His Majesty had given orders that the island should move... I was not in the least sensible of the progressive motion made in the air by the island.
"You won't feel any ill effects from the acceleration. In fact, you won't feel the acceleration at all."
Instinctively, I braced himself in the seat and gripped the sides with
my hands. A moment later, the ground suddenly fell away from the ship with
I say the ground "fell away" because I did not feel the slightest sense
of motion myself, and the ship was steady as a rock. In spite of the fact
that we must have been accelerating at the rate of at least ten g's, I
felt no strain on my body and it seemed we were standing still.
Daniel Fry in
. . . I was quite unaware we had taken off, although I did suddenly register a slight feeling of movement. But there was no sensation of enormous acceleration, nor of changes in pressure and altitude as would be the case in one of our planes going at half the speed. Nor had we experienced any jerk as we broke contact with the ground. I had an impression of tremendous solidity and smoothness . . .
As one reads through Swift's story one is carried away by his caricatures
of satire. His remarks are so well buried in the context of his writing
one cannot recognize their significance without reference from some other
knowledge. Even then one will pass over his meaning unless the eye is searching
minutely for his allusions.
Swift's remark about the motion of the Island falls in the middle of
a paragraph of what appears to be straight satire. But he opens the paragraph
with "During my Confinement for want of Cloths, and by an Indisposition
that held me Days longer." (I include his capitalization.)
When I did my original work on Swift I saw no significance to this remark.
It was merely part of the satire of the passage.
And then, as I was preparing to edit and rewrite my assessment here
in April of 1998, I suddenly saw another connection.
Nakedness under clinical examination is an outstanding component of
those reporting abduction by our celestial visitors. Many of those persons
feel insulted by the crass treatment of their bodies and seeming lack of
respect for them as individuals. They are preempted of personal decision.
But here is Swift reporting the same experience. The reason I did not attach
importance to this remark is simple: I had no context of reference. The
Abduction Phenomena did not take prominence until 1980. Only then did we
come to conscious awareness of the clinical operations being performed
on human bodies, and their interest in human genetics. Betty Andreasson
reported her instruction to remove all her clothes. (The Andreasson
Affair, Prentice Hall, Raymond Fowler, 1979.) Budd Hopkins offered
the same information in Missing Time, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981.
David Jacobs again confirmed this component of the abductions, Secret
Life, Simon & Schuster, 1992.
Now I knew what Swift meant.
He does not say what his indisposition may have been, but we can discern
something of the indisposition of all the abductees.
During this period he enlarged his vocabulary such that when he next
went to court he understood many things the King spoke, and was able to
return some kind of answer. Then his Majesty gave orders to move the island,
which proceeded north-east by east to a point directly over Lagado, the
capital of Balnibarbi. The distance traveled was ninety leagues and took
four and one-half days. Gulliver was not least sensible of the progressive
motion made in the air by the island.
Nicolson and Mohler, in their paper on Swift's Flying Island, remark on the similarity between Gulliver's lack of discomfort in his aerial passage and that of contemporary fictions on voyages to the moon. Of course, those two University Professors were limited in their understanding, as are the rest of us. If we need a context to understand Swift, so also did they. If we do not recognize the significance of his remarks, neither could they. Hence they go off in wild speculations.
Nicolson and Mohler do not cite their evidence; we must rely on their
scholarship for the points they list. They draw fanciful parallels, as
would any of us without recognition of Swift's design.
1) Long passages in other fictions or satires describe the means of
flight; for Gulliver this is four and one-half days, by means of a loadstone.
2) The moon is an opaque body; Swift's flying island is opaque.
3) The moon reflects but does not emit light; Swift's flying island
was bright from the reflection of the sea below.
4) Voyagers are amazed at the apparent increase in size of the moon;
Gulliver was amazed at the large size of the flying island.
5) Voyagers to the moon are amazed that it is inhabited; Gulliver was
amazed to see the flying island inhabited by men.
6) Voyagers to the moon comment on the peculiarities of the Lunarians; Gulliver comments on the peculiarities of the occupants of the flying island.
7) Inhabitants of the moon, in turn, express their surprise at the peculiarities
of the visitors from another world; the occupants of the flying island
express their surprise at Gulliver.
Nicolson and Mohler then acknowledge the differences between Swift's
story and the contemporary fictions. As they said, Mahomet does not go
to the mountain; the mountain descends to Mahomet. Gulliver does not fly
up to the island; he is lifted up to this new world. They speculate whether
Swift originally intended a satire on the many lunar expeditions of the
day, but they can only surmise.
Swift might easily have drawn on contemporary literature to provide
a context for his story. But he was not an unimaginative individual; we
would not expect him to borrow a large array of items from the imagination
of others merely to flesh out his fiction. On the other hand details of
moon voyages may have been attractive to Swift if he wished to protect
himself against premature exposure. If voyagers to the moon see an opaque
body, Gulliver sees the flying island as an opaque body. The voyagers to
the moon are impressed with its reflective characteristics; Gulliver is
impressed by the reflection of the sea below. As I have noted, the brightness
of the object was not due entirely to reflection. Contrary to Nicolson
and Mohler; it was emitting light as a natural result of its peculiar operation.
I shall continue to draw out Swift's account against the satirical and
literary parallels, while at the same time demonstrating how those same
items compare with modern reports.
In this case we have three reporters, Swift, Adamski and Fry, who provide
similar descriptions. By some mechanism not explained, all parts of the
craft, and all contents including the occupants, are accelerated in a manner
that causes no sensation of motion.
As explained to Daniel Fry:
The remarks are caustic - and correct. Why are we not able to reason
these matters for ourselves? Why are we burdened by habits which inhibit
The forces of motion in these craft act at the atomic level. Every atom
has the same force imposed upon it. Therefore, all atoms within a structure
experience the same acceleration. If the force acts on the atoms making
up the nerve cells of the brain the brain will not feel a difference from
one side to the other. If the force acts on the atoms in the blood, the
bones, the muscles, and the organs of a body there can be no difference
in pressure from one part of the body to another. Since all parts, at the
atomic level, experience the same force there is no effect due to differentials
from accelerating thrust. Thus, even if the force is exceedingly great,
the body would not sense the result of the force. It could accelerate at
tremendous rates without physical harm.
The statements to Fry are scientifically correct. We could verify them
if we possessed proper mechanics. But our science has not yet discovered
how to accelerate substances at the atomic level. Our technology can accelerate
large masses only at the macroscopic level. (Free-fall due to gravity demonstrates
the principle. There is no sensation of acceleration; only weightlessness.)
Furthermore, we depend upon localized power sources to produce motion.
These may be steam engines, internal combustion engines, nuclear engines,
rotating propellers, rocket thrusters, and so on. They act by mechanical
motion - by a wheel pushing against a hard surface, a propeller pulling
air, or by molecular particles exploding and pushing out of the rear of
a rocket to produce thrust. All of these mechanisms create forces to produce
acceleration, but with differential stresses throughout the mechanism,
including human masses that may be within the mechanism.
Adamski's report closely parallels Fry's. Adamski had an impression
of tremendous solidity and smoothness; Fry said the ship was as steady
as a rock; he felt no sense of motion. Swift also was not in the least
sensible of the progressive motion.
The passage from Fry introduces him as another contactee. Although Fry does not rank in importance with Swift and Adamski, his report helps elucidate this fascinating subject.