The idea for my latest blog post came from a track I have just finished working on,
which is the third in my ‘P H E N O M E N A‘ series.
I called it P A R A N O R M A L, with the stress on the ‘N O R M A L’ because it seems to me that paranormal phenomena and activity is a normal part of the Human experience.
It is certainly a normal part of my experience of being Human so far, and it seems the more people I talk to about paranormal events I have experienced, be they UFO’s, Ghosts, Premonitions etc. the more I hear from them about experiences they themselves or family members have had.
It would appear that every indigenous culture on the planet incorporates what we call ‘Paranormal’ into their worldview and everyday experience of being Human as an accepted norm, be it spirits, encounters with Star People, communicating with nature etc. yet we in the West have distanced ourselves so much from this aspect of the Human experience that paranormal phenomena is dismissed, normally without consideration, let alone investigation.
We’ve all had things happen to us like; thinking about someone you haven’t seen or heard from in a long time and then they call or contact you out of the blue, but because we have given small events such as this the label; coincidence, we can just give it minimal thought and then forget it, but are these seemingly little events and others like them part of a wider paranormal phenomenon?
Science is great and without it I wouldn’t be communicating my thoughts in this way to you now, but it seems we’ve let science and rationalism put a firewall of denial up to keep the ‘paranormal’ away, and the prevailing attitude that goes along with that firewall is;
I don’t believe it’s possible, so it can’t be.
I am far from alone in the experiences I have had, and there are millions like me around the world and throughout Human history that have experienced paranormal and just plain weird events as part of everyday living.
It’s a shame that now in 2015 when people come forward to share their experiences they still suffer ridicule and dismissal. It seems paranormal experiencers are a group (however large) that it’s still ok to mock, ridicule and publicly humiliate in the press and on tv.
The X-Files has been off our screens for well over a decade (though it’s apparently returning) yet whenever a news programme reports on a UFO sighting or ghostly encounter, the still have the X-Files theme playing over the footage.
I do think the ridicule and mocking is lessening though, and this may be because more people are having these kinds of experiences and are coming forward to talk about them despite what reactions they may face.
We know so little about ourselves, (who we are, where we come from, where we are now, what is reality, what is consciousness, I could go on!) that it seems bizarre to me to close ourselves off from a fascinating, eye opening, life changing, mind expanding aspect of being human that only adds further richness to this experience that we are all having. Because having a UFO encounter, seeing a ghost or having a premonition doesn’t conform to the parameters of scientific examination in many respects, why dismiss the entire phenomena and the thousands of years of experiences humans have had and continue to have on this planet?
It seems not only closed minded and closed hearted, but also a kind of peer group conformity by not accepting a version of reality because someone tells you it’s not possible.
Saying it isn’t possible doesn’t help those millions of people who have had and continue to have encounters with the paranormal, and it’s all very well denying this aspect of the Human experience, but I have to say;
Be aware, I don’t think denial is any kind of defence against the likelihood of a worldview shattering event happening to you.
This September marks the 20th anniversary of the most amazing, fascinating and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, more on that later) media ignored UFO case ever recorded:
The Ariel School Encounter, Ruwa, Zimbabwe in 1994.
During a Friday morning break on the 16th of September, sixty two children of ages varying between 7-12, witnessed strange silvery craft that landed near their classroom block and encountered odd-looking beings with large black eyes that moved in unnatural motions.
Some of the children experienced a telepathic communication with these beings, who seemed to project images of Earth’s destruction into the children’s minds.
Some of these children were interviewed on film soon after these events by South African UFO researcher and writer of the periodical; UFO Afrinews, Cynthia Hind and then by Pulitzer Prize winning Harvard Psychiatrist Dr. John E. Mack.
You can read Cynthia’s articles on this case written at the time in these two PDF’s of
Issue 11 UFO_AFRINEWS-11-150 and follow-up Issue 12 UFO AFRINEWS issue 12
You can see John Mack’s interviews with some of the children here:
UFO Encounter at Ariel School in Ruwa, Zimbabwe 1994
This case is a hugely important one, though it gets far less attention than ‘The Roswell Incident’ that happened 47 years previous.
In fact, out of UFO circles, the Ariel School Encounter is pretty much unknown.
In a way, that may be a good thing, in that the lack of public knowledge of this case has meant that there is no dis-information, hype or nonsense surrounding it.
With Roswell, it’s military involvement and talk of recovered bodies and Government cover-up etc, there is such a quagmire of information and misinformation that it’s quite a daunting task to research or even look at without ending up frustrated, confused and annoyed.
What we have with the Ariel School encounter however, is quite a refreshingly simple story without all the twists and turns of cover-ups, wild claims and counter-claims or cash-ins.
We have a straight forward, but none the less incredible case, of strange craft being sighted in the skies above the school before landing and beings from these craft interacting with the school children in a variety of ways before returning to the craft and disappearing.
