Telegram from a Cold War Kid: An Interview with William J. Grabowski

By LEE MUNRO, of Otherworld North East research society.

 

LEE MUNRO: Quick intro question Bill; which book title most aptly reflects your mood today?

GRABOWSKI: At this moment–12:38 a.m.–that would have to be Ted Holiday’s The Goblin Universe. Why? Because in proofing my forthcoming book, Black Light, I realized that no matter what I’ve set down there, my gut tells me nothing can be more haunted than human beings. Holiday decided not to publish his disturbing, well-reasoned study, but after Holiday’s death Colin Wilson (who I interviewed in 1986) got permission from Ted’s family to publish. This book explored so-called cryptids–i.e. Nessie and others–in a way completely shorn of personal belief, and ended badly for the author. Here was a guy making connections between slippery (no pun there) sightings and the far more troubling possibility that human consciousness might indeed have a hand in such matters. As you probably know, Ted died very close to where he had once had what can only be described as a “man-in-black” incident. He’d seen a guy wearing motorcycle leathers, silent and somehow menacing. A heart-attack ended him literally on the spot of that sighting. I hate such accounts, but they exist. Personally, I think he was so freaked-out by what he discovered it made him terrified of even discussing it. True to the end, however, he had the presence of mind to record the incident, very different from the usual MIB accounts.

MUNROAs a working writer I imagine you need to wear two hats; a business hat and a creative hat. I’m interested – how does one approach inform the other? Also when, say you ghost-write something, is your “creative ego” put out by not getting recognised for creating (if that makes sense!)?

GRABOWSKI: Glad you asked, Lee. It’s tough having a foot in both worlds. Having worked my share of suit-and-tie jobs in the 1990s, experiencing corporate America just on the cusp of the Internet, I saw brilliant engineers reduced to tears over some project manager’s hang-up with company promotion. Quote: “We can’t have this jerk-off geek pictured on our brochures.” Well, several of those geeks moved on to California and Silicon Valley–and taught me the fine art of balancing business practicalities with creative endeavours. Though it might be–in our present global culture of people too-busy-too-live, a cliche, my old pals showed me that no one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. I’ve never forgotten that. The lesson has guided me, in meeting with witnesses of the unknown, never to deny them the common reality of simple human emotion–of the hauntedness of being born into a world brimming with war and strife and mystery. We’re not as smart as we think. I delegate 30% of my work-day to submitting proposals to prospective clients in need of various writerly skills. You’re right to bring up the “creative ego” aspect of ghostwriting, as it often is painful to remain anonymous in the wake of sweating blood over six weeks’–or whatever–spent hammering out a thriller, or what have you, employing one’s best fictive “magic.” Simply put, ghostwriting gives me the financial freedom to pursue projects that would be impossible to write if I had to constantly stress out over paying bills. It can be exhausting, and I carefully structure a set amount of hours each day to such work. Newer writers need to be savvy as hell in learning the art of selling their wares. Social media makes this easier, but is more demanding than in the old days of typewriters and snail-mail. For some arcane reason, clients expect a 24/7 presence. I average about 10,000 words per week keeping up, leaving not much time for my own projects–and sleep!

MUNRO: If you were giving a class on writing, which books or articles would top your essential reading list?

GRABOWSKI: Right away, there is no better guide than William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style. A 92-page bible of what to do–and what to avoid. I’ve worn out over the deacades five copies of this little paperback. My favorite of their advice: “Omit needless words.” Hell yes, brother–I’m all for that! England’s own Lynn Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves has also proved an amazingly valuable–and funny–tool I constantly refer to.

MUNRO: Much of your fiction writing seems to have paranormal/Fortean/just plain weird overtones, or as Jim Morrison might have put it, something not quite at home. Are you drawn to these themes because as a writer they allow you to explore a particular essence of storytelling, or are you drawn because of your interest in these topics away from writing?

