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week Conspiracy Journal brings you such lucky charm tales as:
Jesus Tomb Scholars Rethink Opinions -
Physicist Needs $20,000
Time-Travel Experiment -
- Near Death Experiences Have
Differing Explanations -
- The Mystery of Past Life Recall -
AND: Friday the 13th and Other
All these exciting stories and MORE
in this week's issue of
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MYSTERIES MAGAZINE #16
In This Issue:
The Enduring Quest for Eternal Youth
* Interview with Dead Famous TV
* Doppelgangers: Seeing Double
* The Mystery of Astral
* Cattle Mutilations Continue to
And Much, Much More!
- CAN'T TAKE THE HEAT DEPARTMENT -
Jesus Tomb Scholars Rethink
Several prominent scholars who
were interviewed in a bitterly contested documentary that suggests that
Jesus and his family members were buried in a nondescript ancient
Jerusalem burial cave have now revised their conclusions, including the
statistician who claimed that the odds were 600:1 in favor of the tomb
being the family burial cave of Jesus of Nazareth, a new study on the
fallout from the popular documentary shows.
The dramatic clarifications, compiled by epigrapher Stephen Pfann of
the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem in a paper titled "Cracks
in the Foundation: How the Lost Tomb of Jesus story is losing its
scholarly support," come two months after the screening of The Lost
Tomb of Christ that attracted widespread public interest, despite the
concomitant scholarly ridicule.
The film, made by Oscar-winning director James Cameron and Emmy-winning
Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, prompted major criticism from
both a leading Israeli archeologist involved in the original dig at the
site as well as Christian leaders, who were angered over the
documentary's contradictions of main tenets of Christianity.
But now, even some of the scholars who were interviewed for and
appeared in the film are questioning some of its basic claims.
The most startling change of opinion featured in the 16-page paper is
that of University of Toronto statistician Professor Andrey
Feuerverger, who stated those 600 to one odds in the film. Feuerverger
now says that these referred to the probability of a cluster of such
names appearing together.
Pfann's paper reported that a statement on the Discovery Channel's Web
site, which previously read "a statistical study commissioned by the
broadcasters...concludes that the probability factor is 600 to 1 in
favor of this being the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and his family," in
keeping with Feuerverger's statement, has been altered and now reads,
"a statistical study commissioned by the broadcasters... concludes that
the probability factor is in the order of 600 to 1 that an equally
'surprising' cluster of names would arise purely by chance under given
Another sentence on the same Web site stating that Feuerverger had
concluded it was highly probable that the tomb, located in the
southeastern residential Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot, was the
Jesus family tomb - the central point of the film - has also been
changed. It now reads: "It is unlikely that an equally surprising
cluster of names would have arisen by chance under purely random
Israeli archeologists have said that the similarity of the names found
inscribed on the ossuaries in the cave to the members of Jesus's family
was coincidental, since many of those names were commonplace in the
first century CE.
The film argues that 10 ancient ossuaries - burial boxes used to store
bones - that were discovered in Talpiot in 1980 contained the bones of
Jesus and his family. The filmmakers attempt to explain some of the
inscriptions on the ossuaries by suggesting that Jesus was married to
Mary Magdalene, and that the couple had a son, Judah.
One of the ossuaries bears an inscription reading "Yeshua son of
Yehosef" or "Jesus son of Joseph;" a second reads "Mary;" a third is a
Greek inscription apparently read by one scholar as "Mary Magdalene;"
while a fourth bears the inscription, "Judah, son of Jesus." The
inscriptions are in Hebrew or Aramaic, except for the one in Greek.
But Shimon Gibson, who was part of the team that excavated the tomb two
and half decades ago and who appeared in the film, is quoted in Pfann's
report as saying he doubted the site was the tomb of Jesus and his
"Personally, I'm skeptical that this is the tomb of Jesus and I made
this point very clear to the filmmakers," Gibson is quoted as saying.
"We need much more evidence before we can say that the Talpiot tomb
might be the family tomb of Jesus," he added.
In the film, renowned epigrapher Prof. Frank Moore Cross, professor
emeritus of Hebrew and oriental languages at Harvard University, is
seen reading one of the ossuaries and stating that he has "no real
doubt" that it reads "Jesus son of Joseph." But according to Pfann,
Cross said in an e-mail that he was skeptical about the film's claims,
not because of a misreading of the ossuary, but because of the ubiquity
of Biblical names in that period in Jerusalem.
"It has been reckoned that 25 percent of feminine names in this period
were Maria/Miriam, etc. - that is, variants of 'Mary.' So the cited
statistics are unpersuasive. You know the saying: lies, damned lies,
and statistics," Cross is quoted as saying.
