The only good thing about this book is the cool cover picture. Published posthumously, clearly this book might have benefited by rewrites except for the sudden death of its author. Essentially just a stream of consciousness set of musings, this book has nothing to say, offers no new facts, and is to be avoided in my opinion.
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Was looking forward to this book; interesting title, interesting subject. Unfortunately had little or no new experiences or information. Has theories and opinions which, as in most cases, is skewed toward a preconceived idea by leaving out ( or skimming over )information that does not fit the paradigm. Disappointing.
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March saw the release of author and blogger Mac Tonnies' much anticipated book The Cryptoterrestrials, "A meditation on indigenous humanoids and the aliens among us." Tragically, Tonnies died in his sleep on October 18, 2009, at the young age of 34, prompting many to question if his death was entirely natural. He was just weeks away from turning in his manuscript to his publisher, and with the help of family members and friends, his final draft has now been published by Anomalist Books.
The book is not so much an elucidation of his theory, as a devastating critique of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) and the rigid thinking of "mainstream" ufology. Tonnies' book is rich with questions and insightful speculations about what could be behind the UFO phenomenon. He follows in the footsteps of Charles Fort (The Complete Books of Charles Fort), Jacques Vallee (Passport to Magonia: On Ufos, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds) and John Keel (The Eighth Tower) in pointing out the many reasons why a new approach to the study of UFOs and "aliens" is desperately needed. While I do not necessarily agree with all of his conclusions, and he is at times overly optimistic (a fact to which he admits in his last chapter), Tonnies' book offers much food for thought on the subject of UFOs, "aliens", and the paranormal.Read more ›
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93 of 107 people found the following review helpful
UFOs? Yes. Aliens? Maybe NotMarch 9 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Over the course of the last 60 years or so, the world of Ufology has spawned a truly huge number of books: many very good indeed, a not-insignificant number very bad, and a great deal hovering precariously somewhere in between. Just occasionally, however, a title comes along that is truly revolutionary, ground-breaking and - as far as its potential implications are concerned - thought-provoking in the extreme.
For me, personally, Jacque Vallee's Messengers of Deception and John Keel's UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse both fall into that latter category. Albeit in admittedly different ways, Vallee and Keel made equally strong cases for the existence of genuine UFOs in our midst. But, both Messengers and Trojan delivered to the reader two far more explicit messages: (A) UFOs are real; but that doesn't mean they are necessarily extraterrestrial; and (B) the phenomenon is clearly deceptive and manipulative in nature and intent.
Of course, for many of the longstanding (a.k.a. the bloody old) players within Ufology, any talk of deceptive messengers, or of Keel's super-spectrum, is dismissed as mere speculation and not much else. For them, UFOs have to be extraterrestrial. After all, they have upheld such notions and beliefs for decades; and to relegate them to the rubbish-bin is not an option.
Well, I have a few choice words for those people who are so rigidly set in their ways: the extraterrestrial hypothesis is itself entirely speculative and totally lacking in hard evidence. All we really know for certain is that there most assuredly is a genuine UFO phenomenon. But, as for definitive proof of its actual point of origin or origins? Please! There is none. At all. There is merely a lot of data clearly demonstrating the presence of unidentified "others" amongst us.
Vallee and Keel most assuredly and astutely recognized this. They understood that a puzzle which - at first glance - seemed to be defined by the presence of nuts-and-bolts spacecraft and flesh-and-blood aliens in our midst, was far, far stranger than many within Ufology wanted to admit.
And there was someone else who also recognized this ufological factor: Mac Tonnies. Mac was a very good friend of mine; and like all his friends I was shocked to the core when he passed away suddenly and tragically in October 2009, at the age of only 34.
But, I am pleased to say, Mac's latest - and, inevitably, final - piece of work ensures that his memory, legacy and ability to think outside of the conventional ufological box will live on. That work is The Cryptoterrestrials: A Meditation on Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us.
