BOOK REVIEW: It Defies Language! Essays on UFOs and Other Weirdness by Greg Bishop (Excluded Middle Press) 2016
My first true encounter with the work of writer, researcher, blogger, fringe-culture historian, radio host and Ufologist Greg Bishop was via his excellent 2005 book Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth, which I reviewed at the time for a Louisiana newspaper.
What impressed me most that was despite Bishop’s obvious interest in the topic of UFOs and related “high weirdness,” he was willing to do the yeoman’s work and produce a book that exposed a lot of the rumors out there about a New Mexico physicist – Paul Bennewitz – who urgently believed an alien invasion was imminent and that an underground base near the town of Dulce, N.M. (read our review of Greg Valdez’s Dulce Basehere) was already populated with sinister aliens.
And yet, in Project Beta, we learn it was all a government disinformation campaign to get Bennewitz off the trail of down-to-earth technology (the strange lights over Albuquerque) being tested at nearby Kirtland Air Force Base. Sad thing is, the experience left Bennewitz a paranoid and broken man, and committed to a mental institution.
So, upon learning about Bishop’s latest UFO-tinged book project, It Defies Language!, I knew I would be of great interest to me, since it featured a bunch of his posts from the defunct UFOMystic.com website (2006-2011), one that was prominently linked here at Red Dirt Report, and also featured work by our friend Nick Redfern, prolific author and regular at Mysterious Universe.
Broken up into nine chapters, It Defies Language! starts off in the introduction with Bishop straight-up saying, “Some people build model railroads.Others collect stamps or bottlecaps. I write and think about UFOs.” And I can relate to that to a certain extent.
I can also relate to Bishop’s approach to the topic that he is not necessarily a “nuts-and-bolts” UFO guy, that there is likely a metaphysical angle to the phenomenon, noting "there is no real, verifiable evidence that UFOs and apparent associated beings come from other planets."
Anyway, Bishop jumps around with the posts, but even though it isn’t necessarily chronological, we get insight into the intellectually honest process he undertakes when it comes to tackling the difficult subject of UFOs and related phenomena and even fellow UFO researchers who aren’t always as honest about their objectives as they should be, some even covertly working for the US government to sidetrack researchers. It happens.
Being an obsessive fan of the David Lynch TV show Twin Peaks (1990-91), which will be rebooted for Showtime next year, I was interested in one 2007 UFOMystic post Bishop includes titled “David Lynch, Twin Peaks, and UFOs (and the Government).” In the post he notes that an unnamed source told a friend of his, Miles Lewis, that Lynch created his “Agent Dale Cooper” character based on someone who worked in the government, someone he simply calls “Agent Cooper.”* (EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Lewis informed this writer that "To clarify (for the record) no source told me (SMiles Lewis) any such thing, I simply passed along an anonymous article alleging these things." - 3:26 p.m. June 6, 2016)
Notes Bishop: “However, from what I understand, under this ‘Agent Cooper’s” urging, Lynch infused certain codes and secret messages pertaining to different things he had learned from ‘Agent Cooper’ – and they are scattered throughout the series.”
Don S. Davis as Maj. Garland Briggs - UFO seeker - in Twin Peaks. (Lynch/Frost Productions)
It is true that Twin Peaks features a rather esoteric storyline where Air Force Maj. Garland Briggs (Don S. Davis) works, in a classified manner, with “deep space monitoring” and also for the infamous Project Blue Book, where the Air Force was allegedly looking into UFO sightings between 1952 and 1969. But the real purpose, Bishop is told, is “to test to the general public’s perception and reaction to UFO reports and sightings, and to use the data gleaned from this study as a mean to maximize the effectiveness of using such UFO stories to manipulate the population.”
In another 2007 post, Bishop delves into the aforementioned subject of “underground bases.” What is their purpose? What is hidden there? Was there a “firefight” between US soldier and “alien humanoids” at an underground base in Dulce, N.M. as claimed by one Philip Schneider? And was Schneider “killed for talking about alien bases”? He goes into that, as well as the issue of cattle mutilations, the 1950's "contactee" movement, crop circles, and even a bit on “alien writing.” It is that subject where Bishop, in talking about the "alien symbol" research of the late Dr. Mario Pazzaglini, also notes that “one of the earliest concrete examples of what was purported to be extra-human communication was channeled by medium Edward Kelley, and his boss, Elizabethan astrologer and all-around magician John Dee, from 1582-1589.”
Like those who come across alleged alien “symbols” following an encounter, it was Dee who said the “Enochian” symbols he received from an "angel," dictated through medium Kelley. Is there a connection between the 400-plus year old findings of Dee and the symbols being discussed today? Bishop is of the opinion that this "as-yet unknown, non-human intelligence or consciousness that interacts with us from time-to-time" has likely been around for a very long time.
Bishop has a smart and easy-to-understand style that will appeal to both serious UFO researchers and those with, perhaps, simply a passing interest in the topic. For Bishop, putting this online essay collection together was a labor of love, for someone who has a passion for investigating the unknown.
Regardless, in It Defies Language!, there is plenty of thoughtful - and even humorous and lighthearted - information to sink your teeth and your mind into.