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Tired of being kept in the dark about what is really going on in the world today?  Are you sick of stories on your local news about how Britney messed up on TV? Worried that you're missing out on all of the strange stories out there about conspiracies, UFOs, and the paranormal?  Well cheer up! Because once again the Conspiracy Journal has arrived in your e-mail box to keep you informed on all the news and info that THEY don't want you to know.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such chakra-opening stories as:

- Americans Still Have Questions On 6th Anniversary of 9/11 -
- Thinking of Words Can Guide Wheelchair -
- The Lost Civilization of Antarctica -
- The Robertson Panel: The CIA Considers UFOs -
AND:  Alex, The Brainy Parrot Dies

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of
CONSPIRACY JOURNAL!

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


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In This Fantastic Issue:
Mental Armageddon: The Quest for Mind Control
Radionics: Mind Machines for Better Health
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America and Bio-Weapons: A Troubling Ethos
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- CONSPIRACY CORNER DEPARTMENT -

Americans Still Have Questions On 6th Anniversary of 9/11

Solemn ceremonies took place in the United States on Tuesday to mark six years since the September 11 attacks. Public opinion in the United States has much changed since the tragedy. Any doubts about the official theory of the attack would be considered blasphemy two years ago. But now Americans distrust the current administration so much that the commemoration day turned into a public discussion of alternative accounts of the 9/11 attacks.
Unusual Anniversary

Tuesday’s remembrance ceremonies to mark the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks looked quite traditionally. In New York, families of the dead, officials and visitors came to pay their respects near ground zero. New York’s former Mayor Rudolf Giuliani was among those to give a reading at the ceremony. His presence this time has sparked criticism from the families of those killed who accused him of making political capital out of the attack, although Mr. Guiliani has attended every year. Another presidential contender, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton also took part the ceremony, but he gave no speeches.

Elsewhere, head of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, FBI Director Robert Mueller and National Intelligence Director Mike McConnel spoke at the U.S. Congress with reports on the fight on terror. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden used the anniversary to praise one of the al-Qaeda hijackers, Walid al-Shehri, in his second video released this week. Al-Shehri was on American Airlines Flight 11, the first jet to crash into the World Trade Center in New York.

Unlike all previous years, the sixth anniversary was marked by a storm of accusations from nongovernmental organizations against the U.S. administration and intelligence. Reputation of incumbent authorities is so bad that an increasing number of Americans question the official account of the attack. 51 percent of Americans demand additional investigations into actions of the Bush administration during the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, according to an August opinion poll by Zogby International. 30 percent of those surveyed call for the administration’s immediate resignation.

Not all official probes into the 9/11 events are over. It is still unclear why a third New York skyscraper collapsed several hours after two Twin Towers fell down. Footage shows how it goes down glowingly in several seconds, which presumably came as a result of a fire. However, it looks like the building was packed with explosives. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has yet to establish it.

America is marking the sixth 9/11 anniversary with an increasing number of web-sites which gather and analyze information about the attacks. The 9/11 Truth Movement has become a sort of umbrella organization for all those who doubt the official account of the attack. Its adherents contend three assumptions – that terrorists flew into the Twin Towers on commercial jets, that New York skyscrapers collapsed as a result of a fire and that the attacks were orchestrated by al-Qaeda.

The Wrong Jets

French filmmaker Jules Naudet, who was making a documentary about New York firefighters in the morning on September 11, was the only one to capture Flight 11 plow into the north tower of the World Trade Center. The other jet, Flight 175 was filmed by dozens of cameras. But none of them caught details that would prove that it was exactly Flight 175 jet. Footage of the collision gave food for widespread speculation. It all began with a live on Fox News. A journalist who was on the site said that the jet had no windows and had a blue emblem on its tail, meaning that the plane was either a military or transportation one. This assumption is also supported by shots which allegedly show some additional equipment fixed onto the fuselage. Adherents of this theory believe that the passenger jets landed somewhere safely, their passengers were poisoned with gas while military planes were sent to crash into the buildings. Authors of the documentary 9/11 In Plane Site not only try to prove that the plans had additional equipment but they also show “rare footage” showing missiles strike the building just a moment before the collision. The quality of the footage is very poor but the authors boldly conclude that the World Trade Center was attacked by jets with adaptations which also fired missiles to make an additional explosion.

Another theory has been voiced by Morgan Reynolds, former chief economist in the George Bush administration. He said that the collision of flights 11 and 117 with the skyscrapers could be just product of computer animation, while the building was blown up by explosives.

