Exopolitics, Eisenhower & the Fuzzier Expanses of UFOlogy

On the night and early hours of February 20-21, 1954, while on a ‘vacation’ to Palm Springs, California, President Dwight Eisenhower went missing and allegedly was taken to Edwards Air force base for a secret meeting.

Those who believe that the government – or, at least, some nebulous “they” – already know about aliens may have that belief in common, but little else – including when, exactly, contact began. Was it Roswell? Was it some secret landing at Area 51? Or did a purported dentist appointment of Eisenhower’s act as cover for him meeting with aliens, as witnessed by an astrally-projected occultist?

The answer will not surprise you.

Thus is the story of the Greada (or, sometimes, Grenada) treaty of 1954, a cornerstone for a certain, fuzzier expanse of UFOlogy.

The story of the treaty is this: during a visit to Palm Springs in 1954, President Eisenhower vanished for an evening. Though the press was told he had an embarrassing dentist’s appointment, in fact he was spirited away to Edwards Air Force Base to meet with grey aliens. With them he signed, or at least arranged to sign, a treaty ensuring secrecy and non-interference. All this was, of course, covered up.

Our only source for this momentous event is a man named Gerald Light.

My dear Friend: I have just returned from Muroc. The report is true — devastatingly true!…

When we were allowed to enter the restricted section… had the distinct feeling that the world had come to an end with fantastic realism. For I have never seen so many human beings in a state of complete collapse and confusion, as they realized that their own world had indeed ended with such finality as to beggar description. The reality of the “other plane” aeroforms is now and forever removed from the realms of speculation…

H.P. Lovecraft just called, he said your prose is too purple & ambiguous.

During my two days’ visit I saw five separate and distinct types of aircraft being studied and handled by our Air Force officials — with the assistance and permission of the Etherians! I have no words to express my reactions.

If you can pick out any word from this dense word melange, it should be “Etherians”. More on that.

President Eisenhower, as you may already know, was spirited over to Muroc one night during his visit to Palm Springs recently. And it is my conviction that he will ignore the terrific conflict between the various ‘authorities’ and go directly to the people via radio and television — if the impasse continues much longer. From what I could gather, an official statement to the country is being prepared for delivery about the middle of May.

Spoiler alert: he didn’t.

I will leave it to your own excellent powers of deduction to construct a fitting picture of the mental and emotional pandemonium that is now shattering the consciousness of hundreds of our scientific “authorities”… In some instance I could not stifle a wave of pity that arose in my own being as I watched the pathetic bewilderment of rather brilliant brains struggling to make some sort of rational explanation which would enable them to retain their familiar theories and concepts.

Not one of the world’s physicists could understand what happened, but me, a weirdo in a UFO cult, could figure it out intuitively.

To watch strong minds cringe before totally irreconcilable aspects of “science” is not a pleasant thing. I had forgotten how commonplace things as dematerialization of “solid” objects had become to my own mind.

We get it. You’ve seen some shit. You’re Gerald Light, GREATEST HUMAN, and all the sheeple are educated stupid. I am nature’s four-day simultaneous not giving a shit.

The coming and going of an etheric, or spirit, body has been so familiar to me these many years I had forgotten that such a manifestation could snap the mental balance of a man not so conditioned. I shall never forget those forty-eight hours at Muroc!

And neither shall the world…but why?

Information about Gerald Light is scarce; William H Moore of UFO Casebook call him an “elderly mystic” with a belief in “out-of-body experiences”. Blogger Håkan Blomqvist dived into Light’s cheaply-printed mystical booklets, finding him to be a clairvoyant almost supernaturally drawn to…the Chicago World’s Fair. Blomqvist finds his work tiresome and confusing, with a worldview based around Etherian Masters, and concludes, as Moore did, that Light was likely implying he “saw” Eisenhower’s meeting via astral projection.

What are the Etherians so referenced by Light?

The work of early UFOlogist Meade Layne – the recipient of Light’s letter – proposed the Etheria hypothesis to UFOs.

