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Jergen Ziewe’s Epic Accounts of Astral Travel, Lucid Dreams, Transcendent Meditation Experience Will Blow Reader’s Minds, Impart Sense of Wonder

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Astral travel and meditation are two esoteric practices that are, in many respects, aspects of each other. They go hand in hand because people who learn to meditate will have much greater success in inducing an out-of-body experience.

One has been largely stripped of its connotation as being “esoteric” in recent decades while the other is probably still relegated to the realm of High Woo-Woo.

I bet I don’t have to tell you which is which.

Chuck Norris, noted meditator

Today meditation is being practiced by millions of people, from corporate board rooms to private bedrooms. Increasingly, meditation has been shorn from its association with Eastern religions or mysticism. Now we can all meditate in an unfettered, secular way, if that’s what we prefer, because it’s seen as a “legitimate mind tool” embraced by everyone from your family physician and therapist to Oprah Winfrey and Chuck Norris.

But astral travel is probably a bridge too far for the general public or mainstream consumption as of yet – though I dare say I believe millions of people are eager to try their hand at inducing the OBE. It’s just that, the average person is much more likely to tell her friends down at the office that she meditates 20 minutes a day while that same person is unlikely to casually admit: “Oh yes, I fly out of my body at night to visit the magical and mysterious Astral Realms.

Jergen Ziewe

I bring this up because today I am reviewing VISTAS OF INFINITY by the German-born artist and designer JERGEN ZIEWE. He has lived in the U.K. since 1975 and has been practicing meditation and out-of-body travel since about that time – some 40 years, he says.

What is remarkable about this book (among many remarkable things) is how it demonstrates the way an intensive integration of meditation and OBE practice has played out in Mr. Ziewe’s spectacular experiences.

I’ve been reading books about astral travel since the late 1970s, but I’ve never encountered an approach that shows a more unified adoption of both the OBE and meditation practice as does this narrative.

But as I write this – and now that I think of it — I should include a third “esoteric” practice that Jergen Ziewe has leveraged – lucid dreaming. Here, again, it can be said that lucid dreaming is intimately linked to astral travel and both are enhanced or assisted by meditation.

This author is one of the few I’ve read who can achieve the lucid dream state and hold onto it in a highly stable manner – and then while “inside” a lucid dream, he sometimes settles down to practice meditation in the dream realm. This, in turn, often leads to fantastic out-of-body adventures to far-flung magical realms of truly unlimited and infinite variety, potential and location.

Is there a real heaven, or is it a “consensus reality” manufactured by belief systems?

Ziewe regales us with details of journeys to other planets, alternate dimensions of reality, certain places he calls “consensus realities,” parallel universes – and the occasional Hell.

The authors facility with descriptive language is extraordinary. Even though many of the fabulous locations he enters would seem to defy description using these crude symbols we call words with their limited ability to convey meaning – Ziewe finds a way to impart to us a vivid sense of the mind-boggling experiences he encounters.

He frequently enters realms that are psychedelic. They embody an LSD- or DMT-like quality of experience and environment. There are swirling colors, endless fractal iterations of geometric shapes, organic-biological patterns, hyperspacial structures that can only be defined by mathematical formula in our mundane world, but which Ziewe is able to encounter through direct experience.

Readers will feel Ziewe’s obvious frustration as he strains to find a way to help us relate or impart to us the tiniest taste of the kaleidoscopic transcendent realms. He grapples with the limits of human language to tell us what these exotic realms are like. Sometimes I felt that reading Ziewe’s descriptive prose was the closest thing there is to experiencing an acid trip without actually dropping acid.

He’s an amazing writer!

At the same time, Ziewe comes off as a man made genuinely meek and deeply humbled by where is astral odysseys have taken him. He presents an endearing aura of authenticity – like a man who has been granted a direct glimpse of  The Godhead – only to make him realize that he is the merest speck, a kind of bacterial-level bit of individuated consciousness – and yet, at the same time, cognizant that he is in possession of what the great JANE ROBERTS called, “an eternal validity of the soul.

The final chapter of the book should be considered a classic essay in which a philosopher lays out his view of reality derived through his own transcendent experience. This crowning statement is wonderful in its lucidity and  unrutted. It takes on what it means to be a human being and how we can all view and appreciate our own special place within our infinite, awe-inspiring and indescribably extravagant multiverse.


PLEASE CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS OF OTHER BOOKS ON THE OBE TOPIC, LINKED BELOW:

BEYOND THE ASTRAL by William and Susan Buhlman

EYES OF AN ANGEL by Paul Elder

CRASH & BURN by Peter Ludvick

EXPLORATIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS By Frederick Aadema

BABE IN THE WOODS By Frank DeMarco

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

 

William and Susan Buhlman Explore Implications of the OBE in Fictional Form With “Astral Travel” Themed Short Stories

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

For decades William Buhlman has been among the world’s best-known and passionate advocates of the out-of-body experience (OBE). He doesn’t mind calling it “astral travel” now and then or referring to that place you go to when you are “out there” the “astral plane” or “astral world.”

The term out-of-body experience, or OBE, was adopted by many a few years ago, probably because astral travel seemed “Old World” or archaic. It hearkened back to times when this sort of thing was the realm of occult practitioners steeped in mystical or eastern religious belief systems.

It is the noted psychologist and research scientist Dr. Charles Tart who is credited with coining the term OBE. It was the great Robert Monroe who popularized the term. His three classic books about out-of-body travel, starting with Journeys Out of Body, raised the subject out of the esoteric and occult world into the mainstream — if it can be said out-of-body travel is mainstream today. Probably not yet but it’s getting there. At the very least, it has gained wider acceptance.

It was folks like Tart and Monroe who brought scientific methodology to the study of OBEs.

William Buhlman

Buhlman’s approach can be said to be scientific in that he pursued his study of OBEs with exacting documentation, dogged determination and constant experimentation. He is not a scientist, but neither is he a mystic. One might say he’s an ordinary guy who one day developed an extraordinary desire to not only study the OBE, but to take the experiences to the highest levels of experience and understanding he could achieve.

That theme – striving to go as high as and far as you can go – Buhlman has passionately maintained throughout several books as well as his many lectures and seminars. He teaches OBE practice at the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia.

Susan Buhlman

In this book of short stories, co-written with his wife, Susan Buhlman, the authors are leveraging the power of fiction to dramatize the many facets of what Mr. Buhlman has learned from his many years of exploring the “astral realms.”

It’s an attempt to illustrate the deeper implications of the idea that human beings are more than just a physical body. Buhlman says we are multidimensional beings. If we can learn to master the OBE, we can experience an unlimited number of exotic environments in far-flung trans-physical locations – or just call it Consciousness, with a big “C.”

The first offering – The Boy Who Could Fly — is obviously meant to be a children’s story. It’s one I dearly wish I had available to me when I was eight or nine years old. The fear it would have alleviated and the confusion it would have cleared up for my boyhood self would have been life-altering. During that time, I began experiencing almost nightly the fantastically frightening phenomenon of sleep paralysis. My mind would come awake in a physical body that was 100% numb and seemed frozen solid – the experience was infinitely more terrorizing because I simply had no of understanding what was happening to me.

I eventually discovered – but years later — that sleep paralysis is a fantastically good thing because it can serve as a launching pad for out-of-body travel. If I would have had this book back then – well, let’s just say it would have saved me a lot of grief!

The rest of the 13 short stories presented will serve a similar function for readers of all age groups. The OBE is presented as a natural ability that all human beings have access to. It should be plucked out of the realm of the paranormal, mystical or supernatural and be embraced as a pathway toward a greater understanding of what it means to be a nonphysical entity experiencing life as a physical being on the material earthly plane.

Just as the first story would have been a welcome resource for my 8-year-old self, I think these stories will be illuminating and helpful for people confronting some of the biggest and most difficult aspects of life that touch us all eventually – especially confronting death and dying and the grief associated with the death of a loved one. These stories provide a perspective on what the death of the physical body truly is – and isn’t. It’s not the end, it’s a transition. Furthermore, no one has to take the word of William Buhlman (or anyone) on this matter. We can all prove out these concepts for ourselves by trying our own hand at the OBE.

My initial overall impression of these stories is that they are simple and straightforward, almost to a fault. I sometimes felt they bordered on being excessively maudlin or even trite. But after reading all of the stories I came away thinking the Buhlman’s handled this delicate topic in just the right way. Their light touch brings lofty issues down to a universally accessible sense of understanding.

Readers from age 8 to 80 will benefit from the perspectives presented here on the true nature of our reality and what it means to be a human being – that we are multidimensional entities navigating a fantastic journey through an infinite field of Consciousness.

PLEASE CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS OF OTHER BOOKS ON THE OBE TOPIC, LINKED BELOW:

EYES OF AN ANGEL by Paul Elder

CRASH & BURN by Peter Ludvick

EXPLORATIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS By Frederick Aadema

BABE IN THE WOODS By Frank DeMarco

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

 

Retro Review: French Writer Maurice Renard’s Campy, Derivative B-Novel Is Hilarious And Horrifying

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

I’m not giving anything away by telling you that the premise of this book centers around a mad scientist who is slicing open the skulls of people and animals so he can interchange their brains. The subsequent results are macabre and horrifying.

Original of New Bodies for Old: Le Docteur Lerne (1908)

But the real news flash is that this author has produced his own kind of horrific miracle. He manages to slice open the plot of an A-List classic novel and implant it with his own B-List pulp yarn. The result is an unholy, hybrid specimen of literature.

French writer MAURICE RENARD makes no bones about this being a derivative work inspired by his slavish – almost slobbering – admiration of H.G. Wells. New Bodies for Old is a kind of homage to the great British author’s 1896 masterpiece, The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Renard includes a dedication in which he speaks directly to Wells. He offers up his book to him like a ghoulish sacrifice from a man who eagerly wants to be his No. 1 toady.

Okay! So, Monsieur Renard is an unapologetic fanboy! There’s nothing wrong with that. His hero is the great H.G. Wells, after all. It’s also something of a miracle that a Frenchman can display humble admiration for an Englishman. If we had more of that in the 14th Century, maybe the 100 Years’ War could have been avoided.

Anyway …

Maurice Renard (1875-1939)

I don’t mind reading an unabashed B-Novel if the author can pull it off with decent-enough writing, some of his own innovation, a few clever twists of plot – and whatever else he can bring to the game.

I’m happy to report that M. Renard was equal to the challenge. This is a surprisingly entertaining piece of second-tier literature. It overcomes a fundamental lack of originality with a snappy narrative laid out in clever fashion through the eyes of its viewpoint character, a young Frenchman by the name of Nicolas Vermont.

From the very start, Renard keeps us off balance with an unrelenting series of oddities.

For example, the book begins with a group of young Parisian rakes attending a “house unwarming” party. On a whim, they decide to hold a séance using what was a popular occult fad in early 20th Century Europe – table tipping. This is a method in which hands are placed around a small table to invoke a spirit of the undead. The deceased then taps out messages based on verbally called-out letters of the alphabet.

That’s how this tale came to be written. It was dictated by a member of the undead.

And so …

Nicolas Vermont receives a mysterious invitation to visit his uncle. He lives several hours outside of Paris in a secluded chateau nestled against a narrow alcove naturally carved out from a rocky mountainside. The surrounding area is wild and wooded. Vermont spent his childhood there but has not been back for years. His uncle is a renowned physiologist and surgeon – Dr. Frédéric Lerne — who gained wide fame as a life-saving doctor.

But now Dr. Lerne has retreated to the remote chateau which is called Fonval. Here the doctor no longer receives patients. Rather, he’s involved in some manner of super-secret medical research. Vermont has not seen his uncle in years. When he arrives at the chateau, he finds a drastically changed man, far different from the graceful and brilliant professor of physiology Vermont once knew.

Dr. Lerne is now a dangerous weirdo. He’s overtly cruel, paranoid and neurotic. Bizarrely, he speaks French with a heavy German accent. He seems caught off guard by his nephew’s visit, even though he had issued him an invitation. Whatever the doctor is working on, it’s obviously pure evil. But what is it? The plot plays out with the attempts of Nicolas Vermont to discover the dark and sinister machinations lurking behind the many locked doors of the sprawling Fonval complex.

Despite the fact that Maurice Renard leans on scenes of gratuitous gore and regales us with fantastically absurd spectacle – such as when a man’s brain is transplanted into a cow – I give him great credit for springing upon the reader some marvelously clever twists of plot. I didn’t see them coming. I bet you won’t either.

NEW BODIES FOR OLD Was originally published in 1908 with the title, Le Docteur Lerne – Sous-Dieu. (Dr. Lerne – Undergod). I read the English translation published in 1923. Translator unknown.

Edgar Allan Poe

I’ve probably given the impression that Maurice Renard was a pulp artist who cranked out florid prose for fast bucks and cheap thrills. However, and to be fair, one must consider that the translation I read was extremely poorly handled.

Thus, I hasten to add that, in his day, Renard was highly admired and respected, even within elite literary circles. He is sometimes compared to Edgar Allen Poe. Renard himself was a devoted fan of the American genius of Gothic horror. It was reading Poe that inspired Renard to take up a career in writing.

In his Encylopédie de l’utopie, des voyages extraordinaires, et de la science fiction, French critic Pierre Versins called Renard, “the best French science fiction writer of the years 1900-1930.” And Jean-Jacques Bridenne called the short stories of Renard, “the most gripping in French literature.”

Furthermore, Maurice Renard, who died in 1939, left a significant legacy of lasting influence. Just one example is the fact that his 1920 novel, The Hands of Orloc, has been adapted to film three times. A 1935 version starred the great Peter Lorre. A 1960 British adaptation of The Hands of Orlac is a cult classic and stars Mel Ferrer and Christopher Lee.

Another of his works, A Man Amongst the Microbes: Scherzo, (1928) inspired Richard Matheson’s novel, The Shrinking Man. This, in turn, led to the SF classic film, The Incredible Shrinking Man. Maurice Renard is also credited with innovating one of the most intriguing SF concepts of all time – “slow glass.” This was a type of glass that absorbed light in such a way as to condense time. Bob Shaw wrote a groundbreaking short story based on the slow glass concept. This was the Hugo-nominated Light of Other Days. He later reworked the story into the novel, Other Days, Other Eyes. (1972)

The slow glass conception is becoming a reality today. In 2005, IBM introduced a chip, called the photonic silicon waveguide, which can slow down the speed of light.

You can download a free e-book copy of New Bodies For Old at Project Gutenberg HERE.

PLEASE CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS OF OTHER CLASSIC BOOKS, LINKED BELOW:

PHARAOH By Boleslaw Prus

SAURUS By Eden Phillpotts

HOLOGRAM DREAMS by R.G. Knighton



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING


In Hybrid Humans, Australian Writer Daniella Fenton Makes A Compelling Case The Homo Sapiens Are The Product Of An Alien Genetic Manipulation Program


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

DANIELLA FENTON opens this book telling of her lifetime encounters with strange beings, alien or otherwise. It began when she was just 18 months old. These range from a 1-meter tall ape-like creature which showed up to bounce around menacingly in her bedroom to a “classic” tall gray-type alien with bulbous head and wrap-around almond eyes.

She was able to assimilate her experiences and embrace them, however, as she grew up. She took training as an Andean shaman and past-life therapist. She experienced her own past-life encounters in which she found herself living in Central America among the Maya in 7th Century Palenque. (Note: Ms. Fenton is an Australian of Ecuadoran heritage).

Daniella Fenton

Those who don’t read further might think this is one of those alien-UFO books that veers heavily toward the esoteric, New Agey (and some might even say “woo-woo”) genre of this field – but as we move along the author brings on some bona fide hard-science red meat. The latter will engage and satisfy those who prefer a more academic approach.

So immediately what I like about Daniella Fenton is that she appears a well-rounded visionary kind of person with a natural inclination in the mystical realm while also displaying the quality of an intellectual with her feet firmly planted on scientific ground. The best of both worlds.

The Pleiades

The central premise of this book is the idea that aliens originating in the Pleiades Cluster star system came to earth in a time period of about 800,000 years ago. For complex reasons, the aliens embarked on a genetic engineering program using the native biological lifeforms they encountered on earth. They selected certain species of primates for an evolutionary acceleration program that would springboard them to become what all of us see in the mirror every day – ourselves – home sapiens.

The idea that our creators are aliens has been a popular concept in ufology or ancient astronaut theory (for lack of a better terms) in recent years. Perhaps among the most prominent example is the work of ZECHARIA SITCHIN and his theory that an alien race called the Anunnaki (of ancient Sumer) genetically engineered primates to become higher-functioning humans so they could be used as slave labor.

Nobel Laureate Francis Crick

But wait … it must be noted that even the likes of Nobel laureate Francis Crick, the discoverer of the DNA molecule, believed the bilogical life we know today could not have originated on earth. Crick suggested an alien source for complex protein chains that were seeded to earth millions of years ago. The complexity of the basic amino acids and protein structures simply could not evolve in a time frame of a planet that is “just” four billion years old. He didn’t say it was an intelligent alien civilization. He seemed to suggest a more general panspermia concept.

Panspermia is the theory that life was seeded throughout the universe, most likely spread by means of comets, cosmic dust, meteors, planetoids or even ancient alien exploration spacecraft that unwittingly contaminated other worlds with the basic building blocks of biological life.

Panspermia

The panspermia concept is ancient. It was first suggested in the 5th Century B.C. by the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras. It has cropped up again and again throughout the centuries. Panspermia finally became a mainstream scientific hypothesis thanks to the great Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius. He won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1903.

Panspermia was embraced more recently in the 20th century by two intellectual giants, the world-renowned British astronomer Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, the Sri Lankan-born British mathematician and astrobiologist.

Ms. Fenton acknowledges panspermia, but then perhaps makes a quantum leap forward by suggesting that a gigantic Pleiadian alien spacecraft crash-landed on our planet some 800,000 years ago. Its earth-marooned occupants then instigated a genetic engineering program to produce the modern human species.

Her thesis is multi-pronged. One line explores the curious fact that humans have 46 chromosomes with each cell containing 23 pairs. Our close cousins, the Neanderthal and Denisovans, had 46 chromosomes and 23 associated pairs. Monkeys, chimps and apes all have 48 and 24 pairs. She writes that the time of the human divergence to 23 pairs happened about 780,000 years ago. She also points out that modern science still has no satisfactory explanation for why or how this divergence from 24 to 23 chromosomes happened, other than perhaps a chance mutation.

Ms. Fenton then takes us on a cogent and lucid discussion of some of the tricky details looking at relevant factors on the DNA level involving the four nucleotide “letters” that make up the famous spiral molecule, A, C, G and T – adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine.

Fenton writes:

“The (chromosome) fusion event has the fingerprints of the Pleiadian scientists all over it. The pattern we see matches well with the deliberate scientific experiment involving a group of hominins implanted with modified test-tube babies. There would have been an entire generation of potential breeding pairs born sharing this fusion.”

Australites are tektites found in Australia.

In addition to genetics, Ms. Fenton offers corroborating evidence of a crash-landed spacecraft by considering a class of minerals called tektites. These are tiny glassy objects formed from terrestrial debris ejected during large meteorite or small asteroid impacts. There are just four known tektite-strewn fields in the world. Among the best known is a central European field where tektites called Moldavite are found. It is believed to have impacted earth about 14 million years ago.

But there is also a tektite field in Australia that produced fused-glassy objects called Australites. This field is estimated to have been created by an impact 0.78 million years ago. This date would come close to the 780,000-year timeframe in which Fenton says homo sapiens diverged from other primates by shedding a chromosome. She suggests further, then, that the Australite-strewn field may have been caused by the crash of a massive Pleiadian spaceship.

This, in turn, posits that the origin of the human species was on the Australian continent, not African. As it happens, Ms. Fenton’s husband, Bruce Fenton, has authored a book which argues just that, His book is titled, THE FORGOTTEN EXODUS: THE INTO AFRICA THEORY OF HUMAN EVOLUTION.

And there’s even more – such as Ms. Fenton’s fascinating discussion of neoteny in the human species, and evidence presented by ancient rock art found in remote regions of Australia. It’s remarkable how much is packed into a book of a mere 171 pages. Despite the heady scientific elements, this book makes for a fast read that is highly accessible to a general audience.

There’s no better sign that a writer is truly in command of her thesis than one who can write is all down lucidly in a short book that lays out a complex theory in a concise, readable manner.

It reminds me of what Albert Einstein once said: “Everything should be made as simple as possible — but not simpler.”


PLEASE CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS OF OTHER UFO-RELATED BOOKS, LINKED BELOW:

BLACK SWAN GHOSTS by Simeon Hein PhD

SYMBIOSIS by Nancy Tremaine

PASCAGOULA: THE CLOSEST ENCOUNTER by Calvin Parker

INCIDENT AT DEVIL’S DEN by Terry Lovelace

MANAGING MAGIC by Grant Cameron

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING


British Author Peter Martin Serial Torments his Character And Readers Will Enjoy Watching The Tragedy Unfold

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

What was it that Hamlet called it? Oh yeah: “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” The Free Dictionary helpfully fleshes out this phrase as, “bad things that happen to you and that are not your fault.”

That describes the troubled life of Billy Price, an ordinary middle-class British boy growing up with his mom and dad in a nice home in some pleasant Anytown in the U.K.

But as we enter the life of Billy, we find his family living under pall cast by the recent death of his little sister from cruel cancer. Dad is coping by drinking to much and mom appears to be having a sexual dalliance … with the lesbian next door.

If that’s not enough for a 13-year-old, just wait. His life is about to get worse … much worse. In fact, it’s going to get bloody. And so begins he long, troubled journey of Billy Price. He moves into adulthood straddling one crisis to the next. 

