Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The UFO: Redecorating with Shotguns for Ridicule and Innuendo

There's plenty of mysteries in human culture, but the term "UFO" is one that conjures up a lot of imagery. From the disc to the triangle, the sphere to morphing globs of sky stuff - there's no shortage of strange things seen in the sky. 

Now I'd be out of my mind to take on everything the UFO phenomena has to offer this particular discussion, from the varied plethora of 'craft' to the cryptic messages given to those who've come in contact with UFO craft occupants (if they are occupants and are indeed craft). Such a morass of topics would have us bogged down for months on end - we'll get to a lot of it in time, but for starters let's take one chunk at a time, and look at the surrounding elements of the UFO event. 

When we say UFO, what exactly do we mean? 

This is problem one: how do we identify the utterly bizarre presence associated with aerial phenomena and perceived 'aliens'? In short, we can't. Despite the often repeated statement, "We just don't have the technology that can do that" by just about every UFO 'researcher', there is one thing I can safely tell you: They don't know that. To suggest that they do is to state unequivocally that every UFO researcher saying those words has intimate knowledge of every secret military project in every country, and every secret civilian or commercial project.

I can assure you, they don't. And neither do you or I. 

And therein lies problem 1: how to identify whatever strange thing seen in the sky as the phenomena itself. This makes it a slippery eel indeed, because there isn't a way to effectively determine that. Although, I have an idea...but that's later on. 

Let's look at how UFOs and the people who report them have been perceived by mainstream society and science over the years.

I'm sure you've all heard the stereotype "only people in trailer parks see UFOs". While untrue as we all know, the genesis of the statement suggests that people who report such things are marginal. Trailer parks are stigmatized as containing a part of the populace that is considered lower class, minimally educated, and that often these individuals are prone to alcohol and drug abuse, Society at large maintain that such people are not to be taken seriously when they report that football sized cigar craft over the trailer. Of course these are stereotypes and don't represent overall reality.

But looking at the notion of trailer parks as an example - these are often homes for people transitioning from one place to another. Or, the homes themselves (trailers or mobile homes) are not a single family home, but nor are they a vehicle. They possess elements of being stationary and mobile. They are, by definition, liminal domiciles.

It's interesting that this is the stereotype's point of reference. The epitome of liminal homes and perceived marginal people. The other lesser stereotype is that the phenomena is reported by people in rural areas - derogatorily called 'hillbillies' - and again carrying the stigma of the under-educated, and alcoholic.

From the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter (an alleged CE-3 event): (from wikipedia)

Part of the original news article

On the evening of August 21, 1955, five adults and seven children arrived at the Hopkinsville police station claiming that small alien creatures from a spaceship were attacking their farmhouse and they had been holding them off with gunfire "for nearly four hours". Two of the adults, Elmer Sutton and Billy Ray Taylor, claimed they had been shooting at "twelve to fifteen" short, dark figures who repeatedly popped up at the doorway or peered into the windows.

It's a pretty hair-raising account if you read it. Sheriff Russell Greenwell made it very clear that everyone was sober and that these folks were genuinely frightened. But were they 'country folk'? Without a doubt. All the parties when interviewed separately told the same story and drew similar representations of the beings. In all the years that went by, the story never changed. The Suttons never profited from their story, never penned a movie deal - but instead paid out money to fix their farmhouse which suffered holes and shotgun blasts inflicted by them as they defended themselves from small beings. 

Nonetheless, we're given this answer from a skeptical investigation:

"...the famous 1955 Kelly incident is easily explained by a meteor and a pair of territorial owls." (from Siege of ‘Little Green Men’: The 1955 Kelly, Kentucky, Incident)

Among gems like this, you'll find countless comments and innuendo that the witnesses were "probably intoxicated", or hoaxing...or...both. Please keep these kind of nonsensical answers and assumed facts in the back of your head because they represent an interesting repetitive effect with regard to the skeptic - that sometimes they posit answers that aren't based upon anything resembling good sense (Something they accuse the witness of lacking). This too figures in to our discussions to come.

