Note: At the conclusion of this review I have added a personal note regarding my epistemological relationship with the UFO/ET phenomenon. This is the second documentary of this ilk I have covered, The Hidden Hand being the first.
Once in awhile I begin a documentary film review with displayed text that introduces the film. Here is text that concludes Extraordinary.
“The intention of this film is not to answer questions, but to stimulate new ones. Go forward. Challenge conventional thought. Wonder. And above all else, ask yourself: What if this is all true?”
Extraordinary covers the UFO/ET-filled life of Stan Romanek. The UFO/ET phenomenon is befuddling enough. Romanek’s reported experiences include those of the spiritual, paranormal, or metaphysical kind. That is, this film is even more challenging to our beliefs.
Produced with high production values, Extraordinary allows Romanek to tell his story of daunting experiences, and to share evidence of same. This is a film that those with absolute beliefs of what is not possible will likely avoid. If your approach is not absolute, the boundaries of your understanding of what is possible may very well be expanded. That is, I recommend the watching of this film which is available on disc and via Netflix.
A Personal Note
“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” Paul Simon
“It is hard to fill a cup that is already full.” Moat
“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” The Guy Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays
It began at grocery store checkout stands. Magazine racks displaying the latest copy of The Inquirer. Occasionally there would be a front page photo of an alien accompanied by some outrageous headline. After so many exposures to tabloid stories and photos it became obvious aliens have really broken bad. They have an unquenchable anal fetish. Of all the possible things ‘in Heaven and Earth’ they would want from us humans! Probing our butts?!
I paid no attention. The existence of alien life and intelligence could not be proved or disproved. Unless one has a direct experience, it’s just someone’s story or evidence. In our cyber era that idea is more pertinent being that we can create all sorts of evidence. I ignored anything and everything about extraterrestrial intelligence. I was, and still am, struggling to find my own.
Then, a few things happened.
First, the repetition of stories of that ilk from various other sources. Movie movies—E.T., Close Encounters of the Third King. A television movie, Roswell, staring Dwight Yoakam, Martin Sheen, Kyle MacLachlan, and Xander Berkeley. I began to take more seriously the metaphor of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey as a symbol which intimates alien interventions in our evolution—they contributed to our DNA. We have met the aliens, and they are us.
I saw Fire in the Sky, a movie based upon a 1975 experience in Arizona. The experiencer, Travis Walton, had his Fifteen Minutes of Fame by sharing his story in his book of the same name. The controversy surrounding the event was not so much the event itself as it was the taking of lie detector tests by several witnesses. Most of them passed the test two consecutive times. The probability of that result—if the participants were lying—is less than minuscule.
Two students in my graduate program spoke with me of their experiences. I knew both, and found them to be serious, reliable sources of information. These were particularly sobering conversations.
Around 1980, I learned that the then governor of New Mexico had filed an FOI request with the United States government for information related to the 1947 ‘Roswell Incident.’ Anyone could request a complimentary copy of the material subsequently shared by our government with the Governor’s office. I requested, and six months later received a thick 9X12 manila envelope. I went through the dozens or more pages of this report. A large number of the paragraphs were redacted. Why?
I watched Sightings, a television series about metaphysical phenomena including aliens and UFOs which was on the air during the years 1992-1997. Henry Winkler—’Fonzie’ from Happy Days—was one of the show’s producers. What stood out was the large number of distinguished military and law enforcement officials who shared experiences of UFOs.
I watched three seasons of The History Channel’s series, Ancient Aliens. These programs included lots of cheesy stories and ideas—but they also featured utterly mystifying evidence that pointed to alien interventions in our past.
In the mid-1980s I met a DJ from a major FM pop station at a party. As we spoke I learned he had been an air traffic controller early in his career. He told a supervisor he saw a UFO, and was told there would be serious repercussions for him if he were to go public with his experience.
I read two books—Abduction and Passport to the Cosmos—by the late John Mack, M.D., a Harvard psychiatrist who found himself treating people suffering from PTSD who vividly recounted alien abductions. Predictably the Harvard establishment attempted to have Mack kicked out. They failed.
Mack died tragically and ironically while attending a London conference on the after-death state. Taking field research to the extreme, he was hit by a drunk driver.
Crop Circles: Over the decades I’ve heard about circles with simple or elaborate designs appearing—many overnight—on Earth. These are epistemologically challenging phenomena. With Facebook, I have been able to keep up with the appearance of new circles. Perhaps it is a limit of my imagination, but I simply cannot conceive how—with the more elaborate designs—a group of humans can create these designs in the dead of night; and, if they do, how they have not been video recorded in the act of creation.
Where is the ‘win’ in believing or disbelieving in extraterrestrial intelligence? Your choice is nothing more or less than an aspect of your identity, your character. Some on both sides of the question benefit by advancing their respective positions publicly. Some pay a price for doing so.
If and when there is mass experience of alien intelligence and/or governments of powerful nations acknowledge such intelligence, the identity of our entire species, our world view, will be threatened and altered—to make an understatement. This time period would be called ‘After Disclosure’, and there are those who believe we already live in humanity’s ‘AD.’
BTW: It’s utterly obvious to me that they were here before we were.
D. Schwartz July 6, 2017