Thursday, June 28, 2018

Harlan Ellison, R.I.P. (1934-2018)

Harlan Ellison, the legendary author of well over a thousand short stories, has passed away at the age of 84.  Back in August of 2014 I mailed Harlan a copy of my book, Spies & Saucers, a collection of three interlinking novellas that all take place in the 1950s.  Along with the book I included a cover letter explaining how much his work had meant to me over the years.  It just so happened that the package arrived on his doorstep the very same day Robin Williams died.  Williams was Harlan's longtime friend, appeared alongside him in Erik Nelson's 2008 documentary Harlan Ellison:  Dreams With Sharp Teeth, and even inspired one of his short stories ("Keyboard") in Harlan's 1997 collection, Slippage.  About a week after putting that package in the mail, I received a brief message from Harlan telling me how much my letter had meant to him on an otherwise bleak day.  That I had contributed, in some small way, to easing such overwhelming and incomprehensible pain meant a great deal to me.  

A few months later, in December, I sent Harlan a copy of my recently published New York Review of Science Fiction piece about his two latest books, Pulling a Train and Getting in the Wind.  Once again, Harlan responded not long afterwards.  As with the previous correspondence, the letter was cleanly written on a vintage Smith-Corona manual typewriter and read (in part): 

Dear Robert,

What a dynamite review!  Genuine day-making killer.

I am in your debt; unfortunate that [for propriety's sake, I've redacted a caustically humorous remark about a deceased science fiction editor].  But now I have the Good Words, and I thank you evermuch!

yr. Pal, Harlan

The letter now hangs on my wall, framed in glass.  Harlan deemed something I wrote to be a "dynamite, day-making killer," and pleased him enough to claim that he was in my debt.  Well, of course, the situation was the other way around and always would be.  Anyone who was ever touched by the fiery power of his imagination will forever be in Harlan's debt.

If you've somehow escaped the hypnotic pull of Harlan's work up to this point, I suggest beginning with my favorite of his many excellent collections, Angry Candy (1988), which my older brother bought for me as a Christmas gift when I was sixteen years old.  That might very well be the best Christmas gift I've ever received.  Appropriately, given today's events, Angry Candy is all about dealing with the unbearable mysteries of death.

Synchronistically, Harlan's latest book, Blood's a Rover, arrived on my doorstep just yesterday.  I had begun reading it only hours before his death. 

As when Ray Bradbury passed away in 2012 (also in the month of June), I decided to honor Harlan's memory by writing a new short story.  My Postscripts novelette, "The Wedding Photographer," emerged from that protracted period of mourning for Bradbury and remains one of my favorites of the thirty or so stories I've published.  As Harlan himself wrote in the Author's Note at the end of "The Museum on Cyclops Avenue" (a story inspired by Robert Bloch's passing), "The work goes on."

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered."
--Harlan Ellison, Afterword to The Essential Ellison

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Conspirinormal Goes On the Road!

Adam Sayne, host of the excellent podcast Conspirinormal, decided to take his show on the road a couple of weeks ago.  During his first trip to California, Adam visited with Adam Gorightly (author of The Shadow Over Santa Susana:  Black Magic, Mind Control and the Manson Family Mythos), Walter Bosley (author of Latitude 33:  Key to the Kingdom), and Yours Truly (author of Chameleo, Until the Last Dog Dies, and other cryptoscatological jabberwocky).  On June 6, Adam and I recorded our discussion at Enrique's Mexican Restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach.  While eating zucchini and mushroom quesadillas, Adam and I discussed such esoterica as:  The Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles; the LAPD's investigation into the death of Manly P. Hall; Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and the weird dangers of hypnotism; San Diego's Whaley House (which some say is the most haunted house in the United States); the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and John Lennon; George Bush and the Iran-Contra Affair; Wormwood and the murder of Frank Olson; Jessica Jones and gangstalking; Stranger Things and the Montauk Project; the curious misdeeds of Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton; chatting idly with mind-controlled super-soldiers at one's place of employment; nanotechnology, black oil, and the forthcoming Venom film; Milton Berle's twelve-inch penis; among numerous other imponderables. 