Secondary Explosions

Perhaps the most contentious issue around the 9/11 tragedy is why the Twin Towers collapsed. No steel skyscraper was destroyed completed by the fire before 2001. Conspiracy theorists believe that the building crumbled down because of explosives triggered at order of the U.S. administration. This opinion has become widespread. Theologist David Ray Griffin promoted this idea in his book, The New Pearl Harbor. Physicist Steven Jones claims that the World Trade Center collapsed in controlled explosions which were caused by cumulative shells with extremely high temperature of combustion. This theory also gains support at Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Testimony of some witnesses of the attacks proves this idea. Firefighters and rescuers say that they heard something like secondary explosions. What is more, the molten metal found in the heaps of concrete at the site suggests that jet fuel could not have been the only incendiary used that day.

The strangest theory of the WTC collapse come from Scholars for 9/11 Truth. James Fetzer, head of the group, has endorsed the exploration of all possible theories. In one of these theories, Judy Wood and Morgan Reynolds suggest that the widespread damage and collapse of the Twin Towers was caused by energy weapon.

The molten metal found at ground zero have pushed some participations of the organization to a conclusion that the building were bombed with mini-nukes. Steven Johns, however, refuted this theory.

Terrorism Cover-Up

9/11 conspiracy theories can be largely divided in three types. In the first form, theorists say that the U.S. administration ignored intelligence about an upcoming attack and covered up its inadequate counter-terrorism strategies. Another version suggests that authorities deliberately ignored the warnings and failed to ensure that the hijackers were not intercepted. The most radical theories go further and say that several high-ranking officials within the government planned the attacks and collaborated with al-Qaeda in carrying them out.

All these accusations find breeding ground in discrepancies in reports by special services and paradoxical coincidences. For example, George Bush’s surprisingly calm behavior when he was informed of the attacks could be attributed to the fact that he had known about the plans. An incident with FBI agent John O’Neill also gave a lot of food for speculation. The agent warned of an al-Qaeda threat back in 2000, but his attempts to launch the investigation were blocked. He retired from the FBI in mid-2001, and he was offered to head security at the World Trade Center. His first working day in a new place – on September 11 – became his last one.

However, not everyone view the Bush administration as the key link in the conspiracy. There is also a theory that the attacks on the United States were plotted by Israel. In a reply to these allegations Anti-Defamation League published a paper with refutation.

Constant refutations of conspiracy theories do not make the number of their adherents less. Quite on the contrary, the 9/11 Truth Movement is growing. It held a rally in more than 20 cities across the United States on Tuesday to protest the mainstream account of the events. The number of those in doubt is likely to increase next year when America will be two months away from U.S. presidential elections. It is, however, not likely that all these efforts will find an explanation for all controversies around the 9/11 attacks.

Source: Kommersant
http://www.kommersant.com/p803443/9/11_Terrorism_Theories_US/

- THE SCIENCE OF THE PARANORMAL DEPARTMENT -

UC Davis Statistician Analyzes Validity of Paranormal Predictions

Did you ever dream about an event before it happened to you? Or, perhaps you knew what another person was going to say before they said it? These events, examples of anomalous cognition, are part of our everyday experience but still remain to be understood scientifically.

Jessica Utts, professor of statistics at UC Davis, has been one of the few statisticians to work in the field of parapsychology, analyzing data and helping with experimental design.

Gathering statistics for parapsychology still uses the same methods, Utts said.

"As a statistician we can work on data in any field and it's still the same statistical methods," she said.

Utts earned a bachelor's degree in math and psychology at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1973 and a doctorate in statistics from Penn State University in 1978. She has since worked as a professor and statistician at UC Davis, catching a few breaks to work as a visiting professor at Stanford University and as a senior research fellow at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

In 1995, Utts was hired by the American Institutes of Research, an independent research firm, along with psychologist Ray Hyman from the University of Oregon to analyze data from a 20-year research program sponsored by the U.S. government to investigate paranormal activity.

After doing initial research, Hyman and Utts found statistical support, she said.

"The two of us did this review and we both concluded that there were really strong statistical results there, but [Hyman] still didn't believe that it could be explained by something psychic - he thought there would be some explanation [that he] can't provide," Utts said.