In choosing “adversity” as his theme, author PETER MARTIN is proposing a scenario suggesting: “Let’s see how much calamity we can throw at an ordinary human being and see how he holds up, how he copes, how it affects his mental health and his social adjustment in society.”

Peter Martin

That’s what makes this a fairly absorbing read. Mr. Martin is an agile writer who commands a lean style devoid of digression and cumbersome language. This keeps the plot and narrative moving forward at brisk pace. One marker of a good book is when you get to the end of a chapter and you get that urge that says, “Oh well, I might as well read one more to see what happens next …” and this book has that quality.

But let me add this, and if I might borrow a descriptor from the world of cinema, this is a B-List Novel rather than an A-List novel. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, so read on and let me explain.

You know how when you’re watching a movie and you are fully aware that what you’re watching is a “B Movie.” It’s not a top-flight, high-budget major studio A-List flick with major stars and expensive production values … and yet, you still find yourself enjoying this low-budget B-Movie to an unusual degree.

IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY has that aura of a B Movie that somehow transcends itself to offer a higher level of interest and enjoyment.

But the reason I categorize this as a “B Novel” is a decidedly odd placement of philosophic or perhaps epistemological depth on behalf of what constitutes “meaning” from the perspective of the viewpoints of these characters.

What I mean by that is, the ultimate sense of attainment presented is a kind of flat secular salvation. In other words, what is judged to be “successful” and the achievement of “happiness” is narrowly defined within the realm of material success, or in terms of one’s social position and perhaps one’s gaining a healthy relationship, and then maintaining that relationship. Billy is plagued throughout his life by relationships that don’t last, even with his own children.

At the same time, children are portrayed in terms of something to “have” and “appreciate” and “enjoy” not terribly different from the way one might “have” and “appreciate” and “enjoy” a purchase from Ikea.

I’m not saying that Peter Martin should have added some kind of lofty religious or spiritual theme. There are more ways than that to create a universe of nuanced depth. But the real tragedy, for me, is how these characters remain rutted within a mundane realm of ordinary pursuit of jobs, a modicum of social status, maybe a nice flat. It’s what Henry Thoreau called, “A life of quiet desperation.”

Since Mr. Martin is British, I’ll use two of his literary countrymen for comparison — Thomas Hardy and John Cowper Powys. These two writers spring to mind because they, too, created relatable characters and then proceeded to torment them with earthly problems over the span of their lifetimes.

But Hardy and Powys built a deeper dimensionality of existence and meaning for their characters – and they did so largely by leveraging the powerful presence of nature, the earth and proximity to ancient sites and history. In this way they imbued their character’s predicaments with a greater sense of tragedy, but also heights of joyful attainment that transcended mere economic/social success.  That’s because they had placement within a more profound reality. In this way Hardy and Powys elicited a haunting depth of meaning to their narratives.

So, what I’m saying is, IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY is a perfectly fine novel as it stands in the B-Novel realm. It’s a compelling story well told and difficult to put down. A certain greater depth of meaningful dimensionality would have elevated it to A-List status — but, you know, sometimes we don’t want to read “great literature.” We just want to read a good book.

NOTE: To find other Peter Martin titles, click here: PETER MARTIN


Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

The Thought Dial By Canadian Author Paul Vitols Tells A Typical Tail, But Encoded Beneath Is A Mysterious Message For Those Capable Of Reading Between The Lines


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

As soon as I read the last sentence of THE THOUGHT DIAL an image of William Blake’s painting, “Newton,” popped into my mind. I replied to the chummy little daemon who likes to communicate by sending pictures into my brain: “Yes, that’s it. I see what you mean.”

Newton, by William Blake

I’ll explain this in a bit, but first take a look at Blake’s painting which I have posted here to the right.

Now I’ll fill you in briefly about this short story by Canadian writer PAUL VITOLS. On the outside it would appear to be a classic coming of age story featuring a pimply-faced teenage boy grappling with all the common elements of the strife and struggle of that age.

John Pulkis is in love with the girl who sits next to him in science class. He wants to ask her out but is mortified at the prospect of getting shot down. He comes up with a plan for a way to leverage his proposition – and I don’t want to give away too much – so I’ll just say a key element of this leveraging tactic goes awry.

He then develops a highly scientific strategy to solve this problem.

John Pulkis is enamored with hard-core material science. One of his idols is ultimate rationalist and noted skeptic, the late astronomer Carl Sagan. John also likes to noodle away on complex math equations in his spare time, such as massaging the Drake Equation, a probabilistic argument that predicts the likelihood of life in the universe.

But John’s scientific plan fails utterly. And then, something strange happens. The perfect solution to his problem falls spontaneously into his lap from an unlikely and unscientific source – in fact, not just unscientific — but an airy-fairy, New Agey, paranormal kind of trick that would make a “real scientist” gag!

And yet the hocus-pocus happens to work beautifully where the mighty reductionist scientific method failed!

Okay, so I’ll stop there except to also remind the reader that a lot of other stuff happens in this yarn as well. There’s more delightful fun than there is science, actually. For example, John is really into the Doobie Brothers and Elton John. (Obviously he was 16 around the same time I was in the mid-1970s). He goes to dance parties, has friends, an annoying sister.

Now here’s the thing: I read all the other reviews of the Thought Dial posted on Amazon and Goodreads. It seems that not a single person caught on to what this story is really about. They all took it for its surface value, that is, the story of a teenage boy working through a simple plot involving an attempt to solve a problem and get a date with a girl.

But the author’s choice of title should have given everyone pause. Sure, the actual encounter with The Thought Dial is just a few paragraphs and seems incidental, but it’s at the crux of the story.

To explain why, I now I return to Blake’s unusual painting of Isaac Newton.

William Blake

Blake was an English poet, painter, and print maker, but he was also a mystic who throughout his life was subject to fantastic visions. He saw angels in farm fields hovering over workers, apparitions, demi-gods, nature spirits, elementals. He could communicate with dead people.

Blake was one of the last true hermeticists – his kind were being drive out of existence by men of hard science. The ultimate personification of the rational, empirical scientist is Isaac Newton. Blake understood this and so created the oddest depiction of Newton ever painted.

In Blake’s painting, Newton is portrayed as a man mesmerized by measurement – even while his own physical body appears inextricably intertwined with nature. Blake saw the mindset of scientific inquiry as, “reductive, sterile, and ultimately blinding.” Blake wrote: “He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only, sees himself only.”

So, the way I see it, this is what really is going on in Paul Vitols’ story. It’s the same dynamic. John Pulkis is so taken with numbers, graphs, charts and the scientific method he has unwittingly sabotaged his own heart’s desire – the need for love. Nothing is more irrational and impossible to measure than love. Thus, what helps him move toward his goal is “supra-rational” — esoterica and magic – encountered in the form of The Thought Dial.

Okay … huh? … wait a minute … my daemon is whispering in my ear again … What? Yeah, uh-huh, yeah, yeah, hmmm, yes, I see …

Um, well, my brain critter says I should discuss that odd “bloodless” scene that John Pulkis experiences in his high school science lab. I’m afraid I must overrule my daemon in this case, however. It would be best for readers to get their own copy of this ingenious short story and discover for themselves the marvelous layers of meaning encoded and intertwined within what only appears to be a simple coming of age story.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Please see my review of another Paul Vitols story here: LOST KINGS


Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

Retro Review: Brilliant British Physicist Sir Oliver Lodge Brought Scientific, Experimental Methods To Explore Possibility Of Life After Death


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

SIR OLIVER LODGE was a top tier scientist of his day. His reputation stands perhaps on the edge of greatness. If he wasn’t in the genius league of, say, a Max Planck or Michael Faraday, he was certainly a figure of historic significance in the field of experimental physics.

His work with syntonics (we call it “tuning” today) was a key development in the invention of radio. He was later involved in a patent dispute with Guglielmo Marconi over a component essential to the development of wireless transmission, a case which Lodge eventually won.

His work also led to the invention of something most of us use every day in our cars – spark plugs. The first commercially available spark plugs were known as “Lodge Igniters.”

He was more than a theoretical physicist. He was an applied scientist who created practical, hand’s on devices that worked. This makes Sir Oliver a perfect candidate to study the possibility of life after death. He can’t be dismissed as just another of the flaky New Agers of his day – the many spiritualist or occultists who were conducting séances and practicing all sorts of arcane arts, from mediumship and automatic writing to table knocking and Ouija board channeling.

Sir Oliver Lodge was a plodding, detailed oriented researcher intensely focused on hard evidence gained from experimentation and fact-based results. These excellent qualities of the scientist would come in handy for Lodge after his beloved son, Raymond, a promising young engineer, went off to fight the Germans in World War I and was killed in battle.

Raymond Lodge

Raymond was just 25. If he would have returned from war his future was bright. His excellent grasp of mathematics and natural knack for mechanics all-but guaranteed a fulfilling career as an engineer, a role he had already been pursuing at a firm owned by his brothers. The Lodge family was wealthy and held high social status in Victorian England. Raymond was handsome and charming to boot.

His life was tossed away in the senseless slaughter of World War I.

Even before Raymond’s death, his father had demonstrated a keen interest in life-after-death issues. He was among the first members of the British SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH (SPR). He helped found it along with other such luminaries as, chemist Sir William Crookes, Nobel laureate Charles Richet and the American “Father of Psychology” William James. The SPR was dedicated to the study of paranormal phenomenon.

Because I have read a number of books from this era of widespread interest in the occult – especially on séances and the survival of death – I was expecting largely “more of the same” from RAYMOND OR LIFE & DEATH (download free). I’m pleased to say I was wrong. I should not have underestimated that esteemed, distinguished and intellectual gentleman — Sir Oliver Lodge.

This book is divided into three parts, only one of which Lodge describes as “supernormal.”

The first section represents and ingenious tactic by Sir Oliver. He wants to introduce us to his son, but he also desires that readers get know him on a deeper level for the wonderful person he was. To accomplish this, he let’s Raymond do all the talking, so to speak – that is, Lodge presents a selection of letters Raymond wrote while serving on the front lines of Belgium.

Sir Oliver Lodge, born 1851, died 1940

The effect is profound. Little by little, letter by letter, Raymond’s delightful personality comes forward. It soon becomes apparent that here was a marvelous young man who was intelligent and kind, brave and modest – and we get the sense that he possessed a natural caring, empathetic character. He was a curious, enthusiastic and gentle soul thrust into the horrors of war. Yet, he was bearing the gruesome daily reality of gritty combat with uncanny humor and sunny attitude.

And then – suddenly — a punch in the gut!

We get to the last of Raymond’s letter … and the next page is the report that he died a violent death on the battlefield. For me, the effect was wrenching. It was as if I had just made a new friend – and then, abruptly, he was dead.

The next section of the book is the “supernormal” stuff. Sir Oliver, his wife Lady (Mary) Lodge and his sons and daughters embark on an intense effort to develop contact with the spirit of Raymond. (The Lodges had 12 children).

British Medium: Gladys Osborne Leonard

This effort is conducted largely through the agency of mediums, one of which was the controversial GLADYS OSBORNE LEONARD. Several other mediums were engaged as well, including a certain prominent “Mrs. Kennedy of London, wife of Dr. Kennedy.” She was a medium but also apparently a gifted automatic writer.

An initial contact with Raymond came from overseas by way of one of the most scientifically examined and tested mediums in history – LENORA PIPER of New Hampshire. She was deemed “authentic” by William James and British researcher Richard Hodgson who subjected her to hundreds of tests controlled by rigorous scientific protocols.

Another frequent method of afterlife communication studied by Sir Oliver was “table tilting.” This is a fantastically tedious method is which séance sitters place their hands flat atop a small table – and sort of Ouija board style – they ask for contact with the spirit world. Then they ask specific questions once a presence on the “other side” is indicated by certain movements of the table. Even though hands are touching the table, the belief was that movements of the table  was being initiated by the spirits and not the involuntary hand movement of the participants.

The attendees ask a question. If it is a “yes or “no” question, the table tilts three time to indicate “yes” and one time to indicate “no.”

Table tipping to communicate with spirits

But the really laborious part begins when they want the spirit to spell out answers to open-ended questions. In this case, the medium or séance leader asks a question, such as, “What is your name?” She then begins to call out the letters of the alphabet. Now let’s say the spirit’s name is “Paul.” When the facilitator gets to letter “P” the table tilts to indicate a “stoppage” for that letter. Then they start repeating the alphabet from the beginning.

It will tilt again at “A” then at “U” and then at “L” – and so they get the name “Paul” after having to go through the alphabet from the beginning each time.

Of course, skeptics shovel scorn upon all this. They think its obvious that the people placing their hands on the table are the one’s doing all the tilting – albeit with involuntary muscle control. This is the same skeptic’s explanation given for the action of the Ouija board. It’s called the ideomotor effect or ideomotor phenomenon.

Sir Oliver readily acknowledges that involuntary muscular control may offer a partial explanation for the table tilting phenomenon. However, he writes:

“Unconscious guidance can hardly be excluded … but first, our desire was rather in the direction of avoiding such control; and second, the stoppages were sometimes at unexpected places; and third, a long succession of letters soon becomes meaningless. Except to the recorder who is writing them down silently as they are called to him in another part of the room.”

In short, Sir Oliver comes away from many hours of table tilting study concluding that, “table tipping is an incipient physical phenomenon and that though the energy comes from the people … it does not appear to be applied in quite a normal way.”

Again, skeptics howl with ridicule at this. And yet … there is much more to table tipping. During these sessions, the table was often experienced to levitate. The table also evinced varieties of other movements and indications, including moving or “walking” across a room. Participants stayed with the table all the time with hands flat on top.

In one extraordinary chapter, Sir Oliver’s wife, Mary, describes a session during a social gathering at the Lodge family manse, Mariemont. An impromptu decision was made to place hands on a table to see if Raymond was present. The table indicated that he was. With hands positioned flat on the table, it walked around the room and at several points, levitated. Mary Lodge writes:

“I took one hand off (the table) leaving one hand on top, and Honor’s (Oliver and Mary’s daughter) two hands lying on the top, no part of them being over the edge, and I measured the height the legs were off the ground. The first time it was the width of three fingers, and the next time four fingers … I tried to press it down but could not – a curious feeling, like pressing on a cushion of air.”

When someone began playing the piano, the table edged its way over and began to tap against the back of the player in time with the music. This motion was so vigorous that the table tilters found it necessary to place a pillow between the player and the table to cushion the action of the table.

And so — by way of mediums speaking in trance, table tipping and automatic writing — Sir Oliver Lodge and his family became convinced that Raymond survived death. This determination was made through a lot of questioning, including “test questions,” which ask for information that only those who were intimate with Raymond could have known. Raymond’s brothers would ask about small, incidental things that happened only among themselves. For example, on a particular automobile outing one day, the muffler of their car was damaged going down a hill. Raymond, speaking through a medium, described the incident. The medium could not have known anything about it.

Initially, and in many cases, they selected mediums that were total strangers so he/she could have had no foreknowledge of or about the spirit he/she was channeling for the “sitter.” 

The Lodges eventually flesh out the details of what life is like for Raymond on the other side. They ask about his environment, what his world is like, where and how he is living “over there.” Raymond calls his location “Summerland,” an idyllic earth-like environment which is just as solid as physical existence among the living on earth. He even lives in a cottage constructed of bricks. There are lots of other people there, buildings, towns and special halls that are like universities where they study advanced topics, and so forth.

But this picture develops slowly. Initially, Raymond’s perception and reports come across as being more dreamlike. Things shift and change at the whim of one’s thoughts. It seems analogous to what it’s like when we are experiencing a vivid dream, or perhaps a lucid dream. As Raymond gets more acclimated to his new situation, he seems to gain solid footing in the afterlife realm. It can be as firm and earth-like as he wants it to be, but it doesn’t necessarily have to stay that way. It’s a matter of creating or projecting one’s own virtual reality based on one’s thoughts, choices, perception, creativity and more.

Image courtesy of NASA

Raymond takes on the role of a “Helper” in his transformed existence. That is, he assists in the orientation of other people as they die and enter the afterlife realm. Business is brisk because of the war. Raymond expresses his profound gratitude to other special guides who took him under their wings (so to speak) and helped him to become oriented and acclimated to his exotic new afterlife environment.

Apparently, it takes a while to clear out the cobwebs and come to grips with that fact that one has shed the physical form and is now living in another, more etheric kind of body in a more fluid realm – yet a place that can be every bit as solid and “real’ as was life on the earthly plane.

Raymond comes to think of his former physical body as, “an old coat I have shed and no longer need or care about.”

In addition to his role as a Helper, Raymond is eager to work with his father to prove that there is no death. In fact, he says this work is extremely important. He thinks it is vital that living people on earth understand that life goes on and in a way that it is even better than physical life on earth, though It’s not a final, idyllic paradise or heaven. People, or souls, must continue onward with new challenges to learn, grow and strive to move higher up the ladder of consciousness and existence.

Raymond tells amazing stories of meeting advanced beings that have transcended to loftier levels of existence. They sometimes “come down” to his level to teach and encourage the recently dead to work toward advancement so that they, too, can move on to more sublime realms.

And there’s a lot more. We get numerous, tantalizing glimpses about life on the other side of death as reported by  Raymond – albeit transmitted imperfectly due to a certain amount of garbled translation because the information is filtered through the brains of mediums, table tilting and automatic writing.

Sir Oliver Lodge and “student” depicted on the Victory Monument, Derby Square, Liverpool,

The third part of the book are a series of essays by Sir Oliver. They are part scientific theory, part philosophy and part opinions formed through his years-long study of supernormal phenomenon and communications with the departed.

They’re well worth reading. I came away with the impression that Sir Oliver was a man ahead of his time, especially in terms of challenging the established, mainstream scientific community for its pervasive unwillingness to consider study of  life after death as legitimate inquiry because of hardened, preconceived notions of what is deemed to be “real” and what is not. Sir Oliver believed that science had become mired in a narrow box of limited belief systems similar to that of religious fundamentalists.  Scientists, like religious dogmatists, refuse to accept anything outside of their own articles of faith based on unquestioning “belief.”

Sir Oliver Lodge endured withering criticism from his distinguished peers for his courage to look directly at the issue of life after death. They derided his willingness to tackle it with the same methodologies he used to study the physics of electricity. He was adept at giving back as good as he got, however, making his case through his eloquent essays and measured responses. He never devolves to pointless bickering or making bitter reprisals against his detractors.

In every respect, Raymond or Life & Death is a remarkable work by a great man, a driven scientist and courageous thinker.



BELOW ARE LINKS TO MY REVIEWS OF BOOKS SIMILAR TO THIS TOPIC:

STRANGE VISITORS edited by Henry J. Horn

GHOSTS I HAVE SEEN by Violet Tweedale

THE BETTY BOOK by Stewart Edward White

THE GHOST OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY by Frank DeMarco

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

David Marler’s ‘Triangular UFOs’ Is A Landmark Work For Ufology And Should Be Held As A Model For How To Handle The Subject In The Proper Way


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

With the exception of “lights,” the most common form of UFO reported by eyewitnesses are triangle or triangular-like flying objects.

The classic “flying saucer” or “disk” shaped UFOs don’t come close to the number of triangular UFO reported. That’s according to a survey conducted of 87,000 sighting reports since 1994 collected by the National UFO Reporting Center.

The count was conducted by Peter Davenport, the UFO Reporting Center’s director. He found 11,000 reports of triangular UFOs and 6,460 that were shaped liked disks.

In fact, even the very first modern report of flying saucers were not flying saucers.

On June 24, 1947, private pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying near Mount Rainier when he spotted nine objects which he described as, “something like a pie plate that was cut in half with a sort of a convex triangle in the rear.” He described their movement as “a saucer skipping across the water.” A local reporter fixated on “saucer” and the term “flying saucer” was born.

David Marler

But get this: The first modern report of a triangle UFO predates the Kenneth Arnold sighting by more than 10 years. In the book I’m reviewing today, TRIANGULAR UFOS: AN ESTIMATE OF THE SITUATION, author DAVID MARLER tells us about two young men who encountered a giant flying triangular object while walking along a lonely, snow-covered road one night in Alaska. The year was 1936. As the gigantic object approached them, they became frightened and dived into the snowbanks on the side of the road to hide as the fantastic object passed by.

Obviously, this obscure event on a remote rural road in Alaska did not create the sensation as did Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of nine triangle-disks skimming over the skies of Washington, and so usher in the modern UFO era. But it does demonstrate something important — that triangular flying objects have been appearing in our skies for many decades.

That’s part of the reason why this book is an incredibly important contribution to the study of UFOs. Marler chooses to focus on triangular objects, but in doing so, he has made one of the best cases I’ve ever encountered for the idea that UFOs cannot be explained away as something natural or the product of human invention.

The evidence is powerful and persuasive that airborne triangular objects are of nonhuman origin – be that entities from the stars, alternate dimensions, future timelines — or even something else.

Marler doggedly hammers away at the issue with painstaking and relentless presentation of case after case of sightings mostly gleaned from local newspaper reports, but also from the files of those organizations with study the phenomenon, such as MUFON or the National UFO Reporting Center.

Time and again, people from all walks of life tell of their experiences with sightings of gigantic triangular objects that float with utter silence in seeming complete disregard for the laws of gravity and physics. Many sightings report that the triangles travel with the widest side forward rather than “point forward” in weird contradiction of common-sense aerodynamics.

There’s also high strangeness. For example, some reports tell of triangles that shape shift, split in two and reform or take on other forms. Some have rows of windows in which, occasionally, glimpses of occupants are seen. Then there’s the uncanny, gigantic size of the objects. In the case of the famous series of sighting in 1997 “Phoenix Lights” incident, one triangle is estimated to have been 7 to 9 miles long – and was seen by thousands of people.

