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Ron Patton | April 11, 2024

There is a remarkable Netflix series called “Files of the Unexplained.” The producers and writers have taken the initiative to report on many popular pre-internet paranormal stories and what is so important– they steer away from the sensationalist route and focus more on the individuals who have been affected by these events. In some of the episodes, it is their last moment to assure people that what happened to them left indelible marks on their souls. Charles Fort believed we live in a damned world condemned to following the whims of the cosmic trickster. Yes, it is a demon-haunted world and at times, it is a terrifying matrix of violence and death. Tonight on Ground Zero (7-10pm, pacific time), Clyde Lewis talks with the producer and director of Files of the Unexplained, Avril Speaks and Skye Borgman about CHARNEL HOUSE – THE DEMON HAUNTED WORLD.



Today, there are many things even outside the realms of paranoia that can trigger a thought or memory of a hidden paranormal experience.

There can also be a triggering of déjà vu that is a small product of some reoccurring dream of dread, an apocalyptic future where you know that you will eventually be handed a very difficult decision which when made will neither be to your benefit nor your immediate circle of friends and family.

With relentless speculation, multiple mind-blowing streams of thought completely shatter preconceived notions of perception, time, and space. It is as true in physics as in cultural engineering. It is difficult to grasp without egocentricity that everything we experience is a form of virtual reality.

Perhaps the most destructive idea ever planted in the minds of the general public is the notion that nothing in this world is permanent — that all things can and must be constantly changed to suit our whims. The concept of impermanence leads to various wild ideas we can drift into and with fringe analysis, we can look through the glass darkly.

The real nightmare is when you realize that these dreams were like fire drills and that in a future moment, you won’t be sleepwalking through the valley of the shadow of death – you will be running for your life in a reality that the nightmare initiated.

All that is paranoid is not delusional, just as all that is delusional is not paranoid. We aren’t talking about incorrigible delusions as much as a phenomenological field of relative points of view. The tyranny of the One is that of the official, spin-doctored version of past and current events, and future potentials that can be steered by the fabricated consensus.

Charles Fort explains that all people tend to be hypnotic. He has said that if the proper authority saw to it that the proper belief should be induced, the people would believe properly like good little sheep. He also believed that if god was the universal mind, he didn’t always have to act in a sane manner.

This is why we live in this world of remarkable and crazy things.

It is said that we live in perilous times, and often, while in the middle of them, we seem to have some sort of epiphany that while we believe our little paranormal thoughts in church, we can openly pretend that no one answers prayers or doles out miracles or scrawls out little words on Ouija boards.

When we hear of what can be termed “doom porn”, we can become introspective and ask “Is life worth living?” The sad thing is that even as we ask ourselves that question, we are convinced that the answer is no.

But life is worth living — only that perhaps it is wise to live cautiously but not so much as to be perceived as boring.

The Glass that we look through darkly is our cell phone — it is a black mirror we stare into –with all of its clickbait and games — we doom scroll through our lives and hear about the latest conspiracy theories and paranormal intrigue.

In the pre-internet world many stories of the paranormal have gone by the wayside –and unless you are a historian who looks into things like Forteana — you would understand just how important these stories are today.

Many of the reasons are simple — they go unsolved, they remain mysteries — and they endure and hold up today, even with all of the forensics and advanced science — it is hard cracking the paranormal code.

Unfortunately, there are not that many shows. movies or documentaries that cover these intriguing topics. There are however movies of fiction that use a lot if these paranormal true stories as a basis for movies — and of course they take liberties with the story.

In Hollywood, you can’t let a good movie get in the way of a true story.

If you want to know about an effective conspiracy theory or paranormal story — all you have to tell it and then wait for the response.

Try discussing the CIA’s more heinous misdeeds lately — or maybe even discuss them about age-old John F. Kennedy conspiracy theories, and you may get someone that is very attentive or someone who is dismissive.

It is the dismissive people I tend to worry about because I don’t quite understand how they can be so trusting when everything around them has an exquisite stink of conspiracy.

I know that sometimes people smile and awkwardly walk away because they cannot allow themselves to believe that men whose Portraits and statues the appear in city halls and in government buildings were at one time eager collaborators with the KKK or Nazis.

