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Joshua Cutchin’s massive collection of Bigfoot cases points to an extended consciousness phenomenon.

photo by: Skeptiko

Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome the fantastic Joshua Cutchin to Skeptiko. Josh is a really remarkable researcher and author known for his insanely well-researched books, I’ve thrown a few of them up there on the screen, and on his just vast knowledge of all aspects of the paranormal. This guy, as you’ll find out as we do this show, is kind of a walking casebook of paranormal cases and you seem to be able to access those deep into your online database there at a moment’s notice, which is so fun.  

This interview is long overdue. I really wanted to have you on last year to talk about your bookThieves in the Night, an amazing book. I was late to the party, maybe we can talk a little bit about that. I know you have a new book coming out on Bigfoot and I want to make sure we talk about that. I mainly just wanted to get you on because I just so admire your work. So thanks for coming on, great to talk to you.  

Joshua Cutchin: Well, thanks for the kind words. I genuinely appreciate it as someone who has listened to Skeptiko for a long time. It means a lot to live out this sort of surreal life where your hobbies and your real life sort of get mixed together. So I really appreciate it. Thank you.  

Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, that is a whole funny thing isn’t it, because that’s really how we both areI don’t want to spend a lot of time going into that because we’re both kind of pressed today, but that’d be a great topic for another conversationis how we got into this and then again, like you just said, I totally relate, living out this kind of surreal kind of, “Am I really talking to this person? I mean, that’s the sense I get every time. Last week I was talking to Dr Diana Pasulka and I was like, “Wow! This is fantastic.” 

But the purpose for your visit today is to play Skeptiko Jeopardy, a new idea that I just invented, and you know what, this is going to be good because this is really going to move us along quickly, which we both need. 

There I have nine topics up on the screen, Bigfoot, The Pope, NDEs Versus Abductions, Creating Reality, really co-creating reality, Time and Space, Pan-Paranormal, that’s who you are, Drip, Drip, Drip, Left-Hand Path and God.  

So Josh, you get to pick and then we get to talk.  

Joshua Cutchin: Well this is so predictable given where I am in my life, but it’s just where my head space is. I’ll take Bigfoot for a hundred Alex. 

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Read Excerpts:

Alex Tsakiris: I like the pick; I just think you’re a little bit conservative. I would have gone, oh wait, oh Daily Double. 

Joshua Cutchin: Alright.  

Alex Tsakiris: So tell us what’s going on with Bigfoot. This new book looks and sounds fantastic, you’ve dug into it really far. So maybe tee that up a little bit, but then just tell us your interest in general and your bottom line on what you think Bigfoot is, because if we’re going to play the Alex Trebek thing the question isphysical beast that walks through the woods, and then you could have come up with another question.  

Joshua Cutchin: Well, you know, I’ve been saying this and I think it’s a really good summation of the project, but my dear friend Greg Bishop has sort of slapped me on the wrist a couple of times whenever I invoke this, he’s like, “How dare you invoke the name of God 

But I feel like cryptozoology, especially Bigfoot, has never had its Passport to Magonia moment.  I’m not comparing the quality of my work to Vallée, or the quality of my co-authors work, Tim Renner, to Vallée. I think that’s a pretty high bar. But in terms of what I hope this book will start to try to accomplish sort of sits at that same intersection of folklore and modern reporting that Passport to Magonia did. 

There are so many people who are very supportive of the idea that Bigfoot is a flesh and blood creature and I’ve often said that I think a lot of anomalous topics and subjects and researchers have sort of Bigfoot envy, like the physical evidence is actually quite outstanding but at the same time there is a very 

Alex Tsakiris: Josh, let me jump in, because here’s what’s really cool and I already teed this up. You have these cases, so Bigfoot is a physical being that you could run into in the forest. Boom, hit me with a story that really drives that home because you’ve got a million of them. 

Joshua Cutchin: Well, if you look at, sort of the the body of physical evidence that’s left behind, I think it almost would do a disservice just to pick one example. But you have scat samples, you have hair samples, you have the cast. Which if you really dig down and take a look at some of these casts that have been made, they show not only dermal ridges, which are the equivalent of your fingerprints on your toes, but also specific consistent anatomy in terms of metatarsal breaks across the foot, that you don’t see in human anatomy but you do whenever it’s one of these giant footprints that people have found in the woods. 

A lot of people will misinterpret that, they’ll say thatI know that goats don’t leave behind footprints, which is a horrible, horrible misreading. It’s an ignorant reading of psi phenomena in general. The idea that something that is non-physical can have an impact on our environment. In fact, that was one of the earliest ways of ghost hunting, was to spread talcum powder on the floor and wait for footprints to manifest. 

So the idea that just because something can be physical but not simultaneously imaginal, I think is something that cryptozoology needs to, sort of get hip toI’ve often said that the last people to get on the consciousness bandwagon are going to be the cryptozoologists. The ufologists are getting there, the ghost hunters have been there for a long time. Obviously, anybody who’s interested in ideas of like time slips or near-death experiences, they’ve been mired in psi for a long time, but cryptozoology is sort of that last holdout, that is really being super materialistic about this. 

Alex Tsakiris: Let’s make sure we tee that up then for folk, because I’m guilty of doing the inside baseball thing. So, the cryptozoology people are out there and saying, “Hey look, this is real. We just found this pygmy,” for lack of a better term, “in New Guinea, we just found this very rareother thing that we never thought we’d find and here we found it. These creatures can exist for thousands of years. So maybe that’s Bigfoot.” So that’s one camp and then you have this other camp that says, “No, no, no, this is purely interdimensional. This is Jacques Valléekind of, “We don’t know what it is, don’t call it this or that.” Then we have even the nuts and bolts ufology. I always hate that term because I’ve never found anyone who’s really just nuts and bolts, you know? 

Joshua Cutchin: Right, right. 

 Alex Tsakiris: The great Stan Friedman who just passed recently, you know, “Oh, he’s a nuts and bolts ufologist. No, he’s not, he did the first book on abductions in the Betty and Barney Hill case, you can’t be more into the consciousness thing than that. But there’s this group who will call him a nuts and bolts ufologists and say, “Hey, hey, hey, all these reports of Bigfoot and you see a beam of light and there’s a sighting associated with it, these are beings that are beamed down from the spaceship and go there. 

So you have those three camps, are there any other major camps that we have to kind of parse out? Because you jumped right in and said, “Okay the cryptozoologists are bringing in some good information, but they’re also kind of out to lunch,” in terms of they haven’t got [unclear 00:07:26] on materialism. 

Joshua Cutchin: Yeah, you know, I actually took a page from your, actually literally a page from your book. I was asked to participate, two years ago, in a collection of UFO essays, UFOs: Reframing the Debate, and one of the things that I took was your philosophy, and I mentioned you, I attributed you plenty, I promise. But your philosophy that if materialism was broken then everything’s back on the tableand that’s really what sort of, even if you look at somebody like StanI know we’ve sort of addressed how nuts and bolts ufology is a problematic term, but he tends to be more of the physical beings coming down from outer space camp of thought, and yet he will endorse the concept of telepathy. 

Once you unpack that, I mean, telepathy should not coexist side-by-side with materialism. It just shouldn’t. I‘ve had some people say, “Oh no, you don’t know what you’re talking about. It just means that it’s just a new thing that’s added. No, it doesn’t. Like, if I have a black and white film and I add one color, I add red, it didn’t take away black or white, but it’s no longer a black and white film, right? It’s black, white and red. 

keep on bringing this up with people, I’ve enjoyed too many arguments on Twitter about this. But the idea that we have to scrap a lot of the things we’ve learned through the materials paradigm, I don’t think is necessary. I know that if I stick my hand in boiling water I’m probably going to get scalded, but at the same time it means that a lot of other possibilities are on the table 

If you are a ufologist who does not think that there’s some sort of reality to telepathy in these encounters, you’re dealing with a tiny handful of encounters, even stuff where people see a light in the sky, they’ll often get some sort of message, some sort of telepathic contact, even in those cases. Even in cases where people see what appear to be structured craft, they’ll still get these messages, these intense feelings. They’ll still have synchronicities manifest in their lives. Like people who have experienced NDEs and alien abduction and fairy abduction, they will still have supernormal abilities manifesting in their lives.  

