Monday, July 30, 2012

"Captured! The Barney and Betty Hill Experience" is a surprisingly absorbing read which reveals never-before-released information about this most famous alien abduction case


I was two years old when what is still probably the most famous case of alien abduction of all time occurred in 1961 – that involving Barney and Betty Hill of New Hampshire. When I was about seven years old I was struck with a magnificent obsession for astronomy, and that naturally led to an interest in the possibility that Earth was being visited from the stars.

So I have been aware of the Hill abduction saga virtually all my life. Over the decades, I have read a book or two and dozens of articles about the case. It’s also frequently discussed in other UFO books. I vividly remember being glued to the TV as a teenager over the 1975 made-for-TV docudrama of the Hill story starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons.

Thus, ever since KATHLEEN MARDEN'S book CAPTURED! THE BARNEY AND BETTY HILL EXPERIENCE first came out in 2007, I've been taking a pass on it, thinking, “What more is there possibly to say about this already over-analyzed case?” and:

“Do we really need another Barney and Betty Hill book?”

I now know the answer is “Yes!” I decided to purchase “Captured” partly on a whim, but also because it's been too long time since I read a good UFO yarn. I was flabbergasted by how much I still did not know about the case after all these years – in fact, I can say that I have an all-knew perspective.

I have opted to move myself out of the “skeptic” column regarding the Hill abduction into the “believer” column – as difficult as that is for me to say.

Marden (who is the primary author of this book and who is Betty Hill's niece), rolls out a case that may be wholly circumstantial – but the weight and the aggregate of all this circumstantial evidence as presented here would be more than enough to hang a man in any court of law.

By contrast, the alternative explanations offered by some of the greatest skeptics and debunkers – including Carl Sagan, James Randi and Philip Klass – seem petty, sparse, cherry-picked and highly theoretical by comparison.

Kathleen Marden and Stanton Friedman
In Captured!, Marden (along with famed UFO investigator STANTON FRIEDMAN who consulted on the book and also wrote a couple chapters), presents a painstaking, point-by-point analysis of every aspect of the case, from an in-depth analysis of the hypnotic regression sessions compared with consciousness memory accounts and Betty's dreams; the lives and character of the Hills; actual physical evidence (left on her dress); the famous “Star Map”; follow-up events and sightings – and how the aftermath played out in the lives of the Hills for decades to come – the latter of which shows how the case actually has gained credibility over the years.

I noticed that some other reviewers were turned off by one of the late chapters in which the authors launch an intense and scathing attack on skeptic and debunkers. I think some will find the tone of this chapter a bit overwrought, harsh and even mean – and yet, there is not charge made that does not point to direct and obvious, egregious errors committed by debunkers – which they seem to get a free pass on.

That’s because the general public – even myself at times – still find is astoundingly difficult to wrap our collective minds around the implications which naturally fall out of the Hill abduction case. I mean, if their story is true – it means space aliens are running around, picking up ordinary people, sticking anal probes up their orifices, and conducting studies on human being like so many wildlife biologists drugging and tagging animals.

The danger, though, is in making comparisons that are mundane. The true meanings behind alien abduction scenarios like the Hill case have their actual basis in a kind overarching-meta-reality … or … or … perhaps in terms of some greater, higher dimensionality of thought and conception of the universe.

The bottom line is: Barney and Betty Hill may have had a genuine abduction experience, but what the event actually means and implies may be something that can never be known in terms of the current way we model our ideas about what is real and what is unreal. It is something that is beyond the ken of material and empirical science – but also beyond any level of metaphysical and spiritual conceptions we have managed to develop as a species at this point in our evolution.

Ken Korczak is the author of: THE MAN IN THE NOTHING CHAMBER

Monday, July 23, 2012

Free ebook "The Sex Life of the Gods" by Michael E. Knerr is a super campy, hilarious science fiction read from the early 1960s


In the 1950s and early 1960s there was a certain market for “smutty” science fiction novels. They were often issued by small shady publishers who worked out of a crummy one-room apartment or maybe some seedy rented office. They paid $250 to $500 for 50,000 words. The thin paperbacks sold for 50 cents.

Sure, $500 was decent money back in the ‘50s, but it still wasn’t exactly lifestyles of the rich and famous. But one good thing about it for writers was that it was a way to break into the business, and hopefully move on and up to better things.

