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Down One of Many Rabbit Holes…

Just got done doing a very fun interview with Greg Bishop of Radio Misterioso. Unfortunately, the live stream at killradio was malfunctioning so it’s unclear how many—if any!—people heard it. Greg should have the downloadable version up sooner rather than later.

Along with talking about The Chaos Conundrum and Extraterrestrials and the American Zeitgeist we discussed the nature of the paranormal, the hassles of writing (and the hassles of getting people to publish said writing), and thousands of other topics.

One thing, which i brought up when I was briefly on the other week was the Boxcar Willie as Lizard Person meme. It’s out there, in various places. Here is an un-retouched shot of a Google search I just undertook:

2014 05 26 01 45 30

So the idea is out there. One of the search results is a good interview of David Icke in the Guardian by Jon Ronson, author of The Men Who Stare at Goats, Them, and others. Ronson writes

Indeed, every individual accused of reptilian paedophilia by David Icke had so far failed to sue, including Bob Hope, George Bush, George Bush Jr, Ted Heath, the Rothschild family, Boxcar Willie, the Queen of England, the Queen Mother, Prince Philip, Kris Kristofferson, Al Gore and the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group.  

This was from early 2001, so the Boxcar-Willie-as-LIzard-person notion has been around for a while. On RM, with Greg, I posited that it emerged as a conflation of Icke’s reptilian stuff with the mind control/pedophilia/cocaine/country music industry conspiracy promoted by Cathy O’Brien in Trance-Formation of America, a troubling and strange book. 

While tracking down the origins of the various slanders against BCW is just plain fun, it also is part of a new project I’m working on (that will be finished sometime in 2015). Speaking of work, here’s some word-accountability:

Some Interesting Recent Stories

The other day, I discussed MUFON and their attempts to use statistics and the like. Unknown to me at the time, MUFON has embarked on a television series with H2, one of the History Channel…um…channels. These are, by and large, devoted to Nazis and aliens, of course. The show: Hanger 1: The UFO Files.  I haven’t seen it yet and, like many pseudo historical things on the History channels, I don’t have to. Jason Colavito, blogger, writer, and skeptic watches them for me and reviews them with a critical and thoughtful eye.

Hangar 1 hero logo hero H

Of Hanger 1, he says:

Seriously: This is the absolute worst H2 “documentary” I have yet seen. It actually makes America Unearthed look responsible and Ancient Aliens seem accurate.

Think about that. Then consider the course upon which MUFON  has embarked. Then cry a little.

Robert Sheaffer’s blog brought this story to my attention.

Nick Redfern, author of too many books to count (as well as the foreword to The Chaos Conundrum) wrote a bit over at Mysterious Universe about The Cryptoterrestrials and the late Mac Tonnies. It’s a good précis on the subject, one that has been known to divide the UFO/Flying Saucer community, mostly because it dares suggest that ETs might not be the answer to every weird sky thing (that’s a pretty rough summary, right there).

Both of these stories came my way via Paul Kimball.  Thanks!

With that, it’s Friday night which means it’s not time for flying saucers, it’s time for anything else! Have a good weekend.

Remote Viewing, 1990s Flashbacks and Short Memories

If you remember back to 1996/1997, you may recall the Hale-Bopp “companion” hoax. A key figure in that was Emory University Poli Sci prof Courtney Brown and his Farsight Institute’s remote viewing of the alleged ship accompanying the comet, due mostly to his appearances on Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell.

Brown, et al’s culpability for things like the Heaven’s Gate suicides might be tangential.  It was still quite disturbing to me this evening to find that the Farsight Institute, under Brown, is still operating.

There’s a great part in Jon Ronson’s The Men Who Stare at Goats in which he interviews Brown, who displays a frightening lack of insight into the consequences of his claims back in the 90s. This resurgence of the Farsight Institute is just another example of the short memory of many involved in the paranormal field, sadly.

This little gem, from the current site, seems to be infringing on Richard Hoagland’s Mars gimmick.

What’s especially frustrating is that there is some amazingly interesting information and data about remote viewing out there (Ronson’s book is particularly good about some of the more bizarre instances of US government dabbling in this field).

Appearance on Beyond Paranormal Radio

Last night’s appearance with the crew on Beyond Paranormal Radio is now up for your listening pleasure (click here!).  My segment’s the second one, starting at about 65 minutes in or so.  The first hour was a quite good accounting of some haunted house sort of things.  I think my segment went well—it certainly flew by as I was doing it—and included a listener call-in, which is always fun.

New Interview- The Bruce Collins Show

Just posted this very evening is my appearance on the Bruce Collins Show.  This was a fun one to do, as we delved more deeply into the religious and spiritual side of the topics covered in The Chaos Conundrum than some of my other interviews have.  In particular, we spend more time on what I term the Para-evangelical fringe– topics like the serpent seedline, human-demon hybrids and other ephemera, especially the way it echoes earlier “Satanic ritual abuse” conspiracy theories and panics.  I had a nice conversation with Bruce and it was a change of pace from begin so focused on the UFO stuff.

Jim Keith’s “Casebook on Alternative 3: UFOs, Secret Societies, and World Control”

Alt3 CoverJim Keith’s 1994 book Casebook on Alternative 3: UFOs, Secret Societies, and World Control  (hereafter CoA3) is a book I’d been meaning to pick up for a long time.  I first encountered Jim Keith on some old radios shows from back in the 1990s including Sightings on the Radio, Paranet Continuum, and Coast to Coast AM.  These interviews largely revolved around his Casebook on the Men in Black.  It wasn’t until later that I discovered the far more interesting work Keith was doing on more down-to-Earth conspiracy theories.

