Thursday, July 23, 2015

The New Space Race (and the Strange New Certainty about Aliens)

Maybe "Half-Billion miles from Earth" wasn't an error after all...

A lot of you probably saw this story, coming on the heels of a story circulating in April that scientists were "certain" of finding evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations by 2025. Now no less a luminary than Stephen Hawking (hawks again...) has been recruited for a new Super-SETI, one that promises results with all the gusto of a Silicon Valley startup:
LONDON: Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian-born billionaire Yuri Milner* on Monday announced an ambitious bid to combine vast computing capacity with the world's most powerful telescopes to intensify the so far fruitless search for extraterrestrial life. 
Hawking, who speaks using a computer-generated voice due to the effects of motor neuron disease, explained the reason for the $100 million project: "We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know." 
"The scope of our search will be unprecedented: a million nearby stars, the galactic center, the entire plane of the Milky Way and 100 nearby galaxies," Milner told a packed press conference at the Royal Society in London. 
Milner plans to back the program for at least 10 years although scientists agree it may take longer to find proof that alien life exists. 
Hawking said the new program should succeed because it has ample resources: access to time on major telescopes, a huge data capacity, and a long-term financial commitment that will not be withdrawn.
Those of us whose attention was piqued by the New Horizons mission's takeoff for Nibiru's neighborhood probably remembered this very strange story, yet another example of the many certain pronouncements made by scientists about aliens (do a search- scientists seem to be talking about them all the time these days), always with evidence they don't seem to want to share:

Alien beings just might be quite a bit larger than humans, or at least that is the conclusion drawn by one cosmologist working out of the University of Barcelona. According to his calculations, the average alien would not only be larger but, if given dimensions like a humanoid, would stand taller than the tallest man who ever lived. 
Huffington Post reported April 9 that Dr. Fergus Simpson noted in a new paper -- published at -- that most intelligent extraterrestrials would tip the scales at an average of 300 kilograms (661 pounds), or roughly the size of polar bears. But, Simpson postulated, if given human proportions, the same polar bear-sized aliens would stand taller than Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in recorded history, who stood just one inch shy of nine feet. 
And that would be most intelligent aliens. That would make human beings the runts of the Milky Way and perhaps the universe, if one adheres to the theory that there is abundant life in the cosmos and that, given the amount of possible habitable planets (by human standards), there is the occasional species that might rise to sentience.
Here's another bold, assertive statement about aliens, just up today:
A scientist responsible for finding signs of life on other planets has warned that human beings should probably think twice before making contact with aliens. 
Professor Matthew Bailes is based at Swinburne University in Melbourne - and is leading Australia's efforts to find signs of extra-terrestrial life. 
But he warned that making contact with aliens capable of transmitting powerful signals to Earth over tens of thousands of light years could lead humanity into disaster, because they're likely to be so much more advanced.
Surely aliens tens of thousands of light years away can't possibly harm us. I don't care what kind of warpdrive they have. Or are these aliens closer to home he's concerned about?

Either way, there are bold new plans to return to the Moon and put permanent bases there. A new working group has laid a strategy to return to space, this time for good:
Humans could return to the Moon in the next decade and live there a decade after, a new study claims. The announcement was made on the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 crew's first steps on the lunar surface. 
The study, performed by NexGen Space LLC and partly funded by NASA, concludes that the space agency could land humans on the Moon in the next five to seven years, build a permanent base 10 to 12 years after that, and do it all within the existing budget for human spaceflight. The way for NASA to do this is to adopt the same practice that it's using for resupplying the International Space Station (and will eventually use for crew transport) — public-private partnerships with companies like SpaceX, Orbital ATK, or the United Launch Alliance.
But hold on- read the fine print:
A number of obvious risks are addressed in the study. For one, the cost and risk of developing a lunar base is far beyond that what is considered acceptable for businesses looking for a return on their investment. The study also lays out strategies for how to respond to things like the loss of a launch vehicle, loss of lander vehicles, and even loss of crew.
And talk about buzzkill- the walking space buzzkill, Buzz Aldrin, shows up to splash some cold water in the face of serious space watchers. If ol' Buzz is involved, I'd advise you don't bet the farm on this particular venture:
Building a base on the moon would both prepare humans for the technical challenges of long-term space travel and teach them "how we would assemble a base on Mars," former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of the pioneers who made that historic journey for America in 1969, said during a press call on Monday. A return to the moon can be funded within NASA's existing budget, he said.
But maybe the new Cold War is at the center of this new Space Race, in much the same way the old Cold War was before. And this time there's a tangible motive- growing shortages of rare earth minerals, resources that China is flush with and not big on sharing. Scientists believe there are plenty to be found on the moon.

But how do we get there? We've seen a series of disasters in rocketry recently and America has no working rocket program to speak of. Well, here comes Captain Tomorrow with his wonder science!
A big part of the reason that it’s so expensive to send objects into space is that in order to get them there, we currently use messy, chemically-powered rockets that shed pieces all over the place on their way into orbit, and then smash themselves to bits on their way back down. A much more cost-effective (and elegant) solution would be a reusable single stage vehicle that goes up and comes right back down intact and ready to be refueled and reused. 
To accomplish that, a more efficient source of power is needed. Rockets that have to haul their own fuel and oxidizer just aren’t going to cut it. Escape Dynamics thinks it has a solution in the form of a spaceplane that can launch vertically and make it to orbit in one shot, and is powered entirely by microwaves beamed from the ground.
Oh, but wait- as with every scientific miracle headline, there's a huge caveat waiting in the fine print:
From the sound of things, this launch system isn’t intended for heavy lifting. The maximum payload that it’ll be taking into orbit is just 200 kg. And the development won’t be cheap, either. It’s estimated that it will require about a billion dollars to take the project from its current state to a prototype spaceplane in orbit.
Just remember, it's a big ol' Solar System. Estimates range between a light year and two light years. Unfathomably enormous. So while one hand has SuperSETI looking out for aliens dialing us up on the ol' Marconi wireless doodad, the hidden hand has an impressive probe out there scouring the dim outer regions of our own neighborhood for...what?

Maybe there's a very, very good reason these scientists are so confident about finding extraterrestrial intelligence- giants, yet!- within the next ten years. Maybe they'll be found right down the ol' cosmic block....

UPDATE: The new Space gold rush:

Silicon Valley venture capitalists are betting big, pouring $1.7 billion into space-related companies this year, according to CB Insights. Even if you exclude the $1 billion of that raised just by SpaceX, the market has still attracted almost twice as much money in 2015 as in the past three years combined. Planet Labs closed a $118 million round in April. 
Google, of course, is firmly in the mix. The Web giant shelled out $500 million last year for satellite maker Skybox Imaging, a venture-backed start-up whose technology can bolster products like search, maps and Google Earth. 
"There are going to be a number of companies built upon the back of all this fundamental technology," said Peter Hebert, co-founder of Lux Capital, a Silicon Valley venture firm that's investing heavily against that thesis. "This is a huge wave that's going to play out over decades."

*Hawking and Milner- hawk, falcon (Horus) and Milner=miller=green, grain (Osiris). What a coincidence!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pluto's Republic: The New Horus-Zone Mission

NASA's latest ritual working mission is rife with the dominant theme of our times, Death.

Death is everywhere these days, and the threat of all kinds of wars, civil and otherwise, is looming over our heads every day. It only makes sense that the ritualists at NASA would choose to pay homage to Death,  though perhaps for reasons we may not anticipate. This tribute to King Hell may have another, occulted reason behind it.

 As you would expect NASA's "New Horizons" mission is replete with the usual ersatz-Egyptian-via-occult-Freemasonry symbolism, a habit that's been so exhaustively documented it doesn't need to be explained to regular readers of this blog. 

But it's also filled with curious details, ones that make even the most jaded NASA-watcher scratch their heads and wonder just what is going on. To start with, there's this odd story:
Artist's Decades-Old Painting of Pluto Is Eerily Accurate 
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is currently sending back the most detailed pictures of Pluto ever taken. But if the images from the historic flyby look just a little familiar to you, there might be a good reason why. 
A new image of the dwarf planet tweeted by NASA yesterday bears a striking resemblance to a painting of Pluto created in 1979 – before any detailed information about this far-off celestial body was known and it was nothing more than a tiny blur through even the best telescopes.
Longtime readers know that 1979 was a touchstone year for high strangeness so what this particular artist was tapping into is anyone's guess. Of course, hardcore NASA skeptics will argue that this proves yet again that this is just more smoke and mirrors, and they leaked this story before they got caught out on the fakery. I have no idea what to make of it at the moment.

Tombaugh had his own close encounters

That this is an obvious and explicit ritual, aside from whatever its value as a mission, should be apparent from the fact that the remains of the astronomer who discovered Pluto were inserted to the "New Horizons" ("New Horus-Zones," which we'll get to shortly) vehicle:
When a NASA probe whizzed past Pluto on Tuesday, the man who discovered the dwarf planet 85 years ago was there. 
A small amount of the ashes of American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh are on board the New Horizons spacecraft, which has spent more than nine years traveling to the outer reaches of the solar system.
And just as the dead had obols (today thought of as pennies) placed over their eyes (or in the mouth) to pay their way to the Underworld in ancient times, Tombaugh's remains were accompanied by two quarters (among many other hidden symbols). Our modern knowledge of these kinds of customs (many of which were tinged with influences from the Mysteries) was revived by a group of scholars known as the Cambridge Ritualists, who were greatly influenced by Freemasons like James Frazer.

According to the must-read Tellers of Weird Tales blog, there's a link between Pluto and astronomy buff H.P. Lovecraft, with many Lovecraft fans citing Pluto as Yuggoth, even though the distant planetling hadn't yet been discovered when the story in question was written. More Plutonian remote viewing? You decide:
At about the same time that Tombaugh was poring over photographic plates in search of the elusive Planet X, a writer was at work on a new story in faraway Providence, Rhode Island. The writer was Howard Phillips Lovecraft, then in his fortieth year and enjoying some success as an author of pulp fiction. His story progressed through the year 1930 and was finally finished in September. A year later, in the same month that Lovecraft turned forty-one, the magazine Weird Tales published "The Whisperer in Darkness."  
"[T]he dark planet Yuggoth, at the rim of the solar system" would seem to refer to the newly discovered Pluto. Lovecraft is supposed to have suggested as much. Yet the concept of Yuggoth predates the discovery of the planet, for Lovecraft penned a series of sonnets, entitled "The Fungi from Yuggoth," between December 27, 1929, and January 4, 1930.  
As it happens, Lovecraftian themes have reared their heads again in relation to Pluto, this time in the naming process for topographical features there. From a story on the process:
Places on Pluto are Being Named for Your Darkest Imaginings
Meng-p’o: Buddhist goddess of forgetfulness and amnesia, tasked in the underworld with ensuring reincarnated souls will not remember their previous lives. Cthulhu: an elder god from HP Lovecraft mixing features of man, octopus, and dragon. Krun: one of five Mandaean lords of the underworld, nicknamed “Mountain-of-Flesh” Ala: Odianai goddess of earth, morality, fertility, and creativity. Balrog: monster able to shroud itself in fire, darkness, and shadow, and the apparent killer of Galdalf the Grey in the Lord of the Rings. Vucub-Came and Hun-Came: Mayan hero-twins and death gods
This is nothing new, as the symbolism of death and Hell already permeates the planet and its satellites.
Each of the mini-moons have their own already-announced themes. Styx, river the dead cross into the underworld, will be collecting river gods. Nix, personification of the night itself, will take on all the other night deities. Kerbeos, the hellhound of Hades, will be collecting canines from literature, mythology, and history. 
Kerebeos, aka Cerberus, is worth mentioning given this latest story from the New Horizons team on a curious feature they've claimed to have sighted:
NASA and the team behind its New Horizons spacecraft announced today that Pluto — the dwarf planet — has a giant tail. 
One also wonders if the lighting of the Empire State Building on the 17th, ostensibly to mark the end of Ramadan, didn't have an entirely different meaning altogether. One highly significant to the Pluto mission.

