Interview with Tim R. Swartz, Fortean Researcher & Author
Interview with Tim R. Swartz, Fortean Researcher & Author
Interviewed by Paul Dale Roberts, HPI's Esoteric Detective
Halo Paranormal Investigations
TIM R. SWARTZ BIOGRAPHY:
Tim R. Swartz is an Indiana native and Emmy-Award winning television producer/videographer, and is the author of a number of popular books including The Lost Journals of Nikola Tesla, Tim R. Swartz's Big Book of Incredible Alien Encounters, Time Travel: Fact Not Fiction!, Admiral Byrd's Secret Journey Beyond the Poles. His latest book is Gef The Talking Mongoose: The Eighth Wonder of the World. Tim R. Swartz has been a guest on Coast to CoastAM with George Noory several times.
As a photojournalist, Tim Swartz has traveled extensively and investigated paranormal phenomena and other unusual mysteries from such diverse locations as the Great Pyramid in Egypt to the Great Wall in China. He has worked with major television networks both in the U.S. and internationally. He has also appeared on the History Channel's programs "Ancient Aliens"; "Evidence"; "Ancient Aliens: Declassified"; and the History Channel Latin America series "Contacto Extraterrestre."
Tim R. Swartz has been honored with Emmy Awards for his work as a videographer/editor in 1984 at WHIO-TV 7 Dayton, Ohio and in 1996, 97 and 1998 as a videographer/Editor and producer at WFYI-TV 20, Indianapolis, Indiana.
As well, Tim Swartz is the writer and editor of the online newsletter Conspiracy Journal; a free, weekly e-mail newsletter, considered essential reading by paranormal researchers worldwide.
Tim used to be one of the hosts, along with the late Timothy Green Beckley, on Exploring the Bizarre. You can now hear him as a guest co-host on "The Paracast" broadcast on the GSN Radio Network.
Question: Thank you for doing this interview Tim. My first question to you is what made you gravitate towards learning and seeking answers on various paranormal subjects?
Answer: When I was a kid I was interested in science, especially astronomy and the space program. I also loved science fiction and horror movies, I still do. However, I really didn't have much knowledge of the paranormal until third grade when I received an assignment to write and present a report based on current news events about UFO sightings in the United States.
I really wasn't interested in the subject...I would have sooner written something about the Indianapolis 500 auto race...but I did my assignment and like everyone else with their reports, presented it front of the class. Well from that moment on, I was pegged as the "flying saucer guy," the person who believed in little green men from Mars. I don't really remember what I wrote, and I don't think I said anything about believing in UFOs. However, it didn't really matter because that stuck to me like glue for the rest of my time in elementary school.
What ended up fascinating me was the fact that people would make fun of me while in a group, but later would approach me by themselves to tell me their strange stories...they saw a UFO while on vacation with their family. Their grandma appeared by their bed at night months after she had passed away, stories like that.
It was these very personal accounts, the fact that they didn't want anyone else to know, but needed to tell someone who could offer an explanation, or just someone who would listen without making fun of them. I think that practically everyone, at one time or another in their lives may experience some kind of weird event that is beyond explanation. Some people will just ignore it and forget about it. Some will worry that they are possibly crazy. Others will find it a fascinating anecdote to tell at family gatherings.
It is these stories that people tell me, with no interest in publicity or making money off their accounts, that really drew me into all of this. We all have filing systems in our brains where we file away our normal day to day activities. We get up in the morning, have coffee, go to work, come home, go to bed, etc. But, say one day while driving to work a UFO lands in the road ahead of you and little men get out, collect rocks and plants, get back in and it flies away. Where do you file that away in your head? A bizarre incident like that can really mess a person up to the point where they question their sanity and their personal life can break down.
I have always tried to be the person that someone can confide in after such a life-shaking encounter. I offer a friendly ear to listen, without passing judgment, or laughing at them. Most people just want someone to listen to them, to know that, yes, others have had similar encounters and they are not crazy. You can see the weight lifted from their shoulders after they tell me their story.
