Book Reviews Perceptions Magazine, October 2018
Our Two-Year Investigation of the Most Haunted Library in North Carolina
by Tonya & Joey Madia
Visionary Living Publishing/Visionary Living, Inc.
New Milford, Connecticut
2018, 190 pages, Paperback, U.S. $19.95
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
An extraordinary husband-and-wife paranormal investigative team share a fascinating and detailed account of their 75 visits, covering two-years worth of comprehensive investigations into the very haunted Webb Memorial Library located in Morehead City, North Carolina. Construction on the building began back in 1929, by one Earle W. Webb, Sr., and initially it housed doctors' offices, a garment factory training facility, and a small library established by the Morehead Woman's Club. In 1936, the Webb's dedicated this building as the Earle W. Webb Jr. Memorial Library and Civic Center in honor of their son who had died unexpectedly of a lung infection at age 19.
Tonya and Joey both had dealings with the paranormal, in a variety of shapes and forms, prior to their first visit to the Webb library in May 2016. Those earlier paranormal experiences without question helped to prepare this couple for the high strangeness encounters and interactions they would have during their two-year investigation of this extremely haunted North Carolina library. Tonya had a grandmother who was a medium, and Tonya remembers experiencing the paranormal herself as early as age five. Joey's personal experiences with the paranormal began as a sophomore in high school when he and others had negative experiences with an Ouija board.
Tonya and Joey have learned that the paranormal is everywhere. Wherever they go, whereever they live, they become aware of paranormal activity – of the presence of spirits. “We have experienced 'haunting' activity in every house we have lived in,” they wrote. “It took years for us to understand that the whole world is 'haunted.'” Tonya had a “time slip” experience (she was later to learn it was called) in Arizona in 1991, where she and a friend stopped at a small diner to have lunch, only to discover later that this place didn't exist! In August 2009, Tonya and Joey saw a black shadow-like figure cross the road a few hundred feet ahead of them and disappear at the edge of a cornfield as they were returning from a brief visit to the old TNT site headed back to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, a region made popular by the writings of John A. Keel's The Mothman Prophecies. Oddly, they could not account for some 45 minutes of missing time, and Joey was convinced that just prior to seeing the shadow-like entity that there was a gas station with colorful triangular flags connected between light poles in the parking lot, but later they found it didn't exist! In addition, both Tonya and Joey had been sure that there were cornfields on both sides of the road at the site, but there wasn't. Instead there was a cornfield on one side and a house on the other. There was a small group of trees next to that house that, they wrote, “produced some interesting electromagnetic frequency (EMF) readings.”
Though they had experienced ghosts and other paranormal phenomena at many other locations prior to their arrival in Point Pleasant, they came to feel that this small West Virginia river town had opened them up to a “whole new range of phenomena” that they'd recognize in their investigations years later at the Webb library. Besides incredible experiences with classic ghostly manifestations at the library, the Madia's and others also confronted non-human entities. Tonya provides a sketch of a hairy “interdimensional” she saw with a guest, and described how it had sharp teeth, claws, and pointed ears, and then too, there were disturbing encounters with paraphysical MIB types, who seemed adept at interferring with “spirit box” communications. Plus too, from time to time, there seemed to be rather coincidental UFO activity nearby. In addition to sharing many fascinating paranormal experiences at the Webb library and other locations through the years, Tonya and Joey also provide great instructions and examples of what methods and mindset works most effectively in the field, often using personal accounts of their own work in the paranormal field, illustrating what works and doesn't work.
Ages of the Giants:
A Cultural History of the Tall Ones in Prehistoric America
by Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer
Serpent Mound Books & Press
351 Horner Chapel Road
Peebles, Ohio 45660
2017, 316 pages, Paperback U.S. $25.00
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
Frequent contributors to Alternate Perceptions, authors Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer have a sterling reputation for accuracy and are regarded as strict sticklers for detail, unafraid to objectively attempt pursuit of evidence irregardless as to its popularity and approved sanctioning with official establishment sources. In 1903, Czech-born anthropologist Ales Hrdlicka joined the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology, and within a few years he was challenging anyone who expressed views contrary to his own rigid perspectives. On one occasion, during a visit to the University of Cambridge, he burst into the class room of Dr. Louis Leakey and accused him of “preaching heresy” because he had told students that man must have arrived in the New World at least 15,000 years ago, whereas he (Hrdlicka) had concluded prehistoric people had arrived here exclusively from Asia a mere 3,000 or 5,000 years ago. Hrdlicka also became the first “giant denier,” claiming that such reports were “exaggerations” originating from amatuers.
