“An Immoral Experiment”: The Spiritual, Political, and Ufological Significance of the UMMO Letters

In the late ’70s and afterwards, UFOs hit the big time in pop culture with countless books about abduction experiences, major Hollywood motion pictures, and quickie B-movie documentaries. But before this turn into widespread exposure, ufology was largely a field defined by tightly-circulated, sometimes even self-published, written and photographic evidence…

Death at the Fair: Britain’s Ghost Trains

By Richard McKenna

The itinerant fun fairs that stalked the British Isles, descending at regular intervals upon some desolate local field like shoddy Fortean dream cities, were once a major part of the informal national calendar. As a child growing up in the hinterland of the world’s most beautiful town—the gleaming futurist metropolis known as Doncaster, South Yorkshire—I was lucky enough to live near a fuck-off massive one…

“The Devil Had Worshipers Long Before Lenin”: The Occult Spy Novels of E. Howard Hunt

By Michael Grasso

In his series of “Peter Ward” novels, published by various paperback houses (Signet, Dell, and Fawcett) between 1965 and 1971, Hunt conjures an agent with a pedigree strikingly similar to his own: Ivy League-educated (at Brown), possessing both a mysterious past involving disastrous CIA ops gone wrong and a burning desire to see himself accepted by the clandestine Washington D.C. power structure…

Theory and Conjecture: ‘In Search of…’ and the Golden Age of Paranormal TV

Last week, a story came across the We Are The Mutants news desk that inspired equal parts hope and dread: a reboot of the classic paranormal documentary series In Search of… is in the works, appropriately hosted by 21st century’s Mr. Spock, Zachary Quinto. I like Quinto well enough, and appreciate the sentiment of trying to resurrect probably one of the most important television shows from my youth. But of course I’m extremely skeptical about how well it will recreate the oddball outsider art aesthetic of the original series…

Kids Discorporated: ‘Sixth Sense’ by Larry Kettelkamp, 1970

Hundreds of books on various psychic phenomena—both surveys and how-to manuals, sometimes both—were released throughout the 1960s, as the paranormal, especially ESP, began to be taken seriously by academics and the American and Soviet intelligence communities. What makes Sixth Sense notable, apart from a convincing cover illustration, is that it’s essentially a kid’s book…