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claws? NO - It's another spine-tingling issue of your favorite weekly
newsletter of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal, and everything else
spooky and scary - CONSPIRACY JOURNAL.
- UFO Witnesses May Have Been Exposed to Radiation -
- Are We All Persons of Interest?
- She-Devils of the Deep -
AND: Mysterious Radar Cloud Over the Midwest Was Actually...Butterflies
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Revealing The Bizarre Powers of Harry Houdini
The Paranormal World of Sherlock Holmes
Harry Houdini a closet Psychic? Clairvoyant? Or Spirit Medium?
His friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle insisted he had the evidence that the
world's greatest escape artist was not the skeptic he made himself out
At his burial some curious and suggestive words were
used by the presiding rabbi: "HOUDINI POSSESSED A WONDROUS POWER THAT
HE NEVER UNDERSTOOD AND WHICH HE NEVER REVEALED TO ANYONE IN LIFE!
creator of Sherlock Holes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Harry Houdini
were strange bedfellows. Doyle was a contemporary of the world's
greatest magician and escape artist, who continually battled his friend
over the legitimacy of life after death, and the reality of
spiritualism. Doyle was a "true believer," while Houdini made it his
"mission" to denounce just about all things preternatural. . .
was convinced - from what he personally witnessed and what others
confided to him - that Houdini could read minds, dematerialize,
possessed supernatural strength, and was guided by angelic forces which
shielded him from harm even during the most dangerous of escape
performances which likely would have caused death to others. Doyle
stated that Houdini had once remarked, "There are some of my feats
which my own wife does not know the secret of." And a famous Chinese
conjurer who had seen Houdini perform added, "This is not a trick, it
is a gift."
Sadly, many of Houdini's feats died with him, even
though they would have been an invaluable asset. "What can cover all
these facts," states Doyle, "save that there was some element in his
power which was peculiar to himself, that could only point to a psychic
element -- in a word, that he was a medium."
Here, is both
sides of the story -- in the actual words of the famed Sherlock Holmes
originator and Houdini himself, who went out of his way to create the
impression that fakes and phonies were afoot everywhere in the "shady
world" of table tapping, levitating trumpets, spirit photography, slate
writing, as well as the materialization of ectoplasmic forms in the
darkening shadows of the séance room.
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- SECRET EYES ONLY DEPARTMENT -
UFO Witnesses May Have Been Exposed to Radiation
By Alejandro Rojas
witness to the UK’s most famous UFO sighting says he may be suffering
from the effects of radiation, and in a recent press release, points
out that a UK Defence Intelligence (DI) report suggests that he may
have been exposed to UFO radiation. Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force says
they have lost his service and medical records from that time.
was reported this week that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has
admitted that they will be releasing more UFO files, despite having
said that they had already released all of their UFO files. This
current revelation has been due to the efforts of John Burroughs, a
military witness to the UK’s most famous UFO sighting.
says he has been seeking official answers as to what he might have
experienced that night in December, 1980 when he and others witnessed a
UFO. At the time, Burroughs was a U.S. Air Force security officer
stationed at RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk, which, along with nearby RAF
Woodbridge, was on lease to the U.S. Air Force.
Since then he
has had health problems and suspects that his UFO experience may have
contributed to his condition. He says, “I have specific medical
symptoms that are considered by some very knowledgeable people to be a
fingerprint of a specific kind of radiation.”
It was actually a
Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) he made in December that
prompted the MoD to release these newly found UFO documents. However,
coincidentally, the MoD did not actually post that information publicly
until September 16, the day after Burroughs sent out a press release to
many UK media outlets alerting them to his plight.
On the Mod’s
weekly FOI responses site they posted a response to a letter by Andy
Russell asking for the same files Burroughs was asking for, stating
that they will release them, but it will take up to 9 months to process
them first. Russell, a UK citizen, says he made the request after
reading about Burroughs discussing the files at a talk in Sedona,
Burroughs also discussed another intriguing UK UFO
document that regards him specifically, and his medical issues. In
December 2000, UK Defence Intelligence created a secret report
regarding UFOs. It was titled, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK
Air Defence Region: Scientific & Technical Memorandum – No.
55/2/00. The memo was released to the public in 2006.
points out that in Volume 2, on page F4, there is a discussion about
the effects of “UAP radiation” on humans. UAP, or Unidentified Aerial
Phenomena, is a phrase used for UFO. It states, ” The well-reported
Rendlesham Forest/Bentwaters event is an example where it might be
postulated that several observers were probably exposed to UAP
radiation for longer than normal UAP sighting periods.”
The document also noted the effects of “UAP radiation” in the next section:
An important fact is that the reported effects of (presumed) UAP
radiation on humans is that it is quick-acting and remembered –
although, curiously, following the event there is little or no recall
of events as a continuum. In short, the witness often reports an
apparent ‘gaps’ or ‘lost time’ – often not accounting for up to several
This section of the DI memo was shocking to Burroughs. He
suffers from congenital heart failure, and suspects it has something to
do with his years of service. Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services
denied his claim in 2012 and told him there was no record of him being
in the Air Force in 1980. They said his military records began in 1982.
