So a few weeks ago, we did an episode on the story of the Mitchell Sisters, two contactees from the St. Louis area. One aspect of this episode was a look at various presentations of the story over the years, including one by Cosmic Ray for the Alternate Perceptions Magazine website back in February of 2019. I took issue with a number of things in his account. I had a problem with his lack of citation–he gave the impression that he had originated or discovered this story. My greatest issue, however, was with his characterization of the sisters as stereotypical boy crazed, vacuous young women. This does not come across in either the sisters’ original account, or the autobiography published by Wendelle Stevens.
Now, Cosmic Ray is the author of an–according to his website–internationally acclaimed trilogy of books, so Jack Shepherd, our man who emails people because he’s one of these “work from home” guys who thinks it’s cool that I gave him the title “researcher” got in touch with Ray. In Shepherd’s initial emails with him about this, CR said that that the dialogue “reflects that of the young people in the 1950s and their lifestyles during that epoch, and not necessarily that of the Mitchell Sisters in their later years.”
And that’s an issue for me. One, perhaps both, of the sisters were mothers by this point, had been married and–according to the later autobiography–divorced and had moved back in with their mother. They weren’t teenyboppers or refugees from Father Knows Best. I maintain my position that his treatment was disrespectful. He claimed, in a subsequent email to Shepherd, that the dialogue was “tongue in cheek.”
So then Ray listened to the episode and, perhaps unsurprisingly, took issue with my over the top characterization of him as, among other things, “the dirt worst.”
In his follow up email to our man Jack Shepherd, Cosmic Ray said that he was a fan of my book on Contactees (Extraterrestrials and the American Zeitgeist, available wherever you buy books!), which I do greatly appreciate. He was disappointed at my “unprofessional behavior” and wants nothing more to do with me. Which I understand, and I’ve instructed Jack to not contact him further. Maybe he’ll read this, maybe he won’t but it needs to be said:
I am sorry for the intemperate terms in which I described Cosmic Ray. I could get clever and echo him by saying my comments were tongue-in-cheek and reflect that of big mouthed podcasters in the 2020s and their lifestyles during this epoch. But I won’t–I’ll just apologize. This isn’t a “I’m sorry if Ray was offended” apology. I’m truly sorry for the words I used and I ask his forgiveness, and forgiveness from all of you out there. You deserve better.
But that’s all I’m sorry for. I stand by my assertion that his portrayal of the Mitchell Sisters was poorly thought out. I reiterate my concerns that he did not provide citation of the original sources of the story.
But there’s one last thing I want to address. he said, in his email, that my attack on his article goes “against everything that Saucer Life is supposed to stand for, i.e. not being judgemental [sic] of the contactees or other UFO experiencers.”
I will not be lectured on being judgmental of experiencers by someone whose account of the Mitchell sisters stripped them of their intelligence and dignity; who reduced them to caricatures. My issues were with the characterization of those contactees. I respect the Mitchell sisters. I have some respect for all the people we cover. It’s that very respect that triggered my intemperate remarks.
But again, those remarks were out of line. And CR, if you’re out there, I owe you a beer.