What Made Paratopia Different Than Other Shows

Paratopia Jer IconA man asked me, essentially, what the difference is between Paratopia and other shows. Never one to miss an opportunity at self-promotion–and also because I’ve been thinking lately how vastly different Paratopia really was from anything out there, if only to toot my own horn because I’m a lonely, lonely man–I thought, What a perfect excuse to write this self-congratulatory post.

Get ready.

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What made it different? Different even than Culture of Contact, my first podcast? Well, there’s the unlikely friendship between my broadcast partner Jeff Ritzmann and me for starters. On paper, he was considered the serious one and I was the clown. But in those facades we hid our alter egos. Turns out I’ve also got a serious side and he’s a bit of a comedian. But what brought us together and is our bond is that we’re both “experiencers of high strangeness” that don’t accept the answers and the labels of answer-makers. So, Paratopia was our journey together to try to figure out what was happening to us and to the world at large where this paranormal stuff was concerned. Maybe we’d never figure out what an “alien abduction” was, for example, but we could at least expose what it wasn’t. That, too, is clarity. And clarity is priceless in any realm of unknowns.

Having no dog in the fight for definitions allowed us to speak to guests across various fields of interest. Names you may not have heard before or thought would be relevant in the exploration. It also allowed us to ask the names you’re overly familiar with questions nobody had put to them before. Many were the guests who thanked us either on the show or after because the depth of our questioning was like a breath of fresh air for them.

We actively sought guests we found credible because we thought the whole “We’ll interview everyone and let the audience decide who’s real and who’s a phony” was just lazy and didn’t advance the quest for truth, if you want to call it that.

The format, too, was different. We wrapped these serious discussions in what we thought would be an easy-to-swallow comedy capsule–a weekly narrative that was a riff on the TV show LOST. But this was lost on as many listeners as not. Comedy, it turns out, is divisive in the self-serious world of the paranormal and especially its ugly ghetto where we come from, ufology.

If you’re not wearing a suit and tie while lying through your teeth, you’re doing it wrong. We did it wrong. And that suited us just fine because in reality, we didn’t want that audience. We wanted to weed out the loons and the gullible–the typical–to talk to the intelligent, the balanced, and the creative audience who get that “unidentified” means just that–and that so-called “experts,” who make grand proclamations about things sane people know they cannot know, are noise hiding the signal. If Coast To Coast is kindergarten, Paratopia is grad school.

Yeah, we’re snobs like that. But trust me, everyone was thankful on the old message board not to have to suffer fools as they piled up insights like Zen laundry.

And that’s the foundation of the show: intelligent people searching, asking questions, having a laugh. Engaging the mystery where others claim there is none. True believers and debunkers have that claim in common.

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But the journey is the thing, as they say, and oh, what a ride we took. Everything from helping fund Kogi elders flying to New York for the first time so they could do energy work in Upstate and get an audience with the Dalai Lama while he was in town… to exposing the criminal-like behavior of David Jacobs and wrongheaded research of Budd Hopkins (thanks to Carol Rainey’s now legendary Paratopia Magazine article.) We effectively killed hypnosis in alien abduction research as a viable tool for serious researchers. This is not to say that the Barbara Lambs of the world will stop breaking peoples’ minds with it simply because we gave a spotlight to the Emma Woods/David Jacobs fiasco–but it is the entire reason Jacobs is now shying away from saying he’s using hypnosis. He now says he’s using relaxation techniques. What he’s doing is harming people. He is allowed to carry on because ufology is a social network and a cottage industry and not much more. But for those in the “not much more” category who actually care about right and wrong–they followed the story and we all got a dose of reality. No longer was the argument against hypnosis hypothetical. It was staring us in the face and I don’t think we’ll ever recover.

At least I hope not.

What else made the show special? I think that we attracted quality people to the field or got them back in it. Many are the emails I’ve received from listeners thanking us and saying the same thing: these issues were all but dead to them until we came along. It’s like we made it real for people. Or rather, we reignited the real thing about all of this–the question.

When on the one hand NASA engineer Wes Owsley and Alzheimers researcher and professor Tyler Kokjohn start listening to you; while on the other hand, Lakota activist Tiokasin Ghosthorse teams up with you–you know you’re doing something transcendent of the muck. It’s as though great aspects of the brain-side and heart-side of mind recognized the validity (or at least genuine nature) of our work. And with that said, I can’t leave out the most controversial circumstance that probably divided the audience more than anything. Or… okay, probably it’s a tie between this and demolishing abduction research: for a time, Jeff’s experiences went from a confusing hodgepodge of paranormal/ufological mysteries to  sit-down chats with a shrouded being who claimed to come not from outer space but from a particle in our world.

