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Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, September 2018

Reality Checking with Brent Raynes

by: Brent Raynes

Does Ufology hang by a thread?

A memorable quote from a letter John A. Keel personally wrote me back on November 23, 1970, shared how one had to “peel away layers and layers of nonsense to get at the 'truth.'” And then he added this: “And that 'truth' is very disappointing indeed. Rather like finding out that the magician performs a marvelous magic trick with a piece of black thread.”

Recently pressed on the matter of alleged ET contactee events, my psychologist friend Dr. Greg Little and a regular contributor to this magazine described such events as an “interaction among several factors” which he summed up as “brain chemistry, subtle energies, and various cultural factors.”

“I am certain that not a single contactee story was the result of alien ET contact,” he concluded. “But some of the stories come from contact with subtle energies that have an intelligence and purpose.” Greg has previously described and outlined his thoughts on this matter in this magazine, as well as in his books The Archetype Experience (1984), People of the Web (1990), Grand Illusions (1994), and Andrew Collins' LightQuest (2012). John Keel and Greg had also privately communicated on this matter, how intelligent electromagnetic energies associated with UFO appearances and even some of the reported, seemingly interrelated “paranormal” manifestations and effects, could be a part of this whole bewildering puzzle.

Is the “black thread” here the misunderstood antics and possible manipulations (by what Keel termed “ultraterrestrials”) of the EM spectrum? This is certainly an aspect that Keel directed a great deal of his attention in his books Operation Trojan Horse (1970) and The Eighth Tower (1975).

The contactee stories can become very puzzling and complex. Keel struggled to untangle the meaning behind such accounts, an effort well reflected in his privately circulated newsletter Anomaly (#2) back in September 1969, wherein he described one of two major reactions that are frequently reported during the intial encounter event, being either extreme fear, bordering on hysteria, or complete euphoria. Following this, Keel noted, was possible “expansion of awareness and perception”, as well as rapid deterioration of personality. He wrote how with the “expansion” phase the subject may gradually develop “higher IQ” as well as “heightened perceptions in all areas,” including “ESP abilities.”

Keel noted a disturbing pattern though with the expansion factor, and that was how after a time the heightened perceptions could lead to “a slow deterioration of personality,” and how the “contactee” could begin to suffer confabulation, develop obsessive-compulsive traits, becoming very preoccupied with the experience in a way similar, he pointed out, to religious fanatics, writing how they might become like “space age messiahs” striving to advance the proverbial “cause.”

Interestingly, sometime back, Montague Ullman, M.D., director of Parapsychology and Psychophysics at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York (sr. “Psychic” magazine, Feb. 1974) noted: “... there are certain individuals who as they approach a psychotic break apparently manifest psi sensitivity that is then lost should an actual psychotic break occur.”

The challenge for the investigator confronted with such situations is to determine which came first, so to speak, the chicken or the egg. Investigators have struggled to determine that for some years now. Robert Anton Wilson, in Second Look magazine back in September 1979, attempted to do so. He described how there were a wide variety of what he called “brain-change experiences in shamanic-religious history,” and he strived to break them down into various categories and show their similarities and possible “neurological” connections to the UFO contactee experience.

“The UFO Encounter can trigger neurosomatic mutations from peace-bliss-serenity to anxiety-trauma-psychotic breakdown,” Wilson noted. “Some contactees have actually become faith-healers, indicating a strong neurosomatic turn on in the positive direction, and others have required psychiatric care, indicating the other extreme.”

The highest stage or level of experience, as far as Wilson was able to determine, was what he called the Contentless Vision which he felt was comparable to the White Light of the Void of Tibetan Buddhism, the Head in Cabala...”the 'ineffable,' beyond time, space, matter, and all concepts.”

“As far as I can make out, this experience alone seems to be totally positive,” he wrote. “Nobody seems to come out of it schizoid, paranoid fanatic, or even dogmatic. Olaf Stapledon described it as Agnostic Mysticism. It sees normal consciousness (the concensus-reality of the tribe), neurosomatic consciousness, metaprogramming consciousness, and even the Numinous Beings of archetypal consciousness as all relative – true in their own context, but not universally true. It even sees itself as relative, in the same way.”

Some years back, Greg Little told me about Native Americans and their belief in the Tricksters and how they are there to "essentially test you, to see how balanced you are, to see how serious you are, to see if your inquiry into the spiritual world is full of good motives or negative motives. The tricksters are designed to delude people, to mislead them. Their involvement in it leads to tremendous life problems and deterioration. John Keel said that again and again in all of his books." 

But then here comes the interesting part: "If you can get by the tricksters-even in Native American lore-if you can see through them, then you can get to the next level of the spiritual world. There are more levels, of course, and with each level comes deepening truth..." 

So for some people the trickster can be a curse and for others a teacher.

Novelist and contact experiencer Whitley Strieber seems to have struggled valiantly with the various challenging and confusing realms or levels of reality presented by the contact syndrome. In his book Breakthrough he wrote: "The work of demons is certainly evil, but one can transform it in oneself. In learning to work with one's dark side, one also finds that the old Greek meaning of the word 'daimon' still has currency: evil is a great teacher. If it is not for nothing that the tree of Eden is called the tree of knowledge of good and evil." In a recent online post (June 28) Strieber wrote: "If you look into the eyes of an angel, you look into your deepest self at the same time, and if that depth is dark, then you are going to be afraid. More than anything, success in the visitors' school is about accepting oneself."

Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle, Ph.D., the former director of the Division of Counseling and Testing at the University of Wyoming, who had interviewed many UFO contact experiencers, wrote me back in 1979: “I believe that each person is 'monitored' by spiritual guides, but in regard to the UFO contactee, the monitoring process seems to be unusually intense. Perhaps, someday, we will learn if the prophecies about 'good' vs. 'evil,' and predictions of earth changes...are related to this monitoring process.”