Let's be real -  close quarters shotgun blasts rarely miss completely. The men said the guns had no effect, and that there was no chance they missed. The notion of weapons having no effect in these occurrences is now fairly common I think, regardless of what it may mean (that the phenomena is a non-physical manifestation or that advanced culture equals advanced defense systems - or anything in-between). As far as the 'intoxicated' accusations, when I interviewed folklorist and skeptic Dr. David Clarke some years ago he said the best approach to UFO case research is to refer to the original period reports (so let's play by skeptic rules and see below left). 

No drinking involved.
But, the whole thing is reduced to Owls and drunks. This is to me, a perfect example of trickster - the event happens to people who ultimately will not be believed - and we all are offered absurd explanations for the event by authorities, and many will accept those explanations. The case is then relegated to the dust bin by the majority of the public.

Ask yourself this: would people who've lived in rural Kentucky for generations have seen an owl before? How about at night? Would they have feared the owl - even if they were drunk? Would you miss a large bird like an owl with a shotgun blast at close range? No mention of dead owls, or blasted feathers by police - and there were 20+ officers at the scene under Sheriff Greenwell - none of them found anything?

Please. Had this event happened in New York City, or in any major metropolitan area the people would have been considered in a completely different manner. But it happened in rural Kentucky. Would there have been accusations of drunkenness if it were in a major city? Or if the witnesses had been average store owners and patrons?

The contention here is that this is not an accident, or happenstance that the Sutton Family was targeted by something that we might label as part of the phenomena we're interested in. Billy Ray Taylor is the man who originally saw the UFO land near the Sutton home and ran to tell the Suttons who laughed and didn't believe his tale (yet). Of note? Taylor was from Pennsylvania and visiting the Suttons - he was out of his routine environment (the anti-structural component) and I'm sure if we dug into the circumstances and duration of his visit we might find more.

We are to believe that rural Americans had never seen an owl. 
I think what we see here is the hidden and overlooked consistencies yet again - marginal elements of the people involved and their geological location, Anti-structural element of a visitor (Taylor) at the house, and a special gathering going on. Want another? Elmer Sutton and Billy Ray Taylor were traveling carnival workers. Let's double down on the anti-structure and marginality

Cases like this probably started the 'drunken hillybilly' UFO stereotype. This is why it's important to recognize where these stigmas come from, and that they're more or less unique to paranormal events.

What surrounds the paranormal are elements to make it easily dismissed, no matter how unwavering the account. You'll find this not only in the Kelly-Hopkinsville case, but all over the UFO phenomena. This particular case seems to feed heavily into marginal elements, others might figure more on the anti-structure bits. And, all these hallmarks may be far more pronounced than we think - because no one has ever bothered to ask these questions. This is something that really needs to be deployed in modern UFO report forms or questions asked of witnesses. Forget the UFO for a moment and ask about the witness's current life situation, their living situation, job situation etc. I think this will yield interesting returns. 

This is after all, only one example that I think is easy to identify at this stage in our discussion. But there will be more from recent times, and you'll see these elements much more pronounced as time goes on. Think of this instance as 'Trickster Lite'. ðŸ”»

(next: Personalities & The Performance Investigator)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Trickster & The Skeptic

Many paranormal 'believers' have real issues with self-professed skeptics. Again, we'll get into skeptics more in-depth in months to come - but it bears mentioning here why skeptics (and their scientific method) possibly may not have the best opportunities to study paranormal phenomena. 

You may have heard about all matter of phenomena occurring in a location until a scientific team shows up, or a skeptic comes to investigate what others are experiencing. Then, suddenly, the paranormal turtle retreats into it's shell. 

Now seeing what we've already covered, can you predict what happens when the paranormal (an inherently anti-structural steeped effect) is put into a controlled context? Or a controlled and organized approach to study? Laying structure over the situation negates the anti-structure that seems to be one of the keys to phenomena - this is why for decades the scientific community has not seriously studied the paranormal - because creating scientific experiments requires organization, order, methodical accuracy and most of all repeatable results to be considered valid and worthy of publication and review. 