GRABOWSKI: Cool as all get-out you mention Jim Morrison–a big influence. Mostly on following your “personal” muse no matter where she takes you. What a gifted, tormented, sadly self-destructive soul he was…America’s Arthur Rimbaud. It’s easy to overlook how young he was–how brief his candle burned. That voice! Those lyrics stabbing your soul like a doomed prophet…. His “betters” treated him like shit, and long may they roast along with drug dealers who exploited his sensitivity and chronic fear of nothingness–of crying into a war-filled void vicious and hungry for his next screaming wake-up call, heedless of the cost. His presence haunts me, because he was the first–along with your country’s unmatched Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and a few others–to to embrace everything beautiful and mad and strange about simply being alive in a fragmented world. Man, that was a bit of a long response, eh? In my own fictive works, I wholly embrace the fabulously “weird” ideas of Charles Fort, John Keel, Jacques Vallee, and more obscure writers like Francois Rabelais, Djuna Barnes, Andre Breton (“father” of Surrealism), Celine, Yeats, and that teetotaler Dylan Thomas. Not only for visonary ideas, but for sheer compression of thought. Every writer ought to read poetry, because it teaches how to render both ferocious emotion and sensual delights–and torture. I often wonder what the old surrealists might make of our jittery, attention-challenged global culture, where a guy in Germany can instantly respond to my Twitter reckonings on how best to grow habanero chiles! I’m drawn to constant pursuit of life’s sheer strangeness–to Jean Cocteau’s wondering why we don’t simply dissolve in our bath-water. I guess I would call this an interest–nay, obsession–with why we’re here at all, and what it’s worth. I suppose this is why so much of my fiction explores “monsters” and what they teach us about the most furious, despairing and searching, aspects of our enigmatic lives.

MUNROI first became aware of your work after stumbling across your Night Run blog, which I guess chronicles some of your writing and thoughts during the process of composing your book BLACK LIGHT: Perspectives on Mysterious Phenomena, which will be published this year. Can you give a background to the book and what your aim was in writing it?

GRABOWSKI: Black Light is my summation–no sequels–of all things uncanny and/or troubling I’ve experienced that seem to have no logical explanation, so will not have much in common with straight-out books exploring UFOs and other so-called paranormal phenomena. Who wants that? Sure, there will always be an audience for the next Roswell (non)explanation–myself seated front-row. Otherworld’s interview with the amazingly prolific Nick Redfern showed me the folly of “closure” on all things paranormal, a term I have trouble with. Nick might (my opinion only) agree that what we call “paranormal” is simply what we label undiscovered science. Or maybe not. Science does not have all the answers, and is way too reckless in dismissing alternate opinions. Seriously, Lee. I might step outside right now (in West Virginia, 25 miles from where the so-called Sistersville airship sightings of 1897 were reported; and 75 miles from Woodrow Derenberger’s Indrid Cold meeting) and bear witness to…what? A meandering Keelian light? A winged monstrosity with terrible red-glowing eyes? Here’s the thing. Would I dare tell anyone–even you–if I did? I would instantly–perhaps foolishly–approach the “anomaly.” I’d worry about my mental health; my mis-perception of a barn owl–scary damned things, let me tell you. Above all, Black Light is a chronicle of a searcher, one wary of the paranormal, but haunted by early experience with the unknown. Chapter One does its best to play fair with the reader in recalling what might have been an authentic encounter with what Carl Jung termed a “psychically overwhelming Other.” Frankly, I don’t know what I saw, but know enough not to confuse ill-recalled dream imagery with some physical creature outside my 10-year-old’s experience. Memory is tricky, and I hadn’t given the incident a single second’s thought until first reading John Keel’s Mothman Prophecies, where he tells of witnesses in nearby northwest Pennsylvania encountering bizarre (yet organic-seeming) “birds” moving between rows of corn. These unknowns were described as being nearly eight-feet-tall, with straight pointed beaks. The “bird” I saw was nothing like that, a black-eyed “penguin” perhaps two-feet tall. It scared the hell out of me, and I took a few bee-stings standing watching it–my long-gone mother thought some pervert had gotten hold of me. The entire incident, I know, rings of boyish bullshit–but there you go. I was not aware that Ohio was undergoing a UFO “wave” in 1968, nor that a policeman that same year (Dale Spauer) had chased a saucer up to the border of Pennsylvania–and had his life ruined. Worse, he took refuge in the Solon Motel–my home town. I knew none of this until much later in life. I admit this might be a case of connecting unrelated events–but it remains to me suspicious. The incident sparked my becoming a writer, and my fascination with the unknown. I couldn’t have known that John Keel himself investigated the Spauer incident, which I read about much later in his ominous The Eighth Tower. It’s listed under Ravenna, Ohio–where Officer Spauer began his car-chase.

MUNRO: You’ve recently had a post published on the Magonia Blog regarding John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies, and how it affected and influenced you. More than that however, you’ve had feet on the ground of Point Pleasant, talking to people and scratching behind the myth. Maybe a big question, but peeking behind the curtain of common perception, what’s your take on the Mothman events and how the town and its people have been affected by it – either by the events in the story or the attention brought on by them?

GRABOWSKI: What a well-timed question, Lee! I have explored Point Pleasant and the TNT area at length. Boy have I! Everything short of raking the soil–like that would do any good. Up front, let me say I do know the difference between fascination and obsession–or do I? In my mind, all I’ve carried out in Point Pleasant is both. How could it be otherwise? I ask you, how can any seeker of the unknown not be taken with visiting a site so (in)famous? And less than four hours from home? Man, I could go on, but why? My take is only a bit different from much previously written about all things Mothman/UFOs/MIB and other deep weirdness. My forthcoming book, though, delves deeper into the matter. I hung out with older residents, asked some damned personal questions I’m lucky didn’t get my ass kicked, and recorded all I heard. I was astounded by the responses. You probably know of the annual Mothman Festival (created by the incredibly hard-working Jeff Wamsley), active since 2003 in Point Pleasant, WV. The biggest mistake made by cynical cable-TV documentaries (not all, but most) is in assuming the friendly residents are drunken rednecks–what a goddamned insult. Far from the reality of sharing meals with those who lost loved ones when the Silver Bridge fell on 15 December 1967–13 months to the day of the first major Mothman sighting. I choose not to delve into numerological synchronicity–what would that prove? I found locals divided: those who resent the festival, and those who embrace it. The very few folks I met who claimed to have witnessed UFOs are still shaken, but more so by the MIB “visits.” What you won’t read in any other book is that Point Pleasant grew used to the seemingly “scheduled” overflights of aerial machines bright with prismatic lighting–described to me as “diamond pure.” Keel himself had that experience, witnessing a green-lit saucer hovering over a lonely hill I have personally visited–for what that’s worth. Keel was no bullshitter–my opinion. He never once exploited any witness, and made less than $5,000 from publication of The Mothman Prophecies–until this was decades later remedied by the movie-makers. Despite what you might think you know about John Keel, he was frightened by what he found. A farmhouse puppy whose heart had been cut out in a perfect circle. Telephone messages warning against some horrible event–documented in Keel’s personal letters between himself and local newspaper reporter Mary Hyre–set to occur on the Ohio River. Whoever phoned in this prophecy either caused the bridge-fall, or knew who was going to engineer it. No matter–in my opinion–that the bridge was in poor repair. Someone knew, and they dicked around with Keel, who warned Mary Hyre not to speak of it. To me, this is far more disturbing than Mothman or UFOs, and speaks of industrial sabotage. Keel never wrote about the MIB visiting insurance offices, where blueprints for local energy concerns were located. Andy Colvin has written much about about this. It explains the absurd behavior (“What is your time?”) of so-called men-in-black, not to mention the well-dressed man Keel confronted in the TNT area at night, who was talking into a microphone and would only “grunt” at Keel’s questions. This is very telling about human manipulation of what might have begun with authentic sightings of a cryptid. I’ve knocked around desolate buildings (especially the Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys across from the TNT area)–since demolished, and can testify to the utter eeriness of the region. Subjective? Of course–what isn’t? And what do we make of the Point Pleasant branch of Defense Logistics Agency, recently shut down? Many red flags. Keel never went public with reports of gone-missing teens in Point Pleasant between 1966-1968. A taboo subject you’ll be hard-pressed to find, even though it’s been reported that reamins were found in shallow caves in the TNT area. This invests the whole Mothman mystery with more than is commonly acknowledged. Thanks for hearing me out, Lee!

MUNRO: We’ve talked previously about some aspects of reported anomalous phenomena and I know you at times have been drawn to, let’s call it a Jungian perspective. Can you say something about how some of Jung’s work might inform approaches to people’s experiences?

GRABOWSKI:I can. While no one can be sure of its importance, Jung did point out–after thousands of sessions–the apparent continuum between dream imagery and how that carries over into waking life. Ideas as dismaying as any paranormal theories–including UFOs and “entities” like Mothman. We should be happy that Jung wrote a book about UFOs, though took them as latent symbols. This to me is an idea almost too scary to bear–that we create our gods and monsters and UFOs. Frankly, I think he hit the proverbial nail’s head. Even a cursory review of Vallee’s Passport to Magonia tells us that UFOs and even ghostly phenomena manifest in accordance with the given country’s culture. Violent “monsters” in South America. Science Fiction absurdities in the USA (oddly aligned with UK sightings). Surreal beings whose clothing and vehicles, luminous blue and violet and green, speak absurd poetry in France, and ice-hacking dwarves in arctic regions, tell a very “anthropological” tale.

MUNRO: Are there other approaches, writers or thinkers whom you think might inform, or at least generate interesting thought experiments when it comes to anomalous experiences?

