Monday, October 29, 2012

A Return to Paranormalcy

True Confessions of a Paranormal Radio Addict
by Geoff Vasil

Growing up in Seattle and then rural parts of Washington state—even Seattle was a backwater back then—I remember scouring the radio dial for something interesting from a very young age. I used to get CBS Radio Mystery Theater sometimes, or pull in KGO AM 810 San Francisco, the super-powered station, when the ionosphere was right. San Francisco was exotic, there was even a television series called The Streets of San Francisco which used to scare me when I was allowed to stay up late enough to watch it. Sometime after checking the radio dial had become habitual, I came across the strangest program I’d ever heard, on a sunny afternoon, on KRAB FM out of Seattle, a community radio station. It was a conversation with a man, an interview, who said the most wonderful and outlandish things I’d ever heard, as a young boy. He was talking about chakras, breathing out one nostril at a time, reciting AUM, Sanskrit, and a lot of other stuff you’d pigeon-hole as spiritual or New Age now, but his talk shifted back and forth between this and high technology. In fact, he said he’d invented a three-dimensional television, in his garage, except that the Office of Naval Intelligence had got wind of it, came in, slapped a CLASSIFIED on everything and stolen it. They always do this with the latest technology American entrepreneurs come up with, he explained, and went on to list other exotic things kept from the public in this way.

This was more or less my introduction to “paranormal” radio, if paranormal can be borrowed for the purpose from the stricter meaning of scientific investigation of spiritual phenomenon, studies of clairvoyance, ESP and ghosts which have been at the heart of modern Western scientific endeavor since almost the beginning, when Boyle, a founder of the Royal Society, was in touch with Kirk, the author of The Secret Commonwealth. And well should these things inspire wonder as well as the desire for an explanation, even if it has somehow become fashionable among the scientific set to scoff at the inexplicable.

Later, much later, I stumbled across Art Bell in the same manner, looking for something to aid in achieving sleep on the radio. Between KRAB and Bell there was the entire parapsychological milieu of 1970s America, from Uri Geller to Nimoy’s In Search Of (both the original specials and the series), and a whole slew of magazines with an alternative slant on history, reality and the future, including Omni, Future Life, Starlog and those random UFO magazines I used to shoplift at the local grocery store. The first Art Bell encounter I remember was drifting in and out of sleep as KVI faded in and out, with Al Bielik telling the story of the Philadelphia Project (I think for the first time). The fading in and out was fine, it didn’t affect the story much as I drifted in and out (They set up alternating magnetic fields ... vortex ... Caller on the Wild Card Line, Line Number One next), but ... reality intruded in the form of semi-distant blood-curdling screams, although they were not navy men embedded in the bulkheads of the USS Eldridge, because it was clearly a female voice. I ended up getting dressed and going out to investigate, because it sounded like someone was getting killed, and it turned out someone was. I was never successful in getting through to the Seattle detectives investigating the case, mainly because they never called me back, but I left all I knew on their answering machines, and I know they heard it, because the wikipedia article for the murdered Seattle singer Mia Zapata links to an Unsolved Mysteries webpage which says the detectives first got a break on the case from an “aural” witness who contacted them. I’m sure that was me, on their answering machines, as they were on vacation.

Whether that was the first Art Bell I heard, or whether it was the time he was complaining about rabbits around his transmitters in Pahrump and I actually called up to chew the fat, I don’t know for sure, but Al Bielik combined with the death-knell of the loud punk Mia Zapata have never disentwined in my subconscious, which I suppose goes with the territory if you decide to let late-night radio inform your subconscious.

Later I had some brushes with what might be called paranormal journalism. I volunteered for the local underground semi-college-affiliated newspaper, whose editor and prime mover was a little ga-ga over aliens, UFOs, Roswell. Sometime during that period I happened to attend a meeting at the college, took notes, and afterwards collected notes from friends who were there, compiled them into an article and got the prime mover to print it in the paper, although he was quite skeptical of my/our skepticism. See, the meeting was actually a Heaven’s Gate recruitment drive, although they had a different name that month. They hung up posters around town about aliens and UFOs and rented a lecture room. I’d seen very similar posters put out by a charismatic fundamentalist church in Eugene, Oregon, and had attended that, and the Heaven’s Gate people were not a whole lot different in their approach to what they called “Luciferian” aliens, and probably not too distant from some of the ideas John Keel and Nick Redfern float about the demonic nature of the visitors. The thing was, no one had heard about this particular group before. I called around, a friend asked a friend who knew something about them, and it turned out they had an earlier shtick where they’d arrive in a new town (always in the western USA), claim to be stranded time travellers, and ask for bus fare, coffee money, laundromat change, whatever. This brought it home, because some of those rural myths had shown up on Art Bell’s program already. I asked the “astronauts in training” at the meeting some pointed questions about sexuality, masturbation, after which they got quite embarrassed almost (to be expected) and Applewhite, who had been sitting in the first or second row of the audience, took some real offense, stood up and delivered a harangue, mainly to me. After they committed mass suicide, or whatever it was that happened outside San Diego, my article (I gave credit to two friends whose notes I used as co-authors) was one of maybe only a handful that contained any information at all about the cult, and was somehow found by the local mainstream paper in Olympia and passed around. I was halfway around the globe at that point, watching the eerie blue-green light of Hale-Bopp in the night sky, blissfully unaware of “the mothership” behind the comet mentioned on the Art Bell program, but I did hear about the mass suicide, and one of the co-authors sent me an email about what happened. A few years later I caught a BBC dramatization which included Bell, Strieber and other people involved, and it was fairly well done. A few years after that I learned the editor and prime mover of that local underground semi-college-affiliated paper, a labor of love by a man whose veins flowed with the ink of several generations of Jewish newspaper men, had been murdered in a most horrific way, beheaded, his body dismembered, body parts hidden in his garden. Word was, it was a drug deal gone bad, a real possibility with him, but for some petty amount of pot and some paltry sum, something like $20.

