Haven’t been here in a while, and I apologize. Anyone following The Night Run will know why. I’m running out of relevant subject matter, mostly because of deep disenchantment with the current state of so-called paranormal investigation. During my most recent interview, with whip-smart Michael Lauck of Podcast UFO, I was asked whether there will be a follow-up to Black Light, and responded with some ambiguity. That book is only one-year old, but I’ve learned so much since then that I feel honor-bound to write about it.

I have, of course, been thinking about writing a follow-up, a book very different from Black Light. Not because I hate repeating myself (a genuine concern), but because I’ve been scraping away at many of the “classic” UFO events, and found my “take” on them to have been misguided. I’ve studied some very technical analyses of reports going back as far as the 1890s “airship” sightings—one of which (Sistersville, WV) occurred not far from where I reside. No need to belabor you by recounting this, but I now accept that most airship accounts are products of journalistic joking, something I had a hard time wrapping my mind around. For some reason, I assumed reporters of that time were always serious, bereft of humor. Wrong. Humankind has always relied on humor to snuff the sting from our collective head-bashing against life’s cabinet-corners. Too, it is barely possible that blimp-like vehicles actually flew once in a while. Barely.

Reports after the airships—let’s say 1940s, 50s, 60s—fall apart under close scrutiny. Many of you know this. The widely ignored factor is belief, and the need for same. Some of us fill the disturbing vacuum of all that is unknown with what we require to make us feel better—I’m not free of this. Religion doesn’t work for me, since all we “know” has been written by those with a control agenda or, as in UFO accounts, a secular need to replace “God.” I’m not willing to embrace atheism, though I could, because the current zeitgeist leaves no room for intuition, and fails (for me, at least) adequately to explain certain anomalous experiences. During the last three interviews I did with George Knapp, Daniel Ott, and Michael Lauck, I labeled myself as “a ninety-eight-percent skeptic, with that annoying two percent that keeps me interested.” I am now a 99% “skeptic,” uncomfortable even with that term, but what else do I call it? Doubter? Questioner? Some other slippery, annoying word?

As Michael Lauck remarked, my statements are probably exploding believers’ heads. Well, as John Keel noted, “belief is the enemy.” True enough. But the rest of Keel’s statement often is ignored: Something about belief opening the door to authentic exploration. Paraphrasing, of course. And believers (especially the faithful) usually don’t open any doors—they weld them shut. Riskily quoting the closing lines of my Introduction to Black Light: “I don’t want to believe. I want to understand,” no longer works. I’ve concluded that I’ll never understand, because it’s impossible to assume a machine-like objectivity, no matter how much I claim to value logic. As poignantly noted by Jacques Vallee: “Human actions are based on imagination, belief, and faith, not on objective observation—as military and political experts know well. Even science, which claims its methods and theories are rationally developed, is really shaped by emotion and fancy, or by fear. And to control human imagination is to shape mankind’s collective destiny, provided the source of this control is not identifiable by the public. And indeed it is one of the objectives of any government’s policies to prepare the public for unavoidable changes or to stimulate its activity in some desirable direction.”

Recent commentators have tried to label Vallee as paranoid. They are wrong. Sure, I’m aware that some of his private work was done for government contracters—so what? We continue to invest “the government” with godlike powers they certainly don’t have. They do have the ability, and are (ab)using seemingly godlike technology to spy on anyone, a vast waste of time and resources we’re expected to trust. Whatever. Not my call. I just work here. But Vallee’s ice-cold assessment says all I need to know. He wrote it in 1969. Think about that. If I’m ultimately proved foolish for accepting his words, so be it. My gut tells me he was “right.”

I’d be seriously shocked to learn any government on this mortal coil gives the least damn about UFOs—even though some group, possibly outside the official structure, almost certainly pays attention to sighting reports in the guise of anti-terrorism. Someone must.

So, if I write another nonfiction book, more than likely it will be a summation of everything I’ve learned about the deconstructing of the “facts.” Even those, behind my own life, I took as gospel.

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Podcast UFO

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My wife Leanne has been diagnosed with Stage-two breast cancer, and we would be grateful for any donation, no matter how small.

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A Literature of Comfort

No one talks about this, but I’m willing to drop my usual (probably annoying) reticence and get to the point. While I can’t possibly speak for anyone else, I can admit that a big part of my fascination with UFO/Paranormal “literature” lies in escapism. Like nothing else, articles and books covering these matters “abducts” my attention from cold reality into a wholly other realm—for good or ill.

