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Your Paracast Newsletter — April 18, 2021

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
The Paracast Newsletter
April 18, 2021

UFO Researcher and Multimedia Specialist Erica Lukes Talks the State of the UFO field on The Paracast!

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This Week's Episode: Gene and Randall present UFO researcher Erica Lukes for a return visit, where she'll give you her unvarnished views of the state of UFO research and possible hopes for disclosure due to the Pentagon UAP Task Force. Erica is a multi-talented artist and paranormal personality with an undying passion for the mysteries of the universe, particularly UFO reports and other strange aerial phenomena. UFO reports became her specialty and she joined the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in 2014 as a field investigator. She eventually became its State Director for Utah. Erica has been a favorite guest on The Paracast, participating in a half dozen episodes, including the March 5, 2017 special — Women's Roundtable with Erica Lukes, Chase Kloetzke and Kathleen Marden.

J. Randall Murphy's Ufology Society International: Ufology Society International (USI) - Explore the UFO Phenomenon


After The Paracast -- Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on April 18: UFO researcher Erica Lukes hangs around for more discussions about a variety of topics. She joins Gene and Randall in a pop culture discussion that includes Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, and Gene's encounters with the late military fiction author Tom Clancy. There's also talk about how UFOs changed her life, and questions and comments about the U.S. government ignores its past investigations in the way its Pentagon UAP Task Force has been presented. Erica Lukes also has an undying passion for the mysteries of the universe, particularly UFO reports and other strange aerial phenomena. Since childhood, she has been fascinated with imagery of how vehicles and beings from space might appear and she pursued this interest quietly but with determination.

Reminder: Please don't forget to visit our famous Paracast Community Forums for the latest news/views/debates on all things paranormal: The Paracast Community Forums. Check out our new YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheOfficialParacastChannel

In Search of the “Fact”

By Gene Steinberg

Years ago, I read an article in Ray Palmer’s Flying Saucers magazine about whether Martians, if there were any, would have their own UFO phenomenon. Sure, this may seem strange to people who believe that UFOs have an external cause, most likely extraterrestrial and certainly from other star systems.

Now when it comes to theories, I’m not saying the ET hypothesis is not true. Certainly, those strange flying objects whose airborne characteristics exceed those of our terrestrial aircraft would appear to have otherworldly origins. Well, assuming that what we see truly represents what is really there.

But Palmer often wrote about terrestrial origins, in an astral plane, or perhaps from inside the “hollow Earth.” Thus we needn’t bother about looking in other space, which would seem strange for a pulp sci-fi fiction writer who made a living for years writing about just that possibility.

So when it came to that article about Mars, to Palmer’s thinking, the flying saucer mystery was part and parcel of our planetary experience. Thus, if Mars were inhabited by intelligent creatures, it might very well be possible that they had their own UFO problem to confront.

Then again, Palmer would often write controversial things to drive reader interest and interaction. When he disagreed with their opinions, maybe make them mad with provocative prose, they’d write and complain. Palmer’s letters to the editor sections were often the most popular parts of his magazines, and I soon emulated that approach in my own publications.

And that’s way before there were such things as online forums where people could say just about anything they wanted without censorship and mostly stay anonymous. Not facing consequences of one’s behavior can be empowering to some people.

But in those days, each message carried what was allegedly the name of the writer, although a publisher would withhold the name or change it upon request. So you had some level of assurance that, regardless of the content, its author was likely identified. Having written to some of these people, that appeared to be true.

Indeed, my own letter to the editor of a sci-fi comic book, “Forbidden Worlds” in the 1960s, had an unexpected effect, attracting the attention of a young lady that I later married; we split some years later, but still. We developed our friendship at first as penpals, and this was not so unusual an occurrence in the days before there were such things as email and online dating services.

Now as to Palmer: It’s really hard to know what he really believed. He often claimed to base is conclusions on what he called a “fact,” one or more pieces of evidence that he used to compare paranormal theories as to their possible reality.

His readers clamored for Palmer to reveal his “fact,” but he asserted that he wouldn’t — couldn’t — because disclosure would end its value as a tool for his research. If we all knew it, we could make up stories that would pass the smell — make that “fact” — test.

Eventually he created a new publication, “Forum,” which consisted strictly of letters to the editor and his responses rather than articles. Near the end of his life, he promised to tell all — including his “fact” — in a series of books entitled “The Secret World.” The first volume appeared in 1975, and it bore the subtitle: “The Diary of a Lifetime of Questioning the Facts.”

Unfortunately it was also the last volume. Palmer died in 1977 without ever completing any additional volumes, so his loyal readers were left hanging. It reminded me, to some extent, of a TV series that concludes its run without ever resolving key plot threads.

One notorious such example was a cult sci-fi show, “Farscape,” which ended its four-year run in 2003 on the Sy-Fy Channel without ever wrapping up key storylines that left the main characters in danger. The victim of poor ratings, the network made a strictly business decision. But a public outcry resulted in a two-part miniseries, “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars,” that pretty much resolved the story.

But Ray Palmer acted alone, and he had no successor to take over his work after his passing. His family simply continued to publish his magazines for as long as they could, but without his unique voice.

Now to be fair to Palmer, whom I knew slightly, it may be that his theories, however controversial, were meant strictly to stir the pot. One of his close friends, a fellow sci-fi author — and also famous for his work on comic books — Otto Binder, told me once that those provocative articles were mostly intended to fuel reader comments. And certainly circulation.

According to Binder, Palmer didn’t believe much of it.

Quite possibly, but Palmer knew just when to insert a tidbit of information that would grab your attention. Take a 1965 interview I did with him at his home in Amherst, WI. I’ve told of this before, but during the interview, Palmer dropped a revelation about an individual he’d promoted for years, Richard Shaver.

In a series of stories first presented in fictionalized form in the classic sci-fi magazine, Amazing Stories, Shaver claimed to have discovered the existence of subterranean beings, which he named deros and teros, that were descended from an advanced ancient race.

Shaver wrote that he spent years in the caves with those creatures, but Palmer claimed that, during that time, his friend was closeted in a mental institution. Shaver at first denied it, asserting that Palmer himself might be under control of the evil deros.

It later turned out that Shaver’s confinement might actually have been engineered by his former wife’s family, who resented her decision to marry him.

Regardless, it kept us talking.

Now about that “fact”: We’ll probably never know whether or not it existed, but a similar concept continues on to this day in yet another form. So some abduction researchers, such as Kathleen Marden, claim to have secret evidence they use to evaluate such encounters. If they pass the “fact” test, they are probably genuine.

I wouldn’t begin to claim that Marden is making all this up. She appears to be sincere in what she says. I can’t, however, say the same about Palmer and his “fact,” which never passed the “fact” test.

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