GRABOWSKI: After decades of thinking about these things, and changing my mind into the Magonian/Fortean psychosocial theory, I’m left alone in what feels like a very sophisticated joke, or test, inflicted upon random people. By “alone,” I mean unpopular. Sure, I’d love nothing more than for the 1950s helmet-headed ufonauts to be real–to care about us. To take us away from daily stress and our awful awareness of Death’s hound sniffing our souls. I’m neither arrogant or ironic saying this, Lee. Simply amazed and afraid that I’m alive at all and subject at any time to an apparent unknown among us. I find it easy to ignore the infantile believers in Grays, etc., but never enough to think they’re wrong and that I’m “right.” Who knows? Not me. I am convinced, though, that we share our world with another intelligence–even one we might create–that is as strange as “God,” and that’s enough to keep me looking. Even if there are no UFOs or ghosts or entities external to us, isn’t that absolutely mind-blowing that we think there are? That we don’t really know who we are? Sometimes I think we get the gods we deserve.

MUNRO: During your time of interest in anomalous subjects, how have you seen the subjects or approaches to them change? Do you see a regression as opposed to progression in thinking or perception?

GRABOWSKI: What a great question! Ever since my uncle Joe gave me Adamski’s Inside the Flying Saucers (poor bastard!), I’ve gone through believing in extraterrestrials visiting us in metal machines, “demonology,” collective human despair (not done with that), right up to what I suppose is called the psychosocial theory. I’m 95% convinced we are actively engaged in creating our evolution–like playful children in charge of watercolors. That remaining 5% is important. We don’t know everything. Probably never will. The whole “unknown” business might very well be in charge–for good or ill. I do–in America–see a regrettable lapse back into “alien abduction” and apocalyptic visions of powerlessness. Very scary stuff, with crossovers into political tyranny and nutty comfort cults. You can’t be involved with this and not feel a bit paranoid–god knows I have my share. And the increasing decay of individual liberties frightens me. We seem poised on living a world worse than that of the Terminator movies, because human-controlled.

MUNRO: We’re both dancers under the spell of the music that moves us. So, I want you to suggest some songs/artists; a soundtrack to a story you’ve written that stands out as a favourite, a soundtrack to accompany you while you sit in the dark in your favourite chair with the lights out holding a glass of your favourite tipple, and a soundtrack to walking around the abandoned TNT plant outside Point Pleasant at 3:33am.

GRABOWSKI: Now you’ve done it! Music is a huge presence–perhaps overly so–in my life. I’ve been a drummer in several Cleveland bands–years ago. My favorites are atmospheric stuff–Massive Attack, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Low (whose “Half Light” graces the movie soundtrack of my pal Mark Pellington’s The Mothman Prophecies), Opeth, and thanks to England, King Crimson, Genesis (pre-1980, with Peter Gabriel), REM, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, and a lot of Tom Waits. And let’s not forget Mozart and Wagner, those happy tricksters.

MUNRO: What do you have in the Grabowski pipeline? Any new fiction or non-fiction you’re working on?

GRABOWSKI: I’ve been writing a huge novel over the past 2 years, an attempt to convey the reactions of a small town to an enigmatic presence that seems like God. We’ll see…

MUNRO: Thanks for your time Bill. One more question. I know you’re a big fan of cooking. So you’ve invited OWNE around to dine. What the hell – Keel, Vallee and Jung are turning up too (hey, it’s my movie; I’ll script it how I want!). What divine culinary experience would you prepare for us?

GRABOWSKI: I know that Keel (rest him well) and Vallee don’t mind beefy dishes. Same for Jung. I would hope you and OWNE give me warning of any vegetarians…I used to be one. In a perfect meeting, you would be served Chicken Vindaloo, Ghost-Chile Stew, and a sweet ice-box lemon pie. With absinthe.

http://www.otherworldnortheast.org.uk/telegram-from-a-cold-war-kid-an-interview-with-william-j-grabowski/

 

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Updates and Such…

Black Light: Perspectives on Mysterious Phenomena, which started this blog, is within weeks of final form. Footnotes (no easy task!) have been placed, and John Rimmer at Magonia Blog (London) has recently published a nostalgic article on my first reading of the late John A. Keel’s The Mothman Prophecieshttp://pelicanist.blogspot.com/2014/06/first-read-mothman-prophecies.html

Black Light will be first available as an eBook on 1 September 2014, at Amazon; later (in 2014) as a Trade (over-sized) paperback. I thank anyone who has taken the time to visit The Night Run, and—after an initial thought of quitting—I plan to keep going here. Why? Well…just because. The book itself has been an active project for many years, mostly a journal to remind myself why life—despite personal downturns, discovery that many so-called classic UFO events were lies and hoaxes, and a jarring realization that nearly everything I thought I “knew” about the unknown was based on escapism—is worth living. Something far too subjective to share, unless articulated in a voice stabilized by heeding those veterans who’ve taught me there is value in sharing experience, if only in hopes that doing so might spark others into fresh lines of investigation.