Darryl Barker created a 28-minute documentary on the Illinois events.

Other cases involve thousands of witnesses as well. Another prominent sighting is the Tinley Park Triangle. Tinley Park is a fast-growing suburb of Chicago. In August of 2004 thousands of people looked up into the night sky to see three bright lights that formed a triangle. UFO investigators located at least 30 videos of the object captured by residents. Although no physical structure could be seen between the lights, video analysis by computer-video expert Terrence Masson and Dr. Ted Acworth indicate that the lights were attached to a solid structure that was about 1,500 feet long.

Early in the book Marler takes us with painstaking detail through the January 5, 2000, sightings of a triangular UFO that was seen and tracked by numerous witnesses, including five police officers, one of who managed to get a Polaroid picture, although of poor quality.

Here Marler demonstrates his almost obsessive detail-oriented approach, relating every niggling instance in laying out the facts of the case. For example, he tells us where a police officer turned his squad car right and where he turned left as he followed the strange object as it traversed across southern Illinois skies. The effect for the reader is often tedious, and yet, instills us with the surety that here is a writer who is a serious, painstaking investigator that doesn’t mess around.

THE MEDIA AND UFOS

I think anyone reading this book will be struck by the fact that the majority of it could never have been written if it had not been for the steady work of local newspaper reporters toiling away at small and medium-sized papers across the nation and world.

Indeed, I was delighted to see that one of the historical accounts cited was gleaned from a Midwest daily newspaper I once worked for as a general assignment reporter back in the 1980s – The Daily Journal of Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

I bring this up because I notice Marler’s book is published by RICHARD DOLAN Press. Mr. Dolan, of course, has been a premier voice in the UFO field for decades. His contribution to the understanding of legitimate, evidence and fact-based study of the issue has been beyond calculation. He has my endless admiration.

However, where I part ways with Mr. Dolan has been his frequent excoriation of the media as “part of the problem” in terms of the frustrations within the UFO community about being accepted as a legitimate field of study. That’s why I was prompted recently to flay Mr. Dolan and his co-author Bryce Zabel in a scathing review of their book, A.D. AFTER DISCLOSURE. (See that review HERE).

To be fair, I have sometimes heard Richard Dolan make it clear that he thinks local, or perhaps second-tier media outlets are doing a good job of reporting the UFO phenomenon, but he contends that the “nexus of control” occurs at the top-tier of the mainstream media level. He has frequently made the dubious (and demonstrably incorrect) claim that major news outlets are “controlled by the CIA” and other dark government influences. (Again, see his argument in A.D. After Disclosure). This is where the otherwise level-headed Richard Dolan tragically falls prey to full conspiracy theory mode psychology.

This view is widespread among the UFO community. Most have accepted as gospel that the media has long played a nefarious, dishonest and corrupt role in not only keeping the truth about UFOs suppressed but but also acting as a proactive agent of outright disinformation.

I offer David Marler’s book as Exhibit A that this is not true. Again, anyone reading Marler’s fine study of triangular UFOs must conclude unambiguously that the media has been the best friend of the ufologist – from the time reporters broke the very first UFO sightings of Kenneth Arnold. After all, it was newspaper reporters who announced to the world in a bold headline that, “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch In Roswell Region.

It was on-the-ground, hard working journalists who first revealed the UFO story to the public — and did not hide it from the public —  and they continue to do it every day up to present day. David Marler’s book demonstrates that.

Finally…

So, I find Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation to be among the most important books about UFOs written in decades. In addition to reports of sightings, the author offers critical examination, discussion and proposes a plan of action for future study. Included is an important interview with the distinguished aviation engineer, Professor John E. Allen, Chief of Future Projects for British Aerospace. This offers invaluable perspective from a man who has been on the cutting edge of aviation design for decades. He’s mostly a skeptic, but an open-minded one. His views on what is possible in terms of current man-made technology helps make the case most triangular UFOs cannot be “ours.” 

The book is bolstered by forward written by the legendary JOHN B. ALEXANDER Ph.D. An afterward section provides short essays that offer more perspective. These include offerings by Richard Dolan, Mark Rodeghier, George Wingfield, Omar Fowler and Peter Davenport.

Additional Note:

A recent book involving a massive triangular UFO and abduction case has been making some waves recently. It’s by retired attorney Terry Lovelace. I review his book here: INCIDENT AT DEVIL’S DEN


PLEASE CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS OF OTHER UFO BOOKS, LINKED BELOW:

BLACK SWAN GHOSTS by Simeon Hein PhD

SYMBIOSIS by Nancy Tremaine

PASCAGOULA: THE CLOSEST ENCOUNTER by Calvin Parker



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

The Power of Vril: From Meat Paste To Nazi UFOs, British Writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton Unwittingly Invented Perfect Substance To Fuel Conspiracy Theories


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

It was a dark and stormy night …

It’s perhaps the most infamous opening phrase for a novel, made an object of scorn by sniffing literary snobs who have decided this line is the, “archetypal example of florid, melodramatic fiction writing style.” A Writer’s Digest article called it, “the poster child for bad story starters.”

It rolled off the pen of British writer EDWARD BULWER-LYTTON to start his 1830 novel, Paul Clifford. I might also mention that Bulwer-Lytton is credited with originating numerous eloquent phrases, such as, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” and, “the almighty dollar.”

This latter phrase comes from the novel I am reviewing today, THE COMING RACE, which Bulwer-Lytton first published anonymously in 1871. This book came out near the end of his literary career and life – Edward Bulwer-Lytton died in 1873.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The Coming Race is a peculiar work of fiction, but one might argue the book has gone on to become the most influential of Bulwer-Lytton’s more than 30 novels. That influence is driven by its central fictional invention, a mystical force or power called “Vril.”

This concept of Vril was seized upon by certain esoteric and metaphysical groups that were emerging in the late 19th Century. Subsequently, the fascination with Vril was revived years later — (supposedly – read on) — by other groups in post-World War I Europe, especially those involved in in the Nazi pseudoscience movements that purportedly played a role in the rise of Adolph Hitler.

Furthermore, Vril is at the heart of one of the most persistent veins in what has become a virtual genre within UFO literature and ufology proper – those involving stories surrounding Nazi flying saucer technology powered by Vril. There is even a British brand of meat paste which leverages the concept of Vril.  BOVRIL is a combination of the words “bovine” and “Vril.”

Yes, all this from an unremarkable speculative novel cobbled together by an aging writer whose literary heyday had long since come and gone by 1871. So, what’s the book about?

The Coming Race is a novel with almost no plot. The viewpoint character is a bland, unnamed “any man” used only to serve as a narrator. Bulwer-Lytton makes no attempt to make this character come alive with description or background story that would make him a memorable fictional hero.

It’s barely fiction or a novel at all. Rather, the narrative serves a vehicle for Bulwer-Lytton to envision and describe a hidden race of people who live in a Utopian society and to ruminate about what such a society might be like – and perhaps whether Utopia is such a desirable way to live after all.

The hidden society dwells within vast underground caverns where sunlight is unknown. They have no knowledge of the outside world with its billions of people and animals thriving on the surface. The hero of the story stumbled upon the subterranean civilization by accident while exploring a mining operation.

The inner-earth people call themselves the Vril-ya. They take their name from the fantastic energy that has enabled them to master their underground realm. It provides them with unlimited, pollution free power. With Vril, they can light up their entire subterranean environment with lovely angelic light. Vril can also be used in an infinite number of applications, from powering fantastic robotic machinery that does all the grunt work, to curing disease and, of course, serves as the ultimate weapon.

In a kind of technological determinism, Vril has allowed the Vril-ya to rid their society of all strife, economic inequality and class division. Greed and war are unknown. Material want is nonexistent. That’s because every citizen of the Vril Society has equal access and full command of Vril. With Vril, every individual can easily have everything they want so there is no need for struggle – and no motivation to act aggressively toward others to take what they have.

Bulwer-Lytton spends chapter after chapter describing all aspects of Vril-ya society, much the way an anthropologist might write a nonfiction account of an indigenous people living in a remote corner of the planet. The narration is often mind-numbingly dry – as is the long chapter in which Bulwer-Lytton describes the Vril-ya language, complete with a grammatical analysis parsing the fine points of usage, including base forms, causative verbs, demonstrative pronouns … and on and on.

British meat paste named for Vril

The narrator engages in lofty discussions with the Vril-ya elite on various aspects of social theory, religion and philosophy. There are some anemic attempts to insert an element of cleverness. For example, Bulwer-Lytton flips the role of the sexes making Vril-ya women the dominant sex in both physical prowess and command of sexual relationship issues. But all this is always carefully couched in a context of everyone and every aspect of Vril-ya culture having achieved a perfect universal equality.

Madam Blavatsky, Co-Founder of Theosophy

So, reading this from my vantage point of 150 years later, The Coming Race seems an unremarkable, exceedingly bland exercise in the long tradition of a special genre of fiction known as Utopian literature – except that the central concept of Vril proved to have an uncanny captivating effect on certain segments of society that were emerging in the late 1800s.

Among the most significant of these was Theosophy, an esoteric religious movement founded by the Russian-born mystic Madam Blavatsky. While Blavatsky accepted The Coming Race nominally as a work of fiction, she was convinced that Vril was something that was real. She and others came to believe that Bulwer-Lytton wittingly or unwittingly had described an ancient universal force that has always been the birthright of the human race. She believed the possession of this power was latent in all people, but that knowledge of it had somehow become lost, forgotten or hidden over past centuries.

It became a widespread belief that Bulwer-Lytton was a member of some mega-secret occult society from which he had gained special, “insider” knowledge. That’s mostly false – we know this because he vehemently said so – in writing.

A symbol of the Rosicrucian Order

It’s true that he was well-known to be a member of the ROSICRUCIAN order, a group based around “esoteric truths if the ancient past.” But the Rosicrucians are largely a known quantity. Their teachings, while esoteric, mystical and arcane, are not a deep source of mystery. Anyone can join the Rosicrucians, study their knowledge and precepts as laid out in the Rosicrucian Manifestos. I am not a Rosicrucian, but I have a close friend who is a long-time member and very high up in the organization today. He gave me extraordinary access to the inner workings of this organization.

Based on my own study of the Rosicrucian Manifestos – and I have had read them all — it is easy to see how Bulwer-Lytton could have extracted the concept of Vril from this voluminous body of ancient teachings.

But no matter. Once Vril was embraced by the Theosophists and other mystics and writers, the “Vril Genie” was out of the bottle. The concept of Vril crept osmosis-like throughout various segments of society. Vril lived on to evolve a life and legacy of its own – much of it based on misinformation, newly created myths and poorly conceived conspiracy theories. With the advent of the Internet, Vril truly found the nutrient-rich, fertile environment and nuclear grow-juice it needed to blossom – or metastasize – into a full-blown, unstoppable modern mythology.

Maria Orsic. A real person?

Just log onto YouTube today and search on Vril and you’ll be taken to hundreds of videos connecting Vril with Nazi’s and UFOs. You’ll find copious information on “The Vril Society” – which almost certainly never existed – and even scads of information about a woman said to be the founder of the Vril movement. That woman is identified as MARIA ORSIC. She is said to be a Vienna-born, ethnically Croatian medium who became a German national and then somehow tapped into Vril. She used it to make contact with aliens from a solar system surrounding the star Aldebaran, a red giant and brightest star in the Constellation Taurus. The Aldebaran aliens, in turn, were able to channel information through the mediumship of Maria Orsic that gave the Nazi’s instructions on how to build flying saucers.

Pictures of Maria Orsic are also widely circulated. She’s a stunningly beautiful woman of classic Nordic or Aryan features. But these images are clearly not real photographs. At best, they are doctored photos of a model enhanced to make her look like a perfect specimen from an ancient, forgotten race such as Bulwer-Lytton’s Vril-ya.

The kicker is that we actually know the true origin of Maria Orsic. She is little more than a fictional character created in a book written by two Frenchmen, Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels. The book is titled The Morning of the Magicians, published in 1960. These writers are also responsible for inventing the myth of the Vril Society, which was supposedly an inner circle group within the Thule Society. (By the way, the Thule Society was a real, Nazi-era group).

Are you following all this? If you’re not, don’t worry about it. I’m crunching a gigantic amount of information here into just a few paragraphs. The point is, I find it remarkable how Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s entirely average yarn about an imagined Utopian race living beneath the surface of the earth became the seed for an entire school of conspiracy theory that has now claimed a major position in the world of ufology.

But there is one more factor to consider—and this gets back to Madam Blavatsky – who was probably right when she intuitively perceived the way Bulwer-Lytton framed the idea of Vril was inspired by a genuine ancient truth.

The uncanny appeal of Vril may have its roots in that it represents and archetypal-charged reality – and the collective unconscious mind of humanity knows that Vril truly does exist. The concept keeps re-emerging in our stories, myths and legends again and again. Consider “The Force” in Star Wars. Would this series of mediocre “science fiction lite” space opera films have resonated with the public in such a massive way without the underpinning plot device of “The Force?” Not likely.

From ancient Hindu tradition we find something called PRANA. This is defined as the “life force” or the “vital principle” that “underlies all reality. The Chinese, wholly independent of Hinduism, put forward the concept of QI which is virtually indistinguishable from prana.

Zero-Point Energy

Even mainstream material science is in the game. The Holy Grail of physics today is unlocking the secrets that will finally give us access to the ubiquitous, unlimited, pollution free power of ZERO POINT ENERGY – and what is zero-point energy, if not Vril?

So, in the end, let’s save a measure of respect for Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton. He’s become the unfortunate butt of jokes today thanks to “It was a dark and stormy night …” But at the height of his literary power he produced books of extraordinary value and meaning. For example, I consider his The Last Days of Pompeii to be a work on par with, say, a Gore Vidal or James Michener.

He was an intellectual and excellent scholar who published his first book at age 15. From his alma matter, Trinity Hall, he received the prestigious Chancellor’s Gold Medal for English verse. He was also a gifted statesman and served as an MP in the Whig party for a decade. He was chosen as Secretary of State for the Colonies, one of the most powerful positions in 19th Century British government.

He was a self-made millionaire after being cut off from his inheritance because he married for love, a beautiful Irish woman, over the objection of his mother. Statesman, scholar, writer, innovative thinker — Lord Baron Edward Bulwer-Lytton –- the scion of Vril.

PLEASE CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS OF OTHER BOOKS, LINKED BELOW:

BLACK SWAN GHOSTS by Simeon Hein PhD

SYMBIOSIS by Nancy Tremaine

PASCAGOULA: THE CLOSEST ENCOUNTER by Calvin Parker

INCIDENT AT DEVIL’S DEN by Terry Lovelace

MANAGING MAGIC by Grant Cameron

Follow @KenKorczak



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING


Physicist Bruce Maccabee Provides Clarity And Important Perspective On How Government/Military Policy Evolved On UFO Issue

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Physicist BRUCE MACCABEE has been a significant figure in ufology for some 50 years. He holds a Ph.D. earned from American University, Washington D.C. He is often referred to as an “optics physicist” because of his work with optical data processing for the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, later known as the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

He also worked on underwater lasers to generate subsurface sound and made significant contributions on aspects of SDI, Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” space-based defense platform.

For those of us who have been addicted to UFO stuff for decades, Dr. Maccabee is an instantly recognizable face. Starting in the 1970s he began popping up in UFO documentaries on TV and film, usually as an analyst of anomalous photographs and video.

If Bruce Maccabee pronounced an image or video footage “authentic” or “unexplainable by natural means” – well, that really meant something. With his serious scientific credentials, he could not be written off as just another flake.

Dr. Maccabee is also a dogged researcher who has made enormous efforts to obtain all manner of military and government documents relating to UFOs. A major milestone was getting his hands on the secret “flying disc files” of the FBI – yes, there really was an actual FBI “X-Files.”

Dr. Bruce Maccabee

So, in this short book, THE LEGACY OF 1952: YEAR OF THE UFO, Maccabee offers an important perspective on where things stand in UFO research today, and “how we got here,” for better or worse.

He argues that early on, but especially in the year 1952, certain protocols became set in stone in terms of how our military and government would treat the UFO issue and how they would relate what they knew (or did not know) to the taxpaying public they serve.

Those protocols hardened into “tradition,” Maccabee writes, in 1952 and have remained largely unchanged since. The result is wide ranging and enormous. An entire American generation grew up with a government that either denied the “reality” of the UFO phenomenon … or for any case it could not explain, no matter how sensational, the policy was to suggest it could be explained in common terms if more facts were obtained.

What was so special about 1952? Well, that year witnessed a remarkable explosion of UFO sightings. Thousands of reports poured into media outlets, local police and various government agencies. It seems no location in America was spared.

The most significant is known as the “WASHINGTON FLAP” occurring from July 12 through July 29 in the summer of 1952. It was an amazing time! Suddenly, “swarms of UFOs” began appearing over the American capital city. And it wasn’t just sightings. The objects were routinely captured on radar. Jets were scrambled to pursue the objects. Our best-trained fighter pilots observed UFOs with their own eyes. The “saucers” routinely outdistanced the F-94s and other assets that chased them – and when the jets ran low on fuel forcing them to cut off chase and return – the UFOs would sometimes turn around and come right back!

It was impossible for anyone to be in denial of what was happening!

The sightings were making headlines in major papers across the nation. Also unable to ignore the events was President Harry Truman himself. Truman was alarmed enough to call top people in the Air Force to get some answers.

Stop for a minute and think about that. The President of the United States picks up the phone, calls his Top Brass, and orders them to get some answers about UFOs.

President Harry Truman

What would it take today for the President of the United States to pick up the phone and call his top military commanders to focus urgent attention on getting answers about the UFO issue?

And … and … well, I guess that leads me to my take away from this book. It informs me or, I guess, clarifies for me how we came to be in the place we are today in ufology. Ii helps explain the sort of “crazy labyrinth” that is the “UFO question” in which we find ourselves endlessly lost here in 2019.

Reading Maccabee’s book gave me the notion that a certain normalcy or rationality held sway for a few short years after that June day in 1947 when the Kenneth Arnold sighted nine shiny objects flitting over Mount Rainier, kicking off the modern UFO era.

For example, the press was reporting the UFO story largely in a straightforward way. It was “just that facts, ma’me.” If entire fleets of UFOs were observed over Washington D.C., ordinary, mainstream newspapers, such as the Cedar Rapids Gazette in Iowa, would sport the headline:

“SAUCERS SWARM OVER CAPITAL”

Sure, that’s a sensational headline, but it also happened to be simply factual and true. There was no need to hide it, censor it, spin it, mock it or sugar coat it for the reading public – the media just reported to the people what happened – so that citizens could have this information.

The same goes for the military and government. Early on, a fantastic UFO sighting was not immediately inserted into a meat grinder of denial, disinformation, propaganda or captured into a classified super-double-top-cosmic-secret-for-your-eyes-only-report. Rather, it was confronted directly as a problem for government experts to look at directly as they strove to come up with straightforward answers.

But after 1952 – and because of critical policy decisions made by top government officials in that amazing time – we were all kicked down the proverbial rabbit hole we remain lost in today. That’s mostly what Dr. Maccabee is suggesting in this book.

On the other hand, this is all a much more complex issue. There’s a lot more at play here. For example, the UFO phenomenon has evolved in texture and scope to an astonishing degree since 1952.

Just nine years after 1952, guess what happened? In 1961 a certain couple from Vermont reported they were abducted aboard a UFO by alien beings. They were subjected to medical tests – Barney Hill reported what is arguably the first ever report of an anal probe. His wife, Betty, had a long needled pushed into her belly. Barney was also forced to give a sperm sample.

And then things really got weird.

I have three words for you: “Praying Mantis Alien.” Or how about three more: “20 And Back.” See where I’m going here?

Oh for the days when swarms of flying saucers were blackening the skies over Washington! What simple times!

So, on the one hand, Dr. Maccabee’s book provided for me an excellent sense of sociological clarity and perspective on how the UFO issue developed from the 1950s to present time in terms of government, military, media and public dynamics.

On the other hand, this perspective “stays in its lane,” so to speak, as it represents a narrow slice of the overall phenomenon as it roils and boils today. That’s by no means a knock on Dr. Maccabee’s well-presented book. It provides a compelling narrative which adds to the realization that the UFO phenomenon is not only real, but that the conventional explanations supplied by the skeptics are demonstrably flawed.


PLEASE CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS OF OTHER UFO BOOKS, LINKED BELOW:

BLACK SWAN GHOSTS by Simeon Hein PhD

SYMBIOSIS by Nancy Tremaine

PASCAGOULA: THE CLOSEST ENCOUNTER by Calvin Parker

INCIDENT AT DEVIL’S DEN by Terry Lovelace

MANAGING MAGIC by Grant Cameron

Follow @KenKorczak



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING


Retro-Review: Pharaoh by Boleslaw Prus Is An Intoxicating Historical Novel That Brings Ancient Egypt To Life In A Powerful Psychological And Intellectual Way


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

After turning the last page of Pharaoh I found myself grasping for the best adjective to describe what I had just read. Mesmerizing? Spellbinding? Enthralling?

The word I settled upon was: Intoxicating.

This is a historical novel that imparts the feeling of being genuinely transported to that period of ancient history represented in the narrative. That’s no small feat since the setting is the last days of ancient Pharaonic 20th Dynasty which ended circa 1077 B.C.

It was a real world, true, but ancient Egyptian culture was so exotic and infused with the presence of their deities, sorcery and esoteric paradigm it might as well has been an alien planet or some weirdly realized alternate dimension vis-à-vis our modern world.

What I found stunning about Pharaoh is that author didn’t merely capture and recreate it for readers — it’s almost as if he channeled an actual experience and then somehow transferred it to us through this brilliantly rendered narrative. It draws us into another world in a visceral, psychological and perhaps even magical way.

