Some modern physics research includes examination of interesting ideas such as unseen dimensions within our universe separated by subtle and discreet boundaries sometimes referred to as "branes."
The term "multiverse," a universe with many dimensions, has even been used to describe these kinds of ideas.
In some ways, this view of the universe is similar to the longstanding beliefs in many human cultures that there are unique veils that separate our normal world and other realities, dimensions and beings in nature.
Accounts of seeing things and beings suddenly appear out of thin air are not new. There have been many reports of such phenomena. These incidents sometimes may be described as the appearance of angels or supernatural beings.
Other beings who appear from nowhere are sometimes said to be loved ones who have passed on.
In the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams" starring Kevin Costner, an entire baseball team emerges through the brane of a field of Iowa corn that separates our world from the afterlife or some other dimension.
There are also old tales of elves, fairies, pixies, leprechauns, trolls and other kinds of "little people" who may be friendly, kind, somewhat hostile, mischievous, secretive or some combination of these.
Some witnesses report seeing saucer-shaped or other types of objects in the sky that seem to appear and disappear – UFOs.
And, possibly related to this, some people report encountering beings who are often described as short in stature, who also seem to appear and disappear and are able to affect the minds of humans.
Could these accounts be examples of the movement of people and things between the dimensions in nature and a multiverse?
CHEROKEE LEGENDS OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE
The Cherokee, like other Native American tribes and indigenous people around the world, have many legends going back centuries about how the world was formed and how the world works.
These ancient Cherokee stories tell of the nature of the animals, plants, trees, mountains, streams and rivers of the land in the Smokey Mountains and the Appalachian Mountain region.
Old Cherokee tales include accounts of "the little people," the "Yunwi Tsunsdi." These beings are sometimes described as being spirits, and other times as small human-like people, about two feet to four feet tall.
These little people may have different appearances and, according to legend, they may be of three or four different types.
Little people can be kind and helpful, especially to children, and can also play tricks on people. They can also be dangerous if a human intrudes on them, and they have the power to confuse the mind of a human.
The little people have the ability to remain unseen and invisible if they choose and generally avoid being detected by humans. But, at times, they will reveal themselves.
They live close to nature, in the forests and mountains. They have a spiritual aspect to them and they try to teach humans about kindness, joy and respect. The little people like to dance to rhythmic drumming and music.
The 1998 story book "Cherokee Little People: The Secrets and Mysteries of the Yunwi Tsunsdi," authors Lynn King Lossiah and Ernie Lossiah share old Cherokee tales in which the little people play a part.
As we try to understand our world, nature and the universe, we collectively use a wide range of investigative methods: Science, observation of and interaction with nature, direct experiences of many kinds, spiritual teachings, history, human legends, art, music and other paths.
How does the Cherokee legend of the little people fit in to our research, and what can it teach us?
THE DISC IN THE MEADOW
There is a story that I included in my first novel "Mission Into Light." In the sequel, "Light's Hand," I provide deeper details about the incident. I will share the basics of it here.
Long ago, deep in the forests of the Smokey Mountains of eastern North America, seven young women and men were hunting for game. They were young hunter-warriors, still in their teens.
They ranged out miles away from their village and had been walking for several hours in search of deer, or any food for their families. They sometimes stop to gather edible and medicinal plants.
As they search for sign of game, they come to a small mountain meadow. In the center of the meadow is a large, silver-colored disc. The object is perhaps the size of ten Cherokee homes.
The seven young hunters hide in the forest near the meadow and stare with awe at the strange object. They all look at each other, speak in low whispers, and agree they should report their find to tribal leaders and senior warriors immediately.
They carefully retreat from the area near the strange disc and run back to their villages where they tell leaders about the object. They also spread the word among various families, being careful not to frighten the children.
The next morning, they guide nearly 50 tribal leaders and warriors toward the site. They act as the scouts and hike for miles with the others. The group walks quietly and with stealth. Suddenly, a hand signal is flashed to the main party from a forward scout. They had reached the edge of the meadow.
The group moves slowly, carefully, silently toward the edge of the clearing. Then they see it. About 75 yards away is a large silver-colored disc, just as the young warriors had described it.
Many of the Cherokee lay on their stomachs behind trees and foliage. Some warriors have weapons ready in the event of danger. The leaders whisper among themselves. What should they do? Is this thing a danger to the people or is it some kind of good medicine?
