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Fri, 18 Aug 2017
The World for People who Think

High Strangeness


Government surveillance case: "Were motives magical, ufological or political?"

I thought I would do one final article (final for now, at least...) on the subject of my two previous articles. Namely, government surveillance of people with ties to Ufology. The two earlier ones were on (A) the alien abduction issue and secret surveillance; and (B) how the FBI watched many of the UFO Contactees in the 1950s. This third feature in the series is a little different, as it deals with someone whose research has straddled the domains of both Ufology and Cryptozoology. His name is Jonathan Downes, the director of the U.K.-based Center for Fortean Zoology. Jon's main Fortean passions are the likes of sea-serpents, Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman and so on. He has, however, written a number of books that touch on UFOs to significant degrees, including The Rising of the Moon and The Island of Paradise.

It was May 1996 and Downes had been hanging out for a few days with a good friend of his named Tony "Doc" Shiels. If you don't know, Shiels is a near-legendary and controversial figure (and magician) in the field of Forteana and a key player in the saga of the U.K.'s equivalent of Mothman: the Owlman of Mawnan Woods, Cornwall, England. After a few days of hanging out at Jon's home, it was finally time to drive Shiels back to Plymouth Airport for a flight to Ireland, where Shiels lives. And that's when things went from strange to downright conspiratorial. Over to Jon...

"It was a Friday lunchtime in early May 1996. Alison [Jon's ex-wife] and I were beginning to suspect that we had strayed into a particularly far-fetched and badly scripted episode of The X-Files. We were sitting in Plymouth Airport, waiting to put Tony on his plane back to Ireland, after one of his occasional visits. Suddenly, the airport lounge seemed to be full of security guards. There were only about half a dozen men in uniform, but there were a number of rather sinister-looking men in black suits, wearing sunglasses, and looking quite menacing."

Comment: As Downes says later in his story, "It was a week when security at all airports and military bases had been stepped up because of a rumored Irish Republican Army blitz to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Easter uprising." Moral of the story, just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not watching you. But they may not be watching you for the reason you think.


Is the FBI still keeping a close watch on 'alien' contactees?

Just about all of the Contactees of the fifties and the sixties were watched secretly, carefully and closely by the FBI. George Adamski's FBI file reveals that the Bureau was concerned by two things: (A) Adamski's claims that his long-haired "Space Brothers" and "Space Sisters" were probably communist in nature; and (B) Adamski's ability to influence lots of people (his 1953 book, Flying Saucers Have Landed - co-authored with Desmond Leslie - was a huge seller). George Van Tassel was secretly watched too: his FBI file is extensive and covers the early 1950s to the middle part of the 1960s. He also talked about the politics of the aliens, as well as how he was reportedly told by his space-buddies that many of our major religions were born out of visits from ancient astronauts.

Contactee George Hunt Williamson had an FBI dossier opened on him, as did Frank Stranges, of Stranger at the Pentagon infamy. Truman Bethurum - the man who lusted after hot and curvy space-babe Aura Rhanes - was watched. As was Orfeo Angelucci. Moving across the pond, in the late 1950s the British Police Force's Special Branch opened a file on the Contactee-driven Aetherius Society. It was chiefly because the group often talked about the perils of atomic weapons - and to audiences of people who listened very closely to what was being said. It's clear from the files referred to above that the relevant agencies did not believe the tales that the Contactees were telling. But, when it comes to their particular stories, that wasn't the point. The point was that that the Contactees were saying a great deal of controversial things - and a lot of people listening to what they had to say were nodding their heads eagerly and in agreement. That's what specifically had the FBI concerned.


The strange tale of the glowing werewolf

The cold December nights of 1913 seem filled with a strange creature which only served to chill the blood of citizens in the Bronx more than usual. Some newspaper accounts labelled the creature a "Werewolf" and parents were told, by police, to keep a watchful eye on their children. As if a werewolf roaming the Bronx wasn't odd enough this creature added a new supernatural spin to the old legends, it glowed.


1946, Before saucers, Kareeta: UFO contact in California

Hannes Bok art for Imagination, Sept. 1951,
with bird-like space ships similar to Kareeta.
Before Saucers: Kareeta

1947 has gone down in history for Kenneth Arnold's June sighting launching the modern UFO era, however, in 1946, seven months before, another report was making international news. And while Arnold's mysterious objects were merely unknown, the San Diego object was identified. It was a space ship from another planet.

Meade Layne of Round Robin and psychic Mark Probert.
Meade Layne launched The Round Robin in 1945, "A Bulletin of Contact and Information for Students of Psychic Research and Parapsychology." It was the foundation for "an association of spiritualists and parapsychologists, New Thought writers and Theosophical thinkers... their field of research 'the borderlands' of science, those murky areas where quanta overlap with spirit..." It later came to be known as the Borderland Sciences Research Associates. Layne and many of his friends were also interested in "the data of the damned," following in the footsteps of Charles Fort.

Book 2

Book review: The Unseen Hand: A New Exploration of Poltergeist Phenomena

Jenny Ashford is the co-author of several nonfiction titles dealing with poltergeists: The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist, with Tom Ross; House of Fire and Whispers: Investigating the Seattle Demon House, with Steve Mera, about the Keith Linder story; and The Rochdale Poltergeist, also with Mera. Now she has expanded her range and compiled a 400-page survey of the poltergeist phenomenon in all its variety.

