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Hidden Experience: Grant Cameron

Grant Cameron really nailed it in the latest audio conversation with Mike Clelland. If you’re new to the UFO thing, start with this interview and work back to where you were before you listened.

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A Long Road Behind Me, A Longer Road Ahead.

Hey there, thanks for stopping by. I’m writing this post as something of a bookend to this section of my survey of the paranormal. It basically just summarises where I’ve come from and what I suspect now. Because much of this is speculation, I’m not trying to convince anyone else of my thoughts here. I’m just summarising them for myself, and anyone else who finds them interesting. I’m probably at a disadvantage to other people who have tasted high strangeness because that  gives them more information of the various phenomenon directly.

First Stop, Electronic Voice Phenomenon

I got on the road in early 2005 when the movie White Noise was released. I saw a trailer for the movie and then went to the film’s website to learn more about EVP (electronic voice phenomenon). At the time I only had a passing interest in the paranormal. Probably no more than the average person, but the idea that EVP might be able to provide some sort of tangible proof of life after death or ghosts really hooked me.

After seeing that movie, I sought out more so I started listening to podcasts that dealt with it. Haunted New Jersey was one. Anything Ghost was another. Mysterious Universe in its first incarnation was another. I also enjoyed Binnall of America, where the host  seemed to be travelling down the same road as me, although probably a couple stops ahead. I joined the AAEVP and even went to one of their conventions.  Basically I was just gathering information, surveying the scene, and trying to find some handle I could hold on to. In the end, all the information that I gathered didn’t really lead me very far. With evp, anything that was clear enough to be real could have been hoaxed (this comes up a lot), so you couldn’t really use it to prove it to someone else. Anything that someone else record could have been hoaxed, so it becomes difficult to rely on other people’s data.

Army of Skeptics

So as I was listening to the paranormal podcasts, I also listened to a bunch of skeptical podcasts. Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Skepticality, Point of Inquiry, and a few others. Those were sometimes good, but sometimes really hard to listen to. I often really disliked the tone of the conversations. The often-sneering, derisive, dismissive tone towards people who had an interest in the paranormal just put me off. To some degree it reminded me  of the movie Boiler Room, which dealt with a bunch of penny-stock brokers, who use a variety of verbal techniques to get people to let the brokers “invest” their money. Actually I think the salesperson analogy is pretty close. In this case, however, they’re not selling dubious financial products, they’re selling materialism, the idea that there is only physical.

Intelligent Design?

I don’t really remember when or why I started thinking about intelligent design (ID). I think it was probably mentioned on one of the skeptical podcasts, so I probably just decided to check it out. At some point, because of the schlocky feeling I got listening to the debunkers, I started investigating other topics solely because the debunkers hated them. I think that was probably how I started thinking about ID.

At this point, I’m still fascinated by ID as a concept. For me ID, as it is applied to biological systems,  starts (and doesn’t go too much further) with DNA.  Just the idea of a binary code that controls how the human machine is built suggests a coder. Throwing in systems upon systems that try to make sure that things are built and operate correctly only reinforces the concept of software engineering.

I should try to be clear here. I don’t think that evolution is without merit. Yes, there are probably chains of fossils that show the changing properties of animals over time. Random mutation/natural selection sounds reasonable to me as well. But it seems like the parties arguing in this debate are yelling past each other, very loudly. Before we had DNA to look at, it was perfectly reasonable to look at physical structures in showing evidence for evolution. When we began to work out DNA, that code needs to be tied into the physical structures. But even then, I don’t want to see the machine code. I want to see the source code. And that’s where the debate lies. Did the machine code spring from nothing over time, or is there source code?  For me the question isn’t a biological question at all, so the debate over teaching ID in school or evolution in school is somewhat silly. Evolution is the main theory now, so that’s what should be taught. But an honest look at the controversy brings an opportunity to discuss the philosophical issues of science, and in turn, provides an opportunity to get a better understanding of what science is.