The paranormal, the weird, the latest fucked up conspiracy theory tying it all together, was never far away on the West Coast. From Seattle to Eugene to Berkeley to Isla Vista it only took a little coaxing to elicit the most fantastic notions from freaky strangers. I knew about the Roswell autopsy film by word of mouth. I heard about Dulce and Area 51 and Kirtwell and all the rest probably before anyone had published anything about them. It’s simply a part of the cultural ferment of the American West Coast, the general craziness and the ambient cutting-edge-ness of the coast that is either the cul-de-sac or culmination, depending upon how you look at it, of the entire trend of Western civ from Bablyon on. But as so often happens, you never miss a thing until it’s gone, and you sometimes fail even to notice it.

When I moved away—partly because the murder of Mia Zapata really disturbed me and I didn’t think having people strangled in my neighborhood could possibly be any way to live—I did miss all the paranormal gossip, no matter how outlandish. I turned to internet radio, eventually. Listening to Art Bell on-line over dialup wasn’t very satisfying, when it was possible, and there was a hiatus of several years before anything seemed to become available. Or maybe I just wasn’t sure where to look. Some C2C episodes started showing up on a music file-sharing network, so I grabbed those and heard George Noory for the first time. Bell retired several times while I was learning how to find the show on the internet. It was always hit-and-miss and many of the episodes I found were outdated, which was fine, because I’d missed a lot of what went on in America, including September 11th.

When Art Bell was leaving his own program and Noory seemed to be taking over, Art Bell seemed stuck in a very patriotic reality-tunnel regarding 9/11, and was also becoming stuck in some sort of immovable position on global warming, although his earlier “quickening” and “drastic climate change” allowed for global warming, manmade or not, followed by a new ice age. Or any permutation. Noory was interesting because he let the guests talk a lot while he listened, and even let them hang themselves at times, but the years that have passed since Art Bell left have seen Noory become a bit confused at times about what the guests are actually saying. While Noory is more flexible on whether 9/11 was self-inflicted and on the possible causes of climate change, his show is so much less interesting than Art Bell’s, simply because of Bell’s radio presence, his experience combined with his sense of immediacy, what constitutes entertainment for the listeners, his wit and his whole personality.

I never did learn what happened with someone blackmailing Art Bell about his son, nor how his wife died.

Knapp and Punnett brought different things to the C2C table: Knapp as a serious paranormal investigator, Punnett as a somewhat manic but very witty heir to Art Bell’s own mania and wit. The overall sense, though, has been that the people producing Coast to Coast AM are trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and Humpty seems retired for good now. The “latest addition to the Coast Family,” as they say, John B. Wells, while he has his own strengths and weaknesses as a host and interviewer, almost seems like a political appointment: he in a sense tows the line of that other alternative radio talkshow host based in Austin, Alex Jones, or at least brings the same sensibility to Coast, although in a much more aesthetically palatable form. If it’s not a political appointment, it is one based on a marketing specialist’s sense of which way the wind is blowing (away from Bell’s 9/11-ism and manmade global warming, towards a set of beliefs I’ll touch on below regarding patriotic alternative radio).

I can’t say much about Jeff Rense because I missed that boat, I only started listening about a year ago. He has a great radio presence, although he interrupts guests at the wrong moments sometimes. He’s a smooth talker, an experienced interviewer and evidently he’s a real aficionado of radio, sometimes mentioning the Great Gildersleeve, or another old-time radio series, and modeling his own show on a sort of serial basis, where most of the guests are regulars, who come back, week after week or month after month, and discuss the latest. I think this is an extremely intriguing format: mixing old-style “the lost art of” conversation and fireside dialogue with the weird, the para- and hyper-normal and the alternative. The only problem is that most of the guests don’t seem to generate new material from week to week, so much is repeated, and Jeff Rense himself seems to have become set in his ways and even cynical concerning life, politics and the prospects for humanity. What should by all rights be an exhilarating and surreal—in the true sense of the word—format sometimes becomes tedious.