The paper also notes that DNA scientist Dr. Carney Matheson, who
supervised DNA testing carried out for the film from the supposed Jesus
and Mary Magdalene ossuaries, and who said in the documentary that
"these two individuals, if they were unrelated, would most likely be
husband and wife," later said that "the only conclusions we made were
that these two sets were not maternally related. To me, it sounds like
Furthermore, Pfann also says that a specialist in ancient apocryphal
text, Professor Francois Bovon, who is quoted in the film as saying the
enigmatic ossuary inscription "Mariamne" is the same woman known as
Mary Magdalene - one of the filmmakers' critical arguments - issued a
disclaimer stating that he did not believe that "Mariamne" stood for
Mary of Magdalene at all.
Pfann has already argued that the controversial inscription does not
read "Mariamne" at all.
The burial site, which has been contested from the start by scholars
and church officials alike, is some distance from the Church of the
Holy Sepulchrr in the Old City, where many Christians believe Jesus's
body lay for three days after he was crucified.
According to the New Testament, Jesus rose from the dead on the third
day after his crucifixion, and an ossuary containing Jesus's bones -
the explanations of the movie director notwithstanding - would
contradict the core Christian belief that he was resurrected and then
ascended to heaven.
Source: Jerusalem Post
GONNA' GO BACK IN TIME DEPARTMENT -
Physicist Needs $20,000 for
Without funding, lab space will be lost.
The Seattle scientist who wants to test a controversial prediction from
quantum theory that says light particles can go backward in time is,
himself, running out of time.
It's not a wormhole or warp in the space-time continuum. The problem is
more mundane -- a black hole in the time-and-money continuum spawned by
today's increasingly risk-averse, "performance-based" approach to
"I guess you could say we're now living on borrowed time," wryly joked
John Cramer, a physicist at the University of Washington. "All we need
to keep going is maybe $20,000, but nobody seems that interested in
funding this project."
It's a project that aims to do a conceptually simple bench-top test for
evidence of something Albert Einstein called "spooky action at a
distance." The test involves using a crystal to split a photon, a light
particle, into two reduced-energy photons that -- through careful
manipulation -- Cramer thinks could reveal a flash of time traveling
The UW physicist has applied for funds from the NASA Institute for
Advanced Concepts (NIAC) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA). Both agencies have, in the past, funded far-fetched
ideas and, on occasion, had big hits -- such as the Internet.
DARPA recently sent out requests for proposals from researchers
interested in developing shape-shifting, liquid robots (think
Terminator 2) as well as cyborg insects (half robot, half normal bug).
NIAC has funded similar projects and first took seriously science
fiction author Arthur C. Clarke's idea of a geosynchronous elevator
"I've heard that NASA is closing down NIAC so I don't expect to get any
funding from them," Cramer said. "And the guy from DARPA decided what I
was trying to do was too weird even for DARPA."
The military research establishment thinks testing a fundamental
paradox in physics is weirder than seeking to build a sci-fi robot they
saw in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie?
Still, it is fair to say Cramer, an experimentalist with plenty of
scientific "street cred" from his stints at mainstream places such as
the Brookhaven National Laboratory and Geneva-based CERN (the world's
largest particle physics lab), has gone out on a theoretical limb
To begin with, he thinks the celebrated theoretical physicist and
author of "A Brief History of Time," Stephen Hawking (who happens to
speaking tonight at the Seattle Center's McCaw Hall), is wrong. Not
about everything. Just time.
"Hawking has this 'arrow of time' idea in which he argues that time can
only advance in one direction, forward," Cramer said. It's appealing,
elegant and certainly makes sense intuitively, he noted, because this
is the only way we experience time.
Unfortunately, the one-way notion of time doesn't fit all that well
with the mathematical and experimental evidence of quantum theory. This
is a highly counter-intuitive branch of physics, also known as quantum
mechanics, that describes the bizarre behavior of matter at the atomic
and subatomic levels.
One of the mysteries of quantum mechanics is the
Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox. Quantum theory predicts two subatomic
particles derived from a single particle -- like two photons split from
a single photon -- will, if not further influenced by other particles,
continue to influence each other's behavior no matter how far apart.
This is known as "entanglement." Experiments at the subatomic level
tend to support the idea, but there's a conceptual problem. It means
the two photons must be able to communicate instantaneously, even if
light years apart, which violates the speed of light.
"There's been a lot of interest in this problem over the years," Cramer
said. In 1986, he proposed a solution to this paradox that he called
the "transactional interpretation" of quantum theory. Some of his
approach was based on the ideas of such physics luminaries as Richard
Feynman and John Wheeler.
Basically, Cramer showed how entanglement could be explained -- and how
the paradox could be explained away -- by assuming some kind of signal
that can travel both forward and backward in time between the two
photons. His theory, he says, violates no rules of quantum theory and
resolves the mystery.
All that's needed now, Cramer said, is some way to provide evidence
that it's real.
