Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Denise Djokic: Seven Days, Seven Nights

Of all the films that I've done over the years, my 2002 documentary on Canadian cellist Denise Djokic and her tour through northern British Columbia with pianist David Jalbert remains my favourite.

Everytime people like Denise and David play, I think they're opening a doorway to a better world... and perhaps a different world, and the "other" that may inhabit it.

Paul Kimball

Merci beaucoup

Zorgrot and I at Rendlesham filming Best Evidence, May 2006.

Sometime today, the statcounter that measures the unique viewers that this blog has had over the years will turn over on 600,000. Zorgrot and I just want to take a moment to say thanks for popping by at some point since I began The Other Side of Truth back in 2005.

Paul Kimball

Filmmaking 101, Vol. I

Nobody knows how hard it is to get a feature film funded, and then made, more than I do (apropos of Eternal Kiss, which will be an entire chapter someday in my autobiography). In that light, I present the following to you for your consideration:

Of course, this has nothing to do with the paranormal, so just file it under "life and how to live it", and then check out Jeremy Vaeni's Kickstarter page for his film Free Space, and consider making a contribution.

Paul Kimball

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Visions of William Blake

William Blake's "The Ghost of a Flea"
Astrologer and artist John Varley reported that his friend William Blake, who had experienced visions since his childhood, once had a vision of a ghost of a flea at a seance the two held in 1819. According to Varley:

As I was anxious to make the most correct investigation in my power, of the truth of these visions, on hearing of this spiritual apparition of a Flea, I asked him if he could draw for me the resemblance of what he saw: he instantly said, 'I see him now before me.' I therefore gave him paper and a pencil with which he drew the portrait... I felt convinced by his mode of proceeding, that he had a real image before him, for he left off, and began on another part of the paper, to make a separate drawing of the mouth of the Flea, which the spirit having opened, he was prevented from proceeding with the first sketch, till he had closed it.
I highly recommend this New York Times article from 1910 about Blake, his visions and the art that he created as a result. As the Times notes, "Whatever guess we make at the mighty puzzle of this power of vision, one thing is certain. Blake would have been a pale and ineffectual artist without it, and with it he contributed a poignant and enduring force to art."

One can only wonder what kind of diagnosis (and then treatment) a psychiatrist would make today were he confronted with someone like Blake, and the visions that he described. Fortunately, Blake lived in a time well before our modern world of corporatized and commercialized conformity, and was therefore able to use his visions - whatever might have caused them - as the inspiration for his art, his poetry and his philosophy, all work that remains hugely influential to this day.

If there is an "other", advanced non-human intelligence, then I suspect that this is how it communicates with us - through visions. If this is the case, then I believe that we would all have the ability to receive that communication, in some form or another, but that the vast majority of us do not have the willingness to access that ability, largely because we're afraid of what it might represent, namely a loss of control. We want to "fit in" to society as it is structured around us (the ultimate control mechanism), but by fitting in we may be missing out on something far more important, and meaningful - the ability to truly be free.

Paul Kimball

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kaku on UFOs

There's nothing new in this clip of Kaku being interviewed on MSNBC last year, but still it provides a good, short summarization of his views on the UFO phenomenon.

Paul Kimball

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Within the Fire, You Find the Rain

Back in the 1990s, when I was in law school, and then a musician (and also in grad school), my best friend Peter Black and I used to drink "on occasion", during which time would discuss all things metaphysical, mystical and philosophical (we still do this, but far less frequently, alas). I wrote a song about our otherworldly conversations, called "A Drawing Down" (the title came from a line in the Wilfred Owen poem "Anthem for Doomed Youth"), and our view that society (and most of the people within it) had become  hollow,  too wrapped up in bread & circuses, and lacking a meaningful direction, or awareness of a "bigger" picture.  Peter and I weren't particularly settled on what that "bigger" picture should or could be, only that people should be looking for it in places other than those deemed socially acceptable by the powers-that-be, and that there was no one answer, or path, that people should follow - rather, there were parts of almost every path that could lead to insight and form part of the greater whole.

Accordingly, the conversation would range from Marxism to Christian mysticism to Aleister Crowley, and many points in between, off to the side, and over the proverbial fence. From time to time, we would light a little fire in the center of the room and try to commune with the elder gods, should they exist in some form and still be in the practice of accepting calls. To this day, I'm not sure that we ever got an answer, although we did have a pretty strange experience with a ouija board once, but I am sure that one should never attempt to put out a fire in the middle of a room with a glass full of vodka. I definitely consider that a bullet dodged!

Anyway, here are two versions of that song by my old band, Julia's Rain - the first is the original, harder-edged version (which we eventually released on an e.p. called "notes from underground"), while the second is a jazzier, more acoustic version taht we played at a live fundrasiing gig for radio station CKDU.