Bolesław Prus

Thus, Pharaoh is a remarkable achievement in literature by the Polish intellectual, journalist and writer Bolesław Prus, pen name of Aleksander Glowacki, born in Hrubieszów in 1847. The book was written from 1895 through 1896 and appeared as serialized installments in the Warsaw publication Tygodnik Ilustrowany (Illustrated Weekly).

Despite being serialized, Prus completed this work in toto before it was rolled out in Tygodnik Ilustrowany. Critics say this is what made Pharaoh his best novel because his three other works of fiction were written week to week as they were serialized.

The book describes a two-year period in which the last Pharaoh, Ramses XIII, of the Twentieth Dynasty comes to power upon the death of his father, Ramses XII. That’s interesting because, historically speaking, there was no Ramses XII or XIII. The last Pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty was Ramses XI. Prus was well aware of that but, for reasons of his own, he opted to invent two new pharaohs for his story.

In fact, before writing Pharaoh Prus had long maintained that he would never write a novel of historical fiction. It was his belief that such works necessarily must take liberties with the actual facts of history, and thus might promulgate views that are ultimately misleading. He obviously changed his mind. This may have played into his decision to take liberties with the names of characters — perhaps to emphasize to his readers that they should not forget they are reading fiction.

That’s good because this novel is a work of uncanny power that might make you forget it’s a yarn. I found myself absorbed into what seemed a real, though alien world. It communicated to me a psychological feeling of what life must have been like in 1077 B.C. Egypt, whether it be the lowest peasant or slave, or one of the powerful wealthy elite.

Speaking of the elites, they can be divided into three distinct categories: The government, the rich nobles and the priesthood. And yet, hovering around and interacting with these three pillars of Egyptian power are other influential groups, such as meddling wealthy foreign entities, the envoys and spies of foreign nations and peoples of non-Egyptian religious culture, such as Jews, Babylonians, Greeks and Phoenicians.

Prus manages to weave a web of mind-bending Machiavellian intrigue. This book is said to have been Joseph Stalin’s favorite novel and its not difficult to understand why. Stalin must have been riveted by this portrait of a powerful empire that was under constant threat from both internal and external forces. A hint of rebellion and revolution simmers in the background. There’s also the typical political intrigue present within the inner workings of any gigantic government system as various factions vie for power and influence. Sundry plots fester to overthrow the current incumbency.

Prus shows us an ancient Egyptian culture that’s a hermetic blend of a secular government and theocratic regime. It’s impossible to find a clear line of demarcation between state and religion. Readers may develop an all-new appreciation for the concept of “separation between church and state” after reading Prus’ brilliant illustration of how the dynamic tension between the forces of the Pharaoh and the powers of the priests kept the 20th Dynasty embroiled in a perpetual power struggle.

Not only are religion and government indistinguishable in the Twentieth Dynasty, but science and religion as well. The Egyptian priests were studying astronomy, physics, engineering, architecture, navigation, alchemy, medicine and more — and leveraging it for practical application and results. Furthermore, the priestly class were able to use this knowledge to help the Pharaoh when it suited them — or to thwart him when it served the agenda of the priesthood.

Finally, I want to make three special points of fascination for me within Pharaoh:

The Labyrinth: Prus describes an incredibly vast and mind boggling secret chamber of more than 3,000 rooms where priests have accumulated enormous wealth — gold, silver, precious stones, works of art — that are like the Fort Knox of the Dynasty. All the booty stored within is never to be touched, but held for a time when Egypt might face a catastrophic economic crisis. The Labyrinth is so exclusive it is governed by its own special class of priesthood who command the power of life and death over any other individual of the New Kingdom, even other high priests.

Image result for ka egyptian symbol

The Ka

The Ka: Prus provides a thorough description and treatment of what the ancient Egyptians considered to be the soul of each individual, which had three parts: The Ka, the Ba and the Akh. In common use, as per this narrative, the Egyptians called it their “shade.” Prus even breaks the “fictional wall” of his story to step outside briefly so that he can comment on how the concept of the Ka seems to have arisen again and found new philosophic support in modern Europe.

Astronomy and the Telescope: Did ancient Egyptian priests invent the optical telescope? Prus includes an intriguing scene to suggest they did. But moreover, there is another riveting scenario in which the priests leverage their advanced knowledge of a solar eclipse to score a major strategic victory against the pharaoh.

So I found Pharaoh to be an epic masterpiece that frustrates my ability to capture it in all its permutations in a thousand-word review. A graduate student of 19th Century literature might easily compose a 20-page thesis to fully convey every layer and level represented in this great work. Of course, the best way to appreciate this book’s power is to read it yourself.

A FINAL IMPORTANT NOTE: A free e-book version of this book is available on Project Gutenberg. This is an English translation handled by Jeremiah Curtin and released in 1902. However, I agree with others who have called this an “incompetent and incomplete” rendering of Pharaoh. I urge everyone to obtain the 2001 English translation by Christopher Kasparek. Unfortunately this version is only available in hardback as far as I know, but it’s far superior to the free electronic version found online.

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

William Hazelgrove Re-Writes The Wrights: There’s a Lot More To the Story of the First Flight Than You Might Think


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Imagine taking on two of America’s most cherished icons and suggesting that, “Freud would have a field day” with them — that one was a prissy, fastidious “metrosexual” with “small hands” (Yes! How timely!) — and, oh yeah, by the way, their sister was probably a lesbian.

The icons are Orville and Wilbur Wright, hallowed American heroes who cracked the code of manned flight, bringing to fruition a cherished dream the human race had nurtured with deep longing for thousands of years.

The achievement was so monumental — and that fact that two humble bicycle mechanics pulled it off without fancy college degrees, support from powerful people or big money backing — made the Wright brothers the quintasensual American archetypes. Pure, conquering, unstoppable, modest.

Wilbur (left) and Orville Wright

But just as we’ve come to a time when we must stop believing that George Washington refused to lie about chopping down a cherry tree — author WILLIAM HAZELGROVE thinks it’s time we put some authentic flesh on the bones of what history has handed down about the Wrights. That being: The brothers as sanitized stick figures who were the personification of the good old American values of hard work, midwestern ingenuity and moral purity.

I have no doubt many conservative types who read this will wail: “Revisionist history! It’s sickening! We’ve had enough revisionist history!”

Some liberal types might moan: “Who really cares if Orville Wright was effeminate and possibly gay, and his sister a lesbian? How is that relevant? Stop making a big deal out of gayness!”

But Hazelgrove has a bigger fish to fry in his latest offering, WRIGHT BROTHERS, WRONG STORY. The 132-pound flounder he spends 334 pages filleting is poor Orville Wright himself. Not-so-subtly suggesting that Orville was a repressed homosexual is the least of the historical makeovers the author has in store for the junior first aviator.

Because Orville outlived Wilbur by 38 years, Hazelgrove argues that it was Orvillle who actually committed the original sin of revisionist history — as in portraying himself as the full equal of his brother in their triumph. Upon Wilbur’s death of typhoid in 1912, Orville was left in sole possession of the grist mill of history. At every turn, in every book article and letter, he made sure that his contribution was presented as equal, if not sometimes superior to that of his brother.

Hazelgrove argues that it was Wilbur who deserves 90% if not 100% of the credit for cracking the code of flight, rendering him as a special kind of genius. Orville, on the other hand, was barely more than a second-rate bicycle mechanic who would have been pleased to live out his life in comfortable obscurity as long as he made a buck in the bike business.

But wasn’t Orville Wright the first man — in all the ages and in the history of mankind and the planet — to actually perform powered flight? That’s true, but Hazelgrove would even strip him of this honor. He writes off Orville’s seminal lift-off as a mere 12-second hop that cleared just 120 feet. Later that day, Wilbur took the Kitty Hawk aloft and flew for 59 second and traveled 852 feet. That, Hazelgrove contends, was the real first flight.

Newsman and Wright biographer Fred. C. Kelly

Whatever the case — Hazelgrove has made a decent enough argument here with a lot of facts, research and document-based evidence. He puts it all out there and let’s the reader decide — except perhaps at the end of the book when Hazelgrove goes into full editorial mode. He forcefully states that Orville did a lot of illicit hijacking of the historical record, especially through his Byzantine editorial control over the first major biography of the Wrights by compliant and hungry journalist FRED KELLY.

Does Hazelgrove go too far in smashing Orville down to size while elevating Wilbur to the lofty status of a virtual Icarus? I’ll say, very mildly, that he does go too far. I’m not saying I’m right and that Mr. Hazelgrove is wrong, but I think there are lot of intangibles that need to be considered. I think every Don Quixote needs a Sancho Panza, every Batman needs a Robin, every Frodo needs a Sam Gamgee.

Katharine Wright. Lesbian?

Certainly, Orville repeatedly and willingly risked death in the early test flights. He also suffered the deep privations on the brutal sands of Kitty Hawk as he supported his brother’s “crazy dream.” Orville was there for his big brother! He could have happily been devoting his time to his own successful bicycle business, building wealth and a local reputation for himself. Also, both men battled broiling heat by day and bitter cold by night — and tortuous mosquitoes, hurricane winds, choking, smoke-filled tents, isolation and boredom, scarce food and the wicked, cloying sands of the Carolina beach.

On the other hand, stirring the pot of controversy makes this a more juicy, enjoyable read. Add to that Hazelgrove’s marvelous ability to turn a fine phrase. He makes a work of history read like thrilling fiction. Mr. Hazelgrove cut his chops writing mainstream novels. Now he brings his flare for fiction to factual history that makes it come alive with colorful “characters” who are working through a complex plot among exotic locations — except these plots, places and situations  are real.

NOTE: The following links will take you to the other William Hazelgrove books I have reviewed on this site:

AL CAPONE AND THE 1933 WORLD’S FAIR by William Hazelgrove

MADAM PRESIDENT by William Hazelgrove.

ROCKET MAN (Fiction) by William Hazelgrove

THE PITCHER (fiction) by William Hazelgrove

JACK PINE (Fiction) by William Hazelgrove

REAL SANTA (Fiction) by William Hazelgrove

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

Lost Kings By Canadian Writer Paul Vitols Is A Powerful, Multi-Layered Short Story About A Journey Cut-Short, But Points The Way To A Much Deeper Kind Of Exploration


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

I’m tempted to categorize this short story under the tradition of what I’ll call “road trip enlightenment literature.” Think of Jack Kerouac‘s On the Road, Robert Pirsig‘s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Peter JenkinsA Walk Across America, or maybe Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley.

But, you know, stories about journeys involving characters who confront extraordinary situations and grow (or falter) in the process has been “a thing” since The Odyssey, the second-oldest extant work of Western literature, most likely created in the 8th Century B.C.

Whatever the case, I hasten to add that LOST KINGS by author PAUL VITOLS manages to transcend genre or category and say something unique. This work doesn’t read or feel derivative — it’s more like a creatively fresh iteration of the hero’s journey archetype.

The reader will be immediately drawn into a vivid world inhabited by two young vagabonds, John Pulkis and Stephen Eckert. They’re two guys from Canada who are on a mission to travel around the globe so that they can experience an epic, life-altering adventure before going to college and getting bogged down in “real life.”

Paul Vitols

Travelling across Europe, the young men reach a major mission malfunction in Italy — they basically run out of cash. Things haven’t worked out like they planned and it looks like they’ll have to scrap their grand plan to circle the globe on a wing and a prayer. Savage disappointment, the death of a dream and the humiliation of failure triggers a kind of spiritual crisis for 20-year-old John Pulkis

It’s interesting to note that his traveling pal, Stephen Eckert, while also disappointed, appears to remain anchored in the daily practicalities of material reality. He fills their van with gas, makes lunch, cleans the refrigerator, does the driving — while Pulkis is thrust into a more extoic introspective journey of mind and experience. He enters an agitated state of self questioning and doubt, but also confronts a marvelous expansion or transcendence of his ego-based consciousness — and yet this experience is cruelly truncated. That precipitates an “agony of the Self” that is now more unbearable than before.

I don’t want to give away any more because I’m eager for readers to discover this wonderful, deeply redolent, nuanced piece of literature for themselves.

Paul Vitols manages to enfold layers of meaning into a short work characterized by striking description of place and landscape, a decent plot to challenge animated characters and a theme that is multifaceted — on this latter issue I would suggest (with some trepidation) an overarching motif that features what I’ll call the “passion of the Western mind” colliding with the “enlightenment of the Eastern psyche.” But that’s just one aspect.

While my original comparison was to “journey of discovery” kinds of writing, I would also say this short story also brought forward for many other correlations (for me, anyway) that would be just as apt, specifically, Herman Hesse’s Demian and Siddhartha — and especially George Orwell’s Down and Out In Paris and London — the chapter where Orwell takes a job at French hotel as a “plongeur,” a French slang term for “dishwasher.”

I haven’t even mentioned the huge significance of one of the character’s struggle with Sir James Frazer’s massive volume, The Golden Bough — but there I go again, telling too much! I urge you to discover this A-List piece of literature for yourself and enjoy its many layers.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Paul Vitols is perhaps best known as the co-creator and screenwriter for a popular CBC television series, THE ODYSSEY, a fantasy-adventure featuring children. The show ran for three seasons from 1992 to 1995 and achieved international distribution and acclaim, including a run on the Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S.

The Paul Vitols Website has a lot of interesting stuff, and links to more of his books. You can find it HERE

You can check out his Patreon site HERE

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

Eden Phillpotts Wrote 300 Books, Including ‘Saurus’ — A Hyperintellectual Lizard Visiting Earth From Outer Space


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

A large nut-shaped metallic object comes crashing to earth and buries itself on impact into the bucolic pastures of the East Devonshire countryside.

A distinguished and semi-retired biologist who lives nearby investigates. He digs out the object and is stunned to discover it’s not a natural meteorite, but obviously something hollow and of intelligent design.

But the real surprise comes when his team of workmen finally manage to open the space capsule. Inside they find three small boxes. One contains an egg, the next contains a cache of seeds and the third a mysterious tin containing what appears to be some sort of jelly.

Of course, they have to hatch that egg. Out of it emerges a rather humanoid-like iguana. This iguana has no tail. It also sports a large, bulbous head and large, luminous eyes that gleam with intelligence from Day 1. The seeds are also planted. The result is a rapid-growing plant that produces a fruit resembling a tomato. It turns out the tin of jelly is “baby food” for the newly hatched reptoid — apparently sustenance until the space tomatoes are ready to eat. And so “Saurus” is born — an extraterrestrial envoy from some mysterious source in outer space.

Prolific British author EDEN PHILLPOTTS leveraged this science fictiony premise as a vehicle that would enable him to present a series of essays and commentaries on the state of human affairs, from geopolitical and theological, to historical and philosophical.

So this is not a thrilling science fiction yarn with a well-developed plot, and not the brand of space opera action that was thriving in 1938 when this book was published. Saurus matures to adulthood in just weeks, learns to read and write quickly — and then he learns to type. That’s his only method of communication since he cannot not speak. Fortunately, he commands a blazing fast word-per-minute proficiency.

After a deep read of world history, a thorough survey of philosophy, math, theology and sundry other topics he begins to spill forth with his assessment of earth’s collective humanity and our current level of psycho-social development. Of course, these are the views of Eden Phillpotts.

It’s interesting to note this book came out in 1938, a dire time for Great Britain. The nation still bore the scars of the first Great War. Everyone knew that a second World War was certainly right around the corner. Also, the rising menace of the Russian communists and the gigantic figure of Joseph Stalin rumbled menacingly on the Eastern horizon.

Marker denoting “Eltham” the home of Phillpotts in Torquay, Devon, England.

One would think that simmering atmosphere would have informed and influence the many opinions Phillpotts espouses through the fictional vehicle of his intellectual lizard — and yet I detect scant sense of fear or anxiety within these pages. In fact, Saurus is the very personification of staid English tact and aplomb. The qualities of politeness and a certain pragmatic chivalry infuse the fundamentals of his discourse.

I’ll also say that Phillpotts does not come off as radical in his politics, nor does he display the agitation of a social malcontent who is deeply critical or pessimistic about the fate of mankind. His views on the achievements of his own culture are measured.  That Great Britain spread a common law grounded in the fundamental liberty of the individual throughout its empire is what Phillpotts considers his country’s greatest contribution to the world. Yes, he acknowledges that Britain committed its share of atrocities in its forays around the globe, but he says these sins are ultimately mitigated when the basic principles of English law and culture take hold after the dust settles. As Saurus writes, the British find “hating” to be “very fatiguing.”

On the other hand, Phillpotts’ central notion is that mankind is ultimately unable to live up to its own highest ideals. For example, Saurus identified the GOLDEN RULE as perhaps the most enlightened concept ever idealized. Unfortunately, no one is able to adhere to the Golden Rule for long, be it an individual or a nation. So Phillpotts says that while people understand what to do — they ultimately fail to do it — and the reason for that is that we fall prey to our passions, emotions and latent animal instincts.

Adelaide Phillpotts as a child,

And there’s so much more. For example, Phillpotts upholds the first American President George Washington as one of the greatest men in history and that England should have learned more from his example — but I’ll leave it there.

Unfortunately, one can never consider any of the hundreds of popular books Phillpotts wrote without also noting his infamous, years-long incestuous relationship with his daughter, ADELAIDE PHILLPOTTS ROSS. She revealed the incestuous nature of her relationship with her father in a 1976 interview. It started when she was a girl and may have continued until she was 55 when she married an American bookseller, Nicholas Ross — which Eden Phillpotts objected to strenuously. Upon her marriage, he never spoke to her again. He died in 1960 at age 98.

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Ode To Odin By Bruce McLaren Is Fantastically Satisfying Romp Featuring An Archaeological Dig In Central Asia


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The science of archaeology is often leveraged by fiction writers because it lends itself so well to a premise involving travel to an exotic far-off land where the characters can encounter strange people, breathtaking landscapes and brave harsh conditions as they strive to unlock some tantalizing mystery of the past.

ODE TO ODIN is no exception as it incorporates all of these elements, and it does so brilliantly. Author BRUCE MCLAREN regales us with visceral and vibrant descriptions of the brutal but beautiful deserts of Central Asia. He smacks us in face with furnace arid winds and makes us feel a scorching sun lashing our backs while bloodthirsty insects sting and suck our blood. Yet, at the same time, he evokes the aching loveliness of the landscape and imparts to us the thrill of what it must be like to explore an alien landscape harboring strange wonders and awe inspiring vistas.

Bruce McLaren

That’s great, but you know what? This guy’s power of description is not what I liked best about this novel. What made this an almost insanely fun read is the author’s take on human nature. This is a an acid-dripping, go-for-the jugular cynicism that exposes certain people for what they really are — petty, ego-driven, neurotic posers who care for nothing but their own pleasures and bald-faced pursuits of power, money, food, sex and alcohol.

But  just as McLaren demonstrates the beautiful/harsh dualism of Mother Nature, he also exposes the dualistic nature of the human psyche. Yes, some characters in this story are debauched and cruel but others show empathy, caring and a capacity to love deeply.

I’m probably making this sound like a work of heavy-weight literature, but this is actually a pretty down-to-earth piece of writing that anyone can read as a popular lark of a novel. McLaren’s wizardry is that he makes a work of literary depth an easy read. Readers will eagerly turn pages — and that’s despite that fact that this book incorporates only a bare minimum of plot.

Rather, it follows the daily experience of a young, post-graduate who makes a rash decision to join the dig of a brilliant archaeologist who has long since fallen out of favor with the academic establishment . This is the titular Odin who has devolved into an outright pariah.

Kyzyl Kum Desert.

The viewpoint character never names himself. It’s through his eyes and thoughts that we experience what it’s like to spend three brutal months on an excavation in a remote region of Central Asia, in this case, the semi-autonomous nation of Karakalpakstan within Uzbekistan.

Nomadic Karakalpak people, 1932 photo.

The dig has a lofty goal — to uncover the origins of the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism, arguably the first monotheistic religion and a belief system based on a dualistic cosmology of good versus evil. To that end, the archaeologists are supervising the excavation of what they believe to be a Zoroastrian fire temple which has been buried beneath the sands of the Kyzyl Kum desert for untold centuries.

But as the title implies, the pivot point of the book revolves around the bombastic archaeological genius of Odin. He was once a rising star in academia and being groomed for a top professorship or perhaps even chair of the department for a major British university. Odin goes rogue early on in his career, however, opting to pursue his passion in his own highly eccentric and iconoclastic way.

Alabaster bust, Zoroastrian priest with Bactrian headdress, circa 3rd Century BCE

Here again McLaren’s theme of dualism plays out in the demented psyche of Odin. He’s at once erudite, handsome, fantastically charming and brilliant while also completely bereft of human compassion and self restraint — he’s a debauched satyr, egomaniac and pursues his lusts for sex, power and booze with absolute absence of moral restriction.

Odin’s MO is always the same — he wins over people he wants to use and control with his irresistible, almost magical charisma — only to eventually utterly alienate all those unfortunate enough to fall under his powerful spell and throw in with his grand designs. When Odin is done with people, he kicks them to the curb like a contemptible piece of trash, and he does so without an ounce of remorse.

Yes, he’s loathsome — but oh-so-hilarious!

Whether by design or accident, McLaren leverages archaeology as a metaphor for personal self discovery. Just as the method of the archaeologist is to peel back the layers of history inch by inch by stripping away the soil one strata at a time — so does the narrator seem to dig into his own psyche one level at a time as he strives to find out who he is and the meaning of his own life, belief system, worldview, and so forth. It’s an ingenious way for a fictional character to work toward personal self discovery.