We have no physical evidence, but what we do have are the interviews with many of the children involved, recorded soon after the event, as well as more recent follow-up interviews, where we can see the impact these experiences had and indeed still has on them.
More of these recent interviews will hopefully come to light in the coming months and years as there is a documentary on this case in the offing, as well as a feature film about Dr John Mack.
Thanks to the presence of mind from the school Headmaster; Colin Mackie, who got all the children back to their classrooms and told them to draw what they had seen, we also have the children’s pictures, drawn of the craft and occupants as well as Cynthia Hind’s articles in UFO AFRINEWS written soon after the incident.
Interestingly, in the days before this encounter, there was a ‘flap’ of UFO sightings and reports of strange lights making odd maneuvers in the skies around Harare, approximately 20 km away, which you can read about in Cynthia Hinds UFO AFRINEWS issue 11 above.
Also, the day before the Ariel School encounter, some of the children reported witnessing a ‘cigar like’ object in the sky in broad-daylight and others reported ‘cigarette shaped’ objects above the school grounds.
In the early hours of Friday morning, Mrs Stevens, whose farm is close to the school, got up to use the bathroom and saw a huge orange glow, like a big round ball, out of her window, over her chicken house.
She ran to call her husband but when he came it had gone.
The BBC apparently reported on this case at the time for their documentary series; Agenda, though I can find no information about this particular programme or the series itself.
Apart from ‘Agenda’ which aired 20 years ago, why does the media continue to ignore this fascinating case?
You can tell from the children’s interviews that they are honestly recounting their experiences and there are a couple of details that have stayed with me and that I think demonstrate this point well;
In one of John Mack’s interviews with one of the young girls, which you can see in the interview clips, she talks of being scared by the noise that she heard in the air during this experience, Mack asks her what kind of noise it was and suggests ‘a roar or buzz or hum’, but she replies by saying, and this has always struck me as such a powerful explanation because of it’s unexpectedness and oddness :
“It was like someone was blowing a flute”.
Another one of the girls talks about receiving a message from one of the beings seemingly via his eyes, regarding the lack of care we show the planet.
Speaking about the being’s eyes, Mack asks her:
“What was the sense you got from those eyes?”
to which she replies;
“That he was interested”.
Dr. John Mack, who was certified in child psychoanalysis, believed the children were being truthful in their accounts of their experiences and said; “…the whole quality of the way they talk about it is the way a person talks about experience that happened to them”.
Cynthia Hind also writes of the children’s testimonies:
“I was impressed by the honesty of the children. When they weren’t sure, they were hesitant; when they were sure they spoke out quickly and confidently”.
I believe the media continues to ignore this case because it is not easily dismissed or debunked.
If you wanted to attempt to debunk this case, you could say that the children were having a ‘mass hallucination’, but upon hearing the details of their experiences and John Mack’s analysis, such an explanation doesn’t hold up, in the same way saying the children all conspired to make up the story doesn’t either.
The media and indeed Governments would rather we all stare down at our phones rather than up at the sky, because in that state we are easily manipulated, controlled and will behave like good little consumers.
This case does something amazing, it makes us wonder, and it makes us live in the question of a genuine experience of the unknown.
What happened here? What did the children encounter that day? Who were the beings? Where did they come from? How did they get from ‘there’ to here?..and so on…
So many questions that cause us to reassess what reality is and our place within it.
Questions that open the mind and heart if you let them.
This case cannot be dismissed except by the very closed-minded who want everything explained away and put in a nice safe box marked ‘nothing to see hear, move along’.
It’s been 20 years since the events of that Friday morning, and I believe it’s time this case did generate media interest and coverage, because it is powerful in its straight-forwardness, and, as one of the girls, now grown up, says in a recent interview:
“People need to know, that there is something else out there”.
I have written a piece of music inspired by this case called: S i l v e r O b j e c t s
Which you can hear at: http://www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=203864
In 1989 there was a TV special entitled: Encounters of the Fourth Kind, which was a promotional tie-in with the film version of Whitley Strieber’s book Communion.
It was Directed by Drew Cummings and hosted by one of my favourite actors during my childhood;
Roddy McDowall, who, as well as narrating the audiobook version of Communion, was also the narrator of Strieber’s follow-up; Transformation and his 1990 fiction novel; Billy.
I would be interested to know what McDowall’s view on the subject matter was and if he himself had experienced any paranormal events.
Was his involvement in these audiobooks due to his own interest in the abduction phenomena or were they just another job?
I can find no interviews with McDowall speaking about this, but maybe there is an article or two hidden away somewhere?
The special, though appearing somewhat dated some 25 years later (late 80’s computer graphics of a blinking Visitor in the opening titles!), contains interesting footage, interviews and points.
There’s footage of Whitley Strieber, his wife Anne and son Andrew in their upstate New York log cabin and surrounding area, where Whitley and others had many encounters with the ‘Visitors’.
