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In Association With Mysteries Magazine!
2/1/08  #454
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Trust is not easy to come by nowadays. It used to be that you could trust in your neighbor; trust in your job; trust in your church, trust in your elected officials. Now, trust is hard to find. Trust can even be dangerous. You can't trust in your neighbors, because they could be spying on you on behalf of Homeland Security. You can't trust in your job as all the good jobs have been shipped overseas. You can't trust in your church as many are now playing politics in order to speed up the apocalypse. And don't get us started about our elected officials – we used to think a sex-scandal was the epitome of bad politics. Oh for the days of a simple sex-scandal. But there is one thing that you can trust in . . . Conspiracy Journal! Yes that's right. You can always trust that Conspiracy Journal will be there for you each and every week, revealing those deep, dark, dirty secrets that you won't find in your local newspaper, or hear on your nightly news.

This week, Conspiracy Journal brings you such trustworthy stories as:

- Microchips Everywhere: a Future Vision -
- Sasquatch Expert Says Creature is Alive and Well in U.S. Wilderness -
- 85 Per Cent of People May Be Psychic -
- Russian Scientist Says Earth Could Soon Face New Ice Age -
AND:  The Consciousness of the Haunted House

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


IS THE EARTH HOLLOW?

What is the Secret About the Hollow Earth That Admiral Richard Byrd Took to His Grave?



THE CONCEPT OF A HOLLOW EARTH IS A THEORY THAT REFUSES TO DIE!
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EXAMINE MANY CONTROVERSIAL IDEAS - INCLUDING:
How the world was formed. The existence of the mythological lands of Hyperborea and Ultima Thule.  The development of the Flying Saucer. The mysterious lands and people of the Far North.  Operation Highjump - Antarctic Attack!  Did Hitler Escape to Antarctica?  Britain's Secret War at the Poles.  Did an Inner World race give the German's UFO technology?


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MYSTERIES MAGAZINE  #19


In This Incredible Issue:
The FeeJee Mermaid and the History of
This Elusive Creature
12 Most Popular Cryptids
Cannibalism: Who's For Dinner?
The Psychic World of Amelia Earhart
PLUS: Explore Georgia's Guidestones
The Lore of the Werewolf
Ancient Aliens-ETs or Gods?
And much more, including book, music,
and movie reviews, exhibit and
conference listings!


Get your issue TODAY at your favorite bookstore
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www.mysteriesmagazine.com

- WE WILL BE WATCHING YOU DEPARTMENT -

Microchips Everywhere: a Future Vision

Here's a vision of the not-so-distant future: -Microchips with antennas will be embedded in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumer items - and, by extension, consumers - wherever they go, from a distance.
-A seamless, global network of electronic "sniffers" will scan radio tags in myriad public settings, identifying people and their tastes instantly so that customized ads, "live spam," may be beamed at them.

-In "Smart Homes," sensors built into walls, floors and appliances will inventory possessions, record eating habits, monitor medicine cabinets - all the while, silently reporting data to marketers eager for a peek into the occupants' private lives.

Science fiction?

In truth, much of the radio frequency identification technology that enables objects and people to be tagged and tracked wirelessly already exists - and new and potentially intrusive uses of it are being patented, perfected and deployed.

Some of the world's largest corporations are vested in the success of RFID technology, which couples highly miniaturized computers with radio antennas to broadcast information about sales and buyers to company databases.

Already, microchips are turning up in some computer printers, car keys and tires, on shampoo bottles and department store clothing tags. They're also in library books and "contactless" payment cards (such as American Express' "Blue" and ExxonMobil's "Speedpass.")

Companies say the RFID tags improve supply-chain efficiency, cut theft, and guarantee that brand-name products are authentic, not counterfeit. At a store, RFID doorways could scan your purchases automatically as you leave, eliminating tedious checkouts.

At home, convenience is a selling point: RFID-enabled refrigerators could warn about expired milk, generate weekly shopping lists, even send signals to your interactive TV, so that you see "personalized" commercials for foods you have a history of buying. Sniffers in your microwave might read a chip-equipped TV dinner and cook it without instruction.

"We've seen so many different uses of the technology," says Dan Mullen, president of AIM Global, a national association of data collection businesses, including RFID, "and we're probably still just scratching the surface in terms of places RFID can be used."

The problem, critics say, is that microchipped products might very well do a whole lot more.

With tags in so many objects, relaying information to databases that can be linked to credit and bank cards, almost no aspect of life may soon be safe from the prying eyes of corporations and governments, says Mark Rasch, former head of the computer-crime unit of the U.S. Justice Department.

By placing sniffers in strategic areas, companies can invisibly "rifle through people's pockets, purses, suitcases, briefcases, luggage - and possibly their kitchens and bedrooms - anytime of the day or night," says Rasch, now managing director of technology at FTI Consulting Inc., a Baltimore-based company.

In an RFID world, "You've got the possibility of unauthorized people learning stuff about who you are, what you've bought, how and where you've bought it ... It's like saying, 'Well, who wants to look through my medicine cabinet?'"

He imagines a time when anyone from police to identity thieves to stalkers might scan locked car trunks, garages or home offices from a distance. "Think of it as a high-tech form of Dumpster diving," says Rasch, who's also concerned about data gathered by "spy" appliances in the home.

"It's going to be used in unintended ways by third parties - not just the government, but private investigators, marketers, lawyers building a case against you ..."

---

Presently, the radio tag most commercialized in America is the so-called "passive" emitter, meaning it has no internal power supply. Only when a reader powers these tags with a squirt of electrons do they broadcast their signal, indiscriminately, within a range of a few inches to 20 feet.