The lyrics were:

I read the news today -
I really thought it would mean something to me,
but stranger tales, well I have heard
nothing that happens seems to make me anymore,
just round and round it goes
through my revolving door.

I heard a song today -
I really thought it would mean something to me,
but truer songs, well I have heard
nothing they write seems to touch me anymore,
just the words going in and out
through my revolving door.

Candles burning on the floor
and Aleister Crowley is knocking at my door,
come around, come around
to this drawing down,
on this "unholy" ground
come see what I have found.

I heard a voice today -
I really thought it would mean something to me,
but stronger voices, well I have heard
nothing they say seems to move me anymore,
just the Word going in and out
through my revolving door.
I wasn't the only one drawing upon a wide variety of literary influences for musical inspiration back then, however. Another of my best friends, John Rosborough, fronted a band called The Fourth Wall, with whom my various bands played frequently, and like me he looked to the Beats and mystics for inspiration, as well as philosophers and poets such as William Blake. Beltane Born, the title of the band's one full-length CD release, also gives a hint to some of the more mystical elements of John's writing.

John and I on a shoot in northern British Columbia, 2002.
Like me, John now works in the film & television industry here in Halifax, as a producer / director / writer, and from time to time he still plays with The Fourth Wall. You can find their website and some of their music here - I recommend "The Wizard" in particular, wherein John writes, "What do you want to be now, what do you want to see now?"

John Rosborough playing with The Fourth Wall.
With Peter, John and I, it has never been about coming up with "the answer" - rather, it's been about asking as many questions as possible, because none of us think there's just one "answer". We've always been looking for "the other side of truth", cognizant that it's the journey that really is the destination. It's been a journey that has taken us all to some strange places (in the case of Peter and I, usually a cemetery late at night). I could relate the story of how John and I were almost eaten by a bear in the wilds of northern British Columbia (a personal favourite for the sheer absurdity of it), but I prefer the story of a night out in San Juan, Puerto Rico, whilst filming "Fields of Fear" back in 2006.

John with Nick Redfern and researcher Orlando Pla
on location in rural Puerto Rico, 2006.
The rest of the crew had settled into the hotel for the evening (along with Nick Redfern, who had gotten ill from a tuna salad sandwich he had eaten in Mayaguez earlier that day), while John and I headed out into old town, where we moved from small bar to small bar, and wandered down the dimly lit streets with no real purpose other than curiosity. I remember walking down one street, and realizing that John had stopped to look down an alleyway. I motioned him to leep going, but he said "have a look." I did, and down that alley was some sort of house party going on. He suggested we wander down and have a look... so we did. I won't relate the rest of the night's adventures, in the interests of maintaining a PG friendly readership, other than to say that we should all be willing to just head down the alleyways of life and see what we find there.

As Blake wrote: "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom; for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough."

That journey continues tonight for John and I at a local watering hole, where we will no doubt be talking about James and Kerouac and Bukowski, the elder gods, and life and how to live it. As he wrote in the Fourth Wall song "Find the Rain":

"within the fire, you find the rain."

Let it rain.

Paul Kimball

A Great Link

American biologist Craig Venter is best known for his key roles in being part of the team that sequenced the human genome, and in 2010 for announcing that a team led by him had created the first self-replicating synthetic life, by synthesizing a very long DNA molecule containing an entire bacterium genome, and introducing this into another cell.

He's also a man who has previously expressed an interest in extraterrestrial life.

So it should probably come as no surprise that he seems to be interested in combining the two. DARPA has just announced the 100 Year Spaceship Program, a blue-sky project which aims to enable a manned journey between the stars sometime in the next century or so. One of the proposals that has been floated, and is receiving a notice in virtually all of the press articles about the project, is Venter's notion of reconstituting humans from genomes launched into outer space.

Now, this is a very, very small program (the award for the best idea to carry forward is only $500,000, a drop in the bucket of military-industrial-scientific research), but this is the kind of thing that can stir the private sector to go far further, because it gives the whole idea an air of intellectual legitimacy. One can also assume that if this is what DARPA is willing to discuss publicly, then privately they are already working away on all sorts of ideas along this line. Any number of other government agencies are probably doing the same thing.

That's all beside the point for me, however. My "take away" from this news, and in particular Venter's idea, is that is we can imagine doing it, and leading scientists and entrepreneurs take the ideas seriously, then we should also consider the possibility that someone else, "out there", has also imagined all of these possibilities... and then actually made some of them happen.

