11/6/09  #545
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Once again secret information has made its way over the hidden channels that clandestinely flow throughout the deepest, darkest recesses of the planet.  Information, that at times, have brought down whole governments and sent men to their torturous deaths.  Information that has finally found its way once again to your email box in the form of Conspiracy Journal -- your number one source of all the news fit to be kept secret.

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This week Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such larynx-lightening stories as:

- Can We Manipulate the Weather? -
- How Flying Saucers Helped Revive The Hollow Earth -
- Thousands Await Knock's New Virgin Mary Vision -
-
New Jersey Pine Barrens Haunted By "Devil" -
AND: The Ghost in the Mirror: Phantoms or Psychological Illusions?

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of
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- DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE WEATHER DEPARTMENT -

Can We Manipulate the Weather?

Chinese scientists claim to be able to control the weather. But is so-called geoengineering more than wishful thinking? And, if so, should we be worried?

The unseasonal snow that fell on Beijing for 11 hours on Sunday was the earliest and heaviest there has been for years. It was also, China claims, man-made. By the end of last month, farmland in the already dry north of China was suffering badly due to drought. So on Saturday night China's meteorologists fired 186 explosive rockets loaded with chemicals to "seed" clouds and encourage snow to fall. "We won't miss any opportunity of artificial precipitation since Beijing is suffering from a lingering drought," Zhang Qiang, head of the Beijing Weather Modification Office, told state media.

The US has tinkered with such cloud seeding to increase water flow from the Sierra Nevada mountains in California since the 1950s, but there remains widespread scientific sniffiness in the west at such attempts at weather control. The chemicals fired into the sky, usually dry ice or silver iodide, are supposed to provide a surface for water vapour to form liquid rain. But there is little evidence that it works – after all, how do investigating scientists know it would not have rained anyway?

Such doubts have not stopped China claiming mastery over the clouds. Officials said the blue skies that brightened Beijing's parade to celebrate 60 years of communism last month were a result of the 18 cloud-seeding jets and 432 explosive rockets scrambled to empty the sky of rain beforehand. Last year, more than 1,000 rockets were fired to ensure a dry night for last year's Olympic opening ceremony.

"Only a handful of countries in the world could organise such large-scale, magic-like weather modification," Cui Lianqing, a senior meteorologist with the Chinese air force, told the Xinhua news agency after last month's parade.

Magic or not, there is growing interest in such attempts to deliberately steer the weather, and on a much larger scale. Next spring, a group of the world's leading experts on climate change will gather in California to plan how it could be done as a way to tackle global warming, and by whom. The ideas, some of which, similar to cloud-seeding, involve firing massive amounts of chemicals into the atmosphere, can sound far-fetched, but they are racing up the agenda as pessimism grows about the likely course of global warming.

As interest grows, so does concern about whether such techniques, known as geoengineering, could be developed and unleashed by a single nation, or even a wealthy individual, without wide international approval. "What will happen when Richard Branson decides he really does want to save the planet?" asks one climate expert. If China thinks it can make cloud seeding work, then what about geoengineering?

"If climate change turns ugly, then many countries will start looking at desperate measures," says David Victor, an energy policy expert at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Logic points to a big risk of unilateral geoengineering. Unlike controlling emissions, which requires collective action, most highly capable nations could deploy geoengineering systems on their own."

Victor is a heavyweight policy analyst, but one of his most impressive academic feats could have been to smuggle the name of the world's favourite secret agent into the sober pages of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy. "Geoengineering may not require any collective international effort to have an impact on climate," he wrote in an article published last year. "A lone Greenfinger, self-appointed protector of the planet and working with a small fraction of the [Bill] Gates bank account, could force a lot of geoengineering on his own. Bond films of the future might [enjoy incorporating] the dilemma of unilateral planetary engineering." Move over, Goldfinger.

Unilateral geoengineering worries experts for two reasons. First, the massive side effects; what it could do to the world's rainfall, for example. Second, once started, geoengineering would probably have to be continued, as stopping could bring an abrupt change in climate. "One of the many dangers with unilateral geoengineering is that once a country starts, it becomes very hard to stop," Victor says. "Removing a warming mask, even if it is a flawed mask, would expose the planet to even more rapid and probably dangerous warming."