I started listening to Rense because Michael Rivero moved there for a time. Mike Rivero and his What Really Happened radio program and website is decidedly and intentionally NOT paranormal. For years he told callers: “We don’t do UFOs/chemtrails/HAARP etc., here, go to Rense.” The problem was Rivero shared a network with Alex Jones, the Genesis Communications Network of Ted ___, involved in peddling gold. Rivero and Jones disagree about Zionism, Israel and Jews, and Jones allegedly cancelled his weekly chat with Rivero on his Alex Jones Show program, or at least Rivero felt he had. Ted ___ probably took that opportunity to tighten the screws on Rivero a bit for his alleged anti-Semitism, although there were other shows he continued to host for years which were basically apologies for Nazi Germany and attacks on Jews and Israel as the alleged masters of global banking. First Rivero went to John Stadtmiller’s Republic network, which carries its own share of anti-Semitic programming, but for unknown reasons Rivero was forced to leave after about a year there. Rense had empty slots on his internet radio feed, Rivero asked him for one, and he agreed. Rense’s network hosts the David Duke Show. David Duke is the former politician from New Orleans who was exposed as a KKK leader or something, and repatriated to the Ukraine where he lives now (and where Ed Dames, Art Bell’s first remote viewing star to come out of the closet, also now lives). Rivero left the Rense network around the same time Rense was coming under attack by former associates for his finances and some sordid details regarding an ex-wife. Rivero immediately went back to Stadtmiller’s Republican, where he is now, in the slot following Springola Speaks, which seems to be devoted to debunking the myth of the Holocaust, to rehabilitating Nazi Germany, busting the global Jewish bankers, etc.

Rivero isn’t a dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite by any means. In fact he has Sephardic ancestry, as he frequently says on air, although his ancestors went crypto to please the inquisitors at some point. His “anti-Semitism” consists of his personal negative experience with his first wife, who was Jewish, and his distaste for Zionism and Israeli injustice towards and atrocities against the Palestinians and other Arabs (although he occasionally refers to Jews as parasites in specific contexts). He has a brilliant on-air personality, a great sense of humor and seems to actually enjoy taking calls from listeners, so long as they don’t stray into paranormality. His whole slant is rationalist and he tends to shine when discussing science, tectonics, space exploration and technical subjects. His domestic politics are somewhat underdeveloped: he has a strong inclination towards constitutional government and “real money,” but supported Obama in 2008 and is now backing Ron Paul, saying he has traditionally voted Republican. He refutes all “birther” calls by saying Obama was so-and-so’s lovechild, end of story, natural born citizen (albeit bastard), and claims the whole birther issue was conceived in order to draw the opposition into an untenable position, whereupon Obama will milk sympathy from the American people by declaring his mother was a whore, not in so many words.

Rivero also exhibits one of the interesting features of the current crop of alternative, patriotic and paranormal radio: when the posited “false-flag” never comes off, he is wont to claim some credit for defeating it through public exposure. Even so, he is less bogged down by personal deceit and self-delusion than many hosts, and his program is an interesting mix of current events, science class and speculation on politics, banking and sociology. Some paranormal/alternative hosts could adopt the motto “Stopping US war on Iran weekly since 2003,” but Rivero has the grace to now describe himself as a peace activist.

Rivero’s polar opposite on alternative radio could be Webster Tarpley. Tarpley often uses history to argue for socialistic infrastructure projects, wiping off the books all trades in derivatives and debts accrued thereof, the introduction of real healthcare and welfare projects, etc. It’s interesting that Tarpley and Rivero agree on two important points: both are very much in favor of an active space program, and both tend towards sympathy towards Russia, both as a victim of NATO encirclement and as the possible savior of the world through the possible vetoing of the possible war against Syria and possibly Iran.

Sympathy for Russia is not lacking on other patriotic and alternative programs, including people who once considered themselves on the right side of the Cold War. It is not unusual to hear hosts saying Russia has a better and freer media than the corporately-controlled US media, that personal freedom in Russia is now greater than in the US, and that the US has embraced fascism (corporate control of politics) while Russia is still moving towards a free market system.

One of the main points of contention between Tarpley and the patriotic internet radio community seems to be his total rejection of von Mises-style Austrian School economics, a sort of theoretical model of free-market capitalism which some Ayn Rand-type libertarians embrace, including Ron Paul. Tarpley believes it is a tool of the ruling elite based in the City of London, the center of all evil in his assessment of vampire-capitalism (an assessment originally done for Lyndon LaRouche, incidentally, many years ago, although no less salient for that reason). Many on the right side of patriotic radio imbibe and repeat these sorts of assumptions and beliefs about economic reality unexamined, including Stadtmiller, Jones and Rense.

Alex Jones has been the giant of alternative radio for the last several years. There’s much to criticize, and much to applaud in his approach, but two points chosen more or less at random for now:

1) While espousing traditional right-wing values such as right-to-life and a monetary system backed by gold, Alex Jones also argues against what he calls “the false left-right paradigm” in American politics, in other words, the idea that either of the two parties are in any way different.

