Saturday, April 30, 2022

Connecting with the Impossible

 Much of the debate about UFOs and UAPs in the past few years has been restricted to a skewed focus on military cases, classified programs and a convoluted trajectory to achieve more transparent governmental reviews of data emerging from such activities.  

Those who have deep connections with detailed historical views and research know that we have seen all these things before. However the military case data is increasingly coming with multi-sensory data of a seemingly impressive nature, and yet in many such cases there is a convoluted drawn out battle to get access to such data.  A driver of such recent battles has been the much discussed USS Nimitz battle fleet encounters of 2004 - some of the best documented UFO/UAP cases in the modern era.  And yet, we are inevitably still chasing significant gaps in the multi-sensory data.  Given the political progress to date, despite its high profile and rampant publicity, we have seen declarations that much of the data emerging will continue to be stripped of its more sensitive (but perhaps more compelling) aspects.  

As an advocate of open and transparent scientific based multidisciplinary investigations and research, I applaud activities like SCU, UFO DATA, UAPx and Project Galileo.  The past 7 decades of civilian and official investigations have yielded extraordinary cases and data which should heavily inform the new investigative/research strategies.

The rich legacy of UFO/UAP history has alway highlighted that there are often deeper connections outside the apparent range of even the most advanced of multi-sensory data collections. The so-called "paranormal" dimensions of the UFO/UAP mystery are one such potent area of exploration.  There have been ongoing efforts to address these aspects over the long history of UFO investigations.  Researchers addressing these areas need to closely examine what has gone before.  I have engaged with and researched this aspect for many decades.  

Here are some of my commentaries addressing this so-called "paranormal" linkage with UFOs or UAPs:

During March 2022, Rice University's School of Humanities hosted a conference focusing on the "Archives of the Impossible", which shone a significant light on part of the "paranormal" dimensions of human experience.

Since Jeffrey Kripal's focus on "the paranormal and the sacred" in his 2010 book "Authors of the Impossible", featuring Frederick Myers, Charles Fort, Jacques Vallee and Bertrand Meheust, the momentum picked up with Kripal's striking pop culture examination, with "Mutants & Mystics - Science fiction, superhero comics, and the paranormal" (2011).  That book provided for me a welcomed remembrance of one of my own tentative inroads and anchor points into the UFO subject during the 1960s with its profiling of Otto Binder, author of "What we really know about Flying Saucers" (1967). Kripal's coverage led me to Bill Schelly's biography "Otto Binder - the life and work of a comic book and science fiction visionary".  Kripal's trajectory highlighted the humanities and cultural threads that have empowered deeper assessments of the uncertainties that abound in the "paranormal" aspects of the UFO phenomenon.

Jeffrey Kripal continued this process with his 2017 collaboration with Whitley Strieber "The Supernatural - Why the Unexplained is real."

The March 2022 conference showcased a striking collaborative archiving of rich resources for future research into the paranormal. 

For the area of UFO/UAP studies, archives from Jacques Vallee and Whitley Strieber are a formative focus for the growing programme of preserving important data. The conference provided an important focus on these efforts. "The Archives of the Impossible" are housed at the Fondren Library and I encourage you to examine them: 

The conference presentations are now more easily available:

and all the presentations are well worth your attention. 

Back in early March, when I was originally watching the main presentations live, I was personally struck by the coincidence of sitting through a couple of the presentations focusing on "death" and "surviving bodily death" - Whitley Strieber's "Them" highlighted this with "the Communion letters", with his wife Anne saying of the thousands of letters they received from experiencers, "This has to do with death", and Leslie Kean's " Impossibilities: From UFOs to materialisations" - on her explorations of evidence for "survival.". 

I was keeping "impossible hours" trying to keep up with the live early hour (Saturday morning, 5 March locally in Sydney Australia) presentations from Houston Texas.  I had just finished watching Whitley's talk, in the wake of Lesley's.  I felt I needed to lighten this journey with something different so I began listening to Ross Coulthart and Bryce Zabel's March 3 podcast "Need to know - In Plain Sight", where Ross said, "There's a mate of mine here in Australia Bill Chalker whose probably Australia's pre-eminent UFO UAP researcher and Bill told me about a Defence department scientist Harry Turner." Well, thanks mate I thought, so I started to settle into listening, but then I noticed a missed call on my mobile phone, which I had on silent.

