Saturday, February 27, 2021

From Brooklyn to Neptune: The Bugs Bunny / UFO Connection!


 On July 27, 1940, Bugs Bunny appeared for the first time in movie theaters in the Tex Avery directed cartoon A Wild Hare. Earlier versions of the cartoon rabbit had appeared before, but in Looney Tunes cannon, this cartoon is officially Bugs' debut. Eight years later, he'd become the first living thing to visit the Moon in the cartoon Haredevil Hare, and also the first to meet an extraterrestrial. One of the most popular and enduring characters of all time, with a career spanning 80 years, he leapt from the screen and into our collective psyche during World War II with his signature question "What's up, Doc?" By the end of this article, you'll be asking the same.


Haredevil Hare was released on July 24, 1948 - 13 months after Kenneth Arnold's UFO encounter that popularized the term "Flying Saucer". The saucer zeitgeist apparently had not reached Chuck Jones and his team of animators and storyboard artists, as both Bugs and Marvin Martian (in his first appearance) arriving on the Moon in rocket ships. The cartoon is memorable as Bugs arrives just in time to prevent Marvin from blowing up the Earth with a "Kaboom" using his Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator. (Illudium seems to be a fascinating and versatile fictional element - In Marvin's third appearance, 1953's Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century, Daffy Duck in the title role of Duck Dodgers is sent to Planet X to obtain Illudium Phosdex - the shaving cream atom.) As such, our intrepid rabbit hero becomes the savior of our planet, thwarting our would-be destroyer. The return of the Martian menace, however, is where the story gets really weird.

Bugs Bunny is loved around the world, but how does he rate in the farther reaches of the solar system? If we're to believe the contacts via channeling, message board, and radio by George Hunt Williamson and his associates Alfred Bailey and radio man "Mr R", we can be confident that Bugs has fans at least as far as Neptune. Williamson is a problematic and controversial figure in the weird world of 1950s contactees. His association early on with the far-right fascist William Dudley Pelley should be borne in mind; his sketchy archaeology "credentials" and the dubious ancient alien theories that came as a result along with his promulgation of conspiracy theories about "International Bankers" should give anyone pause for caution. He was, however, very influential on flying saucer culture, for better or worse. He and Bailey were both present when George Adamski allegedly met Orthon, and though they had a falling out almost immediately thereafter, Williamson continued to back up Adamski's account of events with only minor variations. Adamski and Williamson differed on the value of contracting space people via channeling or radio; Adamski seemed to recognize the ambiguous and possibly trickster-ish nature of entities contacted this way while Williamson seemed to wholeheartedly accept the messages he received from virtually every known planet, although he was warned against talking to the evil beings from Orion. With that background information out of the way, viewed in isolation, the following anecdote is a fun and interesting ride. 

On September 20, 1952, at 8:30 p.m., the following message was received via 'the board' (similar to an Ouija board) from Zo, an intelligence from Neptune:

...We have impressed you from time to time, and will continue to do so. Now what I am about to tell you will seem foolish. It is the way we do things at times. This is so it will all appear in a most conventional manner. You were impressed to go and see a certain motion picture. You did not know that the cartoon was Bugs Bunny in 'The Hasty Hare'. We mentioned Bugs Bunny to you several times before, but you thought it was foolish and did not enter it into your records. We had our reasons. This cartoon was about a flying saucer and its coming to Earth. You saw the letter held in the hand of the saucer pilot and you noticed that its date was 9-27. This date is important in 1952. You will see!



The Hasty Hare had been released a few months prior, and was the second appearance of Marvin Martian, although at this time he still had no name. It has been noted by Robert Anton Wilson that Bugs is the first alien abductee, this cartoon predating the Betty and Barney Hill encounter by nearly a decade. As noted by Zo in the above message, Marvin has also traded his rocket for a nifty flying saucer!



An amusing feature of Zo's message is the recognition of how absurd the Bugs Bunny connection is. He seems to apologize upfront for the "foolishness" of it, and also seems to chide Williamson et al for not recording the prior messages about the cartoon hare. "It is the way we do things at times", he says; and that does seem to ring true of UFO stories of all kinds. The Trickster element of unbelievably silly things, things that even Williamson would be reticent to share, thrown in with messages of dire consequence has that quality of being too weird to be fake. As alluded to, the saucer contacts are capable of telepathy and are well aware of what was recorded and what wasn't. They are also capable of 'impressing' those they wish to, controlling them in a way or psychically guiding them to see a cartoon at the local theater. It all seems to be a very elaborate and silly way to convey the importance of the date 9-27-1952. 

Isabel Davis, in an article entitled Meet the Extraterrestrial (Fantastic Universe Science Ficion, Nov. 1957) makes sure to mention the Bugs Bunny connection when addressing Williamson's contacts. Davis, a highly respected Fortean and UFO researcher of that time, picks apart the various books of Williamson and other contactees in this article. "What is unquestionably revealed to the reader, with painful clarity," she says, "are the intense, tragic fears that haunt the apostles and disciples of the contact-communication stories. Many passages are an almost rhythmic see-saw between terrors- of war, of soil sterility, of strange weather, of the atom - and feverish reassurances that the space beings will somehow give protections from these dooms."  Like Bugs Bunny swiping a dangerous Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator away from a Martian whose view of Venus has been obstructed, the saucer folk always seem to be arriving just in time to save us from ourselves. This is certainly true in the chronicles of Williamson's contact, recorded in his book The Saucers Speak! A Documentary Report of Interstellar Communication by Radio Telegraphy. There's an urgency from the space people that time is short, that they must act quickly if we are to be saved. But there's always time to watch a cartoon.