In a world where action on global warming has created new markets in carbon worth billions of pounds, countries are not the only players. Geoengineering would require investment and the private sector is already eyeing up opportunities. Two companies have emerged with a business plan based on dumping iron in the sea and then selling carbon offsets based on the extra pollution supposedly soaked up by the resulting algal bloom. And in their new book, Superfreakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner talk approvingly of Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer of Microsoft, whose company, Intellectual Ventures, is exploring the possibility of pumping large quantities of reflective sulphur dust into the Earth's stratosphere through a patented 18-mile-long hose held up by helium balloons.

This is the point where most people will shake their heads, say the whole silly idea will never happen, and skip to the crossword. They could be right, but the global warming story has a tendency to outpace most attempts to predict its path. Just a few years ago, scientists and politicians talked of the need to avoid a 2C rise in global temperature, yet experts recently gathered at an Oxford University conference openly talked of a likely 4C rise, which, without urgent and unlikely action, a new report from the Met Office says could come within many of our lifetimes.

A decade ago, an unproven idea called carbon sequestration, that would see carbon emissions from power stations trapped under the ground, was talked up by a small group of advocates, but was dismissed by most people as too expensive and unworkable on a large scale. Renamed carbon capture and storage, the idea is now mainstream energy policy in countries including Britain, despite still being unproven and dismissed by many as too expensive and unworkable on a large scale. Last month, the International Energy Agency said the world should build 100 full-scale carbon-capture power stations by 2020, and 850 by 2030.

If the geoengineering narrative follows a similar arc, then how long until nations or individuals that have the most to lose, or are the first to accept that the required massive emission cuts are impossible, turn to the presently unthinkable option? The US government, under President Bush, has already lobbied the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to promote geoengineering research as "insurance". When the Royal Society recently carried out an investigation of the options, senior figures privately expected it to dismiss the whole concept as nonsense. Instead the society, Britain's premier scientific academy, concluded in September that methods to block out the sun "may provide a potentially useful short-term backup to mitigation in case rapid reductions in global temperature are needed". The society stressed that emissions reductions were the way to go, but recommended international research and development of the "more promising" geoengineering techniques.

"My guess is that we will be taking geoengineering a lot more seriously in the next decade," says Victor, "but we won't be in a position to deploy systems for some time. Most nations will decide it is needed only if we have really bad luck as warming unfolds and if we fail miserably in controlling emissions. I put the odds of using such systems in the next 40 years at perhaps one in five."

Of all the apparent obstacles to geoengineering, cost is not likely to be among them. Compared with the expense of investing in renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels, the cheapest geoengineering options come with a price tag of just a few billion pounds, perhaps 1% of what it could cost to tackle global warming through emissions cuts.

Alan Robock, an expert on volcanos and climate at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has looked at how much it might cost to carry out one of the most commonly discussed geoengineering options, to mimic the cooling effect of a volcanic eruption by filling the high atmosphere with sulphur compounds, which reflect sunlight.

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 threw so much shiny sulphurous dust into the atmosphere that temperatures across a shaded Earth dropped a year later by about 0.5C. The 1815 explosion of Mount Tambora in Indonesia triggered the notorious "year without a summer" and widespread failure of harvests across northern regions including Europe, the north-east US and Canada.

Robock has worked out the likely cost of technology needed to deposit a million tonnes of sulphur in the stratosphere each year, an amount equivalent to a Mount Pinatubo eruption every four to eight years, and which scientists think could be enough to cancel out the global warming caused by a continued rise in carbon emissions.

The cheapest option could be to use giant mid-air refuelling aircraft, such as the US air force's KC-10 Extender, filled with sulphur dioxide or hydrogen sulphide gas. It would be a round-the-clock operation, with nine aircraft each required to fly three sorties a day. In a new paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Robock and his colleagues say it could be done for "several billion" dollars a year. The results have forced Robock to revise a high-profile list of 20 objections to geoengineering he published last year. "It turns out that being way too expensive is not the case."

Robock's new analysis still includes 17 reasons why geoengineering is a bad idea. Throwing sulphur into the atmosphere could slow down the world's water cycle and do more damage to rainfall patterns than the global warming it aims to prevent. And because techniques that focus on stopping sunlight do nothing to stop carbon dioxide pollution from cars, factories and power stations, they cannot address the looming disaster of ocean acidification. The surface of the world's ocean is slowly turning to acid as our extra carbon pollution dissolves in seawater. Coral reefs already appear doomed and many shellfish could follow. Altering the atmosphere could also weaken solar power and reverse years of work to close the hole in the ozone layer.

