Q&A with Payne Lindsey from Tenderfoot TV's High Strange
Get beamed up in an interview with Payne Lindsey from Tenderfoot TV
High Strange, Tenderfoot TV
Payne Lindsey is an Atlanta-based director, award-winning documentary filmmaker, and the co-creator and host of the hit podcasts Up and Vanished, Atlanta Monster, Radio Rental and Dead and Gone. His latest podcast High Strange is a limited UFO audio series that features first-hand accounts of abductions and sightings, archival tape and sheds light on government secrecy.
High Strange is our podcast of the week so we got some time with Payne to share some high praise for High Strange and ask a few questions along the way.
SO: You cover the evolving stigmas that come with alien research and investigations. The classic take here would be that anyone covering aliens is a little “out there” themself. Did you have apprehensions starting High Strange?
PL: The biggest fear I had making this show is that I would become viewed as the “UFO guy.” There’s a lot stigma around the topic itself and mostly for good reason. We’ve been conditioned to think about UFO’s as some big conspiratorial thing rather than an idea that science mostly supports. My primary objective in this show was to present a strong enough narrative that would encourage even the most stubborn and close minded people out there to open up to possibility. I have no dog in the hunt and I’m not trying to prove or disprove anything. I felt that telling a “UFO story” from this unique may actually spark meaningful conversations about the phenomenon. It’s not made for the “believers,” it's made for those who are curious about the universe we live in.
SO: How did you first become interested in the topic of UFOs and extraterrestrial life and what inspired you to start a podcast on UFOs and aliens??
PL: Well, I’d like to start by saying it was never intended to be about aliens, I think the big misconception when people bring up UFOs is they automatically assume you’re talking about “aliens,” but the truth is we have no idea what these are. Although as a kid and even to this day I have always loved aliens, anything weird really. The thing is though, all of the other UFO podcasts seem really niche that target people who are what anyone would call “believers” where I wanted to come at it from a very unbiased approach.
SO: A lot of your experience lies in true crime. Explain the overlap you saw between investigating true crimes and alien encounters.
PL: I think I’m just a very curious person at heart, I like to get to the bottom of things. When I started Up and Vanished I wasn’t necessarily trying to enter the world of true crime, I was attempting to make a documentary on someone who could do just that, seemingly up and vanish into thin air. The overlap is big, I wanted to take a neutral approach to what I feel is the biggest mystery of our time; what are these unexplained phenomena and are we actually alone in the universe?
SO: I really like the line in one of the episodes about credible people having otherwise incredible experiences. We can assume that some folks you spoke with haven’t necessarily been heard as well as they would like to be. Did you develop a special approach to interviewing witnesses or experts who have experienced or researched UFO sightings?
PL: I would say that it’s the same approach that I always take, in that I researched the subjects as much as I do in true crime; and a tougher aspect of the UFO topic is that there are so many podcasts that reach out to these people it makes some of them hesitant to agree to an interview. There are definitely some people in this realm that are a little more on the hard to believe spectrum and I did my best to avoid anyone which I didn’t find to be super credible right off the bat.
SO: How has your investigation of the topic of UFOs and aliens changed your own beliefs or perceptions about them?
PL: Honestly, I’m a skeptical person to begin with. I always have been. I’ve always wanted to believe, if you know what I mean, but in a fun way. After doing this podcast, I actually really do believe that there is something else out there that is yet to be explained. Focusing on sightings with multiple witnesses or credible sources such as pilots, radar specialists, police officers, military, etc. Hard for me to believe every single one of these people are lying to my face about their experiences.
SO: What do you hope listeners take away from High Strange?
PL: I hope the listeners open their minds to the subject, a lot of the people who came forward with these stories endured a lifetime of ridicule when I think they should’ve been heard and taken seriously. I get it, there’s a lot of misinformation out there and yes, some people are trolling or pulling off hoaxes, but I did a lot of the leg work so that I could make a digestible argument that there is something really out there. I hope everyone dives as deep as I do into this world, some of the stories that I didn’t get to cover are absolutely fascinating.
SO: What kind of feedback have you received from listeners and how have you responded to it?
PL: Surprisingly a lot more people are binging it than I expected, I was blown away at the positive responses I’ve received. Occasionally you have someone who is upset with us for offering a paid subscription to get all of the episodes ad free and at once versus the weekly drop but that’s to be expected. The listeners have been showing a ton of love and I’m glad it’s being consumed by people who would never listen to a UFO podcast.
SO: In your opinion, what is the most compelling evidence for the existence of UFOs or extraterrestrial life?
PL: For me it’s the governments, not just ours, acknowledging that UFOs exist. The French government, the Australian government, they all have said that UFOs are more than likely ET in origin. Avi Loeb, a Harvard scientist who was a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology is convinced that intelligent life from outside of our solar system is potentially sending probes our way. That and the sheer amount of circumstantial evidence mixed with the numerical probabilities suggesting there’s no way we are alone.
SO: What advice would you give to someone who is skeptical about the existence of UFOs and extraterrestrial life?
PL: I would suggest they listen to High Strange, at the very least the first two episodes. I think even the most skeptical of people would like my approach to the whole topic after just giving it a chance.
SO: Do you believe?
PL: I can say I believe, without a doubt.
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