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Don't Let Them Push You Around! Say NO to government conspiracies! Tell the pushy aliens trying to probe your body with strange instruments to TAKE A HIKE! RESIST domestic agencies who think that your freedom and privacy are a thing of the past.  FIGHT BACK against the big corporations who make themselves richer by making the rest of us poorer. QUESTION politicians who say that they know what's best for us and that any questions are  treasonous. Freedom, and our rights are  not negotiable. And if any of them give you any lip, tell them that CONSPIRACY JOURNAL is on to their little game.  That'll shut em' up!

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such curtain-climbing stories as:

- Report: Gulf’s Low-Oxygen ‘Dead Zone’ Growing -
- Possessed by Evil -
- War of the Worlds in ’52, Says Author -
AND:  Paranormal Happenings in the Workplace

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of
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WHAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW!

Unbelievable Conspiracies From Some of the Worlds Best Writers


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O Think you hear voices? Well you probably do as big brother attempts to pervert our thinking and confuse the hell out of us. Don't become a human zombie. Learn how to protect yourself.
O Think that Earth is one molten ball of fire on the inside? Where have you been my friend -- its hollow with a central sun (and even the famed explorer Richard Byrd wandered inside while exploring the poles), and the planet is also honeycombed with caverns inhabited by all sorts of creatures. Ask Richard Shaver who was down there with the Dero and the Tero. No this is not science fiction -- it's the real thing dear friend.

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In This Fantastic Issue:
The Hidden History of Haitian Vodou By K. Filan
Oak Island Money Pit:
The Dig Just Keeps Getting Deeper
An Interview with Ray Santilli
The Signs of Stigmata
George Hensley's Serpent Handlers
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- NOT SO FRIENDLY WATERS DEPARTMENT -

Report: Gulf’s Low-Oxygen ‘Dead Zone’ Growing

Researchers predict phenomenon will be worst in at least 22 years.

Researchers predict that the recurring oxygen-depleted “dead zone” off the Louisiana coast will grow this summer to 8,543 square miles — its largest in at least 22 years.

The forecast, released Monday by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, is based on a federal estimate of nitrogen from the Mississippi River watershed to the Gulf of Mexico. It discounts the effect storms might have.

The “dead zone” in the northern Gulf, at the end of the Mississippi River system, is one of the largest areas of oxygen-depleted coastal waters in the world. Low oxygen, or hypoxia, can be caused by pollution from farm fertilizer, soil erosion and discharge from sewage treatment plants, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The pollution is carried downstream by the Mississippi and comes from throughout the U.S.

Excess nutrients can spur the growth of algae, and when the algae die, their decay consumes oxygen faster than it can be brought down from the surface. As a result, fish, shrimp and crabs can be forced to move or die, the consortium Web site says.

Eugene Turner, a professor of oceanography and coastal sciences at Louisiana State University who is involved with the report, said it’s tough to determine whether fish are dying because of hypoxia or other factors, such as climatic effects. However, “we really don’t want to mess with this, to make it worse,” he said.

The dead zone usually begins forming in the spring and stays through summer and into the fall. Though the size of the dead zone has shrunk some years, on average it has steadily grown larger, Turner said.

If the prediction stands, it would be the largest dead zone measured since mapping began in 1985, the report says. The consortium has scheduled an assessment of the dead zone for summer’s end.

Source: MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19798001/

- MADE WITH LOVE FROM MOM'S KITCHEN DEPARTMENT -

Yes, the Universe Looks Like A Fix

We will never explain the cosmos by taking on faith either divinity or physical laws. True meaning is to be found within nature.

Scientists are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth - the universe looks suspiciously like a fix. The issue concerns the very laws of nature themselves. For 40 years, physicists and cosmologists have been quietly collecting examples of all too convenient "coincidences" and special features in the underlying laws of the universe that seem to be necessary in order for life, and hence conscious beings, to exist. Change any one of them and the consequences would be lethal. Fred Hoyle, the distinguished cosmologist, once said it was as if "a super- intellect has monkeyed with physics".

To see the problem, imagine playing God with the cosmos. Before you is a designer machine that lets you tinker with the basics of physics. Twiddle this knob and you make all electrons a bit lighter, twiddle that one and you make gravity a bit stronger, and so on. It happens that you need to set thirtysomething knobs to fully describe the world about us. The crucial point is that some of those metaphorical knobs must be tuned very precisely, or the universe would be sterile.

Example: neutrons are just a tad heavier than protons. If it were the other way around, atoms couldn't exist, because all the protons in the universe would have decayed into neutrons shortly after the big bang. No protons, then no atomic nucleuses and no atoms. No atoms, no chemistry, no life. Like Baby Bear's porridge in the story of Goldilocks, the universe seems to be just right for life. So what's going on?

The intelligent design movement has inevitably seized on the Goldilocks enigma as evidence of divine providence, prompting a scientific backlash and boosting the recent spate of God-bashing bestsellers.

Fuelling the controversy is an unanswered question lurking at the very heart of science - the origin of the laws of physics. Where do they come from? Why do they have the form that they do? Traditionally, scientists have treated the laws of physics as simply "given", elegant mathematical relationships that were somehow imprinted on the universe at its birth, and fixed thereafter. Inquiry into the origin and nature of the laws was not regarded as a proper part of science.

But the embarrassment of the Goldilocks enigma has prompted a rethink. The Cambridge cosmologist Martin Rees, president of The Royal Society, suggests the laws of physics aren't absolute and universal but more akin to local bylaws, varying from place to place on a mega-cosmic scale. A God's-eye view would show our universe as merely a single representative amid a vast assemblage of universes, each with its own bylaws. Rees calls this system "the multiverse", and it is an increasingly popular idea among cosmologists. Only rarely within the variegated cosmic quilt will a universe possess bio-friendly laws and spawn life. It would then be no surprise that we find ourselves in a universe apparently customised for habitation; we could hardly exist in one where life is impossible. If Rees is right, the impression of design is illusory: our universe has simply hit the jackpot in a gigantic cosmic lottery.

The multiverse theory certainly cuts the ground from beneath intelligent design, but it falls short of a complete explanation of existence. For a start, there has to be a physical mechanism to make all those universes and allocate bylaws to them. This process demands its own laws, or meta-laws. Where do they come from? The problem has simply been shifted up a level from the laws of the universe to the meta-laws of the multiverse.

The root cause of all the difficulty can be traced to the fact that both religion and science appeal to some agency outside the universe to explain its lawlike order. Dumping the problem in the lap of a pre-existing designer is no explanation at all, as it merely begs the question of who designed the designer. But appealing to a host of unseen universes and a set of unexplained meta-laws is scarcely any better.

This shared failing is no surprise, because the very notion of physical law has its origins in theology. The idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws comes straight out of monotheism, which was the dominant influence in Europe at the time science as we know it was being formulated by Isaac Newton and his contemporaries. Just as classical Christianity presents God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, so physicists envisage their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships. Furthermore, Christians believe the world depends utterly on God for its existence, while the converse is not the case. Correspondingly, physicists declare that the universe is governed by eternal laws, but the laws remain impervious to events in the universe.

I think this entire line of reasoning is now outdated and simplistic. We will never fully explain the world by appealing to something outside it that must simply be accepted on faith, be it an unexplained God or an unexplained set of mathematical laws. Can we do better? Yes, but only by relinquishing the traditional idea of physical laws as fixed, perfect relationships. I propose instead that the laws are more like computer software: programs being run on the great cosmic computer. They emerge with the universe at the big bang and are inherent in it, not stamped on it from without like a maker's mark.

Man-made computers are limited in their performance by finite processing speed and memory. So, too, the cosmic computer is limited in power by its age and the finite speed of light. Seth Lloyd, an engineer at MIT, has calculated how many bits of information the observable universe has processed since the big bang. The answer is one followed by 122 zeros. Crucially, however, the limit was smaller in the past because the universe was younger. Just after the big bang, when the basic properties of the universe were being forged, its information capacity was so restricted that the consequences would have been profound.

Here's why. If a law is a truly exact mathematical relationship, it requires infinite information to specify it. In my opinion, however, no law can apply to a level of precision finer than all the information in the universe can express. Infinitely precise laws are an extreme idealisation with no shred of real world justification. In the first split second of cosmic existence, the laws must therefore have been seriously fuzzy. Then, as the information content of the universe climbed, the laws focused and homed in on the life-encouraging form we observe today. But the flaws in the laws left enough wiggle room for the universe to engineer its own bio-friendliness.