Finally, a depth of authenticity underpins this work of fiction because McLaren himself is the real thing. That is, he holds a doctorate in Middle Eastern Archaeology from the University of Sydney and has spent years out in the field conducting excavations. He’s well published in peer-reviewed journals. He has genuine insight into the real world of archaeology. This experience adds power and informs the results when he lets his hair down to write a colorful yarn featuring archaeologists as fictional players.

Oh, one final-final note: I want to mention that there’s a “shadow character” that looms in the background of just about every chapter of this book — that of ALEXANDER THE GREAT — but I’ve already gone on too long so I’ll just let readers discover that for themselves.

So Odin To Odin is one of the best of the 120 books I’ve read so-far this year — and there’s just a month to go in 2018.


SEE ALSO MY REVIEWS OF SIMILAR TOPIC BOOKS:

A HISTORY OF PYRRHUS by Jacob C. Abbott

HUMPHREY, DUKE OF GLOUCESTER By Kenneth Vickers

ELISHA’S BONES By Don Hoesel

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR WILLIAM HERSCHEL By Edward Singleton Holden

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

Retro-Review: American Diplomat George Horton’s 1901 Novel of Greco-Turkish Conflict in Crete Is A Work Of Historic Significance


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Like Another Helen, penned by American intellectual and distinguished diplomat GEORGE HORTON, is a competent novel but not a great work of literature. It appears to have been an attempt by Horton to write a popular novel for a general audience, but one which would also educate readers on the brutal and dramatic events which occurred on the island of Crete during the 1898-1908 Greek rebellion against the Ottoman Turks.

The result, however, is a book that falls short of being a gripping portrayal of this violent chapter of history. At the same time, the entertainment factor is anemic. It misses the mark with an attempt to engage readers with a tale of three adventurous men opting to plant themselves in the middle of tumultuous events in an exotic location.

An obvious comparison is Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway creates for us the itinerant soldier Robert Jordan who elected to participate in the Spanish Civil War. But where Ernest Hemingway produced a masterpiece, Horton’s book, published 40 years earlier, is light-weight by comparison and forgettable.

George Horton

Let’s face it, George Horton was no Hemingway. He was a serious intellectual and scholar, however, who mastered Greek and Latin. He was a noted translator of the works of the archaic Greek poet Sappho. Horton was also a respected journalist and formidable literary figure of his day. He was a prominent member of the Chicago Renaissance, a group of writers that produced some of the America’s brightest literary lights.

Horton’s considerable output of books and journalism went hand-in-hand with his work as a diplomat. He was appointed to a number of consular position in Greece and the former Ottoman Empire. He was the Consul General in the Greek-controlled city of Smyrna in what is today Turkey. Horton witnessed the catastrophic burning of Smyrna at the end of the Greco-Turkish War. The victorious Turk army took some extra revenge on their bitter enemies by setting fire to the Greek and Armenian quarters of the city which killed tens of thousands.

Horton’s book, The Blight of Asia, documents the burning of Smyrna and the ethnic cleansing promulgated by the Turks against Christian Greeks and Armenians. The Blight of Asia is still regarded today as a work of historic importance.

In Like Another Helen, Horton gives us vivid descriptions of Cretes’ villages, manner of dress, culinary tastes, attitudes and outlooks of the people, religious practice and other authentic insights into the culture. He also provides us with a window into how the tensions between the Islamic Turks and the Christian Greeks came to a boil after decades of uneasy Ottoman rule on an island that had for centuries been fundamentally Greek.

John Dryden

Horton plucked the title for this book from an 1697 ode titled Alexander’s Feast written by England’s first Poet Laureate JOHN DRYDEN. The poem tells of a feast celebrated by Alexander the Great after his conquest of the Persian city of Persepolis. In the story, Alexander is goaded into vengefully burning Persepolis by his beautiful lover, Thais — Thais being the one who is “like another Helen” — of Troy, that is.

In Horton’s book, “Helen” is reincarnated as Panayota, a young maiden of extreme beauty. She is the daughter of a widowed priest in the Cretan village of Ambellaki. The village is prompted to go to war when Panayota is threatened to be taken captive by a nearby Turkish warlord who wants to add the lovely Greek maiden to his harem.

Traditional Cretan Greek manner of dress.

This is all pretext for plot, of course, as this was a time when all of Christian-Greek Crete was embroiled in throwing off the suzerainty of the Ottomans. Horton adopts the plight of Panayota and the chivalrous attempts to save her as a pivot point around which to tell the story of the Cretan struggle for independence.

The first part of the novel involves almost whimsical descriptions of village life evincing the gaiety and colloquial charm of the simple merchants, goat herders, orchard tenders, fishermen and their deeply pious Christian culture — but then Horton leads us into war — and he does not flinch from portraying the horrors of village bombardments, massacres, gun battles, village burnings and the desperation of refugees fleeing all the mayhem and violence. Consider the description in this passage:

“A woman, completely crazed with fear and grief, came stumbling along the stony road, bearing upon her back a lad nearly as large as herself, holding him by the wrists. His throat had been cut, and the head fell back horribly, lolling from side to side, pumping out the blood that had soaked her dress to the hips and her long hair that dabbled in the gash.”

Yes, and Horton shows us mass hangings, babies burned alive, bones being shattered by sizzling bullet strikes, rotting corpses strung out for vengeful public display, young women splayed and broken strewn across rocks, their twisted bodies twisted, gashed and bloody after a mass suicide leap down a mountainside … and so forth.

While these would seem visceral descriptions of human depravity in times of war the odd effect of Horton’s prose renders it all with a curious lack of gravitas. Furthermore, the plot gimmick of gallant men striving to rescue a fair maiden creates a melodramatic effect that detracts from what in reality was an utterly depraved and barbarous episode in world history that would have better been handled with a staid seriousness stripped of literary theatrics.

NOTE: You can download the ebook version of Like Another Helen here: GET FREE BOOK


PLEASE SEE MY REVIEWS OF OTHER HISTORY BOOKS:

A HISTORY OF PYRRHUS by Jacob C. Abbott

HUMPHREY, DUKE OF GLOUCESTER By Kenneth Vickers

DOWN THE OHIO AND MISSISSIPPI 1789-90 By Samuel Forman

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

Intuitive Counselor Mellisa Feick Offers A ‘Radical’ Approach to the Akashic Records In Engaging, Readable Book


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

This book offers a “radical new approach” to the Akashic Records. That would suggest there is an “old, tired approach” to leveraging what is both a steady artifact of ancient wisdom and what has become a staple of modern New Age thought.

Certainly, what we call the Akashic Records today can be found described in the texts of the world’s oldest systems of thought, philosophy and religions. That includes Vedic texts, the Torah and Kabbalistic writing, such as the Zohar, Greek oracular divination, Sufi wisdom, even the Bible — and much more. To take just one specific example, the sages in the Indian regions of the Himalayas proclaimed that the soul of every person — their “jiva” or “atma” — was recorded in a divine “book” that would remain for eternity as a permanent record of every second of every person’s life.

Fast forward to the 20th Century and we find guys like Edgar Cayce telling of his ability to travel to that certain etheric or astral realm where he could find a specific “book,” not only for the life of a specific person, but information on absolutely any event that ever happened in history — or all of time.

C.W. Leadbeater

The Sanskrit word ākāśa translates variously as “sky,” “aether,” or “space” and is also sometimes said to refer to “the memory of nature.” The term Akashic Records itself was not in popular use until a founding member of the Theosophical Society, C.W. Leadbeater, solidified the concept in his 1899 book CLAIRVOYANCE. But it should also be noted that Henry Steel Olcott wrote in his BUDDHIST CATECHISM about, “a permanency of records in the Akasha, and the potential capacity of man to read the same when he has evolved to the stage of true individual enlightenment.”

But wait — there’s more. The case for the Akashic Records has gotten even better in recent years.

A growing cadre of outlier physicists and cosmologists are floating the theory that we live in a simulated universe, a virtual reality — a kind of cosmic computer. That would mean that each of us are akin to an avatar playing in the greatest computer game environment of all time. That would also suggest that when we die, our avatar could be “saved.” Everything we ever did, thought, hoped and dreamed would be kept like a computer file — and in this way we would never die. Furthermore, the “program” that is/was our life can be “called up” or “resurrected” at any time.

This is the way physicist Frank Tipler or Tulane University described it in his 1994 book, The Physics of Immortality. He makes a strenuous argument (along with a lot of mind-numbing math) that if our universe is not already a cosmic computer, of sorts, it is evolving toward becoming one — something he compares to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of the OMEGA POINT.

In Frank Tipler’s scenario, being “saved” like a computer file is almost an exact analog for being “saved” for immortality in the traditional religious sense. Perhaps all of those blinking “Jesus Saves” neon signs hanging over those gritty inner-city missions have something going for them after all!

About a decade after Tipler’s book came out, noted Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom made waves with his proposal that we live in a simulation in 2003. Since then, the idea has continued to gain remarkable momentum, even among popular mainstream scientists, such as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He puts the odd that we live in a virtual reality at 50-50.

Tom Campbell

Perhaps the foremost champion of this model is TOM CAMPBELL, a physicist who enjoyed a long career working on hard, nuts-and-bolts science projects in missile defense and statistical risk analysis for NASA. In his exhausting trilogy of bookS titled, My Big TOE (Theory of Everything), Campbell lays out across some 900 pages in excruciating detail — technical, scientific and philosophical — his argument that we live in a virtual reality, a digital universe in which he says, “all reality is data.

Implicit within Tom Campbell’s model is the existence of what is essentially the Akashic Records. Campbell would say (and has said), “It’s all data, and that data is available to anyone who can learn how to access it.”

So all of this is a long-winded way for me to say that no reader should dismiss MELISSA FEICKs book as just another selection in the popsugar New Age candy store. She’s on solid ground here working in a system that combineS an ancient pedigree with growing support from modern hard science.

But what is her “radical” new approach? I won’t give too much away except to say that Feick models the Akashic Records — or perhaps re-envisions them — away from the standard “cosmic library” motif that has long characterized it. Up until recent times, using a “library metaphor” to describe the Akashic Records has made sense because a library has been the closest physical analog we have to a cosmic storehouse of knowledge.

But we’re in the digital-computer age now and print books, and even libraries, are fast becoming passe. Furthermore, classical physics has given way to quantum physics. Every culture tends to frame transcendent ideas using terms and imagery that reflect what we have now, and what we can understand in terms of framing comparison models today.

Melissa Freick

So Feick describes for us an Akashic Records that looks more like a combination of cosmic helical DNA model and multidimensional levels that fit togethers in a dynamic, ascending spiral configuration that is fluid and omni-directional and interactional. She suggests that, through a process of meditation and focus of intent, anyone can reach the Akashic Records, find their own “strands” and manipulate them to make corrections that will re-wire or reprogram our entire lives and existence, past, present and future.

Worried about the burden of “bad karma?” No problem, says Melissa Feick. Now karma is erased, rewritten or rendered mute by some simple adjustments in the patterns that represent our own “file” in the Akashic Records. I’m not being glib when I say “simple adjustments.” I’m only echoing the way Feick describes the process. Not only can anyone learn to access their own Akashic file, she says, it’s super easy.

Feick herself is a working intuitive counselor and spiritual guide who uses her gifts and developed abilities to serve clients who want to know more about what’s in their own Akashic files. She holds a degree in psychology and also lists a variety of skill on HER WEBSITE, from Reiki Master to Angel Therapy Practitioner.

This book is well written with a relaxed, easy prose that is easily accessible and engaging for the average reader. She never lectures or talks down to us. She offers lofty ideas without being preachy. The tone is friendly, positive, chatty and informational. Melissa Feick seems a happy warrior eager to share her gifts and life experiences which clearly have been focused on helping other people in big ways and small in the daily game of life.

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

Sociologist Simeon Hein Warns Denial of UFO And Other Anomalous Phenomenon Could Have Unexpected Consequences For Human Race

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

So SIMEON HEIN is a guy with some serious academic chops. He holds a PhD in sociology which he earned at Washington State University in 1992. He’s into things like nonlinear research methods, statistical analysis and technological determinism.

He’s also into a lot of stuff that makes mainstream scientists grind their teeth, such as UFOs, remote viewing and crop circle research. One is tempted to say that Dr. Hein is himself a kind of Black Swan — you know, an outlier, someone willing to dally with the fringe — or should we say the leading edge?

 

But first, what is this reference to Black Swan that Hein uses in the title of this book?”

The Black Swan Theory is that which states that certain events can happen that are totally unpredicted and unexpected, can produce a major effect, often hugely negative — but are then rationalized after the fact with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight.

The concept was first put forward by the Lebanese-American intellectual and scholar NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB. Simeon Hein’s book title is a play on Taleb’s 2007 highly influential book, THE BLACK SWAN.

UFO witness Louise Voves.

So this book presents a series of case studies of unexpected events that Hein calls Black Swan Ghosts. It’s things that are not supposed to happen, or even exists, yet they do happen and they apparently do exist. An example Hein provides is that of a wonderful Idaho lady by the name of Louise Voves. She was picking huckleberries in a remote rural area with her brother one day in the 1970s when a gigantic “tortoise-shell” shaped UFO suddenly appeared over a nearby treeline and maneuvered around right before their eyes and at close range.

There was no mistaking this object for anything known, man-made or natural. The object created significant marks on the grass below. It was seen by several other witnesses as well. When Louise reported the sighting to police, things quickly get all Blacky Swany.

The police must have informed the military because troops quickly descend at the sighting location and banish all “ordinary” citizens from the area. They tell Louise that she must not only forget about picking huckleberries in this prime spot, but she should also forget what she saw and never speak of it again. Army and Air Force personnel are on the scene for several days, but the incident gets no press coverage and the military clams up — it’s like it never happened.

But wait — this event may be a “Black Swan Ghost” event in itself although it does not constitute an overarching Black Swan scenario.

Simeon Hein PhD

The singular event is wholly unexpected, yes, but we can’t say it produces a large-scale effect. It’s localized at best. One also cannot say it is rationalized with 20/20 hindsight, although many UFO sightings are rationalized. But the Voves sighting is not so much rationalized as it is denied and covered up, and for authorities, hopefully forgotten.

But If I understand Dr. Hein’s thesis correctly, he’s more concerned about the meta-analysis here. He’s not just pointing to individual cases, but the thousands of UFO encounters similar (and many far stranger) to that of Louise Voves. They’ve been happening from at least that day in 1947 when pilot Kenneth Arnold made arguably the first postmodern UFO sighting report.

Hein says that the way our government, media, culture and society has been handling the UFO phenomenon for some 70 years may invoke a large-scale Black Swan scenario in the near future. It holds the potential to create a widespread impact on all the people of earth. He warns of the possibility of a kind of culture shock that will shake the collective psychology of the human race to the core.

In other words, once day the dam of secrecy may burst. The years of cover-ups, the official lying and overzealous use of the “Top Secret” classification system, the inability or unwillingness of the media to report the story and general public apathy will one day all fall away — the truth will be undeniable — it will be stunning — and our major institutions will be rattled.

Furthermore, Hein says there is plenty of blame to go around — and this is where I give Simeon Hein very high marks, indeed. That’s because most prominent ufologists today keep of a steady drumbeat of blame for UFO secrecy against the usual suspects — the government, the media and the military industrial complex.

Certainly, Hein takes his shots at these entities as well, but consider this passage from Black Swan Ghosts:

“It’s pretty clear that it’s not just the federal government that’s withholding secrets about this issue. The public as a whole wants it this way or they would be demanding more information. It’s clear that the federal government has black budget programs around this issue. However, the public seems to trust that the government knows what it’s doing or they would demand more. They could easily pick up the phone and call their Senator of Congressperson. But they don’t.

“They don’t because it is easier not to know. The public wants to keep ignoring the elephant in the room and then blame the government for the secrecy rather than take the responsibility. It’s just a whole lot easier to pretend you can’t do anything about it.”

Thank you Dr. Simeon Hein!

This is why we need more sociologists in ufology. They have a broader perspective on the complexity of the matrix that makes up society. Government, the media, the military and corporations don’t exist or operate in a vacuum. The general public is also a primary, fundamental player and a key element that contributes to the overall situation as it exists today. Few of our most prominent ufologists today ever make this leap.

This is a juncture where I’m tempted to launch into a more in-depth analysis of the social dynamics of how all this works — but that will take me far astray of what’s supposed to be a book review of Black Swan Ghosts.

I’ll just close with some additional notes:

An excellent feature of the ebook format of this book are video links to the UFO cases cited. They’re terrific and lend great weight and credibility to the stories presented.

UFO events are not the only category of example used by Hein to make his Black Swan case. He also takes a look at cold fusion, the overwhelming scientific evidence for biological-microbial fossils existent in rocks from Mars and meteorites, crop circle phenomenon, remote viewing and more.

Hein writes well. His presents his narrative in clear, concise language that’s palatable to a general audience while also including enough thoughtful, academic gristle to make this a work of depth that challenges the reader and makes a call for action.

Hein has established an organization he calls the Mount Baldy Institute.  Its website is HERE. His YouTube channel also provides many entertaining and edifying videos which you can find HERE.

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

The Reluctant Messenger By Psychologist Candice M. Sanderson Is Marvelous Example Of Channeled, Transcendent Literature At Its Best

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The Zen tradition has a saying that goes something like this: “You cannot go to enlightenment; enlightenment must come to you.”

That might be a good adage to describe the experience of CANDICE M. SANDERSON, a pragmatic, hard-working, by-the-book psychologist who was minding her own business one day when when transcendence suddenly came knocking, unbidden and out of the blue. No one could have been more shocked than her.

After all, a psychologist might tell you that hearing voices is an indication of mental illness. So here we have a psychologist who found herself questioning her own sanity … and yet, the communications she was receiving from “Out There” didn’t have the characteristics of delusion or perhaps some sort of cognitive deterioration of a woman now edging into her sixties. Just the opposite. The messages she was getting were soft, coherent and elegant, almost lyrical. The information was exotic, but certainly not “crazy.”

Despite agonizing self doubt and an understandable bout of denial, Sanderson relented and decided to let the voices in — and all of us are far better off because she did.

Readers of THE RELUCTANT MESSENGER will travel along with Sanderson on a remarkable journey that unfolds like the proverbial lotus flower. This first downloads of information are interesting enough, but perhaps not so unlike much of  New Age pronouncements already out there. (There’s no shortage of books today based on channeled information, not to mention perhaps thousands of YouTube videos. In fact, this is a phenomenon literally centuries old).

Candice M. Sanderson

But as Sanderson grows into her practice and becomes ever more accepting of the remarkable experiences, she  learns to tune in her “frequency” with greater skill. What she she brings out thereafter just gets more amazing page after page.

I’ve read dozens if not hundreds of book written by channelers. For me, what makes Candice Sanderson’s book different is twofold.

First, she’s simply an excellent writer. Her prose flows effortlessly. She crafts easy sentences that are lean, concise, punchy and on target.  Words stream into sentences, sentences meld into paragraphs making for pages that glide down a path of least resistance. Better yet, despite the lofty nature of her subject matter, Sanderson never comes off as pretentious nor devolves into smarmy sentimentality. The result imparts a grounded sense of authenticity despite the mind-blowing information offered.

In fact, I found a certain ironic humor in how so many of the major revelations coming at Sanderson are triggered by the act of getting into her car, snapping on her seatbelt and getting ready for her commute to work! Driving to work is usually a grim routine of low-grade stress for most people, but for this author, it sets the stage for visionary inspiration!

The other aspect that separates THE RELUCTANT MESSENGER from other channeled works is the array of sources and kinds of entities Sandersen communicates taps into. Readers will be regaled with wisdom from:

• Disincarnate entities
• Angelic beings
• Extraterrestrials
• Deceased people
• Native American demiurges
• Ascended Masters
• Christian divinities
• Buddhist mystical figures
• Cosmological physics perspectives

… and more. Don’t worry, I’m not giving too much away because, believe me, you’re going to want to hear what all of the above have to say. All off these powerful sources aren’t trotting across the stage of Sanderon’s mind merely to spew vague philosophies — they’re throwing down some real cosmogonic red meat you’ll all be chewing on for a long time to come.

Saint Teresa of Ávila, 1515-1582

At the risk of overstating things, I have to confess that a certain name kept pinging through my mind as I was reading through this document — Saint Teresa of Ávila — the visionary 14th Century Spanish saint, not so much to make a one-to-one comparison with Ms. Sanderson, but because so many of the themes of both are similar. Saint Teresa said: “It is love alone that gives worth to all things.” She also said that everything we experience in this physical world is “vanity” and but a shadow of the greater reality of “the divine.”

But — whether a legendary saint or any of today’s popular working channelers — I’m betting Candice Sanderson would say that every one of us has the same potential to open to our own latent inner numinous because, after all, as her sources reminded her many times: “We’re all One.”

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I recently read the story of another somewhat “reluctant channeler” — Betty White — the wife of early 20th Century writer Stewart Edward White. See my review of THE BETTY BOOK HERE published in 1937.

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Free Ebook About Channeling Ghosts and Spirits Is a Remarkable Window Into What Mediums Were Learning About The Afterlife 150 Years Ago


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Mediumship, spirit writings and the séance were becoming all the rage by the late 1860s and perhaps would peak in England and America around end of the 19th Century. After, say, 1910, the fascination with empirical science began to gain steam, and before long, science fiction magazines were emerging, displacing that sense of wonder one filled by the spiritualists and occultists.

But in 1869 a klatch of free-thinking transcendentalists gathered somewhere in America — and apparently they had access to one incredibly talented medium. The result is this remarkable document, “Strange Visitors.”

Download the free ebook here: STRANGE VISITORS

It’s a collection of “original papers” which are messages channeled from the dead, but not just any of the dearly departed. This ambitious project goes for the cream of the crop. They seek contact with luminaries from the world of science and literature, philosophy and government, art and poetry, and more.

