Interview with Brent Raynes
by Brad Steiger
About the interviewer: BRAD STEIGER hardly needs an introduction. He has authored and co-authored 154 books and is still going strong. I was reading his articles and books when I entered the field back in the 1960s, and I still find what he has to say and write both fascinating and thought-provoking. Within the field of ufology he has contributed such classics as UFOs Are Here, The Star People, Star Born, Revelation: The Divine Fire, Gods of Aquarius, The Aquarian Revelations, Strangers From The Skies, and the current Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places. To read and learn more about Brad Steiger (as well as his wife and also author Sherry, with whom he coauthors the Miracle series for Adams) visit their website at: www.bradandsherry.com
Brad Steiger: What was your main purpose in writing your book?
Brent Raynes: I wanted to share what my own years of UFO research and investigations had revealed for me. As I see it, the average UFO book fails to adequately explore the depth and complexity of this enigma. Only by taking in a comprehensive global perspective, as well as a historical one that predates the modern UFO era, often by many centuries, can we gain genuine discernment and perspective on this situation.
Brad Steiger: How long have you researched the paranormal/UFO mysteries?
Brent Raynes: As a young lad of fourteen, way back in 1967, I first became seriously bitten by the UFO bug, and I’ve been active in this field and obsessed with the subject ever since. Initially, I pretty much embrassed the standard “nuts and bolts” extraterrestrial theory as the most logical explanation for UFOs.
Brad Steiger: What sparked or prompted your interest in UFOs and the paranormal?
Brent Raynes: It all really began with the first book I read on the UFO subject, which was Flying Saucers–Serious business, written by Frank Edwards. The accounts in his book of pilots, astronomers, and police officers, and other credible sounding eyewitnesses describing extraordinary structured alien crafts pretty much did it for me and seemed to demolish conventional explanations. Within a short time I had become deeply obsessed with all of this and read everything I could get my hands on. Soon I was attracted to the writings of pioneers and original thinkers and theorists like John Keel, Prof. Jacques Vallee, and some dude named Brad Steiger! These notable writers and others introduced me to thought-provokingly new and alternative aspects and possibilities. For example, apparitional and psychic elements in UFO close encounter and entity cases. One of the first contactees I met and interviewed was a Canadian lady by the name of Joan Howard. Joan lived in Toronto, and I met her back in August 1971. I had read about her in your book, Brad. The Aquarian Revelations. Also, I should mention, that back in the late 1960s I became a contributor to Saucer Scoop magazine edited by Joan Whritenour, a researcher who co-authored a number of books and articles with you back in those days. Back then, in fact, you and I both served on Saucer Scoop’s board of directors, although we hadn’t been formally introduced yet.
Brad Steiger: Does any member of your family share this interest?
Brent Raynes: My wife Joan (there’s been a lot of Joan’s in my life!) had some personal UFO experiences herself back in the early 1970s.We had entered into correspondence and then a Tennessee man named Stanley Ingram, who didn’t live far from Joan, began writing a newspaper column describing UFO stories he had collected from local citizens in his area. In the summer of 1975, I was traveling around the country interviewing people and gathering information, and so came down and visited Joan, and we went over and met Mr. Ingram, listened to his stories, and visited and talked with some of his more interesting witnesses.
Brad Steiger: Do you or any member of your family have paranormal talents or abilities?
Brent Raynes: I think we’ve all evolved a little more psychically, and pay more attention to our hunches, dreams, and so forth. In recent years, since visiting and meditating at Native American sacred sites in our area, Joan has gotten where she often sees something like an aura or energy field around people.
Brad Steiger: Have you or any member of your family witnessed anything like a ghost or had ESP experiences?
Brent Raynes: We’ve all had apparent psychic experiences of various sorts.
Brad Steiger: What area of paranormal/UFO research interests you the most?
Brent Raynes: I’m pretty much interested and open to the whole paranormal realm–telepathy, psychokinesis, out-of-body experiences, near death visions, hauntings, angels, etc.
