5/3/15  #819
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The crystal ball glimmered with an iridescence of days of future past.  The nearby flickering candles threw shadows of  things yet to be upon the orbs crystalline matrix.  The prophet, withered and aged, breathed deeply of the smokey air and continued to gaze deeply into the heart of the crystal.   Deep within his brain, universal connections that bind us all in a web of  wholeness are stimulated by the hypnotic shapes that danced faintly in the ball.  Time and space are one and all information contained within reality are available to those who can master their intellect and allow the stream of information to be downloaded directly into the brain -- bypassing the rational mind that would block anything received through such unconventional methods.  The prophet sighs in contentment -- because once again his crystal ball has brought him his subscription to Conspiracy Journal, the free weekly e-mail newsletter of everything weird and strange from the past present and future.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such outrageous stories as:

- "Sleeping Sickness" Victims Awake with Mysterious After Effects -
-  Did Soviet Space Probe Find Life on Venus? -
New Test Suggests "Impossible" EM Drive Does Work
AND: Science and the Seance  

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

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HOT OFF THE PRESSES!
America's Strange and Supernatural History

Find out what the "Powers That Be" Don't want you to know regarding the truly hidden - occult - history of the United States.

No one would likely dispute the fact that times are stranger in America than ever before, and indications are that things are getting weirder with each passing day. But a look at our hidden – SECRET – history alerts us to the startling fact that our country has been steeped in “high strangeness” since its founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and, provocatively, even before.

It is nevertheless apparent that our proud nation owes a great “debt of ingratitude” to the mysterious, the macabre, the downright bizarre and the unseen realm of the occult. Did the ancient Lemurians, a Pacific Ocean race similar to the fabled Atlanteans to the east, erect the mysterious walls found in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay area? Writer Olav Phillips explores the enigma first hand.

Sean Casteel provides an overview of historical incidents of cannibalism, stories that go back as far as “The Starving Time” of the Jamestown colony in 1609, and Wm. Michael Mott offers up some of the UFO and creature sightings he has collected from the state of Mississippi.

Publisher/writer Timothy Green Beckley and his friend Circe returned to Sleepy Hollow, New York – of “Headless Horseman” fame – and discovered that paranormal activity is still rampant there, while author Tim Swartz would like suitable explanations for all the supernatural mysteries of his native Indiana.

In a Bonus Section: “The Spiritual Destiny of America” - The future of America as seen through the eyes of prophecy and the occult is revealed. You can feel the chills already, eh? Read “America’s Strange and Supernatural History” and get ready to kick those chills up a notch or two.

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Also: Check Out W.M. Mott's latest blog at: http://mottimorphic.com/blog/2014/09/10/the-footprints-of-the-damned/

- TO SLEEP, PERCHANCE TO DREAM DEPARTMENT -

"Sleeping Sickness" Victims Awake with Mysterious After Effects

People living in Kazakhstan's 'Village of the Damned' have spoken of the horrifying side effects of the mysterious sleeping sickness which can leave them unconscious for days - as others reveal they fear they are being poisoned to force them to make way for a gold mine.

When a photojournalist spent a night at the infamous village, she was told of how children have seen their mothers grow eyes on their foreheads and usually well-mannered pensioners denounce their nurses as 'whores' and 'prostitutes'.

Meanwhile, men struggle with uncontrollable sexual desires after waking from the coma-like sleep in the village of Kalachi, in northern Kazakhstan.

It is the first time residents of the village, which has also been dubbed 'Sleepy Hollow', have spoken of the debilitating side effects.

The illness which sends people into a deep sleep without warning first struck four years ago, and is thought to have affected about a quarter of the population - about 160 people - at some time or another.

Known side effects include headaches and memory loss, but when a reporter visited the village, which is about 250 miles from the border with Russia, residents were willing to reveal more of the horrendous effects of the disease.

Local women told us that when their husbands and boyfriends come round from the deep slumber, lasting from 12 hours to six days, they often awoke craving sex.

'The doctors laugh and the nurses blush when they see our men,' explained one Kalachi woman.

'Other women were saying the same. As soon as men were were recovering after waking, they needed sex right there and then, and this feeling lasted for at least a month.'

One man just out of hospital 'still couldn't eat properly let alone walk, but he was all over his wife,' she revealed. 'He really needed it.'

Unsurprisingly, the men are reluctant to talk about this aspect of the sleeping illness.

But another woman, in her 40s, who had taken her son to live in a neighbouring village to protect him from the unexplained disease, said: 'My husband after he woke up called me and said: "Listen either you visit me right now, or I'll go to you".'

There are other debilitating symptoms, including an inability to control the bladder.

'One poor man wet himself as he went to hospital. So the paramedics removed his pants and there he was, not properly conscious but in a state of sexual excitement,' a resident said.

'The view of the men lying in the hospital ward rooms is called "tents".'

Some rant uncontrollably. Locals cite the example of one man, known for his impeccable manners, who cursed nurses as 'whores' and 'prostitutes' when he was suddenly struck down by the Kalachi drowsiness

Another man, apparently recovering, suddenly leapt out of bed, giving a Nazi salute to his doctors, greeting them with 'Heil Hitler', while a 60-year-old grandfather imagined he was a rooster, flapping his arms around and crowing.

Elena Zhavoronkova and Lyudmila Samusenkyo - who are both described as 'serious minded' - found themselves in hospital at the same time recovering from the sleeping condition, and experienced some of the strange side effects.

'I felt that something was wrong, but still I had an urge to escape, and I asked Lyudmila to join me on a lift ride,' said Elena.

They shut themselves inside the elevator, playing a bizarre game of tag with doctors.

'We were laughing and giggling and felt like we were schoolgirls. One of the surgeons prized open the doors with a chisel, and we both jumped on him and started hitting him in the face. It felt like great fun.'

Others feel they have been turned into zombies.

Many have an urge to walk when they wake up - and a local man dressed himself in only a hospital diaper, repeatedly fleeing his ward.

Children are affected in different ways: many have been overpowered by delirium, telling of seeing monsters, and extra eyes on their mothers' foreheads.

One mother was told by her sick child that she had an elephant's trunk, and Misha Plyukhin, 13, saw light bulbs and horses flying all around him.