He had actually joined in 1979. In fact, he had to work with Arizona
Senator John McCain’s office to get his records corrected. As reported
by Billy Cox of the Herald Tribune, Burroughs was told by a McCain
staffer, “It took a yeoman’s job to get your DD214 corrected, but we
may never be able to gain access to the missing USAF medical records
from 1979 to 1983.”
Another witness to the events, James
Penniston, is having similar problems receiving his medical records.
They believe their files have been deliberately tampered with.
is frustrated by the whole affair, and continues to seek to get the UK
and US governments to release what they know about the Rendlesham
He is also very concerned that he, as a
witness/victim, has had to do all of this research on his own. In
particularl, he wonders why researchers, such as Dr. David Clark, who
helped get some of these files released and aided the UK National
Archives with talking points on the UFO file releases, did not spot
some of this.
Burroughs says, “Clarke was able to pick out
information on key cases such as Rendlesham, offering for public
understanding that the MOD thought the issue was settled, but did not
include the part where they said observers experienced radiation and
other side effects at Rendlesham.”
Burroughs says he realizes,
“[The radiation] is not proof that the phenomenon encountered is
extraterrestrial in origin, but it suggests the possibility. I am not
saying I know what the phenomenon was that we encountered. Only that it
You can read more about this topic and the Rendlesham
incident in the book Encounter in Rendlesham Forest, authored by Nick
Pope, former MoD UFO investigator, with Burroughs and Penniston.
Source: Open Minds
- YES, YES WE ARE DEPARTMENT -
Are We All Persons of Interest?
By Greg Newkirk
are being watched. The government has a secret system —a machine— that
spies on you every hour of every day. I know, because I built it. I
designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything."
begins the opening monologue on the CBS television show Person of
Interest, spoken by the designer of 'The Machine', technology genius
and billionaire, Harold Finch. The Machine is a mass surveillance
computer system, monitoring data input from just about every electronic
source in the world (phones, cameras, computers etc), which it analyzes
in order to predict violent acts. But given its omnipotence, there are
far too many predictions to act on, and so instead it is programmed to
only pass on 'relevant' threats - ie. major terrorist events - to the
The procedural element of the show is that Finch has
a software backdoor that sends him the 'irrelevant' predictions so that
he can try to stop that violent act occurring as well: each episode, he
and his small team of law enforcement officers and former government
agents are given the social security number of an individual connected
to the threat, though the team do not know if the individual is the
victim or the perpetrator.
The larger story arc, however, is all
about the Machine – how Harold came to build it and the effect of doing
so on both him and those around him; the power that such surveillance
hands to whomever controls it, and the lengths some would go to in
order to have that control; and what might happen if such a powerful
'intelligence' became sentient. And of course, the question that hangs
over the entire storyline, is the debate between how surveillance can
be used to keep people safe, versus how it can be used in corrupt ways.
show is science fiction, but given the news stories listed below, we
might say only barely – the Person of Interest future doesn't seem that
far off at all.
Surveillance via your own smartphone
already know that smartphones can track everywhere you go via the
built-in GPS, and the Person of Interest team certainly utilise that
function to their advantage. But in the show, Finch's team also often
take advantage of a hack which "force pairs" their smartphone with the
person of interest's phone, allowing them to hear every conversation
within hearing distance of the phone. It's a rather helpful – if
clumsily powerful – plot device, allowing them to eavesdrop from a
distance with the simple touch of a button.
But in the real
world, where phones aren't always in microphone mode, and are a bit
tougher to hack, the nearest thing might be this recent hack by
security researchers from Stanford University, who discovered a way to
turn the gyroscopes within modern smartphones into crude microphones:
Here's how it works: the tiny gyros in your phone that measure
orientation do so using vibrating pressure plates. As it turns out,
they can also pick up air vibrations from sounds, and many Android
devices can do it in the 80 to 250 hertz range -- exactly the frequency
of a human voice.
And if you think this sort of surveillance
might be fairly unlikely in the real world, you should definitely watch
this talk by Jacob Appelbaum on the militarisation of the internet and
hijacking of technologies for surveillance (transcript here). As one
pundit noted, "No matter how bad you think the NSA’s information
surveillance and capture is, I can just about guarantee that this will
show you that it’s an order of magnitude worse than you imagined":
betting by the time you get to the bit about the NSA's ability to
radiate people with up to 1KW of RF (under the heading of "Specialized
Philip K. Dick inspired nightmares") you'll be getting a little freaked
out about our brave new world...
The NSA is harvesting millions of facial images from the web for facial recognition
Machine uses facial recognition to identify every face it picks up,
across the entire world, through surveillance cameras. While that sort
of observational power is likely to be beyond current technology (from
the point of view of the public at least), it's something that the
spooks at the NSA would love to have at their disposal. One of the
leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden detailed how the agency is
harvesting millions of facial images from the Web for use in a facial
recognition program called 'Identity Intelligence'. And what's more,
the NSA is linking these facial images with other biometrics and
The NSA's goal -- in which it
has been moderately successful -- is to match images from disparate
databases, including databases of intercepted videoconferences (in
February 2014, another Snowden publication revealed that NSA partner
GCHQ had intercepted millions of Yahoo video chat stills), images
captured by airports of fliers, and hacked national identity card
databases from other countries. According to the article, the NSA is
trying to hack the national ID card databases of "Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia and Iran."
