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Welcome one and all to the greatest show on Earth! Inside the big top we have such mysteries as you've never seen before! A three-ring extravaganza of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal and much, much, MORE! So sit back and relax and prepared to be amazed, because Conspiracy Journal is here once again for your viewing pleasure.
This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such eccentric stories as:
- Airliners And F-15s Involved With Mystery Aircraft Over Oregon -
- Legacy of The Sky People -
- Sex With A Ghost Can Be Quite Spirited -
AND: I Believe in Fairies, You Should, Too
All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of
~ And Now, On With The Show! ~
Venusian Health Magic & Venusian
Secret - Science
TWO TRANSFORMATIONAL PROGRAMS IN 14 LESSONS AS TRANSMITTED BY BENEVOLENT -- ANGELIC-LIKE BEINGS -- FROM HIGHER DIMENSIONSMichael X Barton was an LA businessman whose life changed suddenly when his best friend became seriously ill. While praying Michael found he was able to receive telepathic communications from more advanced souls purporting to be living on a higher, more evolved, vibrational plane of the Planet Venus, which cannot be detected through scientific methods.
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After taking this "cosmic classic", upon "graduation" you may find yourself a new, stellar individual, ready to be accepted into the Free Federation of Planets.
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- BIZARRE ENCOUNTER DEPARTMENT -
Airliners And F-15s Involved With Mystery Aircraft Over Oregon
By Tyler Rogoway
Something quite out of the ordinary occurred in the skies over Oregon on October 25th, 2017. A mystery aircraft was flying in daylight hours among the steady stream of airliners that traverse from south to north, between locales in California and Nevada and cities like Portland and Seattle and beyond. The incident began, at least as best we can tell, around 4:30pm near the California-Oregon border and resulted in multiple pilot eyewitnesses, recorded air traffic control audio, and eventual confirmations from both the FAA and North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) that it did indeed occur.
The first inklings of the story came to me shortly after the incident occurred from friends of mine in the aviation world. Sparse on details at the time, it sounded like it was probably just another one of the often misconstrued incidents that happen in the skies around the US everyday—ones where aircraft with inoperable radios or transponders stray into areas they shouldn't. And sometimes these occurrences result in local fighter jets paying the wayward aircraft a visit at the direction of NORAD. But days after initially blowing off the incident, it later began to seem that there was indeed more to the story than just than another "NORDO" private aircraft or lackadaisical pilot.
I came upon one Reddit thread that was of particular interest that seemed to not only corroborate the strange account, it also added critical details. The post was supposedly penned by a pilot who says they were in the sky over the Northwest in the early evening when the incident occurred, with the post coming shortly after the incident. The entry by Reddit user "Duprass" reads:
"Just landed in Seattle coming from the bay area. Beginning over Southern Oregon we kept overhearing Seattle Center attempting to track an airplane with no transponder who wasn't talking. A handful of crews were able to track it visually, best they could tell it was between FL350-370 [35,000-37,000 feet], northbound. Nobody close enough to see the type.
Last we heard it was over the Willamette valley northbound and some fighters, perhaps out of PDX [Portland International Airport], were scrambled to go take a peek. Center had trouble tracking it on primary radar.
Strange! My theory is they were running drugs to Canada. No news yet, not that I could find.
**Update 0500z. Called SEA ARTCC. The gentleman I spoke with said that they initially got alerted to the aircraft from Oakland Center who was painting it on primary [illuminating it with radar, but without transponder information]. For whatever reason they couldn't track it themselves on primary, and that's when I overheard them using airline aircraft to track it visually. The last airplane to see it had to descend into Portland and lost sight of it. The fighters were scrambled out of PDX but flew around for a while and did not find it. And that's that."
Air traffic control audio recorded over at LiveATC.com of Seattle Center Sector 14 is available from the time of the incident and it corroborates much of this information. You can listen to the entire series of exchanges here starting at around the 20 minute mark and through to the first part of the next time interval recording that can be found here.
The audio is fantastic as it illustrates that there were many communications between various jet crews and Seattle Center whose controllers tried to track the aircraft as it made its way north towards the Willamette Valley. The aircraft was not able to be tracked on radar nor did it show up on crews' digital traffic collision avoidance systems (TCAS), but it was clearly there, although never quite close enough to positively identify what its exact type was.
The back and forth between air traffic control and various airline pilots lasted for roughly half an hour. Recordings from other Seattle Center Sectors, such as those closer to Portland (namely 42 and 46) are not readily not available and it's very possible—if not probable based on other reports—that the incident continued up the Willamette Valley. We did review PDX approach and tower exchanges from a half hour before to two hours after the event occurred and didn't find anything that stood out, although it was unlikely we would have as aircraft have descended when using those frequencies.
After reading this account and listening to the audio it was clear that the incident was worth looking into on a much deeper level, and that's what we did, inquiring with the 142nd Fighter Wing based at Portland International Airport, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and the FAA about the odd ordeal.
NORAD's reply was quick and clear. An incident involving multiple airline crews, air traffic control, and F-15Cs from the 142nd Fighter Wing based out of Portland did occur. According to the limited information NORAD supplied, airliner pilots were asked by FAA air traffic controllers to help track and possibly identify a "white aircraft" traveling in the flightlevels nearby—roughly between 35,000 and 40,000 feet based on the radio recordings. NORAD also said that the incident did result in F-15s from Portland being scrambled to investigate, but by the time they got up and "looked around" the mystery aircraft couldn't be found.
A quick note on the fighter jet aspect of this story—the 142nd Fighter Wing operates F-15Cs upgraded with the most capable air-to-air radar set in the world (AN/APG-63V3) and Sniper advanced targeting pods for long-rang visual identification. Their pilots are some of the best in the world and are highly trained in the homeland air defense mission. The fact that they "didn't find anything" is surprising to say the least. Maybe this was due to the nature of the aircraft being searched for, or the possibility that they launched long after it was first sighted, or that we simply aren't being told the whole story.
