High Strangeness: May 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Dream Dies Hard

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that for many months I have had my heart set on buying "The Gobbler," an abandoned, flying saucer-shaped restaurant near where I live in Wisconsin, and turning it into an Intergalactic UFO Headquarters. My plan was to convert the circular space into a UFO archive, research center, snack bar and all-around groovy place to hang out. But no more...

The other day I got a text from my friend Lxxx that simply read, "noooooooo!!!!!" She sent along a link, but I couldn't open it on my phone so she relayed the sad news to me: "Gobbler has sold. Will become music venue." Then she added a sad face :(

I tried my best to remain in denial until my son's girlfriend Sxxxxxx forwarded the article to me today and I could no longer ignore the grim reality facing me:

"Former Gobbler restaurant being converted to live music venue"

... reads the headline in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Then it gets worse:
"The former Gobbler Restaurant, known for its revolving bar, purple shag carpeting on the walls and turkey-centric menu, is being converted into a concert venue. Renamed the Gobbler Theater, it could be hosting live events by the end of the year, said new owner Daniel Manesis.
"The 16,544-square-foot circular building, which sits on 9.2 acres just south of I-94 and west of Highway 26 in Johnson Creek, was sold to Manesis & Associates LLC for $635,000, according to state real estate records posted Tuesday.
"Manesis said he will spend about $1 million converting the building, which has been vacant for several years, into a venue for concerts and comedy shows. The building will be able to seat about 500 patrons, he said.
"There's a lot of smaller bands looking to fill a 400- to 500-seat venue," said Manesis, who owns Daniel A. Manesis Transportation Inc., a West Allis trucking firm."
So an owner of a "trucking firm" is going to turn my beautiful UFO into a "theater," and book "smaller bands." I guess we can look forward to a "Mini Kiss" concert soon. Whatever. 
I set this photo as "Extra-Large" and they're still a small group.

The whole thing is thoroughly depressing, especially when you get to this part of the article:
"(Manesis) acknowledged that he knows little about the entertainment business."
Oh boy...

Actually, I think there may be a whole lot of things he knows little about. For instance, the article points out that he bought the property for $635,000, but the price the realtor quoted me, and the price mentioned at www.buythegobbler.com, is $595,000. And that was reduced from $1 million + after the building had sat empty for over a decade. Makes you wonder...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Die, Disclosure, Die!

You have no doubt heard the bombshell announcement that top SETI scientists made before Congress today that aliens exist and could be discovered in 20 years. It's pretty cool news, and you can read about it here. 

Of course, the first thing I thought when I heard the amazing news was that a lot of "Disclosure" fans are going to be mighty disappointed about this. My God, they only have a twenty year window! If the government doesn't fess up to knowing about aliens visiting the earth by May, 2034, the Disclosure folks are going to have some serious egg on their faces.

Then I read the small print... We will discover alien life within 20 years "depending on the financing." There's always a catch, isn't there? The Second Coming could happen tomorrow, depending on the financing. Armageddon could take place next week, depending on the financing.

You know what this means: the Disclosure crowd will be doing anything and everything they  possibly can for the next two decades to make sure there is not enough funding for the SETI Institute to continue its search. That might not be easy, however. According to my friends at Wikipedia...
...Funding for SETI Institute programs comes from a variety of sources. Contrary to popular belief, and their Form 990, no government funds are allocated for its SETI searches[citation needed] – these are financed entirely by private contributions. Other astrobiology research at the SETI Institute may be funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, or other grants and donations.[1] TeamSETI is the SETI Institute’s worldwide membership and support organization.
So you see, the Disclosure folks have their work cut out for them. Of course, they do have a very powerful, if unlikely, ally:

"Pope Francis Talks About Aliens; Says He Would Welcome Martians to Receive Baptism"

Epic struggle-wise, it never hurts to have this guy on your side.
Does anyone else see this shaping up to be the battle royale of the 21st Century? I mean, Pope Francis is practically daring the aliens to go to church on Sunday, and if the aliens fall for the Pope's ploy, what can the SETI eggheads do?

So, either the SETI Institute discovers alien life by May, 2034, or the governments of the world pop the Institute's balloon and reveal that they have been dealing with aliens all along. It's a race to the finish, and it's anyone's guess who will win!

This is fun! 

(And no fair donating to the SETI Institute!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

UFOs on the Air

So, I just did my first ever talking head "guest expert" interview for a cable TV show today, and I think it went well. The producers have asked me to keep the identity of the show confidential, so I will heretofore refer to it only as "the show" (on a related note, you may think you recall me previously having mentioned the name of the show in another post, but you are wrong).

