In the zine scene of the eighties and nineties, Adam Gorightly's name was ubiquitous. As a self-described "crackpot historian," he has closely examined all the fringe mythos of our time, from UFOs to government mind control and beyond. You know, the kinds of things that most of us were blissfully unaware of until the internet blew up the world and brought QAnon home for Thanksgiving dinner.
In the most recent episode of my podcast, Adam and I discuss the possibility that military intelligence may have created (well, probably did create) the modern UFO movement. The story, in brief, is that an agent of the AFOSI named Richard Doty began “leaking” dubious material to UFO researchers to keep them from discovering top secret experimental technology like stealth aircraft. But lest you think that Adam is a stone-cold materialist UFO skeptic, I'd like to point you to this conversation that we had last year, in which we discuss Alex Jones, mystical conspiracy theory, and his own extraterrestrial "close encounter." (What follows are highlights from a much longer conversation.)
ADAM: I think that I probably ought to point to a UFO psychedelic experience I had when I was in my teens, that got me deeper into this stuff. You know, questioning what I had seen. Questioning consensus reality. Then, in the mid-to-late-eighties, I got more into the conspiracy research scene. And I think one of the things that triggered that was like in the early to mid-eighties, I saw a poster at a community college I was going to, and the poster asked: "Did the CIA killed JFK?" I said whoa, what the hell is up with that? So those kinds of experiences had something to do with my interest in this stuff.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: Are you familiar with a book, the author's name escapes me. it's on Trine Day press, it's called The Most Dangerous Book In The World?
ADAM: No. I'm familiar with some of the stuff Trine Day publishes.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: Yeah, and this is pretty interesting because it's basically a synchromystical examination of the 9-11 attacks. [Synchromysticism is the trend among conspiracy theorists where they see everything as not only a government conspiracy, but some sort of weird magical ritual by elite secret societies as well. A character named James Shelby Downard pioneered this kind of thing, but the internet has really run with it over the years.]
The thing that I find really amusing about the book is the last chapter, where the author uses all his synchromystical knowledge to predict the next 9-11. Which didn't happen, of course. So then there's an afterward tacked on where it's like, "The book worked! We exposed their plans, and they didn't go through with it."
ADAM: Right on! I just pulled up this book to see who the author was. The guy is SK Bain, and I actually interviewed him years ago. He was working on Sandy Hook and a lot of these other things that he was pointing to as false flag events. I don't remember the particulars of the interview.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: You know, I spoke to a gentleman who was at the Boston Marathon when the bombing happened. He was a shutterbug and he was taking pictures at the finish line and captured, you know, all these people being hurt and stuff. And his pictures ended up getting picked up by like NBC or something. And that became proof on the internet that the bombing was a false flag. And the first thing that occurred to me was like, I'm looking at these like horrific pictures of people being hurt. How can you look at that and be so cynical as to think the victims are all actors, are all being paid by the government?
ADAM: I don't disagree. That's an interesting thought, though. Perhaps they've become convinced, or their belief system is telling them, that all these false flags are fake. So those people aren't really injured there. They didn't get their legs blown off.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: And then this poor guy who took the picture has websites posting his name and trying to figure out his connections to military intelligence. And he was getting harassed.
ADAM: Yeah, it's like this whole Sandy Hook situation, with those parents being harassed by people like Alex Jones.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: And what do you think about Alex Jones?
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ADAM: I think he got compromised at some point. You know, I think way back when he first showed up — that was back during the Branch Davidian thing. He was kind of like an activist back in those days, and he helped them rebuild their church back in the day and really seemed genuine, you know, for the most part. But as the time went on, especially the last few years, how he got hooked up with this nexus of Trumpian supporters, and there's his Russian connections and the whole alt-right thing. Yeah, I feel like he is owned by somebody, you know. I don't think it's all just a goof on his part.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: There's a definite real reality to the fact that conspiracy theories can be used to motivate and whip up, you know, people to follow your political wishes. Donald Trump can make something up and tweet it out, or he could pick up something from Alex Jones and tweet it. And then hate crimes are on the rise or people are motivated to support him because of some alleged immigrant invasion or something.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: Is A is for Adamski your latest book? is that what you're promoting right now?
ADAM: My latest published book. Yeah.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: And can you tell me a little about who George Adamski was?
ADAM: Adamski was one of the early UFO contactees, and perhaps the most famous of those old school, early UFO contactees. Adamski allegedly met Orthon the Venusian in the California desert in 1952 and went on to publish a book with Desmond Leslie that sold real well during that period. So he was one of the initial contactees.
This whole movement grew during that period in the early fifties. You had contactees with crazy colorful stories all around the country who would occasionally get together for what were some pretty big UFO conferences out in the desert, near Landers, California, at a place called Giant Rock that were organized by another contactee, George Van Tassel. The book is kind of like a who's who of those early days of the contactee movement with 500 to 2000 word write-ups for each of these contactees, and photos of the contactee. So it's kind of a coffee table book. And there's quite a bit of humor in the book. It's just kind of a fun read, at least according to those who are fans of the book.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: How many contactee experiences have you had personally?
ADAM: Well, the initial one was on LSD with a friend, so I haven't had anything like that since. And that was pretty mind-blowing. There are other things I could point to that possibility, some type of contact with something that occurred. Some of it through dreams. There was a period where I was dabbling, for want of a better term, and had some astral projection experiences. So all those were, you know, strange experiences where I felt like I was in contact with other entities or caught something beyond human consciousness. But who knows?
FAILED STATE UPDATE: It seems to me that most, if not all contactees that I've read about or heard about kind of primed themselves for the experience, you know? It's like, if you have no interest in UFOs, or if you've never given any thought you're probably not going to be a contactee.
ADAM: Well, in my own experience, I would say yes, you talked about priming for an experience. The guy I saw the UFOs on LSD with, we're still good friends to this day, have a bit of a simpatico. Have written music together, you know, one of those guys who we finish each other's thoughts. And that was the period of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and those movies, so we had a genuine desire to experience that. So we were primed for it.
I once did a presentation called, "Were the early UFO contactees ritual magicians?" Did they basically conjure up that experience? It seems like what my friend and I did was a type of a vision quest, that we planted the seeds for that adventure. And with the UFO contactees over the years, a lot of the key experiences, they went into trance states before they actually had the contact. So it seems like in a lot of cases they either imagined it, or what they were in contact wasn't nuts-and-bolts, actual spaceman and craft. Some other energy or something that may have been here with us on Earth since the beginning of time. That's one theory.