Which leads one to consider Venter's idea, perhaps the most interesting of them all. If we can imagine seeding other worlds with the human genome, and reconstituting the human race there (a plan which obviates the need to worry about how to get there, because we could someday send thousands of ships at subluminal speeds throughout our galactic neighborhood, without needing to be concerned about how long it would take to get to distant worlds), then perhaps "we" already have - if not quite in a galaxy "far far away", then on a world "far far way".

In Canada, we all look to other parts of our world for our ancestors, whether it be England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, India, or if you go back far enough for the aboriginals, Asia. But what if we could all look somewhere else for our true ancestors - to the stars? What if billions of years ago, a quirky group of blue-sky human dreamers somewhere else in our galaxy (or even another galaxy, if we go back far enough), came up with the same idea that Venter has come up with... and then actually made it work?

And so perhaps here we are, getting ready not to travel to the stars for the first time and as a unique species, but rather getting ready to continue the journey that the human race began long ago, a link in a great, never-ending chain of life.

Paul Kimball

Friday, June 24, 2011

Art and Opening the Barriers to Communication

From Stephanie Steele, a wonderful Nova Scotia artist and Facebook friend of mine, a series called "... the stars land?" that I quite like.

As Greg Bishop and I have discussed more than once (particularly in the "Nothing but flowers..." episode of The Other Side of Truth podcast embedded below), art and music have the unparalleled potential to transcend the barriers to true communication that language and culture impose on us.

Here's another example of Stephanie's work that I really like, and that "speaks" to me as a disciple of Kerouac and Bukowski and the rest of the "Beats"...

As always with art, what it says to me might not be the same thing as what it says to you, because the conversation that art and music inspires in people is the most important one of all - the conversation that we have with ourselves. This is why I consider art, in all its myriad forms, to be the highest of callings in a world desperately in need of real communication, and a new Enlightenment.

Paul Kimball


Completing the week of George Harrison songs is the title track from his final album, Brainwashed, which was released in 2002, a year after Harrison passed away.

Harrison included a passage from How to Know God: The Yoga Aphormisms of Patanjali that I've always thought was fitting, and a nice summary of everything that Harrison stood for, and wrote about.
The soul does not love. It is love itself
It does not exist. It is existence itself
It does not know. It is knowledge itself
I'm not a practioner of yoga, but I do my best to adhere to the precepts set out by Henry David Thoreau in Walden, particularly with the respect of finding moments in every day to be with yourself and your thoughts, in order to discover and stay in touch with who you really are. 

We've all been brainwashed by a society that has fetishized things instead of promoting thought. The only one who can set you free from it is yourself.

It's a theme I addressed in my own way, in my own songs, years ago. One of them was called "Turned", which warned of what was coming if we didn't change our way of looking at things.

We are the revolution that we need, and it begins not in the streets, but in the mind, and the heart.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Devil's Radio

Here's a Harrison song from the great Cloud Nine album which is apropos of anonymous posters on Internet message boards and forums, which has been the death of any hope for civil and rational discourse there. Just as bad are the many podcasts and blogs which waste their time talking about personalities as opposed to real issues and mysteries. I regret being a part of it at times over the years.

From this point forward, I will no longer comment on other people in terms of who they are, or what they might have said about me or anyone else. I don't care about hoaxers, or self-proclaimed gurus, or bad apples, or anything else. That's all irrelevant.

There's too many important things to talk about to waste one's time with the devil's radio.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mac Thoughts, Vol. I

One of my favourite photos of Mac, with my friend Veronica Reynolds in 2006 when we were all in Santa Ana, California - Mac and I working on Best Evidence, and Veronica studying acting in Los Angeles. Thanks to social butterfly Veronica, we wound up at a wedding "after party" that evening, which went on until the wee hours of the morning. Mac and I ended up in a room with some of the guys in the wedding party having a conversation about kung fu movies, and then time travel.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of Mac Tonnies, at least in passing. On some days, however, in different ways and for different reasons, I think of him more than others. I've decided that on those days I'm going to delve back into areas of Mac's work that I found particularly interesting over the years, and post snippets of it here. Call them "Mac Thoughts".

Today is one of those days, so...

From January 31, 2003, at Posthuman Blues:
Mainstream SETI avoids another unsettling possibility: that some extraterrestrial radio transmissions may not be signals at all, but templates for actual alien personae. If it's possible to place a self-replicating automated probe in another star system, it could be used as a receiver as well as an observation instrument. Neurologically inclined aliens could "upload" themselves into a computational substrate and "fax" themselves to the distant receiver at the speed of light.
This concept, which Mac continued to be intrigued by until the end of his life, later became the core story for the play Doing Time, which is now a screenplay in development titled The Icarus Imperative.

Of course, no instalment of "Mac Thoughts" will be complete without a musical selection that both he and I enjoyed. Today, a little REM.

