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An Aerospace Industry Tech Writer Tells About His Experiments with Lucid Dreaming and Out-of-Body Travel

Read the amazing true account of an overworked, high-pressure aerospace tech writer as he grinds it out copy during the day and goes out-of-body or lucid dreaming during the night.

Writing articles about mankind’s use of nuts-n-bolts rockets & satellites seems dull when compared to the ability of the human mind and consciousness to travel the universe in a nonmaterial way. Click here for the story:


A Metaphysical Masterclass: A Bona Fide Counterculture Warrior Pens a Magnificent Book About His Adventures in Groovy ’60s Consciousness Exploration & Beyond

Wayne Saalman is the real deal. Coming of age in the Age of Aquarius, this certified counterculture “Dharma Bum” traveled the world in search of enlightenment and psychedelic experiences and more.

Saalman knew and interacted with some of the biggest hippy counterculture figures, from Dr. Timothy Leary to Terrence McKenna and author Robert Anton Wilson. This book is about a lot more than taking LSD — Saalman eventually left the psychotropic drug scene behind to continue his exploration into mind, consciousness and alternate realities using meditation and other techniques.

This is an amazingly entertaining and uplifting read that makes us believe magic is real. See our review here:

True Adventures in Consciousness: The Author Uses Advanced ‘Consciousness Tools” to Project His Mind to Year 40,000 B.C. & Contact a Real Neanderthal

Using a combination of remote viewing, lucid dreaming and out-of-body travel, a retired journalist manages to project his consciousness back in time 40,000 years. His goal: To explore Siberia’s famous Denisova Cave, a site where Neanderthal and Denisovan bones and artifacts have been found. The author was determined to meet a “living Neanderthal.” Did he achieve his goal?

Read this remarkable true story here:

UFO of God & Synchronicities: The Astounding But Highly Relatable Story of Chris Bledsoe

When Chris Bledsoe came out with his long-promised UFO encounter book, my first notion was to take a pass.

That’s because I have heard his remarkable story a dozen times over the past five years or so. Bledsoe has made himself available for numerous interviews across numerous webcast platforms.

However — I am glad I did not take a pass on this book!

Reading UFO of God provided me with scads of insight, added information and profound revelations that I never expected from what is arguably the most important “UFO case” in history.

Note that I placed “UFO case” in parentheses.

That’s because relegating the Bledsoe story to a mere “UFO encounter” fails to capture and fully define the amazing scope & meaning of these extraordinary events –- and they are ongoing and continue to evolve from his original encounter in 2007 to this present day.

I agree with the former director of operations for the CIA, Jim Semivan, who called the Bledsoe case “the most important of the Millennium.”


I’m going to skip providing readers with my standard book review and an overview of how the Bledsoe case happened & played out, beginning with the seminal event that occurred near the Cape Fear River in North Carolina.

The Bledsoe case is so well known, I am going to assume you already have a gist of the story. If you don’t, simply search on YouTube for “Chris Bledsoe UFO” and you’ll find dozens of interviews with Chris telling of his stunning encounter — or get UFO of God and read it!

Instead of my usual book review, then, I want to write about an amazing sense of synchronicity I felt with both the narrative of UFO of God and many aspects of the life of Chris Bledsoe.

In particular, I was struck by a series of similar experiences my life shares with that of Chris. They are:


  • Both Chris and I were nearly killed after being accidentally shot in a hunting accident. We were both 10 years old when it happened.
  • Like Chris, after lying and bleeding on the ground for what seemed like an eternity, I was hauled from a remote, rural area to a small-town hospital by a farmer driving a battered old model vehicle.
  • Like Chris, a farmer grabbed me and threw me over his shoulder and ran with me to his car. Bledsoe remembers floating outside his body as he clung to life. He recalled “the rough hands of the farmer on the steering wheel.” I was gob-smacked when I read that because I experienced a similar out-of-body experience viewpoint and among my most vivid memories is the rough hands of my farmer-rescuer gripping the steering wheel.
  • Instead of rushing the badly bleeding 10-year-old Chris Bledsoe straight to an emergency room, the farmer opted instead to make a stop at Chris’s grandfather’s house to tell him what happened!
  • The farmer transporting me did the same thing! He took a detour to first stop at my parent’s house to tell them what happened — even though I was bleeding to death on the torn backseat of an old Chevy.
  • Chris has numerous pellet fragments in his body to this day. I have a single bullet fragment in my body today, 54 years after the event.
  • The same as Chris, two boys — the one who shot me and another — engaged in a lengthy confused argument about what to do as I lay in the snow bleeding before they ran for help.
  • A few hours before being shot in the back with a shotgun — I was shot in the front through the stomach with a rifle— Chris came face to face with a large owl in a wooded area by a tree.
  • I also saw a large owl before I was shot. It was a magnificent white snowy owl. It was sitting in a pine tree near the farm where my accident happened. My location was frigid northern Minnesota on a sub-zero January day. Snowy owls come down from the Arctic during northern Minnesota winters.


Speaking of owls, I noticed that both Chris and I have frequently encountered these winged messengers in significant ways that seem more than random encounters.

For Chris, owls have been a portent of disaster, or perhaps a fair warning to prepare for a life-altering event. For example, an owl landed on his home’s CB radio antenna and stared Chris in the eye. The tower was soon struck by lightning and his house was severely damaged by fire.

Of course, both of us saw an owl as a portent of being nearly fatally wounded by firearms.

Since I was a young man and a woodsy hiking and biking enthusiast, owls often come out of nowhere (or somewhere) to follow me. They often swoop in close, peer down and look me right in the face.

Wildlife biologists might say that’s not unusual because owls are well-known to be usually curious, and they are often curious about people.

However, owls have recently become part of my “orb channeling” practice. Chris and I both seek interaction with orbs nearly every night. I’ll explain this further in a bit, but first another brief owl story.

At right & middle is a common stance when I seek to attract orbs but very often an owl will swoop in to “photo bomb” my effort. However, if an owl inserts itself into my practice, a lot more orbs will show up later. More on the orb-owl connection later in this article. Please read on! Photos by KEN KORCZAK


About 16 years ago, a northern boreal owl came into my yard and seemed unusually active. It was flying around outside our house and swooping through our yard out here in my remote, rural northern Minnesota location.

It was also making an odd call — a combination of a “huff” and a “bark.” The owl veered, dived and swooped about proclaiming:

“Hruff, hruff, hruff!”

“Hruff, hruff, hruff!”

The owl watched my door. When I came out, it would jump up and fly around me. It seemed to be trying to get my attention for some reason. It seemed urgent. Persistently, it projected its strange call:

“Hruff, hruff, hruff!”

That night after dark, I heard the owl in the woods making its eccentric barking call again. It was so insistent that I got out of bed at about 2:30 a.m. and went out into the woods.

I followed the “hruff, hruff, hruff!” vocalization of the owl. Then, fairly deep into the woods, my flashlight beam captured the green glow of two sets of eyes among the underbrush.

I moved in closer, and there in the woods, I found a lost little dog. It was a miniature sheltie. Not far from the dog was a skinny, scruffy little black cat, about halfway between kittenhood and adulthood.

I scooped up the little dog and brought it back home into the house. I could not catch or coax the kitten to come with me right away. Back in the house with the dog, I noticed that something was odd about the way the dog acted, but I could not put my finger on it right away.

I would soon discover, however, that the dog was blind.

I went back out into the woods, and after a lot of coaxing, I convinced the black kitten to follow me out of the woods to my house. As I said, he was a half-grown cat and looked like he had been on hard times — malnourished, bald patches in his fur, thin as a waif.

To make a long story short, both the blind dog and the black cat became our beloved pets and lived happy lives with us. The black cat died from cancer after 15 years — he transitioned to the nonphysical realm just earlier this year on my birthday.

Sadly, the blind sheltie was killed by a car about four years after he joined our family. I mourned my little blind dog bitterly — as did Chris Bledsoe after his beloved dog, Nell, was also killed by a car.

Anyway …

When I began an intense investigation of the orb phenomenon three years ago via the practice of orb photography, owls started showing up much more frequently and began timing their flights to insert themselves into my orb photos.

My automated camera does not always catch them as it did in the photos I presented above and this one below:

I often use a “shamanic staff” to perform “ritualized” orb channeling. This often attracts an owl or sometimes, as in this photo, “owl-like” apparitions. Photos by KEN KORCZAK


When I was growing up, my mom and dad owned a grocery store situated on Main Street in our small town of 714 people. The store was a once-prominent Minnesota grocery franchise called Red Owl.

We initially lived right in the back of the store in an apartment that was attached to the back. Thus, I literally spent my childhood in a building that had an “owl name.”

We also had a lot of “Red Owl swag” — that is, Red Owl t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, etc. So, owl symbolization was a principal element of my youth. I sometimes mused that wearing an owl hat or t-shirt drew “owl energy” to me.

My mom & dad’s old Red Owl store. They would later build a more modern store. Upper left is the once-famous Red Owl logo and below a typical Red Owl hat. The Red Owl brand dissolved in the 1980s. (Korczak family archive images).


Chris and I are near the same age (I’m about 2–3 years older), but I gather from his book that we both contracted rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in our 30th decade.

My arthritis is moderate to severe, (more on the severe side now as I grow older), and I gather the same might be true for Chris as well.

Like Chris, I have been an avid vegetable gardener for many years and we grow on a fairly large scale.

In UFO of God, Chris relates his struggles to keep his gardens going while battling the debilitating pain and limited movement of joints, wrists hands and fingers, not to mention painful knees and ankles.

Well — I can relate!


Now I want to talk about how both Chris and I interact with orbs and “The Phenomenon” on an ongoing basis.

First, let me say there is a significant qualitative difference between my interaction with orbs and ‘The Phenomenon” and that of Chris Bledsoe.

Let me describe it this way using a baseball analogy:

When it comes to orbs & other strange anomalies, Bledsoe would be an A-list marquee major league baseball star who would be swinging the bat in the World Series and playing for a perennial MLB top-tier team like the New York Yankee or Atlanta Braves.

I, on the other hand, would be a minor league player benching for an obscure Single-A squad in some Backwater Town, USA. I’d be earning gas money as a shortstop for the Grand Forks, North Dakota, Channel Cats.

That said, I can say that I saw my first UFO at age nine over the skies of northern Minnesota. It was a dumbbell-shaped “craft” that cruised across the skies on the eastern outskirts of my small Minnesota farming community near the Canadian border.

It was a sighting only, however, with no ancillary phenomena associated with the event.

Also, right around age nine, I became a dedicated amateur astronomer. It became a lifetime pursuit. I have spent countless nights and thousands of hours under dark starry skies with my beloved 6-inch Newtonian reflector.

Occasionally out there in the dark under starry skies, I began to notice the occasional but rare appearance of orbs — sometimes way up in the sky (definitely not satellites) or down near ground level or tree-top level.

As a boy, and then later on, I simply took these orb sightings in stride.

Even though I was a bona fide UFO buff starting at age nine, I nevertheless did not ascribe any special meaning to the appearances of ball-like energy forms — much less consider at least some of them may be sentient or intelligent.

I know today, however, that some orbs do carry sentience, display & convey specific information and act intelligently.

But early on, I favored a mainstream scientific outlook. That’s because I was young and naive. I wrongly thought that “science was everything.” Thus, I mused that the orbs I saw were possibly natural plasma formations or some kind of inter-atmospheric ionization phenomena that most likely had a “natural laws” explanation. This seems idiotic to me now.


Despite my lifelong interest and study of UFOs, it wasn’t until the year 2020 that I made the conscious decision to begin a more personal and intensive study/investigation of the orb phenomenon.