Like Vallee and Keel, Mac rightly recognized that UFO encounters could not be dismissed as the ravings of lunatics, the tales of the fantasy-prone, or the lies of those seeking fame and fortune. But, he was also careful not to get sucked into the near-viral mindset that practically screams (take a deep breath): UFOs = alien spaceships piloted by little gray chaps from across the galaxy, who are on a mission to save their dying race by stealing our DNA, eggs and sperm.
Rather, Mac - right up until the time of his death - was chasing down the theory suggesting that the UFOnauts may actually represent the last vestiges of a very ancient race of distinctly terrestrial origins; a race that - tens of thousands of years ago may have ruled our planet, but whose position of power was thrown into overwhelming chaos by two things: (A) the appearance of a "debilitating genetic syndrome" that ravaged their society; and (B) the rising infestation of a violent species that threatened to eclipse - in number - their own society.
They are the Cryptoterrestrials. And that violent species that blusters around like an insane, unruly and spoiled child, and that has done more damage in its short life-time than can ever be truly imagined, is, of course, us.
With their society waning, their health and ability to even successfully reproduce collapsing, and their absolute worst nightmare - the Human Race - becoming the new gang in town, the Cryptoterrestrials followed what was perceived as the only viable option: they quietly retreated into the shadows, into the darkened corners of our world, below the oceans, into the deeper caverns that pepper the planet, and in their own uniquely silent and detached way, set about a new course of action.
That course of action - given that they were in some fashion genetically related to the Human Race - was to eventually resurface; to move amongst us in stealth; to pass themselves off as entities from far-off worlds (as part of a concerted effort to protect and hide their real point of origin); and to use and exploit us - medically - in an attempt to try and inject their waning species with a considerable amount of new blood: ours.
In addition, Mac believed, the Cryptoterrestrials were - and, by definition, still are - subtle-yet-brilliant, cosmic magicians. For them, however, there is no top-hat from which a white-rabbit is pulled. There is no hot babe sliced in half and then miraculously rejoined at the waist. No: their tricks are far more fantastic. As well as deceiving us about their origins, the Cryptoterrestrials have - via, perhaps, the use of advanced hologram-style technology, mind-manipulation and much more - led us to conclude that they have an infinite number of craft, resources and technologies at their disposal.
And that is the trick, the ruse: in actuality, their numbers today may be very small. They may well be staging faked UFO events to try and convince us that they have a veritable armada at their disposal when, perhaps, the exact opposite is the case. And, most important of all, they desperately want us to think of them as visitors from the stars. If their plan to rejuvenate their species is to work, then stealth, subterfuge and camouflage are the essential orders of the day.
Of course, the above all amounts to a theory - just like the ETH. And, Mac's book makes it very clear that he is theorizing, rather than being able to provide the reader with definitive proof for such a scenario. He does, however, offer a logical, and at times powerful, argument in support of the theme of his book.
As for so-called "alien abductions": the clumsy, intrusive means by which ova and sperm are taken by a race of beings we are led to believe are countless years ahead of us is addressed. That the ability of the aliens to wipe out the memories of those they abduct is constantly and regularly overturned by nothing more than simple hypnosis is highlighted. And the unlikely scenario that our DNA would even be compatible, in the first place, with extraterrestrial entities is also firmly dissected. Mac's conclusion: all this points not to the presence of highly-advanced aliens who are thousands of years ahead of us; but to the actions of an ancient Earth-based society whose technology may not be more than a century or so in advance of our current knowledge.
Mac also noted how the "aliens" seem to spend a hell of a lot time ensuring they are seen: whether its taking "soil-samples" at the side of the road; equipping their craft with bright, flashing lights; or hammering home the point to the abductees that they are from this planet, from that star-system, or from some far off galaxy. Just about anywhere aside from right here, in fact.
Roswell comes into the equation, too: and in ingenious fashion. Those who do not adhere to the extraterrestrial hypothesis for Roswell point to the fact that many of the witness descriptions of what was found at Roswell, are collectively suggestive of some form of large balloon-type structure having come down at the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, NM on that fateful day in the summer of 1947.