If you're looking for that kind of consistency in the paranormal responses at this level, you're in the wrong place.

It doesn't work seemingly, because the surrounding context, and approach isn't conducive to paranormal phenomena. The paranormal responds to disorder, change, non-routine, and other effects we'll address later. The end result is academe finds the paranormal sorely lacking in anything science's rigid and ordered approach can verify. It's been deemed 'fringe' and unworthy of serious consideration. Only in recent years have working (albeit few) scientists began looking into the phenomena with fresh approaches. 

But can the skeptic have a paranormal event? Maybe. In 2014 uber-skeptic Michael Shermer had an event that shook his skeptical mindset "to the core".

Now what I want you to do is read this article. It's not long and is easy to read and follow along. Then come back and let's look at this with a different approach other than dissecting the strange event itself.

Now that you've read it - lets examine the context, and forget the strange event, the effect and it's perceived meaning.

"The event took place on June 25, 2014. On that day I married Jennifer Graf, from Köln, Germany."

A marriage is a ritual of sorts whether or not it happens in a religious context, and that I think we can all agree on. But it's also a very liminal state to be in: one is not yet married, but is also no longer single. It is an extremely transitional period for both parties here.

Jennifer is also from another country, and I think we might be able to surmise that she's recently experienced a full blown move to the US...

"In shipping her belongings to my home before the wedding, most of the boxes were damaged and several precious heirlooms lost..."

This seems to indicate that Jennifer has undergone that liminal period of moving her home from one place to another. But this is more than a normal move - it's a cultural move too -  she's transitioning to a different culture of life in the United States as opposed to Germany.

"Three months later, after affixing the necessary signatures to our marriage license at the Beverly Hills courthouse, we returned home, and in the presence of my family said our vows and exchanged rings. Being 9,000 kilometers from family, friends and home, Jennifer was feeling amiss and lonely."

Jennifer is completely removed from what is familiar to her previous life. The anti-structural nature of this kind of life change (married life from single, and quite a major change in living geographically) cannot be understated. She is for the sake of our discussion, the perfect storm of liminality. 

It is no surprise that the event centered around her.

"She wished her grandfather were there to give her away."

This is a normal way for Jennifer to feel at this particular time. But it also is interesting to note that she (previous to the event) in a way has 'set the stage' for the impossibly strange. 

"She opened the desk drawer and pulled out her grandfather's transistor radio, out of which a romantic love song wafted. We sat in stunned silence for minutes. “My grandfather is here with us,” Jennifer said, tearfully. “I'm not alone.”

The radio that for all purposes was broken and in a state of disrepair, at the moment of marriage - and almost in response to the Bride's request - plays a love song, and it's her Grandfather's transistor.

"My daughter, Devin, who came out of her bedroom just before the ceremony began, added, “I heard the music coming from your room just as you were about to start.” (my emphasis)

I know the written medium is limited, but you should know reader, I have nothing to say here beyond giving you that "look" from over the top of my glasses.

"Later that night we fell asleep to the sound of classical music emanating from Walter's radio. Fittingly, it stopped working the next day and has remained silent ever since."

Fittingly indeed. The number of odd events here seem to defy coincidence. Are we to believe that such an absurd alignment is given to chance? Or can we not identify that the same circumstances that surround a haunting, UFO sightings, and other paranormal phenomena are also present in this event - related by a professional skeptic?

Michael then gives us this statement...

"Jennifer is as skeptical as I am when it comes to paranormal and supernatural phenomena."

Clearly this flies in the face of his earlier account: “My grandfather is here with us,” Jennifer said, tearfully. “I'm not alone.”  I find the notion that the skeptic desires to relate the experience (and I thank him for having the courage to write and present it) yet soften the edge so that it might still be palatable to his skeptical following very interesting. It shows to me, a need to fall in line with the conventional skeptic ideology of 'nothing to see here' regardless of the experience and how utterly shaken he was by it. As I said, we'll examine the skeptic further in coming months, and I think no matter what side of that argument you're on, you'll find it interesting.