So what was so important about the 27th of September? For Williamson, Bailey, and "Mr R" it was the communication that arranged for them to finally meet their space contacts, face to face. At 5:30p.m. they were informed that their space friends were passing over Winslow, AZ, where the radio shack was located. At 5:55 p.m. they heard the craft fly over and saw them in the distance. It was also their "first and last contact by radiotelephony". Before and after the 27th, all radio contact was done through ham radio code that had to be transcribed by the very adept "Mr R". The one audible transmission was only barely so, according to their account. "It seemed a speech was being given in a large auditorium. The static was terrible and we could only hear a word now and then. The voice was loud and masterful and spoke perfect English. There was a reference to Germany and America and that they could no longer appeal to reason, etc." The rest of the evening was spent deliberating with the space people whether they should bring "Mr R"'s debilitated father-in-law to the saucer landing the next day, and the verdict was "No." Ultimately the meeting didn't happen, as logging trucks had kicked up a bunch of dust and separated the would be ambassadors to the stars...

Surprisingly, some notable UFO sightings did happen elsewhere that day. In Hempstead, Texas, USAF pilots reported seeing silvery, disc shaped crafts moving at speeds in excess of 600mph. Later that night in Inyokern, California, two couples viewing the night sky through a telescope witnessed a large, round object change colors as it flew on a level, straight path. If you were to go from Hempstead to Inyokern as the crow (or in this case Flying Saucer) flies, you'd pass somewhat near Winslow!

Also, relevant to the mysterious voice that mentions America and Germany - September 27, 1952 in the areas around Kiel and Hamburg Germany, a brightly lit UFO with at comet-like tail was witnessed moving irregularly through the air by personnel involved with Operation Mainbrace , the first large-scale naval exercise under NATO. 

As wacky as the entire scenario is, there does seem to be some eerie accuracy involved- and that wascally wabbit is in the middle of it... In many ways, Bugs does seem to embody the Trickster which so many equate with the high strangeness around UFOs. An NPR Segment from 2008 makes a pretty good case for Bugs-as-archetypal Trickster, the mercurial rule-breaker from whose actions we all end up benefiting. As mentioned earlier in this post, Robert Anton Wilson had an affinity for the wisecracking rabbit. He joked in The Illuminatus! Trilogy that there were hidden messages in Bugs Bunny cartoons, implanted by Illuminati agents in Hollywood, based on Adam Weishaupt's comparing of a shoggoth to a cursed rabbit -  'du Hexen Hase' - 'that wascal wabbit'. Several years later he'd feel that the joke was on him, as he pondered the synchronicity of the brief appearance of Bugs in the 1977 Spielberg movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Wilson's own telepathic contacts with space intelligence was intimately entangled with Sirius, and the momentary clip of Bugs Bunny is one of him saying "Set the coordinates for the Dog Star!" "I thought I was kidding" Wilson writes in incredulity later. Beyond just Bugs, Wilson went down a 'rabbit hole', as it were, of bunnies in association with UFOs, which he referred to as Lepufology.


As previously mentioned in another entry on this blog, Bugs also makes an appearance during the 1977 ITV Broadcast Intrusion, just as the picture starts to come back under control. The cartoon Falling Hare, a WWII era story with the Fortean plot line of our favorite rabbit being terrorized by a gremlin. It's one of the few examples of Bugs not having the upper hand - a reminder that even the Trickster can sometimes be tricked. Sometimes we take a left turn in Albuquerque, and wind up way off course. Sometimes the mercurial nature of the Phenomena can make us laugh, while other times it can be scary and leave us wanting for a savior - be it Saucer or Wisecracking Leporidae. What's up, Doc? What's up, indeed.
 



Sources:

Meet the Extraterrestrial, Isabel Davis, Fantastic Universe Science Fiction
Illuminatus! Robert Anton Wilson and Bob Shea
A is For Adamski, Adam Gorightly and Greg Bishop
Bugs Bunny: The Trickster, American Style, JJ Sutherland, NPR
The Saucers Speak! Calling All Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, George Hunt Williamson aka Brother Philip w/ Alfred Bailey, Timothy Green Beckley, and Sean Casteel
Operation Mainbrace Sightings, Richard Hall 

Coincidence or Cosmic Conspiracy, Robert Anton Wilson, in The Berkeley Barb Vol 27 issue 20, May 1978
 


Monday, January 20, 2020

The Curious Case of the Fish Doctor and the Man From Ashtar Galactic Command, Part III

"...one call came through claiming to be from Outer Space; the rather-stunned telephonist on the exchange put the call through to the only phone that 'happened' to be available - that of the Assistant Producer."
-Rex Dutta, Flying Saucer Message

The conversation on the night of January 8th, 1971 between a skeptical Assistant Producer of a London radio program and a mysterious man from Outer Space is recounted in depth in Rex's book Flying Saucer Message, which was released in 1972. He notes that the Assistant Producer had the presence of mind during the call to "a) to switch it through on internal studio loud speaker so that all the twenty or so of us in the area heard each word and b) to tape-record it. A copy of that tape exists."