For distraught parents, it is an added burden.

Lyubov Rabchevskaya admits she is 'dead scared' for her son Almaz, 10.

'I still shudder over the first time he fell asleep,' the 28-year-old told MailOnline.

'He normally wakes up 7am. That day it was 10am - and he was still asleep.

'I thought at first that he was sick and it was better to let him rest, then I began shaking him, but he would not wake up.

'It's really, really scary when your child is suddenly in a coma-like state. Also when they wake up, they behave like sickly babies, they cry without reason just bursting into tears.

'Like my son, he wanted to get off the bed, but fell down because his legs were too weak. Another burst into tears.

'And another one when he needs to go to the loo, and he is too weak to make it to the toilet, so he needs to use a hospital potty - and he feels shy and embarrassed by it.

'How can a mother take it calmly and not be left brokenhearted over this anguish?'

Lyubov has made up her mind, like many others, that she cannot risk staying in Kalachi.

The former shop assistant said: 'I had to give up my job because I started driving other villages, looking for places to relocate. I had to be out of the shop six times a month, for several days in a row. It was impossible to keep the job. No matter what happens, I'll leave here.'

She added: 'Some reports say there are no health consequences after people fall asleep like this.

'Wrong, there are a lot of them. Almaz was full of energy before, but now he's not nearly as active as he was, he needs rest.'

Many have already fled Kalachi, a village guarded by a crumbling statue of Lenin, amid fears for their health.

It is going the same way as Krasnogorsk, a town just a few hundred metres away which once produced uranium ore for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons programme.

Krasnogorsk used to have a population of 6,000 but now only a handful of people call it home: yet, strangely, there have been hardly any cases of the sleeping epidemic among locals who live here among derelict apartment blocks that look as if they were blitzed in a war.

The fact the few residents of this ghost town have escaped the illness unharmed has not been missed by the residents of the village.

Officially, the most likely explanation is that leakages of radioactive gas radon from former uranium mines four miles away are behind the mystery condition, yet many are sceptical.

Daria Kravchuk, 27, an assistant in the village store, who was laid low by the sleeping condition after falling into a near coma when she was drinking tea, said: 'People are dead scared of what's going, and the pressure of staying here is hardly bearable.

'And yet we stay because where else do you run? At least here we have a good school, nice houses, and a good salary. There is a lot of rumours about gold deposits being found here. Apparently there was even an announcement on TV in Almaty that people were needed to mine it.

'Some of us wonder if this sleeping disease and the alleged gold mine can be related.'

Alexander Remezov, 70, a married father-of-two who formerly worked at the Soviet-era uranium mines, said: 'I'm leaving now but I'd never planned to relocate.

'I hear different versions about the cause of the sleeping disease.

'Yet I don't believe that it can be provoked by the proximity of the uranium mines.

'I worked there for years, and sometimes miners even drank water from the mine which as you can imagine was like a uranium concoction.

'But no-one fell asleep. It's not about uranium.

'I fear it might be a sabotage and us being used as a testing ground. I think this version must be investigated.

'Take last year - people were falling asleep in bulk, 30 people each month. Now we have had several quiet months, and why is that?'

Some say it is because of the build-up to Sunday's election in which veteran 74-year-old dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev - who employs Tony Blair as a consultant - scored a landslide victory securing 97.7 per cent of the vote in a poll seen in the West as far short of free and fair.

Recently a local official was fired over a suspicious land deal, at a time when villagers fear they are being pressured to leave.

The state is currently running an evacuation plan, under which people should be given a place to live in a new location. The government pays 250,000 tenge (£890) to help meet the costs.

Some 52 families have already left the village, with ten more scheduled to leave by the end of April. Others wait for the end of the school year to leave, but some 381 people still remain.

Lyubov said: 'We began to think that someone is deliberately poisoning us to force us away. Some say that over the hill nearby gold was found and even the road is built.'

She pointed out: 'There was a meeting at the beginning of February to discuss relocation.

'The people who screamed loudest that they would not be going anywhere all fell asleep. The locals joked that they each were individually poisoned.'

There are other elements which are making some residents fear the sleeping illness is more than just an unfortunate side effect of the uranium mining industry.

Sometimes the symptoms resemble the impact of alcohol poisoning, but locals also claim that the side-effects are now subtly different to when the first cases appeared.

'The last mass epidemic was at the beginning of March, when 15 people were near falling asleep, but unlike earlier, they were not actually deeply asleep, or out for a long time,' said one source.

'They could walk themselves and all managed to get to the local hospital. They felt exhausted and weak, but none of them needed to be taken to hospital in Esil, the nearest town.

'Earlier on, during another period all sleepers were aggressive and everyone - from men to children - had to be tied to their beds because they were trying to attack doctors, nurses and other patients.

'There were moments when people were all vomiting, or hiccuping. This makes people some people think that there is a kind of a drug, preparation testing going on, each time a different one. Others say an old Soviet chemical or radioactive weapon was dumped here, and this is poisoning us.'

Locals have also complained that officials have sought to pin the blame for some cases on parents poisoning their children.

Oleg Svinarev's family have four children, and during September and October last year each of them succumbed two or three times.

He was detained amid a suspicion they were given something toxic.

'Honestly I was ready to kick police in their faces when they asked me if we gave something toxic to children,' he said.

'We were scared to death for them, and they were bugging me with stupid questions.'

Tatiana Shumilina told MailOnline: 'We are all extra nervous here - imagine being in our shoes when you don't know which of your family members will collapse, when and with what consequences, which is what we have lived with for three years. How would you feel?'

Kabdrashit Almagambetov, the district's top doctor, seems genuinely puzzled about what caused this health hazard on his doorstep.

'It all is very individual, depending on age, the patient's health condition, what other chronic diseases they have suffered,' he said.

'For example, the reaction of children strongly differs from that of adults. Children's brains have not yet formed fully. They find it harder to tolerate the disease, they have strong hallucinations.

'Elderly people, too, have hallucinations, because of their age. Frankly, the cause of the disease is still unknown despite the many institutions that have worked here.

'The radioactive background is normal, all products people are eating have been checked, the water is tested, nothing is harmful there.

