A widely known voice of esoteric ideas, Mitch Horowitz, is a writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library, and a PEN Award-winning author. In the first half, he discussed his new collection of essays, Uncertain Places, which looks at such topics as the interdimensional basis of UFOs, today's extraordinary strides in ESP research, and the reality that magic is as close as your own thoughts. Looking at ESP and other developments, "it's very possible that our psyches are capable of traveling among different intersections of time or different dimensions," he noted. This capability, he continued, could be related to the mystery behind UFO visitations, "and it may be that we are witnessing beings/entities from another dimension," rather than from an extraterrestrial location.
He talked about some of the more controversial topics in his new book, such as his esoteric conception of Satanism, as well as his reconsideration of the Ouija board as a valid tool for psychic experimentation, if practiced with the right sense of ethics and honor. One of the most popular religions in Vietnam is called Caodaism, and it began through channeling sessions over a Ouija board, as did Jane Robert's influential Seth material, he pointed out. Horowitz also recounted how his book "One Simple Idea" about the positive thinking movement was picked up by a publisher in Shanghai, China, and a translation was prepared. But then, the publisher was required to submit the work to the Chinese Office of Censorship, which ended up cutting 38% of it-- including any references to spirituality or metaphysics. "Since that time, my books have been published in Taiwan, where there's still freedom of thought," he added.
Journalist, author, and historian Ric Mixter specializes in maritime and aviation history. In the latter half, he recalled one of the most significant shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, that of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which went down on November 10, 1975, leading to the loss of 29 lives. It is perhaps the most well-known shipwreck because of the popularity of the Gordon Lightfoot song. While the 70 mph storm winds weren't the worst ever on Lake Superior, he believes a series of unfortunate decisions and events sank the Fitzgerald on that November date, though the exact cause remains unverified. The ship ended up in a spot with gigantic three-story waves, that Mixter concluded engulfed the vessel. Faulty hatches may have contributed to the sinking, and a giant wave could have brought the bow down so fast that there wasn't even time for an SOS call, he suggested.
Negligence of the shipping company might have also been a factor, he said, as the Fitzgerald was allowed to haul extra cargo in the wintertime, which lowered the ship in the water. The bodies of the Fitzgerald crew were never recovered, adding to the mystery, but during a dive in 1994 that Mixter participated in, a lone corpse was found, and he was wearing a life jacket. Today, there is advanced technology to help avoid such catastrophes, like satellites that give more accurate weather forecasts, self-deploying lifeboats, exposure suits, and better buoy systems, he cited.