That’s where Alternative 3 comes in.  I’ve long been fascinated by this story.  On June 20, 1977, an episode of Anglia TV’s Science Report aired on ITV stations in the UK. This episode discussed plans for the wealthy and powerful to evacuate the planet to escape the effects of climate change and other catastrophes.  It featured interviews with family members of missing scientists, people who had been hushed up, and an American astronaut who had seen things in space that he shouldn’t have.

The closing credits make clear that this was a hoax—it was intended to be broadcast on April 1 (mentioned in the credits) but network difficulties pushed it back to the summer.  Despite the unreal nature of the film, it has a thin patina of credibility.  It has made its way on to YouTube so you can see it for yourself.

A book based on the film followed soon afterward.  One of the authors was reported to have claimed that Alternative 3 was fiction based on fact.  This sparked the thing that me the most about Alternative 3.  It persists in the conspiracy and paranormal literature as a source of fact.  I’m currently working on a conference paper (which might turn in to something larger, stay tuned…) about the interplay between conspiracy culture and rhetoric and the media based on these theories in the 1990s.  Basically, to what degree did The X-Files play off of posts on the Usenet group alt.alien.visitors and vice versa.  Alternative 3 seemed like an interesting jumping off point.

I was thrilled to find a copy of ConA3 on ( in decent shape and—bonus!–t with extensive and paranoid margin Margin notes omments from the previous owner), since I enjoyed the other Jim Keith books I’d read and was interested in his take on this televisual hoax.

I was a bit surprised that Keith readily accepts the April Fools’ Day nature of the show.  He sums up his angle of approach early on: “While perfectly secure in my knowledge that the TV show and the book are basically yellow journalism using scare tactics to makes a pound, I am a little shocked to realize that, at most levels anyway, the revelations of Alternative 3 are also true” (13).  Keith, in total, spends remarkably little time on the core text of Alternative 3.  Rather, he uses the themes of the show/book as a launching pad for discussing a variety of conspiratorial themes including mind control, Project Paperclip and Nazi influence on the American intelligence community, government sponsored drug trafficking, the use of the “UFO” phenomenon as a cover for various types of conspiratorial skullduggery, and so on.  

Keith’s book, then, is much more of a hodgepodge than I would have liked, although it was very well written and fairly well sourced (certainly as well-sourced as conspiracy texts usually are).  I was a bit disappointed by the book’s reiteration of well-worn themes (part of this is my fault—I’d read Keith’s Mind Control World Control and other books previously) but some of the themes he addresses were addressed in his previously published books Secret and Suppressed and Black Helicopters over America.  The inclusion of Alternative 3 is limited to the point of feeling a bit gimmicky—more of a selling point than a true and solid focus.

margin notes

This is not to say that CoA3 isn’t worth reading.  On one level, there is some good information about government coverups, corporate misdealings, and the like.  As a primary source for understanding approaches to conspiarcy theory in the 1990s it is excellent.  I’m still in the process of doing up some of the research for this conference paper but I’m increasingly intrigued by the adoption of Alternative 3 as a sub rosa disclosure of a wide variety of hidden truths.  One of the things I’m interested in is the place of Keith’s book in this strand of thought.  He does relate some of the writing of conspiracy personality Mae Brussell, who believed Alternative 3 to contain truth.  Keith quotes her saying the following on her radio program in 1977:

Now the thing about …Alternative 3 is that I’ve received many manuscripts and books from listeners throughout the years… but I can’t remember in 15 years of ever having a (physical) reaction…

This book made me nauseous and I wanted to vomit, and I wanted to faint. I wanted to cry, I wanted to bang the walls down, I literally had the shakes for about a week. It was so scary because it just could be the bottom line of these conspiracies.’

I believe it probably is the most important book I’ve read in many, many years…’

I don’t have any doubt in my mind that this is a very dangerous document to have, probably the most dangerous thing which I possess in my library at this point, and the only thing that will relieve the danger is to share it and disseminate the information… 

‘It’s the one book that puts into focus all the books and articles which I have received for the last fifteen years (Ibid).

Jim Keith’s considerable audience and reach would seem to indicate that CoA3 would have been an important link in this chain of incorporating the Alternative 3 text into the broader canon of conspiracy theory.

My appearance on UFO Encounters with Jim Harold

I recently appeared with Jim Harold on his UFO Encounters podcast with the first interview about The Chaos Conundrum.  He very kindly is allowing me to share it with you.  I urge to to go check out Jim’s Paranormal Plus Club for more great audio, as well as his excellent free podcasts.

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Thanks Jim!

Radio interview December 7- Where Did the Road Go?

December 7 at 11:00 PM Eastern, I’ll be on Where Did the Road Go? with host Seriah Azkath.  The show streams live from its home station, WVBR in Ithaca (the streaming link is on the main site, linked above).

Aaron J Gulyas will be our guest. We will be discussing his latest book, The Chaos Conundrum. In ‘The Chaos Conundrum,’ historian Aaron John Gulyas examines how the paranormal has intersected and influenced our culture in myriad ways, from the conspiracy beliefs of William Cooper and Exopolitics to the challenge that the stories of Gray Barker presented to our concept of self and time. He looks at the maelstrom of personalities, agendas, impressions, data, confusion, and contradictions that can be found in the world of the weird, and demonstrates how they have become an integral part of our lives, whether in the form of flying saucers, hauntings, religious revelations, psychic abilities, or dozens of other guises. Gulyas delves into the stories of the people who have attempted to create order out of the chaos. Along the way he recounts his own journey from enthusiastic believer in the ‘shadow government’ and their underground bases to jaded academic skeptic, and then finally to someone who thinks there might just be something to the paranormal after all… but not what we have been led to expect or believe.