Karen Cavalli on The Experience

lettheminA great dialogue between Let Them In: 30 Years of Secret Experiences author Karen Cavalli and I is happening right now on The Experience. This is an interview I approached with trepidation, unsure what to make of the notion of letting them in and/or an experiencer offering guidance. What does guidance mean when it comes to alleged aliens and assorted paranormal phenomena? I feared it would end up me wading through New Age nonsense. I was wrong. In fact, I quite like Karen’s approach.

I’m always saying we have to know what we are before we can ask what the other is. Part of that might have to do with femininity/masculinity. Not male/female specifically, mind you. But just masculinity/femininity.

This is not a topic discussed on the show, but between this week’s and next week’s episodes I wonder if this isn’t something worth discussing in the future. It could be another factor (besides fear) in why some of us take the UFO/ghost “hunter” approach and some try to find deeper personal meaning in our experiences.

For now… on with the show!


October Surprise: Whitley Strieber Resurrects Me From The Podcasting Dead


Premieres Oct. 22nd Exclusively unknowncountry.com

UPDATE: The Experience is now available: http://www.unknowncountry.com/experience/latest

Two years ago I left paranormal podcasting behind. I felt like I had nothing left to give and that Jeff and I had done some fairly revolutionary things with Paratopia that we could be proud of. Likewise, we had guests that revolutionized the way we thought about high strangeness phenomena. Now it was over. I’d served my time. I learned what I was going to learn, taught what I had to teach, and that was that. Neither Jeff nor I wanted to do a show for the sake of doing a show, so we called it.

Still, the episodes that stuck with me as a way to pursue this in the future were the listener episodes. Hearing real life encounters from real people with no agenda and exploring them together–that held my interest. I tried branching off into new video territory with the short-lived Paratopia Presents: Talk Story. I thought doing interviews and roundtables via Google Hangouts would be the wave of the future. Perhaps it is, but the technology simply isn’t where I need it to be yet. It was impossible to synch up people from different countries or using different speed modems. And then there’s the problem of it randomly hanging up on me–not good when hosting a show.

That it didn’t work out was fine by me. More time to write and snorkel and play my part in small town Hawaiian living. Plus, there was still a matter of seeing Project Core to its finish. (Almost there. For real this time.)

I’d been asked a number of times over the years when I would be coming back to podcasting or when Jeff and I would resurrect Paratopia. Jeff has moved on to his own show, Paranormal Waypoint. Paratopia lives on in its archive. The idea of doing some specials for that archive with Jeff was appealing,  but beyond that I didn’t see a future for me in this. In fact, last month I was a guest on Project Archivist wherein host/friend Roejen was doing his usual haranguing, telling me I was going to get back into podcasting eventually as if it were a forgone conclusion. But he was wrong. It wasn’t. Until about a week later when friend and Paratopia listener episode alum Joe Gooch messaged me asking if I’d seen this.

This was Whitley Strieber looking for a new half-hour show to fill the open slot left by William Henry. Henry hosted Revelations on Unknowncountry.com quite successfully and was moving on. If anyone could drag me out of podcasting retirement, it would be Whitley Strieber. So, I pitched him an idea. An idea based on the Paratopia listener episodes. An idea that he loved and here it is….


Premiering exclusively at http://www.unknowncountry.com, The Experience is a weekly half-hour program wherein I interview experiencers of all high strangeness phenomena. Anything and everything is on the table. Let’s explore it all: what it means to be an experiencer; what the experience itself may mean beneath its obvious surface. And what is an “experience of high strangeness?” Does it hold at its core a singular intelligence using numerous facades like tools to interact with us, or are we embedded in a much larger ecosystem filled with multiple intelligences and energies that live on the periphery of our senses? Or is something else entirely going on?

Each episode will have a particular theme in mind. Because it’s only a half-hour show, there’s a real learning curve here for me in trying to key in on the important questions to ask. I may have to actually write questions down beforehand!–The horror!

In the inaugural episode I talk to Joe Gooch who not only lit this fuse but also kindly donated the theme song. We get an overview of some of his experiences through the years leading to the question, Are experiencers special?

We often get that question, “Why you?” And we think to ourselves, “Why me?” Who better to ask than a man who was once told by a psychic medium that he himself would one day be a psychic medium so powerful that she’d be coming to him for readings? (And to date, it hasn’t happened!)

The Experience can be heard every Wednesday exclusively at www.unknowncountry.com. It is a show by experiencers, about experiencers, for everybody. For it to succeed I’m going to need your help. If you’ve had a high strangeness, paranormal, ufological, spiritual, by whatever category experience and would like to be a guest, write to me at:

theexperience808 @ gmail.com

All interviews are anonymous unless you’re already a public figure in this, so the pressure is off.

