Now this may not seem to be related to The Paracast, or UFOs, but it does. Back in 1989, when I first brought an Apple Macintosh into my home, I was the oddball. Whenever I visited a local computer store to buy some software, and told them it was for a Mac, the salespeople would give me a strange look and dispatch me to the back of the store.
I wasn’t surprised to see a few dusty boxes that, when I looked them over, after blowing on them to see the lettering, I found to be mostly out of date.
In those days, the Mac was the plaything. You did serious work on a PC. Period. The computing world has changed a lot in the past 31 years, but that’s another story.
Now as a preteen, I first became interested in UFOs when I borrowed a book from my brother — one he had borrowed from the public library — that was entitled “Flying Saucers From Outer Space” by Major Donald Keyhoe. Little did I know that I would still be chasing the saucers decades later.
When I brought the book home, my dad barely noticed. My mother never asked; she had already realized that I was a different sort.
I had the benefit of not being terribly social. My few friends, oddly enough, were also interested in the subject. So Marty would talk about a book he bought for one dollar at the closeout racks of a bookstore, “The Expanding Case for the UFO” by M.K. Jessup. It was the lesser-known follow up to the infamous “Case for the UFO” that managed to help trigger the Philadelphia Experiment myth.
But don’t get me started on that. Well, just this: In the mid-1970s, I briefly hosted a cable TV show for Harry Belil, publisher of Beyond Reality magazine. One of my guests was Charles Berlitz, the bestselling author of “The Bermuda Triangle.”
In response to a question about what he was working on next, he talked about the Philadelphia Experiment and his search for a copy of the Varo or Annotated Edition of “Case for the UFO.”
It just so happened that I had a copy of a republished version. He paused for just a moment, and I later realized he claimed that it was missing strictly to promote his forthcoming book. But he happily accepted my offer to give him my copy.
No, I didn’t ask for its return. I just didn’t take it seriously. Besides, I got a small credit in his book.
But I digress. During that infamous visit to the Washington, D.C. headquarters of NICAP in 1965, one of the major UFO clubs of that era, Marty came along for the ride, soon joined by my old friends, Allen Greenfield and Rick Hilberg.
That’s the occasion where NICAP’s office manager, Richard Hall, told me I wasn’t welcome there, evidently because I was receiving a paycheck as Managing Editor of Saucer News.
That was probably the last time I saw Marty. I had made arrangements to meet up with him not long thereafter, but he never showed up. He didn’t return my phone calls, so I moved on.
In any case, I continued my pursuit of UFOs, again not suffering the ridicule and scorn that affected others involved in that pursuit. When I worked as News Director for a suburban Philadelphia radio station, I would occasionally run a local news item about a UFO sighting. Management didn’t care, so long as I covered the most important local stories about the police blotter, school board meetings, and town meetings.
In a sense, I was living in a different reality. As we all recall, even in times of high UFO activity, the mainstream media usually treated the subject as a joke. If they ran out of “real” news to report, they’d sometimes trot out a filler about someone seeing UFOs, and talk about ET believers, little green men and other annoyances.
Sure, a few papers treated the subject seriously, usually ones that serviced smaller cities and towns.
But that all changed beginning in 2017, when both The New York Times and Politico revealed the news about the Pentagon UFO Study, in which $22 million was allocated to the project at the urging of Senator Harry Reid, then Majority Leader. I suppose you could quibble that all or most of it went to billionaire Bob Bigelow to continue his research.
After all, it appears to be true that Bigelow sent campaign donations to Reid’s campaigns, and one might assume that the fix was in. But Bigelow certainly has the resources — and the interest — to actually get some work done. Unfortunately, he’s also very reluctant to say much about what he knows.
So can we say the evidence went from one Black Hole into another?
But I’m not terribly pleased that the acronym UAP has been replacing UFOs in places that present themselves as more serious outlets nowadays. In a sense, this is the equivalent of switching from flying saucers to UFOs in the 1950s. It was all designed to give the subject the air of credibility. Evidently, referring to the phenomenon now as a UFO only incites the debunkers to do their thing.
I was also not surprised to see serious articles about, well, UAPs, in the Washington Post. Such cable news outlets as CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and others brought on people to present serious viewpoints on the topic.
I was especially surprised to see conservative firebrand Tucker Carlson keep his cool whenever UAPs were discussed. Since he is notorious for taking the cheap shots, this may indeed indicate a serious interest on his part.
Contrast that to the first time I saw journalist Leslie Kean interviewed on Fox News, in connection with her 2010 book, “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.”
The anchors appeared to be standing on a platform, which only increased their height advantages over Leslie, who is short. She was clearly not intimated, and the interview was conducted seriously, no snickers or bad green alien jokes.
These days, the anchors and the guests were all seated, at least on the shows I’ve seen, so any height disparities were generally irrelevant.
Then there’s the To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science, which has received its share of attention.
Whatever you think about the goings on at this company, its stated purpose, on its site, is still murky. It is referred to as “a public benefit corporation that was established in 2017 as a revolutionary collaboration between academia, industry and pop culture to advance society’s understanding of scientific phenomena and its technological implications.”
Certainly flying saucers, UFOs or UAP aren’t mentioned there, unless it’s about “scientific phenomena.” The organization seems to be trying too hard to take on the veneer of a serious scientific research body.
Regardless, it’s nice to see UFOs (I’m sticking with that one!) being taken seriously by the mainstream media; well, corporate media. It doesn’t necessarily mean we are any closer to discovering some real answers about what’s going on, but it is a refreshing change.
The Paracast: this week's episode: Gene and Randall present a thought-provoking discussion with ong time UFO author/researchers Jerome Clark and Chris Rutkowski. Jerry has written over a dozen books include the multivolume magnum opus, “The UFO Encyclopedia.” He’s also a songwriter whose music has been recorded or performed by musicians such as Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Tom T. Hall. Chris is a Canadian science writer and educator, with a background in astronomy but with a passion for teaching science concepts to children and adults. Since the mid-1970s, he also has been studying reports of UFOs and writing about his investigations and research.