Book Reviews Perceptions Magazine, August 2020
Where the Footprints End:
High Strangeness and the Bigfoot Phenomenon, Volume 1: Folklore
By Joshua Cutchin and Timothy Renner
With illustrations by Timothy Renner
Available on Amazon
2020, 316 pages, Paperback, U.S $17.85/Kindle $9.99
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
To begin with, this is not your typical book on the Bigfoot phenomenon. It’s simply not from the standard cryptozoological school of thought or presentation that attempts to establish the physical, biological “missing link” presence of a kind of “hairy apeman” out there on the global landscape, although the authors aren’t denying that such a creature could exist. However, what they have done instead, based upon extensive and objective research and their own field investigative work, is also focus upon the global folklore of such unusual accounts, that go back centuries, and demonstrate how that data possesses a greater consistency with mythology than the field of biology.
What these two authors have done in this cryptozoological setting compares with what Jacques Vallee did with the publication in 1969 of his book Passport to Magonia, comparing faerie folklore with modern UFO entity encounters. The authors are careful to point out that their work isn’t about explaining Bigfoot with folklore, but instead “highlighting the consistencies between folk traditions and Bigfoot encounters.” Just as Keel dared to ruffle the feathers of ufologists half a century ago by questioning the real difference between ghosts and aliens [Strange Creatures from Time and Space, 1970] – i.e., they seemed to possess a variety of curious similarities such as walking through solid walls, the ability to appear and disappear, and communicating via telepathy – from Renner’s own field work he observed: “I do believe that bigfoot or other cryptid creatures may be a possible explanation for many allegedly haunted area.” There are ghostly lights and UFOs often being reported around cryptid sites, plus poltergeist type manifestations, reports of bigfoot appearing and disappearing and even seemingly able to cloak themselves in invisibility, plus the stories that go back centuries of mysterious “women in white” specters and their connection with hairy “wild men,” like Europe’s Perchta, with mysterious “women in white” cropping up at modern bigfoot encounter sites today.
Whether hauntings or Bigfoot, we have reports of strange luminescent eyes as well, odd camera or electronic problems and malfunctions, dead batteries that were freshly installed shortly before, footprints that would discontinue in open terrain, the so-called “wood knocking” verses poltergeist rapping noises, and stones pelting houses or in the vicinity of witnesses. The 1978 Bigfoot case of Minerva, Ohio is cited, as a compelling example. Stones were thrown at the roof of a family by some unseen assailant from a ridgeline behind their home. One family member, a boy then, has claimed that he and others would throw stones up there putting an X on them with a marker and how within a couple of minutes the same rock would come back. “It was weird how that rock would come back down to us that we’d marked and have the exact same markings there.” Even the late Ivan Sanderson, a zoologist and Fortean, had a remarkably similar poltergeist type experience. While critics of a comparison between Bigfoot incidents and poltergeist episodes will typically point out how the Bigfoot often leaves physical footprints behind, Cutchin counters that similar things happen in poltergeist cases too, as with a case in 1956 in London called the Battersen Poltergeist where a large single footprint was found in white powder that had been spilled across a floor. The author pointed out “the lack of a path in or out of the powder brings to mind how lines of some suspected bigfoot tracks abruptly end in the middle of empty fields.”
This is a very well-written and thought-provoking volume that bears profound implications for this area of inquiry.
Granite Skies: A Disconcerted Journey Through the Unknown
By Nomar Slevik
Available on Amazon
2020, 197 pages, Paperback, U.S. $15.99
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
Some may see me as a bit biased to be this book’s reviewer. After all, on the back cover there’s a blurb from me which reads, “Nomar’s riveting narrative makes the reader feel as though they are right there.” Indeed, Nomar has a wonderful flow with words, a kind of literary fung shiu. He has that knack of drawing the reader into a setting that we can all identify with, beginning in his first chapter with, “Our Universe has fascinated scholars, philosophers, writers, poets, mothers, fathers, children and nearly every person from every walk of life throughout humanity’s existence.”
After reading Nomar’s words I was immediately reminded of an interview I had done a few years ago with Jon Klimo, Ph.D., a distinguished author, educator, and retired professor of psychology, who was on the Chair of the Dr. Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial and Extraordinary Eexperiences. I asked Klimo how his interest in such things as UFOs began and he replied how it went back to when he was a young child “standing alone beneath a clear night sky and looking up at the stars and feeling full of awe and wonder. That feeling has never left me to this day.” His words certainly resonated with me and reminded me of my own childhood, standing alone in an empty field across from my home in Maine, immersed in my own state of awe and wonder as I gazed up at the starry firmament above, hit by the realization of how so small I was in comparison to it all and filled with such huge unanswered questions. Next in Nomar’s narrative he describes an interview in 1965 done with Stanley Kubrick, who worked in collaboration with Arthur C. Clark of 2001: A Space Odyssey. In that interview, Kubrick quotes someone [who many assumed was Clarke] saying: “Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
While I believe that we’ve all looked up with some awe and wonder at some point in our lives to the night sky above, most will move on with their lives, primarily focusing on the down-to-earth everyday responsibilities and concerns of feeding our families and keeping a roof over our heads, leaving others, like astronomers and astrophysicists, to continue to ponder and reflect upon the greater galactic neighborhood that surrounds us and the deeper implications of it all. However, some cannot easily let go, and especially those who have undergone life-altering experiences that may even result in traumatic scars to the psyche.
In this book, Nomar introduces us to New Hampshire native Mike Stevens who is one of those people. Commonly described as an “alien abductee” or an experiencer of “non-human intelligence,” Mike is one of those individuals who describes having had, since childhood, a series of anomalous and traumatic experiences with what they describe as UFOs and their occupants.