So if that’s the case, then it doesn’t mean that it’s not little green scientist from another planet, but why are we so invested in that concept if the doors have been thrown openin terms of the possibilities? Why are we still so married to this very anthropomorphic catch-and-release model that a lot of ufology is sort of mired in 

You see that in the Bigfoot thing too, I mean, the sort of logical leaps that people will jump through. You have these great footprints that terminate in the middle of an open field and the nearest tree is 200 feet away, and they’ll be like, “Oh, well, they tiptoed backwards through their tracks. That’s a real common thing that people say in these Bigfoot encounters and it’s a lot more parsimonious, I think, to look at these as sort of expressions of 

I mean, let’s say reified folklore, let’s say Jungian archetypes that are made of flesh, Magonian interdimensional entities, any of these things. But you don’t have to always work backwards from the idea that there is a flesh and blood monkey, you don’t always have to work backwards from the idea that there are flesh and blood little green men coming down to do things, once you realize how broken materialism is. That’s my two cents. 

Alex Tsakiris: It’s awesome. Tell me your favorite Bigfoot account, and include in there, because I did kind of pump you up and it’s not unjustified. You’re really, I think at this point, a master of ferreting out what accounts we should trust and what accounts you’re a little bit suspicious ofbut a Bigfoot account that you think sounds pretty darn reliable based on your criteria and just kind of blows you away.  

Joshua Cutchin: Oh, I will weaponize a well-held Bigfoot account against flesh and blood cryptozoologist.  

So there’s this particular caseit’s called the Ape Canyon Incident, back in, I believe the 1930s in Washington. Fred Beck was the primary witness and a lot of his miners were working their claim. They saw this large hairy hominid in the woods, took some pot shots at it, didn’t hit it. But later that evening their cabin fell under siege. They were having rocks thrown at them. They had these giant hairy hands reaching through the holes in the cabin. There were things running across the roof. It’s considered one of the most reliable stories of Bigfoot attacking human beings. 

But what tends to get overlooked time and again by flesh and blood cryptozoologist is that Fred Beck penned a pamphlet, he penned a booklet on the incident at the end of his life and Beck had a lifetime of weird things happening to him. He maintained until his dying day that these were not flesh and blood creatures, but rather something more akin to poltergeist phenomena, and if you look at a lot of things that people attribute to Bigfoot…  

There’s an entire chapter in the book that’s just about Bigfoot and poltergeist phenomena, the throwing of rocks that are warm to the touch, running along roofs, tapping on windows. These are all things that you would normally associate with a haunting, but if people happen to see something large and hairy, they make that Bigfoot jump. 

But Fred Beck, to return to him. There were multiple witnesses in the Ape Canyon Incident, with whatever this thing or things that were assaulting the cabin, but cryptozoologists tend to, again, leave out Fred Beck’s own opinions, which is, when you’re dealing in anomalies it’s disingenuous to pick and choose what the experiencer says or their feelings, I feel at least.  

But if you really unpack the things that happened around the Ape Canyon story, what was building up to it, the actual location of the mine was dictated by one of two different spiritual beings that Fred Beck said he had encountered. One, I believe, was a Native American guide, another was a lady who he said had the name Vander White, like spirit guide that came to him in a vision and told him that they should follow a large white arrow in the sky to find their mining claim. And they did, and they found it. 

Shortly before they started taking potshots at this Bigfoot, they found a single Bigfoot footprint in the middle of a sandbar, hundreds of feet from the shore of the river and these facts get constantly glossed over because people seem to just jump right to the ape attack. I mean, if memory serves, there were also anomalous sounds coming from underground, which has a lot of hallmarks of old-world fairy lore, in terms of elves delving in the deeps. 

I don’t know what any of this means. I don’t think Bigfoot’s a fairyI don’t think Bigfoot’s an alien. I don’t know what any of this means but I know that there is more ephemera and weirdness around these things than a lot of flesh and blood cryptozoologists want to admit.  

The thing is, the flesh and blood model works really well when somebody sees Bigfoot crossing the road or someone’s out hunting and they happen to see some sort of large, hairy creature. But if you get people who have had multiple experiences or extended experiences, that’s when the synchronicities kick in, that’s when people attribute supernatural abilities to these things, like disappearing, like levitation. 

Writing this book’s been a little bit like drinking through a hose, but I just added a story of a Bigfoot who jumped over a guardrail and on the other side of the guardrail is a 200-foot drop. People want to say, “Well maybe Bigfoot scaled it’s way down there or maybe it was able to tuck and roll.” But it’s approaching how many angels can dance on the head of the pin levels of excuses for something that, if you were to look at it any other way would just be generally anomalous.   

Alex Tsakiris:  Great, great, great stuff. Okay, that could be a lead into any number of these next Skeptiko Jeopardy topics  

Joshua Cutchin: NDEs Versus Abductions.  

Alex Tsakiris: Great one. Alright, my wheelhouse, NDEs Versus Abductions. Go ahead, you kick this one off. 

Joshua Cutchin: Well, where do we begin? Well, I think the work of Kenneth Rayner pointed out a lot of these similarities. I think this is all really tied up in this sort of intersection of shamanic awakening and trauma. If anybody is sort of confused why he would even attempt to conflate or compare the two, I mean, you have bright lights, a feeling of levitation. There are people in alien abductions who claimed to meet or see loved ones who have passed on, not a very common thing that’s talked about, but it’s there. You have the associated effects of people who returned from said encounters with having increased moments of clairvoyance, synchronicities, poltergeist activity manifesting in their homes. That’s a very common thing, both amongst people who have had near-death experiences and people who are experiencers of sort of alien contact phenomena.  

The idea of a life review is not at all uncommon in the abduction literature eitherto say nothing of the sort of metaphysics that you get into in a lot of these abduction experiences. People talking about their souls being pulled out of their bodies or them being shown past lives by whatever these entities are, and that’s where I start to push back against, again, this materialist idea that it’s little green scientists. 

To be fair, human beings have supernormal abilities, psi-abilities, so it would stand to reason that perhaps a race of little green scientists would have those same abilities and perhaps even have them more developed but it’s always these moments of dream logic. I mean there’s a clarity that people associate with a lot of these encounters that’s parallel both in the abduction literature and in dreams and in the near-death experience. I’ve talked to so many people who say it felt more real than real. There was a clarity, there was a lucidity to what they were doing that felt more real than their average waking life. 

We’re sort of bleeding into the panparanormal topic here too, but these are all things that tends to suggest to me that there is a more nonphysical aspect to a lot of these encounters than mainstream ufology would have us believe. 

Alex Tsakiris: Well, there is so much to pull apart there and I think we’re in this 25% smear of consciousness. So if consciousness is huge, we’re in this 25% smear, if you will, that is time-space, right? We’re limited in this timespace continuum and we understand, at least from that vantage point, that other people are talking about being outside of that. So NDE is talking about being outside of that, abduction is talking about being outside of thatpsychedelics. All these people are talking about being outside of timespace and we know that from the language that comes back, they say things like, “It was five minutes in Earth time, but there it seemed like a month. There’s no way I could have done everything that I did.” Their language is, there is a different timespace reality. 

Then even at the very beginning of the NDE there’s a different space reality in that people are immediately above their body, right? So these are medical reports that are coming back by our most trusted medical professionals and they just breeze by it, they always breeze by that part of the story“Here’s what they observed. Here’s what they said,” and you say, “Run that past me again. At the top of the room and how does vision work from up there and how does hearing work from up there let alone memory and all of the rest of that?” 

I’m going to push you on this a little bit further because everything you said is absolutely true, vital, important and I want to push past that, because the data sets that kind of intrigue me lie in, for exampleRey Hernandez goes out and does this first academic survey of all of these people who claim to have had encounters with ET, shorthand there, and his big takeaway is, “Stop calling these abductions. These are spiritually transformative experiences, and he’s saying, “This isn’t just my opinion. This is what the data shows. Iyou’re just going to take the bulk of the data, yeah, there are these scary abductions there, but the majority of them, 66% are spiritually transformative. They’re okay with it. They’ve invited it, dah, dah, dah.” 

Now the other data set that I jump over to is the Dr Jeff Long, radiation oncologist, well-known near-death experience researcher, one of many, whose publishes are peer reviewed, medically reviewed, researched. He’s collected the largest database of near-death experiences that anyone can go and access and look up and here’s the data that I keep pounding on everyone’s head. Rey, great, they’re spiritually transformative experiences, kind of along the lines of what you’re saying 

Rey is drawing all of these parallels and he’s sayingAren’t these similar? Aren’t these two similar, these NDEs and alien encounter experiences?” And I’m pulling back and going, “Yeah, they’re similar in a lot of those ways, but aren’t they different? And Rey, in your body of work you have 10% that are milabs. You have sexual encounters, involuntary sexual encounters. You have reptilians raping people. Jeff hasn’t stopped collecting NDE accounts, there’s none of those in there. There are no milab accounts. 

If you really carefully look at the NDE stuff, its saying some things differently about, in particular, you know, Jeff’s latest book is about God and people freak out when they hear the word God of course. But I love what Jeff is saying there, he’s saying, “Look, I just have to report this,” in the same way that you’re talking about, your methodology. He’s saying, “I have to report this because it’s being under-reported. The accounts of people encountering what they understand to be God, not a Christian God, not a Jewish God, not a religious God, just sometimes a being, a spirit, sometimes more of a Christian or other religious trapping, but they sometimes feel that there’s more than that. 

The point is that this is more commonly reported than the tunnel is for exampleI’m pushing you, I guess, to that level three of saying, okay, I get the panparanormal, undoubtedly there’s some aspect to that, but are we at a point where we can begin mapping this extended consciousness along this access, which is super important because if there is a God up at the top of the heap we need to figure that out soon? 

Joshua Cutchin: You know, that’s a really great question and as strongly as I feel about, sort of going that pan-paranormal route, I also have a problem with the certainty fetish that a lot of people have, especially the idea that even if a significant portion of genuinely strange or genuine I guess I should say, contact experiences are spiritual, that doesn’t mean that’s describing the entire bulk of the phenomenonI feel like a majority of UFO sightings, UFOs in general, a majority are misidentification, then probably the next most common thing is some sort of testing of unorthodox craft. Then you’re going to looking at psi phenomena, spirit phenomena, natural but misunderstood phenomena, like some sort of weather phenomena we haven’t quite got a grasp on. Then perhaps a portion is also extraterrestrial. The idea that everything has to be all one thing or another thingI think lot of anomalists should get away from. 

For me it’s always been about giving voice to ideas that are less popular because they’re less popular, just to try to sort of balance the conversation out and as far as how these things manifest and look differently. From what Hernandez is saying, most of these encounters have some sort of positive spiritual component. I really see strong parallels between altered states oconsciousness and these experiences, and you can have good trips and you can have bad trips. They can be the exact same thing but it’s what you’re bringing to the dance that sort of influences the direction that these particular things go in. 

In terms of what I want to do and why find myself so passionate about this is because yes, I mean a lot of this implies that there is some sort of objective reality to a lot of these religious concepts about, again, the objective reality of God ,the objective reality of moralityI think that if you’re looking at stuff like alien abductions and you don’t wind up knee deep in psi and metaphysics, I think you’re doing it really wrong at some point.  

As far as the milab thing, you’ve also got to consider that it’s commonly held knowledge, or at least I think it is, that you never let a good crisis go to waste if you’re in a position of power and I feel like if perhaps there is an objective reality to these sort of interactions, experiences, abductions, whatever you want to call it, if there is an objective reality to that, then of course it’s going to be capitalized upon to sort of gaslight individuals if you want to abduct them for purposes of testing or for any number of reasons honestly. I think the idea that it would be employed to that end is patently obvious. 

Similarly I’ve often wondered aloud if the real reason that the government doesn’t open up about UFOs is not because it’s, there are aliens from another planet, but what if they really truly understand the non-physical reality of whatever’s happeningI can’t imagine the loss of control that would happen if the government came out and said, “Yeah, you know what? There is a God and we are not the sole arbiters of your destiny. A part of you continues on after you die.” The control mechanism is lostbecause government and power are predicated on physical violence at the end of the day. If you don’t pay your parking tickets, they can come and bodily arrest you and if you resist arrest they can put a bullet in your head. But when you realize that you are more than a meat suit, even that power just completely dissolves, and I’ve wondered if that’s not the real reason that we’ve had secrecy surrounding UFOs for so long. 

Alex Tsakiris: I love that. I love that. So I’ll tell you what, let me pick the next one, because I think it fits right into that, and that is, I’m going to pick the Left-Hand Path, because I think this understanding that you’re kind of alluding to is really misunderstood by a lot of peopleI love were you brought us right there at the end, in terms of the government and we all know we don’t know what that means in terms of government. We don’t know what it means.  

I was just going to give a warning that during this entire show any term that we use we have no idea what it means, when we say, “We’re people,” we don’t know what that means, when we say, “Consciousness,” we don’t know what that means. Alien, Bigfoot, all of them. So add to the list, government, we don’t know what that means.  

I’m being facetious, but this idea of the left-hand path I think is misunderstood, because one way of understanding it is hey, somebody’s got to control the world, and if you don’t buy off on that right away then just turn on YouTube newsreels and  look all over the world and see what chaos looks like, and you go, “I don’t want any of that,” and then you say, “Well, you know, how much control, jack booting am I going to put up with,” in terms of, for someone to be in control,  someone to run things? We look at all of the people in the world that are out there, and we don’t agree with, and we don’t know why they’re causing such a commotion and we could really, kind of get them off the stage, kind of thing. 

So the left-hand path, tell me what you’re thinking, tell me the connection with that, with just control and the good parts of control, also with the gnostic, create better than the creator gods. I think people don’t really understand the predicament that you’re in if you don’t say that you have some kind of control over your destiny. The God thing is awesome, but it’s really, really challenging too to say, “I have no agency in this world. I’m not going to try and make things better. I’m only interested in merging with the God head.”  

Most of us aren’t there, most of us are living a left-hand path kind of existence, but what we really shy away from is when we see the extreme end of the left-hand path and we see the evil and we see the pedo Pope and we see the horrible things that are done. I always say the pedthing because it just makes it clear, you know, someone who’s taking a two-year-old child and using them sexually and then killing them. We can all go, “Oh, alright, I do get that there is evil. But of course, there’s a lot of other evil that is drone striking wedding parties in Yemen that aren’t so cool either. So the left-hand path is wide. 

Joshua Cutchin: I mean, there’s so much to unpack there. I’ve tended to be less on and this must seem super ironic for somebody interested in these topics and as a long-time listener of Skeptiko, I tend to be less conspiratorially oriented. Not that I’d ever deny that it’s not happening, and I think a lot of times most of what I just feel like I am is contrarian. So if there’s somebody saying it’s all conspiracy, I’ll say, “Oh, I don’t know about that,” and somebody’s saying, “There aren’t any conspiracies,” I’ll say, “Oh, I don’t know about that.” Because I do think there is a not insignificant portion of nihilistic action and behavior and senseless banal behavior out there in the world that there isn’t any architecture behindI do think that’s frightening and I do think that we graph some of that on there. At the same time 

Alex Tsakiris: I’ve got to jump in there. I want you to deconstruct that because don’t we run into the same problem with materialism there? If we understand that there is this extended consciousness that is influencing, and how many angels on the head of the pin kind of thing, then isn’t the architecture always at play? Can we really say, “Oh no, he was just free agenting out there as he was doing his serial killing thing”? I don’t know. I don’t know, as above, so below. It doesn’t end. You can’t draw the line real clear. 

