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Your Paracast Newsletter — September 22, 2019



Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
THE PARACAST NEWSLETTER
September 22, 2019

www.theparacast.com

Paranormal Investigator George P. Hansen Explores Legends of the Trickster 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.

SUPPORT THE SHOW AND ENJOY A PREMIUM PARACAST EXPERIENCE AT A SPECIAL LOW PRICE! We have another radio show and we’d love for you listen to it. So for a low subscription fee, you will receive access to an exclusive podcast, After The Paracast, plus a higher-quality version of The Paracast free of network ads, when you sign up for The Paracast+. We also offer a special RSS feed for easy updates of the latest episodes, the Paracast+ Video Channel, episode transcripts, Special Features, Classic Episodes and there’s more to come! So act now! Check out Introducing The Paracast+ | The Paracast — The Gold Standard of Paranormal Radio for more details about The Paracast+.

This Week's Episode: Gene and Randall present a fascinating visit with George P. Hansen, author of a trendsetting work, “The Trickster and the Paranormal." George was professionally employed in parapsychology laboratories for eight years — three at the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, and five at Psychophysical Research Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey. His experiments included remote viewing, card guessing, ganzfeld, electronic random number generators, séance phenomena, and ghosts. He has been active in a number of psychic, UFO, and New Age organizations, and he helped found a skeptics group. His papers in scientific journals cover mathematical statistics, fraud and deception, the skeptics movement, conjurors in parapsychology, and exposés of hoaxes. He is also member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. With such a wide range of potential topics, this is a show you won't want to miss!

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

William Puckett's Blog: UFO Reporting Center, Latest UFO Sightings & News.

George P. Hansen's Blog: The Trickster and the Paranormal -- Home Page

After The Paracast -- Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on September 22: Gene and Randall present a roundtable with Special Correspondent William Puckett, who presents news about three UFO sightings from around the world. They include a report from Angus, Scotland on August 16, 2019, where an unknown black object was found in a photo of a boat, from Seoul, South Korea on September 15, 2019, where an unknown red object and red streak were found in a photo of the sky, and another report on that day from Tacoma, WA, in which several small glowing orbs and a larger purple/black one were seen. The episode then turns to a politically incorrect discussion about the ravages of climate change, which dovetails into speculation about the presence of aliens, their alleged concern for the plight of Earthlings, and even whether our DNA contains generic codes placed there by ET.

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

Coddling the Crazies?
By Gene Steinberg

It was easy when there were just serious UFO researchers, and the contactees, often regarded as the “lunatic fringe.” In some ways, it might have been seen as a very rough equivalent to conservatives and liberals, if only for the fact that these two factions of the field were polar opposites.

So on one side were people who treated the subject seriously and with a healthy dose of skepticism, diligently seeking evidence of what UFOs really were. On the other side were people, contactees, who claimed they already “knew,” that we were being visited by advanced aliens from other worlds who were here to help us rather than to harm us.

While the contactees more or less tolerated so-called scientific researchers, perhaps hoping to convert them to their camp, the reverse wasn’t true. No, the contactees were the enemies, fringe characters who were either making up stories or imagining alien encounters. Taking them seriously would be politically incorrect, since it would endanger efforts to demonstrate to the people that UFOs might just be a real phenomenon.

You could even see the lines of demarcation in the conventions or conferences each camp held, beginning in the 1950s. Typical of the contactee movement, one of its leading lights, George Van Tassel, sponsored the Giant Rock convention near Landers, California.

The best-known contactees were happy to show up, give speeches, and sell their wares to the teeming throngs of true believers.

It was only natural for those who considered themselves “real” UFO researchers to want to present their own “serious” conferences to inform people about what was really going on in our skies.

One of those early conferences was actually set up by three teenagers, starting in 1963, who had the temerity to name it Congress of Scientific Ufologists. The trio consisted of Allen Greenfield, Rick Hilberg and Dale Rettig. Indeed, the first two, my long-time friends, have appeared on The Paracast from time to time.

Soon thereafter, Jim Moseley and I joined this little group. As the only actual adult in the room, at least then, Jim became its permanent chairman; well at least until someone took over years later.

After a few years, the group chose a less-pretentious name, National UFO Conference. I even helped sponsor one of those events, in 1975, but more about that later.

Now since we were supposed to be scientific and all, we were quite careful in selecting lecturers from among those who prided themselves as taking a scientific approach to the subject. No contactees allowed.

But when Jim sponsored the 1967 event, in New York City, expenses were high. He wanted to fill seats to help cover his investment, and thus he extended the boundaries of the guests he chose in some questionable ways.

So among the more serious presenters were Gordon Evans, Stewart Robb, John Keel, James Randi, Ivan T. Sanderson, actor Roy Thinnes, and even Long John Nebel, the legendary paranormal talk show host.

But he also wanted to attract as large an audience as possible, and thus he also invited some semi-serious and fringe area speakers, including such contactees as Howard Menger, Alexander McNeill, and even Dr. Frank Stranges. To nobody’s surprise, Jim’s best friend, Gray Barker, was also there.

This practice of mixing different factions of the UFO field at single events is not uncommon these days.

Indeed, you could rightly say that some of the speakers at the International UFO Congress and MUFON’s annual symposium have, from time to time, included lecturers who could hardly be regarded as scientific. And we cannot forget Contact in the Desert.

So the need to fill seats, and thus cover the sponsor’s investment in these events, means that there may be less rigor in selecting lecturers, particularly if they can attract large audiences. After all, there are all those serious presenters too.

Alas, when the media covers these events, they do not see, or choose to see, the difference. To them, it’s all about a bunch of gullible true believers coming together to hear the leaders of their cult.

Indeed, one newspaper story, about an International UFO Congress event from several years ago, suggested it was all about UFO abductees coming together to commiserate with one another.

It was hardly an accurate picture of what went on, of course, but it made for a good story. Besides, trying to accurately cover the wide range of subjects and opinions presented would have been far too complicated. Better to seize upon the fringe elements.

Indeed, that is one of the reasons why some of us are concerned about these “lapses” of judgment. Even a single speaker with questionable beliefs and credentials might just create a bad atmosphere and detract from the serious presentations.

So far as the general public is concerned, since they are not steeped in UFO lore, and wouldn’t see the difference. The entire event might thus be tainted.

Now it’s also true that some of those sponsoring such conferences don’t want to take a position on whether a speaker is credible or not. Leave that to the audiences to decide. The point is to sell enough tickets, and rent enough vendor booths, to cover their expenses and perhaps earn a profit.

In that sense, I suppose I can sympathize with the approach. Back in 1975, we had a limited budget with which to host a National UFO Conference. While we might have fared better staging the event in nearby Philadelphia, we couldn’t afford the better venues. And so we picked the historic Valley Forge, PA instead.

Affordable yes, but it might have been too far to attract a larger audience. While many seats were filled, we ended up losing a small sum after the receipts were counted. I remember that the total receipts still left us with a $135 deficit. Not so bad in the scheme of things, but we all hoped for better.

That, and the amount of work required to do the task properly, is a key reason why I decided then and there never to host a UFO and/or paranormal conference ever again.

But I remain concerned about the choices some of the sponsors of today’s UFO conferences are making. Filling seats making a few bucks from the venture are commendable. But should it come at the expense of credibility?

Perhaps. Or maybe we are being too politically correct.

At a time where comic book conventions attract audiences in the six figures, it may just make sense not to be terribly restrictive as to the choices of speakers for a paranormal event.

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