Brain On Fire: My Problem (or: A Poor Life Choice)

Do we choose what our interests are, or are our interests the product of our experiences? Or are we just hard-wired with a preprogrammed attraction to certain topics? I have no idea. And that is not the topic of this post. This post is about my problem. And my problem, as I have recently come to realize, is largely due to my interests. Read this one. It’s weird, and it’s personal.

You know what my problem is? I mean, yeah, I have a LOT of problems, but at the core of all of them, my main problem is the interest I selected in life. You see, most children, they find something in life that sets their brain on fire. They go on a whale watching trip with their parents and they see a whale and they think, “Whoa! I never knew how incredible those things were!” And from that day on, they decorated their room in whale decor. They read books about whales, they watched movies about whales, they never missed a TV show that had a whale in it. They wanted to go to Sea World every year and when they went, they asked all the right questions. When they went to university, they studied marine biology and specialized in whales and boom! — there they went with a great career in marine biology.

Or some other kids, maybe they found a really cool rock on a camping trip and it amazed their parents and they took it to school and their science teacher showered them with praise, and they learned about all sorts of other amazing rocks, and they went to university and bam! — a geologist with a solid career in geology. Or maybe another kid got a chemistry set for Christmas, or a stethoscope, or who the hell knows, bam, bam, bam! — careers. Good, solid, high-demand, high-salary careers.


You know what set my brain on fire? UFOs. Unidentified flying objects. I saw two of them when I was a kid, the first when I was nine years old. My whole family saw it, but somehow I think I am the only one who remembers it. I don’t know for sure because both my parents are dead now and my sister can’t remember what she had for lunch yesterday. She’s not stupid, not by any means. She’s just really busy with her own high-paying career and raising a family and being a successful adult and all that, so she doesn’t spend too much time with her memories like I do.

Anyway, I saw two UFOs, about two years apart, and they blew my mind. Just the first one did the trick, but then the second one made me feel like I was special, that this was a calling. And I am not saying they were definitely extraterrestrial spacecraft or anything so exotic, I am just saying they fit the acronym — they were Unidentified, they appeared to be Objects, and they were Flying. Even now as an adult, thinking back on what they looked like and how they moved, I cannot think of a way to explain them away as domestic technology. But that was my brain on fire, and from then on, I read every book I could find on UFOs. I cleaned out my school library, and the local public library, and the local university library, and I read some great books on everything related to the phenomenon. One of the best books I read at my local university library was called The Bermuda Triangle and it was written by Charles Berlitz, the guy whose family runs all of those language schools. That was just the first book that comes to mind as I write this and reminisce, but I read HUNDREDS of books. In the Olden Times before the internet, I  read books, newspapers, magazines, microfiche… if it contained information related to unexplained phenomenon, I managed to get my hands on it.

I read about propulsion systems, real and theoretical. I read about local star systems and the problems we humans face with travelling the vast distances of outer space. I read theories about how advanced civilizations with hundreds of thousands of years of evolution on us might overcome those same problems. I read Bob Lazar’s infamous explanation of one possible solution to those problems. I read about entities that may have already done that. I read about people that claimed to have met those entities. I read about the wide range of strange phenomenon associated with all types of contact, as laid out by French physicist Jaques Vallée. I read about the Men In Black (MIB), and when someone suggested they might be ghosts or demons, I read about ghosts and demons. Each new clue led me to hundreds of others.  Jim Marr’s history of modern government, Rule By Secrecy, led me to Zechariah Sitchin’s The Twelfth Planet and the history of the Anunnaki. This led me to The Epic of Gilgamesh and a slew of ancient creation myths, which in turn led me to the pseudonym-using author William Bramley and his Gods of EdenThat led me to the much-ballyhooed rantings of David Icke, which led me to countless others, from former astronauts to outright nutters. Somewhere in there was John Keel’s classic, The Mothman PropheciesThis was the only book that ever scared the Hell out of me, and I am a huge Stephen King fan. Indulge me with one extra paragraph, and allow me tell you my story about reading that book:

I was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh (coincidentally, the same city in which they filmed much of the movie that was based on this book). I have always been a bit of a night owl, especially when I am reading something that interests me. It was a little after midnight, and I had just finished chapter 9 of The Mothman Prophecies, which is entitled, “Wake Up Down There!” This chapter deals with people getting strange phone calls in which they either hear a voice jabbering away at a high speed in an unrecognizable language, or they just hear a random sequence of loud beeping noises. Just as I finished the chapter, my landline phone rang (we still had land-lines back then). As soon as I said ‘Hello?’ I heard a random sequence of loud beeping noises. Now this was in the day of dial-up modems, and I know that sound well. This was not that sound. The beeps were at different pitches and were of varying lengths. It wasn’t a modem, a fax, or someone randomly pressing buttons on their keypad. The totally unfamiliar and random sound of the beeps, combined with the uncanny timing of the call, made it seem as though literature had come to life. I slept with my bedroom light on for a week after that. I have never gotten another call like that. Maybe they don’t call cell phones?