2) Alex Jones does not like the idea of transhumanism (of uploading human consciousness to machines to achieve virtual immortality, among other things), yet his insistence on “information warfare” in place of organized labor strikes and/or armed conflict/self-defense to bring about political change in the United States essentially directs or detours all dissent under his direction towards a sort of internet bitch-fight, in other words, into a virtual realm, a la transhumanism.

To be fair to Alex Jones, he does engage in real, on-the-ground bullhorning of the elite, something of his trademark, and while he himself seems devoted to traditional right-wing values, he doesn’t hold that up (usually) as a precondition for others to engage the powers that be in battle.

The problem with Alex Jones is none of the above, nor is it his yelling and screaming on air. It’s that so much information gets repeated, and so little new is introduced. It is not fair to call his website merely an aggregator of mainstream news, because he and his staff do original work, it’s just that one is left with the feeling that very little real new information is being broached. Again, Alex Jones’s home network is Genesis, involved in selling gold, and he is a friend and supporter of senator Ron Paul, whose economic notions are definitely “Austrian” (aka City of London).

Jones’s detractors often attack him, ironically, for his lack of anti-Semitism. Jones refuses to attack the state of Israel as such and never claims “the Jews did 9/11” or anything of that nature. His anti-Semitic critics claim his wife is Jewish.

Another flange arrayed against Jones go back to William Cooper, who did his own patriotic-alternative-paranormal shortwave broadcasts for a number of years, and has been involved in exposing various elements of the UFO and JFK mysteries. Unfortunately, Bill Cooper was often wrong, including his categorical claim and his alleged cinematic proof that the driver shot JFK. He was probably put onto that tack by John Lear, son of the Lear Jet and Iran/Contra pilot. Cooper, an alcoholic, used to spew venom when he was drunk, and might have been drinking when he attacked Alex Jones several times on his shortwave radio broadcast, referring enigmatically to Jones’s “nipple piercings” at one point. Cooper was killed by the police outside his home, while Jones kept capturing new markets, leading some Cooper fans to the conclusion their man was the real deal, while Jones is a G-man at base. The thing about Cooper, though, was that when he sobered up, he wasn’t afraid to admit he was wrong about his wildest ideas. That’s not a comparison with Jones, who is also somewhat capable of the same thing, it’s simply an observation, Yeltin’s alleged launching of nukes on New Years’ Eve aside. Both men claimed to have predicted 9/11; Bill Cooper might have actually predicted it.

Another man who straddles the patriotic/alternative/paranormal radio spectrum is Dr. Bill Deagle. His Nutrimedical show is carried on Ted Andersen’s Genesis network. Deagle is the most interesting of this bunch on a regular basis: his predictions are always wrong, but always seem intended to inspire real fear, from the coming binary weapon trigger to turn avian flu into mass murder of humanity, to the Gulf Stream stopping because of the oil-and-methane blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Nibiru is coming, just over the horizon. Scalar weapons, earthquakes, ice ages, HAARP, nuclear armageddon, it’s always happening, every day and every week, but usually only in the third hour, because the first two hours seem to be devoted to selling “nutriceutical” medications. Deagle describes himself as a Jewish Christian who received access to classified DoD mass murder plans when he was posted to Fort Falken (or is it Falken Base?) in Colorado. He also learned about the massive supercomputer there. Whenever he mentions the classified site, whatever it’s actually called, I always flash back to the film War Games and the Dr. Falken who created Joshua, the talking artificial intelligence computer the main character hacks into somewhat accidentally, which in turn brings to mind the prosecutor’s words at a certain Kevin Mitnick trial: “He can start World War III by whistling into a payphone.” Deagle presents a delicious level of intrigue, and, who knows, some of his predictions are probably bound to come true sooner or later. For much of the last year he managed to score Robert Felix, author and the force behind the website, during the second half of the third hour on Fridays, adding considerably to the overall effect. To be fair, Deagle seems to know his medicine, which is mainly what the show is about, and which gave him his entree to the world of classified secrets.

Moving outside the alternative political realm to what could be called real paranormal radio, the pickings are rather slim, or at least, I don’t know or listen to a lot of them. The ones I do like include The Stench of Truth, now on Inception Radio Network, a network whose other shows seem mainly devoted to UFOs and ghosts, although I’m not well versed and haven’t heard much of them. Stench, formerly on blogspot radio, announces the guest for the upcoming show at website and the show can be caught live on Inception through their internet radio stream, or found in the archives there. Ted Torbich, the host, spends considerable time questioning interesting people every Sunday, and seems to have a fairly solid grasp of the subjects he tackles, and some occult perspective as well. Ted, who used to be called Tenebrous T on blogspot, lets his guests speak, and only interrupts with thoughtful questions here and there, basically moderating the monologue, and sometimes it is a bit slow, but informative if you have the patience for it.

Another host who employs even more of a hands-off approach is Henrik Palmgren of Red Ice Radio in Sweden. His guests run the gamut of parapolitical, economic, occult, ufological and similar informants, but, depending on the talent of the guest, it usually isn’t extremely interesting, unless it’s a topic that engages you completely. He posts the first hour free and asks you to subscribe for Hour Two, which is never any more exciting than the first hour, I’ve found. Lately some sort of arrogance, or perhaps it is simply lack of native facility in English, has crept into the endeavor: their new motto is “Red Ice Radio: A Voice of Reason in Northern Europe.” As if Northern Europe, or Southern Europe, were engulfed in insanity otherwise... Apparently Henrich DIDN’T name his Red Ice Radio and Red Ice Creations after the well-known phenomenon of red snow caused by the actions of extremophile bacteria in the Arctic. Nonetheless, it is a better name than Yellow Snow Radio. I think. Maybe not.

Mel Fabergas’s Veritas Radio has the same scheme: a paranormal guest for two hours, first hour free, second by subscription. I’ve never heard the second hour, although I’m not sure it’s because it’s difficult to pirate and pass around, and rather suspect no one bothers to share it due to lack of interest. Fabergas, like Henrik Palmgren, is not a native speaker of American English, or even English English, but whereas Palmgren doesn’t seem to care much, Fabergas emulates a deep baritone radio announcer voice, but doesn’t quite achieve the ideal. His questions are a hell of a lot more interesting, in general, than Red Ice’s, and his guests are generally more “on topic” in terms of paranormalcy, known names discussing known and novel cases and events.

Again, since I was late to the table, I can’t say a lot about Project Camelot, except that the lady now in charge tends to annoy me in the way she deals with guests, but her questions and objections and interruptions are generally good. She seems to rely heavily on “whistleblowers” and the information they have passed to her privately, hence the name for her show is Whistleblower Radio, as far as I can tell. The other half of Camelot was her husband or boyfriend, apparently, and when they broke up, they did parallel shows, although I haven’t heard on of his in several years now. The topics are generally UFOs with a heavy dose of madness thrown in, such as the Elenin Comet hysteria (correct me if I’m wrong, but should it have been transcribed from the Russian as Yelenin? So much for the “hidden message” of ELE, as Extinction Level Event... and what is NIN supposed to stand for? Nine Inch Nails?). The quality depends on the guest rather than the host.

A lone, somewhat newish, new to me at least, voice in the wilderness is Gary “Spaceman” Bell’s A View from Space, broadcast by 640 AM Toronto, but never ever even once appearing on their archives or podcast page. The Spaceman comes up with a heady mix weekly of numerology, current events, British royal-watching, occultism and Bible studies to precede Coast to Coast AM on Saturday nights. According to the host, the ruling elite believe in three things: numerology, sacred geometry and something else which slips my mind right now. No wonder I’m not a ruling elite. Anyway, he ties it all together, including the Stanley Cup, the latest Batman film, Kabbala, the times and dates and the demonic race. Queen Elizabeth will abdicate and/or die in the autumn of 2016, after which Prince Harry will wear the crown. He knows the date, even the time down to the minute, which is, invariably, both a hidden 13, and the royal 3, and a 9, a very rare number indeed. Now that demonoid has been shut down, there are only two places on the internet to get recordings of the webcast as far as I know. You can listen live on the 640 AM Toronto webpage (they seem to have done away with the traditional radio state call letters but you can find it by searching that), Saturday night going into Sunday before Coast. If it’s not preempted by hockey. Astrology. That’s the third thing the ruling elites believe. I win. All hail the Lord of the World.

An even loner voice in the wilderness really shouldn’t be so all alone, but apparently is. Clyde Lewis’s Ground Zero Live on Portland’s KXL has an opening that seems intended to promote Gary Bell’s A View from Space, for some reason, Clyde Lewis seems to know a little about a lot of parapolitical and paranormal topics, the show is usually good radio, in the sense that there is intrigue and interest and the audience is sucked up into it, and yet... Clyde Lewis seems to exist in some sort of vacuum. As an example, he spent much of the summer congratulating himself for breaking the “Baltic UFO/NSO” story just prior to that, i.e., this summer or spring, but Linda Moulton Howe, Bill Deagle and many many others spoke of it almost a year prior. And yet... Clyde Lewis was the first to get the Swedish captain of the salvage vessel on the air for a live interview. He even scooped the Palmgren of Red Ice, who had him on almost a month later. So his scoop is not a scoop, and yet it becomes a scoop. One senses Lewis has a subconscious mechanism isolating him from the larger world of paranormal radio, a psychological protective mechanism which serves him well. And yet... one of his latest shows (the podcast is SNAFU and can be posted after the actual broadcast by over a week) was advertised as being about Indred Cold, the alien fellow in Keel’s Mothman and Barker’s Silver Bridge, but Lewis kept trying to tie it in with his previous broadcast’s interview with Andy Colvin, and kept equating Cold with Charlie Manson, even calling him “a smiling man with a shiny bald head who will smile as he murders you.” This didn’t fit what I took away from Keel and Barker in any way, but then again, it doesn’t exactly bring to mind Charlie Manson either. I must’ve missed something. It is a very long show, but only really gripping in certain places.

