UFOLOGY’S FUTURE IS LIMITED

The twenty-first century environment of ufology (I’m tempted to use the late James Moseley’s “ufoology”) is a mixed bag of computer-created images that look real, but are in fact not. Those of us who actually spend valuable time writing about these matters come close to hating the bullshitters. As some of you know, there exist trademarked apps which enable anyone to put together UFO images of startling realism. That doesn’t make it “right” to present these as authentic—hardly. Those engaged in hoaxing only harden those already dubious about the entire “phenomenon” into stances of taking none of it seriously. Is this stance fair? Of course it is. Anyone who misuses the utterly amazing technology available to us all on cell phone cameras obviously has personal failings beyond the scope of this simple blog. As much as I respect the very early work done by Gray Barker and others, I cannot fail but to think he would have thrived in our current environment. Maybe not.

I’d like to think that Gray, aware of said technology, would simply acknowledge it and move on—but he probably would embrace it and push on with the stuff he’s historically known for. A genuine waste of talent, in my opinion, and one I’m constantly subjected to simply because I live in West Virginia. Barker did some good work, starting with the Flatwoods Monster report for FATE in 1952. That didn’t last long, because he soon went into making fun of ufology (not a completely negative thing), and his available-on-line letters prove this. Were he alive now, I wouldn’t hesitate to contact him, and express both my anger and admiration. “Gray,” I’d begin, “with all the solid work you’ve done, what made you decide to fuck with those interested in serious scientific work? Were you simply bored with your West Virginia Nobody life? Angry at John Keel, and others taken more seriously?”

I’ll tell you, I’d have driven to Clarksburg with a good bottle, and gotten in his face. Why? Because no one today would, or should, put up with such nonsense from a man capable of so much more. Sure, he probably IS responsible (with John Keel, who actually gave a damn, and tracked Barker’s telephone records in a time when that was incredibly difficult) for a big hand in “creating” the Men-in-Black mythos, He deserves zero accolades for this, because only making public what already was going on in government agents sniffing out left-over Nazis and rising “Commies.” Operatives snooping around early UFO groups to make sure their stapled newsletters weren’t offering details on military bases and their operations—something these writers easily could have reported in all innocence. And, thanks to Barker, might scribble about genuine FBI visitations as “cover ups” and “threats” based on paranoiac musings of American intell spending budgets on “silencing” what were then known as Saucerers.

Gray Barker couldn’t have known the mythos he was creating, but had to have some idea. Keel and Moseley were right in saying we ought to be suspicious of anything Barker wrote after 1953 or so. He was “just having fun.” I wonder how many people’s lives were negatively affected by his “fun.” Pre-Internet, they had only mail-order and occasional book-store finds of Barker books. These were taken seriously. Why would they not? Anyone can find Barker’s letters on the Internet, and he often urged his (usually much younger) pals to shit on him in their newsletters and obscure articles to build up his “authority.”

I admit to some admiration of the works of Gray Barker, but he dropped the ball and knew it. While there’s no way to measure it, he had to have negatively affected a large number of the general public’s lives. Did he know this? I like to think he didn’t, because family members describe him as generous, hard-working, and sensitive. But he had a hand in making ufology a fool’s game. This continues on Youtube and elsewhere, to the point where nothing posted there can be trusted. Were Barker living today, he’d probably be laughing.

My point in writing this? Technology has done very little to help ufology. We cannot discern “real” UFO footage from fakes. Worse, we have drones—legal and otherwise—confusing matters. This only will get worse. We find ourselves situated in the same position as John Keel, Jacques Vallee, and other pioneers. I see this as positive, because we are left no option but to seek out witnesses of the unknown, and face them. Something no cell phone, digital device, or second-hand account can equal.

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COAST TO COAST AM: Upcoming Grabowski Interview with George Knapp

George Knapp, Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist (KLAS/CBS-TV) and author, has invited me to be interviewed on COAST TO COAST AM, the syndicated radio program with roughly 3,000,000 listeners. I said yes. When I know the date and time, I’ll post them here.

