Interview with Stan Gordon

Stan Gordon is a seasoned ufologist and cryptozoologist who has worked in the field since 1965. He has three books, The Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot CasebookReally Mysterious Pennsylvania, and Astonishing Encounters: Pennsylvania’s Unknown Creatures. He is widely considered to be the foremost authority on paranormal phenomena in Pennsylvania as well as the Kecksburg UFO crash. I met Stan over Labor Day weekend where he agreed to this interview, and again at the recent Mothman Festival, which I will be posting a summary and review of as my next post.

  1. What originally inspired you to research the paranormal? How long have you been doing this?

>I was a curious youngster who had an interest in science and electronics at an early age.  By coincidence my birthday is around Halloween. In 1959, on my 10th birthday, my parents gave me an AM radio as a gift. That evening as I tuned across the radio dial, some radio shows were discussing strange events such as ghosts and flying saucers. I listened to the discussions, and while intrigued I was also skeptical of some of what I was hearing. I wanted to learn more and began many trips to the Greensburg library to read what books they had on these topics. I continued my interest and research making scrap books from news stories that appeared on these subjects.  I was 16 years old in December of 1965, when a major UFO incident occurred in a rural community called Kecksburg, about 12 miles away from where I lived.

That night as the news was breaking from around the Pittsburgh area of the UFO incident, I began to take down notes. The next day as the story appeared in local newspapers, I began to call people in the area where the incident occurred to try to obtain more details. This year will mark 50 years of my investigation into the case.

That UFO incident still remains unsolved. I have been out in the field conducting first hand investigations in the UFO phenomena and many other areas of what would be described as paranormal. In the nearly 56 years that I have been conducting this research, I have still never seen a UFO or crossed paths with Bigfoot. The thousands of witnesses I have interviewed and the physical evidence that I have seen has convinced me, however, that there remain many mysteries in this world for which we have no answers.

  1. Of all the cases you have investigated, what is, in your opinion, the most significant and why?

>This is a tough question to answer as there are multitudes of UFO and Cryptid cases that I have investigated that are significant.  The case that stands out was an incident that occurred during the major UFO-Bigfoot wave of 1973. It is very involved and well documented, so I am just giving you a brief summary.  On the evening of October 25, 1973, I received a call from a state trooper from the Uniontown barracks in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He had returned from investigating a strange incident on a farm and felt that I should send a research team to that area immediately.

About 9 PM that evening, a number of local residents observed a barn sized red sphere hovering about 100 feet in sky and dropping towards the ground. Three people went up to the pasture to investigate. They were shocked to see about 250 feet away that the object was on the ground or hovering just above it. The object now looked to be a bright white dome shape about 100 feet or more in diameter. It illuminated the area and made a loud whining sound. About 75 feet away from the observers was a barbed wire fence. Along that fence were two huge hair covered creatures with very long arms walking in their direction.

As one man fired ammunition at the beasts with a 30.06 rifle, the object suddenly just vanished, and the creatures being hit with ammo just kept walking back towards the direction from which they came with no apparent effect. The state trooper who arrived within the hour to investigate, said the area where the object had been was glowing and the farm animals would not go near it. When my team arrived during the early morning hours to investigate, some strange events took place in that area. I explain the entire case in detail in my “Silent Invasion” book. It was the case that clearly indicated that the Bigfoot and UFO phenomena is much more complex than any of us were aware of.

  1. Are your files and research  concentrated simply to Pennsylvania, or have they branched out further?

>While I am interested in similar cases from surrounding states and what takes place elsewhere, my focus has been to document what has been taking place in Pennsylvania. The Keystone state has a long history of mysterious happenings, and these strange encounters continue to take place each year. This year has been very active with UFO, cryptid and other anomalistic incidents.

  1. Your second book, The Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook, focuses on a wave of sightings during the seventies where Bigfoot and UFO sightings seemed to be connected, do you have any theories as to what the connection might be based on the various encounters? Do you feel that all Bigfoot sightings are connected to UFOs?

>The “Silent Invasion” book details the many mysterious events that took place from 1973 into 1974 across Pennsylvania. I began investigating Bigfoot encounters in the late 1960s. I had always felt that the initial information we had indicated that these creatures seemed to be some type of unknown animal. During the wave of the early 1970s, residents were calling the police and my research team reporting many very strange events. Some patterns of the phenomena began to emerge from widespread locations.

Observers would report a UFO sighting in a certain area and within a short time, a Bigfoot encounter would take place there as well. Sometimes it would be the reverse, with a Bigfoot sighting taking place, then a UFO encounter would occur. Then there were cases where a UFO and Bigfoot were seen together at the same time and location.