As for the F-15's launch time, it seems that this mystery aircraft was moving fairly fast—at least at the same speed of the airliners around it or greater. It's also worth noting that Oakland Center, which controls airspace to the south of Seattle Center's responsibilities, could have been trying to track the aircraft before the communications began on Seattle Center's frequencies if the object emanated from farther south. We have reviewed the PDX air traffic control audio up to two hours after the first radio traffic began regarding the mystery aircraft between Seattle Center and airliner pilots and we did not readily hear the tower clear the F-15s for launch. As such it's not clear when exactly the fighters took to the skies in search of this unidentified aircraft or why they were launched so late if that was the case.
It is also possible, albeit somewhat unlikely, that a fighter patrol could have been diverted if they were already airborne. Also, once in the air the F-15s are capable of traversing the entire state of Oregon in just a matter of minutes if need be, so if they were launched promptly it seems unlikely they wouldn't have been able to intercept the aircraft being pointed out by commercial pilots over Southern Oregon.
The FAA wasn't as forthcoming as NORAD, taking nearly a week and multiple emails to respond to our initial inquiry, only to say simply that they have nothing further to add to the description of events I provided to them. As such, they did acknowledge that the events occurred, but did not expand upon them. The 142nd Fighter Wing did not respond to our inquiries.
Clearly there had to be some level of after-action investigation into this event. Having an unidentified aircraft that doesn't show up on radar flying among civilian air traffic in the flight levels for extended periods of time isn't something you just brush off, especially considering the current global security situation and the circumstances that have existed since 9/11.
One of the Reddit posters with the handle "The Flying Beard" from the same thread, who supposedly is an air traffic controller, claims to have some inside knowledge of the event, stating:
"...Was just going to post about this actually. I was working an adjacent sector and was helping to coordinate some of the military stuff. They ended up launching F15s off of PDX to try and find it but no joy... [posts one of the audio clips linked above]... The crazy thing is, we didn't have a primary target or a mode C intruder, and it was out running 737s abeam it.
Also, (cue conspiracy theory) our QA department was working on this today, and got a call from the commander of the 142FW at PDX and was basically told to knock it off, and we know nothing.
A couple guys at work seem to think it may have have been this plane [unlikely, and that's an article I wrote] based of the description, and also the 'lack' of military interest. FWIW, I think the FAA is pursing this at higher levels. From a safety standpoint, if the military is running super secret test stuff in the NAS [National Airspace], that's bad. If I were one of the pilots that had a sighting, I'd definitely be filing a NASA form and any other official reports that you can...
...If the ‘aircraft’ continued on its presumed heading/course altitude, the F15s were sent the wrong way. The last known position was around the EUG area heading North around 750kts and the fighters went South when they launched ~25-30 min after the first report in the Shasta area...
...The time of day made it hard. All the guys on the east side couldn’t see it due to the setting sun and the North bound traffic on the west side was pretty sparse. I guess ZOA [Oakland Center] had a good primary/mode C on the guy for a bit in the RBL [Red Bluff Municipal Airport] area. It was initially heading SW and it made a pretty sharp turn to the North. Way harder/faster than what a commercial aircraft could handle at that speed/altitude without ripping the wings off."
We have no way of confirming this poster's information, although based on past Reddit posts their occupation description seems accurate, and their account certainly does add to the story if true.
We have filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the FAA and NORAD, as well as other federal parties involved in the incident. Hopefully we will find out more eventually as to what really went on that day so we can provide a more complete picture for our readers.
In the meantime, I would suggest reading the Reddit thread related to the event after listening to the air traffic control audio yourself. In it, some say it could have been a smuggling aircraft or even a secret military airframe. It seems odd that a smuggler would fly in broad daylight in an area they know they will be spotted, not to mention the question of how they stayed off the FAA radar scopes.
When it comes to a secret military aircraft, flying such an asset among jetliner traffic in daylight, albeit it was around sunset time, certainly seems like an odd choice for a secretive program, but that doesn't make it impossible. There are vast and remote training ranges that could be taken advantage of in Alaska for clandestine aircraft programs, and it is a long flight to get there. Still, the idea that U.S. military would willingly fly an aircraft through a major air traffic route at common jet operating altitudes without radio, transponder, or even radar contact would be highly concerning if true.
Amongst all the questions that remain, one thing is certain, an unidentified white aircraft was indeed flying over Oregon on that day in October, and the USAF and the FAA are both willing to admit that the event occurred. In the Air Force's case, the fact that they are even willing to tell us that they couldn't catch or even find the unidentified aircraft with their sensor-packed and fast F-15s is interesting to say the least. On the other hand they may not be sharing the entire story with us.
Whatever the case, we'll keep you updated on this white flying mystery machine of sorts and the circumstances surrounding its presence over Oregon when, or should I say if, new information becomes available.
Source: The Drive
- ANCIENT VISITORS FROM THE STARS DEPARTMENT -
Legacy of The Sky People
By Sean Casteel
Timothy Green Beckley just keeps those hits coming! Like a favorite Golden Oldies radio station, the old days are never really gone, and new shades of meaning continue to accrue.
Beckley’s latest blast from the past is a greatly expanded update of Brinsley Le Poer Trench’s “The Sky People,” one of the earliest books to emerge on what is now the familiar concept of Ancient Astronauts. Most people nowadays consider Erich von Daniken and the late Zechariah Stichen to be the headliners for this ancient aliens show, but Trench, an Englishman who was also the 8th Earl of Clancarty and thus a member of the House of Lords in the British Parliament, was there ahead of both those distinguished gentlemen with his groundbreaking “The Sky People” from the early 1960s.