Not as common, but increasing in use, are "active" tags, which have internal batteries and can transmit signals, continuously, as far as low-orbiting satellites. Active tags pay tolls as motorists to zip through tollgates; they also track wildlife, such as sea lions.

Retailers and manufacturers want to use passive tags to replace the bar code, for tracking inventory. These radio tags transmit Electronic Product Codes, number strings that allow trillions of objects to be uniquely identified. Some transmit specifics about the item, such as price, though not the name of the buyer.

However, "once a tagged item is associated with a particular individual, personally identifiable information can be obtained and then aggregated to develop a profile," the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded in a 2005 report on RFID.

Federal agencies and law enforcement already buy information about individuals from commercial data brokers, companies that compile computer dossiers on millions of individuals from public records, credit applications and many other sources, then offer summaries for sale. These brokers, unlike credit bureaus, aren't subject to provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, which gives consumers the right to correct errors and block access to their personal records.

That, and the ever-increasing volume of data collected on consumers, is worrisome, says Mike Hrabik, chief technology officer at Solutionary, a computer-security firm in Bethesda, Md. "Are companies using that information incorrectly, and are they giving it out inappropriately? I'm sure that's happening. Should we be concerned? Yes."

Even some industry proponents recognize risks. Elliott Maxwell, a research fellow at Pennsylvania State University who serves as a policy adviser to EPCglobal, the industry's standard-setting group, says data broadcast by microchips can easily be intercepted, and misused, by high-tech thieves.

As RFID goes mainstream and the range of readers increases, it will be "difficult to know who is gathering what data, who has access to it, what is being done with it, and who should be held responsible for it," Maxwell wrote in RFID Journal, an industry publication.

The recent growth of the RFID industry has been staggering: From 1955 to 2005, cumulative sales of radio tags totaled 2.4 billion; last year alone, 2.24 billion tags were sold worldwide, and analysts project that by 2017 cumulative sales will top 1 trillion - generating more than $25 billion in annual revenues for the industry.

Heady forecasts like these energize chip proponents, who insist that RFID will result in enormous savings for businesses. Each year, retailers lose $57 billion from administrative failures, supplier fraud and employee theft, according to a recent survey of 820 retailers by Checkpoint Systems, an RFID manufacturer that specializes in store security devices.

Privacy concerns, some RFID supporters say, are overblown. One, Mark Roberti, editor of RFID Journal, says the notion that businesses would conspire to create high-resolution portraits of people is "simply silly."

Corporations know Americans are sensitive about their privacy, he says, and are careful not to alienate consumers by violating it. Besides, "All companies keep their customer data close to the vest ... There's absolutely no value in sharing it. Zero."

Industry officials, too, insist that addressing privacy concerns is paramount. As American Express spokeswoman Judy Tenzer says, "Security and privacy are a top priority for American Express in everything we do."

But industry documents suggest a different line of thinking, privacy experts say.

A 2005 patent application by American Express itself describes how RFID-embedded objects carried by shoppers could emit "identification signals" when queried by electronic "consumer trackers." The system could identify people, record their movements, and send them video ads that might offer "incentives" or "even the emission of a scent."

RFID readers could be placed in public venues, including "a common area of a school, shopping center, bus station or other place of public accommodation," according to the application, which is still pending - and which is not alone.

In 2006, IBM received patent approval for an invention it called, "Identification and tracking of persons using RFID-tagged items." One stated purpose: To collect information about people that could be "used to monitor the movement of the person through the store or other areas."

Once somebody enters a store, a sniffer "scans all identifiable RFID tags carried on the person," and correlates the tag information with sales records to determine the individual's "exact identity." A device known as a "person tracking unit" then assigns a tracking number to the shopper "to monitor the movement of the person through the store or other areas."

But as the patent makes clear, IBM's invention could work in other public places, "such as shopping malls, airports, train stations, bus stations, elevators, trains, airplanes, restrooms, sports arenas, libraries, theaters, museums, etc." (RFID could even help "follow a particular crime suspect through public areas.")

Another patent, obtained in 2003 by NCR Corp., details how camouflaged sensors and cameras would record customers' wanderings through a store, film their facial expressions at displays, and time - to the second - how long shoppers hold and study items.

Why? Such monitoring "allows one to draw valuable inferences about the behavior of large numbers of shoppers," the patent states.

Then there's a 2001 patent application by Procter & Gamble, "Systems and methods for tracking consumers in a store environment." This one lays out an idea to use heat sensors to track and record "where a consumer is looking, i.e., which way she is facing, whether she is bending over or crouching down to look at a lower shelf."

The system could space sensors 8 feet apart, in ceilings, floors, shelving and displays, so they could capture signals transmitted every 1.5 seconds by microchipped shopping carts.

The documents "raise the hair on the back of your neck," says Liz McIntyre, co-author of "Spychips," a book that is critical of the industry. "The industry has long promised it would never use this technology to track people. But these patent records clearly suggest otherwise."

Corporations take issue with that, saying that patent filings shouldn't be used to predict a company's actions.

"We file thousands of patents every year, which are designed to protect concepts or ideas," Paul Fox, a spokesman for Procter & Gamble, says. "The reality is that many of those ideas and concepts never see the light of day."

And what of his company's 2001 patent application? "I'm not aware of any plans to use that," Fox says.

Sandy Hughes, P&G's global privacy executive, adds that Procter & Gamble has no intention of using any technologies - RFID or otherwise - to track individuals. The idea of the 2001 filing, she says, is to monitor how groups of people react to store displays, "not individual consumers."

NCR and American Express echoed those statements. IBM declined to comment for this story.

