Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, March 2020
by: Brent Raynes
I believe I kind of know how a preacher must feel having to prepare a sermon to deliver each Sunday, brainstorming the days before to come up with something unique, original, and hopefully empowering that meaningfully grabs and holds the attention and interest of his flock. At least for my column here, I only have to assemble my thoughts and information once a month.
Though I dress my particular “sermons” up a little differently from month to month, basically I fear that the essential familiarity of these messages may sometimes bore and not sufficiently challenge my readers. When you distill the contents down to their basic composition, my message and its contents, in most every column, can be boiled down to these basic semantic ingredients: 1) It’s increasingly apparent, in this columnists view, that the UFO enigma is best served by delving into our growing understanding of the complexities of consciousness and physics; 2) that we should be taking an objectively grounded multidisciplinary approach that is open to a comparative “connect the dots” kind of study and survey of our data from both within and outside of our main field of inquiry, examining studies and data and dialoging with researchers and specialists from other fields of anomalistic inquiry, be it parapsychology, quantum physics, cryptozoology, and others.
Though many are unconscious of it, feeling they’re embarked on a straight and narrow path to the proverbial truth and that the multidisciplinary path I encourage is like those Christian believers who proclaim that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, which equates to detouring down a forked path that can lead to losing sight of the original path that often initially was perceived as the simple and obvious truth.
Sadly, objectivity and science screams out the need for exploring and examining alternative ideas, concepts, and pathways to the truth. John Keel screamed out “belief is the enemy” because in a belief-ridden field the presumed “truth” may only be a subjective shadow of the full truth.
In what we call the “high-strangeness” aspects of ufology, and other fields of the unexplained, do these potentially interrelated elements loom comparatively. In recent interviews for this issue, examples of such strongly come to mind. For instance, in our interview with Arizona’s Tom Dongo he shares his extraordinary experiences that he has had at the high-strangeness hotspot of Sedona. He’s had, he says, some 400 personal UFO encounters over the last 30 years, often with other witnesses present, especially as a Sedona tour guide for some 23 years. His accounts of the Bradshaw Ranch there in Sedona cover as much high-strangeness as Utah’s Skinwalker Ranch. The Bradshaw Ranch, in addition to UFOs, orbs, and strange humanoid creatures, even had apparent dinosaurs – one that sounded very much like the sighting of two giant long necked Brontosaurus’s. “On the Bradshaw Ranch there was constant activity and we had camera crew after camera crew out there,” Tom said. “I got really bored doing interviews.”
Camera crews came from all over “I had a Japanese camera crew on top of Bradshaw hill, which was overlooking the Bradshaw Ranch, and while they were getting set up I was sitting in a chair kind of bored while they got their mikes, cameras and lights set up. A UFO materialized right behind them. It was all red but it had white portholes on it. I said, ‘Look behind you! Look, look!’ The camera man had a camera on and he focused on it.” Then, soon after that, the UFO “blinked out.” Tom asked the producer, ‘Did you get it?’ and Tom said he replied, “Yeah, we got three seconds of it. Perfect full-frame seconds of it.” While the producer promised Tom would get a copy of the footage, it never happened. Though when it comes to photographic evidence, Tom and his Sedona team acquired hundreds of photos, and the book Merging Dimensions: The Opening Portals of Sedona, just released in its third edition, written by both Tom and Linda Bradshaw, the owner of the Bradshaw Ranch, contains over a 100 photos of apparent craft, strange lights, and even beings. [http://www.tomdongo.com] Tom describes a truly bewildering range of very strange events. From interactive CE-5 type events to incidents where UFOs flew into rock cliffs like they were clouds. “That has actually happened a lot in Boynton Canyon.” Tom described a well witnessed event by a group there of disks flying by them at treetop level up into a canyon wall and how they said it “just slowly melted right into the canyon wall.” Tom even shares some extraordinary stories about skinwalkers and so much more. So give this interview a listen.
Also in this issue check out our interview with Timothy Renner, a folklorist of York County, Pennsylvania who provided us with some very interesting information on his investigations into Bigfoot cases and how that all evolved into some very odd high-strangeness scenarios. "There are a lot of Bigfoot sightings around cemeteries - especially rural cemeteries," he said. "There's something people sort of called the curse of Bigfoot where a lot of people have witnessed Bigfoot and had various tragedies - if not death occur to them." He described how he does a lot of "on the ground Bigfoot research" and he'll usually let the witnesses tell what they experienced, and then he'll ask "Okay, what else weird has gone on?"