Note too that the FBI recently caught a
fugitive who had been on the run for 14 years through facial
recognition – their software identified the fugitive's face on a visa
application submitted under a fake identity, based on an image on file.
The FBI's system seems fairly basic, but its likely that alphabet soup
agencies have much more power at their fingertips then they divulge to
What can you do about the future chances of being
tracked via facial recognition? Not a whole lot, although Daily Grail
editor Cat Vincent does discuss some possibilities in this earlier post
on the NSA's facial recognition program.
it comes to all-seeing surveillance, one of the tropes of the
conspiracy genre is the 'all-seeing eye in the sky' - satellites with
super-high resolution cameras, able to watch our every move. And
there's no doubt, the number of satellites, and their capabilities, is
constantly expanding – and what's more, it's not just a government
thing anymore. But with the development of drone technologies,
space-based surveillance now seems a whole lot more redundant: why put
a camera hundreds or thousands of kilometres away, when you can have a
mobile camera based immediately above locations? Welcome to the new
world of Wide Area Aerial Surveillance (WAAS) via drones:
Systems such as Gorgan Stare, ARGUS, Vigilant Stare and Constant Hawk
are all developmental iterations of the Pentagon's goal to be able to
continuously survey a whole village, or even an entire city, via a
single 'sensor platform,' or just a handful of systems that are
networked together. Additionally, these systems are to allow multiple
"customers," or end users, to manipulate and leverage their collected
video data in real time.
Generally, the Wide
Area Aerial Surveillance (WAAS) concept works by taking a
high-endurance aerial sensor "platform," such as a MQ-9 Reaper or IAI
Eithan unmanned aircraft system, or a blimp or airship, and marrying it
with a WAAS type sensor payload. This payload usually consists of canoe
shaped pod that has high-resolution electro-optical sensors pointed in
many directions in a fixed manner. Onboard computing and software can
then stitch these staring cameras' "pictures" together, creating a
continuous high resolution overall image of a large swath of land or
sea below. Users can then instruct the WAAS system to send them a
high-resolution live video feed of a certain area of that massive
'fused' picture. The WAAS system then data-links down the video of the
geographical area requested by the user. Thus the user will have real
time streaming video imagery of a portion of the entire area WAAS is
persistently viewing at any given time.
Keep increasing that
video fidelity, throw in some advanced facial recognition tech, along
with GPS tracking and an always-on microphone in your phone…and a
Person of Interest scenario doesn't seem that far off. All that is
maybe lacking is the presence of 'The Machine'. But are we even that
far from that scenario?
The rise of Artificial Intelligence
stories touching on advances in artificial intelligence (AI) seem to be
coming thick and fast lately, from a machine learning algorithm finding
things in fine art paintings that art historians had never noticed
through to a robot that studies YouTube videos to learn all about
humans and how they interact with the world. And, three years on from
the debut of the 'basic' AI of Apple's Siri, 'her' inventors are said
to now be building a radical new AI that will do anything you ask.
the most interesting of all though is Google's interest in AI. A recent
news report discussed how Google is using "an algorithm to
automatically pull in information from all over the web, using machine
learning to turn the raw data into usable pieces of knowledge", which
will become the Knowledge Vault, "a single base of facts about the
world, and the people and objects in it".
Knowledge Vault promises to supercharge our interactions with machines,
but it also comes with an increased privacy risk. The Vault doesn't
care if you are a person or a mountain – it is voraciously gathering
every piece of information it can find.
"Behind the scenes, Google doesn't only have public data," says
Suchanek. It can also pull in information from Gmail, Google+ and
YouTube. "You and I are stored in the Knowledge Vault in the same way
as Elvis Presley,"
And earlier this year, it was revealed that
Google had bought AI start-up DeepMind for an estimated $400 million,
bringing it under the umbrella of their Google X division, a facility
dedicated to making major technological breakthroughs. The reasoning
for their interest in AI sounds almost like a description of the
Machine in Person of Interest:
Much of the
fundamental infrastructure within Google is based on language, speech,
translation, and visual processing. All of this depends upon the use of
so called Machine Learning and AI. A common thread among all of these
tasks and many others at Google is that it gathers unimaginably large
volumes of direct or indirect data. This data provides what the company
calls “evidence of relationships of interest” which they then apply to
adaptive learning algorithms. In turn these smart algorithms create new
potential opportunities in areas that the rest of us have yet to grasp.
In short, they might very well be attempting to predict the future
based on the search/web surfing habits of the millions who visit the
company’s products and services every day. They know what we want,
before we do.
A whole new level of control
Most of us are
familiar with social networks nagging us to complete our profile,
adding in those few bits of private information that we haven't yet
shared with a faceless corporation. In one particular episode of Person
of Interest, Finch and his ex-CIA 'muscle' John Reece discuss the
amount of information that people happily put up on social networks:
Reece: Never understood why people put all their information on those
sites. Used to make our job a lot easier in the CIA.
