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Impressive and Challenging

September 15, 2011

Now that our website redesign is complete—thank you Crystal, Jack, and Ansen at Seale Studios!—we have some catching up to do. First up is The Cryptoterrestrials by Mac Tonnies. The book was just reviewed by Living Traditions Magazine out of Australia: “The Cryptoterrestrials is written in a succinct and engaging style condensing an immense amount of research… It is also beautifully illustrated and nicely presented…[The] UFO phenomenon smacks of deception and manipulation but not of a paranoid conspiracy theory type but of something of a totally different order. The question that needs to be asked is whether these beings could actually be another race sharing the planet with us and for some reason need us to perceive them as extra-terrestrial. Tonnies thesis is impressive and challenging…” And Stephen Wagner, the Paranormal Phenomena guide at, selected The Cryptoterrestrials as one of the “Top Paranormal Books of 2010.” Another Anomalist Book that made that list is Jason Offutt’s Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us.

ctBy now there have been many reviews of Mac Tonnies’ posthumously published book, The Cryptoterrestrials. Most of them have praised the book, though some, frankly, have panned it. (Mac knew that what he had to say would not please everybody and neither did we think so when we published it.) By far the most thoughtful review, however, was penned by Paul Kimball, who was, yes, a friend and colleague of Mac’s. It appeared on Paul’s blog, “The Other Side of the Truth,” and we will quote from it extensively here (or read the full review): “In a prime example of quality over quantity, Mac has left us with an impassioned and thought-provoking clarion call for a new way of thinking, not just about the UFO phenomenon or even the paranormal in general, but about ourselves. The UFO phenomenon is the focus of The Cryptoterrestrials, at least on the surface. Mac takes direct aim from the beginning at the purveyors of ufological orthodoxy, namely those people who are convinced that the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis is the Extraterrestrial Fact… He pulls no punches, skewering the majority of ufology both for their blind adherence to the ETH, and for their willing self-marginalization… it doesn’t matter whether people within ufology ‘get’ what Mac is saying, because he was aiming his sights a lot higher. Rather than just reinforce existing views, or rehash old ground, Mac takes the foundations that have been built by writers and researchers as diverse as Jacques Vallee, John Keel, Whitley Strieber and David Jacobs, and expands upon them, even as he points out the flaws in their theories. His goal is not to find a definitive answer, or to create an alternative orthodoxy, but rather to ask as many questions as he could, and try to come up with some ideas about where we may find the answers. He was a true revolutionary, a New Light for the paranormal… So, what are the cryptoterrestrials? In Mac’s hypothesis, they are a race of indigenous humanoids who share this planet with us. Technologically superior in many ways (but not, perhaps, all ways), they are on the decline, even as we continue to ascend—they are, if not a dying race, then one whose time has passed. And we are the noisy, and in many ways dangerous ‘new’ kids on the block. Unlike Vallee or Keel, Mac does not sidestep the physical reality of the UFO phenomenon—in his hypothesis, they exist in this world, literally… In a world where hyperbole has become the lingua franca, The Cryptoterrestrials is the rare work that deserves to be called a ‘must read.’ It represents a true paradigm shift in our understanding of the mysteries of the paranormal. This is a book that deserves to be read far and wide, and which offers up an opportunity to revitalize the UFO subject, and make it relevant again—but only if we are courageous and intellectually honest enough to embrace it.” Thank you, Paul.

ctThis is a bittersweet moment. Mac Tonnies is no longer with us, but his long-awaited book finally is. The Cryptoterrestrials has now been published. It’s a short book that’s packed full of ideas. What’s important is not that they all be right, but that they stretch our minds to think beyond the idea of “aliens” as “extraterrestrials.” That’s why the book is subtitled “A meditation on indigenous humanoids and the aliens among us.” Mac had asked Nick Redfern and Greg Bishop to contribute to the book; Nick wrote the Foreword before Mac’s death, and Greg wrote the Afterword after the news of his passing. In addition, John Shirley, who has long been a supporter of Mac’s work, was kind enough to supply us with a blurb that says, in part, “The Cryptoterrestrials is the most refreshing speculation on the paranormal I’ve seen in ages…Mac Tonnies’ final Fortean landmark is the Book of the Damned for the 21st century.” Finally, Nadia Sobin contributed the striking cover art and Mike Clelland did the wonderful illustrations that begin each chapter. In Mac’s memory, thank you, all.

mtWriter Mac Tonnies died this week at the age of 34, supposedly of “natural causes,” though dying at such a young age in this society is anything but natural. He was found dead in his bed in his apartment in Kansas City, Missouri. Mac was a soon-to-be author of an Anomalist Book, his long awaited work entitled The Cryptoterrestrials. I first contacted Mac after reading his clear-headed, remarkably balanced, but still full-of-wonder website on Martian anomalies, The Cydonian Imperative. I found him to be an original thinker and a terrific writer. At the time, I was the editor of Paraview Pocket Books, published by Simon & Schuster, and offered Mac a contract to write a book on the subject which became After the Martian Apocalypse. I spoke to Mac several times after the book was published and he expressed a strong desire to leave Kansas City, which he loathed. He seemed to have trouble making ends meet and was exasperated by the job market there. He ended up working at Starbucks and most recently at a call-center, in both cases a terrible waste of a wonderful mind. I saw Mac as a writer with a brilliant future and did my best to encourage him. Unfortunately, there will be no more quirky blog posts, stark photographs, or trenchant observations from Mac Tonnies anymore. He had promised to deliver his manuscript to us at the beginning of November and I will do my best to get his final work published. Mac is now posthuman, no doubt wandering among the stars from which he came. And I, along with his many friends, have a terrible case of the blues.