The story of Brinsley Le Poer Trench is close to Beckley’s heart. Beckley began to correspond with Trench in the 1960s when Beckley was just starting out as a UFO journalist and publisher. The two flying saucer enthusiasts exchanged their respective publications (“Flying Saucer Review,” published in the UK, and Beckley’s “Interplanetary News Service Report” in the U.S.) and shared a warm correspondence for many years. In the 1970s, Trench invited Beckley to speak before a special committee on UFOs at the House of Lords, and Beckley made the trip to London without hesitation. Over forty years later, Beckley still speaks fondly of the late Earl of Clancarty, who died in 1995.
It should be noted that Beckley’s “Bizarre Bazaar/Conspiracy Journal” publishing “empire” has not shied away from publishing works of great historical value on the arrival of interstellar beings throughout antiquity. He has previously published works of the great Sir Walter R. Drake (i.e. “Alien Space Gods of Ancient Greece and Rome/Ancient Secrets of Mysterious America“) as well as the controversial George Hunt Williamson (“Other Tongues Other Flesh/Ancient Secrets of the Andes and the Golden Sun Disc“). But Beckley hasn’t merely repackaged Trench’s book. He has also added new material from some of the best writers in Ufology with their personal studies of ancient astronauts theory. For example, Nick Redfern, one of the top researchers in the paranormal today, contributes a longish chapter to the new book in which he discusses the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark.
Everyone is familiar with the story, taken from the Book of Genesis. But are you aware that the story – a great, world-destroying flood from which God spared only a handful of righteous mortals and two of every kind of beast – is also an integral part of other religious traditions, such as the Sumerian, the Babylonian, and the ancient Hindus? Redfern explains how the story of a human being instructed to build a ship to shelter a remnant of mankind from a looming world cataclysm is one of the most universal of religious myths, spanning the globe with its timeless tale of good triumphing over evil.
But Redfern’s examination of the Ark story doesn’t end there. Legend has it that Noah’s Ark came to rest on Turkey’s Mount Ararat. Redfern tells the intriguing story of how in 1949, a U.S. Air Force flight crew photographed an anomalous structure protruding from the ice and snow of Mount Ararat and started a decades-long effort by the military and intelligence communities to understand what the mysterious object actually is.
Working from declassified files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Redfern recounts how the anomalous object was thought to be something metallic, not the gopher-wood of Noah’s construction, and therefore possibly a crashed alien ship. The chain of documents uncovered by Redfern makes for fascinating reading.
When 1950s-era alien contactees like George Van Tassel also took an interest in the mystery atop Mount Ararat, they came under the watchful eye of the CIA and FBI. Information on the structure was at one point leaking like a sieve, according to Redfern, and the government was determined to plug those leaks. What was the government so determined to hide? Was the discovery of Noah’s Ark a national security issue? Or was it a case of another crashed UFO? Turkey’s own version of the Roswell Incident?
My own contributions to the new edition of “The Sky People” are a couple of chapters in which I speak to Brad Steiger, one of the most prolific writers on the strange and supernatural in the world, and Giorgio Tsoukalos, the official spokesman for Erich von Daniken in the English-speaking world, and the personality with that wild and crazy styled hair on “Ancient Aliens” broadcast over the History Channel.
Steiger recalls attending an Ancient Astronauts conference in the early 1980s at which the main speakers were Erich von Daniken, Josef Blumrich (author of “The Spaceships of Ezekiel,” written when he worked at NASA) and Steiger himself. Not in attendance was our man of the hour, Brinsley Le Poer Trench.
“He was probably generally neglected,” Steiger said, “because Erich von Daniken was the fair-haired boy at that time and was given a great deal of credit for coming up with the whole ancient astronauts concept. It was easier to do then. We didn’t have the media that we do now. And a book such as ‘The Sky People’ was read by a few individuals, but the great masses of people then were not interested. Then something comes out and gets a lot of attention, like ‘Chariots of the Gods?’ As people said, von Daniken just happened to be standing in front of the cosmic slot machine when it paid off.”
Stieger also praised Trench for his theories concerning the Planet Mars, specifically the idea that instead of Noah being an ancient Israelite, he was a great leader on Mars and the Ark was a giant spaceship intended to carry a surviving remnant to Earth.
“At the time Trench said it,” Stieger continued, “people weren’t prepared. But it’s been interesting to see that in most polls the idea of life existing on other planets or in other solar systems is now generally accepted by young people. Whereas back in the 1950s and 1960s, it was rejected by nearly everyone. More and more, the idea that life could have existed elsewhere in our solar system doesn’t get a door slammed immediately.”
Steiger said he has come to feel that, “We have met the Martians and they are us,” meaning we may have been genetically engineered by a superior race who originated on Mars and brought life to Earth for whatever unknown cosmic reason.
“I think, the more I study,” Steiger said, “that we are definitely hardwired to perceive advanced beings as godlike, and I think we are hardwired just to perceive and understand a concept of God. Now, whether that has been hardwired by our progenitors from outer space, or it is just hardwired in terms of our evolution and our DNA, for how we perceive entities greater than we, is a question we could discuss endlessly. But I think it’s just hardwired into us to perceive that we are part of a greater cosmic entity.”
I also discussed the God angle with Giorgio Tsoukalos, who, along with his mentor Erich von Daniken, draws a definite line in the sand when it comes to calling the ancient astronauts the literal Creator God.
“Let’s say you and I create an intelligent species in the lab,” Tsoukalos said. “That does not make you and me God. The whole ‘God question’ transcends the extraterrestrial presence. The extraterrestrials that Erich von Daniken and I talk about are not ethereal beings. They were flesh and blood, physical people consisting of the same atoms and molecules and particles that every single human being and every single thing has here on Planet Earth.