'All those who have been affected are in Kalachi village. True, several people who came from Krasnogorsk suffered from the illness - but only after they visited Kalachi. So the strange effect is noticed only in one village.

'I can assure you, it is not some mental disorder, it is not some hysterical epidemic, as it was supposed previously.'

He denied it was a psychological illness as some had claimed - 'only physical'.

'I cannot say for sure about the radon theory for now, because we need to obtain data from the scientists. I am not a specialist in this question, but I doubt this theory, because we have many closed mines and uranium mines and it is only in Kalachi we faced with such a disease. '

He stressed there was no evidence of artificial poisoning, as some villagers suspected.

'I do not have any working theories, because I am a doctor. I must think how to treat these people, how to help them.'

Scientists from the National Nuclear Researching centre of Kazakhstan, who are making bore holes to take samples of soil, water and gas, while separately monitoring radiation including tests for radon, also dismiss fears over being poisoned on purpose.

'There is a lot of rumours about us among the locals - some say we are after gold, others that we found extra pure water, while in fact our tasks are basic - to keep drilling and taking samples,' said a scientists who declined to be named.

The teams first came a year ago and have been permanently working in Kalachi since April 2014: yet the locals point suspiciously out that none of these scientists have been struck down by the slumbering disease.

'Every evening, when we gather together, we have debates on what is the cause of this condition,' he said.

'We have experts in different fields in our teams, so every one of us is trying to build up a version based on our knowledge.'

Some believe it maybe caused by radiation emanating from cracks in the ground.

Yet many of these experts are veterans of the Soviet nuclear testing site at Semipalatinsk in northern Kazakhstan.

'Here we have a much higher level of radon and no-on falls asleep,' said the scientist.

'Last year our colleagues went through every house in the village, taking all radiation readings, and making a census of people who did and didn't sleep, writing their accounts on when and how it happened, down to the routes people took when walking the village.'

Some houses with higher readings of radon are not hit by the sleeping epidemic. Others, with lower readings, are.

Yet still, despite all these tests, the scientists are no nearer finding an answer.

Olga Polezhayeva, 47, a Kazakh Ecological Laboratory engineer, said: 'We are working year here for the second year, since December 2013.

'Every month we spend 10 days, taking samples for nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, sulphur, ammonia, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons. We take samples every morning of those 10 days. So far all results were normal.'

She and her colleagues live with a villager.

'She fell asleep twice but none of us did. When I saw her I thought that she looked like she'd been under general anaesthetic.

'There is no location tag to where people fall asleep - just one day one person collapses at one end of the village, another one at another, and in a week same people might fall asleep in different locations.

'The first time when we came here we were scared to touch anything, almost frightened to breathe.

'When you don't know what and how can hit you, you feel really disorientated. We brought water and food with us, but what do you do with the air?

'I can see the locals are exhausted and concerned that there is no explanation of what on earth caused it.'

In several cases, the condition was caught by people after attending meetings or gatherings at school.

A Russian scientist who knows the area well is convinced he knows the true reason for the poisoning.

Leonid Rikhvanov, of Tomsk Polytechnic University, said: 'This couldn't have been done deliberately, that's complete nonsense.'

Though not invited to inspect the village by the Kazakh authorities he is adamant that he knows the cause.

'My model is the only one which explains what is going on there,' he said. 'If to describe it simply, when the uranium mines were abandoned, they began to fill with the ground water.

'Radon and other inert gases which release as a result of the decay of uranium are squeezed out by groundwater and through the cracks in the ground rises to the surface. It can accumulate in the cellars.'

Yet critics say similar illnesses are not found near other disused uranium mines.

And Sergei Lukashenko, director of the country's National Nuclear Center's Radiation Safety and Ecology Institute, said: 'I am positive this is not radon.

'Carbon monoxide is definitely a factor, but I cannot tell you whether this is the main and vital factor.'

He stated: 'The maximum allowable concentration of carbon monoxide in Kazakhstan is five milligrams per cubic meter and concentrations in homes where sleeping sickness cases have occurred were 10 times higher. This factor looks very suspicious. It is also odd. It should not be so.'

Asked why, he said: 'It could be natural gas or stove heating or machines or something else but that can happen anywhere.

'The question is why it does not go away. We have some suspicions as the village has a peculiar location, a hollow, and weather patterns frequently force chimney smoke to go down instead of up.

'We have even photographed that. That could be a factor.'

Vitaly, 61, a TV repairman-turned-amateur sleuth who declined to give his family name, used to work in the uranium mine which many blame for the sleeping epidemic.

'It looks like some kind of beam went through the village. I do not know what it can be. Maybe some some special equipment, like emitter. But it all is my speculation.

'I just see that the location of the homes, where people fell asleep are in straight lines, as if some beam cut through them.'

He warned: 'I'm not speaking about UFOs. I am simply trying to understand what is going on here.'

Karia Kravchuk, from the local shop, agrees.

'It's shocking how long it goes on without an explanation. Four years have passed since the first case, and we are still no wiser. Medical samples are constantly getting lost, sometimes people have to be back to hospitals two, three times to re-do the same tests.

'I don't believe we'll be told anything. They will never explain.'  

Source: The Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3059042/EXCLUSIVE-Sex-cravings-children-
seeing-monsters-foul-mouthed-rants-Residents-Kazakh-Village-Damned-hit-mysterious-
sleeping-sickness-reveal-sufferers-disturbing-new-symptoms.html

- MAYBE, MAYBE NOT DEPARTMENT -

Did Russian Probe Find Life on Venus?

Is there life on Venus? Most planetary scientists would say 'no', or at least 'unlikely' - despite being almost a twin to Earth in size, the second planet from the Sun is the closest thing we might imagine to being hell. With surface temperatures close to 900°F, even the Devil might be looking for a vacation to a cooler climate.

And yet, in 2012, a senior Russian planetary scientist claimed not only that Venusian creatures existed, but that they had already been photographed. With all the modern publicity for Mars exploration - especially by the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers - it is often forgotten that the former Soviet Union successfully landed probes on Venus nine times in the thirteen year period between 1972 and 1985. By virtue of the hellish conditions on the planet's surface, these missions were short affairs - the longest any of them survived once on the ground was a little over two hours.

