Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Further thoughts on the Leask interview

Well, I got halfway through the Paratopia episode at exactly 12:12 today, and spent the remainder of the day focussed on a major tech event that happened at 1:00, so I'm still not finished. But I wanted to mention something that has been gnawing at me a bit: the concept of "free energy.". Although I think that most of the proponents of "free energy" are maybe on the wrong path, and the whole movement has been polluted with hucksters--still, I think that this is one of the few areas of UFOlogy that, surprisingly, we will see some remarkable breakthroughs in.... an argument that I hope to flesh out tomorrow. I do actually think that there's a "there" there.

There's a Brad Steiger book that came out in '71, I think... I have the original pulp paperback, describing incubi and succubi (did I spell that right?), which describes astral reptillian entities... A very good read. Also know someone who has encountered these beings. This is a whole genre of experience which I think is valid and which might masquerade as an abduction experience. These encounters are probably common but are usually kept private. But the caveat that I would give on OOBE experiences is: we really don't know where these experiences come from... Are they subjective projections? Archetypes? Thought creations? Actual conscious entities? It's difficult to say, since our culture has so little acquaintance with the non-physical. But I'm inclined to think that it's not ET.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Posting by iPhone?

How will this work? We shall see; I'm surprised that Google doesn't have a Blogger app yet; there is, to say the least, no app for that. But then, "the Google" and Apple aren't on the best of terms nowadays. And Google has never really cared about Blogger anyway.

I am halfway through the Paratopia interview with Chris Leask and I thought I'd post a few thoughts. I'm not sure what the Paratopians will think of Mr. Leask (I'm averse to attention and I don't go to forums very much). They may not dig his free energy concept. Can't blame them. Leask's blueprint for a free energy device (two counter-rotating metalic spheres) is prominent in UFOlogy as being the supposed mechanism of UFO propulsion. Many experiencers through the years (moi included) have imagined such a device being used. I even drew this up in a diagram that I wanted to mail to NICAP, but didn't, for want of a stamp (my father wouldn't give me one and, at age 11, had none of my own). This object sounds similar to the bell thingie that the Nazis supposedly had. While Leask was describing his device, I was trying to imagine how it might work. I really don't think it can--or could. From a sociological standpoint, however, I think it's significant that "free energy" appears as a major archetype among the experiencer community, so it has to mean something. But we have to remember that these are the same ETs who assure us that vinegar cures cancer.

The OOBE portion, however, is something that I can write about, when I hear the rest if the interview. I've had a lot of experience with this and, beyond the late Robert Monroe's writing, there's not much out there that's substantial. In other words, this pool is not totally contaminated. One thing I think I noticed Leask doing was, in introducing his "machine," he begins to describe it as a waking encounter, then qualifies it as being a "dream," and then further qualifies it as an "awake" (or lucid) dream; which may, or may not, be an OOBE. All experiences in that twilight state of initial OOBE can be subject to contamination; when you are in this state, you can't automatically distinguish between objective and subjective imagery.

Anyway, another cool Paratopia and a lot of fuel for thought.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I think I like the word "esoterica"

I heard Tim Binnall use it; I wasn't really sure it was a word, but, apparently, it is. So I'm going to start using it.

Most students of esoterica are jaded by UFOlogy because the subject seems to recede and lose focus in direct proportion to the amount of attention that we devote to it. As such, it's hard to argue that the phenomenon as a whole isn't, as Vallée and Jung argued, of terrestrial origin, arising from some powerful source that escapes our conscious perception. And those who dabble too much in UFOlogical waters find their lives cursed, relationships trashed, livelihoods ruined. About the only thing that serious researchers can agree on is that we haven't learned a damn thing more about UFOs than we already knew in, say, 1960; indeed, we may know even less. So the serious researcher can be forgiven for throwing in the towel on the whole rotten field.

Fortunately, there are other more intriguing areas of esoterica inquiry. My personal favorite is after-death communication. While most people may never see a UFO their entire lives, most will have some encounter with either a "ghost," or have some other para-physical experience with a deceased personality. It is a universal, but largely hidden, human experience.

