Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 In Memoriam - Authors Colin Bennett, Danny Schechter, Imre Somogy and Rob Riggs

Sint Jacobskerk, The Hague
As 2015 is just behind us, it's sad to acknowledge that during that year Cosimo has lost four very creative and innovative authors.

At the beginning of last year, we heard the sad news about the passing of Colin Bennett. Colin Bennett was a multi-talented individual, born in England in 1940, and wearing many different hats during his life: from studying science and mathematics, and being a professional musician, to returning to college to study English at Balliol College, Oxford and written several plays that performed on the professional stage in London, including the Royal Court Theatre.

Colin Bennett
In the meanwhile, he also managed to become an authority on the work of Charles Fort, George Adamsky and Edward Ruppelt and became well-known in the community of ufologists and Forteans with books such as Flying Saucers over the White House: The Inside Story of Captain Edward J. Ruppelt and His Official U.S. Airforce Investigation of UFOs; Looking for Orthon: The Story of George Adamski, the First Flying Saucer Contactee, and How He Changed the World; and Poltics of the Imagination: The Life, Work and Ideas of Charles Fort   The latter book won the Anomalist Award for Best Biography in 2002. Even though Colin Bennett suffered from diabetes during his last years of life, he continued writing online and elsewhere.

Danny Schechter
In March, 2015, Danny Schechter, journalist, filmmaker, television producer, and author died after a battle with cancer.  Danny Schechter was a unique personality, in person and professionally. Born in 1942 in New York, he epitomized the consummate New Yorker: engaged and engaging, socially active and vocal, and trying to make the world a better place. His media background started in the 1970s on the radio as "The News Dissector" at WBCN-FM in Boston, where he informed his listeners about the news infused with his typical sense of humor. Later on he joined CNN and ABC News, where he won two Emmy Awards. In 1988 he co-founded the production company Global Vision together with Rory O'Connor, where they produced many documentaries, including "South Africa Now", an award winning public television series. He wrote 17 books, of which quite a few with Cosimo, for example: Plunder: Investigating Our Economic Calamity and the Subprime Scandal, one of the first books that came out just after the financial collapse in September, 2008. This book was based on his previous years of research, blogging, and his documentary In Debt We Trust where he already foresaw deep problems in the US economy.

In May 2015, Imre Somogy died: he was the co-author with his wife, Margriet of Reading Baby Toes. Imre Somogy was born in 1943 in Amsterdam, after which he lived in Belgium till he was 13  and then returned to the Netherlands. He started his career after military service, where he became a journalist and broadcaster with Dutch TV and radio. Besides his journalistic work, he studied and practised homeopathy, herbal- and natural healing. During those studies he and his wife developed a method to analyse behavior and personality based on the shape ad position of toes. He authored a few books on this knowledge, one of which was focused on baby toes. Since his retirement he lived in France, where he died after a long illness.

Rob Riggs
Last November 2015, Rob Riggs, a journalist and former publisher of a series of award-winning community newspapers in Texas, died. Rob Riggs had not only been a reporter and journalist but had been interested in paranormal phenomena since as a child he heard tales about them, including the Bigfoot mystery in his hometown in Big Thicket country, a heavily forested area in Southeast Texas. His studies of paranormal phenomena, which have taken him to West Texas, Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, and as far abroad as India, have been featured in the Houston Chronicle and the Beaumont Enterprise.  In 2001 Rob Riggs wrote In the Big Thicket : On the Trail of the Wild Man : Exploring Nature's Mysterious Dimension (Paraview Press, now part of Cosimo Books.) Noted cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman wrote the following about this book: "Rob Riggs book takes the reader on a wild tour through one of America's weirdest wonderlands. Riggs has produced a great collection on such Texan wonders as the Big Thicket's Wild Man."

In each of these four authors, we have lost unique human beings who contributed to their readers and followers, by explaining, informing and educating them about their expertise and the world around us as they saw it. Our thoughts at this time are with their families and friends, as well as with their readers, including ourselves at Cosimo, who will remember each of them for their lives and contributions.

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