Upon Steve's first visit to Rex's house, in late 1975 or early 1976 - well after Rex's last book about Flying Saucers - he and Rex were able to listen to the tape, courtesy of a radio station employee who snuck it out to them. The engineer who gave them the tape also provided some great technical insight - the call from Outer Space seemed to use every channel of the analog switchboard, blocking all other incoming calls.The show's Producer tried and failed to cut off the call. The voice seemed as though it had been "treated" in some way, suggesting that the voice was an automated message cutting directly into the phone line. Robert Short, in his book Out of the Stars: A Message From Extraterrestrial Intelligence notes, quoting Viewpoint Aquarius - "...the engineers were flabbergasted because there was no echo or feedback, i.e., nothing was registering on the dials in their transmitting stations, although the 'space voice' was clearly being heard by all in the studio. Normally, the needles on the dials rise and fall as a human voice is loud or soft, and electrical pulses register on the instruments. In this case, the needles were inert at zero. The 'voice' was clear. No earthling instrument was used. But unknown power was..."

Sadly, the whereabouts of the tape these days is unknown. We have only written accounts and recollections of the event to go by. This gets into Rex's derisive attitude toward the "Official Line..."

The "unknown power" referred to in the above quote was what Rex would have considered an Occult Power, which is natural for higher beings. In fact, the whole affair must have been very amusing (or frustrating, depending on your perspective), to Rex - through his Theosophical view, it was clear to him that the voice from space (and most visitors, Space Brothers, and extraterrestrial contacts) was an intelligence existing on a higher vibrational realm, a different dimension entirely. He's keen to explain these concepts in exhaustive detail in his books, and it's way too involved for me to explain here in this blog (supposing I even understand it properly); suffice to say, what you see in the transcript with Rex's notes is something akin to a language barrier. It's even worse than just language, though; Venusians in Rex's view possessed Whole Manas, and have evolved beyond the need for names, physical bodies, etc, thus lacking context for simple questions like "Who are you?" Their enlightened and Ascended status likewise came about as a result of altruism, so selfish reasoning and our Earthling anxieties and unwillingness to help ourselves - always looking for a savior - are anathema to the Venusians. 

The resultant confusion in the conversation between the Assistant Producer and "Voice" in Flyer Saucer Message lends itself to humor very well. It occurred to me reading it the first time that it could well have been a bit between Abbott and Costello, although I eventually decided it was surreal enough and, bearing in mind the language difficulties explained in the preceding paragraph, more like a bit between Groucho and Chico Marx. Some of my favorite moments:

AP: Why are you calling us?
VOICE: I have not phoned you. I am speaking by Thought-Transference Computer.
AP: What does that mean?
VOICE: It means how do you do.
AP: Very well. How do you do, Sir?
VOICE: Yes. Evidence of life in outer space is not visible to Earth eyes except the chosen few have celestial ability to appertain and to appreciate higher intelligences.

And, later, after asking the Voice's whereabouts:

AP: What are you doing there?
VOICE: I am speaking at the moment to you by Thought-Transference System.
AP: Why don't you speak to me face to face?
VOICE: I have no face. I am very sorry.

This leads to questions about whether space people look like us, to which the Voice explains that it is possible to take a human form for a short period of time. When asked why they would take a human form, the Voice simply says "Amusement". Finally, toward the end of the call:

AP: How could I contact you again?
VOICE: Call Outer Space sometime.
AP: How do I call you?
VOICE: Call me Sir.
AP: How do I call you, Sir?
VOICE: You call me Sir anyway you like. I don't mind. Any way, I must return to Outer Space.


The humorous element presented here, the absurdity and silliness, is among the most remarkable aspects about the Call From Outer Space. On the one hand, it bears all the hallmarks of a put-on. The confusion and inevitable failure to satisfactorily answer many of the questions seems like something a prankster would do, were it just a simple crank call. On the other hand, and bearing in mind the technical difficulties inherent in pulling off such a prank, these comical bits of dialog may actually also represent a genuine lack of understanding that goes both ways, between two intelligence entities very alien to each other. 

Most of the sentiment contained in the call that fascinated Rex was typical of contact messages of the era, in the sense that it warned us as a race to abandon war and nuclear technology. This main message, the titular Flying Saucer message, are interrupted constantly by the Assistant Producer's more mundane questions - typifying in Rex's mind the self-obsessed nature of the average man. One of them was the classic "Take me to your leader" type of question, where the man asks "Have you spoken to Mr. Heath?" referring to then Prime Minister Edward Heath. The Voice seems taken aback by Rex's estimation - "we rate men high, men of power;" he writes, "Saucers rate high men of 'pure aura' and such earthlings seldom reach Power / Authority, etc." Another concept, lost in translation. We ask why the spacemen don't just land on the White House lawn, when the answer it seems is that the occupants of the White House are just as remarkable (or less so) than any other human on the planet - other than the ones with 'pure aura'. To its credit, the Voice says he knows of Mr. Heath, but Heath is sleeping in another country... this, it turns out, was true - PM Heath was abroad on official duty and it would have been early morning hours in that time zone.

The Voice goes on to reveal that there are men among us who can help us, but we ignore them. When asked how the Voice intends to help, it responds:

"The only way you can be helped is not by doing for you that which you must do for yourself. But possibly by guiding the way, but indirectly not directly. It is not possible to say to man, 'You must do this,' because it is in the nature of man not to do this, but to do something different because there is in the nature of man perhaps a perversity which we observe. But never mind, it is possible perhaps if man uses only one thing - that is intelligence. The greatest danger in man is pity. Man has a strong feeling of pity for his fellow men, for suffering. It is good but it is not the highest good. In the universe, the highest good is balance, is justice, not pity. A very interesting thing but justice is the most important element in the universe. And if man will find justice, there is hope for man."

