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They live deep underground in the stygian caverns carved from the virgin rock millions of years ago. They are the Old Ones, the first to call Earth their home -- but their original home, somewhere in the vast curtain of stars in the heavens, has been lost in antiquity. They now sit and watch their descendants on the surface who talk of love and forgiveness, but scheme to kill each other for the love of profit and power. They wonder how people who talk of peace and freedom are now considered evil and wrong, fit only to be taken to concentration camps for the ultimate walk down the fiery path. Blessed are the peace makers it was once written -- but now, such words are considered blasphemous and must be silenced. The Old Ones are glad that they live deep underground, free from the madness that envelopes the surface.
This week, Conspiracy Journal brings you such table-tapping stories as:
- Why You Won't Read This Earth Day Article
(And Why That Doesn't Matter) -
- The JFK-UFO Connection -
- Change of Scenery: Other Dimensions, Other People -
- Near-Death Experiences Attract Attention of Researchers -
AND: The Mineral Point, Wisconsin Vampire
~ And Now, On With The Show! ~
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Why You Won't Read This Earth Day Article
(And Why That Doesn't Matter)
Earth Day turns 41 this year, but in some ways, environmentalism seems to be stumbling. According to recent Gallup polls, 48 percent of Americans now believe that the dangers of climate change are exaggerated, up from 41 percent in 2009 and 31 percent in 1997. Meanwhile, environmental concerns rank eighth on Americans' worry list, behind terrorism, illegal immigration and the size and power of the federal government.
Getting people to care about environmental threats -- especially distant ones such as climate change -- can be tough, environmental advocates say. But whether or not people care about the environment may not matter much at all.
"Many people do things that would be considered environmentally sound, even if they aren't doing it for environmental reasons," said Edward Maibach, a professor of communication at George Mason University in Virginia who has studied Americans' opinions about climate change. "Several groups are concerned, one is not. But all of them place a high value on conserving energy." [Read: The Carbon Footprint of Sex & Other Daily Activities]
"It's tapping into a broadly held value," Maibach told LiveScience. "People just think it's a good idea to save energy and to save money as a result of saving energy."
Who cares about climate?
Maibach and his colleagues conducted a nationally representative survey of American adults in 2008 to understand how the public thinks about climate change.
They found that 18 percent of people are alarmed, convinced of the seriousness of global warming and taking steps to alter their behavior. Another 33 percent are concerned, but not taking action. Another 19 percent of people are cautious, meaning they believe climate change is a problem but don't feel a sense of urgency about it. The disengaged (12 percent) and doubtful (11 percent), on the other hand, either don't know much about climate change or don't think it's a big problem. And 7 percent of people are dismissive, actively campaigning against a national response to climate change.
But surprisingly, all of the groups conserved energy at the same rates, said Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale University Project on Climate Change, who was involved in the study with Maibach.
"The dismissive are conserving energy and saving energy as much as anyone else," Leiserowitz told LiveScience.
Part of the reason is that alarmed people are only beginning to translate their concern into action, Leiserowitz said. Another reason is that for too many people, conservation is a means to another end beside environmentalism. Some want to save money. Others see kicking foreign oil as a national security issue. Some Christian evangelicals believe protecting the Earth is a biblical mandate, Leiserowitz said.
"It's about thrift, conservation," Leiserowitz said. "These are core American values."
Can green be easy?
For that reason, convincing more people that climate change is happening may not be as productive as making it easier for people to be environmentalists -- even if they don't call themselves that.
"The real opportunity for us isn't to further bolster public opinion," Maibach said. "The real opportunity is for us as a society to figure out how to make it easier to perform these behaviors."
Maibach, Leiserowitz and their colleagues asked Americans about what sort of actions they thought were important for conservation and what actions they were actually taking. They found that almost everyone thinks that carpooling, biking instead of driving, reducing trash and other behaviors are important. But there were many gaps between what people believed and what they actually did. About 72 percent of people said carpooling or taking public transportation were important activities, but only 12 percent said they did either (another 2 percent said it wasn't important, but they did it anyway).
In contrast, people tended to engage in easier activities. Ninety-five percent of people said turning off unneeded lights is important, and 90 percent reported doing so.
It all comes down to barriers that prevent people from taking environmental action, Leiserowitz said.
"I would love to be able to take a bullet train from Connecticut to California, but I can't because my society hasn't provided me with one, whereas Japan and China and Europe have," he said. [Infographic: Full Speed Ahead for High-Speed Rail]
Making Earth Day count
So does Earth Day matter? It can be helpful, Maibach said, at least if it causes people to think about year-round environmental strategies.
"Earth Day is important in the sense that different cancer awareness days are important," said Mia Yamaguchi, the CoolClimate Network outreach coordinator at UC Berkeley's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. "Maybe the average American isn't involved in or organizing an event, but they may be more likely to read an article or donate."
Yamaguchi said she doesn't want to see more people worried about the environment -- she wants to see action.
"There are many, many things that any one person can do to manage their own environmental impacts, which I think makes it really different from worries like the national debt or U.S. foreign policy," Yamaguchi said. In those cases, "I can probably write a letter to a politician, maybe donate to a cause," she said. "But if I actually start looking at what it would take to improve my vehicle's fuel efficiency by 5 miles per gallon, that makes a big difference."
The CoolClimate Network has a variety of online widgets for people interested in calculating their own energy footprint. In the meantime, April 22 is a good day to step back and remember the planet we live on, Leisowitz said.
"It's Earth Day," he said. "Go out and celebrate."
- UNKNOWN HISTORY DEPARTMENT -
The JFK-UFO Connection: Bogus Documents or Unanswered Questions?