Pluto was the lord of death and the Underworld in Roman mythology, a role filled by Osiris, the green man, in Egyptian mythology. 

The Empire State Building is inarguably a Masonic landmark, lying as it does on the corner of 33rd St. and Fifth Ave (the five-pointed star being sacred to Masons). Osiris died on the 17th,  leading to the drama involving the fashioning of an artificial phallus to conceive his son Horus. Now take another look at the picture of the ESB again and ask if there was not an occult significance at work.

We now find out that Pluto has water ice and Osiris was represented by water in all its forms. That NASA openly reveres Osiris is blatantly obvious by this tortured acronym. 

"New Horizons" is another double entendre, in that the root word of horizon in the Greek is horos, and in his most important incarnation, Horus was formally known as Horakthy (alternately Ra-Horakthy), or Horus of the Two Horizons.

 But there was another strange detail to this mission, one that also ties it directly back to Horus. A picture taken of Pluto showed this heart-shape, which will remind Secret Sun readers of the identical image in the movie Hancock, in which superhero Will Smith creates a red heart on the Moon for Jason Bateman's character, Ray.

Ray's name in the original screenplay was Horus. 

For my part I can't help but wonder if the Pluto dog and pony show isn't a distraction. This is nothing but the vaguest hunch but I can't help but wonder if this is just a fly-by for the media and the real target of this mission lies in the space beyond. 

We're starting to hear serious people talk about Planet X again, even in the context of there being a Planet X and a brown dwarf. From
Search for Potential 'Planet X' Far From Over 
The hunt for the hypothetical "Planet X" has been fruitless so far, but that doesn't mean astronomers are calling it off. 
A new analysis of data collected by NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft revealed no sign of the mysterious Planet X hypothesized to exist in the outer solar system. But scientists are keeping up the search for a planet or dim star far from the sun.
That this is being published at all indicates that there's more than speculation going on behind closed doors. And if in fact these objects do have idiosyncratic orbits and periodically enter the outskirts of our cosmic neighborhood, that would make a lot of people very nervous.

It could well be that there is concern about serious trouble (maybe even a potential extinction-level event) in some quarters, and that this signaling behavior is the oldest kind of petition to the oldest kind of gods. If indeed this probe's real mission is much, much further out than Pluto, I won't be surprised. I don't believe anything NASA says about anything anymore.

UPDATE: Apparently, a search for Planet X was brought up in regards to this mission. I'd say that that information was publicized at all is an excellent indicator that that is exactly what this thing was designed to do.

UPDATE: Re: the Chattanooga massacre on the 16th- an apocryphal Cherokee legend has it that Chattanooga's name means "Hawk's Nest," being named for a mythical, warlike hawk native to the area. Make of that strange synchronicity what you will.

UPDATE: We see Hades, what about Demeter? Demetria "Demi" Moore makes the news today, with a death in her swimming pool after a party in her home in Benedict Canyon. Demi Moore was born in Roswell, NM.  However, the unfortunate victim in this case was male. Still a bizarre sync nonetheless, especially in light of the connections between the Demeter and Isis-Osiris Mysteries.

UPDATE: First we see anomalous lights near the International Space Station, then there is an emergency evacuation as a "mysterious object approaches?"

UPDATE: NASA skeptic or septic Nazi? The "Flat Earth movement" is already in tatters, its leader outing himself as a Hitler fetishist, condemning all his peers as shills. I'll spare you the link.

UPDATE: Scientists continue to talk a LOT about aliens these days and now 100 million big ones gets tagged for a new search for ET.

UPDATE 7/21: Reader Michael points out that there are all kinds of objects that New Horizons could look for, the question is what is most compelling? I was just watching a video on George W Bush's Constellation announcement from way back when, plans that never materialized (nor will these plans floated from some random study group today).

Sure, looking at Pluto is interesting, but at this point in time you have to assume that there is a compelling reason for this kind of mission, and it doesn't include looking at a bunch of rocks and ice. I believe it's about the safety and security of the planet, not just scientific curiosity. It's why we will see a moon mission only when there is a compelling need to do so, perhaps when there is a rare earth shortage here or helium-3 suddenly becomes an important resource.