But during their short Venusian encounters, a number of these probes did transmit photos back to their orbiters, taken from a camera that repeatedly scanned across the panorama. Apart from giving us a glimpse of the alien landscape, Russian scientist Leonid Ksanfomaliti has suggested these images might also show us alien life.

Ksanfomaliti was inspired to re-analyse the images by the many recent discoveries of exoplanets of many sizes and conditions, which made him question whether we have made a mistake in thinking that life likely only exists under Earth-like conditions. Another factor might have been the ongoing discovery in modern times of many 'extremophiles' on Earth: organisms that live in conditions well beyond what we previously thought life was capable of.

He says that it is worth re-examining the Venera lander images in particular. His reasoning: to date, most analyses of the photos have been based on a single panorama from each site. These published panoramas are, in fact, mosaics. Most of the landers took and transmitted several photos with each camera, several back-and-forth swings. All of them suffered from some loss of data to noise or other transmission problems, so the published panoramas are composed of the best parts of each of the panoramas.

In his paper, Ksanfomaliti takes the panoramas separately and examines them to see if there are noticeable changes from one frame to the next. Then, he says, we can attempt to discern whether these changes are related to abiological phenomena (such as wind) or whether they are related to his proposal that the planet is inhabited. Also, he says, by examining their shape, we can distinguish whether they have the "ordinary form of surface detail," or whether they look extraordinary.

The challenge then was to figure out whether anything that moved was living, or instead some sort of non-biological phenomena (e.g. dirt being blown by wind), or effects of changing light, digital imaging artifacts and so on.

Movement on Venus?

His startling conclusion: the images do indeed show forms of life, including one that he nicknamed a 'scorpion'.

At the blog of the Planetary Society, Emily Lakdawalla was impressed enough by Ksanfomaliti's credentials that she decided to critically evaluate his claim, despite it seeming "so obviously ridiculous" that she would "ordinarily not give it a second thought." With a strong understanding of image transmission and processing in planetary exploration, she was less than impressed by his analysis:

    "With all of these natural and artificial reasons why there may be changes in pixel values from one image to the next, it's hazardous to read too much into small changes of blobby shapes. But that's exactly what Ksanfomaliti goes on to do. There is a bold sentence in the paper that I asked Twitter help in translation, and it reads: "It must be emphasized that in the present work on the processing of the initial images images any retouching, drawing-in, additions to, or adjustment of images was completely ruled out." And he says that the use of Photoshop was "categorically ruled out." Yet he goes on to say that adjustments were, in fact, made. Missing bits of images were filled in with data from other images, contrast and brightness adjusted, and (most strangely), the "Blur" and "sharpen" functions in Microsoft Windows Paint were sometimes employed. These are all fairly standard operations in image processing (except for the use of Windows Paint instead of Photoshop for blur and sharpen filters, which is just odd), but they are most definitely "adjustments" of images, especially that blur and sharpen business. Sharpening, in particular, can have weird effects on noisy images.

    "...There is so much variation in noise among these five images, and they have been so processed with sharpening and infilling of data, that I think it is pointless to micro-analyze tiny little features and whether they have changed, much less whether they represent the presence of moving, living creatures or not. These images are much less convincing even than those of the Mars Sasquatch."

What was perhaps most surprising to Lakdawalla was how such a respected and knowledgeable planetary scientist could come up with something "so patently off the wall". Someone noted to her that Ksanfomaliti has always been interested in ideas "slightly on the edge of reality", while another suggested that perhaps three decades of analysing old data sets might make anyone crazy. Her own thoughts, however, were more about the dangers in being so smart that you convince yourself that your new theory is the start of a new paradigm:

    "I've seen before when successful people become so convinced that they are smart and right that they go over some edge and suddenly think that any crazy idea that flits into their head must be right, because they thought it and they're always right, right? There's no way for me to know what's made Ksanfomaliti make so much out of absolutely nothing. All I know is, there's nothing here. Move along."

Whether or not Ksanfomaliti was correct about finding life on Venus will remain in doubt until a more sophisticated and complete search is conducted by future space exploration. However, the aggressive skeptical reaction by other scientists to Ksanfomaliti's research, while of no surprise, is disheartening because no one else apparently even attempted to try and replicate Ksanfomaliti's findings. Instead, there was simply a knee-jerk condemning of Ksanfomaliti based on the attitude that Venus is way too hot and hostile to support life, so there is no need to even attempt to look for it.

This is not science, this is the Spanish Inquisition whose job is to remove the heretics who dare to exhibit curiosity and bravery in an attempt to learn more about our universe. At least Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society took a little time to look at the original Venera lander images, despite the fact that she apparently had already made her mind up on the matter with the statement: "The story is so obviously ridiculous that I would ordinarily not give it a second thought."

With this sort of attitude, it is no wonder that Lakdawalla's conclusion to this matter was:  "I've seen before when successful people become so convinced that they are smart and right that they go over some edge and suddenly think that any crazy idea that flits into their head must be right, because they thought it and they're always right, right? There's no way for me to know what's made Ksanfomaliti make so much out of absolutely nothing. All I know is, there's nothing here. Move along."

I think that someone like Leonid Ksanfomaliti, who is a senior statesman of Russian planetary science, deserves a little more respect than this. To have his name besmirched by fellow scientists and writers, whose own credentials pale in comparison, just because he put forth the idea that there might be life on Venus, is sad and offensive.

If he is later proved to be wrong, then he was wrong, case closed. But until that time comes when we can walk around on Venus and see for ourselves, people such as Ksanfomaliti need to be respected because they actually took the time to do the research and were brave enough to put the results out there for their peers to evaluate. For you other so-called scientists, who do nothing to contribute to science except criticize others without actually knowing what you are criticizing...shut up and move along.

Source: The Daily Grail
http://www.dailygrail.com/Alien-Nation/2015/4/Remember-Time-the-Russians-Found
-Scorpions-Venus

- TO INFINITY AND BEYOND DEPARTMENT -

New Test Suggests "Impossible" EM Drive Does Work

Until recently, every physicist was laughing at this engine and its inventor, Roger Shawyer. It's called the EmDrive and everyone said it was impossible because it goes against classical mechanics. But the fact is that the quantum vacuum plasma thruster works and scientists can't explain why.

