International Ace Reporter of the Paranormal
By Brent Raynes
Scott Corrales is a name that has become very familiar to those of us who study reports of UFOs, cryptozoological oddities like “Mothman” and the “Chupacabra”, animal mutilations, and other very strange paranormal phenomena. As the founder and director of the Institute of Hispanic Ufology and the editor of Inexplicata, he has become especially well known for bringing to the English-speaking world thousands of high quality high-strangeness accounts from the Spanish speaking countries of Spain, Puerto Rico, Central and South America – always presenting us with fascinating and riveting reports that we otherwise would often likely miss. Thus Scott Corrales provides us an invaluable service and has earned a sterling reputation as a serious, dedicated, hard-working and credible investigative journalist of the paranormal.
Inspite of his major contributions through the years, this acclaimed author of Chupacabaras and Other Mysteries, Flashpoint: High Strangeness in Puerto Rico, and Forbidden Mexico has only been featured in one print interview before this, and that was in Argentina back in the late 1990s. We therefore rejoice with glee as we correct this enigmatic oversight by doing this exclusive interview with this ace reporter of this world’s many real-life enigmas!
Brent Raynes: Scott, please tell us a little about yourself. Who is Scott Corrales? What makes him tick, what is he like, and what does he do for a living when he's not writing a New York Times bestseller and making millions on royalties?
Scott Corrales: Ha,ha! I’ll get back to you on the bestseller and the royalties in 20 years. Actually, that’s the toughest question to answer. I’m pretty much the mild-mannered reporter type, with a fondness for ancient history, music (most but not all) and domestic felines. Most people who know me are startled to realize that I write about UFO / paranormal subjects. My close friends and relatives know me as a science fiction enthusiast of the classic variety – old authors like E.E. “Doc” Smith, Jack Vance and F.M. Busby – and a restless seeker of old pop songs (50s, 60s, 70s). I had a normal, sunny childhood nurtured by intense TV viewing – an appetizer of cartoons followed by a main course of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”, “F-Troop”, “Star Trek” (although I didn’t become a Trek fan until I was much older) and other shows. My first exposure to UFOs was a kids’ book series called “Little Big Books”, and one of the volumes pitted Mickey Mouse and Goofy against “The Flying Pancake” – a garden-variety flying saucer and its occupants. The first thoughtful article on the subject I read would’ve been in 1969 when my family moved to Mexico City: it was in a publication called “Strong” and featured – amid various European comic characters – a little article bearing the title “De veras existen los platillos voladores?” (Do flying saucers really exist?) and I was hooked. I would pester my grandmother for two pesos every Wednesday (sixteen US cents in the old exchange) to buy DUDA, a lurid magazine on the paranormal, which served as a primer to serious research: Betty and Barney Hill’s “interrupted journey”, the Cisco Grove incident, the life and times of Edgar Cayce, were all rendered in adult comic book form. The visuals were so powerful that I can still conjure them up forty years later. There was great respect toward the subject at the time, and getting books on UFOs was something even working adults couldn’t afford, since they were mostly expensive imported hardcovers, translations of John Fuller, Donald Keyhoe and others, published by Plaza y Janés in Barcelona. Luckily, the young and impecunious could purchase little paperbacks that gave one the gist of the thing...I still have some of them.
Brent Raynes: Of course, as a fellow editor and writer I know making millions on royalties is a common myth of people who don't know what the real world of writing is about. Too many people seem to think if you've had a book published you must have made good money. Those people just don't know!
Scott Corrales: Absolutely. I had a romantic and wrongheaded idea of what being a writer was, and I can blame British fantasist Michael Moorcock for it! He wrote something about his past as an editor, when he would just peck away at a typewriter, delivering entire books over a weekend and walking away with a pay packet. Now that’s science fiction right there. I’ve never had much luck with books – they’re more like murals, and I paint miniatures. Thanks to the Internet nowadays we’re reaching a lot more people than we could ever imagine in the past. Even in PDF format, you really have to want to read the book, but an article or essay can be quickly read off the screen, and thousands do, all over the world. That’s what I find immensely satisfying in the age we live in: that we’re able to reach people who might otherwise not be able to have access to books or magazines, and who may well be the next generation of worldwide UFO / paranormal researchers.