UPDATE: Looks like I'm not the only one speculating on this.
According to the emerging conspiracy theory, NASA embarked on the New Horizons project two years after the 1988 publication revealed the existence of Planet X. The final destination of New Horizons is Planet X, but to prevent mass panic, NASA pretended that the destination of the space probe is Pluto and the Kuiper belt. 
In the 1990s, the agency pretended it had abandoned the search for Planet X by leaking false information that the latest measurements by Voyager 2 proved that Planet X does not exist. According to NASA at the time, measurements taken by Voyager 2 showed that the alleged irregularities in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune which led to the Planet X hypothesis were due to overestimation of the mass of Neptune. 
But according to conspiracy theorists, the claim by NASA scientists was a deliberate ruse to cover-up the actual destination of New Horizons beyond Pluto and the Kuiper belt – Planet X.
I'd say apocalyptic scenarios are premature- if these objects were to cause major problems we'd probably see them already. But I do think someone wants a serious look out there.

UPDATE: My post is being misinterpreted on Inquistr. I don't think we are looking at certain, sudden doom. Someone would have seen this object (or objects) by now. I do think there is real concern, as I said before. I also did not say that those Pluto images necessarily indicate a forgery. I do believe there is such a thing as remote viewing.

UPDATE: HuffpostUK claims that authorities have concluded that there is no such thing as Planet X, while linking to this article. This same article that links to a Space. com article that shows that the search for major TransPlutonian bodies is very much an active enterprise. There is also the Rodney Gomes data from 2012 as well as another project that is looking for Planet X, from an article this past February. 

The fact that government-controlled media like HuffPost are using ad hominem attack and ridicule to quash debate is pretty solid confirmation that NASA is out there looking for something big.

UPDATE: Paris Match's hilarious shoot and miss take: "Finally, after these rather fun examples, there are hardcore conspiracy. For the 'Secret Sun' blog, everything is clear: NASA has never sent a probe to Pluto(sic) and all these images are shameless tricks (sic)The Pluto mission is actually "an occult ritual based on a Masonic code. Thus, in the very name of probe New Horizon, should read 'New Horus' (sic), "new Horus" in reference to the Egyptian God at the head of FalconIt is associated with the Roman god of the underworld, Pluto, in a terrifying cult of death in order to keep humanity under the thumb of the evil powers..."

This post got so much attention I must have stumbled over something here...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sci-Fi and Paganism: The Secret History

I touched ever so briefly on this connection in Our Gods Wear Spandex, drawing on a quote from Lucky Mojo owner and former Eclipse Comics editor Cat Yronwode, who credited sci-fi fandom for the rise of modern paganism. Here Secret Sun ally Cat Vincent (ah, those cats) explores the topic in depth, unearthing a fascinating secret history that really cuts straight to the occult-culture matrix that this blog cut its teeth on.

Paganism and Wicca were only recently seen as spent mindfuel.  But neopaganism is not even close to dead, but is on the rise again, flying under the radar of the psy-cops and other Obsidian Orders of the endless Kardashian occupation.

Neopaganism and its tributaries are very much not my cup of camomile personally, but any resistance to the deadening and death-making mechanistic mindset of the oligarchy is a chip in the edifice- however small- of the robotic rationalists and their anthrocide agenda.

This talk covers all the bases and covers some ground that even seasoned wayfarers of the Wyrd may not have traveled and as such comes with the highest possible recommendation. This may not be for purists or puritans of the Pagan variety, but will certainly feed the brains of regular readers of The Secret Sol.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Present ≠ The Future

You may have seen this story recently:
Barnes & Noble Inc. BKS, +0.22%   announced Wednesday that it is doubling the size of its sections for graphic novels and manga (Japanese comics) in all its U.S. stores.
The move reflects customer demand for the genres and illustrates the company’s push toward bringing more customers into stores, rather than buying online from its own site and rivals such as Inc. AMZN, +2.10%
Sales of comic and graphic novel to consumers in the U.S. and Canada reached $935 million last year, the most since 1993, according to estimates from comic researchers ICv2 and Comichron. Print sales, at $835 million, was the most since 1995; digital sales brought in the remaining $100 million. 
Some of the sales gain is tied to recent releases of superhero movies as well as the “Walking Dead” comic series, according to Ron Salkowitz, a consultant on fandoms and author of “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture.” 
Barnes & Noble has been seeing the same sales trend, as manga and graphic novels rank “among the top of the list for 2015 [sales],” according to Mary Amicucci, vice president of adult trade and children’s books at Barnes & Noble.
People outside the industry, or people who weren't involved in the industry 20 years ago probably take this for granted, and can't imagine just how remarkable this is, historically speaking.

Not 15 years, at the turn of the millennium, pundits were not only writing obituaries for the comic book industry but for the superhero genre itself. The 90s had seen a string of superhero movie flops and the entire industry was holding its breath to see how Bryan Singer's X-Men adaption would fare. That it was a hit was a relief, that it didn't set the house on fire was a concern.

15 years I attended a convention in Westchester County and though I didn't do an exact count, I believe that exhibitors outnumbered customers. New York had been without a major con since Great Eastern had gone belly up and all that was left were very low rent shows in depressing venues. The now gargantuan NYCC was a long way away.

Comic stores were still closing, sales were going down and artists and writers couldn't find work. Everyone I talked to* assumed this was it; comics - and superheroes- were at the end of their ninth life. It didn't turn out that way.

I've often noticed a tendency among pundits to project the present into the future, but the future loves to make fools of pundits. I keep seeing articles about AI and transhumanism and all sorts of technical inevitabilities, but as I've written before these inevitabilities always seem to be just beyond our reach. (And even if these transhumanist promises ever do pan out- which I see no real evidence for at the moment- you and I will never share in the bounty).

I'm beginning to wonder just what role science and technology will play in the future, given the reemergence of brute force as a major factor in world politics, a reality that I don't recall seeing in many premillennial forecasts (cyberattacks certainly were, however, and those are becoming epidemic lately).