Thus, three centuries after Newton, symmetry is restored: the laws explain the universe even as the universe explains the laws. If there is an ultimate meaning to existence, as I believe is the case, the answer is to be found within nature, not beyond it. The universe might indeed be a fix, but if so, it has fixed itself.

Source: The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/thisweek/story/0,,2111502,00.html

- THE BEAST WITHIN DEPARTMENT -

Possessed by Evil


Horror of the Windigo drove some to murder

Until reports of a murder in Cat Lake, Ont., in 1898 surfaced in Winnipeg, few settlers knew about the Windigo, the worst kind of evil spirit in Algonquin folklore.

To the ancient Algonquin (which includes Cree, Ojibway and Blackfeet) of old, Windigo was known by many names such as Chenoo, Atchen, Witiku, and Kewok.

In January, Manitoba Provincial Police officers arrested two members of the village of no-treaty Cree at Lac Seul for killing their chief, Ahwahsakahmig.

The chief claimed he'd been invaded by Windigo and begged four villagers to shoot him.

"Ahwahsakahmig lifted his right arm and showed us where to shoot," said one of the men through an interpreter.

The chief's body was taken to the edge of the village, covered with brush, and destroyed by fire. The two men who compiled with his wishes were later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to four months in jail.

Back then, the justice system in northwestern Ontario was the responsibility of Manitoba.

The sacred legends of the Sandy Lake Cree -- as told by Carl Ray and James Steven -- claim "the demented Windigo is the most horrible creature in the land of the Cree and Ojibway" Legend claims a Cree village at Sandy Lake Ghost Post was destroyed by fire caused by a Windigo which was once a normal human who was taken over by "a savage cannibalistic spirit. When the ugly creature attacks, it shows men no mercy. This monster will kill and devour its own family members to satisfy its lust for human flesh." The first report of a Windigo in Manitoba occurred at Norway House in 1913, when a young Cree woman became delirious and began speaking in a language unknown to her family and friends.

According to legend, the superstitious Cree hanged the woman from a tree and buried her body under a pile of rocks to prevent the Windigo from escaping and invading other villagers.

The story ran rampant through the fur trade, but despite a long investigation, no charges were laid by the RCMP.

At Lac la Ronge in northern Saskatchewan, an insane man is said to have beaten his wife and child to death with a club. The village voted to stake the man, naked, in the bush to be stung to death by mosquitoes.

To make sure Windigo did not remain, the village was burned and the people moved.

Mounties also received word that a father compelled his daughter to chop off his head after he claimed to have been invaded by Windigo.

The legend claimed the father sharpened his axe, took his daughter into the woods and commanded her to cut off his head. When she refused, she was threatened with death.

"If you don't kill me, I shall kill all of you. A Windigo has come into me and I must do what he tells me. He tells me that you must kill me to stop me from killing you and your brothers and sisters," the man is said to have told his daughter.

When the man placed his neck across a log, the daughter chopped off his head.

The demented man was buried with his head by his side. In order to trap the Windigo, the log used as a chopping block was set on top of the grave and covered with stones.

Other legends claim the bodies of people invaded by Windigo were chopped into pieces because of the belief that if the evil spirit was abused, it might think twice about entering another human.

The last reported Windigo "sighting" in Manitoba occurred in January 1934 at Lac Brochet, 325 miles north of The Pas.

The RCMP dispatched Sgt. Percy Rose to investigate after reports that a man had been left outside to freeze to death.

The story goes that the victim became violent and abused his fellow trappers as they returned to base camp located about 40 miles north of Reindeer Lake. Mounties were told that the man became so violent that his companions were forced to tie the man to his sled for the trip home.

The party was so afraid the man had been invaded by a Windigo, they left him tied to his sled overnight and he froze to death.

RCMP also heard the leaders of the party left the demented man tied to his sled because they feared Windigo would enter the shelter and invade their bodies.

No reports of charges could be found.

There have been no recent sighting of a Windigo, but that doesn't mean one is not ready to take on the form of a half-beast, half-man and again begin to feast on human flesh and blood.

Source: CANOE
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/WeirdNews/2007/07/15/4341704-sun.html

- LEGEND OF THE FLATWOODS MONSTER DEPARTMENT -

War of the Worlds in ’52, Says Author


Sci-fi buffs flocked to a fantasy film in 1984 bearing a title prediction that 2010 would be the year earthlings make contact with aliens. Actually, contact has come, and it was less than friendly, says one UFO researcher.