With such a catalogue of potential disasters waiting to unfold, there must be a law against geoengineering? The international rulebook is fuzzy on this issue. The only international framework that directly covers many geoengineering techniques, the 1976 Environmental Modification Convention, designed to stop nations at war from meddling with each other's weather, has never been tested. The 1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention and the 1967 Outer Space Treaty could be used to regulate activities and experiments in those shared spaces, but releases to the atmosphere are legally more problematic because nations have sovereignty over their own airspace.

Rather than laws and treaties, many experts argue that the best way to prevent countries or companies from going it alone is to plunge in and start serious research. "The way to tame the worst forms of unilateral geoengineering is to promote a lot more research, especially [into] the side effects," Victor says. "One of the biggest dangers is that some governments will try to create a taboo against geoengineering. A taboo would stop a lot of research but it wouldn't stop determined rogues. That scenario would probably be the worst, because rogues would not abandon their efforts and the rest of us would not have done enough research to know what to expect."

Mike MacCracken, chief scientist at the Climate Institute in Washington, is organising the California meeting next spring, which aims to figure out some guidelines. He says large-scale unilateral geoengineering is "not very plausible" and his main concern is fairness to future generations. Once started by anybody, a geoengineering attempt would probably need to be continued by everybody else because it would offer a mask on global warming that could be dangerous to remove.

"It might be that this is how unilateral concerns should be reframed; this generation more or less deciding it will take only slow action on any type of emissions, essentially forcing the next generation to be more likely to have to invoke geoengineering to save much that anyone considers beneficial and unique about the Earth."

Read between the lines of most scientific reports on geoengineering and there is a tacit assumption that the idea sounds so extreme that merely discussing it will refocus efforts on emission cuts. But what if the reverse is true? What if a heavily funded research programme, and articles such as this, promote the idea to people who have little interest in moving to a low-carbon world?

"Knowledge is hard to hide," says Robock. "It would be great if people didn't know how to build nuclear bombs, but they do. We need to research and debate the consequences and then use politics and influence to let people know what would happen."

Source: The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/04/controlling-the-weather-china

- OLD MYTHS AND LEGENDS GIVEN NEW LIFE DEPARTMENT -

How Flying Saucers Helped Revive The Hollow Earth

The late 19th and early 20th centuries might have been considered the "salad days" for the hollow Earth theory if not for the emergence of the flying saucer phenomena starting in the 1940s. Scientists had for centuries speculated what was actually lying beneath our feet. In 1692 astronomer Edmund Halley postulated that the Earth is a hollow shell about 500 miles thick, with two inner concentric shells and an innermost core. He even suggested that each sphere "might support life," because the spheres were bathed in perpetual light from a luminous gaseous atmosphere that filled all of the inner spaces.

Cyrus Reed Teed was an alchemist from Utica NY, who, in 1869, received a spiritual "illumination" from "The Divine Motherhood," who told him that the universe occupies a "Hollow cell" in solid rock, 8000 miles in diameter. We live and walk on the spherical inner surface of this cell, our heads pointing toward its center where the sun hangs. The entire universe that we "see in the sky" lies within this cell, cradled "in the hands of God."

The early 1900s saw the release of two popular books about the hollow Earth, William Reed's 1906 "The phantom of the Poles" and, Marshall Gardner's 1913 "A Journey to the Earth's Interior; or, Have the Poles Really Been Discovered?". Both of these books fanned the flames of media attention with national newspapers such as the Chicago Daily Tribune publishing articles that delighted their readers with fantastic stories of mysterious natural phenomena attributed to the hollow Earth, and Arctic explorers searching for Polar openings to take them into the hollow interior of the planet.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, popular author of the Tarzan books, also contributed to the hollow Earth frenzy with his action adventure novels about the subterranean world of Pelucidar.

By the 1920s, interest in the hollow Earth began to wane and it looked like it would soon disappeared into that great dustbin of quaint and old fashioned myths such as the great turtle or the flat Earth. However, in 1942, an eccentric science fiction writer by the name of Richard S. Shaver breathed new life into the mysterious world beneath, and even managed to help throw UFOs into the mix as well.

