Jeff Ritzmann and I just hosted back-to-back great shows on Paratopia. So great that I was wondering where we go from here. First came Jacques Vallee who has been instrumental in our thinking where ufology and the paranormal are concerned. He’s a legend but more than that he is a shaper of public discourse on these important topics so we really, really didn’t want to screw it up. Interviewing him provokes a sniper’s pressure: You have one shot at this. Don’t blow it.
Next came Whitley Strieber with his important revelation: No good alien abduction research has ever been performed. He had some suggestions as to how we could usefully investigate experiencers, but essentially, like Jacques, he maintains that at the end of the day (and at the end of 60 years and at the end of several thousand) we don’t know what this enigma is.
These two gentlemen, one a researcher, and the other an experiencer, nipped at the heels of our previous two guests, Carl Feindt and Kim Carlsberg. Carl is a ufologist; Kim is an alleged experiencer. Carl believes he understands the propulsion system of the alien-occupied spaceships visiting us from other planets. Kim believes she knows why the aliens are here in the first place, having been alternately victim of and participant in abductions by alien doctors who used her reproductive system like a puppy mill and also by an evil human military faction working with aliens. The puppy mill motif on the alien template first came to us via “Kathie Davis,” Deb Kauble’s former pseudonym as used in Budd Hopkins’ influential book, Intruders: The Incredible Visitations at Copley Woods. Once she stepped forward it was only a matter of time before other women followed.
What we have here in the Carl/Kim vs. Jacques/Whitley juxtaposition are the two basic ufological mindsets in which all shades of gray (pun noted but not intended) fall: I Know vs. I Don’t Know. And truly, holding these four episodes up to each other, the I Don’t Knows have it. It’s rare that not knowing feels more fulfilling than answers you can understand and sink your teeth into. It’s rare but it happens and when it happens you know it’s because the answers you’ve been entertaining are false.
The false falls away eventually. For ufology, right now is that eventually.
As Jeff and I were pondering how to keep the momentum of really solid work going the reviews from listeners of the Vallee interview trickled in. Everyone agreed that it was fantastic. Some said it was the best Vallee interview they’d ever heard; others said it was the best episode of a paranormal show they’d ever heard, period. Praise doesn’t get any higher. I suspect similar things will be said about the Strieber interview because you just know, somewhere in the middle of the conversation, you know if what you’re doing is special or not. Interviews like that are personal bests, which almost invariably translate into listener favorites. When done right, these interviews are not just entertaining but thought-provoking, perhaps even enlightening to the extent that the listener has a moment of clarity that makes space for a new set of thought-provoking questions. I had such a moment toward the end of our time with Strieber, which you will hear in the show.
So, we’d made two personal bests in a row. Wonderful. But how do you top it?
The answer is, you don’t. You don’t because you didn’t set out to have two personal bests or this juxtaposition of the I Knows and the I Don’t Knows. Magic like that happens on its own. To take credit for crafting the story arcs of Paratopia would be to lie. They are seen in hindsight. In a sense, Jeff and I are along for the ride just like the listeners. We steer the ship but we don’t control the currents.
Well, as luck or magic would have it, the next episode—this week’s episode—is arguably our most important episode for ufology since the Emma Woods series.
This week’s show features Deb “Kathie Davis” Kauble. Deb Aliens Stole My Baby Kauble. The template upon which stories like those of Kim Carlsberg are written.
Deb shares with us with all the passion and hurt and anger of someone telling the truth. The truth is: She never said that. That was Budd’s theory. The truth is: She doesn’t like the term “alien abduction” because she doesn’t know what this phenomenon is but she doesn’t think it’s extraterrestrial, never saw a spaceship, and has great disdain for the word “abduction.” The truth is that no matter what she thinks or Budd thinks or you and I think, none of us know precisely what this stuff is. Is it aliens? Could be. But not the ones we've made in our image. Not the easy answer ones with a backstory we understand, a propulsion system we understand, a set of motives we've fleshed out.
She doesn’t know what happened to her family and her. She doesn’t know by whom or by what. She doesn’t know the reason. She doesn’t know.
As the case for I Don’t Know strengthens, the card house of false answers collapses. Deb Kauble is a prequel to Emma Woods. Hopkins’ fetus-stealing aliens theory flows directly into Jacobs’ alien-human hybrids plot. And it’s interesting to juxtapose Carlsberg’s interview with Deb’s: Which seems more authentic to you? Which actually sounds like a cardboard cutout and which sounds like a woman restlessly tossing and turning through a lifelong dark night of the soul?
The origin point of “aliens stole my baby” has imploded with the same ferocity as “alien hybrids are infiltrating society.” The question for the remaining shrapnel like Carlsberg is this: Are you truly an experiencer or not? If so, then this story you believe you’re living is what experiencer Lee Townsend calls “surface phenomena.” That is to say, it’s a massive theater of the expected employed unconsciously by you or enacted by the phenomenon or co-created by both. It’s something you can comprehend, like a child’s fairy tale hiding rich metaphors within.
What happens when we get this? How does the experience respond when the experiencer says with great honesty and humility, “Enough”? Where do we wake to when the dream ends?
Perhaps we will find out. In the meantime, we’re still deconstructing, still purging ourselves of what we claimed to know through decades of bogus if well-intended research. Hypnosis isn’t the way. Humanized aliens are not the way. Forging outlier data of the unknown to make it recognizable is not the way. Wish fulfillment is not the way. What’s the way? Where do we go from here?
I don’t know. None of us do. But that seems to bring out the best in us. Perhaps not knowing is courage enough.