In the basement of the UW's Astronomy and Physics building, the UW
physicist and his student, Skander Mzali, are making do with what they
can find in the lab. At the business end of an ultraviolet laser is an
array of prisms, filters, splitters and other devices aimed at
directing or altering the laser light.
A camera hooked up to a computer monitor sits at the receiving end. On
the PC monitor is a grainy screen displaying an interference pattern of
What Cramer hopes to be able to do is split a photon, sending two
"entangled" photons down two very different pathways of varying lengths
using fiber-optic cables. Photons can exist in either particle or wave
forms. The outcome can be manipulated by placement of detectors.
Because the photons are entangled, however one is detected (i.e.,
whether as a particle or a wave) also will determine the form taken by
the other. But by running one photon through a 10-kilometer spool of
optic cable, the second photon will be delayed 50 microseconds.
In short, moving the location of the detector for the delayed photon to
change it from wave to particle would also change the first photon --
according to standard quantum theory. For this to happen, some kind of
signal has to go backward in time.
"In 20 years, nobody has been able to tell me why this can't work,"
Cramer said. "They just say it can't work like that. It's unacceptable."
To really see if they can pull this off, the UW physicist said, he
would rather not have to depend upon what kind of scraps they can
cobble together. Cramer said they first need a more precise crystal
prism and a more sensitive camera.
So, time, if not proven yet to sometimes run backward, is running out
on the UW experiment seeking evidence of "quantum retrocausality." They
will lose the lab space soon if they can't move forward with the
project, Cramer said.
"We're about to hit the wall if we don't get funding," he said. "It
would be a shame because even if this doesn't work, I'm sure we'd learn
something from trying."
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
GO INTO THE LIGHT DEPARTMENT -
Near Death Experiences Have
Those who believe they have seen beyond the grave and into the
afterlife are not alone.
Though experts in psychological, medical and religious fields differ on
what the meaning and cause is behind near-death experiences, people of
all walks of life have had them.
According to research from the International Association for Near Death
Studies, 10 percent of patients who experience a cardiac arrest in
hospital settings have a near-death experience. The association, which
is comprised of about 50 scientific study groups of near-death
experiences, estimates the number of living Americans who have had such
experiences to be in the millions.
One of the more famous examples of a man who reported the hereafter is
Don Piper, who was in Gainesville Monday for a monthly Christian men’s
luncheon at First Baptist Church’s activities building. A story on his
presentation appeared in Tuesday’s Register.
Piper, a Baptist minister from Pasadena, rejects the use of the term
“near death experience” for what he went through, claiming to have been
dead for about 90 minutes following a car accident on a Lake Livingston
bridge in 1989.
In the last pages of “90 Minutes in Heaven,” his New York Times
Bestseller book, Piper wrote “All these years later, it’s still not
easy for me to relate what happened. Several times I tried to write
this myself but couldn’t ...”
Piper said it was the prayers of concerned believers that allowed him
to be brought back to life. For three years, he said, he didn’t talk
about the experience, and he did not begin to write the book until
The tale of a brush with death and a subsequent vision of a world not
like our own is a difficult subject for many people to discuss. Several
Cooke County residents who have reported near-death experiences wished
not to have their stories published in the Register for a variety of
Others aren’t so shy as to keep their story a secret, but haven’t
sought publicity for their accounts, either.
Kay Raney, a Rosston area resident, is one who has told select friends
and family members her tale, but few others. She said she stayed silent
about her experience for many years throughout her childhood.
“My friends are going to be calling me after they read this!” she said,
of her decision to share her story with the Register. “... I don’t tell
people about all this, so people don’t look at me and call me a
Raney said when she was a five-year-old girl living on a farm east of
Muenster, she and her sisters were on the roof of a barn with the
intention of jumping off to see if the wind would catch their dresses
like parachutes upon descent.
A loose nail on the roof caught Raney’s dress as she lept from the
roof, causing her to land awkwardly and break her arm.
“It was a pretty bad break, so they took me to the hospital,” she
recalled. “They put me on ether.”
She described an out-of-body experience, hovering over her body briefly
before being shrouded with darkness.
“I could see my body on the operating table, as I was floating up and
looking down on what was going on. I saw four doctors and a nurse, and
the anesthetist,” she said. “I didn’t see them before, but then I could
see them as plain as day.
“Then it was like suddenly I was being drawn under quicksand, covering
me with darkness. All of the sudden I began to go through a tunnel. At
the end of the tunnel I could see the brightest light I’ve ever seen in
She said two beings appearing as elderly females took her hands on each
side and walked her to the light, announcing their intention to help
escort her to the end.
“I was walking with them down the long tunnel and toward brilliant
white light when I stopped and said, ‘I don’t want to go. I want to go
back to my mother and daddy,’” she said. “When I said that, they just
looked at me and smiled, and instantly I was transported back through
that tunnel back toward my family. And then I woke up.”