In Amazing Stories magazine, Richard Shaver introduced to thousands of readers his belief in a race of underground beings called the Deros. The Deros were the mutated descendants of a great race of extraterrestrials who inhabited the Earth long before the last ice age. Due to natural catastrophes, these beings moved underground to survive, but as the centuries wore on, they succumbed to madness and physical degeneration.

Even though this race of underground creatures were deformed and insane, their highly advanced electronics and machinery remained in almost pristine condition hidden away in long forgotten tunnels. Oddly, some of these machines were aircraft and spaceships whose descriptions bore an uncanny resemblance to the UFOs and flying saucers that would fill the skies after World War II.

Amazing Stories editor Ray Palmer, who was often referred to as the "man who created flying saucers," realized that there was money to be made on the subject of UFOs. Palmer would never commit himself to the extraterrestrial explanation for UFOs that had become so predominant by the 1950s. Remembering what Richard Shaver had said about the Dero and their disc-shaped flying machines, Palmer, instead of looking to the heavens for flying saucers, he looked downwards into the hollow Earth as their possible point of origin.

In the December 1959 issue of Flying Saucers Magazine, Palmer wrote:  "Flying Saucers Magazine has amassed a large file of evidence which its editors consider unassailable, to prove that the flying saucers are native to the planet Earth and originate from the hollow interior by way of openings in the North and South Poles."

Theodore Fitch was another writer who agreed with Palmers Thesis.  In his book, "Our Paradise Inside the Earth," fitch writes: "UFO occupants who come to us in flying saucers and who pose to be visitors from other planets, are really members of an advanced civilization in the hollow interior of the Earth, who have important reasons for keeping their true place of origin secret, for which reason they purposely foster the false belief that they come from other planets."

Since that time, many books have been written about the hollow Earth, and practically all of them do not fail to mention a possible connection with UFOs. Those who embrace the extraterrestrial hypothesis of UFOs find it easy to scoff at the idea that UFOs and their occupants could originate from a yet-to-be-explored realm beneath our feet.  Considering the ancient worldwide traditions that say the inner world exists and is populated by a rich variety of intelligent races, it is no more difficult to imagine that some UFOs could be from right here on planet Earth then it is to imagine them traveling thousands of light years from some far, distant planet.

Source: Tim R. Swartz

- MARY WAS A NO-SHOW DEPARTMENT -

Thousands Await Knock's New Virgin Mary Vision

Pilgrims travelled to a rain-soaked corner of western Ireland hoping to witness a miracle. They came from Wexford, Manchester and even India, driven on by the hope that in this rain-soaked corner of western Ireland the mother of God would appear to them.

All along Knock's main street the pilgrims slept in vans and motor homes, all hoping to book a space near the site where a Dublin-based spiritual healer predicted the Virgin Mary would materialise.

Joe Coleman's visions of a Marian apparition on the exact spot where villagers claimed they saw the Virgin Mary in 1879 have created a fervour across the Catholic world.

Coleman complained that the Catholic church had not made a priest available to recite the Rosary with him and the thousands gathered in waiting. Describing himself as "a visionary of our Blessed Mother", he said the visitation would only be visible "to people who come with an open heart".

With up to 10,000 pilgrims descending on the village, Coleman's promise that Christ's mother would appear through a "dancing sun" in the sky has at least given Knock's economy an unexpected boost. At The Shrine bed and breakfast across the road from the Marian Shrine, built to commemorate the 19th-century apparition, the manager Nicola said all of their rooms were booked up.

Across the road, the O'Brien and Berry families from Co Wexford were bedding down for the night inside their van. Surrounded by her daughter Anne and grandsons, Martin and Luke, Alice Berry said that while she wanted see the Virgin Mary appear she was afraid of the message she would be bringing from heaven. "Of course I'm here to see Our Lady but I am worried about what she is going to say. I'm afraid she's going to tell us something terrible," said Alice.

The Berrys, like the most of those gathered this weekend beside the Knock shrine, are travellers. Their presence has illuminated the social chasm between them and the Republic's settled majority.

Many of the travellers gathering inside the shrine's grounds late on Friday complained that the public toilets had been locked and car parks blocked to prevent them from parking their vans, motor homes and caravans. They also pointed out that all of the pubs in the village have been shut and none were prepared to sell them carry-outs.