Three decades earlier, in fact, back in 1952, just five years after the famed Roswell incident, the American military engaged a convoy of alien aircraft with orders to destroy them in a pitched air battle right off the Atlantic Coast, says Frank Feschino, author of “The Flatwoods Monster,” a phenomenon that rocked a tiny West Virginia hamlet that year.

An illustrator and writer, Feschino has produced a follow-up book, this one titled “Shoot Them Down,” an effort produced after years of painstaking research of the U.S. Air Force’s once-classified files on unidentified flying saucers and digesting countless magazine articles on the matter.

His years of exhaustive study have convinced Feschino that American jet fighters did indeed make contact — at the point of their guns.

“Shoot Them Down” draws its name from orders Feschino says President Truman gave military commanders while an American public was growing increasingly jittery over coast-to-coast UFO sightings.

Two years earlier, Truman had remarked at a news conference, “I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.”

“There are tons of documents right there, intelligence reports, talking about pilots chasing these things, going after them,” Feschino said, citing the once-hidden reports on the Air Force’s so-called Project Blue Book.

“That’s when it hit the fan, and the government stepped up. That is when they had to simmer the whole country down. The whole country was in an uproar. Everybody was panicking. The job of the government is to keep things under control, and they couldn’t let the country panic.”

UFOs were buzzing the entire country that year, “and a good chunk of them were over military installations, and power plants, like Oak Ridge,” the author says.

Feschino pulls his theory largely from the writings of Air Force Capt. Edward Ruppelt, a decorated World War II veteran, recalled to duty when hostilities erupted in Korea.

Roswell might stand out as the mother of all UFO stories, but 1952 was the most prolific year by far for aircraft sightings — by one account, some 30,000 alone in the United States, many of them reported in local newspapers around the country.

Craft ranged from discs to round balls to elongated, cigar-shaped ships, the Port Orange, Fla., resident said.

“Capt. Ruppelt was dropping clues throughout his book,” Feschino said. “And that’s the premise of my book. During that time of 1952 we had the highest amount of sightings.”

In a book he wrote, Ruppelt said “other assorted historians have pointed out that normally the UFOs are peaceful,” but he alluded to a chase in which one of two pilots engaging unidentified aircraft perished.

“They just weren’t ready to be observed closely,” he wrote.

“If the Air Force hadn’t slapped down the security lid, these writers might not have reached this conclusion (about peaceful aliens). There have been other and more lurid duels of death. That’s what everybody missed.”

Feschino flatly says the Air Force took on alien aircraft just off the coast with orders to destroy them in a move to pacify a public growing ever restless over bizarre sightings. In the battle, apparently one craft hobbled back inland, resting on a knoll in a West Virginia community known as Flatwoods. And it was there on Sept. 12 a group of boys, accompanied by some adults, scampered up the hillside and saw a metallic, 12-foot object emitting a sulfuric odor. Locals dubbed it “the Flatwoods Monster.”

“I have no idea who they were,” Feschino said.

Based on his interviews with some 200 denizens of Flatwoods, however, the author believes the aliens remain interested in rural West Virginia.

“There are people in West Virginia who have been seeing UFOs for the past 50 years, and there are key locations where they are being seen — Wheeling, Huntington, and quite a few south of Charleston, around Cabin Creek, even down in the Beckley area,” he said.

Feschino is a headliner for a Sept. 7-8 UFO summit in Charleston, organized by promoter Larry Bailey. Joining him will be Freddie May, a witness to the Flatwoods incident, and nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, considered the leading UFO researcher in the world. Friedman has appeared on numerous cable TV shows with his belief that extraterrestrials are frequent flyers to planet Earth.

At the two-day gathering, Feschino plans to sell his new book, featuring a special, limited edition cover for West Virginia consumers.

At a book-signing in Tamarack, the author was approached by an aging woman after the crowd of buyers began to disperse.

“She tugged on my shirt and leaned up to my ear and said, ‘We’re still seeing those things up here all the time,’” the author said.

Source: The Register-Herald
http://www.register-herald.com/local/local_story_195213738.html

- DAYS OF FUTURE PAST DEPARTMENT -

Backward Research Goes Forward

University of Washington physicist (and science-fiction author) John Cramer is moving forward with his experiment in backward causality, thanks in part to tens of thousands of dollars in contributions sent in by his fans. Although Cramer emphasizes that his lab is looking at “nonlocal quantum communication” rather than backward time travel per se, the gadgetry he’s assembling could settle a controversy surrounding a seemingly faster-than-light effect that Albert Einstein thought was downright spooky.