Now this show sometimes does segments about UFOs, and today we were talking about a particular UFO event that, again, you may think I've written about before but I haven't. Over nearly two-and-a-half hours of talking, we went over just about everything you could possibly want to cover in a 10-minute segment. Video is amazing!

I was worried at first, because the producers had sent me a memo telling me what I could and couldn't wear. My wife will tell you that I wear what I want to wear, and I don't cotton to people telling me what to wear and what not to wear. So when I got a letter spelling out NO ties/bow ties, NO sweater vests, NO white/cream or black shirts, NO headwear, NO patterns, and oh by the way, bring "an extra shirt or two," I was fit to be tied. I feel naked without a bow tie, sweater vest, white, cream and black patterned shirt and headwear; what was I going to do? Other UFO guys get to wear hats on their shows; why was I being persecuted?

In the end, I wore a blue "jewel-toned"  button-down shirt that was big enough to conceal the tie, vest and patterned shirt, and I held a cowboy hat in my lap, out of camera range.

The interview went well, which is good because I had spent the previous 48 hours cramming. When you're deep into the interview, I found, you realize that you have a story you're trying to tell, but the producer has a story she's trying to tell, so you have to work together to tell a story that makes you both happy. I think we did it.
Everybody else gets to wear a hat.

I tend to be verbose, and to use far more words than necessary, and repeat myself, and repeat myself, and go on and on and on and on and on about things, so whoever edits that tape is going to earn every cent of his or her pay. But hey, when you're asked to be a guest expert, you want to make sure you're explaining everything just right, so I did what I felt I had to do.

The best part came at the end, when I didn't have to talk anymore. They producer and videographer took me outside to a nearby pictureque setting to take some "hero shots." What is a hero shot, you ask? Well, it's when they make me stare coldly into the camera so they can pan back and forth over my stern countenance. These shots will be used for my intro. As I stare coldly into the camera, the narrator will say, "Mark O'Connell, UFO Investigator, believes that UFOs are a thing," or some such introduction, and then they'll cut to me saying something profound.

So I think it'll be good. And since the show won't air until the end of the year, you have no choice but to take my word for it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The UFO That Was an Alien

I have a very busy couple of weeks coming up and may not be able to post much here for a while. To hold you until I can get back to making regular posts I'll treat you to this fascinating case related to me by Turkish UFOlogist Esen Sekerkarar, one of the speakers at the UFO Symposium in which I recently took part.

I loved the story of the "Esme Alien" for a couple of reasons (and I can't thank Esen enough for sharing it with me). First, the alien entity is just ridiculously weird; a floating poached egg that is somehow creepy and cuddly at the same time. Second, the reaction of the witnesses is remarkable. Third, in this unique story the UFO and the entity are one and the same! How's that for efficiency?
Here, then, is the strange tale of the "Esme Alien":
The alien encounter incident took place in 2001. Three villagers; Fevzi Can, his wife Selma Can and their neighbour Aysel Topaloglu from Narli village in Esme district of the city Usak; woke up early in the morning to hoe their tobacco farm. It was about 7 in the morning. They got on the tractor, as they would always do, but on the way they saw something 30 cm. above the ground on a farm they were passing by. The thing was about 15 meters away from them. First, they did nothing but kept on driving. But as they drove, the being started to follow them on the same direction, still keeping the 15 meters distance in between. That was when the villagers got puzzled and Fevzi Can stopped the tractor and got off it to look closer what that was. The being started to rise in the air and approached towards them. It stopped about 2 meters away from Mr. Can and hovered about 2,5 meters above the ground. The thing was completely silent. No wings or no propellers were apparent. There wasn’t any noise of an engine either, but it was in the air. Mr. Can was astonished and confused by what he was looking at, so he thought of throwing a stone at it, thinking maybe he could drop it down and examine it closer. As soon as he had the thought of throwing a stone at it, the being started to rise in the air. Mr. Can threw a few stones at it, but all missed. The being rose about 5 meters then started to fly to the opposite side, all time facing the witnesses, and went away. 
The villagers told that the being they saw was about 60-70 cm. tall, wearing a bright, gelatin-like suit with an orangish, reddish bright light in the belly part. It had an elliptical head and red-coloured feet. It had no arms and the legs looked like to be attached to each other forming a V shape. It had no ears, no nose nor a mouth. According to the witnesses’ testimony; the only facial detail that was apparent was its almond shaped eyes, which seemed to be glued on the suit.
Right after the encounter, the villagers went to Mehmet Yildirim, the head official of the district, and told him about their encounter. Mr. Yildirim notified the governor Ayhan Cevik right away. A security meeting took place and the bulletin including a sketch of the alien was distributed to the head official of the district, security superiors and gendarme commanders.
The combination UFO/entity was never seen again, which is remarkable when you consider the government's response to the report. Can you imagine anyone in the US reporting that story to their local government official, then the local official reporting it to the governor, then the governor holding a security meeting, then alerting all the security personnel and gendarmes in the district to watch for a peculiar little floating entity in a gelatin suit who can predict when someone is about to throw a stone at it? My guess is that that would never happen in the US.

