Earlier today I saw an ad on Twitter for Ancient Aliens LIVE: Project Earth. This is a tour starring five White men who are leaping off the History Channel and into a theater near you to spread their message of how completely incapable non-Western civilizations were of creating the things they created without help from ancient astronauts. Funnily enough, Giorgio Tsoukalos is billed as the Ancient Astronaut theorist, while David Hatcher Childress is the real-life Indiana Jones. Giorgio used to refer to himself as a real-life Indiana Jones. I was wondering how that would shake out when presented with another real-life Indiana Jones. Did they flip a coin for the title or do the ol’ once, twice, three–SHOOT? We may never know.
Likewise, we may never know the origins of some of the ancient architecture that wows us to this day–the same rock structures we’re told were probably built by aliens. But we do know the origin of that ancient alien theory so many of us embrace that tells us we have alien overlords to thank: racism. And I’m not just talking about the racism of nazi-sympathizer and man once jailed for fraud, forgery, and embezzlement, Erich von Daniken. Yes, he’s the dude who globally popularized the ancient astronaut idea with his phenomenally popular book, Chariots of The Gods?, back in 1969. Yes, his is the ancient aliens legacy being carried forward quite successfully through his protege, Giorgio Tsoukalos. And yes, I am talking about him–but not just him. I’m talking earlier than him. I’m talking about ancient aliens as a little-known racist export from the American Midwest. And I’m talking about it in my forthcoming book, Aliens: The First and Final Disclosure, which you can preorder now on Kindle through the link at the end of this post, or get it in paperback on September 3rd.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘Jer, isn’t this a cheap ploy to get me to buy your book? Why don’t you just flesh it out now, instead?’
To that I answer, “Since my book releases in September and the Ancient Aliens LIVE tour doesn’t start until November, you will have plenty of time to read it before deciding on whether that group shot with five White guys you saw on television a bunch is really worth the Ancient Aliens LIVE VIP Photo Experience asking price of $110.00, which, naturally is on top of the $39-$59 fee for the luxury of sitting in the theater to watch them talk, first. And naturally, before you can access tickets, you must agree that these fees may be changed at any time without your consent. Consider my meagerly-priced book insurance against ignorance so that you may make an informed high-priced decision about this tour.
“Also,” I continue, “I don’t just hit on racism in this context, I really take it to ufology and society at large. It’s a lot. It’s what it needs to be if we are to understand the first and final disclosure. It’s all in the book and that’s only a slice of what the book is about.”
And while I’m answering you, or what I made up about you in my head moments ago, allow me to add, “Furthermore, I won’t talk about it now because this is a cheap ploy to get you to buy my book. You were right.”
See that? I truly am a disclosure advocate at heart.
Ya ever wonder what goes into a book cover for self-published books? Me neither. But this is a chance for me to write up a nothing post to tell you that my new book, Aliens: The First and Final Disclosure launches in softcover and on Kindle on September 3rd–and you can preorder the Kindle version right frikken now.
Also, this is kinda interesting in a psychic way.
In the past, when I need a book cover done that I was incapable of creating myself, I would turn to graphic artist extraordinaire, Jeff Ritzmann. Jeff is no longer with us, and so, although his influence is all over this book, I no longer have the luxury of begging him for artwork. Stay calm, I thought. I can handle this one on my own.
I took to Canva.com and scoured it for free images. I whipped up a cover that I thought captured what I was going for with the writing: an alien ripping out of the book as if entering the universe from another dimension. But it was a little too tropey and bland for my taste. I dunno, you tell me. Here it is:
Wait, the alien can’t be ripping out of the cover if the cover is green and the page s/he’s ripping out of is white, right? So, that’s a problem. Regarding it now, it looks like a child just unwrapped the worst birthday gift ever. The gift of the nagging gray alien who pops over uninvited.
I showed it to me ol’ pal Tyler Kokjohn–a book cover expert if ever there was one. He didn’t like it. Not enough pizazz. His recommendation? Splash an intriguing alien face on the cover like Whitley Strieber did with Communion, because look how successful that book was. People need a mascot to stare at to be enticed to buy it.
Okay, okay, I’ll try. It’s going to be difficult using free images from Canva–but surely something will fit the bill and give me that Communion cover push no other book in the history of publishing has ever achieved. Something ancient and futuristic and alien at the same time, but with a spark of emotion that grounds it in the human and the present. I can do this!
Here’s what I conjured:
Like Charlie Brown realizing he has a fear of everything, Tyler exclaimed, “That’s it!” I’m paraphrasing, but I remember his excitement that I had, indeed, captured the magic of the Communion cover.
Personally, I thought it was a bit cheesy. It reminded me of Poochie, the rapping dog from that episode of The Simpsons where the producers of The Itchy & Scratchy show thought they needed to add a contemporary character to appeal to the kids. Tyler’s glee was infectious, though, and I think he swayed me into believing that no, this actually captured the defiant nature of the book. Plus, it was an alien mascot, like on the cover of Communion. It really checked all the boxes for him and the more I stared at it, the more I saw what Tyler saw. Or what he wanted me to see. He’s a bit of a skeptic and was likely sabotaging my book.
For a while the sabotage worked. I was hooked on this cover. It may not have screamed, Magical/Mystical Book of Wonder, but it did scream, I Dare You To Read This In Public and that was good enough. But then a funny thing happened on my way to self-publishing. Friend and artist (or “fartist,” as he does not at all prefer to be called) John Randall contacted me after I teased the existence of the book on Facebook. He offered to create a cover for it if I needed.
