Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Wait... What?!

Feschino, foreground right, at the "TREE" taking samples
for analysis with a MUFON STAR team.  
Analysis was inconclusive...


Wait... What?!


In 2004 I was fresh from a substantive and emotionally messy donnybrook of the ufological kind. This regrettable kerfuffle, involving the man called Mortellaro, was the result of a knowing betrayal of my trust—neatly and before the fact—a betrayal as regards some kind of corporeal thread or inroad into this thing we're all interested in involving UFOs.

I'd bet on the wrong horse, frankly, and been humiliatingly hoaxed. Husband, father, grandfather, Air combat Veteran, Retired Army officer, Master Army Aviator, Summa college graduate, and aspiring writer of non-fiction, I was once burned, now, and maybe three times shy.

Decidedly, I was not ripe for any subsequent story the likes of the "Flatwoods Monster": ostensibly, a green and claw-handed forest Nixie sporting a sweet-sixteen skirt and Darth Vader cape—a cape tricked out with a collar high in the back like a big ace of spades.

Hugely unlikely.  One would think.

It was like something from of a bad Flash Gordon knock-off, sincerely—that, in 1952, while shooting red beams from its moribund eyes and oozing evil smelling gas, had "spooked a bunch of hillbillies in the hills of West Virginia."  Remarkably unremarkable!

I was a fool, eh? Yes, yes I was.  I'd been a fool for Mortellaro.  Now I was all set to err in the other direction... Such are the uninformed, always judging a book by its cover or first authoritative seeming explanation.

I now know Frank Feschino and have known him... well, even when I didn't know I knew him, actually.  We'd met even not introduced.  Stanton Friedman would take care of that later.  I digress.

At a Project Awareness UFO Conference last Century in 1996, there-abouts, Feschino embarrassed me, a tad, in front of Stanton Friedman. The reader thinks, perhaps, that this might put your writer even further "off" the silly Flatwoods tale. It certainly could have. I'd likely never have bought Frank's book and perhaps even written Stanton Friedman off .  I would have served myself ill, doing that, as it turned out.

The story briefly: after meeting Friedman for the first time and making the classic blunder of calling him "Doctor Friedman," and after suffering the obligatory admonishment not to do so—"No Free Degrees"—I rather juvenily gushed that I had been "following him for years." Frank, sitting at Friedman's book table, immediately quipped, "Hey Stan, it's lookin' like you might need another one of those restrainin' orders." There was some small laughter in the large group around Friedman. I hope I didn't go—too pathetically—red.  I was nonplussed.  General Officers didn't mock me like that, even caught short...

...Meh. I sucked it up.

The years ticked by. Well passed the Project Awareness conference I continued to "follow" Stanton Friedman—along with my (then) "triad" of Ufological Stalwarts Robert Hastings and Richard Dolan explained below—discovering along the way that Stanton Friedman was cultivating an interest in a convoluted affair regarding that same "Flatwoods Monster" mentioned above.  Luckily for us both I didn't know the guy who huckle-berried me in front of Friedman was the "Flatwoods Guy," at all, or these words would have perhaps never been written. I don't know. I don't aspire to the petty, but I could be petty sometimes, regrettably.

Though, it remained, my incredulity and disappointment with Friedman over this Flatwoods affair was, well... profound. C'mon!  At dawning blush the Flatwoods affair was "wild blueberry" and "horse-muffin" nuts! ...Though, real irony is the subsequent discovery that the stark and very citation heavy and so very demonstrated reality, corporeality, and existentiality of the Flatwoods tale, reader, is even more nuts.  It works like that sometimes.  Wait... what?!

We were all into the cynical new Century, 9/11 was behind us even if a still fresh wound, and I, as already alluded, was still raw with my own wounds wrought of a virulent hoaxer's singularly psychopathic betrayal... ...but it was Stanton, freakin', Friedman, reader! I was intrigued and I owed Stan the benefit of a reasoning doubt!