Shawyer's engine is extremely light and simple. It provides a thrust by "bouncing microwaves around in a closed container." The microwaves are generated using electricity that can be provided by solar energy. No propellant is necessary, which means that this thrusters can work forever unless a hardware failure occurs. If real, this would be a major breakthrough in space propulsion technology.

A reactionless drive was first proposed in the 1950’s, but came to attention in 2006 when New Scientist published an article about Dr. Roger Shawyer, who founded Satellite Propulsion Research, Ltd. (SPR), and claimed he had constructed a prototype that produced 88 millinewtons of forces while using only 700 watts of power. The idea was met with criticism from nearly all fronts.

Shawyer's credentials are certainly impressive. He worked his way up through the aerospace industry, designing and building navigation and communications equipment for military and commercial satellites, before becoming a senior aerospace engineer at Matra Marconi Space (later part of EADS Astrium) in Portsmouth, near where he now lives. He was also a consultant to the Galileo project, Europe's satellite navigation system, which engineers are now testing in orbit and for which he negotiated the use of the radio frequencies it needed.

With that pedigree, you'd imagine Shawyer would be someone the space industry would have listened to. Far from it. While at Astrium, Shawyer proposed that the company develop his idea. "I was told in no uncertain terms to drop it," he says. "This came from the very top."

What Shawyer had in mind was a replacement for the small thrusters conventional satellites use to stay in orbit. The fuel they need makes up about half their launch weight, and also limits a satellite's life: once it runs out, the vehicle drifts out of position and must be replaced. Shawyer's engine, by contrast, would be propelled by microwaves generated from solar energy. The photovoltaic cells would eliminate the fuel, and with the launch weight halved, satellite manufacturers could send up two craft for the price of one, so you would only need half as many launches.

So why the problem? Shawyer argues that for companies investing billions in rockets and launch sites, a new technology that leads to fewer launches and longer-lasting satellites has little commercial appeal. By the same token, a company that offers more for less usually wins in the end, so Shawyer's idea may have been seen as too speculative. Whatever the reason, in 2000, he resigned to go it alone.

Surprisingly, Shawyer's disruptive technology rests on an idea that goes back more than a century. In 1871 the physicist James Clerk Maxwell worked out that light should exert a force on any surface it hits, like the wind on a sail. This so-called radiation pressure is extremely weak, though. Last year, a group called The Planetary Society attempted to launch a solar sail called Cosmos 1 into orbit. The sail had a surface area of about 600 square metres. Despite this large area, about the size of two tennis courts, its developers calculated that sunlight striking it would produce a force of 3 millinewtons, barely enough to lift a feather on the surface of the Earth. Still, it would be enough to accelerate a craft in the weightlessness of space, though unfortunately the sail was lost after launch. NASA is also interested in solar sails, but has never launched one. Perhaps that shouldn't be a surprise, as a few millinewtons isn't enough for serious work in space.

But what if you could amplify the effect? That's exactly the idea that Shawyer stumbled on in the 1970s while working for a British military technology company called Sperry Gyroscope. Shawyer's expertise is in microwaves, and when he was asked to come up with a gyroscopic device for a guidance system he instead came up with the idea for an electromagnetic engine. He even unearthed a 1950s paper by Alex Cullen, an electrical engineer at University College London, describing how electromagnetic energy might create a force. "It came to nothing at the time, but the idea stuck in my head," he says.

In his workshop, Shawyer explains how this led him to a way of producing thrust. For years he has explored ways to confine microwaves inside waveguides, hollow tubes that trap radiation and direct it along their length. Take a standard copper waveguide and close off both ends. Now create microwaves using a magnetron, a device found in every microwave oven. If you inject these microwaves into the cavity, the microwaves will bounce from one end of the cavity to the other. According to the principles outlined by Maxwell, this will produce a tiny force on the end walls. Now carefully match the size of the cavity to the wavelength of the microwaves and you create a chamber in which the microwaves resonate, allowing it to store large amounts of energy.

What's crucial here is the Q-value of the cavity - a measure of how well a vibrating system prevents its energy dissipating into heat, or how slowly the oscillations are damped down. For example, a pendulum swinging in air would have a high Q, while a pendulum immersed in oil would have a low one. If microwaves leak out of the cavity, the Q will be low. A cavity with a high Q-value can store large amounts of microwave energy with few losses, and this means the radiation will exert relatively large forces on the ends of the cavity. You might think the forces on the end walls will cancel each other out, but Shawyer worked out that with a suitably shaped resonant cavity, wider at one end than the other, the radiation pressure exerted by the microwaves at the wide end would be higher than at the narrow one.

Key is the fact that the diameter of a tubular cavity alters the path - and hence the effective velocity - of the microwaves travelling through it. Microwaves moving along a relatively wide tube follow a more or less uninterrupted path from end to end, while microwaves in a narrow tube move along it by reflecting off the walls. The narrower the tube gets, the more the microwaves get reflected and the slower their effective velocity along the tube becomes. Shawyer calculates the microwaves striking the end wall at the narrow end of his cavity will transfer less momentum to the cavity than those striking the wider end. The result is a net force that pushes the cavity in one direction. And that's it, Shawyer says.

Obviously, the entire thing sounded preposterous to everyone. In theory, this thing shouldn't work at all. So people laughed and laughed and ignored him. Everyone except a team of Chinese scientists. They built one in 2009 and it worked: They claimed they were able to produce 720 millinewton, which is reportedly enough to build a satellite thruster. And still, nobody else believed it.

Now, American scientist Guido Fetta and a team at NASA Eagleworks—the advanced propulsion skunkworks led by Dr Harold "Sonny" White at the Johnson Space Center—have published a new paper that demonstrates that a similar engine working on the same principles does indeed produce thrust. Their model, however, produces much less thrust—just 30 to 50 micronewtons. But it works, which is amazing on its own.

    "Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma. The EM Drive’s thrust was due to the Quantum Vacuum (the quantum state with the lowest possible energy) behaving like propellant ions behave in a MagnetoHydroDynamics drive (a method electrifying propellant and then directing it with magnetic fields to push a spacecraft in the opposite direction) for spacecraft propulsion."

