AP’s 200th Issue: Lots of “Solved” Mysteries—More to Come
By Dr. Greg Little
UFOs & Native American Issues
While many people might get the impression that Alternate Perceptions (AP) has only presented articles that promote “mysteries,” the truth is that we have also steadfastly reported many “solved” ones. I don’t like the term “debunking” because it implies that something is “bunk” before it’s investigated. I see it as looking for the truth, but debunking is something I have done—meaning that I was searching for truth. I formally began my “debunking” career with my first book wherein I concluded that the UFO mystery was largely based on a set of seemingly unrelated events coalescing in time and space, that is, synchronicity. My interpretations were largely based on Carl Jung’s 1959 book “Flying Saucers.” There is a genuine mystery in the UFO phenomenon and UFOs do exist, but I don’t see them as alien. Several subsequent books simply furthered this line of research and began looking at spiritualistic claims, similar claims from ancient literature, and Native American Indian legends and rituals.
I first got interested in Native American “rituals” while serving with local government and trying to reach an agreement between archaeologists and Native Americans who were at odds over a proposed excavation at a Memphis mound site. Of course, this wasn’t my “job,” it just happened that way. My second book, “People of the Web” (1990) began and ended with chapters regarding this mound controversy. I learned a great deal about the biases and prejudices held against Native Americans during this 30-day long episode. Oddly, it was after “People of the Web” was released that I discovered that I was part Seneca. During this time I also published a highly referenced paper on moon phases and mental health incidents—finding no relationship between them. Even the “Skeptical Inquirer” summarized the paper terming it a “notable” publication. [See Here].
The Memphis Snake Shower
Another “solved” mystery came from an entry by Charles Fort in his 1831 book Lo!” Fort earlier devoted two pages to this event, the so-called “Memphis Snake Shower” in his 1919 “The Book of the Damned.” The “Memphis Snake Shower” was also cited in Reader’s Digest in 1982, Monthly Weather Review in 1877, the New York Times in 1877, and in Scientific American in 1877. It concerned a “rain of living snakes” that fell on Memphis in 1877. The actual incident had never been investigated except for a short time period immediately after it happened. My long investigation into the event involved finding the original sources of the event as well as discovering previously unknown subsequent newspaper accounts. I even contacted archivists with the old U.S. Army Signal Service Corp and made great efforts to find the relatives of the people involved. I ended by interviewing the Chairman of the Biology Department and another Professor of Biology at the then Memphis State University. The work revealed that the “rain of snakes” was not a rain of snakes at all. The “snakes” were actually “horsehair worms,” a parasite that emerges from dead beetles and other insects when exposed to water. The article was published by Fate Magazine in 1985 and has been retold in AP. Despite this, the event is still sometimes reported as unsolved. [See Here].
The Disappearance of the Iron Mountain
When AP was a widely circulated, glossy, printed magazine of 60+ pages, I wrote many articles assessing several famous UFO cases—most of which I concluded were not what they appeared to be. I also investigated a lot of other “mysteries” that were touted as “unsolved” in various books and publications. One such notable example was the “Disappearance of the Iron Mountain.” The Iron Mountain was a Mississippi riverboat that supposedly vanished near Natchez without a trace in 1872. Its 52 passengers were supposedly never seen nor heard from again. The story was recounted in at least 4 books and several magazine articles and it was said to have been “front page news” when it happened. But no “front pages” of newspapers along the Mississippi mentioned it. After spending more than 40 hours in library research and speaking to historians at several libraries and museums, the mystery was solved. An 88-year old author of riverboat books provided the final link to the story. I initially related the findings in “Grand Illusions” (1994) and then in AP. In short, there was no mystery. “Grand Illusions” also looked at parallels between many old written accounts of demons and modern UFO abductions as well as detailing Native American legends and stories about UFO-type reports. [See Here].
With respect to UFO-related articles, Brent has tended to focus on interviewing the people who report UFO experiences, detailing the actual reports they made, and interviewing various people who have studied UFOs and those who generated theories from their observations. Brent gradually widened his scope to include Native American reports and beliefs as well as various spiritual issues. He and his wife Joan have been co-hosts on all of the mound tours we have done. Joan, partly Cherokee, has specialized in performing genuine Native American ceremonies on the tours and has played a large and important role in AP and Brent’s movement toward Native American issues.
UFOs & Plasmas
Over the decades, I have put out many AP articles following the work of neuropsychologist Michael Persinger, who has produced UFO-like experiences in laboratories through the use of magnetic fields tuned to specific frequencies and then focused on particular brain areas. In 1984 I published an article in Psychological Reports regarding ufologists’ beliefs and education level. [See: http://www.amsciepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.1918.104.22.1687]. In 1987 I wrote a summary of Persinger’s work and addressed criticisms of his theory in the journal Perceptual & Motor Skills. [See Here]. Both of these articles have been repeatedly cited in AP and elsewhere. In brief, I support the view that many UFO and abduction reports stem from an earth-based phenomenon generated from seismic pressure on crystalline rock structures. The process of piezoelectricity creates highly-charged magnetic fields encapsulated into plasmas. When people are in close proximity to the magnetic fields, brain chemistry is altered. Of course, there is a lot more to it and I do not deny the possibility that Earth has been visited by aliens. Scientifically, you can’t prove that something doesn’t exist. Few people truly understand Persinger’s theory and how charged plasmas produce magnetic fields that affect brain processes.
From various articles I initially published in AP and books I wrote in the 1990s, I wrote the Introduction to Andrew Collins’ 2012 book “Lightquest.” In this long Introduction I detailed the UFO work done by the Physics Department at Southeastern State University in Missouri and wrote of their research many times in AP. That project was conducted in 1973-1979 and included 35 physical scientists, various astronomers, and many physics students. The Chairman of the Physics Department organized and managed the long-term study. They documented 157 separate UFO cases involving 178 different UFOs. The study concluded that the UFOs were plasmas and they reported 32 separate incidents where the plasmas responded to observation. This important work has been all but ignored in ufology. I also summarized scientific research conducted in Yakima, Washington in the 1970s-80s. Geological pressures producing plasmas were also thought to be the source of hundreds of UFO reports from that area. I have done on-site research in Missouri and spent several nights observing on the Yakima Indian Reservation with a couple government officials from Washington State. Several photographs of odd objects and “rings” in the sky were taken by us, but they have never been published. They will appear in a documentary I am finishing. I also reported on the research a group of us conducted at Brown Mountain, North Carolina where we filmed the famed Brown Mountain lights. I concluded that the light manifestations are plasmas generated by seismic strain. All of these reports have been detailed in AP. The entire Introduction to Lightquest can be read here.
Mounds & ArchaeoTrek
Of all the areas I have investigated, America’s ancient mounds and earthworks are the most personally pleasing. Some years ago I began issuing a series of articles in AP called “ArchaeoTrek,” which detailed mound sites in America. My 2008 “Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds and Earthworks” was a huge task and is one I am now slowly updating. AP has served as a springboard for this project. The new version should be twice the number of pages. The book has exceeded all expectations I had for it and has sold well and is even in many museum stores, something that I initially deemed impossible because mainstream archaeologists tend to control what is sold in them. The book is here. At one museum I was told by a site manager that the book “sells” and that was important to the store. It is essentially a completely mainstream work. Another recent book that concerns ancient Native American ideas about the death journey is one I immensely enjoyed working on: Path of Souls. I am already working on a follow-up book to it. The book details the Mound Builder’s ideas about the death journey and how elite members of this culture maintained social control by using the death journey as a powerful tool. The elite appear to have been an unusually tall, hereditary group of people who were buried in prominent tombs. The most important members of this group were 7 to just under 8 feet in height and about 30 of them have been excavated from mounds by the Smithsonian and in later excavations conducted by mainstream archaeologists.
The Search for Atlantis
One of the most controversial areas AP has reported on is the “Search for Atlantis.” Nothing else has produced so much venom from alleged skeptics than this topic. Only two of these alleged skeptics have actually been to the sites we described and they actually only went to one site. The Atlantis project began as an effort to solve a single mystery that had been initially publicized by Charles Berlitz in the 1970s. It was Andrew Collins who reminded me about it in 2002. The report alleged that a gigantic triple ring of standing stones was in shallow water somewhere in or around Andros Island in the Bahamas. In January 2003 my wife and I went to Andros intent on finding the stone ring and solving the mystery. This and all the subsequent trips we made were self-funded. We made a low-altitude flight around Andros and through Cuban airspace after interviewing one of the actual pilots who saw and photographed the “circle of stones.” Many others had unsuccessfully attempted to find this “structure.” The pilot told us that no one had ever asked him where the circle was and we found it precisely where he showed us it was located on a pilot’s map. After obtaining the GPS of the formation from the air, we managed to make it to this very remote site, a trip that experienced boat captains said was dangerous and foolish. It was almost impossible at that time to find anyone we could charter to go to this area, but a fisherman in a small boat agreed to take us. It was all rather incredible. The “circle of stone” was a circle, but it was made from sponge; Nothing but sponge. Another trip took us to a famous and mysterious “e” shaped underwater formation also promoted by Berlitz in the 1970s. It turned out to be a small coral head with turtle grass. Still another trip looked at an odd circle near Bimini. It had been “spotted” from a satellite image by the first and perhaps the most prominent of the Bimini skeptics. It turned out to be the remains of a dumped barge load of building material. The “Atlantis skeptic” who promoted it and a near-by underwater “line” (seen on the same satellite image) asserted that it was all somehow associated to a huge vein of gold running under Bimini. On a documentary being filmed while we were at the site for the first time, I found a brick in the circular pile. It was subsequently analyzed through microscopic scanning, and I related, “The brick turned out to be a brick.” These findings disappointed many, but we reported precisely what we found along with documented photos and film. But that led us on a long quest to look at other things in the Bahamas as well as investigating the Bermuda Triangle mystery. Eventually we had to buy our own boat so we could get to shallow and remote areas quickly and safely. We used two side scan sonars and several underwater remote video cameras. We did have a lot of strange experiences. The project was dubbed “The Search For Atlantis” and made a lot of people pleased that someone was actually looking in the area. We often took an archaeologist along who had an archaeological permit and filmed under official permits. When we arrived at various places in the Bahamas we were welcomed by locals and officials alike.