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Roswellians: Release Your Fears

Let’s dig in.

Even if the so-called Roswell Slides “prove” to have captured the image of an extraterrestrial biological entity, ask yourself how this revelation might affect your life. You know, the mundane existence we all share. Be honest. I’m an optimistic pessimist, always hoping for the best but expecting the worst. I’m rarely disappointed. The way I feel about life, even before 9/11, was never bright. But that changed everything…and black wings of anxiety replaced whatever even came close to “good.”

I’m aware that media sensationalizes everything, instantly magnifying the darkest events. Somewhere, I hope, there exists a special Hell for them. Truly, I think even verification of Others would not be enough to move us in a positive direction, when many live very close to poverty or simply hand-to-mouth. Would I be overjoyed to learn We Aren’t Alone? No. I wouldn’t even be surprised. Big waste of space if we aren’t, yes? But the social sludge of quickly eroding personal freedom haunts like a hungry ghost—and that’s only going to escalate, since most of us are okay with that.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the question of UFOs and related phenomena (hey, I’m the one who wrote a book about same, and don’t regret so doing). If genuine evidence existed, someone, somewhere, even under penalty of death, would have given this up to the world. This hasn’t happened. In fact, very little has changed since the 1940s regarding these matters. Sure, a lot of erroneous “facts” have been empirically stomped–as well they should. But the same arguments sustain themselves like moray eels sucking life from history’s fleshy arrow.

I don’t understand why investigators, John Keel among them, made statements like: “In 10 years the UFO question will be answered,” unless they knew something “we” did not–as in the whole deal is more than likely a product of collective human despair winging through our souls (what’s left of them) like manta rays. I DO think authentic anomalies are “out there,” but remain outside the grasp of science. We’ll see. Or not.

There’s a music video by Chelsea Wolfe, “Kings,” that’ll raise your arm-hairs. To me, it sums up everything frightening about our lives. Give it a look. She is the ultimate Anima; all we fear and desire, but cannot capture or comprehend. The deep terror, and allure, of the Unknown.

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Roswell Slides: Oh What New Madness Can This Be?

Many of you probably are aware that certain parties claim to have obtained “new” images of a biological entity supposedly recovered from the infamous Roswell crash of 1947. I became aware of these Kodak slides while visiting the website of author/investigator Kevin D. Randle, whose credibility I rate somewhere around 70%. Please note I have nothing but utmost respect for his decades of genuine boots-on-the-ground research—this is a man who’s done the work. While I don’t see eye-to-eye on much of it, he certainly deserves to be placed in the highest regions of Those Who Have Walked the Walk, many times over. He makes Keel and Vallee look like slackers—and that’s saying something.

The whole deal sounds stinkier than dead squid baking in the sun, but I understand the necessity for someone to check the details. As I wrote in my recent book, Black Light: Perspectives on Mysterious Phenomena, I pretty much view the Roswell Incident as a hopelessly blurred and dead (no pun there) subject. Yes, something crashed; I seriously doubt the wreckage recovered originated beyond our ken. I’m 98% sure its source lies in the then-classified (for good reason) Mogul project(s). That annoying 2% doubt occasionally bothers me, but not very much and not very often. As stated in 1996 by Martin Cannon (wherever he is) in his starkly blunt “Roswell: Truth and Consequences,” something happened, and this resulted in inexplicable deaths in the region, which apparently were cancer-related. Google the piece, read it, and see what you think. It makes Mogul (though a genuine, documented reality) sound too convenient. I could be wrong, of course. But I think Cannon really scraped the material to its baking bones. An early bio-toxin delivery device gone wrong? Scattering death over the desert? I don’t know. But as Cannon wrote, it seems to explain the extreme difficulty of finding genuine documentation on the matter. To this day, lawsuits would be a reality if it came out that the crash debris caused human deaths. However, those directly involved with handling artifacts, from available accounts, did not meet their end from exotic toxins—so there you go.