Nathaniel Hawthorn

Such VIP Dead as Lord Byron, Nathaniel Hawthorn, Napoleon Bonaparte, Edgar Allen Poe and William Thackeray are contacted and queried for their impressions of what it is like to die and what the `The Other Side’ is like.

Also, people who were famous at the time, but more or less forgotten today, are tapped for after-death reports.

Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington

For example, there is a session with LADY BLESSINGTON, who was born to poverty in late 18th Century Ireland as Margaret Power. She suffered through a bad marriage to a drunken sea captain (which ended with his death in debtor’s prison), until she finally married into the aristocracy, landing Charles Gardiner, the 1st Earl of Blessington. Upon her elevation into high society, Lady Blessington became Countess Blessington and something of a celebrated literary figure across Europe and among elite, over-educated Americans.

But who is Henry J. Horn, the editor of this document?

I’ve done considerable sleuthing, and the best candidate might be a lawyer who spent most of his life here in my native Minnesota. Today, the “Horn House” at 50 Irvine Park in St. Paul is a prominent landmark listed with the Minnesota Historical Society. Born in Philadelphia in 1821, Henry J. Horn passed the bar in Pennsylvania and moved to the Twin Cities area in 1855. He purchased the Horn House in 1881. The home was built by Dr. Jacob Stewart in 1874 and designed by the German-American architect August Gauger. Henry J. Horn died in 1902.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any connection between Mr. Horn and spiritualist groups, mediums and séances — but is it likely that a high-profile, respected Minnesota attorney would lend his name to such an arcane publication? It’s a mystery.

An even bigger mystery is the identity of the medium himself/herself. Who was this remarkable person who contacted these disincarnate souls, and via “automatic writing,” produced reports an array of richly divergent writings (and poetry)from beyond the veil?

Charlotte Brontë

What’s even more amazing is that these manuscripts are much more than musings about the Afterlife — for example, an entire Gothic novel is presented, purportedly written by the ghost of Charlotte Brontë herself!

There are also political ravings by Napoleon — clearly still a megalomaniac-imperialist in the hereafter. A dirge by Edgar Allen Poe reveals that he remains a bleak, dreary, haunted poet despite having cast off the agony of the flesh!

The examples of Napoleon, Brontë and Poe might lead one to believe that these missives are not so much after-death communications, but rather, impressions of a creative medium with a literary bent — except that the majority of these works read like “authentic” contact with the dead.

Here’s what I mean:

In recent decades an interest in mediumship has experienced a resurgence. It all goes hand-in-hand with the rise of all things “New Age,” but interest in the idea that “no one truly dies” has also received a boost from medical types, such as Dr. Raymond Moody and his groundbreaking book LIFE AFTER LIFE and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross with ON DEATH AND DYING.

Others have since have gone much further with talking-to-the-dead kinds of books — consider the likes of psychologist Michael Newton and psychiatrist Brian Weiss who use hypnotic regression to document volumes of intense information from people’s past lives, but also from deceased loved ones.

Then there’s a whole string of folks from all walks of like who are either channeling the dead or reporting intense experiences in the Afterlife — books I’ve read recently (some reviewed here) along these lines include those by Natalie Sudman, Erika Hayasaki, Julia Assante, Dr. Eben Alexander, Dr. Allan Botkin, Bill Guggenheim, Dr. Don Miguel Ruiz, and many more —

— and the point is, the descriptions and communications these folks report about the after-death environment are remarkably similar the writings presented in “Strange Visitors” — which suggests that there is a certain authenticity to these works.

So this obscure gem published in 1869 is of great significance and interest.

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Nancy Tremaine’s Story of Alien Contact With Reptilian Beings Is Relentlessly Weird But Is Also A Tale Of Courage And Hope That Deserves Serious Consideration


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The late journalist Jim Marrs, who wrote bestselling books about UFOs and sundry conspiracy theories, described something he called the “mental boggle point.”

That’s the point when even the most open-minded people confront information that is so unbelievable that the mind succumbs to a “rubber band effect,” snapping back to beliefs that are more comfortable and socially acceptable.

I wager that some of the even most enthusiastic supporters of the reality of UFOs, aliens and the like will reach their mental boggle point when reading the story of NANCY TREMAINE. If her experiences are true, then our reality is far, far stranger than most of us have ever dared imagine, and the implications of the UFO and alien contactee phenomenon are shattering.

In SYMBIOSIS, Tremaine documents a lifetime of UFO contact since age 12. She grew up in Novi, Michigan, a small town close by the outskirts of Detroit. Early one evening in 1961 she and her girlfriend Cindy, also 12, were stunned when a flying saucer appeared suddenly over their residential neighborhood. The object was “bigger than a house” and hovered close.

Nancy Tremaine

Cindy’s father was also a witness on the scene. It was not yet dark. The object was observed by many others in the neighborhood, including at least three police officers. At one point, the UFO sent down a light beam that zapped an unmarked police car and stopped it cold.The officers radioed the sighting back to their Chief of Police, Lee BeGole — who today in his 90s still remembers the report from his men.

Tremaine and her young friend were abducted into the craft. The aliens performed a number of highly intrusive physical examinations upon Nancy. Cindy was merely locked up in a “tube” positioned above from where she observed the aliens working over her friend. It seemed that the aliens had particular interest in Nancy, but not so much Cindy.

The two girls were let go after an indeterminate amount of time. A period of missing time then occurred. The next thing Nancy knew, she was back in her home where her obviously disturbed father was doing his best to reassure her she that was safe.  He told his shaken daughter that what had just happened was to never be spoken of again — not even a secret whisper to a friend — period.

And so, Neither Nancy Tremaine and Cindy maintained utter silence about the event for 50 years. The two women could not even bring themselves talk to each about it despite the fact that they shared an astounding incident that deconstructed all sense of normalcy. It changed their world view. The event may have contributed to Cindy’s future as a lifetime alcoholic.

Nancy had no memory of what had happened to her inside the craft. She only recalled standing in the street observing the fantastic object in the sky and the stunned, fearful reactions of Cindy and the police officers. The next thing she knew, she was home. But some deeper undercurrent haunted her for the next five decades.

Nancy suffered from classic symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Much about her life was dysfunctional. She married and divorced four times. She suffered mysterious panic attacks. Her sexual experiences were often disturbing and her libido sometimes went into hyperdrive. She experienced odd blips of missing time and inexplicable anxieties. She had a pervasive sense of being alone in the world — as if she were in a strange place where she did not belong.

It was not until 2011 that Tremaine finally underwent hypnotic regression to find out what happened on that day so long ago. The sessions revealed a lifetime of fantastically freakish events retrieved from her memory. What she had to say under hypnosis was extraordinary and weird.

The most sensational claim, of course, it that Nancy Tremaine says she met an an alien back in 1961 of a type known in UFO circles as a “reptilian,” a kind of humanoid lizard being.

Furthermore, Tremaine says she has since developed a deeply loving relationship with a particular reptilian whom she has dubbed “Mr.” (that’s Mr. with a period). Tremaine says that she has been impregnated by Mr. and bore  him a son whom she calls Drax. Drax is actually a three-way hybrid resulting  from a combination of Nancy, her human lover, Sid, and the reptilian Mr. (Sid is not the real name of her boyfriend. She said Sid stands for “Some Guy I dated.”)

Has your mind reached the mental boggle point yet? Well, hold on. There’s more.

Not only did Nancy Tremaine give birth to a human-reptilian hybrid alien child, she did so at the age of 62! Yes, she has a picture of her swollen, pregnant belly which she shows us in this book. But she didn’t give birth naturally to this baby — it was simply taken from her one night by the aliens. One day her stomach was showing, the next day it was flat.

She also has pictures of an odd set of round footprints in the snow that lead up to her house and appear to enter right into her doorway. Tremaine said these are tracks left by Drax when he came to visit her one night.

Okay, I’m probably revealing too much information here, but I promise those who want to read Tremaine’s book there is plenty more information to challenge your mind and world view.

David Icke

Now — those who are already  schooled in UFO lore are probably familiar with what has become a well-defined sub-genre of ufology which is the suggested existence of a class of aliens known as the reptilians. For better or worse, reptilians are probably most associated today with the prominent, prolific and vociferous conspiracy theorist, DAVID ICKE.

Icke is a British citizen who has written numerous books postulating a variety of conspiracy-driven scenarios.  One is that our planet has been visited by an interdimensional race of reptilian beings for thousands of years. Icke says the reptilians have mastered shape-shifting and can appear as humans that are undetectable from real humans. They possess extremely advanced holographic technology that makes them masters of illusion on many levels. Icke says the reptilians have infiltrated world governments, banks, corporation and our society in general and are meddling in human affairs on all levels.

But many others report the existence of reptilians as well. In fact, thousands of experiencers and contactees tell of seeing or interacting with reptilian beings. Others contend that their existence is hinted at in the Bible. The snake who tempted Adam and Eve, for example, is a metaphor for the interference of reptilian in the affairs of humankind. Other religions also feature snake or reptile motifs in various godlike roles interacting with mankind.

Curiously and intriguingly, reptilians also pop up in other modes of altered-consciousness explorations. One of the most striking are the DMT experiments of DR. RICK STRASSMAN. DMT is a powerful hallucinogenic compound that is produced naturally in the human brain’s pineal gland in microscopic amounts. DMT is sometimes called “the Spirit Molecule.” In medically approved and legally sanctioned studies, Dr. Strassman injected some 400 volunteers with DMT. These subjects described the powerful psychedelic and psychotropic effects they experienced — some of which included not only interaction with reptilian beings, but sex with reptilians, or experiences of being raped by reptilians.

Encounters with reptilians have been reported by those partaking in ayahuasca ceremonies under the guidance of shamans in the rainforest regions of South America. Ayahuasca is a powerful natural hallucinogenic compound made from the banisteriopsis vine combined with another plant, usually the shrub psychotria viridis. The combination contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors and the psychotropic compound dimethyltryptamine. Interactions, good and bad, with reptilian figures under the influence of ayahuasca are commonplace, and these date back to ancient times as reported by indigenous rainforest dwellers.

Reptilians entities have even been glimpsed or perceived by REMOTE VIEWERS, including perhaps the greatest of all the U.S. Military remote viewers, JOE MCMONEAGLE.

Perhaps one of the foremost experts on reptilians today is JOHN RHODES who heads up the website reptoids.com. Mr. Rhodes has done in-depth research into all aspects of the reptilian phenomenon. He prefers the term “reptoids” which he says is a more accurate description for who and what these beings truly are. His most fundamental claim is that reptoid are not aliens or interdimensional beings but a species native to our own planet earth. They evolved here, Rhodes says, and they live in a vast realm they maintain in the interior of the planet. You can view an excellent lecture by Rhodes on everything he has learned about reptoids here: JOHN RHODES: MUFON LECTURE.

Reptilian statues at Horiuji Temple, Japan, from about 600 A.D.

I’ll make only brief mention of an entirely other angle to the reptilian issue, and that involves the idea of mythical archetypes. Some scholars have made the suggestion that snake or reptilian themes are fundamental to the human psyche — some would even trace it to the limbic system of the human brain, which is also called our internal “Lizard Brain” — and so when people enter into altered states of consciousness (including hypnosis) the reptilian archetype can be triggered and brought to the forefront of human experience in a vivid and meaningful way. But all this is a deep subject far beyond the scope of this review.

The point is, Nancy Tremaine’s story may be bizarre and seem unbelievably fantastic, but she is hardly alone concerning the deep relationship she believes she has developed with a reptilian entity. It’s a worldwide phenomenon that exists across cultures in all parts of the globe and has been manifesting in human experience since the beginning of time.

Figurine of ancient Vinča Culture of Serbia features many reptoid-like statues. Dated to 5700 B.C.

Simple-minded skeptics will find as easy mark in Ms.Tremaine. No doubt they will pounce on her revelation that she was sexually molested as a youth. Indeed, much about her entire life story is shot through with the painful sexual abuse experiences she suffered personally and within her family. Her own daughter was sexually molested. She speaks of a certain uncle who apparently was a serial molester — a man who got his hands on numerous members of Tremaine’s extended family. Everyone knew it, but no one did anything about it, she said.

An entire body of skeptical belief exists that seeks to explain away all alien abduction phenomenon as rooted in the trauma of sexual molestation. The basic theory is that victims of molestation grasp at a false alien abduction fantasy as a way to repress or distance themselves from what really happened to them. They re-frame the painful experience in a way that is less shameful and personal, and as a way to deal with guilt, and so forth.

Of course, skeptics will also gleeful discredit anything Tremaine says because they reject utterly the efficacy of any information obtained by way of hypnotic regression. Skeptics maintain that this form of memory retrieval is 100% unreliable because it readily encourages elaborate, creative imaginings by the subjects. They also claim a hypnotist has a tendency to “lead the witness” with either overt or subconscious suggestion.

Geneticist J.B.S. Haldane

But these same skeptics have a major problem in the case of Nancy Tremaine — it’s the fact that the genesis of her lifetime of contactee experience was a UFO event that has been corroborated by multiple witnesses. Her story that is supported by the highly respected former Novi, Michigan Chief of Police Lee BeGole who has street named after him. Her friend Cindy is on record with both seeing the UFO in 1961 and being aboard the craft where she was ensconced in a tube. Other witnesses have come forward was well.

Granted, merely observing a UFO does not equal a lifetime of interaction, having sexual relationships with and breeding a hybrid child with a reptilian being — but it does add considerable weight to her narrative. And Nancy Tremaine offers a body of other circumstantial evidence to support the reality of her story.

I say — just read the book. Don’t judge it by its cover art or dismiss because its outlandish premise triggers your “mental boggle point.”. Nancy Tremaine deserves to be heard. Her story is worthy of being considered and taken seriously. Remember the words of British geneticist and evolutionary biologist J.B. S. Haldane who said:

“My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we CAN suppose.”


NOTE: Please see my reviews of other UFO books by clicking on the following links:

EXTRATERRESTRIAL ODYSSEY by Rocky Kvande

MANAGING MAGIC by Grant Cameron

HOW TO TALK TO AN ALIEN By Nancy DuTertre

ALIENS IN THE FOREST by Noe Torres and Ruben Uriarte

SEARCHERS by Ron Felber

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Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Reclusive UFO Abductee Calvin Parker Breaks Silence With Book On Iconic UFO Abduction Event At Pascagoula, Mississippi, In 1973: An Important Breakthrough For Ufology


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

I was 14 years old in 1973. My family subscribed to two daily newspapers — the Minneapolis Tribune (now the StarTribune) and a North Dakota-based paper, the Grand Forks Herald. I was already a news junky and read them both every day.

In about mid-October of that year both papers carried a sensational story about two Mississippi men who were abducted by robot-like aliens with crab-like claws and wrinkled, leathery skin. The men were “floated” into an oval-shaped UFO, subjected to an examination and released after about 30 minutes.

The newspaper stories were accompanied by intriguing pen-and-ink drawings of the bizarre alien creatures and also a sketch of a blue-glowing UFO.

Even as a teenager, I was profoundly struck by the fact that such an amazing account was presented in two mainstream newspapers. It gave the story an added jolt of legitimacy to my young mind. Now 45 years later, that feeling remains.

Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker in 1973.

Normally sensational stories like this appeared only in the National Enquirer or FATE or UFO magazines, but the Pascagoula incident was a case that somehow transcended standard divisions of journalism. It’s almost as if the event carried with it an intuitive sense that something real must have happened. The story circled the globe in top-tier newspapers and broadcast media around the world.

One of the many sketches of the “alien robots” that grabbed the two men and floated them into a UFO.

It’s just one of the reasons that the Pascagoula abduction has always remained among the most vexing and iconic UFO incidents of all time. Furthermore, skeptics, including guys like Philip Klass and Joe Nickell, threw everything they could at the story of the two abductees, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker. But the pushback of the knee-jerk naysayers seemed to ring hollow and fall flat. A sense of strained desperation characterized debunking attempts.

Another fascinating aspect of the case was the difference in the way the two men subsequently dealt with what has happened to them. The older man, Charles Hickson, a Korean War combat veteran, shipyard foreman and solid southern working man, spent the rest of his life talking about it, granting hundreds of media interviews, writing a book and even occasionally hitting the lecture tour.

But young shipyard welder Calvin Parker, just 19 at the time, wanted none of it. He suffered a nervous breakdown a week after the abduction and essentially went into hiding thereafter. The general impression has been that Parker sent himself into a kind of self-imposed witness protection program. This created an aura of mystery about Parker which has ever since bolstered the “high strangeness” mystique and legacy of the Pascagoula UFO abduction event.

So when I heard a few months ago that Calvin Parker had not only resurfaced but was coming out with a book to tell his side of the story — after all these decades! — my anticipation meter redlined! What would he have to say? And better yet, would he reveal new details about one of the greatest UFO cases off all time?

Artists impression of Pascagoula UFO.

Well, after reading Calvin Parker’s PASCAGOULA: THE CLOSEST ENCOUNTER I am not disappointed. Despite some agonizing drawbacks to this book (which I’ll discuss in a bit) — this direct witness/abductee account provides enough additional information to make it one of the most important contributions to ufology in recent years.

I say that because, other than the enduring influence of the Pascagoula event, this case essentially went cold more than 40 years ago. Unlike other famous incidents, such as Roswell or England’s Rendlesham Forest encounters, where new clues and evidence have continued to trickle out over the years, Pascagoula was essentially a “one and done” happening that presented little opportunity for further investigation.

Hickson on site of the event, 1973.

But Calvin Parker’s book has changed that. For one thing, it provides the testimony of several local residents who were in proximity to the area where the abduction event took place. They offer credible, objective accounts of having seen a UFO like the one described by Hickson and Parker in the area in a time frame before and after the event.

But the bombshell of this book for me is the revelation that Calvin Parker underwent 90 minutes of hypnotic regression with none other than the famous ufologist BUDD HOPKINS in 1993, twenty years after the event. Parker never received a copy of the tape Hopkins made of the session. Worse, Hopkins died in 2011. The fate of the Parker regression tape seemed that it was lost.

Dr. David Jacobs

But now thanks to the dogged work of long-time British UFO investigator Philip Mantle, the tape was found and its transcript is presented in full in this book. The way the tape was found is an interesting anecdote in itself — it turns out is was in the possession of another venerable ufologist, Dr. David Jacobs. After Hopkins’ death, Jacobs was entrusted with Hopkins’ documents and materials. He agreed to provide the tape for this book.

Scottish writer David Lindsay

The transcript itself reads like a surrealist masterpiece. It’s almost like something concocted from the mind of DAVID LINDSAY while retaining the flavor of an honest southern man who spent his life working with his hands, living in small towns and leading a simple life.

The hypnotic regression suggested that much more occurred either during the original Pascagoula event itself — but more likely through a series of alien visitations upon Calvin Parker from the time he was six years old and throughout his life. Furthermore, the narrative of the transcript includes unsettling, shifting focuses in time, brutal and violent interactions with alien beings and jarring vignettes featuring random bits of imagery that add mystery and drama.

I’ll say no more and let readers discover the rest for themselves.

British ufologist Philip Mantle

Before I get on with some final business I think it’s important to recognize veteran British UFO researcher PHILIP MANTLE for the role he played in breathing new life into the Pascagoula UFO incident. It was Mr. Mantle who approached Calvin Parker and urged him to write this book. Mantle also published it under his FLYING DISK PRESS stamp.

I should not be be underestimated what a major coup this represents to the world of ufology — and Philip Mantle is the guy who pulled it off. Mantle has been one of the U.K. longest and most irrepressible UFO investigators for decades. It required someone with his connections and skills (such as tracking down the Hopkins tape) to provide Parker with the encouragement, morale boost and platform to break open an exemplar of classic ufology. (NOTE: See my review of Philip Mantle’s novel: ONCE UPON A MISSING TIME).

Now a bit of pain: It truly grieves me to say that the editing of this book is awful, both in terms of the way certain content choices were made in presenting certain blocks of information as well as in respect to run-of-the-mill typos, punctuation errors and spelling.

Charles Hickson published his own version of the Pascagoula abduction event in 1978.

I almost never play “Grammar Police” in my reviews even when it is warranted, but in this case we have a book that could and should take its place as a classic among the shelves of the best UFO literature — but the lack of proper editing mars the overall effort.

I was thrilled that the editors did a superb job in retaining the sound and cadence of Calvin Parker’s deep-southern Mississippi drawl — but to then sprinkle it with British spellings for words like humor (humour) and center (centre) jar on the ear like potholes in an otherwise well-paved road.

Another major problem: In the Hopkins transcript portion, some lines are often miscued as “BUDD” when “CALVIN” is actually speaking and vice-versa — such a snafu is inexcusable for a document of such importance and relevance.

But to end on a positive note, this book includes a lot of excellent photos and illustrations. I was especially delighted to see updated photos of Calvin Parker as he is today.

I was thrilled and gratified to finally read Calvin Parker’s story after all these years. It returned to me that feeling of wonderment I experienced as a 14-year-old so many years ago growing up in a small town in northern Minnesota, where I spent every clear night out in the backyard with my 6-inch Newtonian reflector observing the stars and pondering: “Who might be out there?”


Please see my reviews of other UFO books by clicking on the following links:

MANAGING MAGIC by Grant Cameron

EXTRATERRESTRIAL ODYSSEY by Rocky Kvande

LOST ON SKINWALKER RANCY by Erick T. Rhetts

THE CIRCLE AND THE SWORD by Nigel Mortimer

Follow @KenKorczak



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

The Betty Book is a Masterpiece of “Spirit Writing” Literature Channeled by Betty White With Help From Her Famous Author Husband Stewart Edward White

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Stewart Edward White was a popular author in his day. From about 1900 through the early 1920s he published some three dozen books, both fiction and nonfiction, and they sold well.

