Thursday, April 23, 2015

UFOs and Winnebagos

Last night I interviewed a witness who had recently reported a "historical" UFO sighting to MUFON, and it was one of the strangest, most confusing conversations I have ever had...

The sighting took place in 1973, in northern Wisconsin. The witness saw a bright white circle out over the farm fields near his aunt's trailer home, and he watched it hover and move about for a while. When he called his "fiesty" grandmother to look at it, it disappeared. He believed the sighting lasted three hours, because he remembers looking at the clock at 9 pm and then again at midnight, but he doesn't remember those three hours passing... Later, he and his mom traveled to another state in her RV, and the witness woke up in the Winnebago with his pillow covered with blood and a black crystal on the bed. He knew that the crystal had come out of his nose as he slept, and that it had been placed in his nose during those three missing hours. Some time later his mom sold the RV.

So, the story is a little odd, perhaps, but that comes with the territory. Well, when I interviewed the witness last night it just got heebier and jeebier...

The man seemed to remember the general, overall thrust of the story, but he was completely foggy on the details. We had to go over things many many times for the story to make any sense at all, and even after all that effort it didn't really work out very well. A half-hour later, I felt as though I had just had a missing time experience...
It's just like in Disney's "Escape to Witch Mountain!"



First it came out that all of these events took place on a long, multi-state, cross-country road trip, and that the UFO sighting didn't take place in Wisconsin at all, but in another Midwest state. So I shouldn't even have been talking to the dude.

Then it came out that the crystal in the nose on the pillow episode took place ten years after the UFO sighting, on a completely different road trip.

Finally it came out that the mom actually sold the RV with the black crystal in it, apparently still on the bed.

You may be disappointed to learn that I did not have the nerve to ask him if the blood soaked pillow was also sold with the RV, and he didn't offer up any information on that. But he repeated several times that he really, really wishes he could track down that Winnebago and buy it back so he could get that crystal back. Because, of course, it would still be there. On the bed.

And that would explain everything.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

100 UFOlogists

Today I paid a return visit to Ground Zero, otherwise known as the Chicago HQ of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). It was there, just a few years ago, that I learned of the opportunity to write a book about the career of Dr. Hynek, and it was there that I very wisely jumped at the chance.

Since that fateful day, I have visited the CUFOS archives over a dozen times, and each time I walk away with a head full of knowledge and ideas for my book. Today's mission was really just to talk with CUFOS' Scientific Director, Mark Rodeghier. I needed to give him an update on the status of the book, run some new ideas past him and pick his brain for a while...
Found it on Amazon for a penny!

Today I came home with:
  • A list of five new books to buy, including one very intriguing book by an art history professor called "Picturing Extraterrestrials: Alien Images in Modern Mass Culture"
  • A list of moments in UFO history to research, including the formation of the first amateur UFO research group, the Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization (APRO) right here in Wisconsin in 1952 (this has the extra bonus of being good source material for the presentation I'll be giving on UFO's in Wisconsin at the upcoming Milwaukee Paranormal Conference), and Dr. Hynek's late 1950s trip to France, during which he hob-nobbed with UFO genius Aime Michel
  • A list of people Mark will contact for me to interview. Mark has always been great about this, even if his efforts haven't always been fruitful (He doesn't hold out any hope that I'll ever get in touch with reclusive CUFOS stalwart Allan Hendry, and we've both given up on Marc Chesney, since a certain someone, for reasons that still escape me, convinced Chesney that I was some kind of literary impostor and mistakenly cc'd me on his emails. Still, I hope the people Mark suggested today will come through)
I also spent some time rooting through the archives in Mark's basement and came across some wonderful correspondence between Hynek and British Ace UFOlogist Jenny Randles. In one 1979 letter Randles bemoans the fact that "Out of every 100 UFOlogists, only 2 or 3 are of any use." Seeing as how that letter was written from one UFOlogist to another, it's not hard to do the math.