Etheria is here — if we know what here means! Along‐side, inside, outside of our world. Because our world, that is, the so‐called dense matter of the objects in our world, is a rarefaction.

In Layne’s conception of the world, aliens come not from the stars, but from here – or a here next to “our” here.

The matter of the Etheric world! Inside the molecules, inside the atoms, other atoms — still other atoms inside of those, or ten thousand Chinese eggs each inside of another.

And that is why Etheria is here! But it is also everywhere. All heavenly bodies have an etheric realm.

Layne explains “flying discs” as etheric craft, made of etheric matter imperceptible to us. Light was an adherent of Layne’s; another associate was Mark Probert, a “medium” who helped Layne discern his theories, spread primarily via cheaply-printed booklets.

The story of Eisenhower’s first contact originates from such a meager source: a forgotten mystic, a little-known UFOlogist, a theory about aliens that’s long since vanished into the aether. So why did the story persist?

I’ll answer that, but first, let’s talk about aliens.

By Joe Nickell
Odd how only Greys started to visit Earth once movies/shows adopted them as aliens du jour

When the UFO craze began, aliens were often little green – or grey – men or, most commonly, “Nordics” – human-looking white blonde people from space. This held through the 50s, reinforced by, primarily, the narratives of “contactees”, who claimed a kind of proto-alien abduction or to have channeled alien knowledge. In the 60s-70s, modern alien abduction narratives began, UFOlogy – and pseudoscience as a whole – took on a more scientific air, and you had a endless variety of reported aliens: this was the era of Mothman, the Flatwoods Monster, and a million other weirdos. By the 80s and 90s, in part due to the book Communion, aliens in the popular mind became fixed as greys, the Mothman & her friends were pushed into cryptozoology. and the more scientific-sounding abduction narrative became codified.

Modern UFOlogists are fuzzy on the specifics. They don’t weave tales of wars in the stars, or secret first contacts, or even concrete conspiracies. They’re reactive. They deal in sightings, witness reports – or, in other words, evidence, of a kind. It has the veneer of science, if not the mantle of it.

But the original culture didn’t really go away. A community of “channelers”, concerned by “exopolitics” and, especially, the pretty white people they imagine live among the Pleiades still exists, carrying on 50s UFO culture. Sometimes these two cultures intersect: the idea of an alien base at Dulce in New Mexico hails from the “exopolitics” community, as does Gerald Light’s letter, which so inspired UFOlogists it led to one tracking down a dentist’s widow to ask if she remembered her husband treating Eisenhower (no, apparently).

Though the legend stayed alive throughout the 70s-80s, a history by Michael E Salla of Exopolitics identifies its modern revival with William Cooper, a conspiracy theorist known for his 1991 book Behold a Pale Horse (and a radio show that potentially inspired the Oklahoma City bombers). Within its 500 pages, he kickstarts HIV/AIDS conspiracy theories, weaved a Illuminati theory that brought them to the fore of conspiracism, popularized the term “sheeple” and, of course, detailed how Eisenhower met with aliens.

In Cooper’s conception, Eisenhower first met with “white-haired Nordics that had pale blue eyes and colorless lips” who demanded humanity demolish its nuclear weapons. He rejected them, and later entered into a treaty with greys from Betelgeuse (or perhaps Zeta Reticulum; Salla tells us that this discrepancy obviously means the Greys from Betelgeuse and Zeta Reticulum are related).

But who is Cooper? He claims high-level Air Force security clearance that let him know about this clandestine meeting; in fact, records show Cooper’s service was as a petty officer in the Navy. Nearly every “whistleblower” claiming knowledge of Eisenhower’s supposed meeting claims high-level military service; I don’t doubt every single one has a similarly unimpressive, or even non-existent, service record.

Cooper claims that the Greys broke the “treaty” almost immediately, and other theorists propose that this betrayal caused the sea change in UFO reports in the 60s:

…the space brothers in the 1950’s…were kind, interacted with people who became known as contactees, and took people for rides in their space crafts. This pattern changed dramatically with the abduction of Betty and Barney Hill in the early 1960’s…the first abduction of the Hills began a new pattern where the aliens were grey “evil” aliens who would abduct people against their will, and perform medical procedures on them. There were, as far as this author is aware no confirmed cases of “classic” abductions in the 1950’s. Unlike the “good” space brothers of the 1950’s these grey aliens were described by all, who were unfortunate enough to have met with them, as being distant and without emotions.