Raney said most accounts she has heard since that day have been
positive, but as a five-year-old girl she was frightened.
“I’ve heard people later on say it was a pleasant thing, but it wasn’t
for me. I hadn’t lived my life, yet, and wanted to go back,” she said.
“I never heard those kinds of stories before, and it was never
something I had heard about from anyone. It was before we had TV.”
Years later she recalled various television specials and news features
about near-death experiences and “light at the end of the tunnel”
stories. She was surprised at how much they lined up with her own
“A light bulb went off in my head when I saw those stories and I said,
‘That happened to me!” she said. “I’m not sure if it was the ether’s
effect or if it was genuine. But since I have a spiritual leaning, I
believe that affected my life in such a way that it made me want to be
more spiritual, and made me want to live my life in a way that I would
go to that light again one day.”
A faithful member of the Prairie Point Church of the Nazarene in
Prairie Point she said the experience — whether it was spiritual or
chemically induced — has reminded her to have faith.
“It’s helped me to remember that God does exist, and remind others that
Jesus is waiting at the end of that bright light,” she said.
She said that brightness coincides with descriptions of radiating,
divine glory in the Bible. She noted in Exodus 33:21-23, Moses hid
himself “in the cleft of the rock” to catch a glimpse of God’s back,
after God told Moses he would die if he were to see Him face-to-face.
That brightness was also described by a Denton resident, recalling the
account of his now-deceased father.
Eric McCrary, 30, said he was sitting with his father, Newman McCrary,
on a bench at a Wal-Mart in Marshall. His father told his son what he
saw during a coma a year and a half prior.
“He was diabetic and had a coma,” McCrary said, of his soft-spoken
father. “It’s kind of weird — it took him about 15 minutes to tell a
five minute story. Broke down and cried while explaining it ... It
seemed like he was really there.”
McCrary said his father, who later died in 2004 from a heart attack,
described heaven as “really white, and brighter than anything you can
He wasn’t forthcoming with exact details, McCrary recalled.
“But the emotion behind it was incredible,” he said.
An organization which studies near-death experiences (as they call them
for short “NDEs”) says its not unusual to have feelings of doubt, fear
or confusion afterward — enough to cause the person who had the
experience to hold off on talking about it.
For some it is a traumatic experience, but the great majority report
feelings of joy, comfort and amazement.
According to a frequently-asked questions pamphlet from the
International Association for Near Death Studies, it helps for those
who have experienced such an otherworldly journey to talk about it.
“First, realize that you are not alone and you have not lost your
mind,” the pamphlet said. “Millions and millions of people from all
over the world and from ancient times up through this very moment have
had similar experiences. Thousands of people in the last 24 hours alone
have had an NDE. An NDE is an extraordinary experience, but it happens
to ordinary people, and it happens frequently.
“You may want to tell the world about your NDE, or you may want to
think about it, possibly for a long time, before trying to say
anything. You will probably feel frustrated trying to find words to
describe it, and fearful that no one else will understand. But there
are many resources available to you.
The association has a list of resources listed on its Web site (listed
below). The association is non-denominational and does not favor one
religion or another.
And then there are skeptics.
According to the Nov. 20, 2006, issue of Discover magazine, Zen
Buddhist psychiatrist Rick Strassman of New Mexico proposed a theory
that traces spiritual experiences such as an NDE to a single compound:
In Strassman’s book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule,” he proposes that DMT
secreted by the human brain triggers “mystical visions, psychotic
hallucinations, alien-abduction experiences, near-death experiences and
other exotic cognitive phenomena,” the article said.
DMT was used by Amazonian Indians in South America in the form of
ayahuasca, the article claimed — a hallucinogenic tea used in ritual
sacraments. Although DMT is a controlled substance, the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled earlier this year that members of a religious group in New
Mexico can ingest the tea for religious purposes, the article claimed.
DMT, when injected into the body, triggers an extremely powerful
hallucinogenic trip lasting less than an hour, the article said. And it
occurs naturally in the human body in small traces, particularly in the
blood and the brain.
Strassman suspected that DMT might be produced in the pineal gland, a
minute organ deep in the brain, the Discover article said.
Piper refuted earlier studies on NDEs attributing the phenomena to
oxygen depravation and other factors.
“It comes down to this: Until some mere mortal is dead for a lengthy
period and subsequently returns to life with irrefutable evidence of an
afterlife, near-death experiences will continue to be a matter of
faith, or at the very least, conjecture.
“But then, as one of my friends would say, ‘What else is new?’”
On the Net:
Don Piper Ministries: www.donpiperministries.com
The International Association for Near Death Studies: www.iands.org
Rick Strassman’s research: www.strassman.com
Source: Gainesville Daily Register
WHO WERE YOU BEFORE DEPARTMENT -
The Mystery of Past Life Recall
Under hypnosis, numerous people recall the details of previous lives,
even to the point of taking on the personalities of their former selves
- and speaking in foreign languages!