Finch: Of course, that's why I created them.
Reece: You're telling me you invented online social networking Finch?
Finch: The Machine needed more information. People's social graph,
their associations…the government have been trying to figure it out for
years. Turns out, most people were happy to volunteer it. Business
wound up being quite profitable too…
Surveillance, at its heart,
is a method of control. But the growth of social networks – and in
particular the move to 'filtered feeds', where you only see a fraction
of the data stream directed at you, determined to be the most relevant
to you by certain algorithms - now allows a less passive, and more
fine-grained, pernicious type of control: direct influence over your
mind. Once the social network takes control over what we see in our
timeline or stream, direct manipulation becomes a real possibility.
Exhibit A: a recent Facebook experiment in which user feeds were
manipulated to see whether their emotions could be affected:
For one week in January 2012, data scientists skewed what almost
700,000 Facebook users saw when they logged into its service. Some
people were shown content with a preponderance of happy and positive
words; some were shown content analyzed as sadder than average. And
when the week was over, these manipulated users were more likely to
post either especially positive or negative words themselves.
This tinkering was just revealed as part of a new study, published in
the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Many
previous studies have used Facebook data to examine “emotional
contagion,” as this one did. This study is different because, while
other studies have observed Facebook user data, this one set out to
The near-ubiquitousness of Facebook, and the
ability to filter feeds, opens a whole Pandora's box of control. What
if Facebook expands into other business fields, then modifies feeds to
only feature products from their subsidiaries and to not show
competitor's products? Or more dramatically, what if the control is of
a political or ethical nature, censoring certain 'news' that particular
people don't want seen? The recent Ferguson demonstrations offer an
excellent example of the difference in exposure to certain news stories
between the algorithmic filtering of Facebook and the 'raw feed' of
Twitter. And yet, there are now suggestions that Twitter's timeline too
will soon be filtered.
And if you think that it's at least a
small blessing that the government can't control large corporations
like Facebook, just remember that didn't stop them from being forced to
help the government spy on us all - Yahoo was even threatened with a
$250K daily fine if it didn’t use PRISM.
In the end, it seems we might all be persons of interest to the government...
Source: The Daily Grail
- PREPARING FOR DISCOVERY DEPARTMENT -NASA Brings Scientists, Theologians Together To Prepare For ETBy Lee Speigel
for extraterrestrial life is akin to a search for a cosmic
needle-in-a-haystack, as evidenced by the above incredible Hubble Space
Telescope image showing approximately 10,000 galaxies.
In large part, thanks to NASA's Kepler spacecraft, more than 1,400 planets have been identified beyond Earth.
few days ago, NASA tried closing the gap between life on Earth and the
possibilities of life elsewhere. The space agency and the Library of
Congress (image below left) brought together scientists, historians,
philosophers and theologians from around the world for a two-day
symposium, "Preparing For Discovery." Their agenda: To explore how we
prepare for the inevitable discovery of extraterrestrial life, be it
simple microbial organisms or intelligent beings.
at all scenarios about finding life. If you find microbes, that's one
thing. If you find intelligence, it's another. And if they communicate,
it's something else, and depending on what they say, it's something
else!" said astronomer, symposium organizer and former chief NASA
historian, Steven J. Dick.
"The idea is not to wait until we
make a discovery, but to try and prepare the public for what the
implications might be when such a discovery is made," Dick told The
Huffington Post. "I think the reason that NASA is backing this is
because of all the recent activity in the discovery of exoplanets and
the advances in astrobiology in general.
"People just consider
it much more likely now that we're going to find something -- probably
microbes first and maybe intelligence later," he added. "The driving
force behind this is from a scientific point of view that it seems much
more likely now that we are going to find life at some point in the
Among the many speakers at last week's astrobiology symposium, one has raised a few international eyebrows in recent years.
believe [alien life exists], but I have no evidence. I would be really
excited and it would make my understanding of my religion deeper and
richer in ways that I can't even predict yet, which is why it would be
so exciting," Brother Guy Consolmagno, a Jesuit brother, astronomer and
Vatican planetary scientist told HuffPost senior science editor David
Consolmagno has publicly stated his belief that "any
entity -- no matter how many tentacles it has -- has a soul," and he's
suggested that he would be happy to baptize any ETs, as long as they
"There has to be freedom to do science. Being a
good scientist means admitting we never have the whole truth -- there's
always more to learn." Consolmagno also doesn't think the public would
panic when or if it's revealed that alien life has been found.
really think it would be a three-day wonder and then we'd go back to
worrying about reality TV or the crazy things going on in Washington --
that's the way human beings are. Because I think most people are like
me: we expect it's out there. And our reaction would be, 'Wow, thank
heavens. It's about time."
Earth is no longer the center of the
universe, nor is it flat -- at least that's the currently accepted
thinking among most scientists. And we now know, conclusively, that
there are a lot more planets than the ones in our own solar system.
number of habitable worlds in our galaxy is certainly in the tens of
billions, minimum, and we haven't even talked about the moons. And the
number of galaxies we can see, other than our own, is about 100
billion," Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at California's SETI
Institute told HuffPost.