By Lee Speigel
Do you like a good UFO detective story? Well, here's one for you. And it's ongoing, so we don't yet know the ending. It involves President John F. Kennedy's interest in UFOs shortly before his death and an allegation that he may have angered officials in his administration when he asked for information on the subject.
Recently, the FBI opened a new website, "The Vault," that lets you view a variety of documents, including those regarding UFOs. I looked into one document that appears to include a phony UFO story and mentioned how important it is to be extremely careful when looking at UFO documents and how it's critical to know the background of this information.
While researching materials for his new book, "A Celebration of Freedom: JFK and the New Frontier" (Wasteland Press), Atlanta, Ga., history teacher William Lester used the Freedom of Information Act to get some previously classified documents.
Two of them were written by Kennedy on the same date, Nov. 12, 1963 -- 10 days before his assassination. One was to the CIA director, asking for UFO files (See JFK Doc 2); the other was to the NASA administrator, with Kennedy expressing a desire for cooperation with the former Soviet Union on mutual outer space activities (See JFK Doc 3).
"One of his concerns was that a lot of these UFOs were being seen over the Soviet Union and he was very concerned that the Soviets might misinterpret these UFOs as U.S. aggression, believing that it was some of our technology," Lester told AOL News.
"I think this is one of the reasons why he wanted to get his hands on this information and get it away from the jurisdiction of NASA so he could say to the Soviets, 'Look, that's not us, we're not doing it, we're not being provocative. In fact, just to show you that it's not us, what do you think about us working together on the exploration of space?'" Lester added.
Also in his book, Lester reprints an intriguing letter written by Maxwell W. Hunter of the National Aeronautics and Space Council (from the executive office of the president) to Robert F. Packard of the Office of International Scientific Affairs.
Hunter was a pioneer rocket scientist and scientific adviser to both Presidents Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. He wrote this 1963 letter, titled "Thoughts on the Space Alien Race Question."
This is not the first time these and more provocative UFO-related documents have surfaced over the last several decades. Many files point to earlier presidents, Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, as also being interested in the UFO subject.
Perhaps the most intensely scrutinized documents ever to emerge on UFOs have come to be known as the Majestic 12 or MJ-12. This was a reference to a top-secret group of military officials and scientists allegedly appointed by Truman in 1947 to keep close tabs on the activities of alien beings on Earth after a reported UFO crash near Roswell, N.M.
Let's try to sort out the facts.
In 1984, the MJ-12 documents first appeared when a UFO researcher, Jaime Shandera, received a plain brown envelope that contained a roll of 35mm black-and-white film that developed into a multipage 1952 document -- presumably created for Eisenhower -- regarding something called "Operation Majestic 12."
When the MJ-12 documents were eventually made public around 1987, skeptics poured out of the woodwork, condemning the documents as fraudulent and totally dismissing them.
To get some much needed credible information about the documents, I turned to Linda Moulton Howe, a renowned investigative reporter who explored the MJ-12 materials in 2008. An excellent, in-depth series of reports on her efforts to uncover the truth of the MJ-12 story can be found at her Earthfiles website.
"It's the Catch-22 circle that counter-intel is so good at and they depend on it to divert 99 1/2 percent of the public and the media. And that is, you just put out the word 'This is a hoax' and the population accepts it, and they know that, and they have done this," said Howe, a multiple Emmy Award-winning TV producer and critically acclaimed author of numerous books, including "Glimpses of Other Realities, Volumes I and II" (Linda Moulton Howe Productions).
"So, whether it's swamp gas, weather balloons, hoaxes of hubcaps being thrown up into the air -- the government's efforts back in the late '40s and early '50s became preposterous and cartoonish to try to get control of a subject that they knew was absolutely critical," Howe told AOL News.
The controversy surrounding MJ-12 is a prime example of the age-old "he said, she said" battle in the universe of UFO believers and skeptics.
But MJ-12 has taken on a life of its own because of the large volume of documents and the attention to detail within, including the verification process conducted by serious researchers into specific files that suggest government officials were unhappy with Kennedy's interest in UFOs.
I contacted the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, searching for information about JFK's UFO interest. I was told they didn't catalogue that kind of thing there, but they gave me the names of five Kennedy biographer/historians -- Robert Dallek, James Giglio, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael O'Brien and Laurence Leamer.
When I reached out to them for any information they might provide, the responses ranged from "I can't help you," "I had not uncovered any information relating to JFK's interest in UFOs" and "I'm afraid I know nothing about JFK's interest in UFOs" to "I don't know anything about it. Maybe when he heard 'unidentified foreign objects,' he thought they were European women."
So, I kept digging.
And Howe connected me with the man she worked closely with in 2008 on the MJ-12 documents. The conversation I had with physicist/aeronautical engineer Robert Wood, former deputy director of McDonnell Douglas -- the major aerospace manufacturer and defense contractor -- really opened my eyes.
In the 1960s, Wood led a McDonnell Douglas team to study UFOs and he's put a huge amount of investigative work into the MJ-12 documents. His website offers a stunning display of MJ-12 items, complete with individual document analysis, and he's collaborated with Howe to piece together and authenticate these eye-opening files.
After a 43-year career with McDonnell Douglas, Wood retired in 1993. That, coupled with more than three decades of investigating UFOs, makes him a highly credible voice about the phenomenon.
At McDonnell Douglas, "We had authority to look at how UFOs might work, with gravity-controlled devices. And I hired (nuclear physicist) Stanton Friedman -- it was the first job he ever had that paid him to study UFOs," Wood said about the man widely considered the hardest-working UFO investigator today, who offers his own critique of MJ-12 skepticism and debunkers.