One such writer in this game was Michael E. Knerr. He was from a small town in Pennsylvania and he very badly wanted to carve out his place in literature, maybe science fiction, or writing historical books and westerns. He was a close friend of the more famous H. Beam Piper, also of Pennsylvania. Piper was one of those guys who clawed his way out of the science fiction gutter to gain considerable respect in that field – until his career cooled off and he put a bullet in his own head. He was Knerr’s role model.

This offering, THE SEX LIFE OF THE GODS by Knerr is a classic example of what, in effect, was the Internet content mill of the day – cheap novels designed to be written fast and published with salacious titles and lurid covers. They promised steamy sex mixed with thrilling space opera. They were distributed to book stands in drugs stores and vanished from the shelves three months later, never to be seen again.

The market for such fare was most likely young male loners – you know -- teenage boys, perhaps, or early 20s men who were not exactly slick with the women – the kind of guys who probably read a lot of comic books, glued together model airplanes and, well, I’ll say no more.

But they could live vicariously thought these novels thrilling to the escapades of flinty-eyed, square-jawed heroes who could make beautiful women squirm with sexual desire just by walking into the room. The space jockey was fast with a ray gun, could expertly pilot a starship, do sword battle with bug-eyed aliens – they were Han Solo, Buck Rogers and Captain America all rolled up into one.

Books such as Sex Life of the Gods was considered “soft porn,” in their day, but as Knerr himself said: “We could have read them to our children.”

He was right about that. The so called sex scenes in this book, by today’s standards, barely constitute a trip to first or second base, if you know what I mean. Believe me, there’s more sexually charged content in any of today’s family prime-time TV sitcoms. A daytime soap opera is hard-core porn by comparison.

Knerr and others like him wrote these books at lightning speed. They were strictly “one-time through the typewriter only jobs” and then rushed off to the publisher. The next challenge was getting paid. Writer’s like Knerr were sometimes cheated out of pay, or often had to settle for half the $500 originally promised. They worked with no written contracts – just verbal agreements and maybe (maybe) a handshake. The latter is unlikely because the relationship between writer and fly-by-night publisher was usually dicey and unfriendly, to say the least.

Some aspects of Knerr’s life as a hack writer may sound care-free and romantic – those who knew him said he could live on one $500 or $600 payday for months. He lived on a sailboat in California while gaining traction as a popular writer – but sometimes he starved, and I mean literally. He once subsisted on a few cans of cranberries and dry crackers for days.

Knerr eventually had to opt out of the freelance novelist game to work as a small-town newspaper reporter back in Pennsylvania, but he never gave up writing. Reports vary on how many books he actually published – some say six or seven, others say as many as 20. He may have published under several pen names, and he apparently eventually gained some momentum as a writer of western novels.

Sex Life of the Gods, for me, was an enjoyable read in the extreme because of the campy fun effect – you know, like watching an egregiously bad science fiction movie, such as PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. Knerr said guys like him “stole their plots right out of TV Guide.” Ha, ha! That’s for sure. Sex Life of the Gods is just so cookie cutter in terms of plot and character, it’s almost like he used a flow chart – “Name hero – give him x problem – have him meet/fall in love with sizzling dame – make him on the run from (insert cops, CIA, military, aliens) – enter chase scene here --- has sex here …” and so forth.

I suggest you download this free gem immediately and have an incredibly great laugh and some pure camp fun– but at the same time – reserve some respect for a bona fide hacky pulp fiction artist who was actually much more than that – by all accounts. Michael E. Knerr developed some serious literary talent and published some quality books before he died in 1999 at age 64.

NOTE: This is a free download at Project Gutenberg which you can find HERE.

Ken Korczak is the author of: THE MAN IN THE NOTHING CHAMBER

Kindle ebook science fiction short story "4EVAH" strives to be a humorous spin on immortality but comes off as irritating and snarky


Here's the thing about a short story: The writer has very few words to create a satisfying piece of fiction. Writing a great short story is one if literature's most difficult feats. That's because, ideally, you should masterfully include the four basic elements of literature: Plot, character, setting and theme.

If you fail at any one of the four, the short story is a bust.

The great writers who have proven themselves can break the rules or ignore the "same old" because they have paid their dues and earned some artistic license to create an innovative piece of writing. But if you are an unknown author with little or no reputation, you better be paying attention to plot, character, setting and theme.