On one investigation he was talking to a guy who said he'd seen two Bigfoots on the other side of a pond on his property. He went over there to look around. The witness didn't want to go over there himself and stayed put. Tim followed the man's directions and came to the spot where he said they had stood. He raised his walking stick to determine about how tall they were and asked various questions. Then he looked down on the ground to find a "perfectly clean deer skull." Tim said, "Which is another bit of strangeness I've had in my investigations where I've found clean deer skulls on an amazing percentage of Bigfoot investigations. Not hidden in the brush, but just kind of left out in the open."
When Tim asked this guy "what else" odd may have been going on, the man replied: "Oh well, my house is haunted." Then he asked if Tim wanted to see some of his pictures of the spirits! Tim was like "absolutely"! There were like orbs and typical ghost type images, and then....
"The interesting thing about them is he kept saying 'I think I'm being haunted by bikers. Look at these guys. They're big hairy guys.' And when he showed me the pictures of them, they didn't look like bikers. They looked like Sasquatches. They were very big. Big eyes. He said, 'Look, he's wearing sunglasses.' They looked like big hazy ghostly pictures of Sasquatches. He said, 'I have another one. A spirit manifested in my mirror. I took a picture.' And he showed me a picture of what looked like a woman in a wedding dress. A woman in white and without knowing anything about it he sort of presented this woman in white spirit."
"I was on another investigation in Maryland and again waited till they told me all the Bigfoot stories and at the end of the day I said, 'Okay, what else weird?' and they started telling me stories of UFOs and said their house was haunted and this woman said - again without knowing anything about this, 'One night my husband said he saw a woman in a white dress walk up our driveway and disappear."
Tim found on one investigation of a man who had described several Bigfoot encounters that less than half a mile away there was a pond that had a legend of a ghostly woman in white who supposedly drowned her baby there. Tim described the European legend of the Frau Perchta witch, also known as the Christmas "belly slitter." He said according to legend after cutting her victims open she could then sew up inside her victims rusty nails and dirt. She also had "a horde of wildmen that followed" her around. Also will-o-the-wisp lights that were the souls of children, goes another legend thread. "Many, many wildmen across the world - these folkloric wildmen - have wives or female counterparts that were either white in color or ghostly white apparitions." Tim added, "I think that a lot of these women in white are associated with death as is Bigfoot." He also mentioned legends here in the southern United States and in Mexico of these women in white kidnapping and even drowning children.
So be sure and check out that interview as well!
In the meantime, I’ll be speaking for a local branch of IONS [Institute of Noetic Sciences] on Sunday, March 22nd, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., at the Bellevue branch library at 720 Baugh Road, in Nashville, TN.
Also I’m going to be speaking at the Strange Realities conference in Nashville too on Friday, September 25. This will actually be a two day conference and will extend to the 26th. There’s going to be quite a gathering. I know that Tennessee MUFON state director Angelia Sheer will also be speaking at this event, as well as long time UFO researcher and author Allen Greenfield, who has been in the UFO field longer than me or Angelia. Plus a variety of other great speakers covering UFOs, cryptozoology, the paranormal, etc. Here’s a link to all of the pertinent details.
THE PASSING OF CAROL HILBERG
As many of you know long-time ufologist Rick Hilberg of Cleveland, Ohio, is a frequent contributor to Alternate Perceptions. He’s been actively involved in the UFO scene for many years, becoming hooked on the subject after attending his first UFO meeting back in December 1958. His wife Carol was right in there with him since their marriage, actively helping with his ufological work. Sadly, Rick suffered the devasting loss of his lovely wife Carol recently on December 30, 2019. While it was still understandably quite emotional for him to do, Rick recalled these details of Carol’s involvement with this work:
“Carol had helped me off and on ever since our marriage with my various publications back in the 1970s and '80s, as well as doing coordinating work for the National UFO Conference with chairman Jim Moseley right from the start. She took over as Managing Editor of Flying Saucer Digest full time (as well for the various booklets and specials that we published back then) in 1990 right through our retirement in 2018. From that time up until the end she must have processed several thousands of pages for FSD, Weirdology, as well as the scores of booklets that we did. She was also basically the proofreader and de facto "secret editor." I couldn't have done all this without her help every step of the way.”
A few months before her passing, Rick and Carol had been working together on a booklet to be entitled “Advent of the Flying Saucers.” Rick wrote that that will now become a multi-part series of articles for AP. We certainly look forward to reading it!
“The photo shows Allan Manak, Jim Moseley, yours truly and Carol at the delegate dinner for the 1994 National UFO Conference in Cleveland.”