UFOlogy has changed. The stock portrayal of what an alien is has changed, from the perfectly-human Nordics of the 50s to the slightly-inhuman Greys of now. Peaceful “contactee” accounts faded in favor of violent abduction narratives, and their supposed motives shifted from a vague optimism to more sinister ends.

But the old stories don’t really go away. The spiritualist, optimistic bent of atomic-age UFOlogy stays alive in every UFO cult, from Unarius to Starseeds to ZetaTalk to Aetherius, whose beliefs in “cosmic masters” mirror Light’s & Layne’s. And sometimes one elderly mystic’s xeroxed account of seeing Eisenhower talk with aliens survives the decades, embellished by alleged whistleblowers and other collaborative mythmakers into a larger tale of alien treaties and war among the stars.

In 1954, Eisenhower went to the dentist. And some people still theorize about it today.

Anyway, he was actually meeting with his boyfriend Z’A’Kranax & I support their love? Love is love, happy Pride!

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Debunking Paranormal Videos (That Were Just Viral Ads)

Welcome back. I sure didn’t update much in 2018, except to celebrate the ongoing death of the InfoWars empire.

Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in Austin… near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read…

And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Alex Jones, buy my brain supplements;
Before Obama turns frogs gay!’
Nothing beside remains.

Solemnly presses F.

But we’re snared in an ongoing conspiracy hell, and so the Space Lizard Report must rise with…a post about viral ads people think are evidence of the paranormal.

“It’s a viral ad” is the most tired of suggestions tossed out whenever a paranormal event is recorded, no matter how unlikely (I have fond memories of people accusing Cartoon Network of planting the Montauk Monster corpse). But sometimes it’s true: something created as part of a guerilla ad campaign loses its context, loses its last-second website link or show tease, and is believed by many thousands, even millions of people as evidence of the supernatural. Here are some examples.

WTC UFO

Most popular upload: 449K views; millions across multiple uploads; appeared on Japanese TV show

Real Origin: Sci-Fi Channel ad campaign

Here’s one I covered before. A series of fake ads for the Sci-Fi Channel, Sci-Fi Happens seemed destined to be forgotten…until this one ad from 2000 gained new and horrible significance. Half-remembered viewings fed into the myth, even transforming into a sighting “the day before” the attacks instead of an ad from a full year earlier. It was easy to forget it was an ad; it was easy to assume it had been on Sightings or some other paranormal show, or even on the nascent paranormal internet.

Of course, now that we have the video there’s no excuse.

This Man

Spread as: Internet meme, myth, odd and unexplained cameos in the revived X-Files

Real origin: An ad agency doing…something?

This Man was a creepy myth about a man who appeared in the dreams of man all over the world. What was he? What was he doing? What was his sinister plan?

To be an…art project? Failed film pitch? Who…knows? Crafted by an ad agency. Sure.

“Alien Attacks Police Officer”

Spread As: 660K+ views across popular uploads

Real Origin: Viral ad for The 4400

Oh, The 4400. A good mid-00s sci-fi show on USA, The 4400 focused on 4,400 missing people who returned in a ball of light after years, even decades away. Soon, they discover that many of the 4,400 possess supernatural abilities; and all are back for a reason…

Sadly, The 4400 is a good display of what could be termed the Anti-Lost: that is, the opposite of Lost. The 4400 is that rare show that explained too much: by the end of the six-episode first season, we’ve been told the entire story behind the abductions. The 4400 never became a bad show, except during a stretch where it made a character’s baby grow up in seconds & become an all-powerful demi-god, which, what even, but it never reached the heights of a Lost or even early Heroes.

And so, by the time of The 4400‘s final season, only 8,000 people watched a video called “Promicin Freak Kills Cop”.

