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. 

Jonathan Swift 
A Voyage to Laputa 
Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World 

"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 incredible rapidity. 

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 
The White Sands Incident

. . . 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 . . . 

George Adamski
Inside the Space Ships 



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.

"Writers of romance and fantasy were not deterred by scientific conclusions in regard to the moon's 'atmosphere'. The 'voyage to the moon', as a literary type, continued unabated, and formed an important chapter in the literature of 'imaginary' or 'philosophic' voyages. From Kepler and Francis Godwin to Swift's contemporary, Daniel Defoe, writers of such voyages introduce details which become part of a conventional pattern. In addition to long passages describing the means of flight, each of the characteristic voyages includes certain details which Swift clearly had in mind: the voyagers, when they have passed beyond the orbis virtutis or the 'sphere of gravity', comment with surprise upon the fact that they feel no motion and that they yet move with rapidity; there comes a moment when the traveler, realizing that he is approaching the moon, finds himself amazed by its apparent increase in size, expresses interest in finding it a opaque body, which reflects but does not emit light, and come to realize, as he approaches more closely, that this is an inhabited world. There follows, as a rule, a passage in which the traveler comments upon the peculiarities of the lunarians, and they in turn express their surprise at the peculiarities of this visitor from another world.


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:

"Whenever our vehicles have been observed by any of your people, and when the velocities and accelerations of these craft are described, disbelief is always apparent. We have heard some of your most learned men make the statement that: 'No human being or other higher form of life, as we know it, could survive acceleration of this order.' This has always been a matter of disappointment to us in our evaluation of the intelligence of the people of Earth. It seems to us that even a moderately intelligent layman with the average knowledge which your people possess should be able to refute this statement at once. The answer is, of course, simply that the force which accelerates the vehicle, acts also upon every atom of mass which is within it, including the pilots and passengers. 

"In your airplanes the situation is quite different. You have propellers or jets, which produce a thrust upon one part of the ship. This local thrust accelerates the ship, but not the pilot. The pilot is accelerated only by thrust against those parts of his body which are in contact with the seat. Because of the inertia of the remainder of the body, compression is produced which causes the feeling of acceleration, or in extreme cases, blackout or actual crushing of the body. Our only limit of acceleration is the limit of available force." 


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 clear-headed thought?

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.