UFOs

At present,  my main interest falls mainly into the UFO phenomenon. Even when I was in my original ghost/evp phase, UFOs would be mentioned, so its always been a part of the  quilt, but for me, it seems like when you’re dealing with UFOs, you’re dealing with the whole ball of paranormal wax, especially when you throw in the abduction experiences.  Far too often, people associate UFOs with the extra-terrestrial hypothesis, that is the idea that UFOs are structured craft carrying aliens that are travelling here through space, much the same way that I get in a metal subway car to get to work in the morning. Its a reasonable hypothesis I guess, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

The ETH

Because the ETH is probably the go-to explanation in popular culture to explain UFOs, I found Ann Druffel’s book, Firestorm, to be useful. In the book, Druffel is looking at Dr. James McDonald’s, work on UFOs. Dr. McDonald was a atmospheric physicist and professor at the University of Arizona . Druffel sumarizes McDonald’s thoughts on the ETH on page 125 as being the “least unsatisfactory hypothesis”. But least unsatisfactory still sounds unsatisfactory, and it is. I think McDonald realized that the eth was the least worst explanation that we can get to without upsetting the applecart of materialism, as least materialism as we know it.

Consciousness

“What does Consciousness have to do with UFO’s?” you may ask. Well, quite a bit it seems. Very often when reading stories of abductees you see reports of grey aliens taking the abductee out of their home, through the wall, into some craft. The abductee reports feeling sort of tingly as they go through the wall or window.  That feeling was also described by Robert Monroe, as he went through the walls of his home during one of his early out of body experiences. But Monroe’s experience was brought on my an OBE, not an abduction, where he seemed to be projecting his consciousness outside of his body. He’s also reported seeing other beings in his experiences, and being able to travel quickly over vast distances. Clearly, if that world exists, its not material as we know it.

So that’s the handle I was looking for, slippery though it may be. The idea is that the whole ball of wax has to do with consciousness, and that consciousness doesn’t appear to be a by-product of the brain, but something separate, and something real. I guess that makes me a dualist.

Conspiracy and Disinformation

Where would the paranormal be without conspiracy? It drives some people, and to be honest, I don’t think you can be involved in the field for any length of time without believing that there is some level of conspiracy going on. The question is what is the conspiracy and who is conspiring? Those are big questions and I don’t really know the answers to them, but it seems like there are lots of conspiracies out there and a ton of of disinformation flying around, but I still think it has something to do with consciousness.

The thing about disinformation, and I’m by no means an expert in this area,  is that it is designed to get you looking in the wrong direction so that you waste your time on searching for a solution where none can be found. Its a trick used to divert attention. In the case of UFOs, I think that whoever is behind the whole thing, is using the ETH to distract attention away from the study of consciousness. I suspect that the ETH was a perfectly reasonably hypothesis to explain objects in the sky with unusual characteristics.  They fly fast; they outmaneuver conventional aircraft, so if we can’t match their abilities, they must be from somewhere else. Ok, fine.  But that only takes into account some of the visually observable characteristics. It doesn’t explain the traveling through walls, the telepathy, the missing time. Maybe the ETs have some sort of technology that allows faster than light travel, gravity neutralization, and telepathy, or maybe they just aren’t physical as we think of physical. I suspect that at some point, whoever is doing the planning of the conspiracy, figured out that they could use the ETH for disinformation. If you can get people looking elsewhere, the points between their retina on one end and the furthest reaches of the universe, they’re less likely to look in the other direction, from the back of their retina into the mind, wherever that is.  Throw in some highly credentialled military types (seeking anonymity, of course) to leak above-top-secret info to sincere paranormal investigators, and you’ll have people running around, chasing paper trails and seeking more anonymous sources until the cows come home.

Why?

The question of “why?would they seek to do this is important.  I think the clue goes back to the use of disinformation as a way of making people look in the wrong direction. In this case I suspect “they” are getting investigators to look to outer space, when they should be looking in the other direction (inner space). To me that implies that “they” are doing something that they don’t want you to see in the place where they don’t want you to look; i.e. they are fucking with your mind, literally.