The weird encounters are fascinating of course, but it is the personal, human, aspects of these encounters that keep me intrigued.
Question: You have traveled all over the world investigating the unknown. How many countries have you been to?
Answer: Oh wow. I have to think about that. Some were really just in one day and out the next. Let's see, most of Europe, England, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Turkey, both the Europe side and Asian. As well, some of Eastern Europe which was under Soviet control at the time...Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland. Egypt, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, India, Mexico, Grand Cayman, Canada. I haven't had the chance to visit South America or Australia...but I really hope to someday.
Question: What countries really stand out with you, in regard to mysteries that just can't be explained away?
Answer: Of course one of my favorites was Egypt. I am fascinated by megalithic structures and having a chance to go inside the pyramids at Giza was a dream come true. I did have a strange experience in the Kings Chamber in the Great Pyramid. There is a granite "sarcophagus" in this chamber and the government handlers who were escorting us allowed me to lie down in it (something that most tourists wouldn't be allowed to do, and for good reason). When I did so, I had a brief moment when it seemed as if I was sharing someone else's consciousness. It's difficult to explain as it happened in an instant, and I still don't have a complete memory of it. But I can say that it seemed as if I was experiencing someone's memory who lived in ancient Egypt. I could have been part of a crew whose job was finishing the white limestone that was used on the outside of the Great Pyramid. I don't know...it was a strange experience that left me sort of dazed for a few minutes afterwards.
There was also the ancient, Biblical city of Ephesus, which is located in Western Turkey. I knew a paranormal investigator in Izmir, and it just so happened that I was the videographer for a group who were traveling to Turkey to liaison business dealings for U.S. agricultural concerns. Fortunately I had the time to travel with my friend to Ephesus, which is just a few hours' drive south of Izmir.
At that time, the area around Ephesus was undergoing an interesting UFO flap with sightings of strange humanoid figures and also ghostly-types of incidents. We were able to talk with people from some of the nearby towns, such as Çamlik and Yeniköy, about their experiences, which was really fascinating since many of these people had no previous exposure to UFOs from media and pop culture.
We also had a chance to visit the house of the Virgin Mary on Mt. Koressos. This is a site that isn't known very well in the west, but it is believed to be where the Virgin Mary lived the final years of her life. The shrine carries the status of a Holy Place by the Catholic Church and was visited and blessed by Pope Leo XIII in 1896. As well, Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979, and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, have made pilgrimages to the site.
Question: When Chariots of the Gods came out, I practically ran to the store to purchase this book. I felt all of the answers were in that book and I am now a devoted fan of Ancient Aliens. Everything in Erich von Daniken's book and on Ancient Aliens makes complete sense. I truly believe we were visited by ancient aliens and they created man in their own image, along with the fact they kick started mankind on a path to be more like them. What is your view on the ancient alien theory?
Answer: I'm like you Paul. When the English version of Chariots of the Gods came out in 1971 I bought a copy as soon as I could. It wasn't my first exposure to the ancient astronaut theory though. At that point I already had a paperback of "The Morning of the Magicians" by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, as well as "The Sky People" by Brinsley le Poer Trench.
While I have my doubts about some of the evidence cited in these books, especially that ancient people needed the help of space people to build megalithic structures around the world, there are, however, gaps in our evolution that I think shows we could have been manipulated on a genetic level by something interested in speeding up our intelligence.
There are also many separate, yet similar, myths and legends around the globe of visitors from the stars...visitors who either created the human race, dropped them off on the planet, or were responsible for jump starting civilization.
I also think about all of the petroglyphs, cave paintings and figurines that seem to depict humanoids wearing what looks to be helmets, or "spacesuits," objects in the sky and other unusual things. I think that these are more than religious or ceremonial depictions...I think these were things that people actually saw and possibly interacted with...much like the animals in their areas that were also painted and carved in stone.
Question: Tim you and Timothy Green Beckley are legends in the field of the paranormal. I was devastated by the news of Timothy's passing. You and Timothy made the perfect team and both of you went headstrong in finding answers to so many paranormal questions with your books, podcast and everything else. How did you two meet?
