Thursday, July 30, 2009

Galactica Producer Dies

Harvey Frand, 68, an Emmy-winning producer who was the "Wizard behind the curtain" on the hit "Battlestar Galactica," died July 23, 2009, in Los Angeles, after a brief hospitalization for respiratory problems.

Frand's series-producing career began in 1982 with "The Devlin Connection," Rock Hudson's final series. Other credits include 34 episodes of the 1985-89 version of "The Twilight Zone," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Young Riders," "The Lazarus Man," "The Pretender" and "Strange World." He produced more than 20 pilots and movies of the week.

Intriguingly, the plot of "Strange World," which he produced in 1999, is often forgotten but should not. Here's the summary, based on info from IMDb:

"The X-Files" writer/executive producer Howard Gordon and producer Harvey Frand present an exploration of a nefarious world where "big business" funds "big science," and the answers Paul Turner finds lead to more questions than have ever been imagined. After exposure to chemical weapons during the Gulf War, ex-Government scientist Turner spent six isolated years fighting for his life until an enigmatic Asian woman saved him with a miraculous cure that lasted only temporarily. Ever since, the illness has regularly returned to ravage Turner's body until the woman mysteriously reappears to provide another dose. After a six year absence, Turner returns to the Army as a Special Investigator in charge of tracking down the Frankensteins of the world. Turner's belief that the government is too slow and inefficient to protect us from the unchecked advances of science proves to be all too true in this show that features such ripped- from-the-headlines fare as cloning and genetic engineering.

Frand began on Syfy's "Galactica" in 2003. For his work on the show, he earned a Peabody Award in 2005, an AFI Award in 2006 and an Emmy last year. During July 2009, he was nominated for a second Emmy, reports Mark Barnes and editor Sheri Linden at Reuters.

"Harvey was the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain, the train engineer, the orchestra conductor, the school guidance counselor," NBC Universal executive Todd Sharp said. "He was adored by executive producers and production assistants, studio and network, cast and crew."

A native of Philadelphia, Frand began in television at NBC News. Later, as an executive at Warner Brothers, he oversaw production on "Harry O," the 1973 series starring David Janssen. Frand went to San Diego to check in with the company and, because there was no on-site producer, stayed to work with the cast and crew. After that, he was fell in love with the role of producer.

Frand is survived by Bill Bowersock, his domestic partner of 32 years.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Soon In A Scottish Rite Hall Near You?

Interested in seeing me give the most intriguing twilight language talk of the year in the midst of a Scottish Rite Masonic lecture hall? Come to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in October. More details below.

Decoding the meaning of the twilight game sometimes requires a sense of humor.

But first, there is news on the speaking front for the California lectures.

Thinking about going to the talks at the Magicopolis in Santa Monica, California, August 21-23, 2009?

By ordering your tickets because you are a Twilight Language reader, you may use the promotional discount code "chupacabras" and receive 10% off the single day passes or $5 off the weekend pass.

There has been a revision in the itinerary, in response to feedback and a need for an afternoon session on the weekend.

See the total schedule here for more on the John A. Keel - Mothman timing, but below is the new afternoon wrinkle for my talk on millionaire Tom Slick and his search for Yeti:

Sunday: 12 pm to 3 pm

* 12pm – 12:45: Barry Conrad
* 12:45 – 1:00: Q&A
* 1:00 – 1:20: Break
* 1:20 – 2:10: Loren Coleman
* 2:10 – 2:25: Q&A
* 2:25 – 3:00: Book signing

How about a couple of related events in Maine? Come hear an illustrated cryptozoology talk on Black Panthers, Bigfoot & the Dover Demon, followed by a Sea Serpent-Whale Watch, as the leaves are changing colors up the coast of Maine, Labor Day weekend, 2009.

First up, a PowerPoint presentation and Q&A at 7:00 pm, Friday, September 4, 2009, at the Waldo Theatre located in Lincoln County in Waldoboro, Maine. I'll be selling and signing books there too.

You can order tickets already at the Waldo Theatre Website.

Next, how about a special on-the-water presentation?

Yes, out of Bar Harbor, Maine, a whale watch will occur in which I will give commentary, now and then, about local sea serpent reports and other mystery ocean cryptid sightings in the Gulf of Maine.

Right now, if you want to secure a seat, you can purchase tickets for the Saturday, September 5th, 2009, 1:00 PM tour, by going to Bar Harbor Whale Watch or calling 1-800-whales4.

