Unearthly News - Editor's Blog: Ten Unearthly Years
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Editor's Blog: Ten Unearthly Years

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On its tenth anniversary, Unearthly News editor Matthew Brant takes a ramble down memory lane.

Aliens reading newspapers

Unearthly beginnings...

So, "how did it all begin?", I hear you ask. OK, maybe you didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway.

Like many readers of this site, I have been fascinated by the paranormal and UFOs since I was a child. I still keep a much loved copy of the book "Amazing UFOs and Aliens" near to my computer, which despite its comical cover, actually contains a wonderful collection of genuine UFO and alien encounters, written in a child friendly way.

In my teen years, I would frequently raid the "Philosophy" shelves of my local library, as this is where the wily librarians would conceal the interesting tomes around subjects like UFOs, near death experiences, reincarnation, ghosts, and paranormal tales of all kinds.

At the same time, TV shows like "Sightings", "Unsolved Mysteries", and "The X-Files" were illuminating the cathode-ray tube behind my family's much watched television screen, from which I would also ingest a regular science fiction diet.

Amazing UFOs and Aliens book cover

Being an inquisitive young person, I spent probably too much time pondering the nature of reality. It quickly became clear that neither science nor religion could provide all the answers, but these tales of the supernatural seemed to provide a fleeting glimpse into whatever was really going on behind the scenes of the cosmos. It was like peering through a tiny keyhole from a dark room into a brightly lit one beyond.

Then, as time passed, life got in the way, as it often does. Although my interest in these subjects never fully waned, I was not actively pursuing them, or ingesting information like a sponge as I once had. However, this hiatus was not to last.

I remember a very specific day in 2012, two years after my dad had passed away, while I was staying at my mum's house. I was casually skipping through the hundreds of available satellite channels, when I came across a now defunct one related to otherworldly matters. The first programme that illuminated the screen was a guide to the different types of aliens — greys, reptilians, mantis beings etc. I had no idea whether to believe any of it or not. However, in that moment, a small door opened inside my brain, and it has never closed since.

From that day, the sponge drive in my head was reactivated once again, and I began to relentlessly absorb as much information as possible on every subject from UFOs, to poltergeists, to ancient lost civilisations. Now, as well as books and TV, there were numerous web sites, podcasts, radio shows, and YouTube channels to ingest as well. The flow of information was, and continues to be, seemingly endless, allowing me to gorge myself on otherworldly matters like a paranormal piglet.

Ultimately, however, I felt like I needed to actually do something with all of this accumulated information, and give something back to the community.

Lift off...

Being a web developer by trade, I have always had a number of different personal web sites orbiting the information superhighway. In 2013, I had been winding down a fan site relating to a well-known British comedian that I had been running for years. The news page of that site was the part that I had enjoyed updating the most.

With a web site gap emerging in my schedule, plus my brain already brimming over with fringe topics, I decided to take the plunge and launch a news site, dedicated to UFOs, the paranormal, and other related topics. So, in early 2014, Unearthly News was born!

I had toyed with other names for the site, the next closest being "Otherworldly News", but since "Otherworldly" has one syllable more than "Unearthly", the latter seemed to be the better option. "Unearthly" is also a word that can cover both tales of ghosts and the supernatural, as well as topics that are literally out of this world, such as UFOs and aliens.

The very first article link, posted on 18th January 2014 involved an entertainingly questionable image of a blurry Moon photo that may, or may not, have been something unnatural in origin.

The first featured article was posted in April of 2014, with the controversial headline "Eight Reasons Why Everyone Should Believe in UFOs". The most controversial element though, turned out to be the word "Believe", which according to the response from readers, was not a requirement for the already factual existence of UFOs. Perhaps the more recent news has proven them right.

I also started off doing monthly "Summary of the Strange" articles, but quickly realised that this was somewhat of a fool's errand, since it was just regurgitating what had already been published on the site.

From the beginning, I had no interest in convincing anyone of anything. I simply wanted to collate interesting news articles, and present them to readers in an unbiased fashion, allowing them to make up their own minds. I am not even sure what to make of many of the articles myself a lot of the time. However, if the story is sufficient to make me stop and think for a moment, then I will assume it is sufficient to make others do the same.

There are many more articles that I review on a weekly basis that don't make the cut. A lot of very obvious fakes appear, as well as misidentified non-paranormal phenomena. I am optimistic that I have got better at spotting these over the years. For example, the first time I saw a strange white blob moving inexplicably around a CCTV video, I thought it was intriguing. However, once I knew that I might be looking at a small spider that has spun its web over the lens of the camera, such videos suddenly seemed a lot less supernatural.

Other misidentified image artefacts include lens flairs, or reflections in glass, which are often confused with UFOs. Also, small dust particles near the lens, illuminated by a flash, are frequently mistaken as ghostly orbs.