The next day, Adam moved on to Morro Bay where he interviewed Adam Gorightly about the UFO crash in Aztec, New Mexico; the lost manuscript of James Shelby Downard; King Kill 33°; the strange misadventures of such infamous alien contactees as George Adamski and Orfeo Angelucci; the homemade flying saucers of Otis T. Carr; David Jacobs and a real life Invasion of the Body Snatchers; and protecting yourself from murderous Freemasons with ink-filled squirt guns.

Finally, Adam ended his vacation with a visit to San Bernardino where he accompanied Walter Bosley on a walking tour of haunted locations along the 33rd Parallel. 

To listen to this latest episode of Conspirinormal (On the Road Edition), see below....


Monday, June 18, 2018

Calling All Earthlings

From Greg Eghigian's 6-14-18 Air & Space article entitled "New Film Tells the Story of George Van Tassel and His UFO-Inspired 'Integratron'":  
"Are we witnessing a renewal of interest in unidentified flying objects? Recent revelations about a secret Defense Department project for studying UFOs continue to draw media attention, while reports of unusual aircraft sightings show up regularly in the news.
"Not quite as common these days, however, are stories of individuals claiming to have had contact with extraterrestrials. In his new documentary, Calling All Earthlings, filmmaker Jonathan Berman takes a look back at one of the most famous of these 'contactees,' George Van Tassel. The film captures an aspect of UFO belief that often escapes skeptical outsiders—that it wasn’t so much anxiety about alien visitors as enthusiasm and hope that attracted believers to the idea of extraterrestrial contact.
"Beginning in 1927 as an airplane mechanic right out of high school, Van Tassel had a long career in aviation, first with Douglas Aircraft, then with Hughes and Lockheed. At Hughes he was involved in flight testing near Barstow, California, where he was attracted to the 'clean air, the intense quiet nights, and outdoor living in the desert.'
"It was there that Van Tassel got to know an eccentric German-American by the name of Frank Critzer, who had carved out a 'cave home' from a natural landmark known as Giant Rock in the Mojave Desert near Landers, California. Critzer came under government investigation in the early days of World War II for reasons that are not entirely clear, but most likely involved his use of dynamite. When local police came to Giant Rock to question him in July 1942, Critzer set off an explosion that resulted in his own death.
"After the war Van Tassel purchased the land around Giant Rock and moved there with his wife Dorris and their three daughters. In addition to operating a small airport, he began to hold meditation readings for groups of 25 to 45 people—and for the first time reported hearing disembodied voices.
"Then, beginning in 1952, Van Tassel claimed he started having encounters with spacemen. At first, he said, these beings issued warnings of looming destruction along with messages of universal peace. But soon, according to Van Tassel, they began instructing him on how to construct a building that could reverse the aging process. Dubbed the Integratron, the project would consume Van Tassel for years, although he never finished it."
Click HERE to read Eghigian's entire article.  

For more information about the legendary George Van Tassel (author of I RODE A FLYING SAUCER:  THE MYSTERY OF THE FLYING SAUCERS REVEALED), I refer you to my 2-25-15 post entitled "Lo, the Integratron!":

What follows are some photos of my own pilgrimage to George Van Tassel's Integratron--as well as to nearby Giant Rock--just this past October.  I made this journey in the company of my good friend Eric Williams and inventor Richard Schowengerdt (whose explosive theories are featured prominently in my book, CHAMELEO).  If you're a UFO enthusiast living in Southern California, you shouldn't hesitate to make this trip.  Upon approaching the remote destination after hours of driving, you can only stare in awe as the blazing white dome of the Integratron emerges out of the barren, Ralph-Steadmanesque desert landscape like a mythical fortress from a fractured fairy tale.  This is a quite a surreal experience, to say the least.  You can't help but feel the the 1950s UFO energy rising from the desert floor in tangible waves of 100% pure FORTEAN HEAT!  