What is so ironic is that when a lot of the statues came down four years ago — more diabolical people deserved to have their portraits and statues removed instead of some of our founding fathers.

Who again ironically represents the mother of all conspiracies, criminally plotting against a King for independence from tyranny.

We forget that sometimes those criminals do things and that they are on the right side of the law.

How about Rosa Parks, a courageous woman who refused to sit at the back of the bus.. at the time she was breaking the law — and she was admired.

Today we jail people who wish to take their grievances to the government.

In the same way, we judge people who have had experiences that they cannot explain. Some of the more high-profile cases also deserve your attention because a lot of them have a very important connection to our overall humanity.

I am proud to say that I was involved in a remarkable Netflix series called “Files of the Unexplained.” In a lot of the episodes the producers and writers have taken the initiative to report on Pre-internet paranormal stories– and what is so important– they steer away from the sensationalist route and focus more on the people who have been affected by these events,

I have not binged the series because there is a lot to take in and I have never felt such an emotional connection to those who are now older and are trying to tell their stories before they die.

In some of the episodes, it is their last moment to assure people that what happened to them left indelible marks on their souls.

Most paranormal experiences have negative affective themes with an emphasis on some aspect of death or harm — and the frustrating thing is no one is there to stand trial for the coercion and violation of the peace and safety of the victims.

In the historical overviews of past paranormal events, you have Betty and Barney Hill’s abduction story, The Cash Landrum case, and the Pascagoula Abduction.

The Pascagoula incident is one of the first stories that is explored in the hit Netflix series.

On the night of October 10, 1973, two men – Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker – were fishing on the banks of Mississippi’s Pascagoula River. All was going fine. That is, until approximately 9:00 p.m. rolled around. That’s when all hell broke loose. Yet, it all began relatively calmly.

It didn’t stay that way, however. As they fished, Parker and Hickson suddenly noticed a light in the distance. Not only that, it was following the river and appeared to be coming in their direction.

Which was not necessarily a good thing. As the light got closer, they could see it in its full glory: the light was a brightly lit, somewhat egg-shaped craft, from which came a deep, throbbing hum.

Such was the intensity of the hum, it provoked intense nausea in both men. Confusion, and a sense of distinct unreality, quickly followed. The pair watched in horror and amazement as what was described as a “hatch” opened and a trio of very strange-looking creatures exited the hovering object: they had aerial-like protrusions coming out of their heads and “hands” that resembled the claws of a lobster.

Even stranger, and much more unnerving, the three things floated from the craft, across the waters of the river, and towards Hickson and Parker. The aliens were not of the famous large-headed, black-eyed, and dwarfish kind, however.

They weren’t even of the benevolent-looking, so-called “Space Brothers” variety of the 1950s. Nope, this particular breed of E.T. was described later by the shocked and undeniably traumatized men as being humanoid, and with faces that appeared to be almost masked, and heads from which three carrot-style points protruded.

On top of that, they had large crab-like or lobster-like claws. Then matters got even worse: when the things from another world were practically on top of terrified Parker and Hickson, both men were rendered into a state of paralysis. Whether due to some technology of the aliens or provoked by overwhelming fear, remains unknown.

Suddenly, the entities seized the pair, who were manhandled onto the UFO. Like most abductees, Hickson and Parker were quickly reduced to the equivalents of lab rats. When the encounter was over, the pair was dumped back on the edge of the river.

While the story is a terrifying one in UFO History — the producers of “Files of the Unexplained” brought in a human element where you develop sympathy for the family, and for the men who were harmed and traumatized. Gone are the stories of space brothers from the galactic federation or light– no connection to Egypt or Mesopotamia giants — just touching and meaningful stories from the surviving family members — Calvin Parker also appeared and gave what eventually became one of his last testimonies to the validity of the case.

Parker died last year of Kidney cancer.

Looking into his eyes as he spoke of the incident — made me want to cry. There was an air of honesty and truth in this broken man — It was well done.

The abduction gave him some severe PTSD, and he would rather forget about it. But half a century after it happened, it’s still at the forefront of his mind. It was a good insight into how an incident like this can change a person, especially one that wasn’t inclined to wildly report about things like this to begin with.

Hickson, in an archival interview, says, “I know there are other worlds out there with life on it. And someday, everyone will know that to be a fact without any doubt.”

Again, this leaves you with an enduring mystery of wanting to give love and comfort to a shattered family.

Older paranormal stories were never spiritual ones — they were never full of opportunistic gurus telling you that they are peaceful messengers of light… people were terrified of these things from the 1940s until the early 1980s.

But the series shows us that there are ordinary people who experience extraordinary and bizarre phenomena that seemingly can’t be explained.

It even delves into mysterious true crime when they take on the topic of the missing Yuba County 5– five men who mysteriously disappeared and how the police didn’t bother to search for them because they had mental challenges.

Or so it seems — there is also an element of speculation regarding foul play — but the tragic end again leaves you feeling empathy for the family members and how they are still tragically affected by a loss that happened decades ago.

It’s unlikely that we’ll ever know what happened to the “Yuba County Five,” a group of men with intellectual disabilities who went missing in the Plumas National Forest in February 1978. Four men — Bill Sterling, Jackie Huett, Ted Weiher, and Jack Madruga — were later found dead, while the fifth, Gary Mathias, has never been found.

I appear in the segment called “Bizarre Blobs of Washington,” this is a story that has been a favorite of mine as I have determined that the case was an example of earlier gain of function experiments conducted by the military — while the answers given by some of the interviewees point to either Jelly fish falling from the sky –or blue ice ejected from a plane — the unanswered questions still remain.

Why did these noxious blobs fall from the sky 6 times over the small town of Oakville? Why did people who came in contact with it get sick? Why did some of the cattle and pets get sick and drop dead from the exposure?

Scientists discovered that the blobs contained living cells, but they struggled to identify their exact composition or how they got into the atmosphere.

But of course, those with no dog in the hunt leave behind their opinions of the case — and many of them are so sure of their analysis only they are armchair scientists and doctors who do not do the hard work in trying to expose this case.

Sunny Barclift is featured in this segment related that her mother Dotty came down with a hard flu — one that lasted seven weeks.

This sounds similar to what most people are calling Long Covid — but that was the 1990s long before we even knew what that was or even cared.

Many people understand that when I do paranormal shows and tell my paranormal parables, there are some that I create that demand that you read between the lines. I know that for some that is hard to do but the nuances of the esoteric are just as important as frank and blatant talk about the dark underbelly of our existence.

No one wants to be the one to bring the room down with ugly truths and sometimes it is necessary but we all live in what Charles Fort called a damned world condemned to following the whims of the cosmic trickster.

Yes, it is a demon-haunted world and at times it is a terrifying matrix of violence and death.



Avril Speaks has been carving out her path as a bold, innovative storyteller for years, not only as a Producer and Director but also during her days as a professor at Howard University and as a film educator through Film Independent, the Sundance Institute, and Distribution Advocates.

Avril has produced several award-winning films and won Best Feature Documentary at various film festivals. As a director and showrunner, Avril has worked with companies such as Now This and Vox Media Studios on docu-series such as Uprooted: The Untold Keith Warren Story, Keep This Between Us, and the popular new series, Files of the Unexplained on Netflix.

She is one of the founding members of Distribution Advocates and is a board member of the Black TV and Film Collective.

Skye Borgman is an award-winning documentary director. She has filmed survivors, rock stars, prime ministers, environmentalists, Academy Award winners, Buddhist nuns and anarchist chocolate makers.

With an extensive background in cinematography, Skye brings a targeted vision to everything she directs. The documentaries she has worked on include, ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT(Netflix), THE GIRL IN THE PICTURE (Netflix), DEAD ASLEEP (HULU), UNSOLVED MYSTERIES (Nerflix), TRIAL BY MEDIA(Netflix), I JUST KILLED MY DAD (Netflix), SINS OF OUR MOTHER (Netflix), THE TRUTH ABOUT JIM (MAX) and FILES OF THE UNEXPLAINED (Netflix)  Skye has firmly cemented herself into victim-forward storytelling and leads with empathy, awareness and razor-sharp intellect.

Written by Ron Patton

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