"Everyone here comes from somewhere."

I like to think that someone like Mac winds up somewhere, too.

Paul Kimball

Then and Now

In 1992, my first band Tall Poppies released an e.p. on cassette (back when people still did that), and followed it up with some local media appearances, including this one on CKDU FM, where we chatted and played a number of songs live in the studio, including "Shadows Grows", one of the earliest songs I co-wrote with my old pal Glenn MacCulloch, the band's drummer. I've always really liked the lyrics, in particular a couple of lines that I came up with which have always reflected my general point of view on any number of things.
"The hands of time slip through the day / the grass beneath our feet it turns to dust"...

"The wisdom crawls from mind to mouth / to hands that will not feed you inside"

The things I was saying back then are the same things I'm saying now. I just think I said them better back then, even as the way that I apply them has perhaps broadened a bit today. Perhaps it was just the younger me laying signposts for the older me to find once again, years in the future?

I like that idea!

Incidentally, in case anyone ever wondered where the title of this blog came from, it was actually the title of one of my old songs, "The Other Side of Truth", which we first performed with Tall Poppies, and later recorded with my second band, Julia's Rain. An early version can be heard as the third song in this set, from 4:43 onwards.

Save me now, oh strange young girl,
from that which in your blood you know,
I will not do but for tomorrow
neither will I do it alone,
Save me now, oh troublesome God,
from that which in your heart you know,
I will not do but for your mercy
and neither for your heaven...
save me now, oh miracle.
Yes, that is me screaming at the end, and then adding the backing vocals.

Ahh, the good old days...

If I had to pick one line from any of my old songs that seems most apropos today, however, it would be from "Horseshoe Heart", which Tall Poppies recorded on the "fields of addiction" e.p. back in 1993.
Stare softly at this sudden leap of faith
watch as I catch the wind and fly away
no destination, just a landing...

Of course, I always liked "fly through the ring of sins and days" as well. It has a very "paranormal" feel to it, for what was a love song at the time.

But whether then, or now, I've always been fascinated by the idea of time, and timelessness, and how we fit into it all... or perhaps how it fits into us.

Paul Kimball

All Things Must Pass

Without a doubt, my favourite George Harrison song is "All Things Must Pass", both for the beautiful music, and equally for the beautiful lyrics. Here is a video of Harrison performing it live, with just his acoustic guitar.

Paul McCartney has also performed it as a tribute to his old friend, who passed away in 2001, including this version from the Concert for George in 2002, which also features the other surviving Beatle, Ringo Starr, on drums.

And finally, the album version:

The only thing that is permanent in this world is change. It's how we handle that realization that defines us.

Harrison understood that, as did some of my other favourite writers and philosophers, from different perspectives.

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."
- Anatole France

"Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer."
- Shunryu Suzuki

"If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing."
- Saint Augustine

"Every beginning is a consequence - every beginning ends some thing."
- Paul Valéry

"Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are."
- Bertold Brecht

"Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour."
- Arthur Schopenhauer

My favourite quote about change, however, and our need to accept it - indeed, to embrace it - comes from W. H. Auden's poem "The Age of Anxiety":

"We would rather be ruined than changed;
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die."

What does this all have to do with the paranormal, one might ask? Well, first and foremost, I think that any contact / interaction with an advanced non-human intelligence which might exist is going to require a fundamental change in how we view ourselves, both as individuals and as a collective. But this isn't anything that we should fear. Indeed, we must heed Auden's warning, and climb the cross of the moment when it comes to us. 

Harrison framed his song within the context of a break-up with a lover. I would take that metaphor and apply it to the broader picture thusly: the lover who will leave us behind is going to be our illusions about ourselves, and that's always going to be hard for people, just as it's hard when the girl you love leaves you. But that's okay, because there's always someone else out there for you, just as I think that there's something else out there for us.

All things must pass, and then we face another day.

The key is to embrace the change, and make it a better day.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tony Morrill's "Forteania"

A new-ish blog that I highly recommend is Tony Morrill's Forteania. Morrill, who also writes for Binnall of America, refers to himself (somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I suspect) as a Fortean philosopher, and he covers a wide range of subjects, from UFOs to bigfoot, and all points in between.

In a recent post, Morrill described his modus operandi as follows:
This brings me to where I am at in this stage of my life. I have come to the conclusion, at least temporarily because as a Fortean I am always ready to cast this ideal aside for a better one, that I will just learn what I can from people that are older/wiser in these topics than I am and to share what I learn with whoever is willing to listen. It seems that if there is some kind of 'point' to studying Fortean phenomena; it's simply to allow us the chance to evolve. At least on an individual basis. I know for sure that my life has never been the same since the day that I picked up my first UFO book. I think it's definitely for the better as well.
It's early days for Morrill, but his eclectic approach is a welcome relief from the more parochial blogs and websites that just focus on one aspect of the paranormal, to the exclusion of others.