The possibility that ET would be flying around New Mexico in a balloon is absurd. But, as Mac notes, a race of impoverished, underground-dwellers, highly worried by the sudden influx of military activity in New Mexico (White Sands, Los Alamos etc), just might employ the use of an advance balloon-type vehicle to secretly scope out the area late at night.
Perhaps, when elements of the U.S. military came across the debris, they really did assume it was balloon-borne material and probably of American origin. Until, maybe, they stumbled across something else amid the debris, too...
The Cryptoterrestrials continues in a similar vein; to the extent that we are left with a stark and surreal image of a very ancient - and very strange - race of beings who may once have been the masters of this planet; who were sidelined thousands of years ago; and who are now - under cover of darkness and while the cities sleep - forced to grudgingly surface from their darkened lairs and interact with the very things they fear (and perhaps even hate and despise) most of all: us.
Survival is the name of their game. And deception is the means by which it is being cunningly achieved.
Whether you agree with Mac's theorizing or not, The Cryptoterrestrials is a book that is expertly and beautifully written. It challenges the reader to throw out old, rigid views. It represents the careful studies of a man who knew he was going out on a limb - but who, thankfully, didn't give a damn about appeasing the UFO research community in fawning style. And, for me, it truly is a Messengers of Deception for the 21st Century and for Generation-Next.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Too Short and Too SpeculativeApril 10 2010
David R. Poole
- Published on Amazon.com
Readers of Fate Magazine will be very familiar with the central thesis of this book: "Alien" encounters aren't from above, but instead are from below or terrestrial in origin, such as "the Deros" from Richard Shaver. Tonnies updates the concept, and coins it the Crypto Terrestrial Hypothesis (CTH). The book is too short at 113 pages and a bit too speculative, with zero real research by Tonnies. Really, it's just 100 pages of Tonnies postulating his theories... "...this could be", etc. I don't think Tonnies conducted a single interview in writing this book, he merely speculates.
Being such a short book it was obviously a quick read, which was aided by the fact that Tonnies was a decent writer (he died recently at the age of 34), yet it still felt as if it could use some editing. Tonnies lexicon became obnoxious, as he would repeatedly over-use pretentious words (sometimes with questionable results) that could send his readers scrambling for their dictionary. Actually, if properly edited, this wouldn't be a book as much as an article in a UFO magazine.
I still rate the book with two stars as it was relatively interesting and Tonnies was a fair writer. Does he prove his case for CTH? Absolutely not. Is it interesting? Mildly. I'd like to be more positive about this book but really it was just okay.
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
New era UFO speculationMarch 7 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Mac Tonnies passed away in his sleep on October 18th of 2009, at age 34. This was his last book and his legacy to the study of UFOs and the paranormal.
For "The Cryptoterrestrials," Tonnies interviewed some of the most original thinkers inside and outside of the UFO field, and studied their writings. He decided (as a few others did) that the concept of alien life from other planets did not explain many of the reported high strangeness aspects of the phenomenon: Why do these so-called "aliens" apparently need to abduct people over and over? Why do they need so many tries to learn what we can already decipher from one biological sample? Such bizarre behavior could certainly use a better explanation.
Tonnies presents another line of thought: Perhaps non-humans, if they truly exist, exhibit the interest they do because they are as intimately connected to the Earth as us and other living things. Such concern would be evident if they actually shared our planet.
This book is for those who want to explore the newest speculation on the age-old question of apparent non-humans and their possible interactions with us. Tonnies does not wish to push his theory as the final word on the subject. Those looking for definitive answers will not find a great deal of comfort here. If you are looking for enlightened and intelligent discussion on anomalies in general and on the UFO subject in particular, you are in for a treat.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Fails to live up to the hypeMarch 27 2010
T. B. Jørgensen
- Published on Amazon.com
I just finished the book (or the extended essay, as it more properly should be called), and have a few comments to add. First of all i would like to say that i have enjoyed listening to Mac on almost any radio show and podcast i have caught him on. Even on Coast 2 Coast he managed to shine through more than most do with George Noory, which is a remarkable feat in itself. So just to be clear, i have great respect for the man. Secondly, i choose to see this as what it has been called all along since Mac's death: an unfinished manuscript.