Scientists… First Peoples… Inter-dimensional Conversationalists. You want to know what made Paratopia so special? It’s that you trusted us, when logically you shouldn’t have, because we were telling the truth. Really, that’s it. Somehow we got away with making these outrageous claims of our own while tearing down New Age woo-woo nonsense, nuts-and-bolts alien nonsense, and debunker nonsense at the same time. I think ultimately we demonstrated the difference between speaking one’s truth and making shit up. On the surface they may share the same language… but dig a little deeper and see if one doesn’t collapse under the weight of it’s bullshit.

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So there. All of that. All of that, plus we tried to do what no other show has done: we tried to give it to the audience, offering to produce listener-hosted episodes. And we had experiencer-listeners as guests, because they are with whom the mystery lies. Not “experts.” I mean, right? Those were some of our best episodes.

Oh, I could go on and on. We did road trip shows and on-site investigations of haunted locations. We had EVPs manifest while recording some episodes–and who can forget the high strangeness that was the Colin Andrews episode that literally changed my life? Or the Jacques Vallee interview/love letter that was padded with various names in ufology reading from his book with Chris Aubeck, Wonders In the Sky? An episode so good Vallee himself had his publisher put it on his book page as promotion?

Or that we went from a free podcast to a premium subscription and got away with it? You wanna know why we got away with it, what the secret was? It was that we had so many listeners telling us we should charge money because the show is that good. I know for the tribe of you who believe everything online should be free this will come as a shock, but we actually had people getting the show for free and asking us to charge them.

I mean… what???

Finally, what made Paratopia unique, I think, is that we knew when it was time to quit. Better to go on a high note than draw it out to a fizzling fart of irrelevance. So we did what no one in this field would do: we turned our backs on money because saying goodbye was the right thing to do. We were really big on doing right for our audience, for ourselves, and also for Mystery. Keep it authentic. Keep interesting. Just don’t keep going for the sake of going.

And now, thanks to the miracle of technology and, frankly, Paypal, you can keep it for yourself. And… well… we get to make money off it again.

I mean, come on. We’re not idiots.

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Paratopia Strikes Back!

Paratopia Green LogoAt the end of last month I was supposed to send out flash drive sticks of the Paratopia archive to throngs of rabid fans. As luck would have it, the master copy coming from Jeff got lost in the mail. He sent another. It arrived. But as luck would have it, the $90 worth of USB sticks I bought from a seller on Ebay, who had a decent rating, were complete garbage. Turns out there’s a little-known thing as a flash drive scam, not to be confused with Greer’s flashlight scam. I became a statistic. And that sucks… sucks like a fox!

–Because now I’ve been forced to buy a pro account on Mediafire.com and put The Paratopia Experience there to live. Yes, that’s right, experience. Yes, that’s right, live. For now, instead of a dead archive reanimating its own corpse on a stick delivered to your door, for a mere $30 you get to stream and/or download everything from Mediafire–and I’m not trying to sell that as the better thing, no. The better thing is that I’ve got a ton of space to play with, so I thought instead of a dead archive, why not a living one? Why not update it every now and again with new content for you for free?

And then I thought, Hey! Since there are clearly people willing to shell out $30 for Paratopia–and since after years of nonexistence our Facebook page is still a lively, thriving place for new ideas–Why not extend this offer to listeners: If there’s an episode, a guest, an idea, that you heard on the show and you want to express your views, or your insights, or have questions keeping you up at night, let me know and we’ll record a chat together for the archive. Alternatively, if you’re shy, let me know and I’ll put the word out there to see if we can wrangle others to do a roundtable chat. It would be like a book club, except for a podcast. And instead of just talking to your pals, you can talk to one of the authors (or both, if Jeff’s available).

One of the things that made the podcast unique was our want to hand it over to the audience. I think that proposition might have been too intimidating at the time to all but a few. However, this is more intimate and you won’t be on your own.

Anyway, there’s that. If you’d like to be a part of The Paratopia Cult Experience, simply create a free-and-very-easy account at www.mediafire.com (I think they ask for just your name and email). Then send me your hard-earned cash and I’ll send you a link.

Get ready for hundreds of hours of the most dynamic “paranormal” talk show journey that ever was. And that’s no exaggeration.

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UPDATE: I wrote to the seller of the faulty USB sticks saying I know it’s past the refund date and I don’t expect one. But these sticks don’t work and since you’re a top-rated seller, I assume you don’t realize you’re selling scam sticks. Here is the reply. Faith in humanity restored….