Speaking of dial-up modems, when the internet made its modern debut back in my teenage years, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Or, more literally, a kid with internet access. I followed my Will-O-The-Wisp from one link to another, until my browser was crowded with open websites. I devoured everything from the alleged Nazi UFOs and their base in Antarctica to the Artificial Moon and Holographic Universe Theories. To this day, I am still looking for books, articles, documents, documentaries, photographs — anything offering new information on this subject. Yet without the proper security clearances or the skills to hack into the Pentagon’s computers, it is difficult to find subject matter that I don’t already know about. THAT’s how much time I spend on it. And since it is such a big freakin’ mystery, it connects to a lot of other topics.

When I read about Thomas Townsend Brown and his work with antigravity, I tried to get into physics as much as my limited intellect would allow. I even took an Introduction to Physics course when I was in college as my math requirement because I thought, it being only an introductory course, they would just have us discussing the unified field theory and quantum physics and string theory and reading about new theories, and that sounded interesting to me. It still does. Unfortunately, they wanted us to learn the mathematics behind it all, and three weeks into the course the professor took me aside and he said, “Matthew, you can’t do this.” I was an English Lit major at the time, and I had no mathematics background whatsoever, even for an introductory course. But the professor was understanding, and he said, “The professors in your department tell me you’re an excellent writer, so I’ll make you a deal. If you write one three-page essay each week about some topic related to physics, I will pass you for the course.” So that’s what I did. I took the class pass/fail. I showed up to the class every Tuesday and Thursday, and every Thursday as the other students were breaking down theorems and proofs, I handed in my sad little essay.

See, there is no program in any university for “Ufology.” At least, there wasn’t back then. Who knows what those liberal loonies have cooked up at today’s universities? I enrolled in the easiest programs-of-least-resistance that I could find — Communications for my Bachelor’s and English Lit for my Masters and Doctorate. I never did my dissertation, though, so still no PhD. I just signed up for those programs because they offered courses in which I could get A’s with minimal effort, allowing me to dedicate the bulk of my time to MY passions, the things that set MY brain on fire: UFOs. Time travel. Extraterrestrials. Ultraterrestrials. Parallel dimensions. Antediluvian civilizations and their “gods,” ancient artifacts, and conspiracy theories about everything from the Philadelphia Experiment to the crash at Roswell, the Cassini Probe and the hexagram on Saturn, and everything beyond. I can recite hundreds of accounts verbatim down to the least-known details, from the Mystery Airships to Shag Harbor to Varginha, Brazil, to the Phoenix Lights… everything from Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets through the Bible and right up to the TR3B and Aurora projects and Solar Warden and this thing that appeared over Paris in 2017:

I am well-versed in all things Fortean and fantastic, “supernatural” and “paranormal.” From all of the aforementioned authors to others whose work had a more palatable scientific bent, like Michael Cremo’s Forbidden Archeology and Lisa Randall’s Warped Passages. Sadly, there is a severe lack of women in this field, but I like to include Lisa Randall because not only was she a physicist at CERN, but her book was well-supported and in turn offered tremendous support to my own ideas. I regret my inability to be an expert in such a field as hers. Instead, I am an expert in the weird fringe-fields. Her field is filled with highly-regarded PhDs, mine is filled with crop circles and mutilated cows. (Crop circles are legit, by the way, as are cattle mutilations. Don’t believe the cover story of the drunk farmers with planks and ropes. For more details, see my earlier post critiquing Dan Brown’s Origin.)


Compare the French UFO in that video above with the one depicted in Aert de Gelder’s Baptism of Christ, 1710.

If my field was a “respected” field and not one that is ridiculed, shunned, and covered up for fear of losing one’s funding, life, or cushy academic position, I would have my PhD. Hell, I would be the authority that distributed PhDs. I know more about these subjects than anyone else without Above Top Secret clearance — and how much do THEY even know, considering how compartmentalized this information is and how deceitful a lot of these entities are?

These topics STILL set my brain on fire. Yet I was born too early for any of this to be taken seriously — certainly not seriously enough to be considered worthy of any university’s attention, let alone funding. Now, however, there seems to be a new day dawning. All of that is starting to change, slowly, as we learn more about the physics and the science behind these subjects once considered “magical” and therefore “silly.” Not because they are, but because we didn’t understand them yet. Well… the mainstream academics didn’t understand them.

I did. I do. I can see how these things could be possible. I can’t explain the mathematics or remember all of the laws of physics, but I can understand it. And slowly, the normals are catching up. Now they are saying not only are there other dimensions (Thank you, Lisa Randall!), but that ours might just be a simulation. Shit, I could have suggested that twenty years ago, but I would have been called a kook. In fact, I WAS called a kook. Slowly now, though, they are starting to see that the kooks were right. Sadly, much too slowly for me.

Nikola Tesla, another vindicated kook, was a much smarter man than I could ever hope to be, and he died penniless and alone in Room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel. At least he got a hotel room. I will probably die in the gutter. If I am fortunate, I will die on a hilltop someplace looking up at stars. But yeah, probably in the gutter. I will die knowing — not believing, KNOWING — that we are not alone. We never have been. There has always been something here, some higher intelligence, entities of unknown form and origin, that have always been poking us from time to time, giving us the foundations for our folklore, legends, and religions, and occasionally blowing some little kid’s mind.

It was a fun ride, though.


For Nikola Tesla, another doomed dreamer. I’m sorry Edison stole all your shit, bro.

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