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This week, Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such joint-cracking tales as:
- A Threat Unmet -
- Looping Fast Radio Bursts Could be Aliens -
- Illinois Family Hears Voices, Music From House Wall -
AND: Merrill, Michigan...Like Living in HellAll these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of
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- AN INTELLIGENCE FAILURE DEPARTMENT -
A Threat Unmet
By Christopher Mellon
On Dec. 16, 2017, The New York Times ran a front-page story revealing the existence of a congressionally mandated program to study unidentified flying objects (UFOs). The article was accompanied by two recently declassified DoD videos obtained by F-18 fighter pilots. On both occasions, the UFOs were seen in broad daylight by numerous Navy personnel, the reports were independently corroborated by sophisticated military sensor systems, and the unidentified aircraft demonstrated revolutionary aeronautical capabilities. For example, some of the craft were observed descending from altitudes above 80,000 feet, then hovering as low as 50 feet above the ocean before accelerating to hypersonic speeds from a dead stop.
As more information emerged, including the release of another official DoD UFO video, a handful of senators and representatives on the national security oversight committees sought briefings. At this point, the Navy and DoD could no longer conceal the truth.
Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations, admitted that the vehicles in the declassified Navy videos are neither a hoax nor secret U.S. test aircraft: “The Navy designates the objects contained in these videos as unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAP. In other words, they might be Russian, Chinese or even alien spacecraft. Whatever they are, they are real, they aren’t ours, and they continue to violate U.S. airspace with impunity.
With that short statement, the Navy upended the conclusions of every prior U.S. government examination of the UFO phenomenon, from Project Sign in 1948 to Project Blue Book, which was terminated in 1969. Written when the Cold War was in full swing, these reports were designed to debunk UFO sightings and discredit civilian UFO researchers in order to reassure, rather than inform, the public. It is hardly surprising, then, that despite hundreds of cases defying explanation the Air Force concluded there was “no evidence of developments or principles beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge” and that no case “reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security.”
The only scientist assigned full time to Project Blue Book, astronomer Allen Hynek, expressed his contempt for these findings, calling the project’s statistical methods “nothing less than a travesty” and the attitude and approach within Blue Book “illogical and unscientific.” It is now obvious that the stigma the Air Force sought to create worked only too well, causing most U.S. military and intelligence personnel to conceal rather than report UFO/UAPs – a process of self-blinding that resulted in decades of lost data.
The evidence provided by DoD videos and radar is vital for intelligence analysis, yet there is nothing more compelling than meeting the Navy pilots and hearing their stories firsthand. In my conversations with Cmdr. David Fravor, his excitement was palpable and contagious, as were the fears of his anonymous female wingman when she described the surreal manner in which the UAP seemed to defy the laws of physics, tumbling through nonsensical angles to maintain a dominant position vis-à-vis Fravor’s F-18.
Internet talking heads like to cast doubt on these accounts, proposing spurious theories of ghost aircraft lacking transponders lurking in restricted DoD airspace. Clearly they have not interviewed the pilots and radar operators who encountered these objects at close range. Had they done so, they would find no ambiguity, doubt or confusion. Fravor’s wingman told me, and Fravor agreed, “We didn’t stand a chance against it.” I cannot imagine Navy F-18 pilots saying that about any Russian or Chinese fighter. These sobering words from badass Navy combat pilots should be taken to heart by DoD officials and Congress.
Indeed, the radical and technologically superior nature of these craft is a common theme for Navy pilots on both coasts. In the famous “Gimbal” video posted by The New York Times, one of the pilots is heard to exclaim, “There’s a whole fleet of them out there!” He was referring to a V-shaped formation of smaller craft approaching the fighters as they observed a larger “mothership” in the video. At close range, these bizarre craft appear to be black cubes, the corners of which are touching the inside of transparent spheres a mere six feet in diameter. There are no discernable air inlets, exhaust, wings, or means of lift or propulsion, yet they have been tracked at supersonic speeds and seem able to remain aloft indefinitely. They could hardly be more strange and alien in appearance or behavior. Yet an obdurate DoD bureaucracy is making almost no effort to determine the origin of these craft or their means of propulsion.
If we knew for certain that the Russian or Chinese militaries had leapfrogged the United States technologically, there would be an uproar, much as there was when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world’s first man-made satellite. Fearful of falling behind, the public grew restive and Congress promptly responded by increasing spending for NASA and bolstering science-education programs. These initiatives paid handsome dividends 11 years later when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, arriving courtesy not only of a new space vehicle but thousands of patented new technologies that strengthened U.S. industry and leadership in science and technology.
