Review by: KEN KORCZAK
So SIMEON HEIN is a guy with some serious academic chops. He holds a PhD in sociology which he earned at Washington State University in 1992. He’s into things like nonlinear research methods, statistical analysis and technological determinism.
He’s also into a lot of stuff that makes mainstream scientists grind their teeth, such as UFOs, remote viewing and crop circle research. One is tempted to say that Dr. Hein is himself a kind of Black Swan — you know, an outlier, someone willing to dally with the fringe — or should we say the leading edge?
But first, what is this reference to Black Swan that Hein uses in the title of this book?”
The Black Swan Theory is that which states that certain events can happen that are totally unpredicted and unexpected, can produce a major effect, often hugely negative — but are then rationalized after the fact with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight.
The concept was first put forward by the Lebanese-American intellectual and scholar NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB. Simeon Hein’s book title is a play on Taleb’s 2007 highly influential book, THE BLACK SWAN.
So this book presents a series of case studies of unexpected events that Hein calls Black Swan Ghosts. It’s things that are not supposed to happen, or even exists, yet they do happen and they apparently do exist. An example Hein provides is that of a wonderful Idaho lady by the name of Louise Voves. She was picking huckleberries in a remote rural area with her brother one day in the 1970s when a gigantic “tortoise-shell” shaped UFO suddenly appeared over a nearby treeline and maneuvered around right before their eyes and at close range.
There was no mistaking this object for anything known, man-made or natural. The object created significant marks on the grass below. It was seen by several other witnesses as well. When Louise reported the sighting to police, things quickly get all Blacky Swany.
The police must have informed the military because troops quickly descend at the sighting location and banish all “ordinary” citizens from the area. They tell Louise that she must not only forget about picking huckleberries in this prime spot, but she should also forget what she saw and never speak of it again. Army and Air Force personnel are on the scene for several days, but the incident gets no press coverage and the military clams up — it’s like it never happened.
But wait — this event may be a “Black Swan Ghost” event in itself although it does not constitute an overarching Black Swan scenario.
The singular event is wholly unexpected, yes, but we can’t say it produces a large-scale effect. It’s localized at best. One also cannot say it is rationalized with 20/20 hindsight, although many UFO sightings are rationalized. But the Voves sighting is not so much rationalized as it is denied and covered up, and for authorities, hopefully forgotten.
But If I understand Dr. Hein’s thesis correctly, he’s more concerned about the meta-analysis here. He’s not just pointing to individual cases, but the thousands of UFO encounters similar (and many far stranger) to that of Louise Voves. They’ve been happening from at least that day in 1947 when pilot Kenneth Arnold made arguably the first postmodern UFO sighting report.
Hein says that the way our government, media, culture and society has been handling the UFO phenomenon for some 70 years may invoke a large-scale Black Swan scenario in the near future. It holds the potential to create a widespread impact on all the people of earth. He warns of the possibility of a kind of culture shock that will shake the collective psychology of the human race to the core.
In other words, once day the dam of secrecy may burst. The years of cover-ups, the official lying and overzealous use of the “Top Secret” classification system, the inability or unwillingness of the media to report the story and general public apathy will one day all fall away — the truth will be undeniable — it will be stunning — and our major institutions will be rattled.
Furthermore, Hein says there is plenty of blame to go around — and this is where I give Simeon Hein very high marks, indeed. That’s because most prominent ufologists today keep of a steady drumbeat of blame for UFO secrecy against the usual suspects — the government, the media and the military industrial complex.
Certainly, Hein takes his shots at these entities as well, but consider this passage from Black Swan Ghosts:
“It’s pretty clear that it’s not just the federal government that’s withholding secrets about this issue. The public as a whole wants it this way or they would be demanding more information. It’s clear that the federal government has black budget programs around this issue. However, the public seems to trust that the government knows what it’s doing or they would demand more. They could easily pick up the phone and call their Senator of Congressperson. But they don’t.
“They don’t because it is easier not to know. The public wants to keep ignoring the elephant in the room and then blame the government for the secrecy rather than take the responsibility. It’s just a whole lot easier to pretend you can’t do anything about it.”
Thank you Dr. Simeon Hein!
This is why we need more sociologists in ufology. They have a broader perspective on the complexity of the matrix that makes up society. Government, the media, the military and corporations don’t exist or operate in a vacuum. The general public is also a primary, fundamental player and a key element that contributes to the overall situation as it exists today. Few of our most prominent ufologists today ever make this leap.
This is a juncture where I’m tempted to launch into a more in-depth analysis of the social dynamics of how all this works — but that will take me far astray of what’s supposed to be a book review of Black Swan Ghosts.
I’ll just close with some additional notes:
• An excellent feature of the ebook format of this book are video links to the UFO cases cited. They’re terrific and lend great weight and credibility to the stories presented.
• UFO events are not the only category of example used by Hein to make his Black Swan case. He also takes a look at cold fusion, the overwhelming scientific evidence for biological-microbial fossils existent in rocks from Mars and meteorites, crop circle phenomenon, remote viewing and more.
• Hein writes well. His presents his narrative in clear, concise language that’s palatable to a general audience while also including enough thoughtful, academic gristle to make this a work of depth that challenges the reader and makes a call for action.
• Hein has established an organization he calls the Mount Baldy Institute. Its website is HERE. His YouTube channel also provides many entertaining and edifying videos which you can find HERE.
Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS
All NEW: KEN’S BOOK REVIEW SITE ON FACEBOOK: REMOTE BOOK REVIEWING