Brent Raynes: Obviously, I'm sure, what you do as a writer, an editor, and a researcher you do out of genuine curiosity to try and learn more and better understand certain things. Please share with us how you got into studying all of these strange anomalous reports of UFOs, cattle mutilations, mysterious entities - the majority of which you obtain and translate into English from foreign countries.
Scott Corrales: Backtrack to 1975. The sheer intensity of UFO activity at the time – the availability of magazines, books, fanzines and the odd documentary – made me want to become active in the field, and I was pretty much at the time scrap booking intensely, clipping any UFO story that might be in the papers at the time. I undertook my first serious translation effort at the time, transcribing into English the entire text of the first and most memorable documentary on UFOs of the time: Jorge Marquina’s “Ovnis sobre Puerto Rico: documento confidencial” which tried to present not only the events of the then recent Puerto Rican saucer flap of 1972-73, but to present a history of the phenomenon going back to Biblical times. You can go to the island and ask most people of a certain age if they remember the documentary and the impact it had on the population. Some kids were positively terrified not only by the stories, but by the bizarre Moog-type soundtrack that accompanied the narration. So there I was transcribing this entire documentary into a spiral bound book, illustrating it as I went, asking people for their own recollections of the time and adding them as sidebars. But I lost interest in the phenomenon after Spielberg’s CE3K opened in 1978...now everyone was into the subject, and everything was a UFO: aircraft navigation lights, clouds, you name it. So I threw all of that away (I now regret it) and got on with the business of growing up.
Ten years later I pick up a copy of Jacques Vallée’s Dimensions and find out that Salvador Freixedo’s masterpiece, Defendámonos de los dioses (Beware of the Gods) remains untranslated. I took it upon myself to track down all of Freixedo’s books and translate them, which is how I became actively involved in the UFO field again. I received a lot of encouragement from people at the time – our dear mutual friends, Bert Schwarz and Max Edwards – and a great deal of correspondence from people actively wanting to read Freixedo’s works. In the end only one was published – Visionaries, Mystics and Contactees – thanks to the good offices of the late Ron Bonds and IllumiNet Press. At that point, I put out SAMIZDAT, my own newsletter, and started writing original material. Talking about money, I still have the first dollar I was ever paid for a newsletter. It came from Patrick Huyghe over at The Anomalist.
One thing led to another – books, radio interviews, a few times on TV - and my colleague Dr. Rafael Lara said that it would be a good idea to set up a “virtual institute” of ufology, much like one of the cryptozoological ones he belonged to. That’s how the Institute of Hispanic Ufology was born, with its network of collaborators in nearly all the Spanish-speaking countries, with the exception of Equatorial Guinea. Our correspondents are exceptional, being recognized authors in their own right, and not all of them published exclusively in the UFO field. You have Dr. Lara, a cryptozoologist who worked on the Tecolutla sea monster case, Manuel Carballal in Spain, who has to be the world’s best-traveled researcher, Guillermo Gimenez of the Planeta UFO project, Ana Luisa Cid, Lucy Guzmán, José Martínez, Carlos Iurchuk – all of them level-headed and a joy to work with.
Brent Raynes: Scott, please also tell us about your publication and the books you've written, and what you hope to accomplish with your studies.
