Reality Checking with Brent Raynes

Singing Mushrooms, Bigfoot in South America, Gordon Creighton dies, Betty Hill in Ill Health

Singing Mushrooms?

Czech orchestral composer Vaclav Halek reportedly revealed recently to the Mlada fronta Dnes newspaper that he often heads to the forest with pencil and paper in hand and dictates songs he hears from mushrooms! “I simply record music that a mushroom sings to me,” he was quoted saying. It seems that to date, Halek has composed some 2000 tunes and one symphony based on his mushroom encounters. In addition to mushrooms, he reportedly stated that he also hears music emanating from rocks and trees, but that mushrooms produce melodies that he most prefers.

Source: Attributed to The Sydney Morning Herald, 09/30/03. Website:

Bigfoot in South America?

On Saturday, August 30, 2003, two joggers training for the biathlon and a gaucho (Argentinian word for cowboy) reportedly had two separate encounters with a creature believed by some to be the legendary “Mapinguary,” described as a kind of Bigfoot-type creature that is usually seen in the rain forests of Brazil and Bolivia. It seems that sightings of the creature had been occurring for some six months in the area of a small Argentine city known as Rosario de la Frontera, located about 390 miles northwest of the capital Buenos Aires.

The gaucho claimed that it was during the early morning hours when he happened upon a hair covered creature, over two meters tall. He said that it had an oval-shaped head, a huge mouth with fangs, and long arms that ended in sharp claws. The gaucho got down off his horse and grabbed his shotgun, but when he looked back up the creature was gone.

Meanwhile, well-known biathlete Humberto Sosa, 52, and Susana Romano, 32, were jogging when they observed a thing resembling a “great ape” running through the forest on a parallel course, which Sosa stated “is impossible for a human to do given the thickness of the vegetation.” Sosa admitted that he used to be a skeptic of such stories, attributing them to “some sort of collective hysteria or psychosis.” He added, “However, now I have no doubt that what people said was true, since I experienced this terror in person.”

Source: UFO ROUNDUP, Vol. 8, No. 34. Website:

UFOlogy Mourns Their Passing

As I reported in the last issue, FSR (Flying Saucer Review) editor and former British Diplomat Gordon Creighton passed away. I have learned that his passing occurred on July 16, 2003. He was 95.

In addition, another well-known British editor of a popular UFO publication has also passed on. Graham Birdsall, editor of UFO Magazine, suffered a brain hemorrhage on September 11th. He had two surgeries and his surgeons were optimistic about his recovery, but just two days after a seven hour operation, Mr. Birdsall died of a fatal heart attack at 5:05 a.m., on September 19th. Mr. Birdsall was born on April 7, 1954.

Our sympathies to the families of these two wonderful magazine editors.

Betty Hill in Ill Health

Back during the summer I briefly spoke with Betty Hill on the phone. She’s someone I can feel honored to call a personal friend. Since 1966 she has certainly been a legend in the UFO field. Someone affectionately referred to her recently as “The Grandmother of Ufology.” Everyone who has met her admires her gutsy and feisty qualities of character. She has been at the center of ufological controversy and speculation for many years, but through everything and through all of the heated attacks from skeptics, Betty has remained strong and steadfast. She has a delightful sense of humor, wit, and charm, and a very intelligent and curious mind. Though she has been hounded by reporters, ufologists, and the usual flock of crazies, in the past I have made many a visit to Grandmother Betty’s home in Portsmouth and we’d sit in her livingroom and talk, and though I generally try and not monopolize anyone’s time, the time would often get away from me. Hours would pass by in a virtual blur (missing time?), and it wouldn’t seem that long at all, and Betty wouldn’t seem to care or notice. We would be caught up in a lively conversation and she would be telling a story, an experience, a point of view, and I would be simply caught up in her words, and that whole warm and friendly aura that Grandmother Betty seems to perpetually emanate.

But now I’m reading on the Internet ( where Grandmother Betty (can she really be up in her 80s now?), has been diagnosed with lung cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments. This one particular article pointed out that while Betty isn’t online she “dearly loves to read mail,” which certainly sounds like Betty, so her snailmail home address is given for anyone who might wish to drop her a line, either a letter or postcard, with a few words of encouragement, expression of appreciation, or whatever positive, uplifting thoughts or stories anyone would care to share. It’s mentioned not to expect her to reply to your mail as she isn’t well enough to do so at present, but certainly she will enjoy hearing from all who would care to write. So we’ll also pass along her address.

Write: Betty Hill, 953 State Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801-4554.