It’s fascinating to see the scenes of many of Whitley’s experiences, including the now removed ‘stone circle’ especially as this footage was only shot a few years after the initial events.
It also contains, as far as I’m aware, the only interview with Andrew Strieber who briefly talks about his experiences:
“I was sleeping and suddenly, these lights came.. a light.. a big bright light came in my room and sometimes my dad comes in to see how I’m doing in the middle of the night, but he doesn’t bring in.. he doesn’t bring in the searchlights, so.. I’m sleeping and I got scared. I think it’s a burglar or something. So I pull the covers over my head and sink down and then the covers..and then something pulls it down and I see the face that’s on ‘Communion’.”
Roddy also chairs a round-table discussion in the studio, which includes several UFO researchers and authors including Dr. Richard Haines, a former NASA research Scientist who, in this section of the discussion, gives a warning which if heeded those 25 years ago could have saved UFOlogy, and more importantly many Experiencers, a lot of trauma and problems in those intervening years:
” Doctor Haines, you’ve done a lot of research regarding the abduction victims.
Is there a better way to go about this investigation?
Dr. Richard Haines:
“Yes I think there is. First of all there’s a great number of people doing research in this subject who are not trained and they are ‘self-taught hypnotists’, for instance, and without an understanding of the damage that can be produced if you..”
“Are they taken seriously?”
Dr. Richard Haines:
“Oh yes, people are in great traumatic conditions after an event like this and they are looking for any help they can find”.
At which point McDowall gives a disbelieving look of bewilderment in response to hearing that such practices take place and then quickly moves on in the discussion.
(you can see this conversation at the 00:18:00 mark)
As well as the footage and interviews with the Striebers, this TV special is also notable for including a section that goes behind the scenes of the Communion film and shows filming footage and interviews with cast and crew including Director Philippe Mora and actor Christopher Walken.
You can watch the special on youtube at: http://youtu.be/HsYaN0UZJzY
It’s definitely worth a watch, especially if you’re a Communion fan.
“What an amazing thing to have happened and for me to have seen it”.
Below is a fascinating interview with Jessie Roestenberg, who, along with her two sons witnessed a “Mexican hat” shaped craft above their home; Vicarage Farm in Ranton, near Stafford in the UK, on October 21st 1954.
In this interview Jessie explains how she came to encounter the craft and the beings that were within it.
This is a great example of a UFO witness bravely coming forward with their experience despite the closed-minds and ridicule that unfortunately follows from many who cannot reconcile such experiences with their own world-view.
Jessie faced ridicule in 1954 and unfortunately that kind of reaction still occurs today some 60 years later when people come forward with similar encounters.
That is why I thank Jessie for her bravery in sharing her and her sons’ experience and respect the honesty in which she clearly explains the details of this incredible encounter.
As Jessie says:
“We were ridiculed, it was very embarrassing at the time and people they possibly thought;
‘Oh she’s a nutter’ but you know, but who cares?
This is something that happened to me, and I’m a practically minded person and that’s it”.
As the 60th anniversary of this encounter approaches, it would be great to, if possible, take Jessie back to the scene of the experience for an interview’ as well as her two sons, who as far as I’m aware have not gone ‘on record’ with their account of the events.
I hope Jessie is still with us and in good health and I wish her all the best.
I’ve been thinking about the criticisms and ridicule aimed at those, like myself, who have had paranormal experiences and how science is always used as the weapon to destroy paranormal experiences and those who have them.
Unless I’m missing a major point here, I would argue that ultimately a paranormal experience and its reporting is similar to scientific discovery and the subsequent peer review process, in that both come down to the ‘taking at their word’ the scientific ‘Discoverer’ or paranormal ‘Experiencer’.
If someone claims to have had a paranormal experience then the explanation of their experience is looked at and analyzed by those in the field and an opinion, based on a variety of criteria, is given on the case which may then be discounted or endorsed by others in that field of paranormal research.
With the nature of paranormal phenomena being that it generally cannot be replicated by other investigators or researchers, ultimately, unless there is corroborating evidence, the word of the experiencer must be taken that they are reporting their experience truthfully and honestly.
When a scientist discovers something within an experiment and writes about his/her discovery, their explanation of this result and experience is then peer reviewed,
ie; those in the particular scientific field look at their work and ‘experience’ of the discovery or result and give their opinion on it based on certain criteria.
Unless those reviewing the scientists work actually go and attempt to replicate the scientist’s experiments then are they not taking the scientist’s word that what occurred or was discovered has been reported truthfully?
The peer review process is not one of re-experimentation but of passing opinion, ultimately on the testimony of the scientist making the claim.
The only difference I see is that a scientist does have the possibility of maybe replicating the experiment but how often does that actually happen?
So both paranormal experiences and scientific discovery rely on ‘eye-witness testimony’.
Or am I missing some major point here?