Linux and the Command Line Interface

So I’ve finally stumbled upon, or better yet, stumbled upon and allowed myself to begin reading, blogs written by abductees, contactees, and experiencers. I’ve been listening to Mike Clelland’s hidden experience podcast and reading his blog. Through it I’ve stumbled upon a number of others that I doubt I would have otherwise seen including Lucretia Hart‘s (pen name) blog.  Then there is also the Luminosity blog from Dan Mitchell and just all the stories out there on contactees, abductees, and experiencers. There seems to be a situation where something has the ability to infiltrate our brains and interact with us on a level that isn’t necessarily physical.

I mentioned Linux in this sections heading because the Linux operating system is an interest of mine, but there is an analogy that I think can be made to the abductee experience. With many programs that operate in the Linux/Unix environment, you can interact with the programs in two ways. The first way is through the visual interface. This is what you see on the screen. You navigate through it using the mouse and mainly use the keyboard to put in information. In Excel, for example, you can enter values into two cells, and then enter in a formula in the third cell to calculate the sum of the two other numbers. To do this you need to first open up excel, then enter in values and a formula, and then you get an anwer.

In Linux programs, there is often a second way to use the program, and that is through the command line interface (CLI). The command line interface doesn’t require you to open up the visual interface that you see in something like excel, with its neat grid of boxes. With the CLI you just type commands and data or references at push enter. The system takes your commands and automatically uses the underlying programming to work on the data and gives you an answer.  If you know the commands to use, many linux users prefer to just type the commands rather than open the visual interface because its faster.

I suspect the abduction phenomenon uses something along these lines to do abductions. Its like whoever is doing the abduction knows how to open our CLI and execute commands.  I don’t pretend to know who or what is doing this. It could be “aliens”, although this type of alien wouldn’t need to be physical. If I take the computer/linux analogy further it makes me think that we’re all living in something akin to a video game. The rules of operation are basically pre-determined by a programmer. Figuring out those rules is basically the job of science. But from time to time, someone with admin access privileges is able to insert code,  or additional files, or modify your access privileges.

At some point, I suspect governments/militaries started figuring this out.  The stories surrounding MKUltra certainly point that direction. Unfortunately, I also don’t know how to answer the why question. Maybe its for money, power, sex, or some religious reason. Perhaps they are being controlled by forces in the next realm. But what it suggests is that people NEED to start taking better control of their mind and the CLI that controls it. As best as I can tell, that means at least starting a program of meditation, and perhaps beginning to look at lucid dreaming and out of body experiences.

So that brings me to where I am now. I’ve quit my cable tv subscription and think its one of the best things I’ve done. Watching cable tv at the airport or a friends house now shocks me to see how blatantly people are being manipulated at the emotional and intellectual level by the content provided by the talking heads. It would have been hard to see that without the distance provided by quitting tv. I’ve also started meditating. It is really quite difficult to sit for 5 minues (let alone 30 minutes) and keeping your mind empty of monkey mind thoughts, but I suspect its the required first step in reclaiming my consciousness.

Its been a weird trip. In the end I feel like all of these paranormal topics point us towards consciousness and say that we need to examine it outside of what we normally consider physical reality. As Alex Jones’ tagline says, “There’s a war on for your mind”. I think that’s true literally. I’m not exactly sure who is doing the fighting, or why, but I don’t like being a part of someone else’s fight without having a say in it.

I think this will probably be the last post in this blog. With the idea that the whole ball of wax is tied into consciousness, it will probably require a lot more work to make little progress, and hence not really be worth writing it down, although who knows. Also, the world seems to be changing fast as we go into 2012. I don’t really think Niburu is coming to hit us, and have no idea if the Mayans have a party planned for the 12/21/12, but I suspect that changes are afoot in the next realm, and the shadow of those changes will cross our paths in the pretty near future. What else to say? Take care of yourselves, your family, and friends and neighbors. As Malibu Sue on WLIR (among other more notable rockers) used to sign off,

“See you in the next world, Don’t be late”

Cheater!?