Mr. Shermer closes with this:

"...if we are to take seriously the scientific credo to keep an open mind and remain agnostic when the evidence is indecisive or the riddle unsolved, we should not shut the doors of perception when they may be opened to us to marvel in the mysterious."

Unwilling to examine the edges, the skeptic ideology fails.
Michael took an enormous amount of heat from the skeptical community for this piece. It's a shame that his fans and followers who felt he'd gone off the rails didn't heed his final statement. I feel confident in saying that were he (or any other public skeptic) ever to have another strange event such as this - they would likely not discuss it for fear of the same reprisal.

And so we see the final bit of the story: the phenomena has presented to a skeptic, who in turn relates it to an audience who will only reject it.  It's a marginal story in that context, presented to a community that will find easy ways to dismiss it. 

The phenomena remains in it's elusive and transient envelope - surrounded by repetitive elements often unnoticed. It's why I believe it's imperative upon us to examine the edges.🔻

(Next: The UFO)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Scene 1, Act 1: Setting the Stage

So we've examined the terms we're using, and now we kick off the sample scenario so you can start to see how these elements take shape in the way of a paranormal event(s),

This is a sample, but it contains hallmarks that you'll no doubt have heard before. Later, we'll examine real accounts, and the people, places and situations that surround the activity.

For now, and for the sake of simplicity let's not focus on what we usually do: the phenomena. We're going to talk about the people within their circumstances who experienced it.

Dan and Jane are newlyweds. Being young with Jane still in her final year of college, they buy a fixer upper home, one built around 1900. Just starting his career full-time, Dan's not making a ton of money. His income is their only monetary source, and so an inexpensive house was the best option. They would, as Jane graduated and started work at the local hospital, earn more and be able to devote her funds to home renovations.

As they move in, they have only a small amount of cash from the home loan to devote to making the place a little more their own. Old houses are usually quite 'chopped up' into small rooms and Dan suggests that they ought to start by knocking out a couple of walls to open up the space. Namely, the non-load bearing wall between what they called the living room and small nondescript room adjacent to it. Jane says she'd like to live in the space for a few months and see how she feels about it. They agree.

While they struggle somewhat financially, life settles into a routine of Dan dropping Jane off at the college when he goes to work - she takes the bus home. Dan arrives home at 6 and Jane usually has dinner ready. It's a peaceful place. Jane likes hanging the laundry outside to dry in the warm sun, and having no neighbors nearby she doesn't worry about her unmentionables being seen by prying neighborhood eyes.

As she cooks a modest dinner one night she tells Dan "This kitchen is ridiculous. It's so cramped, and I can smell the gas from the stove because it's so tight in here. How about we make the kitchen our first thing?" Dan agrees. The weekend comes and Dan goes out to Home Depot for supplies, and enlists his brother Bob for some help.

Now let's keep in mind that Dan and Jane have been married now 6 months, and have had no issues with the house, or each other. Life has been stable, if not slightly stressful due to finances. But nothing they couldn't handle.

Dan and Bob prepare to demo (tear down) the wall between the small room and the kitchen. They've had a contractor friend look over what they want to do and he says it's no issue. The wall isn't load bearing and they shouldn't have any surprises, as these houses are pretty bare bones. He tells Dan only to watch for power and plumbing lines and gives him note on what to look for.

As they tear out the wall Dan gets up on a ladder to get the upper part of the wall removed from the ceiling.

BANG - as he removes the last bit, something comes down from above - a metal post...looks like oil rubbed brass.

"Thats our bed post." Jane says with her arms crossed. "I know it."

"Calm down, lemme look" Dan says as he heads upstairs. Sure enough, it's the leg of the bedframe - and not only that, half the floor is sinking on the kitchen side of the room. Dan immediately realizes he's out of his depth. The contractor confirms, there's wood rot in the floor/ceiling and the couple is in for not only a new floor upstairs, but a new ceiling downstairs.

Way more trouble than they bargained for. Where is the money going to come from for this.