His first book, The Westerners, was made into a Hollywood movie. Eight of his books would get movie treatment. The majority of his work featured outdoors themes that explored America’s “vanishing wilderness.” He wrote about his personal adventures with camping, cabin-building, panning for gold, hunting, fishing canoeing, Alaskan adventures and hiking deep outback trails.

His writing made him the first to be awarded the rare designation of Honorary Scout by the Boy Scouts of America in 1927, a recognition also given to the likes of Charles Lindbergh and James L. Clark. He hobnobbed with such luminaries as former President Teddy Roosevelt. Many of his works were later adapted into TV shows for The Wonderful World of Disney.

It was in 1919 that his life took a strange detour.

Stewart and his wife were at a party where someone suggested they noodle around with an Ouija board, “just for laughs.” Stewart describes himself as a skeptic, but more so, just basically unfamiliar and uninterested with occult phenomenon and esoteric thought. His overall notion was that psychic phenomenon had “been disproven.”

A Ouija board for sale in 1919.

His party friends disliked the planchette normally used with an Ouija board so they substituted an overturned whiskey glass. No one was in a serious mood so they asked goofy, inane questions. They hooted with laughter and scoffed with derision as the Ouija board only seemed to be obliging them by spelling out absurd and simplistic responses.

At one point, however, the Ouija expressed frustrations with the party folks. It abruptly spelled out: “Why do you ask such foolish questions?” This intrigued Stewart White.

But there was another thing that caused Mr.White to become even more intrigued — it was the way that shot glass moved under his fingers. He was aware of the scientific theory that such movement was caused by involuntary motions of the hands driven by cues from the subconscious mind — what today is called the ideomotor effect — and yet, he had a nagging sense this wasn’t what was happening. He couldn’t shake the feeling that “some other force” was involved.

One other thing gave him pause. At one point, the Ouija started spelling out the name “Betty” over and over again. Betty happened to be Stewart’s wife. She was standing off to the side no longer paying attention to the party game. Her husband told her the Ouija was requesting her participation. Betty shrugged her shoulders and obliged. She sat down and put her finger on the shot glass. The Ouija then began spelling out over and over again: “Get a pencil … get a pencil … get a pencil.”

The small peculiarities of the Ouija party captivated Betty just enough to pick up a pencil a few days later. Yes … despite having little or no interest in the occult or spiritualism … she decided to go ahead and try her hand at automatic writing!

A rare photo of Betty White along with her husband Stewart Edward White.

Automatic writing is when someone writes down information without conscious intent. The hand seems to move on its own as it spells out words. The paranormal suggestion is that the writer has set his or her mind aside and is channeling information from an unseen agent, such as a spirit or nonhuman entity of some sort.

Those who lean skeptical say it is information percolating up from the subconscious, or basically the same ideomotor effect that drives the Ouija. There is no outside influence. This information is coming strictly from inside the brain of the writer — who is also probably just deluding him or herself, the skeptics say.

As for Betty White, she just put all theories aside. Neither she nor her husband proclaimed to have an agenda, no investment in any particular theory, philosophy or occult influence — and for some extraordinary reason — Betty began the fantastically tedious process of trying to make headway with automatic writing!

This was remarkable — because this effort can be elusive and banal in the extreme. And for what reward, exactly? It involves endless hours of sitting with a pencil poised over a sheet of paper and getting into a certain frame of mind — a state that would allow her hand to flow, to seemingly write stuff down as if the her hand had a mind of its own.

A 19th Century depiction of automatic writing.

I dare say 99 out of a 100 people … no, more like 999 out of a 1,000 people … who give this a try once or twice give up in abject frustration. But Betty persisted. She was able to generate just a few words and phrases at first. Later came more complete sentences. The information imparted by these phrases and sentences was just intriguing enough for Betty to soldier on. The interest, support and participation of her husband was certainly helpful.

Betty eventually reached the point where she could generate pages of material via automatic writing. She then graduated to what today we could call “channeling.” She sat back in a mild trance state and dictated by voice information coming directly into her mind while her husband wrote it all down.

But just with who or what was Betty communicating? Ghosts? The spirits of dead people? Some sort of super-intelligent disincarnate intelligence? It seemed to be the latter. It was through a suggestion of a friend that Betty and Stewart decided to call their unseen source “The Invisibles.”

That’s not what the nonphysical entities called themselves. Indeed, these beings who were so eager to speak through Betty were also highly reluctant to talk about themselves. The details about their own true nature would be “an unnecessary distraction,” they said. The information they wanted to impart to the human race was paramount.

Stewart Edward White

The Invisibles insisted that what they wanted to tell humanity was not just urgent, but “extremely urgent.” They said humankind had become lost is a miasma of trivial thoughts and petty pursuits They said that “thoughts are things,” and therefore, bad thoughts, negative thoughts and useless thoughts were doing great damage to the human condition.

They told Betty and Stewart that the dominant philosophy of materialism — that people were mere physical matter interacting with a purely physical world — was a dead end. They said humanity had become cut off from “a larger truth and reality” about their individual and collective existence — which they said extends far beyond the borders of the physical body.

They said the human brain was not merely a lump of meat acting and reacting to stimulus from the material world. The suggestion was that we had become convinced that we are mere biological machines, and that our reality ended at the border demarcated by the outline of our skin.

The Invisibles then imparted a vision of each human being as a much vaster entity composed of a nonphysical component that was just as real as the physical body. Although the Invisibles, Betty and Stewart all disliked loaded terms such as “spirit” or “soul” because of the religious baggage attached to these definitions, they nevertheless used them for the sake of convenience.

The Invisibles stressed the idea that a person’s “soul” was also a bona fide “thing with actual physical substance.” About this, Stewart  White asked them:

“I may be literal-minded. But I am going to ask whether this spiritual body as you describe it is a symbolic statement meant to convey a concept or whether you mean it literally as you describe it, as a material thing.”

The Invisibles answered:

“It is ACTUALLY MATERIALLY THAT in its own condition of health and development. It is flesh and it is blood.It may not be the same kind, but it is as real, as warm, as living as your own.”

At this point Betty paused to actually experience directly what the soul or spiritual body was like. After about a half hour, she offered:

“It is a pulsing, living body purified of organic frailty … durable, flexible, susceptible of more powerful action through susceptibility of sense.”

And so the majority of the information offered in The Betty Book is a kind of instruction manual for how human beings can expand their vision and understanding of themselves and get into greater touch with what is actually the larger aspect of who we are. Think of the physical body as the tip of the iceberg that peaks above the surface of the water — and the nonphysical or “spiritual aspect” as the greater, more significant and more important component of each individual person.

Tina Keller M.D., a pioneer of Jungian analysis.

The kind of information and instruction offered by The Invisibles through Betty is some of the most remarkable channeled material I have ever read. Every page is deeply substantive and intellectually challenging — this is anything but more of the same New Age pap offered since, say, the 1960s, when a resurgence of channeled writings began to re-emerge  into popular circulation on our bookshelves.

Even the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung was deeply impressed by The Betty Book. Shortly after The Betty Book was published Jung gave a copy to his long-time associate Dr. Tina Keller, a pioneer in psychiatric medicine and psychoanalysis. Keller said she read an re-read The Betty Book and all of the subsequent channeled books that followed it. Keller said:

“Betty White, the brilliant woman who had accidentally discovered her mediumistic gifts, dictated to her husband, the writer and explorer Stewart Edward White, a long series of teachings, full of wisdom and salty humor, for practical application of living. They were communicated by different personalities of quasi-personalities whom the Whites called “The Invisibles” …. My own experiments, based on the books, proved this to be both true and extremely important.”

The late Jane Roberts and “Seth”. Roberts channeled the disincarnate entity to write dozens of books.

As for myself, I can think of no greater compliment to make about The Betty Book than it offers channeled information on par with the work of the great Jane Roberts, author of the Seth books. Roberts is the gold standard for intelligent and authentic channeled material, in my opinion.

Betty White’s information is far superior to, say, the healing advice and Atlantis predictions of Edgar Cayce, or the largely bland and vague pronouncements we get from so many of the popular psychic mediums selling books today.

There’s some additional information in the appendix that is fascinating. Stewart and Betty get together with some like-minded friends and conduct a series of experiments in which The Invisibles bring forth a variety of physical phenomenon to demonstrate their reality. This includes producing visible auras around the bodies of the participants. The Invisibles also conjured a series of “masks” which appeared over the face of Betty causing her to look like her child self. Other masks gave her more bizarre, exaggerated caricatures.

After the success of The Betty Book, Betty and Stewart produced several more volumes derived from Betty’s mediumship, the most successful of which was THE UNOBSTRUCTED UNIVERSE released in 1940. This book sold so rapidly that the printers had difficulty keeping up with month-to-month demand.


I think it’s significant to note that the financial success of all the channeled Betty books was no big deal to Stewart and Betty White. They were fantastically rich and had been so from birth. Both were the children of multi-millionaires. Betty was from one of the most venerable aristocratic families of Rhode Island. Stewart’s grandfather and father made millions in the lumber business. Stewart and Betty lived an exciting lifestyle of globe trotting, yachting and exotic adventure. That means the old skeptic’s charge of “they were just selling sensational books to make money” cannot apply.

It’s safe to say that Stewart Edward White, his books and the metaphysical books he produced with Betty are largely forgotten today. Some of them were reprinted as paperbacks with sensational titles and lurid images in the 1970s. They were sold in airports and drugstore racks designed as impulse buys for folks with casual interest in the paranormal.

Whatever the case, Betty White’s channeled information eloquently edited and assembled by her talented husband deserve a prominent place in the pantheon of the best metaphysical writings ever produced.

NOTE: You can read The Betty Book for free on the Australian Project Gutenberg site here:  THE BETTY BOOK FREE


ADDITIONAL NOTE: You may be interested in my reviews of similar books, just click the links below:

AFTERLIFE CONVERSATIONS WITH KEN KESEY (AND OTHERS) BY WILLIAM BEDIVERE

THE GHOST OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY BY FRANK DEMARCO

GHOSTS I HAVE SEEN AND OTHER PSYCHIC EXPERIENCES BY VIOLET TWEEDALE

A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS BY DAVID LINDSAY

APPLICATION OF IMPOSSIBLE THINGS BY NATALIE SUDMAN

Follow @KenKorczak



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

‘Traveler’ Is A Fictionalized Rendering of a UFO Crash Event In 1897 Texas As Told By Newspaper Accounts Of The Day

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The premise of this novel centers around one of the most iconic UFO cases in history, but most of it reads a lot more like the Dukes of Hazzard or an episode of Hee-Haw than the X-Files. There’s a lot muscle cars, old pickup trucks, horses, hay bales and Harleys. Where you find them you’ll find a lot of good ol’ boys, hayseeds, hickster lawmen, slutty women and biker gang types.

This ambitious book also takes us back more than 100 years to tell the tale of a UFO-crash event through the eyes of the frontier people who witnessed it. That would be the residents of Aurora, a hardscrabble small town in northern Texas where the Dallas Morning News famously reported in April of 1897 that a UFO crashed and left the body of a dead alien for the simple townsfolk to bury.

But wait — this book attempts to do even more. In addition to telling a story from two different historical timelines, it makes frequent breaks away from the dual fictional narratives to provide readers with scads of straightforward information about UFOs.

Co-author of TRAVELER Kerry Trent Haggar

Does it all hold together? Well … I guess I’ll say with mediocre enthusiasm that it does. It presents a coherent narrative for the most part. The diversions from the fictional tales to give us nonfictional UFO information aren’t so intrusive as to scuttle our sense of a story that flows and makes sense.

On the other hand, whatever chance this tale had for being a riveting page turner was lost when the authors decided on the three-pronged approach I describe above.

That’s too bad because the premise for TRAVELER is an idea with tremendous plot potential: A plucky young reporter gets her hands on a hot story — a deep mystery that’s even more complex than anyone imagines — and she sets out to unravel the mystery using her skills as an investigative  journalist to write the scoop of the century.

But all that is washed out because the narrative is constantly switching gears between competing story timelines with added breaks to fill us in with UFO background information.

TRAVELER co-author Johnny Cochrane.

Another major drawback for me is that the authors’ choice to play their story for lowbrow laughs. It features characters that are painfully stereotypical, comical “white trash” types — you know, folks that are barely employed, grow “weed” on the side for extra cash, poach deer for food, live in shabby dumps, drive junky cars, hang out in frowzy bars, etc.

Even our newswoman heroine, Bonnie Reynolds, is a rather saucy tramp known to engage in the occasional casual three-way sex romp with her lusty dominatrix roommate. Here is how the authors describe reporter Bonnie Reynolds:

“142 pounds of alluring femininity … She was and forever would be a little slutty and a little dirty but perfectly happy with herself for being that way …”

Okay! So she’s not exactly Florence Nightingale. But hey, I’m no prude. (I was even a newspaper reporter once). It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Bonnie Reynolds’ licentiousness makes her a more interesting character in some respects, I suppose. It’s just that, because her impulsive debauchery is a baseline trait for more or less everyone in this tale, it doesn’t exactly make her stand out as a unique viewpoint character.

Aurora’s UFO crash has been subsequently investigated a number of times over the years, but each re-opening of the case only seems to deepen the mystery.

Sadly, I feel compelled to call out one particular passage in this book that brings great discredit to the authors — and although it’s only a couple of pages worth — it involves descriptions of Native Americans, of the Comanche people, and their attack on a group of settlers.  The way this scene was written  left me with a sense of loathing. That’s because it’s put forward with a  certain gleeful viciousness I found disturbing.

Were the fierce Comanche people of this historical period saints? Absolutely not. But were the Spanish, Mexicans and American settlers who were invading, milling around and robbing the lands of the First Americans one iota better? Again — absolutely not. It was a different, complicated time. There were few paragons of virtue to be found on any side of the equation of the untamed West. But if one is inclined to write about atrocities committed by one group — then at least give a balanced account of history. There was plenty of blame to go around.

I could go on here with more to criticize as well — but I’ll only mention the painfully bad editing of this product. I despise playing ‘Grammar Police’ but sometimes authors who produce indie books or those issued by small press operations (in this case FLYING DISK PRESS) give me no choice. Don’t blame the messenger.

All in all, I can neither recommend or not recommend TRAVELER because ultimately its quality will be in the eyes of the reader — and I think opinions will be widely split.

ADDITIONAL NOTE:

The story of the Aurora UFO crash which appeared in the Dallas Morning News was written by S.E. Haydon. His great-great-grandson Stan Haydon published a small book in 2013 which is also a slightly fictionalized account of the event.

Stan Haydon said that story has been a source of constant controversy within his family for “five generations.” He suggests that his grandfather believed the story to be true and not a hoax by the original Haydon, as has often been charged by skeptics.

You can read my brief comments on this short, 29-page booklet over on Amazon HERE




Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

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Canadian Author Luke Murphy’s Novel “Dead Man’s Hand” Is A By-The-Book Crime Thriller Worth A Read On The Beach


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Calvin Watters is a brutal thug — in exchange for a payday, he’ll cut of a man’s finger with a tin snip or smash off a toe with a hammer. The people he works for are greedy bookies and casino owners who worship at the altar of money and power in the Bad Taste Capital of the World, Las Vegas.

But not to worry, Calvin Watters is the hero of this crime thriller and his story arc will take him from angry-at-the-world punisher-for-pay to a kind of righteous, cop-friendly big ol’ Teddy Bear.

Calvin Watters shares the protagonist stage of DEAD MAN’S HAND with Las Vegas Police Department Detective Dale Dayton. He is brought into the plot when one of Vegas’ biggest casino owners is brutally murdered. It’s Dayton’s job to catch the killer.

Watters gets entangled in the whole mess when a conspiracy among conniving creeps attempts to frame him for the murder. Watters is seen a perfect fall guy — he hangs out with sleaze, lives and works on the criminal edge, has been arrested a few times — and he’s black.

There’s much to like about this tightly written, fast-paced crime thriller with an excellent plot involving greed, conspiracy and murder. The character of Calvin Watters is vividly drawn — he’s complex, dark, alienated and violent, and yet embodies a heroic aura that is engaging and charismatic.

Luke Murphy

The action scenes are well handled. The violent murders give us just enough visceral feel for their horror and brutality, but without dwelling on them overlong for prurient interest or gratuitous effect.

Author LUKE MURPHY also has a tremendous feel for Nevada’s Sin City. Murphy lives and writes out of a small town in Canada — and yet, readers will feel the hot streets of Vegas thumping out from these pages as if Murphy penned this novel while sitting on an orange crate in a dicey studio apartment with dirt streaked windows six blocks off The Strip.

It all makes for a standard, fast-paced summer-on-the-beach read that will keep you turning pages to reach to a clean, no-aftertaste denouement that wraps up in a nice bow.

I chose the descriptive word “standard” in the sentence above because there are many elements to DEAD MAN’S HAND which prevent it from rising above a rather formulaic genre novel, however. One reason is that all the supporting characters are basically cardboard cut-out props we’ve seen in thousands of crime novels, cop shows and movies.

Detective Dayton, for example, is a tough big city cop married to “The Job.” His wife has left him because he’s always working and never home. Now the only thing he has to go home to is an empty house. He mopes over his vacated marriage and buries himself in his police work to get his mind off his busted personal life. It sounds pretty familiar to me.

Carter Shaw (Deep Blue) is tough LAPD cop, wife divorced him because he was married to ‘The Job.’

Tough NYC Cop Andy Sipowicz (NYPD Blue) first wife divorced him, married to ‘The Job.’

Jimmy McNulty, tough Baltimore cop (The Wire), wife Elena divorced him because he was addicted to ‘The Job’ and booze.

 

Lt. Vincent Hanna (Heat) tough cop, twice divorced, third wife Justine frustrated with police-workaholism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: I rant in much greater detail about the cop-with-a-dead-wife-and/or-dead-marriage-issue in these two reviews:

THE ELDRIDGE CONSPIRACY

SEASON OF THE HARVEST

All the other supporting characters are strictly off-the-shelf tropes, as well. For example:

Calvin’s girlfriend comes off as a weepy daylight drab. She’s the classic ex-hooker with a heart of gold. Her personality is about as stimulating as a wax bean. Her only role is to cling to Calvin and moan about his safety, offer him sex and, I suppose,  wring her hands in her spare time.

Detective Dayton’s partner, Jimmy Mason, is an extremely standard prop — an African American good guy buddy cop with 20 years on the force and a nice wife and stable family at home. (See: Danny Glover’s ‘Roger Murtaugh’ in Lethal Weapon.)

The primary antagonist is Ace Sanders, and with a name like “Ace” you just know he is a Vegas gambling big shot. He’s driven by a lust for power and money to do a lot of bad things. We don’t know we he’s that way because we are offered no background or origin story for Ace, which makes this character flat as a taco wrapper.

Even the former U.S. Marine Corps sniper dude — now gone bad and working as a paid-for-hire assassin — comes off as a hollow stand-in because we’ve all seen this trope so many times now in books and movies.

There are other aspect of this book which rob it of that edge-of-your seat tension it might have had — but already I’ve gone on long enough and my further comments may devolve to petty bickering — so I’ll leave it there.

All in all, this book gets my recommendation, however. Despite a few drawbacks, It’s a taut-enough thriller with an adequate level of escapism and action to provide you with more than enough entertainment to make you feel like you got your money’s worth.




Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

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Retired Attorney Terry Lovelace Offers A Spell-Binding True Story Of His Lifetime Of Harrowing Alien Abduction

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

If this UFO book is not one of the most talked about in recent years, it deserves to be. Despite painfully dodgy editing — it’s written in a compelling, lucid style and delivers hair-raising descriptions of alien abduction phenomena.

Oh yes, and there are intriguing photos and X-rays film sheets of what the author believes are alien implants in his leg.

TERRY LOVELACE comes out of obscurity to plant himself center stage among the likes of other famous abductees, such as Travis Walton, Betty and Barney Hill and the two men who were taken aboard a craft in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in 1973 – Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson.

Lovelace is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He used the GI bill for law school after an honorable discharge. In addition to private practice, he served as Assistant Attorney General for American Samoa. He kept his UFO story under wraps throughout his professional life, he says, because revealing this information would have been career suicide for a lawyer – which is certainly true. Now that he is retired, he wants his story known.

On the one hand, his details about a lifetime of frightening, intrusive abductions by aliens breaks no new ground – all the familiar elements of what other experiencers have reported for years are here. It’s almost as if he has taken the standard elements of what has become the “UFO abduction genre” and re-told a story deeply familiar to the UFO community.

On the other hand, Mr. Lovelace’s natural talent as a writer and gifted skill for rolling out a compelling narrative will inject a new vividness and feeling of visceral terror for the reader.

In an unexpected way, this latter aspect may unfortunately cut both ways for the author.

What I mean is, this narrative is so well-rendered it will give rise to a higher degree of skepticism among some. Indeed, a negative review on Amazon has already suggested that Mr. Lovelace simply “read a lot of UFO books” and has borrowed all the standard UFO abduction elements to cobble together a riveting fictional tale – which he is passing off as true.

Terry Lovelace

But one would be equally justified in saying that Lovelace is telling the truth because his experience confirms historically well-documented elements of UFO abduction scenarios as reported by thousands of others.

Well, I call myself an “open-minded skeptic” but that does not mean I am a skeptic when it comes to the reality of the UFO phenomena – something is going on that is real, certainly – the evidence is beyond overwhelming.

I take pains to say that because now I want to discuss a central absurdity in the story of Terry Lovelace – not because this makes his tale untrue – but simply because it is absurd – or perhaps suggests a deeper meaning.

I also at this juncture issue a ! SPOILER ALERT ! – I repeat — ! SPOILER ALERT ! – because I want to describe the element of the primary event of his story which was his 1977 abduction experience at Devil’s Den State Park in northwestern Arkansas.