What prompted this endeavor was watching a presentation by the renowned ufologist Grant Cameron on his WhiteHouse UFO YouTube channel.

Cameron occasionally hosts what he calls The Orbs Panel. It’s people who photograph and investigate orbs and share their images and stories.

After watching The Orbs Panel, I was inspired to grab my el-cheapo Canon PowerShot digital camera and go out into a lovely, starry May night. I told myself I would snap just a few pics and see if any orbs showed up.

I live in a remote, rural area of northern Minnesota’s oak-aspen savannah near a wildlife refuge where there is a complete absence of light pollution.

I ended up taking just one picture that night. After a click, there in the tiny LCD screen of my little Canon camera was an orb front and center. I went back into the house to enlarge the picture on my laptop. Here is the photo I captured:


This orb with an obvious “8” or “infinity symbol” gave me pause. I was expecting nothing or just some amorphous blob of light created by some random particulate suspended in the air.

Note: See my full article that resulted from my contemplation of this orb here:


Anyway, this image was just enough to send me back out to try a lot more picks — and an intensive and passionate pursuit of orb images ensued.

From that night onward, my orb images quickly began to grow more profound in appearance and soon began to display novel imagery, from numbers and faces to images of my deceased pets and “alien beings.”

Speaking of aliens, note that sometimes my image captures are not simply orbs but intriguing “apparitions” of certain types of “alien” beings. Here is one example:


A deceased pet might show up in an orb:


A Tibetan monk of the 15th Century might appear in an orb:


Sometimes weird plasma-like curls appear with “weird” faces attached:


Orbs can fly around high in the sky and act “UFO-like”:


Sometimes I commune closely with orbs. As a bonus, I am wearing a shirt with an owl on the front in this photo:


I later decided to bring a new element to my orb-seeking efforts by applying ritualized shamanistic practices using a shaman’s staff:


Orbs sometimes dramatically grace the deep Minnesota woods:


And I have thousands more photos of great diversity and variety, but I think the small sampling I have provided here gives a flavor of the kind of orb engagement I have pursued.

My orb study is actually quite complex and incorporates meditation techniques, lucid dream induction and the application of conscious intent to precipitate action/outcomes. I won’t get into any of that now.


So, although Chris Bledsoe and I both interact with orbs, I believe the depth and scope of his experience are far more profound than mine.

The latter is especially true when considering his contact with the entity he calls “The Lady,” the manifestation of apports on his property, the appearance of “shadow people” inside his home and a host of other phenomena.

Yes, our experiences with The Phenomenon are different, but that’s the way it should be.

Every person is a unique and Individualized Unit of Consciousness (to borrow a term from physicist Tom Campbell). Each of us bears the gift of experiencing The Universe and The Phenomenon in a way that is specifically calibrated to the one-of-kind construct each of us represents.

However, although we experience our “personal universe” in a highly individualized manner, we nevertheless manifest these experiences within the framework of an overarching context that is a consensus reality.

That’s how I can find numerous synchronicities with Chris Bledsoe. He, I, owls, cats, dogs, aliens, angels, Bigfoot— all creatures and things — are “One” and participating in a mutual Universe — a consensus reality.

We’re all contributing to its constant unfolding that is the very creation of experience life, reality and Consciousness.

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, and served as Chief Staff Writer for the Center of Aerospace Sciences at UND. He also worked as a technical writer in the aerospace industry for several years. Ken was an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years.


UFOs, Orbs, Hippies, CSETI and More Make This ‘Under the Radar’ Book an instant classic: The Space Pen Club


Just when you think you’ve read every kind of UFO book on the market, along comes journalist Martin Keller who takes the genre and smashes it wide open.

The Space Pen Club is a UFO book unlike any other. Marvelously entertaining and multifaceted, it takes a deep dive behind the scenes of the UFO community.

As a reader of UFO lit for 50+ years now, I was astounded when I got to the last page of ‘Space Pen.’ I can’t think of another book on this topic that intersects with so many facets of “The Phenomenon” — cultural, political, scientific, theological and more.

This is easily among the best UFO offerings of the past decade. See my full review here: REVIEW: THE SPACE PEN CLUB by Martin Keller

3 Cosmic Quick Hitters

Today I review three short books that explore mind-expanding concepts based on Sufism, Vedic philosophy and lucid dreaming.

I found each one of these brief tracts inspiring while providing solid, grounded information and advice on how anyone might expand their consciousness and transcend ego-based consciousness.

The three items reviewed are:

1. Universal Mysteries by Ahmed Hulusi

2. The Inner Consciousness by Swami Prakashananda

3. Spiritual Lucid Dreaming by  Samira Nuriyeva

Full story, click here: QUICK HITTERS

Minnesota’s Forgotten Bombshell UFO Case Resurfaces

I was stunned when I saw that a new book had just come out about the incredible UFO encounter that occurred in the small town of Willernie, Minnesota, in the winter of 1982.

This is a case I thought was long forgotten and would remain that way.

I remember it vividly because I lived not so far from where it happened.

I have always thought this UFO event deserved a much higher status among the pantheon of top UFO encounters.

But now the primary witness of the Willernie UFO has come forward. Experiencer Julie Ohlson tells the full story in her just-released book, Dark Secrets and Hidden Lies: The 1982 Willernie UFO Case.

And — wow — what a story she has in store for her readers!

Read full story here: Willernie UFO

Isabella Steel Crafts an Engaging Paranormal Thriller Novel That Balances Beauty with Brutality

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The charming New England community of Nollesmic Village is keeping a hideous secret.

On the outside, this little Maine town is everything a burned-out New Yorker needs to escape the clamor of the concrete jungle -– lovely autumn foliage, babbling brooks, placid lakes and a comfy mom-pop-eatery that serves up to-die-for flapjacks.

Speaking of “to-die-for,” this has become … um, well, let’s just call it “an issue” … for the people of Nollesmic.

That’s because lurking in the woods just a few miles outside of city limits is a place the locals not-so-fondly call Haunted Gap. It’s the abode of an unspeakable ancient evil that has a nasty hankerin’ for twin children and also nice mommies who happen to be pregnant with twins.

The local Native Americans have been grappling with the evil entity for centuries. Unfortunately, exorcising the Maine woods of the SKADEGEMUTC GHOST WITCH has proven futile time and again.

The best the indigenous tribes have been able to achieve is an uneasy truce. Even when the wicked thing is defeated with powerful shamanic magic, it just bides its time and keeps coming back generation after generation.

That’s about as much as I want to give away about this fine paranormal thriller novel by ISABELLA STEEL.

If it’s perhaps a bit formulaic — as in your standard good-vs-evil yarn – it overcomes conventionality with vibrant characters, a suburb sense of background along with just enough plot twists to keep us surprised and eagerly turning pages.

The great science fiction writer Ben Bova said, “All fiction is based on character.” Steel excels here, cobbling together in-depth literary figures that come alive on the page and make us want to root for their triumphs or lust for their bitter downfalls.

Isabella Steel

Steel is even better at creating a sense of place. Her creation of a bucolic New England town and woodlands made me feel immersed in a real environment. She does that cleverly with small details that zap you into the scene before you know it. For example, her characters don’t just take a seat in a restaurant – they slide into “an old Naugahyde booth with a Formica tabletop” and you hear the sound a patron’s tushy makes when he slides across a well-weathered leather seat.

You can almost smell the coffee and taste the fresh maple syrup!

But wait a minute! Does that mean you also have to hear the sickening “squelch” of rotting flesh being jabbed with a spear — or smell the corrupt bodily fluids of an undead demon?

Ahh, well, this is a horror novel after all. If you buy a ticket to enter, expect to get what you pay for.

I hasten to add that this is a book that balances the brutal with the beautiful. The opening scene, in particular, reads like a lovely mythopoetic folktale that may wax dark and disturbing — but it does so while entrancing us with the intoxication of a dangerously erotic dreamlike vision.

So, Skadegemutc Ghost Witch is a great “read on the beach” kind of book, but it is also a work that perhaps rises above what you might call a literary version of a “popcorn” movie.

One last thing — I can’t help but feel that Steel has a certain CECELIA HOLLAND vibe going for her in terms of style. After all, the Skadegemutc is a genuine historical reference — it was an apparition of the Wabanaki Confederacy of the Algonquian nations. Like Holland, Steel has deftly drawn upon fascinating historical material to produce a terrific book.

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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


Israeli Author Yossi Ronen Offers a ‘UFO Book’ That Reads More Like a Manifesto of Transcendent Attainment Than Just More Accounts of Flying Saucers and Aliens

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The “little green men” trope has haunted the UFO community for decades.

It’s a classic bait-line for scoffers and trolls who fancy themselves “skeptics” as they usually go after the low-hanging fruit with mocking attempts to “scientifically debunk” encounters with The Phenomenon.

But not to worry. The author’s choice to feature a waving green alien on the cover of this remarkable book is about the only controversial choice he made in bringing forward a compelling and consequential story.

This is far less “a UFO book” than it is a profound meditation on the essential validity of every human being and the eternal validity of the human soul.

YOSSI RONEN derived this enlightened perspective of mankind’s place in Creation from a personal encounter with … um … what should we call them?

Yossi Ronen

Transhuman entities? Transcendent intelligence? Interdimensional visitors? Aliens?

I suppose it doesn’t matter since “The Visitors” themselves told Ronen that their actual physical appearance was not important and, at best, is a kind of illusionary representation of their true nature.

Ronen was just 21 when he experienced his encounter with “The Others.” It was the early 1980s, and Ronen was an Israeli citizen spending a year in Los Angeles. He was in his apartment sleeping. His brother was his roommate was sleeping in the same room when things were about to get exceedingly strange.

Okay, I’m going to stop right there because I don’t want to give anything away. I encourage readers to buy this book and experience the encounter of Yossi Ronen with entities that were not only stranger than he could imagine – but stranger than any of us can imagine.

It’s one of the best presented and most intriguing descriptions of a human-other interaction I have read.

For Yossi, it would prove to be an event that would alter the trajectory of the rest of his life. Prior to his confrontation with the unknown, he was a grounded young man firmly rooted in the efficacy of material science. He was studying electronics in college and fully expected to embark on a tech-oriented career. That proved difficult and problematic after the mind-expanding fallout of his experience.

“Green Alien?” Photo by KEN KORCZAK

It would take decades for Ronen to process his encounter, come to grips with it and ferret out a larger meaning he could process and integrate.

The title he chose for his book, ONE, sums up his conclusions – in that, the Universe, or All That Is, or whatever you want to call it – is an infinite Singularity of Consciousness. The being he encountered on the day were not so much “Others” but aspects of himself – or all of us, really. That includes animals, plants, rocks, atoms, electrons, quarks, planets, stars, galaxies — everything.

I’ve been reading UFO books since the late 1960s. It’s fascinating to observe how this genre has evolved from a nuts-and-bolts “I saw a flying saucer” perspective to today a body of literature increasingly that more resembles transpersonal psychology and philosophy.

In her book, American Cosmic, University of North Carolina religious studies professor D.W. Pasulka suggests that what we are witnesses is the “birth of a new religion.” The only thing I don’t like about her hypothesis is her use of the word “religion” because of the baggage that comes with it. The experiences of Ronen and many others today who have confronted “The Others” seem almost inherently unfettered, unrutted and free of dogmatic trappings and rituals associated with formal religious systems – but I digress.

Speaking of other experiencers, in the past months I have reviewed a string of books by these people who come from all walks of ordinary life. The through-line between all of them is their uncanny “normality” in all other manners if we exclude their extraordinary encounters.

Here is a list of such folks and their books I have reviewed recently, and I think it incredibly important to point this out because it heralds a significant global transformational trend:

INITIATED by Matthew Roberts – A former lifer in the U.S. Navy who left his career as a military intelligence officer to tell his story of supra-human encounters.