If you are planning on buying the book then it is probably because you have also somehow heard of the hype surrounding it ever since Mac died (and even some time before), and you are curious about it. The sad fact though, is that Mac Tonnies could very possibly have put together a good book if he was given more time, but it seems that he was quite far from the mark when he died. In my opinion it is unfortunate that this was released at all. I'm not going to go into too many examples of the books weaknesses here, since it has been done adequately by some of the other reviews here (the "negative" ones that is), but the main problem is that there is basically nothing new under the sun, despite the many claims that there is.
It is problematic that the hype has been more about Mac tonnies as a person than what this book actually accomplishes. I dont think its a particularly good idea in the long run, cause it might turn a lot of people away from the subject, and come across as a dishonest effort of promotion. So I urge Nick, Greg etc. to take a few steps back and think about what really has been created here. I've only been interested in the subject for a fraction of the time that you have, so when i cant seem to find anything original in Mac's speculations i cant help but wonder what more seasoned UFO 'buffs' might think.
I know Mac was your friend and i understand that you want to defend his legacy, but i'm afraid that treating him as the equivalent of 2pac in ufology is going to do a great disservice to him and the field that you claim he would have revolutionized.
22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Tonnies' literate writing revives old ideas in new packaging but fails to convinceJune 13 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
The idea that the human race shares the Earth with one or more hidden sister species and that one of these hidden species (living beneath the Earth in caverns/a Hollow Earth/under Antarctica/a non-specific `other-dimension' - take your pick) might have developed a technology in advance of our own which is wholly or partly responsible for the UFO phenomenon, is a very old one. It's fair to say that no evidence worthy of science supports this idea, nor ever has.
In his manuscript for `The Cryptoterrestrials' the late Mac Tonnies reheats these old ideas and stirs in the speculations of Jacques Vallee, John Keel and others from past decades that an Earth-bound intelligence is behind at least some of the UFO phenomenon and attempts societal manipulation by deceiving humans with whom it chooses to interact into believing they're seeing extraterrestrials. He names the resulting stew his `Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis' (CTH for short). However the CTH as explained in the book is neither a new idea nor a true hypothesis, as (unlike the ETH) it lacks supporting evidence and fails to address the obvious questions. It's a loose unfinished essay more than a book; speculation rather than serious theory, and perhaps the author's own term a `meditation' is more appropriate.
Mac admitted he did no original research, no field work and conducted no interviews with UFO witnesses or experiencers: he was an armchair theorist and internet blogger, absorbing and rehashing the work of others, usually with intelligence and eloquence. The author rails against the ETH and those who give it credence, and repeats Vallee's old arguments from the 1970s thus:
"That the UFO phenomenon is so rampant argues against extraterrestrial origin and favors an intelligence with a penchant for theater..." (p36)
Like Vallee, Mac fails to convince us why the ubiquity of UFO encounters and the frequent attendant strangeness rules out an extraterrestrial origin. On the contrary, many argue more convincingly that this very ubiquity and strangeness - and more especially the occasionally evident "penchant for theater" - forcibly strengthens the ETH. Tonnies then promptly reveals his hand by falling into the anthropomorphic trap typical of Sagan or Shostak by declaring "I believe genuine ET visitors would not do this, instead they would do that..."
So this is evidently the root of the author's thought process: a crypto-anthropomorphic belief-system which allows for certain beliefs and disallows others, regardless of evidence.
