Defining Folklore

By: Reagan Myriam Lee

UFO Folklore is thankful to Reagan Myriam Lee and the article written just for UFO Folklore !

There is a common misconception among many people that the term "folklore" implies "something that is not true." Nothing can be further from the truth. Folklore means the "lore" (stories) of the "folk," whatever that lore might be, true or not.

Folklorists today are concerned with all kinds of academic theories and jargon about structure, patterns, binary oppisitions (folklore as both traditional *and* dynamic), etc. - stuff that would probably bore most of you reading this. But the main point is this: when a folklorist talks about "folklore," he or she is not implying that the stories are untrue, or that the people telling them are liars. We are concerned with the story and its traditions, the occasions the stories are told, who tells the stories, and why, and much more. An exmaple would be the comparing of older fairy lore with current UFO stories. For some, the fact that a comparison can be made is "proof" that the current UFO stories are "lies." A folklorist merely points out the interesting pattern, but acknowledges it is not "proof" of anything.

When discussing the folklore of UFOs, folklorists talk about the similarites, as well as the differences, in the types of UFO stories that are told all over the world. We are interested in many aspects of UFO lore (those of us that stick our necks our and deal with the topic at all, that is.)

Conspiracy theories, animal behavoir and imagery, abduction tales, the role of popular culture, telepathic communications, and more, are all part of the lore that is examined by folklorists. It may be true, it may not be true. It is not the role or objective of a folklorist to make an absolute statement one way or the other.

For myself, I am concerned with the *process* of UFO stories. How do they change, how are they the same? What are the "extensions" of UFO tales? (conspiracy tales, anceint astronaut theories, etc.) What can we learn about each other, ourselves, and the world -both seen, and unseen?

In exploring the UFO stories in all the complex and varied lore that exists, much can be learned, on several levels, about the human psyche. That's only part of the exploration. We can also come closer to the "truth," whatever that might be.

The folklore of the people is where we will find it.