Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Review of Sali Shepherd Wolford's Valley of the Skookum

I loved this book, couldn't put it down. Sali Sheppard-Wolford is mother to Bigfoot researcher  and author Autumn Williams, whose<u> Enoch</u> is fantastic. More on that book later. Meanwhile, enjoy! (You can also read the review at

Valley of the Skookum: Four Years of Encounters With Bigfoot (Paperback) 
I started reading Sali Sheppard-Wolford's Valley of the Skookum, and I couldn't put it down. I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. reading it, almost getting to the end but not quite, and finished it the next day. (Sali Sheppard-Wolford is mother to Bigfoot researcher Autumn Williams. )

I expected to find the book interesting, but had no idea I would be so drawn to it. And I'm not sure why I felt such a strong connection and a familiarity with the topic as I was reading the book. Part of that connection might be due to Sali's writing style, simple and honest, a personal narrative of highly strange experiences. Sali writes about her years living in a remote place in Washington, with her young children, including Autumn, who was the youngest, staying at home with her mother during the day. Sali (and eventually the entire family) encounter Bigfoot, along with many other high strangeness events, including UFOs and orbs of light.

There's a beauty to this story and I can't put my finger on it. As I said, there was an echo of something that kept tugging at me. That aside, her experiences, while unique, do parallel other "LTW" (long term witnesses, as Autumn Williams calls them) of `paranormal" Bigfoot encounters.

This isn't fiction. This could be seen as a bold statement, after all, all this supernatural Bigfoot stuff causes so many researchers to gnash their teeth at the very thought of such things. But there are only two possibilities: one, she's lying. Or two, she's not. I don't think she's lying, so she's telling the truth. I choose to believe she's telling the truth. For one thing, her narrative style rings true. For another, as unbelievable as it may sound to some, her story isn't an isolated one. There are other witnesses out there with strange tales involving "high strangeness" Bigfoot encounters. Bigfoot researcher Autumn Williams (her daughter, and author of the Bigfoot book Enoch) saw Sasquatch when she was a child, confirming Sali's account. And lastly, I had the pleasure of seeing Sali Sheppard-Wolford give her presentation at the recent Oregon Sasquatch Symposium (which was a great conference all around) and it is clear Shepherd-Wolford is telling the truth.

pastel oil sketch of orange orb seen on Lorane Hwy, Eugene, OR
One of the things Sali writes about are orange orbs seen by herself and witnesses in the area. At times they're described as "basket ball sized" and when I read that, I almost fell off the bed. I've been collecting sighting reports of orange orbs for some time, and often they're orange "orbs" that are really pinpoints, or star sized, orange lights. The orange orb I saw so many years ago here in Oregon can be described as "basket ball sized." 

Impossible to know if these were the same kind of lights, or if the orbs in Sali Shepherd-Woolford's book have anything to do with Bigfoot. It's possible they do, it's possible the area is full of energy that caused these things to occur. Keep in mind that when I say "UFO" it doesn't mean flying saucer (necessarily.) In this context, I don't think they were. Of course, I wasn't there.

It is a fantastic story. And it may all seem a little much; psychic traits, psychic vampirism or energy drains, UFOs, MIBS, and Bigfoot. Sounds like a cheesy sci fi movie. As impossible as it may sound to some, there are people who've experienced these things. I know, because I know some of these people myself, and I've experienced a lot of these things myself.

It's a simple, honest and beautiful book. 

Nick Redfern: The NASA Conspiracies: The Truth Behind the Moon Landings, Censored Photos, and the Face on Mars

Nick has to slow down; I can't keep up! I'm still trying to catch up, I'm about three books behind this one. So no review of the book, but I can say with confidence I can't wait to read it -- the "Face" being a favorite mystery of mine and all things Mars -- but you can read what Nick has to say about the book, and ordering info at his site. Here's a blurb from his blog:
This week, I’m pleased to announce, my new book is published: The NASA Conspiracies: The Truth Behind the Moon Landings, Censored Photos, and the Face on Mars. And while the book focuses, for the most part, on such issues as UFO sightings by astronauts and tales of outer-space conspiracy, it also addresses claims that NASA may have had some involvement in incidents relative to unknown animals.
I love that last part: "NASA may have had some involvement in incidents relative to unknown animals." Can't wait to know more on that one!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

 (A review of a review...cross posted at The Orange Orb)

Cigarette Smoking Woman Single-handedly brings down UFO research! In her slip, no less!

Disclosure:  I write for both the on-line 'zine, UFO Digest, as well as the print publication UFO Magazine. 

When Deirdre O'Lavery of Interstellar Housewife and JAR announced she was UFO Magazine's newest columnist, I was thrilled. She shared some of her ideas for her column's title with myself and a few others, including fellow UFO Magazine columnists Lesley Gunter at The Debris Field  and Alfred Lehmberg of Alien View.  The one column title that really said "Deirdre" to me was Saucers, Slips and Cigarettes, which is the one she chose.