In Rex's view, the Venusians (or Saucers, you may have noticed that Rex makes no distinction between the Saucers and their occupants) are not so different from us here on Earth - they just seem alien because they serve a different purpose. When you understand what Rex means by "Oneness Is", you realize that he's talking about the whole of creation being so intricately connected that each individual thing or consciousness is but a part of a larger organism. The metaphor is made that Earthlings are the thumb, and Venusians the foot... both parts of the same cosmic body but distinct in their purpose and design. Underlying all of what appears to be disparate real and physical bodies exists the Lipika Webs, a network that "sub-stands all substance". It matters not that the 'thumb' might reject the concept of sharing cells and a body with the 'right foot', it's simply the truth... and a balance needs be secured that affects not just the people of Earth who ignore warnings from Saucers, but it naturally affects the Saucers, too. In Rex's view, it was down to the People of the Web to help restore this balance, and move us well into the Age of Aquarius. 

While Rex Dutta had been invited on the program as a representative of the Lunatic Fringe of Flying Saucer Fanatics, the irony is he may well have had a better idea of what was going on than anyone else present. The concept of contact with extraterrestrials via radio was far from a new idea - the aforementioned book by Robert Short (which I might add gives the fullest account of the 1977 broadcast interruption I've come across) talks about his early experiences as a Channel for his "source", Jon-Al, and his early days at Giant Rock with George Van Tassel. While Short primarily used Automatic Writing to channel messages from the stars, others at Giant Rock would employ ham radios. Van Tassel would go on to build the Integratron - a place that "concentrates and amplifies the Earth's magnetic field". Of course Rex would have been familiar with these concepts as well. Short describes the method of message delivery in his book as Translators or Tensors, which utilizes the Subspace Radio Network and UFOs to monitoring devices. From here the message can be picked up by Instruments or Translators... in his words: "These Instruments or Translators include human channelers, television devices, radio communication, vast distance communication, called radar telephonic, and lastly, through the mind's ability to send images over distances, called telepathy."

Van Tassel and Short are both also intimately connected with the origins of Ashtar Galactic Command's messages to Earth. While Van Tassel was the first to claim contact with Ashtar in 1952, Short founded a group called Ashtar Command shortly thereafter. Van Tassel eventually stopped using the name Ashtar in his writings. Incidentally, in 1977, the same year of the broadcast interruption, a woman calling herself Tuella took up the mantle of main channel for Ashtar taking it in a new direction entirely... but more on that next post!

In a way, the 1971 conversation with a Voice from Outer Space is a greater mystery than the ITV interruption of 1977. At least the internet has preserved the TV interruption, and it can be found easily enough on YouTube. The tape of the 1971 show seems to be lost to time, though I hold out hope that an mp3 file of it is archived online somewhere. The aftermath of the UFO show that January night was one of silence, of pretending it never happened or brushing it off as a prank. Steve's first visit to Rex's house makes him likely one of the few around these days who have heard the full recording. It's all part of this crazy story I'm slowly getting around to telling, and the following few years would bring (among other things) the broadcast interruption that started me down this rabbit hole. Sit tight, folks, we're in the home stretch...


Sources:

Flying Saucer Message, by Rex Dutta
Out of the Stars: A Message From Extraterrestrial Intelligence, by Robert Short
"The Reverend Robert Short's Ascent to the Stars" (Chasing UFOs Blog) by Adam Gorightly
Ashtar Command (World Religions and Spirituality Project Entry) by Christopher Helland


Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Curious Case of the Fish Doctor and the Man From Ashtar Galactic Command, Part II

"The Path has, absolutely has: to be forged, not merely followed; alone- quite alone; by the seeker."

- Rex Dutta, Reality of Occult / Yoga / Meditation / Flying Saucers


So who was Rex Dutta? During my early correspondence with Steve, I tried to find information about the man so I wouldn't have to admit that I didn't know who he was. It proved exceedingly difficult. I found his books listed online easily enough, and eventually bought all three titles of his that dealt with the Flying Saucer question - and read them all, but not in the right order. But finding biographical information or even a picture of Rex took a lot of effort. When I asked Steve questions, I could get a lot of personal details about him in regard to his personality - but Steve had questions as well, it seemed. I took it upon myself to find the answers, along the way wrapping my mind around his Theosophical interpretation of the Saucer phenomenon while at the same time building a friendship with Steve over meandering Fortean conversation - what he calls "whibble about dribble". It was clear from the start that Steve had a great admiration for Rex; in one of his many Above Top Secret threads he says "Rex was a personal friend and I guess, it's only in retrospect one realises how much someone took you into their "inner circle" and felt able to speak freely and at length about such subjects. Rex was the mature English gent to my 18 year old wildness and yet, he felt comfortable enough to take me into his confidence." The further I dug into research and the more I whibbled and dribbled about "wyrdshit" with Steve, the more interesting the whole story became...

Rex was born Reginald Sirdir Mohammed Dutta on July 11, 1914, in Lahore, India (modern day Pakistan). His father was Indian, his mother was British. He moved to England with her and his sister in 1926, eventually attending University College London majoring in French and History. He served with British Intelligence during World War II, losing part of his leg from a motorcycle collision during a recognizance mission in France. He claimed to have had lived past lives as a soldier, and this wound, along with his eventual evacuation with many others from Dunkirk, was a sign to him that in this lifetime he was meant to pursue a different path. That path, it seemed, was the rehabilitation and study of fish - his books on fish care are still considered among the best and he had clients all over the world from his business, Fish Tanks LTD. That is until, as mentioned in Part I, he received and read Flying Saucers Have Landed, and shortly thereafter joined the Theosophical Society.

He continued running his business on Blandford St, in London, while also running his magazine "Viewpoint Aquarius" from the same address. He seemed to dive into Theosophy wholeheartedly, while at the same time absorbing much of the contactee literature up to that point - Howard Menger, George Hunt Williamson, George Adamski and others get frequent mentions in his writings. The two subjects may seem very separate and unrelated - one doesn't necessarily picture Flying Saucers when someone mentions Madame Blavatsky - but when dealing purely with the contactees mentioned, Theosophic concepts like Ascended Masters and higher beings align neatly with Venusians, Saturnians, and all manner of Space Brothers. He wrote 23 books in total (there's that mystic number 23!) - 20 about fish, and three about Flying Saucers / Theosophy.

Rex's mentor in the Theosophical Society, the man he considered to be his guru, was Edward L. Gardner. Gardner was an influential writer and lecturer in the English Section of the Theosophical Society, serving as General Secretary in the 1920s. He wrote extensively on fairies, and notably promoted the authenticity od the Cottingley Fairies photos alongside Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He was also among the first to suggest that similarities in Fairy Lore and Flying Saucer contact cases denoted a common source. It's easy to see the direct lineage from Gardner's concepts down to Rex, who would become a well respected voice and subject matter expert himself. The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, a famous series of correspondences channeled by Madame Blavatsky, were held in a trust at the British Museum, and following the death of Chairman of the Mahatma Letters Trust, Judge Christmas Humphreys, in 1983, Rex took on the position. His contributions to the preservation and analyses of this manuscript was greatly appreciated by Theosophists worldwide, who benefited in their studies greatly from his efforts and lectures. 
E. L. Gardner with N. Sri Ram
In 1976 Rex was giving a lecture at City of London Polytechnic (currently City University) on the heels of publishing Reality of Occult / Yoga / Meditation / Flying Saucers, and this is where he met Steve. By Steve's account, Rex strode right up to him with a wide grin and shook his hand firmly saying "So are you psychic because of a natural ability or because of psychotropic drugs?" to which Steve replied, "Surely you should know." Rex burst out laughing and said "You'll do!" and thus began their friendship. The picture Steve paints of that era of UFOlogy and the investigation are strong motivators for me to get to work on a time machine so that I could be a part of it - "I will never forget the 4 of us visiting some country pub in Kent to interview a TV engineer about the incident. Quite what the locals made of two guys in leather jackets and waist length hair accompanied by two elderly and unbelievably well turned out, one was an ex RAF officer handle bar mustache and all, companions I will never know. At times, it was all very Sherlock Holmes and a little like something from a Hammer film." His lifelong interest in UFOs has sustained based on testimony from former military witnesses to phenomena they were never allowed to talk about - men who were honor bound to keep secret the bewildering experiences they had, who really needed validation from an outside source that they weren't entirely alone in these encounters.

Rex and Steve would soon begin investigating the 1971 call from outer space, just before the Ashtar interruption in 1977 occurred. They would investigate that as well! More on that as our story continues in Part III...


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Curious Case of the Fish Doctor and the Man From Ashtar Galactic Command, Part I


"For many years you have seen us as lights in the skies. We speak to you now in peace and wisdom as we have done to your brothers and sisters all over this, your planet Earth."




Unbeknownst to presenter Ivor Mills, a message from Ashtar Galactic Command was broadcast to viewers of the London Weekly News on November 26, 1977...
These two sentences served to introduce viewers of the National News on the evening of November 26, 1977, to Vrillon (or Grahama) of Ashtar Galactic Command. The odd, metallic voice had interrupted the news at 5:12 p.m. and continued for five minutes, overriding the transmitters for everywhere south of the Thames in England. At the very least, this would involve overpowering the signal for five transmitters - no small feat for hijacking pranksters. 

"It covered Kent Surrey Hampshire and parts of Berkshire as far North as Reading, South west to Portsmouth and East right over to Dover" - Firemoon on ATS, October 28 2010

The engineers at the broadcast stations were totally unaware that the signal had been hijacked. Their monitors showed the news broadcast as it should have been. The only reason those at ITV learned that a Flying Saucer Occupant had stolen the show was because of angry and confused viewers calling the stations. Engineers were unable to correct it, and when the representative from Ashtar Galactic Command had said his piece, the regularly scheduled programming returned. Amusingly enough, in at least one video of the event on YouTube, the message ends just in time for the beginning of the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Falling Hare" - the World War II era cartoon in which a gremlin gets the best of Bugs. 

At first glance, it seems like a great prank and a bit of a cultural curiosity. It's reminiscent of the "Max Headroom Incident", a broadcast interruption in 1987 perpetrated by a few industrious early hackers who managed to override the signal from the Sears Tower in Chicago during an episode of Dr. Who. Or so we're told... those responsible for that hijacking were never caught. Such is also the case with the ITV message from the Space Brothers. The other similarity, for whatever it's worth, is both events occurred in late November - the Headroom incident being on the 24th anniversary of the JFK assassination. Everything is significant - even the things that aren't!

But this was the second time British broadcast had been shanghaied by shifty alien beings - and the second time a certain fish doctor had been involved.