This is not to say however, that true gems don't exist. Indeed, I believe that they do, but learning what is definitely not paranormal, helps to cut out the noise.

Lens flares and dust
Lens flares and dust, oh my!

Ups and downs...

Following a solid launch, the Unearthly News web site grew in visits and popularity over the first couple of years. Then a certain USA election happened in 2016, and as a result, Google and other platforms declared war on so called "fake news". Unearthly News was an unfortunate casualty of this war, and following Google's algorithm changes, web site visits plummeted like a megalithic lintel, almost overnight.

Fortunately, I had never created the site to make money, or to compete with mainstream "authoritative" news sites, and so I have continued to update the site as normal ever since, undeterred by whatever craziness is going on in the human world around us. I am aware and appreciative for the core audience of readers who have carried on the journey with me.

I have even made a point to intentionally exclude stories about politics in general. I especially went out of my way to exclude stories about the dreaded virus, because ideally Unearthly News should be a sanctuary where visitors can come to read interesting and thought provoking stories, and temporarily escape the disconcerting affairs of humankind. The only exception is when political stories happen to collide with unearthly matters, and the recent UFO stories relating to the US government are an example of that. More on that later.

It has also been gratifying to have had article contributions from a number of independent authors over the years, adding a great mix of different voices to the paranormal pot. I would continue to encourage those who would like to contribute to get in touch.

There have been a number of interesting feature highlights over the last decade. The article entitled "Could the 'Greys' Be a Race of Humans Who Evolved Underground?" from 2015, with its unorthodox proposal, continues to get large number of views, even nine years later. Then there was the infamous hand of Dovestone reservoir from 2017, which created quite a controversy on social media.

We have also been happy to help promote independent efforts within the community across the years, such as Joshua P. Warren's Las Vegas ghost tour, some fun 11:11 fashionwear, and a review of a book depicting ETs in popular culture.

My own Unearthly Calendar project of 2019 hardly set the world alight, but it was a fun creative endeavor nevertheless.

Unearthly News has also made the transition into radio frequencies over time, including a short lived set of appearances by myself on BBC Radio Suffolk in 2016, and an ongoing weekly segment by master of the airwaves Peter Rosendaal in his Monday afternoon show on Radio Seagull.

Invasion of the UAP...

With almost six thousand news articles posted over the last ten years, I am not going to start picking out highlights, otherwise this blog would become very long indeed! However, it would be remiss of me not to highlight the incredible advancement in the UFO story since Unearthly News began.

Ten years ago, very few people would have predicted the events that have transformed this subject, to the point that now even the hardened sceptics are forced to take another look. The early signs were there, when Hillary Clinton stated openly during her presidential campaign that she intended to dig into the UFO files if she won.

In the same Jimmy Kimmel interview, she also made a point of publicly rebranding UFOs as the now well established UAPs, short for "Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon" — more recently rebranded again as "Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon" to cover transmedium craft.

As it later transpired, much of Hillary's apparent UFO enthusiasm was driven by her campaign manager John Podesta, who at the same time, was liaising with a small group of UFO advocates within the intelligence community.

Despite Hillary's presidential defeat, this small group persisted, and in 2017 launched a project named "To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science" alongside Blink-182 frontman Tom Delonge, with the apparent aim of pursuing public UAP disclosure. I still remember the chill I got when former counterintelligence operative Luis Elizondo looked directly into the camera and stated, "the phenomena is indeed real".

Luis Elizondo: the phenomena is indeed real

The momentum of this launch then drove the next major milestone when the New York Times ran a front cover article in late 2017, detailing a secret Pentagon UFO research program. Such an article in a prestigious publication created shockwaves, and finally caused journalists across the world sit up and pay attention, for five minutes at least.

Since then, the progress has snowballed to the point where the Pentagon now has a public UFO investigation department, currently known as AARO, and several US congressional hearings have occurred. Just last year, intelligence insider David Grusch testified to congress under oath, causing a media sensation with his claims of crashed UFO retrievals and otherworldly bodies.

Many of these revelations over the past few years have been driven, either overtly or covertly, by that same "To the Stars" group of former intelligence officials, and government contractors. This therefore begs the question as to how much any of this information can really be trusted? Many UFO advocates have already declared that these characters with murky CIA backgrounds should never be trusted in any capacity.

However, regardless of their true agenda, the information that has been revealed so far feels like some kind of progress to me, and I'm intrigued, if somewhat cautious, to see where the path takes us from here.

Into the future...

This is the point in the blog where I am meant to predict a bright and successful future for Unearthly News and the world. Unfortunately, with current ongoing global events, it is hard to know if the world as we know it will still even exist in one year, let alone another ten.

However, what I can predict is that as long as spooky videos still circulate the internet, as long as the occasional Virgin Mary statue cries blood, as long as crop circles keep appearing in random farmer's fields, and as long as those darn UFOs carry on playing hide and seek with humanity, Unearthly News will be here to track the story.

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