The research program involved remote viewing, in which test subjects were asked to describe or draw an unknown target. The target could be anything and could be located anywhere. According to Utts' meta-analysis of the 966 studies performed at Stanford Research Institute, subjects could identify the target correctly 34 percent of the time. The probability of these results occurring by chance is .000000000043.

Utts compared these results to a similar meta-analysis of aspirin treatment for heart disease. In 2002, researchers published a meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal of 188 studies. The results demonstrated that aspirin reduced the number of heart attacks in people likely to have heart disease by 25 percent, with a probability of it occurring by chance equaling .0003.

"The evidence for [remote viewing] is much stronger than [aspirin preventing heart attacks] and yet we have people taking aspirin everyday to try to prevent heart attacks," Utts said. "People aren't willing to either look at this evidence or aren't willing to believe it when they see it."

Utts' study of paranormal activity should not be dismissed, said Keith Widaman, UCD professor of psychology and chair of the department.

"The way [Utts] is analyzing and portraying the data sounds reasonable," he said. "Most psychologists would say, 'Those things have never stood up,' but that doesn't mean [that] we should automatically [react the same]. What it means is, there's something here that deserves attention and it's an interesting hypothesis. It would be interesting to see if it holds up."

In 2005, Utts taught a class for the integrated studies honors program, "Testing Psychic Claims," in which Kyle Davis, senior biological sciences major, conducted an experiment using a random number generator.

Each test subject played rock-paper-scissors against the random numbers presented in the study, he said.

"We came up with significant data," Davis said. "It made us re-think it a little bit. [Utts] provided a number of examples where it wasn't probable by chance alone, so something else had to explain it to a degree."

Davis was doubtful of the field of parapsychology before the class and is still unsure, he said.

"I'm still leaning a little bit on the skeptic side, but I see where more study is needed to convince me either way," Davis said. "So I'd say, yeah, I think [parapsychology] is a valid field and that we need to learn more about it before we can say one thing in either direction."

Utts presented statistics in a straightforward manner for Nick Schroeder, senior international relations major, he said.

"I entered the class a skeptic, and I stayed a skeptic," Schroeder said. "I learned a lot about the statistical analysis of 'psi.' The statistical data presented to us suggests that there is something metaphysical, but no one knows what it is."

Utts is currently working with Ellen Gold, chair of the department of epidemiology and preventive medicine at the UCD School of Medicine, analyzing data in the use of alternative and complementary medicine among women going through menopause, she said.

Source: The California Aggie
http://media.www.californiaaggie.com/media/storage/paper981/news/2007/09/10/
ScienceTech/Uc.Davis.Statistician.Analyzes.Validity.Of.Paranormal.
Predictions-2958047-page2.shtml

- IF YOU THINK IT, IT WILL ROLL DEPARTMENT -

Thinking of Words Can Guide Wheelchair

A motorised wheelchair that moves when the operator thinks of particular words has been demonstrated by a US company The wheelchair works by intercepting signals sent from their brain to their voice box, even when no sound is actually produced.

The company behind the chair, Ambient, is developing the technology with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, in the U.S.

The wheelchair could help people with spinal injuries, or neurological problems like cerebral palsy or motor neurone disease, operate computers and other equipment despite serious problems with muscle control. The system will work providing a person can still control their larynx, or "voice box", which may be the case even if the lack the muscle coordination necessary to produce coherent speech.

The larynx control system, called Audeo, was developed by researchers Michael Callahan and Thomas Coleman at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US, who together also founded Ambient.

The system works via a sensor-laden neckband which eavesdrops on electrical impulses sent to larynx muscles. It then relays the signals, via an encrypted wireless link, to a nearby computer. The computer decodes these signals and matches them to a series of pre-recorded "words" determined during training exercises.

These "words" can then be used to direct the motorised wheelchair. Callahan and Coleman say they can also be sent to a speech synthesiser, allowing a paralysed person to "speak" out loud. Recent refinements to the algorithms used may make it possible to interpret whole sentences thought out by the user. This could potentially restore near-normal speech to people who have not spoken for years, the researchers say.

"Everyone working on brain-computer interfaces wants to be able to identify words," says Niels Birbaumer from Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany, who is developing similar systems for use by stroke victims. "If this works reliably I would be very impressed, it is very hard to record signals from nerves through the skin."

Birbaumer adds that measuring brain waves using an electrode cap or implants placed directly in the brain has been used to control computers and wheelchairs before, but so far there is little evidence that either method can reproduce either single words or continuous speech. "Recording from outside the brain like this may the only way to do it," he says.