John and I had created a children’s book together, The Story of Toe: A Love Story For Everyone, which was originally featured in I Am To Tell You This And I Am To Tell You It Is Fiction. His work was so compelling, I decided to release it as a standalone. And alone it still stands as practically no one has purchased it. Still, John’s a great artist and so I asked him to take a look at my cover and give me his honest feedback. His honest feedback was something along the lines of, “What the fuck are you, crazy?! This is insulting to my artistic eye. Did you rewrite Howard Stern’s Private Parts or is this an alien book? For fuck’s sake, did Tyler put you up to this?!”
Only John was a hair more subdued than that.
Before I could even ask, John had whipped up another cover. A better cover. The best cover. Greatness.
Now here come the psychic parts. Knowing nothing about the book except that I’d written one and Tyler tried to sabotage it, John told me what he had in mind. This is a real quote from his email to me:
Hi Jeremy, having not read the book will make it difficult for me to know what direction/tone you would like. Can you give me a few salient points from the book, so I may know where to start. My first impression [was] the idea of a broken mirror or even reflecting back ourselves/the other in said mirror. Do you remember The Marx Brother’s “Duck Soup” and the Mirror routine?
I don’t know , that’s just off the top of my head.
The broken mirror motif and our refusal to look and see ourselves as we are–to see what we want to see when we do bother to look–is exactly the heart of this book. When I asked him why he thought of that he said it’s kinda what my work has been about, no?
I mean, yes.
Him, I mean, not me.
But also me.
When we agreed on aliens in the shards, I was expecting the typical nordic blond, gray, reptilian, and mantis beings. We hadn’t talked about that, I just assumed because, duh. The first three are present and accounted for. But where’s the mantis? No mantis. Instead, there’s that dude wearing radio headgear. Who is that?
John explained that that’s his rendition of the alien from the 1967 encounter of Ashland, Nebraska patrolman Herbert Schirmer. This was a simple UFO encounter that expanded into quite the story later, under hypnosis. Under hypnosis he claimed he asked the alien with the headgear what his people wanted and he famously replied, “We want you to believe in us, but not that much.”
This is a very specific alien type from a single case–not at all the general, nondescript gray or mantis or reptile or Kardashian. Odd that John would include this, except… as it turns out… Chapter 18 of my book is framed in the context of that very case. This reveal might not be so odd for other UFO/alien abduction authors who tediously cite old encounters, but I’m not an author who talks about other cases so much. I talk about me. Tediously.
I love the mirror.
And so it was born. The greatest book cover I could have ever asked for encapsulating what may just be my final ufological book. If you like what you see here, check out more of John’s and his wife Elaine’s work at:
Finally, oh right. The reason I wrote this post in the first place. (Secretly, second place. For the sake of full disclosure, humiliating Tyler is often my number one priority.) If you’re gonna buy my new book on Kindle, you can preorder it here:
Big doings here. Big, big doings. But only one I can talk about for now, so why bury the lead? Let’s go with it.
September 3rd is my birthday. Not at all unconsciously, I am releasing my next book on the 3rd so as to guilt everyone into buying it because I’m old–and you can preorder the Kindle version now!
It’s called Aliens: The First and Final Disclosure. This book ties all of my nonfiction work together in conversational language and shows us where to look next.
The premise? Look no further than the back of the book:
In a world where all it took for UFOs to make a splash in The New York Times was to change the acronym to UAP, experiencer of high strangeness, Jeremy Vaeni, is ready to abandon all that he has learned about these phenomena being neither alien nor of military concern. He is ready to start over—to go back to his roots as an alien abductee. He’s ready to engage in the exopolitical discourse of our day and teach the newbies how to behave like relatives you’d actually want to sit next to at family gatherings. And he’s ready to disclose the alien truth.
With his trademark skewering wit and fiery wisdom, Jeremy holds up a mirror to both society and subculture to disclose what aliens are and why they’re here. Then comes the final disclosure, which is also the first. Are YOU ready to hear the truth?
Are you sure?
Aliens: The First and Final Disclosure is a delightfully breezy, straightforward read, like Urgency. Not artsy-fartsy like, I Am To Tell You This and I Am To Tell You It Is Fiction or, I Know Why The Aliens Don’t Land!. It solidifies me, if I may be humble a moment, as the greatest ufological mind of our day–but you won’t know it because, like always, I self-sabotage by wrapping my mystical genius in comedy gold.
Don’t believe me? You don’t have to. Here, also from the back of the book, is Jeff Kripal to sing my praises. He doesn’t exactly say I’m the greatest ufological mind of our day but I can read between the lines, where the words are not. In fact, that’s where I do all my reading. Here’s Jeff:
If you are reading this book to figure out the latest UAP radar returns or who the aliens are, don’t. This is a book about a timeless Truth with a capital T that only appears in time when all of those questions go away and you, well, so do you. The book is very funny, irreverent, and uncomfortable. But uncomfortable to whom? That is what the book is really aimed at—your dissolution. Jeremy is not writing about aliens (a fearful, racist, colonizing, and divisive myth). He is writing about the very nature of reality—a literally unknowable Mystery. He is making fun of you and your dum-dum Western mind, which is not you, anyway.
Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of The Superhumanities: Historical Precedents, Moral Objections, New Realties
Enjoy your discomfort, ufology! Enjoy your discomfort. And if you are going to read it on Kindle, order it now before you forget. Or maybe I’m just projecting.
Or Maybe I’m Just Projecting. Yeah. I like the sound of that. Should that be my next book?