Monday, July 11, 2016

Wrapping up Richard Dolan's book and starting two others

I have been reading Richard Dolan's "The Coverup Exposed" on my lunch hour (on those occasions when I get a lunch break), and I've been able to enjoy it by keeping a couple of thoughts in mind... First, Dolan seems to lean toward the extra-terrestrial hypothesis. I'm not sure that I do, but that's okay.  Neither one of us knows for sure. Still, I have to filter his analysis through a different lens. Whereas Dolan sees physical-seeming craft engaging in all sorts of tricksterish behavior with an implicit goal of monitoring or engaging our technological state, visible to anyone who stumbles upon them, I see apparitions of craft appearing to specific individuals; or, more possibly, specific (select) people who are somehow able to peek behind our physical curtain, and see things outside our consensus physical reality that most usually can't.  Second, some of the cases that are cited as authoritative have problems, and I've gotten into the habit of checking them out to see if they have been "debunked."  (A handful apparently have been.)  But I don't fault Dolan. He has created a monumental study of hundreds of cases, but they were compiled BG (before Google).  Since I haven't done the research myself or written my own UFO book, I can't gainsay anything of Dolan's.

So I'm now on to Timothy Green Beckley's "Mystery Of The Men In Black" and "Humanoid Encounters" by Albert Rosales. I actually think that the MIB phenomenon is more interesting than the UFOs it purports to represent, but I haven't found many serious studies on it. Cross-discipline paranormalists spend much energy wondering if MIB and various humanoid sightings are "connected" somehow to UFOs, and what it all might "mean"--but I wonder why, if it's a physical phenomenon, it's not more universally observable.  It seems like it should be, if, in fact, it is physical.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Kindle is a terrible thing to waste: books being read, various and sundry

It's that time again where I prattle on about books that I start (and often finish) in what can be generally called the paranormal or related vein.  I haven't had many original thoughts lately, so this will be a sort of space-filler.

Before commencing, I searched online to see if Jeff Ritzmann has a podcast. I don't think that he does. Since podcasts are very labor-intensive (and generally not profitable), I can't blame him for not having one, even if the "paranormal" is much diminished without it. But in a world where the host of a very well-known podcast has taken to begging for money to meet his most basic living expenses, what hope does an ordinary sincere and talented truth seeker have?  I say this to preface the fact that I'm finally reading Richard Dolan's "The Cover-Up Exposed, 1973-1991 (UFOs and the National Security State Book 2)," which I downloaded a million years ago when I was actively following the UFO field. And I'm enjoying it. The historical period under examination is one where I had my own UFO "experiences."  I remember many of the cases he discusses from the time--that being the era when UFOs were still mentioned without ridicule in the mainstream.  Dolan has taken a historical approach to the matter, which is certainly one way of doing it... Though if you wonder, like I do, whether the UFO enigma *might* be part of a longer, larger sociological process, then looking at the events from a narrowly historical vantage point might cause you to miss something. But I can't fault Dolan for his approach. Someone has to do it, and as far as I know, no one else has. When I read UFO sighting accounts now, however, I'm struck by how vaguely two-dimensional the phenomenon appears to me. They do not strike me as "real"--almost like these lights and seemingly-material craft are a display of some sort. Generally, they show up, put on an aerial light show for a few minutes, then vanish. In most cases, even the military doesn't bother chasing them. Buried in Dolan's accounts, however, are several extremely strange and fascinating incidents that suggest that there is more than "just" a coverup going on; and that whatever *is* going on is related somehow to totalitarian thought-strain that is slowly infiltrating the world. I'm careful how I phrase this, since I well know much certain right-wing extremist thinkers enjoy the subject of UFOs more than they should. (Indeed, it's the main reason that I *don't* enjoy it much anymore.)  Almost doest Dolan persuade me to be a conspiracist. But not quite. Not sure what I think about this, yet. But Dolan is making me think.

Next up is a book that I purchased last night, but it's turning out not to be what I had hoped: "Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr," by Michael Cocks. It's a channeled book, but I researched it a bit before I got it, and I let myself be persuaded by the five-star reviews on Amazon.  I had really hoped, against hope, that it really was Stephen the Martyr from the First Century coming through, and that he might teach me something I hadn't read in the dozens or so other channeled books along this vein. But, I'm convinced, it's not.  To wit:

The acting is the understanding of where we are, to appreciate the moment. The disappointments always come from the actions we feel that we might wish to take. All of these things are not possible and it is just as impossible for this earth to change place with another planet. In the course of our destinies we tend with the use of our physical minds to create a path which differs from what we are to follow and will follow. It would be easier to step off this earth than to change one moment of what our lives will be.

In other words, "Stephen" argues that the events of our lives are predestined; we cannot change them. I actually re-read this several times to make sure that this is what is being argued. I personally reject the doctrine of predestination (and would, if I had the time or inclination, hope to persuade my readers to reject it also).  Actually, it appears that predestination might be historically appropriate for "Stephen," since the Essenes might have believed it, but that doesn't make it correct. In 2000 years, Stephen (if it really *is* Stephen the Martyr) has not evolved beyond his initial belief system. And that was not what I was expecting to read.