On the 8th of January, 1971, Greater London Radio featured a call-in show on the topic of Flying Saucers. Rex Dutta was a guest on the program, having recently published his book Flying Saucer Viewpoint. It is due to Rex that any transcript of this interruption exists - he managed to obtain the tape after the broadcast and a full transcript - along with his commentary - appears in his second book on otherworldly contact, Flying Saucer Message. The tape is long missing, but copies of his book still exist out in the world. And the transcript of the interruption of 71 has an added twist - in this case, the metallic alien voice called in as many listeners had over the course of the program. As opposed to the 1977 television interruption, an active conversation developed between a man only identified as "Assistant Producer" and a Space Brother who failed to give a name, confusingly settling on simply "Sir". (Rex Dutta explains in the book that due to laws regarding libel in the UK at the time, he had been advised against using actual names of the other people involved. It seems a sticking point for him that associating someone with the subject of Venusians, anomalous aircraft, etc, would be considered libel.) 

Rex would later investigate the 1977 Ashtar Galactic Command incident, in the meantime publishing a third book on the subject of UFOs Reality of Occult/Yoga/Meditation/Flying Saucers as well as editing and distributing a magazine called "Viewpoint Aquarius". He ran his magazine from his "bread and butter", as he called it - Fish Tanks LTD, located on Blandford St in London. 





Rex Dutta was a world renowned fish expert, having written 20 books on fish and fish care. In the above video, he is shown as a "self-trained" fish doctor with exotic equipment for nursing fish back to health. On the web page for this video in the Pathe archives, the description of it ends with
"Note: Rex Dutta and his wife Olive (?) Dutta appear in a few Pathe films - 
Who were they? -JH"
Who indeed, JH. Who indeed.

I was fortunate enough to follow this line of inquiry based on the accounts given by someone who knew Rex, and considered him a mentor. Known by some as Firemoon, by others as Rev, he's been known to respond to "oi, you!" and also SteveDoG. For my purposes here, I'll just call him Steve. Steve's invaluable firsthand account of his relationship with Rex Dutta and their joint investigation into the Ashtar Galactic Command broadcast heist led me down a road of curiosity to find out more about the enigmatic fish doctor, UFOlogist, and as it turns out, occultist, Rex Dutta. The interesting thing about the video above, is that it shows him at the precipice of a life-changing event - in 1954, his mother would give him a copy of Flying Saucers Have Landed by George Adamski and Desmond Leslie, and he would shortly thereafter join the Theosophical Society to which his wife and mother both were already involved members. Flying Saucers only make sense, he would contend, through the lens of Theosophy, and his three books on the subject expound this Blavatskyan interpretation of the phenomena in near exhaustive depth. His quirky writing style and enthusiasm make for a fun read, and his recognition of events such as the two broadcast interruptions as "cosmic jokes" allowed him a unique vantage point from which to share the message that "Oneness is". His books are dedicated to the "People of the Web" - designed to be read and understood by those "with eyes to see and ears to hear". 

Steve's investigation along with Rex into the 1977 event is recounted on various threads on ATS and I've spent the better part of the past year looking into the details of Rex's life, and this event in particular. You can read about the time Vrillon spoke to all of South England on various sites, but as Steve would say Rex had connections that allowed him access to people and information that most investigators of UFOs wouldn't get. Suffice to say, the idea that a few pranksters somehow overrode the signal for five separate transmitters covering an area of 1500 square miles would have required a great deal of power and equipment that the average person simply wouldn't have. In one engineer's estimation, according to Steve, "6 flat bed trucks worth of batteries" would have been needed without a commercial power supply. The official story at the time was that perpetrators from Hampshire were "caught and dealt with", but no record exists of such an arrest and their identities remain unknown. Engineers at the stations were told to say "no comment" if asked about the event, under threat of termination from their jobs. Broadcasting personnel that gave information to Steve and Rex did so under conditions of anonymity. 

So what exactly did happen on the night of November 26, 1977, at 5:12 p.m.? Why all the secrecy in both the 1971 and 1977 events? Was Max Headroom also part of Ashtar Galactic Command? I'll attempt to further parse these things out, and also get more into the life and work of Rex Dutta in a series of entries following this one. Our story continues in "The Curious Case of the Fish Doctor and the Man From Ashtar Galactic Command, Part II"...


Sources:

"Fish Heart Beats" - 1953, Pathe films
"Flying Saucer Theosophist" - Pelletier, Rogelle, FOHAT Vol XI, No. 4, Winter 2007
"Hidden Mysteries - Alleged TV and Radio Broadcasts from Space" - Jon Hurst
"Rex Dutta - a Tribute to an Original Theosophist" FOHAT vol XI, No.1 Spring 2007
Flying Saucer Message - Rex Dutta, 1972
abovetopsecret.com

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Of Grumpy Cats and Alternate Realities

On Friday, May 17th, the news hit the internet that celebrity pet and meme legend Grumpy Cat had passed away, due to complications from a urinary tract infection. The famous grouch's owner, Tabatha Bundesen, made the announcement to the cat's thousands of fans through her extensive social media presence. The kitty in question, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, was 7 years old - and accomplished more in her short life than can be expected of most people.

But for some of us - this had all happened before. Some of us experienced a bit of a Mandela Effect moment...


