The concept of High Strangeness has become a prominent aspect of all things spooky, paranormal, and weird. As a result, those of us who have followed these sorts of things for a long time are left wondering, “what exactly is High Strangeness”?
It does have an entry on Wiktionary, but it was only created in 2016. The term itself can be traced back to the 1970s, where it was coined by astronomer J. Allen Hynek. Hynek worked on the original Project Blue Book and other government-sanctioned UFO studies.
For starters, High Strangeness is much stranger than “low strangeness,” or everyday strangeness. Seeing lights in the sky that you shouldn’t expect to be there? That isn’t necessarily a UFO or alien abduction team (AAT). It could be a secret military jet or [REDACTED]. High Strangeness would be if you went to take a video of this craft, and suddenly your phone’s battery dropped from 80% to 0% charge in a matter of seconds. Or if the video you manage to take is corrupted, altered, tainted.
Men in Black and High Strangeness
Historical accounts of Men in Black are filled with High Strangeness. Back in 1953, the founder and director of the International Flying Saucer Bureau, Albert K. Bender, abruptly shut his organization down after being visited by three Men in Black. He described that these men communicated with him telepathically, that they smelled like sulfur, and they only appeared to him in groups of three.
Fast-forward about fifty years to famed funnyman, Dan Aykroyd was filming a TV show, “Out There,” about the UFO phenomenon. He was about to interview Dr. Steven Greer, a famed ufologist, when he stepped outside to take a phone call from Britney Spears (you can’t make this stuff up).
Aykroyd maintains that while he was on the street, two men in black that he had not seen before were giving him a “dirty look.” The men were “very tall and very pale.” When Aykroyd returned inside to shoot the episode, he was informed that the network had canceled the show and that there would be nothing airing. Collectively, these facts, not the least of which is a phone call from Britney Spears, are examples of High Strangeness.
Hints Beyond Coincidence
It isn’t always aliens and UFOs, though that are considered High Strangeness. Witnesses of various cryptids such as Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and the Mothman have experience High Strangeness as well. The Mothman sightings in 1966 and 1967 were virtually surrounded by High Strangeness.
Woodrow Derenberger claims to have encountered a man known as Indrid Cold, aka The Grinning Man. Derenberger alleges they communicated only telepathically and was given the impression The Grinning Man was not, strictly speaking, human. The man had a permanent smile that was “unsettling,” to say the least, and wore a glossy, metallic, dark-blue coat. This alone constitutes High Strangeness, but it doesn’t end there.
This sighting was happening concurrently with the Mothman sightings. Still, after the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967*, all sightings of the creature would stop. These “coincidences” have been deemed by many to be too conspicuous, so this would definitely be considered High Strangeness.
Cow mutilations are also ripe with High Strangeness. WIth cases as recently as October 2019, cow mutilation is a phenomenon that has been occurring for decades without any serious explanation. Laser-like incisions are made on the dead cattle. Complete confiscation of their organs, often with a focus on the genitals and tongue, without so much as a drop of blood is baffling.
One witness Terry Anderson described a “cow lying dead, her udder removed with something razor sharp…and, not one drop of blood anywhere.” Terry Anderson stated, “It’s just left a really strange feeling with me since that day. You can’t explain it. And, you know, no one else has been able to explain it.”
Generally, High Strangeness is the creepy-factor that pushes you from a weird experience into a really weird experience. Maybe that strange person’s lips aren’t lining up with their voice, or perhaps all your electronics failed right when you needed them to prove what you saw. Or maybe a phone call from Britney Spears coincided with you seeing Men in Black who terminated your TV show. Whether it’s a bloodless corpse, or a person out-of-place, learning about High Strangeness will prepare you for your paranormal encounter.
*The Silver Bridge carried U.S. Route 35 over the Ohio River, connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and Gallipolis, Ohio. On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed under the weight of rush-hour traffic, resulting in the deaths of 46 people. Two of the victims were never found.