Also on board will be Richard Klyver, the cryptozoologist artist who will have copies of his illustration of the Frenchman's Bay Serpent for sale for $10, which Dick and I will sign for tour guide members. The trip leaves from Harborplace, next to the Downtown pier in Bar Harbor, and is being organized by whale watch-marine cryptozoologist Zach Klyver, who will also assist with his professional guide skills.

On September 26, 2009, while not on their speaking schedule yet, I will be at the Texas Bigfoot Conference in Tyler, Texas, selling and signing books.

Then, how about Indiana, in a special Masonic site?

I will be speaking and appearing at the American Paranormal Conference 2009, October 9-11, 2009, at the Scottish Rite Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. If you live in the Midwest, get a ticket and say hi. This may be my most Fortean twilight language talk of the year, merely due to the remarkable setting.

Next, it is on to Watertown, Massachusetts, for the Mass Monster Mash, October 17th, 2009. For more information, go here. I will be speaking about the "Search for Yeti by Tom Slick."

Up first, LA. Sign up today.

Watch this page for ongoing revisions and additions of new events.

If you wish to speak to Loren Coleman about a presentation for your group or school, an interview on your television program, consultation for your series, or a product endorsement, please contact him by clicking here. Thank you.

See you along the way.

Loren Coleman at Willow Creek
Willow Creek, California, 1975.

Thank You.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Train Derailment In Mingo County

Recently, I talked of synchromystic rail wrecks. Well, there's been another one, and it certainly seems to have happened in the midst of many dots that can be connected to some strange links.

Four workers were injured after a freight train derailed at a Wharncliffe, West Virginia coal plant and caused a nearby building to collapse, on Tuesday, July 21, 2009, around 7:30 a.m.

What could this obelisk dedicated to the Battle of Point Pleasant have to do with today's derailment? Take a short synchromystic journey to discover the answer.

Authorities told the Associated Press that the train's conductor and two coal plant workers pulled from the wrecked building suffered minor injuries. A fourth worker had to be airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries.

The Norfolk Southern Corporation train was pulling up under loading equipment when it derailed and hit a support. The loading equipment collapsed and knocked down a building. More details about the building were not available.

The Black Bear Preparation Plant in southern West Virginia employs about 30 people. The facility is operated by Cobra Natural Resources, which belongs to a subsidiary of Abingdon, Virginia-based coal producer Alpha Natural Resources.

The mine is located in Mingo County, West Virginia, and is surrounded by intriguingly named counties: to the north, Lincoln County, WV; to the northeast, Logan County, WV; and to the west, Pike County, Kentucky. Mingo, named after a Native American tribe, was created from an oversized Logan County, after a moonshiner was wrongly accused of having a still in Logan County, when, in fact, it was in Lincoln County.

The attempt to unionize coal miners in Mingo County in the 1920s led to the Battle of Blair Mountain in neighboring Logan County.

The Mingo are an Iroquoian group of Native Americans that migrated west to the Ohio Country in the mid-eighteenth century. One of their most famous leaders was Chief Logan.

The Battle of Point Pleasant, known as the Battle of Kanawha in some older accounts, was fought on October 10, 1774, primarily between Virginia militia and American Indians from the Shawnee and Mingo tribes (but probably not Chief Logan).

Along the Ohio River near modern Point Pleasant, West Virginia, American Indians under the Shawnee Chief Cornstalk attacked Virginia militia under Andrew Lewis, hoping to halt Lewis's advance into the Ohio Country. After a long and furious battle, Cornstalk retreated. After the battle, the Virginians, along with a second force led by Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, marched into the Ohio Country and compelled Cornstalk to agree to a treaty, ending the war.

The battle is honored as the first battle of the American Revolution during "Battle Days," an annual festival celebrated in modern Point Pleasant. To memorialize the event, you will find the obelisk pictured above right there, near the river, in Point Pleasant, not too far from where the Silver Bridge use to stand.

The "Curse of Chief Cornstalk" is often mentioned in conjunction with Mothman and the collapse of the Silver Bridge, at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on December 15, 1966.

July 21: Moon, Death, Masons and Golf

The flag that Brother Mason Buzz Aldrin unfurled on the Moon on July 21, 1969, when he stated "our flags" were being planted on the lunar surface.

July 21, 1961 – Mercury program: Mercury-Redstone 4 Mission – Gus Grissom piloting Liberty Bell 7 becomes the second American to go into space (in a suborbital mission).

Grissom was scheduled to be the first man to walk on the Moon. Instead, Grissom was killed January 27, 1967, along with fellow astronauts Ed White and Roger Chaffee during a training exercise and pre-launch test for the Apollo 1 mission at the Kennedy Space Center.