Boiled down to its basics, the experiment involves splitting laser light into two beams, so that characteristics of one beam are reflected in the other beam as well. That's an example of what physicists call quantum entanglement. Specifically, Cramer has been planning to fiddle with one of the entangled laser beams such that it takes on the property of waves or particles. If one beam behaves like particles, the entangled photons of light in the other beam should behave like particles, too.

So what happens when the beams go their separate ways, and you conduct a wave-vs.-particle measurement on one beam? When someone else checks the other beam, the same measurement should yield the same result. In fact, you could visualize using the wave-vs.-particle toggle as a means for communicating information, sort of like Morse code. Theoretically, you could check one beam to receive a message instantaneously from whoever is fiddling with the other beam - even if you're separated from the receiver by millions of light-years.

That's what Einstein considered "spooky action at a distance." Such an effect could send information faster than light beams could travel, running counter to special relativity - and thus Einstein thought the effect was impossible to achieve. However, the evidence is mounting that quantum entanglement actually happens.

Cramer planned to start out by testing this kind of communication through quantum entanglement - that's the "nonlocal communication" part of the experiment. If that worked, Cramer would go even further: He would send one of the entangled beams (call it Signal A) through a circuitous detour - say, a few miles of fiber-optic cable - then fiddle with it when it came out of the cable. If the principles behind nonlocal communication held true, the evidence of that fiddling should be detected at a corresponding place in the other entangled beam (call it Signal B).

Now brace yourself for the backward-causality part: Because Signal B followed a shorter route to its detector, the fiddling in Signal A could theoretically show up in Signal B before Cramer actually fiddles with Signal A. It would be as if Cramer's actions had an effect that worked backward in time.

If Cramer detected that effect, the findings would raise the kinds of paradoxes you might see in science-fiction novels or "The Twilight Zone." What if you detected a signal from the future, but then decided not to send the signal? (That's called the "bilking paradox"). What if you received the text of a best-selling manuscript from yourself in the future, had it published, then saved a copy so you could send it to yourself in the past? (Cramer calls that the "immaculate conception paradox.")

"Perhaps the fact that there are such paradoxes is nature's way of telling us that our experiment isn't going to work," Cramer said.

Nevertheless, Cramer is anxious to find out whether it might work - and if not, why not. He suggested the framework for the experiment a year ago, and no one could come up with a reason why it should fail. Except for the money problem. ...

For months, Cramer struggled to find the funding he needed to buy the equipment for the experiment, to no avail. Then an article about his plight came out in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer - and within weeks, thousands of dollars flowed in from foundations and private donors who, for one reason or another, wanted to find out what kind of answers Cramer could come up with.

Cramer said the fund now amounts to $40,000, and now that he's back from a tour of duty at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, he's moving forward with the laser experiment. "If that laser holds out, then I think we're in pretty good shape," he told me today.

He's hoping to complete the experiment by September, when the equipment he's using will have to be moved someplace else to make room for remodeling. "It would be very nice if we could finish up by the 15th of September, but I don't know if we'll be able to do that or not," he said.

Cramer is grateful for all the donations, but he admitted that he's "a little uncomfortable" about the way things have gone so far. Usually, physicists work in obscurity, get some funding, conduct an experiment, publish the results - and only then does the publicity come, if the results are spectacular enough. The way Cramer sees it, there's been a heck of a lot of publicity already about an experiment that has yet to be done.

"We seem to be doing it sort of backwards, in a sense," he said. Then, realizing that he's been talking about backward causality, he added with a chuckle that "it may be relevant to the experiment we're trying to do."

Cramer, who is the author of two science-fiction novels and a regular columnist for Analog magazine, said the experiment represents "a rare opportunity to push the envelope of quantum mechanics." No matter how it turns out, the results will be put to good use, he said.

"If this experiment we're doing works, then I will follow up and push it as hard as possible. And if it doesn't work, I will write a science-fiction novel where it does work," he said. "It's a win-win situation."

Source: Cosmic Log
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/07/17/274531.aspx

- THE WITCHING WAYS DEPARTMENT -

Do You Believe in Magic?

No need to run widdershins around a tree, there are many mythic realms left to explore.