Still!  What possible interest could Stanton Friedman have in a bunch of uneducated hillbillies who can't tell a space monster—and a stupid looking one, at that—from a barn owl... ...even if a battle ready battalion of men and equipment were dispatched to the area—immediately, boat to bazookas—to deal with it.  Wait... what?!

Reader, that only begins the "disconnect," eh? Entirely, then, on the unsettling recommendation of Stanton Friedman, I wrote Frank and asked him for a review copy of his book. I had to see what it was about and what could compel a man like Friedman to get so hard behind Frank's book that he'd even write the foreword and afterword to same, himself! Tractor and Caboose!

Enticed to the edge of this shiny "new" rabbit hole, then, and cutting to the chase, I promptly found ample reason to dive in, headlong. See, what I discovered in the long fall were not "uneducated hillbillies spooked by haunts in the mountains" but responsible, adequately educated, and wholly with-it country people—people who knew what a freakin' barn owl was by God—and people who thought they were either effecting a rescue on some kind of a crashed plane covered in flames, or they were picking up pieces of a meteorite ...silently... falling to Earth.  UFOs were a distant third on that list.  Wait... what?!

The reader discovers "Wait... what?!" becoming a familiar refrain. Here's four more: that there was (1) an almost immediate and very back-door stealth-employed astoundingly heavy and immediate military involvement at the site, (2) that the area was swamped in the days ahead with tens of thousands of the compelled curious, (3) that the case was heavily featured in the Air Force's then classified Project Blue Book in corresponding but different locations and then (4) obsessed over by the media of that time... ...all this begs the question as to exactly what did occur in those hills immediately south of Flatwoods on September 12th, 1952. There is much, much more, reader, than can even be alluded to in this piece. Buy.  The.  Book!

Famed researcher Ivan Sanderson wrote in that same Flatwoods antiquity that something occurred on that fateful night, but that what occurred was "part of an unknowably big picture" he couldn't glean or get a perspective on. Feschino, frankly, has gleaned that perspective and has perceived the big picture!

What Feschino has painstakingly compiled since 1996 is a mass of Data Points revealed from reliable military and civilian sources. These indicated something surpassed the "requirements to enter the unlit and unhallowed black-felt halls of the highly strange," reader... a bizarre tale of the harassed occupants of UFOs shot from the sky by the Air Forces of the United States... on the authority of official orders to shoot those UFOs down when our forces encountered them! Wait, it gets weirder than that.

In and of these data points, comparatively unremarkable and ufologically prosaic when taken by themselves—much like dabs of pointillistic paint—as one zooms out from them in reflection on their obvious relationship to each other, remember, they actually paint a picture in the corporeal as compelling and as detailed as the Mona Lisa. The image is there. The "Monster" is real.

Moreover, the Flatwoods Monster Affair is a "myth," reader, only in as much as a wholesale fiction—which the Flatwoods story only resembles—would already be forgotten, right?  See, a Myth is only a myth—as the late and renowned educator Joseph Campbell took pains to point out—because there is an existential reality there at the taproot, a reality providing the support and substantiation required to power it forward through time from its hoary beginning!  The Flatwoods Monster incident is a highly strange reality, reader. Let a truly intrepid Frank Feschino lead you through it.

Closing, I had remarked about a "triad" of UFO researchers above, who, when taken together are so compelling about the reality of the UFO that one cannot read their books without being given pause on the very stark and corporeal actuality of same. That "triad" is now a "quadrature," reader. Frank Feschino—with top marks for seriousness, sobriety, and intelligent succinctness—is now chiseled indelibly on my own ufological Mount Rushmore. Read this book to see for yourself and be astounded. Be—very—astounded.

Friedman, Feschino, Hastings, and Dolan

Oh, and Frank, as we say in Alabama: "I got'cher 'restrainin' order, ri-cheer!" [big grin].

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