 For my own part, internet memes - cat related or not - occupy little of my attention online. But I couldn't help but feel that I had heard of the passing of Grumpy Cat a few years ago; in fact, I had distinct memories not only of reading a headline, but of reading a short article that remarked on how her condition of feline dwarfism, which contributed to her classic scowl, had also decreased her lifespan. After tweeting this as a passing thought, attributing it to the Mandela Effect while rejecting the possibility that I might just be wrong about something, I found that I wasn't alone in having a memory of Grumpy Cat's demise. Grumpy Cat, for some of us, had died either several years ago or a few months ago... a quick glance at #MandelaEffect on Twitter gave me a better idea of how prevalent this memory is.

I have a distinct ambivalence about the Mandela Effect as a concept. My knee-jerk reaction has generally been that it's an outstanding example of arrogance inherent in Human Nature - that, rather than consider the possibility that some number of people is wrong about the spelling of a title of a children's book series, or how exactly an iconic movie line was delivered, there must by necessity be an alternate dimension or timeline, a temporal shift or some other time/space anomaly responsible. It would be hypocritical of me, however, to dismiss it outright. I've certainly considered crazier ideas. And I have to admit, finding out that Ed McMahon DIDN'T deliver giant checks to peoples' homes gave me a really eerie feeling. I was so certain that I remember seeing it in commercials while idly watching reruns of Gilligan's Island as a kid... To a lesser extent I felt similarly about Grumpy Cat.

One logical explanation for a shared memory of a celebrity cat's demise is that there have been a great many celebrity cats online, several of whom have died. Perhaps we were all remembering a different ubiquitous meme cat's venture into the great beyond? Another famously grumpy looking feline, Colonel Meow - the Guinness Book record holder for cat with the longest fur - died at the age of 2 in 2014. There's a longer list of celebrity or meme related kitties than this blogger cares to enumerate, many of whom have passed on. It's worth considering why the history of the internet (and social media, in particular) is so replete with cat photos and memes. One could argue that cats simply fulfill an archetypal need for our mental health in a data-driven world, wherein we find ourselves awash in a hopeless whirlpool of opinion pieces, bad news, and hoaxes, overwhelmed by the vast sea of information and misinformation that bombards us daily. Grumpy Cat certainly fulfilled this need for many people, who often used her image in memes expressing their dissatisfaction about any number of mundane issues. The image of, and mythology of cats has precedent in many societies throughout the world. It's not surprising that cats would hold such a powerful place within our collective unconscious - down through the ages, cats have occupied some level of metaphysical and emotional space as companions, protectors, and pets. Most obviously the ancient Egyptians held the cats in a place of reverence, and had a goddess in their pantheon named Bast. Bast was the daughter of Ra, and a protector deity.
In other cultures, cats portray a trickster nature and are associated with witches, vampires, and even genies. Black cats, according to superstition, can walk between realities, occupying a liminal territory between one world and another... and of course, in modern physics, there's the often misinterpreted thought experiment of Erwin Schrodinger, who used reductio ad absurdum to illustrate the problems he saw with the Copenhagen Interpretation - that being, when a particle is in an either/or state, it is considered to be both - known as a superposition - until it can be measured. In Schrodinger's example, a cat in a box with a radioactive particle and a flask of poison may either be alive, or dead, but without opening the box to observe, the cat retains equal chances of either state - and thus, according to the quantum view, is both alive and dead. (My apologies to any physicists reading this, I'm not a scientist but I do my best to understand these things...)

So is Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, a modern Bast-like avatar of our era, one capable of shifting all of time and space, one who occupies a position both within the realm of the Living and the realm of the Dead?
Unfortunately, it seems that the solution to this inter-dimensional quandary is much more mundane, as so often regrettably happens. In 2016, a rumor of the death of Grumpy Cat went viral, leading many of us to believe that the iconic puss-faced pussycat had passed on. It wasn't the first time either; in 2013 pranksters on Twitter created a death hoax for April Fool's Day. It would appear that many of us were duped by misinformation either three or six years ago, creating an eerie deja vu effect upon hearing the news this time. In this age of being perpetually bombarded with both good and bad information at an accelerated rate, we can hardly be blamed for the occasional false memory. Of course, this tinkering with perception may very well be causing a rift in reality itself - perhaps the Mandela Effect in this case IS real, while simultaneously a simpler and more logical solution is true. One thing is for sure, we could all use a protector deity like Bast to protect us from a Temporal Rift...

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Some Other Sphere Podcast Appearance


via GIPHY

It's my pleasure to announce that the episode of the podcast Some Other Sphere wherein host Rick Palmer interviewed me about Discordianism is now available for download or streaming wherever you get your podcasts! In a bit of Erisian synchronicity, the release date of May 1st, 2019 coincides with the 243 anniversary of Adam Weishaupt founding the Bavarian Illuminati... All Hail Discordia!



Rick is a great interviewer, and it was a genuine treat to chat with him about Discordian history and philosophy. His podcast is relatively new, but it's very well produced and every episode covers some unique facet of our bizarre reality. I highly recommend any of the episodes he's released!

So give it a listen, won't you?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Clowns to the Left of Me, Joker to the Right...

It's been a weird week, here at the headquarters of your humble Aficionado. I set out to write a nice little analysis of the Joker, of Batman comics fame, and got a bit sidetracked down a rabbit hole of research on the broad subject of clowns... it seems I opened a portal to the Clown Realm, inadvertently. Allow me to explain...