And if you’re not an experiencer but would like to talk about anything you’ve heard on the show, write to me at the same address. Every ten episodes I will be doing a review of details that jumped out at me over the course of the previous nine. This can be a solo show or with anyone from the audience who would like to discuss it.

Really, this is all of our show. That’s something we worked for on Paratopia. It was one of those revolutionary ideas: Hey, what if we gave the show over to the listeners? It may have been an idea ahead of its time a few years ago but it feels right on time now.

On October 22nd some undisclosed date in the very near future, possibly tomorrowit’s time… to hear from you.

Mirage Men, Disinformation, and The Kernel of Truth

I figured out something important by watching the documentary “Mirage Men” last night. It’s a flick about Richard Doty and company at the Air Force planting fake alien stories in ufology to ferret out Russian spies during the Cold War. In the process, they drive scientist Paul Bennewitz mad (actually, he was the catalyst for the process) and screw over some ufologists. Unless I’m forgetting something I saw or read, it would appear that nobody documenting this through the years has bothered to ask if it worked. Was it worth driving Paul Bennewitz insane? Did we catch any spies with this tactic?

That gripe aside, the film is quite good. Very well done. Arguably the most important ufological doc to come along in ages. In other words, it will not be winning an EBE award anytime soon.

I won’t bother with a full review of the flick. If you’ve got Netflix streaming, pretend I wrote a glowing review that swayed you and go watch it. It’s that or pick up Birdemic where you left off–Am I right?

All I really want to say here is that I’ve figured out how to keep the disinformation stories going even after they have been exposed. It’s by telling ourselves this little deceptive phrase that we take as a truism. Richard Doty says it a number of times and others repeat it in the film as well. It is this: Any good lie contains a kernel of truth.

Therefore, you see, even the disinformation contains a truth. Therefore, you see, there really are aliens being covered up–we just don’t know what in the fake documents is real information about them and what is bogus.

Ho-hum, ufology.

Here’s the truth about that truism: Sometimes the kernel of truth is not contained within the structure in question but in the interplay between giver and receiver. Let me show you what I mean….

The same thing is said about comedy–every joke contains a kernel of truth. So, if you tell a racist, sexist, or homophobic joke, that means you’re secretly a racist, sexist, or homophobe. While that can be true, it can also be true that you are not and that the truth of the joke lies in its taboo nature. The danger of it is what’s true and what makes it funny–and that’s how you can tell, for example, a racist joke from a racist slur. That’s what makes one funny and the other offensive even when, on paper, they’re both offensive. Taboo + faux naiveté and/or irony = magic formula to getting away with it. The truth to a racist, sexist, or homophobic joke, then, is that both you and the comedian know the comedian shouldn’t be saying this.

In the case of disinformation about aliens, the kernel of truth isn’t found within the documents claiming that aliens shook hands with the president, took over an underground military base, or created homo sapiens in a lab. No, in this case, the truth is that enough of us don’t want to let it go and so we will latch onto the trusim Any good lie contains a kernel of truth and have it mean what we want it to mean because that’s all we have left to believe in.

The truth is, some of us refuse to be shattered by facts and move on. In that way, we willingly continue the disinformation campaign for the Air Force. We do their job for them. The papers and the stories are smoke and mirrors. Doty is a magician. We’re the act. Beyond and apart from all of that sits a great mystery. A mystery we’ve loosely based this act on. We’ve taken the shape of it and endowed it with details and a meaning we can comprehend–good guys/bad guys. Good aliens/bad humans or the reverse.

The real Trickster joke of it is that people who engaged mystery didn’t want to do it on mystery’s terms and so they gave it a definition. Then they were duped by a sophisticated disinformation campaign tailor-made to fit their definition and executed for relatively mundane reasons. Not fit the mystery, but fit their definition of it. For all we know, nobody organizing that disinformation campaign understood, cared about, or believed in that mystery at all. They only cared about that which ufologists believed in: alien technology at military facilities. There’s no kernel of truth to any of it.

Meanwhile, there is a shape in the periphery walking away. If you know how to look you can see it through the smoke. Barely, but it is there. It has no relationship to the smoke, the magician, or the act. A Trickster theorist might say that this is how it hides. I’d say this is how we hide it.

Those who scoff at this, those who say this is nonsense and that there are aliens and so why don’t they just land already and declare their intentions–because we’re ready for the truth, damn it, we can handle it… those folks don’t know it but they are only interested in talking to themselves. And there’s a military agency all set to write them their monologue. But do they even need to anymore?

Coverup? Disinformation? Thanks, but… we’ll take it from here. That’s been the ufological motto since Doty.

Shall we abandon the script?