I also couldn't resist once again looking through the file with Hynek's correspondence with Carl Sagan, just because I enjoy the weirdly polite sparring between the two of them: they were always so unfailingly polite and respectful, and yet constantly needling each other. The standout document in that file is a 1975 letter to Sagan in which Hynek requests that they call a truce for an upcoming joint TV appearance:
"I would like to propose a sort of mutual non-aggression pact because I think any 'confrontation' (which the tv people would dearly love) would, I believe, be based on an unfortunate misunderstanding. I do not and have never, supported the idea that UFOs were nuts-and-bolts hardware from some very distant place."
That letter just cracks me up every time I read it. Both men knew exactly how their joint appearance would go down: Sagan would attack Hynek's UFO work, and Hynek would struggle to get any point across in the face of Sagan's unending sarcasm. Hynek valiantly tried to stop it, as he always did, but Sagan doesn't appear to have responded to Hynek's offer. There is no response from Sagan in the file...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mars Is Watching Us

In my ongoing efforts to write about any UFO-related topic but the "Roswell Slides," I will today share a funny story about aliens living on the planet Mars. You're welcome.

Science a century ago was pretty funny. Not only did you have wealthy armchair astronomer Percival Lowell building his own personal observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, for the sole purpose of surveying the surface of Mars, but on top of that you had ordinary, reasonable, decent-thinking people all over the world convinced (by Lowell) that intelligent life existed on our neighboring planet, and might want to destroy us.

I have recently read Lowell's three books about his survey of Mars, and it is mind-boggling that so many people found his arguments so persuasive... In "Mars," "Mars and Its Canals," and "Mars As The Abode of Life," Lowell explained that the "canals" on Mars were not natural features of the planet, but were in fact constructed by intelligent life forms to channel water from the melting Martian icecap to the more moderate middle latitudes, to irrigate the vast crops that were essential to the Martians' survival.

Strangely, those nonexistent vast crops were every bit as visible to Lowell and his assistants as the nonexistent canals were. Lowell credited his fine view of Mars to the location of his observatory in Flagstaff, at an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea level. Other observatories had larger telescopes, but only Lowell’s was perched where it could get “as good air as practicable, at Flagstaff,” according to the Preface to his book “Mars.” “A steady atmosphere is essential to the study of planetary detail: size of instrument being a very secondary matter,” he went on, apparently in all seriousness. “A large instrument in poor air will not begin to show what a smaller one in good air will. When this is recognized, as it eventually will be, it will become the fashion to put up observatories where they may see rather than be seen.”


Okay, Percy.

Lowell's biographer had this to say about Lowell's influence: 

“…it was widely believed… that positive evidence had been found for the existence of intelligent life on earth’s neighboring planet Mars. This belief stirred an extraordinary controversy that for a time involved much of the literate world. Eminent scientists, philosophers, and moralists joined in the unprecedented debate, while ordinary people everywhere followed its course in books, at lectures, and through lengthy, detailed accounts in newspapers and magazines of the day.”

So pervasive was Lowell's thinking that eminent science-fiction authors H. G. Wells ("The War of the Worlds") and Edgar Rice Burroughs ("A Princess of Mars" and its umpteen sequels) acknowledged his influence on their work.

But the most charming result of Lowell's thinking has got to be this 1912 article from the Sunday "Magazine Section" of the Salt Lake Tribune, in which a real, professional astronomer who was, apparently, very secure in his post at the Lick Observatory, expounded on his theory that Mars was inhabited by a vast, intelligent vegetable with an insatiable appetite for learning, and a very strange appendage....

You read it first in the Salt Lake Tribune!
The astronomer, a Professor Campbell, insisted that the eye of Mars could rise miles above the planet's surface on its invisible stalk (!), from where it could monitor its intelligent plant-y activities anywhere, any time. And when it wasn't busy doing that, it was a celestial Peeping Tom, keeping a close watch on earth and our earthly activities... Is it any wonder the curtains & blinds business went through the roof after this article ran?