"There are those who believe (despite evidence to the contrary) that no alien spacecraft have ever visited Earth. Therefore, any documents saying that they have must be false," Friedman pointed out. "No need to do a detailed investigation, to spend time in archives, research the people involved, etc. They must be fraudulent!"
Under the auspices of McDonnell Douglas, Friedman worked closely with Wood looking into reports, including stories told by alleged UFO abductees. "We didn't get any breakthroughs and our report was never submitted to the government -- it was a McDonnell Douglas project -- and so we never told the government about it," Wood said.
In the 1990s, Wood obtained a series of the MJ-12 documents, including something known as the "burned" memo -- believed to have been written in the early 1960s -- that was reportedly saved from being burned, presumably to forever hide important UFO information, including parts that referred to Kennedy.
The memo contains a reference to "Lancer," which was John F. Kennedy's Secret Service code name.
The first page of the now-infamous burned memo (See JFK Doc 4), reportedly written by the director of Central Intelligence, said:
"As you must know, Lancer has made some inquiries regarding our activities, which we cannot allow. Please submit your views no later than October. Your action to this matter is critical to the continuance of the group."
To authenticate the documents, Wood turned to forensics and linguistics specialists who carefully looked at things like the paper they were printed on, ink age, watermarks, font types and other markings.
"I hired a forensics company to check the age of the ink and to check several other things that you can date, using the same techniques you'd use in a court of law," Wood explained. "And all the critics who wave their arms and say, 'Well, you can duplicate anything,' they forget about the fact that these documents actually showed up in the public domain long before our sophisticated techniques got on the market.
"I never figured out who the original document leaker was or what they thought I would do with it, other than what I've done, which has been to discuss it professionally, ethically and from a point of view of intellectual curiosity."
After gathering all their information, Wood and his son, Ryan, produced a 2008 television documentary, "The Secret," shown on the then Sci Fi Channel.
After exhaustive hands-on analysis of the MJ-12 documents, including the volatile burned memo, Wood came to some striking conclusions:
"I think the most important set of documents are the ones that show that we started this program in 1942, after recovering the first craft in 1941 -- at the beginning of the war, just a few days after Pearl Harbor.
"The second most important set of documents, I think, is the one that links this to the JFK assassination, and that's the burned memo.
"And the third most important documents were the ones that deal with what we were doing about it in the '50s, how we were going to absorb the technology and reverse-engineer it, and how it would affect our entire structure of technology.
"That's my assessment of its relative importance. The most important idea that people have not grasped at all is that this program started in early 1942. The second most important idea is that the program is not under the control of the president and when the president was about to leak it, they bumped him off."
Wood's implication that JFK was killed because of his interest in UFOs is startling, to say the least. But he's not the only person who considers this a possibility.
"I think Kennedy was very interested in UFOs on several fronts," Lester suggested after finishing his book on Kennedy's life.
"There seemed to be kind of an idealistic scientific angle to it, but there was also this hardcore tactical angle that he was trying to successfully play, in what were very volatile times.
"It's almost impossible for me to believe that there's no connection. Now I couldn't go into a courtroom and prove that there was a direct correlation, but I find it hard to believe that there's no connection there."
If this is all true, then it opens the biggest can of worms ever. And yet, Wood's background and integrity shouldn't be taken lightly.
"People always ask me, 'How would the government keep a secret,' because everybody knows that governments don't keep secrets," Wood said.
"As I got involved in classified work, I concluded a couple of things: the higher your clearance level and the more sophisticated the program was, the smarter the people were in the room, almost without exception.
"These guys get smarter and smarter the more complex it is or the more secret it is, and therefore, they are very clever and have a lot of enjoyment in figuring out how to accomplish their missions, which is to keep the public in the dark."
Certainly Wood's career achievements are not in dispute, so there doesn't seem to be a reason for him to be lying or making this stuff up. And, by the way, he doesn't think there's just one group of ETs visiting us.
"There's another dimension here that people don't always integrate and that is, what's the aliens' role in this matter? I'm satisfied there's at least six kinds and they each have their own agendas. It seems like the only thing that's the same is that none of them really want to come out and openly admit that they're here."
Are the MJ-12 documents real or phony? So much mystery still swirls around the assassination of JFK. For conspiracy theorists this is only more fuel on the fire. To be sure, the debate will continue. But for now, with the information presented here, you can make up your own mind.
At the very least, it'll give you something to wonder about.
Source: AOL News
- SUPPRESSED TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT -
Could A 200-Yr-Old Engine Solve Our Gas Crisis?
With gas prices shooting higher and higher everyday, and the threat of $5 a gallon looming ever closer, a little-known invention by a Church of Scotland minister almost 200 years ago could help to reduce the world's insatiable and ever-growing appetite for oil.
As prices on the oil markets continue to approach their highest for 21 years - threatening a repeat of the fuel protests of four years ago - a leading expert on the Stirling engine has claimed it could reduce petrol and diesel consumption in motor vehicles by more than half.
Dr Peter Waddell, a retired reader in mechanical engineering at Strathclyde University, believes the internal combustion engine - workhorse of the western world for more than a century - could be replaced by a modern interpretation of Robert Stirling's 1812 engine.
He claims that, using new advances in technology, the Stirling engine could easily match a modern petrol or diesel engine of a similar capacity, but with an improvement in efficiency of about 30 per cent.
Robert Stirling was a Church of Scotland minister who invented the Stirling engine because steam engines of his day often blew up, killing and maiming people who happened to be close by.
His new type of engine could not explode and produced more power than steam engines then in use. In 1816 he received his first patent for a new type of "air engine".