Although it seems a major new technology gap has been identified, there is no discernible effort underway to verify the gap, much less close it. True, the Navy states that it is “updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities,” but little else has changed. No major investigations have been launched. There is no indication the DoD or intelligence community leadership is engaged. And there is still no process for collecting and integrating pertinent information about UFO/UAPs from the myriad agencies and departments that possess it (NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the armed forces and others).
This paralysis is occurring at a time when the scientific community increasingly recognizes the possibility of humanity encountering probes from spacefaring civilizations. In fact, last year the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology directed NASA to begin looking for “technosignatures,” by which it means alien space probes. This is happening because many exobiologists now recognize probes are more efficient and effective than radio waves for purposes of space exploration or contact. As unlikely as it may seem, there is no denying the possibility that some UFO/UAPs encountered by our military are probes launched by distant civilizations.
While military personnel such as Fravor and Lt. Ryan Graves – an F-18 pilot who said UFOs followed his Navy strike group for months – are awed by the technology they observed, they are undeterred, eager to give chase both literally and figuratively. Reflecting on his encounter, Fravor told me, “I want to fly that thing!” He naturally expects his country to figure out where these things come from, why they are here and how they work. Fravor and his colleagues at least still have the right stuff, even if the hierarchy above them is lethargic and risk-averse.
If nothing else, the U.S. government could at least examine the data already collected by our highly capable spy systems during periods of significant UFO/UAP activity. For example, since we know multiple UAPs were operating in close proximity to the Nimitz Strike Group during the week of Nov. 14, 2004, analysts could review archived data collected by the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS), the global infrasound network of the International Monitoring System and various space-based electronic sensors. Limiting such reviews to narrow periods of time and location would keep the workload modest and manageable. Reviews of this kind for incidents occurring off the East Coast since 2015 should also be conducted. Direction from Congress or a senior administration official is all it would take to initiate the process.
Though Navy pilots have sounded the alarm – their testimony has appeared in print, online and on national television – there is still no sign that our massive DoD and intelligence bureaucracies, or our Congress, are seeking answers to the UFO/UAP mystery on behalf of military personnel who are potentially at risk from midair collisions if nothing else (one near miss by a Navy fighter has already been reported).
At the strategic level, isn’t it odd that illegal immigration is an emergency requiring DoD to forgo billions in spending yet no funds are available to investigate hypersonic platforms capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction across U.S. borders? Is there any way to overcome this dilemma?
Perhaps. With little effort or expense, the Trump administration could request a National Intelligence Estimate on “anomalous aerospace threats” or something with a similarly appropriate and sober title. Alternatively, Congress could simply direct the defense secretary or director of national intelligence to prepare a threat assessment. These are modest, inexpensive proposals for assessing the serious concerns expressed by military personnel.
Another way to accommodate the political sensitivities of officials repelled by the UFO stigma would be to form an independent panel under the auspices of the National Science Foundation (NSF). There is no shortage of cleared scientists in industry and academia who could serve on such a body. The administration could undertake this initiative on its own, or Congress could pass a measure to establish and fund it.
Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are tragic examples of intelligence failures that could have been avoided. Our continuing inability to identify the radical aerospace vehicles violating our airspace is an ongoing intelligence failure, one that arguably requires written notification to the House and Senate intelligence committees pursuant to Section 502 of the National Security Act of 1947.
While Congress has not received a formal notification regarding this failure, and perhaps never will, it is certainly aware that DoD is unable to identify these aircraft or prevent them from violating U.S. airspace. The question now is whether our leaders will remain passive out of concern for outdated stigmas or act on behalf of our servicemembers and our nation.
If we fail to thoroughly investigate, in the wake of reliable pilot reporting and the Navy’s admission, it can only be because policymakers are prioritizing political expediency over national security – a state of affairs reminiscent of the declining Roman Empire, when the needs and concerns of troops in the field were given short shrift by maneuvering politicians in Rome. Hopefully, support for our troops is one thing that still unites us.
Source: Legion Magazine
- CONSIDERING THE INCONSIDERABLE DEPARTMENT -
Looping Fast Radio Bursts Could be Aliens
By Eric Mack
There are weird signals called fast radio bursts coming from the depths of outer space, and scientists can't be sure where most of them are coming from or what might be sending them. One FRB has been observed repeating in a relatively regular pattern for the first time, and while it's probably not aliens sending out the signal, a prominent astronomer reminds us that we can't rule E.T. out as an explanation either.
Harvard's Abraham Loeb has had a long career as a respected astronomer. In recent years he's become one of the loudest voices in the "not saying it's aliens, but..." camp. In 2018, after a bizarre interstellar object buzzed Earth, he famously made waves by suggesting the object -- 'Oumuamua -- could be an artificial craft of some sort.
I asked him what he thought about the most recent FRB find, and he told me he believes the powerful, fleeting bursts of radio signals from across the universe are most likely "the bright analogs of pulsars, which are spinning neutron stars with strong magnetic fields."