Scott Corrales: I’ve only written three books: Chupacabras and Other Mysteries (1997), Flashpoint: High Strangeness in Puerto Rico (1998) and Forbidden Mexico (2000). I’ve written tens of dozens of articles in both Spanish and English, appearing on both sides of the Atlantic and as far away as Australia and Japan. I was working on a fourth project a few years ago: ufological history of the Spanish-speaking world, but couldn’t get beyond the first two chapters, which are available online as monographs. What I hope to accomplish is exactly what I set out to do in 1988 or ’89: to make English-reading audiences aware of the wealth of UFO and paranormal evidence emerging from Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain. Have I been successful? Yes and no. My opinion – and it’s only an opinion – is that this field is best approached in written form, where a reader can reread the facts over and over again, accepting or rejecting them at his or her leisure. But commercial pressures and vanity (why not?) are pushing the field into the field of television, where it quickly degenerates into entertainment, and not very good entertainment at that. How many times, for instance, can you have the protagonists of a paranormal show say: “What was that?!?” before cutting to commercials? Magazines, journals and newsletters, whether online or in print, allow our field to flourish. And I hope that there’s a resurgence in printed ufology, despite the commercial pressures we’re under.
Brent Raynes: What researcher/author of UFOs or the paranormal perhaps most influenced your decision to get involved in all of this?
Scott Corrales: I’m visualizing a throne with two figures standing beside it, looking at it. One of them is John Keel; the other is Salvador Friexedo, and they each want the other to take a seat. “You first..no,no...you – I insist” that sort of thing. I would have to credit these giants of unorthodox thought with my reason for pulling up a chair to the vast, contentious round table of UFO / paranormal research. What hit me between the eyes in 1976 was reading the first few pages of “The Mothman Prophecies”, when Keel states unequivocally that “belief is the enemy.” Chilling words, especially if you’re exactly the person he’s describing – the avid consumer of science fiction and imaginative media in general, all too ready to embrace alien spaceships, far-off planets, an intergalactic confederation favorably disposed toward humanity. If “belief is the enemy” is Keel’s maxim, then Freixedo’s would be “never surrender your mind to anyone” – spoken like a true former Jesuit priest. Whatever masquerades behind the spaceships and aliens wants us to play along, for its own benefit.
Brent Raynes: Scott, what sort of conclusions - tentative or otherwise - have you reached through the years about all of these things?
Scott Corrales: The universe is like an apartment building or co-op, with many floors. Beings that we may never see at all, or see more often than we care to, share the elevator ride up or down, or use the building’s lobby as a common meeting place. But we’re largely ignorant about what’s going on in floors other than our own. I’m convinced of the interdimensionality of the phenomenon. I think I may have used this simile before, but certain denizens of the universe may have the ability to simply cross from one level of existence to the next, in the same way that a fish may wonder how humans – aided by certain gear – can enter the ocean, exist under it for a given amount of time, and then return to dry land. Scientists and skeptics find this notion fanciful, I understand, but until the trade delegation from Tau Ceti arrives, I’m sticking to it.
Brent Raynes: What have been some of your favorite cases that you’ve come across in your studies?
Scott Corrales: Favorite cases? Right off the bat I can tell you that any cases involving winged humanoids. Mothman, etc., are the first to capture my attention. Of those I’d say the 1966-67 Mothman sightings are, of course, the most significant. When it comes to UFO cases, it would be a CE-3, definitely the Cisco Grove case I mentioned elsewhere. A truly dramatic case that I think is probably unknown to newcomers to the field.
Brent Raynes: Have you yourself had any UFO and/or paranormal experiences yourself?
Scott Corrales: I’ve always said that I’d never admit to having a UFO experience unless I saw some sort of structured craft at low altitude, treetop level if possible. I’ve seen a lot of strange lights over the years, including a purple orb vanishing into a cloud bank in Puerto Rico. Said orb did not emerge on the other side of the cloud. A number of winters ago I was looking at Saturn through binoculars when a small bright object zipped across my field of vision – fast but very deliberate, like a speedboat. More than likely it was a satellite of some sort.
Brent Raynes: Well Scott, I guess this about concludes our interview. I sincerely appreciate you taking this time to talk with us. I’ve really enjoyed it.
Scott Corrales: Thanks Brent! I look forward to seeing it on screen.