Answer: I actually bought a book of Beckley's when I was a kid from Gray Barker's Saucerian Press...though I didn't make the connection until years later. When I was working at a television station in Dayton, Ohio in the early 1980s, I did an interview with J. Allen Hynek, who was in town to give a talk at the National Museum of the USAF at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. I was able to get this interview up on the CBS satellite feed, which provided the video to other CBS stations across the country. Beckley must have seen this on a station in New York because he contacted me asking for a VHS tape for his files. After that we kept in contact and a few years later when he was starting his magazine UFO Universe, he asked if I wanted to contribute articles for it. We just kept working together from that point on with other magazines, books, radio and television shows. We really were a great team. Beckley was of course very out-spoken and gregarious, while I am more quiet and attentive. We both have a love and a good memory of obscure, historical cases, though mine has started to fade a bit as I grow older. As well, like Beckley, I also have a dark sense of humor that surprises a lot of people who first meet me, but this was one of many reasons why we got along so well.
Question: Your latest book Gef: The Talking Mongoose was a fascinating read. When I was a kid, I was glued to this story. What are your thoughts on Gef? Do you think Gef was possessed by a ghost of a deceased person or do you think something demonic was attached to Gef enabling him to speak?
Answer: This is my favorite book. I was so happy that I had a chance to write it and reveal new details about the case that had never been published before. I first ran across this story when I was in Junior High from a reissued paperback book called "Between Two Worlds" by Nandor Fodor. Fordor had actually been able to personally investigate the Gef case in 1937, even going as far as bringing Gef his favorite foods. However, Gef refused to make an appearance and Fodor left extremely disappointed.
The Gef case is so unique that it really defies any easy answers. It claimed to be a mongoose that had been brought to the Isle of Man years ago by a farmer looking to cull the exploding rabbit population. Somewhere along the lines, Gef claimed to have learned to talk. But he also acted like a poltergeist...he could move household items around without anyone seeing him. He could talk through cracks in the wall at several different locations at the same time. He knew everything that was going on around the island and was all to happy to gossip about it. The youngest daughter, Voirrey Irving, years later, would tell Fate Magazine that it wasn't a hoax, Gef was real and everything happened just as was originally reported. Interestingly, she said that whatever Gef was, it ruined her life. She always feared, as an adult, that someone would find out she was "that girl" who was haunted by the "talking mongoose."
Gef, however, always said that he wasn't a ghost. In fact, he told the man of the house, James Irving, that he was terrified of ghosts. If anything, Gef acted more like a "spirit of the hearth," an elemental known on the Isle of Man as Lhiannan-Shee. This elemental took care of their chosen house and as long as you keep them fed and happy, they would insure your farm had good luck. And like Gef, a Lhiannan-Shee would often visit neighboring farms and steal things to bring back to their human family.
Question: Do you believe we are coming close to disclosure?
Answer: What is disclosure? A lot of people seem to think that the government has some deep secret about UFOs that they refuse to reveal to the rest of us. I really doubt that the government or military knows more about the UFO mystery than the civilian world. They may have some better photos, or videos of UFOs. Maybe some scientific data that isn't being revealed. I think the real secret that they are hiding is the fact that they know that UFOs are real, but they have no idea what they are. They are worried that if they come forward and say "Yes, UFOs are real, but we don't know what they are and we can do nothing to stop them from flying around our skies and doing whatever they want to." They are afraid to admit that they are helpless to stop UFOs from operating with impunity. It is one thing to come out and say "UFOs are extraterrestrial visitors." I think people nowadays wouldn't have much of a problem accepting that. We have been conditioned through pop culture for more than 70 years that extraterrestrials could be real. "Aliens from other worlds? Cool!" But it is a lot more scary to not know what UFOs are and we are helpless to do anything about them. Extraterrestrials? Interdimensional? Time Travelers? Ghosts or other paranormal boogens? The unknown is frightening.
So, my short answer to your questions is no, I don't see disclosure as is commonly thought of, in our foreseeable future.
Question: On your old show Exploring the Bizarre, who are some of your notable guests?