BEYOND THE EXTRATERRESTIAL FIREWALL by Steve Boucher – A Canadian who has worked as a musician and design professional who has interacted with “alien beings” over a lifetime.

UFOs FIRST PERSON by Dave Shoup – A Ph.D.-level professor of agriculture who enjoyed a long and successful career as an academician and research scientist but kept a secret of his lifetime of UFO encounter his closest secret throughout the decades of his career.

UFOs ARE WITH US: TAKE MY WORD by Leo Dworshak – Blue-collar working-class man who grew up on a small North Dakota farm amid the Great Depression and began interaction with high human-like aliens in 1932. Kept intermittent contact with them until his death in 2007.

SYMBIOSIS — Nancy Tremaine – At age 12 in a small town outside of Detroit, she experienced an abduction scenario and kept it a secret for 50 years. She worked various jobs and led an otherwise normal life on the outside while experiencing fantastic events across the decades .

ENCOUNTER AT DEVIL’S DEN — Terry Lovelace – A retired attorney with a long successful career began experiencing visitations as a child and endured a massive abduction event while a young man serving in the U.S. Air Force. Kept his secret for decades until retirement when he felt free to speak out.

EXTRATERRESTRIAL ODYSSEY — Roger Kvande – Small-town Minnesota man who was born with a gifted IQ and superior talent for working with electronic systems and computers began experiencing high-strangeness alien contact as a child; these encountered blossomed as he reached adulthood. His accounts include being allowed to pilot and alien spacecraft. Enjoyed a successful, lucrative career in computers and electronics.

So much of the UFO community is still waiting for that magical and seemingly elusive Holy Grail they call “Disclosure.” But the people in the list above, including Yossie Ronen, have no need to wait for some lofty government entity to come out and announce: “They’re here!” These people already have Disclosure — and they’re working very hard to get the word out to the rest of us.

Are you listening #ufotwitter?


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


Former U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer Matthew Roberts Offers Mythopoeic True Story With UFO Tangents — But It Is About So Much More Than That

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The author tells us that he wrote this book “out of love for mankind.”

What puts weight behind this lofty statement is that MATTHEW ROBERTS felt it necessary to jettison his 16-year career in the U.S. Navy – 10 years of it at sea –with only four years to go before securing a well-earned military retirement pension.

He gave it all up because of what he needs to talk about in this book.

Roberts didn’t have just any Navy job — he was in military intelligence. It’s a sensitive field that not only requires a high IQ but extraordinary emotional stability.

Matthew Roberts

Roberts understood that if he published and promoted a book about his personal interactions with UFOs, aliens (whom he now calls “The Progenitors”) and his intense psychological battle to cope with extraordinary paranormal experiences – well, that would be something the brass of U.S. Naval Intelligence would not tolerate.

All the above is fine and well-intentioned. But does he deliver?

The short answer is yes.

In many ways, this is a remarkable piece of literature. Certainly, it’s a work of depth and integrity. It has the remarkable quality of being both scholarly and heartfelt at the same time.

Furthermore, INITIATED bears a critical message for humanity that is sorely needed at what feels like an inflection point in our planetary history.

I hope this book is read and contemplated by as many people as possible.

That said, it’s unfortunate this volume will probably be categorized as “a UFO book” and therefore likely to be relegated to what Kurt Vonnegut called “the urinal of literature.” (He actually said that about science fiction, but UFO literature is afforded about the same status, if not worse by the snobby literary elites). I would encourage readers to treat this book as a mainstream offering that would be best served if booksellers would place it in their philosophy section.

So, what’s this book about?

My first notion was that if you could take the works of three intellectual giants – famed mythologist JOSEPH CAMPBELL, the Austrian philosopher RUDOLF STEINER and Harvard psychiatrist JOHN MACK – and synthesize them into a new body of work, then you would have an idea about the contents of Initiated.

Then you add in some healthy doses of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, and you would also have to fold in a huge helping of classical Greek Mythology along with dollops of Whitley Strieber, Travis Walton and Barney and Betty Hill.

I should hasten to add there is an additional sense of timeliness and urgency about what Roberts is writing about. In case you haven’t noticed, the study of UFOs has recently entered a new era.

It began in December of 2017 when the New York Times published a front-page article reporting that Navy fighter pilots attached to the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier encountered inexplicable objects that defied the laws of physics in terms of their flight speed and patterns.

Intriguing video of the objects recorded with fighter jet gun cameras video was released concurrently with the NYT article. Furthermore, the Pentagon said they didn’t know what the objects were but that they “should be taken seriously” in terms of future study. Other videos and stories if similar ilk followed. The Pentagon when as far as to say (albeit in rather tepid fashion) that an extraterrestrial explanation “cannot be ruled out.

Now here’s an amazing thing:

Image from video provided by the Department of Defense labeled “Gimbal.” (2015)

Our author, Matthew Roberts, was on one of those Navy ships when these encounters occurred. The year was 2015. He was serving on the Theodore Roosevelt that was part of a “strike group” fleet of warships. It was the pilots of a group that captured what has come to be called the “Gimbal” and “Go Fast” footage.

Up until this time, UFOs or any sort of paranormal phenomenon were simply not on Roberts’s radar or part of his life. He was a strictly a no-nonsense, by-the-book Naval intelligence officer. The son of an astronomer, he was grounded in rational scientific materialism. He describes his family growing up as “proud and devout atheists.”

However, after the Gimbal encounters, a crack had formed in his cosmic egg. The next three years would entail a personal epistemological and eschatological crisis for Roberts as he confronted strange beings in what is now the well-described abduction scenario –- noting that the latter is widely varied and comes in many permutations.

For Roberts, the seemingly undeniable reality that he was encountering UFO aliens, other bizarre entities along with a series of other happenings had forced him to question his sanity.

And so, INITIATED is the story of how Roberts traveled through his personal dark tunnel and sojourned through the mythological Underworld – only to emerge out the other side a changed man, or more acutely, one of those rare people who can say to be genuinely “Initiated.”

If you want to know what that means, exactly, then I suggest you read the book. Initiation into the cosmic mysteries of the universe is a millennials-old tradition and concept that I think in modern times was most eloquently explained for all of us by Rudolf Steiner – although Roberts’s preferred authority is WILLIAM WALKER ATKINSON, noted author of the Kybalion. (Note: Read the Kybalion FREE HERE). 

William Walker Atkinson

(Side Note: I’ve always thought of Atkinson as “Rudolf Steiner lite.” Also, Steiner came at the subject of Initiation by staying grounded in Western thought, while Atkinson preferred to bring it forth by drawing heavily upon Eastern religions and philosophy. But that’s a whole other can of worms that I’ll leave aside for some other article).

Thesus Slays the Minotaur

At any rate, for me, Roberts comes off as a modern-day Theseus who risked his own life to slay the Minotaur so that his fellows could be freed from its terrors. Roberts might also be liked to a modern Prometheus who stole fire from the gods, came back to Earth and bequeathed it upon mankind — but paid a heavy price for his heroism.

If you read the book, I bet you’ll agree that my statement is not overwrought.



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


Canadian Steve Boucher Describes His Lifetime Encounters with UFO-Alien Phenomenon in Well-Written Account that Will Boggle Minds and Challenge Perceptions

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

So here we go again – another person emerges from the ordinary walks of life to tell of personal encounters with the UFO phenomenon. His story is extremely weird and easily qualifies for the designation of HIGH STRANGENESS.

Canadian STEVE BOUCHER today is a 60-something who has spent most of his life keeping a lot of incredible secrets. Since he was a toddler, Boucher has been interacting with what we commonly call “aliens.” In his case, they are the classic “greys,” or at least a type of grey ET. Seasoned folks within the UFO community now deem it a standard feature that greys come in distinct varieties.

Much of Steve Boucher’s accounts encompass the broad elements that have become routine aspects of the UFO abduction scenario. But what makes his tale different are the unique and iconoclastic elements he brings to the events. A significant departure of note is a sensational story in which the aliens conduct a mass abduction on a college campus that – super weirdly – Boucher appears to have been only tangentially involved. It was like he came upon the event by accident – and yet, perhaps no event in this guy’s life can be said to be coincidental or accidental.

Steve Boucher

In recent years, I have been reading and reviewing stories of personal encounters with the UFO phenomenon that involve people like Steve Boucher. That is — otherwise normal individuals who have lived their days in the mainstream. They have maintained successful careers, or moderately so, and who have, you know, just soldiered on with the same life pursuits as anyone else. The difference is that they have done so while enduring a hidden, outlandishly bizarre shadow life on the side.

It’s worth pausing here to mention just a few other books I have reviewed on this site because they possess this same general quality of “normal-person-leads-secret-life-of-alien-contact” scenario:

Nancy Tremaine: Michigan woman abducted at age 12 by reptilian beings, interacted with them throughout her life, kept her secret for 50 years and finally told her story in two books: SYMBIOSIS and PREORDAINED.

Roger Kvande:  Minnesota man with a lifetime of abduction/interaction with alien beings. He developed a cooperative interactive relationship; they taught him to pilot a flying saucer! He experienced voluminous ancillary phenomenon, including OBEs, reincarnational experiences, time travel and much more. His book: EXTRATERRESTRIAL ODYSSEY.

Terry Lovelace: Yet another altogether normal guy, enjoyed a successful career as an attorney. He began being abducted while a small boy and faced a lifetime of similar encounters, including a massive confrontation with aliens who abducted him and a friend with a gargantuan triangular craft. His book, like the others, only released after retirement: INCIDENT AT DEVIL’S DEN.

UFO over Minnesota Skies Photo by Ken Korczak

Dave Shoup: A Ph.D. professor of agricultural engineering with a successful academic/research record who completed a distinguished career at the top of his field while also keeping an astonishing secret of persistent alien interaction throughout his life. Like Kvande and Lovelace, he waited until retirement to come clean with his book, UFOS: FIRST PERSON.

Leo Dworshack: He grew up on a humble North Dakota farm during the Great Depression and made contact with a flying saucer crew of human-like aliens at age 8, maintained contact with them for the rest of his life. An amazing story about a hard-working “every-man” kind of guy with a remarkable secret he revealed only near the end of his long life. His book: UFOS ARE WITH US: TAKE MY WORD

I differentiate these people from other abductees whose cases made them famous, such as Whitely Strieber, Travis Walton, Calvin Parker, Charlie Hickson, Barney and Betty Hill, Jim and Jack Weiner and others. They had encounters that made them household words (at least among the UFO community) but some also garnered A-list media attention platforms, including Hollywood movies and/or TV documentaries, endless radio interviews with big-name venues like Coast to Coast AM hosted by Art Bell and so on.

Drawing made by Steve Boucher, screenshot from YouTube interview:

Steve Boucher and the others I mention managed to stay well under the radar until the time came when they opted to seize control of their own destinies. They consciously decided to tell their stories to the world. By the way, if you think they are making significant money selling their books – think again. Take it from a guy like me who has been around the publishing business for decades – there’s precious little money to be made with these kinds of books.

Rather, Boucher and the others are putting their stories out there simply because they think it’s time. They come to the conviction that they have an obligation to let the world know what is happening to ordinary people in Anytown USA or Canada or Mexico or Brazil or Europe, etc. They understand it’s likely that a lot of other people are enduring secret lives of confusion, terror, alienation (no pun intended), but also sometimes wonder, redemption, joy and spiritual transformation.

All the above is the case with Steve Boucher. His experience with “The Others” led him down a path that caused him to re-evaluate everything he had been taught to believe by parents, teachers and society as he grew up in Canada. That included reluctantly but necessarily abandoning his former grounded acceptance of the Christian faith as a legitimate pathway to spiritual growth.