As most of you know, the Internet has had a chaotic influence on anything “paranormal”—idiotic YouTube videos, hateful screeds obviously (and poorly) exploiting beliefs in “alien abduction” in order to recruit those who support reprehensible campaigns not very far removed from eugenics and the seething racism and paranoia behind that insane anachronism. I had, in my ignorance and too-trusting hope, desired to see the whole continuum of anomalous (Fortean, Magonian, etc.) events forever sustained in a poetic (if often disturbing) fantasy of good-will and genuine potential for improving our common humanity. As “innocent” as contactees in the 1950s….

I was, of course, wrong.

Our world is a grim place, yet vibrant still with invention and creativity and humanitarians—some of whom have been subject to vicious suppression. On several occasions, I have been on the receiving end of what can only be called intimidation tactics—I don’t know why. But I decided it’s better to ignore those and get on with what, at least to me, matters. Paying attention, not only to the unknown among us, but to an all-too-”real” world struggling with micro-managed wars, economic uncertainty, political non-events, and what appear to be authentic ruptures in global climate—human-caused and cyclical. As the cliche goes, we’re all in this together….

I thank you again for following The Night Run.

 

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BLACK LIGHT: Perspectives on Mysterious Phenomena

It’s been an extended, strange (you have no idea) trip. Here’s the cover for my forthcoming “philosophical” nonfiction book:

 

BLACK_LIGHT

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THAT HAUNTING MORBIDITY

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It stalks you. Whether you like that or not, it’s here.  Tainting your heart, burdened already by living, enduring the days. Cold creeping news stamping doom onto your soul like a black tattoo. Inescapable, relentless, draining. It names itself News, Info, Reportage—exactly what it is. The punk band Bad Religion nailed this for us all: The Biggest Killer in American History. Bad news. Morbid shit. Vicious disregard for sensitivity, decorum, or consideration of anyone who might—at the moment—be having a terrible day. At age 15, I might have been curious about seeing the facts of murder, suicide, anarchy, and political chaos. Trust me—I was. Until I found what such matters looked like in the so-called real world. Sure, we lucky suburban kids joked about it, how such things never could happen in America. As the cliche goes, we were young, fortunate, and oblivious. Something like that. Close enough. We weren’t privy to personal computers, thank God, because every one of us would have typed “Suicide images,” or “Sex,” or “Death” into some science-fictional search engine. Whatever keyword available before simple, concise, language degenerated into search terms. Between you and me and the cynical “writers” raking in one dollar for 500 words of “content,” I’d like to say that I’ve acquired a fresh recognition of the power of words, of image. Hilda Doolittle’s famous quote, “We are all haunted houses,” rings all too true. A poetic bumpersticker representing everything that’s wrong about our “Zeitgeist.” That rhymes with “poltergeist” to a chilling degree.

My point is simple. The world we inhabit is not so dangerous as daily news would have us believe. The late Michael Crichton wrote a shatteringly poignant novel, State of Fear (Avon Books, 2004), that so eerily prefigured current media manipulation, it’s hard to imagine he did so without some magical tool of prophecy. I read this fat paperback in utter fright—far beyond that of any horror novel, because he described what I was observing every day. Stacked statistics about crime, global warming, terrorism, industrial toxins in our food, and much more. What amounts to proving a truth by its blatant absence. No, the world doesn’t hate us. Nor does life. But if I gauge the chances of emotional well-being for future generations on media-feed, I might just have a really bad day.

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Flight 370: Conspiracy Theorists’ Latest Pet

I’d be remiss not to admit I’m a fairly “passionate” follower of post-post modern conspiracy theory, much of which never comes close to “theory.” We have plenty of rants, raves, and snarling vows of vengeance. Stone-cold revelations whispered in dark holdouts haunted by suicide; reason and safety stalked by black dogs of paranoia sniffing for logic-bombs. Nightly, the star-frosted sky thrums with machines stabbing down beams aggressively intelligent; watching and watching with infrared eyes. Thermal tongues lapping up secrets. Waiting…waiting…infinitely patient. Scanning thoughts for a nanosecond glitch in your vigilance—your blazing annihilation.Image

If that doesn’t make you feel better, nothing will.

