Category Archives: Admin
The new book, Extraterrestrials and the American Zeitgeist: Alien Contact Tales since the 1950s is now listed on the publisher’s website and is slated for a Spring/Summer 2013 release. It’s also listed for pre-order on Amazon and B&N. Strange to see it out there.
I’ve seen preliminary versions of the cover and it’s very nice (and includes a cow).
Murphy has not only written a great treatment of the Fall Creek Massacre but also a wonderful overview of life on the Indiana frontier in the 1820s. The interaction between the local, state, and federal governments, and between the white and native populations were incredibly complex and Murphy does a good job of examining the gray areas and ambiguity in this case–particularly its astounding lack of long term impact on white/native relations in the Old Northwest.
One of the problems with the Massacre is the lack of documentation (the trial transcripts were lost in a courthouse fire). The book is also a good primer in the imperfect craft of reconstructing historical narratives from whatever sources are available.
If I were to teach a section of my early US history survey for honors students, this book would be on the list.
Content from my paranormal-ish Tumblr, I KNEW TOO MUCH ABOUT FLYING SAUCERS, is now mirrored in the column to your right. Enjoy, and expect more rambling as I work though ideas that will, in some form, be in the book project.
I just finished reading Nick Redfern’s Final Events. It tells the story of the Collins Elite, a supposed group of government insiders who are convinced that alleged space visitors are demonic forces unleashed by occult activities carried out by the like of Jack Parsons. THe viewpoint of the CE is that of a particularly millennial fundamentalist Christianity. The book is worth reading, if for nothing else than the satisfyingly creepy figures Redfern met on his journey.
The book rekindled my thoughts on the intersection of Christianity and the paranormal—especially issues of saucers and contact. Fundamentalist Chrstianity seems to have gone through some convulsions in the past couple decades. The 19th century notion of dispensationalism has been expanded upon, leading to such notions as literal millennialism, a detailed eschatological timeline involving raptures of pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib varieties, and a political cognate known as “dominionism” that links the triumph of Christianity to the dominance of the United States. Most tangible is the connection between fundamentalist thought and American foreign policy, particulary some pro-Israel movements in the US.
Although I’m a Christian, coming from a Lutheran background, much of the fundamentalist though swimming around baffles me. Personally, I find the blending of faith and politics to be dangerous. It’s fascinating, however, to examine the overlap between some aspects of fundamentalist though and the paranormal. Writers such as L.A. Marzulli and Russ Dizdar have made names for themselves by connecting extraterrestrial contact with the old bugaboo of demonic possession or visitation. This is, however, old news.
Digging through my books the other day, I came across this classic from Bob Larson:
Larson has had a long career as a televengelist who is—recently, at least—focused on deliverence from evil spirits. Larson got his start in the Satanic cult scares of the 1980s, a field plagued by frauds and charlatans such as Mike Warnke. It always struck me as odd that the crossover between the DevilFear and the AlienFear took so long to take place.
After all, the beginning of the saucer contact mythos had strong spiritual—if not religious overtones, through the stories of the Contactees. Early concerns about the possibility of ET life having an adverse affect on our religious culture indicate that, as far back as the Brookings report, the overlap in the two topics existed. As the scientific bent of 1960s saucer research took hold, these religious questions moved to the back burner. Writers such as Keel and Vallee did much to move the notion of a wider ufology back to the fore but serious discussions of the intersection between religion and the paranormal were the exception rather than the rule.
Regardless of one’s views on religion (or on specific religions) the connections between the spirtual and the paranormal are there. It’s just awkward and difficult to look at it for any length of time. Like the intersection of the paranormal and academia any conclusions one draws tend to alienate at least 50% of the audience. Maybe…just maybe, it’s time for that to change.
If you’re here from the Radio Misterioso site, please know that Weird-Specific stuff is now posted at http://saucerio.tumblr.com (although if you look around, there’s some paranormal stuff here as well!)
An incredible work, that almost makes me wish I had stayed an English major all those years ago. Although I have read Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, this book makes me want to work my way through the Silmarillion and the Book of Lost Tales–something I’ve been reluctant to do. Probably the best part of this book is not the extensive and detailed biography of Tolkien during the Great War years but the concluding essay which places Tolkien’s work in the context of other Great War writers (Owen, Sassoon, et al) and the modernists that followed the war. A worthwhile read for those interested in the Great War, Middle Earth, or the general effect of war on literature.