Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2015
A little free association from a traveler on a road less traveled
by: Brent Raynes
I want to point out to our readers that after an absence from this site for several years now, our archives of previous magazine reports from January 2011 back to July 2002 is once again available at: www.mysterious-america.com. This link can also be found at the top of the main page by clicking the “Issues Archive” box. We hope that many of our readers will find the re-introduction of this tool and information resource of value in their own pursuits of acquiring new and additional data, theories, and knowledge aimed at better understanding the mysteries of our world.
I want to personally take this opportunity to thank my longtime friend, co-editor and colleague Dr. Greg Little for undertaking this task and making these archived materials available to us once again. Greg’s ongoing efforts and contributions towards each and every edition of Alternate Perceptions through the years has certainly made this publication the great success that I feel that it has become.
By the way, Greg’s article in this issue, The Jigsaw Puzzle of Ufology, has some great thoughts and insights on this complex and controversial field of inquiry. Many in this field of endeavor clearly get stuck on certain aspects and issues and become blind to the overall picture, which certainly appears to be quite complex, challenging, and more perplexing than generally acknowledged. He uses a comparison made back in 1984 by ufologist Augie Roberts of this field being like a “gigantic jigsaw puzzle” spread out over a vast territory. Using this analogy, Greg points out that no matter where you walk, you cannot see all of it at one time. Yet many will fit the pieces of the puzzle from whatever perspective they happen to have and express that they’ve solved the entire puzzle based on the few select pieces in front of them. In his article, Greg specifically cites a hard-line “nuts and bolts” ET ufologist who outright dismissed the so-called “high-strangeness” cases of John Keel, such as the apparitional and paranormal elements, in favor of a perspective that he was more comfortable with psychologically. Another example that could be used here is the very old and classic tale of the blind men and the elephant. One blind man feels the trunk and says it’s a tree branch, another feels the tail and says it’s a rope, another touches a leg and declares it’s a pillar, another the tusk and says it’s a pipe, yet another the ear and says it is a hand fan, and another yet touches the belly and says it’s a wall.
Finally along comes someone with sight who can take in and process the entire object and give it its proper definition. Proper definition and clarity are certainly important tools of discernment and of the discipline known as science, but those tools and definitions do not need to become the crutches and blanket or armchair explanations for those suffering cognitive dissonance and who are inflexible and unwilling to exam the entire puzzle objectively and thoroughly.
I was just reading an article that described quantum mechanics as “so strange and anti-intuitive” that a noted physicist named Richard Feynman once remarked, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”
Journalist John Keel, the author of UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse and The Mothman Prophecies, once declared “belief is the enemy!” Ufology is certainly a very belief-ridden field. At times, as I tried to communicate with “fellow researchers,” I would find that just as with dealing with people of different Christian denominations or political persuasions, we could easily get off track and on the wrong foot in our dialogues when some aspect or issue came up for which we didn’t see eye-to-eye on. Some of these situations can turn quite explosive when such differences emerge, as with one prominent ufologist who cut off any further data exchange and dialogue with me after he had become aware of the fact that one of my colleagues dared question the objective reality of reports dealing with alleged recovered alien bodies and craft. In that instance, I was damned merely by association. One time I had traveled several hundred miles to interview a woman who claimed contact with Space Brother types, but when I arrived in her town and gave her a phone call, she said that she just couldn’t meet with me after all. A friend had advised her against our meeting as she felt that I was not on the same spiritual wavelength as they were. That was certainly, as they say, a burnt run. I was still a teenaged ufologist myself and feeling very discouraged at that point.
Believe it or not, I started out in this field at age 14 and I’m now 63. Nearly half a century has flown by. Despite the occasional and turbulent ups and downs, I have made great friends and many wonderful memories that I deeply cherish as I journey into my old age.
Though I certainly can’t say that I cracked all of the giant puzzle that is ufology, I do take some measure of comfort and sense of accomplishment in at least the journey and the knowledge that I’ve joined with other capable, sincere, and determined souls to do the very best that I and they could do to try and crack it and shed a little more light. I do think we’ve been on the right track and there’s most definitely a huge sense of satisfaction in that regard.
You can all join us now by cracking open the pages of this magazine and making our journey yours, and together advancing constructive and thoughtful dialogue and lines of communication.