These would have to be some very powerful and weird pulsars, because so far pulsars have mostly been detected within our galaxy and cosmic neighborhood, whereas FRBs come from the other side of the universe.
So... maybe aliens?
"At the moment we do not have a smoking gun that clearly indicates the nature of FRBs," Loeb said. "So all possibilities should be considered, including an artificial origin. A civilization might generate a powerful beam of light to propel cargos with a sail and we could observe the leakage of that radiation outside the boundaries of the sail."
This is an idea Loeb has also worked on making a reality for our civilization. He's chairman of the Breakthrough Starshot advisory committee, which is a Mark Zuckerberg-backed effort to send a tiny, lightweight spacecraft to Alpha Centauri propelled by powerful laser beams.
Given that humans are working on such a project, it only makes sense that a more advanced civilization may have already succeeded or perhaps greatly improved on the concept.
I asked Loeb if the odd, cyclical FRB recently discovered could also conceivably be some form of alien communication. He tells me the pattern -- or periodicity -- of the bursts could have a simpler explanation.
"We observe periodicity in many astrophysical systems such as pairs of stars. Therefore, by itself -- periodicity is not unusual enough to require an artificial origin. If we detected a Morse coded message, the data would have required a more creative interpretation."
It also doesn't make much sense to send a message across the universe when it would likely take millions of years to receive a reply. Further, he explains, if it were a message meant for a recipient much closer than us, there would be no reason to make the signal so powerful.
But a super-powerful energy beam would be useful in propelling spacecraft across the cosmos. And if some FRBs are really the leakage from such a beam that misses or spills over the edges of an alien light sail, Loeb says it would have to be a very capable civilization behind the technology.
He and a colleague even ran the numbers on how beams propelling extragalactic light sails could explain FRBs in a 2017 paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
"[The paper] showed that in order to produce FRBs across cosmological distances, one needs to use a huge amount of power, comparable to the total power in sunlight intercepted by the Earth," he said. "This would require a vast engineering project, millions of times more ambitious than we ever contemplated here on Earth."
Loeb also believes it's possible the bursts could come from different types of sources, natural or artificial, and that finding a nearby repeating FRB or detecting one in different wavelengths (such as X-rays or visible light) could go a long way toward solving one of the most daunting mysteries in the cosmos.
- A BONE TO PICK WITH HISTORY DEPARTMENT -
Search For Giants in New Zealand Called Off
A secretive group who spent four years tunnelling into the side of a country road in search of a mythical race of pre-Polynesian giants' skeletons have called off their dig. Academics and the landowner were concerned by the anonymous group's dig in the Waikaretu Valley, west of Huntly.
The secretive group, who updated their progress on a blog, has been sporadically digging out the tube-like cave for close to four years, often under the cover of darkness. They were searching for evidence of pre-Polynesian inhabitants of New Zealand. They have yet to find any real evidence of the supposed giants they call the "tall ones", although they say they have already found several bones in the cave.
The group has determined one is the leg bone of an 8 foot tall human and could be up to 2500 years old.
"This here, my friends, is a human bone of a pre-Polynesian inhabitant," a male voice says in a video of the hollow bone posted online by the group. "You can tell by the triangular shape. It's most likely a tibia, which would make this… individual 8ft 4 inches tall… Regardless of its length, this is an older bone than any human being in New Zealand. What do our detractors say now, we wonder?"
But after viewing photos and a video of the bone, multiple experts told RNZ it likely belonged to a moa.
The dig was done without the consent of the landowner, or consultation with iwi who have tipuna and taonga buried in the north west Waikato area's limestone caves.
Archaeologist Dr Siân Halcrow expressed concern that the group's maverick behaviour could damage the archaeological record.
In a recent blog post, the group announced they would abandon the dig, writing that the world will "now never know for sure if this cave was filled by hand specifically to hide some fourteen 8'+ pre-Polynesian skeletons."
In the post, the group said they would focus on three other locations in their search for proof that a race of eight foot (2.4 metre tall) humans beat Polynesians to become the first humans in Aotearoa, which they told RNZ would be "the most talked about worldwide story of the millennium."
There is no evidence of human habitation of Aotearoa New Zealand prior to the arrival of Polynesians.
The pervasive myth that an earlier population of Moriori was displaced by Maori has been repeatedly rejected by academics.
The 1916 and 1946 editions of the School Journal taught generations of school children many myths about Moriori. They include that they were wiped-out by Maori during an 1835 invasion, and that they were conquered due to their inferiority.
A true account of the history of the iwi is about to be entrenched in law.
Other alternative histories suggest that prior to the arrival of Polynesians, the country was settled by Egyptians, Celts, Greeks, Chinese, Melanesians, or Phoenicians.