The shrine has its origins in the visions of a Miss Mary McLoughlin, the 45-year-old housekeeper, who on 21 August 1879 claimed to have seen on the south gable of Knock parish church "a wonderful number of strange figures; one like the blessed Virgin Mary and one like St. Joseph". It wasn't until 1936 and two commissions of inquiry before the Catholic church officially agreed that the visions were genuine. Sceptics have always argued that they were caused by the use of magic lanterns owned by a local police officer at the time.

While the Irish hierarchy maintains the 19th-century Knock apparitions were real it does not support Coleman's claims. But despite urging caution, the Irish Catholic bishops have been unable to dissuade the thousands who came this weekend to wait for the Virgin Mary's second coming to Mayo.

During the first "sighting" on 11 October, Coleman urged pilgrims to stare at the sun. Many of them claimed they saw clouds parting to reveal a bright sunlit image of a woman in white. Others, however, were more sceptical.

Before leaving the shrine, Coleman said the Virgin Mary had appeared but he was not yet prepared to reveal the message she had sent him for the world.

Source: The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/01/thousands-await-knocks-virgin-mary

- A HAUNTING WE WILL GO DEPARTMENT -

Jenna Bush Heard 'Ghostly Music' in White House

The daughter of former President George W Bush has claimed she saw ghosts during her time in the White House. Jenna Bush Hager told chat show host Jay Leno she had been terrified by spooky events near the fireplace in her bedroom.

The 27-year-old teacher, who now works as an education correspondent for the Today Show said: ‘I heard a ghost. I was asleep, there was a fireplace in my room and all of a sudden I heard 1920s music coming out.

‘I could feel it, I freaked out and ran into my sister's room. She was like “Please go back to sleep this is ridiculous”.

‘The next week we were both asleep in my room, the phone had rang and woke us up.

‘We were talking and going back to bed when all of a sudden we heard this opera, coming out of the fireplace.

‘We couldn't believe it, we both jumped in bed and were asking the people that worked there the next morning “Are we crazy?”

‘We tried to rationalise it, but they said they heard it there all the time.’

Jenna and her family lived at the Washington DC presidential home from 2001 to 2009.

She told how her parents were settling in well back at home in Texas, and that the former president has even been offered a job at a hardware store - but turned it down, feeling he was overqualified.

The former first daughter confessed she had never seen Abraham Lincoln’s ghost – which is said to regularly haunt the White House – but wished she had.

Lincoln’s ghost is widely reported to walk up and down the second floor hallway, knock at doors and stand at certain windows with his hands clasped behind his back.

Indeed Winston Churchill refused to sleep in the former president’s bedroom after reportedly spotting his ghost lurking there. The British Prime Minister had stepped into the room after a relaxing bath with a cigar and a glass of scotch.

Still naked, the premier is reported to have spied an apparition of Lincoln standing by the fireplace. The pair are said to have started at each other for some time before the ghost faded away.

Former first lady Hilary Clinton has also spoken about the spooky atmosphere in the White House.

The US Secretary of State said: ‘There is something about the house at night that you just feel like you are summoning up the spirits of all the people who have lived there and worked there and walked through the halls there.’

She told the Rosie O’Donnell Show: ‘It’s neat, it can be a little creepy.

‘You know, they think there’s a ghost there. It is a big old house and when the lights are out it is dark and quiet and any movement at all catches your attention.’

Indeed Harry Truman once wrote to his wife: ‘I sit here in this old house, all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway.

‘At 4 o’clock I was awakened by three distinct knocks on my bedroom door. No on there.

‘Damned place is haunted, sure as shootin’!’

As well as human hauntings, the have been tales of a demon cat prowling the building’s basement.

According to legend, years go by without a sighting of the animal, but when it does appear, national disaster is said to be imminent.

Some witnesses claim the demon cat first appears as a helpless-looking kitten, which grows in size and menace the closer one gets to it.

A White House guard claimed to have seen it a week before the great stock market crash of the 1920s and it was also reportedly seen days before the assassination of JFK.

Source: The Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1225404/Fright-House-Jenna-Bush-
reveals-ghostly-events-Presidential-home-haunted-Abraham-Lincoln-demon-cat.html

- TALES OF THE JERSEY DEVIL DEPARTMENT -

New Jersey Pine Barrens Haunted By "Devil"

Horrific, guttural cries, like an elderly woman screaming, have been heard in the middle of the night. Chickens and cats have been mysteriously killed. Is there something new to the woods of the Garden State, or has it always been there?