Morrill gets the "big picture", and in that respect he reminds me a bit of the late Mac Tonnies (pictured above with Veronica Reynolds at the 2006 New Frontiers Symposium), and how he approached things at his blog The Posthuman Blues, at least with respect to the weirdness that seems to surround us. It comes as no surprise that Morrill cites Mac as an influence.

Forteania is well worth a look on a regular basis, and you can also follow Morrill on Twitter, where he goes by the handle countduckula.

Now, if only Morrill would reveal that he's a Smiths / Morrissey fan!

Paul Kimball

Isn't It A Pity?

"Some things take so long
But how do I explain
When not too many people
Can see we're all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can't hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Isn't it a pity?"
- George Harrison

One can imagine, if there really is an advanced non-human intelligence that interacts with us, and that has developed into a truly empathic being (or beings / civilization), that they might recommend this song to all of us.

To look at it another way, all that we have to do is look at ourselves as an extraterrestrial civilization would look at us - not as Canadians, or Americans, or Russians, or Iranians, or whatever, but rather as members of the human race, floating through space together on what Carl Sagan famously called this pale blue dot. As Sagan wrote: "There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

Seen from 6.1 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles), Earth appears as a tiny dot

Harrison would have undoubtedly agreed with the sentiment, as evidenced by his songs, even if he framed his views in a spiritual context that Sagan rejected. Two paths, one journey. Unfortunately, most of us don't think of these things as Harrison and Sagan did. Indeed, we rarely think of these things at all.

Isn't it a pity?

Paul Kimball

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Art of Dying

Paul McCartney is my favourite Beatle, but when it comes to my more existential side, it's George Harrison to whom I usually turn. This week I'm going to post a Harrison song every day, starting with one of my favourites - "The Art of Dying".

I've always had a fascination with death, and what may or may not come afterwards. I think anyone who tells you that they don't think of it is lying. We all do, even if we won't admit it. The central question of human existence is whether this life is "it", and what that means for us, one way or another. For the longest time, the idea that death might really be the end frightened me, but then one day my father said something to me, with his usual blunt common sense, that started me on the path of being free from that fear. "Paul" he said, "it's nothing to worry about, because if there's nothing after this, then you'll never know, will you?" Without knowing it, my Dad was all zen with me at that moment, and it resonated in a way that no sermon about the certainty of a life eternal, ever could. The truth is that we don't know, and we can never know... until we get there. And then, if there is something else, we'll know, and if there isn't... well, we'll still never know. So why be afraid?

Being freed from the fear of death opened the door to an actual consideration of what might lie beyond. I accept that oblivion is certainly a possible outcome, and that's a sobering thought (particularly when the left arm starts to tingle). But I also think that there might be other outcomes. As there's nothing I can do about the prospect of oblivion other than to try to live my life to the fullest, which I do anyway, it's those other possibilities that interest me, and that I explore, because perhaps there are clues in our lives, and the world around us, that might just indicate that there is indeed, as the pop poet Bryan Ferry famously wrote, "more than this".

"It is not more surprising to be born twice than once." - Voltaire
The truth is that we're all dying, each and every day. What lies beyond is unknowable... but it is not unimaginable, and that is a critical difference, because in the imagination lies the true "art of dying"... and the art of living.

Indeed, the two might just be the same thing.

Paul Kimball

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beyond Best Evidence - 24

The final twenty-four hours of the Indie Go Go fundraising campaign for Beyond Best Evidence are upon us, and while we're well short of our goal (an understatement), we're still plugging away!

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far, or may contribute in the final hours.  Thanks as well to everyone who has plugged the fundraising campaign! Tim Binnall and I are going to make a great film, even if it now takes a bit longer to pull it together. If you want to hear what it's all about, I recommend the current episode of Binnall of America, where Tim and I discuss it at length.

And now, because I'm a huge Paul McCartney fan, I leave you with a favourite song of mine - Macca at his cheekiest.

"Hmm..." some may wonder. "Is Paul trying to convey some hidden message, or deep meaning, or something else, with this selection?"

Nope. It just rocks and rolls, which for me is always more than enough.

Paul Kimball
aka the Mongoose of Ufology

Radio Misterioso... again!!

I think it may be a first of some sort, but this past Sunday, for the second straight week, I was the guest on Radio Misterioso with my good pal and fellow traveler Greg Bishop (the week before I had joined him in studio in Los Angeles, along with Walter Bosley).

