Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, June 2018
Reality Checking with Brent Raynes
by: Brent Raynes
Back on July 15, 2009, while participating with a group visiting an ancient Native American site in Portsmouth, Ohio, my wife Joan and I conducted some meditative and ceremonial activities inside of a huge walled horseshoe-shaped earthwork. Before the activities began, I gave a brief talk. Oddly, participants complained afterwards of how it was as though a strange kind of silence had descended over us and even though everyone was encircled around me in close proximity, it seemed that unless I was facing someone they could not hear me.
This was also interesting because before everyone had joined us inside the ancient enclosure, Joan and I had been smudging with sage the grounds and surrounding earthen walls of the site. However, afterwards we realized that we had failed to smudge ourselves first which, as some of you already know, is a no no. So we looked around for the large feather we had so that we could fan the smoke around each other, but the feather, which Joan said she had laid down on a small rug with Indian designs on it, was no where to be seen. Joan and I had both looked all around for it. So we simply used our hands to fan the smoke around each other, and then after we were finished we discovered, lo and behold, that the feather was then in plain sight once again laying upon the rug with native designs that we had on the ground nearby. My wife expressed that it felt to her as though perhaps the spirits were chastising us for not paying closer attention to what we were supposed to be doing.
Later our group met downtown at a hotel restaurant for lunch. Allison, a local lady who had made it possible for us to conduct the meditation and ceremony inside the walled earthen site, had joined us. She had been unable to join us for the ceremony we did at the horseshoe mound, although she had been in a building nearby at the time. My wife Joan sat directly across from Allison, only perhaps 3 or 4 feet apart, and was telling her about the incident with the feather. The following week I was on the phone with Allison and mentioned the feather incident also when she told me, “You know, while she was telling me that I had the weirdest experience.” Allison said she began to feel really odd. “She was talking about that and it was almost like everything started getting really far away. I've never felt like this before.” She worried she might pass out and wondered if she was having a panic attack. “I'm watching her mouth move but I'm having such a hard time hearing her, and she wasn't far away from me,” Allison added.
That night I woke up in my hotel room and briefly, in my minds eye, I perceived a masked face, that I associated possibly with a shaman who was in ceremonial attire. Then I saw blue flames, like you see on a gas stove. Not wishing to disturb my wife who was asleep beside me, I quietly sauntered off to the bathroom and there sat on the floor, and mentally tried to convey a reassurance to what I thought might be a spirit presence – possibly an ancient medicine man – to let him know (if I wasn't losing it entirely at that point) that the meditations and rituals we were doing at ancient sacred sites on the tour were respectful efforts to try and recreate for participants core aspects known to be performed by Native Americans, and I was simply acting as a facilitator, and certainly did not consider myself a shaman or medicine man, just in case there was any concern or confusion over that.
I later learned that Joan and Allison, in their conversation over lunch, talked about their somewhat negative childhood experiences attending church. Allison mentioned how a church she had attended as a young girl had burned down a few years back. Then, when I was talking to her a week later, another childhood church had just burned down!
Sometime later, back in Tennessee, two separate paranormal investigators I was working with (one time when I was present) complained of an eye on their gas stoves being inexplicably ignited. In Mothman Prophecies, Keel described how one night two separate contactees, in two different locations, found the gas jets on their kitchen stoves on and their homes filling with fumes. Naturally, I couldn't help but wonder what caused the church fires.
I was told that strange things, even small balls of light, had been reported at the horseshoe mound site. And even, alas, periods of strange silence – which happens in other reports at other locations where something “paranormal” or “supernatural” may be happening.
A friend of Allison's confirmed to me about the horseshoe mound's strange history. “I told her that many of the experiences you had described were common place and many, many extraordinary phenomena have occurred in the 23 years that my family have been caretakers of that sacred site,” this friend wrote me. “I am Anishinaabe (Odawa/Chippewa) from northern Michigan and ended up in Portsmouth in 1990 as a result of a shared vision. I had no idea at the time what Creator and the ancestors had in store for me and my family. But it was very clear that the mounds and the old ones who watch over it were in control.”
Allison's childhood has some pretty strange memories. For example, one time it was a pretty day and Allison and a brother and sister of hers were coming down out of the woods behind their home, a location they frequently played at as children. Suddenly they observed something most odd. “They looked like human beings, like people, but they had on white clothes and they were in mid-air and they had their hands joined,” Allison told me. “They were in a circle, just kind of floating in the air, and they were like chanting or something, and we just stood and looked at them for awhile and then they just disappeared. We went on down to the house. We told mom and she just kind of pooh-pooed it. But we all remembered it.”
I've come across such descriptions before. In fact, in the Classic Mysteries feature in this issue, by Albert S. Rosales, you can read of a case from Spain of two witnesses who saw floating human-like figures in a circle accompanied by a mysterious “silence.” Author Graham Hancock, in his book Supernatural (2006), reviewed accounts of the “fairy dance” going back several centuries in countries like Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and France. He came to speculate that the so-called “dance” was actually a method whereby intelligent non-human beings might be entering and exiting our world from another dimension. Hancock pointed out that to the Breton people of northern France a tribe of fairies known as the kornigan could take “any animal form” desired and travel anywhere in the world “in the twinkling of an eye.” Furthermore, it was claimed that they could “dance in a circle holding hands, but at the least noise disappear.” [To read more on this, go to my previous Reality Checking column in issue number 118, November 2007, archived from this website]
Allison added that her brother and sister also recalled “being visited by these little people that we thought came out of our bedroom closet.” A few years back, her brother and a girl friend of his were together in a car when they had a pretty close UFO encounter it seemed, followed by missing time. “Neither could recall how they got home,” Allison stated. “My brother believes that he is still visited. It really bothers him. It has really affected him emotionally and physically. He's frightened of it.”