So, what might be happening here?

The provenance of channeled material is paramount, in my opinion. We should not automatically embrace a channeled text just because it purports to come from the "beyond," and we should maintain a healthy skepticism when a historical figure is claimed to be the source. (Seth, to his credit, never claimed to be anyone other than Seth, though several channelers have claimed to be "Seth" since Jane Roberts' death.)

It's possible that this really is Stephen the Martyr speaking, but that he's still stuck, philosophically, in the first century. If so, does he have anything to teach us now?  Maybe, maybe not.

It's more possible that the source is someone, or something, else, and the material might be a series of teachings from "somewhere."  I actually believe that a lot of channeled material exists, in completed form, somewhere--as a book, or series of teachings or ideas--and the channeler translates the material for a contemporary audience. This would explain how large volumes of detailed information are channeled seemingly out of thin air.

However--as a general rule--channeled material (including a lot of contactee literature) is not philosophically complex, enlightening, or revelatory. It's still often interesting, and it might actually be useful and beneficial... But it is not what it purports to be. And for me, this is a deal-breaker.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Ingo Swann now on Kindle

I just noticed that several of Ingo Swann's books are now available on the Amazon Kindle platform for a reasonable price. This is notable because all have been out of print for some time.  I managed to download some bootleg PDF scans a while back, but paper copies of "Penetration"--his most intriguing book--were selling for over $100.  The Kindle version is at my impulse-buy threshold of $.99.

Remote-viewing ET is regarded as fringe even within the fringey UFO field, but I think it's a more valid pursuit than, say, using regression hypnosis to recover various UFO "memories."

I haven't read "Penetration" in a while, but I'm inclined to think now that it's *probably* mostly fiction, for several reasons--a main one being that Swann argues that the moon has an atmosphere, which is demonstrably false. But I suspect that he weaved in some elements from his personal experience. Swann probably remote-viewed several "alien" targets at various times and come back with some anomalous data, so I've just never been able to completely dismiss the book as entirely fiction.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Minor gods

I ran across an interesting Seth remark in Book 7 of "The Early Sessions" regarding "minor gods."  Seth indicates that these gods were actual psychological entities connected to our "identity."  Rather than being mythological stories or imaginary beings (or even psychological projections or archetypes), these "gods" are described as "real":

There are also portions connected with your identity, however, within other systems, and these are more advanced than your own psychological self. Again, I am speaking in your terms.  These can be compared in this context, you see, to minor gods, and your mythologies are full of these. They are also obviously in contact with All That Is. 
Some of these have been within your system, in your terms of continuity, and are now beyond it. They also represent your personal connection with All That Is. At times these personalities do aid their own and give instructions.

Seth mentions this in the context of an unusually cogent discussion of where "we" (as physically-focused consciousnesses) fit in the universal scheme; Seth reiterates a point that he makes throughout the books--that our individual human consciousness is a small part of a greater personality gestalt... That parts of us exists on many levels in many different realities.

I think that this point is validated in many (if not most) NDE accounts--the experiencer is suddenly overwhelmed by a realization that we are tangibly connected to beings that are "greater" than our human consciousness realizes. These beings--"angels," "guides," "helpers"--seem able to probe our innermost thoughts and know us better than we know ourselves.

I've always believed that ancient man was not so stupid as to worship beings that weren't "real."  Seth suggests an intercessory function for these beings: they are our personal connection to "All That Is" (God); they also provide aid "to their own."  Obviously, multiple generations of prehistoric humans would not waste all this worship on something that did not work, at least occasionally.

So does it still work?  Probably so. I have a hunch that many of the Marian visions--which are well documented--might fall into this category. And maybe--perhaps--some of the space "visitors" might be minor gods in contemporary garb. Obviously I'm oversimplifying the phenomenon.  There's probably an infinite variety of beings, consciousnesses, and personalities that interact with us in our physical world, and we should keep an open mind to stories of their interventions.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Something Bill said

Bill Clinton was in New Hampshire Sunday, and he observed that "bloggers" have been attacked online by Bernie Sanders partisans for simply explaining why they support Hillary. Since I do, to some extent, live under a rock, I was surprised at this revelation... mostly because bloggers aren't supposed to matter anymore. But then I wondered: Could this explain why my Hillary posts are getting so many hits?  Are "they" looking for Hillary supporters?  (Which should not be construed as suggesting that I am one.)

While pondering this, I took a side trip to rense.com, the dark underbelly of the paranormal. Should anyone doubt my assertion that politics and the paranormal should not be mixed, rense.com should dispel that doubt. I was looking for the Bernie Sanders smear that Rense, by his predilection, was obligated to offer. Instead, I found homophobic smears against Hillary and Rubio, and something about Cruz being scary. I didn't find anything about Sanders, which I thought was unusual.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A note regarding "earthbound spirits"

Dr. Assante devotes a chapter in "The Last Frontier" to refuting the notion of "earthbound spirits".  The "earthbound spirits" idea supposes that upon death, survival personalities of "lower" development cling to an astral level near the physical plane and are unable to escape... And they linger there for a while, confused, lost, and occasionally causing trouble with physical people. Dr. Assante does not agree with this idea. The notion that some discarnate personalities become trapped and "earthbound" violates the principle of a "safe universe," according to her, and belies the "powerfully transformative effects of death."