Okay, so now that you know the story, I can show you what the alien looked like:
The Esme Alien. I kid you not.
What, I ask you, is the meaning of such an occurrence?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Random UFO Notes

While I was at the UFO Symposium over the weekend, I was slipped a note by one of the presenters. She was making a documentary film and wanted to interview me for it...
"My project is about the Travis Walton case. Do you know much about J. Allen Hynek's research of the Travis Walton case? Would you like to make some comments about what Hynek thought about the topic and how he was 'required to debunk' most of the cases?"
It just so happens that I know very little about Dr. Hynek's research of the Travis Walton case, so of course I said Yes!

Don't go, Travis!
j/k. I do know a bit about Hynek's thoughts on the Walton case, but not anywhere near enough to be able to make any intelligent or interesting comments about it. Walton's UFO abduction experience took place in 1975, and I simply haven't gotten that far in my research for the Hynek book. So, as much as I love being on camera, I had to tell the documentarian that I would have to pass on the opportunity.

I did think it was interesting, however, that she also wanted to ask me on camera about "How (Hynek) was 'required to debunk' most of the cases." Perhaps that is a challenge I should have taken up, because I don't believe that Hynek was ever "required to debunk" anything. When he did debunk UFO cases, he did so willingly, and when he finally stopped with the debunking the Air Force had pretty much given up on "requiring" him to do anything.

But I make it a rule never to do an interview for a documentary on the spur of the moment. Especially when it's dealing with a potentially thorny subject and I suspect that my views are quite different from those of the interviewer. To be honest, I just made up that rule the moment she slipped me the note, but I feel it is a sound policy that will serve me well over time.

The filmmaker was very nice about it, of course, and I made it up to her by buying her DVD about Barney and Betty Hill and their amazing alien abduction story. Like a lot of people, I've been fascinated by the Hills' "Interrupted Journey" for many years, and I jumped at the chance to listen to their story in their own words. I haven't played the disc yet, but hope to soon.

The Hynek bio that I have written for the new CUFOS website, meanwhile, has hit a bit of a snag. The CUFOS folks have made some edits and additions, which is to be expected, and while I have no problem with the vast majority of their changes, there is one point in particular on which we differ. It involves the infamous 1966 Dexter-Hillsdale case, forever known as the "swamp gas" case to UFO lovers everywhere. After all the research I have done into this matter, I've come to believe that Hynek was 100% correct to say that the two main incidents may well have been swamp gas, and I'll make the case in my book. The CUFOS folks, on the other hand, seem to believe that Hynek should not be cut any slack here.

Now, I want it to please the CUFOS folks, but because my name is going on this thing, I also want to please me. I think it can be done, but maybe not on the first try.

I should mention that the person making this call is someone I have never met, so I have no clue where he's coming from. Reason suggests I tread carefully, but reason has been wrong before.

Friday, May 2, 2014

UFO Milestones

A couple big UFO milestones passed this week, and they bear mentioning.

Yesterday, May 1, was the birthday of my man, Dr. J. Allen Hynek. He was born in 1910, when Halley's Comet was passing through the neighborhood. Family lore was that new parents Joseph and Bertha took their 5-day-old son Josef Allen to the roof of their apartment building in Chicago to see the comet in the night sky.

This was a risky move in 1910. Halley's Comet was making its closest approach to earth in recorded history, and in fact our planet was going to pass through the tail of the comet as it passed. No one knew what might happen when comet dust pervaded out atmosphere. Would it poison us? Would it blind us? Would it kill us? Or would it turn us all, as H.G. Wells optimistically predicted in his 1906 novel "In the Days of the Comet," into proponents of free love?
Halley's Comet as it appeared in 1910, moments before obliterating all life on earth.

In the end, as far as I'm aware, it did none of those things, but it was awfully brave, and cool, of those parents to expose their baby boy to one of the most beautiful sights in the heavens...

Also, I'm not quite sure on what day this happened, but sometime in the past week High Strangeness topped 100,000 total page views! That's 100K+ in a little under three years. Even if it's not a super huge number in the world of social media, I'm pretty pleased with it. And even if I discount the few hundred page views of my friends, relatives, colleagues and dog, it's still a pretty respectable number.

