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Your Paracast Newsletter — January 16, 2022

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
The Paracast Newsletter
January 16, 2022

UFO Historian Jerry Clark Introduces the Fascinating, Sometimes Eccentric Characters that Dominated the Early UFO Field on The Paracast!

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This Week's Episode: Gene and special guest cohost Curt Collins present UFO researcher and historian Jerry Clark. Clark has served as a writer, reporter, and editor for a number of magazines which cover UFOs and other paranormal subjects. He has been an editor of Fate magazine and International UFO Reporter, and a member of the board of directors for the Center for UFO Studies. Clark authored the multi-volume The UFO Encyclopedia: The Phenomenon From The Beginning with the first edition being published in 1992. In 1997 an abridged, one-volume edition of The UFO Encyclopedia, entitled The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial, was published as a trade paperback. In 1998, The UFO Book won the Benjamin Franklin Award in the Science/Environment category sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association.

After The Paracast — Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on January 16: UFO historian/researcher Jerry Clark rejoins Gene and special guest cohost Curt Collins, first to talk about his career as a country/folk songwriter. Jerry also explains why he has become quite optimistic about the status of UFO research, citing the new Pentagon UFO/UAP office established in the 2022 defense budget. But what about all those older cases, and which ones might qualify for a reexamination? Clark was born and raised in Canby, Minnesota; he attended South Dakota State University and Minnesota State University. In his "other life," he has written songs which have been recorded or performed by musicians such as Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Tom T. Hall, and has collaborated with Robin and Linda Williams.

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On Becoming Irrelevant
By Gene Steinberg

Over the years, The Paracast has focused not just on incredible stories of the strange and the unknown, but on the cultural aspects of the paranormal. And our main emphasis has been UFOs, since that’s very much an important part of my background.

Indeed, most of my best friends came through my interest in UFOs. Long before Facebook and Twitter, if you wanted to meet fellow travelers who were chasing after the flying saucers, you might have turned to a long-defunct newsstand magazine, Flying Saucers.

Edited by controversial sci-fi editor and one of the founders of Fate magazine, Ray Palmer, the magazine featured a section entitled Saucer Club News. As the title implies, it would give one a chance to promote their club’s activities and pitch for new members.

So in order to get listed, I did indeed establish a UFO club — I no longer remember the name — and it appeared in the magazine a month or two later.

Over the next few years, I heard from several people who ended up becoming lifelong friends, some of whom you know about. So there was Tim Beckley, Jerry Clark, Allen Greenfield, Rick Hilberg, and a few others.

I also heard from people who weren’t so friendly. Fortunately, they largely disappeared from the field after a while and were thus not really relevant.

Over the years, my crew of cohorts became immersed in UFO research in various forms. Beckley, sadly no longer with us, was admittedly a promoter who used his talents to write and publish books on all aspects of the paranormal. He also produced some low-end explicit movies about which the less said the better. But through all this, he had a genuine interest in UFOs and quite an enlightened view of the possible source of the phenomenon.

As many of you know, Jerry came to author several of the most compelling works in the UFO field, capped by his sprawling two-volume set, “The UFO Encyclopedia,” regarded as a major resource about the field’s culture. He also worked for the pioneer paranormal magazine, Fate, for a number of years, as an Associate Editor.

Writing a history about Allen is the most difficult, because he became an important source of innovative thought about all things paranormal. He and I once developed a fascinating multiverse theory about UFOs that we referred to as the “alternate reality” theory.

Rick was the most conventional of the bunch. In addition to working at a normal job from which he has since retired, he has continued to write and publish newsletters and small books about UFOs.

All have appeared on The Paracast through the years, and they are among our most popular guests.

So we are among the thousands of people who have taken up the study of UFOs. We’ve all worked in different professions. Jerry and I have been mostly involved in the field as journalists.

But in this day and age, things are poised to change. By and large, most people involved in UFO research are best described as amateurs, not as professional investigators or scientists.

After years of ignoring or debunking the phenomenon, the U.S. government appears to have taken the subject more seriously in recent years, starting with a Pentagon UFO (or UAP) program established in the early 2000s with a $22 million budget. The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains an amendment that will establish a brand spanking new Pentagon UAP office run by the office of the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence.

This effort at government musical chairs would end up replacing the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force with an office having a different title, as if that makes any difference.

Assuming this new effort doesn’t result in yet another boondoggle, shades of the Condon Committee in the 1960s that was designed to just debunk UFO reality, we are in a new era.

What’s encouraging is that present and former government officials are also freely admitting that the subject should be taken seriously. I’m talking about former President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, two former CIA Directors, R. James Woolsey and John Brennan, plus several others.

The present head of NASA, Bill Nelson, a former U.S. Senator from Florida, also says UFOs need to be investigated. That original Pentagon study was spearheaded in part by the late Senator Harry Reid, who was Senate Majority Leader at the time.

None of these people have outright dismissed the possibility of an offworld origin, but they are quite reasonably not advocating any specific solution to the enigma.

On the civilian side, such scientists as Dr. Avi Loeb, a Harvard astronomer, have become deeply involved in the study; he is responsible for the Galileo Project.

It’s mission is described this way:

“The goal of the Galileo Project is to bring the search for extraterrestrial technological signatures of Extraterrestrial Technological Civilizations (ETCs) from accidental or anecdotal observations and legends into the mainstream of transparent, validated and systematic scientific research. This ground-based project searches for physical objects, rather than electromagnetic signals, associated with extraterrestrial technological equipment.”

In short, they’re looking at UFO reports to see if there’s evidence of possible extraterrestrial visitation.

But it becomes more involved than that. So the UAP amendment includes the standard range of things to investigate, but also adds human effects, perhaps a surprising addition. So this means that, if someone gets sick after seeing a UFO, that’s something to include. But if other things happen to the witness, such as the appearance of other paranormal phenomena, that, too, would be cause for interest.

This approach appears to be based on the participation of hotel billionaire Robert Bigelow’s organization in the original Pentagon investigation.

None of this news mentions the traditional UFO groups, such as MUFON. It’s almost as if they don’t exist, which may be unfortunate because, despite their faults, there are loads of serious investigators, some of them scientists, who have been laboring in the UFO field for decades to try to figure out what’s going on.

As to the people who have focused on the UFOs and pop culture angle, such as yours truly, I am fully prepared to become irrelevant someday. I just hope it happens after I’m no longer here to argue the point.

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Richard Hawkins

Paranormal Maven
I would encourage everyone to become a Paracast plus subscriber.
No adds, and after the Paracast, but also today I went back to 2016 and listened to Whitley Streiber and when I listened to this my opinion of him changed, because he said what I believe,no one really knows what this phenomenon is.