Even a cursory cruise of a few “edgy” websites will provide a representative slice of what the more pensive observers are saying about the apparently enigmatic fate of Flight 370. These remarks range from straight, journalistic-type reportage, to chilly monographs grim with doubt, flat recounting of the original report, and what I am now calling NFM: Nefarious Fear-Mongering.

While I’m not sure who started this, a famous “alien abductee” is hinting that Flight 370 might very well have been sky-jacked and safely landed on dry ground in some remote location. While he doesn’t clearly explain what might have been done to the 239 people occupying the aircraft, he theorizes it might be used by terrorists, and capable of delivering a 10,000-pound nuclear device to any major city within 12,000 miles.

This might be technically possible, if not probable. But it is a theory—an outlandish one. A little research into how weapons-grade plutonium is acquired, and processed, will put such notions to rest.

What I am confused about is the—at least to my mind—inexplicable failure to locate the aircraft’s Black Box. Media reports claim signals have been detected, but finding the actual site so far impossible. Why? We have classified satellites that can identify earthbound individuals, and more. The NSA, by 2018, hopes to have a computer capable of exaflop speed—1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations a second. That’s one quintillion. Yes, data-collection is one thing; taking time to interpret said data quite another.**

The Black Box (actually, these are orange for easier detection) is fitted with an Underwater Locator Beacon functional down to 14,000 feet—nearly three miles. The devices have been heat-tested, withstanding 1,110 degrees centigrade for an hour; 260-degree C for 10 hours. They can operate between -55 degrees to +70 degrees C. Seriously tough hardware.

If a signal has been detected, and if every signal has a source, why can’t the Black Box be located?

 

**Thanks to James Bamford, whose The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America (Doubleday, 2008) was crucial to this post.

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THE FINAL WORD ON SO-CALLED ALIEN ABDUCTION?

This past piece from the old print magazine is shattering, considering how long ago it was written. It’s long, but well worth the read (unless you’re a hard-core believer).

http://magoniamagazine.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/abductions-boundary-deficit-hypothesis.html

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Just When You Thought…

“Things” were okay, you get a mixed message.

I’m not sure what to make of reports of people hearing very strange sounds in the air, so simply will start by telling you what I’ve gathered.

The Internet has produced, as always, strange events. Like you, I have checked these out, and will remain ever impressed by the artful fakes so obvious to anyone with a brain.

However…there are a few things, captured on cell phones, I have a hard time discounting. Chalk it up to my not owning a BlackBerry, or indeed any mobile phone. I hate them, and will never be chained to one. If you must call me, then call me.  Get over your stupid “Apps” I have no use for. If I want a pizza delivered, I know how that’s done. If I want my opinion on Mel Gibson, Barack Obama, or whether I think Flight 370 was hijacked, you’ll read it here. Trust me, I have opinions on all of these topical matters, but they aren’t well-informed. Nor are yours. You’re simply taking in what you’ve been told—just like me.

It took a lot for me even to be aware of these strange, very loud, sounds recently reported.

Have you heard these? A few remind me of those used in WAR OF THE W ORLDS, the Spielberg version. You know, that horrible, terrifying, “trumpet of God,”  sound you never want to hear twice in your life. I saw that movie, and will admit it scared me. No small task. But I was able to put myself there, and take in the horror, because it was so well thought-out. People recently have reported, and apparently recorded, what sounds very much like those same sounds.

I don’t know what to make of these, because none require any visuals. The sound, when recorded in an urban setting, leads to me suspect hoaxing. Another recording, made by people in the middle of nowhere—as they say—has me guessing. The sound itself grates like some vast machine melting down, like metal against metal. And the video I saw came from cross-country skiers, fumbling and natural.  The sound itself is overwhelming, completely unnatural, and mysterious. As disturbing as those gigantic machines in War of the Worlds. In fact, what I heard sounded a bit too much like those, but the people recording them sound absolutely frightened.

I am aware certain “earth-sounds,” pre-earthquake, have been recorded, but they sound nothing like these.  If these recent sounds are not hoaxed, then I have no idea what they might be. Again, I had to be reluctantly made aware of this, because I have seen so-called UFO footage that turned out to be nothing beyond Venus, over-flights of aircraft shining anti-collision lights, rescue helicopters viewed from afar, etc. But the audio, especially in the “skiers” account, is to me genuinely strange. Google this, and you will find numerous accounts of an exceptionally loud, bizarre, and unaccountable sound. Frankly, a very aggressive, threatening chaos.

