Reality Checking

with Brent Raynes


Way back in 1967, with the publication of psychiatrist Jule Eisenbud’s book, The World of Ted Serios, about the “thoughtographic”studies of an unemployed and alcoholic Chicago bellhop who, nonetheless it seems, could unaccountably produce Polaroid pictures of people and places by photographing blank walls, or staring into the camera lens. Even UFOlogy’s own Dr. J. Allen Hynek participated in one of the experimental sessions described in this thought-provoking “thoughtographic” book. I recall reading somewhere where even Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO speculated about the possible significance of the so-called Serios Effect and UFO/photo evidence that sometimes seemed to contradict eyewitness recollections. It was interesting in going back through Eisenbud’s book recently to read his speculations on how some of the pictures Serios had taken were of places where it seemed they had to be shot from the air, and this made Dr. Eisenbud free associate about descriptions of out-of-body experiences often being this way, and how the ancient earthworks of Ohio could only be appreciated from such a perspective (a point that predated earth mysteries writer Paul Devereux by quite a few years).

My own interest in psychic photography goes back a few years. I am originally from Maine, and it was there back in 1972 that I paid a number of visits to a well-known psychic photographer (Richard Veilleux, Waterville, ME) and got to examine dozens of his original Polaroid pictures and to talk with him about the experiments and experiences that he and his family had. He had been in close telephone contact with Dr. Eisenbud, and even had visited him out in Colorado.

I have lost contact with a lot of people over the years. Richard Veilleux is, regrettably, one of them. Dr. Berthold Schwarz is one of the few researchers from the olden days with whom I’ve maintained continued contact. He seems to have been in touch with just about everyone who was anyone in parapsychology, including Dr. Eisenbud. Dr. Schwarz has long emphasized in his work the importance of experimental efforts wherein photographic anomalies that may be “thoughtographic”or psychokinetic (or whatever) in nature can be documented. One such case that he worked on quite extensively and wrote a lot about was of Stella Lansing, a Massachusetts UFO photographer. Thanks to Dr. Schwarz, I and my friend Jim Carey were given permission to visit Mrs. Lansing and view her many movie films and to skywatch with her. Although I didn’t come to agree with all of the interpretations given for what the photographic evidence contained, there certainly was plenty to mull over and further scientific inquiry certainly seemed justified. In fact, as synchronicity would have it, it was after the return from our first trip to Stella’s (January 1974), possibly the very same morning (I was later to learn) that an aunt of mine (who lived a short distance down the hill from me) saw a circle of white lights (surrounded by another circle of white lights) moving through the early morning sky.

Undoubtably this nostalgic journey down memory lane was directly inspired by my recent interview with Alexander Zikas (this issue of AP). His descriptions of his own field investigations, sightings and photographic anomalies takes me back, and I realize, all too clearly, how little I know on the subject these three decades later since my meetings with Richard Veilleux.

The Yakima Indians, UFOs, and Bigfoot

One UFO “window” location has been the Yakima Indian Reservation in Yakima, Washington. One researcher who spent much time gathering and documenting information there was the late Chief Fire Control Officer Willard Vogel. Besides UFOs, Bigfoot was also seen there. In 1977, Vogel shared these comments with a fellow researcher: “The Indians are most reluctant to speak of such encounters. Actually, they look upon Big Foot as a friend and seem to have somewhat of a kinship with them. I have come across several instances of BF leading lost Indians to safety in the last several years and found the stories to be credible. The older Indians in particular can expound for hours on various such happenings. I have only documented those in which I personally knew the parties concerned and which a not too great time span had elapsed.” The National Enquirer (11-07- 78) carried a story about the Yakima UFO sightings, as well as the high number of UFO reports from the Ute Indian Reservation in northeastern Utah. The article quoted one Virginia B. Martin, described as a former lecturer on Indian languages at Central Washington State College in Ellensburg, as saying that there was an Indian legend of a man with red eyes and incredible healing powers who had come from afar to live with the tribe. When he grew old and was dying, he asked that upon his death his body be taken to a certain place. When this happened, a large flying object descended and took his body off with it.

I recall when I met Dr. Hynek in person, at his Illinois home back in September 1972, that he mentioned how he was quite interested in the Yakima sightings.

Again, three decades later... How much more do we really know?

Water Monsters!

Are there interdimensional windows through which creatures/intelligences/energies from other realms appear to us? Or do intelligences from other time-space continuums deliberately manipulate their appearances (to borrow, once again, John Keel’s ultraterrestrial concept) to conform to our acculturated expectations? If so, they may be amused to watch us going off into different directions as we try to investigate and understand these things. After all, you have the pseudo-science of UFOlogy, you have the Bigfoot hunters, and - oh ya, the water monsters! These things are often reported in the same “window”areas.


One popped up (literally it seems) in the St. Johns River near Jacksonville, Florida, around an area where I had been investigating UFO and entity reports for a couple of years. Five people in a fishing boat were frightened on the morning of May 10, 1975, by a kind of...well, a sea monster.

“We saw it had a neck about 3 feet long,”Mrs. Dorothy Abram told me. “It had two little horns on top of the head like a snail.”She described the head as about the size of a human head. Mrs. Brenda Langley had seen it more than Mrs. Abram had. “It was about three or four feet out of the water and about the color - a pinkish color - like boiled shrimp,”she told me. “It had a real ugly looking face on it. It had snail like horns, and it had this little jagged thing going down its back. ...The head turned on it. It just turned and looked around at us.”

F. W. Holiday, one of the top researchers on the legendary Loch Ness Monster, concluded that Nessie had more in common with classical “dragon”lore than the existence of a literal breathing and living creature lurking in the murky depths of the Scottish loch. In 1973, an Anglican exorcist conducted an exorcism there and many strange paranormal events reportedly happened for several days afterwards (including an MIB-type encounter by Holiday himself!) Interestingly, noted occult practitioner Aleister Crowley had rented a house on the shores of Loch Ness just a few years before several well-known Nessie sightings occurred in 1933, which kicked off the modern era of this phenomenon. While living there Crowley reportedly conducted an “intense series of magical rituals.”

Ah yes, tis strange waters and lands we be passing through. Again, what does it all mean? Do we make plastic casts of their footprints, shoot them with our cameras or with guns, harpoon ém, or should we exorcise them?

Could we get any more divided in our logic, our strategies, and in our beliefs? How do we assess something objectively that may so convincingly play up to our deep-seated subjective fears, beliefs, and expectations for what is reality?

The investigators of things UFOlogical and cryptozoological, if they strive to discern the real truth, walk a real tight rope between the subjective and the objective. Most of them seem, I have noted though, to unconsciously wallow in the bed of their convictions, emotionally guided by what they accept to be true and real. Conveniently enough, none of us can prove much of anything definite yet, so it’s a fertile grounds for convictions and beliefs to grow.

Cautious psychological introspection is about the only thing to keep us on a fairly steady course. God help us each and everyone!