This short story, 4EVAH by WRIGHT FORBUCKS, doesn't get the job done. There no real plot here - only a scenario, or maybe a premise - a drug has been invented that bestows an unlimited lifespan upon the user. The story describes how such a drug might reshape society and the consequences it has for things like population control, social structure and war.

But lots of speculation about the crazy kind of world an immortality drug might create is not really a plot which a believable viewpoint character can work through as the readers cheers him or her along.

That's what drives a great story - a vivid, sharply-defined character struggling to solve a problem as he/she works though a plot, heading toward a happy or tragic conclusion.

What we get here is a vague, poorly developed character - with a rather snarky and irritating voice-- describing his school, telling us about this, telling us about that, calling this person a "moron" and that person "stupid" - which is merely annoying and not at all compelling.

Ken Korczak is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Autumn Shadows In August" by Robert W. Norris is okay as novel, but would be powerful as a memoir


It has been a while since I have been as mystified by the technical choices a writer has made in crafting a novel as I was when I read this offering, AUTUMN SHADOWS IN AUGUST by ROBERT W. NORRIS.

Here is a book that has everything going for it:

• A writer of significant skill, heart, and passion for his craft

• A powerful central premise

• Superb real-life material to draw upon

• An often absorbing no-nonsense writing style …

… and yet … well, I just keep asking myself, “Why?

Why, for example, the choice to present this as fiction? There’s nothing inherently wrong with creating a novel based on real-life experiences, but this piece begs to be a memoir, not a novel.

Before I rave on, a brief synopsis: An American ex-patriot, David Thompson, is living in Japan, the final destination of a man who chose self-exile after opting for the roll of conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. He was drafted into the Army, but refused to fight, and so was thrown into a military prison. They tried to break him, brainwash him and reprogram him – but he outlasts them. They spit back into society as an “undesirable.”

This prompts Thompson to launch himself on a life of wandering the world, much of the time in a pot and LSD-soaked haze. Since he has been robbed of his fundamental self-identity as a “normal American” his journey is a search for self-meaning and perhaps to find or build a new identity. Along the way he encounters some of the most dangerous and depressingly hopeless enclaves on the globe, such as the horrifying, filthy, disease-ridden poverty in the darkest allies of Calcutta.

But Thompson eventually finds a kind of secular salvation in that he lands a stable job teaching English in Japan, finds a loving, beautiful wife, and achieves middle class mediocrity – albeit not in America-- but among a modern culture which accepts him.

The novel plays out when Thompson and his wife take a vacation trip to Europe partly so Thompson can retrace some of the pain of his past, and also reconnect with a kind guru-friend figure – Thomas Knorr – only to find that Knorr has just died.

Also, the author states this book is an homage to two writers of tremendous influence on his life: Hermann Hesse and Malcolm Lowry.

The problem for me: The character David Thompson is a molecular-thin veneer sprayed with an atomizer over the identity of the author himself, Robert W. Norris.

Yes, yes, yes I realize there are mystical elements and events, such as when Thompson-Norris meets none other than a character from Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf in an Amsterdam pot den – the mysterious Pablo. Pablo from Steppenwolf supplies Thompson-Norris with hallucinogenic mushrooms, a bit of advice and a kind of magic chess set.

So some might say: “That’s why this has to be presented as fiction; the real Norris could not have met a fictional character from another author’s book in a work of nonfiction.”


Robert W. Norris could indeed have met Pablo in Amsterdam and that meeting would have been every bit as real and legitimate as if he had met any other living human being. That Pablo comes in the form of imagination (or even a drug-induced reverie) does not make him one iota less authentic.

If you don’t think so, then I invite you to find the nearest engineer and tell him that he is no longer allowed to use imaginary numbers (i) in calculus equations when he is designing some machine that will have real application in the objective, physical world. Making use of that which is “unreal” or "imaginary" has never bothered mathematicians, scientists and engineers – why should it bother an author, or memoirist?

Or maybe the author hoped to shield the real people he encountered in life? However, the skilled memoirist would have no problem finessing these kinds of details – but enough, I’ll drop it. The author chose to make this a work of fiction – I’ll honor that while finding it vexing.

Several other aspects of this work also seemed jarring and incongruous to me. For example:

When Thompson-Norris swallowed the powerful magic mushrooms supplied to him by shamanic figure Pablo, I strapped on my seatbelt and prepared myself for a Terrence McKenna-like or perhaps William S. Burroughs-like journey into the disturbing strange and intense – but instead, I found myself being treated to a breezy scene far more akin to something out of Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine,” or perhaps his short story, “The Sound of Summer Running.”