For Mike, his story begins in South Hampton, New Hampshire, in 1983, at age four. A cousin, about six months older, is outside with him when a low flying silver saucer-shaped craft with a row of windows, and the shadows of humanoid figures inside, silently approaches them, hovering at one point over a nearby telephone pole. Mike’s cousin later has additional UFO experiences and becomes “very open psychically,” which is not uncommon in such situations.
Over the years, Mike has had numerous other encounters and came to develop a support group called Granite Sky Services, a safe place for other experiencers to come together and share their stories, fears, concerns and struggles without fear of ridicule and being laughed at. Mike knows well how all of that wears one down, not being understood by most around you, and feeling the need to keep such memories bottled up inside. Even though a growing number in the UFO community had become close friends with Mike, along with locals who he’d given positive support with his Sky Services program, not so long ago Mike considered suicide. A divorce had added to his stress along with finding himself jobless. Fortunately, he came around and as a result you and I get to read and know his awe, wonder, fear, and pain, and this man’s extraordinary life journey with high-strange experiences, like the mysterious ball of light outside his bedroom window that multiplied and entered his room as shadowy humanoid figures that communicated with him telepathically, coming to visit him at least three times a week, over a nine month span, feeling that he was given educational lessons, though afterwards he was unable to remember the details of those lessons very well. One of the beings, a female, presented him with a small box that contained what resembled an arrowhead, composed of something like crystal or glass. He was told, “This is the key,” though he never came to understand what that meant. About a year later, at another house, he for some reason climbed out of bed and looked out a window to see five black eyed troll-looking beings, looking to be about 3 feet tall, each standing in a circle with a small spade shovel, with a small hole in the ground in front of each.
Such encounter recollections can be so very bewildering, frightening, and seem nonsensical as well, which makes their telling and sharing with others all the more difficult. Nomar also gives us additional background of other noteworthy UFO/alien incidents from the New England region, like the 1961 Betty and Barney Hill UFO “abduction” case [Mike was actually instrumental in getting a petition going that led to a historic marker being placed at the encounter site on Route 3 at Lincoln, New Hampshire], the 1965 Muscarello encounter in the vicinity of Exeter, New Hampshire, along with others like the high-strange cryptid Dover Demon case of Dover, Massachusetts and the Dogmen report out of Palmyra, Maine.
What are we to make of such incredible tales shared by people who otherwise seem very credible! Authors like Nomar and experiencers like Mike are to be commended for daring to push forward with their efforts against society and science’s cognitive dissonance toward such accounts.
UFOs, Armadeddon and Biblical Revelations: Signs, Symbols and “Wonders” – The Whole Truth!
By Sean Casteel and Timothy Green Beckley, with contributions from various other authors like Tim R. Swartz, William Kern, Diane Tessman, Dr. Frank E. Stranges, Prof. G. Cope Schellhorn, Arthur Crockett, Rev. Barry Downing, Nick Redfern, and Gary Stearman
Inner Light/Global Communicatioons
New Brunswick, N.J. 08903
2020, 256 pages, Paperback, U.S. $21.00
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
Having written Chapter 13 for the book Beyond UFOs , compiled for the Dr. Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial and Extraordinary Experiences, I covered a lot of reported Marian apparitional, religious phenomena like the extraordinary miracles of Fatima, Garabandal, Zeitoun, and Medjugorje, along with the huge religious Welch revival during the winter of 1904-05. Those accounts describing mysterious beings and lights are quite similar in many respects to our modern UFO accounts, and even though one frame of reference embodies the supernatural and the other one presumes extraterrestrial technology, there’s a strong implication here that they’re closely connected.
Sean and Tim’s volume here revisits some of those same fascinating situations, providing additional details, photos and illustrations, as well as accounts that I did not cover, such as Sean’s chapter reviewing Gnostic scriptures and apocrypha that describe what sound similar to UFO and alien contact events, along with his chapter entitled UFOs in the Present Day Holy Land; Tim’s interview with Nick Redfern on the “aliens are demons” theory that some have proposed, for which even the atheistic John Keel described as an “age-old demonological phenomena,” and no less than DoD physicists of what was called the Collins Elite saw as demonic activity behind the UFO mystery as well, citing how magick practitioners like Aleister Crowley and Jack Parsons helped to bring in the modern UFO age, along with the early 1950s contactees, like George Hunt Williamson who used an Ouija Board to contact aliens. Sean also presents the views of the Rev. Barry Downing, best known for his 1968 book The Bible and Flying Saucer, in a chapter entitled Other Dimensions, Physics, The Bible and the Parting of the Red Sea. There’s a chapter by one Professor G. C. Schellhorn entitled Son of Man in the Clouds, where he reviews references in both the Old and New Testaments, feeling the prophesied return of the Son of Man “on the clouds” sounded to him like spaceships.
Tim Beckley at times strays from the standard Christian genre of miracles with an interesting review of Hopi prophecies to spiritual aspects to be found in some UFO literature, citing for example the accounts of alien contactee Betty Andreasson Luca and the rock legend Billy Squier who said he saw the “Madonna” on a Massachusetts golf course, and Michael Grosso, Ph.D., a distinguished academic who has weighed in on Fatima and many other mysteries, and observed a UFO display some years back that hovered over a cathedral in Greenwich Village. On the other hand, Tim devotes a good deal of attention [with an impressive array of photographs] on the “Lady of Light” at Zeitoun, Fatima, and Garabandal, and other authors contributed various other angles and aspects too.