“That is also why the extraterrestrials look like us,” he continued. “The whole idea that extraterrestrials look like something out of the movie ‘Aliens’ or ‘Independence Day,’ that’s a Hollywood stereotype. But both Erich and I think that there is an all-encompassing force in the universe. But you can’t really put your finger on it. You can’t really touch it. Even the extraterrestrials have the same exact questions about life, death, God and religion and all those different things that we are struggling with today. To suggest that the extraterrestrials have all the mysteries solved – I think it’s not that easy.”
Tim Swartz, another major writer for Global Communications and the editor of the online “Conspiracy Journal,” also contributes a chapter to this updated edition of “The Sky People.” Swartz gives the kind of broad overview of the ancient astronauts theory that will be very helpful for those new to the subject as well as for those more familiar with this strange territory. He begins by talking about paintings found in caves around the world.
“Cave paintings from Tanzania,” Swartz writes, “estimated to be up to 29,000 years old, depict several disc-shaped objects that appear to be hovering over the landscape. Another painting shows four humanoid entities surrounding a woman while another entity looks down from the sky inside some sort of box.
“Inside the French cave of Pech Merle,” Swartz continues, “near Le Cabrerets, are paintings from around 17,000 to 15,000 BCE that show landscapes full of wildlife with a number of saucer-shaped objects. One painting actually shows the figure of a man looking up at one of the overhead saucers. In northern Australia, there are a number of cave paintings, possibly more than 5,000 years old, that show strange beings with large heads and eyes, wearing spacesuit-like garments. The Aborigines call these creatures Wandjina, and according to legend, the Wandjina came down from the stars in the Milky Way during the Dreamtime and created the Earth and all its inhabitants.”
The phenomenon of the cave paintings Swartz describes is the sort of thing that inspired Brinsley Le Poer Trench and the other researchers of the ancient astronauts theory to begin with, although Trench’s ideas also depended a great deal on his groundbreaking interpretation of the Book of Genesis.
Trench was among the first to recognize that Genesis actually contains two different versions of the Creation Story and the Great Flood account. This has puzzled Biblical scholars for many years, who believe that the differing versions were probably inexpertly grafted together from earlier oral and written traditions. This fact is not taught in Sunday school or preached from the pulpits, but it is there for anyone to read.
What was Trench’s take on the two different Creation Stories? For him, it was simple: two different races of man were created by two separate Creator Gods, one called the Elohim (which is actually a plural term) and the other called Jehovah, which Trench says is also a plural term, though not generally thought of as such.
The Elohim created a form of man who is telepathic, intelligent and sensitive. The Jehovah created a more primitive form of man, designed to till the gods’ gardens on the Earth and otherwise be servile and docile. According to Trench, both races have survived into modern times, but it is the superior form of mankind created by the Elohim who will eventually win out. Some of us are rapidly reacquiring the telepathy we were meant to have from our very earliest beginnings and mankind will eventually become a sensitive, caring race living again in a virtual paradise. Meanwhile, the strain of mankind created by the Jehovah will eventually flounder in its paranoia and delusions of grandeur and gradually cease to exist.
This all sounds a little like the coming of a Biblically-inspired Super Man, and one wonders if the entire race being telepathic might not be a little uncomfortable at times. Alien abduction researcher David Jacobs also believes in a future telepathic world, but he questions how a person might function without the privacy of his thoughts? Like many issues raised by Trench, this one is not so easily resolved. Trench also has a prescient moment or two when he writes about global warming and the threat posed by radical religious fundamentalism. Writing over 50 years ago, he seems to have his finger on the pulse of our own times. Was he a prophet himself?
The ancient aliens are still with us today, according to Trench. Some of them live among us unseen, working and raising families and going about the same everyday activities we all do. This also has been touched upon by more current UFO researchers, like the late Budd Hopkins, who claimed that alien/human hybrid creatures – who appear utterly human physically – walk among us equipped with telepathic and other “supernatural” capabilities. These same aliens, Trench believed, will prevent us from perishing by our own hand, with nuclear weapons or ecological suicide, which is a welcome departure from the more vocal prophets of doom. For Trench, our survival was guaranteed, not our demise.
So whether you’re Bible-believing or a staunch agnostic, Brinsley Le Poer Trench and the other contributors to this updated version of “The Sky People” will give you new and different perspectives on many truths you may have long taken for granted about God and the evolution of mankind. Be prepared for a fascinating and complex dive into the unknown that will surely be worth more than the cover price.
- WORSHIP OF THE INCORRUPT DEPARTMENT -
The Saintliness of Undecayed Corpses
By Katherine Harvey
As darkness fell on August 29, 1104, the monks of Durham Cathedral Priory prepared to exhume their patron saint, Cuthbert. After two decades, their new cathedral was almost complete, and its centerpiece was a splendid shrine for the saint. In preparation for the ceremonial relocation, Cuthbert’s coffin had been removed from its old tomb. After a day of fasting and prayers, the monks summoned up the courage to open the coffin lid.
What they reported finding was astonishing, given that Cuthbert had been dead for more than 400 years. His corpse was not merely undecayed, but flexible and lifelike. It was as if the saint were not dead, but sleeping.
The monks’ account was met with some skepticism. Undeterred, they repeated their inspection the following night, this time assisted by independent witnesses from other monasteries. One of them, Ralph of Séez, performed a thorough examination of the corpse. He first moved Cuthbert’s head around, proving that it was firmly attached to the torso. He then manipulated various parts of the body, including the ears, before taking the corpse by the head, shaking it, and raising it to a sitting position. Faced with such firm evidence, Cuthbert’s detractors gave way: This was indeed a miracle.
* * *
The tale of Cuthbert’s corpse is vivid and improbable, but it is not unique. Devotion to the saints was one of the central features of the medieval church, and this devotion was often focused on relics—that is, physical remains. A saint’s tomb was more than a repository for a corpse. It was also a target for pilgrimage, for offering, and for prayer. It was a place where miracles were thought to happen.
