I don’t get around much anymore, but I do get on line, reading, writing and watching videos. In some ways, this telepresence is wonderful: saves gas (trips to the library) and gives me access to the whole universe of human information, fake news and all. In other ways, it’s a pain in the ass, which is why I got off Facebook, plus Zuckerberg’s politics are Fascist. But what was I getting at? I can’t remember, so herewith some more reviews.
Witness of Another World, a film by Alan Stivelman
Most documentaries assume a point of view, then show you a bunch of images to convince you they’re right. A good example would be Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s 2013 film Blackfish. I studied documentary film in college and kept an interest in it all my life; it is infinitely more interesting to film a documentary, where you never quite know what will happen next, versus a feature, where you are shooting, piece by piece, a structure, following a script, and trying to get everything right (i.e. no jets overhead, no telephone poles projecting from the actors’ heads, etc.).
Blackfish is the most influential documentary I’ve ever seen; I am convinced that film alone “ruined” a visit to SeaWorld for hundreds of thousands of people, cost $ millions at the box office and brought about the organization’s newfound commitment to quit breeding and exhibiting orcas when their current stock dies off.
Like I said, a very successful documentary.
Witness of Another World is equally moving and convincing, but in a different way. For here we have a boy, Juan Perez, who was by his own story taken aboard an unidentified flying object 40 years ago, and has never felt at ease with himself since. He has grown into a man not so much shunned by others as shunning them, because they mock and humiliate him and his experience, because they do not understand that he has seen something supernatural, something metaphysical, something genuinely mysterious.
In a video flashback, as the 12-year-old Juan is being questioned on live TV as to what he saw, he suddenly freezes, then presses his hands over his eyes and breaks into tears. He cannot put the experience into words, and if he could, who would believe him?
Finding a UFO encounter with that depth of time and footage behind it is extraordinary, but what makes Argentinian director Alan Stivelman’s film even more remarkable is the entrance of Franco-American UFO researcher Dr. Jacques Vallee, who interviewed Perez way back when, and now re-emerges offering some hope.
Stivelman isn’t one to stand aloof from is subjects, like a nature documentarian filming a hunting lion. From the first frame he admits his involvement, saying he stumbled across Juan’s case and wondered what became of him. Now, he determines (somehow, it’s not made clear) that Juan is from the Guarani tribe, ancestrally. Perhaps the tribe has some wisdom to help him?
Indeed they do, and the film features the gnarled faces and sage advice of two tribal elders. The Guarani culture has recognized the spirit world for generations, and Juan’s bizarre experience fits right in.
Other documentaries try to persuade you of the reality of UFOs with fuzzy photos or jumpy films. Witness of Another World presents a human being, changed and remolded as new interpretations of his experience reveal themselves. It is, in its own way, much more moving and effective.
This is what the UFO does: it alienates us from our own debunking, scientific, materialistic world. It is perhaps, as Vallee suggests, the breakthrough of the irrational, like some uber-quantum particle, into the rational world; or rather, the temporary dissolution of the rational world in something like a dream-state, where the laws of reality allow you to meet your grandfather again, these many years dead.
Do I need to say that Witness of Another World is one of most remarkable documentaries I’ve ever seen? It needs to become the new touchstone of the supernatural film, bringing compassion and humanity to a subject has long been argued on a digital, yes/no basis. I urge you to to view it, buy it, and share it with other like-minded people. Do it today!
Reality Denied: Firsthand Experiences with Things that Can’t Happen — But Did. Non-fiction by John B. Alexander, Colonel U.S. Army (Ret.)
I remember, before my teens, my father would from time to time take us out to The Viking Smorgasbord in Ardmore, a suburb of Philadelphia near Radnor, where we lived. It featured a vast, rotating table, covered with all kinds of Scandinavian delights, but what I remember most clearly (and oddly) are the spiced, pickled plums. I’ve never tasted anything like them.
Of course, the most important part of visiting a smorgasbord is to remember not to eat too much of any one item. This leaves room for more variety. On the other hand, only having a taste or sample of an item — variety itself — sometimes becomes boring, and you want to eat something (think ice cream or chocolate cake) in depth. Unfortunately, you are stuck at the smorgasbord.
Such is the fate of the reader of Reality Denied, a lack of any depth. Author Col. John B. Alexander devotes at most a chapter to each subject and a brief synopsis of what was obviously a complex event. This is simply insufficient, but my criticism of this book doesn’t end there.
I bought Reality Denied for one reason, to read Chapter 3, “Speak To Me,” where the colonel finds that his (now ex-) wife is conveniently telepathic while in the Bahamas to research dolphins. What does he do with the remarkable link to an alien, literally extra-terrestrial intelligence? Why, he orders a pod of dolphins to swim hither and yon, like a platoon of soldiers on a parade field. Having thus proved the utility of human-dolphin telepathy in the wild, he carries it backward to a captive dolphin whose most perceptive comment about his living arrangements is that he can’t jump twice like they wanted, the ceiling is too low. (“Look up!” is the exact transmission.) So he agrees to bob twice. Problem solved!
Do I need to say that I AM ASHAMED BY THE LACK OF IMAGINATION SHOWN BY THIS HUMAN BEING?
I mean, Alexander had the brightest minds in the ocean at his beck and call, and he never asked them about their lives? How bio-echolocation works? How they breathe while sleeping? How they fend off sharks? Do they dream? Can they make things up, i.e., lie, tell stories, invent religion… What are those big brains so preoccupied with?
If Alexander did any of this, he doesn’t write about it here. He makes communicating with another species sound about as exciting as reading a train schedule. He goes on to chronicle other unbelievable adventures, such as “spoon-bending parties” where telekinesis is exhibited, and… that’s all I can think of now. There’s plenty more here, I’m only halfway through the book, I’ll probably finish it someday, I might as well get my $9.99 Kindle fee out of it. But there’s no real impetus to do so.
AM I THE ONLY HUMAN BEING WHO HAS USED HUMAN-DOLPHIN TELEPATHY TO TRY TO ENTER (be it ever-so-hesitantly) THE DOLPHINS’ WORLD?
Apparently so. Why, or why not? Is it even of interest to anybody else, what dolphins on the high seas think and feel as they go about their extraordinary lives?
In answer, all I can say is it became very important to me 48 years ago, and it has never stopped being important since. Colonel Alexander, you should be ashamed for writing such a dull book about such exciting subjects!