Answer: Exploring the Bizarre, which aired on the KCOR Digital Radio Network, was so much fun. Tim Beckley, because of his years of experience in the field, was able to bring in some truly excellent guests. People such as Brad Steiger, Nick Redfern, Whitley Strieber, Erica Lukes. And of course some guy named Paul Dale Roberts. I could take up this entire article naming all the excellent guests we had on Exploring the Bizarre. Now, I am fortunate enough to be a guest co-host on Gene Steinbergs The Paracast (www.theparacast.com), and I hope to be able to continue the tradition of interviewing fascinating guests in the same vein that Tim Beckley and myself had the privilege of doing with Exploring the Bizarre.
Question: When exploring the unknown, what do you feel is more intriguing and I will give you a small list. Cryptids? UFOs? Ancient Alien Theory? Ghosts? Demons? Ancient structures that were built and we have no idea how it was done?
Answer: I really love investigating all of them. I am somewhat of a renaissance man when it comes to Forteana in that I find it all intriguing and want to learn all that I can about everything. It all ties in to the fact that I suspect there could be an underlying connection between all of these things. It may be possible that there are separate, individual components that are then mimicked by the "paranormal world." For example, there could be unidentified, physical hominids, what we would call Sasquatch and hundreds of other names around the world, that have still managed to escape being captured and classified. But there is also a paranormal-type of Sasquatch...something that can appear solid, leave footprints, throw rocks, and yet vanish in an instant. Same goes with other cryptids, UFOs, etc. They could be real and have a paranormal mimic, or it all could be paranormal somehow, with both physical and supernatural, incorporeal aspects to their reality. Who knows? But that is what makes researching this so much fun.
Question: What do you think is the alien agenda?
Answer: Is there an alien agenda? That is presuming that our planet is being visited by extraterrestrials. But then again, what is an extraterrestrial? Can that be defined only as an inhabitant from another planet like Earth? Or could you broaden the definition to a non-human intelligence that is visiting, or is already here on Earth? Currently, I haven't seen a lot of proof that we are being visited by extraterrestrials from other planets. Yes, people are seeing UFOs that demonstrate a technology that appears beyond our own. There have also been thousands of contacts with beings coming out of UFOs who claim to be from other planets. But so far, there hasn't been any actual proof that these claims are true. In fact, it has been shown time and again that contacts with UFO intelligence are fraught with deception. I think that whatever the intelligence is behind the UFO phenomena, it is hiding its origins and purpose. The UFO phenomena have probably been with us right from the start. What does that mean? Have we been monitored by alien races keeping an eye on our development? Are there other, non-human intelligence living right alongside us, either physically or invisible somehow, or in a reality that parallels our own, etc.? I think that all of this could be possible. However, we can't determine what an "alien agenda" is until we get a clear picture of what is going on around us.
Question: What are your thoughts on missing people from our National Parks?
Answer: Many of these cases do turn out to be people going outside of their element, getting lost, having an accident, etc. However, what's profoundly disturbing are the cases where people just vanish in the blink of an eye, they are with a group on a trail, get slightly ahead and vanish forever. It's almost as if they walked through a hole in time and space and disappeared from our reality. There have been reports of people who experience events where the environment suddenly changes around them. Where it had been sunny, it changes to gloomy and foreboding. The birds and insects suddenly go quiet and it appears that the witness is in a different location altogether. Some say that they feel that they if they remain where they are much longer, that they will never be able to leave. Some of these experiences sound like descriptions I have collected of people having a "time slip," which is where it seems that the experiencer has left their timeline and is either witnessing or actually in a different era. Are these missing people cases actually time slips where the person is unable to return? That is a frightening prospect.
Another possibility, and one that some writers on the subject have danced around without outright stating it, is that in a lot of these National Parks that seem to have a higher than normal rate of mysterious disappearances, there are also a lot of Sasquatch sightings as well. I realize that this is a delicate subject, not for the squeamish, but if you have a giant hominid in an area, something that is probably omnivorous, I don't see why people, especially women and children, couldn't end up being an easy snack...or even more alarming, a potential breeding partner. Native Americans often related stories on how the giant, hairy men of the forests would steal away women and children for just these purposes.