I’ll go further. Military intelligence has been known to test new tech, as they did on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and in the San Francisco Bay area, long ago. Are these acoustic ruptures an expansion on those? I don’t know. I hope not. What I do know is that military technology has the capability to test whatever they choose on an unsuspecting populace. As one of these “populace,” I am concerned. I have, as you, the “right” to be concerned.

During the 1990s, and frequent reports of black, triangular “UFOs,” I examined official FAA reports. I was not, of course, the first to do this. These inquiries always came back to me, couched in similar language. “Please consult the Air Force. We have no current data on aircraft, employed or otherwise reported, that represent delta-shaped vehicles.”

In short, a Boeing 747, under cloudy conditions, might appear as a “triangle.” True enough, and I have seen traditional aircraft under exactly those conditions.  They can appear strange, especially if viewed at night, when normal anti-collision beacons appear triangular.

Again, and I hate to admit it, any aircraft flying for our benefit (national security) is bound to be taken for a UFO. It isn’t my place to question those employing such craft, but it does make the identification virtually impossible. My guess is that it won’t take long for the delta-shape to vanish, whether from advances in “smart-camo” or some other technology, these facts can’t become known. This is why I no longer claim to know anything about “UFOs.”  These are no longer the gentle 1960s and 1970s, with “flying saucers,” being reported. Perhaps they never were. The Cold War was a very real, very scary, reality. A chess game between super-powers with the ability to destroy us all.  They retain this power, but no one wants to use it. Why would they? The playground bully is alive and unwell. Ready to pounce on the least weakness.

The only aspect working in humanity’s favor, is that this is known. Monitored, sniffed, and considered in a way beyond the simple Cold War game of Who Has The Bigger Bomb. The game remains, but has become a question of survival, not dominance. Life in an explosive, complicated world, where nothing and no one can be fast enough to keep up with the next super-computer’s surveillance; where mountains of data overwhelm the human capacity to sift meaning; where DNA can reveal my ties to someone who lived 900 years ago, whether I like that or not. I am out of the loop. Levels and levels beyond The Terminator, now nearly a quaint notion.

I see it all as a loss of potential. A chance to use what we have to give rare glimpses into where we came from, even why we exist.

But that’s just me.

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THE MOTHMAN FALLACIES

Soldier of Fortune magazine published an article recently that claims to have solved the decades-old Mothman mystery. Here’s a link to the issue:

http://www.sofmag.com/sites/default/files/digital_issues/436%20FEBRUARY%2084-pagerFINAL.pdf

I have (very briefly) commented elsewhere, but feel the need to explore the piece at length. Anyone who reads this blog knows I have written—here, and a series on UFO Digest—a lot on this topic, based on visits to the Point Pleasant area and personal interaction with a handful of older residents, and a thorough review of practically all extant material (in print and online), and a fair amount of back-and-forth with Doug Skinner, a long-time friend of John Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies.

I mention this background only to verify that I’ve done my homework, and cannot know Final Truth about the events—no one can. So the article caught my attention. What stands out to me is that the author gives no sources, but does lay out what must—in the 1966-1967 period in question—have been a covert, if not classified, military operation. At least one aspect of this involved HALO: High-Altitude Low-Opening, where a soldier jumps from an aircraft at very high altitude, and free-falls until reaching the safety threshold for deploying his parachute, thus remaining hidden for as long as possible from enemy eyes.

As you’ll see if you read the short article, these soldiers were operating near Point Pleasant, probably using the vast abandoned TNT area (a munitions factory shut down toward the end of World War II) as a “target.” I don’t blame them. The dark space is perfect for such practice.

The soldiers apparently were painted with luminous pigment, and (I’m speculating) might have worn early versions of night-vision goggles. They would have looked very strange—frightening, even—to any witness on the ground. But there are questions. Lots of them…

1. The four teenage witnesses (Roger and Linda Scarberry; Steve and Mary Mallette) whose sighting stands as the most noted (it wasn’t the first…there were at least two previous daylight sightings), saw whatever they saw around 11:30PM. This sounds somewhat early for a black-ops project.

2. If the HALO team was meant to go unobserved, why paint them with glow-in-the-dark pigment? A contradiction. This makes sense from a safety perspective—but not a covert one.

3. How did the recovery team plan to hide ground vehicles? The TNT area was, and is, a party paradise. Didn’t the planners know this?

4. The TNT area, despite its nearly 7,000-acre spread, isn’t large enough to contain any “mistakes,” i.e., some parachuting soldier landing in someone’s backyard. What plan was in place in case of any citizen witnessing any part of the HALO ops? Shoot them? Send them scurrying back to the TV with a barrage of harsh language?

5. The high-altitude aircraft would have required FAA clearance to operate in the high-traffic Pittsburgh/Columbus/Cleveland/Lexington/etc. zone. True, these records, if they even exist, probably would be kept secret.

Roger Scarberry, driving his 1957 Chevy that cold, starry, 15 November 1966 night, was passing the desolate North Power Plant (demolished in the mid-1990s) when his headlights reflected off what resembled red bicycle reflectors two inches in diameter and spaced about six inches apart. When these were seen to be attached to a seven-foot-tall, winged form, the two couples exploded with terror—and raced toward Route 62. All four reported the entity pursued them at close to 100 mph, and flew off as the car reached Point Pleasant, where they went to report the incident to Deputy Millard Halstead.

I admit to some doubt over completely dismissing the Soldier of Fortune article. Why?

Linda Scarberry, wizened and visibly shaky on Charles McCracken’s 2009 DVD documentary, Dark Wings: the Mothman Chronicle, told interviewer Travis Shortt more than she apparently shared with John Keel in 1966. The entity near the powerhouse, she said, was tangled in the fence, and trying vigorously to free its arm, or wing. Might this not describe a luminous, night-vision-goggled soldier struggling with a parachute and its lines?

This, of course, does nothing to explain the entity pursuing the car, nor its being sighted perched on a billboard by the terrified teens on the way into Point Pleasant.

So, the Soldier of Fortune article is itself a curious (and poorly-edited) mystery. Is it yet another example of disinformation designed to keep us away from “the truth”? If so, why? After so long, who, in Intelligence circles, really cares?

My final speculations (and, ultimately, that’s all they can be) are these: whatever happened in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, was in part generated by military intelligence. UFOs; Men in Black; telephone harassment; unmarked vans and aircraft. As others—primarily John Keel, Jim Keith, the very questionable Gray Barker, and lately Andy Colvin—have written, something beyond so-called paranormal phenomena was occurring. I cannot rule out the anomalous events, but there is more to the mystery of Mothman….

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In the Name of…

Whoever’s in charge. Is it the Trickster? I think so.

   Nature has not recently been kind to me, and has taken the lives of my car, furnace, and water. The old 1-2-3 punch, valid now as ever. But who am I to complain? After all, I live in a state whose water supply was poisoned by corporate shit-heels. But not mine. I was spared that indignity. 600,000 others were not.

   I was lucky.

   No conspiracy here, just the simple complacency of a structure in place long before I was born, and living in a different state–in many ways.

   This tells me never to trust the EPA, despite their “high” technology and reasoned explanations. Those explanations might very well be responsible for human deaths. In fact, I know they are. But the EPA does not speak to us in comprehensible terms, because that would lay the burden on them of plainly speaking, of which they are incapable. They will never know–or in fact care–how many lives they ruined out of a casual disregard for same. But I’ll do my best to remind them. I’m very good at that.

   The fact that this kind of recklessness is tolerated, until tragedy hits, is an abomination. Those in charge, as ever, are unaffected by their own laziness, and put blame on those already stressed out and broken. And I’m sure the new joke will be (rising above that said about Mexico) something to do with not drinking the water in West Virginia. Ha-ha. How Funny! How sophisticated!

   Pardon my English, if you will, but here’s my intellectual message to the coal-burning bastards of West Virginia (who indeed are supplying the power for this blog): FUCK YOU.

   And good night….

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The New Weird: Four Questions with instructor Alexander Lumans

William J. Grabowski:

In a break from my usual subject-matter, I’d like to share this very incisive piece by Kristin Pazulski. It addresses (indeed answers) some questions posed by those who might not “get” the attraction of science fiction, speculative fiction, horror, and the so-called New Weird. As a writer (fiction and non-) in all these categories, I find it both informative and inspiring.

Originally posted on The Lighthouse Writers Top-Secret Blog:

Lumans in front of Stephen King's house in Maine.

Lumans in front of Stephen King’s house in Maine.

By Kristin Pazulski

As a non-reader of science fiction, when I think of the genre, images of aliens and space creatures invade my mind. But a conversation with our new faculty member, Alexander Lumans, illuminated for me a different perspective on science fiction—one of reflection, post-apocalyptic disaster, and the “new weird.”

He is teaching short story workshops this session, and while he’s off to a writing residency next session, he’ll be back afterwards. Also, his story “All the Things the Moon is Not” is a finalist for the 2013 storySouth Million Writers Award. You can read and vote for his work here.

A lot of his recent work is rooted in the tradition of science fiction, so we chatted about it.

1. Where do you find the inspiration to write science fiction? Do you take real life and spin it into a fictional world, or is it all…

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