THE PARACAST NEWSLETTER
May 26, 2019
Author Louis Proud Discusses Spontaneous Human Combustion and Other Strange Phenomena on The Paracast
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This Week's Episode: Gene and Randall welcome paranormal writer and researcher Louis Proud. His latest book is "Borderland Phenomena: Spontaneous Combustion, Poltergeistry and Anomalous Lights." The Paracast has not featured discussions on the first topic, more specifically spontaneous human combustion, since the early days of the show, and the topic can, obviously, seem a little grisly. Louis’s articles have appeared in New Dawn, Paranormal, FATE, and Nexus magazines, and he has been interviewed on such programs as VERITAS Radio, Paranormal Realms, and Whitley Strieber’s "Dreamland." He currently lives in Burnie, Tasmania.
J. Randall Murphy's Ufology Society International: http://www.ufopages.com/
William Puckett's Blog: https://www.ufosnw.com/newsite/
Louis Proud's Blog: https://louisproud.net/
Chris Rutkowski's Site: https://uforum.blogspot.com/
After The Paracast -- Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on May 26: Gene and Randall are joined by researchers William Puckett and Chris Rutkowski. Talk of the MJ-12 briefing documents that William revealed on last week’s episode continues as Chris offers his own observations. The discussion also covers possible EM effects in connection with UFO sightings, and whether affected vehicles start up again automatically after the object leaves the scene. Or does it require a manual restart? With the passing of veteran Ufologist Stanton T. Friedman, there’s talk about the future of the field.
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About the Man Who Brought Us the “Cosmic Watergate”
By Gene Steinberg
When I first heard Stanton T. Friedman lecture at a UFO event, it was clear he had done his homework. He offered a compelling case to support his claim that those strange flying things were spaceships from other worlds.
As many did before him, Stan talked of a government coverup of the UFO secret. He called it a “Cosmic Watergate,” buzzwords that demonstrated his affinity for snappy quotables or talking points. A special feature of each presentation was his sometimes funny takedown of UFO debunkers, all of whom he regarded as not just uninformed, but unwilling to study the facts before arguing that there was nothing to the mystery.
If you already believed in spaceships from other planets, Stan was there to support your viewpoint. If you knew nothing about the subject, here was a great way to get a briefing on what it was all about.
I can’t say I knew him well. I corresponded with him on and off, and often encountered him seated at his vendor booth when I attended a UFO convention. I recall last meeting him at the 2017 International UFO Congress, which was held at a resort in Fountain Hills, AZ, near Phoenix.
Often as not, he had what appeared to be his favorite meal, a Cobb salad, next to him.
Stan was also one of our favorite guests on The Paracast, chalking up some 14 appearances over the years. The most recent interview occurred on our April 1, 2018 episode, shortly after he announced his retirement from regular UFO lecturing.
But he really never retired, and he was still a regular presence at some UFO events. In fact, he died on May 13, 2019 at an airport in Toronto after returning from one such event. He was 84.
Although Stan spent many decades researching the subject, I sometimes felt he was just a little too willing to accept some questionable claims.
Take the infamous MJ-12 documents, eight pages of briefing papers purporting to reveal a secret group investigating the UFO mystery. They turned up on 35mm film in the mailbox of Ufologist Jaime Shandera, an associate of William Moore, in 1984.
Although an analysis of these documents by Kevin D. Randle and others raised serious questions about their authenticity, Stan maintained that they, perhaps alone among the various “Majestic” papers discovered, were genuine. However you argued the point with him, he never altered that viewpoint.
Yet another example is the always controversial Aztec, NM myth, a claim that a flying saucer crashed in that small town in 1948. Stan wrote the foreword to Scott and Suzanne Ramsey’s “The Aztec Incident,” touted as the go-to book on the subject. Despite the lack of compelling evidence, or much of any evidence, Stan was clearly impressed with the case.
I’m not going to go into much detail about why I think the Aztec case remains unproven, except to remind listeners that we featured Monte Shriver, a former Aztec resident, on our May 14, 2017 episode of After The Paracast. Shriver says he never heard anything about the case until decades later. After a year-long investigation, he concluded there was nothing to it. He even cited a class reunion, where nobody could recall anything about a UFO crash.
The lack of a cultural memory of such an event was yet another nail in its coffin.
Let me interrupt this column here for a pitch: After The Paracast is available exclusively to members of The Paracast+. For details on subscribing, please visit: https://www.theparacast.com/plus/
But Stan’s legacy should not depend solely on his willingness to accept a questionable claim here and there. For many, he represented their very first exposure to the subject, a starting point from which to engage in further reading on the UFO mystery. I could quibble with the details, but he had a genuine impact on our culture.
Indeed, he once became a comic book character, making a cameo appearance in a “Betty and Veronica” issue. To some degree, Stan’s rumpled look only added to his charm, and his background as a nuclear physicist made him all the more credible to the masses..
Film and TV writer and producer Bryce Zabel, who is featuring Stan in one of his upcoming projects, suggests he had the look of the mad scientist. I was quick to think of Dr.Hans Zarkov in “Flash Gordon.”
Over the years, we’ll be looking more critically at his legacy. It’s too soon.
Sad to say, Stan’s passing represents yet another slimming of the old guard in the UFO field. Many of the people who first became prominent as researchers and writers are now senior citizens or no longer with us.
Over the years, The Paracast has featured roundtable discussions about some of those who left us, including Tom Adams, John Keel, Lucius Farish, Richard Hall, Jim Moseley, Brad Steiger and Mac Tonnies. Among this group, Mac was in his thirties when he died suddenly, just getting started on what we all hoped would be a great career of research and writing about the world of the paranormal.
As I get older, I hesitate the recall the others who have passed over the years. Some of my personal favorites also include Gray Barker, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Ray Palmer and Richard Shaver. Sure, some of you might not be so positive about one or two of these people, perhaps Barker and Shaver, but I knew them all, and I still think of them on occasion.
In fact, I continue to look at the work of Ray Palmer and some of his unexpected contributions to the field, and not just the fact that he co-founded Fate magazine, one of the early resources for information about UFOs.
By the way, Palmer was also honored as a comic book character, as his name was used in the creation of “Atom,” about a scientist who creates a metallic suit that allows him to shrink to a very tiny size yet retain the strength of a full-sized man. Yes, its creators definitely had the original Ray Palmer in mind.
Nowadays, Atom, as portrayed by Brandon Routh, is featured on some of the so-called “Arrowverse” super hero TV shows on The CW network.
In passing, I wonder if Stan might live on as a cultural character, perhaps beginning with that project Bryce Zabel is working on.
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