More in league with Stench of Truth is a long-running program, also out of Austin, called Psiop Radio, with SMiles Lewis (no relation with Clyde, apparently) and Mack White. What they do is sort of a current events roundup featuring the stuff that interests them, and usually the news items have something to do with parapolitics, the paranormal or police state USA. Amid the news there is a lot of back and forth, friendly conversation but also real ideas about what it can possibly mean. The whole thing is conducted with understatement verging on the surreal, and SMiles and Mac both fit the image of people who know a lot more than they care to say just now. Unfortunately, the show, which used to be weekly, on Sundays, has all but disappeared with only two installments in the last 6 months or so. Both men are obviously involved in a lot of other projects, but my impression a few months ago was that this Octopi movement sweeping Amerika had them firmly held in its tentacles. (Does Alex Jones’s “false left/right paradigm” not apply all the more to the twin protest movements, the Tea Party coopted by right-wing republicans Sarah Palin and Dick Armee, and the Octopi Wallstreet thing, run and ruined by “consensus” lead by equaller-than-thou idiots, as well as intense involvement by Holeland Sick-you-re-a-T, DoD and N$A?)

SMiles Lewis has reportedly been doing alternative internet stuff for ages, and Radio Misterioso’s Greg Bishop recently got tired of killradio and moved to one of SMile’s servers for his live broadcast on Sundays. The live thing, which is usually a telephone conversation with several participants, with Greg Bishop putting microphones to cell-phones and adjusting volumes and asking “can you hear me now?” for the first ten minutes, can be downloaded in semi-edited form usually about a week later from the website, which has links to numerous past shows extending back over the decades with some very notable and even important figures in ufology and the study of the paranormal. The semi-edited version (I’ve never heard the show live) has an extremely corny and funny intro from Forbidden Planet or Plan 9 or somesuch, which sets the general tone (carnival atmosphere) and the lack of belief inherent in what follows.

Bishop has (I understand) been involved in UFO research and thinking since the mid-1980s at least and long had a ‘zine called The Excluded Middle. He was also somehow involved with Gene Stein’s Paracast for some time. He knows a lot of people and you get the sense he remembers just about every UFO case there ever was when he’s engaged with guests, although he never seems to show off his knowledge. Instead, he brings the sort of “fireside chat” feeling to his conversations that Rense attempts but doesn’t quite achieve. But Misterioso is part of an inner clique, or inner sanctum, of internet radio ufology that is just as much about the people involved in ufology as it is about UFOs. In fact it’s more about the people: the good, the bad, the indifferent, the hucksters and showmen and the “serious investigators,” without a great deal of moral distinction drawn between the categories, although, as is universal in ufology, everyone on Misterioso seems to agree that ufology is fucked because the people are so fucked up. Perhaps that illustrates the power of negative thinking, but Bishop’s show is usually interesting, and he seems to know whereof he speaks. The only problem is it seems to look backwards, very little new is aired but lots of arcane information about past intrigues is passed along to listeners, although I’m not qualified to judge the value of that information and do not know most of the intrigues.

Another inner sanctum among sancta of ufology is Gene Steinberg’s The Paracast, oddly enough carried on Ted’s Genesis network. Steinberg seems to have been around BEFORE Long John Nebel got paranormal radio cooking. He seems to have been personal friends or enemies with everyone from the 1890s onward involved in tracking down those mystery zeppelins. Again, the focus is more on the people and places and milestones of ufology than UFOs or current events, although new books do come up for ridicule, especially a recent book trying to resurrect the suspension of disbelief in the Aztec, New Mexico crash. Jim Mosely of Saucer Smear, a friend of Gray Barker’s, seems to be a regular guest. Steinberg’s current co-host is a bright young man whose name escapes me, and is only guilty of complimenting certain guests a little too robustly. Perhaps as a concession to Ted’s gold business, one of the Paracast’s intercommercial soundbites goes: “You’re listening to the Paracast, the Gold Standard of Paranormal Radio!” They sell mugs and t-shirts, and sometimes Mac computers get a good word, but this is obviously an underfunded labor of love driven by the determination of Steinberg.


Most of the UFO-related shows have long ago passed the point where it was verbotten to question the ETH (Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis), so much so that the semi-derogatory phrase “nuts-and-bolts” used to denigrate mechanical UFOs has itself gone out of fashion. There isn’t any consensus at all in the field, but there does seem to be a majority opinion, at least among the spokespeople, self-declared or otherwise, that the various fields of the paranormal impinge on one another. Ghosts appear with Grays, Whitley Strieber says. Strange pixie lights float around Bigfoot. UFOs and USOs hover near active anomaly areas in the Bermuda Triangle. The “psychic dimension,” or what Timothy Leary might more simply call setting and expectation, the individual perception filtered through cultural lenses of SOME objective phenomena, seems to be generally acknowledged now. Adam Gorightly freely admits he saw his first UFO on acid, and that he saw it when he thought, wow, wouldn’t it be neat to see one of those?, and one appeared.