Let me say as a matter of a book reviewer’s housekeeping that this book is well-written and cleanly edited, a rarity in micro-small market UFO books. Boucher is a naturally gifted artist and an accomplished musician. His day job as a designer and draftsman reflects his native gift of expression. He has a facility to communicate complex topics to others clearly and in a way that not only helps us understand but even entertains a bit along the way.

Alien apparition Photo by Ken Korczak

Even so, I surmise that Boucher’s skills were put to the test in telling this complex story of the enormous fallout and consequential developments that can result when two “alien cultures” clash, mix, interact and then endeavor to find a common purpose.

Notice that I say, “two alien cultures.” As Boucher implies, we must consider that from the perspective of the ETs, we are the aliens. Our “otherness” is just as weird and confounding to them as they are to us. In fact, the aliens also fear us in many ways. They see us as a fundamentally violent and aggressive species with a persistent modus operandi to kill each other in endless wars and conflicts. Our knee-jerk reaction to any perceived threat — or even something we don’t understand — is often violence.

Finally, in addition to telling his basic story of his encounters, Boucher offers a grand vision that spells out what the implications are for all humanity and the fate of the planet based. It’s a lot to ponder, but never tedious or boring. Yes, I found some of it subject to debate – such as his proposal of an apocalyptic/global transformational scenario – a common outcome of the abduction experience reported by many. As I have frequently said elsewhere, I think end-of-times scenarios are a typical trap for experiencers and are demonstrably false – but I could be wrong and all these experiencers could be right.

It really doesn’t matter what I think, however, because each reader will benefit greatly from confronting the amazing story of Steve Boucher. Contemplating the subsequent viewpoint he developed is mind-expanding. Read this book and you’ll be illuminated about what might really be going on all around you — and maybe to a friend or neighbor — whether you know it or not.


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


Russell Targ and J.J. Hurtak Offer Intellectual Roadmap that Leads to Enlightenment and an ‘End to Suffering’ if You’re Smart Enough to Understand What They’re Talking About

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Russell Targ wants to offer you a “Get Out of Hell Free Card.”

A famed laser physicist, Targ later was a seminal researcher for the U.S. Military and CIA’s psychic spying program that developed a human capability known today as remote viewing.

The “Hell” he is referring to is the routine suffering of everyday life. The Buddhists have long pointed out that “everyone suffers” and that “suffering is inevitable.” That includes everyone from the fabulously wealthy and to the grindingly poor.

Getting out of this hell requires achieving enlightenment. That entails the dissolving of the ego-self so that one can embody pure awareness and manifest the universal love that is the very fabric of “All That Is.”

For this book, The End of Suffering, Targ teams up with the American linguist and social scientist J.J. Hurtak Ph.D. Ph.D. (He has two doctoral degrees, one in anthropological linguistics and another in history).

Russel Targ

My sense in reading this book is that it is mostly Targ’s because of the heavy emphasis on the philosophy of Nāgārjuna, the second-century Buddhist philosopher and founder of Mahāyāna Buddhism.  Mahāyāna refers to “the Middle Way.”

Targ is known to be enamored with the teachings of Nāgārjuna. He discusses the work of the philosopher extensively in his book Limitless Mind which I reviewed HERE.

J.J. Hurtak

For those of us who have followed the career of Russel Targ, it’s easy to see why a science-math-engineering kind of guy found the keys he needed to escape his own delusional suffering in the ideas of Nāgārjuna. The Indian philosopher developed a pathway to enlightenment based on logic which can be represented mathematically. The latter is the famous Nāgārjuna Tetralemma.

Some Buddhist philosophers maintain that people cannot “think their way out of their delusions” to achieve enlightenment. Nāgārjuna seems to have done just that, however.

So, before I get too far into the weeds, let me lay out the crux of Targ’s thesis here and then I’ll comment afterward.

Aristotle Ruined Our Lives

Targ explains that our most significant source of suffering can be sourced to the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle who developed his system of logic and philosophy and unleashed it (or inflicted it) upon humanity in the 3rd Century B.C. It especially infected Western culture.


At the heart of the Aristotelian system is the concept that A = A. An object can be identified because an object “is what it is.” An apple is an apple. A cup is a cup. A tree is a tree. That’s how we grasp what something is and so that is what anchors our reality. It seems like just basic common sense. After all, how can an object not be what it is?

Well … stay tuned.

Furthermore, this basic concept caused human beings to see everything in terms of a simple subject-object relationship. A person looks at a tree and thinks in a deeply internalized way:

That tree is over there, and I am over here. We are separated. We each have our own physical properties ….” and so on.

The keyword here is “separated.” The Aristotelian system rests on the notion that all objects are distinct from one another in nature. We exist in the universe as categorical objects cleanly distinguished from all of the other “things” around us.

This leads to suffering because it is a massive delusion, Targ writes.  It’s easy to see why the acceptance of a fundamental subject-object separation model leads to numerous problems that make us suffer in big ways and small. (I’ll give examples in a bit. Read on).

So anyway …

Targ said Aristotle’s A = A universe is a misconception at best. At the very least, it is a highly incomplete way to model our reality. He said Nāgārjuna offers a better way to understand what we experience around us. It’s ferreted out by his tetralemma. It is expressed like this:

All things (dharma) exist: affirmation of being, negation of non-being

All things (dharma) do not exist: affirmation of non-being, negation of being

All things (dharma) both exist and do not exist: both affirmation and negation

All things (dharma) neither exist nor do not exist: neither affirmation nor negation

It can be represented mathematically like this:

x = x  (An object exists)

x – x   (An object does not exist)

(x =x) + (x – x)   (An object exists and does not exist at the same time)

-(X = X) <—> -(X – X) = Ø (An object neither exists nor does it not exist)

So, you might be wondering, if an object does not exist and it also, at the same, is in a state of not-not existing – then what is really going on? How can this explain what we clearly seem to experience every day?

Well, when we see a cup, a tree or a star, we have to think of it as a mutual “co-arising” of experience. That which is “co-arising” together is:

A: Your Consciousness

B: That which you perceive

In other words, nothing can truly exist without the interplay and participation of a conscious observer. I know what some of you are thinking: Isn’t this just simple solipsism? No! In solipsism, only you can be said to exist. Targ is saying that you exist but that what you perceive also exists as long as both of you are working in cooperation to create reality, so to speak.

The Double-Slit Experiment

Consider also that this notion now seems to have been born out by quantum mechanics as most famously demonstrated by the double-slit experiment. I won’t go into that here but I recommend you read up on it.

But wait a minute again! How will knowing this end your suffering?

If you want to know that, I suggest you read the book. Targ and Hurtak roll out their thesis page after page in a layered way in which – if you have the moxie to power through it – you’ll come to intellectually understand what they are talking about.

Be warned, however, that a mere intellectual understanding is not nearly sufficient to end your suffering. The tetralemma must be internalized and then become your default mode of perceiving your existence. If you can get to that stage, you’ll find that, indeed, your suffering will melt away because you are no longer struggling against the universe as an “object” that is separated from all other “objects” and that includes other people.


For example, if you come to understand that another person is not so much an “individual who is separated from you” but that you are both a “co-arising manifestation of the One Being” then you will no longer have any reason to fear, harm, disagree with or in any other way be in conflict with other people. You will be automatically loving and supportive of everyone else because that’s the same as being loving and supportive of yourself.

This is really only one aspect of the benefits of modeling your reality as a mutual co-arising of all experience. For example, the major problems we grapple in the world with today might have never arisen if humanity had not adopted an outlook of reality based on Aristotelian separation. An obvious example is environmental degradation generated by the Industrial Revolution.

Cuyahoga River fire

In the past, it was common for some developer to build a factory that produced toxic waste as an outcome of its process. It was routine practice to get rid of that toxic waste by building a long pipe that led to a local river or lake. Some of us are old enough to remember June 22, 1969. That was the year the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught on fire and burned. It was the result of factories along the river that were willy-nilly dumping whatever chemical, petroleum product, animal waste or whatever directly into the water with a naive attitude of: “Out of sight, out of mind!”

Igniting the water of the Cuyahoga was a wake-up call for humanity. It gave birth to the modern environmental movement and the first Earth Day. In January of 1970 Congress established the Environmental Protection Agency.  And yet, enormous conflict has fallen out from these positive developments, especially the powerful pushback from industrialist and money-hungry corporations who now endlessly moan about “regulatory overreach” and “lefty tree-hugging hippy environmentalists” who want to kill jobs and stifle the glories of capitalism. This conflict adds suffering on top of suffering.

The point is, the pollution of the Cuyahoga would not have happened in the first place if those who did it would have understood the truth that when they poison the water they poison themselves. The reality is that there is no true separation between man, woman and river. The widespread suffering of man, woman and animal would never have happened if this was the internalized mode of modeling reality. The key phrase here is: “The suffering would never have happened.”

See what I mean?

While Targ hammers out his thesis in these pages with his characteristic logical approach, Hurtak takes over in later chapters and brings forth a perspective that is more lyrical and prosy but equally effective.

Together, Targ and Hurtak have given a balanced and comprehensive roadmap for the reader – if she or he can comprehend and internalize what these two intellectuals are trying to convey – that will lead to an “end of suffering.”


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


See Ken’s Reviews of More Philosophy or Philosophy-Influenced Books:


SAURUS by Eden Phillpotts


My Impossible Life by Canadian-born Writer Charlene Jones Offers Profound Insights Derived from Epic Healing Journey

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

This book might be compared to On the Road if Jack Kerouac had been a woman and talented. Kerouac was merely a social malcontent and a drunk. I tend to agree with Truman Capote’s conclusion on Kerouac’s work: “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

CHARLENE JONES, however, turns in a story about an epic road trip that traverses an international path. That path does double duty as both a physical journey around the planet and an esoteric trek into the deeper levels of the soul.

MY IMPOSSIBLE LIFE is not typing. It’s writing.

I would describe Jones’ writing style as organic. Other good words might be earthy, sensual and visceral. At the same time, her result is vivid and immediate with everything laid right out on the surface. Each page will sting the reader with the author’s palpable sense of psychic pain. It’s easy for us to grasp – at least intellectually — what’s generating her agony. At the tender young age of 16, she was abducted and brutally raped and tortured by two escaped convicts.

If that’s not bad enough, Charlene Jones came to this nightmarish experience with a psyche that was already damaged goods. From the time she was a little girl, she had been battered by dysfunctional behavior in her family which inflicted wounds upon her that would be more than enough to screw up any person for life.

I don’t want to give any more away, except to say this book is about so much more than a person desperately seeking an escape hatch from the misery of her own existence. Like Odysseus blown off course and lost in what seems to be a relentlessly weird and hostile universe, Jones is sailing the ship of her life from destination to destination, only to discover that no matter how much she travels in the physical world, she brings her essential self with her.

Namgyal Rinpoche, born Leslie George Dawson 1931-2003

Understandably, Jones was ensnared by a powerful guru. This was the legendary Namgyal Rinpoche, a Canadian man born as Leslie George Dawson in Toronto. He was of Irish and Scottish descent but remarkably ascended to an extremely lofty status of Tibetan Buddhist empowerment. He was given his Tibetan name and designation by none other than the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Dawson taught in the Vajrayana tradition.

The insights Jones offers regarding her years of following Dawson around the globe to partake in his meditation, teaching and healing ministrations should be considered a masterclass in the benefits and deeply dangerous pitfalls of giving over one’s spiritual development to any guru. I think readers will be profoundly impressed by the measured way Jones sums up the lessons learned from her association with Dawson. She fulfills her duty to expose the man where he was a charlatan, a fraud and demented – but also rightfully acknowledges that this can’t be the full story of a person who was, in many ways, authentic and remarkable.

