Friday, December 30, 2016

Another Weird Year

Dana, stalking around in May

Have you ever seen the movie adaption of The Mothman Prophecies? It's an adaption in theory only, really. It's not set in the Sixties and the John Keel character has been split into two seemingly opposite poles, one played by British actor Alan Bates and another played by Richard Gere, of all people.

The Gere character is kinda like Keel circa 1966, drawn into the mystery, excitement and allure of the paranormal and the Bates character is more the older Keel, who is very much a broken man, battered and bewildered by the endless enigmas one has to wrestle with when dealing with the world of paranormality.

And so the Bates Keel character spends most of his screen time trying to warn the Gere Keel away from the seductive allure of whatever is having its way with the good people of Point Pleasant, WV. The Gere Keel asks Bates why these entities are fucking with him in this way, why they chose him, implying that he is somehow special, somehow "chosen."

Bates regards Gere with a pitying look and replies simply that,  "You noticed them, and they noticed that you noticed them."

And so it is.

I think you can tell if someone has had a lot of experience with the paranormal by their wariness and their weariness. Because one thing the Mothman movie definitely got right is that the paranormal feeds off death and tragedy like a fuel. From what I can tell, the only way you can navigate its murky waters is to know where you really stand and learn to resist the temptations these powers, principalities and dominions can throw in front of you, because if you start to play by their rules you will most certainly lose. 

I first noticed them a very long time ago, not because I was especially perceptive or intelligent, but because chronic high fever (and I mean very high-105ºF on average) rewired my circuits and allowed-- or more accurately, forced-- me to see things just beyond the frame most people saw the world through, if only just barely and for fleeting moments at a time.

(Then there was the thing with the house that was haunted and needed to be exorcised back in the 70s, but that's a story for another day).

I can't say any of this has done me much good; it's not exactly something you can monetize. Certainly not these days. And these powers seem to be extraordinarily jealous of your attention. The only thing that's kept me tethered is my policy of trying to nail down as much of the strangeness as I can and to keep a healthy emotional distance from it all whenever possible.

That's helped quite a bit in 2016, a year which I'm quite amazed I survived.


The thing that nearly killed me this year were the extremely high levels of mold pollen, which I very much suspect may be exacerbated by the heavy pollution (there's a major highway at the end of my street and we're square in the flight corridor to and from Newark Airport) as well as by the aerial spraying I've documented outside my door.

For most people this causes stuffy noses and runny eyes, maybe some fatigue. If you're dealing with an autoimmune disorder if can feel like the apocalypse.

What people don't realize is that 2016 wasn't that way out of some random glitch in the causality matrix- it also played host to some of the heaviest space weather we've seen in some time. Pretty much the entire Solar System was in retrograde for most of the year. So if you felt like you were walking through mud or breathing underwater, it wasn't your imagination.

Retrogrades are challenging but not necessarily negative. They can act as opportunities to dig into the hard drive of your life and do some cleaning and sorting. Since I seem to invariably get the full breakfast from the planets I found myself too often on hold with my paying work. But having excellent stellar counseling I decided to throw myself into my research and what resulted was probably the most productive period yet seen on this blog.  

I also took the opportunity of my forced downtime to digitize my old four-track recordings, some of which I put up on Soundcloud. This was optimal use of my retrograde-- particularly my Mars retrograde-- and helped reconnect me with an important period in my life I'd lost touch with.

But I also did a lot of personal research, trying to parse out some longstanding problems and their possible sources. I have a major mystery in my life, a period of time when I was constantly hospitalized. This in turn connected to a series of events, the exact nature of which I'm still trying to straighten out but the effects of which I have to struggle with every single day.

But just when I was really getting sick of having to wrestle with these old demons-- yet again-- the space weather lifted and the devils let go. 

So a word to the wise: you can probably safely ignore your daily horoscope but keep an eye what those big guys out there are doing. I've yet to see these planetary macro-movements fail to deliver what they promise.

Or threaten.

Saucer-like Object Over S. Willow Street in Manchester, NH


UFOs rose from the dead - yet again - in 2016. UFO-aggregator channels like SecureTeam10 and UFO World were extremely busy with  sighting videos (especially over the summer ) and there's been a lot of activity recorded lately by a YouTuber over Area 51. The question becomes what are we looking at, drones, hoaxes, secret technology or genuine unknowns?

There's so much activity in the skies it's hard to tell the difference anymore.

There also seems to be a major media push on the subject with former Blink 182 guitarist Tom DeLonge launching his own UFO cottage industry with the ostensible blessing/backing of unseen military and intelligence honchos.

DeLonge has given a number of interviews promoting the Sekret Machines project but the cumulative effect has led some of those concerned to wonder if he's been "Bennewitzed", meaning he's been driven crazy by a concerted and concentrated disinformation campaign.

The other major UFO project has been journalist Ben Mezrich's new book The 37th Parallel, the research for which apparently made a believer out of him. Mezrich has even given a TED talk entitled "Why I Believe in UFOs and You Should Too." Mezrich's project seems to have the blessing of aerospace mogul Robert Bigelow, which is like getting blessed by the Pope, UFOlogically-speaking.

