Hey there avid readers! I’m Neil Rochford, author of The Blue Ridge Project and writer at ThoseConspiracyGuys.com. Put on your tinfoil hats and pull up a seat while I bend your ear about conspiracies and the paranormal.
Ever since I was a young boy, I was always fascinated by the concept of the paranormal. Unexplainable things happening outside the normal range of experience? I was all over it. Psychics, spirits, demons, aliens, Power Rangers, that was my jam. Then, as I got a little older, I started to realize how much of it could be safely filed away in the bullshit section. If there were so many paranormal occurrences taking place, how come there was no definitive proof? With thousands of people involved and a million different accounts of strange things happening, how has not one single case been acknowledged as actually having taken place? Surely, if any proof of paranormal activity existed, or investigation into it, the people in charge and the media would have reported extensively on it for the public, right?
Then, I got even older, and I realized that might not be the case either. Here’s a couple of examples of that innocent veneer being broken.
MKULTRA was just one of the many crazy things the government carried out that seem too odd to be factual. It began in the early 1950s, as government agents administered a host of drugs to unwilling or unwitting people in order to test the effects and effectiveness of manipulating people in vulnerable states. People who spoke out at the time were laughed at as conspiracy nuts. However, in 1977 – and again in 2001 – declassified documents in fact showed that the CIA pumped serious resources into the study and utilization of mind control through drugs and torture. Allegedly disbanded in 1973, agency insiders have claimed that the project is continuing clandestinely, so it’s a worrying prospect if that turns out to be true, to say the least.
Project Blue Book is another long running government operation that started in the early 1950s. This time, the subject was the study and investigation of UFOs and related phenomena. Even with the hundreds of thousands of sightings, pictures, audio and video accounts and testimony from high-ranking military and government officials, the conclusion was that everybody who ever saw a UFO or alien is:
- Suffering from a form of mass hysteria
- Perpetrating a hoax for personal gain
- Not intelligent or well-sighted enough to tell the difference between a cloud/star/swamp gas/weather balloon and an extraterrestrial entity
There remains a percentage of the sightings or reports that are deemed “unexplained” which doesn’t mean much either way. In addition, there is a ream of evidence pointing towards allegedly discontinued projects – like Project Silverbug – researching next-level aircraft, which may or may not have been the source of some of these sightings. However, one has to wonder whether the whole truth has been revealed about it. It’s a good thing we can trust the people in charge to carry out completely thorough and unbiased investigations into these things to ensure the overall welfare and safety of the public, eh?
Besides, these things happened years ago. Even if the government of bygone times might have lied or covered things up to further their own agenda (*cough* Gulf of Tonkin *splutter* Operation Mockingbird *cough* Northwoods *cough* COINTELPRO *choke* Iran-Contra etc…) there’s no way that our benevolent leaders these days would hide things from us, would they? (*ahem* PRISM *belch* Panama Papers etc…)
Does that make all conspiracies about paranormal instances true? Of course not. The existence of one does not prove or disprove the other. But like the chaps over at ThoseConspiracyGuys.com always tell their listeners, check your sources, for both sides of any argument or story. Biases and agendas abound in almost every corner of the government and the media reporting on their activity, just like they do in real life.
And if you see some funny lights outside your window, or a strange voice in the back of your head, don’t panic, it’s just some swamp gas refracting light from a weather balloon, you crazy so-and-so…
The Blue Ridge Project
Genre: Dark Suspense/Paranormal
Date of Publication: May 6 2016
Number of pages: 260
Word Count: 65,500
Cover Artist: ebooklaunch.com
Conspiracy. Murder. Secret experiments. Mind control. A detective, a journalist and a rich deviant struggle with their pasts as their actions set them on a collision course with each other and The Project.
Detective Andrea Nox has been asked to quietly investigate a bizarre and violent murder-suicide that could have consequences for Beacon City and the people in charge. Dead ends and odd clues are hindering her efforts, and when another similar murder occurs, she has to juggle the investigation and her own troubled past with the Beacon City Police Department.
Journalist Robert Duncan is visiting home after a personal crisis when the unthinkable happens, and secrets are unearthed about his family and his place in it. His involvement in a dangerous and far-reaching conspiracy grows as he uncovers information that implicates powerful people in horrible crimes.
Frank Mortimer, disturbed son of a wealthy and influential family, is taking part in an experimental program that has promised to make him better. However, with the shadowy and powerful group known only as The Project behind the program, what he is getting better at could prove disastrous for everyone else, as a dangerous power is unlocked inside him…
Their paths will converge in a shocking story of murder, conspiracy and clandestine experiments taking place that could change the world.
The car that had followed Frank’s van out of the city rolled down the same route Frank had taken, belching exhaust occasionally. It was a gray sedan, with a bumper sticker that said ‘If You’re Reading This, You’re Too Close!’ As with Frank’s van, the driver had chosen a car that wouldn’t draw attention or stick in a memory. It was as if the owner had used the word “nondescript” when the salesperson asked what type of car he wanted.
Said owner was Graham Turner, a self-made journalist according to him, a bottom-feeding paparazzo according to almost everybody else. His purview was the lifestyles of the rich, the famous, and the mentionables, especially their bad habits and indiscretions. The most money was to be made in the latter and Turner had made his meager living through catching people of note with their pants down, figuratively or otherwise.
His mission today was to catch a Mortimer doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing. A picture of the son, Frank, doing something untoward could pay out massively. Turner didn’t care if it was through sale of the picture or blackmail, just as long as he got his payday.
He was sure the squeaky-clean bachelor was up to no good, driving out here in the middle of nowhere in a busted-up van when his family was rich enough to have a foundation in their name. Turner parked a good distance from the van, reached around to the back seat to grab his camera with the long-distance lens, and stepped out onto the tarmac.
He began to feel ill immediately. He broke out in a sweat and his stomach churned like a washing machine at the start of a spin cycle. He stood leaning against the front of the car for a second, a headache thumping behind his eyeballs, and a loud ringing in his ears. He wiped his soaked forehead with the sleeve of his shirt and started to make his way through the grass, searching for a decent vantage point.
Around forty paces in, close to the warehouse, his headache intensified massively. The pain shot up and down his body, and he felt a pop inside his skull. His left leg went dead and useless beneath him, and he groaned as he fell to his knees. The camera fell and smashed apart on the ground. He heard another pop, like a tiny balloon being pricked with a needle inside his ears, then he fell forward onto the remains of his equipment.
The man with ‘SECURITY’ written across his cap came sauntering over the grass toward Turner’s body. He rolled it over with one boot-clad foot and saw the burst capillaries in Turner’s eyes: They were as red as the eyes of a B-movie vampire, and just as dead.
Hell of a tune they play, the man thought as he went through Turner’s pockets for the keys to the gray sedan. As he stood up, he double-checked his earplugs, as he often did after finding someone who had come too close, and strolled over to the car to put it out of sight. The body could wait. He couldn’t even see it from the car, the grass deep enough to hide it. He saw a small flock of birds flying overhead, wheeling to make a wide detour around the building nearby.
Birds are smarter than people. He chuckled, proud of his philosophical revelation, and got into the driver’s seat of the almost unnoticeable car.
About the Author:
Neil Rochford is a freelance writer who loves fiction where bad things happen. After more than five years traveling from continent to continent and a few short stories, he finally got to work on his first book, and hopes to continue writing as many as he can. Originally from Ireland, he speaks three languages and has lived in Estonia, Brazil, France and Spain. He is a staff writer for the popular Irish podcast and website Those Conspiracy Guys.