October Surprise: Whitley Strieber Resurrects Me From The Podcasting Dead

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Premieres Oct. 22nd Exclusively unknowncountry.com

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….

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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 it’s time… to hear from you.

What Does The End of The Age of Visual Evidence Mean To Ufology?

Now that Photoshop is no longer the special domain of photographers and analysts, cameras run at unlimited frame rates, everyone with a computer has access to special effects suites, and Google Earth is Google Earthing, I’d say the age of visual evidence is pretty much over for ufology, wouldn’t you? But is that a bad thing?

One could suppose that advanced aliens would have the means to make their craft invisible, rendering the question moot–but if they do they certainly haven’t used their cloaking devices liberally over the years. Maybe they want to be seen. Maybe they don’t care either way. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t exist at all.

What if the end of the age of visual evidence means this: we can prove that ufological phenomena belong to the trickster realm more than alien? We will know this if, for instance, ufological evidence stops being visual and starts taking place in the other senses. Already we’ve seen people talking about mysterious booms and mysterious trumpet noises. Phantom sounds. And as our attention spans have been decreasing, we’ve been asking ourselves if time is speeding up, right? Some people link this and deja vu to interdimensional beings, parallel worlds, time travelers, and aliens or future humans fixing our timeline, whatever that means. I imagine the next big thing will take place through touch: people claiming to be knocked down by a mysterious invisible force. A phantom sucker punch, if you will. Or perhaps a light tickle on the back of the neck that feels like a finger. Maybe it starts out nice but grows violent until you have a story to tell.

I can also imagine an entire town waking up from the same strange dream about grays and talking to each other about it. Then someone calls Coast and it goes viral.

Is that us searching for an unknown to explore in the face of the “alien” unknown growing quieter and quieter as youtube hoaxes proliferate? Or is the phenomenon doing that? It could be both: as our visual tech renders photo and video evidence moot, we create several new mysterious options for the “alien” to appear in our lives and whichever one becomes the popular norm is built upon by the enigmatic other–if there is an enigmatic other. Perhaps that other is no more than the human collective working in a way we have yet to prove, creating tulpas that act out our agreed-upon mystical fantasies in a concrete way that today’s materialism demands.

We won’t know what the definition of the enigmatic other is if alien ships get replaced with sound, touch, taste, dream, time, or other  phenomena, but we’ll know what it is not: what we thought it was, believed it was, and fought over deep into the night for the last 60+ years. And when the hurt wears off from realizing we’ve wasted our lives believing self-woven fantasies about the other, that’s when we’ll see we’ve actually taken one small step closer to seeing it as it is by having dramatically peeled off a huge layer of what it is not.

The Goddess Pele/Feral Chicken Auditory Hallucination Story

By popular demand (or like 4 people on Facebook) here’s a little something funky that happened to me a couple of mornings ago….

Never Look A Gift Cock In The Mouth

I was awakened really early by a woman’s voice. It was probably the crack of dawn but I was too out of it with the tired to check my clock. I just heard this woman talking. She kind of sounded like one of my roommates. I have two, both female. They have real bedrooms. I have a dining room converted into a bedroom, which means that where a wall and a door should be there is a bookcase and a curtain. I hear everything. It sucks. But don’t cry for me Argentina, because while you’re stuck in Argentina, I live in paradise.

Except paradise comes with a severe cost–one worse than dining-bedroom. That cost? Feral chickens who never know what time it is.

Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr! at all hours of the day with these friggen roosters. The only time of day they can agree on is crack of dawn. That’s when they’re like, “TIME TO GET UP! HEY, EVERYBODY! TIME TO GET UP! REMEMBER MIDNIGHT? FALSE ALARM! NOW GET UP!”

Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr!

Many are the mornings when I slog out of bed and chase them out of the yard rattling a rake and cursing these loud, shrill, atonal opera singers. As I type, I hear two of them crooning right now. But distantly. They aren’t in the yard. In fact, they haven’t been in the yard since the morning I heard that woman talking. Now back to that….

The voice is not my roommate’s after all. Is one of ‘em watching TV? Are they up this early? What time is it?

I listen closely. Finally, I can make out what she is saying. She’s saying, “Not bad… Not bad…. That’s not bad… Not bad….” over and over. I realize it’s not a roommate, not the TV… holy crap!–Is there someone in the house? Or do we have a ghost?

Now I’m lying there scared listening to this. I’m still half asleep and not attempting to get up. I’m like asleep but paranoid. It’s weird. And then it gets weirder for I hear this woman’s voice saying, “That’s not bad” morph into “Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr!”

That’s right, I am hallucinating, turning the distant call of a rooster into a woman’s voice. And I realize this at that moment, that very tired-yet-alert-enough-to-be-paranoid moment. And as incongruent as this all is, it gets incongruentier, to… make up a word. I actually find myself saying to the rooster chick, “No, it’s not bad, Pele. But I can still hear them.”

Goddess Pele When She’s Not Doing The Funky Chicken

See, even though I know I am hallucinating a woman’s voice over a distant rooster, I am also still in the middle of hallucinating. And so, me, in the middle of hallucinating, believes that the woman is the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele and that Pele took time out of her busy morning to come to my apartment and use her magic to keep the chickens a safe distance from the yard so that I may sleep. And now she’s saying to me, “See? That’s not so bad.” Like, “Look, I’ll make sure the chickens stay away from your window so you can sleep.” And me, always one to look a gift horse in the mouth–I’m whining that it isn’t good enough. But, because it’s Pele and she’s a goddess and I’m living on her turf, I’m whimpering with all due respect.

Anyway, I thought that was interesting, especially given that the chickens really have stayed away from the yard for the last few days. When I’d rattle a rake at them, it just emboldened them. I think they came back in the mornings for their daily chase. Honestly, I think they kinda liked it because they would come right up to the window and Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr! for as long as it took to respond with a chase. Sometimes I’d wait a half hour, forty-five minutes, just to see if they’d go away. No such luck. Then I’d chase ‘em and they’d shut up. So who were they talking to if not me?

Whelp, at least now we’ll have what esteemed doctor Tyler Kokjohn calls “scientific proof” that Pele is real or not. If the chickens stay away, she’s real and I’m turning into Hank Wesselman. If they come back, she’s not and I’m turning into the man who mistook his wife for a hat. Yup, that’s science. Right, Tyler? (Ssshhh… don’t answer. You’re just a humble, small town doctor from a… small town. We know. Or is that someone else I’m thinking of? Only one way to find out: gun show. )

Not Tyler Kokjohn.

Boom! Gun Show, Bitches! The Challenge Has Been Made, Tyler, Doctor To Doctor. (William Henry–Make Me A Sandwich!)

For my own public image of sanity I will not be updating this story if they come back to roost. But I’m still publishing it, so what does that tell you?

Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr!