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The Owls Are Not What They Seem: A Conversation with Mike Clelland, Author of “The Unseen”

Last week I had the pleasure to have a virtual tête à tête with Mike Clelland, a man who is generally known on the Internet as “The Owl Guy” but in reality has worn many hats throughout his career: professional illustrator and cartoonist; expert outdoorsman, and teacher of survival skills and ultralight backpacking; researcher into the mysterious undercurrents which have accompanied him all his life, which seem to be somehow connected with owls; and now, fiction writer with his 2023 debut novel, The Unseen.

The Unseen gathered so many accolades and praise among people within and without the Fortean community that Mike is not only preparing to write a sequel, he’s also hiring the services of a professional voice actor to record the audiobook version of the novel, and for that he set up a Kickstarter campaign to secure the necessary funding:

I took the opportunity to not only discuss the various aspects of the novel which I found fascinating, but also to reminisce about the good old days before iPhones and social media, when I used to sit in front of my office’s computer late at night to read and comment on the entries Mike added on a weekly basis on his old blog, Hidden Experience, or to listen to one of the dozens of audio conversations he recorded with many of the people he reached out at the time; not because he was interesting in starting a podcast channel and attain fame, but because he was desperately trying to make sense of the puzzling events manifesting on his dreams and waking life, which seem to be pointing to a connection with a different reality —a reality we nowadays interpret as “the UFO phenomenon” but which seems to be much intricate and richer than our current modern stereotypes, as attested by Mike’s experiences as well as the many others who have reached out to him to share their own life’s journey.

By the end of the conversation, something happened to me which caught me completely off-guard: after Mike finished reading a rather ‘charged’ passage of the novel, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a powerful surge of emotion. As you can see, if you watch the video, it took me a few seconds before I could regain my composure and resume the conversation. I don’t understand why this happened (and No, it had nothing to do with the fact that I was having a drink during the recording, something I often do because I view these opportunities as if I were hanging out with my buddies at a bar) but I feel it is a testament to the potency of Mike’s writing; which despite its deceptive simplicity still manages to not only weave vivid imagery in the mind of the reader, but also convey messages which are full of profundity, and despite being a work of fiction they are nonetheless painted through the brush strokes of real human experiences.

Hope you enjoy the video interview. And if you are able, please consider pitching in to Mike’s campaign, which still has 15 more days to go as of this writing.

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