The hallucinogenic mushroom prompts him to relive with exceptional vividness a joyful time from his childhood when he became immersed in that most profoundly spiritual-American game, baseball. He shares this sun-soaked carefree time with his boyhood best friend, Damian (inspired by Hesse’s “Demian?”).

But why should this completely normal, wonderful, decent and absolutely non-dangerous re-lived memory need be induced by a powerful magic mushroom supplied by a shamanic figure? I confess: I don’t get it.

I will say, however, that I loved the way the blissful baseball vignette transitions into the disturbing accounts of his journeys through India, Turkey and Iran – it makes for a brutal contrast that is literary gold. (So much about this novel is excellent.)

But, but ... there are many other “Whys” I might air – such as why include that baffling opening shemp (I borrow a jargon term from cinema out of desperation) – which quietly dissipates as something barely necessary. It is also mistake to call this an homage to Hesse and Lowry. These magnificent novelists influence and inform the book yes, but -- now I'm just quibbling -- and I've gone on too long already. So here’s my bottom line:

This has the making of an excellent memoir – indeed, it is a memoir -- a significant and important piece, possibly even a “Great American” memoir. What men like Norris did in adopting the mantel of conscientious objector is an act of tremendous heroism and commands my utmost, undying respect.

The writing is often brilliant and engaging, even absorbing.

However, presenting this document as fiction drops a clog into the whole system of the book, knocking it off kilter in more ways than one. Making us try to believe this is fiction is a crippling distraction. That's because fiction requires the reader to adopt that “willing suspension of disbelief” -- which in this case in untenable.

We never believe in a fictional character named David Thompson, but we do believe in Robert W. Norris. He's the real deal.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Skip Atwater's "Captain of My Ship, Master of My Soul" is about a lot more than remote viewing; It's a profound testament of one man's spiritual journey


A twist on an old Hindu proverb goes something like this: “There are a million paths to God (or enlightenment or heaven); it doesn’t matter which one you take, as long as you get there.”

It’s this quote that makes me think of FRED HOLMES ATWATER, best known as Skip Atwater. Here is a man who found his personal path to enlightenment, but ah, what a strange road he took.

Think back to when the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was grinding away. Both sides are harboring enough nuclear weapons to not only destroy the other – but take out the whole world in the process. The hate and enmity of these two behemoths threatened swallow our beautiful blue-green planet in a nuclear fire of mutual madness.

Now imagine that one of the key warriors in this global stalemate of loathing is working diligently to ensure that his side prevails. He is a member of the most feared corps of elite warriors – an operative in the dark, seamy, paranoid, dangerous world of military intelligence -- he's a spy.

Skip Atwater could fairly be described as a kind of elite “super spy,” not because he was traveling the dark corridors of the world collecting information or performing assassinations – but because of the amazing assignment he landed.

It became Atwater's task to study, and possibly develop, a team of psychic spies that could use ESP to snoop on the Soviet Union, or any enemy of America. Even today this sounds like an insane idea –- a mixture of New Age or occult voodoo mixed with the militaristic paranoia of the Cold War. It sounds more like a paranoid Philip K. Dick novel.

Except that it's all true. Skip Atwater was the spearhead that led the U.S. Army to spend millions of dollars and years of manpower to develop elite super corps of spies who could reach out with only their minds to get behind any wall, bunker or secret hidden base the Soviets might be hiding anywhere in the world.

By all accounts, Skip Atwater would seem to be the opposite of anyone’s definition of a Cold War spy. He is a gentle man by nature – sweet, kind, humble, unassuming, blonde and handsome – a guy with a natural but quiet charisma -- the kind of guy that makes everyone feel strangely good when he enters a room.

That’s the way I bet you will feel when you read Atwater’s book, CAPTAIN OF MY SHIP, MASTER OF MY SOUL: LIVING WITH GUIDANCE.

These pages are part autobiography, and part detailed record of what Atwater did to develop the now famous (or infamous) PSI method known as remote viewing as a tool for U.S. intelligence.

Atwater starts with his childhood, telling of strange mystical events he experienced, but which his metaphysical-minded parents encouraged him to think of as “natural.” These experiences including things like out-of-body experiences, seeing auras and even an instance of levitation!