The slides, if you’ve seen the somewhat obscured versions, to my vision show mummified human remains. This entire attempt to hold back until 5 May (Day of the Dead in Mexico, where the big reveal is slated to occur) only reinforces my feeling that nothing valuable will transpire.

Let it go. And leave Randle alone.

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The Unbearable Lightness of UFO Evidence

Hardcore believers in the ET hypothesis might want to pop a Breaking Bad DVD into the machine, because this post will burn your bacon.

I don’t come lightly to this (or anything–it’s personal), but in the wake of my book’s publication (Black Light) I’ve gone on an “evidence kick,” scouring the literature as far back as the 19th century. Yes, weird phenomena were investigated then, bereft of present-day technology, for all the difference that made. Frankly, little has changed in the way things are done, with the same battles between researchers and their beliefs. Jack Brewer at The UFO Trail has a gathering of video featuring the Budd Hopkins/Linda Cortile events that so clearly points out many wrong elements I can only thank him for posting these. Look closely, and you’ll see what I mean.

I write this with some guilt, because part of me wanted to accept that account, but the “facts” simply are too good to be true–as ever. For anyone not seriously involved in either investigation and/or writing about same, it might be hard to understand how quickly such pursuits can exhaust you. While I’m not even close to approaching the level of seriousness and integrity (meaning embarking upon the subject with open eyes and mind no matter where that leads) Jack and other serious investigators employ, I do spend a LOT of my time and resources trying to be. I consider myself one who will always taste what’s offered, and even swallow it–no matter how nasty. I’m often amazed over the time I’ve vaporized reading about (even downloading the letters of) Gray Barker, fellow West Virginian (no, I’m not a native, so don’t paint us all with the same brush), who was either A) A complete Bullshit Artist. B) A part-time Bullshit Artist with literary pretensions (though a pretty skilled writer). Or C) A man hiding genuine interest in the paranormal behind an I’m-too-sophisticated-for-this-nonsense facade, but like the money. And who doesn’t like money?

You are right if you think I’m wasting time by even caring about a man who died in 1984, whose best work probably was finished sometime around 1960. But where lies my fascination? I’m open to suggestions–trust me. I do know part of that fascination comes from realizing only recently (I can be slow) I might actually be playing a small part in ufology originating in WV writers, i.e. Barker, and Andy Colvin (he of the extensive DVD documentary The Mothman’s Photographer, and–at last count–author and/or editor of a LOT of books on Amazon covering Mothman, UFOs, John Keel, Gray Barker, Jessup, Adamski, and much more). That makes three of us, and my hope is that the work matters. Andy, who I met at the 2009 Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, has included a small amount of my writing in his book Return of the Prophecies of Mothman without asking my permission–as well as a blurb by me on the back cover, billed as coming from Forbes, for which website I did ghost-write an article for NYC’s John Kluge. I can’t really bitch about the blurb, even though it didn’t come from the Forbes piece. But Andy has yet to respond to my emails wherein I ask what of my writing was used in his book–simple professional protocol, no? This bothers me, since I wouldn’t dream of using anyone’s material in a book of my own without asking.

Ho hum. And I am pleased Andy saw fit to include me, but do not understand the inexplicable not seeking permission. Frankly, had I done the same, I’d be dreading legal action. But there you go. Got that out.

Regarding the unbearable lightness of UFO evidence, I refer the reader to 99% of YouTube and 98% of Amazon. I do not exclude my own book, save that I think I did a fair job of reporting all sides, excepting my own subjective experiences–whatever they ultimately were. The YouTube videos are so across-the-board blatantly fake, they make Ed Wood (Plan 9 From Outer Space) look like Orson Welles. There are a few worthy of serious scrutiny, and you might have seen one in particular, apparently shot in Japan (clue to a fake?), wherein a guy and his pal pull off the highway to film a gray object peeking from a cloud. The object abruptly spits out fiercely bright orbs that drop behind trees. It looks distressingly real, except no other motorists can be seen pulling over for a look….