Here is how Greg describes the episode (listen to it here - note that the audio is a bit crackly at times, probably due to a bad Skype connection):
Coincidences and Commentary – Paul Kimball Returns
Posted on June 16, 2011 by Walter texted that he wouldn’t be able to show up last Sunday, but I was out in the desert all day (above it actually) without my phone and didn’t get the message. Two rare recordings about Contactees later, I was on the line with Paul Kimball, asking him to help me out with some conversation. Since this program is about conversation and ideas first, and personalities second (actually that’s probably far down the list) I didn’t mind that Paul was on for the second week in a row. We brought up synchronicity, perception, and coincidence again, and moved on to other topics that interest us, such as movies and TV, as well as the ubiquitous paranormal mish-mosh.

Paul also addressed those who think that he’s gone all new-agey. He says he’s just revealing the non-public side of his personality, but I think he’s actually tired of pointing out what’s wrong with UFO study and ready to discuss the positive. What interests him personally now comes first. Like others in the field, he’s decided to (mostly) ignore the petty squabbles and look for personal meaning in the mysteries.

I think that’s the best that any of us can do right now.
The week before we included pop music by the Rural Alberta Advantage and the Smiths (when I hijacked the show), while in this episode we went in a classic country & western direction, with songs like "Streets of Laredo" and "Big Iron", which were the kind of songs I grew up listening to as a kid from my Dad's 8-track collection.

In terms of commentary and discussion, the week before featured me reading from Charles Bukowski, while this episode features me reading from Paul Tillich... because that's how I roll! 

Greg and I driving in LA, 2009.

The show is eclectic, that's for sure, but that's what I love most about Radio Misterioso - Greg lets his guests riff on whatever they want to riff on, and then Greg riffs on whatever he wants to riff on. It's less a "talk show" than it is a rambling, but always interesting, thought experiment...

... which is definitely a good thing!

Paul Kimball

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ghost Cases - The Case of the Haunted Graveyard

Here is the eighth episode of the Redstar Films / Clerisy Entertainment documentary series Ghost Cases, which ran on EastLink TV in Canada in 2009-2010, and has now been sold to True Vision in Thailand. This episode was filmed in Shocklach, England, and features my good pals, Dave Sadler and Steve Mera of the Unknown Phenomena Investigation Association (UPIA).

I've discussed this case several times since on the radio, most recently on Jim Harold's Paranormal Podcast, where I said it was the weirdest / spookiest episode of the entire series... because it was!

Paul Kimball

Pop Matters: a-ha, "Minor Earth Major Sky"

The title track from the a-ha album, Minor Earth Major Sky, released in 2000.

Despite being remembered in some quarters as a one-hit wonder of the 1980s for the mega hit "Take on Me", which was also a groundbreaking music video, a-ha has been releasing compelling pop music, with interesting and thought-provoking themes about the human condition, for almost three decades now. I was lucky enough to see them live at the height of their fame, in Glasgow, in 1988, and I've remained an admirer of their work to this day.

Here's a wonderful live version, from last year.

Bach is great... but pop matters too!

Paul Kimball

Major Tom and Contact

And now, having spread doom and gloom with respect to the prospect of disclosure / contact with an advanced non-human intelligence by humanity as a group, let's take a look at what I think is far more likely, indeed, what has probably been happening throughout human history - contact with individuals who are ready for it.

As always, this kind of analysis is best presented by puppets and 80s pop music - Peter Schilling's hit Major Tom (Coming Home), as imagined by Fluff & Such puppetry:

Frankly, this one song and video tells us more about what might be waiting for us than 60 years of books and videos about UFOs and the paranormal... or 2,000 years of priests and preachers standing in a pulpit.

Paul Kimball

P.S. Here are a couple of non-puppet versions.

In German:

The original video in English:

Finally, an interesting video that uses images from Stanley Kubrick's classic film, 2001: A Space Odyssey:

After Disclosure - Update 16/06/11

So... there's a hockey game in Vancouver (7th and deciding game of the Stanley Cup finals), and the home team loses, and rioting breaks out in the city.

Clearly, humanity is ready for "disclosure" or "contact".

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Denis" - a short film

Denis is a short animated film by some young Halifax filmmakers / animators, including Jullian Reynolds, the son of my good friend, Veronica Reynolds, that touches on the difference between the society that we have built for ourselves, and the one that we need to build for ourselves.

Paul Kimball

Carl Jung: Matter of Heart - documentary

Matter of Heart is a very interesting 1986 documentary about Carl Jung, that examines his life and times, but more importantly his ideas, particularly about the collective unconscious, often with a mystical bent that was characteristic of Jung's work. The film consists largely of reminiscences and  insights by many of Jung's former pupils, friends and colleagues, as well as some footage of Jung himself being interviewed later in his life.