We've been sold the inevitability of a technocratic future but technocrats are remarkably indifferent to the great majority of the population. At some point the people who aren't invited to the party will realize they've just been looking in on it through a two-way mirror and if things get desperate, may well wish to express their displeasure at their exclusion. That was the spark that lit the wildfires tearing through the Islamic world at the moment. Only a fool would imagine that it can't happen here. Hungry people are the same everywhere.

The present doesn't equal the future and no one is seriously preparing us for what the future may bring.

What it might bring is a crisis in consciousness, a realization that the reductive materialism we've been shamed into abiding by doesn't amount to much if your material is severely reduced. It didn't really matter if pundits thought comics were dead 15 years ago, but it matters a lot that pundits think today that the religious impulse -and the concurrent potential for religious fanaticism- is dead.

All the mockery on Vice or Comedy Central isn't going to mean shit if people are hungry and homeless and desperate. Scratch that- it will be a red flag waved in front of a particularly nasty and pissed-off bull. Religion has survived a lot worse than whatever it's facing today and has done so because it offers a good product to people who are down on their luck.

But what about our new state religion? The past few years have seen an almost childlike faith in science and technology to solve deep-seated problems, and a lot of people believe that science and technology will rise up to defeat any problems that may emerge in the coming years. But I suspect this faith may be based on a steady flurry of bullshit press releases put in front of the public in the form of news, and we may yet see that faith shaken to the core. And there are a lot of serious people whose vision of the future doesn't include technology at all.

Trends- even longstanding trends- have an irritating habit of reversing or drastically changing course.  The future is continually rewriting itself, whether we like it or not.

* I did not, and wrote some editorials in Comic Book Artist at the time arguing that comics were not finished.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Was Charles Fort a Fortean?

Was Charles Fort a Fortean? What would he make of the current culture that bears his name? 

Unlike some of those who've adopted his name today, Fort wasn't a dilletante, he was an obsessive (some might even call him a "hoarder"). He wasn't a moderate in any sense of the word, he was a man of deep fixations, of passionate opinions, of radical convictions and, despite the protestations of the fashionable agnosticism of the time, a man of deep beliefs.

According to Jeff Kripal, Fort was also a postmodern before the term was coined. Fort was deeply immersed in quantum physics while the giants of the field were giving birth to the science. To him, it only validated his convictions that materialism was an illusion. Fort also knocked around a prototype of the idea of the holographic universe, if not an admittedly primitive and literalist one.

Unlike many Forteans, who dabble in the "weird" but usually reflexively defer to scientific orthodoxy, Fort saw science as  the latest incarnation of the ancient priesthoods, mesmerizing a cowed public with arcane language, secret rites and boiling cauldrons. Would that Fort had lived to see Hiroshima- his every dark warning and paranoid suspicion would have been confirmed. Ironically, it just might have killed him.

Fort condemned scientists (and believers in Scientism) for doing then what they do with absolute impunity today; ignoring and/or throwing out evidence that challenges the dominant materialist paradigm. Fort wrote: “Scientists, in matters of our data , have been like somebody in Europe, before 1492, hearing stories of lands to the west, going out for an hour or so, in a row-boat, and then saying, whether exactly in these words, or not: “Oh, Hell! There ain’t no America.”

The loathing was mutual. The high priests of Scientism hated Fort and his work with a urgent passion, all the more so since Fort was so meticulous and methodical in cataloging his contrarian data. Fabian Socialist H.G. Wells wrote this to Fort's supporter, Theodore  Dreiser, expressing a majority opinion among the materialist ascendancy of the early 20th Century:
I’m having Fort’s Book of the Damned sent back to you. Fort seems to be one of the most damnable bores who ever cut scraps from out of the way newspapers. I thought they were facts. And he writes like a drunkard. 
Lo! has been sent to me but has gone into my wastepaper basket. And what do you mean by forcing “orthodox science” to do this or that? Science is a continuing exploration and how in the devil can it have an orthodoxy? The next you’ll be writing is the “dogmas of science” like some blasted Roman Catholic priest on the defensive. …God dissolve (and forgive) your Fortean Society.  
How bitter, how ironic Wells' words sound, since even he would be forced to acknowledge that the scientific priesthood behaves exactly like the Medieval Church today (and when it had the power of the state, as it did in Soviet Russia, Maoist China and Cambodia, it enforced its will with roughly the same methods). Back then, Wells merely wrote with the disgust of a priest whose sanctuary of privilege and power has been violated. 

Knowing the history, Fort wrote of a endless game of musical chairs, reminding his readers that he opposed science and religion equally as vehicles of state power: 
Witchcraft always has a hard time, until it becomes established and changes its name. 
We hear much of the conflict between science and religion, but our conflict is with both of these. Science and religion always have agreed in opposing and suppressing the various witchcrafts. Now that religion is inglorious, one of the most fantastic of transferences of worships is that of glorifying science, as a beneficent being. It is the attributing of all that is of development, or of possible betterment to science. But no scientist has ever upheld a new idea, without bringing upon himself abuse from other scientists.
But that also cuts to the core of Fort's essential pessimism. Having read of the endless catalogue of pre-Arnold, pre-Roswell sightings, Fort was a UFOlogist before anyone ever conceived of such a thing. But his cosmology feels more like Hypostasis of the Archons than Hangar 1. And here get to what is perhaps Fort's most famous quotation, one you'd be hard-pressed to get most "Forteans" to actually agree with:
Would we, if we could, educate and sophisticate pigs, geese, cattle? 
Would it be wise to establish diplomatic relation with the hen that now functions, satisfied with mere sense of achievement by way of compensation? 
I think we're property.
I should say we belong to something: That once upon a time, this earth was No-man's Land, that other worlds explored and colonized here, and fought among themselves for possession, but that now it's owned by something: That something owns this earth—all others warned off. 