Simply because I have a vested (literally) interest in writing about such topics does not rule out my human need to “get away” from the mundane (often brutal) facts of day-to-day life. While I claim no belief in either extraterrestrial beings or apparitions of the dead, I DO keep perhaps 2% of my fizzing mind open to the possibilities, and have said as much during recent radio interviews. Though there exist many opportunities for me to criticize “believers,” I rarely do so. Why? Because I recognize the deep spiritual/emotional craving among some to peer beyond Shakespeare’s mortal coil. Even stone-cold atheists must—once in a while—lean back in their easy-chairs and wonder.

Intellectually, I have many reasons to accept that humankind is a useless race churning with useless passion hardwired for biological survival. Sure. No problem. But to what end? Why must we survive, if the black Lovecraftian gulfs beyond are nothing more than freezing vacuum and silence eternal? An optimist might well counter: Grabowski, how do you know humankind is a useless passion? Well, I don’t. No one does. I’m a romantic realist, in that I hope for the best but expect the worst. My British mother, God rest her, drilled that into my head. She did, though, believe in God. For what it’s worth, I have no trouble accepting some form of external intelligence, but doubt (assuming IT is there) any specific focus and/or concern over our existence. It’s a big multiverse, and as someone said, it would be a hell of a waste of space if Earth were the only planet hosting life.

I have read the harshest so-called nihilist philosophies: the Marquis de Sade, Anton LaVey, Nietzsche, and many others I won’t bother to list. To a man (usually these are male), they have had terrible, almost cursed, lives. Even modern thinkers like Thomas Ligotti (author of The Conspiracy Against the Human Race), for all his galactic blackness as a horror writer leaves me afraid and empty. I can’t live like that, and doubt anyone can. None of these aforementioned ended in suicide, so even their worst statements are suspect. I’ve always said to myself: “If you so hate life, then check out.”

What I sense from these writings is a genuine survival instinct, shorn of sentimentality. Between me and me, I am easily as harsh and dark as any of these. Disappointed, actually, in our potential, and seeming default to instant gratification. They remind me of screaming infants, “Comfort me! Or else!”

Of course, there’s more to it than that. These writers were—and are—at least making the effort to “wake us up.” What they don’t perceive (or admit) is that some of us were born with oversensitive nerves. Musician Tom Waits asks: “Why are the wicked so strong?” Because they weren’t born sensitive. Period. All progress is driven by this dichotomy—the crazy creative types advance culture, and suffer the consequences. They don’t consume culture. They make it.

This is why, to return to my topic, I’m able to read books and articles about UFOs and so-called paranormal topics simply because I cannot justify being alive without their comfort. Even the worst among these I enjoy, because their very existence says more about what it means to be alive than any theory about ghosts, UFOs, etc. Even if none of these things are “real,” why do so many think they are?

To me, this fact tells me all I need to know. We’re a living testament, searching for something to tell us what we are, and why we’re here at all.

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Nobody Here But Us Martians

Am I the only one sick unto death about seeing nonsense “explanations” for physical anomalies imaged on the Martian surface? I hope not.

When I first started paying attention to these images, my curiosity was alive. But no more. C’mon people, even if the red planet once supported any kind of life, it’s long dead. Millions of years’ worth of wind-sculpting has created the surreal shapes now unforgivably reported as saucers, bones, people, entities, etc. Yet our ever-honest media craves our “clicks,” and titles these images in ways almost guaranteed to get them. “Is this a skull on Mars?” etc., when they must know better. To hell with them.

I won’t be at all surprised if once-living microbe fossils are discovered, or even those of rudimentary life-forms—but that’s it. These stabs at sensationalism ought to be beneath any serious “news” reportage. Nice to know I’m considered a complete blithering idiot, except I’m not.

Meanwhile, here on Earth, the crash of an F-117 Stealth fighter (which the genius media keeps referring to as a “bomber”) is reported, with no reassuring headline mention (even in parentheses) that no one was injured or killed. Nothing. I had to watch the video just to be sure. No shit they were lucky! And I’m so relieved the wreckage was immediately removed to prevent some kid from back-engineering the non-classified technology.