Well worth a look.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scenes from the Front, Vol. III

Corner of Beverley & Fairfax, Los Angeles - June 2011

“We are a psychic process which we do not control, or only partly direct. Consequently, we cannot have any final judgment about ourselves or our lives.” - Carl Jung

Talking "ghosts" with Jim Harold on the Paranormal Podcast

Also available this evening is my appearance on the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold, where I discuss my experience on Ghost Cases, and the ghost phenomenon in general. You can tune in here.

I enjoy talking with Jim, because he takes a sensible but open-minded approach to the paranormal, just like good pals Tim Binnall and Greg Bishop.

Paul Kimball

Monday, June 13, 2011

Binnall of America - Paul Kimball & Beyond Best Evidence

I make my return this week to one of my two favourite podcasts, Binnall of America (the other favourite being Radio Misterioso, of course). Here is the description of the episode from Tim:
Full Preview: We kick things off by diving right in to discussion on Beyond Best Evidence, as Paul talks about the 2 month fundraising campaign we have organized and reflects on the process and how things have gone so far. Paul also responds to some specific critics and criticisms of the campaign by explaining more about the origins of the 'crowd sourcing' concept for the film. He then addresses the future of the film, considering the tepid response to the fundraising campaign. Wrapping up the focus on Beyond Best Evidence, Paul then talks about the thematic goals of the film and why it stands apart from the standard cable TV UFO fare.
The conversation then leads to discussion on UFO research, in general, and Paul talks about the 'underground war' between 'Michael Bay Ufology' and the people who are looking at the phenomenon from a different angle. This leads to Paul talking about the paradox and challenges of UFO disclosure that he believes are being ignored by most Ufologists. We then ponder the idea that perhaps the human race, and America in particular, was actually better equipped to deal with the UFO phenomenon back when the modern era started in the late 1940's and 50's. We also examine the issue of Ufology's malaise of recent years and Paul talks about what sort of aspects of the field still excite him.
We then get ultra meta on Ufology and the paranormal by discussing the problems surrounding specialization, trying to understand the unknown, and attempts to win over the mainstream, whether it is science or public interest. Paul then talks about how examining the issue of a non-human intelligence could lead us towards becoming an 'empathic society.' Paul then talks about how people who don't vote don't have a right to complain and draws comparisons from that perspective to the paranormal community, at large.
This leads to some discussion on how some laypeople in the paranormal expect researchers and members of the media to sacrifice their time and money for the 'higher calling' of chasing these mysteries. Going down a different path, we get Paul's take on 2012 and the hype leading up to the big day. Paul ends up discussing Peter Gersten's 2012 suicide plan and the backlash against it from the UFO community. He also talks about how 2012 could allow for personal growth for many people, regardless of what actually happens. In turn, we also examine the question of whether or not the vast majority of people, nowadays, are even capable of that kind of introspection.
Paul also talks about the paradox of perceived power and how the influence of people who create ideas and concepts often outlives the contributions of their contemporaries who wield political power. Given that Paul says this is his last interview regarding Beyond Best Evidence and that BBE will be his last UFO film, we ask the natural question of whether or not this means he is leaving the paranormal behind for good or if he has other plans.
Heading toward the close of the conversation, we break the 4th wall and address the interview, where Paul seemed to talk much more than Binnall, and discuss podcasting, in general. We also talk about where Beyond Best Evidence goes from here, now that the fundraising stage of the project is coming to a close. Wrapping things up, we find out how people can donate to help Beyond Best Evidence get made and things then break down as we talk about BoA:Audio dropping our 'popular' theme music intros as well as the BoA thongs we used to sell when the website first started.
Listen to the full episode here.

As always, great chatting with my good friend Tim, who was doing the podcasting thing before just about anyone else, and thanks to everyone who has contributed to Beyond Best Evidence so far.

Paul Kimball

Do You Think?

I wrote this song in 1985, in my final year of high school, as a protest against Ronald Reagan's presidency, the state of the world in general, and a call to think about what was happening. We recorded it in 1995 with Julia's Rain, and it was released as the final track on the "wonderful broken silence" CD. I've updated it for the 21st century, with new vocals added to the old... sort of a time travel duet with a younger me... and a President who was even worse and more dangerous than Reagan... (with a guest appearance by his Attorney General, John Ashcroft).

"God and Man", Charles Bridge - June, 2009

It's not just a political song, even though the 2010 version was framed through that lens.
In the end, all that counts for me and you
are the things in this life that we say and we do
do you think, do you care
and how do you sleep at night
do you leave on all of your lights
do you think somehow that everything will be all right...
it's not all right.
Sadly, I think it's more relevant today than it was 25 years ago. I'm sure some might call it all progress. I don't.