In 1824, a nine-year-old boy named Katsugoro, the son of a Japanese
farmer, told his sister that he believed he had a past life. According
to his story, which is one of the earliest cases of past life recall on
record, the boy vividly recalled that he had been the son of another
farmer in another village and had died from the effects of smallpox in
1810. Katsugoro could remember dozens of specific events about his past
life, including details about his family and the village where they
lived, even though Katsugoro had never been there. He even remembered
the time of his death, his burial and the time he spent before being
reborn. The facts he related were subsequently verified by an
Past life recall is one of the most fascinating areas of unexplained
human phenomena. As yet, science has been unable to prove or disprove
its genuineness. Even many who have investigated claims of past life
recall are unsure whether it is an historical recollection due to
reincarnation or is a construction of information somehow received by
the subconscious. Either possibility is remarkable. And like many areas
of the paranormal, there is a propensity for fraud that the serious
investigator must watch out for. It's important to be skeptical about
such extraordinary claims, but the stories are nonetheless intriguing.
Past life recall generally comes about spontaneously, more often with
children than adults. Those who support the idea of reincarnation
believe this is because children are closer to their past lives and
that their minds have not been clouded or "written over" by their
present lives. Adults who experience past life recall often do so as
the result of some extraordinary experience, such as hypnosis, lucid
dreaming or even a blow to the head.
Here are some outstanding cases:
Virginia Tighe / Bridey Murphy
Perhaps the most famous case of past life recall is that of Virginia
Tighe who recalled her past life as Bridey Murphy. Virginia was the
wife of a Virginia businessman in Pueblo, Colorado. While under
hypnosis in 1952, she told Morey Bernstein, her therapist, that over
100 years ago she was an Irish woman named Bridget Murphy who went by
the nickname of Bridey. During their sessions together, Bernstein
marveled at detailed conversations with Bridey, who spoke with a
pronounced Irish brogue and spoke extensively of her life in 19th
century Ireland. When Bernstein published his book about the case, The
Search for Bridey Murphy in 1956, it became famous around the world and
sparked an excited interest in the possibility of reincarnation. Over
six sessions, Virginia revealed many details about Bridey's life,
including her birth date in 1798, her childhood amid a Protestant
family in the city of Cork, her marriage to Sean Brian Joseph McCarthy
and even her own death at the age of 60 in 1858. As Bridey, she
provided numerous specifics, such as names, dates, places, events,
shops and songs - things Virginia was always surprised about when she
awoke from the hypnosis. But could these details be verified? The
results of many investigations were mixed. Much of what Bridey said was
consistent with the time and place, and it seemed inconceivable that
someone who had never been to Ireland could provide so many details
with such confidence. However, journalists could find no historical
record of Bridey Murphy - not her birth, her family, her marriage, nor
her death. Believers supposed that this was merely due to the poor
recordkeeping of the time. But critics discovered inconsistencies in
Bridey's speech and also learned that Virginia had grown up near
- and had known well - an Irish woman named Bridle Corkell, and
that she was quite likely the inspiration for "Bridey Murphy." There
are flaws with this theory, too, however, keeping the case of Bridey
Murphy an intriguing mystery.
Monica / John Wainwright
In 1986, a woman known by the pseudonym "Monica" underwent hypnosis by
psychotherapist Dr. Garrett Oppenheim. Monica believed she discovered a
previous existence as a man named John Ralph Wainwright who lived in
the southwestern U.S. She knew that John grew up in Wisconsin, Arizona
and had vague memories of brothers and sisters. As a young man he
became a deputy sheriff and married the daughter of a bank president.
According the Monica's "memory," John was killed in the line of duty -
shot by three men he had once sent to jail - and died on July 7, 1907.
ujith / Sammy
Born in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), Sujith was barely old enough to
speak when he began to tell his family of a previous life as a man
named Sammy. Sammy, he said, had lived eight miles to the south in the
village of Gorakana. Sujith told of Sammy's life as a railroad worker
and as a dealer of a bootleg whiskey called arrack. After an argument
with his wife, Maggie, Sammy stormed out of his house and got drunk,
and while walking along a busy highway was struck by a truck and
killed. Young Sujith often demanded to be taken to Gorakana and had an
abnormal taste for cigarettes and arrack. Sjuth's family had never been
to Gorakana and hadn't known anyone that fit Sammy's description, yet,
being Buddhists, were believers in reincarnation and therefore not
completely surprised by the boy's story. Investigations, including one
conducted by a professor of psychiatry from the University of Virginia,
confirmed as many as 60 of the details of the life of Sammy Fernando
who indeed had lived and died (six months before Sujith's birth) just
as Sujith had said. When Sujith was introduced to Sammy's family,
he surprised them with his familiarity with them and his knowledge of
their pet names. This is one of the strongest cases of reincarnation on
Hypnosis isn't the only method by which past lives are recalled. A
Britsh woman was distressed by a recurring dream in which she, as a
child, and another child with whom she was playing, fell from a high
gallery in their home to their deaths. She vividly remembered the black
and white checked marble floor on which they died. She repeated the
dream to several of her friends. Sometime later, the woman was visiting
an old house that had a reputation for being haunted. With its black
and white marble floor, the house immediately was recognized by the
woman as the scene of the deaths in her dreams. She subsequently
learned that a small brother and sister really had fallen to their
deaths in the house. Was she recalling a past life, or had she somehow
psychically tuned in to this dramatic history?
Graham Huxtable / Arnall Bloxham
Another fascinating case of past life regression took place in Wales
where Graham Huxtable, a mild-mannered swimming instructor, was placed
under hypnosis by hypnotist Arnall Bloxham. In a trance, Huxtable not
just recalled a past life, he seemed to actually become a man named
Ben, a boisterous gunner on an 18th century British frigate called
Aggie. While inhabited by the personality of Ben, Huxtable would call
out orders to the men on the ship in a heavy accent and use obscure
nautical terminology. He even relived every moment of a battle in which
he eventually suffered an injury to his leg. Bloxham had difficulty
bringing Huxtable out of trance, but when he did, the man complained of
a pain in his leg. And when Bloxham replayed a recording of the
session, Huxtable was astonished at what he heard, recalling nothing of
his experience under the trance. Although experts could verify the
terms and language that "Ben" used, they could not find records of a
ship named Aggie nor of the ship's captain he had named. Past life
recall... or a case of multiple personality?
T.E. / Jensen Jacoby
In 1958, a woman who in this case was identified only as T.E.,
underwent hypnosis by her husband, a medical doctor and experimenter
with past life regression. Once in a trance state, T.E.'s voice
deepened to one that was distinctly male and she declared in broken
English that she was a farmer named Jensen Jacoby who lived in the 17th
century. T.E.'s speech was peppered with Swedish words, a language that
she and her husband swore she did not know. After six hypnotic
sessions, T.E. was talking exclusively in Swedish, even conversing
fluently with several Swedish persons that her husband had brought in
to witness the phenomenon. These native Swedes confirmed that she was
speaking a somewhat archaic form of Swedish that would have been spoken
at the time Jensen said he had lived.
These are just a few of the more well-known examples of past life
recall. Those who practice past life regression therapy today claim
that it has certain benefits. They say it can shed light on present
life personal issues and relationships and can even help to heal the
wounds suffered in a past life.
Reincarnation has also been one of the central tenets of many Eastern
religions, and one can return to this existence in a new physical form,
whether it is human, animal or even vegetable. The form one takes, it
is believed, is determined by the law of karma - that the higher or
lower form one takes is due to one's behavior in the previous life. The
concept of past lives is also one of the beliefs of L. Ron Hubbard's
Scientology, which states that "past lives are suppressed by the
painfulness of the memory of those former existences. To restore the
memory of one's whole existence, it is necessary to bring one up to
being able to confront such experiences."
TWO SIDES TO EVERY COIN DEPARTMENT -
Belief in Reincarnation
Tied to Memory Errors
Tendency could explain why some cling to reincarnation claims.
People who believe they have lived past lives as, say, Indian
princesses or battlefield commanders are more likely to make certain
types of memory errors, according to a new study.
The propensity to make these mistakes could, in part, explain why
people cling to implausible reincarnation claims in the first
Researchers recruited people who, after undergoing hypnotic therapy,
had come to believe that they had past lives.
Subjects were asked to read aloud a list of 40 non-famous names, and
then, after a two-hour wait, told that they were going to see a list
consisting of three types of names: non-famous names they had already
seen (from the earlier list), famous names, and names of non-famous
people that they had not previously seen. Their task was to identify
which names were famous.
The researchers found that, compared to control subjects who dismissed
the idea of reincarnation, past-life believers were almost twice as
likely to misidentify names. In particular, their tendency was to
wrongly identify as famous the non-famous names they had seen in the
first task. This kind of error, called a source-monitoring error,
indicates that a person has difficulty recognizing where a memory came
People who are likely to make these kinds of errors might end up
convincing themselves of things that aren’t true, said lead researcher
Maarten Peters of Maastricht University in The Netherlands. When people
who are prone to making these mistakes undergo hypnosis and are
repeatedly asked to talk about a potential idea — like a past life —
they might, as they grow more familiar with it, eventually convert the
idea into a full-blown false memory.
