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UFOs: “It Defies Language!” Reviewed

Back in 2006, Greg Bishop and I were invited to take part in a new venture of the ufological kind. It went by the name of UFOMystic. Basically, it was a website where me and Greg were given free rein to write about whatever crossed our minds, providing it was on the subject of UFOs. And, for several years, we did exactly that – and pretty much on a daily basis, too. Our content ranged from reviews to articles, and news items to lengthy features, the latter sometimes split over a couple of days. But, as is the case with all things, UFOMystic ultimately came to an end and the site was closed down. Now, however, it’s back, in book format. The title: It Defies Language! Essays on UFOs and Other Weirdness.

When, some months ago, Greg called to let me know he had secured the rights to all of his old UFOMystic material, I told him that was great news. It’s still great news! Over the several years that Greg wrote for the site, we got to see some of his best, most thought-provoking, work. Collectively, it challenged the reader to confront new and radical concepts when it came to the UFO enigma. It offered alternative scenarios for classic cases. But, most important of all, it made people think outside of what passes for the ufological box. And to think carefully, too.

I first met Greg (the host of Radio Misterioso) back in 1998, at the Laughlin, Nevada-based UFO Congress. I was, however, already quite familiar with his early work. Back in the nineties, I used to regularly receive Greg’s The Excluded Middle magazine from the late Bob Girard’s Arcturus Books. Then, in 2005, we were treated to Project Beta; it was a full-length study from Greg of the controversy-filled Paul Bennewitz/”Dulce Base” saga. Weird California followed in 2006. In other words, Greg has had a longstanding involvement in Ufology – often at the heart of it. All of which made him the ideal person for UFOMystic.

Greg Bishop

Greg Bishop

If this is your first exposure to Greg’s work, you’re in for a major treat. And if you’re someone who read Greg’s work first time around, well, you’re still in for a treat. As well as the original content, Greg has brought completely new material to the table, too – none of which disappoints, and all of which adds something extremely valuable to the UFO debate. As for the style of the book, Greg splits it into specific sections, an approach which works very well.

Section 1 is titled “You Play The Game, Or You Get Nothing – Government, Spies, Etc.” This is a great way to start the book. It’s comprised of Greg’s many articles on infiltration and manipulation of the UFO research community by those who work in the shadowy, Machiavellian world of espionage. Greg knows a great deal about this and treats us to his thoughts on (and his friendship with) Bil Moore, co-author with Charles Berlitz of the 1980 book, The Roswell Incident. The Serpo controversy, Ufologists who may have been recruited by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, Twin Peaks, and the aforementioned Dulce Base all feature prominently in a section of the book that makes it abundantly clear that “the government” is as interested in ufologists as much as it is in UFOs – but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

Section two, “I Was There! I Swear! – First Person Stuff” is pretty much self-explanatory. Greg shares with us his own experiences in the UFO field. That includes Greg’s very own UFO encounter, meeting DMT expert Rick Strassman, weird dreams (Twin Peaks pops up again), remote-viewing experiments, and much more. Like a lot of people in Ufology, Greg regularly finds himself in intriguing and, at times, surreal situations.

That section is followed by “People Make This World – Friends, Historical Figures, Weirdos and Others.” This is one of my favorite sections of the book. It includes great nuggets of material – such as a conversation between Greg and Whitley Strieber concerning the occasions upon which William Burroughs visited Strieber to discuss alien abductions. Long-gone “Long” John Nebel makes an appearance, as does the story of how me and Greg once paid a visit to the grave of Paul Bennewitz – the central figure in Greg’s Project Beta book. Pamela Stonebrooke and Karla Turner are two figures in Ufology (Turner is now deceased, unfortunately) that Greg came to know first as acquaintances and soon as friends. And we get to learn about the sinister mail-tampering episode involving Greg and Karla. And let’s not forget the hilarious sections on Erik Beckjord and Howard Menger – both now gone.

“Doomed To Repeat It – Historical Perspectives” offers solid and good insight from Greg as to how Ufologists can learn much from studying UFOs in the past. Not just entertaining, this portion of the book is a lesson in learning. “Weirdness Unbound – Other Phenomena,” is a fine collection of articles on suitably Fortean phenomena, including the paranormal aspects of the Crop Circle phenomenon, Bigfoot and UFOs, the matter of the “Rods” controversy, and the Black-Eyed Children issue.

UFO Abduction

Section 6, “Everybody Has One – Opinions,” is the place to go to find out how and why opinions and beliefs play such huge (but, all too often, irrelevant and overblown) roles in Ufology. You can get a good idea of this section’s theme from the titles of Greg’s articles: “Why Should Anyone Be Interested In UFOs?” “How Should Ufology Be Changed?” “Inconvenient Facts About Abductions” and “Anti-Structure In Ufology.”

“Throwing Stuff At The Wall/Running It Up The Flagpole Etc. – Theory” is a solid and varied section and contains what is, for me, one of Greg’s most important articles: “Are UFOs A Cosmic Art Project?” As Greg notes: “For the past couple of years I have been giving a lecture called ‘The 1950s Contactees: Charlatans, or Unrecognized Art Movement?’ In the talk, I discuss the activities of the Contactees and their prodigious output of writing, drawings, paintings and artifacts, and how these can be considered creative ways to get a message across.” This article, alone, may make you take a new look at the issue of alleged alien/human contact.

Section 8, “Connections, Conspiracies, And Cut-Ups” treats us to a varied body of articles: William Burroughs surfaces again, and there’s the curious matter of how certain names (Heflin and Doty being two of them) seem to crop up more than others in Ufology. And let’s not forget all those Contactees named George: Van Tassel, Hunt Williamson, Adamski, and King. Finally, we have a really good section that goes by the title of “Secret Codes From Space – Alien Writing.” This is a subject Greg has a deep interest in. I know, as we have had more than a few discussions about the subject. The Roswell “hieroglyphics” are highlighted, as is the work of Dr. Mario Pazzaglini, – a man whose theories and findings Greg came to appreciate greatly.

So, what you have here, from the UFOMystic days (and more too), is Greg on a roll, flowing with thoughts and ideas. Not thoughts and ideas that he just wanted to share, but, arguably, that he needed to share. This is Greg inspired; this is Greg on fire. Now, go read.

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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