Unfortunately, this particular "pool" has also been polluted--not by "the government," but by deliberate fraudsters and hacks who know that this is a easy way to make a living on the gullible. Sylvia Brownes are, unfortunately, the majority. It is best to assume that most self-appointed mediums, channelers, and "psychics" are phony--unless and until they can make a substantial and convincing case otherwise. As a result, some of the best research goes unheard; it's simply lost.

One case that I think is probably valid involves a Danish girl named "Janne" who, after her death at age eighteen, managed to communicate with her family by various means. What impresses me about this case is that it is, as far as I know, fairly obscure. I've visited the website several times but even though the site has been online several years, I appear to be visitor number "3031." The entire case can be read in a free e-book which anyone can download at "Janne Beyond Life." I'd be curious to read what others might think of this case.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's easy to capture "orbs"...

faux orb photo, originally uploaded by an0nym0n0us.

if you know what you are doing. In this case, my "orbs" are frozen ice crystals illuminated by my camera's flash at night. I took several of these shots and could easily see the ice crystals the moment that the flash went off. I've seen many photos posted on the web not unlike this, purporting to be genuine spirit photos.

Friday, January 1, 2010

musings on Coast To Coast, Paracast, and Paratopia

One New Year's resolution is to revive this blog a bit. I have another, earlier blog that is essentially a mirror for this one, and it gets lots of hits, mostly because of a post that I made concerning Mellon Thomas-Benedict, who I haven't thought much of since writing about him. And I don't think he's been on "Coast To Coast" again, either. (That post is mirrored here but gets few hits from this blog.)

I do listen occasionally to "Coast To Coast" but I'm very selective in what I listen to. While it *can* be a good source of paranormal investigation, it's important to remember that "Coast To Coast" is a money-making vehicle for the franchise that produces it (as well as the "buy gold" advertisers who support it), and so accuracy is not necessarily their goal. Like most commercial broadcast entities, the program is subliminally manipulative; it seeks to create a sense of unease and insecurity in the listener, who will then (hopefully) patronize the program's and website's advertisers, who capitalize on that insecurity. This, in my view, tarnishes much of the material that they examine.... even though a good chunk of it is undoubtedly valid and worthwhile.

As a result, I have largely turned my attention to two self-financed, shoe-string podcasts that are largely mirror images of each other: the Paracast, and Paratopia.

The hosts of both podcasts have had a falling out that, to the best of my knowledge, began with a hostile Paracast interview with Bill Birnes, who is a friend of one of the hosts of Paratopia.... but likely started a bit earlier for reasons obscure. I can't really disagree with the Paracast's treatment of Birnes. Since the publication of "The Day After Roswell," which Birnes apparently co-wrote, researchers have highlighted a number of problems with Phil Corso's story that Birnes did not really address during the episode. However, instead of moving on, it appears that the Paracast has made a number of un-called-for digs at Paratopia and continues to snipe at the competing podcast for no good reason.

In truth, listeners to both podcasts will immediately recognize that while Paratopia started out as a bit of a copycat of the Paracast, Paratopia has quickly evolved a completely different approach to the paranormal which I think is both intriguing and potentially fruitful. I think of the show now as a sort of "Whitley Strieber Lite," exploring many of the same topics that Unknown Country examines, but in a much more credible manner. Believe or disbelieve in crop circles, for example, you still could not help but be intrigued by their recent episodes on the subject. And their examination seems to be hinting at a causality to the phenomenon that other shows have completely missed. (And no, I don't think that ET is behind the crop circles.) And whereas a recent Paracast examination of EVP bogged down in a skeptical rebuttal of practically every recent example of EVP, the hosts of Paratopia take an open, "let's see what we can discover" approach to the subject. Two separate approaches; both probably valid, but Paratopia's approach is more likely to actually uncover something new.

It is this openness to discovery that causes me to recommend Paratopia to the beginning paranormal student. There's no doubt that Jeff and Jer do not follow the scientific method, but Paratopia best embodies the spirit of scientific discovery: an openness to new data, a willingness to discard theories that don't fly, and the sense of adventure that comes with learning something new.