Mac Tonnies Two Years Gone

Some of Mac Tonnies’ best friends and people who continue to be influenced by him got together on the show on October 23rd to reminisce about his life, personality and work. Mac died in his sleep two years ago on the night of October 18th. He was well-known in the UFO community as a reluctant iconoclast and advanced thinker and theorist. He wasΒ  well-regarded as a fortean and transhumanist. He was also my friend.

Aaron Gulyas, Tony Morrill, Nick Redfern, Paul Kimball and Mike Clelland joined me for over two hours as we discussed how we met and/or were influenced by Mac and what his legacy might be. We all still miss him terribly and our thoughts go out to his family and other friends.

For more about Mac Tonnies, visit his archived blog, Posthuman Blues, or tribute sites Post Mac Blues and Macbots. His two most well-known books are After the Martian Apocalypse (out of print) and The Cryptoterrestrials. Our interview from July of 2009 can be heard here. Paul and Mac were live in the studio in May of 2006.

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32 Responses to Mac Tonnies Two Years Gone

  1. Paul Kimball says:

    It’s a shame that my kung-fu story is so splotchy. Otherwise, lots of fun!

    PK

    • Greg says:

      Paul,
      Yeah, I’m still trying to get the skype bugs worked out. It may have been because there were four people on at once, and the other tenant in the office was using his connection during the show. I can’t tell him to stop, so I may have to use some other method. Unfortunately, that often runs into money.

      Good show. Would have been great without the stupid audio problems, but thank you for the steady and sincere support you always show me.

  2. Tony Morrill says:

    Skype (and breathing) issues aside this was a great episode, both as a participant and as a listener. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed virtually meeting and talking with all you guys. Thanks again Greg for having me on.

    • Greg says:

      Tony,
      Any time! As you see, the show is more like a conversation than an interview, and you and AJ were both in top form.

  3. AJ Gulyas says:

    It was a great show. Thanks for having me on.

    • Greg says:

      Thanks Aaron,

      Apart from the technical problems it was a lot of fun and a fitting tribute I think. Actually, you probably came through best, since most of your comments were on the phone rather than by skype. I think we’ll need to talk about the contactees on the show sometime.

  4. Really good show, you guys. Like that Cholo drunk in Paul’s story, it kicked ass πŸ˜‰

    It really is shame though that you didn’t have the chance to comment on Maxim Kammerer’s paper, because if anyone is wondering about what kind of influence Mac’s ideas have had during his absence, that’s a great example right there.

    The Cryptoterrestrials is definitely a must-read for any person who is serious about Forteanism. That doesn’t mean I don’t have some caveats with the book; the first one is probably the same as everybody who read it: it is too darn short! How I would have loved if it had been a 500-page brick filled with Tonnies’ flawless prose.

    And there are others, like not mentioning things about the discovery of H. Floresiensis, and more importantly Boskop man, which would have been great additions to making a claim for fossil evidence of a sister humanity coexisting in this planet.

    But in the end the beauty of Mac’s books resides not in the ideas he communicates to the reader, but in that it compells the reader to think by himself and come up with personal ideas about the non-human intelligences that keep interacting with us. That’s the important contribution of The Cryptoterrestrials.

    PS: re. Paul’s speculation about the new twist needed in paranormal TV programming — check this out.

    • Greg says:

      RPJ,

      These are all great links. I’ll be behind the curve if I don’t keep up! Kammerer would be a great interview too.

      BTW. are YOU interested in being on the show at some point?

    • Paul Kimball says:

      Oddly enough, when I was first beginning my career in film & television, back in 1997, I was working for a major production company and was charged with coming up with show ideas for an application to the CTRC in Canada for a broadcast license for a specialty channel, and one of the ideas I cooked up was quite similar to the one that you’ve posted the link for. Good luck to them, but as far as I’m concerned, television is dead as a medium for anything really creative (there are still a few exceptions that prove the rule, but not many). The real action is happening on-line, from people not beholden to the almighty dollar.

      As for the story, it has the benefit of being mostly true (I say mostly because I was inebriated at the time, and it was 5 years ago, so the memory isn’t perfect) – someday maybe Greg can have me on and I can tell a couple of other Mac stories… he was a lot more adventurous than people gave him credit for.