She's not the only researcher who has argued this... But it's a contemporary concept that I intuitively disagree with. For one thing, it's not falsifiable--it's impossible to prove the nonexistence of a thing. And we can't take an instant poll of the recently deceased to ascertain where exactly they are at--even if their "at" bears any relationship to the physical universe. It sounds trivial, but it's not. The "where" of where we ultimately go is unknown, and unknowable, because--by most accounts-- the "afterworld" can't be physically mapped; there is no place that we can point to in the physical universe and say, "That's where the afterworld is."  When survival personalities are asked--"Where are you?"--they're unable to say. The closest human analogy that I can think of is the dream universe. We've all visited vivid physical landscapes in dreams, but whenever we try to drag a part of this world into the physical as a token of our visit (I've tried), it vanishes when we wake up.

Even in the physical world, concepts of location and distance can only be approximately described, because every object exists only in relation to other objects--it does not absolutely exist at a set point in the universe. When you remove yourself from the three-dimensional consensus universe, with its relative reference points, you lose even that--you have *no* reference points.

Still, we instinctively try to frame the afterlife with physical reference points that hypothesize different "levels" that exist "closer" to the physical world, such as an "astral plane," or further away, where God "is."  (And, for all I know, this may be the best approximation we can make.)

Despite all this--I still think that there's evidence for a "lower" astral level that--for lack of any other way to explain it--is not too "far" away, and that quite a few discarnate personalities linger there.

For one, there are simply too many accounts of a dark, vast "gray" level that the newly dead pass through on their way out of our physical system. The prolific OOBEr Robert Monroe talks about this level in some detail. Ancient historical accounts--probably derived from ancient OOBE and NDE stories--uniformly mention a purgatory-type level that traps the unwitting and unworthy. This level pops up in a number of contemporary NDE stories.

Secondarily, the whole cottage industry of "soul retrieval" and rescue--which some people claim to practice on a nightly basis--is predicated on the assumption that some souls can become "lost" immediately after death. Indeed, the Christian concepts of sin, salvation, and of becoming "saved" versus being "lost," may describe something that is literally true... When you "sin," you cut yourself off from God, and you might become "lost" after death in some lower astral level.

All this, of course, is a vast oversimplification and probable distortion of a process that we can't yet comprehend. Mankind has grappled with these concepts and codified them in religious beliefs through the millennia, without much success.  It's not likely that we--using a metaphysical vocabulary that's hundreds of years old--will do much better.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Was not able to finish "The Afterlife Of Billy Fingers"

I probably should explain why. To read *any* book regarding mediumship requires, for me, a deliberate suspension of disbelief--because a part of me wants to believe that it's true, and I know that many books on this subject aren't. I've learned to be skeptical.

I was curious about "The Afterlife Of Billy Fingers" after the author recently appeared on a well-know paranormal podcast; I think that the host said that he sensed Billy "buzzing around the room" during the interview. So I was intrigued.

As always, I first sought out any critical information that I could find about the book.  I found a few critical reviews online, and the arguments made boil down to two major observations: The author discloses too little of her personal life experience to establish a sense of validation and credibility to the reader; and the process that the author uses to speak to "Billy" seems too perfect.  (Another critic noted that the evolved and philosophical afterlife "Billy" did not seem to be the same person as the real-life troubled Billy, a life-long substance addict who created turmoil among those around him.)

To me, the process that the author used to communicate with Billy is the most problematic part of the account. The author presents to the reader a series of lengthy, coherent, and philosophical paragraphs that she states were audible dictated to her by Billy. These were not the usual mentally impressed thoughts and images that are commonly experienced by mediums, but actual audible sounds.

I'm not arguing that this did not actually happen--it may have--but if it did, it's highly significant. Practically all audible traces left by the "dead" are short and succinct. And they are usually recorded, to establish the legitimacy of the communication. These audible traces are highly variable and seem to require a great deal of energy from "the other side" to manifest. Sometimes voices are physically heard but not picked up by the recorder; other times, they are recorded but not heard.  This suggests to me that it's not a trivial matter for the "dead" to communicate verbally, nor is it guaranteed to work.

(Not to mention--many examples of "recorded" voices, such as the Spiricom, have been credibly debunked.)

Okay. So maybe Billy created the *illusion* of an auditory voice but was actually using mental telepathy. That's possible. But again--the communications are verbally sophisticated, lengthy, and coherent. This is unusual. Even mediums with years of experience seem to struggle to produce a few paragraphs, and these communications contain "translation" errors, as information is passed through several channels and then mentally reconstructed into human language.

So I wasn't able to make the leap on this story. I wished that I could. Billy seems to be quite a character--someone I'd like to know (and I've known a few "Billys" in this life).  So if I'm missing something essential, feel free to point it out.