It was Edgar Cayce who stated in his readings that the Bahamas had been a part of Atlantis. So the Cayce organization was also pleased to have us follow up on earlier reports and look for more. Film crews were eager to go along, but few of them wanted to do any real exploration. In truth, some of them wanted “recreations” filmed at convenient spots for them—such as the beach near hotels. The continual requests from documentary makes became a major hassle—only a couple of them wanted real exploration done.
I have repeatedly stated and written that I don’t even know if Atlantis existed. The searches were fun and cost no one else anything. In is a far better way to investigate such things rather than just sitting in a university office or a room doing “google” searches for Atlantis and criticizing those who actually take the time and make the effort to “look.” But it produced a lot of venom from some “skeptics” who were dismayed because we uncovered a lot of information that they didn’t like. In brief, we found a lot of lies and deliberate distortions. “Why” these were made is really an interesting question that I’ll hopefully eventually answer.
Several books and dozens of AP articles have documented this quest. We did find a huge, three-tiered platform of stone blocks at Andros and reported it to both Bahamas officials and several geologists. The geologists were excited but the formation clearly looked like a manmade breakwater forming a harbor. Another site at the remote island of Cay Sal has the same type of breakwater. We also found several crashed planes that had “disappeared without a trace” into the Bermuda Triangle and another 20 or so that were impossible to ID—31 planes in total. Not many people were pleased about this, either. We found nothing at all that could be linked to Atlantis, but we did find a lot of archaeological remnants. One of these remains uninvestigated as the Bahamas has suspended all permits for 2 years running. (As best as we can tell, someone working on an excavation permit of a sunken galleon simply left the Bahamas after doing their “work” without reporting their finds to officials.)
The documentaries various channels made were sometimes exasperating. In a National Geographic Channel episode we participated in, it was incorrectly asserted in the narration that the Americas never had any elephants or horses so Atlantis could not have been in this area of the world. I still find this assertion mind-boggling. They also asserted that there were only white rocks in the Bahamas so the absence of red and black rock also proved Atlantis didn’t exist here. Of course, we told them during filming that horses and elephants had been in the Americas until about 10,000 BC and we also took them to formations of red and black rock. They also ignored sea level evidence that has been repeatedly published in scientific journals as well as evidence that something catastrophic happened around 10,000 BC. On the show they had a museum curator say that there were no asteroid impacts in 10,000 BC—because there were no craters there. But the National Geographic Channel also made the best documentary we were in. It was on the Bermuda Triangle. Many of the documentaries can be seen on You Tube.
Since the 1990s I have been on 14 documentaries and made 7 of my own, with several more in the works. These have shown on SyFy, the Weather Channel, MSNBC, National Geographic, Discovery, History, History 2, BBC, Vision TV (Canada), the Travel Channel, and a few others. Virtually everything in these shows was in AP before the documentary aired. I did my first radio show in 1984 and back then you actually went to the station to do interviews. From 1984 to 1990 I did several regular radio shows averaging about 4 a month. In the years 2001-2004 I averaged 87 radio shows a year under a contract. One show each weekend was on a large network in Boston, New York, Chicago, and several smaller markets. The show was done from pay phones, a cell phone, and even a satellite phone during our travels.
About 4 years ago I vowed to never participate in another TV documentary. In one of the last episodes of “UFO Hunters” (History) they wanted us to show them the Andros Platform in an episode about the Navy bases on Andros Island. On the show we were asked what we were looking for at Andros and you then hear me saying the word “Atlantis.” Then, for effect, there is the sound of a needle scratching a record. Only I didn’t say “Atlantis” in response to the question. But that is the way TV documentaries are made. We had contacts at the main AUTEC base on Andros and could have told them precisely what is underwater there, but that didn’t happen. That was the last show I participated in and will be the last. Despite this, we continue being asked to do them.
We do fully support the Edgar Cayce organization. Many people have found Cayce’s health readings very helpful and many more people have found great solace in Cayce’s ideas about spirituality. And modern genetic and archaeological research does, at this time, support a lot of what Cayce said about the ancient world. This has all been reported in AP and in several books.
We have ventured into many areas in our investigations, published the findings in AP, and hopefully we can continue. Age is a constant issue, creeping ever forward, making some investigations more and more strenuous. In summary, AP has given us a venue to report what we find as accurately as we can. We are interested in mysteries of all kinds. In the process, we make friends and enemies, but the truth is more valuable and important than being seen as falling on one side (as so-called debunkers who believe in nothing) or the other (as believers in everything).