Most UFO sightings historically reported have no association with a Bigfoot encounter. And most Bigfoot incidents aren’t associated with UFO activity. Such cases of Bigfoot with UFOs  have been reported not just from Pennsylvania, but from throughout the country and other parts of the world. As I have mentioned many times in my writings, I don’t have the answers if there is a direct connection between the two phenomena. The more you look into the UFO and cryptid fields, the more it is apparent that we are dealing with a very strange, and complex phenomena.

I am not suggesting that Bigfoot is an Alien life form and that it is an occupant of a spacecraft from another world. We don’t know for sure what UFOs really are. While many sightings are explainable, some remain unexplained. There are many theories for these objects including extraterrestrial spacecraft, time and interdimensional travelers, even unknown natural phenomena. I don’t have the answers, but I keep an open mind to all possibilities.

  1. You seem to, in your books, focus on cryptozoology and ufology, what are your thoughts, if you have any, on some other paranormal subjects, such as ghosts, poltergeists, psychic abilities, fairies, the Bermuda Triangle, werewolves, or  witchcraft?

>During many years of research I had an interest in all types of anomalistic events including most of the topics you have mentioned.  In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I was involved with cases of alleged haunted houses and ghosts. I interviewed many people who claimed to have ESP experiences. I have looked into many types of strange creature and mysterious being encounters including claims of fairies and werewolves, and discussed in my new book, “Astonishing Encounters: Pennsylvania’s Unknown Creatures.”

  1. Do you have any advice for anyone who may be starting within the subject of the unusual and unexplained?

>Don’t believe everything that you read and see on the internet. Keep an open mind when researching such cases, but be objective and look for sources that might explain what took place. Associate with trained research professionals such as scientists and engineers, and utilize their expertise when evaluating mysterious claims.

All three of Stan’s books are highly recommended. He can be found at,

http://www.stangordon.info/wp/

Zombies

Pop culture seems to be endlessly fascinated with the “big three” of horror, werewolves, vampires, and zombies. I am doing a three-post series which will go over the occult roots of each and the modern day encounters with the various creatures of darkness. For my final post in the series, I am examining zombies.

Everyone is familiar with zombies, the undead terrors that have limped their way into becoming a pop culture sensation. They seem to be everywhere–television, comics, movies, books. It seems that nearly everyone has become obsessed with the living dead. Many people associate the word “zombie” with a rotting corpse which, for one reason or another, has risen from the grave in search of human flesh to consume. The modern idea of the zombie is not the same being as the ancient idea of the zombie.

The zombie originates from the religion of Vodun, more commonly known as voodoo. A zombies, in the Vodun concept, is a corpse given life by a sorcerer, known as a bokor. The zombie the is a slave to the bokor, having no will of its own. Some who have investigated this have come to the conclusion that these “zombies” are simply people who were poisoned and as a result were severely brain damaged and are then used as slaves.

The idea of a zombie, as we now think of it, is closer to the Arabic idea of a ghoul. Ghouls were considered to be the dead, risen from the dead with a hunger for human flesh. They are said to dwell in graveyards and ruins, and prey on those who travel near their dwelling. Ghouls are also similar to ancient concepts of vampires and the djinn.

There are similar creatures throughout the world, the most notable is the Chiang-Shih. Also known as the ‘hopping corpse,’ the Chiang-Shih is a reanimated body of a person whose soul did not leave after death. They are known as the hopping corpse because they cannot walk properly, therefore they must move in a hopping fashion. The Chiang-Shih only begin unable to walk, their body is said to go through a process of transformation after reanimation, their hair turns white and their skin turns a glowing green. Once this transformation is complete, they gain super strength, the ability to fly, and are able to shapeshift into a wolf.

Zombies are a complicated and diverse subject, what are your thoughts on it? Tell me in the comments.

Sources

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Paranormal by Nathan Robert Brown

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

A Brief Guide to the Supernatural by Dr. Leo Ruickbie

The Directory of Possibilities edited by Colin WIlson

The Mammoth Encyclopedia of the Unsolved by Colin and Damon Wilson

Vampires

Pop culture seems to be endlessly fascinated with the “big three” of horror, werewolves, vampires, and zombies. I am doing a three-post series which will go over the occult roots of each and the modern day encounters with the various creatures of darkness. My second post will be on vampires.

Often the word vampire conjures images of pale, aristocratic men, with bright red lips, slick black hair and shiny white teeth with two long fangs. In modern pop culture, vampires have lately been portrayed as tortured anti-heroes that secretly want to be loved. In mythology and folklore, true vampires are spirits or demons that inhabit the bodies of the dead and use them to consume blood of the living, and they don’t want to be loved. Vampires originate from Europe but there are blood-craving creatures in nearly every culture on Earth.