At the NASA/Library of Congress
symposium, Shostak gave out some startling numbers about how many stars
there are in the part of the universe that we can see. "It's a big
number: 10,000 billion, billion. And we know that most of those stars
have planets -- 70 or 80 percent. If all of those planets are sterile,
and you're the only interesting thing happening in the cosmos, then you
are a miracle. That would be exceptional in the extreme. So, the
middle-of-the-road approach is to say, 'You're not a miracle, you're
just another duck in a row of ducks.'"
"The bottom line of
this," Shostak said, "is something like one in five of all stars may
have an analog to Earth. That's a lot of habitable worlds, and, indeed,
the number of Earths in our own galaxy might be on the order of 50
Those are big numbers to ponder.
conference included a great deal of discussion about the upcoming
mission of the Hubble's long-anticipated successor: the James Webb
Space Telescope. As large as a tennis court, this deep space
observatory is scheduled for a 2018 launch and will orbit beyond our
moon. The Webb telescope will focus on new planetary discoveries and
collect data from the atmospheres of those planets, looking for certain
things that might point to what we would consider possible indicators
HuffPost asked Dick, an astrobiologist, for his opinion on the continuing output of UFO reports around the world.
try to keep an open mind on this. Ninety-some percent can be explained
by natural phenomena, etc. The question is what to do with the other 3
or 4 percent," Dick said. "My opinion is that they should be studied
further, on the one hand. By definition, they're something that we
don't know what they are. They could be some physical, psychological or
social phenomena that we don't know about. But I think it's jumping to
a conclusion that they're extraterrestrial. I don't see that evidence.
haven't looked at the evidence close enough to say that there's
intelligence behind it. But I've seen enough to know that there are
unexplained things that we should look at more, and right now, the U.S.
government is not doing that."
Source: Huffington Post
THE COSMIC TRICKSTER DEPARTMENT -
23 Fascinating Facts About
the Number Twenty-Three
To most, it's just what comes between 22 and 24. Yet to surprisingly
many - including the makers of a new film - it means much more.
1 23 is one of the most commonly cited prime numbers - a number that
can only be divided by itself and one. Twenty three is the lowest prime
that consists of consecutive digits. Primes have been described as the
"atoms" of mathematics - the building blocks of the world of numbers.
An American businessman has put up a US$1m (£500,000) prize for
the first mathematician to find a pattern in primes - a problem known
as the Riemann hypothesis.
2 The number has been the subject of not one but two films: the 1998
German movie, 23, and The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey, released
(naturally) today. Each has a main character obsessed with the number.
3 John Forbes Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who was the
subject of the film, A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe, was
obsessed with 23. It featured prominently in his battle with mental
illness. His breakdown began when he claimed that a photograph of Pope
John XXIII on the cover of Life magazine was in fact him, the proof
being that 23 was his favourite number. Nash published 23 scientific
4 More freaky numerical coincidences: Charles Darwin's Origin of
Species was published in 1859 - 1+8+5+9 = 23. Two divided by three
makes 0.666 recurring (allegedly - actually it makes 0.6666666667). The
Hiroshima bomb was dropped at 8.15am - 8+15= 23.
5 23rdians are a group of people who subscribe to the mystical power of
23 and see it in multiple combinations throughout daily life.
6 The Ancient Chinese believed numbers conveyed sexuality - evens for
feminine and odds for masculine. They considered prime numbers to be
the most masculine, conferring special status on 23 which is made up of
two consecutive prime numbers and the only even prime number - two.
7 In the disaster movie, Airport, the bomber has seat 23. The number of
crosses on Calvary at the end of the Monty Python film, The Life of
Brian, is 23. In Die Hard With A Vengeance, a train derails in subway
station 23. The lead characters in the Coen brothers' film The Big
Lebowski always used Lane 23 at the bowling alley. In the television
series Lost, one of the combination of six numbers that haunt the
characters and they have to input to a computer to avoid an unknown
fate is 23.
8 The terrorist attacks on America on 11 September 2001 have been held
up as one of the most portentous examples of the disturbing power of
23. The figures in the date (9+11+2+0+0+1) add up to 23. The
independent US commission which investigated the attacks found the date
had been chosen randomly by the hijackers and had originally been
planned for later in the year. Alternative explanations for the date
included the taking over of Palestine by Britain in 1922 and the fact
that 911 is the US emergency code.
9 Few hold 23 in more esteem than the followers of Discordianism, a
self-declared religion based on the premise that discord and chaos are
the building blocks of life. For Discordianists, 23 is the Holy Number
and a tribute to the goddess Eris, who surveys a world of chaos. The
mantra invoked by Discordianists for the Holy Number is "Invert The
Pyramid". If you invert the sentence one letter at a time - eg "dinvert
the pyramid", "id invert the pyram" etc - it takes 22 chants, finished
by the line "The Pyramid Inverts" to make 23. The last line is called
"the final energy releaser". Discordianism is described by some
followers as "a joke disguised as a religion disguised as a joke".
