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Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, March 2021

Connecting the Dots

by: Brent Raynes

Back when John Keel churned out Strange Creatures from Time and Space [1970] he wrote, “No matter where you live on this planet, someone within two hundred miles of your home has had a direct confrontation with a frightening apparition or inexplicable ‘monster’ within the last generation.” Today however, a half a century later, we’ve accumulated a far more comprehensive database and such incidents are likely to be far closer to where we live. The small quiet Tennessee town that I reside in has had within city limits and just a few miles outside of it the report of a small Gremlin looking figure running across the road from the vicinity of a cemetery many locals say is haunted, along with alleged encounters with little men, Bigfoot, angels, ghosts [including the headless variety], shadow figures, orbs and UFOs.

For a little over 54 years now, I’ve been obsessed with these high-strange anomalies. I’ve plowed through thousands of books, magazines and newspaper articles [my wife is ready for me to thin my library a little to make more room for her things, like her craft supplies], and yet each month there’s one or more interesting sounding books that keep coming out that I too often feel I want to get my hands on. In addition, over these many years, I’ve knocked on countless doors of researchers and experiencers all across the U.S., up into Canada, and while in the U.S. Navy a few international locations like Asmara, Ethiopia, Recife, Brazil, and the island of Mahe in the Indian Ocean’s Seychelle Islands as well. In addition, my five 4-drawer file cabinets and two 2-drawer cabinets also take up a lot of space, not to mention assorted storage boxes. When is enough enough?

Honestly, it is hard for me to say. When you’re a researcher and a writer, you’re often afraid to let go of very much material for fear that what you let go of, sometime down the road, it may end up being just what you need for some article or book you’ve decided to write. At least that’s been my concern; one that my wife insists has made me something of a hoarder of such materials. For me, it has certainly been a very thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating and challenging journey. I’ve made hundreds of interesting contacts, friends and colleagues in this controversial field wherein myself and so many others have tried to document and make sense of an endless variety of anomalous phenomena, ranging from UFOs, orbs, psychic phenomena, religious phenomena, ghosts, poltergeists, cryptids, elementals, etc., etc. Half a century ago John Keel and Jacques Vallee pioneered the notion that perhaps a lot of these different phenomena, that have long been treated as separate fields unto themselves, should be treated in a more multidisciplinary way, pointing out that there’s potentially a good deal of interconnectivity between all of these controversial and bizarre phenomena and manifestations.

Today we seem to be seeing more serious discussion arising with researchers and credentialed scientists speculating on the mysterious world of quantum physics – a good many opening the door of consideration to even parapsychological and ufological anomalies interconnecting with strange phenomena reported so frequently over the centuries all around the world. A newly formed organization called the Consciousness and Contact Research Institute (CCRI) is preparing to produce several volumes this year spearheaded by some twenty Ph.D.’s, and other dedicated researchers combing through thousands of cases of UFO contactees, near-death experiencers, out-of-body travelers, and others CCRI refers to as “contact modalities.” This will be an extension of a previous five-year study conducted by the Dr. Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial and Extraordinary Experiences [FREE], an academic research study already detailed exhaustively in an 820-page volume entitled Beyond UFOs [2018]. In that volume, 3,256 individuals world-wide who believed that they were UFO contactees, completed survey forms that covered hundreds of questions. All of that data was broken down into statistical data, pie charts and grafts, and it clearly showed that such experiencers describe an unusually high-number of what some call high-strange crossover phenomena – what FREE again called “contact modalities” – NDEs, OBEs, channeling, remote viewing, ghost/spirit contact, and much more. It was my honor to have contributed chapter 13, An Overview of the History of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Contact Paradigms. The findings in this extraordinary book were in line with psychologist Dr. Kenneth Ring’s findings in his book The Omega Project: Near-Death Experiences, UFO Encounters, and Mind at Large, published back in 1992.

In fact, some of Dr. Ring’s questions were used in the FREE survey. Dr. Ring called such experiencers “encounter prone.” Many of us in this area of exploration talk about how these people seem somehow “wired differently.” Two distinguished medical doctors, Christopher “Kit” Green, formerly with the CIA where he was assigned to monitor what was going on with the psychic studies, psychics and scientists at the Stanford Research Institute back in the 1970s and 1980s, and in more recent years Dr. Garry Nolan of Stanford has joined in with Green’s ongoing work, and they have been doing MRI brain scans of experiencers looking for such clues, and may have found it between the head of the brain’s caudate and the putamen where they seemed to have found a higher neuronal density apparently not found among non-experiencers.

I reached out early in 2019 to Dr. Nolan in an email about this study and he informed me that a detailed report would eventually be written up for publication, but in the meantime he felt that it was worth discussing it now because, in his own words: "I think that the science we concluded matches up so well with current medical and scientific understanding on the role of the caudate putamen in intuitive processes. I think it's an interesting enough tidbit that the pure neuroscience community should be made aware, as well as the 'anomalous cognition' community. I'm an open science kind of guy and what's in the open can no longer be hidden or repressed."

I can’t wait to see a full write-up on this research at some point in the hopefully not too distant future. In the meantime, it’s a long drawn out connect-the-dots process for all involved. I’m just hoping that the tools of certain scientists like Green and Nolan will bring us some much needed breakthrough evidence.

BTW, be sure and check out the YouTube in the news links section of this issue for the “Not made on Earth” video with both Nolan and Jacques Vallee.

Sunday, July 14, 2024