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.

The Hero’s Journey of Michael Shermer?

Is Michael Shermer making that difficult and rare transformation from debunker to proper skeptic? His latest article in Scientific American indicates yes. Notice how I did not say “from debunker to believer,” because that would be a wrong move. We need open minds, not belief in either direction. The closest we can get to a useful belief is to admit that there is something here in the paranormal muck worth investigating honestly. Although he might say he was always open, always honest in his inquiries, I don’t think his track record shows that. But I think the record has scratched, to mix metaphors, and a new track is beginning.

Shermer might say it started with the incident spelled out in the article linked above. I’d say it’s merely the latest incident in his life, and one that he cannot ignore–perhaps because it affected someone he loves and trusts. If he had been alone, he might brush it off. But he’s not going to be so coarse to his new bride. To his true love. Perhaps this is the sledgehammer it takes a trickster intelligence to crack the walls of a professional skeptic.

Paging George Hansen.

In any event, kudos to Shermer for being open with this in such a public way. If nothing else, it will be a lesson in humility, for he is no doubt on the receiving end of a backlashing from the well-trained arrogant subset of loyal readers who never understood that science wasn’t about being able to declare reality’s boundaries, but being curious enough to question them.

Then again, I just read this and now have to wonder if he’s just trying to pull focus from the allegations by making it known that he’s married in a revelatory  article that will almost certainly be read more widely than his usual stuff.

Again I say, “Paging George Hansen!”

 

Alien Theory Aids And Abets Debunkers

ETH. Three little letters that have been the backbone of ufology since its inception. It stands for “Extraterrestrial Hypothesis,” but the way it is commonly used today you’d think it’s more forgone conclusion than hypothetical. To any reasonable person this is jumping too far ahead. No one ever accused ufology of welcoming reasonable people to its fold.

Still, there are some astute researchers who hold a personal hypothesis of what is behind ufo sightings and accompanying phenomena, but they never make it public. This is because the question is the important thing, not their conclusion. No cart before the horse for them, no sir. And I’ve been thinking lately why that’s important. I mean besides the obvious reasons contained in these two paragraphs and others we’ve covered on Paratopia and elsewhere.  Let us add this to the mix–nay, let us make this the main ingredient from here on out:

It is important not to promote the ETH anymore because it allows the Secular Humanist debunkers masquerading as skeptics to avoid the real issue. The real issue is, Are UFO sightings and accompanying phenomena worth examining or not?

The question isn’t, Is it aliens? It’s not, What does the government know? It’s, Is this worth our time?

In order for it to be worth our time, there has to be an unknown or unidentified in the data. Skeptical groups, as I’ve been hammering lately, are not really comprised of skeptics. They are organizations under the umbrella of a religion called Secular Humanism. Humanists are, as you may guess from the name, real big on what humans think and do and not so much concerned with anything else. Science. Philosophy. The end. Every good thing is a healthy mental construct from the human brain; everything else is a delusional mental construct.

They are more afraid of the dark than abductees and haunted people. They light that dark with themselves–with what they know “for sure” and with what they assume they will know once the scientific method has proved it. If a phenomenon hasn’t run that course then it isn’t real.  Needless to say, once it has run its course–and if it has been proven to be real–what was formerly scoffed at is now taken as conventional wisdom.

All of that is to say that “skeptics” (Humanists) must debunk the unknown and the unknowable because these are antithetical to their belief in the human capacity to know all. Some unknowns get the scientific treatment, with judgement put on hold until a verdict is in; other unknowns get laughed out of the room. It is far easier to laugh and be done with it than to investigate. Upholding their belief in themselves takes precedence over science and discovery. If you take unidentified objects or manifestations in the sky and call them “alien,” man alive are you ever making the Humanist’s job easier, because that they can know the answer to and laugh you out of the room.

Jeff Ritzmann and I have often complained that “skeptical” organizations always pick the low-hanging fruit to debunk. I never saw this before, but it’s actually ufology’s fault that they do. If you say “UFOs are alien spacecraft” then all the debunker need do is concentrate on those photos and videos that look like props from a sci fi movie to debunk it. “Nope. Sorry. That mothership is a spray-painted cup glued to a plastic tree.”

There goes your proof of aliens.

Well… duh. But, see, that’s the wrong conversation to have. The real one, the one ufology and Humanism despise for the same reason (lack of a concrete answer) is, “Okay, if we put aside aliens and every definition for these things, is it worth studying? If we examine it, we’ve got to go all in. We’ve got to be honest with what happens to experiencers–ALL the weird surrounding phenomena. What happens, how it happens, when it happens. We’ve got to throw away the hypnotically-retrieved junk and the CGI footage. No more Greer talking about alien fetuses when we know it’s human. No more Jim Sparks sweating into the camera as he assures you that he already knows everything about the aliens. No more Steve Bassett fake news conferences or any promotion where the promoter takes center stage over the science. That on our part–so skeptics, we’re abandoning aliens, which means you have to  put down the 15-page dissection of Billy Meier’s obvious hoax and the frame-by-frame examination of Stan Romanek’s puppet in the window and actually look at the data from legit case studies, not the sensationalized cottage industry junk.”

What can we glean from examining the still-unknown cases, the top 10%? We can glean whether or not this is worth investigating further. Humanists don’t ever have to address that question so long as we refuse to ask it. They LOVE having the alien fight. They will win that every time until an alien actually lands and gets out and says, “Lead me to your taker.”

That’s their whole thing, right? How many times have you heard a Humanist say, “Where’s the proof? Where’s the piece of the ship? Where’s the alien?”

And they are right to say that. More than that. In fact, they have all the proof in the world that it’s not aliens thanks to the likes of Meier, Romanek, Bassett, Greer, and every fledgling special effects house trying to go viral on youtube with “real” UFO footage. That’s the answer they NEED–it’s just humans behind all of this. Humanists require that it be just humans and ufology keeps feeding their belief system.

I say, no more. Stop playing into their hand and ask the question they’re glad to ignore: Is this worth looking at?

You ask that and they have to look at it to know what you’re talking about to give an answer. And if they say no, they have to give a reason. And that reason can no longer be, “Because it’s not aliens. It’s hoaxes, delusions, and misidentifications of planets.”

“Yes,” you can agree, “it IS all of those thing. That’s the other 90% and the cultural filter we wrongly tried to force onto it. But what’s this 10% over here about if it’s not aliens, Mars, a hoax, and the witness is sane? It’s an unknown, right? So, is it worth examining?”

The last thing a Humanist will ever reply with is, “I don’t know.”