Despite (or perhaps because of) the respect accorded to the saintly dead by medieval Christians, they were rarely allowed to rest in peace. As soon as a holy person died, his or her corpse would be scrutinized for signs of sanctity by those who prepared it for burial. When Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, died in 1200, his viscera were removed from his body, which was taken a long distance for burial. Some among his household were initially uncomfortable with this plan, but they warmed to it when the episcopal bowels provided first proof of their owner’s holiness. As the bishop’s chaplain Adam of Eynsham reported in his biography of Hugh, Magna Vita Sancti Hugonis, “no water or stool was found, and they were as clean and immaculate as if someone had carefully washed and wiped them.”
Certain cynics dismissed the results as the inevitable consequence of the dysentery that plagued Hugh in his final days, but others claimed it a miracle. Their faith was rewarded when, a week later, the body was put on display in Lincoln Cathedral. A normal corpse would have started to decay, but Hugh had “the fresh appearance of a man who has fallen asleep after a bath and not that of a dead man.”
A corpse’s appearance between its death and its burial could provide initial indications of sanctity. But the ultimate proof required inspecting the body many years later. This usually happened when remains were disturbed due to construction, or when the body of a new saint was ceremonially moved to a more substantial shrine. On such occasions, it was normal to open the coffin and subject the remains to a vigorous (but respectful) examination.
Such inspections were not without their risks, however. If a corpse was found to have decayed, a cult’s potential would be seriously undermined. When the Canterbury monks exhumed Archbishop Lanfranc in 1174, they were excited to find his remains seemingly intact. But they quickly lost interest when they realized that his bones had rotted away. Even a well-preserved corpse could be vulnerable. When Hugh of Lincoln’s remains were reinspected in 1280, his head fell off. Fortunately, this embarrassing incident was seen to provide further evidence of his sanctity, since the exposed neck appeared ruddy like that of a recently dead man.
* * *
The insistence on the lifelike qualities of these corpses comes from the Christian tradition that “the saints are not called dead but sleeping,” as St. Jerome once put it. They were expected to possess lifelike qualities even in death. Pink and white coloring, for example, was thought to be a sign of readiness for the resurrection: Their intact, lifelike bodies would literally stand and walk, just as Jesus had done.
The medieval mind also connected bodily integrity with virginity. The condition of corpses was thought to reflect individuals’ conduct during their lifetimes. Rapid decay was indicative of sin, whereas miraculous preservation signified sexual purity. This was especially true if a well-preserved corpse oozed sweet-smelling balsam. White corpses, too, were strongly associated with white lilies, a common symbol of virginity. Sexual purity was one of the most important qualities for a would-be saint, but it was also one of the hardest attributes to prove. The discovery of a perfect corpse could provide evidence that few would dare to question.
The handling of saintly remains was also thought to shed light on the living. Although the ceremonial relocation of relics were very public events, only a few people would see the actual remains, and even fewer would be allowed to handle them. Those men were drawn from the upper ranks of the clergy, renowned for their own exemplary moral conduct. Only a holy virgin, it was believed, was fit to touch the remains of another holy virgin. A touch from an unsuitable individual would defile the body of a saint.
The consequences for doing so could be serious, as Archbishop Thomas of York found out. Confident in his own chastity, he decided to have breakfast before opening the tomb of St. Oswald, ignoring the advice of those who insisted that he should do so only after a period of prayer and fasting. As he left the church, he was struck down by illness. Four months later, he was dead.
* * *
Despite the dangers of disrespecting the power of an incorrupt corpse, such objects have always been the focus of doubt. Over the centuries, St. Cuthbert was singled out for suspicion. In 1104, a second, less secretive examination of his corpse was prompted by claims that the monks were “dealing in fiction rather than in fact.” Those doubts only gained momentum after the Reformation. The 17th-century antiquarian Robert Hegge proclaimed that Cuthbert was “more beholden to the art of his monks, than to his own sanctity for his incorruption.”
James Raine, a clergyman and antiquarian who was present at the 1827 opening of Cuthbert’s tomb, went even further. He asserted that those who moved the saint in 1104 had performed a deliberate fraud, swathing the bones in so many robes that they resembled a corpse, and filling the eye socket with a “mere preparation.” He claimed the incorruption of St. Cuthbert to be a “tale of centuries, invented for interested purposes in a superstitious age.”
In their enthusiasm to denigrate medieval relics and their custodians, these Anglican antiquarians also dismissed some rational explanations for corporal incorruption. It might be possible to acknowledge the fact of well-preserved medieval corpses without accepting the explanations offered by their contemporary devotees. The effectiveness of medieval embalming practices has often been doubted, with skeptics drawing attention to corpses that decayed even before they were buried. But evidence also indicates that serious attempts were made to preserve high-status corpses in later medieval England.
By the 12th century, it was common for the viscera to be removed before a dead body was washed, treated with sweet spices, and wrapped in waxy cloth. Such techniques would have aided preservation of the corpse. Long after medieval Catholicism ended, well-preserved corpses were still being discovered in English cathedrals. The intact corpse of a 15th-century bishop of London was discovered at St. Paul’s after the Great Fire of 1666. More recently, in the 1960s, several medieval archbishops of York were exhumed, with substantial amounts of surviving soft tissue.
The preservation of a corpse is rarely interpreted as a testament to the power of God and the virtue of his saints anymore. Instead, a modern faith in science makes corpses signal the effectiveness of medieval embalming techniques. Still, rationality only goes so far. Even when preserved, corpses still provoke a strong emotional response. And on that front, the medieval might prevail. What inspired awe and reverence back then now elicits mostly fear or disgust today.