Aliens, spirits, angels? It depends largely on your perspective. The viel between these worlds may be as thin as a black thread! Below are my concluding remarks in a chapter I wrote for the recently published Beyond UFOs by Dr. Edgar Mitchell's FREE (Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial and Extraordinary Experiences:

Before a long series of remarkable experiences suddenly entered his life in March 2012, Reinerio (Rey) Hernandez, the core co-founder of FREE, says he was previously a complete hard-bitten UAP skeptic and had no knowledge nor interests in these topics. But after an initial encounter with a NHI with his wife in their living room, the pendulum has now swung in the opposite direction. After seeing what he describes as a “Plasma Energy Being” in his livingroom and interacting with a football stadium size UAP less than 30 feet away from him, his daughter and several adults, Rey now affirms the existence of “Non Human Intelligent” life visiting earth. His wife, a devout Catholic from Mexico, also had her unique up close UAP encounters witnessed by family members. She also had her own personal encounter with several 7 foot tall humanoid beings dressed in what resembled white monks robes, but she insists that they are angelic visitations.

All around the world, credible men and women from all walks of life are describing extraordinary, incredible experiences. In spite of the long list of amazing commonalities shared within the descriptions and symptoms reported by these thousands and thousands of experiencers, we have developed a wide range of different categories and disciplines within which to file and deal with them. Much of this is based on shallow though impressive surface appearances that are largely subjective, leaving a sizeable chasm between science and religion.

Mr. Hernandez became obsessed with trying to get to the proverbial bottom of this huge mystery, greatly disappointed and unsatisfied with his search through the existing literature. He noticed right off that there was very little existing academic, scientific work that had been done on the matter that adequately addressed the situation. Then one day, while sitting in Miami traffic, he had like a brief out-of-body experience and saw (as Keel and Vallee did) that many of these different manmade categories were actually and significantly interrelated.

Brent will be speaking on UFOs on September 22, 2018, from 2-4 p.m., at the Edmondson Pike Library located at 5501 Edmondson Pike, Nashville, TN 37211. This event is sponsored by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) of Tennessee.

Gone but certainly not forgotten...

Lou White Eagle, a well-known Cheyenne Arrow Priest, featured in Dr. Greg Little's 1990 People of the Web, passed away recently on August 14th, at age 73. A Vietnam War Veteran, a member of A.I.M. (American Indian Movement) and a spiritual advisor, White Eagle was a resident of Madison, TN. Nearly two years ago, my wife Joan and I had the pleasure of meeting him at an Indian gathering in the Nashville area, and I mentioned to him my friendship with Greg Little, whose name brought a smile to his face as he recalled memories from their time together.

One of my favorite Lou White Eagle stories that Greg shared with me, I recently included in a book I've written (not yet published) regarding noted author John A. Keel. Here it is:

Back around the mid-1980s, my friend and colleague Dr. Greg Little, while working in private practice at a mental health clinic in Memphis, Tenn., would occasionally use the clinic’s Grahman Potentializer for meditative sessions. “You lay on it and it focuses a magnetic field around your body,” he explained. “It also gently rotates in a circular fashion to mimic the flow of tidal waves.” Greg himself even described having an out-of-body experience while using it. “I kind of came to the edge of what I would call a hole into outer space. I could see countless stars. It was very impressive.”

Then one day Greg introduced Lou White Eagle, a Cheyenne Arrow Priest, to the magnetic bed. Greg let the medicine man lay down on it and experience it for awhile, while he went into another room to do some paperwork. “He suddenly appeared at my door and slowly walked in and sat down. He was in a sort of daze. There were several windows in the room and he said there were these ‘little blue people’ looking in at him through the windows. Then they came into the room through the walls and windows by just passing through them. Then the little people started poking around on his body. The experience shook him up.”

Michael A. Persinger, a professor of psychology at Ontario, Canada's Laurentian University beginning in 1971, just recently passed away on August 14th. Dr. Persinger was widely known for being a co-developer of the Koren Helmet, constructed by one Stan Koren, but best known as the God Helmet after a journalist decided to rename it that because many subjects, when wearing this helmet, reported out-of-body experiences, “paranormal” events, visions of an infinite 'void,' strange light patterns, and sometimes, of course, encounters with God. The helmet stimulates the brain with magnetic signals that are believed to cause the unusual perceptions in consciousness.

Canadian neuroscientist Todd Murphy, the author of Sacred Pathways: The Brain's Role in Religious and Mystic Experiences (2005), with forewords by both Dr. Persinger and The Dalai Lama, as well as Deja Vu & Other Spiritual Gifts (2017), is a long-standing member of the Laurentian University's Behavioral Neurosciences Research Group, and continues his own work as the developer of the Shakti and Shiva neural stimulation systems that replicate Dr. Persinger's own pioneering neural stimulation system, making it available to the general public. Murphy also maintains an informative forum and blog on Dr. Persinger's work called Sacred Pathways – Blogs in Neurotheology (http://sacredneorology.com/).

Rhonda J. Hall (October 4, 1969 – August 26, 2018) who studied at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida, had an intense interest in paranormal matters. We met through Live Paranormal blogtalk radio when my daughter Chandra and I did a paranormal show with them for over a year. Rhonda had her own Paranormal Chronicles Radio, had Chandra and I on as quests once, and helped us with some of our technical issues at times. Rhonda once co-hosted one of my LP shows with guest Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle, the well-known Wyoming psychologist, and we talked with him about UFO abductions and reincarnation. She'll certainly be missed by many also; her life ending much too soon.

"Rhonda Hall"

"Lou White Eagle"

"Dr. Michael Persinger"

Sunday, May 19, 2024