The Trickster Has A New Home

If you care at all about ufology or any of the other paranormal categories we entertain, you need to check out Jeff Ritzmann’s new blog The Numinous Den. In it, he breaks down and dissects George Hansen’s Trickster Theory in every situation where it rears its head. It’s superb. It’s easy to grasp. And he’s only a handful of posts in so it’s easy to start at the beginning and catch up.

In honor of Jeff’s latest accomplishment, I offer my two cents on the Trickster element at work in the psyche….


‘Trickster’, by Bill Lewis

You could easily mock people who report experiences that fall outside the range of normal awareness if they occurred only a handful of times or in a few cultures. That they happen with frequency throughout all time and in every culture means normal awareness is being mocked at every turn, and so to mock high strangeness experiences is to ignore that fact with high prejudice.

The whole feedback loop is one big knowing smirk, but those limited to normal awareness aren’t conscious of the joke. The debunkers don’t know what they’re laughing at but they know they’re being laughed at, so they guffaw as bullies and demean experiencers and anyone who takes experiencers seriously. Their arrogance is from ignorance. Not miseducation or lack of education, but ignoring. On that deeper ignored level, they understand the joke is on them. In this sense they deserve pity for they’ve not had an experience which forces them to question reality in any sustainable way past being born.*

We’re all living in a facade in which and with which we self-identify. Some of the unhealthy impulses beneath the surface are sadistic because they are psychotically detached. Some of the healthy impulses may feel sadistic because they are compassionately detached and we are not consciously equipped to tell the difference.

Perhaps there is an intelligence trying like Hell to help us tell the difference. Perhaps there is a unifying principle that shocks its way through all cultures in all times like a jagged lightning strike through clouds.

Perhaps that raw, unfiltered consciousness messing with us is also us.

*There is a reason all children question reality and it’s not because they don’t know anything. By the time they’re able to articulate questions, they’ve been filled with knowledge. But knowledge doesn’t answer the unknowable and they haven’t yet given up on the questions, repressed, or handed them over to personal and cultural authority figures with fake answers. Really, what bigger paranormal experience have we normalized than popping into existence from out of nothing? And if the appearance of form from formlessness isn’t a fractal version of the ultimate forms-within-formlessness transcendental bubble, I don’t know what is.

Did I Ever Think I Was Crazy?


The face of crazy.

Thanks, those of you who tuned in to Paranormal Waypoint last night. I didn’t expect to go through a primer of my personal history from A-liens to Z-eus.(1)  But I’m glad I did because I think it’s important to remember where I (Jeff Ritzmann and I, actually) come from. I think when we tear apart the crappy research that has come to define alien abductions and ufology as a whole, it’s easy to forget that we’re experiencers, not debunkers. We’re not just experiencers, though–we’re really out there experiencers of some unabashedly outlandish stuff. We’re also discerning skeptically-minded people. We have to be. These are our lives we’re talking about here and we would like to see these subjects handled with care.

One question Jeff asked me was if I ever thought I was crazy. He was asking about the spiritual shenanigans–an energy in me, Jer 2.0, that wakes me up psychically and moves the body into yogic postures, tai chi movements, whirling dervish twirls, and things I haven’t the foggiest clue about. I had only a minute to respond so I said “No.” I’d like to explain that a bit….

With the unknown phenomena we seem all too eager to name “alien abduction” I did ponder the crazy question–or at least delusional. I remained open to the real possibility that because I saw this brilliant UFO in 8th grade that was other-worldly in appearance I then read up on UFOs and alien abductions and assumed I was an abductee. Perhaps every little creak, every little bump in the night and alien dream added up to me being an abductee simply because I saw an object I couldn’t explain and read some books that interpreted it for me. Maybe, just maybe, I suffered a neurotic snowball effect from that one sighting. I entertained that idea for years; seeing the Wee People of Wherever at my bedside in October 2001 changed that.

Even so, I could make a George Hansen style Trickster hypothesis work here and it goes something like this: I saw a UFO in 8th grade. I obsessed over it well into adulthood. I feared having intimate relationships with women because I didn’t want to bring this into their lives. As a result, the night after I had sex for the first time–in New York City fresh off of the 9/11 attacks, no less–I saw aliens. This is thanks to the anti-structural context I found myself in culturally and personally coupled with a release of the aforementioned deeply held fear, because aliens didn’t show up when I lost my virginity. I breathed a sigh or relief and then, like a cosmic joke, they showed up the next night instead.

It’s The Secret in action, right? You obsess, you let go, you receive from the universe. Maybe. It doesn’t really fly with me because of all the evidence (and by that I mean personal experiences of the ufological and paranormal variety) I’m glossing over to make this work.