Source: The Atlantic
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- UNDER THE MICROSCOPE DEPARTMENT -
Don’t Write off Sasquatch. Let’s Research Him
by Knute Berger
Sasquatch — also known as Bigfoot — continues to be a symbol of the great Northwest. Fifty years after the famed Patterson-Gimlin film of an alleged Bigfoot walking along a northern California creek, the creature is most frequently seen as a piece of chainsaw folk art. Just outside of Index, on the way to Stevens Pass, the Chalet Espresso stand welcomes customers with a giant wooden Bigfoot holding a snowboard. On the Olympic Peninsula near Moclips, Sasquatch is a carved figure with a surfboard tucked under his arm. His image once evoked mystery and wonder. Now, he’s just another thrill-seeking bro.
Part of the reason for his loss of serious enigma status is that many scientists have scoffed at the idea that Sasquatch is real: No dead or live specimens have been recovered or captured, the woods aren’t full of bones or abundant recovered DNA evidence. Hoaxes abound, and many of today’s Bigfoot believers have adopted paranormal explanations for the lack of solid evidence of his existence. Some believe he’s an interdimensional being; others, that he’s a shape-shifter. The choices are that he’s fictional, supernatural or a hoaxer’s bid for attention.
One writer critical of the current state of Bigfoot speculation described the popular ideas of the creature as being relegated “to mere myth and legend at best, or to the delusions of socially threatened, working, middle-class male schmucks, at worst.” In short, Bigfoot is a dead apeman walking in a limbo of kooky kitsch.
Mainstream science either considers the subject of Sasquatch’s existence as fraud or a topic not worth investigating.
Emblematic of this state of affairs is the fate of one of Bigfoot’s scholarly boosters, the late Washington State University professor Grover Krantz. An anthropologist who was convinced of Bigfoot’s existence, Krantz spent decades researching the creature. He died in 2002 and willed his own skeleton to the Smithsonian with the stipulation that it be put on display, a wish that was granted. Thus, the great Bigfoot hunter became a museum specimen long before his quarry, who remains at large.
But all is not lost for those who want to believe. There are a few scholars who take the phenomenon seriously and indeed argue that, from an anthropological perspective, hunting for Sasquatch should be a respectable activity to answer a key question of human evolution, not one consigned to oblivion or left to crackpots.
Foremost among these academics is Jeffrey Meldrum, professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University. In a 2016 paper in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Meldrum argues that creatures like Sasquatch, yeti and other “wild men” spotted around the world might not be anomalies, but rather what might be expected, given recent archaeology. Discoveries of ancient humans show that we modern humans overlapped with Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo floresiensis (also known as the diminutive “Hobbit Man” found in Indonesia) and other human species. As recently as 30,000 years ago, he says, modern humans might have overlapped with as many as a half-dozen other species. Meldrum reminds us that the human family tree is “bushy,” with many offshoots, many still unknown in the fossil record.
If Homo sapiens have historically co-existed with other human species, might that not still be occurring? Sightings of what he calls “relict hominoids” could reflect that reality, which our expanding knowledge of human history suggests has been the norm even in recent millennia. We might not be alone.
Then there is physical evidence. Meldrum is an expert in the field of vertebrate locomotion, especially in primates. He documents this work in his book Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science. There are numerous casts of Sasquatch foot, hand, heel and even buttocks prints to study. Meldrum has also tracked and examined fresh prints in the field. He believes that some of the footprint evidence taken from the Blue Mountains near Walla Walla, some prints from China of a Bigfoot-type creature called a yeren, and casts of prints from the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin site in California appear to show footprints with the physical characteristics of “a large-bodied bipedal hominoid for negotiating steep, broken, mountainous, forested terrain.” Some of these casts from the 1960s predate what was then known about primate anatomy. In other words, these anatomical characteristics would not have been known then to scientists, let alone an amateur hoaxer.
Meldrum sees some hope for Sasquatch research. He has identified two future initiatives that might yield results. Next summer, he and a colleague hope to start aerial surveys with a drone-like helium blimp equipped with a thermal imaging camera to see if they can spot Sasquatch on the move. Their craft could hover in silence over remote areas.
Another avenue, he says, is more and better DNA research. Specimens of supposed Bigfoot hair have generally not been of good quality, and because humans share as much as 99 percent of DNA with some primates, testing has to be extensive. New methods of testing might be able to detect Bigfoot DNA in water or soil samples, if not from Bigfoot remains.
Who will carry on this research? Meldrum says there is interest. “Younger, upcoming anthropologists are a little more open-minded,” he says, although they have to keep their interest “under the radar” until they get tenure. Being a Bigfoot scientist puts one on the fringe of the academic mainstream.
Meldrum also would like to see a corps of amateur scientific observers put more eyes in the field.
“I am often accused of trying to persuade my colleagues to believe in Sasquatch,” Meldrum says. “All I’m saying is that there is evidence that points to the existence of a fascinating being. … We have to keep an open mind to the possibility.”
I think I am fully justified in calling myself a Bigfoot agnostic. Before we consign him to legend or turn him into a stud-muffin surfer dude, let’s finish the real search.
Source: Seattle Magazine
- CALLING OCCUPANTS OF INTERPLANETARY CRAFT DEPARTMENT -
Interstellar Message Beamed to Nearby Exoplanet
By By Mike Wall
If there are any intelligent aliens in the GJ 273 system, they can expect to hear from us about a dozen years from now.
Last month, scientists and artists beamed a message to GJ 273, a red dwarf also known as Luyten's star that lies 12.36 light-years from Earth, project team members revealed today (Nov. 16). Luyten's star hosts two known planets, one of which, GJ 273b, may be capable of supporting life as we know it.