      By the way, here is a link to a picture of Mac and Veronica at the hotel bar, before she hooked us up with the wedding party:
      http://twitter.com/redstarfilm/status/129077810949140480/photo/1

      And here’s a weird coincidence: the first word of the “Captcha” box below that I have to type in to post this comment is “Macc”.

      Paul

  5. Sagacious says:

    One thing I don’t believe anyone mentioned is that Mac was a very good writer. His prose is attractive, colorful, and flowing.

    • I think of Mac as the lobster of Ufology.

      Everybody loves lobster from the moment they first try it –unfortunately there *are* people who are allergic to sea food…

      Whereas Stanton Friedman is the cheeseburger of Ufology. God knows one never says no to a cheeseburger if you’re hungry, but given the choice, 99% would go for the lobster πŸ™‚

      PS: Paul, you’re the caviar of Ufology –something of an acquired taste πŸ˜‰

    • AJ Gulyas says:

      I completely agree about the quality of Mac’s writing– it was one of the roughly three hundred things I forgot to mention while on the show. He was a writer who turned his attention to the paranormal rather than the usual state of affairs–someone interested in the paranormal who craps out a horrible, unreadable book.

  6. Paul Kimball says:

    Apropos of my comments about the depths of the oceans, and our not knowing everything there is to know:

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-10/25/xenophyophores-deep-sea

  7. John M. says:

    Man, I miss Mac as much now as I did two years ago. He was the first person to blogroll me and he was very kind and supportive in those early days.

    He was and remains a clear voice and an open mind in an often noisy and confusing discussion. Mac crossed and blurred a lot of boundaries.

  8. Zorg says:

    Hi guys, cool show. I watched Creation of the Humanoids the other day and there’s a further fascinating parallel to Battlestar. The movie is supposed to take place in a post-apocalyptic future. But in the final 30 seconds of the film when asked if the project for the replicant people to replace humanity would work the guy turns to the camera & says to the audience ‘Of course the operation was a success… or you wouldn’t be here’. So just like BSG an apparently far-future sci-fi reveals in its final moments it is actually set in the distant past.

  9. CNCTEMATIC says:

    You know listening to Mac’s cat-lazer story made me reconsider the ETH, but in an unexepcted way.

    Last few years I’ve come to reject the ETH for reasons that have been better elucidated by guys such as Greg, Mac, Jaques Vallee, Nick Redfern etc.

    But Mac’s story made me think of another cat story told to me by the Literature Professor (great old ex MI-6 guy then teaching at my university) who first introduced me to the idea that UFOs are real. He seemed to belive the ETH. I had a long, ongoing conversation with him, and at various I remember asking him a question of the type “but if they’re aliens, why would they do X?” and he would always respond with his “cat analogy.” It went like this.

    “In the morning, I read the paper in my couch drinking tea. My cat often sits at my feet watching me. Imagine the cat’s thoughts. Imagine it trying to understand what I am doing when I read the paper. It might see it as some sort of clothing, or housing mechanism. The point is, within the cat’s frame of reference and field of information, it is simply impossible to understand what I am doing reading the paper. Us asking questions like “why would aliens do X?” is the same as the cat asking why I am reading my paper. Such entities would be so advanced compared to us that we would be to them as cats are to us.”

    Food for thought. I noticed this podcast (and many other conversations on the subject) involved lots of reasoning along the lines of “isn’t it ridiculous to think that that aliens would exhibit this behaviour/have these motives/be subject to these limits?” (there goes Mac just now asking just such a question about implants…)

    Maybe its not ridiculous. Maybe it only seems so if we’re all cats…..

    P.S., I will add that when I say “alien” I include cryptos and interdimensional hypthesis

    • Greg says:

      I tend to think that it’s almost impossible to imagine the motivations of any self-aware non-human intelligences. If they exist (and I am pretty certain that they do) their frames of reference would most likely be so different than ours that we could not begin to speculate on their actions or interactions with us.

      I’ve always suspected that our guesses and indeed our perceived interactions with “them” are colored entirely by our senses and expectations, and therefore, we have no way as yet of knowing how to understand non-human consciousness. As soon as we look at them, we are looking at our own prejudices, conscious, unconscious cultural, etc.

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