Oh, the hilarity

Today, we are fed the false choice of the extraterrestrial (meaning the extrasolar) hypothesis, but the length, depth and intimacy of this phenomenon suggest- to anyone willing to consider the implications of the evidence- that this phenomenon is a permanent condition of the planet and of our species. Fort wrote of this a century ago but no one seems to be able to face up to this yet. Certainly not most of the most visible Forteans.

Indeed, Forteans seem to operate in that territory occupied by Subgenii and Discordians, a subculture of entertainment, characterized by an essential state of disbelief and ironic distance.  

These cultures have the external trappings of a counter-culture but in fact seem to be animated by an essential conventionality. This isn't a judgement call, it's a simple observation. It's the kind of thing you see manifested in "Weird News" in sites like Huffington Post, where Forteana is really just a joke, a brief diversion from the mandatory scientistic, materialist orthodoxy. "Believers" are usually identified as suckers and bumpkins.

But Fort wrote “People with a psychological need to believe in marvels are no more prejudiced and gullible than people with a psychological need not to believe in marvels.” This is not a position you'll see among many current branches of Forteanism, which sometimes seem bent on an endless crusade against "believers" and belief. 

It's as if it's OK to dabble in this stuff for lulz, just don't actually take any of it seriously. 

Certainly that's takeaway you'll get from Fortean Times, and other venues that constantly attack their ostensible allies but never question received authority. Attacking "believers", a powerless constituency, is a cost and consequence-free way of looking like a freethinking iconoclast when in fact you're actually anything but. 

But it's not what I would call "Fortean."

Fort is like Philip K. Dick and Jack Kirby, admired by an audience who find their beliefs a curiosity at best, an embarrassment at worst. Fort was a humorist and was smart enough to give his audience some wiggle room but on the really controversial issues he seems remarkably stringent (eg., "we are property"). In many ways his jokiness is gallows humor, a respite from his existential pessimism. 

Jeff Kripal identifies Fort as a 20th Century Gnostic in Authors of the Impossible, and from what I've read of the man I think that's not too far from the truth. The question is how he'll be regarded when the upheaval comes and things now taken for granted face their existential dilemma.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Tempest in a Psyop?: The "Roswell Slides" Redux

UFOlogy isn't dead. On the contrary it appears to be stuck in an never-ending adolescence. I don't know exactly why but there's something about the subject that makes middle-aged adults act like 13 year-olds, and the subculture is endlessly locked in the digital equivalent of a schoolyard brawl.

This goes especially for those UFOlogists who consider themselves "skeptics" or debunkers. In point of fact, the skeptics are more obsessed with the topic than even the most credulous Pleiadean light worker, and seem to spend all of their free time trying to convince everyone that they're not like those "believer" so-and so's, they're critical thinkers. 

Actually, they're just like the kid who thinks he's too cool to sit at the outcast lunch table he's been banished to, unwilling to realize that the rest of the school thinks he's no different than the other outcasts. 

After all, no one is forcing debunkers to spend all the livelong day talking about flying saucers on UFO sites, even if they do so with a sneer and an air of smug superiority. And it's not as if one needs to man the hustings against rampaging UFOlogists, on the verge of taking over the world.

The fact of the matter is that debunkers are just disheartened believers, longing with all their hearts for the skies to open and for the saucermen to take them to the stars. It probably wouldn't take much coaxing to draw this out, maybe just a few beers and a starry sky. 

It's clear that debunkers suffer from what psychologists call "approach-avoidance conflict syndrome," a conflict between desire of an object and fear of it. The debunker is torn by his insatiable desire for a close encounter and his simultaneous fear of the unknown (or perhaps his fear that the unknown will forever elude him). 

So in order to cope with this conflict the debunker immerses himself completely in the UFOlogy subculture but does so in an adversarial fashion. But if they were really interested in science and all the rest of it, why aren't they off talking about the digestive enzymes of the giant tiger prawn or the photosynthetic processes of the Pacific Northwest tree fern? 

You know, science?

To complicate matters further the new generation of skeptics are mostly concerned with social and political issues and think paranormal skepticism is not only corny and irrelevant, but actually counterproductive.

In any event, UFOlogy is also sailing against some pretty heavy headwinds. Government secrecy has metastasized beyond all reason since 9/11. The Internet (particularly YouTube) has decentralized the subculture, giving rise to voices that have no interest in established UFOlogy. The expectation of free content and the interminable economic malaise mean there's no money for independent investigators to do any "boots on the ground" work anymore. 

Old time UFOlogists harp on the fact that we're not seeing the kinds of cases we did in the 60s and 70s but the reality is that no one is out there investigating reports the way they did back then.

Almost no one. Into this mix we also have MUFON, which like everything else in America is now controlled by a shadowy billionaire, a billionaire who doesn't like to share much. MUFON has an agenda the rest of the subculture can only guess at and "ex-MUFON director" seems to be an honorific a lot of BADs (or "born again debunkers") have tacked onto their bylines these past few years. MUFON also has a fairly visible TV series on cable, one that just happens to ignore most of the UFOlogical community.

These headwinds have meant that not a lot of news is breaking in UFOlogy these days. Sightings seem to be clicking up but so too are bad CGI hoaxes (helpful hint: if someone doesn't step forward to claim credit for a hoax video within a few weeks or so, assume it's been created by some intelligence agency somewhere). 