It is becoming a serious challenge to dodge Harry Potter this month, what with the release of the fifth film instalment coinciding (shrewdly) with the massively promoted appearance of the seventh and last book in the series (seven is a biggie in the mythic realm).

Bookmakers are laying odds on whether the boy with the mark on his forehead survives the last page - and if he does, on which secondary character is nailed in his stead. There seems to be universal agreement that not everyone is getting out of this book alive. J. K. Rowling, as sophisticated a marketing person as she is successful a writer (yes, they might be connected), has let slip sundry hints that add fuel to this speculation - and anxiety.

Given this, it seems obvious that magic and wizardry are in the air and a moment to consider context and antecedents might be in order - before everyone begins running widdershins around an oak tree (that's counterclockwise, and it was a magic-related action once upon a time).

Once upon a time, as Keith Thomas makes clear in his magisterial Religion and the Decline of Magic (Scribner's, 1971), pretty well all of us would have done the widdershins thing or a local variant when confronted with something dramatic or threatening. If a cow was sick, a pregnancy was difficult, or the neighbour's son wouldn't notice us, there were herbs, amulets, spells - and spellcasters who knew what to do. Nor does this fall into some distant, dusty past. Thomas shows how systems of belief well into the 17th century involved the pervasive acceptance of a supernatural element to the world, and the need for ordinary men and women to walk warily.

To placate spirits, or to invoke them, a wizard, witch, cunning man or wise woman might be required. Organized religion knew of these beliefs, and intermingled ferocious combat with assimilation as responses. Many of the earliest churches in the British Isles and elsewhere (Thomas focuses on England) were sited on ground already holy in pre-Christian rites - forest pools, oak groves, sudden hills - to make it easier for people to transfer allegiance to the new faith.

Keith Thomas backgrounds this and then explores the tensions that emerged during the Enlightenment as science added its voice to that of the clergy in denouncing "primitive" rituals, beliefs, traditions. The irony? Science was denounced too, of course, and much of its own early history emerges from studies such as astrology or forbidden alchemy: men trying - wizard-like - to transmute one element into another in search of the elixir of life, or gold from lead.

An understanding of the enduring power of this idea of magic in the world, the notion of wizards (or witches) among us with arcane knowledge, and how this lies at the gates of our modern age, emerges clearly from reading Thomas's masterpiece. You will also know which way widdershins is.

Before Potter there was, of course, The Lord of the Rings (Unwin, 1954-55; widely available). Any discussion of wizards in contemporary literature quickly reaches the figure of J. R. R. Tolkien. What too few readers might realize, especially those who know his vision only through Hollywood's rendering (or distortion) of his trilogy, is how brilliantly Tolkien the novelist made use of Tolkien the scholar.

This was a man who spent a lifetime reading and reflecting upon myth and folklore. Magic in Tolkien isn't arbitrary or superimposed. It is elegantly derived from traditions that go back to Anglo-Saxon epic poems (and riddles!), Icelandic sagas and the Finnish national epic, The Kalevala, among many other sources.

The point (in this context, at any rate) is that Tolkien's wizards and his magic are grounded in elements of our culture reaching back a long way. There's nothing childlike in an awareness of these roots. Myth and legend, folk tradition, are the underpinnings of a society. Indeed, one might say that to be unaware of them leaves us at risk of being as children, oblivious to the origins of our own world and worldview.

In purely literary terms, no one writing fiction in this vein since, no one making use of the idea of a magic-wielding wizard, can honestly say they were not influenced - directly or indirectly - by Tolkien's work. But a great many of his horde of imitators have never bothered to go back to the sources as he did. It makes a difference.

Of course, there are gems to be found sifting among the works that followed. There are places to go next, in the bookstore or library, after Harry Potter ends one way or another and the bookmakers cash in or pay out. Let me point to one of these jewels with a certain wistfulness.

This feels to be just a little past time, alas, because the author, Lloyd Alexander, died last month. Alexander was a witty, prolific, generous-hearted writer of literature for children through a career that spanned half a century and included the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. His major achievement is The Chronicles of Prydain (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968), a series of books for preteens that I bought for my youngest brother when he was 8 or 9 and read with my younger son when he was the same age.

Drawing upon many of the same folk and mythic traditions as Tolkien, filtering these through a gentler sensibility and for a younger readership, Alexander shapes a landscape inspired by medieval Wales and fills it with music and humour. His Prydain is a place where the borders between the "ordinary" and the supernatural are ... permeable, yet the challenge for his youthful protagonists (male and female) is to figure each other out, almost as much as it is to deal with the larger quests they are set.