What's fascinating to me is what you, my readers, are most interested in. A post I wrote last year called "UFO Dilemma" has garnered 2,856 page views, the most of any. I was kind of angry and cranky when I wrote that post, so I guess the take-away is that I'll grow my readership dramatically if I write angry, cranky posts all the time. That's doable.

And to help me along in that regard comes the news that my #2 post, coming in at 2,348 page views, is "The *&$&^%$ Atacama Humanoid", which, as you may know, makes me seriously concerned about the entire field of UFOlogy. What is it about that shriveled little carcass that is so fascinating to you people?

I'm more annoyed than usual at the Atacama Humanoid, because I just got a notice a few days back from its promoter, Dr. Steven Greer, about a $100,000 "STAR Challenge and Award" that he wants to give out to anyone who can generate 100% clean energy from nothing. Apparently, Greer has raised $100,000 from his fans, which isn't enough for him to open "a professional research and development lab," but is enough for you or me to open such a lab. If I understand the pitch correctly, Greer is willing to pay me $100,000 of his fans' money to come up with a workable "open-source 'free energy' device." Which is great and all, but it seems to me that if I did create such a device I would A) become filthy rich even without Dr. Greer's measly $100 grand; and B) be assassinated by big oil before I had a chance to spend one penny of it.

So what do I get out of Greer's deal? Oh yeah... more page views.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Alien Abduction Kid

Crazy week... Right in the midst of getting my thoughts together for my short presentation on Dr. J. Allen Hynek at this weekend's "Evidence in the Skies" UFO Symposium, I've been asked to do an interview for a segment of Travel Channel's "Monumental Mysteries" dealing with the 1966 Michigan "swamp gas" case, and then on top of that I've had a few new tantalizing UFO cases drop in my lap...

Am I complaining? Not at all. This is great! This is what I signed on for!

Hot on the heels of last week's interesting "Possible abduction... or something," I suddenly have another possible abduction on my hands. Which is kind of amazing... Just like my streak of Close Encounters last year led to my being dubbed by me as "The Close Encounter Kid," I now feel it necessary, and appropriate, to dub myself "The Alien Abduction Kid." Who better to investigate an alien abduction than the only Certified UFO Field Investigator whose nickname includes the words "alien abduction?"

Unfortunately, the incident took place 16 years ago, so investigating it will be problematic, if not impossible... On the other hand, the events took place very close to where I live, along a road that I travel every week, so I know the exact spots the witness is describing...

Here's the witness' edited account:

In roughly the winter of 1998/1999, I was driving out of Lxxx on HWY XX when I noticed a long ship, that was a straight line with a bright white light on each end and one in the middle. I didn't think much of it at first, although I did continue looking at it because it didn't resemble a plane in shape (a straight line like a cigar or something) and the lights looked different. I began to really pay attention when I turned onto the side road that lead to my subdivision...
...when I turned 90 degrees onto the side road, the craft changed direction 90 degrees as well. I took note because aircraft don't turn 90 degrees like that. The aircraft seemed to follow me change in direction, and to be descending to lower altitudes and getting closer. I remember slowing down to basically a crawl in my vehicle to watch the craft, and as crazy as this may sound, the next thing I remember is coming to standing outside my car, behind the rear bumper, driver's side door was open, no recollection of getting out of the car...
UFO pilot is coming to get you.
... now the large ship I had seen before is gone and there is a much smaller triangle sized ship hovering maybe 20 feet at most over the road and maybe 20 feet away horizontally. It was completely silent, a white light on each corner of the triangle and an orange or yellow light (it's been 16 years-hard to remember everything). I freaked out and jumped in my car and took up as fast as I could.
I ran into side as fast as I could. Upon entering the house, i looked out every window i could in each direction and saw neither ship. I proceeded to write down the entire event and (eventually) fell asleep. The next morning my girlfriend stopped by before school as she typically did and as soon as i woke up I excitedly started to tell her of the previous nights event. She told me to calm down and that I had been dreaming-reminding me I just woke up. I told her I wasn't dreaming it-to look on my dresser where I had written it all down.
I kept this mostly to myself for the last 16 years because (a) I have no proof and (b) most people don't believe you or don't care. After seeing report after report and pic after pic of similar triangle ships, I figured I'd go ahead report mine too for whatever it's worth. Thanks
No proof? No worries. Most people don't believe you or don't care? Well, I don't know if I believe you yet but I do care.

Sharp observers will have spotted the one crucial fact that's missing from the story: how much time passed between the witness driving at a crawl towards his home and "coming to" outside his car in the driveway? Without that information, it's impossible to know what might have happened to the witness, so if and when he agrees to an interview that will be one of the most important points of discussion.

Stay tuned...