Atwater voluntarily joined the U.S. Army at a time when the Vietnam War was heating up and getting ugly – but he joined only to stave off being drafted, and to prevent himself from having to kill someone. Instead, Atwater asked to join military intelligence – and he got his wish –or as he repeatedly puts it, "I was on my path, I was being guided, I was on track, I was being protected”by something he calls "Guidance."

The middle part of the book is a fairly detailed and exacting account of how the remote viewing program was developed, including some pretty terrific “how to” information for those interested in trying their own hand at this esoteric process.

For me, the juicy part of the book (to borrow a phrase from DEAN RADIN who wrote an intro) is the latter third where Atwater describes his work at the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia, his post-military job.

THE MONROE INSTITUTE was established by the famous out-of-body traveler ROBERT MONROE, author of several superior books on the topic.

It was here that the now also famous HEMI-SYNC TECHNOLOGY was developed – an audio system using something called binaural beats – to enhance brainwave activity, enabling people to explore alternate or advanced states of consciousness.

Atwater's is probably the very best book I have read about remote viewing (though I have only read about a half-dozen). It goes well beyond remote viewing itself to discuss issues of spiritual growth and expansion.

Like another early remote viewing pioneer – physicist Russell Targ – what began for Atwater as a hard-nosed attempt to bring scientific understanding and military application to ESP ended up a journey of profound spiritual transformation -- and his story is beautifully and eloquently told in these pages.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Limitless Mind" by famed laser physicist Russell Targ combines the implications of remote viewing with Buddhist-inspired thought


The CIA knew during the height of the Cold War that the Soviets were putting a ton of time and money into psychic spying research. It concerned our government enough to fund their own research. CIA spies may have even gotten reports that the Russians were having some success.

And so, a couple of brainy, eccentric physicists caught the attention of CIA Super Spooks. One was Russell Targ, who was an expert on lasers. The other was Hal Puthoff who was into gravitational physics. Both had worked successfully for years in their fields.

Incredibly, these two brainiacs had decided to put their careers and reputations on the line to study ESP – extrasensory perception, mind reading, clairvoyance – you know, all that voodoo. They were working out of a small lab at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

The CIA was worried enough about the Soviets to jazz up Targ and Puthoff with some serious government cash. And so the legendary top secret method of psychic spying “remote viewing” was born.

In this book, Russell Targ gives us a brief review of those early days beginning in 1972 of how remote viewing was developed. In his words, he says: “Ingo Swan taught us about remote viewing, we taught the army, and the army taught the world.

Ingo Swann was an obscure artist who had decided to volunteer as a one of Targ’s guinea pigs. It turns out that Swann had some amazing psychic abilities. (See my review of Swann's free ebook, PENETRATION). It was Swann who coined the term “remote viewing.” So early on, Swann became a central figure in this strange quest which entangled all of them with the U.S. military the CIA, and international intrigue.

In general, however, that's not what this book is really about. Rather, Targ’s work in remote viewing led him slowly but surely toward a more expansive view of life and reality, which was also heavily influenced by Buddhist thought.

Like many others, Targ could not help but notice the similarities between ancient Buddhist and Vedic teaching and a new model of reality emerging from the implications of quantum physics.

And so in this book, Targ gives us heady doses of Buddhist-influenced philosophy. But he also draws heavily upon New Age thinking -- that which no doubt makes his peers -- hard, reductionist, materialistic, scientists -- gag!

Targ credits none other than A COURSE IN MIRACLES by Dr. Helen Schucman as the “main stepping stone” which finally propelled him to abandon his prestigious position at Lockheed Missiles and Space. In his words: “I launched myself on a different path to spaciousness that didn’t require a missile.”

Targ chose to live his life in a state of “non-wanting,” “spaciousness,” the “abandonment of the ego and striving” to live in a way that is at one with a Buddhist-Quantum conception of God – immersed in a kind of universal field of intelligence-love energy which Targ describes as a “loving syrup.”

Yes, Targ will plod through some of the statistical results of his early remote viewing experiments and tediously describe how double-blind protocols were set up, and what all the data means. He also spends a chapter talking about “remote healing,” a field in which is late daughter Dr. Elizabeth Targ was deeply involved.

In short – and I’m very sad to say – I think some will find this book a disappointment. Those looking for intensive information on remote viewing will get “more of the same” and the same basic information available on thousands of web sites or other books. Other might be surprised at the lectures on Buddhist philosophy (not really lectures, but more like Targ’s personal testament of what Buddhism has meant to him and what he believes it can do for others) – but the end result is a book that may seem disjointed. It’s not really enough about one thing, but then again not enough about the other thing either.