Absurdity on this level makes me pine for the old days of three TV channels, cigarette-smoking news anchors who told you (mostly) the truth, and no Internet. Of course I’m a hypocrite. I’d be dead in the water without the Web.

That, however, does not forgive blatant grabs for clicks based on manufactured hysteria. Amen.

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I’m a tad late posting this. Thanks to all who watched, and sent questions during the show….

William Grabowski interview with host Daniel Ott

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On Coast To Coast AM with George Knapp

What a rush, my friends.  Now I understand what people mean when they say they had “A life-changing experience.” I gratefully join them in expressing this.

I urge you to have a listen. Even though I’ve followed George’s Emmy Award-winning career since the Area 51/Bob Lazar break-out in the late 1980s, I had to catch my breath (literally) and respect the opportunity to actually discuss BLACK LIGHT with a man who’s been in the paranormal (and investigations of the Mafia) trenches. If you haven’t picked up a copy of George Knapp’s and Colm A. Kelleher’s HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER, then please do so. The book documents high-strangeness in Utah equal to that of Point Pleasant, WV. Disturbing material. My voice mostly held out, but got a bit ragged toward the end. No excuses. I drank three enormous glasses of water, which I hope no one heard. Glug glug glug, but my mouth was drier than the friggin’ Sudan.

Regrettably, I strayed more than once from George’s incisive questions, which he very subtly redirected me back onto. I love the hell out of him for playing, during commercial breaks, the Foo Fighters, Robin Trower, and Ten Years After–rock bands close to my black heart. I was terrified my portable landline would fail, but obviously it didn’t. Thank you, Godz of the Wires.

I constantly–who knows why–had to remind myself I was actually on the air with the actual George Knapp. Probably this is noticeable, but I got over it. Could any writer possibly ask for a more generous intro? Nope–not THIS writer. The Nick Redfern portion was killer, and thank George for mentioning the segue would be seamless. I agree.

Beyond this, I have nothing more for this post. Just genuine thanks to George for taking interest in my Magonia piece last year, where I wrote of my long-ago first reading John Keel’s THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES.

Thanks to all who listened, and shared their thoughts.

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John Keel’s Enduring Relevance—for Good and Ill

Keel with Doug Skinner

Keel with Doug Skinner

I’m occasionally questioned about my long-standing admiration of John Keel. As Sam Shepard (another hard-case hero) repeatedly says in the movie version of The Right Stuff, “fair enough.” My admiration has not so much to do with his take on ufology/paranormal phenomena, as it does the context in which he embedded these matters. It didn’t start that way, but that’s where it ended up—and remains. Why? Call it a complex admixture of nostalgia, fascination, cultural deep-diving, and a smatter of personal experiences that haunt me and won’t go away.

I dedicated my nonfiction book, Black Light, to Keel. Why? Because he taught me to trust the visionary aspect of life, which must include nightmares, pleasant dreams, misperception, outright hallucination (sober), and jarring thoughts all of us once in a while experience, but wish we hadn’t. Example: I once stood on Cleveland, Ohio’s Terminal Tower observation deck (at 708 feet), when it occurred to me I might somehow smash a window and jump. Not a compulsion, mind you, but a disturbing fantasy. My morbid imagination already knew that suicide survivors—upon taking the penultimate leap—instantly regret so doing. I’d read as much. Terror blasted through me, envisioning the fall…the final impact. You get it. I suspect many have such fantasies, but rarely discuss them. A simple contemplation of violent death. I concluded that anyone with the stones to jump off some tall structure must be seriously, tragically, masochistic.

What I gather from Keel’s work is an inner turmoil, not over the “meaning” of anomalies, but that they exist at all, and rational science cannot prevent human collateral damage. This might “explain” his “belief is the enemy” maxim. Belief ends rational thought—hence faith, religious and otherwise. A nail Keel frequently center-punched, perhaps rightly. Once we halt intellectual scrutiny, we open the door to exploitation, potentially destructive fantasizing, and passive acceptance of notions dangerous and manipulative.

Sure, I think Keel occasionally exaggerated.

One thing that bothers me: Point Pleasant Register reporter Mary Hyre wrote to Keel about a disturbing dream involving Christmas gifts floating in the Ohio River, before the Silver Bridge collapse. This is documented in so many places I won’t belabor it. I have viewed the actual letter, and Keel’s response (basically, “Don’t tell anyone about this, because you’ll be seen as crazy.”), on display in Point Pleasant’s Mothman Museum. As a 99% questioner, I have to ask myself whether this represents genuine “precognition.” Even if it does, well….