Though the message was designed to provoke a response from the hypothetical denizens of GJ 273b, the main goal in sending the communication involved laying a foundation for the future, said team member Douglas Vakoch, president of METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) International, a San Francisco-based nonprofit. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Aliens]
"It is a prototype for what I think we would most likely need to do 100 times, or 1,000 times, or 1 million times," Vakoch told Space.com. "To me, the big success of the project will come if, 25 years from now, there's someone who remembers to look [for a response]. If we could accomplish that, that would be a radical shift of perspective."
Indeed, humanity's demonstrable penchant for short-term thinking has prompted some skepticism within the SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) community about METI as a viable strategy, Vakoch said. (METI is also known as "active SETI." "Traditional" SETI involves listening and looking for signals that could be from E.T.)
METI is controversial for another reason as well. Some critics — most famously, physicist Stephen Hawking — have suggested that the strategy could betray our existence to super-advanced hostile or resource-hungry aliens, with potentially dire consequences for humanity and the rest of the planet.
But beaming a message to Luyten's star doesn't increase the risk of an alien attack, Vakoch said.
"It's really hard to imagine a scenario in which a civilization around Luyten's star could have the capacity to come to Earth and threaten us, and yet they're not able to pick up our leakage radiation," he said, referring to the TV and radio signals that have been slipping out into the cosmos from Earth for more than half a century.
The Luyten's star project, known as "Sónar Calling GJ 273b," is a collaboration involving METI International; the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia in Spain; and Sónar, a music, creativity and technology festival in Barcelona, Spain.
"Doing it in partnership with the Sónar festival is a way that we can respect the necessity of incorporating a scientific perspective but also to recognize that doesn't capture the fullness of the human spirit," Vakoch said.
Team members crafted a message that includes a scientific and mathematical "tutorial," as well as 33 short musical compositions by artists in the Sónar community. The team beamed this message out in binary code at two different radio frequencies on Oct. 16, Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, using the 105-foot-wide (32 meters) European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT) radio antenna in Tromsø, Norway.
Luyten's star was chosen primarily for its proximity to Earth, which could theoretically lead to a relatively rapid response. The red dwarf is the nearest star visible from the Northern Hemisphere that's known to host a potentially habitable planet, Vakoch said. (That planet, by the way is a "super-Earth" about three times more massive than our own."
The ease of conversation has not always factored in to METI campaigns. In 1974, for example, Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory beamed a message devised by Frank Drake, Carl Sagan and other researchers toward the globular cluster M13, which lies 25,000 light-years away from Earth. (This "Arecibo message" began its long space journey 43 years ago today, in fact.)
The October transmissions represented the first phase of "Sónar Calling GJ 273b." The group also plans to send an "expanded tutorial" to Luyten's star in April 2018 at several different radio frequencies, turning the EISCAT antenna into something like a musical instrument, team members said.
Source: Scientific American
- PHANTOMS WITH BENEFITS DEPARTMENT -
Sex With A Ghost Can Be Quite Spirited
In the 1981 horror movie “The Entity,” Barbara Hershey’s character, Carla Moran, is repeatedly assaulted by a sex-hungry ghost that invades her Los Angeles home and plunges her into a nightmarish world full of paranormal hanky-panky.
At the time of its release, the movie was banned for its overly sensational sexual aspects, which included a spectacular shot of Hershey’s breasts pulsating rhythmically, as if being fondled by unseen spectral hands.
Compared to alleged real-life sexual encounters with ghosts, however, “The Entity” is pretty tame.
In 2001, the BBC reported on wild rumors flying around the islands of Zanzibar that a sexually voracious ghost, known locally as “Popo Bawa,” was invading people’s homes in the middle of the night and sodomizing them. Not fun.
For some, however, including the late model, pole-dancer and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith, sex with spirits was hot stuff, indeed.
In 2004, for example, Smith revealed to FHM magazine that: “A ghost would crawl up my leg and have sex with me at an apartment a long time ago in Texas. I used to think it was my boyfriend, then one day I woke up and found it wasn’t.”
At first, said the tragic blonde, she was terrified by the experience; however, when the sex became “amazing,” she quickly embraced the touch of her spectral stud-muffin.
And while most of us might be surprised to learn that the afterlife is packed with hot and horny spooks whose idea of entertainment is to invade our bedrooms in the middle of the night and engage in a bit of phantom fun, for professional ghost-hunter and paranormal expert Joshua P. Warren it’s all in a day’s work.
Warren is the author of numerous successful books on ghostly tales, including “Pet Ghosts,” “How to Hunt Ghosts,” “Plausible Ghosts” and “Haunted Asheville” – the latter being a study of paranormal activity in his hometown of Asheville, N.C.
“I’ve investigated six or seven cases of people claiming to have had sex with ghosts. All but one centered on women,” Warren says. “None of the women actually wanted the activity; but the one guy I spoke with was like: ‘Oh, yeah, I love this!’”
As Warren explains, your average ghost is a pretty discernible soul and tends to focus almost exclusively on hot babes: “The women who describe this are primarily attractive, young women. In the cases I’ve investigated, they ranged in age from early twenties to about 40.”
He continues: “Mainly, it’s male ghosts having sex with females. I’ve tried to find cases of ghostly girl-on-girl sex, but unfortunately I’m still looking.”
The full-time ghost hunter reveals one of the more harrowing cases from his files.
“This is a very typical one: a young, attractive blonde woman told me how she had moved into an alleged haunted house and began to see the silhouette of a large man moving around the rooms.
“Then, after a while, she began to experience what she thought at first were very vivid, sexual dreams. She started dreaming that a large, powerful presence was on top of her and that it was undressing her. There was sexual activity, always in the missionary position; and she would wake in the morning covered in bruises and scratches.”
Warren undoubtedly became the envy of all his ghost-hunting buddies in his League of Energy Materialization and Unexplained Phenomena Research group (LEMUR), when, in his own words, the girl “asked me if I wanted to see her inner thighs and private areas.”