Brad Steiger: Why do you think that is?
Brent Raynes: Besides the fact that it causes us to ponder our lives, our world and what may exist beyond this dimension, time and time again you find witnesses to UFO close encounter and entity situations who are also prone to extraordinary psychic experiences. There definitely seems to be a strong connection. The entities, the vast majority of the time, seem to communicate with the witnesses by a powerful form of telepathy. After an encounter many witnesses describe how their psychic abilities or experiences seem enhanced. People even report poltergeist experiences following their UFO encounters.
Brad Steiger: What role do you believe dreams to play in the larger scope of paranormal/UFO phenomena?
Brent Raynes: Dreams can be extremely important and contain revealing, hidden clues. Sometimes repressed information seems to rise up from ones dreams. Also following many of these encounters unusual dreams manifest. I encourage people to pay attention to their dreams and to even keep a journal. I’ve done journaling for years now and one is often surprised at the kinds of information and patterns that emerge from paying attention to your dreams. Even precognitive materials emerge from them, as well as shared dream information and extraordinary synchronicities.
Brad Steiger: How would you determine whether an alleged witness of UFO paranormal phenomena experienced a vivid dream or had an actual physical encounter?
Brent Raynes: As stated in my book, Visitors From Hidden Realms, lucid dreams and out-of- body experiences share certain characteristics, and researchers of both are still struggling to define and understand both occurrences. In fact, many prominent ufologists now believe that many “abductees” and other UFO experiencers do have extraordinary out-of-body experiences. John Keel even speculated that some mysterious lights in the night sky might actually be luminous astral travelers! Ray Fowler found a great deal of these kinds of incidents in his investigation into the Betty Andreasson Luca abduction case. Ann Druffel was hypnotizing an abductee who described looking back and seeing her physical body still on the bed. Abductee Sandy Nichols has recently been sharing with me his repeated out-of-body experiences.
As to distinguishing a set boundary between memories of an astral encounter, lets say, and a definite physical encounter–it’s not always so easy for the experiencer to distinguish the difference. I remember one night thinking that I was in my physical body walking towards the bedroom door, then something held me back (I didn’t see anything), but all of a sudden there were these tiny pulsating orbs of white light–lots of them–a few feet out in the hallway from me. Then, just like that, I was back in my bed–everything back to normal. Over the years, I have wondered: was it a lucid dream, a vision, or an out-of-body experience? Again there were some synchronistic things that followed, and it did come to mean something to me.
Researchers have noted though that it seems in many instances you have a report of a physical object or craft at a distance, and the closer one gets to it then the stranger the story often becomes. In fact, it has been called the Oz Factor. The descriptions of many witnesses suggest that they entered into an altered state of consciousness when they were close to these objects. Often a hypnotic type state, it seems. Interestingly, and this shouldn’t be the case, but most abductees, if regressed under hypnosis for more information and details, are the vast majority of the time found to be excellent deep trance subjects. This simply should not happen in an average cross section of people.
Brad Steiger: Could many so-called UFO abductions in actuality be some kind of mystical or out-of-body experience?
Brent Raynes: Yes, I think so. I believe there are too many similarities and parallels. Like all of the similarities between our modern alien abductions by the greys and stories going back centuries about similar activities attributed to the Moslem Jinn, the Celtic little people, the Native American Trickster, etc., etc. All of this is gone into in a good deal of detail in my book.
Brad Steiger: What relationship might exist between shamanistic trance states and the ability to view spirit or “alien”entities?
Brent Raynes: I really got interested in that question years ago. Back in 1976 and 1977, I corresponded with and visited a Susquehannock medicine man in Pennsylvania who told me about ancient beings he called the “Yuh-dush-gwa” who even appeared to him from a UFO that landed in his backyard, and they came into his house. He explained to me about Native American prayer mounds, how they were to be used, how often spirit can manifest to you at such places, and how crystals buried in such mounds also acted as beacons for UFOs. He saw UFOs as not only interplanetary but as “spirit” also. My wife and I both had unusual experiences in his presence, and I know of others. He was a very interesting man.