We’ve all discovered that the “classic” color shot (and a striking one at that) of a triangular UFO over Belgium was a Styrofoam fake. Ditto for many, many other so-called classics. And the evidence for “alien” abduction always ends up with anecdotes, “implants” that–once removed and analyzed–prove to be terrestrial alloys of mundane atomic composition, or, embarrassingly, organically encrusted fibers extracted from an “abductee’s” penis. The carefully placed video cameras faithfully fail–always–to capture Grays or Reptilians grabbing some poor bastard from his sleep. Hypnotic regression says more about those employing it than their traumatized victims. Projection…archetypes…fantastical manifestation of autonomous complexes… This is Carl Jung 101, people.

The so-called abductees (some of them) have been genuinely traumatized–by what, no one knows. Not even Whitley Strieber, who wrote the scariest goddamned books possible about the subject. I kind of agree with those who refer to him as the Carlos Castenada of ufology–and that’s not an insult. As a most-of-the-time author of novels and short fiction, I have learned more from Whitley Strieber’s prose than I have from many others earning more than he. I LIKE Strieber, and pray I never experience anything near as intense as what happened to him–whatever the hell that was. I don’t think he’s a liar, because he did suffer after publishing Communion, something many of you might argue with. And that’s okay. America’s still a free country–if you can afford it.

In closing, I can say it’s certainly obvious I’m the guy who wants to believe, and has become embittered over the lack of tangible evidence. “Jesus Christ,” you’re saying (with admirable example), “how can you be so naive?”

Easily. I live in the same world as you, full of shams, war, horror, and killer tornadoes. Judge Judy….

Musician Tom Waits was right: “Don’t ya know there ain’t no devil, there’s only God when He’s drunk.”

Amen.

 

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Just Because…

For the hostile lesser minds…this is for you.

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Please Don’t Crash: A Ufological Scenario and One Other Thing You Won’t Like

This blog is being fueled by Tangerine Dream’s live Ricochet album, for which I’ve provided a link on my Twitter account. I was a high-school junior when I saw this tour in Cleveland, Ohio, back in that oh-so-psychedelic year of 1975. If you weren’t hanging out in the Metro Park smoking dope, blasting Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, etc., you weren’t One of Us. Don’t feel bad. We didn’t know who we were either, but knew what sounded good, freely partying away with no Internet, cell phones, cable TV, or terrorists (at least to our limited minds). The Woodstock T-shirts were beginning to fade, and the park rangers would come by on horses: “Take your dope and beer and get out.” No arrests; no frisking: no nothing. We were in charge. Do I miss those times? What do you think?…

This period was filled with UFO reports–many in Ohio. Especially the 1973 “Coyne Encounter,” after Major Larry Coyne, present in an Army helicopter over Mansfield that had a near collision with a cylindrical UFO and its green beam which purportedly pulled the vehicle upward before vanishing. These men, as reported in newspapers and on TV, were in fear for their lives. 1973 was at the end of a UFO “wave,” a country-wide invasion, if you will. I’m not going to speculate whether this UFO might have been a military prototype, or early stealth vehicle. For one, we’ll never know. For two, with Wright-Patterson nearby in Dayton, almost all UFO reports in Ohio have to be considered with a nod in that direction. And the whole “Military intelligence wouldn’t dare be so reckless to test prototypes over populated regions” doesn’t cut it. Sure they would. Even more so these days, when unmanned aerial platforms need to calibrate sensors to detect all manner of chemical, biological, radioactive, etc., sources. This might go some way to “explain” the so-called absurd maneuvers of huge (and small) triangular UFOs seen over bodies of water and cities. Simply, you can’t know whether your machine works until you test it in the real world. The old UFO cover-story is always there to provide complete deniability–unless, of course, said deniable craft crashes, which seems not to have happened yet.

What if there was a crash?