The engines he built and those that followed eventually became known as "hot air engines" and continued to be called that until the 1940s when other gases such as helium and hydrogen were used as the working fluid. As opposed to the modern internal combustion engine, the Stirling engine is an external combustion engine and uses the "Stirling Cycle".
This means that the gases inside never leave the engine. There are no exhaust valves that vent high-pressure gases, as in a petrol or diesel engine, and there are no explosions taking place. Because of this, Stirling engines are very quiet.
Although they have very limited application in their present stage of development, they are used in some submarines, refrigerators and auxiliary power units for yachts.
The Stirling Cycle uses an external heat source - which could be anything from petrol to solar energy to the heat produced by decaying plants. No combustion takes place inside the cylinders of the engine.
However, until recently the main problem with the technology was that engineers could never get any power out of them.
Dr Waddell said: "The problem is that you have to work under pressure. As the pressure increases the power output does so dramatically as well.
"But as helium is prohibitively expensive, you have an enclosed mass of hydrogen under high pressure.
"If that leaks out and there is a spark you are on potentially lethal ground. It would cause a catastrophic explosion."
Rubber seals to prevent the gas leakage were always seen as the Achilles heel of the Stirling engine, as they leaked under pressure, posing significant danger.
Using liquid sealant, Dr Waddell and his research team at Strathclyde University cracked the problem to the point where they could "blow the engine apart due to pressure, without losing any of the volatile gas".
He added: "Having discovered the key to working the engine under high pressure we started to get absolutely brilliant results, and proved the principle that it works.
"It would be totally feasible to make the Stirling engine work now.
"Ford gave up in the early 1990s because they could not seal the hydrogen under high pressure.
"With our success it has already been proven that, cylinder capacity to cylinder capacity, you could get as much power out of a Stirling as you could with a petrol engine.
"The problem was that it would cost a pile of money to re-tool up to build Stirling engines," said Dr Waddell.
"It is as good as the petrol or diesel engine and could replace the current internal combustion engine in most cars without any problem at all."
- SLIP SLIDING AWAY DEPARTMENT -
Change of Scenery: Other Dimensions, Other People
By Scott Corrales
Naysayers are fond of deriding believers in high-strangeness for their excessive reliance on “anecdotal” material. Seldom does the Unknown sit still for a portrait, much less for a DNA analysis or the questions of a fact-checker. So the currency of the elusive realm of the paranormal will be the anecdotal for a long time to come – especially when we receive tantalizing bits of material from sources like Venezuela’s El Tiempo newspaper, in which writer Segundo Peña writes of a strange incident in the city of Mérida (Venezuela) involving a faculty member of the ULA (University of the Andes), a native of Trujillo, who walked to his car in the university parking lot in broad daylight, seen by many witnesses, including waving students and fellow professors. He opened the door, entered the vehicle – and was never seen again. The car remained parked where it was.
“The car’s owner,” writes Peña in his article, which can be found at http://www.diarioeltiempo.com.ve/V3_Secciones/index.php?id=76472011&_Proc=Desp , “has been gone for over forty years (we do not mention his name out of respect for his family) Was this person abducted by strange forces alien to our own dimension? Science pursues its general research, where psychology is aware that in many cases perceptual illusions, erroneous interpretations, hallucinations and fantasy-prone personalities have sway. But the enigma is still present and unresolved.”
Peña gives us no dates and no names, but the strange case is reminiscent of many other “bizarre disappearances” that have filled entire books over the past forty years. One can fancifully think that he entered his car and suddenly found himself in the same parking lot in a parallel reality, unmindful of the situation until subtle differences – subtle terrors, to be frank – made him realize that something was drastically different, or that he had lost his mind. We can speculate away.
However, we are also faced with cases that give us a wealth of information that goes beyond the anecdotal: Alberto Luis Fernández, director of Spain’s Revista Avalon, posted the intriguing story of a woman who believes herself to have been brought to our reality from another. “We cannot be certain that this is a not a hoax, but it is nevertheless an interesting story, and if true, it could happen to us when we least expect it,” says Fernandez as a foreword to the story.
In July 2008, a woman named Lerina García posted a message to a website asking for help. We will transcribe her message verbatim.
“Hello, my name is Luz. I’m 41 and believe that I have jumped into a parallel universe. This is hard for me to discuss, as everyone will consider me psychotic and will refuse to believe me. Please, if someone has had a similar experience, please e-mail me. One day I woke up and found that everything was different – nothing spectacular or having to do with time travel and such things. I simply woke up in the same year and day on which I went to bed, but many things were different. They were small things, but sufficiently important to know that there was a point at which everything was different.
“In fact, if this is a dream, then you’re all in a dream, because what I’m writing about doesn’t exist. So if someone replies, it means that they are experiencing the same reality as I am, whether it’s a dream or not.
“Four months ago I awoke on a normal morning. I was in my rented home, where I’d been living for 7 years. Everything was the same, except that my bed linen was different, and I paid no attention at the time. So I went to work in my car, which was parked where I’d always parked, and it was the same office I’d worked in for the last 20 years. But when I got to my department, it wasn’t my department. It has names on the door and mine wasn’t on it. I thought I was on the wrong floor, but no, it was my own floor. I went over to the office’s wireless section and looked myself up. I still worked there, but in another department, reporting to a superior I didn’t even know. So I went to the department indicated in the directory, said I was feeling ill and left. All the contents of my handbag were the same: my credit cards, my ID, everything, but I didn’t recall having changed departments at any time. I went to the social security doctor and underwent drug and alcohol testing...all clean. I returned to work the next day and was able to make my way by asking questions and saying that I wasn’t feeling well.