Contrary to popular belief, vampires did not live in giant castles above a town of people terrified being attacked, vampires actually remained in the graves of the deceased and rose at night to shamble around and attack weary travelers. Vampires do not have a weakness to Christian religious symbols or holy water, these ideas were created by the Catholic church to strengthen belief in the church and make it appear that they could protect you from anything. Garlic is also useless against vampires, this idea was created through the idea that certain demons could be repelled using garlic. Vampires actually resembled modern ideas of zombies more than what we think of when we imagine a vampire, shambling, lifeless, unintelligent creatures whose only purpose is to consume blood. Vampires are, as commonly thought, killed by a stake to the heart or by burning the body. It is disputed whether or not sunlight actually kills them or not.

The modern image is obviously derived from the Count Dracula from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula. The ideas of the various vampiric powers, super strength, flight, super speed, shapeshifting into animals, super hearing, etc. all come from the book. Although the common image of vampires comes from Dracula, there have been changes as time goes on. The most glaring example of this is the vampires from the book and movie series Twilight, they appear to sparkle when in sunlight.

Probably the most interesting aspect of modern vampires is the vampire subculture. There are groups, primarily around the United States but in other countries as well, where people identify with the idea of the vampire. They dress as vampires, some of them drink blood because they believe that it is vital to their well being, and some even perform rituals that they claim make them immortal. The media has wildly misrepresented the people who are involved, they do not take blood from others unless the person specifically donates it to them. They do not, for the most part, truly believe they are vampires. Other than those who drink blood, some involved are what are termed as psychic vampires. Psychic vampires apparently drain the life energies from other people, many unknowingly. Psychic vampires seem to take up the majority of the subculture.

Sources

The Vampire Book by J. Gordon Melton

Vampires in Their Own Words by Michelle Belanger

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Werewolves

Pop culture seems to be endlessly fascinated with the “big three” of horror, werewolves, vampires, and zombies. I am starting a three-post series which will go over the occult roots of each and the modern day encounters with the various creatures of darkness. I’m starting with werewolves.

Werewolves, the man-wolf creatures of the night, said to terrorize townspeople and consume children and sheep. Werewolves are considered to be a strictly European notion, but most cultures around the world have some concept of people transforming into animals, in the Southern United States it’s the skinwalkers, in Japan, the kitsune, and in Mesoamerica, the nagual. Stories of these shapeshifting creatures are abundant, and many continue today.

The official term for shapeshifting into a wolf is lycanthropy. Many attribute legend of werewolves to people who had the mental disorder known as Clinical Lycanthropy, a form of psychosis in which one believes themselves to be a wolf or half-wolf.

Probably the best known tale of a werewolf are the stories of the Beast of Gevaudan. Gevaudan was the name for a mountainous region in the southern part of 18th century France. The Beast showed up in June of 1764 and terrorized the small town for three years. It killed women, children, livestock–anything it could. Eventually, nearly all of France had heard of the beast, and the king sent soldiers down to kill the creature. The soldiers succeeded in killing the beast and tried to bring it back to the king but because of decay and stench they buried it in an unknown location. Many speculate that the creature was just a hyena or an oversized wolf, but there are some who still call it a werewolf.

There is an abundance of modern werewolf sightings, not just in Europe, but in America as well. Researcher Linda S. Godfrey is the recognized expert on modern werewolf sightings and has a nearly complete list of modern American encounters. She has noticed, like many cryptids, there seems to be a correlation between sighting locations and the locations of both sacred sites and military bases. Godfrey speculated that this could be because the man-wolves are protection spirits from Native American mythology. Godfrey prefers to call these creatures Dogmen or Upright-Candids, because some encounters seem to attribute a more dog-like appearance to the creatures than wolf-like. Many researchers also feel that the Dogmen are most supernatural than natural, due to the nature of many encounters. Nearly everyone agrees, though, that werewolves aren’t truly men transforming into wolves.

Sources

Real Wolfmen by Linda S. Godfrey

Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology by Michael Newton

Encyclopedia of Occultism by Lewis Spence

American Monsters by Linda S. Godfrey

How Can Cryptids Stay Hidden?

When discussing cryptids, such as Bigfoot or Mothman, I seem to be faced with the same question, time and time again. This question seems simple but could really be quite complex if you really think about it. The question is, “If these creatures exist, how do they stay hidden against hundreds of people looking for them?”

There are many answers to this question, and which answer you use normally depends on your point of view on the specific cryptid or type of cryptid in question. I will briefly explain the three major answers to the question.

