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Your Paracast Newsletter — September 10, 2023

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
The Paracast Newsletter
September 10, 2023


Discover the Secrets Behind the Graphic Novel Version of "UFO: The Closest Encounter — The True Story of Calvin Parker" with Martin Powell, Jason Gleaves and Brent Raynes on The Paracast!

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This Week's Episode: Gene and cohost Tim Swartz present a discussion of the graphic novel version of the book, "UFO: The Closest Encounter — The True Story of Calvin Parker." Featured guests: Martin Powell, the author of hundreds of science fiction, mystery, and horror stories. He has worked in the comic book industry since 1986, writing for Marvel, DC, Malibu, Caliber, Moonstone, and Disney, among others, and has been nominated for the coveted Eisner Award. Jason Gleaves, a UFO researcher, author and illustrator. Brent Raynes, who has been researching and investigating the unexplained since January 1967, at age 14, and is the author of “Visitors from Hidden Realms,” “On the Edge of Reality,” and “John A. Keel: The Man, The Myths, and the Ongoing Mysteries.” Brent edits and publishes Alternate Perceptons magazine, which was established in 1985 and is now available as an online publication.

After The Paracast — Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on September 10: Martin Powell, Jason Gleaves and Brent Raynes return to talk with Gene and cohost Tim Swartz about the current state of UFO/UAP research as a result of the ongoing work of the Pentagon's AARO. The trio also discuss the influences behind writing and illustrating the graphic novel version of "UFO: The Closest Encounter — The True Story of Calvin Parker" and how they made sure the the presentation was an accurate presentation of the late UFO abductee's experiences. Powell's author credits include working for the comic book industry, where he wrote material for both Batman and Superman. Jason is a UFO researcher, author and illustrator, and he has analyzed a large number of purported UFO photos. Brent is a long-time UFO researcher and author. He is editor and publisher of Alternate Perceptons magazine, an online paranormal journal.

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. Visit our new online shop for great branded merchandise at: https://www.theparacast.shop.

The “Haven’t We Been There Before?” Report
By Gene Steinberg

The other day I was going over portions of a terrific book, “The Close Encounters Man,” by Mark O’Connell, a biography of Dr. J. Allen Hynek.

It begins in the earliest days when Hynek first was inspired to become a scientist, and focuses heavily on his on-and-off involvement in the UFO field. The book’s subtitle says it all, if somewhat exaggerated: “How One Man Made the World Believe in UFOs.”

Well, he made them a lot more respectable, but I question how many more people came to believe in them as a result of anything Hynek did.

One notable section, beginning on page 67 of the trade paperback edition, covers the involvement of Captain Edward J. Ruppelt in the field. When he took an assignment at ATIC at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1951, flying saucers were being investigated by Project Grudge. In keeping with its name, that group, now down to just one investigator, summarily dismissed any sighting that came to its attention.

The book describes how Ruppelt got involved and, then, how he came to take it over and reinvigorate its investigative arm with a larger staff to give it an air of credibility. The flying saucers were renamed Unidentified Flying Objects, UFOs. The agency now bore the title Blue Book.

An important point in its early credibility was Ruppelt’s insistence that nobody on his staff could take a positive or negative approach on the reality behind the phenomenon. Otherwise, they’d be reassigned.

The entire story is more or less detailed in Ruppelt’s book, “The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects,” first published in 1956.

True to his word, Ruppelt presented a reasonably fair and balanced overview of the subject. Written in a breezy style reminiscent of the work of Major Donald Keyhoe, he not only offered credible explanations for a number of sightings, but he also listed the ones that remained unexplained.

While Ruppelt didn’t go ET, he did present the UFO enigma as something that deserved serious study.

Until he did a three chapter update three years later. Although the writing style was the same, or similar, those chapters appeared to have been written by a different person. When he responded to the question of whether UFOs exist, Ruppelt said: “I’m positive they don’t.”

I wouldn’t suggest that he was forced to change the book’s conclusion. But that was implied by Major Keyhoe, who wrote of alleged attempts by Ruppelt’s military supervisors to force changes.

What really happened? It’s hard to know, since both Keyhoe and Ruppelt are no longer around. Indeed, the second edition of his book was the latter’s swan song; he died of a heart attack in 1960, at the age of 37.

Before then, however, Project Blue Book had begun to descend into a debunking and PR arm, especially after Ruppelt’s departure in late 1953.

In 1968, the release of the Condon Report, which dismissed UFO reality despite some incredible unexplained cases in the body of its text, gave the Air Force its excuse to get out of the business and shutter Blue Book.

But the Air Force dipped its toes from time to time into UFO waters, witness its insistence that the Roswell UFO crash was caused by a Project Mogul balloon.

Except for occasional reports — mostly rumors — of continued U.S. military involvement in the UFO mystery, the dam finally broke in 2017. In a report in The New York Times, the reputed “paper of record,” the existence of a secret Pentagon UFO investigation program was revealed. The first iteration was funded with $22 million dollars, but it appears that all or most of the work was passed on to a private company, Robert Bigelow’s National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS). From there, a long-time UFO group, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) was recruited for some case histories.

For the same reason that UFOs replaced flying saucers — to give it all an air of credibility — the phenomenon was relabeled UAP. The label first stood for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. It was later reclassified, so to speak, as Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, largely because of the prevalence of sea-based sightings.

This time the Navy got most of the action, focusing on the 2004 “Tic Tac” encounter, involving a video taken by a Navy fighter jet from the USS Nimitz, a nuclear aircraft carrier. It depicted an object sized similar to a fighter jet, having no markings, wings or exhaust plumes. It just flew real fast.

The episode didn’t gain much attention until the Times story and similar reports about the episode were published. Over the next few years, the Pentagon’s budget included funds for UAP investigation. The project’s name got the musical chairs treatment, and currently bears the title All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO). There’s even a new site (www.aaro.mil) where updates are posted. Eventually, there will be a way to file sighting reports there.

Alas, the type of sighting will be limited: “AARO will be accepting reports from current or former U.S. Government employees, service members, or contractors with direct knowledge of U.S. Government programs or activities related to UAP dating back to 1945.”

Civilian sightings? No. What about sightings before 1945? No. What about sightings in other countries, some of whom have active and public government-run UFO studies? No.

Even within its limits, one might have had hope for AARO, at least until you read its mission statement:

“Minimize technical and intelligence surprise by synchronizing scientific, intelligence, and operational detection identification, attribution, and mitigation of unidentified anomalous phenomena in the vicinity of national security areas.”

So if it doesn’t happen in “national security areas,” it doesn’t happen?

Either way, AARO continues to maintain that they have no evidence that UAPs represent an off-world origin. Thus no ET.

Sure, there is that whistleblower, David Grusch, who claims that the military not only has such evidence, but has tried to reverse engineer alien technology. But he won’t release the fine details until or unless it’s done in a secure locale.

And that’s where the matter stands.

From the 1950s through the third decade of the 21st century, the U.S. military has dashed hopes of a quick resolution to the UFO — UAP — enigma. Thus it’s very possible the AARO site and the program will quietly disappear over the next few years. Well, unless or until a future edition of the Times reveals the existence of yet another project to look into the phenomenon.

Yes, “haven’t we been there before?” indeed!

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