It's interesting, at least to me, that "socialism" has such a pejorative connotation in the United States (and to a lesser extent, in Canada) - and "communism" is viewed by most as only slightly less evil than the anti-Christ (and often the two are seen as the same thing). Indeed, a politically right wing UFO researcher asked me last year, while we were both on a radio show together, how I could be a communist (after I had been purposefully tweaking him with some leftist rhetoric, most of which I actually believed, but not all of it). I just looked at him and said, "with the world in the shape its in, the question isn't why someone would be a communist; the question is why someone wouldn't."

And having said that, I recommend this, and this, and say this: labels are so 20th century. The 21st century demands more.

Paul Kimball

Paul Tillich and the Eternal Now

I made an impromptu guest appearance on Radio Misterioso this evening with my good pal Greg Bishop, and we got into a conversation about time, and timelessness, and consciousness, and the possibility of the existence of an advanced non-human intelligence, all of which led me to reference the idea of "the eternal now", which has been part of Christian theology for centuries, particularly the mystical tradition within Christianity, something I studied at length whilst a graduate student in history. However, in my opinion, the most thoughtful exposition of the concept of an "eternal now" came from the great 20th century philosopher and theologian, Paul Tillich, who I count as one of the primary influences on my own way of thinking. Greg and I discussed his work a bit on the show, in particular his work The Eternal Now, a collection of his sermons, from which I quoted at length. I highly recommend it as a work of profound importance, which should be of interest to anyone who contemplates our place in this universe, and the possibility of contact with an "other"; you can read it here.

The quote that I referenced comes from the end of chapter 11, which deals specifically with the concept of time, and an "eternal now". Here it is:
The mystery of the future and the mystery of the past are united in the mystery of the present. Our time, the time we have, is the time in which we have "presence." But how can we have "presence"? Is not the present moment gone when we think of it? Is not the present the ever-moving boundary line between past and future? But a moving boundary is not a place to stand upon. If nothing were given to us except the "no more" of the past and the "not yet" of the future, we would not have anything. We could not speak of the time that is our time; we would not have "presence."
The mystery is that we have a present; and even more, that we have our future also because we anticipate it in ‘the present; and that we have our past also, because we remember it in the present. In the present our future and our past are ours. But there is no "present" if we think of the never-ending flux of time. The riddle of the present is the deepest of all the riddles of time. Again, there is no answer except from that which comprises all time and lies beyond it -- the eternal. Whenever we say "now" or "today," we stop the flux of time for us. We accept the present and do not care that it is gone in the moment that we accept it. We live in it and it is renewed for us in every new present." This is possible because every moment of time reaches into the eternal. It is the eternal that stops the flux of time for us. It is the eternal "now" which provides for us a temporal "now." We live so long as "it is still today" -- in the words of the letter to the Hebrews. Not everybody, and nobody all the time, is aware of this "eternal now" in the temporal "now." But sometimes it breaks powerfully into our consciousness and gives us the certainty of the eternal, of a dimension of time which cuts into time and gives us our time.
People who are never aware of this dimension lose the possibility of resting in the present. As the letter to the Hebrews describes it, they never enter into the divine rest. They are held by the past and cannot separate themselves from it, or they escape towards the future, unable to rest in the present. They have not entered the eternal rest which stops the flux of time and gives us the blessing of the present. Perhaps this is the most conspicuous characteristic of our period, especially in the western world and particularly in this country. It lacks the courage to accept "presence" because it has lost the dimension of the eternal.
"I am the beginning and the end." This is said to us who live in the bondage of time, who have to face the end, who cannot escape the past, who need a present to stand upon. Each of the modes of time has its peculiar mystery, each of them carries its peculiar anxiety. Each of them drives us to an ultimate question. There is one answer to these questions -- the eternal. There is one power that surpasses the all-consuming power of time -- the eternal: He Who was and is and is to come, the beginning and the end. He gives us forgiveness for what has passed. He gives us courage for what is to come. He gives us rest in His eternal Presence.
Despite what some Biblical literalists might have you believe, Tillich clearly viewed all of this within the Christian tradition, but one does not have to accept that framework to see the merit in the general thoughts that he expressed about the idea of time and timelessness, and how it might affect our interaction with an advanced non-human intelligence that has unlocked the secrets of the "eternal now", i.e. time.

Whether we call it "God", as Tillich did, or whether we call it something else, an examination of "an other" amongst us requires more than just dogmatic scientism, or fundamental religiosity. In the end, it is an existential question, and the answer lies within each of us, and our ability to see beyond the "here and now" and into the "eternal now", in all of its possible manifestations. 

Paul Kimball