Charlene Jones

The courage of Jones to be unflinching yet fair about the legacy of Leslie George Dawson is a significant illustration of the expanded understanding she eventually achieved about the complex nature of the human condition. Reading this book means we get to benefit from that same hard-won wisdom.

There are so many extraordinary elements to this wonderful memoir that I could pick just one and write my entire review on that. I’ll settle for a couple of highlights and encourage the reader to get this book and discover all it has to offer for yourself.

One primary takeaway for me is the literary skill Jones leverages to craft a nonlinear timeline and weave it together for a story that takes place over multiple years – yet remains a clear and coherent narrative that flows amazingly well from first page to last. This tale has an engaging back-and-forth rhythm that carries us along as if riding in Elton John’s blue canoe — “dazzling, dancing, half enchanted.

In sharing her traumatic experience with brutal honesty, Jones provides us all with better answers to age-old questions like, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Mainstream religion offers pablum, such as, “the Lord works in mysterious ways,” or, “evil is real, and/or the devil is at work inflicting suffering on God’s children.”

Jones is the author of The Stain, a novel.

Jones’ conclusion about what happened to her and how she found the strength to continue on and eventually extract serenity out of the rotten deal she was handed by the universe is not just inspirational – it’s practical. This book has the potential to help uncounted people who are suffering and desperately searching for that elusive get-out-of hell-free card. My Impossible Life is proof that an escape hatch exists.

View at

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


Professor Dave Shoup Reveals Lifetime of UFO Encounters After Long, Successful Career in Academia, Science

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Dave Shoup, Ph.D., enjoyed a long career as a successful academic and research scientist. He earned his doctorate degree in agricultural engineering from Purdue University in 1980. By that time, he already built a considerable résumé working for top-flight companies in the ag sector, including writing computer simulation code for International Harvester where he also worked as a sales engineer.

After he nailed down his Ph.D., he accepted a job as professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Florida States University. Many other plumb positions would follow with A-List institutions. He finished out his career as dean of the college of agricultural sciences at Southern Illinois University.

Shoup was also much in demand as a consultant and scientist-for-hire during his stellar career.

Dave Shoup Ph.D.

But all along, Dave Shoup was keeping a remarkable secret. Since the time he a was a little boy growing up poor on a hard-scrabble farm in Indiana, he was experiencing close encounters with UFOs. That, of course, is unforgivable heresy to mainstream science. As deeply institutionalized member-in-good standing of the Materialist Scientific Priesthood, Shoup had little choice but to keep his high strangeness experiences private and undisclosed.

Doing so has exacted a heavy psychological toll. At times, Shoup said his silence came at the price of “destroying the daily joy of living.” He said eroded his ability to make and keep friends. It put tremendous strain on his personal life and family. He often wondered if he would lose his job, his friends and even his family. At certain times, he felt he would lose his sanity.

Despite all, this book does not come off as a pity party.

The tone is that of a searching, intelligent, inquisitive man pushing on through life, bravely endeavoring to be a normal professional, good father and husband. That while grappling to come to grips with something that simply isn’t supposed to exist – yet it does exist. Despite the enormity of what he is up against, Shoup conveys a certain can-do positivity in these pages, although his sense of deep frustration – and often confusion and fear — is sharply evident.

Shoup encountered his first UFO when he was a boy in 1956. His father shared the amazing sighting. It happened on the share-cropping farm on which his hard-working family eked out a living near the tiny town of Ash Grove, Indiana. Shoup was just a tender five-year-old. He was bringing lunch out into a field where is father was harvesting with a combine. Suddenly, two classic flying saucer disks emerged out of the serve Indian sky to hover near where Shoup and his father stood out in the farm field.

A herd of nearby cattle became nervous and retreated to hide by a tree. Shoup and his father did the same. The disks made no noise. They merely came, hovered for a few moments and went on their way. Young Dave was still too little understand he should have been more frightened. His father was deeply rattled, however, as were the cows. The herd avoided the area thereafter.

Shoup’s father’s subsequent response to the paradigm shattering incident was a common one: He told his son to “never tell anyone and never speak of the incident again.

And so began a lifetime of encounters and secrecy for Dave Shoup. His experiences soon evolved beyond sightings of UFOs to include paranormal incidents of high strangeness. This includes many other widely reported ancillary phenomenon associated with UFO activity, such as encounters with Men In Black, harassment by what seems to be secretive government agents, bizarre dreams and numerous uncanny incidents too weird to describe.

Dave Shoup’s cousin was General David M. Shoup, Medal of Honor winner and 22nd Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. He acknowledged to the author’s father that UFOs exist.

What’s fascinating to me is that books like this one are becoming more common. By that I mean books by ordinary men and women and who have led otherwise normal lives, held down solid professional jobs, married, raised families, owned a house in the suburb – but who have grappled incessantly their entire lives with … with … what shall we call it? UFO harassment? An unwanted affiliation with UFO-themed paranormal activity? — or is it a kind of natural affinity to perceive what has always been there for all of us to see, but for some reason, most of us just automatically block it out?

Other people like Dave Shoup have come forward with similar experiences recently. Just a few examples which I have reviewed on this site include:

Terry Lovelace – Like Prof. Shoup, Terry Lovelace enjoyed a successful professional career. He was an attorney, all the while struggling to deal with persistent encounters with UFOs and related phenomenon all his life. Like Shoup, he “came clean” only after retirement to protect his career. SEE MY REVIEW

Leo Dworshak – A man who grew up on a farm in North Dakota and began encountering a UFO and its occupants in 1932. He led a normal life working in various professions, married, raised a family and maintained contact with highly humanlike alien beings throughout his adult life. Wrote book about it only when he reached his 80s. SEE MY REVIEW

Nancy Tremaine – A woman from a small town in Michigan who encountered a UFO at age 12 and spent her life dealing with encounters involving reptilian-type beings. Did not reveal her story until 50 years after original event. SEE MY REVIEW

Roger Kvande – Brilliant computer electronics developer whose extreme high strangeness encounters began in childhood and persisted throughout his life. Wrote a book about it after he solidified a successful career. SEE MY REVIEW

There’s hundreds of others who have come out with books or opted to talk about their stories in public and online forums. Some of them are famous or became famous because of their encounters, such as Travis Walton, Whitley Strieber, Barney and Betty Hill, Calvin Parker and more.

But it’s folks like Dave Shoup, Terry Lovelace and Nancy Tremaine that intrigue me most because they may indicate a trend. They are coming forth, one by one, exposing what is almost certainly a significant portion of our general society who have remained hidden because they felt they had to – but now maybe the veil is being lifted one “normal, ordinary” person at a time.

It may be safe to conclude that for every Dave Shoup that loosens the lid on a lifetime of UFO contact experience, perhaps hundreds or thousands more are still lurking in the UFO closet. That’s why Shoup’s bravery and this book represents such a valuable contribution to society. It’s one more “guy not so different than me” who has decided he’s no longer content to take his remarkable experiences with him to his grave. The more people like him who come forward, the sooner the world can step out of denial en masse and come to grips with the reality that a transhuman intelligence is among us and interacting with millions of people every day.

Perhaps it’s time for the human race to wake up, graduate and join the Galactic Neighborhood.

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


Plain-Talking, Plains-Dwelling Leo Dworshak Tells His True Story of 1932 Alien Contact in Rural North Dakota

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Most people consider 1947 as the kick-off to the modern UFO era. Two major events happened in that year. In June of 1947, private pilot Kenneth Arnold made his famous sighting of nine objects “skipping along” in the skies over Mt. Rainier. About a month later came the headline in the Roswell Daily Record that the U.S. Air Force had recovered the debris of a flying disk which had crashed on a ranch near Roswell.

It was the Arnold sightings that many argue created the concept of the “flying saucer.” Famous astronomer and skeptic Carl Sagan argued that flying saucers never existed before that and that a closer examination of Kenneth Arnold’s description of what he saw don’t gibe with the objects being flying saucers at all.

In his book, The Demon Haunted World, Sagan noted, correctly, that Arnold described the motion of the objects as only “acting like disks or saucers being skipped across the water.” The objects were actually more boomerang-shaped. It was newspaper reporters who ran with the name flying saucer in their stories. Sagan goes on to suggest this is when the collective psyche of humanity was injected with the suggestion that something like flying saucers existed – and only then did millions of people start seeing them – his point being that they’re not real, but some kind of mass psychic projection, at best.

Ancient cave painting depicting UFO-like object

But since then, many in ufology have pointed to a number of indicators to suggest that flying disks have been sighted long before Kenneth Arnold, Roswell and 1947. Indeed, ancient cave paintings, tens of thousands of years old, depict disks flying in the air, as do artworks from the days of the Greeks/Romans and on through the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

Well, in this book, LEO DWORSHAK, tells his story of encounters with a large flying disk that landed in a field not far from his North Dakota home in 1932. The world’s top math geniuses tell us that’s 15 years before 1947. True, skeptics will pounce and say Dworshak published his book in 2003 so it was natural for him to adopt the flying saucer motif for the purpose of writing his fake or delusional book.

Leo Dworshak

But for the moment, let’s say the hell with the dogmatic skeptics of the Church of Scientific Materialist Fundamentalism and talk about this offering, UFOS ARE WITH US – TAKE MY WORD.

It’s is a marvelous gem of a book that rings with a deep sense of authenticity. It’s written by a simple, honest man who grew up on a hard-scrabble farm during the grinding hard times of the Great Depression. The tone of the narrative is gentle, kind and straightforward. Shot throughout is an understated yet almost beseeching plea for readers to accept this story as nothing but the plain truth.

The events take place on a remote farm near the small town of Killdeer, North Dakota. This is a vast, wide-open area where the endless flatness of the Great Plains of the Midwest began to transition to a rolling hill landscape. The location is within the Bakken Formation which is among the most productive oil regions in the United States. Everything in Killdeer and the surrounding region today revolves around the boom and bust economy of the dirty oil business.

Typical landscape near Killdeer, North Dakota, where the Dworshaks encountered intergalactic visitors. Photo by Jeniffer Jewett/USFWS/Flickr

But back in 1932, the Bakken was untapped. This was farm country; it was sparsely populated and growing crops and raising livestock was just about everything. The Dworshak family were of German heritage. Leo and his younger brother Mike spoke German as a first language. When they went into town, they were teased and bullied for their broken English. They also faced hostility because of the awful events in Europe in the wake of World War I, and the rebirth and growing virulence of the militaristic German state of the early 1930s.

It was one fine summer day in 1932 when Leo, then about age 12, and his brother, Mike, about age 8, were out wandering the hilly countryside near their farmstead when then saw something remarkable. Leo describes their first encounter this way:

“It was a huge, round thing, as big as our barn at least. We just stood there gaping at it and began excitedly discussing what it was doing down there and trying to understand what we were seeing … it was silvery … It appeared to be perfectly round, not round like a baseball, unless you could kind of flatten a baseball a little bit an put a bump or blister on the top, but more round like a silver dollar.  I counted many different colors of light on it that came from a band around the edge.”

Photo Credit: Universal History Archive/Getty Images

This initial, astonishing sighting would be only the beginning of a decades-long series of encounters with this magnificent craft. The experience would evolve from a close encounter of the first kind, to the second and third kinds and finally to a close encounter of the fourth kind.

J. Allen Hynek coined the “close encounter” terms but stopped at the “third kind.” It was Jacques Vallee who later added “the fourth kind” which he described as, “cases when witnesses experienced a transformation of their sense of reality.” That would be an excellent description of what happened to Leo and Mike Dworshak. It is interesting to note, however, that although Leo was transformed by his experience, he managed to remain grounded and led an entirely normal life of a small-town working man. Mike would later die fighting in the Korean war.

