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!”

 

Quiet Time To Reassess Positive Thinking – A Poem By Colin Andrews

Colin-Andrews-HeadShouldersHere’s something I didn’t expect to announce this way: I’m coming back to the podcasting game. I’ve been taping interviews for this and expect it to be up and running in the next week or so. I won’t write anything else about it until the official announcement because I don’t want to step on any toes. But all of this is to say, I wanted Colin Andrews as a guest to discuss at what point a researcher becomes an experiencer. He liked the idea and since we’re friends, he agreed to record when he got back from a trip abroad, even though he’s on media hiatus.

Whelp, he’s back and will not be doing the show after all. Instead–and in answer to why–he sent me an audio file of him reading a poem that he had written. He gave me permission to publish it exclusively, so here it is. One wonders what happened on this trip to provoke such a powerful and definitive response that we can all respect and take to heart.

Yes, it might do us all good to take this to heart.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

EDIT:

Well, this has certainly resonated with a good many people in a short amount of time. My friend Joe Gooch has set it to music, with enthusiastic approval by Colin.

CLICK HERE FOR THE MUSICAL VERSION