Joshua Cutchin: I think we all believe that to some degree. I mean, if you look at the sort of language that we use, “I was beside myself.” “I don’t know what came over me.” It all implies that you’re sort of ceding control of your own sovereignty over to something else, even if it’s just for a split second and you act impulsively. 

You’re right, I think that a lot of materialism has sort of given permission for a lot of this bad behavior to take place. I really think that’s reality as well. And I think the fact that the opposite, if you’re overzealous, in terms of your religion, obviously that can lead to some poor behavior as well, because again, it’s the certainty fetish that people have. 

Honestly, I’ve often thought that one of the best things that could happen for the world is if everybody would just wake up and say, “Am I the asshole? Am I the asshole today?” I try to do that plenty on my own of course. There’s something to be said for not constantly being a fence sitter, but this is a very thorny question and I don’t even know if I’m enough of a deep thinker to sort of even begin to unpack it.  

Honestly, so talking about in terms of whether or not there’s always architecture behind things, there’s a new book that’s out, or relatively new book that’s out about retrocausality by Eric Wargo. I don’t think you’ve had Eric on the show yet. 

Alex Tsakiris: I did but not about that book.  

Joshua Cutchin: I’m actually seeing Eric in Maryland this weekend. I’m leaving from here to go to the airport. And in one of his interviews he said that he is playing with the idea that every dream is a retrocausal or prophetic dream. I don’t particularly see that being the case because obviously there are some dreams that I think that if you’re paying attention to your own internal life, but also sort of the literature, yes, there are dreams that are significant and they tend to foreshadow things. But there are also dreams where you walk into the bathroom and you see your mother with jam on her head and she sings the Pennsylvania polka to you. 

This corresponds to a lot of indigenous ideas of there being big dreams and little dreams and big dreams are the dreams that mean something, and little dreams are the dreams where you’re actually processing stuff and I wonder if sometimes our personal behavior doesn’t fall under those lines. 

I don’t think it all has to be constantly motivated by something, our bad behaviors or our behaviors in general. I think that sometimes there might be a very materialist kind of autopilot that just kicks on when we do things, when we act selfishly, but I think sometimes it’s motivated by something a little bit more non-physical.  

I’m not sure where I draw that line, in terms of distinctions myself. I would like to think that me not wanting to get up and get another beer from the fridge, I would like to think that that’s motivated by pure materialist modems of laziness and calorie restriction or not expending energy as opposed to something that’s like some sort of actual moral defect but who knows? I think sometimes it might be one, sometimes it might be the other and maybe it’s always the same thing, maybe it’s not. I just don’t know if I can put a real pin in terms of how I feel. That’s another rambling response for you. 

Alex Tsakiris: It‘s pretty good one because if you’re not rambling on this stuff, then you haven’t thought of it, like your thing of the certainty model. There’s just no way to find certainty here.  

I’m just going to throw out another thing and people are going to get tired of hearing this because I get stuck on these things until I can get them out, and I just love talking to really smart people about him because, hint, hint, this is what Skeptiko is really about for me, is my journey, my learning by talking to other people like you 

So, the other data point that really seems interesting to me is a guy named Dr. Gregory Shushan. Have you heard of him?  

Joshua Cutchin: He sounds familiar, but I cannot tell you anything about him.  

Alex Tsakiris: He’s a near-death experience researcher who really took a different angle on this. He’s very much of an academic and he’s interested in religion. So he did a crosscultural, crosstemporal look at NDEs, so ancient religions, [unclear 00:33:55], Egypt, Greece, Buddhism, and his big takeaway is, “Hey, what if NDEs are the basis for all religions?” And of course they get socially engineered and used as control mechanisms and co-opted for the culture and all these other things 

But at the heart of it, like the one thing you said that I think is so true, is that most of us can’t argue with the moral imperative, that we do feel like we know what’s right and wrong, we know who’s sitting on our shoulder telling us the right thing to do. Well, that’s right out of the near-death experience aspect of being the judge of your own soul. 

So again, the co-opted religious thing is, God will judge you and send you down to hell but the real account says, well actually the way it works is, you will evaluate yourself and you will say, “Hmm, Josh, you did really well over here, but you know, maybe you could have done a little better, maybe that wasn’t your best moment,” and you go, “God to say that, that’s the least, yeah. Oh, I’m so…” “Well, don’t worry about it. It’s okay.” But you come back and what you share with the tribe and what gets incorporated into our religion is everything we do matters, and we know what’s right and wrong and we will be judged, even by ourselves on our ultimate soul journey of what that means. 

So that’s what I’m picking apart here because it seems to be one of those jigsaw pieces that falls into place and starts making a lot of things make more sense. Including the left-hand path because the left-hand path is our desire that we all have to run away from that aspect of our soul which we have to, we can’t live in this world and live in that other world too.  

So more to unpack there but give it your best shot as we wrap this thing up. 

Joshua Cutchin: I think that if you look at the guiding ethos that is almost universally behind every NDE is the fundamentality of love and the idea that the concept of love is somehow biologically motivated. This doesn’t pass the smell test for me, I don’t think it really passes the smell test for anybody, as you’ve alluded to multiple times. 

But I think once you realize that that is a fundamental and that that is the most important thing, then it’s pretty easy to see what is anti-love, right? Selfishness is anti-love, hurting others as anti-love, hurting yourself is anti-loveI think once you put that together, I think that’s where the real moral imperative narrative starts to emerge and I know that’s, kind of a sappy, kind of newagey kind of thing, but it really is fundamental to all of these different experiences. 

As far as the idea that NDEs are sort of the genesis of a lot of major religions, I think that makes an incredible amount of sense because this is where the direction of the Bigfoot book has been going. I’ve been thinking a lot about archetypes lately and what they are, and what they represent, and I find it hard to believe that there’s not some sort of objective external reality to things like that. If people are all going to this other consciousness realm during near-death experiences, obviously not everyone is literally encountering Anubis, and depending on your cultural framework that’s happening, but that concept of the dog-headed saint finds its way into a lot of major religions   

I talk about, in my latest book, people are seeing Dogmen across America, which there’s no possibility of Dogman being an actual flesh and blood cryptid, but people keep on mentioning it and to me I see that as an expression of these archetypes.  

So I think that even in spiritual practices that seem very far removed, both geographically and philosophically and temporally, you will often see a lot of these things manifesting and to me that implies a shared objective external reality. 

Perhaps NDEs were foundational and a lot of religions forming, but I don’t think you can dismiss people who were actually able to traffic with the other world and to go into altered states oconsciousness and are able to actually confer with the spirits, which is something that a lot of different cultures have all had methods of doing as well. 

So, you know, I’m kind of onboard with that idea, that NDEs are a motivating force behind religion, but I think we should just say all sorts of extended consciousness/spirit contact, I think all has contributed to this giant soup that were in. 

Alex Tsakiris: Well great. I’ll tell you what, we are going to wrap things up. You have to go get on a plane. I have to do some other stuff. But Josh, tell folks, you’ve hit on it a little bit, at this new book that’s coming out, the Bigfoot book. What is the name of that?  

Joshua Cutchin: Where The Footprints End, so myself and Timothy Renner. I‘ve been referring to it as the Bigfoot book, but it’s almost completely certain that it’s going to be a two-volume work. We may have a mutual friend of ours providing the foreword, we’ll see. 

Alex Tsakiris: Intriguing. Okay, we’ll leave that hanging out there. I heard on another podcast who that might be but I’m not going to reveal it. 

Joshua Cutchin: Well, you know, things change and people are approached about stuff and they have more time or less time than they thought they would, so I don’t want to say it’s a done deal. But I’ve got someone that had no interest in Bigfoot who might be writing the foreword to the Bigfoot book. So that excites me.  

Alex Tsakiris: Well, given the kind of book you’re writing, that’s the perfect person, right? Is someone who has no interest because you’re saying everyone should have an interest and if you don’t have an interest then you need to read this book to understand why.  