Skeptics pointed out that the EMDrive might not work in a closed vacuum. After last year’s tests of the engine, which weren’t performed in a vacuum, skeptics argued that the measured thrust was attributable to environmental conditions external to the drive, such as natural thermal convection currents arising from microwave heating.

The recent experiment, however, addressed this concern head-on, while also demonstrating the engine’s potential to work in space.

    "The NASASpaceflight.com group has given consideration to whether the experimental measurements of thrust force were the result of an artifact. Despite considerable effort within the NASASpaceflight.com forum to dismiss the reported thrust as an artifact, the EM Drive results have yet to be falsified.

    "After consistent reports of thrust measurements from EM Drive experiments in the US, UK, and China – at thrust levels several thousand times in excess of a photon rocket, and now under hard vacuum conditions – the question of where the thrust is coming from deserves serious inquiry."

One claim that has surfaced on posts on the NASA Space Flight forum, when lasers were fired into the EmDrive resonance chamber, it was found that some of the beams were travelling faster than the speed of light. If this is true, then it would mean that the EmDrive is producing a warp field or bubble. A forum post says that "this signature (the interference pattern) on the EmDrive looks just like what a warp bubble looks like. And the math behind the warp bubble apparently matches the interference pattern found in the EmDrive."

Another comment on the forum stated: “That’s the big surprise. This signature (the interference pattern) on the EmDrive looks just like what a warp bubble looks like. And the math behind the warp bubble apparently matches the interference pattern found in the EmDrive.”

What’s more, the discovery was accidental, as this comment points out:

“Seems to have been an accidental connection. They were wondering where this ‘thrust’ might be coming from. One scientist proposed that maybe it’s a warp of the spacetime foam, which is causing the thrust.”

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it could mean that NASA is one step closer to achieving faster than light travel.

It’s still early days, but the implications are mind-boggling to say the least. A full-fledged EM drive could be used on everything from satellites working in low Earth orbit, to missions to the Moon, Mars, and the outer solar system.

EM drives could also be used on multi-generation spaceships for interstellar travel. A journey to Alpha Centauri, which is “just” 4.3 light-years away, suddenly wouldn’t be so daunting. An EM drive working under a constant one milli-g acceleration would propel a ship to about 9.4% the speed of light, resulting in a total travel time of 92 years. But that’s without the need for deceleration; should we wish to make a stop at Alpha Centauri, we’d have to add another 38 years to the trip. Not a big deal by any extent of the imagination.

But the fact that we may be witnessing something completely new, something that may push us forward into sci-fi territory once again, is very exciting.

Source: io9
http://io9.com/new-test-suggests-nasas-impossible-em-drive-will-work-1701188933

- DIVINING FOR ACCEPTANCE DEPARTMENT -

Ancient Practice in Demand for Water, Other Geophysical Formations

On the north slope of the canyon in the mountains high above the Weber River, Shem Jessop carefully stepped through the undergrowth while patiently waiting for the rod in his hands to move.

As he zigzagged among the bushes, Jessop finally received a signal. The thin wire held like handlebars slowly tipped and pointed toward the ground.

"There it is," he said, turning to the two men -- one the landowner and the other a well driller -- who had followed him up the slope. Jessop sliced the air with his open hand and gestured toward a small mountain pond in the distance.

"Your underground stream runs right through here. And there's plenty of water," he said.

Utah's long drought may be over, but the state's booming economy is now making it easier for landowners to afford the thousands of dollars necessary to drill water wells on their properties. And that means Utah dowsers, such as Jessop, are getting called to survey properties up to a dozen times a month.

While some may question the wisdom of relying on the twitching of a willow branch or the swing of a piano-wire divining rod to locate a drill site, those who practice the ancient art of "water witching" are as much in demand as ever.

Jessop dislikes the term "witching" because it connotes something magical or paranormal, and yet he lacks a scientific explanation for what happens when he walks over a body of underground water with his divining rod.

"I do know, though, that I'm not the one making it move," he said.

Divining also can be used to locate crude oil and natural gas deposits, Jessop said.

"I recently surveyed some property for a couple of gentlemen and told them there was oil present. And they told me that my information was consistent with the geophysical surveys of the area," he said.

The practice of trying to locate water or other minerals through the use of a divining device, which can be a forked stick, pendulum or a bent metal wire, is centuries old. The first written references to water witching date back to the 16th century in southern Europe.

Jessop was introduced to the ancient practice more than 30 years ago when he accompanied a dowser into Rose Canyon in the Oquirrh Mountains on the western edge of the Salt Lake Valley.

"He used a live willow branch with a vessel of water tied to it," Jessop said. "And not knowing much about it, I cut myself a green willow stick and tried it myself. It took awhile to learn, but eventually I figured it out and discovered I had the ability."

Skeptics of dowsing abound, but in Utah acceptance of the practice is more widespread.

"There are those who believe it is worthwhile and those who don't," she said. "And there is really nothing you can do to convince someone one way or the other, unless they're open to the idea and willing to find out for themselves."

There are those, however, who demand scientific proof before they are willing to embrace the notion. And those skeptics say the evidence in support of dowsing is nonexistent.

The James Randi Educational Foundation in Florida offers $1 million to anyone who can demonstrate scientifically they have paranormal abilities. Dowsers can try for the prize, said James "the Amazing" Randi, a former magician turned debunker of all things unscientific.

"Of the hundreds of those we've tested over the past few years probably 85 percent were dowsers," Randi said, indicating that none could demonstrate results better than what could be produced through normal chance occurrences.

What the foundation's test found was that no two dowsers will ever pick the same spot and no dowser will pick the same spot twice if the terrain is altered and disguised.

"I don't doubt the sincerity of dowsers, but even after we've demonstrated that they can't produce results that are any better than chance they'll still go away believing in their abilities," Randi said. "It is like the mother whose son is caught shoplifting on tape. She wonders why someone would want to frame her child by producing a fake video."

The scientific explanation is that pendulums do swing and divining rods dip or converge, but it is the dowser subconsciously doing it in what is known as an "ideomotor reaction," Randi added.