Leo and Mike would eventually make contact with the pilots of the UFO. They looked like men who were all-but indistinguishable from ordinary humans, except that they seemed to be near clones of each other. They were also such perfect specimens — with nary a blemish or slightest physical flaw — it seemed downright unnatural. The boys eventually engaged the aliens in intense conversations. The aliens spoke to them in perfect German. Mostly, however, they “absorbed” huge volumes of information via a psychic transfer process. The aliens imparted huge blocks of information and concepts directly into the minds of the Dworshak boys.

Now …

I took pains to mention the Bakken oil fields earlier because it speaks directly to what these extraterrestrial visitors were doing in North Dakota back in the 1930s, according to Leo Dworshak. He said they were deeply concerned about the cleanliness of the earth’s environment. They warned that soon – through the folly of mankind – this area and the entire planet would encounter difficult times because of the intense pollutions that would result from our industrialized, toxic culture.

By Joshua Doubek – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

In addition to the thousands of oil wells pumping crude from beneath the earth, this area of North Dakota is also coal country. Millions of tons of coal continue to be mined here every year and many utility companies –including my own here in northern Minnesota – remain ever eager to buy cheap North Dakota coal-generated electricity.

North Dakota has become one of the wealthiest states in the Union thanks to its vast abundance of super-dirty coal and the billions of barrels of crude oil currently being extracted and still waiting to be pumped out and burned – spewing tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Environmental degradation. North Dakota oil spill burns and fouls the once pristine plains of the Dakota. USFWS photo.

The fossil fuel industry enjoys almost total dominance over the North Dakota legislature and the executive branch – and over the people of North Dakota, for that matter – because so many reap the benefits of the fast money that can be made with hydrocarbon energy. The North Dakota economy has a destructive and toxic addiction to fossil fuels.

From this perspective, UFOs Are With Us – Take My Word takes on the aura of mythical warning that seems timed for release when it was most needed.

Warnings of ecological and environmental disaster has been one of the most common themes to emerge from the UFO community, especially among the abductees. They frequently report that aliens show them intensely realistic holographic videos depicting scenes of horrendous environment destruction.  The aliens say this is to be our future if we don’t change our ways.

Leo Dworshak does not get up on a soapbox to preach or rant and rave about the environmental disaster to come as told to him by the ETs. Rather, the theme is weaved seamlessly into the fabric of the story. The reader will absorb it automatically, almost in the same manner with which the alien visitors caused Leo and Mike to sop up telepathic information.

I don’t want to give too much away by telling you more because this is a slender book of just 71 pages and I eagerly encourage all to get a copy — if you can. I resorted to scrounging my copy via a used bookseller on eBay. I got it for $4. It’s short but has the feeling and impact of a much larger document.  

I put in among that special class of small UFO books, usually self-published by an experiencer, that rise above the normal clutter to become something special. A good example of another is EXTRATERRESTRIAL ODYSSEY by Roger Kvande who grew up in a rural area near the small town of Bagley, Minnesota. I review that book HERE.

Leo Dworshak died in 2007 at the age of 87. He continued to see and make contact with the aliens he met and befriended well into his adult life. He describes his relationship with them as deep and loving friendship. He held the UFO entities in awe, but they treated him as an equal and returned his feelings of profound and abiding respect.

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


Famed Remote Viewing Pioneer Ingo Swann Brings Unique Point of View to Marian Apparition Phenomenon

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

At some time in the future, INGO SWANN will hold a significant place in history. He will forever be known as “The Father of Remote Viewing.” This will be on par with, say, Michael Faraday as “the Father of Electricity” or Max Planck as “The Father of Quantum Physics.”

True, remote viewing is yet to be widely accepted by the mainstream scientific community, but it also took a long time for quantum physics to catch on. Thus, Ingo Swann must, as yet, wallow among the backwater fens of what is called “the paranormal” or “esoterica” or the “New Age mysticism,” or whatever.

That will change, however. Nothing can stop remote viewing from gaining widespread acceptance by mainstream science because the hard data supporting it is incontrovertible. It’s not only a real phenomenon, but it represents a revolutionary leap for humanity thanks to what it implies about the laws of physics and the nature of consciousness. The reality that any human being can remote view requires that we update the fundamental model of the universe we accept today.

Ingo Swann

Ingo Swann died in 2013. As remote viewing continues to gather momentum and acceptance, so does the legacy of this remarkable man. I’ll stop with the discussion of remote viewing here, but no article involving Ingo Swann can fail to acknowledge the historic significance of his contribution to science.

But Ingo Swann was essentially an artist by trade – a painter. It could be said his work for the CIA on the secret psychic spying program was ancillary to his artistic pursuits. In addition to creating art with paint, Ingo Swann had serious ambitions to be a writer and become an accepted, published author. He struggled to gain traction for his literary pursuits, however. A fellow psychic, the famous Uri Geller (who was much better at marketing himself than Ingo), decried the fact that Swann’s manuscripts were “ignored by publishers.” Geller said of Swann: “If you were blind and a man appeared who could teach you to see with mind power, you would revere him as a guru.”

Swann resorted to self-publishing his partially autobiographical, PENETRATION, after it was summarily rejected by every publisher he sent it to. (See my review of Penetration HERE). In conspiracy theory fashion, Swann believed it was the explosive nature of the information in Penetration that caused it to be blacklisted by some powerful governmental censorship mechanism – or perhaps even some deeper conspiratorial group. That’s unfortunate because I think anyone who reads Penetration can understand why this book was roundly rejected – the first part of Penetration is wild and riveting, but the latter part contains scads of utter nonsense about the moon. Ingo was a brilliant pioneer and innovative thinker, but he sometimes veered precipitously into the weeds.

At any rate, today I’m looking at his book exploring the history of Marian apparitions. I’ll say at the outset that this is an absorbing, fascinating read – perhaps mostly because of the subject matter – but also because of the special position of the person who wrote it.  I can’t think of a better person than Ingo Swann to bring a fresh perspective to this vexing, extraordinary centuries-old phenomenon. Ingo’s viewpoint is not ensnared by any religious or theological influence. Ingo was one of the few people on the planet who could look upon Marian apparitions as an aspect of something much larger and more mysterious.

An example of Ingo’s art

I should say, though, that Ingo was not the first to recognize that Marian apparitions might be something other than merely an artifact of that peculiar brand of Catholic pantheism. The astronomer and computer scientist Jacques Vallée devoted an entire chapter to Marian apparitions in his 1975 book, The Invisible College. He called the phenomenon, “the physics of the B.V.M” — the physics of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Vallée wrote:

“We are faced with a technology that transcends the physical and is capable of manipulating our reality, generating a variety of altered states of consciousness and emotional perceptions. The B.V.M. may dress in golden robes and smile radiantly to children, but the technology which “she” uses is indistinguishable from that of gods and goddesses of other tongues and garb; it is also indistinguishable from the phenomenon surrounding the UFO phenomenon.”

Jacques Vallée

Ingo Swann and Jacques Vallée were colleagues. Vallée was brought in as a consultant by Russell Targ and Dr. Hal Puthoff during the development of remote viewing at SRI. Vallée said he “oriented” Swann toward the idea of using the coordinates approach to RV. Ingo then developed coordinate remote viewing (CRV) into a mature protocol. He later trained Jacques Vallée in the use of CRV.

In this book, Swann maintains a measured approach. He simply marches out the facts as they are known from the historical record of these events. He covers 22 apparitions Marian apparitions. He fills in the details of the times and provides us with a background of what life was like in the location where the B.V.M appeared. He then describes to details of the apparitions and the lasting effects these strange events had on the “seers” and the local people, and how the events altered history – and they arguably did so – significantly.

Our Lady of Guadelupe

He begins with the famous apparition of what came to be known as the Our Lady of Guadalupe which occurred in 1531. It happed on Tepeyac Hill in what is now Mexico City. It was 10 years after Hernando Cortez conquered the Aztec empire. Mexico City was the Aztec capital called Tenochtitlan. The apparition appeared to a native Aztec man who adopted the name Juan Diego after the Spanish conquest of his homeland. His birth name was Cuauhtlatoatzin (Talking Eagle). Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin was later canonized as a saint of the Catholic faith. Our Lady of Guadalupe remains a major figure of worship in Mexico today but also has a reputation that spans the globe among Catholics.

Ingo Swann then takes us down the road of history providing the details of the major Marian apparitions that have occurred across the centuries. Each story is deliciously fascinating. Ingo Swann seems to understand that what he’s writing about is already so sensational, there is little need for him to embellish, over-analyze or burden us with added commentary.

Like many people, I’ve long been familiar with apparition phenomenon. Just about everyone is likely familiar with the famous events at Lourdes in France and the mind-blowing happenings at Fatima in Portugal. But after reading the details of each even as laid out by Swann, I realize now I only had a gist about what really happened during these mind-boggling events. I found the intricate details of each case to be vexing, stunning, uncanny and … and … I don’t know, just difficult to wrap one’s mind around.

 Photo captured of Marian apparition taken at Coptic Orthodox Church in Zeitoun, Egypt on April 2, 1968

It also came clear to me just why Ingo Swann chose to write an entire book about his subject – he was present at a Marian apparition himself!

He took part in the incredible events of Bayside, New York, a neighborhood in the borough of Queens. The principal seer was Veronica Lueken, a Catholic housewife and mother of five who began having visions of the B.V.M. inside her Bayside home in April of 1970. The public apparitions would take place on the grounds of the St. Robert Bellarmine Roman Catholic Church.

The Bayside apparitions drew thousands of people but were never sanctioned or accepted by The Church. That didn’t stop throngs of believers from gathering around Mrs. Lueken when she experienced her raptures and reported to the eager masses the messages being delivered to her by Mary. These communications were often bizarre, apocalyptic and smacked heavily of wacky conspiracy theories – subjects which most agreed a simple woman like Mrs. Lueken could not have concocted of her own mind.

Light phenomena captured in one of the thousands of photos at Marian apparition, Bayside, New York

A fascinating aspect of the Bayside apparitions were Polaroid photographs. The Lady herself instructed Lueken to tell her followers to bring cameras. People were to snap random photos, pointing the camera in any direction. Remember, this was long before digital imaging technology. Most people were using Polaroid instant cameras which ejected prints that self-developed in minutes. These, The Lady said, would reveal proof that a genuine heavenly presence was among them. In one instance, Swann stood next to a woman who snapped a picture that showed “dozens of little angels.”

Swann offered her $200 on the spot for the picture! She refused!

I found THE GREAT APPARITIONS OF MARY to be among the most fascinating and absorbing books I’ve read in years. The fact that it was written by the great and enigmatic Ingo Swann is icing on the cake. Keep in mind this book is not grinding a religious ax, and it’s not a vehicle for the promotion of Catholic theology. Ingo lays out the facts for his readers with objectivity – but also with just a smattering of the insights that only the special intellect and perspective of Ingo Swann could deliver.



PENETRATION by ingo Swann


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


Nancy Tremaine’s Second Book, Preordained, Follows-Up and Continues Her Uncanny Story of Alien Encounter and Life-Altering Aftermath

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

For 50 years, Nancy Tremaine kept an astonishing secret.

Living in a small town on the outskirts of Detroit, she was just 12 years old in 1961 when an enormous flying saucer appeared low in the sky in her residential neighborhood not far from her home. Her best friend Cindy was with her – but the two girls were far from the only witnesses. The amazing object was seen by at least three police officers and other residents of Novi, Michigan.