…and so it was easy-pickings for someone to strip off the The 4400 promos at the start and end, and turn it into a dubious paranormal video stalwart for years to come.

Source for debunking: IsaacKoi

John Titor, Time Traveler

Spread as: internet meme; urban legend

Real Origin: Ad for a book

Another one I’ve covered previously, the news that John Titor had long been solved – as an ad for a shitty book that no one read – was a tremendous disappointment. Now, let us move on.

English Sewer Alien

Spread as: 1 Million+ views over multiple uploads

Real Origin: April Fool’s Day prank by a utility company

Multiple videos uploaded by United Utilities show an unnerving creature hiding in England’s sewers; they’ve become a mainstay of creepy video compilations ever since.

Of course, they brush past a few facts: the video’s April 1st upload date, or that its creators openly said it was a prank meant to make people think about the real issue of flushing waste down the drain. Oh well.

Teleporting Girl In China

Spread as: 11 million views on most popular upload

Real Origin: ad for a MMO

Another mainstay of bullshit video compilations, here we see it uploaded with an ostentatious Guy Fawkes Mask intro.

The invaluable IsaacKoi also provides the source for this one: after apparently debating if angels exist for several pages, AboveTopSecret noticed a game company’s logo subtly inserted into the video. Then they discovered that the video was straight-up linked on the game’s website. Whoops.

 

Distant Encounters: the Delightful Stupidity of Skinwalker Ranch’s Bulletproof Wolf

Nessie, Area 51, Roswell: names like this define UFO and paranormal lore. This is not a series about them. In Distant Encounters, we tour the strangest, most isolated tales of encounters with the unknown.

Skinwalker Ranch is a fascinating little footnote in UFO lore. A ranch near Ballard, Utah, it gained fame in the mid-90s when a series of stories by journalist George Knapp in the Deseret News documented strange events witnessed by its new owners, the Shermans. The Shermans reported seeing:

…three specific types of UFOs repeatedly during the past 15 months – a small boxlike craft with a white light, a 40-foot-long object and a huge ship the size of several football fields.

But Skinwalker Ranch truly enters UFO lore when the National Institute for Discovery Science, a paranormal research organization founded by businessman Robert Bigelow, acquired it in 1996. The NIDSci folded in 2004 after discovering precisely jack shit.

Yet a faithful remains, and today’s story concerns one of the many entities detailed on the Skinwalker Ranch’s delightfully Web 1.0 website. Despite being maybe the most-researched UFO hotspot in the world, photos of the Ranch’s alien entities – which include sentient mist and alien portals – mostly document just one unearthly being.

The Bulletproof Wolf.

This “dire wolf” like creature has long dirty mangy grey/black hair.  Has a proud, intimidating, and intense like presence.

Intense like presence. It’s clearly proud, clearly intimidating, but merely intense adjacent.

At this time I am unsure if it is hostile or friendly, my impression was neither more majestic and to be feared in nature.

I wasn’t sure if the wolf was hostile, so I shot at it as much as I possibly could.

Large sturdy body structure.  Has an unusually long and bushy tail.

A scary wolf with the fluffiest tail in the world!

Has a penetrating stare, but is unable/unwilling to communicate verbally or psychically.   

This wolf must be an alien: it’s incapable of the speech and telepathy normal wolves are famed for.

Said to show up about %15 of the time, the bulletproof wolf is oddly the subject of nearly all entity photographs.

Look at this goddamn monstrosity, um, walking. Away from us. What is this dastardly alien direwolf planning?

How could there possibly be a reddish-furred, bushy-tailed, wolf-like animal in the Southwestern United States? If such a thing existed, science would know about it.

NOPE, it’s a composite witness sketch of the Beast of Bray Road – a werewolf myth from Wisconsin. Here it is on the site of Beast of Bray Road researcher Linda Godfrey.

…yes, I recognized it off the top of my head.

If you enjoy swiping from better-known legends, you’ll enjoy the Skinwalker Ranch’s Youtube channel, which includes videos on the Paulding Lights and New Jersey’s ghost car.

Chupacabra’s my favorite small ungulate.