Firstly, I should establish here my personal thoughts on clowns. Growing up, I thought that coulrophobia was equal parts people who joked about fear of clowns, and people who were scarred by the TV miniseries It and its monstrous demon clown Pennywise. I never could relate to the fear of, or even the creep factor of clowns. To me, they're funny; a bit corny and outdated perhaps, but then again so am I. I have a fair amount of cartoons and art that I've drawn featuring clowns, and I'm sometimes dismayed when people think they're creepy. I have great respect for proper clowning as an art form, so if any clowns are reading this - I give you a 21 bicycle horn salute!

That being said, I set out to write about Joker, in anticipation of the anniversary of his first appearance in Batman #1 back in 1940. This triggered the idea for another post about the science behind creepiness with some Phantom Clowns thrown in for good measure. In the process I noticed a few clown synchronicities that I joked about on my Twitter account. Then they started to pile up... I wondered briefly if I should bother writing about this here on the blog late last night, and got an answer from the Clown Realm:
*sigh* Here goes nothing...

I started noticing odd coincidences in doing the research, in conjunction with the #OnThisDay posts I'm fond of doing on Twitter. Jack Nicholson (Joker in Batman, 1989) celebrated a birthday on the first day of really digging into the writing, April 22nd. April 23rd was the birthday of Ruggero Leoncavallo, the man behind the opera Pagliacci - which I was incorporating into a character analysis of the Clown Prince of Crime. On a whim, my creepiness entry included a picture of the creepiest smile I could think of - that of Mr. Sardonicus, the title character of a film by Gimmick King and thriller movie maker William Castle - and then found out Castle's birthday was April 24th.

On the 24th I had a moment of metaphysical hilarity in the form of greeting a woman at her place of work, only to have her ask - without glancing up from her smartphone - "Do you know where I could buy a clown car that leaves a trail of bubbles behind it?" I was a bit bewildered at first, and made sure she was actually talking about an actual clown car. I'm happy to say I think I managed to point her in the right direction, accomplishing my weird deed for the day.

My day-to-day life involves a lot of driving around, so I always make sure I have podcasts to listen to. One day last week, the episode of Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio that I was listening to ended with a discussion about world politics and this phrase - "Clowns run the world". The next day, I was listening to something a little less weird - WTF? with Marc Maron. Wouldn't you know it, during the opening neurotic rambling customary for his program, he read a fan letter - from a clown. The fan went into detail about the therapeutic benefits of Theatrical Clowning. Meanwhile I was in my truck saying to no one in particular "You've GOT to be kidding me!"

It didn't stop there, either, but it did seem to wind down a bit. The whole thing reminded me of an article I had read in an old issue of Fortean Times, by Bob Tarte and Bill Holm *, recounting his year of misadventure being plagued by synchronicity involving a clown named Bobo and the number 22. This sadly doesn't exist online anywhere where I can find it, but parts of it are included here for your perusal. Mr Tarte dealt with the nefarious and enigmatic Bobo for a full year - here's hoping I can avoid this fate and close the clown portal with this blog entry! Conspicuous is the fact that my first observed clown coincidence occurred on Nicholson's birthday - April 22nd...

Friday I went to the X-Filers United! Conference in Warwick, RI, and checked out Greg and Dana Newkirk's Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult. Greg and Dana are every bit as cool as I suspected they'd be; very welcoming, kind, and easy going. I was thrilled to meet them!
I was so thrilled to hang with them that ectoplasm blew out of my left ear. A little embarrassing, but these things happen I suppose...
I mentioned my clown synchronicities to them, for which I immediately felt a bit sheepish. But like I said, they're cool as Hell, and didn't seem to mind me continually coming back to linger at their museum and casually chat with them! The reason I mention any of this is that their collection included two items which caught my eye right away...


Each clown seemed to have a terrifying entity attached to it. Smiley, up top, terrorized college students with its attached "Dog-Eyed Humanoid" that would come out at night... While the clown below was found in a Chicago basement, wrapped in a picture of itself - this one seemed to make some skeletal creature that made cracking and popping noises manifest... Creepy stuff, indeed!

The traveling museum is really quite a wonderful collection of oddities and is worth going out of your way for. Every item inside was fascinating and wonderful. I spent a bit of time with a black scrying mirror, and was relieved that my reflection hadn't grown a clown nose...

That brings me to the weekend - of course I told my son about my clown troubles, which he found hilarious. Saturday afternoon the two of us were chatting with my mother through video chat, when she spontaneously put her phone down - only to pick it up again, surprising me by her and my dad wearing clown noses. Uncanny.

I also realized I had missed the series finale of the TV series Gotham, which aired on April 25th. I'm not sure if it was intentional on the part of the writers and producers of the show, but I suspect it was - that's the date of the anniversary of Joker's first appearance, the thing I set out to research and write about to begin with. And, fittingly enough, the episode - "The Beginning..." - revealed the Joker as we know and love him toward the end.

So now that this is all out there for the whole wide internet to chew on, hopefully these clowns can pile back into their phantom clown car and hit that cosmic freeway back to the Clown Realm from whence they came. I can close the Clown Portal and move forward, and write about something else next week. Anything else. Clowns never creeped me out before, but I gotta say they've been trying real hard this week!
Pictured: Clown College Drop-Out
* Bob Tarte has reached out to correct me on the attribution of his authorship of the article "A Circle of Clowns" from Fortean Times. He co-authored it with Bill Holm, who he says did the bulk of the writing. Weirdly enough, Holm also shared a birthday with Jack Nicholson - April 22nd! Bob is a real nice guy and the author of books such as Enslaved by Ducks and Kitty Cornered. Go check them out!