If Nancy and Cindy had merely experienced a sighting – a close encounter of the first kind – it may have been merely a memory for a lifetime. But this was to be a deeply involved event that included the abduction of both girls. For Nancy, it was a highly intrusive physical and psychological confrontation with the unimaginable unknown.

Neither she nor Cindy would ever speak a word of what happened to them to anyone, not even their most intimate friends, family members or spouses – until a half a century later. The weight of this enormous secret exacted a heavy toll on both women. For Cindy, it may have been at the root of her lifetime of severe addiction to alcohol and nicotine, and her death.

NANCY TREMAINE gives all the details of what happened to her on that fateful day in her first book, SYMBIOSIS. (See my review HERE). It’s an uncanny account of nonstop high strangeness which has manifested and followed Tremaine throughout her life and continues to this day.

In this follow-up book, Preordained, the author continues to tell her story – because this is a story that can be truly said to have no end. Nothing ever “ended” for Nancy Tremaine after that fateful July 1961 day, even during her many years of living in denial. That’s why this new book (nor the previous) can’t be categorized simply as a “UFO book.” The complexity and the implications of Tremaine’s experiences are a demonstration that the “UFO phenomenon” has never really been just that. It is something much larger and more profound.

The picture that has begun to emerge in recent years within the UFO community and among those who study such things in-depth is that an encounter with an unidentified flying object is often a kind of symbolic representation of a greater reality. More and more, it’s becoming clear that people who are “experiencers” tend also to be the subjects of paranormal phenomena that run the gamut across a range of bizarre occurrences.

Nancy Tremaine

This can be everything from poltergeist activity to encounters with the dead and visitation by all manner of spiritual or otherworldly beings. Experiencers might hear disembodied voices speaking to them when they are alone or get eerie messages on their telephone answering machines. A common “side-effect” is persistent problems with electrical equipment, including the electronics of cars. Incidences of extremely strange, synchronistic coincidences are brought forward as are chance meetings with “strange people” who appear to be normal folks at first glance, but subsequently, turn out to be “something else.” And then there’s the MIB — Men In Black — encounters that are among the weirdest aspect of the phenomenon.

It is important to note that the happenings can also be positive. Some people have been healed of serious illnesses after their encounters, for example. Others develop loving relationships with the beings that once frightened them, abducted them and put them through terrifying experiences. Many subjects go on to achieve expanded states of consciousness and have Vedic or Buddhist-like enlightenment experiences, such as samadhi or the attainment of nirvana. Another reoccurring theme is coming to view all existence as a “grand cosmic oneness.” Religiously-charged and mythologically-charged occurences might also be viewed as positive — such as the many cases when experiences are visited by an apparition of a “Virgin Mary” or “Goddess Women” kind of figure.

This “all-of-the-above” scenario is being increasingly championed by those have been studying the UFO issue for decades. Prominent figures, such as Grant Cameron, Col. John Alexander, Dr. Jacques Vallee, Linda Moulton Howe, Dr. Simeon Hein and Rey Hernandez are just a few examples of those who concluded that the so-called UFO Phenomenon is a kind of “Pan Phenomenon.”

The Coombs family of Wales experienced intensive UFO sightings combined with wide-ranging, intrusive paranormal activity for months in the 1970s.

We also have excellent case studies of real-life people who live out this Pan Phenomenon. The most high-profile is undoubtedly Whitley Strieber, although his enormous, Hollywood-level celebrity and his relentless penchant for rolling out his story in a chronically controversial manner has made him a favorite punching bag for armies self-appointed and narrow-minded skeptics.

But there are other more down to earth experiencers who have been proven much more difficult to dismiss and attack because they are not celebrities and their cases enjoy the advantage of multiple witnesses and documented physical evidence – two of the best examples are CHRIS BLEDSOE of North Carolina and the stunning experiences of the Billy and Pauline Coombs family during the famous Welsh UFO flap of the late 1970s. But there are many more lesser-known experiencers, as well – such as DAVE SHOUP, PH.D., an agricultural engineer who enjoyed a stellar academic and scientific career while keeping his life-time contacts with UFOs, MIBs and other phenomena a secret. Once he retired and his career could no longer be damaged, Shoup decided to “come clean” in a book about his experiences. (NOTE: My review of Shoup’s UFOs FIRST PERSON: A LIFETIME OF SECRECY is pending).

Nancy Tremaine’s Preordained is an important book because it vividly illustrates yet another person who is experiencing this highly multifaceted Pan Phenomenon – especially since she decided it was time to break her silence and come forward to tell her story to the world. The paranormal episodes she encounters are wide-ranging.

To take just one bizarre example – Tremaine was having a telephone conversation with a friend. She was not touching her smartphone at the time – it lay beside her on a table with speakerphone enabled. Tremaine began to hear buttons being pressed. On the screen, a series of numbers appeared, seemingly at random. But when she Googled the number series it turned out to be a U.S. Patent Office number – it was the patent number for “a movable ground-based recovery system for a hovercraft landing system.” The equipment is associated with NASA’s Spitzer Telescope project and its SOFIA project.

Spitzer Space Telescope

A second series of numbers when Googled turned out to be a homo sapiens gene ID number representing GPAM, glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase, mitochondrial.

Furthermore, the person she was speaking to had his own inexplicable experience while Tremaine was watching the numbers pop up on her phone. He could hear the disembodied eerie voice of a woman calling out numbers — he was alone in his apartment during the call.

Nancy Tremaine relates a number of other high strangeness events in Preordained, and I won’t tell you any more of them here because I don’t want to spoil the book for you. Rest assured, however, that you’ll be vexed and amazed at the numerous incidents of baffling and paranormally weird experiences this woman has confronted and endured.

Former Police Chief Lee BeGole of Novi, Michigan, with the author

Finally, what impressed me the most about Preordained is how Nancy Tremaine illustrates her dogged and heroic efforts to prove that what happened to her that day so many years ago in 1961 was not something she imagined or made up. Her ace in the hole, so to speak, is the 90-something former police chief of Novi, Michigan, Lee BeGole, a deeply respected figure in his community and a man of unimpeachable character and sound mind. Chief BeGole is in a position to verify the events surrounding the 1961 UFO sighting because he directed his officers to respond to the scene when phone calls began coming into the police station from freaked-out residents of the neighborhood where it happened. His deputies reported back to him what they saw in real-time via radio. BeGole also tells of other people who approached him to report sighting the object.

For Tremaine, such corroborating support that a UFO really did hover over the residential neighborhood of her small town on that day means the rest of her story is underpinned by a powerful measure of authenticity. Tremaine called Chief Lee BeGole, “The bravest man I have ever known for putting his reputation on the line for telling the truth.

This review is already overlong, but I must add a final note that’s critically important. Nancy Tremaine does something in these pages I think is vital for people to understand – and that is, despite the paradigm-shattering nature of her experiences, Nancy shows her self to be an “ordinary” and “real” person like anyone else, just trying to live her life, pay her rent, work at her job and go home in the evening to enjoy some peace and downtime.

Without asking for it or knowing why, she was thrust into an extraordinary situation – yet she still must endeavor to have a normal life among everyday people amid what everyone has judged to be societal norms.

For example, she tells of her time working as a nurse’s aide in an elderly care facility and shares her insights at the many absurdities in the way our society handles people who are extremely old and well-beyond having an existence of true meaning. We tie them into chairs or strap them into beds and use all manner of artificial means to keep them breathing and their feeble hearts pumping for another day, even when the extremely aged would prefer not to. (Note: I worked my way through college as a nurse’s aide, so I can attest to the authentic nature of Tremaine’s experience).

Another example is the story of how she adopted her beautiful little black cat, Joy, from a shelter. It seems a simple story, but for me the impact was profound. That’s because this vignette, again, shows a normal person, like anyone you know, doing something kind and simple and yearning for the companionship of a wonderful creature.

So, look around you – and have a care. Always be ready to understand. It may be your neighbor, a co-worker, the check-out girl you chat-up at the grocery store, the delivery man who delivers a package or pizza to your doorstep, or a member of your own immediate family. It might be your doctor or lawyer. It’s possible they’re living with an enormous secret and doing their best to cope with it, even when it seems impossible to know how.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I received an advanced copy of this book from the author for review. Publication is forthcoming via FLYING DISC PRESS.

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


Pieter Elsen Takes Subject of Past-Life, In-Between-Life Regressions Several Layers Deeper in New Book

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Beginning in the late 1980s, two prominent mental health doctors put their careers and prestigious reputations on the line to report on a remarkable phenomenon they had observed in their patients.

One was Yale Medical School graduate DR. BRIAN WEISS who was head of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center. The other was DR. MICHAEL NEWTON, a Ph.D. psychologist and a 1953 graduate of the University of Arizona.

Michael Newton

Working independently of each other, both came upon the phenomenon by accident. The therapists were using hypnosis techniques long respected by mainstream medical psychiatry to regress patients to their early childhoods so they might discover hidden trauma they had repressed or forgotten as adults.

Brian Weiss

Doctors Weiss and Newton were often stunned when a patient would not simply “stop” when they retrieved memories of very early childhood, but “kept going” to describe experiences from before they were born. They seemed to be telling of memories from a previous life. It was as if they had been reincarnated in the classic sense. Neither Newton nor Weiss were familiar with or advocates of the ancient Eastern religious concept of reincarnation at the time.

As stunning as that was for the two doctors, they became even more nonplussed when their patient began to describe an experience that appeared to be that of an “in-between” life state. That is, after the physical body of a previous life died, they inhabited some sort of timeless, nonphysical spiritual realm in which they had time to rest, learn, contemplate what lessons they had gleaned from the life they had just completed. This “space” was also an opportunity to plan for the next life.

Dr. Weiss published a book about his findings in 1988. Many Lives, Many Masters became an instant bestseller. Dr. Newton brought out his first book in 1994, Journey of Souls. His book also met an enthusiastic response. Both books seemed to awaken a latent archetypical “knowingness” among a large swath of the public.

I’ll go as far to say that these books ushered in an all-new mode of psychological therapy — past life regression therapy. Certainly, it remains highly controversial among mainstream science and psychology, but millions of people don’t care about skeptical critics because they have undergone this experience for themselves and have found it healing and transformational.

Pieter Elsen

In his new book, professional hypnotherapist PIETER ELSEN said that he was inspired by the works of Weiss and Newton. He promises in this book to not only build on their works but take the subject a step further to explore deeper aspects and broader implications of past life regression therapy.

He brings a fresh perspective thanks to his remarkable background and life experience. Born in Holland to a comfortable middle-class family, Elsen grew up to attend the prestigious Design Academy in Eindhoven where he earned a degree in industrial design. Even though he graduated with honors, he literally “ripped his degree to shreds” and never practiced his new profession. He was an incurable contrarian. He was repulsed by the idea of launching himself into a life of mundane mediocrity. Instead, he embarked on a spiritual journey of self-discovery. He joined an ashram in France and studied with Indian monks. He also traveled extensively. Along the way, he became a bona fide Vedic holy man which included an 11-year stint serving and meditating in an Indian monastery.

The atman (soul) takes on body after body to learn, grow and evolve

Still a contrarian at heart, Elsen eventually reached another crossroads. He opted out of his role as a monk to rejoin western society. He said that he did not want to “become an Indian” or abandon his fundamental identity as a man born of western culture. He returned from India and found his way to America. He became certified to practice clinical hypnotherapy and completed a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Humanistic Science with a concentration on transpersonal and spiritual counseling.

So, as I said , he makes a bold promise at the outset of this book: To take this issue of past-life and in-between-life exploration beyond Weiss and Newton.

But does he deliver? I’m delighted to say that he does. Since Weiss and Newton, dozens of others have written on the same topic, but just about all of those books are “more of the same.” Elsen manages, however, to break new ground partially because of his hard-won perspective that combines a Western Judeo-Christian orientation with a deeply acquired Eastern-Vedic world view.