"Not every element in a patent filing is necessarily something we would pursue....," says Tenzer, the American Express spokeswoman. "Under no circumstances would we use this technology without a customer's permission."

McIntyre has her doubts.

In the marketing world of today, she says, "data on individual consumers is gold, and the only thing preventing these companies from abusing technologies like RFID to get at that gold is public scrutiny."

---

RFID dates to World War II, when Britain put transponders in Allied aircraft to help radar crews distinguish them from German fighters. In the 1970s, the U.S. government tagged trucks entering and leaving secure facilities such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a decade later, they were used to track livestock and railroad cars.

In 2003, the U.S. Department of Defense and Wal-Mart gave RFID a mammoth push, mandating that suppliers radio tag all crates and cartons. To that point, the cost of tags had simply been too high to make tagging pallets - let alone individual items - viable. In 1999, passive tags cost nearly $2 apiece.

Since then, rising demand and production of microchips - along with technological advances - have driven tag prices down to a range of 7 to 15 cents. At that price, the technology is "well-suited at a case and pallet level," says Mullen, of the industry group AIM Global.

John Simley, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, says tracking products in real-time helps ensure product freshness and lowers the chances that items will be out of stock. By reducing loss and waste in the supply chain, RFID "allows us to keep our prices that much lower."

Katherine Albrecht, founder of CASPIAN, an anti-RFID group, says, "Nobody cares about radio tags on crates and pallets. But if we don't keep RFID off of individual consumer items, our stores will one day turn into retail 'zoos' where the customer is always on exhibit."

So, how long will it be before you find an RFID tag in your underwear? The industry isn't saying, but some analysts speculate that within a decade tag costs may dip below a penny, the threshold at which nearly everything could be chipped.

To businesses slammed by counterfeiters - pharmaceuticals, for one - that's not a bad thing. Sales of fake drugs cost drug makers an estimated $46 billion a year. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended that RFID be incorporated throughout the supply chain as a way of making sure consumers get authentic drugs.

In the United States, Pfizer has already begun chipping all 30- and 100-count bottles of Viagra, one of the most counterfeited drugs.

Chips could be embedded in other controlled or potentially dangerous items such as firearms and explosives, to make them easier to track. This was mentioned in IBM's patent documents.

Still, the idea that tiny radio chips might be in their socks and shoes doesn't sit well with Americans. At least, that's what Fleishman-Hillard Inc., a public-relations firm in St. Louis, found in 2001 when it surveyed 317 consumers for the industry.

Seventy-eight percent of those queried reacted negatively to RFID when privacy was raised. "More than half claimed to be extremely or very concerned," the report said, noting that the term "Big Brother" was "used in 15 separate cases to describe the technology."

It also found that people bridled at the idea of having "Smart Tags" in their homes. One surveyed person remarked: "Where money is to be made the privacy of the individual will be compromised."

In 2002, Fleishman-Hillard produced another report for the industry that counseled RFID makers to "convey (the) inevitability of technology," and to develop a plan to "neutralize the opposition," by adopting friendlier names for radio tags such as "Bar Code II" and "Green Tag."

And in a 2003 report, Helen Duce, the industry's trade group director in Europe, wrote that "the lack of clear benefits to consumers could present a problem in the 'real world,'" particularly if privacy issues were stirred by "negative press coverage."

(Though the reports were marked "Confidential," they were later found archived on an industry trade group's Web site.)

The Duce report's recommendations: Tell consumers that RFID is regulated, that RFID is just a new and improved bar code, and that retailers will announce when an item is radio tagged, and deactivate the tags at check-out upon a customer's request.

Actually, in the United States, RFID is not federally regulated. And while bar codes identify product categories, radio tags carry unique serial numbers that - when purchased with a credit card, frequent shopper card or contactless card - can be linked to specific shoppers.

And, unlike bar codes, RFID tags can be read through almost anything except metal and water, without the holder's knowledge.

EPCglobal, the industry's standard-setting body, has issued public policy guidelines that call for retailers to put a thumbnail-sized logo - "EPC," for Electronic Product Code - on all radio tagged packaging. The group also suggests that merchants notify shoppers that RFID tags can be removed, discarded or disabled.

Critics say the guidelines are voluntary, vague and don't penalize violators. They want federal and state oversight - something the industry has vigorously opposed - particularly after two RFID manufacturers, Checkpoint Systems and Sensormatic, announced last year that they are marketing tags designed to be embedded in such items as shoes.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says, "I don't think there's any basis ... for consumers to have to think that their clothing is tracking them."

Source: Physorg
http://physorg.com/news120576318.html

- STRANGE CREATURES FROM TIME AND SPACE DEPARTMENT -

Sasquatch Expert Says Creature is Alive and Well in U.S. Wilderness

Larry Battson has seen the smirks, the winks, the rolling of the eyes. But that doesn't bother him in the least. When you profess to believe in Bigfoot, that comes with the territory.

"When I used to talk about Bigfoot at sports shows, I'd have skeptics," said Battson, a nationally known educator on wildlife who was displaying rattlesnakes and other reptiles at the recent Kansas City, Mo., Sportshow.

"I'd have good old boys' come up and say, What are you trying to feed us?' But I'd always tell them: You believe what you want to believe. I'm convinced it exists.' "

A quintessential legend, the beast is the subject of yet another TV special, airing next week. At 9 p.m. Feb. 6, the History Channel will repeat its "MonsterQuest" series episode on the beast, also known as Sasquatch.

Call it what you like — Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, the Abominable Snowman — it is out there, Battson says.

He's convinced that secretive, mysterious, apelike creatures inhabit the deep forests of the United States. He and others describe them as 7 to 10 feet tall, weighing more than 500 pounds, with feet 20 to 25 inches long. They are covered in brown hair, walk on two feet and have a pronounced brow ridge, believers claim.