To be fair, however: I think Targ was attempting to present the legitimacy of remote viewing as a science by providing a greater overall framework – a new model based on new physics – to show how it all works together beautifully, and so has a foundation for credibility.

Aslo, I was already extremely familiar with remote viewing before reading this, and I have been practicing Zen meditation for 30 years now – so much of this information seemed old hat from my perspective. It may not be that way at all for you.

Ken Korczak is the author of: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA

Monday, July 9, 2012

Celtic Mysteries book by Philip Imbrogno and Marianne Horrigan has no credibility now that co-author Imbrogno has been shown to be a fraud


Wow – let me tell you something, it pays to do a little research on the side before you prepare to review a book.

I was about to give this book, CELTIC MYSTERIES: WINDOWS TO ANOTHER DIMENSION IN AMERICA'S NORTHEAST maybe a “B” or perhaps something like a 7-out-of-10 rating – then I stumble on the “big news.”

Apparently one of the authors, the prolific Philip J. Imbrogno, who is among the most respected paranormal researchers, is a fraud. That is, Imbrogno apparently has not only been “padding his resume” all these years, but also seems to have been lying about a lot of other life experiences as well – including having served in Vietnam as a member of an elite Special Forces unit.

Imbrogno claims no less that this:

Holds an undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics, astronomy and chemistry from the University of Texas and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2010, awarded a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry from MIT. Staff member of the McCarthy Observatory in New Milford, Connecticut, and is a founder and former director of the Astronomical Society of Greenwich, and former director of the Bowman Observatory.

But then well-known skeptic Lance Moody decided one day – apparently just for the heck of it – to see if he could verify Imbrogno’s credentials with MIT. The folks at MIT professed to have never heard of him. They said they never graduated any Philip Imbrogno from anything.

To make a long story short, Imbrogno’s credibility has been destroyed. He announced he is “leaving the paranormal field.” The co-author of his latest book, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, announced on her web site that she has cut ties with Imbrogno, and also stated she was “blindsided” by the recent revelations.

So what about this book? I mean, It also has a co-author, Marianne Horrigan, whose reputation is still intact, I assume. I don’t know. It’s a tragedy, I guess. She probably gets taken down with her co-author, at least for the sake of this book. Remember, Imbrogno first became famous and respected as co-authoring a landmark UFO book with the late great J. Allen Hynek.

It’s too bad because the information in the book appears based on some solid in-the-field legwork and careful research in the dusty archive rooms of libraries and historical societies.

Celtic Mysteries makes the case that certain stone structures scattered throughout New England were built by ancient visitors to North America – Druids, Celts, Irish Monks, perhaps even the Phoenicians.

The evidence they present is somewhat impressive. The general consensus among the scientific community and public is that these stone structures are nothing more than root cellars built by early American colonists. But the authors show that some of the stone structures are marked with characters of Ogam – an early medieval alphabet used by the ancient Celts. This claim was verified by respected Harvard scholar Dr. Barry Fell.

Imbrogno also claims to have found an obsidian dagger in one of the chambers which was examined at the University of Pennsylvania. It was determined to have originated in either Greenland or Iceland and may be at least 4,000 years old.

Imbrogno and Horrigan also give us exacting details and descriptions of a variety of the stone structures, and based on what they tell us, it seems impossible to believe all of them could have been merely root cellars. For example, some contain at least what appear to be “sacrificial tables” and others are multi-chambered and form alignments with astronomical events, such as the spring equinox, similar to Stonehenge in England.

But they also veer wildly into heavy New Agey, nonscientific territory that would make even mild skeptics gasp – as when they bring in psychics who make contact with the spirits of deceased Native Americans and Druid priests.

Yet – what has always made me willing to give Imbrogno something of a pass on his more outlandish claims was the fact that he had stellar credentials – I mean, he is an MIT-trained scientist with a lofty Ph.D in a very exacting scientific field, right? Well ... wrong.

Does this mean we should throw out the baby with the bathwater? Could it be that Imbrogno has done legitimate work in the field of UFO investigation and other areas? Does Celtic Mysteries still make a credible argument that stone monuments in New England were built by ancient Europeans? Perhaps, but alas, but it probably doesn’t matter now. Others will have to make the case.