“My apartment is the same. Everything is unchanged. I’ve looked at all the papers I’ve kept in the house and they’re unchanged. After realizing that something strange was going on, I thought it might be some form of amnesia. Perhaps something had happened to me and I couldn’t remember a period of my life. But no, I logged on to the Internet and the day was as it should have been, and the major news items were the same as the day before.
“I’ve been separated from my partner of 7 years for some six months. We broke up and I started a relationship with a fellow from my neighborhood. I know him perfectly well, having been with him for four months. I know his name, surname, address, where he works, his son from another relationship, and where he studies. Well, that fellow no longer exists. He appeared to have existed before my “jump” but there is no trace of him now. I’ve hired a detective to find him and he does not exist on this “plane”. I’ve visited a psychiatrist and its all been put down to stress. He thinks they’re hallucinations, but I know this isn’t the case. My former boyfriend is with me as though nothing had happened – apparently we never broke it off – and Agustín (my current boyfriend) appears to have never existed. He doesn’t live in the flat he used to live, and I cannot find his son. I swear to you that its true and that I’m very sane. My own family doesn’t remember things like surgery performed on my sister’s shoulder a few months ago: she has never been operated on. Small things to that effect.
“Unfortunately, I cannot remember very important things from the news, but the rest of the world appears to be the same. There are many small details over the last five months and now, mere trivialities: clothing in my closet that I don’t remember buying, posts on a radio show blog that I had with my ex (and who remains my boyfriend now)...I don’t know, it’s foolish, but the fact is that I’m sane and this is all true.
PLEASE, if someone has had a similar experience, please contact me to see what may have happened. I cannot find any pathology that matches my experience. For five months I’ve been reading all of the theories I’ve come across and am convinced that it has been a jump between planes or something, a decision or action taken that has caused things to change. What upsets me is that that I’m in the same year, not in a different time, and I’m exactly the same. Let me explain: it’s as though I had lost my memory 5 months ago, and woke up having dreamed those 5 months, with the exception that everyone remembers me during that time, and I’ve done things that I’m not aware of having done. Has anyone had a similar experience? Pranksters and people with a grasp on “the truth” can refrain from commenting. This is very serious to me. Thank you – Luz.”
Could “Luz” have experienced some trauma to the brain – that wonderful and largely unexplored realm – that has led her to forget critical aspects of her existence, such as the division she worked for at her place of employment, or more importantly, hallucinate a love affair with someone who she cannot find again after a break-up with her original partner? An e-mail message is only worth the electrons it was composed with, and we only have “Luz”’s word for her medical visits and diagnosis. We know that insect bites have triggered abnormal brain function in humans, that blows to the head have caused people to speak different languages, speak with odd accents, or even gain telepathic or psychic ability. Might we suggest that “Luz” was tuning in to another reality for a certain period of time, rather than actually living in one?
Down the Rabbit Hole
Chile’s La Tercera newspaper published an article (31 July 2000) penned by journalist Marcelo Córdova regarding Nima Arkani-Hamed, a researcher with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who suggested that parallel universes exist in real space, coexisting with our own, and sufficiently close by to be touched. Our own world occupies a sort of membrane populated by a fistful of possible dimensions. This scientific model posits a universe on a three-dimensional wall with other dimensions. “The most fascinating detail,” according to Arkani-Hamed “is the existence of other membranes, meaning that we live with parallel universes occupied by other beings. Or we ourselves could be living alternate realities.”
It was November 1984 when Spain’s Guardia Civil conducted a massive search involving tracking dogs, expert mountaineers, local residents and even the Boy Scouts to solve the disappearance of Etelvina García, who lived in the hamlet of Santo Emiliano in the northern region of Asturias. Living alone and with no known relatives, Etelvina was known to one and all as healthy and lively shepherdess who led her flock to all the pastures in the area. But one day, her neighbors were startled to find her animals unattended in the fields with no sign of their caretaker.
A search of her home found everything in order, with no signs of a hasty departure or home invasion. The authorities gave up on finding her after an arduous search, and her whereabouts remain unknown. She may reappear some day, if a case from the Canary Islands, allegedly dating back to 1905, can serve as a precedent.
The case – described as more of a “legend” nowadays – involves a girl who has become known as “la niña de las peras” (the Pear Child), who was sent off by he parents to fetch pears at an enigmatic location known as Barranco de Badajoz on the island of Tenerife, which has been associated with strange lights and creatures for ages. She disappeared, and locals conducted as thorough a search as their early 20th century means allowed. However, the child returned: several decades later.
The year 1905 has always been used as the date for the disappearance, but others place this high-strangeness event at 1890 or even 1910. According to the story, the girl returned looking the same as she did on the day she vanished – a Canarian Rip Van Winkle who took a nap at the foot of a tree before being stirred by a very tall being in white, who asked her to come into a cave, where she saw similar beings. She took her leave after speaking to them and returned home to the astonishment of her family. It was believed that her relatives concealed “the Pear Child” – possibly out fear of harm from those who might consider her unlucky or accursed in some way – and lived for years in the San Juan district of the island. If so, researchers have never been able to ascertain her identity.
Could Etelvina García have found herself in a reality no different from our own, leading a flock of animals from another dimension back to their own barn, never aware of what had happened? If the charming story of the Pear Child has any truth to it, is “time diffraction” the price to be paid for venturing into an adjoining universe, and trying to return from it?
- BEAM ME UP DEPARTMENT -
Scientists Successfully Teleport Light
The development might be used to design faster quantum computers.
Researchers from Australia and Japan have successfully teleported wave packets of light, potentially revolutionizing quantum communications and computing.
The team, led by researchers at the University of Tokyo, say this is the first-ever teleportation, or transfer, of a particular complex set of quantum information from one point to another.