Joshua Cutchin: Yeah. So the topics are intersections with Bigfoot and fairy lore Bigfoot and ghost lore Bigfoot and witches Bigfoot and women in white, which is something that I never thought was a thing. Taking a look at the folklore. I mean, Bigfoot and Santa Claus? Which is just mind-blowing but the common thread throughout all of it is this wild man archetype and how the wild man archetype is consistent with a lot of what people have reported as Bigfoot behavior nowadays and even people who are into flesh and blood Bigfoot. 

So that’s going to be coming outI think we’re still on track for Autumn of this year. In the meantime, I have three other books, A Trojan Feast, The Brimstone Deceit and Thieves in the Night about food, smells and child abduction in regard to the paranormal respectively. And a poorly maintained blog at joshuacutchin.com.  

Alex Tsakiris: Your website is great, so people should check it out even if the blog isn’t as up to date as they’d like. Great stuff. Really appreciate you joining me, and we’ll just have to do it again soon. We’ll play another round of Skeptiko Jeopardy. 

Joshua Cutchin: I love it. Yeah. We didn’t get to half of the stuff I wanted to. So thanks so much for having me Alex, I really appreciate it.  

 

Alex Tsakiris: I like the pick; I just think you’re a little bit conservative. I would have gone, oh wait, oh Daily Double. 

Joshua Cutchin: Alright.  

Alex Tsakiris: So tell us what’s going on with Bigfoot. This new book looks and sounds fantastic, you’ve dug into it really far. So maybe tee that up a little bit, but then just tell us your interest in general and your bottom line on what you think Bigfoot is, because if we’re going to play the Alex Trebek thing the question isphysical beast that walks through the woods, and then you could have come up with another question.  

Joshua Cutchin: Well, you know, I’ve been saying this and I think it’s a really good summation of the project, but my dear friend Greg Bishop has sort of slapped me on the wrist a couple of times whenever I invoke this, he’s like, “How dare you invoke the name of God 

But I feel like cryptozoology, especially Bigfoot, has never had its Passport to Magonia moment.  I’m not comparing the quality of my work to Vallée, or the quality of my co-authors work, Tim Renner, to Vallée. I think that’s a pretty high bar. But in terms of what I hope this book will start to try to accomplish sort of sits at that same intersection of folklore and modern reporting that Passport to Magonia did. 

There are so many people who are very supportive of the idea that Bigfoot is a flesh and blood creature and I’ve often said that I think a lot of anomalous topics and subjects and researchers have sort of Bigfoot envy, like the physical evidence is actually quite outstanding but at the same time there is a very 

Alex Tsakiris: Josh, let me jump in, because here’s what’s really cool and I already teed this up. You have these cases, so Bigfoot is a physical being that you could run into in the forest. Boom, hit me with a story that really drives that home because you’ve got a million of them. 

Joshua Cutchin: Well, if you look at, sort of the the body of physical evidence that’s left behind, I think it almost would do a disservice just to pick one example. But you have scat samples, you have hair samples, you have the cast. Which if you really dig down and take a look at some of these casts that have been made, they show not only dermal ridges, which are the equivalent of your fingerprints on your toes, but also specific consistent anatomy in terms of metatarsal breaks across the foot, that you don’t see in human anatomy but you do whenever it’s one of these giant footprints that people have found in the woods. 

A lot of people will misinterpret that, they’ll say thatI know that goats don’t leave behind footprints, which is a horrible, horrible misreading. It’s an ignorant reading of psi phenomena in general. The idea that something that is non-physical can have an impact on our environment. In fact, that was one of the earliest ways of ghost hunting, was to spread talcum powder on the floor and wait for footprints to manifest. 

So the idea that just because something can be physical but not simultaneously imaginal, I think is something that cryptozoology needs to, sort of get hip toI’ve often said that the last people to get on the consciousness bandwagon are going to be the cryptozoologists. The ufologists are getting there, the ghost hunters have been there for a long time. Obviously, anybody who’s interested in ideas of like time slips or near-death experiences, they’ve been mired in psi for a long time, but cryptozoology is sort of that last holdout, that is really being super materialistic about this. 

Alex Tsakiris: Let’s make sure we tee that up then for folk, because I’m guilty of doing the inside baseball thing. So, the cryptozoology people are out there and saying, “Hey look, this is real. We just found this pygmy,” for lack of a better term, “in New Guinea, we just found this very rareother thing that we never thought we’d find and here we found it. These creatures can exist for thousands of years. So maybe that’s Bigfoot.” So that’s one camp and then you have this other camp that says, “No, no, no, this is purely interdimensional. This is Jacques Valléekind of, “We don’t know what it is, don’t call it this or that.” Then we have even the nuts and bolts ufology. I always hate that term because I’ve never found anyone who’s really just nuts and bolts, you know? 

Joshua Cutchin: Right, right. 

 Alex Tsakiris: The great Stan Friedman who just passed recently, you know, “Oh, he’s a nuts and bolts ufologist. No, he’s not, he did the first book on abductions in the Betty and Barney Hill case, you can’t be more into the consciousness thing than that. But there’s this group who will call him a nuts and bolts ufologists and say, “Hey, hey, hey, all these reports of Bigfoot and you see a beam of light and there’s a sighting associated with it, these are beings that are beamed down from the spaceship and go there. 

So you have those three camps, are there any other major camps that we have to kind of parse out? Because you jumped right in and said, “Okay the cryptozoologists are bringing in some good information, but they’re also kind of out to lunch,” in terms of they haven’t got [unclear 00:07:26] on materialism. 

Joshua Cutchin: Yeah, you know, I actually took a page from your, actually literally a page from your book. I was asked to participate, two years ago, in a collection of UFO essays, UFOs: Reframing the Debate, and one of the things that I took was your philosophy, and I mentioned you, I attributed you plenty, I promise. But your philosophy that if materialism was broken then everything’s back on the tableand that’s really what sort of, even if you look at somebody like StanI know we’ve sort of addressed how nuts and bolts ufology is a problematic term, but he tends to be more of the physical beings coming down from outer space camp of thought, and yet he will endorse the concept of telepathy. 

Once you unpack that, I mean, telepathy should not coexist side-by-side with materialism. It just shouldn’t. I‘ve had some people say, “Oh no, you don’t know what you’re talking about. It just means that it’s just a new thing that’s added. No, it doesn’t. Like, if I have a black and white film and I add one color, I add red, it didn’t take away black or white, but it’s no longer a black and white film, right? It’s black, white and red. 

keep on bringing this up with people, I’ve enjoyed too many arguments on Twitter about this. But the idea that we have to scrap a lot of the things we’ve learned through the materials paradigm, I don’t think is necessary. I know that if I stick my hand in boiling water I’m probably going to get scalded, but at the same time it means that a lot of other possibilities are on the table 

If you are a ufologist who does not think that there’s some sort of reality to telepathy in these encounters, you’re dealing with a tiny handful of encounters, even stuff where people see a light in the sky, they’ll often get some sort of message, some sort of telepathic contact, even in those cases. Even in cases where people see what appear to be structured craft, they’ll still get these messages, these intense feelings. They’ll still have synchronicities manifest in their lives. Like people who have experienced NDEs and alien abduction and fairy abduction, they will still have supernormal abilities manifesting in their lives.  

So if that’s the case, then it doesn’t mean that it’s not little green scientist from another planet, but why are we so invested in that concept if the doors have been thrown openin terms of the possibilities? Why are we still so married to this very anthropomorphic catch-and-release model that a lot of ufology is sort of mired in 

You see that in the Bigfoot thing too, I mean, the sort of logical leaps that people will jump through. You have these great footprints that terminate in the middle of an open field and the nearest tree is 200 feet away, and they’ll be like, “Oh, well, they tiptoed backwards through their tracks. That’s a real common thing that people say in these Bigfoot encounters and it’s a lot more parsimonious, I think, to look at these as sort of expressions of 

I mean, let’s say reified folklore, let’s say Jungian archetypes that are made of flesh, Magonian interdimensional entities, any of these things. But you don’t have to always work backwards from the idea that there is a flesh and blood monkey, you don’t always have to work backwards from the idea that there are flesh and blood little green men coming down to do things, once you realize how broken materialism is. That’s my two cents. 