Recently had a hit on this blog from someone using the following search term:

“mufon field investigator test answers”

Jiminy Christmas, its an open book test. If you want to want to be a field investigator, at least go through the meager training program that they’ve set up. What benefit is it to cheat?

To Gino S

So I saw a comment over at Blog De Void that I wanted to respond to. I ended up typing it in and then that Damn Herald Tribune refresh kicked in and erased it.

So I thought I would try to rewrite it here

Anyway, here’s the link to the original post.

http://devoid.blogs.heraldtribune.com/11515/ufos-digging-our-nukes-is-not-news/

I am responding to GinoS’s comment at 10:26 pm.

Gino, I’m glad you got Leslie Kean’s book. In the end I think one of the main contributions of that book will be to make an impact on journalists and former journalists like you. I’m glad you’re willing to admit that you’re fascinated by the subject.

I’m also happy that you’re skeptical. This field needs honest skepticism. It also needs civility, and you seem to have that too.

I’m also glad that you’ve developed a mental model for this phenomenon. That will come in useful.

Here’s what I hope.

I hope you’ve got endurance and patience.

I hope you’ve got endurance to stick with your investigation of this phenomenon. Its takes a long time just to figure out the history.

I hope you’ve got the patience to be able to sift through all the crap (no really, there’s a lot) that you will have to sift through until you find a nugget that you can plug into your mental model. Make sure you watch how everyone reacts to reports of a sighting, the academics, the governments, military, contactees, skeptics, the mainstream media, the blogosphere, and ufology.

Then I hope you’re able to adjust your model, or scrap it and start over.

Good Luck!

Stepping down from my box.

—-

So reading his post and thinking about my response has made me think more about my ride through this whole thing. I may work on a few posts about where I started from and where I am now in terms of my thinking on the whole issue. That will probably be the end of this blog, more or less, because I don’t really know how much more I’ve got to say that matters. I guess none of it really matters, but its helped me express what I’m thinking about it so I guess its been useful to me.

Skeptiko #119

I’m listening to the current episode of skeptiko. Outstanding intro section. Alex lays out what is at stake in the whole material v. Paranormal argument. He also makes the point that I don’t hear often enough that the skeptics are very much aware of what the consequences are if the various non-material phenomena are true. In the end I think that is why they are so determined in their cause. So if you just happen to be new to the whole thing (UFOs, PSI, NDE, OBES) this show is worth a listen.

Nye Incident

Funny how the Nye Incident the other day, had nothing to do with Strieber’s book

 

…on second thought…

So its about 4:30 and I decided to take a look out my office window for spite.

I see the normal airplanes leaving LGA, a few helicopters, and these two things that I’m not really sure what they were.

Not going to report it to anyone yet, but thought I’d write it down so I can have a record somewhere.

So I am on Park Ave in the low 30’s, about 20 floors above ground. My office window faces North, uptown.

So I look North/Northwest (maybe 30 degrees off of North, measuring North as straight up Park Ave). I see something coming sort of my direction. It was light in color. I would say that it was more long-ish. It didn’t seem to be spherical, although I had the impression that it was sort of rotating. It seemed to travel at a pretty regular pace, then it slowed down and seemed to stop for a while. Then I looked east of that object slightly, although still west of me, and saw another similar object.  It seemed to be moving at the same speed, roughly.

I got my camera out (see last post) and tried to find it, although I couldn’t pick it up on the screen, so no photos taken.

It seemed very high up. If it was the size of an airplane, it was much higher than I normally see from my window. If it was smaller,  like a helicopter, then it was much higher than a helicopter.

Could it have been a plastic bag? Maybe, although it didn’t really seem to be because its pace was fairly consistent while moving.

After a little while I lost sight of it, so I’m not sure if it was just out of my field of view, blocked by the top of the window,  or maybe it just moved far enough away that I couldn’t see it.

So I don’t know what it was. It didn’t seem to be a plane or helicopter, but it could have been. Helicopter seems slightly more likely given the apparent hovering.

Either way it was a nice afternoon distraction for a few minutes.