"Now we're out a bedroom and a kitchen. Great." complains Jane. Dan says he can pick up some overtime and it shouldn't be that bad. But it is that bad. The contractor wants $3k for the work and then Dan can start the kitchen. "We can have ya done in a couple weeks" says the contractor.

Dan borrows money from his parents, and works the overtime. Jane, can't cook in the kitchen so they order in. If it's not that, it's Ramen. Take out is costing too much - it's Ramen. This causes Dan to get a little irate - he works hard and is sick of it...quickly. The couple can't sleep in their room for fear of collapsing into the ceiling downstairs. Dan sleeps on the floor and Jane on a futon in the living room. It's uncomfortable. Dan wakes up late 2 times in a week and he's dragging. Like a zombie he gets up in the morning and makes coffee on the small table in the living room. It's makeshift to say the least.

They aren't sleeping well. There's financial pressure. The couple is out of routine, and not eating at their normal time. On top of school, Jane has to figure out what she's doing for dinner without Dan giving her a raft of grief for getting KFC tonight instead of those goddamned microwaved noodles.

Jane wakes up one night thirsty. She walks towards the remnants of her kitchen for a drink of water, when she sees...it.

A woman. There's a woman in the kitchen. She's stirring something...where the stove used to be. As she leans over for a sniff of the not visible food, or kettle, she looks up at Jane - and promptly vanishes.

Jane is frozen with fear.

"What the f--??!!" is all she manages to mumble from her numb lips and fear constricted throat. She bolts to Dan's side.

As the two discuss the event, Dan says "You always hear about all those people who buy old houses and when they renovate them, the ghosts don't like it and start up."

"Jesus Dan - don't tell me that" Jane says with wide eyes. In coming days Dan would also see phenomena, small lights that floated in the upstairs hallway, and noises that sounded like voices were heard - usually around 3am.

This sparks an inordinate amount of fear in them both. Life has become more than either can handle. The contractor gets done his work, and Dan plows through the kitchen renovation. He works all night some days. In those couple of weeks, Dan becomes resentful of Jane's original request to do the kitchen - this all wouldn't have happened if Jane hadn't asked for this. "Now we've got ghosts...and I don't even believe in such stuff" he thought.

The couple fight. It gets bad. Fear, the money, the sleep disruption. It all contributes to a chaotic life. Dan considers telling Jane maybe they rushed into marriage. Some days he considers just leaving.

But they stick it out. The renovation finished, Jane cooks her first meal in the new kitchen. She realizes it's been a week since she saw or heard anything ghostly in the house. Life moves into a nice routine again. The couple like the new floor upstairs. The house is silent.

It was all worth it.


Now this is a general story laid out with a simple progression: normal life is disrupted by chaos. Financial woes, living quarters in shambles, loss of routine, and stress. So you're probably recognizing the anti-structure and liminal sates, right? 

The kitchen is in a liminal state: between being what it once was and what it will be when complete.

The couple by virtue of the liminal state of the kitchen, experiences anti-structure. Not sleeping the same hours or in the same space, not eating at regular times, 

There's the change in routine schedules, and the notion of someone being in the house (contractor and his workers) who aren't normally there. 

It doesn't have to always be the case, but one thing you might have missed? The couple themselves are in the liminal state - transitioning from living apart in their own respective homes, to living together in a totally new one. Their own personal routines change because they now live together. They may be experiencing new routines, or dealing with emotional issues with that transition.

As mentioned in the story, the couple begins to split emotionally. After the paranormal rears it's head the couple is steeped in the anti-structure and liminal states, and more often than not that's just not a good spot for relationships of any kind. 

You may note that ghost hunting groups and UFO study groups never seem to last all that long. They fall apart and split after only a short time together. Many are in a constant state of flux - and these groups curiously enough seem to experience more success at ghost investigations. We'll get more into what might help these groups to stick together later - but here's a teaser for that: there's a reason that a meal often follows after a funeral, or ritual of some kind.