Seller’s message:
“Truly feel that you have had problems with this set. I have also had problems with some of them at the time to try them before selling. You can return them, no matter what the time is fulfilled. Your money will be refunded in full and the cost of shipping.   I appreciate your benefit of the doubt. Having the category Top Rate Seller, my sales volume, not by accident it’s because we strive to solve problems and sell with Honesty. Now I also have to complain to the people I bought this set of memories. Let me know if you need any help on how much the shipping”

 

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On another note, writing this now and an email to someone just prior is a huge deja vu to the extent that I feel as though I know what happens next in terms of a response from the seller or maybe someone else? … Except the flash of it doesn’t actually make sense. Unless there’s, like, a parallel world where this happened and it went slightly differently in a worse way.

If any of that made sense, you’re ready for Paratopia. lol

 

Could David Jacobs Be Part Of A Psy Op?

Have You Seen Me Lately?

Have You Seen Me Lately?

The idea that perhaps notorious abuser of hypnosis-and-therefore-human-beings David Jacobs is part of a covert MK Ultra-style operation has come up a number of times in the past, and again recently in private with some friends. Here’s my feeling on it….

I can’t think of a reason that any agency would still be doing experiments with hypnosis. It’s been around forever. You’d think they’d have figured out its uses and limitations by now, or at least figured out a way to do clinical experiments like normal scientists without having to go all evilly rogue. Plus, now that psychotronic “nonlethal” weapons exist, the notion of seeing if you can control people through hypnosis seems quaint.

I think it’s more likely that Jacobs and all his troubling, delusional colleagues have just made themselves a little bubble in which they thought they were untouchable. If you write protocols for proper hypnosis techniques in a book and challenge naysayers to debate the usefulness of hypnosis, then you seem like you’re on the up and up–and like there are two sides to the debate. Perhaps there were two sides decades ago, but in 2014 the results are in and… hypnosis is unreliable as a memory retrieval tool. There’s not another side to that. Anyone who tells you differently is either uninformed or lying to you.

But, this is ufology, so facts be damned.  If you’re in the bubble and such a narcissist that you forget you’re completely full of shit, then you start to believe your own press and you slip up. You give the recordings of  your hypnosis sessions to your subjects–because what are they going to do to harm you? They’re your friends. You’re their hero. You’ve helped them fight alien invaders. They’ve cried in front of you, been at their most vulnerable with you. They look up to you. They jockey for position as your favorite. And if they behave otherwise–if they snap out of it or grow up–you’ll call them crazy and everyone will believe you because you wrote the protocols, after all, and you’re great pals with anyone they’d complain to in the industry.

Ignore the Emma Woods of the world and they’ll go away or be silenced by your colleague-friends who won’t give real whistle blowers the time of day.  David Jacobs had that luxury until podcasting happened. Just like Billy Meier never had the internet or photoshop to contend with when he put models on string, Jacobs never had podcasting to contend with, where uncontrollable elements outside his circle of friends could get a hold of his audio and expose it to the world.

The bubble has popped, folks. He can’t cover anything up anymore because we fall out of the jurisdiction of his cottage industry buddies. And I don’t just mean Jeff Ritzmann and I–I mean podcasters and internet radio hosts in general. There will always be those podcasters who carry his torch in the hopes of being validated by him and his friends in the field–but that’s not the point. The point is, his audio is out there now. He’s exposed. And he can’t undo it. Ever.

The fact that his friends are still covering for him and he’s still lecturing tells me he’s not part of any government or military conspiracy. If he were his handlers would have done something more sensible–like withdraw him after the operation had been compromised.

No, this asshole is O.J. Simpson writing a book called If I Did It and smirking his way through 20/20 and 60 Minutes interviews. He’s part of the internal ufological conspiracy to keep what should be an important study of the unknown a ridiculous means to becoming D-List famous, having a social life, and traveling on someone else’s dime. 2014 ufology is a paid vacation with friends. Even so, there’s an antidote and we’re it. All of us on the outskirts of the bubble with pins.

David Jacobs is over whether he remains visible or not. I know he keeps threatening to publish a new book; I can all but guarantee you that no major publishing house will ever touch his hybrid fiction again.  If he publishes it, it’ll be through some small publisher, maybe one step up from self-publishing, and struggle to find its way into stores.  Take it from me, who does self-publish: he ain’t getting rich doing that.

He may never go away but he has already shriveled to irrelevancy. That’s what happens when pin meets bubble: pop goes the weasel.  Psy op over. Abort mission.