Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, May 2023
Confronting High Strangeness
by: Brent Raynes
This issue (and certainly other recent editions) brings us extraordinary examples of what researchers these days often call “high strangeness”- manifestations that are typically several significant notches above what’s often acceptable within the mainstream of various fields that explore anomalous phenomena – like ufology, parapsychology, or cryptozoology. However, in these high-strange situations all hell can break loose and the tunnel vision approaches of the “nuts and bolts” ufologists, the ESP/PK presumed human projections envisioned by many parapsychologists, and the “flesh and blood” cryptid hunters of Bigfoot and other presumed “missing links” of that ilk, can be severely inadequate to deal with the overall coverage needed when dealing with the high strange “big picture” scenarios that can be encountered at legendary locations like Missouri’s Marley Woods, Utah’s Skinwalker Ranch, Colorado’s Clearview Ranch and Trey Hudson’s Skinwalker Ranch of the South, places and situations where the mainstream rules don’t always apply. At such locations and in such situations a deep dive into a full-spectrum of deeply weird phenomena may severely confront and challenge the unprepared researcher. Multidisciplinary approaches and objective evidence reviews are desperately needed. A mainstream tunnel vision strategy is seriously flawed when you’re in one of these situations where the whole kit and caboodle is thrown at you from all directions and one single field’s frame of reference is not sufficient to cover all aspects adequately.
In this issue, we interviewed Thomas M. Ferrario, the current director of the Ted Phillips Marley Woods Research Center. For years, he worked very closely with Mr. Phillips, a highly respected ufologist who specialized in landing trace/physical evidence cases, a close friend and colleague of the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the astronomer and former astronomical consultant to the U.S. Air Force’s Project Bluebook. Sadly, Phillips passed away in 2020. Phillips started out for years as a hardline “nuts and bolts” ufologist and, by his own admission, after becoming involved in extensive sky watches and field investigations at Marley Woods, Missouri, he experienced, saw, and heard things that changed his perspective immensely, and, as he joked, instead of being the “nuts and bolts” guy it could now be shortened to just the “nuts guy.”
Ferrario shares startling, and at times very disturbing details on what happened to himself, Ted, and other investigators, and residents in the region of Marley Woods, activity for which they found parallels with the reported Skinwalker Ranch events. Besides the enigmatic light displays, there were poltergeist manifestations, inexplicable cattle, horse, and deer mutilations, burned circles on the ground that animals were very fearful of, and other high strange scenarios. Other prominent researchers also visited the Woods, including the respected scientist Jacques Vallee, who also experienced some of the anomalies there and came away impressed by what was happening at this location. “Douglas Trumbull, the one who did the special effects in Close Encounters, was building some pretty sophisticated camera equipment that he brought out to Marley,” Ferrario added. “We worked with Robert Bigelow who came out and spent time at Marley.” Don’t fail to check out my recent interview too with long-time researcher Tommy Roy Blann in this issue also. He shares his personal investigations into some pretty high strange cases and has himself had some pretty significant UFO sightings as well. Both of these interviews are mind-boggling and further touch upon the complexity and importance of serious inquires into these anomalous phenomena.
Readers interested in these “window” locations (as John Keel called them) might like to check out my video interviews that we’ve archived. For example, there’s an interview I did with MUFON investigator Katie Paige about her investigations and personal experiences at Colorado’s Clearview Ranch (Feb, 2023 issue), an interview with Trey Hudson of The Meadow Project, the South’s Skinwalker Ranch as some have called it (May 2022 ish), and my Barbara Fisher interview (Jan. 2023). Her hometown of Athens, Ohio has generated a lot of high strangeness. She shares some personal stories that are quite extraordinary. Barbara is also the host of the 6 Degrees of John Keel podcast. High Strangeness should be her middle name.
Special thanks to Fortean researcher Peter Jordan who has given me a lot of anomalous data and suggestions of things to explore. His work in ufology and many other facets of the unexplained go back decades. The interviews with Thomas Ferrario, Tommy Roy Blann, and Katie Paige are just three examples of interviews that came about with his help, encouragement, and our discussions back and forth on these cases via email and skype chats. I told him he certainly gives me a lot to chew on and he replied that he’d never leave me hungry, and he hasn’t. I’ve done six video interviews with him already and I guarantee more are to come.
I’ll do my best not to leave any of you hungry either.