Archive for the ‘Paranormal Phenomena’ Category
A recent book about “star people” legends has been getting some play in the blogosphere recently: Encounters with Star People: Untold Stories of American Indians. I tried to order it but it was temporarily out of stock. I’ll revisit it later since I want to review it. I’m not holding my breath for reasons that will become clear below.
The author of the work is Ardy Sixkiller Clarke, professor emeritus at Montana State University. Although I have no doubts about her university affiliation and that she has a doctorate in something, her credentials are actually hard to identify.1 Wanting to know her background is just a point of curiosity for me. I’d like to know if it’s in something other than education — some content-oriented doctoral degree like anthropology or folklore studies. Educational doctorates are more about (educational) theory, method, administration, etc. But I’ll assume she knows what she’s talking about with respect to indigenous lore. And that’s really what I expect to find in the book … lore, not facts.
Readers can find a description of Clarke’s book here. I should warn readers that the blog post at this link is misleading. It has a picture of “alien” rock art that has nothing to do with Native Americans — it’s rock art from Australia. I suppose that’s supposed to add weight to the content of Clarke’s book, but it’s misleading. But it’s not as bad as what you’ll find on other sites that make it sound like Native Americans have stories about genetic manipulation of homo sapiens by aliens and advanced astronomical knowledge. (What’s the ancient Cherokee word for DNA? … seriously, ancient people knew nothing of DNA). I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that this book will be interesting and useful as a reference, but ALL that it will be is legends and stories, offering no hard data for experiences with beings whose extraterrestrial (i.e., from other physical planets) reality can be proven. But I’ll wait to say more after I read it, presuming it’ll be available.
- Clarke was Professor of Educational Leadership and the Director of the Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education. She was also American Indian Professor of Educational Leadership and the Director Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education. Various websites also note that, “Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke a Professor Emeritus at Montana State University has dedicated her life and career to working with indigenous populations. She has been adopted and given traditional names by three Northern Plains tribes.” The Montana State University site doesn’t have her listed as faculty, though her name does appear on the site. That tells me she must have retired from teaching a while ago. I’m just surprised I can’t easily find a degree for her. Her name also does not appear in the JSTOR database which covers scholarly journals in anthropology, folklore, and indigenous studies. I have to presume then that she hasn’t published anything under peer review, at least in terms of indigenous content. I’m guessing she has published in education journals. ↩
Not mainstream scientists, as this article documents.
Contrary to what the “paranormal community” loves to insist (especially the ancient astronaut theorists, whose thinking is anything but clear), there is actually a good deal of peer-reviewed material devoted to testing both paranormal claims and the sorts of subjects with which the paranormal deals. Humanities scholars and nuts and bolts scientists have devoted a good bit of time to studying claims about parapsychology, Bigfoot, UFOs, PSI, NDEs, etc. They don’t fear it. Anyone with access to a good journal database could show that paranormal claims do get addressed in just a few minutes.
The problem, though, as I see it, is that very little of that peer-reviewed material ever filters down to the lay person or non-specialist — the person the most likely to be imbibing the wackier claims in all these areas. Scholars and scientists (and I’ll grant there is some merit to the statement, though it becomes an excuse) consider such an exercise as a waste of their time (they could be publishing real research for their peers — and in some case, tenure requirements). And given my own experience with things like the Fantasy Channel (er, History Channel), the media types who pimp the paranormal for DVD purchases and advertising dollars aren’t interested in true rebuttal or confrontational engagement. The Ancient Aliens series is Exhibit A here. They want to produce *a show* (it’s entertainment, people!) and so the producers of these programs *want* to titillate the audience with that sort of nonsense. It sells.
Jack Brewer of the excellent blog, The UFO Trail, recently interviewed Robbie Graham, who blogs at the fascinating Silver Screen Saucers. The thrust of the interview is that motion pictures and television have far greater potential to influence beliefs about UFOs and the possibility of alien life forms than any hard research aiming for objective, factual analysis. I’d agree. I would encourage all UFO Religions readers to check out the lengthy interview. It’s well worth it. Here are two excerpts:
“Quite simply, when it comes to our understanding of UFO phenomena and our expectations regarding potential extraterrestrial life – make no mistake about it – movies matter… perhaps more even than anything else. As audiences, we should therefore seek to actively engage with Hollywood’s depictions of UFOs and extraterrestrials – to look up from our popcorn once in a while and acknowledge that such phenomena spring first and foremost not from the minds of Hollywood creatives, but from the fabric of our lived historical reality. By more actively engaging with Hollywood’s UFO movies, we enhance our ability to distinguish UFO fact from fantasy, and to more easily identify and understand the political thinking behind instances of government manipulation of UFO-themed entertainment products.”
“A wide variety of individuals, corporations and agencies are clearly competing to influence your beliefs about alleged extraterrestrial visitors, for whatever ultimate reasons. Successfully accomplishing the task has apparently been identified as worthy of substantial amounts of money and sustained effort.”
A recent post from the Who Forted? blog asks Was Aleister Crowley an Extraterrestrial Medium?. The post sketches Crowley’s contact with an entity known as LAM, who bears a striking resemblance to the classic alien with which we’re all familiar.
I’d like to propose a different question: Was Aleister Crowley, along with the other contactees of the “Contactee Era” actually contacted by some other intelligence than an extraterrestrial?
Given Crowley’s occultism and solicitation of contact with non-human intelligences, you’d think people would ask this very obvious question before concluding that Crowley’s experience contributes any proof for extraterrestrials.
For those who have not read Nick Redfern’s book, Body Snatchers in the Desert: The Horrible Truth at the Heart of the Roswell Story, shame on you … but now you can catch up a bit very quickly. Nick just posted a summary of the timeline that underlies the major points of his contention, that the event at Roswell was very human, and inhumane, hence the cover-up. (Note: I reviewed Nick’s book on this blog).