Yes, Elsen presents transcripts of regressed clients that are similar to those offered by Weiss and newton, but he goes much further in providing a broad, overarching interpretation of the meanings and implications that fall out of this phenomenon.

Best of all, he pulls it off without preaching, lecturing or “leading the witness” – that is, Elsen urges every person to find their own path in their own unique way. He believes past-life and in-between-life regression can be a helpful tool, but not necessarily required for everyone. He’s a staunch proponent of meditation. Many times in these pages he urges: “Meditate, meditate, meditate.”

While everyone is unique and must find his or her own way, he makes it clear that there is a necessary confluence between the individual path and the influence of the collective consciousness. While every person may take a different path as they climb the mountain, they still do so while embedded in broad archetypes and a kind of implicate order that exists in the universe – perhaps a larger framework we’re all embedded within as both individuals who are simultaneously part of a whole – the essential Oneness of All That Is.

I could go on – I’m only giving you a taste of the many rich and textured thoughts and perspectives that spill forth from these pages. There’s much to be discovered in this fine book, and so it gets my top recommendation.

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



BEYOND THE ASTRAL by William and Susan Buhlman





Whitley Strieber’s Afterlife Revolution Breaks Little New Ground But Is Worthy Addition to Survival of Death Literature

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The great thing about reading a Whitley Strieber book is that you’re getting a Whitley Stieber book.

The bad thing about reading a Whitley Stieber book is that you’re getting a Whitley Strieber book.

I’ve been a reader of Strieber since he published his first novel in 1978, The Wolfen. This was made into a fine feature film starring Albert Finney. His next work of fiction also got Hollywood treatment. That was The Hunger, published in 1981. The movie version featured a megawatt cast of David Bowie, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve.

Other successful novels followed. Whitley Strieber was like a more intellectual and elegant Steven King. His books may not have enjoyed spectacular Steven King-like sales, but he developed a significant following and was considered a premier fiction writer of his time.

Then, in 1985, everything changed for Whitley. That was the year he experienced what could only be described at the time as visitation by aliens, the ET kind, not the border-jumping kind. He wrote a book about it that came out in 1987 – the now famous and infamous COMMUNION. Whitely Strieber’s life would never be the same, including his standing in the literary community.

To add insult to injury to the collective egos of the snobby New York literary elites, Communion sold about a gazillion copies. It parked itself on the NYT bestseller list for weeks. It was also made into a bizarre movie starring Christopher Walken. The controversial American scholar Jason Reza Jorjani called the movie, “a surrealist masterpiece.” It was directed by Philippe Mora.

Communion also sent Strieber’s lofty literary career into a wild spin from which Strieber has never re-emerged. After Communion, he entered the Land of New Age Woo Woo – which can be a lucrative niche in and of itself – but his days as an “acceptable” mainstream author seemed finished.

It is difficult to tell if this fate for Strieber was by his choice or the result of the unexpected furor that erupted over Communion and careened out of control. But consider that he wrote several sequels to Communion. If Communion was an out-of-control situation – Strieber seemed to have decided to just roll with it. He was consciously choosing the path he wanted to take.

He remains a significant figure in the paranormal space – esoteric, New Age, occult, ufology, mysticism, psychic stuff – whatever you want to call it. The thing about Whitely is that his work straddles all these categories. Pinning him down as a just “UFO guy” or a “New Ager” will never hit the mark.

Anne and Whitely

So, this latest book is about the survival of death. THE AFTERLIFE REVOLUTION comes in the wake of the death of his beloved wife, Anne, in 2015. The gist of the book is Strieber’s belief and presented evidence that his wife has continued her existence in the Afterlife and has managed to reestablish contact with him. This book is billed as a bona fide collaboration with the spirit of Anne, who only departed physically. She remains an active, living presence for Strieber today. Anne Strieber is credited on the cover as a co-author.

To be honest, even though Strieber leverages the word “Revolution” in his title, I found very little that was revolutionary in terms of advancing the study of contact with deceased individuals. Don’t get me wrong – there’s some intriguing and authentic stuff offered in these pages – but Strieber offers little (in my view) that goes beyond the hundreds of other books written on this topic over many decades now.

Yes, Strieber is correct in calling it an “Afterlife Revolution.” It’s just that, it began about 150 years ago. (I won’t discuss what the Egyptians were doing in this realm thousands of year ago). In modern times, it was around the mid-1800s that an explosion of interest in seances, table rapping, automatic writing, Ouija board work, trance channeling, spirit writing and mediumship began to spread across European high society and elements of American society.

I’m sure I have read more than 300 books about making contact with the departed. I mention this because a lot of them provide evidence of survival than goes well beyond what Strieber is offering in Afterlife Revolution. I have reviewed many of them on this website. Here are just a few recent examples that you will find here:

RAYMOND or Life and Death by Sir Oliver Lodge — Published 1916

STRANGE VISITORS edited by Henry J. Horn – Published 1871

AFTERLIFE CONVERSATIONS WITH KEN KESEY by William Bedivere — Published 2009

WOLF’S MESSAGE by Susan Giesemann




GHOSTS I HAVE SEEN by Violet Tweedale — Published 1920

I list this short selection to show just a few examples of works that make a more robust evidential case for the survival of death than does The Afterlife Revolution. There are others, of course, such as the work of DR. STAFFORD BETTY of the University of California.

That’s doesn’t mean Strieber’s book is not a worthy addition to the record. Also, because it is a Whitely Strieber book, it’s well written. I found the stories of Anne’s travails as she battled worsening illness and harrowing trips to hospitals and emergency rooms heart wrenching and profound. Whitley was at her side every step of the way and he masterfully captures the anxiety, fear, sense of hopelessness and desperation as it becomes increasingly clear that the days of his beloved spouse’s sojourn on earth are coming to an end.

My heart goes out to Whitely Strieber for his loss and ordeal, and I know all readers will feel the same.

But now a short additional discussion about Whitely Strieber:

I find Strieber to be among the most vexing of authors to read. He has done an invaluable service to his fellow human beings by sharing the sensational phenomena he has encountered in life — for which he has paid a heavy price.

He has been gleefully savaged by so-called skeptics who belong to the fundamentalist religion of material science. Sure, that comes with the territory for anyone willing to write about personal confrontations with the paranormal, but Strieber has been singled out like few others for some of the most vicious, caustic and flesh-tearing attacks I have seen. It’s largely unfair.

At the same time, it’s painful for me to admit, as an admirer, that Whitely Stieber has brought much of it upon himself. For starters, he has made public claims that are demonstrably untrue – such as saying he personally witnessed the 1966 infamous Texas Tower Shooting shooting at the University of Austin perpetrated by Charles Whitman and killing 17 people. It seems clear he did not, and he has changed his own story about the event a number of times. Even his mother said he wasn’t there.

But Strieber has also created genuine problems for himself by seeming to often mix elements of his fictional works with his books of nonfiction. His ever-hounding pack of critics has pointed to specific passages that appeared in his novels which reappear in his nonfiction. (Note: This can be more complicated because Whitley may not view the differences between reality and imagination in the common way — but that’s a complicated issue I must leave aside here).

Another way that Strieber gets himself into trouble – and this is subtle — is that he is a fantastic marketer of himself. Before he embarked on his literary career, Strieber was a bona fide “Mad Man” – as in the television show about the advertising business. I’m not saying Strieber was debauched ala Roger Sterling or Don Draper – but his advertising background comes across (to me, anyway) when I hear Whitely speak or tune into his podcast, UNKNOWN COUNTRY, where he frequently pitches his own books and other things he wants to sell, such as memberships to his Patreon site.

I know what I’m saying is fantastically unfair – Whitley has every right to promote his stuff and earn a living – but when someone is as good at selling,  one must fight off that notion that whispers into the mind: “I’m really being SOLD something here.” Again, I strenuously emphasize that it’s monumentally unfair of me to even say this – so why do I? It’s because my larger point is that — I think the smooth way he pitches his stuff tends to work against him in an unexpected, perhaps even subconscious way in the court of public opinion.

Now I’ll address what is the biggest factor which troubles me the most about Whitely Strieber. It’s the undeniable fact that he is a superb merchant of fear. I think of my sister who once told me that only two works of art prompted her to sleep with the lights on for three months. The first was viewing The Exorcist. The second was reading Communion. In fact, that’s one of the most common kinds of comments I have heard from people over the years who have read Communion. They all say something like: “That book really scared the shit out of me!”

Keep in mind that Strieber began his career as a writer of horror fiction. The Wolfen and The Hunger were not so much blood and gore as they were vehicles of deep psychological terror. But the contract we all have with fictional horror is that we agree to or ask for what is being offered. We willingly plunge into the pages of a horror novel eager for chills and unsettling scenarios – psychologists suggest we like to read horror because it serves as a kind of inoculation against real fear and terror, much the same way a weakened version of the flu virus in a vaccine serves as a prophylactic against the flu itself.

But with Communion, Whitley enters our minds through a loophole in the common literary contract. The work is offered as something that is true and real – and also something that could easily happen to anyone of us. It is extremely difficult to defend ourselves from this form of psychic intrusion. What if it’s real? What if bizarre aliens can come into our homes, into our bedrooms and do anything they want to us – including subjecting us to the most personal and intrusive manner of medical experiments. What if they can control our minds and manipulate every aspect of our lives? Are we little more than rats in a cage for them? What then?

By Calistemon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Even when Strieber is writing hopeful, inspirational books – such as The Afterlife Revolution – he can’t help but slip in an element of visceral horror. In this case, he relates an episode with frightening giant spiders – dripping with evil — which he said appeared over the bed of his wife and threatened to drop down on her sleeping form.

The same is true for another recent Strieber book – The Key. Here Strieber lays out for us apocalyptic scenarios that are unsettling to the core. Massive global warming, floods, natural disasters, death and destruction are part of the message Strieber’s messenger from another dimension regales him with during a series of mysterious meetings.

By Sailko – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

I could go on, but here’s the point: Strieber’s works have injected massive doses of fear into our society. This comes at a heavy cost. The opposite of love is not hate – the opposite of love is fear, although hate is a byproduct of fear. When millions of people are prompted to vibrate the energy of fear, the effect cascades across the collective consciousness of humanity. Think of the way a pebble dropped onto the still surface of a pond sends waves across the whole system. Or think of the way one section of a spider web getting plucked sends a shivering message across the whole network.

For better or worse – and even if we might say he is justified in doing so – Whitely Strieber tends to generate fear with his works, even when he’s attempting to relate us a story of hope and wonder, as in the glorious notion that we all survive death

That’s what’s vexing about Whitley Strieber. It doesn’t have to be that way.

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



Jurgen 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.

Jurgen 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 author’s 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, hyperspatial 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 rendered genuinely meek and 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 approach. 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.


BEYOND THE ASTRAL by William and Susan Buhlman

EYES OF AN ANGEL by Paul Elder

CRASH & BURN by Peter Ludvick



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



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.


EYES OF AN ANGEL by Paul Elder

CRASH & BURN by Peter Ludvick



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



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.


PHARAOH By Boleslaw Prus

SAURUS By Eden Phillpotts


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



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.


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.”



SYMBIOSIS by Nancy Tremaine



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


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


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


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, hands-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.


STRANGE VISITORS edited by Henry J. Horn

GHOSTS I HAVE SEEN by Violet Tweedale

THE BETTY BOOK by Stewart Edward White


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


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.


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.


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



SYMBIOSIS by Nancy Tremaine


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


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.



SYMBIOSIS by Nancy Tremaine



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


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:


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.



SYMBIOSIS by Nancy Tremaine



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


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.

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