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BOOK REVIEW: "Stories from the Messengers" by Mike Clelland

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BOOK REVIEW: Stories From the Messengers: Accounts of Owls, UFOs and a Deeper Reality by Mike Clelland (Richard Dolan Press) 2018

Within hours of wrapping up my reading of Mike Clelland’s new book Stories From the Messengers, his follow-up to 2015’s The Messengers, which was one of the top books at Red Dirt Report that year, I was reading The Oklahoman and there was a review of a Lu Clifton’s new book The Horned Owl.

And then, after reading that review (which inspired me to order the book), I noticed a story on the front page of The New York Times; it was about cat lovers at Google more or less ignoring the impact their cat fancying has been having on the local owl population. After all, cats do what cats do.

It was weird. I just got done reading Clelland’s latest books linking owls, UFOs and synchronicity and I suddenly see two articles involving owls. And anyone who knows me knows that owls tend to follow me around. A day or so later I was out in the Oklahoma countryside and heard an owl hooting in the distance.

So, yes, I did enjoy reading all 19 chapters (which ended, synchromystically, on page 237) with a thoughtful conclusion from Clelland, who has approached this owl/sync mystery with a sense of awe and openmindedness. Like me, he has followed it wherever it takes him, just as I tend to do with my writings.

With a foreword from Visitor-friendly Whitley Strieber of Communion fame, Clelland includes firsthand accounts from friends, acquaintances and strangers, all folks who are quite sincere that the owls in their lives symbolically represent something more otherworldly. The owls, real or imaginary, are indeed messengers.

Comparing the alien "Visitors" to owls, Strieber says it makes sense they would be compared: "When we look at th eowl through the medium of the close encounter experience, it turns out that something is being explained to us. Like the owl, our mysterious visitors come by night. Like the owl, they are silent and all-seeing. And lie the owl, they can reach right into our little burrows and carry us off into transformative experiences."

And the many "transformative experiences" shared by these folks - some who are more open to transformation than others - are quite compelling, as shared by Clelland, who offers a sympathetic ear. 

High Point, North Carolina seems to be a hotspot for UFOs and owls, as reported by UFO investigator Alan Caviness in what is a baffling chapter on this phenomenon.

I was particularly interested in the "Owls and drones," Little Rock, Arkansas resident Cindy begins seeing owls and orbs in her neighborhood. And the phenomenon seems to follow her when she relocates to an area which sounds like the suburban town of Benton (where Sling Blade was filmed). Cindy tells Clelland: "These orbs moved like nothing on earth that is flying. They don't disturb the environment at all. It's like they are a part of the air. No wind, no light shining out, no sound. It's very hard to explain." She also noted feeling joy and excitement upon seeing them. 

However, drones of unknown origin also showed up. And while Little Rock Air Force Base is not too far away, Cindy seemed to think there was a connection to a small, now-closed airport (likely the Saline County Airport). And the high strangeness in Cindy's life simply continues, as Clelland explains, with those owl sightings proving to be a springboard into other odd experiences that continue to follow her.

Another experiencer, Kristin, contacts Clelland to tell him of her own experiences, particularly those in the empty arid deserts of the Southwestern United States. Her first owl sighting coincided with a UFO sighting. And was Kristin abducted? What of the frightened young man on the Texas train who exclaimed to the whole train car that Kristin was "glowing" when she sat next to him. What is really going on with Kristin and the others presented here? 

One chapter, on Kenneth Arnold, the first man in the 20th century to receive media attention over his "flying saucer" sighting over Mount Rainier, seemed unnecessary, but, perhaps, of interest to those not entirely familiar with his story and/or life and the harassment he received from the government as a result of his outspoken nature on the controversial UFO topic.

I had a bit of synchronicity while reading Clelland’s book. In Chapter 14, “The Owl and the White Buffalo” I was reading about a woman in Michigan named Brenda talking about her own UFO-owl-synchromystic experiences and I began thinking about my March 1994 UFO sighting outside Grand Rapids, Michigan, an object witnessed by others and something I wrote about just recently at my synchromystic section Dust Devil Dreams. 

Literally the next line was: “She also shared a story from the spring of 1994. Having heard about a recent flap of UFO sightings (on the) western coast of Michigan, she convinced a friend to drive around looking for things in the sky.” Sure enough, like me, Brenda had a UFO sighting – a “silver triangle with a red light in the center with four ‘Tic-Tac’ shapes on the bottom of the craft.”

Are the owls really owls? Are they more Jungian? A representation of something else? Are they extraterrestrial and their brains compute them as big-eyed owls? It's really up to the experiencer and the reader to decide. Mike Clelland is more of a medium in this regard, using his platform as a writer to get these strange, unsettling and sometimes sublime experiences down on paper. Who knows? Sometime in the future the mystery may be solved once and for all.

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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