomalous phenomena, ResearchGate. Available at: June 2024).

[10] Etymology: the root is j-n-n; having connotations of being hidden, dark, or covered. See also: jinān—the innermost of a thing, its heart. The root may also refer to the most intense or remarkable version of an entity. The jinn of a plant are its flowers, and the jinn of youth is its energy and vitality (see: links to jannah, a luscious garden, paradise). This is also where references to junūn—madness—arise. A majnūn is someone who has lost his mind, gone crazy. The linguistic development may be of one whose mind has disappeared (hidden, covered), and is therefore insane; or one who is erratic in speech and action (intense, severe), and so characterised by madness. It is also perfectly possible, and potentially more plausible, that the link is demonic possession—someone who’s mad is someone who acts as if possessed by demons. See Arabic Student Dictionary link below for common derivatives of this trilateral root and their denotations:

[11] A recuring description of the purported humanoids in abduction accounts is that of humanoids with slender bodies, relatively large hairless heads, large eyes, and smooth, grey skin. The term has been popularised via such commonalities, and is often used interchangeably with: the Greys, the Roswell Greys, Grey Aliens, and Zeta Reticulans (Zeta Reticuli is a binary star system, Reticulans or Zetans are presumably its inhabitants in pop-culture ufology and folklore).

[12] Official US-government declassified footage of a 2004 UFO encounter, taken aboard a Navy fighter jet from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz off the coast of San Diego. Three-part video footage:

Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Part 3 –

A brief commentary on the incident from the TV programme Contact, interviewing a retired Commander aboard the carrier at the time:

[13] Civil rights activists and couple Barney and Betty Hill were Americans who claimed to be abducted by extraterrestrials in a rural area of New Hampshire on September 19, 1961. The details of their encounter are widely available online, and have been offered a great deal of attention and critique in terms of their veracity and implications.

[14] Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān, Hadith no. 6156.

[15] Dr. ‘Umar al-Ashqar, ʿĀlam al-Jinn wa al-Shayāṭīn, p. 115.

[16] Amira El-Zein, Islam, Arabs, and the Intelligent World of the Jinn, p. 27.

[17] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Hadith no. 2813.

[18] See, for example, interview with Admiral Tim Gallaudet discussing the subaquatic nature of UAP (41:50 for the mention of one such anecdote):

[19] While best known for his academic UFO research and popular books on the subject, Vallée is an astronomer and computer scientist by profession. He was involved in developing the first comupterised map of Mars for NASA in 1963. In his later works and publications, he explored the link between the Phenomenon and religious notions such as angels and demons.

[20] Originally published in 1969. The full title is Passport to Magonia: Folklore to Flying Saucers.

[21] Originally published in 1988. The full title is Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact.

[22] American journalist influential for his paranormal research and investigations.

[23] Originally published in 1975. The full title is The Mothman Prophecies: The Story of The Alien Who Terrorized an American City.

[24] Originally published in 1979. The full title is Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults.

[25] Jacques F. Vallée, Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults, p. 20.

[26] Originally published in 1994.

[27] John E. Mac, Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens, p. 24.

[28] Abū Bakr Aḥmad al-Bayhaqī, known primarily via his toponymic al-Bayhaqī, is a Sunni Hadith master, theologian, and Shāfiʿite jurisprudent.

[29] Bayhaqī, al-Sunan al-Kubrā 7:445, 446. Albānī graded the narration ṣaḥīḥ (authentic) in Irwāʾ al-Ghalīl 4:151.

[30] Taqiyy al-Dīn Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad Ibn Taymiyyah; theologian, Hadith master, Ḥanbalite jurisprudent, and prolific author on a wide range of Islamic subjects.

[31] The treatise is in fact called Īḍāḥ al-Dalālah fī ʿUmūm al-Risālah wa al-Taʿrīf bi-Aḥwāl al-Jinn (Clarifying the Evidentiary Basis for the Generality of the Message and an Exposition into the Jinn). The original text also included a commentary on a famous tradition: “Islam began strange, and it will return strange as it began; so glad tiding to the strangers.” Notwithstanding this, the treatise later became simply known by the abbreviated title al-Jinn—The Jinn—due to that being the overwhelmingly preponderant subject matter discussed therein (Kitāb al-Jinn, and Risālah fī al-Jinn are also used). The translation, Essay on the Jinn, is by Dr. Bilal Philips, first published in 1989 through his own personal efforts, and later renditions by the International Islamic Publishing House.

[32] Ibn Taymiyyah, Essay on the Jinn, p 64.

[33] Diana Walsh Pasulka, American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology, p. 47.

[34] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Hadith no. 2174.