Over the years, we have met many others on the Red Road and participated in numerous ceremonies and visited many ancient and sacred sites. Our Native American friend Wanda “Dove” Tice has introduced us to some of our most recent life lessons, and really brought the Peruvian mysteries into focus for me. Her experiences are gone into in a good deal of detail in my book.
As to the relationship, Native American people have an extraordinary amount of star lore, about mysterious and supernatural beings from the stars who long ago came to earth. The best documented examples would, of course, be the Hopi Indians of the American Southwest and their stories and traditions of the Kachina spirits, and their complex and preserved history and prophecies.
Brad Steiger: Have you personally undergone a mystical experience of any kind–a vision, an illumination, a sense of oneness with the universe?
Brent Raynes: I have had rare occasions for me where I did have an experience that was rather mystical or spiritual in content. That experience with the pulsating orbs of light, which happened to me back in 1975, occurred at a significant juncture in my life where I was struggling very hard to come to terms with things spiritual.
Another time, back in December 1999, a couple of weeks following my own Peruvian whistling vessel ceremony and meditation with Bonita Luz, I had awakened one morning and saw a mysterious glow of colored light (orange-red as I recall) at the foot of my bed, and had a physical sensation and a vision too, and what really impressed me later was when I learned from my daughter (who had also been present during the whistling vessel ceremony) that she had shared details about an unusual dream with her mom a couple or so days before. She hadn’t told it to me, but after my dream/vision experience (or whatever it was) there was no doubt to me that it was connected. But how? Why? For what purpose? I still haven’t figured it out.
Brad Steiger: Do you believe that one can prepare him/herself for alien or spirit contact? Is it advisable to do so?
Brent Raynes: Yes, there are many techniques and methods for initiating such contact or opening oneself up to such things. But as you asked, is it advisable to do so? Especially when so many of these experiences have been perceived as creating a real disturbance or imbalance in the lives of many experiences–even traumatic, very emotionally upsetting incidents. Ufologist Ann Druffel was even moved to write a book to help abductees to use defensive strategies against these entities.
I certainly think that techniques for achieving spiritual levels of prayer and meditation are without any doubt good for everyone and should be a part of everyone’s recipe for a healthy life. However, as with everything, ones intentions or motivations may dictate the direction, outcome, or certainly the advisability of embarking upon certain aspects of such a journey. As my friend and colleague Dr. Greg Little pointed out to me years ago about the Native American vision quest ceremony, often in the beginning the Trickster would appear to the quester and seek to delude or mislead him. Therefore, it is always wise to “test the spirits” and to be focused and purified in your own intentions and motivations in order to avoid being distracted from the correct path of truth and light. From this perspective, by listening carefully and discerningly to the experiences of these witnesses, you can often tell where they’re at psychically and spiritually. There are a number of different levels. Greg used the Betty Andreasson Luca case to illustrate how in the beginning her greys were the classic Trickster forms, and as her case evolved, and with the therapeutic and caring help and guidance of competent investigators, she reached higher and more fulfilling spiritual levels of comprehension and awareness.
Brad Steiger: Have you ever encountered what you believe to have been negative [evil] entities in your research?
Brent Raynes: Yes. In fact, one time my wife, who is part Native American, went through the entire house smudging it with sage to banish a negative energy or presence that at that time seemingly had descended upon our house. This had followed a visit from a person who was on the Native American path, but seemed to be involved in or practicing things he shouldn’t have been, so after some strange and disturbing events in our home, we decided it was time to take action.
Brad Steiger: Have authentic instances of UFO contact been made?