On the other hand, reading information directly from the brain is the only way to help people with very severe spinal injuries. "I have some patients not even able to send nerve signals to the muscles in their face," he told New Scientist. "In those cases you have to try and interface with the brain."

Ramaswamy Palaniappan, who works on EEG-based brain computer interfaces at Essex University, agrees this is a limitation. "The main advantages of their device are that it is very portable, not cumbersome to set-up, and the ease of use," he told New Scientist.

NASA produced a similar system to Audeo system in 2004. This can recognise a handful of short words and numbers, and the individual letters of the alphabet. The agency hopes to eventually integrate the technology into spacesuits.

Source: New Scientist
http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn12602-thinking-of-words-
can-guide-your-wheelchair-.html

- IN THE DREAMTIME DEPARTMENT -

The Lost Civilization of Antarctica

When we think of Antarctica, the place immediately conjures up an image of a magnificent glacial wilderness at the bottom of the world.

But could it be that long before it was claimed by the ice and snow, Antarctica was once a temperate land filled with rivers and mountains and where one of the earliest advanced civilisations once thrived?

It may be that such a civilisation, one forgotten by time and long hidden by the ice, originally called Antarctica their home. While Antarctica remains hidden beneath a two mile thick layer of ice we can only speculate at what might be there, but there are a few pieces of evidence that point to such a scenario as being a possibility, prompting the exodus of a people that could no longer remain in their homeland.

The Piri Re’is Map

One of the biggest clues to suggest that our understanding of Antarctica may be incomplete is the legendary Piri Re'is Map which was found in Constantinople in 1929. The map is thought to have been drawn in the 15th century by an Admiral of the Ottoman Navy, Admiral Piri Ibn Haji Memmed, known as Piri Re'is. Notes made in the map’s margins sourced a set of around twenty maps dating back to the time of Alexander the Great as being the sources for the Piri Re’is. What makes the map unique, besides its age and history, is that it seems to show that the ancients knew a great deal more about the shape and proximity of the continents than conventional history suggests and that even more remarkably, it mapped Antarctica as a land mass. For that to have been correct this information would have had to have been obtained at a much earlier time than that of Alexander the Great which was around 323BC., which suggests that Alexander’s maps were copies of even older documents.

Antarctica was officially unknown to the world until 1820, when the lieutenant of the Russian Imperial Fleet, Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev discovered what appeared to be a new continent; yet this ‘new’ continent is clearly identifiable on the Piri Re’is map, which is dated 1513. Many suggest that rather than discovering a new continent, Lazarev had rediscovered a lost continent.

One of the best-known and controversial features in the Piri Re'is map is the Antarctic coastline, which it shows in extraordinary detail. The problem is that not only does it show Antarctica before it was discovered, it seems to represent the coast of the continent at a time before it was covered in glaciers; at a time when it was just a regular landmass like any other.

Information that confirmed the size and shape of the landmass in the Antarctic was only gleaned in the 20th century, many years after the map was discovered and even longer since it was drawn. There is much disagreement as to the last time Antarctica was free of ice with some experts suggesting that it was as recent as around 6,000 years ago, while other geologists point to ice cores that are 500,000 years old being recovered from Antarctica. Nevertheless, cartographers and historians alike are baffled as to how the people responsible for drawing up this map could have known that this land existed, but if Antarctica was once free of ice it is fairly logical to assume that it was populated.

It is not surprising then, that the Piri Re'is map is one of the cornerstones of the growing body of evidence to support the case for there having been an unknown pre Ice Age civilization living on this land. One researcher who took an enormous amount of interest in the map was historian and geographer, Professor Charles Hapgood. Hapgood, a respected albeit controversial scholar in his own right, spent a great deal of time studying the map and reached the conclusion that it had been drawn by a civilization with advanced seafaring and mapping skills who had surveyed the entire Earth in the ancient past.

In 1949, a combined British and Swedish expedition conducted intensive seismic measurements of the South Pole through the ice cap. When shown a copy of the Piri Re’is map for comparison, the commander of the 8th Technical Investigation Squadron of the US Armed Force Strategic Command, Colonel Harold Olmayer, is quoted as having said, “the geographical details of the bottom part of the map; the shore of Antarctica, correspond with the results of the seismic measurements. We cannot correlate these data with the supposed level of geography in 1513." Thus confirming what many researchers already thought; that the source map was far older than anything drawn up in the last few hundred years.

The Oronteus Finaeus Map

Charles Hapgood also worked with another well known and ancient map that supports the pre-glacial Antarctic theory; the Oronteus Finaeus Map, which was found in the Library of Congress, Washington DC in 1960, but which dates back to 1531. As with the Piri Re’is map, much of Antarctica appears to be free of ice, with flowing rivers and mountain ranges being represented; the presence of which has only recently been verified by modern technology. According to the map, the centre of the land was without geographical features which some believe points to the fact that it was already covered in ice at the time the map was drawn. In the early 1960s, Hapgood had the opportunity to study the Oronteus Finaeus map alongside Doctor Richard Stratchen of the Massachusetts Technology Institute (MIT). Both men concluded that the Oronteus Finaeus map had indeed depicted Antarctica’s coast at a time when it was free of ice.

Opponents of the idea that these ancient maps show an ice free Antarctica counter that the Oronteus Finaeus Map fails to show the Amery Basin. In either a partially or completely deglaciated Antarctica, this basin would have been occupied by a 700 to 800 kilometers (430 to 490 miles) long bay and would have been a major physiographic feature that would have been mapped had the area been ice free. Even though this basin forms a prominent bay along the coast of modern Antarctica, it is missing from the Oronteus Finaeus Map. What these criticisms fail to take into account is the numerous transcriptions that might have occurred since the original source map was drawn. If the map is indeed based on an original source map that is between 6,000 and 500,000 years old, it is quite conceivable that errors and omissions did occur as various copies of the map were made over perhaps thousands of years. The fact that Antarctica exists at all on these maps has never been explained, let alone the fact that features such as rivers and mountains have been mapped on the land.

A third map of Antarctica, this time drawn by the 18th century French geographer Philippe Bauche, a member of the French Academy of Science, was completed in 1737; well before the continent was discovered. This map cast more confusion onto our preconception of ancient seafaring and geographical knowledge, because it showed Antarctica as being divided in two by a narrow band of water. When the first seismic survey was undertaken in 1958, it confirmed that Antarctica as a land mass is divided in two by an ancient waterway. Many geologists think that the last time that this was obvious would have been not thousands of years ago, but millions of years ago. The survey seems to confirm that the person who originally drew the map somehow had knowledge that would not be common knowledge until the twentieth century, yet the map was drawn some 200 years earlier, presumably from an even earlier version.

The Destruction of Eden

Antarctica was ice free in the past, forming a temperate and thus habitable environment, then it is highly likely and perfectly logical that it would have been inhabited by people, given that every other continent in the world was. There are many different theories as to how often and how quickly these ice ages occur, but very little common agreement. As the ice began to form, first in the centre of the continent and then gradually moving out, that temperate climate would have been replaced by a cold and hostile one where it would have become impossible to survive.

Any civilisation living there would have been faced with the choice between remaining, and facing certain death through cold and starvation or migrating as far away as possible from the encroaching ice. Without knowing how far the ice would reach, the equator would probably have seemed like the safest bet.

The Birth of Egypt and Sumer

The Piri Re’is, Oronteus Finaeus, and Bauche maps all seem to show a representation of Antarctica before it was lost beneath the ice and snow, which according to some was around 6,000-10,000 years ago. Coincidentally, this is the time when many think that the ancient Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations appeared; civilisations that seemed to be able to progress from nomadic tribesmen to a technologically advanced structured society in a fairly short period of time, forming organised and sophisticated cultures.

The big question is of course, is there any evidence to suggest that Egypt was founded by seafaring migrants. Interestingly, in 1991, US and Egyptian archaeologists working in Abidos, Egypt, discovered 14 large boats that belonged to Pharaohs of First Dynasty. The boats were estimated to be at least 5,000 years old, each vessel being about 75 feet long and 7 to 10 feet wide at the widest part, with narrowing prow and stern and a shallow draft. They are believed to be the most ancient but also the most advanced sailing vessels ever discovered in the world, and owed their preservation to the dry Egyptian climate. Unlike other boats of that era, they were made from planks of wood, rather than being carved from hollowed out tree trunks, suggesting that the Egyptians had very advanced boat building skills.

According to Dr. Cheryl Ward, a nautical archaeologist at Florida State University: "In the ancient world, boats were the most complex machines produced."