Of course, today we know that Dr. Leakey was right and Hrdlicka was wrong, and while the authors of this book will admit that many “giant” reports are exaggerated or misrepresented, there also exist many credible reports originating from primary sources that included data compiled by the Smithsonian, antiquarians, as well as more modern archaeological reports, and a good number of these reports are presented in this book as well.
Interestingly, the authors point out how Hrdlicka played a prominent role in international eugenics, a role that reflected a kind of scientific racialism where some European and American people perceived themselves as an elite class that felt themselves superior to others. They even point out how such a long standing tradition may have helped fuel the Nazi horrors of World War II.
The authors also explore other early beliefs regarding the mound builders, like an antiquarian named William McAdams, who conducted the first professional survey of Cahokia, and who in 1887 had a book published entitled, “Records of Ancient Races of the Mississippi Valley,” writing in one of it's chapters how many symbols of the Mississippi Valley's Mound-Builders likely were derived from Masonry. Even Helena Blavatsky's Theosophical writings are described and shown how they had a significant impact on racial mysticism of Aryans that led to the emergence of Germany's Third Reich.
Jason and Sarah have compiled here a comprehensive and thought-provoking volume of information on prehistoric America, carefully citing their sources, with page after page of photographs and illustrations, that includes remarkable recreations of living Adena and Hopewell people by artist Marcia K. Moore derived from actual skeletal remains. This book represents a decade of research, wherein the authors poured through thousands of pages of archaeological data, and visited numerous ancient sites themselves. They delved into shamanic beliefs, burial ceremonialism, cosmology, how conical mounds of the Adena may have symbolized the axis mundi, drawing comparisons from other shamanic cultures the world over.
Military Encounters with Extraterrestrials:
The Real War of the Worlds
by Frank Joseph Bear & Company
One Park Street
Rochester, Vermont 05767
2018, 320 pages, 6 x 9, U.S. $20.00
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
Frank Joseph, formerly the editor-in-chief of Ancient American magazine (1993-2007), is yet again another author who has devoted yet another UFO book to cases that suggest hostile intention on the part of the pilots or intelligences operating these mysterious otherworldly seeming aerial craft. I appreciate some others like the late Bob Pratt's UFO Danger Zone that present new, unique and personally investigated cases of this type. I see the Captain Mantell's plane crash in Kentucky on January 7, 1948, is still making the rounds as a UFO caused crash, though I long ago accepted the probable explanation for this tragedy was likely that Mantell had gone too high up, became oxygen deprived (his F-51 aircraft did not have oxygen tanks onboard), passed out, and crashed – all while in pursuit of a possible skyhook balloon, or Venus as Hynek suggested at the time. Joseph acknowledges those theories, but speculates something else happened that had more of an “extraterrestrial cause” behind it. Then too Joseph cites the heavily rehashed Roswell saucer crash also, and I've frankly been quite cautious over this and similar accounts through the years as well. I can't help but wonder if John Keel was not right in his assessment of it possibly having been a Japanese Fugo balloon. Or if not that, perhaps it was something else our government was wanting covered up at the time.
Now the World War II “foo fighter” reports and a good number of other military reports through the years, described in this book, do seem to be, in quite a number of instances, genuine anomalies. Of course, all UFO reports deserve serious scrutiny and review, and I was intrigued to read of UFO activity described near Maine's Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on April 14, 1917 in which soldiers fired at some airborne unknown! I'd like to know more about that case, and may do some further research on it myself since I'm from Maine originally. That story especially caught my eye, and there are many more to read, ponder and wonder about. Any time a book makes you think and question about things I'd say the author is doing their job. But, alas, we should always be questioning and discerning, and always striving to make sure that our interest in the stated evidence is rewarded by what appears to be fairly substantial and strong evidence, that can be researched further if the reader is interested in doing so. Each chapter is referenced with source information, which is helpful for the reader who might actually wish to research the data presented in this book further. And, after all, most readers of this book are going to likely be UFO buffs, people who are hopefully willing to delve deeper and do a little more reading and research. A “real war of the worlds” claim is a pretty bold and sensational subtitle. The UFO mystery has been with us for centuries and centuries it appears. If there really existed an extraterrestrial threat it seems we'd at least be living in an Alien Nation – or in a conquered state. Take your pick.
I do believe something very strange and indeed quite anomalous is going on. However, I feel like many UFO authors and researchers need to pull back from so much conspiracy “war of the worlds” thinking.