Grissom was born in Mitchell, Indiana. Grissom was a master Mason and member of Mitchell Lodge 228.

July 21, 1969 – Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon, during the Apollo 11 mission.

Buzz Aldrin is a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Masonic Knight Templar, and a Shriner.

Buzz flew the Supreme Council's flag on the moon. That flag is now on display in the Masonic Museum of the Supreme Council Scottish Rite Temple in Washington, D.C.

Anderson Luster's model of Alan B. Shepard's last of three swings at Moon golf.

July 21, 1998 – Alan B. Shepard, American astronaut dies.

Shepard was the first American in space. He later commanded the Apollo 14 mission, and was the fifth person to walk on the moon.

While on the Moon, Alan Shepard famously played golf with a Wilson six-iron head attached to a lunar sample scoop handle. Despite thick gloves and a stiff spacesuit which forced him to swing the club with one hand only, Shepard struck two golf balls with a six iron, driving the second according to the official record, but what was actually his third stroke, as he jokingly put it, "miles and miles and miles."

The symbolism of playing golf on the Moon, a sport tied to Freemasonry, with a six iron, with three strokes was not lost on Shepard's Brother Masons.

The origins of golf in Scotland is linked to Masonry, and the membership of the early golf clubs were Freemasons.

For example, St. Andrews cornerstone was laid by Masonic Brothers.

Leith, July 2, 1768

This day William St Clair of Roslin, Esq., the undoubted representative of the Honourable and Heretable G.M.M of Scotland, In presence of Alexander Keith, Esq., Captain of the Honourable Company of Goffers, and other worthy Members of the Goffing Company, all Masons, The G.M., now in his GRAND CLIMAX of GOFFING, laid the Foundation of the GOFFING HOUSE in the S.E. corner thereof, by THREE STROKES with the Mallet.


GMM stands for Grand Master Mason. The St Clairs of Roslyn were hereditary patrons of the Masons in Scotland for centuries and William St Clair was the first elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736. He was Captain and prominent member of both the Leith and the St Andrews golf clubs. Apart from laying the foundation stone of the world's first golf clubhouse, his name is on the St Andrew’s minute shortening the Old Course to be eighteen holes in 1764. He died in 1778 and is buried in Roslyn Chapel.

The Royal Blackheath GC was open only to Freemasons until 1789 and, until 1825, it still contained a hardcore group of Masons called the Knuckle Club who played out-of-season to avoid the non-mason members.

According to the Masonic Service Association, one of the most frequently asked questions is:

Which Astronauts Are Masons?


Edwin E. Aldrin
Montclair #144, Montclair, NJ

Leroy Gordon Cooper
Carbondale #82 Carbondale, CO

Don F. Eisele
L.B. Turner #732 Columbus, OH

Virgil I. Grissom (Deceased)
Mitchell #228, Mitchell, IN

Wally M. Schirra
Canaveral #339 Cocoa Beach, FL

Thomas P. Stafford
Western Star #138 Weatherford, OK

Edgar D. Michell*
Artesia #28 Artesia, NM

Paul J. Weitz
Lawrence #708 Erie, PA

James B. Irwin
Tajon Lodge No. 104 Colorado Springs, Co

Astronauts Who Have Fathers Who Are Or Were Masons

Allen Shepard

Vance Brand*

John Glenn*

Anthony England

William Pogue

Neil Armstrong

Edgar Mitchell

* Former DeMolay

Source: "Masonic Astronauts," Dunn's Rock Masonic Lodge #267 A.F. & A. M., Brevard, North Carolina.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Masons, Moon, Mars

July 20, 1969: The day that Freemasonry landed on the Moon.

Now, it is definitely onward to Mars.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Synchromystic Rail Wrecks?

Sometimes writers seem psychic when it merely is being curious that may lead into intriguing insights into "coincidences."

Boston journalist Mark Baard wrote an interesting posting at his blog, Timenauts, on Friday, July 17th, which, in hindsight, is spooky.

Baard made this observation in "Synchronicities strike the rails", "Here’s one for Loren Coleman (The Copycat Effect) and the synchromystics. I’ve noticed several reports of collisions in the heavy and light-rail industries since May 28 – and one intense, and fictitious scene, in Caprica, which appeared online earlier this year, in promos for the new series."

Baard cited for his examples the Washington, D.C. Metro crash, the Boston-area Green Line crash, and the Disney Monorail crash.

Needless to say, events can come in clusters and we have to be careful about Fortean insights or synchro-conspiracy theories based on accidents. But Baard's item was curious. After all, David Phillips behavior contagion research on the "Werther effect" showed that media reports of suicides could lead to small airplane accidents, almost as if the subtle suggestion is placed in the mind of the pilots to crash.