His `meditation' may be summarised as follows:
1. UFOs and alien/humanoid encounters are definitely real phenomena: the number of accounts over time is high and geographically dispersed, and the narratives reasonably consistent
So far so good, but then the belief-driven mindset kicks in:
2. I do not believe that `genuine' extraterrestrials would behave like this: they wouldn't do what they are reported to do, they should be doing something else instead because my belief-system says so
3. However, an Earth-originated tribe of elusive `cryptoterrestrials' can be imagined who I can accept might do these things
4. Furthermore we can fantasise that these imagined cryptoterrestrials might suffer from some genetic malady which would explain their abductions of humans; be reclusive and declining in number; and engage in theatrical deception to convince the human population with whom they share the planet that they are extraterrestrial
The argument, such as it is, is assumptive and full of holes. The case against the ETH is not proven, and even a weak case for the so-called `CTH' is not successfully made. What we're left with is yesterday's leftovers, speculative ideas re-heated, spiced and served with new garnish, supported by no evidence.
There is also unfortunately more than a hint of arrogance: of youthful confidence (the author was only 34 when he died in October 2009) believing its intellect superior to older, wiser minds and even misrepresenting - perhaps through misunderstanding rather than intent - the convictions of others in order to demonstrate this superior intellect. One example of many: he more than once claims Budd Hopkins to be a champion of the ETH, a hypothesis pilloried and rejected by Mac as misguided and plain wrong. Well, I happen to know not only Budd Hopkins' writings but the man himself very well personally, and have spent many rich hours with him over the years in face-to-face discussion. In the many hundreds of cases investigated over 35 years and in all his writings, lectures and works, he has never declared any firm belief that the abductors are of extraterrestrial origin. He refers to them as `alien' advisedly: as he says, this word denotes `others', a different intelligence than us, outsiders. Whether they are from The Pleiades, from the center of the Earth, from another `dimension', time travellers or some other phenomenon hitherto unknown is of supreme irrelevance to him and something about which he does not and will not speculate. That so many abductions are linked to structured craft - UFOs - is certain, as there are simply too many cases and too much evidence for any field investigator to deny. But this is not the same thing as belief in the ETH: to characterize Hopkins this way is to misrepresent his views - knowing or unknowing, it's still misrepresentation. It would have been easy to find out Budd's views on this issue: just ask him. Tonnies obviously never bothered, and there is a bit too much of this kind of thing in his short book, I'm afraid, and rather too much assumptive and not-too-well-informed speculation masquerading as intellectual superiority for my taste.
The writing however is refreshingly literate. The author favors vocabulary difficult for most readers (one of Mac's favourite words - memes - seems to equal the late John Mack's reliance on `ontological' to explain himself) and rarely uses a familiar or simple word where something more obscure is available. Taken more or less at random, from p106:
"...these `emissaries' are enticingly liminal...their home turf seems to be a Keelian interzone, as if their passport to our domain forever hovers on the verge of expiration."
Well, you get the idea: keep your dictionary close by. This might make reading the short book a mildly challenging experience for some. And `short' is used advisedly: the book is only 120 pages including the praise-gushing foreword by Nick Redfern and afterword by Greg Bishop, obviously friends and champions of Mac. As a print-on-demand title from Anomalist Books, it has to be said the quality ain't that great. My copy arrived with the text noticeably misaligned to the page at a 10-degree angle on the first 36 pages, and after one careful reading the binding is so poor that the pages are already mostly detached from the spine and falling out, which does not bode well for the longevity of this edition nor its saleability on the second-hand market in future years. A few typos have eluded the editing process. Nadia Sobin's striking cover image may help sales a bit, as imaginary and speculative as the content of the text. The small cartoons at the start each chapter are a nice touch though, and well drawn.
So in summary: an unfinished essay slightly over-hyped as an `important' book, which it isn't. At best, it's old ideas repackaged into an unsupported and speculative `meditation.' If you've read Jacques Vallee's books from the 1970s to the 1990s and John Keel's `UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse' then you've read this stuff before. Two stars for the literacy and the cartoons. However you may find the book mildly irritating if you value genuine investigation, use of the scientific method or original thought, because unfortunately there ain't much of any of this in evidence, and for these reasons this book doesn't deserve a higher rating. It's OK in its limited way and quite well written, but there's better reading out there on the subject if your time is valuable.
RIP Mac, and may you find the answers wherever you are now.