Alex Tsakiris: It’s awesome. Tell me your favorite Bigfoot account, and include in there, because I did kind of pump you up and it’s not unjustified. You’re really, I think at this point, a master of ferreting out what accounts we should trust and what accounts you’re a little bit suspicious ofbut a Bigfoot account that you think sounds pretty darn reliable based on your criteria and just kind of blows you away.  

Joshua Cutchin: Oh, I will weaponize a well-held Bigfoot account against flesh and blood cryptozoologist.  

So there’s this particular caseit’s called the Ape Canyon Incident, back in, I believe the 1930s in Washington. Fred Beck was the primary witness and a lot of his miners were working their claim. They saw this large hairy hominid in the woods, took some pot shots at it, didn’t hit it. But later that evening their cabin fell under siege. They were having rocks thrown at them. They had these giant hairy hands reaching through the holes in the cabin. There were things running across the roof. It’s considered one of the most reliable stories of Bigfoot attacking human beings. 

But what tends to get overlooked time and again by flesh and blood cryptozoologist is that Fred Beck penned a pamphlet, he penned a booklet on the incident at the end of his life and Beck had a lifetime of weird things happening to him. He maintained until his dying day that these were not flesh and blood creatures, but rather something more akin to poltergeist phenomena, and if you look at a lot of things that people attribute to Bigfoot…  

There’s an entire chapter in the book that’s just about Bigfoot and poltergeist phenomena, the throwing of rocks that are warm to the touch, running along roofs, tapping on windows. These are all things that you would normally associate with a haunting, but if people happen to see something large and hairy, they make that Bigfoot jump. 

But Fred Beck, to return to him. There were multiple witnesses in the Ape Canyon Incident, with whatever this thing or things that were assaulting the cabin, but cryptozoologists tend to, again, leave out Fred Beck’s own opinions, which is, when you’re dealing in anomalies it’s disingenuous to pick and choose what the experiencer says or their feelings, I feel at least.  

But if you really unpack the things that happened around the Ape Canyon story, what was building up to it, the actual location of the mine was dictated by one of two different spiritual beings that Fred Beck said he had encountered. One, I believe, was a Native American guide, another was a lady who he said had the name Vander White, like spirit guide that came to him in a vision and told him that they should follow a large white arrow in the sky to find their mining claim. And they did, and they found it. 

Shortly before they started taking potshots at this Bigfoot, they found a single Bigfoot footprint in the middle of a sandbar, hundreds of feet from the shore of the river and these facts get constantly glossed over because people seem to just jump right to the ape attack. I mean, if memory serves, there were also anomalous sounds coming from underground, which has a lot of hallmarks of old-world fairy lore, in terms of elves delving in the deeps. 

I don’t know what any of this means. I don’t think Bigfoot’s a fairyI don’t think Bigfoot’s an alien. I don’t know what any of this means but I know that there is more ephemera and weirdness around these things than a lot of flesh and blood cryptozoologists want to admit.  

The thing is, the flesh and blood model works really well when somebody sees Bigfoot crossing the road or someone’s out hunting and they happen to see some sort of large, hairy creature. But if you get people who have had multiple experiences or extended experiences, that’s when the synchronicities kick in, that’s when people attribute supernatural abilities to these things, like disappearing, like levitation. 

Writing this book’s been a little bit like drinking through a hose, but I just added a story of a Bigfoot who jumped over a guardrail and on the other side of the guardrail is a 200-foot drop. People want to say, “Well maybe Bigfoot scaled it’s way down there or maybe it was able to tuck and roll.” But it’s approaching how many angels can dance on the head of the pin levels of excuses for something that, if you were to look at it any other way would just be generally anomalous.   

Alex Tsakiris:  Great, great, great stuff. Okay, that could be a lead into any number of these next Skeptiko Jeopardy topics  

Joshua Cutchin: NDEs Versus Abductions.  

Alex Tsakiris: Great one. Alright, my wheelhouse, NDEs Versus Abductions. Go ahead, you kick this one off. 

Joshua Cutchin: Well, where do we begin? Well, I think the work of Kenneth Rayner pointed out a lot of these similarities. I think this is all really tied up in this sort of intersection of shamanic awakening and trauma. If anybody is sort of confused why he would even attempt to conflate or compare the two, I mean, you have bright lights, a feeling of levitation. There are people in alien abductions who claimed to meet or see loved ones who have passed on, not a very common thing that’s talked about, but it’s there. You have the associated effects of people who returned from said encounters with having increased moments of clairvoyance, synchronicities, poltergeist activity manifesting in their homes. That’s a very common thing, both amongst people who have had near-death experiences and people who are experiencers of sort of alien contact phenomena.  

The idea of a life review is not at all uncommon in the abduction literature eitherto say nothing of the sort of metaphysics that you get into in a lot of these abduction experiences. People talking about their souls being pulled out of their bodies or them being shown past lives by whatever these entities are, and that’s where I start to push back against, again, this materialist idea that it’s little green scientists. 

To be fair, human beings have supernormal abilities, psi-abilities, so it would stand to reason that perhaps a race of little green scientists would have those same abilities and perhaps even have them more developed but it’s always these moments of dream logic. I mean there’s a clarity that people associate with a lot of these encounters that’s parallel both in the abduction literature and in dreams and in the near-death experience. I’ve talked to so many people who say it felt more real than real. There was a clarity, there was a lucidity to what they were doing that felt more real than their average waking life. 

We’re sort of bleeding into the panparanormal topic here too, but these are all things that tends to suggest to me that there is a more nonphysical aspect to a lot of these encounters than mainstream ufology would have us believe. 

Alex Tsakiris: Well, there is so much to pull apart there and I think we’re in this 25% smear of consciousness. So if consciousness is huge, we’re in this 25% smear, if you will, that is time-space, right? We’re limited in this timespace continuum and we understand, at least from that vantage point, that other people are talking about being outside of that. So NDE is talking about being outside of that, abduction is talking about being outside of thatpsychedelics. All these people are talking about being outside of timespace and we know that from the language that comes back, they say things like, “It was five minutes in Earth time, but there it seemed like a month. There’s no way I could have done everything that I did.” Their language is, there is a different timespace reality. 

Then even at the very beginning of the NDE there’s a different space reality in that people are immediately above their body, right? So these are medical reports that are coming back by our most trusted medical professionals and they just breeze by it, they always breeze by that part of the story“Here’s what they observed. Here’s what they said,” and you say, “Run that past me again. At the top of the room and how does vision work from up there and how does hearing work from up there let alone memory and all of the rest of that?” 

I’m going to push you on this a little bit further because everything you said is absolutely true, vital, important and I want to push past that, because the data sets that kind of intrigue me lie in, for exampleRey Hernandez goes out and does this first academic survey of all of these people who claim to have had encounters with ET, shorthand there, and his big takeaway is, “Stop calling these abductions. These are spiritually transformative experiences, and he’s saying, “This isn’t just my opinion. This is what the data shows. Iyou’re just going to take the bulk of the data, yeah, there are these scary abductions there, but the majority of them, 66% are spiritually transformative. They’re okay with it. They’ve invited it, dah, dah, dah.” 

Now the other data set that I jump over to is the Dr Jeff Long, radiation oncologist, well-known near-death experience researcher, one of many, whose publishes are peer reviewed, medically reviewed, researched. He’s collected the largest database of near-death experiences that anyone can go and access and look up and here’s the data that I keep pounding on everyone’s head. Rey, great, they’re spiritually transformative experiences, kind of along the lines of what you’re saying 

Rey is drawing all of these parallels and he’s sayingAren’t these similar? Aren’t these two similar, these NDEs and alien encounter experiences?” And I’m pulling back and going, “Yeah, they’re similar in a lot of those ways, but aren’t they different? And Rey, in your body of work you have 10% that are milabs. You have sexual encounters, involuntary sexual encounters. You have reptilians raping people. Jeff hasn’t stopped collecting NDE accounts, there’s none of those in there. There are no milab accounts. 