They say it will make possible high-speed, high-fidelity transmission of large volumes of information, such as quantum encryption keys, via communications networks.
The research appears today in the journal Science.
Professor Elanor Huntington, of the School of Engineering and Information Technology at UNSW's Canberra campus, explains that teleportation -- the transfer of quantum information from one location to another using normal, "classical" communications -- is a fundamental quantum communication technique.
"It relies on having two things," she said.
"One is the normal fiber optic internet or even copper cables, and the other is a shared resource between the sender and the receiver, that could have been shared at any time in the past: we call that entanglement."
Huntington says the idea of quantum teleportation has been around for about ten years, but has been difficult to put into practice.
"There used to be two ways of doing teleportation and both had their limitations," she said.
"One was quite fast, but had a limited probability of succeeding. The other way of doing it was quite slow, but had a very good probability of working."
"What we've done is managed to get it both fast and good quality," she said.
They did it by teleporting the wave packets of light in a 'Schrödinger's cat' state.
In Schrödinger's famous thought experiment of the 1930s, a cat would be placed in a sealed box with a device containing atomic material. A Geiger counter was included to measure radiation if at some point an atom decayed. Should that happen, the Geiger counter would trigger the release of cyanide gas, which would kill the cat.
The idea was that it was impossible to know whether or not the cat was alive or dead without opening the box and observing it, and that until that happened, both realities existed. This became known as superposition.
Schrödinger's is said to have devised the experiment to ridicule the emerging theories of quantum physics; but since then physicists have found many examples of superposition in the quantum world.
"What was funky about Schrödinger's idea was that you could take a normal macroscopic object, which we all think we know and understand fairly well, and you could put it into a quantum superposition -- and that's kind of weird," said Huntington.
"Nowadays any kind of system where you do that is known as a Schrödinger's cat."
"So in our case what we've done is take a macroscopic beam of light and put it into a quantum superposition, which is extremely fragile, and teleported that from one place to another."
"One of the ways that we encode digital information is by its phase," Huntington said, "so what we've done is created a wave packet that's simultaneously a one and a zero in its phase."
"Superposition is exactly what underlies the power of things like quantum computers. You enable parallel processing because at the same time it's a one and a zero. The point is, we've managed to teleport it from A to B without the one and the zero getting confused," she said.
Huntington says being able to demonstrate this will enable researchers to take the next step in quantum computing.
"[Being able to transfer data packets like this] is a necessary thing to do in order to build a proper quantum computer or a quantum communications device," she said.
Source: Discovery News
- GO INTO THE LIGHT DEPARTMENT -
Near-Death Experiences Attract Attention of Researchers
When Deb Foster died in a San Diego hospital, she found herself on a stairway surrounded by cats and dogs and mesmerized by a celestial blue sky, the likes of which she had never seen on Earth.
When it was Mary Clare Schlesinger's turn, she hovered above her bed in the intensive-care unit, watching her husband and daughter react in shock and fathomless grief at the thought of her passing.
Beverly Brodsky said she went on a spectacular journey through a tunnel of intense light, a magic ride with angels and a shapeless God to a place of perfect knowledge, wisdom, truth and justice.
All three said the journeys on which they embarked while "clinically dead," a period of a few moments when their hearts stopped, transformed their lives and left them with no fear of death.
They are not alone.
Many patients -- a notable study says nearly one in five -- who are revived following cardiac arrest, report memories of their brief time at death's door. They undergo a lucid, often indelible experience, even though they were unconscious with flat brain scans during the moments in which their hearts were still.
The near-death experiences, or NDEs, described by the three San Diego patients contain many of these typically reported elements: An out-of-body experience; acute awareness; moving through a void or tunnel toward bright light; meeting deceased relatives; a life review; feelings of intense joy, profound peace -- a feeling so blissful they longed to remain; and seeing a point of no return.
Increased survival rates from faster responses to cardiac-arrest calls, extensive CPR training, development of portable defibrillators and other improved methods of resuscitation mean more people could be expected to have near-death experiences.
Though it may sound like the stuff of supermarket tabloids or the latest New Age religion, NDEs are attracting the attention of distinguished practitioners who study the body and mind.
"Some may say this is the brain's survival mechanism, that there is a physical explanation," said Dr. Vivian Ellis, an obstetrician at Scripps Memorial Hospital who resuscitated Foster after assisting with her Caesarean section. "But I think there is definitely a spiritual aspect to this."
Ellis has practiced obstetrics at Scripps for 15 years and said she has had several patients who reported NDEs to her.
"Whatever happens, it is more than science," she said. "This raises fascinating questions about human consciousness, and about light and time."
Yet many physicians remain skeptical about near-death reports.
Dr. Robert Sarnoff, a pulmonologist who revived Schlesinger in February 2001, said that in 25 years of taking care of gravely ill patients, she was the only one who has reported an NDE.
"It is not a big topic on my radar screen," Sarnoff said.
Other cardiologists and trauma specialists declined to even discuss the subject,as did doctors at Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
Dr. Pim van Lommel said he often encounters this response from colleagues.
Van Lommel is a cardiologist in the Netherlands who led a 13-year study of the NDE phenomena. The results were published in 2001 in the British medical journal Lancet.
"NDE is not a rare phenomenon," said van Lommel in an e-mail interview. Yet NDEs are, to many physicians, "an inexplicable phenomenon and hence an ignored result of survival in a critical medical situation."
"Physicians must be open and must take the time to listen to patients without prejudice."
Dead for more than 3 minutes
After her baby was delivered Dec. 11, 2002, Foster was wheeled into a recovery room. As attendants moved her from gurney to bed, she suffered an amniotic-fluid embolism, a rare obstetric emergency in which amniotic fluid entered her bloodstream, passed into her lungs and caused cardiac arrest.