Now I wrote back in 2015 how we had close encounters of the first kind, with my son taking a short video of three UFOs that flew over the golf course where he worked and hovered- perfectly motionless- over the woods for some time. The video is short and low-rez, taken on an old iPhone at dusk.

In classic Vallean fashion the sighting inspired him to purchase an expensive digital camera with a telephoto lens.  Of course no UFOs have crossed his path since.

A meteor was seen over New Hampshire on May 17

My wife, my daughter and I had our own sighting a few weeks later in New Hampshire, a stunning observation of two orange orbs harassing a Cessna that had taken off from a local airport. The orbs birddogged the plane before splitting formation and flying straight over our heads. They most certainly seemed like they were under intelligent control.

We were so stunned we didn't even think to get pictures of it, though I doubt that they'd look like much given that we were in a moving car on a very well-lit highway.

This drove me nuts, since I hate not being able to have some kind of documentation of these kinds of events. But as it happens that wasn't really necessary, since the sighting was essentially corroborated by a wave of similar events in the exact same area earlier this year:
More Pulsating UFO Orbs Reported in NH 
Since January, a number of residents have reported seeing lights in the skies of Bow, Concord, Manchester, Bedford, Milford, and Salem. 
MANCHESTER, NH - More residents from around the Granite State are reporting seeing strange lights in the skies during the past few months, including two sightings caught on camera during the past three weeks in Concord and Manchester, according to reports online. 
The most recent sighting was over the Queen City, “a saucer-like object,” that was pulsating and slowly moving over the western the part of the city toward Bedford on March 11, 2016. 
We were up in New Hampshire last year to celebrate my grandmother's 100th birthday, but sadly she passed away this year, one of several deaths the family has had to deal in 2016. But she lived an enviably full life, raising five near-genius children while managing her own career in education. After retiring she spent years traveling the world with her eldest son, a popular music teacher who she sadly outlived but whose funeral was attended by over a thousand people (I'd never seen anything like it).

One of the things I discovered during my retrogrades this past year is that my grandfather worked on the SAGE radar project, in other words the real Montauk Project (Montauk went mainstream in a major way when Stranger Things hit like a tidal wave). That was...interesting.

This was the project he worked on for MITRE before his work went into the black. My father also worked for a defense contractor when I was a kid, the old family business (called Globe Rubber Works) which also provided parts for NASA (it's since been sold to a Texas-based company). Globe also manufactures parts for nuclear submarines, bringing us back into Vannevar Bush's orbit.

I was thinking about these connections and many more like them when I discovered this strange detail of history- no less a figure than Wernher Von Braun was basically smuggled into my birthplace and childhood stomping grounds† (a couple hundred feet off the coast, to be precise) after the war. 

Installation where Nazis were processed

This tiny little corner of New England- which was so crucially important in the first 11 years of my life- was ground zero for Project Paperclip, the notorious program in which hundreds of Nazi scientists were brought into America and put to work in the highest reaches of the military-industrial-complex. Long Island is also right near where Globe was located at the time (and was until the late 1970s). 

As Synchronicity would have it, a story popped up on SecureTeam10  of a series of UFO sightings over Wollaston (a part of Quincy) not too long after I made that discovery. I caught wind of the story when it showed up on Educating Humanity, on what would have been my grandmother's 101st birthday. It was also almost exactly a year after our own sighting..

Now the reason why I found this so remarkable was because of a photo my sister found when going through my grandmother's belongings after her death. A bit of background first.

click to enlarge

All the way back in 2009 I wrote a short post called "Owls," which touched up my mother's obsession with the birds when I was growing up. Our entire living room became a virtual owl shrine with statues, figurines and prints. This room was interesting for another reason, because of a story my mother told me after my first son was born:
 She said that just before I was born she put my sister down for naps and then would often take one herself. But she would have this recurring nightmare that a "witch" was on the porch and was trying to come into the house while my mother was asleep on the sofa. 
That was the same exact spot I had the leprechaun hallucination you're all so sick of hearing about.
In the photo (of my mother, my sister and I at Easter) there's a circular patch of dead grass, or of grass that was dead but is showing some signs of growth. The pattern is very similar to a famous UFO case from Kansas in the 1970s. 

Now, this might seem entirely unremarkable to you, just some dead grass in an early spring yard. But the thing is that it's exactly parallel with the old owl room. In other words, it's right where it should be when it should be. The ground within the circle also seems to be concave, as if pressed upon.

It's also the same spot where this took place, from "My Favorite Nightmares"
The Party: My mother is having another of her parties and the noise is unbearable, per usual. But my attention is focused on the window because there's a terrible light outside in the darkened yard. I look down and there's that unbearable light. This is one of my most terrifying dreams- it actually instills a gag reflex when I think of it- and I don't know why.
Speaking of nightmares, I had a few interesting experiences at night recently. I don't know what to call them,  they weren't anything like the dreams I've been having over the past several years (I refer to these as "dreaming in the third person"). These were physical, tangible, extremely vivid and cogent.