If you really carefully look at the NDE stuff, its saying some things differently about, in particular, you know, Jeff’s latest book is about God and people freak out when they hear the word God of course. But I love what Jeff is saying there, he’s saying, “Look, I just have to report this,” in the same way that you’re talking about, your methodology. He’s saying, “I have to report this because it’s being under-reported. The accounts of people encountering what they understand to be God, not a Christian God, not a Jewish God, not a religious God, just sometimes a being, a spirit, sometimes more of a Christian or other religious trapping, but they sometimes feel that there’s more than that. 

The point is that this is more commonly reported than the tunnel is for exampleI’m pushing you, I guess, to that level three of saying, okay, I get the panparanormal, undoubtedly there’s some aspect to that, but are we at a point where we can begin mapping this extended consciousness along this access, which is super important because if there is a God up at the top of the heap we need to figure that out soon? 

Joshua Cutchin: You know, that’s a really great question and as strongly as I feel about, sort of going that pan-paranormal route, I also have a problem with the certainty fetish that a lot of people have, especially the idea that even if a significant portion of genuinely strange or genuine I guess I should say, contact experiences are spiritual, that doesn’t mean that’s describing the entire bulk of the phenomenonI feel like a majority of UFO sightings, UFOs in general, a majority are misidentification, then probably the next most common thing is some sort of testing of unorthodox craft. Then you’re going to looking at psi phenomena, spirit phenomena, natural but misunderstood phenomena, like some sort of weather phenomena we haven’t quite got a grasp on. Then perhaps a portion is also extraterrestrial. The idea that everything has to be all one thing or another thingI think lot of anomalists should get away from. 

For me it’s always been about giving voice to ideas that are less popular because they’re less popular, just to try to sort of balance the conversation out and as far as how these things manifest and look differently. From what Hernandez is saying, most of these encounters have some sort of positive spiritual component. I really see strong parallels between altered states oconsciousness and these experiences, and you can have good trips and you can have bad trips. They can be the exact same thing but it’s what you’re bringing to the dance that sort of influences the direction that these particular things go in. 

In terms of what I want to do and why find myself so passionate about this is because yes, I mean a lot of this implies that there is some sort of objective reality to a lot of these religious concepts about, again, the objective reality of God ,the objective reality of moralityI think that if you’re looking at stuff like alien abductions and you don’t wind up knee deep in psi and metaphysics, I think you’re doing it really wrong at some point.  

As far as the milab thing, you’ve also got to consider that it’s commonly held knowledge, or at least I think it is, that you never let a good crisis go to waste if you’re in a position of power and I feel like if perhaps there is an objective reality to these sort of interactions, experiences, abductions, whatever you want to call it, if there is an objective reality to that, then of course it’s going to be capitalized upon to sort of gaslight individuals if you want to abduct them for purposes of testing or for any number of reasons honestly. I think the idea that it would be employed to that end is patently obvious. 

Similarly I’ve often wondered aloud if the real reason that the government doesn’t open up about UFOs is not because it’s, there are aliens from another planet, but what if they really truly understand the non-physical reality of whatever’s happeningI can’t imagine the loss of control that would happen if the government came out and said, “Yeah, you know what? There is a God and we are not the sole arbiters of your destiny. A part of you continues on after you die.” The control mechanism is lostbecause government and power are predicated on physical violence at the end of the day. If you don’t pay your parking tickets, they can come and bodily arrest you and if you resist arrest they can put a bullet in your head. But when you realize that you are more than a meat suit, even that power just completely dissolves, and I’ve wondered if that’s not the real reason that we’ve had secrecy surrounding UFOs for so long. 

Alex Tsakiris: I love that. I love that. So I’ll tell you what, let me pick the next one, because I think it fits right into that, and that is, I’m going to pick the Left-Hand Path, because I think this understanding that you’re kind of alluding to is really misunderstood by a lot of peopleI love were you brought us right there at the end, in terms of the government and we all know we don’t know what that means in terms of government. We don’t know what it means.  

I was just going to give a warning that during this entire show any term that we use we have no idea what it means, when we say, “We’re people,” we don’t know what that means, when we say, “Consciousness,” we don’t know what that means. Alien, Bigfoot, all of them. So add to the list, government, we don’t know what that means.  

I’m being facetious, but this idea of the left-hand path I think is misunderstood, because one way of understanding it is hey, somebody’s got to control the world, and if you don’t buy off on that right away then just turn on YouTube newsreels and  look all over the world and see what chaos looks like, and you go, “I don’t want any of that,” and then you say, “Well, you know, how much control, jack booting am I going to put up with,” in terms of, for someone to be in control,  someone to run things? We look at all of the people in the world that are out there, and we don’t agree with, and we don’t know why they’re causing such a commotion and we could really, kind of get them off the stage, kind of thing. 

So the left-hand path, tell me what you’re thinking, tell me the connection with that, with just control and the good parts of control, also with the gnostic, create better than the creator gods. I think people don’t really understand the predicament that you’re in if you don’t say that you have some kind of control over your destiny. The God thing is awesome, but it’s really, really challenging too to say, “I have no agency in this world. I’m not going to try and make things better. I’m only interested in merging with the God head.”  

Most of us aren’t there, most of us are living a left-hand path kind of existence, but what we really shy away from is when we see the extreme end of the left-hand path and we see the evil and we see the pedo Pope and we see the horrible things that are done. I always say the pedthing because it just makes it clear, you know, someone who’s taking a two-year-old child and using them sexually and then killing them. We can all go, “Oh, alright, I do get that there is evil. But of course, there’s a lot of other evil that is drone striking wedding parties in Yemen that aren’t so cool either. So the left-hand path is wide. 

Joshua Cutchin: I mean, there’s so much to unpack there. I’ve tended to be less on and this must seem super ironic for somebody interested in these topics and as a long-time listener of Skeptiko, I tend to be less conspiratorially oriented. Not that I’d ever deny that it’s not happening, and I think a lot of times most of what I just feel like I am is contrarian. So if there’s somebody saying it’s all conspiracy, I’ll say, “Oh, I don’t know about that,” and somebody’s saying, “There aren’t any conspiracies,” I’ll say, “Oh, I don’t know about that.” Because I do think there is a not insignificant portion of nihilistic action and behavior and senseless banal behavior out there in the world that there isn’t any architecture behindI do think that’s frightening and I do think that we graph some of that on there. At the same time 

Alex Tsakiris: I’ve got to jump in there. I want you to deconstruct that because don’t we run into the same problem with materialism there? If we understand that there is this extended consciousness that is influencing, and how many angels on the head of the pin kind of thing, then isn’t the architecture always at play? Can we really say, “Oh no, he was just free agenting out there as he was doing his serial killing thing”? I don’t know. I don’t know, as above, so below. It doesn’t end. You can’t draw the line real clear. 

Joshua Cutchin: I think we all believe that to some degree. I mean, if you look at the sort of language that we use, “I was beside myself.” “I don’t know what came over me.” It all implies that you’re sort of ceding control of your own sovereignty over to something else, even if it’s just for a split second and you act impulsively. 

You’re right, I think that a lot of materialism has sort of given permission for a lot of this bad behavior to take place. I really think that’s reality as well. And I think the fact that the opposite, if you’re overzealous, in terms of your religion, obviously that can lead to some poor behavior as well, because again, it’s the certainty fetish that people have. 

Honestly, I’ve often thought that one of the best things that could happen for the world is if everybody would just wake up and say, “Am I the asshole? Am I the asshole today?” I try to do that plenty on my own of course. There’s something to be said for not constantly being a fence sitter, but this is a very thorny question and I don’t even know if I’m enough of a deep thinker to sort of even begin to unpack it.  

Honestly, so talking about in terms of whether or not there’s always architecture behind things, there’s a new book that’s out, or relatively new book that’s out about retrocausality by Eric Wargo. I don’t think you’ve had Eric on the show yet. 