As for the success rates that dowsers claim, skeptics argue there is a ready explanation.

More than 90 percent of the Earth's surface has water within a drillable depth, said Cliff Treyens, spokesman for the National Ground Water Association in Westerville, Ohio. "That is why you can drill and find water in the middle of a desert."

In Utah, most water-well drillers prefer to remain neutral on the issue of dowsing, Jessop said.

"Drillers usually won't call a dowser in themselves, but if a customer mentions they would like their property dowsed, they're more than happy to oblige. If a well comes up dry, it takes the responsibly off their shoulders and puts it onto the dowser," he said.

Driller Robert Armstrong said it is rare to sink a well and not come up with a least some usable water. "But is not always as much as you want or need," he said.

So he called in Jessop to survey the property above Weber Canyon and select the site best suited to drilling.

"The owner here has a lot of property, about 120 acres," said Armstrong as he walked down the hill after Jessop. "You can say what you want about dowsers but one thing I've noticed working with Shem is that he does have a talent for finding those spots where there is not only water, but plenty of it."

Source: The Daily Herald
http://www.harktheherald.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file
=article&sid=63154 

- UFOS, OR JUST LIGHTS IN THE SKY DEPARTMENT -

Researchers Look Into the Ibicuy Lights

[On April 13 2015 we presented an interesting account on the "Ibicuy lights", which have frightened more than one fisherman in these riverine islands. Andrea Pérez Simondini has visited the site for research and to provide further insight on the matter - SC]

A research team is analyzing eyewitness accounts from residents of Mazzaruca, Ibicuy, regarding manifestations of mysterious lights over rural roads: "We held a night watch on April 18 and saw a light emerging from the sky, but are still unable to ascertain its nature," Andrea Pérez Simondini of Visión Ovni told AIM. She says these sightings are connected to experiences occurring in Victoria, and notes that new eyewitness accounts have been obtained.

During a conversation with Agency, Simondini explained that she arrived at Mazzaruca, Ibicuy, on April 18, 2015 along with her team to look into an eyewitness report from a local resident who discussed his experiences in an article published by AIM. "The goal was to study the exact location where the events occurred."

"We were at the witness's home and he suggested that we visit a site where we held a night watch to see if flashes or lights would occur," she said, adding: "This came about because we also interviewed other witnesses in Mazzaruca who claimed having seen some sort of red dwarves in the area, and this story also matched one by some fishermen in Paraguay who frequented the area. These particular cases involve sightings that took place three years ago, where some claim having seen lights and other say they saw very small creatures, approximately 40 centimeters tall, but the latter does to not match the sightings we are looking into," she explained.

"We Saw a Light Appear in the Sky"

In this regard, the researcher told AIM that on the weekend of April 18, they camped at a location known as the "former shooting range" in the vicinity of Médanos, Ibicuy, guided by a report from another local who claimed seeing a light heading toward him, flying over the countryside. "On the evening of April 18, we held a watch at the site and saw a light appear in the sky, but we are still unable to determine what it was," states Simondini.

"This is new information is new, in regard to the earlier cases brought forth by the resident of Mazzaruca, although his story is also very interesting, as he talks about a light following him, and this is an element that appears in many cases, " she notes, recalling: "This local resident says it was at night, and when the light appeared, he thought it was a vehicle approaching on the road. It was very bright, but then it vanished, and there was nothing behind it."

Simondini also suggests that this case is linked to similar experiences recorded in the city of Victoria, Entre Rios, which she investigated with her team: "This same situation occurred at a location known as La Tapera, where people reported lights appearing head-on, illuminating them, and when they thought they were about to intercept their vehicles, there was nothing behind them. Such descriptions are repeated frequently in reports from the countryside. They don't occur in the cities, and at times it's very hard to gain access to the eyewitness reports, because people are set in their ways or shy. But they welcomed us in Ibicuy and we are immensely grateful for their hospitality."

We Are Not Alone?

Regarding the distrust surrounding these phenomena, Simondini told AIM: "It's possible to see many things in the sky. For this reason, we used our equipment to show the differences between airplanes and satellites and other possible objects to the foreman who claimed seeing the lights. This helped dispel any doubts and give him some background on the subject. The main difference we find in what we call sightings is that these involve unidentified objects that fly very low, nearly flush to the ground, and hang over the fields, often having a circular shape," she described.

Moreover, the researcher told AIM that the survey of the Ibicuy area "proved to be very interesting and has contributed new elements to our work, since we looked into the cattle mutilation phenomenon some time ago, cows and pigs found with mutilated faces without any apparent reason and were a cause of concern, because they were animals in perfect health, later found dead under very strange conditions. We have still not published our results of this Visión Ovni investigation, but before long it will be up on our Internet site," she explained, adding that a new night watch is scheduled for the Mazzaruca area, "but this time we will sail the Paraná River, as there are reports involving sightings of colored lights over the water. The locals made this suggestion and we embraced it enthusiastically," Simondini pointed out.

[Translation (c) 2015, S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO]

Source: AIM Digital, Visión OVNI & Planeta UFO/ Inexplicata
http://inexplicata.blogspot.com/2015/04/argentina-ufos-researchers-look-into.html

- CREATURES OF MYTH AND LEGENDS DEPARTMENT -

Hoop-Snake Sightings Still Rolling In

One of the customers, Joyce Denham, has sent me a hoop-snake-sighting report, the first I've received in almost two years.

She was at Langtry, which is upstream from Del Rio on the Rio Grande, and she saw this hoop snake rolling across what she calls the desert.

Nothing especially exciting in the report. Just that snake, making a circle of itself and rolling along, not bothering anybody.

I've been getting hoop-snake stories for I guess 50 years. A reptile of this kind puts its tail in its mouth, arranges itself in a circle, and travels by rolling like a hoop at impressive speeds.

All the snake books I ever read, written by experts, say no such creature exists. Yet I keep getting these hoop-snake-sighting reports, from perfectly intelligent people.

I ought to tell you that Denham saw that snake a long time ago, and is just now telling me about it. Most of the sightings I hear about happened a long time ago that way. I would be really interested in receiving a hoop-snake sighting made in recent times, say within the last couple of years.