Sadly it was my sister Anne telling me that her husband Stephen had passed away earlier that morning at their home in our old home town Grafton, on the north coast of Australia.  After contacting and trying to comfort my sister, I was in a whirlwind of emotion and struggling with a lack of sleep. To unwind I drove to a local village shopping centre, which has a open, free bookshelf, where locals leave books for other locals to borrow, keep. I had often found books that would be of interest, that I had never thought of before.  I guess on this occasion I saw it as a way to soften the burden of the close family loss.

However, I was immediately drawn to an unexpected find which made me think of my brother in law Stephen and of a decades long passion I had for a historical UFO mystery located at Parramatta (Sydney, Australia) - the 1868 story of a "vision" of a machine to go through the air, where Parramatta, surveyor, engineer and local council member, Frederick William Birmingham described seeing a "flying ark" land in Parramatta Park. Within easy walking distance was a historical cemetery where lies my original Australian ancestor William Chalker.

The unexpected bookshelf find was a book by Errol Lea-Scarlett "Roots & Branches - Ancestry for Australians.  How to trace your family tree."  Stephen Westley, my brother in law, shared a passion - family ancestral research.  Stephen was extremely good at this and we often discussed this and he shared his careful "family tree" research. He was so much better at it than me.  As a writer I was always more interested in the family stories behind the "family tree."

But, it was also Errol Lea-Scarlett's name that grabbed my attention.  In researching the 1868 Birmingham story I had encountered a 1911 letter by a local Parramatta seed man, horticulturist, printer, and genealogist, Hebert John Rumsey, which amazingly verified the very weird 1868 story.  

In the "Golden Jubilee history" of the Society of Australian Genealogists 1932-1982" I found an article by society fellow Errol Lea-Scarlett, "Up and down, then up again - a very personal account of our early days," which contained his account of a "secret" maintained by the society - "Mr Rumsey (yes, Hebert John Rumsey) was really the founder of the Society but he had fallen from grace and was no longer recognised or mentioned among the members."  Ironically, Stephen's funeral service was held at the Pullen Chapel, Grafton, 19th March, 2022.  The service was moving.  The chapel was historically housed in the old building that had belonged to the popular and prominent seed man to the Grafton area - the Pullen seed man family. As noted above, Rumsey was a seed man to the Parramatta area.

Prior to this unexpected personal aspect, I had some resonances with my own pathway through the UFO subject in some of the conference presentations.

Leslie Kean & part of her sitting description

For example in Leslie Kean's presentation she had described the impact of witnessing materialisation of "spirit hands," citing beyond her own first hand witnessing during the physical mediumship of Stewart Alexander, the historical legacy, particularly citing the controversial Polish medium Franek Kluski.  I previously had cause to consider Kluski in terms of a bizarre "bird" type apparitional episode experienced by Peter Khoury in Sydney in 2017. Kluski had a photograph taken in one of his medium sessions in 1919 which featured a strange bird like apparition purportedly turning up.  I was struck by the bizarre similarities.  I still don't know what to think about it. 

In Whitley Strieber's presentation on "Them", ("the Communion letters" apparently soon to be be addressed in some detail in another collaboration between Strieber and Jeffrey Kripal) I was pondering my early collaboration with Whitley Strieber on the events that informed what to him was "the best" representation of the "Visitors" amongst these same letters - an Australian case. Whitley had passed this letter onto to me.  After investigating it, I facilitated a meeting between the witness and Whitley, during one of his visits to Australia.  I described this in my 2005 book "Hair of the Alien".
Whitley Streiter & the Communion Letters

So for me at least, the resonances of the "Archives of the Impossible" went way beyond just researcher interest, to specific investigatory resonances, through to the deeply personal.  I suspect, given time and exposure, many might find many more. 


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