10 Sport stars have developed a particular affinity (and aversion) to
23. Michael Jordan, the American basketball player, wore the number
throughout his career and inspired many copy cat fans of wardrobe
vigintitriplicity. Best known is former England captain David Beckham,
who swapped his number seven Manchester United jersey for number 23
when he joined Real Madrid. Beckham, who said it was in deference to
Jordan, is expected to continue wearing 23 when he joins LA Galaxy this
summer. But the number is not always a harbinger of sporting good
fortune. Manchester City have not assigned the squad number 23 to any
player since 2003 after the last incumbent, Marc Vivien Foe, collapsed
and died while playing for the Cameroon on 26 June 2003. Marcus
Trescothick, the England cricket players, wears number 23 and was
Australian bowler Shane Warne's 600th test wicket. Warne also wears 23.
11 The Bible does not let 23 pass without conferring upon it some
significance, at least to students of the Book. Although the Old
Testament is unspecific, it is widely held that Adam and Eve had 23
daughters. The 23rd verse of the first chapter of Genesis brings the
act of creation to a close while the 23rd chapter of the book of
Genesis deals entirely with death, namely that of Abraham's wife,
Sarah. The most famous and most quoted of the Psalms is number 23: "The
Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in
green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters."
12 Each parent contributes 23 chromosomes to the start of human life.
The nuclei of cells in human bodies have 46 chromosomes made out of 23
pairs. Egg and sperm cells in humans have 23 chromosomes which fuse and
divide to create an embryo.
13 The most detailed account of the assassination of Julius Caesar,
written by Nicolaus of Damascus, claims numerous enemies stabbed the
Roman emperor 23 times. The wounds ranged from superficial to mortal.
14 William Shakespeare was born in Stratford Upon Avon on 23 April
1564. He died 52 years later on his birthday, 23 April 1616. Kurt
Cobain, the god of grunge, was born in 1967 and died in 1994 - 1+9+6+7=
23, 1+9+9+4 = 23.
15 In the science fantasy saga, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Luke
Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca sneak into detention block AA23 to
rescue Princess Leia. The rescue attempt is botched and Leia escapes
only by dodging Stormtroopers' laserfire. A police robot called 23 is
included in Star Wars director George Lucas' first film, THX 1138.
16 The Knights Templar, the order of soldier monks who eventually fell
foul of the Vatican and have been the subject of conspiracy theories
about the Holy Grail, had 23 Grand Masters.
17 The first morse code transmission - "What hath God wrought?" - was
from the Bible passage Numbers 23:23. In telegraphers code 23 means
"break the line".
18 The Birthday Paradox states that a group of 23 randomly-selected
people is the smallest number where there will be a probability higher
than 50 per cent that two people will share the same birthday.
19 The author William Burroughs was obsessed with 23. While living in
Tangiers, he met a Captain Clark who ran a ferry between Spain and
Morocco. One day, Clark told Burroughs that he had been doing the route
for 23 years without incident. Later that day, the ferry sank, killing
the captain. While Burroughs was thinking about the incident, a radio
bulletin announced the crash of a Flight 23 on the New York-Miami
route. The pilot was another Captain Clark. The events prompted an
obsession which saw Burroughs record every occurrence of the number 23
for the rest of his life.
20 The disbanded pop act KLF are one of several musical sources of
23-related lore. The two men behind KLF - Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty
- were once known as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, which has 23
letters and comes from the novels of Robert Anton Wilson, another 23
obsessive. A police car used for the video of the KLF's number one,
"Doctorin' The Tardis", had 23 painted on the roof, their final
performance lasted 23 minutes and they incinerated £1m on a
remote Scottish island on 23 August 1994. Psychic TV, another cult act,
released 23 live albums on the 23rd day of 23 consecutive months.
21 "W" is the 23rd letter of the Latin alphabet. It has two points down
and three points up. White supremacists use 23 to represent "W" as a
mark of racial superiority.
22 "23 skidoo" is an American catchphrase from the early 20th century
meaning to make a sharp exit. It was used as the title of a poem by the
occultist Aleister Crowley, another 23 aficionado. But some believe its
origins lie in Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, where the old woman
counting the daily victims of the guillotine calls "23" as the hero is
beheaded in the last chapter.
23 The average human physical biorhythm is 23 days.
Source: The Independent
WAY DOWN, BENEATH THE OCEAN DEPARTMENT -
She-Devils of the Deep
Fishermen have long been renowned for tall tales but perhaps the
tallest of all are those about mermaids. Mermaid legends are centuries
old and have a degree of similarity, irrespective of which country they
come from. All depict the creature as half-human, half-fish and
sightings are generally said to be ill omens, foretelling bad storms,
rough seas and even death on the waves.
With the exception of Mami Wata, the West African mermaid goddess who
was said to possess healing powers, most mermaid stories are of
fearsome sirens luring men to their watery graves. It's only in the
last 50 years that the mermaids' reputation got a romantic makeover
thanks to Hollywood and Disney, with films such as The Little Mermaid
One night the painting came to life
Older versions of these stories say that mermaids yearn for a soul,
which they can only get by marrying a human, hence their stalker-like
behaviour with men. Holistic therapist Carina Coen believes she was a
mermaid in a past life following an unusual experience. She says: 'I
have a hand-painted picture of a dolphin and a mermaid on my wall at
home. One night the painting came to life. It was as though the top
part of the room became deep sea water and the mermaid floated above
me, singing and talking with incredible passion.'