They are highly intelligent, keeping to themselves and offering only fleeting exposure to humans. That explains why they are so seldom seen and why scientific proof of their existence is so scarce, believers say.

But many, including the scientific community, remain unconvinced. If colonies of this Bigfoot creature do indeed exist, they say, get us the documentation.

There is a distant, grainy photo taken in 1967 by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, who say they ran across the creature in a remote part of Northern California. But that's it. Since then, there have been proven hoaxes and much skepticism.

"In all the time I've been with the Conservation Department, I've never heard an agent talk about a Bigfoot sighting," said Brian Bartlett, a conservation agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation. "With all the hunters we have out in the woods and with all the trail cameras that are set out these days, you'd think someone would spot one if they do exist. But we've learned to never say never."

Battson has heard such skepticism before, but he remains undeterred. He has been studying Bigfoot for about 30 years now, traveling the country to research alleged sightings.

He has taken molds of footprints, has audiotape of the sounds the creatures make, has read journals of families that had close encounters with them, and has mountains of testimony from people who claimed to have seen the primate. He spotted what may have been a Bigfoot, but he isn't certain.

One of those testimonies came from his wife, who spotted what she believed to be a Bigfoot in the headlights of her car as she returned to the Battsons' home in rural Indiana one night.

That sighting came as no surprise to her husband. There have been other alleged spottings in Putnam County, Ind., where the couple lives.

"These aren't just a few crackpots making up stories," said Battson, 55, who lives in Clinton Falls, Ind. "There are literally hundreds of people across the nation who have reported seeing Bigfoot. In fact, the only states where there haven't been sightings are Hawaii and Rhode Island."

Battson first became intrigued with Bigfoot when he talked with noted wildlife researcher Jim Fowler of the "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" TV show years ago.

Fowler was in Russia to tape footage of the brown bear, but all the guides wanted to talk about was Bigfoot.

"Jim said it was very convincing," Battson said. "These guides got a good look at this creature, and they were afraid of it."

Battson runs Battson Wildlife Educational Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people about wildlife. He has a collection that includes everything from snakes and Gila monsters to tarantulas.

When he heard about this mysterious creature supposedly roaming the woods, it piqued his interest.

Battson began looking into reports of sightings and was intrigued by what he found.

The creature was mentioned in early American Indian writings and in the journal of explorer Daniel Boone. Even President Theodore Roosevelt related in one of his books an account of Idaho trappers' encounters with a Bigfoot. But the later accounts are just as fascinating to Battson.

He remembers one incident when a group reported being out searching for mushrooms when they heard some sounds in the brush. When the sounds grew louder, they made their way back to their vehicle. As they went to pull away, what they thought to be a Bigfoot pounced on the hood of their vehicle, made menacing sounds and then bounded off.

Perhaps the most memorable sighting Battson has investigated involved a family that was building a house in a remote area where Bigfoot creatures had allegedly been seen before.

"When the house was being built, something kept vandalizing it," he said. "At first, this man thought it was kids. But one night he saw this big hairy creature out there on his land. He told me that it even came up and screamed in his window one time.

"Over time, I think things got better, and now they kind of coexist there. But that guy tells me he has his land lit up like Shea Stadium now."

Battson has read dozens of such accounts and has talked with many who said they had spotted Bigfoot. He has seen the footprints in the woods and the way tree limbs have been thrashed at a level higher than any other animal could reach.

That's enough to convince him this mysterious creature does indeed exist.

"People say, If this Bigfoot is out there, why don't we find carcasses in the woods?' But think about it. There are millions of animals out there, but how many times do we run across a carcass?

"I believe that this creature is highly intelligent and able to sense danger. That's why we don't run across them that often. But I'm convinced they're out there."

Battson paused and added, "Either this is the greatest hoax ever pulled off, or there really is a Bigfoot."

Source: Ventura County Star
http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/jan/29/big-legend-sasquatch-
expert-says-creature-is-and/

- I KNEW THEY WERE GOING TO SAY THAT DEPARTMENT -

85 Per Cent of People May Be Psychic

Dr Chris Roe places a pair of enormous fluffy earphones over the head of a blonde 20-year-old woman.

He carefully slices a ping-pong ball in half and tapes each piece over her eyes. Then he switches on a red light that bathes the woman in an eerie glow, and leaves the room.

After a few moments, a low hum begins to fill the laboratory and the woman begins smiling sweetly to herself as images of distant locations start to pass through her mind. She says she can sense a group of trees and a babbling brook full of boulders.

Standing on a boulder is her friend Jack. He's waving at her and smiling. She begins to describe the location to Dr Roe. Half a mile away, her friend Jack is, indeed, standing on a boulder in a stream.

Somehow, the woman has been able to "see" Jack in her mind's eye, even though all of conventional science - and common sense - says it is impossible.
Is this simply a bizarre coincidence? Or could it be proof that we all possess psychic powers of the type popularised in such films as Minority Report?

That is what Dr Roe is investigating. A parapsychologist based at the University of Northampton, he is examining whether it could indeed be possible to project your "mind's eye" to a distant location and observe what is going on - even if that place is hundreds of miles away. And though the research is not yet complete, the results have been tantalising.

His early findings suggest that up to 85 per cent of people may possess some form of clairvoyance - the ability to "remote view". And he believes that with only a modicum of training we can all sharpen our psychic skills.

"Our results are significant," says Dr Roe.

"They suggest that remote viewing, or clairvoyance, is something that should be taken seriously."