I see Keel’s work as a Trojan Horse within same, as the term is commonly known. Too, I don’t think—in his own mind—Keel ever arrived at closure regarding the authentic existence of Mothman, UFOs, etc. He was a lonely, yet self-contained, man. Read his early memoir, Jadoo, for a taste of this. It’s there, nestled between all the snake tricks and handling, “primitive” locals reacting to a tall white man, physical attacks from those who thought Keel had money, etc. Above all, he made clear to me the danger of taking literally extremely subjective—even solopsistic—perceptions. Perhaps akin to that of a “thunderbird” witness in Greensburg, Pennsylvania in 2002, who claimed to have seen one soaring over midday traffic. At that time, I resided roughly 4 miles from the place he spoke of (Route 119). Investigator Stan Gordon (a Greensburg resident I’d spoken to once regarding triangular UFOs, and mentioned in my Black Light introduction) checked out the witness, and did a thorough job of it. Daylight sightings of “cryptids” near a heavily-trafficked area are rare. Driving that route, would I have perceived the thunderbird? Frankly, I envied the frightened young man…perhaps wrongly.

No matter what he saw, it broke the symmetry of his life. Keel was masterful in reporting the effects on witnesses to the unknown, and never neglected their dignity or (when requested) confidentiality. My very brief meeting with Keel, in 2003, surrounded by others, prevented one-on-one converse. At that time I was on a downward spiral (the Nine Inch Nails reference is intentional), and encountering Keel in Point Pleasant literally saved me from implosion.

For that, I owe him.

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Roswell Slides and Stuff…

Well, if you haven’t seen any reportage on the slides, I can only say you haven’t missed much. I do make an effort to shut up, observe, and give my opinion. Because, let’s face it, no matter what you might believe, the Night Run is simply an opinion–though based on serious consideration of available material from all sides. I present myself as a “very well-read questioner,” simply because the term “skeptic” hits me wrong, though in comparison to those who have done quite serious work (Klass, Nickell, Sheaffer), I probably come off as a near-believer. I’m not. Emotionally, I want to be, and 100 Fox Mulders couldn’t force me into that stance. Sure, I admit re-visiting the sense of wonder I once had long ago, and hoped that the crew in Mexico might actually have withheld some mind-blowing evidence heretofore unseen. No…I was wrong. But I’m grateful to have had no part in the proceedings. It’s after 4:30 AM, and I want for once to drop any pretense at being “mannered,” or otherwise pedantic. I know that’s annoying, so how about if I speak “as if” you were right here with me, perhaps enjoying a beer?

First off, I’ll say I wanted some kind of closure. Did these ambiguous players actually have something in hand that might actually be connected to “reality”? You never know, and you can’t know, until you see. Kevin Randle doesn’t know me from Adam, as the saying goes, but I’ve been keeping up on the “doings” visible on his website. Jesus Christ in a side-car! What a can was opened there! To his credit, Randle dealt–continues to deal–with scores of nonsense, and a few comments that made sense. More than a few. If I name names, then I’ll be accused of taking sides–so I won’t. Read this blog, buy my book, BLACK LIGHT, but don’t ask me to take sides. I’ve done that. Based on reading, conversations, writing, and 100% personal speculation, I think what happened at Roswell is absolutely impenetrable. Either it was a “balloon train,” which I doubt, or something so illegal and scary and humanly damaging, I cannot know or reasonably track down. Nor can you. Or Randle, Friedman, and the still-missing Martin Cannon. The very hard work has been done. It’s quite clear SOMETHING came to ground. Why records were destroyed, I don’t know. In 1947 such things weren’t taken so seriously as they now are. I found this out by simply searching for my father’s (Stanley A. Grabowski) military record. No one is hiding anything, at least so far as who was on site at Roswell in 1947. Sometimes it seems as if “believers” think some guy is permanently crouched in a shadowed office with endless coffee and a gun, guarding the Roswell files.