Allison also recalls a time when she was in the sixth grade, probably 1969, the month of December, when she shared a very odd event with her mom and brothers and sisters. It had snowed. Her father was in the hospital in Cincinnati. Her mom had just visited him and had picked them up and was taking them home. They lived on a hill, at the time, and since it had snowed her mother was worried about the condition of the driveway. And so she parked the car at the bottom of the hill. “As we started up the hill we saw something in the sky and somebody said, 'Why are there two moons?'” Allison recalled. “Mom said, 'Don't look at it.' That's the last thing we remember. We don't remember walking up the hill or anything about it. The next thing we know we're all laying on our beds crosswise. Instead of laying up and down we were laying crosswise on our bed. Mom had no memory of this. But it wasn't about a week later, that we started getting these weird phone calls from somebody. He said he had the wrong number. He sounded foreign, like he had some kind of weird accent, and it was a real staticy connection, and one of us answered the phone. Anyway, he ended up talking to each one of us kids and mom – but the weird thing is mom would not normally let us talk to some strange man on the phone. He asked all kinds of weird questions that I cannot now remember what they were about or anything, but she let us talk to him, and he kept calling for about a week. He called the same time every night and I remember thinking that if he knew he's dialing the wrong number why does he keep calling us, and why was mom letting us talk to him?”
Not that far from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the crazy phone call business was documented by John Keel back in the 1960s. “A young woman in Point Pleasant was having telephone problems,” he wrote in The Mothman Prophecies. “Every night when she returned home from work at 5 o'clock her phone would ring and a man's voice would speak to her in a rapid-fire language she could not understand. 'It sounds something like Spanish...yet I don't think it is Spanish,' she complained. She protested to the phone company, but they insisted they could find nothing wrong with her line.”
Keel described how he visited this woman's home and examined her phone, “in a manner that had become routine for me,” he wrote. That “routine” was not your typical one for the average ufologist. When Keel unscrewed and removed the earpiece of the handset, instead of just a small amount of cotton that acts as a cushion for a magnet and diaphragm, he found inside a small sliver of wood resembling a piece of matchstick, sharpened at one end and something resembling a light coating of graphite at the other. She told Keel that no one, including the engineers, had removed the earpiece to her phone. Keel showed it to some telephone engineers who declared that they had never seen anything like it before. Then one day, Keel thought that he may have identified it, but that discovery made little sense either [Other than in the sense that this would later make sense to Keel, the Jadoo author long obsessed with magic]. He wrote, “Years later while visiting a magic store in New York (sleight of hand is one of my hobbies), I glanced at a display of practical jokes and discovered a cellophane package filled with similar sticks. Cigarette loads! Somehow an explosive cigarette load had gotten into that Point Pleasant telephone!”
Sad news my friends! Brother Brad Steiger recently departed this life. Like the old expression goes, “Gone but not forgotten.” His over 170 books and thousands of magazine and newspaper articles delving ever so deeply into innumerable facets of the “unexplained” will continue to remain with us for years and generations yet to come. He was a friend to everyone in the UFO/paranormal field, possessed of a deep knowledge and understanding, with a gentle spirit and wisdom that touched all he crossed paths with.
Obituary of Brad Steiger:
Brad E. Steiger, 82, of Mason City, IA died Sunday, May 6, 2018 at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit.
Steiger was born as Eugene E. Olson on February 19, 1936 at the Fort Dodge Lutheran Hospital to Hazel and Erling “Link” Olson. He grew up as a typical farm boy in Bode, until a near-death farm accident changed his perspective on life at the age of eleven. This out of body experience eventually led him to research and write about all things “unexplained.”
He married Marilyn Ann Gjefle in 1956, with whom he had four children. He graduated from Luther College in 1957, and attended graduate school at the University of Iowa. He taught high school English in Clinton, Iowa before teaching Literature and Creative Writing at Luther College from 1963 to 1967.
His first book was published in 1965 while he was teaching, and he became a full-time writer by 1967. In the early 1970's, he penned a weekly newspaper column, “The Strange World of Brad Steiger” that was carried in 80 American newspapers and publications around the world.
Since then, he authored /co-authored over 170 books which have sold 17 million copies. He wrote many non-fiction books researching unexplained phenomena such as ghosts and U.F.O’s, as well as biographies on Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, and Rudolph Valentino - the latter of which was adapted as a film in 1977. Steiger was married to Sherry Hansen Steiger, an author and minister, from 1987 until the time of his death. Together they co-authored over 50 books, including a series on animal intelligence and miracles. They traveled around the world researching and lecturing, and appeared as guests on many radio shows including Coast to Coast AM, and television networks such as A&E and HBO.
Brad was known for his kind and caring demeanor, keen intellect, and quick wit. Even as his health was failing him in recent months, he made sure that no one left his room without a good laugh.
Brad is survived by his beloved soulmate, wife and partner, Sherry Steiger, sister June (Tom) Krull-Bonderman of Clear Lake, four children: Bryan Olson of CO, Steve (Melissa) Olson of New York, Kari (Daniele) Olson Fusaro of Italy, Julie (John) Tyree of AZ, and daughter by marriage Melissa (Brad) Schoneberg of Mason City; ten grandchildren: Cristina (Riccardo) & Erik Fusaro, Katie & Natalie Tyree, Maya & Lily Olson, Corissa & Cianna Olson, and Sophia & Olivia Schoneberg, two nephews: Kirk and Mike Krull and families, as well as numerous cousins.