Scientists do seem to be talking about aliens quite a lot these days but don't consult with UFOlogists on account of the fact that they consider them subhuman. There's been a lot of talk of UFOs in the Christian conspiracy community, anathema to UFOlogists who consider their work "scientific." And then there are also the endless bizarre proclamations coming from the Vatican, now controlled by the Jesuit Order, who seem awfully interested in ET (but not so much in UFOlogists).

It was into this primordial ooze that the so-called Roswell Slides appeared. I personally didn't pay it much mind, given the fact that it all seemed to center on a small network of debunker and BAD sites, nearly all of which offer up a lot of acrimony, posturing and cant and not a lot of interesting information.

UFOlogist Kevin Randle gives us a thumbnail sketch of the genesis of the psychodrama:
(I)n February 2013, Rich Reynolds published a column about some slides that had surfaced showing a body from the Roswell crash but we, meaning the team assembled for the reinvestigation, couldn’t talk about it because of some sort of a nondisclosure agreement that had been signed. I knew nothing of the slides and I had signed no such agreement. Nick Redfern seemed to be the source on this and since I know Nick, I called him to ask about it. 
He told me that the slides had been found when a woman had been cleaning out a house for an estate sale (though now we learn that it might have been a house that was about to be demolished). She had sent the slides to her brother and he eventually got in touch with Tom (Carey) and Don (Schmitt) (or (Adam) Dew, after finding the slides sought out Tom and Don, whatever)
The above mentioned Adam Dew was the instigator behind all of this, and it was he whose friend's sister had found the box of slides. Dew is a video producer who specializes in sports and has done work for the local professional sports teams in Chicago. Dew produced a very slick video trailer for this project and was working on a documentary film, which presumably will be scuttled now.

NOTE: I previously wrote about this drama in this post.

What didn't make any sense is why these people would have access to any ET evidence at all. Rumors have circulated over the years that Jackie Gleason was once shown an EBE by his personal friend Richard Nixon. But if that's so you can bet your life he wasn't allowed to photograph his encounter. Gleason is not well known now but he was television's first superstar and was also a major player in some political circles. Conversely, the couple in question concern the slides here were nobodies. 

If Barry Goldwater- one of the most powerful political figures of the 20th Century- was unable to get access to any information concerning UFOs (not to mention Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, etc etc), why on earth would anyone believe this couple were given access to alien bodies? The premise here is a non-starter.

And if by some fluke of chance they were able to sneak a peak at at an EBE, wouldn't they be a bit more circumspect about storing the slides in question? I would think a safe or a safe deposit box would be where you'd find something as potential as earth-shattering as the photographic evidence of a dead UFO pilot, an artifact that would change the course of human history.

The issue rumbled along in a small corner of the UFOlogy underworld, until finally it was announced that the photos would be revealed during a paid event in Mexico City, hosted and paid for by Mexican TV personality Jaime Maussan. A group of N&B (nuts-n-bolts) and BAD UFOlogists formed a group to counter the claims of the slides group and the invective was duly hurled. As the Mexico City event approached a low-rez image of one of the slides was leaked and almost immediately it was identified as mummified child in a museum display case (even in lo-rez it looked wizened and ancient).

Things went to bad to worse and the unveiling event (this past May 5th) was almost universally panned. Suddenly the event became a vehicle for score-settling, and UFOlogists who had nothing to do with the mess were suddenly and bizarrely accused of responsibility for it. 

No, in fact all of UFOlogy was responsible for it, according to the debunkers and their fellow travelers, even though one debunker admitted that the "UFO community that warned them all along to suspend judgment pending verifiable evidence," but the slides team "chose to reject those warnings with aggressive and self-righteous contempt." But who needs fact when there are witches to burn? 

The debunkers are still riding the hobbyhorse, but the fact is that hardly anyone outside the UFOlogical ghetto was paying attention and most people inside didn't believe the hype in the first place. Certainly no one is paying attention now.

Undetered, some debunkers are now stirring up a good old-fashioned witchhunt, and are campaigning against not only the slides team but also Richard Dolan, who agreed to give a lecture on UFO history at the event even though he remained neutral on the slides themselves. Some are even trying to use the brouhaha to not-so-subtly campaign for bookings at UFO conferences (Hey, chuckleheads- people who go to UFO conferences have no interest in listening to debunkers). 

The professional jealousy in UFOlogy is stultifying. 

The slides team were part of the so-called "Roswell Dream Team" (a name they gave themselves) and were contacted for their alleged expertise in the Roswell case. They've since claimed that they weren't shown a hi-res image of the slide as part of their reasoning for getting involved. 

I can't help but wonder about this- why get involved if you couldn't actually see the evidence in question? This fact-- along with the obvious polish of the trailer and other details-- leads me to wonder if there wasn't upfront money, maybe a lot, involved in all of this. That would go a long way in explaining why two presumably experienced investigators would put their reputations on the line with so little to go on.

One of the Dream Team posted a mea culpa and said of the placard that identified the "alien" as a mummy:
I was told that the best-available, highest resolution images of the placard were provided by the co-owner of the slides, Mr. Adam Dew, and given to world-class photo experts including Ray Downing of Studio Macbeth in NY (who conducted analysis on the Shroud of Turin) and Colonel Jeffrey Thau (who sent them to the Pentagon’s Photo Interpretation Department.) Despite the application of the best de-blurring software in the world, they were unable to read the words on the placard with any definitiveness. 
 I can only surmise that Mr. Adam Dew did not provide to these experts the highest-resolution images of the slides. Why he did not, I cannot be certain. But Adam Dew has to this very day not yet publicly provided the crystal-clear slide images that I know exist.
Well, I wouldn't be so sure about that. Now that we see the Pentagon's involvement, we're playing an entirely different ballgame.