It's the proverbial broken record - one need only listen.
So if you think that the above sample scenario is a unique sample I've made up - it isn't. It happens all the time if you truly look. I was telling someone last Friday that "All you need do is watch some of these paranormal account programs on TV - they all have these hallmarks of anti-structure or liminal states in them." This weekend, I was browsing through programs and saw this: (see right)

This is all over the paranormal account(s). From UFO sightings to alien visitation and hauntings. 

So, you'll hear many paranormal mavens say that "the renovation stirs up the spirits because they don't like their environment being altered from what they remember." One thing you'll find in the paranormal across the board is that people claim too much information. To make such an inference is blind speculation at best, and absurdity at it's worst - actually no...it's just absurdity. To say such a thing is to portend the mind of a spirit, or ghost...and not even know what that title really means. Is the 'ghost' Jane saw a self-aware spirit of the dead - or something else? (and the possibilities are endless.) Yet, you hear this sort of unfounded notion trotted out time and again, "they've upset the spirits". We don't even know what the 'spirit' really is yet. Therefore attributing anything of meaning is nothing short of wish fulfillment and myth building. There's no substance to that.

It's too early for theory, really. We need to establish what surrounds the paranormal event - because the event itself while important, doesn't reveal enough about itself to arrive at productive questions, or generate useful hypotheses.

If you think the story resolves too quickly? Don't. Because paranormal phenomena can vanish as unexpectedly as it appears - often quickly. We can surmise that the phenomena ended because life in the house became routine again (structure), renovations concluded, and the liminal state was over. 

Stop asking why. I know it's the question we need answered. But no one is there yet. More information must be gathered, and so then experiments can be proposed knowing the nature of what the phenomena operates within.

NOTE: The above illustrates one layer of the paranormal experience, and it's 'envelope'. It's by no means the whole ball of wax, but it's a good starting sample. You'll begin to see these things in ghost programs you might watch.🔻

Next: a real life scenario, from a surprising source.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The first terms...

Ok folks, are we all set?

First, just to get this out of the way: dispel from your mind the notion of trickster as an entity. That's not our context nor do I think it has any basis in actuality. Also for the time being, forget the literary definition. While there may be some observational value in how the literary trickster is presented in texts, it's far an away too anthropomorphic. The trickster is also not defined here by way of theological definitions either. I think it's going to be fairly obvious that we're not blaming this on the devil or any other entity that you may or may not believe in. 

Think of it more as this: an undercurrent of how reality seems to work. I said from the get-go, think abstract.

Here's some definitions of terms you'll need to understand:


This is essentially the state in which there is chaos, and loss of routine. The loss of structured life, and the absence of pattern or organization. Disruption. Disorganization. This is not a tough definition to comprehend, but you're going to see it in many different forms and you'll need to be able to recognize it.

How anti-structure fits our discussion: In the case of investigating or studying paranormal activity, you'll find people who are experiencing phenomena are in some matter of disarray. Stress in all forms. Could be a loss of job, resulting in loss of income. Divorce? Sure. Moving to a new home? Absolutely. Such activities can throw one into a complete state of disharmony. 

But there can be loss of routine in other ways - extended vacation, obsession with an artistic endeavor whether it be writing, playing music, visual art - these things can result in a loss of your normal routine in daily life. It doesn't always have to be some terrible devastation to be anti-structural. One may lead an anti-structural life that has no routine and rarely has (more about these types of folks later). 

You will find anti-structure in the mix of many paranormal events across all matter of discord or loss of regimented life.


The liminal state is one of transition. British anthropologist Victor Turner (1920-1983) published a paper titled “Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de Passage.” The phrase 'betwixt and between' helped define the liminal period, as between two normal or stable states of being. You could think of liminality not only as the 'between  state' but as the bridge or connective tissue to anti-structure - it works both ways. For instance the loss of job brings the loss of daily routine, but also puts one in the liminal state of between jobs. If one is between jobs (even by choice), one can fall into an anti-structured life. 

There are liminal places: constructions sites, homes being restored or renovated, etc. It stands to reason that living in a liminal environment would result in a loss of your routine. For example, you can't live in a room that's being gutted for renovation. You may sleep odd hours in another room that is not your normal one - or eat different food at different hours because the kitchen is being redone. The environment in a state of transition is not what it was, but it's also not what it will be...yet.

