Dirty Hands Filled With Diamonds


Increasing crime, corruption on every level, abject poverty and harsh brutality are the backdrop for a series on Amazon Prime that has recently sucked me in.  Though I like shows that center on intrigue, I usually don’t go for this type of program.  Why?  Because I have an acute sensitivity which cannot handle themes in TV shows and movies which highlight stories of grave injustice.  But because this show is set in a real city I’ve been to a few times, and because the characters and storyline are so real, rich and deep, I couldn’t resist being sucked in.

“Where you go is where you are.”

By season four, one of the main characters finally left the corrupt police force to become an inner city teacher.  He had become so sick of all the shady politics and needless violence, and genuinely wanted to do something that would make a real…

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Sexy Profits


Last weekend in my quiet city of 37,000 people, a shocking sexual assault case made the headlines.  A man from a neighboring state met a local girl online, came to town, rented a hotel room and sexually assaulted her.  The crime was extra-ordinary for our quiet little town, but sadly not all that uncommon for cities and communities of all sizes.

500,000 Babies

Over 73% of abuse victims do not report the crime for at least a year.  Another 45% do not tell anyone for at least 5 years, while others never disclose.  Because of this, the actual rate of abuse in our society is difficult to tally accurately.  However, most researchers and professionals suggest over 20% of our population under the age of 18 have been molested.  This means that every year in the USA there childabusepreventionhandare over 500,000 babies born which will be sexually abused before they turn…

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On A Busy Street Corner


FullSizeRender-16 View from our hotel, downtown Louisville, KY

I just returned from my trip to Louisville, KY where I went to visit with my dear friend Fred Grewe from Oregon.  He was there attending an annual conference for hospital chaplains, and was on the schedule to present his latest project, “Your Soul’s Legacy.”  I met up with him on his free day, and the two of us travelled an hour south to the Abbey of Gethsemani, the home of the late Thomas Merton.

Some of you know of Thomas Merton and the tremendous influence he had in the 50s and 60s.  If you don’t, well… just google his name.  You’ll find plenty to jog your memory and educate yourself.  I can’t tell you in ample words how much his writings have impacted my life.  Suffice it to say, I was eager to make this pilgrimage, especially with Fred because…

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Cold, Dark & Dirty

Sometimes we think we know someone. We think we know why we love and care for them. But then… the unthinkable happens! In this article I share one of the most defining moments of my life. Thank you for reading, liking, and sharing my writings. Blessings!


by LA Emrich

A Late Night Call

The call came after midnight.  I had been expecting a certain phone call for some time, but feared it might never come.  Six months earlier, I had called all the numbers I knew, left messages and had patiently waited for a call back.  Finally, at one o’clock in the morning my phone was ringing.  When I heard my long-lost friend’s voice on the other end, I was immediately shaken from my sleepy grogginess.FullSizeRender-5

Months prior to the late night call, my friend had been accused of something he hadn’t done.  The people in his life were convinced of his guilt, and had launched such a devastating assault of accusations that eventually his family came to believe the lies.  It was a horribly impossible situation.  Eventually, my friend cracked under the pressure, packed his bags and left town.

During those terrible weeks leading up to…

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15 Cigarettes & Lonely


by LA Emrich

Recently, I went to hear my son perform at an outdoor music venue.  He played a few of his originals, which were amazing, along with a couple of popular covers.  One cover he did has always been a favorite of mine—“You Found Me” by The Fray.  The first verse starts out with:  “I found God on the corner of First and Amistad… smoking his last cigarette.”  A peculiar scenario, wouldn’t you say?  The lyrics of the song masterfully connect with feelings of lostness, insecurity, and loneliness.  If you’re interested, you can watch the video here.  Over 61 million others have.

Researchers around the world are starting to sound the alarms, warning the global community of a new rising epidemic called loneliness.  A recent study conducted by Brigham Young University analyzed data of almost 3 million participants and found that, on average, loneliness increased…

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Formerly Homophobic


by LA Emrich

I confess, I used to be a homophobe.  However, not for the reasons you may presume.  I know, this needs a bit of explanation.  So, here goes.  My confession is raw and real.  The following isn’t easy to share, let alone recall from memory.

When I was a preteen I was molested by a church deacon.  When he molested me he told me that he liked boys because he was molested also when he was young.  He explained, that like him, I would grow up and molest boys too.  That’s what he told me when he had finished abusing me.

To make a long story short, the incident was dealt with, and afterwards out of concern for me, my parents chose to very quietly move on with life.  I suppose I understand where they were coming from at the time, managing the various external voices, but my…

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Lessons I’ve Learned


I’m in my mid-forties, and traditionally these years are commonly viewed as years of reflection.  I don’t claim to be an authority on all matters pertaining to life, but here are my insights just the same.  I humbly offer you three deeply lived realizations about finding yourself, creating positive change, and experiencing nu.

1. Wordy prayers are a real downer!

Everyone knows that prayer is the primary way to talk with God.  But, prayer is also a way to hear God talk to you.  In order for this to happen, you have to learn to “prayer-talk” less, and “prayer-listen” more.  This has been a life-lesson I’ve had to learn, and am still learning.  It’s a daily practice, something one continually practices, and refuses to get discouraged with.  In all honesty, my prayer life has become less and less about words, and more about nuLISTENING.  When I must use words, they…

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We Need To Talk

The Hartzler’s peaceful midwestern farm had experienced the unimaginable.  Farm emergencies and late night work were nothing out of the ordinary, but bright lights in the sky followed by the Air Force invading and a visit from Project Blue Book officials were events a ten-year old boy (Jerry) would never forget.  Despite two days of investigations by the military and questioning by the local law enforcement, no answers were given… not then nor still to this day.  Finding any information about this sighting is virtually impossible.  Jerry has been told that declassified documents will be made available in 2017, but only time will tell if this actually occurs or not.

Don’t Say A Word…

Days One and Two were eventful to say the least, but what happened on Day Three is what has kept this sighting a mystery still to this day.  Jerry shared with me how 2 men dressed in black suits showed up in a dark sedan.  They spoke briefly with his parents only, and then left.  After their departure, his parents were clearly shaken and disturbed.  They vowed to never speak of the sighting again or entertain questions of what it might have been.  Sadly, they never shared with the family one word the men in black had said to them.  Even on her death-bed, Jerry’s mother refused to divulge the conversation.

Who were these men in black?  Were they from the government?  What did they know?  What did they want?  What had they said.  Why were Jerry’s parents so disturbed, and why did they go their graves keeping the conversation a secret?  The answer is—we don’t know.

Who are the MIB?


10 MIB Encounters

The “Men in Black” are well known to ufologists.  Decades of MIB documentation abound from all over the world.  As can be expected, some of the MIB encounters have been proven as hoaxes, but the vast majority remain documented facts.  Who are they, and why do they often follow the departure of military investigators and law enforcement officials?  Though featured in many movies over the years, most notably the Men In Black movie series, they remain an unexplained phenomenon.  Psychiatrists may throw out phrases such as “fantasy prone personalities,” or “dissociative states,” and “constructive perception;” debunkers will do their work and describe rational causes; but no one has pinned down the MIB.

Theorists who affiliate UFOs not so much with outer space as with the paranormal suggest that the MIB are a form of demonic psychic energy similar to the poltergeist.  Some have said that the MIB were linked to a branch of the US Air Force Special Activities Centre known as the 1127th Field Activities Group.  This group was said to be comprised of underworld figures who were specialists in lock-picking and intimidation.  However, over the years there have been many US Air Force memorandums written by various high level officials, emphasizing the importance of UFO investigations, and warning military personal to be on the alert for people impersonating military officials who are “approaching local police and other citizens who had sighted a UFO.”  Others argue that the MIB were Tibetan monks who followed the Dalai Lama and the Khamba riders into exile, and placed their yogic powers at the service of the CIA.  This could help to explain why many reports of MIB describe their features as Asian.

Your Help Is Needed!

Sadly, much of what we know of UFO’s and the MIB’s is based on speculation due to two things:

  1. Superficial investigations which concentrate on obtaining descriptions of the flying objects rather than studying all the events and factors surrounding the sightings.
  2. Suppression of valuable information, namely the suppression of valuable firsthand information by discrediting eyewitnesses, intimidating them, and burying their testimonies in “classified” vaults.

If you can find any information about the Hartzler Farm UFO Sighting of October 9th, 1967, please contact me.  I’d love to help Jerry find some answers.  Thank you.

Read my thoughts on UFO’s here:  UFO’s Are…
Also, you might be interested in:  Why I Write About The Paranormal

Don’t Look At The Bright Red Light!

UFOs, yeah right…

When someone brings up the subject of UFOs in a manner that is not skeptical or satirical, eyes usually roll and “behind-the-back” whispering soon follows.  I know; I’ve experienced it firsthand.  However, not because it was me being vocal in the coffee shop.  Whimages-1en it comes to UFOs and the unexplained, I’m predominantly a writer and not a talker.

Due to my internet articles, the kind of chatter I commonly experience is remote and far away from my hearing.  But I’ve seen the rolled eyes and heard the whispers as it relates to others who are raising the topic at work, family gatherings, restaurants, and the like.  Interestingly, with less than 36% of people outright rejecting UFOs, the negative reactions are far less than what they used to be.  Statistically, one has a 50% chance of finding a sympathizer.  This is why the following 48-year old story is now coming to light, and the eye-witness was willing to talk… to talk with me.

Hello, 1967?

I heard of Jerry’s story just a few short weeks ago.  The lead came to me through my mother-in-law who follows my writing closely.  One of my recent articles caused her to remember an incident that took place in 1967 with one her schoolmates.  She got in touch with him, explained who I am and what I do, and he agreed to chat with me.

Jerry is a busy guy, working his dairy farm, trucking, and keeping up with his family, but he found time to talk with me one evening last week.  He explained that, as a rule, he just doesn’t talk about what happened to he and his family years ago.  Initially, the incident made heaphone_f018-20111111231509-00005dlines, the military was heavily involved, and everyone wanted to know what had taken place.  But, that immediate curiosity eventually turned into years of general public skepticism.

Jerry told me about the few times he had been flagged down off of his tractor by a neighbor who wanted to wave a Bible around and tell him how the universe really works.  Jerry loves his faith, but doesn’t have a stomach for arguing.  He shared that he was willing to talk with me because I had been vouched for as an honest person, not interested in debates, just an open-minded guy searching for answers, as he has been all these years.  It’s always nice to hear that about yourself from someone else.

Don’t look!

The incident took place after dark in rural northern Indiana, October 9th, 1967.  Jerry was 10-years old at the time, and was at home in bed.  His dad was away on local calls (he sold insurance on the side to supplement the farm income).  The phone rang and his mother answered.  It was a call from his aunt and uncle who lived near by.  They were seeing a bright light moving quickly over the Hartzler farm fields and were concerned.  Jerry’s mom looked out the window to see the light racing towards the 5-acres of woods near their dairy cows on their 105-acre farm.

It was so large and fast she thought it must have something to do with Grissom Air Force Base not far away near Kokomo, Indiana.  So, she called the base immediately!  Remember, this was during the Cold War, and people in northern Indiana were concerned.  Thduckandcover_bert_the_turtle_0ey had an Air Force base in the community, and were located in-between the big cities of Chicago and Indianapolis.  At school, atomic bomb drills were just as common as tornado and fire drills.  Jerry recalls being told by his teachers, in the event of a giant mushroom cloud, drop to the ground, cover your head, and don’t look at the bright red light.  Years later in reflection, Jerry says: “Boy, were we stupid!”

Shoot! Shoot!

After making the call, 15-minutes later three F-104 Starfighters were buzzing their farm with their landing lights on.  It was deafening, blinding, and ground shaking, unlike the previous bright light that had made no sound at all.  Jerry jumped out of bed to join his mother’s side 3View-Color-Lockheed-F-104as they watched the mysterious large bright light touch down in the woods on their family farm.  As the fighter planes continued to shake the ground and scare the cows, soldiers arrived from Grissom in HU-1 helicopters.  Jerry recalled the commanding officer ordering foot soldiers to charge the woods and shoot whatever it was.  In the middle of all this, his dad arrived home, having no idea what was going on (this was long before cell phones).  He immediately called out to the Lieutenant in charge, “what the bleep is going on?”  The Lieutenant simply shouted back, “UFO!”

It’s classified…

Stay tuned; there’s more to the story, and I won’t keep you waiting long.  By the way, this incident is still classified by the United States Government.  Jerry will have his first look at the “Top Secret” documents in two years, and hopefully they won’t be filled with thick, black lines.  Fifty years are a long time to wait for answers…s119571398957059959_p71_i1_w1706

What If There Was A New Earth?

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a promo for the 2011 sci-fi movie, Another Earth.  It immediately intrigued me because it promised to be a deeply moving, emotional sci-fi film about two earths, employing none of the usual sci-fi garb such as aliens and UFOs… interesting!  I searched and found it on VUDU, placed it in my wish-list, and finally found time to watch it late last night with my wife, whom I had successfully convinced to join me for the sake of “research.”  Convincing her wasn’t a chore; she was intrigued too.

Another Me?

Even though the movie has been out for four years, I want to be careful not to give away an spoilers, so I’ll be brief with the synopsis.  The storyline centers on a young lady whose life is filled with promise and possibility untea_anotherearthil something tragic happens, drastically altering the course of her life.  At the moment of this tragedy a second earth (Earth Two) appears in the sky and she, along with all the residents of Earth One, are captivated by this new reality.  Furthermore, they are challenged with the suspicion that there might be “another me” out there living a similar life but differently due to opposite actions, choices, and events.

This movie was made on an extremely low-budget.  The actors even did their own makeup, and the director created the Earth Two scenes on his personal computer.  However, you’d never know it.  The cinematography is great, and the depth of characters and storyline are superb.  Brit Marling did an excellent job playing the leading role of Rhoda.  She also was the co-writer of the movie script.  I’m sure you’ll recognize her from her many screen roles, namely in I Origins, and her role as Liz Garvey in the TV series Babylon.

Meeting Yourself

I was immediately drawn into Rhoda’s internal struggles and the new choices she labored to make in the light of Earth Two just over head.  The director Mike Cahill explains that Earth Two is “kind of this externalization of the interior world of Rhoda.  She could have dealt with those ideas of the confrontation of the self just by looking in the mirror, but I felt like there was something [more] powerful about really externalizing it,” by creating a situation where there really is another version of us all.  Co-writer Marling elaborated further by saying the image of another Earth provokes a primal reaction, “we all feel something [deeply] about looking back at the Earth.”  Definitely, this movie is a “feeling” movie, very personal, introspective, and surprising… especially the ending!

Ultimately, the movie is successful with taking a very high, external concept and internalizing it in order to explore the inner world of who we are, and what it means to be a human.  Rhoda has a strong desire to become an astronaut and explore this other Earth, but ultimately her greatest desire is realized—the exploration and discovery of herself.  For me, what makes this movie so deeply emotional is the use of the doppelgänger.

A doppelgänger is a look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a paranormal phenomenon, and in some traditions as a harbinger of bad luck.

In pop culture, when you meet your doppelgänger, “you see each other, and then one of them has to die, and so it turns into an action adventure movie in which one of them has to kill the other,” says Marling.  Another Earth “was never going to be a movie about an Invasion of the Body Snatchers style” confrontation, she adds.another_earth-1

Another Earth deliberately turns the usual idea of doppelgänger on its head.  Says Cahill:  “For me, I pushed completely the opposite [idea].  I think we, as humans, have this desperate yearning to connect, and we are so alone, no matter how many people we know, our close friends or whatever, we are ultimately alone.  And I think there’s a yearning to not be alone.  So, to confront someone who has your shared history and all your secrets… I think there would be the greatest amount of empathy.”

Don’t Watch It Alone

In short, this movie highlights forgiveness, hope, and our common need for redemption.  I love high concepts, and I especially love when they are employed in a pop culture medium that captures our imaginations while invoking a deep sense of wonderment and awareness.  This movie certainly did all of this and more for me.  If you’re in the mood to be entertained and challenged, watch Another Earth.  And I would advise not watching it alone.  Watch it with someone you love, someone you’ve dreamed with, and been forgiven by.  The impact will be greater.

If you appreciate sci-fi movies that make you think like this one does, check out my latest e-book priced at $2.99!