For more than three minutes, the then-42-year-old was clinically dead. Though unconscious, Foster says she had the most clear and profound experience of her life:
"I left that room and went to a staircase that was going up into the sky. It was so high, up past the clouds. I am afraid of heights, but I had no fear, even though there were no railings," she said.
"I could look off to the distance and see beautiful rolling hills. The sky was the most unimaginable color of blue that doesn't exist in this life.
"There is simply peace. No chaos. No pain; the most serene place you can imagine, a perfect moment in time."
Foster said she believed in God but questioned her faith and was uncertain about an afterlife before this experience.
"Now there is no question in my mind; there is a God, there is a heaven."
Van Lommel noted that the effects of NDEs on patients "seem similar worldwide, across all cultures."
He said he became interested after reading the book Return From Tomorrow by George Ritchie, an Army private who in 1943 was revived after "dying" from a bout of pneumonia.
"I started to ask patients who had survived a cardiac arrest if they could remember something" from when they were unconscious, van Lommel said.
That led to a study of cardiac patients who had lapsed into unconsciousness because of anoxia (deficiency of oxygen) at 10 Dutch hospitals between 1988 and 1992.
The patients ranged in age from 26 to 92; 75 percent were men. Most were interviewed within five days of being clinically dead.
Of 344 patients, 62 -- or 18 percent -- remembered something of the time they were dead, van Lommel said.
Two-thirds of those (41 patients) had a "core," or extremely vivid, NDE while the other 21 were determined to have had a superficial NDE, he said.
Dr. Ellis of Scripps said the fact that most resuscitated patients do not report NDEs may be likened to the fact that some people vividly remember dreams while others have no memory of them at all.
Surviving patients in van Lommel's study who reported NDEs were interviewed again at two- and eight-year intervals, and compared with a control group of patients who did not have the experience.
Researchers were struck, van Lommel said, by how the NDE patients had been transformed.
Nearly all had no fear of death, believed in an afterlife, and strongly believed that what was truly important in life was "love and compassion for oneself, for others and for nature."
More questions than answers
Researchers ranging from those with scientific degrees to devotees of the paranormal to practitioners of New Age religions agree that the phenomenon of near-death experiences raises more questions than can currently be answered.
One is: If NDE is physiologically based, why doesn't every patient who recovers from cardiac arrest or coma report them?
And if patients whose hearts and brain activity have stopped remember vivid experiences, what does that say about the origin of the conscious mind?
In 1970, when Beverly Brodsky was 20 and living in Venice, the motorcycle she was riding on was hit by a car driven by a drunken driver.
Brodsky said she suffered severe head injuries and lacerations to her face. "They released me from the hospital with no pain medication. I was in agony."
Though raised in a Jewish family, Brodsky said she was an agnostic at the time. As she lay in bed, Brodsky said, she feared she would pass out from the pain.
"I wanted to die. I remember praying: 'God, if you are there, take me.' With that prayer, I was lifted up out of my body. I had these terrible head injuries and pain, and I had been legally blind before. But suddenly my eyesight was perfect.
"On the ceiling was an angel in flowing white robes that glowed from within, like a lantern. I believe I was clinically dead at that point.
"He took my hand, and we flew out the window," Brodsky said. "I had no fear. We were over the ocean, and above us was this dark area. At the end of it was a pinpoint of light, brighter than anything I had ever seen. It was like a tunnel, and we went into the tunnel.
"It was a light that contained all things; everything that ever was or will be was in this light.
"There were no words, no form, no face, no structure. All communication happened telepathically. I thought, well this isn't the guy on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but this must be God."
Brodsky has three shelves of books about NDE in her home. She moderates a monthly meeting for those who have had such experiences and is active in national NDE groups.
"I have never come to doubt my experience," she said. "I see it as a great gift from God. I'm honored I was allowed to remember."
Long relegated to the realm of the paranormal, NDE burst on the scene 30 years ago when Raymond Moody, an East Coast psychiatrist, published Life After Life, examining reports of near-death experiences -- a term Moody coined. It sold 10 million copies worldwide.
Other books, articles and studies followed, including several by Kenneth Ring, now professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Connecticut and co-founder of the International Association for Near-Death Studies.
Ring studied thousands of NDE reports, including some by blind patients. He concluded that religious orientation was not a factor. An atheist was as likely to have one as someone devoutly religious, according to Ring, who retired from the NDE field in the late 1990s.
Regardless of their backgrounds, most patients were convinced they were in the presence of some supreme being and loving power, and had glimpsed a life yet to come.
Ring, who concluded NDEs do not have the rambling, disconnected nature of hallucination, said patients who reported them came away with strong feelings of self-acceptance, a great concern for others and more appreciative of life -- more loving and more spiritual.
A will to return
Mary Clare Schlesinger, 56, is among the apparent minority who did not see religious overtones in the near-death experience.
"I had an out-of-body experience. But I see it as part of life," she said.
Schlesinger suffered respiratory failure four years ago from complications due to post-polio syndrome and a severe virus. She was placed on life support and realized she was dying.
"Time slowed down, enabling me to go through all of my life and consciously forgive everyone who had ever hurt me," she said. "Then it was easy to let go."
Schlesinger, who was raised Roman Catholic, said that from her perch in the hospital room, she looked down and clearly saw herself in bed and her husband and daughter at her bedside.
"As soon as I saw Rebecca and Steve's faces, all the energy and strength available went into coming back," she said. "Survival was more about love. The love I have for life and the people I love and the love they have for me is very powerful."
