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Your Paracast Newsletter — October 7, 2018

Merchandise that’s just out of this world!

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
October 7, 2018

An Academic Explores the Paranormal Research Culture on The Paracast

The Paracast is heard Sundays from 3:00 AM until 6:00 AM Central Time on the GCN Radio Network and affiliates around the USA, the Boost Radio Network, the IRN Internet Radio Network, and online across the globe via download and on-demand streaming.

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This Week's Episode: Gene and Randall present Paul Kingsbury is a Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. In 2015 Paul succeeded in winning a four-year SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) Insight Grant for a project called: "Situating the Growth of Paranormal Investigation Cultures: A Critical Study of the Lived Spaces of Organizations and Conferences.” That's right folks, a bona fide University professor who thinks the cultural aspects of the paranormal are worthy of serious academic study. During this interview, you'll learn how Paul became immersed in a number of areas of paranormal research, including crop circles, Bigfoot, UFOs and more.

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

After The Paracast -- Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on October 7: Gene and Randall cover a wide range of topics following up on the interview with Professor Paul Kingsbury on the regular episode of The Paracast. Gene remarks how the guest immersed himself deeply in paranormal research rather than do a study as a dispassionate observer. There’s also a discussion about the value of hypnotic regression and whether most everyone is psychic even if only on rare occasions. While Gene mentions the difficulty of getting psychics to appear on The Paracast, both he and Randall recall some of their own unusual experiences. And what about the prospects of an episode with an animal communicator?

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: The Official Paracast Channel

Real or Otherwise
By Gene Steinberg

Can you really believe what you see? Take one of those movie and TV super hero or sci-fi shows and blow it up on an IMAX screen and imagine exhibiting it to someone brought to our era from the 19th century. How would they react? Would they believe a man (or woman) can fly or run at dizzying speeds around a city? Or fly some magical contraption beyond the skies using something called a “warp 8”?

What if you were maybe a little more advanced and could project 3D holograms in the skies of what you wanted someone to see? Maybe you could do on it on the ground, right before their eyes, making someone believe they are seeing and perhaps touching something real. An instant holodeck?

How would you expect someone to react to what they perceived as something otherworldly yet somehow real? What if your reactions were being recorded by the entities or beings that generated that image?

But imagine this sort of experiment being conducted across the centuries, evaluating the reactions of Earthlings of different cultures to serve the unknown needs of advanced beings from another galaxy.

Or perhaps the mechanism by which these images are generated is far more sophisticated, perhaps the subjects of the study themselves are, in part, generating the images they see based on their environment, their culture.

What I’m getting at here is that we assume the paranormal events that people experience are precisely as described. If they see a fast-moving aircraft that is capable of pinpoint maneuvers, that is precisely what it is, no ifs, ands or buts. If they see a ghostly apparition at a building that is said to be haunted, well surely it’s something from the afterlife, a restless spirit that is caught between here and there for some unknown reason.

Bigfoot, strange flying creatures? You get the picture. What you see is what you get, and there is no possibility that the image might be manipulated due to the machinations of some unknown force.

But what if the prevailing belief about UFOs is precisely what’s going on, that we are being visited by advanced beings from another star system. But why is it that their amazing technology appears to only represent something not that much ahead of what we’ve achieved.

So consider the film “Contact,” in which the protagonist, portrayed by Jodie Foster, attempts travel in a contraption built with instructions sent by ET. She appears to go somewhere where she meets a being in the image of her late father, and is told that she could not accept that being’s true form.

One is left to wonder whether the form is so hideous that an Earthling would be repelled by its appearance, a true bug-eyed monster. I suppose that’s a common sci-fi image, but maybe something more sophisticated is at work here. After all, consider the possibilities of a civilization that is not hundreds but thousands of years ahead of us and has experienced a steady progression of technological achievement.

Indeed, would we even understand the products of their technology? It may be no different than taking today’s iPhone XS Max, or any high-end smartphone for that matter, and transporting it back two thousand years and expecting even the smartest people to make sense of it.

What if the Roswell crash did involve a spaceship, and what if the wreckage was taken somewhere for scientific study? Forget about night vision goggles or printed circuits. Would it be at all possible to reverse engineer anything at all using our present-day technology? Or would we struggle for decades not making any sense of it?

In the 1996 popcorn movie, “Independence Day,” one of the invader’s spaceships is recovered and stored in an underground laboratory at Area 51. An eccentric scientist in charge of the research project, as portrayed by Brent Spiner, admits that his team couldn’t get past its technology. Before Jeff Goldblum’s character points them in the right direction, this scene actually makes sense from a practical standpoint.

If what we are seeing is what we are getting.

But if ET wants to make its presence known, again for motives we may not even understand or accept, it might have to present itself in a form that is acceptable to the Earth primitives.

On the occasions where ET appears in human form and communicates with regular people, it might deliver a cover story that has little or nothing to do with reality. They are concerned about our penchant for war, our depletion of natural resources. Maybe the message is as represented, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe conveying the impression of being peaceful makes it easier to communicate and not strike fear.

But what about those UFO abductions? What about experiencers suffering from traumatic experiences that cause them no end of grief? How is that friendly?

On the other hand, one can become frustrated by such playacting. If our visitors are fooling with us, or using us as lab experiments, doesn’t it all get old after a while.

I mean, do UFOs ever do anything really new, or do they just repeat variations of the same routine year after year. Even if the details vary, does the UFO sighting of 2018 differ all that much from the one in 1948? What about alleged contacts with aliens?

But if humans are interacting with some unknown force and participating in the creation of what they perceive, that might be a different ball of wax. It might indeed explain why paranormal phenomena often mirrors our culture and expectations.

That’s why the events of older times appeared to mirror the myths of those eras. Today’s modern myth is that of the UFO in its many forms.

Sure, it’s a lot easier to believe that you are seeing what’s really there in all its glory. It’s convenient and it helps keeps you grounded in reality if you have an encounter with the unknown.

And maybe, just maybe, the messages conveyed by so-called “higher beings” do indeed represent something we ought to know and act upon.

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