Brent Raynes: Yes, I am convinced that there are thousands of instances of these events from all over the world. As described in my book, perhaps some of the strongest evidence for such has occurred in recent years down in Peru. Of course, there are those who wear psychological blinders and dismiss the evidence no matter how much of it gets accumulated. I recall how years ago, I wrote in my journal that thousands of contact experiencers would one day come forward but that evidence would still not sway the skeptics, and that’s what has now happened. After Whitley Strieber’s Communion and Budd Hopkins’s Intruders thousands came out of the woodwork. Still the stories are dismissed. So, as my Native American friend Wanda “Dove” Tice said about truth, “It is according to who is telling the story”!
Brad Steiger: Have the world governments covered up large portions of the UFO mystery? If so, for what purpose have they kept the truth from the masses?
Brent Raynes: I think that certain people in our own government were interested in the technology and science that seemed to be evident in such instances. You know, the “electromagnetic effect” cases, instances of cars being stalled, people being temporarily paralyzed, and other neat effects that any military would love to get their hands on. From the disclosures about the remote viewers we know that our government/military was interested in using such potential science of the mind against our enemies. There seemed (as outlined in my book) a lot of military interest in cases of Brazilian natives being “zapped” by light beams from UFOs back in the 1970s. I wonder if certain alien intelligences have staged encounters for the benefit of our militaries in order to demonstrate to them certain things about them that they wanted known. Perhaps they were wanting to nudge certain directions and developments within our own evolving military technologies. But why? Doesn’t that go counter to a “non-interference directive” as popularized on Star Trek, and generally how we perceive such “visitors” should behave?
As that acclaimed journalist Bob Pratt told me in his interview there’s just a lot of things that don’t really make sense to us or that really add up about these things. Often it appears to be reflective, as John Keel pointed out over three decades ago. It almost seems to reflect back at us our expectations of it–of our acculturated and scientific comprehension of reality. Professor Jacques Vallee called it a “control system” that seemed bent on interacting, conditioning, and presumably manipulating our belief systems.
Brad Steiger: Do you believe that the UFO visitors will ever openly declare themselves to the citizens of earth?
Brent Raynes: Certainly an invasion doesn’t seem imminent. These mysterious objects and entities have been appearing to us for many, many centuries. The Bible contains all sorts of UFO reports within its pages, and so do many other ancient historical accounts. Eventually, if we continue to progress scientifically as a species, our explorations into outer space will have to bring us face-to-face with extraterrestrial beings. But I wonder if it will be like something I recall John Keel wrote once that we will both have stories to share about similar puzzling visitations to their world as we’ve experienced on ours.
I hope and feel like something eventually has got to give, but who can say exactly when and how that will happen. This has all been going on now for so very long. Some look for the prophecies of great change in 2012 to possibly usher in such an event, but no one can say for certain what 2012 will or will not bring.
Brad Steiger: What are your spiritual/religious views–and do you believe there is any link between acceptance of the paranormal and more orthodox religious views? Do you see any conflict between study/acceptance of the paranormal and more orthodox religious views?
Brent Raynes: We all talk about the same kinds of things–same kinds of experiences and such–but we often place a variety of conflicting interpretational and belief-oriented obstructions in the way of meaningful and mutual dialogue. Perhaps the UFO experiences are designed by some intelligence to breakdown our intellectual barriers of resistance and to get us to question certain fixed notions and ideas that we have become mired up in. After all, the UFO experiencer often undergoes great psychological and psychic inner changes, and it affects his worldview–his spiritual beliefs and so forth–and as such accounts are shared and passed on to the greater society at large other changes–cultural, scientific, and spiritual–may gradually occur. I think we are beginning to see this happen. There seems to be a growing acceptance of UFO and paranormal phenomena, and an increased receptiveness to the theories and implications of such events.
Brad Steiger: What do you hope that your readers will discover when they read your book?
Brent Raynes: A deeper appreciation for the complexities that surround this mystery of so-called UFOs or “flying saucers.” I also hope that they’ll feel a certain measure of awe and wonderment at it all, and that it will hopefully inspire as many of them as possible in some way on their own life quest and search for truth, answers, and the proverbial light.