Book Reviews Perceptions Magazine, March 2021
Where the Footprints End: High Strangeness and the Bigfoot Phenomenon
Volume Two: Evidence
By Joshua Cutchin and Timothy Renner
With illustrations by Timothy Renner
2020, pg. 313, Paperback, U.S. $19.95
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
Earlier in 2020, I reviewed Volume One of “Where the Footprints End.” As I wrote then in my review of it [August 2020] it was not your typical book on Bigfoot. In fact, it went way beyond the regular “hairy apeman,” biological “missing link” playbook of mainstream cryptozoology. As I wrote then, “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.” Cutchin and Renner challenged conventional cryptozoological thinking by pointing out the abundance of high strange crossover phenomena that often appeared in conjunction with faeries, poltergeists, ghosts, orbs, UFOs, window areas, the Women in White [which I had already just written a chapter for FREE’s Beyond UFOs that dealt heavily with Marian apparitional cases and their similarities to UFO contactee encounters, and so these two scholarly gents gave me even more terrain to further ponder and explore], as well as pagan Gods, witches, and more.
Volume Two continues full throttle with plentiful high strangeness surrounding the Bigfoot case histories that include Bigfoot witnesses who also recalled more mystery lights, strange footprints, anomalous sounds, as well as stick signs, voice imitations, shape shifting, and so much more. As the authors state in their book’s Preface, the two volumes are incomplete individually. There is a need for both of them to be read together to really grasp the big picture more effectively. However, a caveat is added. Don’t expect all your questions to be answered. “No one knows exactly where the footprints end,” they write, “but Volume II marks the final steps of our journey.”
“A New Paradigm for Consciousness Studies”: A Review of Convergence: The Interconnection of Extraordinary Experience
by Barbara Mango, PhD and Lynn Miller, MS
Reviewed by Joey Madia
Subvert the dominant paradigm. (note hanging in Dr. John Mack’s Harvard office)
Conversations are changing all over the globe. The pandemic, political upheaval, and hard lessons about the dangers of Social Media are driving dialogues in new directions—hopefully giving rise to the resurrection of Complexity, so long the victim of Reductionism—and the study of Consciousness and the survival of Consciousness after death are also front and center.
The pointedly engineered misconception of Spirit being separate from Matter and Spirituality being separate from Science is beginning to know its dying days. An increasing alliance of neuroscientists, psychologists, paranormal researchers and experiencers, philosophers, entrepreneurs, story analysts, and health and wellness practitioners are making a strong case—from a variety of facets of this all-important diamond—that there IS Life after Death, Consciousness is nonlocal, and Materialism is woefully mistaken in rejecting these truths.
Dr. Barbara Mango and Lynn Miller are lifelong experiencers as well as trained scientists. I’ve had the pleasure to speak with them on the podcast Alternate Perceptions they co-host with longtime paranormal investigator and John Keel biographer Brent Raynes, and they’ll be guests the last Thursday in March on the podcast I co-host with my wife (a psychic-medium, Reiki master, and past life regression specialist), Into the Outer Realms.
When it comes to books making an impact, timing is everything, and the timing of Convergence is perfect, for the reasons outlined above. Mango and Miller call on their extensive expertise and that of a broad array of colleagues to examine Consciousness as nonlocal and surviving death. Along the way, they explore quantum physics and the growing body of evidence that there’s a multiverse. They consider various psychological categories to provide a framework and lens from which to test these ideas, including Anomalous-Prone Personality and the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Since I meet the criteria for both, I was pleased to see these included. How do a refined imagination and increased sensitivity to energy combine to draw paranormal phenomena into our lives? The ways and means are fascinating and the authors even explore the applicability of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (I am an INTJ, which is relatively rare).
As to being an HSP, my life changed (and was probably saved) when I began working with the worksheets created by Elaine Aron. I’ve carefully, consciously created a life honoring the strengths and limitations of HSPs. The discovery of Aron’s work coincided with my spiritual studies, beginning in 2002, including astral projection, psychic journeying by altering brain states, and the use of altered states to create poetry and visual art. Like the shaman/bard who retreats from society to seek and receive visions, healings, and wisdom, I move back and forth from solitude to community, as do many experiencers of the phenomena explored in this book.
These phenomena are categorized as near-death experiences (NDEs), out-of-body experiences (OBE), Contact/unidentified aerial phenomena experience (UAP), and past life regression/recall (PLR).
I’ve experienced OBE, UAP, and PLR numerous times, under different circumstances. I’ve yet to experience an NDE, although I did experience a shift in dimensions that prevented a collision in a rush-hour intersection that surely would have brought me to the brink of death—or further.