In one I was back in our old house and had gotten up in the middle of the night. I went to turn the hall light on but it seemed as if the power were out. I took a half-step backward and bumped into a large figure, which then wrapped his arms around my chest.

I tried to push back against him but he had these weapons in his hands. They were these metal rods with electrodes at the bottoms. He then pressed them into my chest and I felt- felt- a strong shock go through my body.

I'd never seen anything like them before but as it happens they actually exist. This would have been the same timeframe as the bizarre encounter I wrote about for Nick Redfern's MIB book.

I don't know; maybe it was the mold.


Of course, there was also the X-Files reboot, which I've written on extensively here and on the Satellite. The critics pretty much hated it (a fait accompli given its politics)* and it's been a hot source of debate for fans but I got as much as I could reasonably expect out of it at this point in time. I was in it for the symbols and the signals and there were certainly no shortage of those. Unlike the critics, I was under no illusions that the past could ever be recaptured.

But as I detailed here in a couple of posts, fiction bled over into reality after the last episode of the reboot aired:
Just as we saw in "Founder's Mutation," several thousand grackles appeared in our backyard--the day after the last episode aired. They stayed for five days, seemingly waiting for me to record them, and then flew off. 
They were here four weeks early (they weren't due until the beginning of Spring), I couldn't find out information on any other grackle flocks in any of the local news or birdwatching sites online (some of which get ridiculous about cataloging every bird someone sees) and they've never settled here in the 23 years we've been living in this house.

The grackles returned on Tuesday. They'd been gone for weeks and all of a sudden they were back, in my backyard. Some were in a neighbor's tree but it was one that overhangs our property line. I went over to the other side of the house to show that they were in fact clustered on our property, not the neighbors, just as before. And just as before, they disappeared as soon as I recorded them
I have to wonder, was this a bad omen? There's been a lot of death this past year, not only of celebrities but of people closer to home. Some of whom died far, far too young. It's been very difficult and trying for the people I care most about. There seems to be too much of it going around these days.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that there hasn't been… unusual activity connected to some of this tragedy. 

I'm hesitant to specify because it couldn't possibly be more sensitive but let me just say that there has been some manifestation on a fairly significant scale this past year involving a number of different people (many of whom are outside this household) and resulting in phenomena such as object displacement, interference with electrical circuitry and interference with computer interfaces in a manner that is not only highly unusual but also symbolically significant.

I've documented some of these events and hope to gather other information in the future. Unfortunately we're dealing with anecdotal evidence but it's been noted on a scale that for me lies out of random chance.

And speaking of bad omens this past week saw this story, which is making news all over the world:
Why are these birds falling from the sky in South Jersey?
SHILOH, N.J. - Weather-wise, it had been a fairly typical November day, two days before Thanksgiving, in the western Cumberland County agricultural community of Stow Creek Township - mostly sunny, with a bit of a nip in the air.
Then, all of a sudden, it was raining dead birds.
And by the time the brief "shower" was over, as many as 200 red-winged blackbirds littered the ground in a small housing development off Frank Davis Road surrounded by vast farm fields. 
"They just fell from the sky," said Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

It was the second time in less than three weeks that a die-off of blackbirds had occurred in the same rural neighborhood; the first time, a couple of dozen dead birds were found. A similar incident had happened in a North Jersey farming area earlier in the year, Hajna said.
Dana, creeping around in April

There was also the strange interlude with the fox, which got awfully familiar for a little while there. Her appearances were so odd I started to wonder if she (we nicknamed her "Dana") was trying to tell us something but I later dispatched with such  impositions. 

Even so, her first appearance was… memorable:
Not long after I was talking with Gordon via Skype and telling him a strange story I recounted several years ago on The Hidden Experience podcast, about a screaming animal that seemed to shape-shift in front of my eyes. When I told that story to Mike I didn't know that both the scream (which sounds like a horrific woman's scream) and the shape-shifting lore were both long associated with the Fox, Nature's great Trickster. When I told the story to Gordon, I did. 
That night as I was making dinner my son bolted out the door, undressed, clutching his very expensive camera (which he bought following his UFO sighting). When he came back inside he explained that there was a fox on the friggin' front porch, just hours after I recounted my admittedly bizarre fox story to Gordon. He chased it, in the freezing cold, but his fancypants camera couldn't focus in the dark. 
The fox came back several nights thereafter. I heard it outside my window and recorded its faint screams in the distance. The next night something must have spooked it since it let loose its fear smell, which is like a skunk, only more noxious. 
We haven't seen any foxes in this neighborhood for several years now. And one chooses that exact night to show up on my front porch.
Dana became a familiar sight (and sound, and smell) but that first appearance was extremely bizarre. But she was a very fitting mascot for a year like 2016, a year only a true Trickster could love.

† Aside from being born in Quincy, my parents lived in Wollaston until a couple months before my birth. My father moved back there when my parents split up and lived there for a few years. I also spent a lot of time in Wollaston when my mother attended college there and at the beach before the pollution closed it down.

* Their knees did predictably jerk in nerd solidarity for the Were-Monster episode, though.