That’s not a bulletproof wolf. It’s a testament to your inexplicable inability to either identify or shoot coyotes.

If you’re curious as to the site’s records of other, less wolf-adjacent entities, here’s a photo of one of its famed alien portals opening.

And that tells you everything you need to know about Skinwalker Ranch.

Distant Encounters: the Hat-Wearing Little Green Men of Texas

Today’s tale hails from 1913, two miles west of the northeastern Texas burg of Farmersville (population 3,301). But the people involved told no one until 1978 – out of fear? Fear of ridicule over having one of UFOlogy’s few run-ins with literal little green men?

Brothers Clyde, Sid and Silbie Latham chopped cotton on their family’s farm. A mundane scene interrupted by the barking of dogs. The Latham brothers scramble to investigate and find, as Silbie told FATE in 1978:

“a little man only 18 inches tall…He didn’t seem to have on any shoes but I don’t really remember his feet. His arms were hanging down just beside him. He had on a kind of hat that reminded me of a Mexican hat. It was a little round hat that looked like it was built onto him…everything looked like a rubber suit including the hat.”

The 18-inch man’s rubbery skin was smooth, dark green all over (Fate, 1978) – including the strange, hat-like protrusion. The brothers considered the bizarre visitor, the alien before them, and reached out in a spirit of peace. Contact began, and everyone prospere-nope! Their dogs viciously murdered him a second later. According to Silbie Latham:

“Red blood spilled everywhere and the being’s insides, which looked like human organs, fell to the ground.”

Ah yes, at least we discovered the defenseless alien visitor did in fact have human-esque organs, and blood, so very much blood, and so we can know for sure that in those few confused seconds he felt all the pain just as intensely as any human being. A successful first contact!

“Unable to cope with the whole matter, the boys retreated to their work; the dogs stayed near them the rest of the day, as if frightened. “

The dogs were frightened…at discovering what they were capable of, much like in Air Bud: There Ain’t No Rule A Dog Can’t Be a Retired Enforcer, Weighed Down By His Terrible Sins.

The boys told their parents, who disbelieved them. The following day, the little man’s body vanished without a trace. Two years later, they did see “a mysterious object carrying two lights — one in front, the other in back — sail silently by” near Celeste, Texas. Three years later, Silbie witnessed a fireball falling from the sky, leaving only a circle of gray powder. But the Lathams would never again see a little green man.

Silbie Latham’s story went untold for sixty-five years, when his grandson would report it to the Center for UFO Studies. Even Latham’s own grandson heard the story only reluctantly, after much prompting. And while everyone found Silbie believable, researchers tended to discount his story outright, explaining it away as a prank or a frog. Silbie rejected them all.

Admittedly, Silbie Latham’s little green man probably was a frog. It probably was an ordinary creature that ran into the wrong dogs. But we should still be glad he shared his unbelievable story, and that others won’t wait their entire lives to tell theirs…and that when aliens actually meet humanity, they don’t get torn apart by dogs.

An illustration of the Farmersville Green Man by Eric Kowalick, who has delightful illustrations of many obscure alien sightings.

Distant Encounters: Canada’s Most Mysterious UFO

Nessie, Area 51, Roswell: names like this define UFO and paranormal lore. This is not a series about them. In Distant Encounters, we tour the strangest, most isolated tales of encounters with the unknown.

August 18th, 1991. West Carleton, Ontario – a rural farming community. Diane Labenek hears the barks of distant dogs across the field. She rises, looks out the window, and one of my favorite UFO cases of all time begins.

Labenek sees fire and lights: red flames and smoke. A UFO flies towards the bright fire. As Labenek watches,  the UFO departs. Ten minutes later, a helicopter flies overhead. She tells no one but her family.

This isn’t the first strange event to happen in West Carleton: in 1989, Labenek and many others report an “intense, bright light” passing overhead towards a nearby swamp, pursued by helicopters. But neither event draws much attention: with Labenek keeping the story to herself, it’s just another UFO sighting, a lone report without any proof to back it up.

The following year, proof arrived.