Skeptics weigh in
NDEs can be explained by neurochemistry and are the result of brain states that occur due to a dying, demented or drugged brain, claims Robert Todd Carroll in The Skeptics Dictionary.
Carroll cites British researcher Susan Blackmore's conclusion that the feelings of extreme peacefulness -- almost universal among NDE reports -- are the result of endorphins released due to the extreme stress of the situation.
"There are two basic hypotheses," said Paul Kurtz, a retired philosophy professor and founder of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.
"One, something leaves the body, the spirit or soul, goes to another realm, returns and reports. Two, this is a physiological process that alters consciousness, triggers bright lights, tunnel vision, out-of-body experiences and the like. That latter makes much more sense to me."
Van Lommel concedes that "neurophysiological processes must play some part in NDE."
And, he says, "NDE-like experiences have been reported after the use of drugs like ketamine, LSD or (psilocybin) mushrooms."
But the perception of light, sound flashes and recollections with drug use are more fragmented and far less panoramic than that of an NDE, he said.
Most compelling to van Lommel and other NDE researchers is what the experience suggests about the nature of human consciousness.
"We finally should consider the possibility that death, like birth, may well be a mere passing from one state of consciousness to another," he said.
Source: Daily Breeze
- STRANGE STORIES AND WEIRD REPORTS DEPARTMENT -
The Mineral Point, Wisconsin Vampire
Although sucking blood from out of two holes in a neck would no doubt be totally awesome and instantly refreshing, if we were vampires we’d still take the time to clean the area with sani-wipes before taking a sip. After all, just because we’d be undead doesn’t mean we’d not be sanitarily cautious.
The Vampire of Mineral Point, on the other hand, well he’s not cautious at all. Well – unless by never ever biting anybody you’d deem him cautious. Actually, we would too. He’s actually pretty polite as far as vampires go. Sure he hangs out in cemeteries – but he usually gets while the getting’s good once the authorities become involved.
Just to get this out of the way from the start – the Vampire of Mineral Point seems more mysterious than he does dangerous. He’s never been reported to have bitten a single stupid neck, and he can’t even turn into a bat. At a vampire convention he’d be more likely served on the buffet table than have a reserved seat.
What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of the Vampire of Mineral Point? Well let us brief you on him. This summary is from the demoniacal.blogspot.com:
“In 1981 in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, sightings of a reported ‘Vampire’ were made in the local Graceland Cemetery. Police Officer John Pepper had a run-in with the phantom, which he described as being a tall, white-faced man in a cape. Pepper pursued the suspect but gave up after the man leaped over a barbed-wire fence and disappeared in the darkness. Pepper reportedly discounted the Vampire rumours, believing the suspect to have possibly been mentally ill.”
With leaps like that – this guy reminds us far more of the super cool Spring-Heeled Jack, or the slightly copy cat-ish Hopping Phantom of Calchín than a vampire. Kind of strange that these high jumping hooligans have been encountered so often. Sounds to us like Larry Bird in a bathrobe.
The sightings for this particular creature go on. On a Facebook page called Wisconsin Death Trip Discussions, a poster named ‘Derek‘ adds quite a bit to the story. He doesn’t cite a source, so take it with a grain of salt. Here’s a first portion of what he said:
“On March 14, 2008 around 9 PM, Mineral Point police responded to a number of calls of a person sitting in a tree outside an apartment complex and leaping upon those who passed by. The person described matched that of the Mineral Point Vampire. As police arrived, the suspect jumped from the tree and ran off into the night. Authorities followed what they believed to be his tracks in the snow, which led to a 10 foot high cement wall and stopped. The suspect could not be found.”
Again with the jumping. So far the alleged Mineral Point Vampire doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe he’ll start sucking your blood after you die of a heart attack. If that’s the case – you’re not using it anymore anyway, right? The next bit from Derek’s post show’s a more supernatural, possible serial killer type side to the vampire. Keep in mind we’ve tried to google confirmation sources on this story and couldn’t find any.
But it’s fascinating none the less:
“Taken off the news wire reporting out of Madison:
“On July 11, 2008 at about 10:00 PM Mineral Point residents Brandon Heinz (22 years old) and his girlfriend Jamie Marker (19 years old) were fishing off the jetty on the far west shore of Ludden Lake when the couple heard noises coming from under the jetty. The noises were described as sounding “like something was using the boards of the jetty like a ladder, climbing along underneath us”.
“Heinz began stomping the boards believing it was some kind of animal and hoping to scare it away. He aimed his flashlight between the cracks of the boards when he and Marker heard water splashing down towards the other side of the jetty. Heinz shone his flashlight towards the sound to see “a figure with dark hair and a very pale face pulling itself up onto the jetty”. Heinz and Marker stood in shock as the figure began to rise to it’s feet. Marker turned and ran up the path towards Heinz’s vehicle as Heinz kept his flashlight aimed on the figure.
“”It was wearing some kind of Dracula looking cape and a suit, sort of,” Heinz stated. Marker claimed the same. Heinz threw his flashlight towards the figure and ran up the path after Marker, who was already in the vehicle with the doors locked. As Heinz started the vehicle and began leaving, Marker saw out the passenger window that the figure was coming up the path at a run and she screamed for Heinz to hurry.
“The couple drove to the Mineral Point police department and made a statement directly after. A patrol unit in the area of Ludden Lake investigated the area where Heinz and Marker had been but found no one. Heinz and Marker returned the next day to retrive their belongings with everything accounted for, except for Heinz’s flashlight.
“Whoever it is,” Heinz says, “they can keep it.”"
That sound like something out of a movie. If it’s a 3-D movie with a tall, blue lead character and a two dimensional villain, well then we’d like to buy our tickets now.
Source: Awesome or Off-Putting
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