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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THE EDGE TELEVISION BROADCAST WITH DANIEL OTT

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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Roswell Slides: Brother, Can Ya Spare a Dime?

And I mean a dime of some wicked drug to numb me against this nonsense. Am I pre-judging? Of course, since I’ve had only the barest glimpse. But I keep returning to poor Kevin Randle’s website to read hundreds of comments. I’m not sure why. The whole fiasco hits me like a Tom Waits song, one I’ve written myself: “Gold-Panning With a ’47 Chevy Hubcap.” Except the hubcap is real, if corroded. Don’t get me wrong, as they say. I completely “get” the ineffable power of the Roswell mythology. By “mythology” I mean the actual definition of same: “The group ethic as distinct from personal ethic…faceless and obscure…whatever its leaders choose it to mean; it destroys the innocent and justifies the act in terms of the future.”

Thank you, Loren Eiseley, for that poignant definition. In the case of Roswell, the mythology will continue destroying those who believe. I don’t hold their belief against them. I’d sooner castigate Christians for their faith. Whatever gets you through the debris-strewn night, eh? When May 5th opens its bloodshot eye, we’ll see what it brings.

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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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