Could the news reports of so many rail wrecks result in more accidents? Who knows? Would you say the media has been "death obsessed" lately ~ with the passing of David Carradine, Farah Fawcett, Gale Storm, Karl Malden, Michael Jackson, and Walter Cronkite? Or even within the Fortean field, with the deaths of John A. Keel, Lou Gentile, Richard H. Hall and Ellie Frazetta?

So what should occur on Saturday, July 18, 2009, thus crowning Baard with the synchromystic award of the month? Another major rail accident took place!

KGO-ABC7 out of San Francisco reported the details, some of which are here:

It was a chaotic scene at a Muni station after two light rail cars collided Saturday afternoon. Multiple injuries were reported in what is being described as a major accident at San Francisco's West Portal station.

The crash happened at around 3 p.m. Dozens of passengers were triaged nearby in the southwest part of the city. At least 47 people were taken to three different area hospitals, three in serious condition.

Officials say a westbound L-train crashed into a K train that was standing still at the platform. The front of the L train is crushed. Passengers in both trains were hurt.

While we know they are undercounting, at least the Associated Press took note of the fact there have been several of these rail wrecks.

The AP, talking of the July 18th news, said:

Saturday's crash was at least the third major transit accident in the United States since May.

Nine people were killed and more than 70 injured June 22 when a Metro train slammed into a stopped train on the tracks in Washington, D.C. The cause has not been determined but investigators say equipment that is supposed to detect stopped trains failed periodically in the days leading up to the crash.

On May 8, more than 50 people were injured when a Boston subway trolley plowed into another train. Authorities say the 24-year-old operator, Aiden Quinn, went through a red signal while typing a text message on his cell phone. Quinn was indicted earlier this month on charges of grossly negligent operation and he faces three years in prison if convicted.

The June 22, 2009, crash of the Metro trains on the Red Line occurred between the Takoma and Fort Totten stations and was the deadliest accident in the system's history. The name "Totten" comes from a Civil War-era fortification, which itself was named after General Joseph Gilbert Totten, the Chief Engineer of the antebellum US Army, regent of the Smithsonian Institution and cofounder of the National Academy of Sciences. Totten was greatly admired by General Winfield Scott, for whom he directed the siege of Veracruz as his Chief Engineer during the Mexican-American War.

(By coincidence, a bridge collapsed at Veracruz, Mexico, sending cars into the Tonalá River and killing at least 8 people, on July 17, 2009. And in a strange wreck, also for July 17th, the date of Mark Baard's blog posting, an Oscar Meyer Weinermobile crashed into a Wisconsin home.)

In March, I wrote about the rather pivotal subway crash in the then-new film, Knowing.

The subway wreck appeared to have been placed in the movie almost as a tribute to the "Fayette Factor."

The "Lafayette Street" subway station, created in Australia, stood in for a fictional New York City subway stop. While there are many "Lafayette" streets, avenues, and more throughout NYC, a Lafayette stop is not one of them. Someone made a conscious decision to use this name in this dramatic scene, no matter what city was fictionally chosen. As we have now seen, this scene was to be repeated in reality soon after the release of Knowing.

The Knowing Nicolas Cage character was named Koestler, an apparent tribute to Arthur Koestler, who was born in Budapest, Hungary, on September 5, 1905. Koestler was a political writer made famous by his one book that focused on meaningful synchronicity – The Roots of Coincidence (1972). As Paul Devereux wrote for Fortean Times in 2005, Koestler's work tries "to find a basis for paranormal events in coincidence, or more precisely synchronicity, so that there is only one phenomenon to explain rather than many."

Knowing opened on March 20, 2009, on the spring equinox, the first Friday after St. Patrick's Day, and before we knew it, rail wrecks were a frequent item in the news.

Let's try to compile a complete list:

March 29, 2009 - A rear end collision in Gulwe - Igandu section (Mpwapwa district), Tanzania, killing dozens of passengers and injuring many others. Equipment breakdown and culpability.

May 8, 2009 - More than 50 people were injured when a Massachusetts Transit Authority subway trolley plowed into another train in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.

June 5, 2009 - A 111-car Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed in Oshawa, Ontario, around 2:15 p.m. CDT. Two locomotives and 27 cars of the train derailed. Some of the cars came to rest in nearby backyards and a schoolyard during recess.

June 7, 2009 - A girl is killed by the locomotive of a regional train, while she was trying to make a picture of a railway bridge, in the Bacau city (Bacau county), Romania.

June 19, 2009 - A major downpour of rain hit Rockford, Illinois, USA, and caused 14 of the 114 ethenol tankers to leave the track and explode into flames. One person at the rail crossing was killed, while several others were burned.

June 22, 2009 - Two rush hour Washington Metro trains collided in Northeast Washington D.C., USA, killing nine people.

June 29, 2009 - A freight train derailed at Viareggio, Italy. Two of the wagons were carrying Liquefied petroleum gas and they exploded. Twenty-five people were killed, five of them when a house collapsed.

June 29, 2009 - Two passenger trains collided at local time 2:34 a.m. at Chenzhou railway station, Hunan Province, Republic of China, killing 3 people and leaving 63 injured. The accident was allegedly caused by a brake failure. But this is disputed.

July 5, 2009 - Two monorail trains crashed around 2 am in the Magic Kingdom section of Walt Disney World, near Orlando, Florida, killing a 21-year-old train operator.

July 9, 2009 - An Amtrak passenger train hit the side of a vehicle in Canton Township, Michigan near Detroit, Michigan, USA. Five people were killed, all of whom were in the vehicle.

July 14, 2009 - A train conductor and engineer were killed in a Dakota Minnesota & Eastern Railroad freight train crash in a rail yard around 2 a.m., when a dozen empty cars derailed in Bettendorf, Iowa.

July 17, 2009 - Two light rail cars (the K and L trains) collided in the SW section of San Francisco, California, at around 3 p.m. with reports of 47 people hurt.

That does seem like a good deal of coincidences and crashes, doesn't it?

Interesting timing on Mark Baard's part.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Keelian Death?

Ellie Frazetta by Frank Frazetta.

The wife of the man who famously painted the Keelian Mothman cover for the May 1980 High Times has died.

It would be this painting which was later used on the cover of the Ron Bonds-published paperback book that fell off a shelf into the hands of the person who would recommend it be made into a movie.

Frank Frazetta (born February 9, 1928) is an American fantasy and science fiction artist, noted for work in comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, record-album covers, and other media.

Point Pleasant's sculpture of Mothman is based on Frazetta's moth-like representation of Mothman, even though the actual descriptions from the sightings in 1966-1967 told of an avian cryptid, the "Big Bird."

Frank Frazetta also did the cover for the 1970 paperback by Keel, Strange Creatures From Time and Space.

Into the early months of 2009, Frazetta lived with his wife Ellie on a 67-acre (271,000 m²) estate in the Pocono Mountains at East Straudsburg, Pennsylvania. They maintained a small museum, open to the public, on the estate. Ellie Frazetta was a guide for tours there.

On July 17th of 2009, Ellie Frazetta passed away after a year-long battle with cancer. (John A. Keel passed away on July 3, 2009, it will be recalled.)

My condolences to the family and friends of the Frazettas.

(Thanks to Theo P. for the alert to this sad news.)

Walter Cronkite Has Died; Man of Mysteries

Walter Cronkite, 92, died on July 17, 2009, three days before the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon of humans. Cronkite was tied to that event, as well as other historically significant moments.

CBS vice president Linda Mason says Cronkite died at 7:42 p.m. Eastern, after a long illness with his family by his side.

Walter Cronkite covered many mysteries and disasters during his lifetime. His Dutch family's surname originally was Krankheyt, which intriguingly means "illness."

Growing up, Cronkite was a member of the Houston chapter of DeMolay, a Masonic fraternal organization for boys. Cronkite was one of eight journalists selected by the U.S. Army Air Forces to fly bombing raids over Germany in a B-17 Flying Fortress. He also landed in a glider with the 101st Airborne in Operation Market-Garden and covered the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he covered the Nuremberg trials, and served as the United Press main reporter in Moscow for two years.

Some of the historic events that were entwined with Cronkite's CBS Evening News broadcast life (1962–81) include the Dallas-based JFK assassination of 1963, the Dexter, Michigan UFO series of 1966, the Memphis-based MLK assassination in 1968, and the lunar landing of 1969. (Apparently, Cronkite had his own UFO experience in the 1950s.)

From 1953 to 1957 and in a 1970s revival version, Cronkite hosted the CBS program You Are There, which reenacted historical events, using the format of a news report. His famous last line for these programs was: "What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times... and you were there."

He also hosted The Twentieth Century, a documentary series about important historical events of the century which was made up almost exclusively of newsreel footage and interviews. It became a long-running hit.

Walter Cronkite was there.

On the CBS Evening News of March 6, 1981, Walter Cronkite's gave this farewell statement:

This is my last broadcast as the anchorman of The CBS Evening News; for me, it's a moment for which I long have planned, but which, nevertheless, comes with some sadness. For almost two decades, after all, we've been meeting like this in the evenings, and I'll miss that. But those who have made anything of this departure, I'm afraid have made too much. This is but a transition, a passing of the baton. A great broadcaster and gentleman, Doug Edwards, preceded me in this job, and another, Dan Rather, will follow. And anyway, the person who sits here is but the most conspicuous member of a superb team of journalists; writers, reporters, editors, producers, and none of that will change. Furthermore, I'm not even going away! I'll be back from time to time with special news reports and documentaries, and, beginning in June, every week, with our science program, Universe. Old anchormen, you see, don't fade away; they just keep coming back for more. And that's the way it is: Friday, March 6, 1981. I'll be away on assignment, and Dan Rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. Good night.

Dick Hall Has Died, Lou Gentile Too.

Richard H. Hall, ufologist, historian

Major Donald E. Keyhoe (left) and Richard Hall (right).

I knew Dick Hall through letters in the 1960s and 1970s. He was a ufologist (something, really, of a "ufo nerd," if you know what I mean, with appreciation), although I experienced him as an open-minded Fortean, as well. Still others knew him more personally than I did, and I expect tributes to be forthcoming from those in ufology, for Richard H. Hall was a pivotal historical character.

We've lost another one, and I'll introduce him to those who do not know the name as well that of John A. Keel, who died July 3rd.

Richard H. Hall was a leading ufologist and proponent of the extraterrestrial hypothesis to explain UFO sightings; he had also written numerous books and articles dealing with the role of women in the American Civil War. On the morning of July 17, 2009, Richard Hall passed away due to a long battle with cancer, according to ufologist Jerome Clark and anomalist Patrick Huyghe, who just informed me of this fact.

Hall was born on December 25, 1930 and held a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Tulane University in New Orleans. He lived most of his life in the Washington, D.C. area.

From 1958 to 1969 he worked for the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), one of the most prominent and influential UFO civilian research groups in American history. He began as executive secretary, and eventually became NICAP's assistant director. In this role Hall was both an eyewitness and participant to much of the early history of the UFO phenomenon in the United States. Working with NICAP director Donald Keyhoe, he helped lobby the United States Congress to hold public hearings and investigations into the UFO phenomenon.

In 1964 Hall researched, edited, and wrote much of The UFO Evidence, a compendium of the best UFO sightings and incidents of the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s. A copy of The UFO Evidence was sent to every member of Congress in 1964, and the book is still regarded by many UFO researchers and historians as one of the best UFO books ever published.

Following Keyhoe's ouster as NICAP director in 1969, Hall left NICAP to work as a technical writer and editor. He continued to work in the UFO field. He served as the director of the Fund for UFO Research, which provides grant money to legitimate researchers working in UFO studies. He also was the editor of the MUFON Journal, the official publication of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), the largest civilian UFO group in America today.

In 2001 he wrote a sequel to The UFO Evidence; it covered major UFO incidents from the mid-1960's through the 1990's. He is also the chief editor of the Journal of UFO History, which is published six times per year. He is a strong proponent of the theory that UFOs are extraterrestrial spacecraft from an advanced alien civilization. Hall is an active member of the "UFO Updates" message board and website.

To supplement his income as a UFO researcher, Hall worked for many years as an abstractor-indexer for the Congressional Information Service in Bethesda, Maryland. A member of the Authors Guild, Hall also published numerous books and magazine articles dealing with the role of women in the American Civil War, and he maintained a strong interest in Civil War history through his life.

Well-known UFO researchers at November 1, 2008 Maryland conference L to R: Don Berliner, Fund for UFO Research chairman; David M. Jacobs, history professor & abduction researcher; Richard Hall; Ted Bloecher, former NICAP staff member; Bruce Maccabee, Navy physicist & photoanalyst; John Carlson, archeoastronomer & Fund for UFO Research board member.

The torch passes. John Keel, Dick Hall, and the days of sadness and passages are not finished.

Lou Gentile, radio host, demonologist, ghost hunter

Radio host Lou Gentile of Philadelphia has passed away.

Gentile was a man known to some of us because we appeared on his radio shows. In April 2006, for example, Cryptomundo's Craig Woolheater was on Lou's show talking about the then-just-opening of the "Bigfoot in Texas" exhibition.

I must admit that with the Lake Champlain phonecam footage investigations and the passing of John A. Keel, the sad news of the death of talk show host and paranormal investigator Lou Gentile slipped by without the news being mentioned here. Forgive me for this. Intriguingly, Gentile shared with Keel the desire to be called a demonologist as a way to describe himself.

On June 28, 2009, paranormal investigator and syndicated radio show host Lou Gentile lost his battle to cancer. Lou Gentile was about 40, and is survived by his wife and three children. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in 2 haunted houses. Lou personally experienced poltergeist activity for over 20 years and became an investigator, before doing his own radio show.

Gentile had been featured on MTV's "Fear," FOX Family Channel's "Scariest Places On Earth," The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, "Unsolved Mysteries" and many more programs in this genre.

With a lifetime of experience and being trained by America's only Roman Catholic Lay demonologist, Lou strived to help people who are afflicted with negative, demonoic or diabolical entities all free of charge.

The Federal Communications Commission on November 18, 2007, fined Philadelphia talk show host Lou Gentile $10,000 for allegedly operating an unlicensed radio station. Gentile ran the "Lou Gentile Show," a streaming Web site that broadcast talk about "paranormal, alternative, unusual and other-than-mainstream topics." At the time, Gentile insisted that the charges against him were false."It's BS," he told a reporter. "It's just ridiculous."

He contended that although pirate stations in the Philadelphia area rebroadcast his programs, often aired on licensed AM outlets, he never ran a station himself.

When Brad Steiger heard of Gentile's death he mentioned to me that there was a side of Lou that no one saw. Steiger said that as he was just completing a radio program, Gentile mentioned that immediately after he said "good night," he was headed for New Orleans to see if he could be of any help with the destruction caused by Katrina. Steiger remembered that was right after the monster storm had struck, because they had begun the program by extending condolences to those in that listening area.

Services for Lou Gentile were held on July 7th in Philadelphia at the John F. Fluehr & Son's Funeral Home.

My condolences to the friends and families of Dick Hall and Lou Gentile.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sun God Polito Killed By Lightning

A Ukrainian politician who had tried to revive an ancient pagan cult was killed by lightning on Saturday, July 4, 2009, while on a fishing trip. Did this occur about the same time John A. Keel passed away in the USA?

Vasily Chervoni (above) was on a fishing trip near the village of Derazhnoye and suffered a direct lightning hit during a thunderstorm. He was taken to a hospital where he died shortly afterwards, the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda reported on Monday, July 6, 2009.

The newspaper noted that the late politician was a close friend of Ukrainian President Yushchenko and had at one time occupied the governor’s post in Rovno Region. A former activist in the Soviet youth movement Comsomol, Chervoni started an independent political career in the early 1990s with radical Ukrainian nationalists. At some point, Chervoni joined the religious movement Runvera – a Ukrainian sect that seeks revival of obscure ancient cults, in particular, the worship of the sun god Dažbog.

In 1992, Chervoni was excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church. When he was retired from the governor’s post in 2006, all Orthodox churches in Rovno Region had a special prayer thanking the Lord for deliverance.

The Sun God: Dažbog

Dažbog (above) was one of the major gods of Slavic mythology, most likely a solar deity and possibly a cultural hero. He is one of several authentic Slavic gods, mentioned by a number of medieval manuscripts, and one of the few Slavic gods for which evidence of worship can be found in all Slavic nations.

While the meaning of Dažbog’s name is not completely clear (as is the case with most other Slavic gods), taking into account several different versions of the name, most scholars agree the root dažd- or daj- is derived from root of the verb dati "to give."

Thus, according to most scholars, Dažbog would be "giving god," "god-giver," "god-donor," deus dator. This is particularly interesting since the Proto-Slavic word for god, *bagu (> Common Slavic *bogъ), the suffix of Dažbog's name, is argued either to be of Iranian origin (being related to Indo-Iranian etymons such as Old Persian baga, Sanskrit bhaga), or being semantically influenced by Iranian source, both being ultimately derived from PIE root *bʰag-, whose reflexes in both Slavic and Indo-Iranian came to mean both "deity" and "wealth, share."

Translated literally, Dažbog would be "giver of fortune." This echoes the ancient Indo-European concept that the deity is, in essence, an entity which gives wealth and abundance, an indication, perhaps, that Dažbog is a relic from common Proto-Indo-European religion, or even that this was not a name for any particular Slavic god, but a general epithet of a deity.

The Slavic god Svarog had two sons: Svarožič, who represented fire on earth, and Dažbog, who represented fire in the sky and was associated with Sun. Svarog was believed to have forged the Sun and have given it to his son Dažbog to carry it across the sky.