The first answer is nothing more than trying to show that there are still plenty of areas not properly explored by man, or are so vast and inaccessible that it gives large animals a fair amount of living space without needing to stray into more densely populated areas. This is normally used by believers in the specific cryptids existence or at least those who are open to the possibility.

The second is simply that the cryptid doesn’t exist and that sightings are simply nothing more than misidentifications or flat-out fabrications. Thus there is no ‘real’ animal to be found. Most professional debunkers use this for nearly everything.

The third answer seems to divulge into the very strange, it can be summed up in two words, multidimensional beings. This idea has seemed to grow in popularity and has a large number of supporters. Basically those who support this idea think that since most cryptid encounters seem to have many paranormal parallels to it, the creatures most likely come from another dimension or something similar. This idea seems more logical for some cryptids but not for most of them.

Sources

Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology by Michael Newton

Cryptozoology A to Z by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings by John A. Keel

Thought-Forms

Throughout the world there are beliefs pertaining to the power of thought, the most abundant idea is the possibility of ‘thought-forms’. Thought-forms are a popular idea between many occult researchers and scholars. The idea behind a thought-form is simple, they are exactly as they sound, a kind of creature, force, or object brought into existence purely through the power of one’s mind. There are numerous accounts of encounters with the paranormal and phenomena that could potentially be explained through the unconscious  thought-forms. Some examples of this are poltergeists, some cryptids, ghosts, and UFOs/extraterrestrials.

Thought-forms are generally said to be created through extreme concentration and focus on whatever it is said person or persons want to be brought into existence, often times, according to legend, the creation ends disastrously for all those involved. Unconscious thought-form creation is slightly more complicated, though never mentioned in any belief system or myth, some theorize if enough people believe in the existence of the same thing, eventually it will come into existence, for example, after the first Bigfoot prints were popularized, the idea of a large ape-like creature exploded, even after the prints were admitted to be fakes sightings of Bigfoot persist, because of this, some think that the immense belief in the creature literally brought it into existence.

The best known example of thought-forms in myth, and where most modern ideas within the subject of thought-forms originate from, comes from the ideology of the Tibetan monks. The monks believe that if you meditate and fast in a specific way, you can potentially bring to existence, a tulpa. Tulpas are specialized thought-forms, they seem to require specific rituals to bring forth, but afterwords, they follow their creator’s commands. Tulpas also begin as invisible to all other than their creator, but as they gain strength, they are able to be seen by others. There are also accounts of tulpas becoming strong enough to develop their own will and break free from the commands of their creator.

There are many issues with the existence or possibility of thought-forms, but many occultists claim that somehow, thought-forms are able to break the laws of physics to come into existence.

What do you think? Could thought-forms explain some or all paranormal phenomena? Or is this all superstitious crap? Tell me in the comments

Sources

Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical; and Paranormal Experience by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

The Directory of Possibilities edited by Colin Wilson

The Encyclopedia of Ghost and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

Spiritualism

Spiritualism is the name for the rise in occult studies and attempt to contact the spirit world during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The beliefs were spread by various groups, both serious and fraudulent, that were very abundant during these times. The movement has been associated with the modern obsession with the occult and psychics. Many connected to the spiritualist movement turned out to be frauds but there were some genuinely believing groups. The movement is also considered to be the rise of psychics and fortune-tellers.

The roots of the movement can be traced to Kate and Margaret Fox, sisters who claimed that spirits were communicating with them through a series of knocks and taps but were later shown to be frauds. After the Fox sisters went public with their claim, many followed. Spiritualism was extremely popular among minorities, mainly because of their belief in equality for all. Spiritualism also claimed to be the middle grounds between religion and science, and because of this, spiritualism was demonized by most religious orthodoxies. During World War I, spiritualism gain many supporters in Europe, mainly because spiritualism supported the belief of spirits of the dead lingering. Over time, spiritualism gained a more political standing and was further frowned upon.

Spiritualism’s most popular idea was that through the right equipment and ritual, you could contact the dead. Contact was done through things such as seances, specific boxes used for communication, discussions through mediums, channeling, and automatic writing. The two best known people who were active in the spiritualist movement, either against or for, were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.

Spiritualism is still popular today. Psychics, frauds, and ghost hunters are quite common. As many as 41% of people in the United States believe in a form of psychic abilities and as many as 35% of people in the U.S. believe in ghosts and spirits. There are many television shows that focus on the ‘adventures’ of those who appear to search for the unknown.

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Foundations of Parapsychology by Hoyt L. Edge, Robert L. Morris, John Palmer, and Joseph H. Rush