It would be easy to dismiss such claims as laughable, were it not for the fact that an increasing number of scientists are taking them seriously.

While Dr Roe's work may appear controversial, he is starting to garner the support of eminent academics such as Professor Brian Josephson, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist from Cambridge University, who says: "The experiments have been designed to rule out luck and chance. I consider the evidence for remote viewing to be pretty clear-cut."

The military is also taking a keen interest. The Ministry of Defence takes the phenomena seriously enough to have commissioned its own research.

Documents only recently released under the Freedom of Information Act detail a series of experiments on psychic phenomena. Unfortunately, the actual details of the experiments that were carried out - and what the conclusions were - are still classified, and intriguingly the MoD refuses to say whether they were a success.

They claim that releasing such details would imperil the defence of the nation, and what little information has been released is described as "poor quality" by Dr Roe.

"Their analysis of the data is quite frankly, woeful," he says.

But the very existence of such files suggests that the military are taking the possibility of psychic phenomena seriously. In fact, most existing scientific knowledge on clairvoyance is based on other recently declassified military research undertaken in America during the Cold War.

During the Sixties and Seventies, paranoia gripped the US military establishment. Strange rumours began circulating that the Russians had found a way of harnessing psychic powers and begun wielding them as weapons.

Psychic skills such as telekinesis - the ability to move objects or control machines using nothing more than the power of the mind - were apparently being taught to soldiers in elite combat units. They were also said to be using clairvoyants to gather intelligence from top-secret American bases.

If true, the American's believed, it would mean that the Russians could discover their most important secrets and even control the minds of their Generals. So in the early Seventies, the US military began its own top-secret research to try to close the "psychic intelligence gap" with the Russians.

The CIA later joined them in a series of covert research projects that were given suitably innocuous titles such as Sun Streak, Grill Flame and Star Gate. These were designed to track down the most gifted psychics in the U.S., unravel the mysteries of their powers and then find ways of teaching these skills to ordinary soldiers and agents.

The aim was to produce a new breed of "super-soldier" capable of controlling matter with their minds and gathering intelligence from afar. But some in the military wanted to go even further.

The US Navy wanted to send confidential orders to their nuclear submarines using telepathy, which would be impossible for even the most sophisticated enemy listening devices to intercept.

And Major General Albert N. Stubblebine III, commanding officer of the US Army Intelligence and Security Command, suggested that one day soldiers might even be able to "walk through walls", using psychic powers to overcome the physical boundary. And if that wasn't enough, researchers at Princeton University (where Einstein was once based) and Stanford were similarly tasked with investigating the paranormal.

Scientists at Stanford quickly focused on the use of clairvoyance, known as remote viewing in technical parlance, as the most militarily useful psychic skill.

Very soon, Stanford played host to more than a dozen psychic spies, whose paranormal skills were once demonstrated to President Jimmy Carter. The remote viewers used a deceptively simple method based on what is known as the Ganzfeld technique to help "see" deep into enemy territory. They induced an altered state of consciousness by seating themselves in a sound-proof room and wearing earphones playing white noise.

Pingpong balls sliced in half were placed over their eyes to obscure vision. The whole room was then bathed in soft red light. The map coordinates of the "target" location would be written on a piece of paper, placed in an envelope and handed to the viewer.

He would be allowed to touch the envelope but forbidden to open it. Alternatively, pictures of the target location would be sealed in the envelope. The remote viewers would then slip into a light meditative trance and their "mind's eye" would be drawn to the target location. Pictures, feelings and impressions would then drift into their minds from the target, which might be located thousands of miles away.

To an outsider, this approach might appear to produce only hopelessly vague results that were no better than guesswork. But the scientists investigating remote viewing found them to be surprisingly accurate, giving military intelligence a small but significant advantage over their cold war enemies.

Joe McMoneagle was one such "psychic spy". Given the codename "Remote Viewer No 1", his primary role was to use remote viewing to look inside Russian military bases and gather intelligence.

McMoneagle was recruited from US Army intelligence in Vietnam because of his amazing ability to survive while on reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines against seemingly impossible odds.

His commanding officers thought he was either amazingly lucky, psychic - or a double agent. On his return home, he was tested for his remote-viewing skills at Stanford and found to have psychic gifts.

He went on to spend the next 20 years tracking Russian nuclear warheads and gathering intelligence. His work eventually earned him the Legion of Merit, America's highest military non-combat medal.

"My success rate was around 28 per cent," says McMoneagle.

"That may not sound very good, but we were brought in to deal with the hopeless cases.

"Our information was then cross-checked with any other available intelligence to build up an overall picture. We proved to be quite useful 'spies'."

Word of America's experiments with the paranormal spread to the UK and while the military were sceptical, the Metropolitan Police spotted an intriguing possibility.

Could psychic powers be harnessed to help solve crimes?

They soon had their answer when a woman named Nella Jones came to their attention, claiming that she could help locate a priceless Vermeer painting, called The Guitar Player, that had been stolen from Kenwood House in North London in 1974.

Nella told the police that she had been ironing some clothes and idly watching the television when her mind suddenly focused on the whereabouts of the painting. She hurriedly sketched it out and took it to the police, who were understandably sceptical.

But having nothing else to go on they followed the lead. The painting was eventually recovered from St Bartholomew's churchyard as a result of the information she gave them.

Again, it would be easy to dismiss Nella's guidance to the police as just blind luck. Easy, that is, if she hadn't spent the following 20 years helping them ensnare murderers and other serious offenders.

"Nella gave invaluable assistance on a number of murders," says Detective Chief Inspector Arnie Cooke. "Her evidence was not the type you can put before a jury. But senior investigating officers have got to take people like her on board and accept what they are saying."