Suddenly, just to the side of the disc, they see four small figures emerge from the tree line bordering the meadow. The beings look like people, but they are small, with slender bodies and large heads, similar to a child's.
The Cherokee leaders continue to whisper. They decide that four of them will go forward and try to make contact with these strangers. A peace chief, a medicine woman and two of their bravest warriors are chosen.
Carefully, they stand and slowly emerge from the forest into the meadow. The four little people spot them and are obviously startled. One of the little people quickly seems to go inside the disc. The other three cautiously step toward the Cherokee.
The seven meet halfway between the disc and the forest's tree line where the rest of the Cherokee remain hidden. Face to face, the Cherokee peace chief raises his right hand in a peaceful sign of greeting. One of the little people does the same. Then they sit in the wild grass of the meadow and begin to make hand sign.
The peace chief tries to convey a welcome to them and asks why they have come to Cherokee land. The little person who seems to be a leader makes hand sign that they have come from a great distance, and he points to the sky.
They continue to talk, and eventually the peace chief, medicine woman and warriors are convinced that the little people are friendly. They motion for the rest of the Cherokee in the woods to come forward. The little leader also motions for the fourth little one to leave the silver disc and join them.
Slowly, the Cherokee in hiding join the others in the meadow. They stand and sit around the strange visitors. These little ones have an unusual appearance, not like the other tribes they have had contact with. These visitors' eyes are large and different, and they wear a type of clothing that is similar in color to the deerskin the Cherokee wore, but the material is clearly not the same.
The visit goes on for several hours and as the afternoon turns to evening, the Cherokee make a camp for the night in the meadow, near the forest's edge. The little ones go into the silver disc.
The next morning, most of the Cherokee start the journey back to their villages. After all, their families will be worried. Several choose to stay and visit with the little ones and learn more about them.
The little ones explain that they would like to stay in the Cherokee land for a time, to learn about the mountains, rivers, animals and plants. And this they do.
Throughout that summer many Cherokees hike out to visit the little people. They share much knowledge about life in the Cherokee mountains. The little ones also tell them about their land, far away in the night sky.
One day, the little visitors tell the Cherokee that they will be leaving to return to their home. They say the friendship shown to them by the Cherokee will be remembered and that they will try to help them when and how they can.
As that summer passed, then many other summers and seasons, then tens of years and hundreds of years, the story of the little visitors was told around campfires at night. The little children opened their eyes wide. They were told that the little people would try to watch over them, protecting them from harm. And the children looked up into the stars of night sky.
OUR REALITY NOW
It's a nice story. A happy ending and everything. Is it true or does it have some truth in it? Maybe.
Did the native people of North America and ancient people elsewhere have contact similar to this? Some stories, legends and other indications say yes.
There are also concerns that some visitors from other planets or from other dimensions may not be so friendly. Like the Cherokees' concern in the story above, visitors could be good medicine, or a danger.
And, of course, we humans are often a danger to ourselves, to other living things and to planet Earth. We kill each other, we kill children. We kill other animals for fun and sport. We create bigger and more dangerous weapons. We slowly destroy our land, rivers, oceans, forests and now the climate of the entire planet.
The progress we make through science and other means to understand our world and the universe around us is important. Understanding other dimensions, other planets, the existence of other civilizations, the membranes and veils separating our reality from other fields in a multiverse are all worthy endeavors.
One day we might uncover Einstein's "unified field" and the so-called "zero point." We might harness this knowledge to help the human race survive and move us forward.
The progress we make going within and understanding ourselves can also be very useful – even crucial. The physics and nature within all of us is important: Our brains, our neurological systems, our bodies, our DNA and genetic history, our hearts, our spirits, our souls. This inner knowledge may also be key.
Maybe one day we will learn enough about ourselves and our world that we will understand the nature of possible multiple dimensions. We might meet other beings who discreetly appear and disappear, and who have much to teach us.
We might live in peace and awe amidst a multiverse where many more beautiful secrets and discoveries await. The Great Spirit may smile upon us and bless us.
We might sit around a campfire and tell our children wonderful stories that make their eyes open wide, as they look up into the stars of the night sky.
NOTE TO READERS: Hammons is author of the novels Mission Into Light and the sequel, Light's Hand. Please visit his Joint Recon Study Group site at http://jointreconstudygroup.blogspot.com and Transcendent TV & Media site at http://tvtranscend.blogspot.com.