There are liminal people (not victims of a liminal situation, but that they themselves are liminal): the adolescent boy or girl is by far to me, the most obvious example of liminality: the male is not yet a man - but no longer a little boy, and the female not yet a woman - but no longer a little girl. While the male is certainly undergoing his own changes, the female seems the more potent example of physical and emotional change (to me anyway).  

But there are other examples: the transsexual, either seeking or in the process of sexual reassignment procedures. The notion of cross-dressing, or of being some amalgamation of the male and female simultaneously. The role of shaman in many cultures, the person who walks the line between the spiritual world and physical world - often dresses and appears in androgynous ways.  

There are liminal times of day - 3am being a time when many paranormal minded people say the spirits are more active - is the peak period between night and early morning. 12 midnight is called the "witching hour" - the liminal moment between one day to another. Halloween, a time when folklore tells us the 'veil between the living and the dead is thinnest' happens during the most notable liminal time of year: between summer and winter. 

In essence, anything 'between' one state to another, or in simplest terms 'in the process of change'. Paranormal events seem to be contained within the liminal period.


Marginality for me is one of the more difficult concepts to discuss, because it seems a derogatory thing to say. This is the segment of the paranormal that skeptics use to ultimately cast doubt or suspicion. I've spoken a lot about the 'quality of the messenger' - mostly due to my lengthy discussion with research Russ Estes - and how the quality of many reports of paranormal activity seem to come from sources that in one way or another are marginal. When I say 'marginal'...well, here's a good spot for an example. 

Name the most popular ghost hunting show of all time. 'Ghost Hunters' of course - the show that built SyFy. Now here's a couple of guys using fairly sophisticated equipment for capturing spirit activity. The two principle 'investigators' are marginal, because they are plumbers (this is not to disparage the plumbing profession btw). One seems moderately educated while the other seems to not have much under the belt as far as academe at all. These are not scientists, or even parapsychologists. They are plumbers. Therefore they would fall into the marginal category. While they may get good evidence of spirit activity - many will dismiss it from the standpoint that these men are not very educated, are not versed in any particular field of parapsychology or science, and may be easily dismissed. I have to stress this does not negate their findings - only that it casts doubt by virtue of the quality of the messenger. Never mind, that it's also a TV show, and TV shows are entertainment. I should repeat George Hansen's observation:

"In our culture, the moneys devoted to fictional portrayal of the paranormal in books, TV, and movies dwarf those allocated to research."

There's a reason that it's been joked about that "only people in trailer parks see UFOs". This widespread stereotype has picked up on the marginal aspects of the field. While the stereotype is inaccurate, it focuses on the people as marginal due to where they live. (I might note here that trailer parks are also liminal places to live. Often it is a transitional living domicile.)

Marginal definitions for our purposes also include marginal places - for example many bars and pubs are reported to be haunted. The notion of alcohol being consumed immediately places the reports in a marginal category.

You'll find that many creative personalities (artists, writers, musicians, etc) are represented very high in reports of paranormal events - these people (and yes,me included) are considered marginal because they can easily create reports, videos, photos, that immediately makes the report or evidence suspect. They are also very versed in imagination and visualization. This of course doesn't mean that these people are dishonest by any stretch or that their reports should be dismissed - only that from a subjective and fair outside perspective, creatives are easily dismissed by virtue of their talent to create fiction. We'll get way into this in future discussions.

I think that's enough terminology to get started. Read these carefully and ponder them, their many possibilities and trajectories. In the following days I'll be giving you more complex ideas relating to these basic ideas. I'll also be showing you examples of cases, personalities and apparent phenomena behavior that you'll find endlessly fascinating when looking from the trickster perspective. 

In closing, none of this is particularly new. Some of these observations and terms have been known in the paranormal for 100 years. How marginal is a field(s) that can recognize these patterns and soon forget them to focus time and energy on the meaningless Roswell Slides or Project SERPO.🔻

More to come...