In fact, so useful was Nella to Scotland Yard that in 1993 they publicly thanked her and senior officers hosted a dinner in her honour.

Scotland Yard later wrote to her, saying: "Some police officers may have seemed sceptical of your abilities ... but it is a mark of those abilities that police turn to you time and time again."

Such anecdotes are all very well but there is statistical evidence, too, that proves that psychic skills are a useful tool for law enforcement agencies and the military.

In 1995, the US Congress asked two independent scientists to assess whether the $20 million that the government had spent on psychic research had produced anything of value. And the conclusions proved to be somewhat unexpected.

Professor Jessica Utts, a statistician from the University of California, discovered that remote viewers were correct 34 per cent of the time, a figure way beyond what chance guessing would allow.

She says: "Using the standards applied to any other area of science, you have to conclude that certain psychic phenomena, such as remote viewing, have been well established.

"The results are not due to chance or flaws in the experiments."

Of course, this doesn't wash with sceptical scientists. Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, refuses to believe in remote viewing.

He says: "I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do.

"If I said that there is a red car outside my house, you would probably believe me.

"But if I said that a UFO had just landed, you'd probably want a lot more evidence.

"Because remote viewing is such an outlandish claim that will revolutionise the world, we need overwhelming evidence before we draw any conclusions. Right now we don't have that evidence."

Back at the University of Northampton, Dr Chris Roe hopes he can provide such proof one way or the other. Next month, he will embark on a series of experiments that will be more rigorous than any so far attempted.

They will rule out fluke positive results and any unconscious biases held by anyone involved with the experiments. And if that wasn't enough, he then plans to embark on research into an even more outlandish field: whether it is possible to remote view through time.

In other words, he will investigate whether it is possible for remote viewers not only to observe distant locations, but also to see what will happen at that place at a predetermined time in the future.

"Time does not seem to be a barrier to remote viewing," says Dr Roe, matter of factly.

Certainly, only time will tell whether he has been cruelly deluded, or has glimpsed a very intriguing future.

Source: The Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=510762&in_page_
id=1770

- THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT DEPARTMENT -

Supernatural Studies in the Material World

One doesn't typically get the chills during a PowerPoint presentation in a well-heated conference room. But ghost stories were the hot topic at a two-day event in San Francisco's Cowell Theater billed as the first scientific conference on the afterlife for a general audience.

Take, for example, a tale spun by "Professor Paranormal" Loyd Auerbach, a former teacher in the now-closed parapsychology department of Pleasant Hill's John F. Kennedy University, about a ghost named Lois.

The story is set in the mid-'80s, when a family moved to an old Victorian house in Livermore. Soon after settling in, they became aware of a ghost named Lois, the former owner of the house, who was developing a relationship with the 12-year-old son. The boy told his family that he spoke to Lois daily. "Apparently," Auerbach said, "Lois even helped him with his homework."

Auerbach was intrigued. He and two students piled into a car with some rudimentary recording equipment and headed to Livermore, casually discussing stuff like one student's former dance career and Auerbach's thoughts on purchasing a new car. When they got to the house, they met the boy. He said Lois was distressed. They had just watched "Ghostbusters" on television together, and she was worried they'd bring equipment to vaporize her. Auerbach assured him this wasn't the case. Well, the boy said, then Lois wants to know whether the student would continue dancing and what color car Auerbach wanted. They were floored.

Auerbach said he checked the tape - the three didn't mention anything they had discussed in the car with the boy. He also checked the car for bugs. Nothing. The story, from Lois, was that she had been nervous about their visit and didn't believe they wouldn't try to hurt her, so she rode with them in the car. Auerbach and his team also investigated details of Lois' life relayed by the preteen. It all checked out.

Auerbach holds a master's degree in parapsychology, has written seven books on the subject and has been a fixture on the paranormal lecture and television circuits for more than a decade. He - and several other speakers at the conference, titled Investigations of Consciousness and the Unseen World: Proof of an Afterlife - exist in a strange professional realm that encompasses rigorous academic training, spiritualism and sometimes fraud.

But the other academics at the conference didn't lack for degrees. There was Dean Radin, who began his career in electrical engineering and cybernetics at the University of Illinois before moving on to psychic phenomena at the University of Edinburgh, Princeton University and the University of Nevada. Also represented were Gary E. Schwartz, a Harvard-educated, former Yale professor who now teaches psychiatry, psychology, medicine, neurology and surgery at the University of Arizona, and University of Virginia Division of Perceptual Studies researchers Dr. Jim Tucker and Dr. Bruce Greyson.

These academics take their paranormal work seriously; they also risk ridicule on campus and struggle to find sources of funding to investigate what happens after we die. One of the issues they face is whether an afterlife is provable by scientific method. Some, like Julie Beischel, who co-founded Arizona's Windbridge Institute for Applied Research in Human Potential, think it is.

"This is how science works," Beischel said. "There's a question and science investigates it. You can't draw a line and say, no, that's outside of science. Science doesn't have any boundaries in what it can investigate."

The mood at the death-centered event was anything but grim. Between presentations the 170 or so attendees chatted in the small foyer of Fort Mason's Cowell Theater. The crowd displayed certain Northern Californian traits - purple was a favorite color, scarves and cloaks abounded, and at least one person addressed the conference topic sartorially, with a sweatshirt that proclaimed, "I've Had A Difficult Few Past Lives."

For all the hugs and smiles and the scientifically coded words and acronyms - "NDE" means "near death experience" and "OOB" stands for "out-of-body experience" - many people had a simple reason for attending: grief.

