Saturday, December 10, 2016
Somewhere in the Skies Reviewed
I should probably explain that:
I read a lot, always have, and as you may suspect, it's pretty much all within the spectrum of the things that I pursue so much; cryptids, ghosts, UFOs. I'm also one of those people who tends to read several books at a time and it's no problem keeping things straight.
So, to get on point, Ryan Sprague sent me a copy of his new book, Somewhere in the Skies (With a very kind personal inscription). I figured it would be one of those titles I was reading along with several others. So, I sat back one night to just read a few pages. Breezed through acknowledgements, the foreword and then I hit the intro, which starts with this:
"UFOs are here whether we like it or not. The question isn't their existence. It's the intention of whatever lay at the source of the phenomena. The source remains a mystery, no matter what you may have heard, read, or seen."
Well damn. This was eloquent I thought, and now I'm going to have to sit here and finish the whole thing.
This is Sprague's first book and he didn't exactly choose an easy field to delve into right off the bat. We've had tons of books dealing with the topic of UFOs so anytime something new shows up, it either sinks into the reams of pages already written, or it rises to the top and stands on it's own.
I'm happy to say that Somewhere in the Skies is one of the rare books that has something different to offer those of us who study the topic. And the difference is really emphasized by the book's subtitle: "A Human Approach To An Alien Phenomenon."
Ages ago, one of my idols in the field, John Keel, told me to always pay close attention to the people involved in the accounts I collected. A good investigator notes small details and reads people, he added. I took it to heart and have always tried to look at the witness's body language and other subtle communications. It's equally important to be patient with people and to know how and when to push for more. Sprague, a relatively new guy in this field, has this down pat. He asks the right questions at the right time, probing just beyond to try to understand the human factor involved in the encounters he covers, and this is what makes his book stand out. Yes, he gives details of the various sightings and descriptions of the craft and so forth, but he goes beyond that. Many investigators don't really talk to the witness. They're more focused on the data, the conditions, the things they can analyze in an attempt to reach some scientific conclusion.
What Sprague puts attention on is the fact that we're now decades into experiences on this planet with...something that we still don't have an answer for. And these experiences have become a part of our consciousness and subconsciousness.
As he says at the beginning, Ufos are here to stay. The thing is, not many people are considering their impact on a human level. Sprague certainly hammers the point home; this phenomena is as much about people as it is anything else. It's something that more Ufologist would benefit by being more aware of.
And has for that "ologist" term, I got a bit of a chuckle in the book. When a witness innocently asks if he's a Ufologist, Sprague quickly responds that he's a journalist. Stating to his readers:
"While it was indeed a topic of study, I never considered myself knowledgeable enough to stamp the "ologist" on my forehead. At least, not yet."
Sorry to break the news to you my friend, but this book firmly stamps that "ologist" on you from here on out.
As to the whiskey?
Well, ironically, someone shot me a message the day after I read Sprague's book and said "Hey, have you read this? This Sprague guy kinda writes like you." Not sure if that's a compliment or not Ryan, but for a guy's first book in the field, you've set the bar high for yourself and others. So that my friend is why you owe me a whiskey. Or maybe I owe you one. Either way, excellent job, I look forward to seeing what you put your pen to next!
Somewhere in the Skies is available at Amazon: