Third Eye Over Iowa was a paranormal and fortean parody magazine published in the late 90's. It ceased publication in the Spring of 1999 and attempted to become an online edition, but it was not to be.
Third Eye Over Iowa was the idea of Todd Ristau. He was assisted in the project by his long time friend Vernon Trollinger, who had experience publishing small publications. Together the set up and created the idea of a magazine that presented itself as completely real, but was in truth utter nonsense. It was completely designed in a fun and light hearted way so it would not be taken seriously. They added the tag-line 'BELIEVE AT YOUR OWN RISK!' to the magazine, which many chose to follow. It was released in May of 1996 to a massive audience of around twenty-five people. Most of these recipients were friends and family of Ristau. They doubled subscriptions in a years time, which was just enough to pay the printing costs of such a small publication and managed to keep it going with new and wackier content. All of this came about when the X-Files was storming across the Television and people were discovering the World Wide Web for the first time. The 'zine had a niche, and with so many conspiracy theorists taking ahold of every theory available to them, it was able to exploit these conspiracy theories and gain a cult following. Many people did not read the fine print, nor take caution at the slightest, and more than one person was fooled into believing we were at war with unseen aliens in the heartland of America. Ristau, Trollinger and Putnam set out to fool people, and they successfully did for a number of years. There were even reports that the writers were part of a massive government disinformation campaign, which they have denied completely. Ultimately the writers insist upon repeating what all good fact seekers should already know, and what in a strange way their hoaxing can teach.
Know your sources.
Trust but verify.
Believe at your own risk.
If you were fooled, so were many others over the years, including several professors. Which is what make the stories all that much more fascinating.
The main reason is lost of interest in most of the parties most likely. Contributors no longer had any good stories some claim, while others just blame the management. But mostly people just moved on to other things in their lives and like many small projects, this one fell to the side. Marriage, Careers and other assorted reasons led those who made it what it was, away from it entirely. There were attempts to revive the magazine as an online "zine", but they never fully materialized. They are not currently accepting submissions, but would-be hoax writers still try to submit to this day. It remains to be seen whether the zine will resurrect in some fashion.
Todd Ristau - One of the original creators of Third Eye Over Iowa. In the 80's he was a tour guide to haunted locations in Iowa. He would go on to co-found the 'zine with several other interested writers and contributors. He has also called the writings of H.P. Lovecraft inspiration, and frequently used them as the basis for some of the tales. He is now currently working towards a career in the playwriting and performing field. He is also the founder of No Shame Theatre, a forum for theatrical experiments outside the academic arena where fear of a low mark would not keep anyone from attempting something new. This venue received national recognition when featured in the May 1990 issue of The Drama Review, and remains an institution at Iowa to this day. Over the years No Shame "graduates" have opened "franchise" No Shames all over the country and many who got their first production experience in that forum have gone on to professional careers in the theatre, film, and television.
Vernon Trollinger - One of the original creators and editors of Third Eye Over Iowa. He is a native of Wyomissing Hills, Pennsylvania and has BA's in Theatre Arts/Communications and in English from the University of Iowa. In 1986, he earned a Master of Arts in English from the Expository Writing Program at the University of Iowa. While living in Richmond, VA from 1989 to 1994, he took part in the Virginia Penitentiary Burials Excavation, the Virginia Penitentiary Excavation of the "Latrobe Arch", and excavations at the Tredegar Iron Works during its operation as "Valentine Riverside" by the Valentine Museum of Richmond, Va. Tredgar is now part of the National Park Service. He is also a member of the Press-Citizen's Writers Group.
Rich Putnam - Staff Writer and military and aviation authority. Served in US Air Force from 1977 to 1980. Attended University of Iowa 1982 - 1989. A prolific writer,perhaps best known for his epic about the 1947 "Roswell Incident",High Probability and the US Army Air Forces' subsequent coverup of flying saucers. A noted horseman and authority on military uniforms, presently he lives in exile in Nebraska where he commands his own Provisional Militia Company, and is currently cowriting a novella for young adults with Ms. A. West, entitled Brainstorm
Colonel Harrison Campbell, USA (Ret.)Third Eye's resident staff writer (currently on sabatical). Graduated from the US Military Academy in 1965. Served in Vietnam and with SOG on many highly classified operations, which he constantly alludes to in his stories and in private conversation. A controversial figure, to say the least, Colonel Campbell continually supplies the Third Eye Staff with highly classified information from his sources inside the US Military and Intelligence Communities. Considered by many to be a crackpot, and by his fellow writers as a maverick, he has nonetheless supplied the magazine with some thought-provoking material.
Hans Abbadon - Hans Abbadon is one of the co-founders of Third Eye Over Iowa. He also runs an online vampire RP game that has quite a few members. He is very reclusive, and presents himself online as an immortal vampire.
Sister Kasi - Third Eye Over Iowa Department Chief. Numinous Mystic Hierophant, aka: Jillith Nacknuster. Known as "Iowa's Sensuous Czech Visionary", and a possible (ex)girlfriend of Hans Abbadon. She was in charge of The Dark Powers/Miracles at the magazine. She also had her own column, giving advice to those attempting to pursue penetration into arcane avenues of understanding. Abaddon gave her the name Kasi, after a fabled priestess of an ancient god of death and decay.