The Forever Family Foundation, the New York nonprofit that sponsored the conference and that promotes scientific inquiry into the afterlife, was started by grief-stricken parents, Bob and Phran Ginsberg, whose 15-year-old daughter, Bailey, died in 2002. Bob Ginsberg, who works in the insurance business, said that until his daughter's death he never contemplated the paranormal or the possibility of an afterlife.

"The morning of Sept. 2, 2002, Phran woke me up at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. She was white as a ghost, and said, 'Something horrible is going to happen today,' " Ginsberg said in a phone conversation from his home in Oceanside, N.Y. "Long story short, my son and daughter were in a car accident that night, and my daughter passed away.

"Months later, when the shock wears off, I wondered, 'What happened? Was that precognition? Someone sending a message?' At the time I wasn't open to such talk, but logically how do you explain it?

"I needed evidence. I needed to hear from scientists and researchers." His foundation now has 3,000 members.

Forever Family Foundation member Diane Kaspari of Portola Valley attended the conference with her husband, Bill. They lost their son in a car crash when he was in college. After that happened, she said she started researching, reading and paying attention to "lots of things that weren't pure coincidence."

"The night he died, I was crying terribly. I lay down and thought, 'Where are you?' " she remembered, "and then I felt this incredible warmth, and I heard him - it wasn't an actual voice, but a telepathic one - say, 'It's OK, Mom, it's no big deal. I'm still here.' It was so perfect. That's exactly how he talked."

Scientists being scientists, no one stated outright at the conference that an afterlife had been proved, and no one seemed interested in espousing any particular vision of it. Religious views were never mentioned.

The conference topics - from ghosts, to near-death experiences, to an especially interesting presentation on reincarnation reports from children - were designed to explore the disconnect between the "mind" and the "brain." If one could be shown to operate without the other, such as a brain-dead person who was resuscitated and then offered details of a hospital scene or a particularly well-documented reincarnation - then a case could be made for consciousness existing outside of the physical body.

Greyson, director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia's department of psychiatric medicine, related a case where a patient was put under anesthesia for brain surgery and the brain drained of blood to the point where no brain waves were detectable. After the operation, the patient reported on aspects of the surgery in impossible detail.

In another case, Greyson said a patient whose heart stopped beating claimed to have an out-of-body experience while technically dead. The patient said while floating above the hospital, she saw a red shoe on a ledge of the hospital building, far from the room. Sure enough, a nurse recovered a red shoe from the unlikely spot.

But for as much anecdotal evidence and data as the presenters gave, there was recognition that believing in the paranormal is difficult without a direct experience.

"I feel sorry for the skeptics," said Kaspari. "They're the ones who've already made up their mind."

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/01/29/DDNEUL5LD.DTL

- IS IT COLD IN HERE DEPARTMENT -

Russian Scientist Says Earth Could Soon Face New Ice Age

Temperatures on Earth have stabilized in the past decade, and the planet should brace itself for a new Ice Age rather than global warming, a Russian scientist said in a recent interview.

"Russian and foreign research data confirm that global temperatures in 2007 were practically similar to those in 2006, and, in general, identical to 1998-2006 temperatures, which, basically, means that the Earth passed the peak of global warming in 1998-2005," said Khabibullo Abdusamatov, head of a space research lab at the Pulkovo observatory in St. Petersburg.

According to the scientist, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere has risen more than 4% in the past decade, but global warming has practically stopped. It confirms the theory of "solar" impact on changes in the Earth's climate, because the amount of solar energy reaching the planet has drastically decreased during the same period, the scientist said.

Had global temperatures directly responded to concentrations of "greenhouse" gases in the atmosphere, they would have risen by at least 0.1 Celsius in the past ten years, however, it never happened, he said.

"A year ago, many meteorologists predicted that higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would make the year 2007 the hottest in the last decade, but, fortunately, these predictions did not become reality," Abdusamatov said.

He also said that in 2008, global temperatures would drop slightly, rather than rise, due to unprecedentedly low solar radiation in the past 30 years, and would continue decreasing even if industrial emissions of carbon dioxide reach record levels.

By 2041, solar activity will reach its minimum according to a 200-year cycle, and a deep cooling period will hit the Earth approximately in 2055-2060. It will last for about 45-65 years, the scientist added.

"By the mid-21st century the planet will face another Little Ice Age, similar to the Maunder Minimum, because the amount of solar radiation hitting the Earth has been constantly decreasing since the 1990s and will reach its minimum approximately in 2041," he said.

The Maunder Minimum occurred between 1645 and 1715, when only about 50 spots appeared on the Sun, as opposed to the typical 40,000-50,000 spots.

It coincided with the middle and coldest part of the so called Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America were subjected to bitterly cold winters.

"However, the thermal inertia of the world's oceans and seas will delay a 'deep cooling' of the planet, and the new Ice Age will begin sometime during 2055-2060, probably lasting for several decades," Abdusamatov said.

Therefore, the Earth must brace itself for a growing ice cap, rather than rising waters in global oceans caused by ice melting.

Mankind will face serious economic, social, and demographic consequences of the coming Ice Age because it will directly affect more than 80% of the earth's population, the scientist concluded.

Source: RIA Novosti-Russian News and Information Agency
http://en.rian.ru/science/20080122/97519953.html

- HAUNTED MINDS DEPARTMENT -

The Consciousness of the Haunted House

The relationship that exists between a haunted house and its occupants is like two circles colliding. Each circle is a myriad of conscious interaction that constitutes its own form of a created reality. Haunted landscapes and UFO 'hot-spots' may be where these highways of consciousness intercept and perhaps for a period of time interlock. Experiencing paranormal phenomena may be a meeting of minds where each interacts with the other, and so may be recognised or interpreted by the other.