The mermaid told Coen that her mission on Earth was to 'return others
to their inner soul life journey' and urged her to help awaken people
to the ways they are destroying the seas.
While most people will think it a likely story and even Coen admits her
encounter seems surreal, she is absolutely convinced her experience was
as dramatic as a flesh-and- blood sighting.
The last reported mermaid sighting was in 1947 when newspaper reports
told of a fisherman on the Isle of Muck in the Scottish Highlands who
said he had seen a mermaid sitting on a lobster pot near the shore
combing her hair. Hoaxes have also dented the idea of mermaids being
real. The most famous of these was the Fiji mermaid, purportedly found
by Japanese fishermen near the Fiji Islands, and brought to the New
York-based American Museum in 1842. This ugly creature was found to be
a composite of papier m?chŽ, a baby orangutan, a monkey head and bits
of different fish. Perhaps the most recent hoax came from Chennai after
the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. The so-called mermaid was once again
made up of primate and fish parts.
Marine biologist Dr Vicki Howe, of Cardiff University, is adamant there
are no such things as mermaids.
'There are many strands of evolution, of which fish and mammals are
just two,' she says. 'Both humans and fish are vertebrates. However,
these are two divergent evolutionary pathways and mammals are
warm-blooded whereas fish are cold-blooded. That is a good starting
point for refuting the existence of a fish-human hybrid.' It has been
suggested that sightings of mermaids may be dugongs, or sea cows, that
swim in shallow waters.
'It's nice to think dugongs, that are huge graceful animals with soft
smiling faces, could be mistaken for mermaids,' says Howe. 'Sailors on
long journeys at sea, working hard with poor diets and plenty of grog,
may have resorted to wishful thinking.'
REALITY IS ENERGY DEPARTMENT -
The Art of QI
By Dr Amir Farid Isahak
Discovery Magazine recently posed this question: “If an electron can be
at two places at one time, why can’t we?” This is an exciting
proposition, and it reminds me of a story my Pakcik told me about his
experience in his younger days.
It happened when he was in Mecca for the Muslim pilgrimage, over three
decades ago. He was there with his late father, but had left his wife
and children back home in Kuala Lumpur.
One day he met an elderly Shaykh, who invited him home and gave him
daily lessons on religion, and on healing. When he met the Shaykh, he
was alone, and was always the only one with the Shaykh at the latter’s
home during the lessons. So, one day, he decided to bring his
To his amazement, he could not even find the house that he had been
going to every day. The house had actually disappeared! On the next day,
he had no difficulty at all finding the house when he went alone for his
On one occasion, when he was missing his wife so much, the Shaykh asked
him whether he would like to be home with them for a while. He jumped at
the offer. He was asked to close his eyes and hold the Shaykh’s hands
while the latter recited certain verses in supplication. Then when he
was asked to open his eyes, he found himself standing in the middle of
the main hall of his house in Taman Ibu Kota, a suburb of Kuala
His wife was busy making cookies and their young children were playing
around her. But he could not speak to them, and they could not see him
or sense his presence. He was allowed to stay for as long as he desired,
and when he was satisfied, he found himself in front of the Shaykh
Many years later, back in Malaysia, he came across a book about Malay
Muslim saints and discovered from the descriptions and drawings that his
teacher was Shaykh Daud al-Fatani (from Pattani, which is now a province
in Thailand), who had died over 100 years ago.
My Sufi Shaykh also told me a similar story, except that this time he
was physically transposed and everyone could see him. This happened over
two decades ago when his own Shaykh was alive and they were in a city in
One day he asked the elder Shaykh whether it was possible to travel to
another place in an instant, as he had heard and read so much about it.
The elder Shaykh replied in the affirmative, and asked him if he would
like to experience it. He of course accepted the offer. He was asked to
walk straight through the wall of the room they were in. When he tried,
he hurt his face when he banged it against the wall.
Next, the elder Shaykh held his hand and asked him to close his eyes
and they smoothly walked through the wall together. When he opened his
eyes, he was doing the tawaf (circumbulating) around the Kaabah in
Mecca. He was physically there, jostling among the thousands of people
doing the tawaf. Several weeks later, back in Pakistan, a neighbour who
said that he was behind my Shaykh during the tawaf, returned his (my
Shaykh’s) pen which he had dropped but could not retrieve while doing
the ritual circumbulation. Not only was my Shaykh physically transposed
to Mecca, there was proof because the neighbour brought back his pen via
the usual physical way.
What is metaphysics
Metaphysics is the science and philosophy relating to the transcendent,
or reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses. It investigates and
tries to explain the supernatural and the abstract, just as conventional
science (and physics is one branch of it) investigates and tries to
explain nature and natural phenomena. However, metaphysics is more
spiritual and philosophical than scientific.
Quantum physicists (scientists who study the nature and behaviour of
atoms and their components, and the forces that govern them) have long
known that certain fundamental particles (the smallest components of all
physical matter) actually have a dual existence. They can exist either
as energy waves, or as particulate matter, and that the expectation
(mind) of the observer influences the behaviour of these energy/particle
For the people described above to be transposed, there must have been
some change in the energy/matter behaviour of their physical bodies.
Depending on the energy form that the transposition involves, the
transposed form may or may not be in the form that is detectable by our
physical senses (or even scientific instruments). The realm of spirits,
energy, and transposition of matter are exciting subjects that can only
be fathomed if we accept that there is existence beyond what science
In other words, where physics ends, metaphysics begins.
Electrons and healing
Electrons are the fundamental particles which surround the nucleus of
an atom. They travel so fast that their position at any one time cannot
be determined. The paths they traverse are described as electron clouds,
and the electron particles themselves seem to be at many places at one
time. The energy of the atom determines the level or distance that the
electrons orbit from the central nucleus. But unlike the orbits of moons
and planets, their orbital planes always change, and it is easier to
visualise their orbital shells rather than orbital planes.
Energy and electrons basically determine the behaviour of atoms, and
are involved intimately in how our cells survive and function. Health
and disease ultimately can be traced to the cellular and biochemical
levels, and a good understanding of these levels will help us
tremendously in our quest to resist and recover from diseases.
We now know that electrons play very important roles in the workings of
free radicals and antioxidants, both of which are crucial in our
understanding of health, ageing, chronic diseases and cancers. Electron
flow is essential in the production of electricity, and in all things
electronic. Low-current electricity is the basis for many healing
gadgets, some of which I have discussed in previous articles. Electronic
medicine is an area that is fast gaining popularity.
Qi = quantum energy
In trying to understand qi and its healing effects, scientific tests
have been carried out. But the complete understanding of qi has been
elusive, because qi appears to be scientific as well as unscientific. It
behaves like some of the electromagnetic energy forms (for example,
infrared and infrasound); it behaves like the forces that hold
sub-nuclear fundamental particles together (for example, gluon); defies
physical laws (by being intelligent); and seems to have memory and
emotions. Trying to understand qi requires a quantum leap from
Qi is not only energy, but a lot more. Just like the saying about Tao:
if you know it, it is not Tao. So it is at the moment with qi. If you
can fully describe it, it is not qi!
And just as physicists discovered that the energy/particle nature of
the smallest units of matter is determined by the observer, the nature
of qi is also determined by the master. The Qigong master who
understands most the variabilities and capabilities of qi will most
likely be able to utilise more of the potential of qi in healing, and in
many other areas.
Likewise, practitioners of other healing arts which involve energy or
esoteric elements would be more effective if they understand
metaphysics. Aromatherapy, aura healing, crystal healing, flower
remedies, homoeopathy, phytobiophysics, vibrational therapy, and the
whole gamut of complementary therapies can all benefit from a better
understanding of metaphysics.
When automatic qigong is demonstrated, my students often asked if I had
summoned spirits to do the movements that ensue. To the uninitiated, it
could easily seem so, for when qi is summoned, it becomes a force of
power, bravery, fearlessness and determination. When qi is summoned for
healing, it becomes a force of compassion, empathy, gentleness and
It can also be harnessed as a force of peace and wisdom. The Jedi
Masters of the Star Wars hexalogy are the best examples of masters who
use the Force for self-defence, peace and wisdom. May the Force, Peace
and Wisdom be with you, too.
Source: The Star Online
- ATTACK OF THE BUTTERFLIES DEPARTMENT -
Mysterious Radar Cloud Over the Midwest Was Actually...Butterflies
By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan
it a bird? A plane? A tornado cell? Nope. The huge, slow-moving cloud
picked up on radar in Illinois and Missouri last week was nothing
anyone expected. The US National Weather Service reports it was
actually a swarm of millions of monarch butterflies—which have been
disappearing at alarming speeds over the past decade.
Citylab's John Metcalfe says, the swarm was actually on its way south
to Mexico in search of warmer climes in which to spend the winter. On
Facebook, the US National Weather Service explained that "we think
these targets are Monarch butterflies. A Monarch in flight would look
oblate to the radar, and flapping wings would account for the changing
Back in June, a similar radar glitch was observed when
millions of locusts took to the skies in New Mexico, and The Vane was
kind enough to tell us how biological matter is picked up by radar with
this excellent explanation:
works by sending out pulses of microwave radiation tilted at different
angles above the horizon; the beam bounces back and the
speed/intensity/shape of the return tells the radar what it's looking
at. As the radar beam goes out in a straight line, the curvature of the
earth causes the beam to go higher into the atmosphere as it moves
further away from the radar site.
The journeys of the Monarch is
long—stretching over 2,000 miles—and very mysterious, since no one
quite knows how the newly-hatched butterflies already know the route
either south or north (depending on when and where they're born). On
Facebook, the Weather Service added: "NWS St. Louis wishes good luck
and a safe journey to these amazing little creatures on their long
Despite the sighting, these distinctive, lovely
insects are critically endangered. Some estimates say their numbers
have declined by 90 percent over the last two decades, with
conservation groups calling for Monarchs to be designated as
"threatened," according to Newsweek. Keep your eyes peeled over the
next few weeks—the remaining Monarchs should be making their ways south
en masse through October.
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