Six months later, UFO researcher Bob Oechsler received a package from someone identified only as “Guardian”. The anonymous present included a VHS tape and many crudely forged documents and photos of aliens. In short, most of what Guardian sent was easily dismissable bullshit: but the VHS tape proved harder to dismiss.

The tape corroborates Labenek’s 1991 sighting almost exactly, down to the barking dogs in the background. Seemingly filmed from the other side of the field, you can see the flares in the field, and the shining lights of a large, distinct UFO. Oechsler, who didn’t know about Labenek’s sighting, couldn’t have known that this wasn’t Guardian’s first enigmatic message.

After the 1989 sighting, researcher Tom Theofanous of the Canadian UFO Research Network received a package from Guardian alleging a UFO crash near West Carleton. With nothing but photo-copied photos of fake aliens as “proof”, researchers who toured West Carleton discovered little else, bar reports of a strange lights from a local couple, a rancher – and Diane Labenek. They safely classified Guardian’s first message as a hoax.

In 1992, researchers weren’t so willing to dismiss Guardian. Oeschler and Graham Lightfoot visited West Carleton and, along the way, Labenek. Having no knowledge of her story, they were stunned to discover that it matched the video nearly exactly. Perhaps this would be a rarity – a UFO case with genuine proof?

Yet the investigation was far from smooth. According to MUFON Ontario, Oeschler’s inexperience showed:

[Oechsler] pointed to vegetation that had “been treated with microwave radiation”! How did he come to that conclusion without using any instruments?

“It’s very dry and brittle, so it’s obviously been irradiated” Oechsler said.

The ‘irradiated’ plants were Juniper bushes that always look that way after a Canadian winter – bleached, dried and flattened by heavy snow, probably in much the same way as in Maryland, Oechsler’s home-state.

Some residents of West Carleton, apparently unaware of the threat posed by the alien-irradiated juniper bushes in their midst, took note of an unusually high number of helicopters flying overhead – black, green, and maroon helicopters, with tinted windows for that paranoid-90s flair.

Seeking to “flush out Guardian” – a purely selfless motive I absolutely believe – Oeschler managed to wrangle a story about the case on Unsolved Mysteries. Before their investigation was even complete, it also managed to make an appearance on Sightings, winning the prestigious dubious-90s-paranormal-show double. The investigation also drew in Bruce Maccabee, the famed MUFON researcher who would later think a mouse light in a room was a UFO.

By 1993, researchers had concluded that the Guardian case was likely a hoax. With everything else in the package a proven forgery, why not the video? Claims that it was too large, and too silent to be faked weren’t terribly convincing. Guardian went from one of the most exciting UFO cases in history to an embarrassment UFOologists would rather leave behind them. In 1994, Oeschler, the researcher who drove the case from the beginning retired from UFOology.

Guardian is a strange, beautiful mess. The VHS-quality video is oddly mesmerizing, with its blurred lights in the darkness. The tale of its investigation, meanwhile, is a trainwreck. Most probably, the video itself was a hoax, a simple case of lights on a truck. But there’s something so magically X-Files-y about the idea of an enigmatic, anonymous source leaking proof of UFOs to intrepid researchers, of a person keeping a strange event to themselves for fear of ridicule only to receive proof their experience was valid. Guardian burnt bright and it burnt fast. Among the shadowy-conspiracy genre of UFO sighting, Guardian is maybe the most archetypal one there is.

As for Guardian, their identity was never found.

Biblioteca Pléyades, a sprawling library of the paranormal and strange, has a in-depth article about the Guardian case that you really should read.

Distant Encounters: Joe Simonton’s Space Pancakes

Nessie, Area 51, Roswell: names like this define UFO and paranormal lore. This is not a series about them. In Distant Encounters, we tour the strangest, most isolated tales of encounters with the unknown.

Joe Simonton wanted nothing more than to eat a late breakfast one day in April 1961. Instead he found himself the focus of one of UFO history’s weirdest footnotes.

