Sunday, June 13, 2010

Excerpt 3 - Fire in the Sky – Hollywood and the Highly Suggestible

In the early 90s, there was a spate of crop-circle formations in the west-country. Prompted to subscribe to ‘The Cereologist’ magazine, I was left unconvinced of duo ‘Doug and Dave’s revelations that they were behind the entire phenomenon, with a piece of rope and a stick.

Crop circles had been recorded in the area for over a hundred years, and continued unabated, like clock-work, every May to September. I knew there had to be more to it. I had seen one in a field along the highway from Reading driving into London, and I knew that a design like the one I’d seen (key shaped) needed at least seven or eight people with ropes and sticks!

Big news hit in 1993, as strange lights in the sky over Bristol caused people to come out into the streets with camcorders and binoculars for a peek at the fantastic. Some even running up and down the hills on the outskirts of the city, to look at a crop circle that had appeared in the most unusual place.

This particular year was memorable in the history of Ufology. I won’t delve into it all here; you can easily read about it online. It was a turning point year in engineering public opinion to believe the possibility of extraterrestrial visitation, as well as other strange phenomena. One of the most successful tools was the television programme, ‘The X-Files’ which aired in this year.

To aid the public, and anyone curious and bored enough to spend a week-end finding out about the weird paranormal things that take place all around us, conferences are always the best place to start. Bristol held such an event in 1993 and boasted illustrious guests flown in especially for the occasion, some with Hollywood connections.

Prior to the release of the movie ‘Fire in the Sky’, starring D.B. Sweeney, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, and making his big screen come-back, James Garner, the screenwriter (Tracy Torme) and Ufo researchers from the USA, turned up at the obscure Bristol conference to talk about the real story behind the film. Quite a coup for the supposed low-key west-country event.

This conference was special for showing the very first clips of the film, a recorded interview with the real-life protagonist Travis Walton, and helping guest speakers link up with Bristol residents and talk about their ‘mutual experiences’. Naturally we had to be there to witness it all.

As it was our first conference, we were astonished at the quite weird combination forming before our eyes, realising just how ‘fashionable’ the paranormal was. Outside of the lecture hall were book-stands to buy the latest publications, and representatives of clubs and associations that anyone could join. There was also a lot of interesting conversation taking place in the foyer.

As my friends and I sat to drink coca-cola and survey our surroundings, we accidently on-purpose overhear the talk amongst guests and attendees. One woman is explaining to a prominent researcher how a ufo hovered at her bedroom window and she found herself floating out into the night sky to be taken aboard a ship. A man spoke of prophetic dreams and encounters with ‘visitors’.

We returned to the lecture to hear of locals that saw UFOs over the city that appeared to ‘lose time’ and perhaps were abducted by aliens. We watched clips of a Belgian black-triangle shaped Ufo on a shaky projector screen, and were in awe at photographs from Pensacola, Florida, of UFOs hovering over the sea!

Thinking back, it was pure brainwashing, as very little sceptical resistance was demonstrated by anyone. Questions to the speakers were all designed to reinforce the images we were exposed to. ‘What should we do next, after this conference?’ we mused. ‘I know, why don’t we join a local club?’

We ventured out of the lecture hall, towards the club stands, determined to get involved with one of these paranormal groups, to see for ourselves the truth of the phenomena. Not sure at this point whether a humble piece of rope and a stick would be levy enough to get us into the inner circle, we joined them none-the-less.
…to be continued

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