A new Catherine Cavendish book always shivers me timbers. She really knows how to hit my paranormal sweet spot. To celebrate the release of her latest and greatest, Saving Grace Devine, I invited Catherine to stop by and give my Hellions some world class goosebumps. So dim the light, settle into a comfy chair and read the tale of the White Lady of Stow Lake…
In my novel, Saving Grace Devine, a young girl is drowned, but her spirit returns to haunt the lakeside where she met her untimely end. She seeks help from the living, to help her cross over to the afterlife.
From my research, it would appear that my fictional Grace is not alone. Many people have reported seeing ghosts of drowned girls and young women, who are apparently bound to the shores of the lake where they died. They all appear to be searching for something, or someone -in dire need of help from the living to help them join the world of spirit.
And not all of them are benign.
One such wraith seems to constitute a deadly reason why I, for one, would think twice before venturing on a walk around Stow Lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Her appearances have been frequent and well documented.
Golden Gate Park is landscaped on similar lines to New York’s Central Park. It hosts a museum, Japanese Tea Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, Sprekels Park and, of course, Stow Lake. It also houses a number of ghosts – and even an allegedly moving statue. But more of that later. We’re concerned now with “a thin, tall figure in white.” So said Arthur Pigeon, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle of January 6th 1908. Police had pulled him over for speeding and he told the newspaper that it had blocked his way as he drove out of the park, “…it seemed to shine. It had long, fair hair and was barefooted. I did not notice the face. I was too frightened and anxious to get away from the place.”
Of course, the temptation is to say the man was merely trying to avoid getting a speeding ticket. And if his had been the only report, then that could well have been the case. But it wasn’t. Over the hundred plus years since that Chronicle article, many other people have reported seeing precisely the same apparition.
So who is this mysterious ‘white lady’ of Stow Lake?
There are, as always, a number of theories. One of the more compelling is that in the late 1800s, a young woman was out, walking her baby in its pram around the lake. She became tired and sat down on a bench. Presently another lady came to join her and the two struck up a conversation. So engrossed was the young mother that she failed to notice the pram rolling away. Suddenly she realized it had gone. There was no sign of either the pram or the baby. Panic stricken, she searched high and low, asking everyone, “Have you seen my baby?” No one had. For the rest of that day, and into the night, she searched.
Finally, she realized the baby and the pram must have fallen into the lake. She jumped in and was never seen alive again.
Witnesses who report seeing her speak of a woman in a dirty white dress, sometimes soaking wet and, contrary to Arthur Pigeon’s assertion that she had fair hair, the other reports consistently state she has long, dark hair. Sometimes she is also seen on Strawberry Hill – adjacent to the lake. Her face wears an anxious expression and she has been known to approach people walking around the lake at night. She asks, “Have you seen my baby?”
As for the statue I mentioned earlier, this is called ‘Pioneer Woman and Children’. It has a reputation for moving around – and even changing shape. These phenomena always occur at night and seem directly linked to the white lady. Sometimes the statue’s face changes. Other times, it has no legs or head. Motorists have reported electrical problems. Different cars driving near the statue or lake at the same time have stalled simultaneously.
Finally, if you are brave – or foolhardy – enough, try going down to Stow Lake at night and say, “White lady, white lady, I have your baby” three times. It is said she will then manifest herself before you and ask you, “Have you seen my baby?” If you say, “yes”, she will haunt you ever after. But, if you say, “no”, she’ll kill you.
Now there’s no documented evidence of the white lady committing murder. But are you prepared to put her to the test?
Can the living help the dead…and at what cost?
When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.
But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.
You can find Saving Grace Devine here:
And other online retailers
Other books by Catherine Cavendish include:
And are currently available – or soon will be – from:
Catherine Cavendish lives with a long-suffering husband and ‘trainee’ black cat in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century, which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV. Cat has written a number of published horror novellas, short stories, and novels, frequently reflecting her twin loves of history and horror and often containing more than a dash of the dark and Gothic. When not slaving over a hot computer, she enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.
You can connect with Cat here:
Like so many people, I’m a podcast junkie. I have a handful of podcasts that I absolutely must listen to each and every week. One of them is Bloody Good Horror, a horror movie review podcast that is very much like hanging out with friends at a bar. They’re currently at 400 episodes and counting. That’s a crap ton of horror movies!
Today I present to you Casey Crisswell of the BGH OG crew. For once, he can talk without Eric, Joe, Jon or Mark interrupting him. 😉 Take it away Casey…
Casey, you’re one of the Fab 5 of the Bloody Good Horror Podcast. Congratulations on episode 400. That’s a monumental achievement. How did you get started with BGH, the best horror movie review podcast on the planet?
My involvement with BGH is completely the fault of Night of the Living Podcast!
Some years ago, I set out to be a writer and did the typical struggle of ‘what the hell am I going to write about?’. After lots of digging around online and lots of forum posts stating ‘write what you know’, I started thinking about what I did in fact know. The first thing that came to mind was I love cheesy horror flicks, so I started out with that on my old blog CinemaFromage.com.
After about a year of that, I was listening to a episode of NOTLP one day and they talked about a new sponsor they had at the time, Eric from Bloody Good Horror and talked about he was looking for writers. BGH had existed with Eric and Mark years before, then went on hiatus and they were coming back. I reached out, Eric called me and we shot the shit for an hour or two one night talking about horror flicks, and the rest is history I suppose!
Podcasting is such a labor of love, especially for folks like you who were there in the pioneer days. Were there ever times when you questioned your sanity and just wanted to call it a day? I’m sure having a support system in the other guys (and now lasses) helped a lot.
It can be a hard road starting out, and it’s a lot like starting out with writing as well. In the beginning, it feels like you’re podcasting to the void. It’s a long time before you’re going to get any meaningful feedback on what you’re doing and as a creative type, that can be really hard to deal with.
Lucky for us, when we started Eric, Mark, Jon and myself had hit off well and we kept pretty regular conversations going about the topic via email. All of us had different parts of the web we liked to dig around in so we were able to spread some of that hard to find feedback around which helped. Thankfully for us, in the way that we mostly strangers hit it off early on, we were able to keep each other pretty excited and down to earth when problems popped up. I’d say it’s important to state that we concentrated on the site pretty exclusively before we decided to work on the podcast, so we already had some time together under our belts before we tackled the great audio beast.
I find that your movie reviews are a lot like my own. We tend to go a little easy on some of the less than stellar flicks. What are some movies that are so bad, they’re good?
I love a lot of cheese in my flicks! I am probably one of the most forgiving critics out there. For me, especially in the low budget film arena, I can look past a lot of technical problems and judge a movie on how much fun I had watching it. One that stands out for me is one I covered on the Cinema Fromage podcast called “The Majorettes”. At first glance, it’s a pretty generic ‘hooded psycho murders high school girls’ flick from the 80’s. When they wind up going places you’d never imagine from the basic premise, it’s just fun to see how far the film makers imaginations went with it all!
Okay, we need to talk about some assertiveness training. Eric and the gang sometimes barely let you get a word in. And you have some real insightful shit to say. What’s the haps?
Ha, yes, some assertiveness training would do well for me! I’m a team player and a ‘don’t rock the boat’ kind of guy. Which is fine for the most part. When you’re dealing with other more dominant personalities, it’s easier to get run over!
But that’s why I like running my spin-off shows. I get to do whatever the hell I want!
Thankfully, with this crew when it gets a little over bearing and I don’t get more than five words in an episode, I can generally say, “Dudes, what the hell?” and it gets sorted out pretty quick.
What’s something about you and the BGH crew that the general public may not know about? It’s time to spill some beans!
Mark really is a beaver! And Jon’s a Democrat!
Other than that, we’re pretty up front on who we are. What you hear on the show is what you’re going to find if you hang with us at a horror convention. Just a lot drunker!
If you had to be trapped on an island for 10 years with one member of the BGH team, including the new class, who would it be and why? By the way, on this island, there’s a waterfall that flows with lager instead of water.
I’d probably go with CC. The biggest problem with life on a deserted island is boredom, and CC knows lots of cool shit that I normally don’t know much about, so we could talk about some awesome stuff!
You’re also a writer (often introduced by Eric as ‘a writer of horror fiction’). You’ve published two short stories, Jackboots for Jesus and Deep Lies the Murky Floor (great titles and fun reads). Any plans for future stories or better yet, a full novel?
It’s funny; over the past fear years I’ve often kind of groaned whenever Eric introduced me as such. I did definitely dabble for awhile there, but I hit a bad spot of depression and lack of confidence a few years ago and kind of gave up for a bit. Wasn’t proud of it, but wasn’t getting healthier as the rejection slips piled up and the love of it faded for me.
But, that’s all behind me now and I’m slowly working my way back to living up to the title. I’ve got some more short stories in the works, and I’m diving into the writing world with a different attitude and a bit of a new angle this time around.
I can tell you there’s some bigfoot stories on the burner, maybe a necromancer story. Maybe even some non-horror stuff as well! There’s also some definitely plans and ideas for a novel or two out there as well, but that will be down the road as I start to knock the rust off and working back into the groove. There’s even some ideas for non-fiction work as well, such as some old collections of Cinema Fromage articles from back in the day, maybe even a memoir on how one becomes a geeked out middle aged man obsessed with horror flicks! We’ll see!
What book do you think would make a great movie, and what movie that was a book should be erased from the collective conscious?
This is a pretty tough question to be honest! I’m a big reader and there is a TON of stuff from a lot of genre’s I’d love to see get made. I’m a big Sci-Fi reader and I’ve been dying to see a film version of Joe Haldeman’s “Forever War” for…forever. (Yes, I went there.) There’s been lots of hints and almost’s but still haven’t seen it all come together. On the fantasy side, I’ve long been a huge fan of Glenn Cook’s “Black Company” series, and I think that would be fun to see on the screen as well. Plus, those guys were all pretty grimy and would fit in perfectly in today’s “Game of Thrones” world. As for horror, there’s a few that come to mind. I got really excited for the talk of Guillermo Del Torro’s “At the Mountains of Madness”, but at the same time I worry they’d never do it justice. I think Joe Hill’s “Heart Shaped Box” would be great too. That book gave me anxiety!
As for the opposite, I’ve already stated I’m pretty forgiving but man, we could do without “I Am Legend” from 2007. It was such a disappointment. Especially since we already knew the formula could be great with “The Omega Man” and “Last Man on Earth”!
You’re also the host of another podcast, Cinema Fromage. Tell folks about the deeper exploration of less mainstream movies you cover on the show. Thanks to you, I watched Short Term 12 and was blown away. It’s also where I fell in love with Brie Larson.
I actually have two side podcasts, Cinema Fromage as well as The Instomatic, which is where you would have heard about Short Term 12! Both shows are currently on hiatus, but they’re gearing back up for a new return, probably with a bit of a twist on their original format.
For me, I love digging around through the movie landscape to find the diamond in the rough. I usually try to find at least one thing I like about any movie I happen to be watching. Be it acting, writing, camera work, whatever. No matter how low budget or off kilter a flick is, these people put in a lot of work to get this vision out there. Their movie may have problems, but we don’t need to shit on them completely, right?
Regardless, one of my favorite things about being a horror nerd growing up was the hunt for something weird. I grew up in a small Indiana town that had two video stores and not much else. As I started to find other like minded friends that were into horror flicks, we started gathering and holding on to what we could find. Fangoria magazines, HBO Bootlegs, the works. Back then, (early 80’s), you had to work to find that weird cool thing that surprised you and knocked your socks off. It just wasn’t always available to you. Some times, it might take you two to three years to find some flick you read about in Fangoria one evening.
These days, that element is gone. I won’t like; I love having millions of movies at my fingertips at a moments notice! But, that feeling of ‘the hunt’ isn’t there anymore. It’s so easy. So some times, it’s fun to go fishing in the depths of the weird and obscure so you get that emotional payoff to find something awesome.
After all, these days we can pretty much guess how any Hollywood blockbuster is going to play out, right? It’s fun to be surprised!
Time for some quick hits:
Favorite BGH episode?
Tough choice. Probably the My Soul to Take episode, that flick was just ponderously bad!
Least favorite BGH episode?
The infamous Prom Night episode where Eric and Jon almost came to blows. It’s not fun to watch mom and dad fight.
Preferred beverage to imbibe while recording?
Depends on the mood. Generally beer, whichever’s in the beer fridge.
Finish this – Vape is…
First horror movie that scared the crap out of you.
Favorite horror con?
HorrorHound, easy. I’ve met some of the greatest people at that show!
Your thoughts on nudity in horror movies. Should it be mandatory?
Mandatory? Nah. But, I’m not a prude either! If it fits and everybody’s comfortable with it, go for it.
What can we all expect from BGH in 2017 and where can everyone find you to listen to your podcast, catch up on reviews, order some killer swag or become a patron?
2017 should be a good year around the BGH parts. We’ll be adding more writers, more content and beefing up the spin-off casts in the next year. Thanks to the awesome support we get from our listeners through Patreon, we have a pretty great opportunity to do some great stuff coming up.
You can find us at http://www.bloodygoodhorror.com. You’ll find daily reviews and all of our podcast content from the main show and the spin-offs! Also, if you’re ever not sure what you want to watch, try our new web toy Mark the Web Beaver built, http://www.killer-flix.com! You can find links to our t-shirts and Patreon info there as well, or head over to http://www.patreon.com/bloodygoodhorror to find out how you can get access to our 350 back episodes and more goodies!
As for me, keep an eye on http://www.cinemafromage.com. It’s not much at the moment, but there’s some stuff in the works!
2016 may not have been a year chock full of future classic horror flicks, but there were some real standouts. I had a bigger list than usual to choose from, but once I got past my top 5, the rest were pretty interchangeable as far as jockeying for position. March was a banner month for quality horror releases. October never seems to be. Strange.
So, without further ado, here is my annual top 13 list for the year. Hopefully this will give you something to watch on these cold January nights.
13. THE BOY
This was one of the first horror movies I watched in a theater last year. I was bored and figured it would kill some time. It makes my list because of the strong performance by Lauren Cohan and the overall creepiness of the doll, Brahms. Just look at that face. *shudders* With a very cool twist, The Boy is definitely worth a watch. Plus you’ll want to have a son and name him Brahms, just for the sake of saying his name over and over again.
12. THE CONJURING 2
Look, I know that this movie has as much to do with the real Enfield haunting as I do with ending World War II. That being said, it was fun in a well made, house of horrors kind of way. There were some good jump scares and that nun haunts my dreams. Plus, I’ll watch anything with Vera Farmiga (and if you haven’t been watching her in Bates Motel, shame on you!).
11. THE PURGE – ELECTION YEAR
I’ve come to realize that The Purge is one of the most solid horror franchises to come along in many years. For my money, it gets better with each movie. Election Year is just bat shit crazy with some of the wildest visuals of the series. I fell in love with the ‘car of lights’ and masked hotties out for a night of murder. Might be my next tattoo. It’s a wild ride and I demand a fourth flick!
10. THE WAILING
Don’t let the 2 1/2 hour running time scare you off. The Wailing is a disturbing, engrossing trip into witch doctory and possession. A product from Korea, it has the most stunning imagery of the year, with scenery to die for. Add to that several scenes that will make your blood run cold, and you have a winner.
The premise is deceptively simple – a deaf woman is trapped in her remote house, stalked by a masked (at least for a while) killer. I didn’t realize how tense I was until it ended and I felt stabbing pain in my jaw. Being deaf, she can’t hear her attacker as he prowls around the house, nor can she hear the noise she makes as she tries to get away. Good home invasion horror.
8. THE INVITATION
This is why you don’t accept a dinner invitation to your ex-wife’s house! You know right away that something is up with this gathering of old and new friends in the Hollywood hills, but it’s a blast watching it all unfold. The ending left my mouth hanging wide open. Best watched with sketchy friends.
7. DON’T BREATHE
Now, I know a lot of folks were calling this the best horror movie to come along in years. It’s not, but it is a lot of twisted fun, especially thanks to Stephen Lang’s killer portrayal of a blind man trying to fend off a trio of burglars. This is the second movie of note to be set in the ruins of Detroit (the first being my favorite, It Follows). The abandoned neighborhood alone gave me the willies. There is one scene that will linger with you. I won’t spoil it, but don’t watch it after you’ve eaten turkey.
6. 13 CAMERAS
A young couple moves into a house owned by the strangest looking and sounding dude since the wackadoo from The Human Centipede 2. What could go wrong? Disturbing owner installs cameras all around the house and sees things he should not see. I LOVED the way this one ended. If you’re a fan of The Loved Ones, the vibe this flick gives off is just for you.
5. THE WITCH
Hands down, the creepiest movie of the year. Colonists are thrown out of town and forced to struggle to survive in the wilderness. Right off the bat, a witch steals their baby and it’s all downhill from there. This movie has it all – creepy twins, bitter cold and darkness, the devil and Black Phillip the goat. Do not miss this one.
4. THE MONSTER
No one should be surprised that a guy who calls himself a monster man would be over the moon about a movie called The Monster. The real horror here is the relationship between an alcoholic mother and her young daughter. Trapped on a dark, rainy road in the dead of night, they have to battle a terrifying creature that is the physical embodiment of mom’s karma. With two stellar performances, it’s sometimes hard to watch and pretty bleak. All the ingredients I look for!
This is the first Turkish movie to ever make my list. It’s a true WTF flick. It makes Hellraiser look like a kid’s cartoon. It’s gross, disturbing and maybe doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it’s a freaking blast. If this is what hell is like, I’m going to church every day.
2. TRAIN TO BUSAN
Look, I’m sick to death of all things zombie, which just goes to show how great this movie is. It’s a Korean zombies on a train and easily the best zombie flick since the original Day of the Dead. I love the way the zombies reanimate here and pile up on one another. It’s the only movie I’ve watched in years that had me shouting out loud. Get your ticket for this train. You won’t regret it.
1.10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
The moment I saw this in the spring, I knew it would be my favorite movie of the year. John Goodman is menacing and simply awesome as a doomsday prepper who ‘saves’ a man and woman from a supposed alien invasion above. This is vastly different from Cloverfield, and for my taste, far better. I almost didn’t want to leave the bomb shelter. It’s the only movie that came out in 2016 that I bought so I can watch it over and over.
And now, for some honorable mentions…
Like I said, once I got past my top 5, quiet a few movies on my longer list could have cracked the top 13. Here are some others that tickled my horror bone : LIGHTS OUT, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, and I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE.
What were your favorite movies of 2016? What movie do you think I’m crazy for including or excluding? Lay it on me!
As a devout reader of Cemetery Dance Magazine since the early 90s, I still can’t believe I now have a monthly column on their online mag. VIDEO VISIONS is a look back at what it was like growing up a horror hound in the 80s, the golden age of horror.
I start things off with a little tale of the first movie my father rented when he bought the family’s original gangsta VCR – VIDEODROME. Little did he know how much it would change the lives of both his children in profoundly different ways.I hope you take the trip back in time with me each month. Hopefully it brings a smile to your face and a shiver down your spine.
So, what was the first horror movie you ever watched on your VCR?
I’m beyond excited to not only share the brilliant cover art for my upcoming novel with Sinister Grin, but also show you the progression of the art and how it came to be in artist Zach McCain’s own words! WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING is a chilling tale of isolation and deep, dark family secrets set on a withering Pennsylvania farm. Here’s the official Sinister Grin press release and a rare behind the scenes peek into how book covers are born.
Last month, Sinister Grin Press was very excited to announce our publishing deal with the best selling and fan favorite author Hunter Shea. This is the first time Sinister will publish work by Shea, and as well, we are honored to publish his first limited edition! In January 2017, we’ll start the year off in horrific style by making WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING available in a hardcover Limited Collector’s Edition. We’ll be offering the paperback and e-book versions a few months later.
Today we are anxious to reveal the cover for WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING by Hunter Shea, with art and design by the amazing Zach McCain!
Here are some of Zach’s thoughts on his artistic progression and thoughts when making the cover…..
The direction I got for this cover was very simple and straightforward: A run down farmhouse with a yard overgrown with weeds and the shadow of a person stretching out towards the house. At first I didn’t think there was much I could with this and it reminded me of many covers I had seen from small press horror publishers years ago.
I started drawing the house straight on and large on the page. Something about this started to look boring to me and I found myself struggling to continue.
At this point I decided to start completely over. This time I would draw the house from an angle and looking slightly up at it. And I decided to make it much smaller.
I felt much better about it after making the changes and quickly finished the pencil drawing portion of the cover.
I was still concerned about it looking like so many other similar covers that I had seen of a spooky house so I decided to give it a harder edge. More “Texas Chainsaw” and less “Haunted Hill.”
The final step was adding the text. It ended up being way better than I had originally expected it would. I’ve found that if you aren’t “feeling it” then it is better to scrap it and start completely over than to continue with something that you aren’t confident with.
At Sinister Grin Press, we love how it turned out. Watch for more news to come on ordering the limited edition from our website. And as always, we welcome your visit to our site and your patronage. We hope to make 2017 our best year yet and continue to produce quality “horror that’ll carve a smile on your face.”
For anyone who follows current trends in the UFO field, the name Ryan Sprague has been as ubiquitous as the phrase, ‘the truth is out there’. You can hear him on his podcast, Into the Fray, as well as a guest on just about every UFO/Paranormal podcast out there. You may have also seen him on TV on the Travel Channel, Science Channel and more. A New York playwright, he’s also the proud author of Somewhere in the Skies: A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon. I recently sat down with Ryan to talk about his book, the possible truth behind the UFO phenomenon and where to get the best hot dogs in New York.
Tell us about your path from accomplished playwright to author of Somewhere in the Skies : A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon and podcaster on Into the Fray Radio. If life is all about experience and diversification, you’re doing it right.
Well, I don’t know if I’m doing it right, but I am definitely trying to do it! And if people want to follow me on that journey, I couldn’t be happier and more appreciative of that. My stage and film writing began in college at Oswego State University (Where snow would reach my neck during most winters, and ropes were put between buildings to pull your way to class… no joke). My main focus was theater, but I just happened to take one playwriting course my sophomore year and I was hooked. I then dove head first into playwriting, and have since made that my main focus here in New York City where I’ve been living for the past ten years. I was also always fascinated by the UFO topic, having had a rather dramatic triangular UFO sighting over the Saint Lawrence River in Upstate NY when I was twelve years old. I started writing for several alternative print magazines about UFOs, and even began work on a stage play about the 1980 Rendlesham Forest UFO incident. I finally decided that I wanted to write a book and really get my own voice and thoughts on the the topic out there, and that’s how the book came about. After two years of research, it’s finally out on the shelves and I couldn’t be happier. As for Into the Fray, I am an avid podcast listener as I’m constantly commuting to and from Manhattan here in NYC, and there’s nothing better than listening to something on your headphones than to hear New Yorkers complain about their day. I remembered hearing a show about Bigfoot, a topic I never really took an interest in, and the co-host was so knowledgeable and passionate about the topic, and reminded me so much of myself when I talked about UFOs. That’s when I contacted the host, Shannon LeGro, and we started talking about how cool it would be the start a show where we literally taught one another about a topic we knew very little about. And it sort of culminated into what is now Into the Fray, featuring Shannon, Sam Shearon, and myself. We chat weekly about weird news, the paranormal, cryptids, UFOs, and even true crimes, bringing on guests and experts to join the conversation. It’s been an amazing ride, and we’ve really only begun!
I know a lot of people are calling you the bright young voice in the UFO field. You’re in your 30s, which makes you about 30 years younger than the familiar names that we’ve all come to know. Who are some of your biggest influences?
My biggest influence and the person I consider my mentor in this field is author and investigative writer, Peter Robbins. Robbins, along with Larry Warren, wrote the British Best-Selling book, Left at East Gate: A First-hand Account of the Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident, Its Cover-up, and Investigation. After reading his book, I immediately contacted him to discuss this deeply compelling case and we’ve become wonderful friends and colleagues ever since. My other influences really come from those who aren’t afraid to step out of the mold of nuts-and-bolts Ufology and dig a bit deeper to bring fresh perspectives to the phenomenon and the study of it. Those individuals include the late Mac Tonnies, who really inspired me to step out of the box and look at alternative theories on what UFOs may be and what the occupants who supposedly control them may represent other than aliens from outer space. Others who currently keep my own research fresh and exciting would have to be Greg Bishop, MJ Banias, and of course, Dr. Jaques Vallee. These researchers have (and continue) contributed so much to the field in terms of alternative ways of looking at and trying to explain aerial phenomena and the question of possible contact with non-human intelligence(s).
You’ve had your own UFO experience. On that, we share common ground. Care to describe it? How did you feel as it was happening? Did it change your worldview?
My interest stemmed from a sighting I had in 1995. I was twelve years old, and I was on a weekend getaway with my parents to the Saint Lawrence River, which runs all through upstate New York and separates The New York border from Canada. I was fishing off a dock one night, listening to Green Day on my headphones, and I notice three white lights reflecting in the water. I look up, and there’s this massive triangular formation about 300 feet above me. There’s this fuzzy orange/red sphere in the center of the formation. I couldn’t see any type of structure, but I also couldn’t see the stars behind this formation. I rip my headphones off and my disc-man goes flying down the dock, and I’m expecting to hear this thing above me, but there was nothing. All I could hear was the water hitting the dock. And I could feel this low vibration running behind my ears, down my neck, and into my chest. I yell for my Dad to come out and he sees this thing slowly disappear off in the distance. That night terrified me, and I became obsessed with UFOs after that. At the age of twelve, I started researching the UFO phenomenon and it opened the floodgates for me. I knew there was so much more out there than we’re told or conditioned to believe. Whether or not what I saw that night was alien or man-made technology, I may never know. But it challenged my perception of reality and what is possible. And it’s led me on a journey of both self-discovery and opened doors to opportunities I never would have imagined walking through. That sighting scared the living hell out of me, but I wouldn’t trade it in a million years.
What’s your take on the UFO phenomenon? Do you think we’re being visited by alien beings in physical craft, our future selves from other dimensions or time slips, a kind of mass hallucination or something so out there, we don’t even have a proper way of defining it?
I honestly believe all these theories as right. And wrong. And somewhere in between. We have spent the past seventy years studying UFOs in many different capacities and any type of singular answer remains just as elusive as it has since Kenneth Arnold’s sighting over Mount Rainier when the term “flying saucer” made its way into the mainstream. But what some may not be aware of is that what Arnold saw that day actually weren’t saucer shaped at all. A misquote in a newspaper ushered in this term, and for decades and decades after, people reported seeing flying saucers all over the world. This brings up the question of the mass hallucination you speak of. UFO researcher and author, David Clarke, termed this the “UFO Syndrome”. We tend to connect many things to UFOs, even if they have conventional or prosaic answers. This is when we must remain objective and open to the possibility that UFOs may indeed have nothing to do with aliens whatsoever. Could they merely be manifestations of our own minds that we’ve been so culturally ingrained and conditioned to believe are little green men from space? It’s possible. Could they in fact be humans from the future coming back to check on us? Possibly. The fact of the matter is, I have no fucking idea. But I’m going to keep taking the journey and see where the research leads me.
What do you think is the most fascinating but underreported UFO sighting of the past 60 years?
I would have to say that the 1976 Tehran UFO incident is the most fascinating sighting that I’ve personally come across. This case consisted of radar and visual sighting of an unidentified flying object over the capital of Iran. On September 19th, after several reports were phoned in to the local air traffic controllers, the Iranian Air Force was eventually called in to investigate. Two F-4 Phantom jets were sent up and observed a diamond-shaped craft, massive in size, floating effortlessly. The pilots reported losing instrumentation and communications as they approached, only to have them restored upon withdrawal; one of the aircraft also reported suffering temporary weapons systems failure, while preparing to open fire on the object. The case was later investigated by U.S. Intelligence as well, and information pertaining to the case is now available through the Freedom of Information Act. This is a documented case with ground radar, flight transmissions, and official documentation of unknown objects interacting with military aircraft. It also included pilot witness testimony and two government agencies from two different countries. Yet many people have never heard of it. It is certainly worth further exploration.
A lot of people are hooked on ancient alien theories. The show has definitely sparked some creative ways of looking at our past and linking events, places and people to UFOs and aliens. What do you think? Has the Earth been a way station for passing civilizations since time immemorial?
This is a massive can of anthropological worms that I simply haven’t focused my efforts or time researching. While I find the work of Erich von Däniken or Zecharia Sitchin very interesting and alluring, there simply isn’t enough proof, in my opinion, that this is the case. Now, I am not saying that IF aliens have visited our planet, that it began with a crash in 1947 in Roswell, but I believe we also do not give humankind enough credit of our vast intelligence and persistence to evolve and progress technologically. The idea that some sort of ancient extraterrestrial civilization has intervened in our history strips us of responsibility for that which we’ve created. It also opens an entire alternative history where these non-human intelligences have co-existed insidiously with us for countless centuries. Again, I have entertained the many theories brought forth by trailblazers in the ancient alien and ancient astronaut theory, but right now my attention is focused on moving my own sights towards the future of possible alien contact from a scientific standpoint, and even more ambitiously, from a consciousness standpoint. The only thing I know for certain, in terms of ancient aliens, is that if my hair ever grows to the towering heights of Giorgio Tsoukalos, someone please force me to get a haircut.
What’s the one thing the UFO field has been missing or needs to improve upon not just to gain legitimacy in the mainstream, but move it forward to finally finding concrete answers?
In my opinion, there needs to be a convergence of the UFO experience and the UFO study. This topic covers the most broad umbrella one can possibly imagine. Whether seen through the lens of science, philosophy, theology, anthropology, psychologically, sociologically, economically, or even academically, there is a place in our world view for the phenomenon of the UFO. That being said, we need to find a way to bring forward the most analytical and credible data from each of these camps, get the top researchers in one room together, and hash it out. Instead of saying that one viewpoint isn’t as important as the other, let’s work together to really look at what this phenomenon could represent. Let’s put a mirror up to ourselves and really ask the hard questions. There is some amazing scientific work being done on searching for extraterrestrial life right now by young, ambitious individuals. The same could be said in the fields of psychology and hypnotherapy in terms of possible alien abductions and/or contact with said aliens. While this may be extremely challenging, the outcome may be inevitably much more rewarding. We live in great times of uncertainty here in America and abroad. So maybe by coming together and putting that microscope on the human side of a possible alien phenomenon, we can glimpse into the heart of these mysteries and come out much more accepting of one another on the other side. As for concrete answers… I wouldn’t bet on it!
Here are just a few quick hits :
Favorite part of a UFO con.
Meeting witnesses and experiencers who trust me enough to tell me their stories. There is nothing more galvanizing then sitting face to face and hearing the story straight from the individuals themselves. Those are the moments when it really hits me and I’m like, “Holy shit. This is really happening to these people. And there are things out there that we’ve only begun to understand.”
Favorite UFO/Alien/Abduction movie.
I’m going to have to go with three different films on this one which all hold special places in my heart and mind. The first is “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951), “Close Encounter of the Third Kind” (1977) and “Arrival” (2016) — Hunter : “I almost have the same top 3, with War of the Worlds replacing The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Dream guest to have on your podcast.
Jaques Vallee. No question. The man is a legend in the UFO field in so many ways. Also, I wouldn’t mind getting Chris Carter on just to be a fanboy for two hours straight. I am a self-professed “X-Phile.” —Hunter : “I think I’d be too tongue tied to interview Chris. Fanboy paralysis”
Gray’s Papaya hot dogs, yea or nay? (since you live in NY. And if you haven’t had one yet, I’ll treat!)
Had em. Loved em. But being from upstate NY, I have to represent Hoffman’s Hotdogs. And don’t even get me started on the coney snappy griller up in Syracuse, NY. If you’ve never had one, head up to the ‘Cuse and ask for one. Just imagine a sweet and spicy hotdog… with relish of course!
Best book you’ve read about UFOs.
Passport to Magonia by Dr. Jaques Vallee. Leslie Kean’s UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record is a close second. — Hunter : “Just read the latter, will pick up the former. Great picks!”
The one place you’d love full and unfettered access to investigate.
Either Dugway Proving Ground in Utah (Supposedly an Area 52 location) or Hangar 18 in Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio.
Please tell us about your book, where folks can find it and learn more about you and your amazing work.
The book is called, Somewhere in the Skies: A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon. It covers a wide array of my two year investigation into UFOs, close encounters, and possible alien abductions. But rather than focus on the where and when, this book covers the who and the why, really putting a microscope on those who’ve had the experiences, what they believe it to be, and what they might tell us about what we may be dealing with somewhere in the skies.
All of my UFO work can be found at: www.somewhereintheskies.com
You can hear me on the Into the Fray Podcast at: www.intothefrayradio.com
For my stage and film work, you can visit: www.ryandsprague.com
Book is Available in Paperback and E-Book on Amazon at the following link: https://www.amazon.com/Somewhere-Skies-Human-Approach-Phenomenon/dp/0967799589/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481577910&sr=8-1&keywords=somewhere+in+the+skies