October 13, it will come and go…

October 13 will come and go without much significant happening in the ufological world.

But I did take the opportunity to put my camera and Flip cam into my bag. I had taken it out for another project, but I always try to keep it there, just in case. So this was just the opportunity to put it back in there.

 

Wishlist #5 — Philosophy 101

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a little while. After seeing this interview with Chris Carter a while ago, linked through Anomalist.com, I thought it was finally time to hit the keyboard again.

If there’s one thing that we need is education. As a community (paranormal community) we don’t even seem to ask the right questions. For the most part, it doesn’t seem like there’s a decent foundation to work from. Normally someone has an experience, or hears about someone else’s experience,  and tries to combine it into their own view of the world. And from what I read on the Internet,  their view of the world is probably pretty uninformed and unexamined. What might be really helpful is a better foundation in philosophy.

I’ll admit, I’m no philosopher, but I’ve found the subject a lot more interesting since I left college, especially since becoming interested in anomalous topics. But it seems to me that people have been dealing with these subjects for thousands of years.  A lot of good minds have come to bear on the subject, not that you would know it from the discussion in the current ufological/paranormal community.

So what I would like to see, item #5 on my wishlist, is a an educational outlet devoted to the philosophy of the paranormal. I would love to hear philosophers talk about dualism as it relates to what we call the paranormal. What do Hindu philosophers have to formally say about UFOs? There’s a ton of material that can be tapped, and related directly to this crazy world in the ether that we all seem to be fascinated about, but so few have any idea about what’s already been said.

And the other thing is that this would be an area where skeptics (or whatever pejorative you’d like to use) could actually find some common ground with the believers (or whatever pejorative you’d like to use) because it doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with the current landscape, just some talking about what some dead guys said a long time ago.

I wrote an email to Paul H. Smith a few months ago asking him to think about doing a subscription podcast on the philosophy of the paranormal.  I’m happy to pay for a little education, and I hope you are too, because honestly, whatever you’re paying for cable tv is too much. The format of the Philosopher’s Zone podcast is pretty good, maybe Alan Saunders could take a stab at it. How about the folks at the Teaching Company? They do some nice educational audio work, maybe they could put something together?

Well, that’s my wishlist item #5. I hope you think the idea has some merit. And lets be honest, we’ve all heard the same people on the podcast circuit over and over and over, so a new approach might be useful.

Wishlist #3 — Funding Mechanism — Kickstarter.com

A while ago I did a post on a new item for my wishlist.

The post described an idea for a funding mechanism that would enable people working on paranormal projects to seek funding from outside sources. Ideally it would provide a way for people to make contributions that are tax deductible and provide a mechanism for funds to be returned if enough money for the project isn’t raised or if a portion of the money remains unspent at the end of the project.

Well, I was reading my most recent issue of Make Magazine and found a mention of a website that accomplishes some of these goals and its called Kickstarter

Basically it allows people or groups seeking funding to post a project proposal online and then collect funds from interested parties. In this case, if the desired amount is not raised, all the funds get returned to the donors.

According to the FAQ, non-profits can use their tax-deductible status.

The program uses Amazon.com’s payment system. They also mention in their faq that Paypal is working on a system that Kickstarter might consider using as well, to process contingent payments. I thought a company like Paypal would be ideal because they already have much of financial infrastructure to deal with relatively small payments. I guess Amazon is close enough.

I recently came across another instance where this sort of program would be very useful. Billy Cox did a posting on an event that is being organized by Robert Salas and Robert Hastings. The post talked about how they need money to get the people to D.C., to put them up in hotels, and to rent the space. Sounds good to me, as they seem to be more reasonable than some other presenters (your opinion may vary) so I sent in some money via paypal.  I couldn’t help wondering though, that having a more community oriented portal for solicitation would be helpful. Something where they could make a presentation, contributors could get updates, and then potentially have refunds if excess (haha) funds were raised. Kickstarter accomplishes most of these things.

I hope people looking for funding for projects will at least give Kickstarter a look.