There is no unified paranormal field theory, none that I know of, and none that I’ve heard mooted on paranormal radio, that ties it all together. There is no King Bigfoot in a mothership in geostationary over the Bermuda Triangle or Tesseract conducting craft via fifth-dimensional vortex/torsion physics. There is just a general acknowledgement that there are overlappings, things aren’t cut and dried, and musings and broodings over what it all means.

There are more shows, such as Strieber’s Dreamland, and semi-shows, such as Linda Moulton Howe’s Earthfiles reports and assorted interviews, and regular guests, such as Widener, the film director who deconstructs Kubrick’s films to alchemical treatises and finds in the Shining that mankind never stepped on the Moon, or at least, did not in the summer of 1969 when he was supposed to. There is Richard G. Hoaxland who can find an alien spaceport in a single pixel, and always does. There is “doctor of patristics” Joseph Farrell, an author who does a lot of paranormal radio interviews, and knows about the secret space program, and the Nazis in space. There is Dr. Sauder, the specialist and researcher on underground and undersea bases who fled to Ecuador long before J. P. Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London (and what a stupid thing to do, when he could almost swim to Ireland, and why doesn’t Gary McKinnon get a clue and do it right?). There are too many shows to mention, but there is one more I ought to get around to: Strange Universe, on, hosted by Sean David Morton. It should be bad, just like Clyde Lewis’s Ground Zero should be, but it’s not. Morton makes all the wrong claims: that he is a bona fides investigative journalist, unlike most alt radio hosts, because he worked for Geraldo Rivera, or Maury Povich, or someone, for several years. There is too much ego, too much bravado, and still, it’s good. He’s on hiatus and in Europe where’s he’s travelling with that annoying lady from Camelot, Cassedy. His girlfriend Melissa is doing the show while he’s gone. Except the shows have become erratic. There must be great pressures at work, hopefully it will all work out for the couple and the man’s radio career. But there are too many shows, I certainly don’t know them all, and I don’t remember all the ones I do know. So that ends the list as such for now.

Now, one interesting thing I’ve noticed is how topics pass from the fringe of paranormal radio to the mainsteam thereof. Assuming Coast is the mainstream, in the month of August, 2012, Misterioso did a program which touched upon a project to conjure a hitherto non-existent spirit, provisionally called Philip. Within a week or two the same topic appeared on Coast. The same thing happened with a Paracast topic in the same period. I noticed it much earlier when Red Ice topics began appearing on Coast. Apparently the “Coast Family” (is it anything like the Love Israel Family, or the Manson Family?) has very big ears, and hears much of what goes on in the field, the rustling of the field mice as they live out their small lives gleaning leftover grains from the last harvest, locked out by self-imposed exile from the Bosom of Art Bell, and largely from the right-wing patriotic airwaves, because they’re just too damned weird.

I remember one theory about the Grays which held they are either our future selves, or an advanced alien race which has, a la Spock and the Vulcans, long extinguished the passions which writhe in our chests, and being so dispassionate, they really get a kick out of exposure to our strong emotions, so keep hanging around, like crack addicts. I guess it’s the same idea as the vampire sucking life essence, or the parasitical spirits in Scientology afflicting us, or demonic forces thriving off our negative emotions and especially fear, just dressed in a new costume. If you apply this to paranormal radio, then Coast is that distant alien relative returning from an orbit around an expiring sun, seeking under every speck of dust inspiration for next week’s list of topics. Or maybe the Phillip story, and the other ones I noticed they cribbed, were just too good to pass up. In fact there’s more than enough jade, as in jaded, to go around throughout paranormal radio large and small, and a fair amount of borrowing at all levels. In the wider sphere of alternative and patriotic radio, there is an almost unconscious transmission of right-wing political values, so at least the incestuous plagiarism inside paranormal radio proper seems conscious, one point in its favor.

Another thing about paranormal radio which almost doesn’t need saying is that there is an intellectual laziness at work, especially regarding conspiracy topics, according to which it somehow allowable to make sweeping generalizations and connections supposedly connecting one figure or group with another, usually to demonstrate some sort of evil or satanic affiliation. Thus you might occasionally still here sincere voices on paranormal/alternative radio repeating that the late Robert Anton Wilson was the Grand Master of the Illuminati, rather than what he really was (a sophisticated leptoufologist who could’ve helped Art Bell out with all the rabbits at his transmitter farm way back when).

A few years back, in a local paper, in a small Eastern European country, I read this article about a group of clairvoyants, bio-field workers, psychics and so on lobbying law makers for a body to regulate their trade. They said there were all too many charlatans in the field. There needed to be a body, made up of qualified judges, to protect the public and the reputation of their industry from false claims and the damage wrought by these interlopers, these poseurs with no real ability or talent making a living off the public’s gullibility.

At the time, I probably thought what a field day the Amazing Randi would have with such a news item. Now I’m no longer sure quite what to make of it, because, first off, I don’t really care whether that guy on KRAB radio in the 1970s really had built a three-dimensional television system with off-the-shelf components which the US Navy stole. What interested me was the idea. That it was possible. And I’m certain it was, it was at least that, possible, in the 1970s. There is 3-D television now, I hear, and some of it doesn’t involve wearing special glasses, neither polarized nor with green and red lenses.