A member of the Stuffed Shirt faction of the UFO Police doesn't appreciate Deirdre's cheeky 'tude, the brazen hussy, she.  David P. Kuhlman, FFSc, in his article for UFO Digest (UFO Mag Columnist is an Insult To Readers,) tells us why O'Lavery's column is offensive. Clues to Kuhlman's personal philosophy can be found in comments like the following: 
Do people give in to secular pressures, which can change the outlook and product for everyone? [bold and italics mine]
Indeed, in another article he wrote for UFO Digest; An Alien Reasoning, Kuhlman wrote:
I am a Christian. I was brought up through the years in church and I have strong roots with all Christian beliefs. I believe in God.
The use of the word "secular" in this context is clear: Deirdre O'Lavery has been seduced by the devil and away from the light, and is bringing the rest of us down with her into the roiling pits of hell.

John Collier, Lilith, 1892

Kuhlman goes on for quite awhile discussing what we all know far too well: UFOlogy has a difficult time being taken seriously, hoaxes hurt us all, there are good researchers who are "respectable," but some are not, and they're talking the rest of us down.  One of those who are not respectable, writes Kuhlman, is Deirdre O'Lavery, who should cause us all not only "concern" but "out-rage." Something about slips and cigarettes causes Kuhlman great distress:
Paging through to the seventh one [column] I noticed an unfamiliar face, a columnist. It initially caught my glance simply because I am familiar with the magazines layout since I read it often, and I knew this was a new addition immediately. I was curious and thumbed back to the index page and sure enough, the magazine had added a new columnist to its list, Ms. Deirdre O’ Lavery, Hmmm… never heard of her. Instantly I knew this was the place to start my reading journey through this months issue and quickly paged back to the column titled “Saucers, Slips, and Cigarettes”. That is where my blood began to boil!
I understand not liking a column, but really, his "blood began to boil?"  Sex, -- especially the "wrong" kind of sex, as in, anything you don't approve of between consenting adults -- is clearly the issue here, not UFO research. Women should be demure.

The title of the column was strange I thought after reading it, it really didn’t seem to “fit” a serious publication on UFO research, but sometimes the title is to get the attention of the reader and it certainly did its job there and at least one word did correlate with the cigarette hanging out of the side of Ms. O’ Lavery’s clown painted, rose red lips. [italics mine]
Deirdre O'Lavery, get thee to a nunnery! And lest you think I am being overly flip here, Kuhlman himself is serious; of all the things in UFO land to get upset about, he finds O'Lavery's "rose red lips," cigarette smoking, and use of the word "slips" to be the targets of his repressed and misogynistic outrage:

"I have never been more agitated at any other piece of writing on UFOs than I am on this one . . . As I read I was disgusted and nauseated at her attempt to break the ice with the reader. Foul language and an utter sense of ignorance and disrespect to serious readers was her route. She goes on to write her column like a heathen speaks. [italics mine]   
He was nauseated? And "heathen?" "Heathen?" Did he really write that? Yes, yes he did. 

All that mishegas aside, he completely misunderstands O'Lavery's column, focusing instead not only on her lips but her "drunkenness":
Can people really take the UFO phenomenon seriously when it is painted that only sorry drunk people with no life dabble into this subject? Folks, this article is a disgrace to everyone that considers UFOlogy worth of investigation!
Kuhlman borders on the libelous; if it weren't so damn funny, it might be of concern. He not only finds Ms. O'Lavery "drunken," and what not but also believes she should be shunted off to the nut house:
She is certifiable for this piece of worthless paper with all of her slang and ignorant insight.
Her "slang?" Hey Daddyo, you sound like a real square!

Of all the columnists that write for UFO Magazine, this is the one that has caused Kuhlman --- after just one column! -- to stop reading the magazine altogether. If O'Lavery's one column can upset a supposed UFO researcher so much that he writes a rant about it and demands a "formal apology" from the publsihers!

Painting by James Rich
One last point about Kuhlman's apoplectic response to Deirdre O'Lavery: he includes all of "us" (well, except for O'lavery) in his rant, beginning with his title: UFO Mag Columnist is an Insult to Readers. No, Kuhlman, it's not an insult to all readers; not to me, obviously. Speak for yourself. Clearly it's an insult to you, and possibly, to some others, so be it. But don't include me in your campaign to rid UFO land of Ms. O'Lavery. This is the problem with the UFO Police; they expect everyone to join them in their outrages and edicts about what they perceive to be right.

Congratulations, Ms. Deirdre O'Lavery, for bringing UFOlogy down to such a shameless level with just one column!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stephen Wagner's Paranormal Phenomena: Write a Review

Here's your chance to write a review of your favorite, or worst, paranormal TV show. Stephen Wagner, at's Paranormal Phenomena, invites you to contribute. Go <a href="">here for more.</a>