Friday, February 10, 2017


While the masses debate the myriad of issues of the UFO phenomena - everything from 'are they real' to the next absurdly obvious hoax laid out before us, the phenomena of strange things seen in the sky (and contact with alleged occupants) continues unabated.

I'm currently collaborating with author Erin Parker to write the book "White Square: Aliens, Antistructure & the Mystical Experience" which details a lifetime of some very weird experiences. But I'm once again drawn to start this blog which has been on my mind for years to do: to discuss the nature of the phenomena, it's surrounding tenets, and it's effects on people inside the loosely defined field of UFOlogy. 

If you've ever heard me talk about things like antistructure, liminal states, binary opposition and other consistent encompassing effects related to paranormal events, you know it's not a sound bite discussion and often podcasts and radio guest spots are cut short without really getting the whole thing laid out.

My understanding of these specific paranormal topics started with George Hansen, who's written and spoken extensively about what we're covering here (www.tricksterbook.com). George changed in one night, my entire ontological view of the phenomena present in my life for as long as I can remember.

A while ago in discussion with George, I asked him why it is that more people don't acknowledge the surrounding consistencies that follow around all paranormal phenomena. To me, this was a real push forward on the envelope of trying to understand how to approach the study.

George said, "Most people don't even understand what I'm talking about".

He later went on to clarify that some younger people had a greater reception to his ideas, but that his age group did not. This greatly distressed me, and is the primary reason for this blog. 

I realize that these undercurrent topics that envelope the paranormal are abstract, and can get very involved very quickly, but once you understand certain aspects (that aren't that hard to get your head around), you fundamentally change your outlook and approach to the phenomena. 

If you're an active investigator, you'll be wanting to alter your approach to questioning witnesses, and overall examinations. You'll gain new insight into how and why hoaxes occur and why you should come to expect them, and shockingly - that you can learn a lot from hoaxes (and by virtue of that it'll make you a lot less angry about them).

You'll also gain ground in understanding the massive amount of infighting, backstabbing and shenanigans of clique mentality in UFOlogy and other paranormal venues like the ghost hunting fields.

And that's only the start. 

I should make note here, that I'll be talking about certain UFO and paranormal personalities from time to time and making points about their work, their following, and how their behavior in the field applies to our target discussion. This may be perceived as mean spirited or derogatory - it is not meant to be. I'll be as clinical as I can about personalities - it's not about trashing anyone. It's about really seeing.

How about recognizing the consistencies that will make you wonder how you ever missed them before? And, how those seemingly disconnected things (even hoaxes) could conceivably be part of the phenomena too. 

So, rather than try to lay out some abstract thoughts and theories, this blog is going to work like a Rosetta Stone language program - you're going to start speaking 'Trickster' by virtue of repeated example. You won't be able to get away from it. And as time goes on you'll see these things more and more.

But let's be clear: this isn't an answer to anything by any stretch. If you're looking for answers, you're in the wrong place. But my contention is that these realizations will fundamentally change how you see the field, the people in it, witnesses and the phenomena itself. That in turn should change your approach to how you perceive and study it.

It's a direction - but it's one that I think I can say has more repeatable hallmarks than anything the paranormal offers. Ultimately, thats of value. You may find other avenues by way of this new (or rather, new to you) perspective that you want to explore. The ideas to be contained here may even lead you to see how you can study these enigmatic topics though direct interaction. 

Be forewarned that if you're so married to your current answer for any given phenomena you're probably best to leave now. This blog is about divorce. Divorce of belief, and of long held theories that when examined compared to any given phenomena - just don't hold up.

Before we roll on with any momentum, the next blog post will detail some of the verbiage used to describe the effects and what they mean in layman's terms. I'll give some examples you'll no doubt have heard countless times before - but you'll now see them in a whole new way. These will be the things you'll start to see all over the paranormal. Think of these terms and their meanings as the tube that contains the paint the phenomena uses to make it's art for us to see. 

If you have any questions at any time, leave a comment and I'll answer as best I can.