So if you see one, let me know. Don't hesitate to include lots of detail. Exactly when and where the sighting occurred. The estimated size of the snake. The direction of its travel, and its approximate speed. Did it seem to be chasing anything? Were there witnesses other than yourself?

Please don't try to fool me. You'll be wasting your effort. I know what a real hoop-snake sighting is like.

A few days after the last time I mentioned these interesting reptiles, I received a report about a hoop snake 12 feet long that had a luminous stinger on the end of its tail and it went around stinging cattle and trees and killing them.

Come on, if we're to unravel this mystery, we must deal with real hoop snakes, not imaginary ones. I am holding out for a photograph of a hoop snake.

Speaking of pictures, has anybody else received the photos of the lion-killing mule?

I've been sent a set of those mule photos by three different parties, so I suspect this is something that's going around on the Internet.

The most interesting of the shots shows this mule, wearing a saddle, and it seems to be picking up a dead mountain lion in its teeth. The picture is trying to say, I think, that this mule has killed the cougar.

The lion is not really very big, if you judge him by the size of the mule. The mule doesn't seem so big, either, according to the size of the saddle, and that assumes we're looking at a standard-sized saddle. The people who sent me the photos have almost no information about them.

I would be interested in meeting a mule that killed a mountain lion, and I'm not doubting this could happen because mules generally are smart, and quick, and can be very dangerous when they're inspired.

The Chinese tell us that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, that may be true in China, where I have never been, but I've seen in my life mighty few pictures that didn't beg for at least a few words to explain them.

If you forced me to take a guess at the words that need to go along with these lion-killing mule pictures, I'd write that the cat was probably shot during a hunt, and the saddled mule was ridden by a hunter.

In one of the shots, we have a hound sitting in the background, and it's the kind of hound that might be used on a lion hunt.

I'm not sure why a mule would want to pick up a dead lion in its teeth. Probably just curious.

You wouldn't expect that the mule intended to make a meal out of that cat. However, my Uncle Billy Crockett used to say he once had a red mule that broke into the smokehouse and ate a side of bacon and half a ham. You can't ever tell what a mule will do.

Source: The Houston Chronicle
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/features/3023337
- THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT DEPARTMENT -

Science and the Seance  

The world's most eminent scientists are not usually associated with the dim-lit surroundings of a clairvoyant's parlour.

But some of science's biggest names have not only dabbled in, but been entirely convinced by the world of the seance.

Guglielmo Marconi, Alexander Graham Bell and John Logie Baird are familiar to most for the household indispensables they invented. But the attraction to spiritualism they all shared is definitely not part of the GCSE science syllabus.

All three men, and many other Victorian scientific pioneers, became involved with the religion, which depended on strange forces being demonstrated through bizarre phenomena.

But how did the world of certainty and precision collide and, in some cases, fuse with that of levitating spiritualists and voices from the "other side"?

To some, it was simply down to chronology. When the Fox sisters of Hydesville, New York State - widely considered to be the founders of modern spiritualism - first claimed to have communicated with the dead, the world was awash with scientific endeavour.

Just four years earlier a communication of a very different sort - the first electric telegraph - was sent across the Atlantic.

Science was challenging the old certainties about life - making the impossible, possible.

According to the biographer of the Fox sisters, Barbara Weisberg: "There was so much that was exciting and so much that wouldn't have been thought possible two decades before.

"If people could communicate over the telegraph, why couldn't this world and the next world communicate?"

This gave the sisters' claims greater legitimacy, she says.

As the spiritualist craze grew people from every level of Victorian society crammed into dingy parlours, where knocks and raps indicated the presence of spirits.

Messages from the dead were spelt out using lettered cards while strange voices were mumbled in the dark.

But it was in the search for proof these phenomena were real and not cons, that the world of the spiritualist and the scientist came together.

Science historian at Cambridge University, Dr Richard Noakes, says scientists leapt to the task.
"If there was any truth in phenomena that appear to defy the known laws of nature, the known laws of gravity, then scientists believed that they had to be the ones to investigate."

When the bizarre phenomenon of table-turning hit the parlours of Victorian England, the leading experimental scientist of the day, Michael Faraday, was called in.

After attending two seances, the deeply Christian Faraday devised an experiment to see if there was a rational explanation. He decided there was and dismissed supernatural causes as nonsense.

Some 15 years later, the feats of medium Daniel Dunglass Home reached new heights as he was seen to levitate out of one window and back through another. Many believed he was simply a hypnotist.

This time the eminent chemist, William Crookes, who unlike Faraday was keen to discover a psychic force, subjected Home's activities to his own test.

He devised a machine he called a radiometer to measure the "invisible forces" the medium appeared to be tapping into.

Another gave a reading when the maestro appeared to move a lever without touching it.

"Here's an instrument Daniel Dunglass Home can't possibly mesmerise because it's not a living being. How can you hypnotise an instrument?" says Dr Noakes.

"So Crookes reckons he got the traces of a psychic force in operation."

Crookes went on to invent the cathode-ray tube, pioneer research into radiation effects, photography, wireless telegraphy, electricity and spectroscopy.

Logie Baird, who built on Crookes' work to create television, was also persuaded by his seance experiences.

Not only did he claim to have communicated with the spirit of US scientist Thomas Edison, but after visiting a seance in 1926 he wrote: "I am convinced that discoveries of far reaching importance remain waiting along these shadowy and discredited paths."

But Logie Baird was trying to do exactly what mediums of the day were doing - transmitting sounds and images through space. Only the source of these, if you believe the medium, were different.

At the end of the 19th Century when Guglielmo Marconi was experimenting with the first radio signals, he was shocked when he started to receive signals.

The author of Spirit Communication, Roy Stemman, says Marconi concluded these were from the spirit world.

"He spent his last years trying to perfect an electronic device that would establish a permanent contact between this world and the next."

This was never achieved, but his work pioneered the telecommunications that still link the globe today.

Dr Noakes says that whether or not the scientists declared the whole thing to be bogus, the example they set was "extremely powerful to the next generation of scientists".

Despite years of research, no scientist has proved seances were anything more than an elaborate con trick.

But the work they did trying often contributed to a greater understanding of the laws of physics.

Source: BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4185356.stm 
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