Question: What are your thoughts on the Multiverse? There are theories that we are not only being visited by extraterrestrials from other planets, but we are being visited by inter-dimensional beings from parallel universes and possibly being visited by our future selves (time travelers).
Answer: I think that our universe, our reality, is far larger and more complex than our current understanding with modern physics. As I have stated earlier, all of the things that I have discussed in this interview may have both a component in our 3D world, and aspects in other parallel universes or realities that somehow, are able to interact with us. What is intriguing is why are they able to enter our reality, but we can't enter theirs? Advanced technology? That is fine if you are dealing with a phenomena such as UFOs (and one reason why the occupants are so cagey about their origins). But what about cryptid creatures, especially some of the really bizarre ones such as mothman…they don't appear to have a technological aspect to them -- so do they have a natural ability to enter our world. Or could it be that they are right here with us, just outside of our senses and unable to be seen except for special circumstances?
Time travel is another favorite subject of mine and I think could be a viable explanation to some UFO experiences. Plus, time travelers wouldn't necessarily have to be only humans from the future. In order to travel the vast distances of space, between solar systems and even galaxies, the ability to use a form time travel is probably a important part to get from point A to point B. So it may be that beings from other worlds, along with humans from throughout our timeline, could be visiting us for purposes known only to them.
Question: When I worked in the US Army's Military Intelligence as an Intelligence Analyst, I discovered that our military was still looking into UFOs. How much do you think our military knows about UFOs?
Answer: They know that UFOs are real, and probably have some proof to that fact. But I don't think they know that much more than the rest of us. I have my doubts about the rumors of crashed UFOs and alien bodies. Again, all we have are stories...stories that may be more disinformation for espionage purposes. It may be that some hard evidence has been buried in warehouses over the years. The UFO matter has been compartmentalized so much among the military and intelligence services that some of this evidence has been lost and forgotten after the original handlers have passed away without having the authority to tell the next person in line. I think about the end of the movie "Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark," where the ark of the Covenant is sealed in an unmarked crate and squirreled away in a forgotten warehouse. This may be why the military now acts surprised about new UFO activity. The past information was so top secret that any UFO evidence collected by previous generations, has been lost in bureaucracy and red tape and forgotten.
Question: Tim, I could probably ask you a thousand more questions, but I better hold off and give you a chance to go over the questions I just asked you. Is there anything you would like to relate to the readers, before we close out? Upcoming appearances, new book coming out? Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Until next time.....
Answer: I am always working on new books…especially with my friend Sean Casteel. We recently have published a couple of new books that we had started with Tim Beckley when he was alive. "Dulce Warriors" and "Timothy Green Beckley's Bizarre Bazaar." All of these books can be found at Amazon.com
Of course I plan to continue doing work. I love a good mystery and I love researching these mysteries. I feel sorry for skeptics who take a very narrow viewpoint of our world and basically see everything in only black and white. Our world is full of fascinating mysteries that as soon as we solve one, a dozen more crop up. I always approach these things with an open mind and free of any preconceptions. A lot of researchers are looking for information to fit a certain favorite theory, which leads them to accept the information that fits their theories, and throw out anything that doesn't. This is a really bad way of investigating things. I try to approach everything with no personal beliefs (very difficult as this is a human trait), so that I am not caught up subconsciously trying to jam pieces of a puzzle in ways that don't fit.
I really don't have an ultimate goal in all of this. I hope that my investigations will prompt others to become interested and do research of their own. As well, I hope to instill in those interested in my work my ethic of impartiality...let the facts speak for themselves. We live in an age where partisanship has taken over everything. Science and the truth know no political or religious ideology. When you get involved in the types of mysteries that I am investigating, it can be a very long and strange journey. Don't let your search for the truth get sidetracked by ignorant and petty beliefs that have kept us as a species on the edge of self-destruction for centuries.
Thank you so much Paul. It has been a real pleasure talking with you.
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