Here’s another thing that bothers the hell out of me. Please get over your hatred of Annie Jacobsen, because even though she seems like a sucker, she did hint that the relevant Roswell files have never been found because FOIA requests have repeatedly gone to the wrong places. Here is where I must admit ignorance, but has anyone filed requests per Roswell with the entity once known as Atomic Energy Commission? Maybe they have. We all know the  Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 transferred the regulatory functions of the AEC to the new NRC, which began operations on January 19, 1975. Big deal. But has anyone filed FOIA requests? I’ll tell you right now, I lack the resources to do so. But I haven’t found evidence for anyone actually going so far. Probably. But good luck with that. It’s like asking the middle-east to come clean on the life of Jesus Christ. They might not know, since everyone accepts the Bible, even though our present texts were edited and rewritten hundreds of years after the death of the man known as Jesus.

In a nut, why does Roswell burn like radioactive waste nearly 70 years on? I don’t know. You don’t know. But we’d like some clarity, wouldn’t we? I think if I had the bad fortune of meeting the Mexico/Roswell Slides crew, I’d regret it. Sure, I’d start off a little reserved, checking anger, until the drinks calmed me so I might speak my mind. Were that to happen, I’d end up as poorly as them. Just another loser looking for a buck.

Somewhere outside of time and space, the spirit of a child looks down on this happy horseshit and wonders: “Why me?”

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Cut the Leash

Something very rarely–if ever–openly discussed in Ufology, is the possibility of absolute USG manipulation dating to post-WWII accounts. Why, you might ask, would American defense powers carry out such a dishonest plan? There are many reasons, the foremost being that of appearing In charge of American airspace. Frankly, the threat was there, but not in any quantifiable way. Sure, Japan unleashed their Fugo balloons, which were not effective in any major fashion, but did manage to kill a woman and five children during a church picnic. That alone, of course, was enough to ignite most into watching the skies. It would today, were that to happen.

Keep in mind, the initial post-war years were fraught with fears of Russia dropping atomic bombs on us, because they had stolen the technology from spies planted in New Mexico and elsewhere. Another matter, to this day, not often mentioned is that the Russians were indeed fearful of “going atomic,” as doing so would almost certainly bring about WWIII. No one wanted that. America had B-52 bombers in the air 24/7, prepared to drop the Big One(s) if necessary. Both sides knew what that meant. They didn’t have many bombs, but what they had was enough to cause major lasting ruin in terms of initial blast and especially fall-out. As you know, this summed up the beginning of the Cold War. Would either power have the stones to drop the Big One? Given what we know about heated exchanges between JFK and Russia…not likely. We came close. I’m just old enough to remember the “bomb drills” from kindergarten. We were given the impression that an A-bomb strike was survivable. Right. Both sides were sweating blood. And America already had demonstrated what A-bombs could do via Hiroshima and Nagasaki, from all accounts shocking even to “us.”

So began the opening of a can of worms that never will be closed. While I don’t have specific numbers, and why would that matter, the tally of nuclear devices these days is more than sufficient to vaporize 6 billion people, despite “paring down” of armaments. We all know this. The Pope can call for thinning this out. A laughable notion. No one in charge respects that call, which even the most hardened atheist might accept. After all, none of us can survive the equivalent of having our Sun touch down on Earth–millions of degrees. It has been said, mostly in a few well-wrought fictive stories, that nuclear weapons can literally annihilate the electro-magnetic structure of our souls. Who knows? Anything capable of vaporizing steel can surely do the same to atoms and molecules.

True, “we” do have limited devices sufficient to destroy a target. So far as I know, no country has used these. If I’m in error, please tell me. I don’t feel like looking that up. I do think that whatever happened in Roswell might have something to do with early tests of atomic “close-range” weaponry. That’s a big “might,” though, because there are no reports–so far as I know–of radiation-type injuries from whatever came to ground. Even the reports you all know of people handling debris bear this out. They would have gotten sick, in an undeniable way. The research of Martin Cannon (wherever he is) points toward a number of unusual deaths in circa 1947–and after–Roswell. I don’t know what he meant. You can review his “Truth and Consequences” article on the Internet, but he made it clear that the number of deaths is suspicious, and that if it were to become known what actually caused them, lawsuits would exist to this day. I cannot know if that would be true, but I don’t doubt it.

This does go some distance in “explaining” the lame and confusing accounts given in the “official” report. Out of all the Roswell theories, this one to me lingers.  When there is a possibility of a huge lawsuit, tied in with national security, well….

I’m not saying anything new. But I keep going back to this.

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