In Alexander's work, wizards and their relationship to power also offer a gateway - benign but not without perils or lessons to be learned - that can lead a young reader along one of those legendary "Straight Roads" to a greater wisdom about the real world. There's another kind of magic in that.

Source: Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070714.BKREAD14/
TPStory/Entertainment

- TALES FROM THE MOUTH OF MADNESS DEPARTMENT -

Paranormal Happenings in the Workplace

Most paranormal occurrences or psychic manifestations we hear or read about happen in homes.

But these incidents can occur anywhere—in open spaces, churches, hotels, factories, business offices, schools, cars, ships, even inside an airplane.

Here are several true stories of paranormal happenings in the work place or commercial establishments:

Strange deaths in a car accessories manufacturing firm

In the mid-'80s, Bobby, general manager of the well-known firm in Makati City, called me because of certain strange happenings in their factory.

Bobby said when one of their employees died in October they did not see anything strange about it.

"Then in November another employee in the same department also died. Still nothing so unusual from our point of view. In January, a third employee in the same department also died. "That's when I began to think something strange was going on... Do you think there is something supernatural [here]?"

"I don't know," I replied. "Did you do anything different before the incidents began?"

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Well, anything new that you did in the factory that you did not do before. Think of anything you did before October."

Bobby said, "There's nothing unusual I can think of except I had our old warehouse cleaned to give way to an executive parking area. That warehouse was not being used for a long time..."

"That's it! "I exclaimed. "That could explain the deaths of your employees."

"What do you mean?" asked Bobby. "What has that got to do with our employees dying?"

"Hard to explain to a very rational guy like you," I told Bobby, a graduate of the Asian Institute of Management like me.

I told him that since the warehouse was not used for a long time, it could have been inhabited by negative elemental creatures.

When the place was cleaned, the creatures were dislocated. Bobby asked me if I could visit his factory and see if I could provide some explanation, and how to prevent future deaths, if indeed there was some connection among the strange events.

I brought a blind exorcist from Sampaloc who was known to contact bad spirits and get rid of them using a medium. The famous novelist and magazine editor Celso Al Carunungan came along out of curiosity.

The exorcist put his medium in a trance and asked the spirit to enter her. It was learned that there were hundreds of negative engkantos inside the warehouse.
When asked if they killed the three employees, the spirit said yes and explained, through the medium, "Because they were making too much noise at night."

I asked Bobby if that was true. He said the employees worked near the warehouse and usually worked overtime. To keep themselves awake, they played stereo music very loudly. That must have disturbed the engkantos.  They were also angered by the destruction of their habitat.

The exorcist asked them to leave the place but they refused. A battle of wills took place, which looked weird and surreal for us onlookers. The exorcist said he would melt each one of them if they refused to leave. How one could melt a spirit, I could not comprehend.

Anyway, it took the whole afternoon before the exorcist finally "destroyed" all the so-called engkantos in the place.

Whether one believes this story or not, the fact remains that, after the exorcism, there were no more deaths in the factory, which eventually transferred to Quezon City.

Dead tycoon wants favorite desk back

I worked in a large, multinational company in Makati in the late '80s. When the famous son of the company founder died, a museum containing the history and family memorabilia was established within the building.

A company historian-curator was hired to oversee the museum and update the records. The tycoon had three sons, all of them educated in the United States. Each of them headed subsidiaries of the vast conglomerate.

One day, the youngest son noticed his father's beautiful narra desk was just displayed in the museum. He decided to use it as his desk and asked that it be transferred to his office.

I heard that employees started to experience ghostly manifestations in the son's room after that. When nobody was around, typewriters sounded like they were being used, paper clips flew from one desk to another and security guards noticed somebody going inside the private restroom of the son then disappearing.

The son did not believe in ghosts and considered reports of haunting merely the product of his employees' fertile imagination. When I was asked to check at the room without the son's knowledge, I noticed the center of the ghostly visits was the old man's desk.

I suggested that it be returned to the museum, as the old man apparently did not want it used by anybody else. The son, I was told, laughed at the suggestion.

The manifestations continued for some time until the son returned his father's desk.

Source: Asian Journal
http://www.asianjournal.com/?c=53&a=21606

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