A fleet of the oldest built wooden boats in the world located in the desert sands of Abydos, more than eight miles from the river Nile.If you couple that boat building expertise with an advanced geographical knowledge of the Earth – one that until recently exceeded modern understanding, and an advanced knowledge of maths and astronomy, which would have been required to draw such detailed maps with such precision and navigate the world’s oceans, then it is interesting to ponder upon the possibility that Egypt was indeed founded by an established civilisation that was perhaps forced to abandon their own continent and start anew. Could it be that these boats or ones like them were used to ferry refugees from a civilisation that was being destroyed by an increasingly hostile climate, enabling them to forge a new civilisation in Egypt, and indeed other parts of the world?

But if there really was a lost civilisation living on Antarctica, surely some evidence for it must survive in Antarctica itself? According to Congressional investigators, a spy satellite image taken of Antarctica reportedly revealed an anomalous structure two miles beneath the ice. Details about the nature of the structure remain scant, but clearly there is something there.

In addition, magnetic anomalies have been recorded and a substantial liquid water lake, nicknamed Lake Vostok (after the Russian base), has been identified beneath the ice. According to researchers from the enterprise mission, although there are natural explanations to account for the magnetic anomalies, such as the thickness of the Earth’s crust, an anomaly like this could also be caused by an accumulation of metals - the kind you would get if you found the ruins of an ancient, buried city. Until we are in a position to explore the Antarctic region more thoroughly, the idea of a lost city hidden below miles of ice sheets remains little more than a tantalising possibility.

Conclusion

It seems more than a little odd that several ancient maps have recorded a continent that no one at the time knew that it existed. The fact that they show the Antarctic landmass without its icy covering is even more mysterious and doesn’t fit in with anything you will find in a text book about climate changes or cartography, yet the indisputable fact is that these maps exist.

There is land below the ice of Antarctica, we have established that much, all we need to ask now, is, was that land occupied and what happened to the people who lived there when the climate changed? Perhaps only time will tell.

Source: Thothweb
http://www.thothweb.com/article4679.html

- BEYOND THE VEIL DEPARTMENT -

Christian Mystics

Mysticism is usually associated with the occult or eastern religions today, but Christianity had a number of mystics. Indeed, the monastic system was ideally designed to allow such mystics to exist.

SAINT BENEDICT

The father of western monasticism was St Benedict. Born about 480, he was sent to Rome for an education but was horrified by its decadence. At age 14 he fled to a village called Subiaco where he met a monk who took him to a cave.

Over the next three years he lived as a hermit and developed miraculous powers from deep meditation. Going on to gain many followers, he organised 12 monasteries of 12 monks, each under a prior. In 525 he went to Monte Casino where he destroyed the pagan temple there and began to build the famous monastery.

Going about the country curing the sick, he also wrote ‘The Rule,’ laying down the guidelines for monastic life, including a probationary year, obedience to an abbot, asceticism and a life of work and prayer.

He described his mystical experiences as a taste of heavenly food following a flood of shining light. Seeing the whole world before his eyes, he could look down from above and see how small everything was.

ST HILDEGARD OF BINGEN

Another early mystic was St Hildegard of Bingen, born to a noble German family near Bingen in 1098. Influenced by local Celtic traditions, she had visions from an early age before being educated by Benedictines from age eight. A prioress by 38, she was often ill and became an early feminist, believing in gender equality and even downplaying Eve’s role in the Fall. From her early 40s she began having illuminations about God, the soul and the interconnectedness of the universe.

Advising, in her ‘Scivias’, that all living things are sparks of radiance from God, she records 26 ‘illuminations’. With an interest in science and love of music, she travelled throughout Europe denouncing corruption and criticising monotheistic faiths as dried up, even celebrating human sexuality. She died in 1179 in her eighties.

JULIAN OF NORWICH

Julian of Norwich was an English mystic born about 1342. In her work, ‘The Revelation of Divine Love’, we read that in her youth she asked God for a severe illness to purge herself of worldly desires, as well as a vision of the Passion of Christ.

When she was 31 she fell gravely ill, prompting a number of visions. She described in one how she saw God in a twinkling of an eye. Propped up so she could gaze on a crucifix, she saw the crucified Christ. Then her chamber filled with blood before being grasped by the throat by the Devil, the damned all about her. Then she saw a cathedral on a mountaintop with Christ on a throne.

For the next 20 years she became a hermit within a convent to contemplate her visions, deciding that faith consisted of God’s love for his elect, and the soul’s need to return that love. Her revelation drew people to her, and she gained a reputation as a healer. When she died is unknown.