As the authors relate their experiences and those of others, they also quote the Cynics—those gatekeepers and otherwise close-mind Materialists who discount any and all phenomena in these four categories as scientific misunderstandings, hallucinations, or lies. (It is both too generous and etymologically inaccurate to call them Skeptics. I am a Skeptic, as are the authors. We look at all possible paranormal phenomena through numerous lenses, using numerous tools, taking care to exhaust all mundane explanations before making a hypothesis.)
With the core typologies established, the authors move to Convergence. As a paranormal investigator, story analyst, and teacher, I believe identifying Parallels and Patterns (the title of my next book) is essential. If we must primarily rely on anecdotal evidence, then the “corroborations and correlations” as Keel called them, are essential for building legitimacy across time and space. The authors list the common elements of each of the phenomena, illustrating just how prevalent they are. Additionally, they are then able to debunk the Cynics. One instance is the cynical response that “NDEs are caused by lack of oxygen or drug-induced hallucinations.” On the contrary—the anecdotal evidence shows that in both instances the exact opposite is true. Another benefit of this approach is that experiencers who feel unbelieved and on the fringe will find common ground with others. This will make a big difference. Many of the clients my wife and I work with most want validation. Fittingly enough, in the case of most hauntings we have helped with and experienced, ghosts and spirits want the same.
The living and the dead all have a story and they want it to be heard, honored, and respected.
The chapters on Spontaneous Healing and Transformative After Effects shed light on how profound and life-changing these experiences can be. I know this firsthand. Again, just knowing you aren’t alone is reason enough to read this book.
The authors finish up with extended narratives by an array of other scientists and experiencers. Such case studies and testimonials are essential to the work, as they provide an opportunity to corroborate and correlate through the identification of independent experiences and to highlight the emergent parallels and patterns. The final two chapters focus on the promise of the future—that there are “changes in the air.” Science is steadily coming to what experiencers, philosophers, shamans, and others on the so-called fringe have known for millennia—consciousness resides outside the brain, there are multiple dimensions, death is a doorway, and the phenomena explored in Convergence are real.
Yes, we have a ways to go—especially in this Moment when the old paradigms are clawing hard to prevent their falling away, the gatekeeper systems are failing, and a growing portion of the population, in the words of Chris Carter/Fox Mulder, “want to believe.”
Kudos and gratitude to Mango and Miller and their colleagues and collaborators for making a strong case that what so many of us truly do believe has science and more on its side.
Schoolyard UFO Encounters
By Preston Dennett
Blue Giant Books
2019, 238 pages, Paperback, U.S. $14.95
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
This book contains a fascinating, thought-provoking and profound collection of schoolyard UFO encounters from all over the world, one case going as far back as an incident that reportedly involved numerous students in 1853 at Burritt College in Spencer, Tennessee. However, the very first case that author Preston Dennett found from the beginning of the modern flying saucer era happened up in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, on March 15, 1950, around noon during recess at the elementary school when 35 students and a teacher named Alpharetta Kendrick Holbrook suddenly heard a “terrible deafening roar” from overhead and they observed three UFOs, and then after nearly an hour afterwards, while still trying to calm her students down and return them to classroom activities, the terrifying roaring noise returned again, and that time four UFOs, described as silver disc or star shaped objects came in slowly and after appearing a short distance away suddenly departed back into the sky at an “unbelievable speed.”
These schoolyard encounters aren’t just an American occurrence. This is a global phenomenon with reports from such diverse locations as Australia, New Zealand, China, Sri Lanka, Argentina, South Wales, England, Scotland, and the most famous case in Africa at the Ariela Elementary school in Ruwa, Zimbabwe where students from ages 6 to 12 out at recess early on the morning of September 16, 1994 claimed that they’d seen a huge silver disc and other small craft. One reportedly landed and humanoid beings were seen. Harvard psychiatrist John Mack, who studied the “alien abduction” phenomenon, personally visited the school and interviewed several of the children.
Dr. Mack and others took notice with interest of how several of these children described receiving a telepathic type message during their experience that expressed concern over how we humans are destroying our world. For example, one 11-year-old girl said she was told how humans weren’t taking “proper care of the planet.” Another student recalled, “When we’re older, something’s going to happen to the Earth…We can stop it,” adding “pollution mustn’t be.”
Dennett notes of these worldwide UFO incidents how from “thirty percent of the cases involving landings or humanoids, it’s clear that the ETs are aggressively pursuing their agenda of making contact with children. At least twenty-four of the cases involving humanoids or missing time.”
Through the years, a number of prominent ufologists, including Coral Lorenzen, Raymond Fowler, and John Keel have pointed out the prominence of such cases. However, Dennett is the first ufologist, to my knowledge, to devote an entire book to this noteworthy aspect.