Imbrogno’s credibility is shot.

See also my review of Imbrogno's: ULTRATERRESTRIAL CONTACT

Ken Korczak is the author of: THE FAIRY REDEMPTION OF JUBAL CRANCH

Monday, July 2, 2012

Free ghost hunting ebook takes you back 100 years: Violet Tweedale was the 19th Century British counterpart of today's paranormal investigation team


Ghost hunting clubs and paranormal investigation has become a mega-popular trend in the past decade. Local folks everywhere are starting up clubs and teams, dedicated to seeking out proof that the dead still live on another plane.

The first order of business for these types is printing up some cool t-shirts with neato logo. Then some cool hats with logo. Oh, and you have to have a web site and a Facebook fan page. Also required is the latest electronic gear: full-spectrum cameras, shadow detection devices, gizmos that show changes in local magnetic fields, detectors that can ferret out anomalous cold spots, subhuman-frequency audio recorders…

Yes, what is old is new again. Today’s paranormal investigation teams would do well to get this free ebook copy of Violet Tweedale’s, GHOSTS I HAVE SEEN. (Just click on the link to download free copy).

Tweedale is the late 19th Century and early 20th Century version of the modern ghost hunter. She didn’t have access to all the slick electronic toys – when she started she didn’t even have electricity! Tweedale and her fellows relied on mediums and the “psychic attunement” of their minds and belief systems.

Published in 1920, Ghosts I Have Seen makes claims of paranormal sightings that none of today’s ghost enthusiasts can come close to matching, even with the arsenal of high-tech tools at their disposal.

Tweedale tells of dozens of confrontation with bona fide ghosts encountered in the flesh – and I mean in the flesh. She relates a plethora of stories of seeing dead people that look every bit as real and solid as any living person. But that’s only for starters. Tweedale also reports on her (or other’s) encounters with:

• Elementals

• Familiars

• Haunted houses

• Possessed mediums

• Evil spirits

• Mythical creatures, such as satyrs

• Demonic presences

… And much more.

Tweedale was a British aristocrat of the top order. She traveled among the supreme upper crust of British royalty – her book is replete with references to lords and ladies, baron, baronesses, counts and countesses.

She was first and foremost a Scott. Her father was Robert Chambers, the publisher of Chamber’s Journal, a powerhouse publisher based in Edinburgh. This in turn allowed her to consort with some of the most illustrious literati of all time, including the likes of poet Robert Browning and artists Frederic Leighton and John Mallais. She was also an associate of the famous Madam Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy.

The question is: How believable are her stories? They’re sensational, certainly. Was Tweedale a bored intellectual society heiress showing off her useless education to fill the endless days of tedium of the wealthy elite – the teas, the gala balls, the society functions, attending to the affairs of her castle-like dwellings? Or did her wealth allow her the freedom to probe deeper into the world of mysticism and esoteric in a way that was meaningful and legitimate?

It may be a bit of both. My impression in reading Ghosts I Have Seen is that Tweedale indeed was witness to some pretty bizarre phenomenon. After all, her stomping grounds were the ancient, stony castles of northern Scotland.

Imagine how picturesque! Centuries old drafty, dreary monstrosities with real dungeons. There thousands of poor souls were tortured or murdered in dark holes – locations where the political machinations of the Scottish clans played out their blood revenges and plots against Scot, Celt and Saxon alike.

It must be said that Tweedale, despite her wealth and position, was a hard-working novelist and writer. She produced more than 30 books. But she was also known to be a political activist, philanthropist and frequently got her hands dirty by working down in the trenches with the lowest tier of society.

In one segment, she mentions sitting with a prostitute while the pathetic woman was slowly dying in a poor house bed – a depressing facility where Tweedale worked as a volunteer to aid those at the bottom rung of Britain’s slums.

It would seem that VIOLET TWEEDALE was a woman of intelligence and character. Because of this, I am willing to give her a bit of leeway and accept some of her personal tales of ghost encounters with some credibility.

All in all, this is an interesting enough read. It often rambles and should have at least 50 pages edited out. There are pointless digressions. It’s interesting to observe how ghost hunting today and ghost hunting 100 years ago is more or less the same – if anything, today’s high-tech paranormal investigators seem behind the curve compared to Violate Tweedale.

The reviewer, Ken Korczak, has also written a book of paranormal investigation: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA