Oz Factor

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Oz Factor

The Oz Factor, a term coined by ufologists and author Jenny Randles (b. 1951), refers to the experience of being isolated or transported by the real world of everyday life into another environment which is quite similar to the real world but changed enough to be noticeable and disturbing. Such reports have been common in both UFO and paranormal accounts, but had been pushed aside (their evidential value being somewhat limited) until Randles called attention to such experiences as a common element in some types of UFO encounters.

Folklorist Peter M. Rojcewicz recounted such an experience in 1980 while working on his Ph.D. dissertation, which happened to be on UFOs. While working in the library, he had a strange encounter with a man who approached the table at which he worked and engaged him in conversation. As they talked on the subject of his dissertation, the man suddenly shouted accusingly, "Flying saucers are the most important fact of the century, and you are not interested?" Shortly thereafter he left. Rojcewicz was relieved at his departure, thinking the man disturbed. However, as he tried to return to his work, he had a feeling that all was not right. Unable to stay seated, he wandered around the library. He noticed that no librarians were staffing the desks and that no patrons seemed to be in the library. In a mild panic, he returned to his working space and tried to settle his mind. An hour later when he finally left the library, all seemed to have returned to normal.

Such experiences often appear as an aspect of a longer story of paranormal encounters, doing more to describe the atmosphere surrounding more spectacular or definitive experiences. Also, such stories appear closely related to phenomena like déjà vu, which make an impact upon the person experiencing them, but only minimally impress one to whom the story is told. Stories abound of people who have felt a presence, sensed some guidance or seen something that led them to sense that they had been unwittingly pulled away from the normal sequence of experiences. It is almost impossible to further investigate the anecdotal accounts, however reality-shattering they might be to the person experiencing them.


Randles, Jenny. "In Search of the Oz Factor." BUFORA Bulletin 26 (July 1987): 17-18.

Rojcewicz, Peter M. The Boundaries of Orthodoxy: A Folkloric Look at the UFO Phenomenon. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University, Ph.D. diss., 1984.