Here’s a scenario, based on my fiction-writing, I can get behind. Actually, I don’t need that. Let’s say some big vehicle comes down (with or without “civilian” casualties on the ground). The first reports would assume an airliner crash–reporters on the scene faster than you can brew a cup of Italian roast. Live on TV and the Net: “We’re kind of mystified…the debris doesn’t look like a jetliner, but the scatter is huge…” Coin-toss as to who would get there first, really: media or military. I’m guessing media–a lot of them. Then military, who (assuming a classified vehicle) would almost certainly have to cordon off the site. What would they say? Bad press indeed to show hostility: “Get outta here. This is a secure site!” This would only attract more media. At this juncture, the military point-person either must admit this was “one of ours” or lie and claim it was a foreign intrusion, i.e., “terrorists.”

Now, unable to completely black out the area, what would military intelligence do? They could seal the site, but there are hobbyists with homemade drones who would be more than happy to check things out. And would. Nothing these days can be completely hidden–for good or ill, whether you want to see or not. The wreckage might appear “alien.” Conspiracy mongers would go ape-shit. So would I–but not for that reason. Military intell almost certainly would have to put the blame on terrorists–and would probably hate the necessity, because this would mean failure to secure our airspace…which should be impossible. But 9/11 happened. And while I don’t see any genuine evidence for conspiracy on America’s behalf, there are a lot of inexplicable matters regarding the time lapses of getting fighter jets in the air, etc.

I would be naive to assume this scenario has not been considered by military intelligence. It has to have been. Unfortunately, this still leaves unanswered the mystery of who exactly is flying the so-called black triangles. Since I’m 99% against the ET hypothesis, this lingers uneasily in my mind. Probably I ought to be thinking of matters more important, like why certain people, instead of turning away from what offends them, choose to kill the offenders over snarky comic-book bullshit–but it just happened. More and more, human activity is incomprehensible to me. Worse, I see a capacity in us to not only adjust to such catastrophic horror, but to instantly find some way to profit from it. “If only I’d known my son was involved in this,” I hear the distraught mother on NPR, “I would’ve stopped him. Let’s get together and stop our kids from embracing this terrorist insanity.” Send money now, and count on the book that’ll certainly be written. Or subscribe to some website with the same message. Whatever.

My question: Where were you when your “kid” got into this shit, lady or sir?

I’m as confused and afraid as you, but I see a trend developing where the line between reportage and reality grows ever blurrier, smug, and cold. Bullies shoving each other in a global playground: “Oh yeah! Watch this! You won’t believe how much I’m gonna fuck you up, pal!”

What I hate–yes, hate–is my own growing incomprehension. Are we not all human? The people carrying out these horrific attacks certainly view themselves as human, but intolerant of those who disagree with them. We need never fear a technological “singularity,” i.e., a Terminator rise of the machines. Some of us have become machines–“moral” machines. We can’t honestly point a finger anywhere, when every day is an exhausting race between damage control and complacency. Brilliant people with vision are bought out to give us better weapons, instead of more peaceful practical visions. True enough, though: you can only buy what’s being offered for sale. Ignore the ingredients and package warnings.

Guess I got off the UFO topic pretty quickly, eh? Maybe next time.

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2015: The Plan

For anyone paying attention, I thank you. The publication of, and fairly good reception to, BLACK LIGHT, has taught me a few things. The response to my “First Read: The Mothman Prophecies” has brought me unexpected praise from John Rimmer at The Magonia Blog, and has ended up the #1 piece in Magonia’s Top Ten for 2014 by a wide margin. I can only be grateful for this. It feels strange, only because I don’t quite “get” this, in light of other pieces I’ve read there that seem far superior. Trust me, though–I’m very happy to be a part of Magonia. When I look back on how much time I’ve spent going over old UFO reports, it almost overwhelms me. There’s no lack of material for anyone interested in the entire phenomenon, in which I include all so-called paranormal events. I was foolish to think–and write–that I could ever simply stop my interest in such matters–I can’t. Even if that’s not “healthy.” Is there a difference between a writer spending huge amounts of time and effort on anomalies, and a reader doing the same? I don’t know, because I’m both, and have been since the late 1970s. I would define “obsession” as that which intrudes upon life and its daily events. And involvement in these things has intruded, however sneakily and once in a while uninvited.