ST TERESA OF AVILA

A further Christian mystic worthy of mention is St Teresa of Avila, born in 1515 to a noble family near Avila in Castille. Her mother died when she was 15 and shortly after she became ill, beginning a series of illnesses that would plague her throughout her life.

At 20 she left home against her father’s wishes and became a nun. Due to improper care she experienced a coma for three days and upon recovery began intense daily meditations. In 1555 she began having visions. Many more were to follow. She called them a ‘delectable death’ and included terrifying visions of hell. St Teresa classed the visions as the soul lifted out of the body and becoming awake to God. Writing a number of books about her visions, she claimed to experience a spiritual marriage with Christ. Going on to found some 17 convents, she died in 1582.

IN CONCLUSION

It was natural that the monastic system would create such mystics, and in their visions we can see many classic elements of the mystical experience, from symbolism of the Divine, to a feeling of Oneness with everything.

The Church itself was often suspicious of such mystics. After all, Christianity was based on the idea that ‘oneness’ with God could not come until death. In this way, Christianity demanded good Christian obedience in life so as to deserve heaven rather than hell.

Of course, it would have been inappropriate to take action against such obviously ‘good’ Christians, so they were given a special category by being blessed. But it is important to note, had such experiences been admitted by ‘normal’ people, the Inquisition and death would be the result, for they would have been possessed by the Devil.

Source: Beyond the Blog
http://beyondtheblog.wordpress.com/2007/08/29/christian-mystics/

- THE BEGINNING OF A COVER-UP DEPARTMENT -

       The Robertson Panel: The CIA Considers UFOs      

1918-1939 is sometimes called “the golden age of aviation” because of the much technological advancement made in aircraft. With World War II came better, faster airplanes and more experienced pilots. By the time the war was over, air travel was becoming firmly established across the world. The skies became the highways of the future. People started looking up in curiosity. What they saw in the skies was sometimes mundane, but sometimes astonishing. The UFO age had begun.

The early 1950s saw a surge of civilian UFO reports. So serious had the problem become, that normal intelligence duties in the CIA were being seriously impacted. Authorities were worried that if the Soviet Union or another adversary attempted to invade the US, the lines would be clogged and the government would be unable to act, so serious had UFO hysteria become. Clearly, something had to be done.

The CIA responded by forming a committee to investigate the thousands of UFO reports and choose a course of action. The committee, headed by Howard Percy Robertson came to be known as The Robertson Panel. Robertson was a distinguished physicist, a CIA employee, and a director of the Defense Department Weapons Evaluation Group. He drew upon six friends and colleagues of scientific importance to fill the panel. Some of the more famous scientists on the board were Luis Alvarez, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1968; and Samuel A. Goudsmit, who was a head of one division of the Manhattan Project and jointly proposed the theory of the electronic spin. Other members were Frederick C. Durant, missile expert; Thornton Page, astrophysicist; Lloyd Berkner, physicist; and Allen Hynek, astronomer.

From the beginning, the panel was biased against the idea of UFOs. In their first briefing, Robertson explained that their purpose was to “debunk” UFOs. At least one committee member, Thornton Page, was reprimanded for his “excessive levity.” There has also been some criticism that, while the scientists on the panel were leaders in their respective fields, these scientists specialized in outer space. No scientists were consulted who had expertise in atmospheric conditions—which is where UFOs are seen.

The panel met in secret for four consecutive days. During this time they viewed two amateur motion pictures: The 1950 Montana and the 1952 Utah UFO Films, which had already undergone 1,000 man hours of detailed analysis by Navy officers who had concluded that the depicted objects were not any known aircraft, creature, or weather phenomenon. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt and Major Dewey J. Fournet then addressed the panel, summarizing the extensive work they had been involved with in UFO affairs over the preceding years. Ultimately, the panel spent twelve hours considering reports and investigations that Project Blue Book and other committees had spent years investigating. They speedily found "explanations" for the reports. When there was no answer to be found, they swept the case under the table.

The Robertson Panel wasted no time in formulating their official report. They concluded that 90% of UFO sightings could be readily identified with meteorological, astronomical, or natural phenomenon, and that the remaining 10% could be explained with detailed study. They furthermore stated that such study would be a waste of time. Their final recommendation stated “That the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status they have been given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired.”