Second, I don’t believe these psychics and tarot card readers were really any more talented or honest than the charlatans they were lobbying against. They just wanted to protect their incomes, to legitimize themselves, and perhaps land a job on the commission of judges paid for by the state to keep the bad psychics out.

Third, I don’t think the field of ufology is made up almost exclusively of cranks, nor that the so-called serious researchers really know anything more than the wishful thinkers. Neither do I think the psychos and fringe on the fringe of already fringe ufology are less likely to come up with hypotheses approximating the truth than those who appear more rational, more scientific in their method, more careful in their positions.

Fourth, I don’t think ufology or the paranormal needs an influx of capital S Science to shed light on whatever the heck’s going on. Because science from the beginning has been involved and studying the paranormal, from the museum in Alexandria to the early astronomers to Boyle in Scotland. They’ve all been a bunch of wild-eyed Forteans, even before Fort was born. Because formal Science funded by the gubmint and administered by commissions is not going to get any closer to anything than the wishful-thinking fringe in fringe ufology. Because there is no such thing as Science with a capital S: anything they can do, you can do. It’s a method of constructing testable hypotheses and testing them, then adopting them or rejecting them. You CAN do this, in your garage, or wherever. The lack of physical evidence in ufology is not a barrier to coming up with new theories and seeing how they fit the testimonies (which are evidence, incidentally). That Science with a capital S as a caste, a priesthood, has decided as a social class to ignore the paranormal and UFOs for the present time only means there is some intellectual cowardice at work, not that ufology and paranormal studies need to crash the party, which isn’t that fun anyway. Of course it would be HELPFUL if the US govt “disclosed” what they’re holding, but that’s not crucial to finding the answers, at least not as far as I know. Perhaps ET has spilled its guts to the Nixon administration, for example, and it’s all on file, and ET will never spill its guts again, because it’s been done and there is a paper trail. In that case, disclosure might disclose something we couldn’t learn otherwise. It is interesting that Carl Sagan started out talking as if UFOs were real, and then sort of crossed over to the Campe d’Bunq, and it’s interesting that Manley Hall thought the UFOs were US govt issued, and that Hawking recently got cold feet about contact, but these are peripheral issues, almost trivial, in the same league as Contact star Jodi Foster praising Leni Riefenstahl in the New York Times, saying she was going to Germany to meet her. Interesting, but not central.

Warren G. Harding  campaigned for president of the United States in 1920 by promising a “return to normalcy” for the American people, still reeling from the unprecedented horrors—machine guns, trench warfare, chemical warfare—of the Great War. What paranormal radio needs is a return to paranormalcy, a return to discussing the weird, to examining the fringe, to entertaining strange and perhaps new ideas, and the courage to state one’s political beliefs, if relevant, openly and without fearing the censure of right or left-wing nuts posing as broadcasting colleagues. The Mystic Barber, Otis T. Carr’s UFO company, the Shaver Mystery—these were probably perceived as hoaxers and hoaxes even by Nebel and Palmer, but that wasn’t the point. Keel embellished to prove a point or make a better story, Barker probably did the same, and that’s not the point either. The point was to entertain the idea, even for second, and to convey that suspension of disbelief to the audience so they could partake of same. Art Bell could do this as well. Wild Bill Cooper was capable of the sort of speculative algebra, but was all very serious about things, believing what he believed until... he no longer believed it. And the goal is not merely entertainment, although that suffices during dry periods, rather it is to open up to the listener new possibilities for further speculation and action. Of course if I knew how to do this, I’d be doing paranormal radio, but all I am is a listener out there in paranormal radioland, the silent majority, the audient void, the Listener orbiting geostationarily above the North Pole in a 20,000-year-old-or-greater black satellite, taking notes, comparing statistics, sending reports home. It’s entirely possible.

Personal disclosure: All of the statements above are purely my own impressions and opinions and many of them are based on very limited information. I probably got a lot of names wrong. I probably underestimated some good programs and praised some stinkers.

Further personal disclosure: I have never met Kenn Thomas but I bought the latest edition of his Maury Island book on amazon, twice. The footnotes aren’t as good as he claimed on some radio program, and there are many typos, but it’s worth getting, I say as someone born in Tacoma, where most of the “action” takes place. I have not read Greg Bishop’s book or Sean David Morton’s, or Art Bell’s for that matter.

Final disclosure: I have had three paranormal experiences in my life, including seeing a ghost (of a woman murdered at the place of the sighting, I learned later), seeing little people or grays alone at night who then disappeared, and seeing a UFO that vanished in a greenish haze as I watched it. At the time of each of these, all I did was shrug and go “huh? what was that, that was weird,” and only realized what happened years later when I thought back on them. Also, I might have had a small piece of pumice materialize and fall on the hearth in my living room once, but am not sure about that one, and it never repeated itself.

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