Pagan Slavs left their footprints across the region in a significant number of toponyms whose names can be associated with them and by discoveries of multi-headed statues in various Slavic lands. For example, the four-headed god Svantevit had a white horse and is represented by obelisks such as these.

Keelian Connection

I'm reminded that during the mid-1960s, John A. Keel became literally obsessed with collecting Fortean news clippings of bizarre deaths of people, livestock, and other animals killed by lightning. He would send copies of such newspaper articles to me and others, and requested that his correspondents forward any such events mentioned in local papers. For a time, Keel privately published a newsletter, Anomaly News, in which he would fill the pages with little offset copied news items of all such lightning deaths he could discover.

It is intriguing that Keel would die in New York City on July 3rd and Chervoni's lightning event is listed as July 4th. Of course, with the different time zones, maybe, in some strange Fortean twist of fate, the lightning strike and Keel's death occurred more closely in time that we realize. John would have been happy with this bit of synchronicity.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Death of Disco

My birthday this year, July 12th, is the 30th anniversary of the White Sox Comiskey Park's "Disco Demolition Night." It turned into one of baseball's all-time worst promotions. But, indeed, the event marked the unofficial "death of disco."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Miracle Baby Grave Robbery

News on the body found by two men fishing in the Passaic River on Sunday, July 5, 2009, in Clifton, N.J., has been published by the Associated Press, dateline Stamford, Connecticut.

Authorities investigating the theft of a 2-year-old girl's body from a Connecticut cemetery said Wednesday that evidence at the crime scene points to a possible ritual.
Donna Loglisci, Stamford's town clerk who signed disinterment papers permitting authorities to exhume the coffin, identified the girl as Imani Joyner. The girl was called a miracle baby by doctors in a 2006 article in The Advocate of Stamford because she survived more than two years even though she was born with semi-lobar holoprosencephaly, a condition that kept her brain from developing fully.

"We thought the interest in this particular baby might be the background, since it was labeled a miracle baby," Conklin said. "So that's why we believe this baby in particular might have been targeted and it might not be a random act. They would seek that mystic power, perceived power of it being a miracle baby."

For the rest of article by John Christofferson, see here.

For more information on the grave theft, see ABC News.

"Imani" means "faith."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Vallee On Keel

Jacque Vallée (right) and J. Allen Hynek.

Along with his colleague, astronomer J. Allen Hynek, Vallée carefully studied the phenomenon of unusual aerial sightings and close encounters with humanoids on the ground for many years.

Vallée served as the real-life model for the character Lacombe, portrayed by François Truffaut (shown above, middle) in Steven Spielberg’s film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

His first three highly thoughtful books, Anatomy of a Phenomenon (1965), Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma (1966), and Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers (1969) are classics in the field. A correspondent of mine for decades, I was able to spend some time with Vallée and his wife for the first time only a few years ago when we both spoke at a Virginia Beach, Virginia conference on unexplained phenomena.

Therefore, it was good to hear from my associate, the French-born and now California-based intellectual, ufologist, venture capitalist, computer scientist, and former astronomer, who sent along his thoughts, regarding John A. Keel passing away:

Dear Loren,

I did hear about John's death. Although this was expected, given his long fight with illness the past few years, it is very sad to realize that his voice is now silent in the debate about the nature of the phenomena that continue to fascinate us.

As you know, his writing and mine have followed a parallel course (I wish I had written JADOO, a delightful book!) as we were among a small number of "heretics" who have consistently questioned the "first-order" extraterrestrial theory. He realized very early that UFOs could not be understood apart from other, terrestrial paranormal phenomena, which put him decades ahead of most researchers. He deserves to be recognized as one of the most creative, independent thinkers in the field.

I know you had a close friendship with John, and send you all my sympathy.

Jacques Vallee
Mon Jul 6, 2009 7:08 pm PDT

Monday, July 06, 2009

Keel Is Dead

John Alva Keel, 79, a friend, Fortean, fierce fighter for his theories, professionally a writer and journalist, has died. A fellow admirer of Mothman and the anomalies all around us, such as the “name game,” is gone.

John Keel Fickle Finger of Fate
John A. Keel's non-fiction look at the very real unplanned twists in life were recorded in his 1966 novel, The Fickle Finger of Fate.

"Ufology is just another name for demonology," John Keel told me, a week before the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center, which occurred just a couple of miles from where he lives. noted in Mothman and Other Curious Encounters, page 114, (NY: Paraview, 2002).

For more images and my complete, detailed obituary, please see "John A. Keel Is Dead."

John Keel
John A. Keel, in 2002.