Based on their recommendations, a public relations committee was assembled to reduce public interest in UFOs. Believers subscribing to such notions were painted as foolish and irrational. This effort drew upon the resources of renowned scientists as well as celebrities and mass media. Even the influential Disney Corporation was involved in the debunking effort. From this point forward UFology has been seen in disrepute among scholarly circles, and UFOs have become a subject of the fringe communities.

Finally, due to the suggestions of the committee, groups studying UFOs were monitored by government agents and spies in order to keep them from influencing mass thinking. As late as 1976 a CIA memo was discovered telling how the agency was still having to report on the activities of UFO groups.

In the years following the Robertson Panel at least two members expressed disappointment with its proceedings. Because of the panel's conclusions, the attention needed to acquire the data to even decide the nature of the UFO phenomenon has not been given the subject. Thornton Page and J. Allen Hynek both lamented that the subject had not been treated with more seriousness. While Page expressed passing interest, Hynek went on to become a scientifically respected voice in UFology.

There can be no doubt that the Robertson Panel opened the era of government cover-up regarding the UFO phenomenon. And yet, stripped of credibility and respect, there are still those who insist on sharing their experiences. For no matter the cost, there are still those who look up into the sky with curiosity.

Source: Articles Base
http://www.articlesbase.com/hobbies-articles/the-robertson-panel-the
-cia-considers-ufos-211953.html

- OBITUARIES DEPARTMENT -

Alex, The Brainy Parrot Dies

He knew his colors and shapes, he learned more than 100 English words, and with his own brand of one-liners he established himself in television shows, scientific reports and news articles as perhaps the world’s most famous talking bird.

But last week Alex, an African gray parrot, died, apparently of natural causes, said Dr. Irene Pepperberg, a comparative psychologist at Brandeis University and Harvard who studied and worked with the parrot for most of his life and published reports of his progress in scientific journals. The parrot was 31.

Scientists have long debated whether any other species can develop the ability to learn human language. Alex’s language facility was, in some ways, more surprising than the feats of primates that have been taught American Sign Language, like Koko the gorilla, trained by Penny Patterson at the Gorilla Foundation/Koko.org in Woodside, Calif., or Washoe the chimpanzee, studied by R. Allen and Beatrice Gardner at the University of Nevada in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1977, when Dr. Pepperberg, then a doctoral student in chemistry at Harvard, bought Alex from a pet store, scientists had little expectation that any bird could learn to communicate with humans, as opposed to just mimicking words and sounds. Research in other birds had been not promising.

But by using novel methods of teaching, Dr. Pepperberg prompted Alex to learn scores of words, which he could put into categories, and to count small numbers of items, as well as recognize colors and shapes.

“The work revolutionized the way we think of bird brains,” said Diana Reiss, a psychologist at Hunter College who works with dolphins and elephants. “That used to be a pejorative, but now we look at those brains — at least Alex’s — with some awe.”

Other scientists, while praising the research, cautioned against characterizing Alex’s abilities as human. The parrot learned to communicate in basic expressions — but he did not show the sort of logic and ability to generalize that children acquire at an early age, they said.

“There’s no evidence of recursive logic, and without that you can’t work with digital numbers or more complex human grammar,” said David Premack, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Pepperberg used an innovative approach to teach Alex. African grays are social birds, and quickly pick up some group dynamics. In experiments, Dr. Pepperberg would employ one trainer to, in effect, compete with Alex for a small reward, like a grape. Alex learned to ask for the grape by observing what the trainer was doing to get it; the researchers then worked with the bird to help shape the pronunciation of the words.

Alex showed surprising facility. For example, when shown a blue paper triangle, he could tell an experimenter what color the paper was, what shape it was, and — after touching it — what it was made of. He demonstrated some of his skills on nature shows, including programs on PBS and the BBC. He shared scenes with the actor Alan Alda on the PBS series “Look Who’s Talking.”

As parrots can, he also picked up one-liners from hanging around the lab, like “calm down” and “good morning.” He could express frustration, or apparent boredom, and his cognitive and language skills appeared to be about as competent as those in trained primates. His accomplishments have also inspired further work with African gray parrots; two others, named Griffin and Arthur, are a part of Dr. Pepperberg’s continuing research program.

Even up through last week, Alex was working with Dr. Pepperberg on compound words and hard-to-pronounce words. As she put him into his cage for the night last Thursday, she recalled, Alex looked at her and said: “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.”

He was found dead in his cage the next morning, Dr. Pepperberg said.

Source: NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/11/science/11parrot.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

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