Since time immemorial, weird signs of elusive, unidentified creatures have persisted in New Jersey. For much of the past 200 years, they certainly would have been associated with the legendary Jersey Devil. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the most frantic burst of Jersey Devil sightings in recorded history, as reported by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in January 1909.

Rumored to inhabit remote regions of the Pine Barrens, the Jersey Devil is said to resemble a gruesome cross between a bat, a horse, and a kangaroo. Possibly the best description comes from Bruce Springsteen's epic song "A Night with the Jersey Devil": "Ram's head, forked tail, clove hoof, love's my trail." Local folklore traces the devil's origins to a woman known only as Mrs. Leeds, who cursed her unwanted 13th child on a fateful night in 1735 near Burlington.

One of the most plausible explanations of the legend is the hammer-headed fruit bat. With a wingspan of up to three feet, this mammal native to central Africa - scientific name Hypsignathus monstrosus - may have been unwittingly transported to New Jersey during colonial times or later, like many other invasive species. The bat has even been documented feasting on the blood of live chickens. With a description that diabolical, there is no need to invoke supernatural causes to resolve some devil sightings.

Lately, though, unusual reports have been attributed to the return of a carnivorous nocturnal mammal known as the fisher, a type of weasel with the ability to climb trees and even kill porcupines. By the late 19th century, unregulated hunting and deforestation eliminated fishers from New Jersey, along with wolves and cougars. But in recent years they have been verified as living in Sussex County, in the state's northwest.

As with the frenetic Jersey Devil sightings of 1909, a flurry of fisher sightings occurred in Hopewell Township in 2007. Numerous townspeople linked ungodly cries in the night to fishers, but the sounds were most likely cats or birds of some sort.

I investigated the matter by setting up remote motion-sensitive cameras and conducting track surveys in locations throughout the Sourland Mountains. I verified the presence of deer, raccoons, house cats, and coyotes, but not a single fisher - or Jersey Devil. However, the absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence.

So what, then, is the reality behind all of these strange sightings and sounds? Over the years, various explanations have been postulated, including: bobcats fighting, hoaxes unfolding, sandhill cranes mating, escaped cougars cavorting, mutant experimental animals rampaging, or mass hallucinations occurring.

But there may also be innate tendencies deep within the human psyche to believe we're encountering terrifying creatures, such as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. These may be related to subconscious instincts that once guided primitive humans, before the formation of organized societies.

Fortunately, modern science and technology have helped us understand these demons of the wild. Remote camera traps, GPS units, and high-resolution digital cameras have enabled the general public to search effectively for rare wildlife. However, technology alone can never replace direct field experience, such as the wildlife tracking, observation, and habitat assessment essential to any naturalist's repertoire.

The possibility of discovering unknown or rare animals like fishers or cougars in our own back yards has an inherent intrigue, reinforcing our sense of wonder at the natural world and urging us to explore our environment. As a result, citizen-scientists are now ready to undertake the near-mythical quest to discover the phantoms in the forest. For example, citizen-scientist reports from areas of suitable habitat near the towns of Hampton, Montague, and Frelinghuysen have yielded critical insight into the status of fishers.

Future research efforts by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, conservation organizations, and universities should enlist citizen-scientists to document endangered or hypothetical species. A new era has dawned in which the public, equipped with modern technology, can assist in improving statewide conservation measures. Whether searching for mythical creatures or elusive carnivores, citizens from Cape May to High Point can now join forces with professionals to unravel the mysteries of the deep Jersey wilderness, and in the process help protect what's left of it.

Source: Philly.com
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20091029_Woodland_mysteries_not_just_for_Halloween.html
- LET ME OUT DEPARTMENT -

Strange Happenings at Coroner's Office

WAUKEGAN, Ill. -- Workers at an Illinois coroner's office said unexplained sounds and other strange happenings began when a body was left in a cooler for months.

Robert Barrett, senior deputy coroner with the Lake County Coroner's office, said workers began hearing strange knocking sounds and glimpsing figures walking around the autopsy room after the body of a woman who died in a nursing home was inadvertently left in a cooler for several months before she was identified, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

"Some things that have happened here have made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up," said Barrett, who described himself as skeptical of the supernatural.

"The first time I heard the knocking on the inside of the cooler, I was here at night by myself," Barrett said. "I didn't get up for at least an hour or two, so if anyone did come out I was at a safe distance."