It's hard to say what I love most about this article... The fact that an eminent scientist felt free to openly engage in some truly un-Neil Degrasse Tyson-y musings? The wondrous, near 3-D illustration of the eye on its stalk, staring coldly and covetously at the earth?

Nope, my favorite part is this short sentence by the author of the article, vouching for Professor Campbell's "eyepothesis":


“This theory (of life on Mars) is one of the most plausible that has been put forward."
Funny thing is, in 1912 that was a true statement...


Sunday, April 19, 2015

So We Made Contact, Right?

Can somebody help me out here? I missed the news yesterday from Joshua Tree Retreat, where Steven Greer and his followers were going to make contact with ET Civilizations using the CE-5 Protocols. If anybody has heard how that went, please post something in the comments section, so I'm not living in suspense!

A "light being,' which is like an ET, only lighter.
In case you don't know what I'm talking about, Dr. Greer hosted an ET Contact Seminar this past week, and I knew it had to be the real deal because they were charging $2,500 to attend. Pricey, yes, but it was a for a full week. And every night you got to sit out in the desert for 4-5 hours making contact with extraterrestrial civilizations using the "very effective CE-5 Protocols." That's like, 28-35 total hours of contacting an extraterrestrial civilization. Do you have any idea how much NASA charges for that? And, don't ask me how, but every attendee got anti-gravity, which has got to make the trip home an absolute breeze.

What I really like about the very effective CE-5 Protocols is that it's entirely up to you, the contactee, to make contact happen. This isn't some lazy-ass Close Encounter of the First, Second, Third or Fourth Kind, where you just sit around and wait for ET to come to you, because you're so special or something. No, with CE-5, you have to get your ass out in the desert, and you have to put in 4-5 hours of hard work waiting for a UFO to respond to your light, sound and thought waves. And if it doesn't work it's your fault for not concentrating hard enough, or for going home after only three hours and fifty-nine minutes, which makes it both brilliant and foolproof.

So color me surprised that today's headlines haven't been shouting the news that we finally made contact. What the hell? Didn't you people try hard enough?

How to make Contact with ET civilizations using the CE-5 protocols and how to really become an Ambassador to the Universe - See more at: http://www.siriusdisclosure.com/ce-5-initiative/content-and-registration-information/#sthash.88XCMdBs.dpuf


  • How to make Contact with ET civilizations using the CE-5 protocols and how to really become an Ambassador to the Universe
  • Advanced training in mantra meditation
  • Advanced techniques of Remote Viewing, Precognition and the Science of Consciousness
  • The Effects of the Sanskrit Puja as we make sacred the place for Contact using this ancient Vedic Ceremony
  • An update on world-wide Disclosure Project developments by Dr. Greer and the progress being made with leaders around the world
  • An in depth review of New Energy technologies, including free energy from the zero point field, anti-gravity and how the World can be transformed with these new sciences
  • A deep understanding of the next great cycle on Earth: One of Universal Peace, Free Energy, Abundance and Enlightenment through higher states of Consciousness
  • How to set up your own Contact Team in your local area to continue to make Contact with ET visitors to Earth!
  • - See more at: http://www.siriusdisclosure.com/ce-5-initiative/content-and-registration-information/#sthash.88XCMdBs.dpuf

  • How to make Contact with ET civilizations using the CE-5 protocols and how to really become an Ambassador to the Universe
  • Advanced training in mantra meditation
  • Advanced techniques of Remote Viewing, Precognition and the Science of Consciousness
  • The Effects of the Sanskrit Puja as we make sacred the place for Contact using this ancient Vedic Ceremony
  • An update on world-wide Disclosure Project developments by Dr. Greer and the progress being made with leaders around the world
  • An in depth review of New Energy technologies, including free energy from the zero point field, anti-gravity and how the World can be transformed with these new sciences
  • A deep understanding of the next great cycle on Earth: One of Universal Peace, Free Energy, Abundance and Enlightenment through higher states of Consciousness
  • How to set up your own Contact Team in your local area to continue to make Contact with ET visitors to Earth!
  • - See more at: http://www.siriusdisclosure.com/ce-5-initiative/content-and-registration-information/#sthash.88XCMdBs.dpuf