Past life memories are not the only type of implausible memories that
have been studied in this manner. Richard McNally, a clinical
psychologist at Harvard University, has found that self-proclaimed
alien abductees are also twice as likely to commit source monitoring
As for what might make people more prone to committing such errors to
begin with, McNally says that it could be the byproduct of especially
vivid imagery skills. He has found that people who commonly make
source-monitoring errors respond to and imagine experiences more
strongly than the average person, and they also tend to be more
“It might be harder to discriminate between a vivid image that you’d
generated yourself and the memory of a perception of something you
actually saw,” he said in a telephone interview.
Peters also found in his study, detailed in the March issue of
Consciousness and Cognition, that people with implausible memories are
also more likely to be depressed and to experience sleep problems, and
this could also make them more prone to memory mistakes.
HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH DEPARTMENT -
Friday the 13th and Other
The Number 13
The fear of the number 13 is fairly recent and mostly a western
phenomenon. The first mention in writing of the fear of the number 13
was when it was named Triskaidekaphobia. The word is a modern
formation; dating only from 1911 (it first appeared in I H Coriat’s
Abnormal Psychology). The first writing of 13 as a number to be avoided
appeared in 1711:
• "On a sudden an old woman unluckily observed there were thirteen of
us in company. This remark struck a panic terror into several who were
present . . . but a friend of mine, taking notice that one of our
female companions was big with child, affirmed there were fourteen in
the room . . ." (1711)
• "Notwithstanding . . . opinions in favour of odd numbers, the number
thirteen is considered as extremely ominous; it being held that, when
thirteen persons meet in a room, one of them will die within the year."
• "Many will not sail on a vessel when [thirteen] is the number of
persons on board; and it is believed that some fatal accident must
befall one of them." (1808)
Many claim that because Judas was the 13th person to sit at the Last
Supper and he betrayed Jesus that this is the reason it is unlucky.
Friday the 13th
The fear of Friday the 13th (Paraskevidekatriaphobia) is said to be
from many ancient sources; yet it seems that Books of English folklore
generally cite a 1913 Notes & Queries reference as the earliest
known expression of Friday the 13th as a day of evil luck, and this
corresponds to what we found when we searched The New York Times and
the Los Angeles Times for similar references. In both newspapers the
first mentions of the ill-fated date occurred in 1908, as in this short
piece about a U.S. senator from Oklahoma who dared to tempt fate by
introducing 13 bills on Friday the 13th.
The omen of a Friday being bad luck is rooted in several countries and
religions as being the end of the week and a bad day to start any
project as it may interfere with worship.
Many people will relate the fear began based on Norse Mythology about
twelve gods having a feast in Valhalla. The mischievous Loki
gatecrashed the party as an uninvited 13th guest and arranged for Hod,
the blind god of darkness, to shoot Baldur, the god of joy and
gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Baldur was killed and the
Earth was plunged into darkness and mourning as a result.
Some say the arrest of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights
Templar, and 60 of his senior knights on Friday, October 13, 1307 by
King Philip IV of France is the origin of this superstition. That day
thousands of Templars were arrested and subsequently tortured. They
then 'confessed' and were executed. From that day on, Friday the 13th
was considered by followers of the Templars as an evil and unlucky day.
This is prevalent in Freemason culture. This however is an explanation
of why it is unlucky. It was not practiced as an unlucky day until the
late 19th century and very much since the 1950s in America and western
style European countries. In some countries Tuesday the 13th is the
Folklore offers 2 cures for Friday the 13th; one recommendation is to
climb to the top of a mountain or skyscraper and burn all the socks you
own that have holes in them. Another is to stand on your head and eat a
piece of gristle.
Breaking a mirror
Breaking a mirror is an older superstition and appears in very old
text. To break a mirror it is said this will bring you 7 years of bad
luck or might cause the death of someone in the family. If a mirror is
broken, remove it from the house and, if possible, bury it in the
ground (to counteract the evil consequences).
Before the invention of mirrors, man gazed at his reflection, his
"other self," in pools, ponds, and lakes. If the image was distorted,
it was a mark of impending disaster. The "unbreakable" metal mirrors of
the early Egyptians and Greeks were valued items because of their
magical properties. If a mirror of polished metal or stone broke it was
a very bad omen.
After glass mirrors were introduced, it was the Romans who tagged the
broken mirror a sign of bad luck. The length of the prescribed
misfortune, 7 years, came from the Roman belief that man's body was
physically rejuvenated every 7 years, and he became, in effect, a new
Queen Elizabeth's court magician and well-known alchemist, John Dee,
used a mirror for scrying (seeing the future). He has been credited
with prophesying the plot to kill King James in 1605.
Because mirrors were thought to hold the key to the future, to break
one was to shatter your own future.
Covering a mirror when someone dies
The Victorians had a lot superstitions associated with death. When
there was a corpse in the house you had to cover all the mirrors," it
was believed that mirrors reflected your soul and at death the soul of
the loved one was near so many ominous things could happen:
• To see your reflection in a mirror is to see your own soul, (which is
why a vampire, who is without a soul, have no reflection.)
