If our world is still intact by the time this article appears, Y2K-philes who expected the worst may be left with black holes of gloom in their once-eagerly-racing hearts. No matter: Kent Davis Moberg, a WNC author now on tour to support his nationally distributed book, The Magic of Our Universe: Beyond the Facts (Camelot Productions, 1999), has collected enough evidence of supernatural phenomena to please any cruelly cheated paranoiac. (UFO buffs, conspiracy theorists and more-discriminating strains of bathroom readers will also enjoy this almost anxiously thorough bible of the unexplainable.)
The work marks the first installment of The Millennium Series, books that Moberg — a Duke University graduate who hails from Blowing Rock — hopes will champion and solidify, as he puts it, “the ongoing convergence of mainstream science, metaphysics and spirituality as it presently occurs during perhaps the most challenging environmental crisis in all of human history.”
Two key factors unite to form Magic’s core stance: Moberg’s presentation style and his primary source of inspiration. The latter, he confesses in a remarkable soar of faith, is none other than our dubious 20th-century darling, the television. Sure, it’s been thought to induce attention deficit disorder and random acts of violence among its adherents (and proven to incite self-righteous bumper stickers from its opponents), but for those who choose to take back the remote control and let it work for them, a new world awaits, the author claims in the book’s introduction:
“There is perhaps no greater barometer of events in our universal living space than television. Ninety-eight percent of all households in America have TV sets. Only about 40 percent own computers,” Moberg posits, later arguing: “Information regarding case files presented in [television] documentaries is researched by the most highly respected research scientists throughout the world. These people devote their lives to uncovering the truth, and they do. … The TV is among the finest libraries available to mankind. But as with all libraries, we must first learn how to use it.”
In the nearly 400 pages that follow, Moberg unloads a wealth of evidence on such subjects as extraterrestrial life; vampires; unidentified lake creatures; unidentified wilderness creatures (i.e., Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti and the rest); spontaneous human combustion; angels; miracles; hauntings; and extrasensory perception. Yummy as these revelations are (who knew, for example, that “sightings of large, hairy, elusive humanoids, usually sporting an extremely undesirable odor, have persisted in remote parts of the world throughout history”?), the how of the book actually stands out as much as the what and the why. Moberg’s spartan organizational method works well for him; instead of trying to force an intimacy between the factual portions of the book and his opinions on these metaphysical occurrences, he respectfully corrals each chapter into distinct parts. A definition of the chapter’s subject comes first, followed by a list of relevant statistics, a breakdown of documented case studies, Moberg’s commentary (titled, in each chapter, “Beyond the Facts”), and an extensive closing section that lists resources for further investigation (including the names of research scientists, books, videos, Web sites and, of course, documentary television programs). The result is light, timely and sneakily absorbing — a sort of lively reference guide to the “other side.”
The sheer volume of facts Moberg dishes out on UFOs might thaw skeptics’ shells, even if it doesn’t turn their heads. And after relieving himself of the hard evidence, the author fervently links the increased extraterrestrial activity of the mid-to-late 20th century to the introduction of nuclear activity in the 1940s:
“Considering the highly advanced level of intelligence we are probably dealing with, one wonders whether highly intelligent and sensitive life-forms, who may rely completely on pollution-free matter-antimatter reactors for power and on gravitational and electromagnetic field manipulation for transportation, detected these electromagnetic pulses and responded with visits to Earth to investigate. Nuclear weapons testing began in July of 1945. Modern ufology was born on June 24, 1947 with the sighting of nine flying saucers by Kenneth Arnold. The Roswell UFO crash occurred on July 2, 1947 almost on top of what was at the time the world’s only atomic air bomb base, the Roswell Air Base in New Mexico. Could our deployment of this breakthrough technology have inadvertently brought our curious extraterrestrial neighbors to us in droves?”
Shorter chapters — such as the one he calls “The Phenomenon of Falling Stuff” — are also noteworthy. Here, Moberg explores the rare and confounding instances of objects (such as fish, frogs and fruits) that have rained from the sky, with no apparent source, on unsuspecting citizens.
The most famous of these cases is that of the Haythornwhites, an English couple who awakened one night to a two-hour storm of apples buffeting their house: “Oddly, not one apple fell in the neighbors’ yard on one side and only a few bounced over the fence on the other. … There had been no rain or wind that evening. Searching for any conceivable explanation to this bizarre event, the Haythornwhites phoned the local airport to see if any aircraft had passed overhead during the night. None were logged,” Moberg reports.
Later in the chapter, he admits that little formal explanation has ever been proffered regarding these strange cases, but reminds us that “We never know what may lie beneath such stones until we turn them over.”
Mountain Xpress recently caught up with Moberg by phone; here’s what the author had to say about the success of Magic, his first book:
Mountain Xpress: You’ve been traveling all over the country in support of your book. What kind of reactions are you encountering?
Kent Moberg: The response has been excellent — very receptive, in most cases. This is some of the most interesting subject matter in existence. Who is not curious about what happens after they die? Who would not be curious about other celestial neighbors? The purpose of this book is to bridge the gap between the general public and the research community. … [I wanted] to illustrate the complexity, the diversity and the sheer fascination of our universe. There are things going on around us that we’re unaware of because of our day-to-day lives. We become entrenched in our comfort zones, and we just don’t venture outside of that. We don’t come out of our shells very much to have a good look around. … [Another] reason I think the book is successful is because its potential market is anyone and everyone who watches these television documentaries, [where] the information [in the book] comes from. … What I’ve done is collected this information, bound it together, assimilated it, reorganized it, put it in book form. What makes this book unique — its strong point — is that I’ve considered these subjects collectively. In doing so, I’ve found evidence for the interconnectedness of our universe. That leads up to the second book [in The Millennium Series], that I’m currently writing. That book will delve into that interconnectedness with a vengeance, and address environmental issues, as well.
MX: How long did it take you to research The Magic of Our Universe?
KM: It took approximately one-and-a-half to two years to research the book, write it and get it out there. I’m sort of in the “out there” part right now [laughs].
MX: In naming television documentaries as your inspiration, did you anticipate any flak from critics? Have you felt the need to justify your affirmation of television as an important reference source?
KM: Not at all. In fact, I think that’s one of the reasons for the warm reception of the book. There are some amazingly informative television programs on the air, but a lot of folks don’t know how to [access them]. TV is in [nearly] every household in the country. It can be a tremendous source of information, if we could only learn how to tap into it. That is the secondary purpose of this book, and of the series. For two years, we combed the Internet for information, and the main problem we found was that anyone can have [a Web] site. It doesn’t matter who it is; it doesn’t matter what you know. There is so much garbage on the Internet you have to weed through to get to the good stuff. And, of course, that’s what we did for the book — sifted through a lot of garbage until we got to the good sites, which of course are listed in the book. Most of the documentary producers on A&E, the Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel, on the other hand, produce phenomenally informative and factual programs. They’re compelled to, because TV is time-is-money-oriented, and also ratings-oriented.
MX: The chapter on UFOs is significantly longer than most of the others. Was this a pet subject of yours before you began the book, and did you learn anything in your research that surprised you?
KM: One thing the book has done for me is, it has opened my eyes and mind even further to consider all kinds of possibilities. The length of the chapters in the book — each chapter in the book being devoted to a subject — are pretty much proportionate to the information that was available in my documentary research. Therefore, it’s also proportionate, I believe, to our awareness and knowledge of that subject. Extraterrestrial life occupies a third of the book because that’s the most pervasive [of these phenomena]. Although I’ll tell you something — I think very few [potential readers] know [how much] evidence there actually is. The hope of this book is to shed light on that evidence and put it out to the public.