Watch the official trailer for CALLING ALL EARTHLINGS:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Missing Air Force Officer

From The Daily Grail's 6-12-18 article entitled "Missing Air Force Officer Found After More Than 30 Years (And Its Indirect Link With the UFO-Bennewitz Affair)":
On June 10th the Albuquerque Journal ran a somewhat quizzical article: An Air Force officer who mysteriously disappeared almost 35 years ago had just been located and apprehended, living under a different identity in California.
According to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), the State Department was recently investigating a man claiming to be “Barry O’Beirne” during a passport fraud inquiry.
“After being confronted with inconsistencies about his identity, the individual admitted his true name was William Howard Hughes Jr., and that he deserted from the U.S. Air Force in 1983,” an AFOSI news release reads.
Hughes, now 66, told investigators that he was “depressed” about his Air Force career, so he assumed the fictitious identity of O’Beirne and had been living in California ever since.
But AFOSI spokeswoman Linda Card said there are many more questions to be answered as the investigation continues.
The reason why this particular story should be interesting to the readers of the Daily Grail, is because Hughes used to be stationed at the Kirtland Air Force base by the time he went AWOL (specifically, at the Air Force Operation Test and Evaluation Center). Around the same time a man by the name of Paul Bennewitz –a brilliant electrical engineer residing in Albuquerque, who aside from running a successful company that performed contracts for the Air Force, was also a UFO enthusiast and member of APRO— had been sounding the alarms and was utterly convinced that the strange lights he’d been observing for years over Kirtland and the Manzano Weapons Storage Area (a humongous man-made cavern built inside a mountain to store nuclear weapons, which was decommissioned in 1992) were evidence of nepharious Extraterrestrial activity....

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Assassination of RFK

Fifty years ago today, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles while campaigning for the Democratic nomination.  In light of this grim anniversary, I suggest reading Tom Jackman's 5-26-18 Washington Post article entitled "Who Killed Bobby Kennedy?  His Son RFK Jr. Doesn't Believe It Was Sirhan Sirhan."  Here's a brief excerpt:

"Just before Christmas, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pulled up to the massive Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, a California state prison complex in the desert outside San Diego that holds nearly 4,000 inmates. Kennedy was there to visit Sirhan B. Sirhan, the man convicted of killing his father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, nearly 50 years ago.
"While his wife, the actress Cheryl Hines, waited in the car, Kennedy met with Sirhan for three hours, he revealed to The Washington Post last week. It was the culmination of months of research by Kennedy into the assassination, including speaking with witnesses and reading the autopsy and police reports.
"'I got to a place where I had to see Sirhan,' Kennedy said. He would not discuss the specifics of their conversation. But when it was over, Kennedy had joined those who believe there was a second gunman, and that it was not Sirhan who killed his father."
To read the entire article, click HERE.  

After reading Jackman's article, listen to political researcher Mae Brussell analyze the "deep politics" of the RFK assassination in the following episodes of her radio show Dialogue: Conspiracy:

Mae Brussell: The RFK Assassination (10-20-1971)

Mae Brussell: Sirhan Sirhan Was a Victim of CIA Hypnosis & Mind Erasing (6-6-77)

As I wrote in Chapter One of my first book, CRYPTOSCATOLOGY:  CONSPIRACY THEORY AS ART FORM:

"If one reads the 1978 book The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by William Turner and Jonn Christian, one will realize that Sirhan Sirhan could not have been responsible for any of the wounds suffered by Senator Kennedy that fateful summer night in 1968.  This is a classic in its field, written by an FBI agent and a professional newsman, and deserves to be more widely known among those interested in the hidden agendas guiding American history from behind the scenes.  The bullets that murdered John F. Kennedy’s younger brother did not come from Sirhan Sirhan’s gun; in fact, the probable identity of the real gunman can be found within the pages of this very  book.  No 'theory' here, just facts."

Copies of The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy are available HERE.
Image result for the assassination of robert f. kennedy william turner