Friday, November 20, 2009

Contactees, Cryptoterrestrials & Mac

Of the many people I spoke with during the course of researching and writing my Contactees book, certainly one of the stand-out individuals was my good friend Mac Tonnies, who tragically, and suddenly, died last month at the age of only thirty-four.

Needless to say, Mac's death was a terrible shock at a personal level, and a deep tragedy for the Fortean world, too. The reason being that although Mac was certainly well known in the field for his acclaimed book, After the Martian Apocalypse (on the "Face on Mars" controversy) and his equally-acclaimed blog, Posthuman Blues, it was his forthcoming book, The Crytptoterrestrials that was (in my view) destined to elevate him to whole new levels within the world of Fortean publishing.

Basically, right up until his death Mac was pursuing the theory that our so-called alien visitors are not so alien after all. Rather, he suspected, some might be the last - and waning - vestiges of an ancient terrestrial race of beings that pass themselves off as extraterrestrials to move among us, and without betraying their real identity.

They are the cryptoterrestrials, as Mac dubbed them.

Fortunately, despite Mac's sad passing his book will still see the light of day, thanks to Anomalist Books, who will be publishing it next year.

However, on this same matter: after I told Mac about my Contactees book, we discussed one evening the possibility that some of the so-called (and very human-looking) Space-Brothers that are so prevalent within Contactee lore might actually be cryptoterrestrials, rather than literal extraterrestrials.

As a result of this discussion, Mac agreed to be interviewed for the book on this particular theory, and provided some fascinating and thought-provoking data.

In Mac's own words, as they appear in my book:

“Historically, the Contactees have come to be viewed as something of an embarrassment; a frivolous distraction from serious UFO research. I see them as a valuable window on a pivotal era, at least as influential on popular culture as the Beats. To view them in a ufological vacuum is to deliberately overlook the deep archetypal forces simmering just beneath the surface.

“Commentators regularly assume that all the Contactees were lying or else delusional. But if we’re experiencing a staged reality, some of the beings encountered by the Contactees might have been real; and the common messages of universal brotherhood could have been a sincere attempt to curb our destructive tendencies. The extraterrestrial guise would have served as a prudent disguise, neatly misdirecting our attention and leading us to ask the wrong questions; which we’re still asking with no substantial results.”

I never even imagined that at the time we did the interview, Mac had only a couple more months to live. But I hope that this interview with Mac will help his legacy and work to live on.

As I note in the dedication to Mac in my book: " memory of Mac Tonnies, a friend whose flame was extinguished all too soon."

The picture above shows - left to right - Canadian film-maker and good friend, Paul Kimball, Mac, and me hanging out in Halifax, Nova Scotia in late 2006.


  1. A very nice tribute to your beloved friend,Nick.
    It seems he definitely had some intriguing and thought-provoking insight.
    Sadly,I never got to meet him,but through your wonderful heartfelt words about him, I feel like Ive made a new friend.
    Perhaps he is in one of those unseen dimensions we so passionately seek,looking over you and smiling right now.

  2. I look forward to reading this book inasmuch you are one of the tenacious few individuals, the sum total that I can count on one hand ( with fingers left) in this field, that is a journalist rather than a propagandist.

    I had a close encounter with such a contactee in my youth, and I found that he build an entire micro-subculture around him in order to frame his experience in logical terms, which I sensed privately had deeply eluded him. He had a look in his eyes that devotees ascribed to enlightenment but to me, he looked like a deer caught in the proverbial high beams of an experience he became fixated upon.
    Again, I just wanted to state that this material as a framing context for our all too human foibles, and mysteries is one I look forward to as a one who is as bewildered as the next.

  3. Thanks Bruce! And Mac's book should be available very soon indeed.