Alex Tsakiris: I did but not about that book.  

Joshua Cutchin: I’m actually seeing Eric in Maryland this weekend. I’m leaving from here to go to the airport. And in one of his interviews he said that he is playing with the idea that every dream is a retrocausal or prophetic dream. I don’t particularly see that being the case because obviously there are some dreams that I think that if you’re paying attention to your own internal life, but also sort of the literature, yes, there are dreams that are significant and they tend to foreshadow things. But there are also dreams where you walk into the bathroom and you see your mother with jam on her head and she sings the Pennsylvania polka to you. 

This corresponds to a lot of indigenous ideas of there being big dreams and little dreams and big dreams are the dreams that mean something, and little dreams are the dreams where you’re actually processing stuff and I wonder if sometimes our personal behavior doesn’t fall under those lines. 

I don’t think it all has to be constantly motivated by something, our bad behaviors or our behaviors in general. I think that sometimes there might be a very materialist kind of autopilot that just kicks on when we do things, when we act selfishly, but I think sometimes it’s motivated by something a little bit more non-physical.  

I’m not sure where I draw that line, in terms of distinctions myself. I would like to think that me not wanting to get up and get another beer from the fridge, I would like to think that that’s motivated by pure materialist modems of laziness and calorie restriction or not expending energy as opposed to something that’s like some sort of actual moral defect but who knows? I think sometimes it might be one, sometimes it might be the other and maybe it’s always the same thing, maybe it’s not. I just don’t know if I can put a real pin in terms of how I feel. That’s another rambling response for you. 

Alex Tsakiris: It‘s pretty good one because if you’re not rambling on this stuff, then you haven’t thought of it, like your thing of the certainty model. There’s just no way to find certainty here.  

I’m just going to throw out another thing and people are going to get tired of hearing this because I get stuck on these things until I can get them out, and I just love talking to really smart people about him because, hint, hint, this is what Skeptiko is really about for me, is my journey, my learning by talking to other people like you 

So, the other data point that really seems interesting to me is a guy named Dr. Gregory Shushan. Have you heard of him?  

Joshua Cutchin: He sounds familiar, but I cannot tell you anything about him.  

Alex Tsakiris: He’s a near-death experience researcher who really took a different angle on this. He’s very much of an academic and he’s interested in religion. So he did a crosscultural, crosstemporal look at NDEs, so ancient religions, [unclear 00:33:55], Egypt, Greece, Buddhism, and his big takeaway is, “Hey, what if NDEs are the basis for all religions?” And of course they get socially engineered and used as control mechanisms and co-opted for the culture and all these other things 

But at the heart of it, like the one thing you said that I think is so true, is that most of us can’t argue with the moral imperative, that we do feel like we know what’s right and wrong, we know who’s sitting on our shoulder telling us the right thing to do. Well, that’s right out of the near-death experience aspect of being the judge of your own soul. 

So again, the co-opted religious thing is, God will judge you and send you down to hell but the real account says, well actually the way it works is, you will evaluate yourself and you will say, “Hmm, Josh, you did really well over here, but you know, maybe you could have done a little better, maybe that wasn’t your best moment,” and you go, “God to say that, that’s the least, yeah. Oh, I’m so…” “Well, don’t worry about it. It’s okay.” But you come back and what you share with the tribe and what gets incorporated into our religion is everything we do matters, and we know what’s right and wrong and we will be judged, even by ourselves on our ultimate soul journey of what that means. 

So that’s what I’m picking apart here because it seems to be one of those jigsaw pieces that falls into place and starts making a lot of things make more sense. Including the left-hand path because the left-hand path is our desire that we all have to run away from that aspect of our soul which we have to, we can’t live in this world and live in that other world too.  

So more to unpack there but give it your best shot as we wrap this thing up. 

Joshua Cutchin: I think that if you look at the guiding ethos that is almost universally behind every NDE is the fundamentality of love and the idea that the concept of love is somehow biologically motivated. This doesn’t pass the smell test for me, I don’t think it really passes the smell test for anybody, as you’ve alluded to multiple times. 

But I think once you realize that that is a fundamental and that that is the most important thing, then it’s pretty easy to see what is anti-love, right? Selfishness is anti-love, hurting others as anti-love, hurting yourself is anti-loveI think once you put that together, I think that’s where the real moral imperative narrative starts to emerge and I know that’s, kind of a sappy, kind of newagey kind of thing, but it really is fundamental to all of these different experiences. 

As far as the idea that NDEs are sort of the genesis of a lot of major religions, I think that makes an incredible amount of sense because this is where the direction of the Bigfoot book has been going. I’ve been thinking a lot about archetypes lately and what they are, and what they represent, and I find it hard to believe that there’s not some sort of objective external reality to things like that. If people are all going to this other consciousness realm during near-death experiences, obviously not everyone is literally encountering Anubis, and depending on your cultural framework that’s happening, but that concept of the dog-headed saint finds its way into a lot of major religions   

I talk about, in my latest book, people are seeing Dogmen across America, which there’s no possibility of Dogman being an actual flesh and blood cryptid, but people keep on mentioning it and to me I see that as an expression of these archetypes.  

So I think that even in spiritual practices that seem very far removed, both geographically and philosophically and temporally, you will often see a lot of these things manifesting and to me that implies a shared objective external reality. 

Perhaps NDEs were foundational and a lot of religions forming, but I don’t think you can dismiss people who were actually able to traffic with the other world and to go into altered states oconsciousness and are able to actually confer with the spirits, which is something that a lot of different cultures have all had methods of doing as well. 

So, you know, I’m kind of onboard with that idea, that NDEs are a motivating force behind religion, but I think we should just say all sorts of extended consciousness/spirit contact, I think all has contributed to this giant soup that were in. 

Alex Tsakiris: Well great. I’ll tell you what, we are going to wrap things up. You have to go get on a plane. I have to do some other stuff. But Josh, tell folks, you’ve hit on it a little bit, at this new book that’s coming out, the Bigfoot book. What is the name of that?  

Joshua Cutchin: Where The Footprints End, so myself and Timothy Renner. I‘ve been referring to it as the Bigfoot book, but it’s almost completely certain that it’s going to be a two-volume work. We may have a mutual friend of ours providing the foreword, we’ll see. 

Alex Tsakiris: Intriguing. Okay, we’ll leave that hanging out there. I heard on another podcast who that might be but I’m not going to reveal it. 

Joshua Cutchin: Well, you know, things change and people are approached about stuff and they have more time or less time than they thought they would, so I don’t want to say it’s a done deal. But I’ve got someone that had no interest in Bigfoot who might be writing the foreword to the Bigfoot book. So that excites me.  

Alex Tsakiris: Well, given the kind of book you’re writing, that’s the perfect person, right? Is someone who has no interest because you’re saying everyone should have an interest and if you don’t have an interest then you need to read this book to understand why.  

Joshua Cutchin: Yeah. So the topics are intersections with Bigfoot and fairy lore Bigfoot and ghost lore Bigfoot and witches Bigfoot and women in white, which is something that I never thought was a thing. Taking a look at the folklore. I mean, Bigfoot and Santa Claus? Which is just mind-blowing but the common thread throughout all of it is this wild man archetype and how the wild man archetype is consistent with a lot of what people have reported as Bigfoot behavior nowadays and even people who are into flesh and blood Bigfoot. 

So that’s going to be coming outI think we’re still on track for Autumn of this year. In the meantime, I have three other books, A Trojan Feast, The Brimstone Deceit and Thieves in the Night about food, smells and child abduction in regard to the paranormal respectively. And a poorly maintained blog at joshuacutchin.com.  

Alex Tsakiris: Your website is great, so people should check it out even if the blog isn’t as up to date as they’d like. Great stuff. Really appreciate you joining me, and we’ll just have to do it again soon. We’ll play another round of Skeptiko Jeopardy. 

Joshua Cutchin: I love it. Yeah. We didn’t get to half of the stuff I wanted to. So thanks so much for having me Alex, I really appreciate it. 

 

 

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