Hearing a strange sound at his farmhouse in Eagle River, Wi., the chicken farmer investigated and discovered an alien craft: discovered as “silvery”, with a shape akin to “two washbowls turned face to face”. It made noise like “knobby tires on wet pavement”. And as Simonton approached the craft from another world, a hatch began to open. And out stepped three…Italians.

To be specific, Simonton described them as five foot tall men with dark hair and skin; only a few sources include him summing them up as space Italians, or at least Italian-adjacent aliens, bearing a silver jug with two handles.

The evolution of what people imagine aliens to look like is a study in anthropomorphism. In the 1950s, the traditional depiction of aliens was as “Nordics”: literally, blonde-haired white people from space. The somewhat less human-looking Grey or Zeta Reticulan hails from the Betty and Barney Hill abduction (by way of a half-remembered episode of The Outer Limits) a few months after Simonton’s sighting – they’d become more common as the Hill case became popular in the mid-60s, and essentially codified as what aliens look like by Whitley Strieber’s Communion. In between we find so much that’s compellingly, bizarrely alien and strange. Greys are still incredibly, unbelievably human in shape, but at least they aren’t Italian dwarves bearing jugs.

Joe Simonton with a space pancake.

According to Simonton, the aliens motioned to him that they needed water. After dutifully filling their jug, Simonton returned – and was granted the gift that made his UFO encounter (in)famous.

On a flameless stove, one of the aliens cooked strange, disc-shaped food. A curious Simonton reached out for them, and was given four. He left the ship with this bounty in hand, and watched as the alien craft vanished as mysteriously as it appeared.

Simonton’s story was bizarre, but he had something no other UFO contactee had: physical proof, in the form of four space pancakes. Wait, three: Simonton ate one. It tasted like cardboard. Analysis of the space pancakes proved that they were made from typical Earthly ingredients, bar an unexplained lack of salt. Simonton faded back into obscurity soon after his encounter, saying that if he ever encountered aliens again, he’d keep quiet.

Simonton’s encounter with aliens is remarkable for how casual it seems. People make up stories about alien experiments, or of wise extraterrestrials handing down profound messages of peace, or warnings for the future. Joe Simonton, by contrast, spins a tale of aliens cooking breakfast. They don’t visit him to deliver a message, but to enlist his help refilling a jug, as they didn’t have enough water to flamelessly fry up their space pancakes. This story of Italians coming down from the stars to make pancakes is more strange – more human than almost anything in UFO lore.

Flashback Friday: Weird Tales, and Images, from Wisconsin

“Wisconsin has the highest proportion of eccentric environments in the USA, more than 10% of the total.” – Jan Friedman

Since the demise of Time Cube, I’ve become nostalgic for the early, more personal days of the internet. Before social media was around, before content was shuffled towards a few overarching services. Things that are now Twitter feeds and Tumblr blogs would once be a gigantic number of individual, single-topic websites and forums, an array of personal homepages and strange blogs stretching off into eternity. You might stumble across a weird Subreddit now, but at least it’s cloaked in the familiarity of a larger site. Finding one of the web’s oddities once meant entering into an alternate world, created to mirror the author’s mind.

I once enjoyed browsing these websites. I heard about them on the old Snopes message boards, or places like Crank.net and the Museum of Hoaxes, or through long lists of links on places such as the Insolitology or even the Sci-Fi Channel.

I don’t know where I found today’s website. It’s one of several sites describing the many oddities of Wisconsin. I’ll detail the others in future Flashback Fridays; bizarrely, while today’s site is defunct, the other sites that are still up look way more outdated.

What do you think of when you think of Wisconsin? Cheese? Beer? Serial killers? The Fonz? How about the Beast of Bray Road, the werewolf that calls Elkhorn home? Or the Hodag, a reptilian beast made up in a failed attempt to make Rhinelander interesting? Those are just the obvious legends about the state. Today’s site looks at the deep cuts.

The now-defunct Weird Wisconsin last updated in 2004; it vanished some time in 2006. Presumably inspired by Weird New Jersey, it’s home to many accounts of Wisconsin’s paranormal phenomenon, and wonderful images like this:

WISCONSIN Continue reading