• If a couple first catch sight of each other in a mirror, they will
have a happy marriage.
• Any mirrors in a room where someone has recently died, must be
covered so that the dead person's soul does not get trapped behind the
glass. Superstition has it that the Devil invented mirrors for this
• It is bad luck to see your face in a mirror when sitting by
• Before mirrors, in ancient societies, if you caught sight of your
reflection or dreamt of it, you would soon die.
• Someone seeing their reflection in a room where someone has recently
died, will soon die themselves.
The origins of covering a mirror are rooted in the Jewish religion and
their respect for the dead when sitting Shiva:
It is proper to cover the mirrors (with sheets, or fogged spray
provided by the funeral home) in the shiva house for the following
• During shiva, a mourner is striving to ignore his/her own physicality
and vanity in order to concentrate on the reality of being a soul.
• A mirror represents social acceptance through the enhancement of
one's appearance. Jewish mourning is supposed to be lonely, silent;
dwelling on one's personal loss. Covering the mirrors symbolizes this
withdrawal from society's gaze.
• Prayer services, commonly held in the shiva house, cannot take place
in front of a mirror. When we pray, we focus on God and not on
• Physical relations between a husband and wife are suspended during
the week of shiva, and thus the need for physical beauty is removed.
Making sure the deceased leave the house feet first
In Victorian times it was believed when the body was taken from the
house, it had to be carried out feet first because if it was carried
out head first, it could look back and beckon others to follow it into
This ritual seems to have origins in the voodoo culture. In voodooism
“a bed should never be placed with its foot pointing toward the street
door, for corpses leave the house feet foremost.”
In the Philippines, the coffin is carried out the main door (or in some
places, out the window) feet first. The head must not face the door or
window. My father says the reason head does not go out first is that
the act symbolizes the exiting of a person. When a person steps into a
room, his feet come in first, then the body follows. If the head was to
go out first, it is believed that the spirit of the deceased will not
leave the house. The widow, children, and immediate family members are
prohibited from carrying the coffin or else they will become ill and
Stopping the clock when someone dies
Again in Victorian times, when someone died in the house and there was
a clock in the room, you had to stop the clock at the death hour or the
family of the household would have bad luck.
Its origin seems to emanate from Germany and Great Britain. They
believed that when a person died time stood still for them and a new
period of existence started without time. To permit time to continue
was to invite the spirit of the deceased to remain and haunt
unendingly. Stopping time was a way to allow the deceased to move on.
Bells were rung at a funeral and bells are the forerunner of clocks.
The word clock coming from the word bell, and this would signify a new
time period beginning for the deceased.
Black cats are also a very old and changing belief. In actuality a pure
black cat id one of the healthiest and longest living cat. And of
course the superstition is all rooted in power and religion. It began
in the time of the druids, knowing the black cat was
Bad Moon on the rise, or full moon
The full moon or bad moon has its roots all the way back to Hippocrates
Hippocrates wrote that "no physician should be entrusted with the
treatment of disease who was ignorant of the science of astronomy.”
Even when, in the 17th century, Johannes Kepler caused the disciplines
of astrology and astronomy to diverge with his discovery that the
motions of the planets followed mathematical laws, the belief in the
moon's influence lingered. And lingered it has to this day.
The effect of the moon’s gravitational pull does indeed have an effect
on our systems, how we as individuals deal with it. It was believed the
moon’s effect was the cause of mental illness and therefore another
term was Lunacy.
In the 16th century, Paracelsus wrote that "mania has the following
symptoms: frantic behaviour, unreasonableness, constant restlessness
and mischievousness. Some patients suffer from it depending on the
phases of the moon."
Lord Blackstone, an 18th-century English jurist, was the first to
define a condition of madness exacerbated by the lunar cycle: "A
lunatic, or non compos mentis, is properly one who hath lucid
intervals, sometimes enjoying his senses and sometimes not and that
frequently depending upon the changes of the moon."
During the 19th century, the German psychologist Ewald Hering observed
in his textbook of psychiatry that "with full moon, increasing mania."
At the Bethlehem (or Bedlam) Hospital in London, inmates were chained
and flogged at certain phases of the moon "to prevent violence." This
barbarous practice was abolished only in 1808 through the efforts of
John Haslam, the hospital's apothecary.
In the late 20th century numerous studies were done to evaluate the
validity of the effect of the moon on mental status as well as the
penchant for crime. These studies were conducted with mental patients,
suspected mental patients, criminals and ordinary people. It concluded
the possibility of a lunar relation was .007% based on 20 years of
Why is it still such a powerful superstition? The philosopher and poet
George Santayana once observed, "Men become superstitious, not because
they have too much imagination, but because they are not aware that
they have any."
Source: San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau
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