SMACK LIGHT: RESPECTIVE OF DELIRIOUS PROLEGOMENA

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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