The point is, with alleged  aliens I can see some ways in which I could have deluded myself. But the spiritual stuff? Emphatically NO. I know making declarative statements is taboo but I DO know what this energy is doing overall, even if I don’t understand the details or the mechanics. And I know without it we will never be whole. We will always be dysfunctional egos running the world into the mud. We are fundamentally flawed and in 2.0 mode you see that this is not human nature–this is humans running from nature and calling it human nature so they never have to confront the issue.

That is what we do.

The spiritual stuff is me. But the alien abduction stuff happens to me. Anything that is not me is open to debate.(2) A lot more guess work and a lot less acceptance goes into a presumably outside intelligence interacting with me. I can include the question of hallucinations and delusion there. But this energy I talk about is in me every moment. It is as undeniable as my arms and legs.

Finally, when I talk about the energy as an it, this is just a convenience of language. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m the host to some possessive intelligence or something along those lines. It’s not that–although there’s no law that says one intelligent energy has to manifest as one intelligence. After all, look at the universe. Look closer–look at Earth. Look at the chattering human psyche.

Look at you.

(1) Sorry. That’s as “god” as I can get with a Z. I’m part Greek so it works, right?
(2) Yes, I know at the core all is one but I’m talking about the day to day level in which we exist.

Countdown To The Paratopia Finale

1 hour. That’s the countdown to Jeff Ritzmann and I taping our final weekly installment of Paratopia. Of course we’ll carry on as a monthly free show but it won’t be the same. In some ways it may end up better, but man, this was fun. So was the live show. I’ll miss both.

We’re going out with a bang. I have a feeling it will be one of our deepest episodes coated in sweet, sweet comedy. (Because… you know… we’ve got to tie up all those running gag loose ends. Priorities, people, priorities.)

Jeff told me not too long ago that he felt like we were going in different directions in terms of investigating high strangeness. I thought, if that’s true, it would make for a great premise to the 3-hour monthly. Maybe hour one we explore it his way, hour two we explore my way, and hour three we come together to discuss what we’ve found.

Still, I found it hard to believe because… well… I didn’t feel like I had a direction, really. I, like he and like many of you, just had an above-average understanding of where not to look–but that’s not saying much. Most people aren’t looking at all and many of those who are have gotten stuck and built a home in the quicksand. But, since he said it, I was curious  where he thought he was going.

I didn’t have to ask about me. Clearly, I’m the oneness spirituality guy, right? So that’s my angle if I’ve got one. But it’s not exactly an angle. It’s a destination I see all authentic roads leading to but that doesn’t tell us anything about the roads or about what authenticity means. And those roads are the ones we travel and that authenticity is the mystery that consumes us. Oneness as a destination is just a word. It is meaningless until you “get” there and the odds of you getting there are, let’s face it, slim at best.

To my mind, we’ve got reality inverted. The thing we most fundamentally are is fictitious to us and the thing we call “illusion” (or fiction) is what we perceive as nonfiction, as reality. All along the way of the story of us, some of us encounter beings that we are told by rationalists, debunkers, humanists, and the like must be fictitious. They’re right a lot of the time and they have explored reality in such a cowardly–yet sensical–way as to only include that which is repeatable in their worldview of what is. The obvious, in other words. It’s an intellectual move but it’s not realistic and we’re paying for it now on many levels.

Since we are living the backwards reflection of the real, I’m not willing to take the illusion’s explanations for these beings no matter how sharply dressed, impeccably thoughtful, or empirically cloaked their presentation. I’ve seen different. If that doesn’t agree with you, tough shit. If tough shit bothers you, might I suggest you’ve boxed yourself in and now have to defend your walls like any common zealot?

See, I’ve got a mindset that is experience, an outlook based on psychological and cultural pressures–but no direction, really, where the allegedly paranormal is concerned. This functioning can be mistaken for a direction if you don’t look for the difference.

Yet Jeff does have a direction? That’s news. So I asked him what it was and he told me and we riffed on it. For hours we riffed because I can get behind where he’s going next. It sounds suspiciously like a perfect storm of Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Jeff, and me–and I think there are elements we can find bleeding over into other areas of study and of life. Or not. Maybe it will fall flat somewhere along the way–but at least it’s testable. Not testable in a repeatability sort of way but testable in a “Could this apply here” sort of way. Like the crossover between ufology, magick, and hallucinogens. Whereas before we were looking for crossover phenomena, now we’ve got a theory that makes sense of what we’ve found.

But then making sense doesn’t equal truth. Lot’s of fiction stories make sense, but you’ve got to share them to find out, right? And even then….

This Friday, on our final weekly episode, we will serve up our latest ponder-food in the hopes that you’re satiated until we start the monthly show. Naturally, what we talk about here will double as the launch pad for the monthly where we will explore it with Tiokasin, with guests, and with listeners.

Speaking of listeners, it’s time to evolve that notion a step further. But we’ll talk about that in 10 minutes and you’ll hear it on Friday.

Crap. Ten minutes. Really?

Gotta go!