So, if you have not yet read the book – stop reading now. I urge you to go buy the book, read it and come back hear after you have. If you decide to keep reading now – well, I have issued you a fair and unambiguous ! SPOILER ALERT !

THE ABSURDITY

So here is what I find absurd.

Consider: Mr. Lovelace reports that he has been experiencing abductions since childhood. Strange beings which he first perceived as “monkeys” were coming into his bedroom at night. They tormented him with their menacing presence and frightened him to the limit of his ability to withstand the intrusions.

Seeing the cover of Whitley Strieber’s book in a shopping mall sent Terry Lovelace into an unexpected panic. Many others have reported the same mysterious reaction to this book’s cover image.

The “monkeys” are eventually revealed to be the classic Grey aliens. They take him away, bring him back and wipe his memory – except for dreamy trace memories along with lingering fear and a sense of loathing. Later in life he is abducted repeatedly at the whims of his tormentors. They can get him anywhere. They even snatch him once while he’s out riding his motorcycle.

It’s clear the Mr. Lovelace is never safe no matter where he is – be it at home tucked safely in bed, out riding his motorcycle, or anywhere else. Despite this fact the aliens – for some reason — decide to choreograph a fantastically elaborate abduction event in the summer of 1977.

At the time Mr. Lovelace was a young Air Force sergeant serving at Whiteman Air Force Base near Kansas City. The aliens set things in motion weeks before the actual abduction.

They (apparently) telepathically implant a powerful suggestion into the mind of Lovelace and a fellow Airman, Toby, with whom Lovelace serves on an airbase ambulance crew. The aliens want the two men to drive to a remote area in Devil’s Den Park in Arkansas, a six-hour trek from their home base.

The aliens also engineer painstaking details. For example, Lovelace is an avid photographer. He is eager to take spectacular nature photos at Devil’s Den – but he inexplicably forgets his camera on the kitchen table. The suggestion is that the aliens wanted to be sure they were not photographed. A variety of others unusual camping supply snafus occur, as well.

Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas is home to the largest sandstone crevice area in the United States.

The two men make it to Devil’s Den – but strangely again — they decide to basically trespass on federal land. That is, they don’t go through the park gate, register, purchase an entrance ticket — rather, they circumvent a chain barrier to take a back-way into the parkland, drive their car along some primitive path to a secluded high-elevation meadow.

I’ll skip over some events now – including a long hike the two men take during which they inexplicably fall asleep – and pick it up when the men are sitting by their campfire at night and gazing at the stars. In the night sky they espy three strange “stars” in a triangular formation – and they are mesmerized by them as they slowly drift closer to their camp location.

(NOTE: Just like in the 1976 Allagash abduction of Jim and Jack Weiner in a remote wilderness area of Maine, Lovelace’s buddy Toby “signals” to the UFO with a flashlight as it approaches).

This gradual advance of the strange three stars takes maybe two or three hours. The “stars” turn out to be lights on the corners of a monstrously gigantic triangle-shaped UFO. It’s bigger than a five-story building. It comes to a stop and hovers about 30 feet above the ground near the tent of our campers.

The men are then abducted inside the giant UFO where they are subjected to the usual medical-testing procedures common to abduction stories. They also see 50 to 60 other human beings waiting around to be “processed” or undergoing intrusive exams. They see a lot of other stuff inside the UFO as well, such as fish tanks with bizarre living creatures floating in pink liquid.

Okay – I’ll stop there, and ask this question:

If the aliens have already been abducting Mr. Lovelace at will for his entire life and from any location – right inside his home and often under the noses of his unsuspecting parents, sisters and later his wife – why then the need to lure him out to a remote corner of the wilderness for a clandestine abduction?

Why also bring a behemoth, five-story UFO for Mr. Lovelace when at all other times in his life they have been able to show up in smaller craft and zip him away with ease?

And get this: Lovelace says the aliens made sure that the two men parked their car near the treeline at the edge of the meadow to ensure there would be enough room to land the giant UFO – even though the object never landed, but hovered 30 feet above the ground. An average car is only about 5-feet high. It wouldn’t have been in the way any more than their tent was in the way.

Now here’s another thing: There were 50 or 60 other abducted human beings aboard the UFO. Does that mean all those people also went through the same elaborate pre-abduction ritual of watching three mysterious “stars” in the sky approach them for three hours while they became gradually passive? If they did this for all 50-60 people, the process would have taken days to get all captives aboard.

But if the three-hour pre-abduction ritual was done exclusively for Lovelace and Toby – then why?

I don’t lay out all this information to show that I’m a skeptic – although typical skeptical louts will pounce on the fundamental absurdities of the Devil’s Den abduction to argue that it’s all too preposterous to be true.

A MUFON photo of an anomalous object — “implant” — removed from the body of an alien abduction experiencer.

I am inclined to suggest something else – that because the intensely elaborate choreography of the abduction was unnecessary – it was all theater. And I’m not saying it was a theater production with Terry Lovelace as director – but it was the aliens who put on the show.

For some reason (I keep saying that!) the aliens wanted Mr. Lovelace and his friend to experience a sort of cosmic passion play, complete with George-Lucas-worthy giant spaceships, hordes of fellow frightened abductees and B-movie sci-fi monsters swimming in pink fish tanks.

One must also consider that wiping the memory of Lovelace (conveniently?) failed in the long run. Sinister special agent creeps from the government drugged him and forced him through an ostentatious hypnosis session in which he coughed up the whole event – the aliens, who so carefully choreographed everything else, failed to anticipate or have a contingency plan for this.

Of course, the government agents tried to make him forget everything as well. Like the aliens, they failed too. So now Lovelace has shared everything in a tell-all book – even though a hybrid human-alien paid him a recent visit and warned him that if he blabbed too much – his own government might kill him.

What are we to make of it?

Paranoid conspiracy theorists will offer that all of Lovelace’s experiences were implanted in his head during the monstrous drug-infused hypnosis session he was subjected to several months after returning from Devil’s Den. They’ll say he may have never been visited by aliens at all – but the government wants him to believe that it did happen — and then tell all of us ordinary citizens in a book so that we might believe it too.

But why?

I bet Lovelace would contend that his X-ray sheets of weird implants in his leg are his ace in the hole. If none of this happened to him, then how do you explain the reality that he harbored strange objects in his leg? As a lawyer, Lovelace understands the value of hard physical evidence when making a case to a jury. But that’s no problem for the skeptics — they’ll just say he faked the X-rays,

As for me, I am going to say the Mr. Lovelace’s story is true — I can be skeptical, yes — but in this case, despite all, I believe Terry Lovelace. This is not fiction, and I don’t think he is trying to pull one over on us.  I’ll say no more as to why I conclude this, but leave you with this reminder:

The world of ufology is our culture’s most confounding, bottomless rabbit hole – a labyrinth within a labyrinth — a mystery wrapped inside an enigma tied with a conundrum — a universe where the only certainty is uncertainty.


NOTE: BELOW ARE JUST A FEW OF THE OTHER UFO BOOKS I REVIEW HERE ON TOP 10 BOOK REVIEWS:

MANAGING MAGIC By Grant Cameron

EXTRATERRESTRIAL ODYSSEY By Roger “Rocky” Kvande

HOW TO TALK TO AN ALIEN By Nancy DuTertre

ALIENS IN THE BACKYARD By Trish and Rob MacGregor

ALIENS IN THE FORREST by Noe Torres and Ruben Uriarte

SEARCHERS by Ron Felber



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING

Follow @KenKorczak

Marine Biologist Ingrid Honkala Tells The Story Of Her Near Death Experience And Subsequent Life Guided By Spiritual Beings Of Light


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

This is a book about love and agony — love and agony, love and agony – love discovered, and love lost – love rediscovered, only to slip away once again – until finally an ultimate answer is found hiding in plain sight amid the thorny, tangled thickets of this elusive game we call life.

It’s the story of a unique life, but at the same time, not so terribly unlike billions of other people. That’s a central paradox that rings throughout this narrative – everyone is “special” – but if everyone is “special” then no one is “special” — because if everyone is “special” then that would be the norm!

Well, the reality is that everyone IS special — while at the same time — everyone is one and the same because we are all part of the totality of All That Is. Each of us manifests our individual nature while we remain an integral part of a cosmic whole – and the fundamental quality that makes up this Cosmic Wholeness is Love – with a capital “L.”

Ingrid Honkala, Ph.D.

Colombian-born INGRID HONKALA grapples with these vexing philosophical concepts as she relates to us the story of her life which was shattered when, at the age of three, she fell into a giant tank of water and drowned.

She experienced an NDE – Near Death Experience – during which all sense of time and distance vanished. She felt herself “become a part of everything” and as if “the Wholeness and I were one.”

Needless to say, she was rescued from the frigid water and resuscitated, but about a year later, she began to sense the presence of intelligent entities which she describes as “star-like figures of pure shining light.” They were of many different colors. They seemed interested in her and cared about her. She soon understood these light-form entities were concerned about her life. They were willing to speak with her and offer her guidance.

Thus, at age 4, began the journey of Ingrid Honkala, an odyssey of being guided by spiritual Beings of Light who were clearly there to help – but as she would also learn — to never interfere.

She still had to make all her own decisions, make her own mistakes and be responsible for whatever good or ill she created. She still was required to struggle through adversity – often with great pain — when the pitfalls of life came calling time and again.

The author is an expert on mangrove ecosystems.

If all this sounds a tad Airy-Fairy-New-Agey to you, consider that Ms. Honkala – that is, Dr. Honkala – is a Ph.D. scientist who earned her doctorate in marine biology. She has worked for NASA, is a world expert on mangrove ecosystems and spent three harrowing years doing research while dodging bullets in the war zone of Tumaco, Colombia, during that country’s grinding war against the FARC rebellion.

When it comes to hard sciences like biology, math, chemistry and oceanography, this woman takes a backseat to no rational-material scientist. Her husband is a former United States Navy Special Forces dude.

Dr. Honkala’s résumé gives her a certain grounded aura of authenticity – in any case, this is almost besides the point. That’s  because I think the way she tells her story in these pages comes across with a hard-to-miss sense of credibility, honesty and no-nonsense truth. If this woman says she has maintained a life-long relationship with intelligent guides manifesting as points of light – I think we can believe her – and give pause to contemplate the inspiring message she feels compelled to share.

So, I give A BRIGHTLY GUIDED LIFE my best recommendation. It’s a heartfelt rendering of one’s person’s life story that is unflinching and honest – dealing out the good with the bad – and ending with a message of hope for all.

NOTE: PLEASE SEE MORE BOOK REVIEWS ON THIS SITE BY KEN ON THE NDE TOPIC:

APPLICATION OF IMPOSSIBLE THINGS by Natalie Sudman

NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES by P.H.H. Atwater

DEAD OR ALIVE by Erika Hayasaki

THE BOY WHO DIED AND CAME BACK TO LIFE by Robert Moss

WOLF’S MESSAGE By Suzanne Giesemann



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Veteran UFO Investigator Grant Cameron Makes His Case: U.S. Government Has Been Managing A Subtle, Controlled Disclosure Strategy For 70 Years


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Who is the most important person in ufology today?

Forget Steven Greer or Tom Delong or Stanton Friedman or Linda Moulton Howe or Richard Dolan or Leslie Kean or Steve Basset or Timothy Good or Luis Elizondo or Robert and Ryan Wood or Michael Salla — or even the now mostly silent Jacques Vallee.

The most significant figure in the study of UFO phenomenon today is this guy: GRANT CAMERON.

Cameron, a well-mannered Canadian from the Great Plains city of Winnipeg, has been doggedly seeking the truth about UFOs for 42 years. He was unwittingly thrust into this role after a personal encounter with the famous Charlie Red Star in 1975.

That was the name given to a blood-red, pulsating ball of light that amazed people dwelling in a series of small towns in southern Manitoba near the North Dakota border.

The Charlie Red Star UFO was captured in many photos as it cruised the countryside of southern Manitoba from 1975 to 1976.

For an incredible two years, Charlie Red Star haunted the skies of this sparsely-populated, wide-open prairie landscape dotted by small farming communities. The conservative, no-nonsense folks of the region could only gape in wonder at the bold aerial antics of the unfathomable object gamboling across their heavens.

Grant Cameron – who previously had zero interest in UFOs – suddenly knew that he would spend the rest of his life trying to find an answer: “What was that thing?”

Now, more than four decades later, he feels he has an answer. He sums up his conclusion with a single word: “Consciousness.”

Grant Cameron

More than anything else, the central most important aspect of the UFO phenomenon is the idea that Consciousness is primary and material reality is secondary. If you want to understand UFOs, you must start there, Cameron says.

Furthermore, if you stay mired in materialism – specifically, the paradigm of material, nuts-n-bolts science – your fate in the UFO field will be an agonizing entanglement in one bizarre rabbit hole after another – it might even drive you insane.

Cameron has avoided insanity, however, or even evolving into an eccentric UFO weirdo. He’s maintained a kind of grounded dignity. He has diligently sought answers while living gracefully with uncertainty and staying close to facts.

But that doesn’t mean he has rejected high strangeness out of hand. Cameron has since embraced a lot of way-out-there stuff, from the accepting the reality of ETs interacting with us daily to the existence of trans-dimensional portals that can punch us through to parallel worlds. (NOTE: See Cameron’s video documentation of Xendra Portals HERE

This book, MANAGING MAGIC, sticks to slightly more practical matters, however. A few years ago, Cameron said he was done with investigating UFOs. He concluded that chasing lights in the sky and sifting through endless classified government reports obtained through FOIA requests was fruitless.

Recent release of a U.S. Air Force F/A-18 fighter jet footage of a UFO exploded speculation that the government was about to reveal more of what it knows about UFOs

But just like Michael Corleone’s famous lament from Godfather III – “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in” – Cameron felt compelled to write another UFO book. That’s because of what he believes he now knows about the issue of Disclosure – official government disclosure to the public about the reality of UFOs.

A huge portion of the UFO community has been foaming at the mouth for decades, excoriating the government for withholding information from tax-paying citizens who have a right to know . In fact, ranting and raving about oppressive and corrupt government secrecy is an almost inseparable issue from the central premise of UFOs itself within ufology circles.

Government secrecy fosters delicious conspiracy theories and a self-righteous “feel-good” outlet for venting and blaming the powerful elite for the condescending way they treat the masses. The evil cabals at the highest levels of society have earned our virtuous rage of the sainted public.

Let’s face it – playing the victim is a guilty pleasure for many people — perhaps even when justified.

Cameron now believes, however, that our government has likely adopted the correct course all along – that course is an extremely gradual disclosure designed to drip-drip-drip out UFO information over a period of decades.

Doing it that way is for our own good, Cameron says. That’s because the actual truth behind the phenomenon is so bizarre, so enormous, so weird and so epistemologically shattering – a long, drawn-out disclosure is the only responsible thing to do. In the conclusion of Managing Magic he writes:

“After decades of work on the disclosure problem I have become much more sympathetic to the position the government has taken, and how they have handled the situation they were handed in the 1940s.

“Many in the UFO community will say that full disclosure should be a simple thing and done ASAP. The more I view the evidence, the less I agree with that position and the more I see a potential for disaster were that approach to be taken.”

He also states near the beginning of the book:

“The American government is taking the lead on this measured disclosure. When the facts get reviewed, this becomes very evident.”

This view is anathema to so many in ufology. Again, the endorphin rush they get from the righteous indignation they feel at the hands of a deceitful government is a fundamental aspect – in an ironic sort of way – of why people get enthralled by the UFO issue in the first place.

Rock star turned UFO investigator Tom DeLong.

Dr. Steven Greer.

Cameron offers a blunt assessment on some of the biggest names in ufology today – especially rock-star-turned-ufology-star TOM DELONG, former front man for the band Blink 182. Another is DR. STEVEN GREER the emergency-room-doctor-turned-self-proclaimed-greatest-ufologist-of-all-time.

Cameron points out what these two men have in common: They are both supreme ego maniacs. As such, they have been easily manipulated by government disinformation agents who are only happy to use them to leak both factual UFO information to the public – and disinformation when it suits the government strategy of a nuanced, subtle and gradual disclosure process.

That’s the crux of what Cameron is trying to tell us here. Our government, in fact, IS disclosing UFO information to us – but it is also misleading us with smoke screens when it wants to. The government is threading a delicate middle path between disclosure and disinformation – this middle way is designed to gradually acclimate the public over a period of many years – a necessary strategy to avoid catastrophic consequences.

But be warned: This is complicated.

Cameron’s thesis toils under the burden of that complication. I advise the reader to consider the information in this book with great care. The potential to misunderstand what Cameron is telling us is considerable. There are occasions in which the author would appear to contradict his own theories – but I believe that’s an artifact of the tangled labyrinth we necessarily must stumble through. The truth about UFOs is the the proverbial, “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, hidden inside an enigma.”

With Managing Magic, Grant Cameron makes a heroic effort to light a pathway through the most vexing labyrinth ever to confront mankind.


NOTE: SEE SOME OF THE OTHER UFO BOOKS KEN HAS REVIEWED ON THIS SITE:

EXTRATERRESTRIAL ODYSSEY By Roger Kvande

SELECTED BY EXTRATERRESTRIALS By Bill Tompkin

PASSPORT TO THE COSMOS By John Mack M.D.

LIGHT QUEST By Andrew Collins

SEARCHERS By Ron Felber



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Six Questions With British Science Fiction Author Gareth L. Powell: “Life’s better when we help each other.”

Gareth L. Powell

KEN KORCZAK:

It’s tempting to call British writer Gareth L. Powell a rising star in the science fiction genre, but he’s been around and publishing for some two decades. Still, it’s safe to say his just released novel, EMBERS OF WAR, has catapulted him into higher spheres. His work has been compared to famed SF author and fellow Brit Iain Banks. One of the hardest working writers on the Scepter’d Isle, Powell’s ‘Embers’ is flying off the shelves at Warp Factor 9.

It’s his sixth novel. His first published book was the 2008 collection of short stories, The Last Reef and Other Stories.

So here is a six-question lightening round with the Bristol-based author GARETH L. POWELL:

KEN: Your just-released space opera epic, Embers of War, seems to be more than an ember on the science fiction market — it’s on fire with readers. One of the main characters is a sentient spacecraft that is dealing with guilt form the role it played in a brutal galactic war. I heard through the grapevine (okay, it was Twitter) that one of your inspirations for your new novel was an exhibit called “The Golden Age of Luxury Liners.” Is that true, or shouldn’t I believe everything I read on Twitter?

GLP: That’s actually true. It was while reading about the Carpathian coming to the rescue of the Titanic that I conceived the idea of an organisation dedicated to rescuing the crews from wrecked starships.

KEN: Let’s say that you ascended a mountain and confronted a burning bush. Through this medium the God of Science Fiction gave you the 10 Commandments of Science Fiction. What would be the first three commandments etched into your stone tablet, and please begin your responses with “Thou shalt …”

GLP: There is only one commandment, and that is: ‘Thou shalt not bore the reader.’ Everything else is up for negotiation. There are no hard and fast rules for science fiction. When you have the whole of time and space as your canvas, you have an almost infinite number of ways you can tell your story.

KEN: Obviously, the U.K. has produced some of the greatest science fiction writers – Arthur Clarke, Brian Aldiss, H.G. Wells, China Miéville. Iain Banks, Malorie Blackman, Nicola Griffith, Nick Harkaway to name just a few — as a British author, do you find any advantages or disadvantages of writing under the shadow of a waving Union Jack? I know one of your novels was a finalist for a best translated award in Japan. But, for example, do you have concerns about gaining traction in, say, U.S. markets? I guess what I’m trying to ask is: Is there anywhere that the sun sets in a challenging way on the Brit Lit empire?

Powell’s 2013 alternate history novel, Ack-Ack Macaque, won the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Award for Best Novel.

GLP: British science fiction has always been a powerhouse of imaginative thought, and I’m proud to be part of that tradition. However, I don’t write as a self-consciously “British” author. I’m writing stories for anyone who wishes to read them. That said, I’m not as well known in the U.S. as I am in the UK, but I’m hoping my new novel EMBERS OF WAR will start to change that.

KEN: Science fiction great Ray Bradbury kept a sign on his writing desk that said, “DON’T THINK!” Do you have a sign on your desk? If you don’t, what might such a sign say in terms of some fundamental writing advice to yourself?

GLP: I have a note pinned to the cork board above my monitor that says, “Be specific.” This is to remind me that I should try to find the specific, relevant details in a scene. So, rather than just say the dead body smelled, I should try to describe exactly how it smelled. Or rather than saying one character has brown hair, I should say they have hair the exact colour of strong tea before the milk is added. These details make the writing more vivid.

KEN: You have a robust Twitter presence and a lot of followers that interact with you enthusiastically. How do you find the time to work your Twitter so much?  You also offer to answer writing questions to all comers. I know a lot of writers decry Twitter as a distraction, maybe a necessary evil and frequent challenge to one’s writing discipline.

GLP: I probably spend far too much time on Twitter, but I enjoy interacting with readers and fellow writers. The science fiction writing and publishing community (especially in the UK) is quite a tight knit community. If you’ve been around a while, you tend to know a lot of people from it. So for me, Twitter is like hanging out in a convention bar, talking with friends and peers. Plus, I remember being a fledgling author, and the lessons I had to learn the hard way. So if I can help those aspiring writers just starting out now, I’m glad to pass on the fruits of that experience. Life’s better when we help each other.

KEN: The great French writer Gustave Flaubert said, “Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.” What do you think?

GLP: Writing is an emotional and financial roller coaster, but it’s all I’ve wanted to do.

My thanks to Gareth L. Powell. For more information about his work and other books, you can click: HERE

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