Despite the temptation, Warren says in deadpan fashion: “I felt I might be overstepping my boundaries as a paranormal investigator if I agreed to examine her vagina.”
Somewhat harrowing encounters aside, what of those cases where the participant found the experience to be pleasurable?
“The only person I’ve ever interviewed who claims to have enjoyed sex with a ghost is a man. Men don’t seem to report their experiences as much though – maybe they blow it off as a wet-dream,” Warren says.
“He was in his mid-to-late 30s and was a person who had been actively studying the paranormal for a long time. He felt he had exposed himself to a lot of ghostly activity and that something may have followed him from the other side.”
According to the man’s story, Warren elaborates: “The first time this happened, he woke up in the middle of night to see a tangible form with long hair above him, giving him oral sex. Like many people, the first time it happened, he thought it was just a dream.
“But, eventually, he could go into his bedroom and speak to the entity and say something like: ‘I’m open to having an intimate encounter tonight. I’ll be naked here tonight, so if you want it, come and get it.’”
But for the most bizarre story of all that Warren has personally investigated, we have to turn our attention to the case of the “ghostly werewolf.”
He says: “This story blew my mind. It came from a woman whose property was being haunted by wolf-like animals. She went to sleep one night and woke up in the middle of the night. Standing next to her was this huge, ghostly wolf-man-type figure.
“It was large, tall, and had a big, erect penis. Well, she was instantly horrified; and when she locked eyes with him, she was petrified and couldn’t move. She told me the wolf-being said to her, in a distinct gruff voice: ‘Suck on this.’ She quickly rolled over and hid under the covers, with her heart pounding. She thought the covers would be ripped away from her and she would become his little sex toy. But he quickly vanished from the room.”
Warren has an interesting theory to account for such stories: “I’ve always wondered if these things could be energy vampires – not necessarily men or women at all, but more like incubi and succubi creatures that have been reported for thousands of years. Whereas we might eat meat and vegetables for energy, they are paranormal creatures that come into your room in the middle of the night and take energy via sex.”
As Warren notes, one of the biggest challenges facing an investigator of this particular controversy is trying to convince the victims to discuss their experiences.
“This is one of the most complex and obscure areas of paranormal research. And the reluctance that many people have about speaking with us is purely and simply due to the stigma surrounding a discussion of personal sexuality.”
And not without some justification, he adds: “You can imagine how difficult it would be for an attractive young woman to pull down her skirt and panties and show a room full of geeky paranormal investigators her vagina.”
But how would Warren himself respond if he came face to face with a she-ghost demanding sexual satisfaction?
“Well, it would depend on how she looked. But given my keen interest in the subject, I would have to go with the experience – purely in the interests of research, of course. If the day comes, I hope she’ll be a hot woman.”
Source: The Naughty American
- I DO BELIEVE, I DO, I DO DEPARTMENT -
I Believe in Fairies, You Should, Too
By Eva Wiseman
The photos – basically a paper doll on a pin, but heavy with the sensual weight of illusion – have followed me since I was five, soon after I told my mum I’d seen the tooth fairy. Just the back of its wings, flying off into the tree. It looked a bit like a leaf, and I saw it. These stories (including a personal obsession with the Enfield Poltergeist, and something funny on a school trip to France) told in adulthood lead inevitably to somebody asking, with a raised eyebrow, if I really think fairies, or ghosts, or magic exists. Which I now realise is the wrong question altogether. The question is not “Are they real?” but “Do people see them?” And if so, why? What makes us, intelligent (don’t) grown-ups with GCSEs and ISAs and scars from childbirth hang on to stories of the supernatural? What does it mean to want to believe?
I ask now because, across the western world, young women are leaning towards mysticism in a way that hasn’t been seen since Elsie and Frances’s time. Covens are communities, where witches are seen as the original female rebels. Tarot is big business on Instagram, along with crystals and cleansing sage smudge sticks. Millennials who grew up on Harry Potter and The Craft are embracing witchcraft as an aspirational, inclusive lifestyle choice, complete with high street high priestess designs, and plenty of stars, and moons, and tiny little mirrors to reflect bad energy. Spellcasting is one step on from Facebook affirmations, quotes about positivity in typewriter font. Partly as a replacement for religion, partly, perhaps, an extension of “wellness”, this new mysticism is related to mindfulness, to finding inner-peace, and feels like a reaction to powerlessness.
I read recently about “spirit photography” in the late 19th century, when child mortality was at 20%, and parents would commission ghostly portraits of their dead children beside them. The photographs are small and eerie, and a thousand miles from believable. And yet, when the photographer William Mumler was arrested and tried for fraud, mothers who said they recognised their children in the images came forward to defend him. “The form of my deceased child appeared on the picture,” one of them said in court. “It was never manipulated.” He was acquitted.
When Elsie’s mother took the fairy photos to Bradford’s Theosophical Society, launching them into the world, they were embraced as proof that things were getting better. That the world was evolving towards a kind of perfection. It seems now that rather than images on flat card, photographs like this are spiked with hooks so that people can hang their beliefs from them, whether sentimental, religious or radical – the babies were proof that life continued somewhere else, the fairies were proof of something better to come.
It’s possible to hold two opposing ideas at once. Samuel Johnson, asked why after 5,000 years the existence of spirits was still debated, said: “All argument is against it; but all belief is for it.” It’s possible to hold the knowledge that this is it. That we live like flailing fish, sometimes drowning, sometimes swimming, grasping for food and attention, and then that’s the end. And, also, the thought that there must be more. The stories we tell ourselves to make everything OK, to make us feel like power is possible, shouldn’t always be dismissed as dimness or trickery. The reassurance that comes from ghost stories and fairies is valuable and ancient, if often held up with hatpins.
Source: The Guardian
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