No one in UFOlogy would ever stop to ask this question but has anyone familiar with this story ever stopped to wonder that this may have been a psyop all along? The Dream Team includes a former career military man and is poking around military secrets, even if they are almost 70 years old now. The aftermath of the Roswell event may still radiate around classified projects and maybe someone thought it was time to put the issue to rest once and for all.

Equally questionable is the slick video presentation that was put together to promote this debacle. I understand that Adam Dew is involved in video production but this seems a bit too polished- too Hollywood- for a guy who basically films college football games. 

And therein lies another quandary- who is this guy? 

Did this so-called Dream Team ever look into his background or connections? I don't know anything about this guy so it's pure speculation on my part but video production- a gig that gives you a great deal of access into people's lives, their businesses, their homes- seems like a line that certain agencies may well have an interest in. 

Now I realize this is just plain crazy talk but the whole Roswell Slides saga reminds of an old episode of The X-Files called "Gethesemene." In it, Mulder is set up to believe that an alien corpse has been found in the Yukon. The purpose of the hoax was to get Mulder to believe the body was real and to go public with the information, after which it would be exposed as a fraud, but only after Scully was dead from cancer and so on and so forth. (Mulder also discovers that he's been under close surveillance by the DoD).

Here we have a strange parallel narrative- three UFOlogists (whom the debunkers call "Mulderites") are set up to believe that they've finally found the proof they've been searching for all these years. But it all blows up in their faces and destroys their credibility. 

That the Roswell Slides debacle may be more than meets the eye may have been confirmed by an episode in which the principals were allegedly harassed by people within the intelligence community, an event that served only to strengthen the group's resolve. I'd argue that this was exactly the desired effect. From the UFO Chronicles:
Ross, a commenter at the 'UFO Conjecture(s)' blog, stated today in an email exchange with 'The UFO Trail' that his email and the accounts of some high profile UFO-researchers were hacked in relation to the alleged Roswell slides. Ross further stated that he believed "a three letter agency" was responsible. 
Ross stated that he assumed he was initially targeted due to his involvement in email exchanges about the slides.
"Based on the resources required to do what I think they were doing; intercepting our comms as opposed to just 'hacking' and just the way things transpired I'm of the opinion this was a three letter agency," he added.
The party responsible for compromising the emails was obviously interested in the slides, Ross explained, and generally caused disruption.
"My instinct was that whoever we were dealing with had a sophisticated operation behind them," Ross wrote, "and figured I may as well try communicating to see what they have to say (the hacker used various safe-mail accounts to interact with us)." 
Ross continued, "The first response I received to a communication I had initiated was a list of emails which were mostly discussions about the slides, but there was some unrelated material there (which I discarded). This was obviously the hacker wanting to let me know the extent of the surveillance. 
There was a lot of smoke and mirrors, but overall the story was that these slides were of interest to certain three letter agencies. There were offers of money, a sit down meeting with someone fully briefed in what the government really knows about UFOs, and even the opportunity to see for real what the slides supposedly depict. All these offers were related to my acting as a conduit to arrange a meeting between the people handling the slides and the party/parties doing the 'hacking'. This wasn't something I was in a position to set up not being in contact with or on good terms with the people involved."
In "Gethesemene" a DOD operative murders the team that digs out the fake alien body, a typically extreme action meant to convince Mulder that the corpse is real and that people within the government are desperately trying to cover it up. 

The hacking event served the same purpose (and also ties us back to "Gethesemene", oddly enough).

Think about it: if an intelligence agency really wanted to suppress the slides, it probably could have done so without breaking a sweat. Instead, the team's suspicions were confirmed and they now had the confirmation they needed from Uncle Sam.

Strangely enough, I agree in an oblique kind of way. That we continue to see these kinds of things - along with the anonymous hoax videos that seem to appear on a daily basis on YouTube- suggests that creating UFO disinformation is still a priority in, uh, certain communities. 

In the same way crop circles were evidence that someone was concerned enough about the "saucer nest" phenomenon to create a diversion that grew to such proportions that people would soon forget why they were created in the first place. That at least one crop circle hoaxer is a British Intelligence asset tends to validate this, in my mind at least.

You can't help but wonder if UFOlogy itself is the ultimate triumph of UFO disinformation. Certainly the kind of rancor and backbiting you see in the wake of fiascoes like the "Roswell Slides" is keeping nearly everyone who might be interested in the topic at a safe distance.  

But I would argue that UFOlogy is also its own worst enemy. Whether you regard them as real or mythic, UFOs don't exist in a vacuum. They are part of our history, our culture, our religions, our politics. UFO culture often takes you into a closed universe in which all that exists is the saucer and its aftereffects. 

UFOs themselves are kind of boring. To my way of thinking they only take off when plugged into the overall matrix of esoteric thought, parapolitics, quantum consciousness and all the rest of it. But the present generation of UFOlogists- trained to view the phenomenon in a sci-fi mindset and often blindingly conventional in their attitudes- are keeping that alchemical mix from its boiling point because they turn so many people off from the topic with their endless dysfunctions.

It's time to try something else.

UPDATE: An interesting perspective on the story from an Italian researcher here, who claims that casting doubt on the entire Roswell narrative was the purpose behind this debacle. If so, all of a sudden the "ex-MUFON directors" and debunkers who seem to be engaged in a coordinated campaign to blame all of UFOlogy for this don't seem so much like lonely voices crying in the wilderness, do they?  

NOTE: I reported on the wave of terrible alien movies and the media's ignorance of same a few years ago and now have come to believe it was part of an aversion therapy psyop- more on that later.