  • How to make Contact with ET civilizations using the CE-5 protocols and how to really become an Ambassador to the Universe
  • Advanced training in mantra meditation
  • Advanced techniques of Remote Viewing, Precognition and the Science of Consciousness
  • The Effects of the Sanskrit Puja as we make sacred the place for Contact using this ancient Vedic Ceremony
  • An update on world-wide Disclosure Project developments by Dr. Greer and the progress being made with leaders around the world
  • An in depth review of New Energy technologies, including free energy from the zero point field, anti-gravity and how the World can be transformed with these new sciences
  • A deep understanding of the next great cycle on Earth: One of Universal Peace, Free Energy, Abundance and Enlightenment through higher states of Consciousness
  • How to set up your own Contact Team in your local area to continue to make Contact with ET visitors to Earth!
  • - See more at: http://www.siriusdisclosure.com/ce-5-initiative/content-and-registration-information/#sthash.88XCMdBs.dpuf

    Thursday, April 9, 2015

    UFO Swag!

    More from the mail...

    I recently sent out an S.O.S. to my MUFON Overlords, requesting promotional materials for my upcoming appearance at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, and boy, did they come through! You see, my "payment" for being a presenter at the conference is space for a free tabletop display promoting MUFON. I would have preferred cold, hard cash, or a free lunch, but what can you do?

    Anyway, I sent out an urgent request to MUFON HQ for posters and handouts and anything else they could think of to broadcast the MUFON message to the conference attendees. Well, a huge box showed up in yesterday's mail, and it was literally bursting at the seams with hot MUFON swag. I was unpacking it this morning at the kitchen table as my daughter Cxxxx looked on in amazement -- well, amusement -- and I was having a hard time containing myself...

    Books! Jewelry! Stickers! Magazines! iPhone cases! Special reports! Apparel! They pretty much cleaned out the MUFON storage container and shipped its entire contents to me.

    What, no Koozies?

    I think it's pretty easy to see which vendor table will have the heaviest traffic in Milwaukee come June 6th... This swag is so cool, my daughter is going to wear one of the polo shirts to high school tomorrow. Think about that.

    Speaking of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, I got an email the other day that made me realize that I may not be marketing my appearance at the Conference as aggressively as I might... The email was an announcement for the MUFON 2015 Symposium this coming September in Irvine, CA (BTW: Seeing as how I now possess every brochure for the Symposium that MUFON had printed, you might as well direct all your questions to me...).

    I immediately went to the "Speakers" page to see if I would be speaking at the MUFON Symposium, and apparently I'm not. But I read a couple bios of the speakers who are appearing, and quickly realized that my promotional bio for the Milwaukee event is pretty pathetic by comparison.

    See for yourself: here's my bio for the Milwaukee Conference...
    "Mark O’Connell has written several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — one of which, the DS9 episode “Who Mourns For Morn?”, was recently named by Hugo-winning science fiction writer Charlie Jane Anders as #72 on the io9.com list of the Top 100 Star Trek episodes of all time.
    "Mark has had feature film projects in development with Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Launchpad Productions, Barcelona Films and Al Ruddy Productions. He currently writes the UFO blog “High Strangeness” at www.highstrangenessufo.com, is writing the authorized biography of UFO scholar Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and is set to make his reality show debut in 2015 in “Monumental Mysteries” on The Travel Channel. Mark lives in southern Wisconsin with his wife."
    Sure, it reads ok, but only just.

    Here, on the other hand, is how it's supposed to be done: This is what the MUFON 2015 Symposium speakers page has to say about one of the celebrity presenters at that event...

    "Mxxx is an expert in many areas.  He possesses insurmountable knowledge and information.  He could speak for years and never tell you all that he knows."
    Damn! Damn! Now, that's a bio! I will know better when -- or if -- I am ever invited to speak at a UFO Conference again.

    'Cause, I'll tell you what: I can speak for years and never tell you all that I know.