It is what it is: a substitute (like that old song by The Who) for religion. Of course the Who wasn’t singing about UFOs, but you know what I mean if you’re honest with yourself. Sometimes I wonder if atheists really exist. The very idea seems to me a denial of human existence–an unacknowledged fear of what my science-fiction writing (one of which I am whom) pals might call the “meatspace.” Our bodies, and all the miseries they’re subject to simply by existing in a world frankly unaware of us. Or at least indifferent. Whether you believe in God or Satan or Gaia, you aren’t getting out of here alive, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. We’re born bloody and screaming, and most of us will die the same way. What we do–or fail to do–between those harsh poles is all that’s real, unless you read too many Philip K. Dick novels. Then you might question even the reality of the walls that buffer you from life.

I don’t have the slightest clue what life is, what we are, or what it’s worth. Philip K. Dick’s outlook didn’t help, but by God it sure keeps me wondering despite his cursed life and how others treated him. We can read 10,000 books, from The Bible to The Book of the Dead (choose your favorite) to this month’s New Age prophet and his/her recycled nonsense. It’s ultimately up to us what to “believe” or from what to take emotional comfort. My personal “bible” is Colin Wilson’s THE OUTSIDER. Wilson seems to have listed, and given the solutions for, life’s major problems. But the biggest challenge of all is building the super-human discipline to follow the course–as ever. Wilson himself admitted that we cannot long tolerate swimming in the deep sea of consciousness and intellect without heaving for breath to support us. We’re simply not ready for that. But he did clearly state the main barriers, and without the (in my opinion only) turning away from common everyday humanity so mercilessly laid out by the likes of Nietzsche and other existentialists. The fact is, we need comfort. Wilson allows this, while regretting the necessity. Nietzsche despises it, and perished humiliated from visiting prostitutes. This is not a moral judgment–simply an actual one.

My mind sides with him, and Wilson, and especially with my contemporary Thomas Ligotti–but my spirit can’t breathe that black air. Well, not for long. Frankly, as much as I admire Ligotti (Lovecraft’s torch-taker), I see the poison in his philosophy. We are more than what we think–I hope.

What do I mean by all this? Well, that I can take in the worst of the “nihilists” (even de Sade), and find something beyond worth living for. And that’s good enough.

I have found a heretofore (at least in my mind) unrecognized thread dangling through the sheer weight of UFO/paranormal studies, and intend to write about this on the Night Run.

I hope you’ll follow me, and chip in.

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Got the Climate-Change Blues?

You’re welcome….

http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how-to-talk-to-a-sceptic/

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2014 Summary and a Thank-You

Thanks to those who have supported me, and shown genuine interest by picking up a copy of Black Light: Perspectives on Mysterious Phenomena. By any standards, 2014 was an incredibly prolific year for me. I wrote 4 books (2 under my name; the others—a dark conspiracy thriller, and a screenplay novelization for a forthcoming Australian indie film—as ghost-writer), 8 short stories, around 60 articles for 2 Paragraphs.com, and a handful of book reviews. Oh, almost forgot about the article on Magonia Blog (“First Read: THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES”) which scored over 3,000 hits, making it the third most-read piece since the magazine went online in 2005.

I’m not sure I have much more of relevance to say about UFOs and so-called paranormal phenomena. Both fields of study are growing—especially in America—increasingly idiotic and polluted by TV bullshit featuring illiterate young people prancing around with EM meters (they respond to simply being held, to iron bed-frames, and other interference which not a single one of these “ghost hunter” shows ever has mentioned filtering out!) and doing their best Blair Witch Project vamping. Amazingly stupid, annoying, and close to criminally irresponsible, since common TV-watchers actually believe what they see and hear.

Anyway, The Night Run might end its dark explorations. I’m not 100% sure, though. As they say, “Watch this space.”

And thanks….

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