County Coroner Richard Keller said he has also had mysterious experiences at the office.

"Shortly after I took office I went to check for a pulse on a woman and when I touched her I received some sort of electric shock and was knocked back into a sitting position," he said. "It was quite a surprise. I looked around to see if there were any wires down or something to explain it, but there was none of that."

Source: UPI
http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2009/10/30/Strange-happenings-at-coroners-office/
UPI-40451256936050/

- REFLECTIONS OF MY MIND DEPARTMENT -

The Ghost in the Mirror: Phantoms or Psychological Illusions?

Do you remember playing “Bloody Mary” when you were a child? You know, the game where you stared into a mirror and chanted the name of the blood-witch mentioned above three times, with the eminent risk that a devilish ghost would emerge from the reflective surface and rip your face off?

In all likelihood, you did play this game, but failed to see a bloody witch glaring back at you. Still, many have professed an interest in the legend of Bloody Mary over the years, variously referred to as Mary Worth, Hell Mary, Mary Jones, and a host of other names. According to Snopes.com, Bloody Mary research began around 1978 in an essay published by folklorist Janet Langlois, at which time belief in summoning the mirror-witch was still widespread. “Mary is summoned whenever squealing girls get together for a sleepover,” Snopes says. “We typically performed the ‘ritual’ in bathrooms, because the bathrooms of our suburban homes had large mirrors and were easily darkened even during the day since they had no windows.” Typically, when the Bloody Mary ritual is performed correctly, a murderous ghost is said to emerge from the mirror, often attacking the individual who summoned her.

There is indeed a bit of history associated with the notion that ghostly images appear in mirrored surfaces. One early 20th century rhyme featured on Halloween post cards read, “On Halloween look in the glass, your future husband’s face will pass” (see image at right). Although this reference certainly pre-dates Langlois’ 1978 research into the phenomenon, even earlier references to magical arts like mirror-gazing and the use of “shew stones” dates back to ancient Egypt, where black obsidian mirrors were sometimes used in the process of divination known as “scrying.”

According to Raymond Moody M.D., the ancient Greeks used a similar process with the specific intention of contacting the dead, which they called the psychomanteum. In modern times, this environment (sometimes called a “spirit booth”) is used in a fashion similar to that of the Ganzfeld Technique, in that it is a form of sensory deprivation (staring into the optical depth of a mirror in a darkened room). Moody says the effect that produces “apparitions” is purely psychological—but it also causes one to consider whether, if the appearance of the dead in psychological studies can be achieved, the same might have occurred in other, less formal situations.

Ghosts in mirrors have indeed become an item of fascination. Various different takes on this theme include everything from the popular Candyman films to widely-circulated videos seen on the Internet.

Similarly, many parapsychologists have suggested that ghosts may become visible in reflective surfaces due to the way that mirrors, while maintaining an optical reversal of their surroundings, nonetheless reflect one of the most common forms of electromagnetic energy: light. Thus, a variety of images purported to show ghostly manifestations in haunted locations achieve their affect by aiming the lens of a camera diagonally into mirrors and reflective surfaces.

Have you ever seen a ghost in a mirror? If so, was it an apparition you recognized, or did you instead witness some strange aspect of the neither realms too horrifying to judge apart from a nightmare? Email your stories to info@gralienreport.com.

UPDATE: Sheridan Walker of San Antonio, TX sent along the following response to this story:

A friend in England, Dr. Harry Oldfield, has been interested in ghost research for many years. At the request of a friend who believed her house was haunted, Harry visited to take photos with his specially equipped camera. He and the friend stood in the doorway of the bedroom where a lot of activity had been happening and he snapped a quick photo when he saw a flash of motion–neither could say at the moment what it could have been. The wall opposite the door contained a bureau and mirror. When the photos came back there was one( the one with the mirror) that showed 3 people in medieval dress with shocked looks on their faces, one reaching his hand out as if to bravely try to touch the unknown room they were seeing. These people were within the mirror. The mirror also reflected back a small table with some things on it–a table not in the physical room. The house was of an age to date back to the time that these other people might have lived. I always got the feeling that perhaps the location of the mirror was a portal of some sort–and these folks were not ghosts. Very intriguing!

Source: The Gralien Report
http://gralienreport.com/ghosts/the-ghost-in-the-mirror-phantoms-or-psychological-illusions/

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