After a brief overview, the contents
are divided into categories denoting an escalating severity of events, though obviously there are often overlaps in particular instances: 'stone throwers', 'raps, taps, and bangs', 'flying objects & electric anomalies', 'water, oil, and blood', 'pyromaniac poltergeists', 'ghostly apparitions', 'violent poltergeists' and 'demonic possession'. The volume concludes with brief thoughts on theories which have been advanced to explain the poltergeist. Over a hundred cases are listed chronologically within the categories, dating from antiquity to recent times. Some are mentioned briefly where details are lacking, others are discussed in somewhat greater depth. The net has been cast fairly wide, though British and American cases predominate.

Ashford's view is that, leaving aside occasional non-paranormal explanations such as misperception and fraud, poltergeists are generally unconscious projections of psychokinetic energy by individuals as a manifestation of extreme emotional stress, though the mechanisms by which this occurs are as yet unknown. When fraud does occur, that does not necessarily mean that the entire business should be dismissed, as there may a mix of genuine poltergeist alongside deception.


UFOs and Disney: Behind the Magic Kingdom

© Unknown
The role played by Hollywood in shaping our notions of potential alien life has long been a subject of fascination and contention in the UFO research community. Although there seems to be a consensus among UFOlogists that big screen depictions of UFOs serve to acclimate the populous to the reality of the phenomenon, opinions diverge on whether this acclimation effect is the product of design (inferring the existence of a "Hollywood UFO conspiracy"), or is merely the result of a natural cultural process driven by generic trends and stemming from a simple recognition among Hollywood executives that, when it come to the box office, aliens sell like hotcakes. Within this ongoing debate concerning UFOs and Hollywood, the name of one studio consistently has rung out over the decades - Disney. The House of Mouse has overseen the production and/or distribution of numerous UFO and alien-themed movies in recent times, with the best known examples including Flight of the Navigator (1986) Signs (2002), Lilo and Stitch (2002), Chicken Little (2005), Lifted (2007), I am Number Four (2011), Mars Needs Moms (2011) and the forthcoming John Carter (2012).

Comment: Update August 10, 2017: Lost Walt Disney UFO Documentary: Full Uncut Version 2013 HD


The controversy surrounding General John A. Samford's 1952 UFO "disclosure"

See Magazine 1952 interview with General John Samford on the existence of UFOs

Most people know the Air Force's Major General John A. Samford from his historic July 29, 1952 press conference given after the Washington, D.C. radar incidents, where he talked about the small but troubling percentage of UFO reports "from credible observers of relatively incredible things." Captain Edward Ruppelt in the notes made in preparation for his 1956 book, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, described Gen. Samford in his entries on the key figures involved in the Air Force's Project Blue Book:


North Carolina group spots a Bigfoot in the forest

A "large bipedal animal covered in hair" was reported in North Carolina's McDowell County over the weekend.

In other words, a Bigfoot: The ape-like creature that cryptozoologists believe roams the nation's backwoods.

The sighting happened just before 11 p.m. Friday in a forested area. No one was injured, though the group reports something threw rocks at them as they left the area. McDowell County is about 100 miles northwest of Charlotte.

John Bruner of the Marion-based group Bigfoot 911 reported the event on the group's Facebook page Saturday. Bigfoot 911 is one of a handful of groups around the country that investigate reports of Bigfoot sightings, mostly in places average people don't go at night.

Bruner says a team of seven people were out at the time, scattering glow sticks in the woods. (Bigfoot 911 members believe glow sticks pique the curiosity of a Bigfoot.) It was the sight of one of those glow sticks moving through the woods that got Bruner's attention.

Black Cat 2

Can cats and dogs see spirits?

It was recently brought to my attention that even mainstream science recognizes cats, dogs, and other animals can see frequencies humans can't.

After reading about it a little bit, it makes sense scientifically in a separate way from spiritually. It's simple really: the scientific explanation is that cats and dogs can see UV light and a few other rays, which human retinas don't have the ability to see.

It was previously believed that all mammals had similar eyes to humans, incapable of seeing UV rays, but scientific evidence suggests many mammals can.

A study conducted a few years ago by biologists at City University London, UK provided evidence for this differential in sight between species.

Black Magic

When exorcists need help they call Dr. Richard Gallagher

Dr. Richard Gallagher
A small group of nuns and priests met the woman in the chapel of a house one June evening. Though it was warm outside, a palpable chill settled over the room.

As the priests began to pray, the woman slipped into a trance -- and then snapped to life. She spoke in multiple voices: One was deep, guttural and masculine; another was high-pitched; a third spouted only Latin. When someone secretly sprinkled ordinary water on her, she didn't react. But when holy water was used, she screamed in pain.

"Leave her alone, you f***ing priests," the guttural voice shouted. "Stop, you whores. ... You'll be sorry.

"You've probably seen this before: a soul corrupted by Satan, a priest waving a crucifix at a snarling woman. Movies and books have mimicked exorcisms so often, they've become clichés.

The 1973 film "The Exorcist" shaped how many see demonic possession.But this was an actual exorcism -- and included a character not normally seen in the traditional drive-out-the-devil script.