Both the haunted terrain and the walker in the terrain bring each other into being by mutual recognition and interaction. Therefore the walker becomes the haunted terrain as the haunted terrain begins to walk. Each reality validates the other and each may interpret, absorb and possess the other for the duration of the haunting.

A haunting experience is essentially about exploration of consciousness and this is achieved through the interaction of the observer with the environment that may observe us in return. These are consciousness enriched landscapes where we become both the observer and the observed. With doorways unlocked and gates flung open we merge, into what could be the beginnings of an ongoing boundaryless interaction.

The nature of physical reality often becomes questionable as time shifts occur and we experience things such as apports, teleports, the multiplication of food or the passing of objects through metal and wood. What we assumed to be steadfast physical reality becomes an intangible process of dreaming. Rather than ending a story with, "I woke up only to find that it had all been a really bad dream.", we might say, "I began to dream only to find that it had all been a really limited reality."

It is natural for consciousness to cling to the physical world but materialism is meant to express our growth not limit it, since the physical world is also limitless. Only by our desire to possess and control it, do we place ourselves in these binary orbits of limitation. The paranormal is normal. It is only relegated to fringe subject matter because our idea of reality collapses under such situations and so the haunted landscapes are treated to a dose of human fear followed by an attempt to control.

So what are these landscapes we enter when we collide with the ghostly beings? Bruce Duensing writes of his experience with a ghost while on a highway, where an interaction between the two takes place as though ghost were physically manifest. There follows a brief conversation where the ghost gives advice on hitchhiking.

"I spun around to take another look to determine if I had walked far enough. He had vanished. There was nowhere he could have hid even if he was odd enough to have done so for no reason. I stood alongside the interstate for quite a while and attempted to process what had occurred. [From: INTANGIBLE MATERIALITY A PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL JOURNEY TOWARD INTERSPECIES COMMUNICATION]

Interestingly, Duensing is focused on the relationship that occurs between the ghostly being and himself, rather than the thrill of 'seeing a ghost', this bringing to mind that relationship involves empathetic interaction and not cheap entertainment. The processing that takes place after such encounters is common as our interpreting minds attempt to catalogue an experience into a filing cabinet that contains no files. When one interacts with a ghost they collide with the reality of another being.

This interaction is clearly evident in movies such as The Shining and Poltergiest where the families are being slowly influenced by and absorbed into another reality, that exists separate to but simultaneously alongside their own. It perhaps takes a strong mind to avoid possession or even psychosis and to remain both selfless and aware under those circumstances and to witness without ego fear or judgement.

In order to experience the haunted landscape you must become it and unbecome it simultaneously, so that a flow of conscious energy is continually evolving. All worlds are haunted. All consciousness is ghostly. The worlds are made up of consciousness.

Hauntings involve a collapsing of boundaries and limitations. Only the skeptical mind rebuilds the structures and then forgets what lies beyond them, or even that they have built them, then denies all possibilities beyond what they have built. But these are fragile sand castles erected on the sea's great edge and the ocean is coming.

Who's reality do we exist in when come across a ghostly being? As they are the ghosts of our worlds, perhaps we are the ghosts the theirs, something intangible yet vaguely recognised that they too reach out to, only to find that their hands and their thoughts pass through us unrecognised and unacknowledged. Do we walk through the walls of their worlds on occasion? Are the physical environments we occupy simply 'haunted' landscapes for them? The living consciousnesses of the disembodied may strive to find the mind who can perceive them and translate them into our world through a physical medium. But are the embodied the disempowered elsewhere?

If we are to understand and develop relationships with ghostly beings, it will be within our own thought processes and not in the light of a ghost hunter's torch. We are our thoughts and when we connect and become entangled is not where our bodies end, but where our minds begin to meet and journey together. If the physical world is thought into existence, then it is very likely as limitless as the mind that imagines it. What we choose to label as realities are merely stones in a stream, a series of reference points in universes of conscious development and interaction.

The way to investigate a poltergeist is to understand the consciousnesses involved in the collision of worlds and the collapse of boundaries. What were they thinking? What state of mind are they in? How do they contribute or connect to the phenomenon? I believe that there are a multitude of consciousnesses involved in poltergeist or haunting or UFO experiences, which in their own way are simply another kind of haunting. Phenomenon is catalogued by human organisations but in the intangible realm it remains interconnected. The only given is interaction.

Therefore a haunting is merely another reality that we experience, while the circumstances are favourable to such interactions. This is likely to involve the meeting of minds rather than the need to capture, record or prove. The ghostly consciousness may be tuned into our environment as in the movie The Others.

These so-called 'others' may very well experience us as ghostly. Rather than two passing ships in the night, we become two colliding circles of reality imbued with multitude of consciousness. We are overlapping points collision in a mind created world, that feels as if it exists all around us but is only just out of our awareness.

When one enters the environment of a haunted house or landscape, one enters the consciousness of it as it enters us. Haunted people and haunted landscapes are the one being. Your mind is a landscape just as the landscape is your mind. It is all consciousness colliding and interacting, and in the case of many of us, an attempt to physically manifest or unmanifest. In the same way that the many selves of a multiple personality strive for co-conscious existences, so may we need to become co-conscious in order interact with and understand the worlds of ghostly beings.

While each reality may involve its own rules and have its own ways of becoming and being, this video film clip (Take Me On by Aha) relies on frames and the interaction between a comic book character and a young woman in a diner to show that LOVE allows us to traverse the boundaries of the worlds that exist parallel to our own.

Source: Coral Hull: The RSPK Journals
http://www.thylazine.org/coralhull/rspkjournals/hauntedhouse.html

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