Monday May 29th - Sunday June 4th
Stories from Daily Express, Ashland Daily Tidings, Arizona Daily Sun, Dirge Magazine, and Jason Colavito.
I started this newsletter as an experiment. The idea was to gather and present things I found interesting, mainly as a way to keep me actively exploring and writing. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d focus on, but I had a general idea. In the last couple months, I’ve slipped into a consistent range of topics and a pretty consistent format.
Glancing at this week’s title, I was stuck by how it’s totally representative of On the Five: witches, psychics, psychedelics, ufology and fringe archeology. Of course there’s a whole bunch more, but those are the staples and knowing that feels awesome.
Thank you again for your kind emails. I really do appreciate it.
And now, the stories:
New book reveals a freshly surfaced Roswell witness testimony.
Charles H. Forgus of Big Springs, Texas was interviewed at age 81 back in 1999 about his eyewitness account of the 1947 Roswell incident, but his story had remained buried till now due to copyright issues, according to the publisher, Phillip Mantle.
UFOs Today: 70 Years of Lies, Disinformation and Government Cover-Up by Dr. Irena Scott was released on June 1st, and is the first publication of Forgus’ testimony.
Forgus, a sheriff at the time, was driving from Texas to Roswell to pick up a prisoner when details of the incident "came over on the police radio." He recalled hearing that a perfectly round saucer had crashed in a canyon after it appeared to have hit a "side wall."
According to Forgus, he got close enough to the crash site to see bodies being removed. "Their bodies were being picked up by a lift attached to a crane and swung into a truck," said Dr. Scott of the testimony. "He said there were about three or four hundred military people there; he didn’t know from which branch but said they were not Air Force."
Besides the bodies, Forgus recalled seeing the wreckage of a craft. "There was a big round thing in the canyon. It was about 100 feet across," said Forgus in the interview. "They put that on a truck and hauled it away. They wouldn’t let us get very close to it either."
But the claim already has doubters like ufologist Kevin Randle. "He talked about the big eyes. He said 'Their eyes looked like the ones we see on television and the pictures of them.' But he was so far away, according to him, it is difficult to believe that he would have seen the eyes," wrote Randle. "He just picked the most popular version of the aliens to describe."
Exploring Psychedelics conference speakers say entheogens can help heal society.
The fourth annual psychedelic conference which promotes transformation in the way society perceives drugs took place at the Southern Oregon University in Ashland on May 25th and 26th. Speakers like conference organizer Martin Ball suggested that mind-altering substances such as psilocybin mushrooms can mend a "spiritual crisis in the west."
"A psychedelic renaissance is underway as researchers and society learn of its benefits in health, healing and creativity in art, music, philosophy and a greater understanding of how to solve society’s problems," said Ball. "We’re not talking about back-alley druggies and Grateful Dead concerts here. These are important members of our society."
Ball, a SOU adjunct faculty member, also hosts the The Entheogenic Evolution podcast.
Other presenters like Tom and Sheri Eckert from the Oregon Psilocybin Society gave a talk on their initiative to introduce a ballot measure which would legalize mind-altering substances. They propose a process where trained facilitators of "trips" would be licensed and receive medical clearance for users, though personal possession would remain illegal.
"The psychedelic movement is rising to prominence and if humanity is to survive, we need to heal the culture," said Sheri Eckert. "We have to evolve and claim our higher consciousness or else. Psilocybin helps us reclaim our truth."
How to tell if your psychic is a cold, hard profit seeker, according to other psychics.
Red flags include psychics who offer to cleanse negative spirits for exorbitant rates or ask too many personal questions.
"Unfortunately, there are a lot of con artists out there," said Shay Parker, founder of Best American Psychics, an online directory of seers who reportedly undergo testing and criminal background checks. "It’s actually quite disturbing."
Parker said bogus psychics specialize in extracting information from clients and then telling them what they want to hear, typically in the realms of love or money.
"A good psychic will tell you to shut up," Parker said. Unlike con artists, a true psychic will offer highly specific information without any prompting, she explained. However, top ranking psychics often charge high rates for their services. Jusstine Kenzer, who ranks first on Yelp for Los Angeles, charges $375 for a session.
"Anyone can give you information." Kenzer said. "What you’re looking for is whether that information can help you grow in life. It’s about inspiring and healing and comforting you."
The female sexuality central to early modern witch trials is being reclaimed.
The Malleus Maleficarum decreed witchcraft was afoot when a woman was exceedingly amorous. The guide’s author, Heinrich Kramer, singled out "female fornicators" as the type who were "frequently sorceresses." During the witch hunts, rumors persisted that witches were perverting the domestic tools of womanhood to pleasure themselves.
In an early example of the broom-or-dildo debate, documents from the 1324 trial of Iceland’s first accused witch, Lady Alice Kyteler, describe inquisitors finding her flying ointment "wherewith she greased a staffe, upon which she ambled and galloped through thick and thin."
An accused witch confessed under torture in 1477 that she made a deal in which the Devil "gave her a stick eighteen inches long and a jar of ointment. She would smear the stick with the ointment, put it between her legs and say, ‘Go in the Devil’s name, go!’ and immediately be carried through the air."
The mysterious flying ointment is now commonly understood to be a mixture of hallucinatory substances like datura, opium poppies, belladonna or hashish. In The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World, Michael Pollan writes that "these ingredients would be combined in a hempseed-oil-based ‘flying ointment’ that the witches would then administer vaginally using a special dildo. This was the ‘broomstick’ by which these women were said to travel."
Today, flying ointment is available on Etsy. An anonymous witch found the visionary salve from a woman in Spain who grows her own ingredients and fertilizes it under the full moon with her menstrual blood.
"I had a beautiful experience with it actually, feeling very connected to the energy of the plant, feeling like it was giving me a new lens with which to understand the universe and have this dialogue with the plant, the spirit of the plant, whatever you want to call it," she recalled. "It did feel like a real reclaiming to be rubbing that ointment on my pussy."
Stories of Egyptian pyramids carrying hidden ancient knowledge has a long history.
In medieval times, a myth about the origins of the Egyptian pyramids developed in the Middle East based on Near Eastern apocalyptic traditions, writes Jason Colavito in a detailed history of the myth.
According to the story, demigod Hermes Trismegistus, or an ancient Egyptian king named Sūrīd, received a prophetic warning about the coming of the Great Flood. The monuments of Egypt were built to guard antediluvian science and wisdom from the coming disaster, and thus validated the idea of advanced technology and science of having roots with prehistoric peoples.
This idea spread to Europe during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, where it formed the basis for the Hermetic and occult understanding of ancient history. This in turn formed the foundation for the emergence of fringe claims about ancient history, the Pyramids, the occult, and a number of other esoteric traditions.
Colavito writes that “the fallout from this legend continues today in modern-day versions of the story, including the ancient astronaut theory and the so-called ‘lost civilization’ hypothesis of Graham Hancock.”
He points in particular to Operations Carried on at the Great Pyramid of Gizeh (1840) which summarized translated Arabic sources on pyramid mythology and influenced fringe authors who took from it the idea that the pyramids were built before the flood by people from Atlantis or a lost Ice Age super-civilization. Other themes include claims that the pyramids have divine messages encoded in them, are connected to the stars, or were built by space aliens.
That’s all for this week. Look out next Monday morning!