Evidence from the archaeological record, linguistics and DNA analysis shows Polynesians first arrived in New Zealand in the 14th century.
Halcrow said "conspiracy theories" about the settlement of New Zealand by non-Polynesians were "grounded in racist ideologies."
She raised concerns about the number of people following the group's blog, saying, "It does really highlight what some New Zealanders think, in terms of pre-Maori conspiracy theories, with really racist undertones. It's not grounded in fact, so people should be aware."
Eru Whare of Ngati Taahinga, chairman of Pukerewa Marae which is near where the group was digging, said, "I wouldn't put it down to racism. I think it would be a lack of education and understanding of cultural values."
"It's very hard for our people to try and decipher why people would do such things. And whether they are looking for, you know, big giants or moas. I mean I can understand... But for guys just going in there without any consultation. Well, that's something else. That's a pretty disturbing approach."
University of Waikato teaching fellow Dr M Dentith, who studies conspiracy theory, fake news, and secrecy, said theories about pre-Polynesian inhabitants of New Zealand were often used to make some variation of the claim, "'Well, if white people were here first, then the Treaty is null and void', or 'We did to Maori only what they did to our distant ancestors'".
- DAMPENING THE SPIRITS DEPARTMENT -
Can Rain Affect Ghosts and Hauntings?
Here in the UK we've had some of the worst downpours in decades thanks to Storm Dennis; and there's more heavy rain forecast over the next few days. But could this extreme weather result in an increase in paranormal activity or does it dampen the spirits?
With nearly 120 flood warnings already in place, the press are now reporting that over the coming days parts of the UK could be hit by a month's worth of rain in just 24 hours. While the rain keeps most of us indoors, could the long standing connection between hauntings and water be encouraging ghosts to come out?
Extreme weather conditions are often blamed for a spike in paranormal activity. The 2018 summer heatwave was one of the hottest British summers in memory, but according to some ghost hunters, as the temperature shot up, so did the number of reports of ghostly goings-on.
Thunderstorms are also said to heighten paranormal activity, and there are anecdotal claims that more paranormal incidents are reported during thunderstorms.
A strike of lightning delivers about one billion joules of energy, which is enough to power a 60 watt lightbulb for six months. Paranormal investigators think that all of this energy being discharged into the atmosphere could give a spirit the energy it needs to manifest or make its presence known.
Another possibility is that ghosts just come out to watch the storm in the same way we do. Perhaps they're simply awoken by the loud crashes of thunder and flashes of light. The living can't resist moving to the nearest window to watch a good storm, so why should the dead be any different?
Storm Dennis has been less about lightning and more about rain - lots of rain. There are some paranormal theories that suggest that all this precipitation could also be causing us to experience more supernatural activity.
One theory that could be relevant is that ghosts are attracted to water and that locations that are close to a source of water is more likely to be haunted - properties next to a well or near a static body of water, for example. However, flowing water is said to be a major conductor of spiritual energy, so a property next to a river or with water flowing beneath it has a very high haunting potential.
Falling water in the form of rain is also a source of energy. When moisture rises into the atmosphere work is done against the force of gravity. The laws of physics tell us that it now has "gravitational potential energy," but when the moisture then falls as rain the gravitational potential energy is converted to kinetic energy. Each raindrop is equivalent to about 12 milliwatts of power. When the raindrop hits the ground its energy is converted into other forms, including the vibrations that makes the patter of rain that we hear.
Going back centuries, ghosts have been strongly associated with rivers; lakes; and wells; as well as times when there's an increase of moisture in the air; during heavy fog, on a humid summer evening, and of course during a rainstorm. The one thing we have at the moment is plenty of water around us. Several rivers around the UK have burst their banks and more than 1'500 homes and businesses have been affected by flooding.
Not only are buildings in a close proximity of water, they have water settled on their roofs, sheets of water running down the walls and in some cases water dripping from the ceiling.
Distant heavy rain can also cause infrasound...ultra-low frequency vibrations that are often associated with the paranormal, both as a potential cause of hauntings, and as a possible rational explanation for misdiagnose hauntings. This is because infrasound vibrations have been known to cause people to report discomfort in the form of disorientation, feeling panicked, and an increased heart rate and blood pressure. In extreme cases infrasound has been attributed to feelings of depression, a general feeling of unease, as well as visions of apparitions.
Rain sounds like a high pitched hiss, but when we look at the frequencies present in the sound of heavy rain using a spectral analyser, we can see that it is actually made up of a wide range of frequencies, with a,concentration of low frequency sounds indicated as the brighter part of the graph towards the bottom.
The reason this broad mix of frequencies sounds bright and high-pitched is due to the nature of our hearing, which doesn't sense all frequencies equally. There is also the possibility that rain is merely acting as a trigger object. Ghost hunters are known to dress in period costumes or bring in familiar objects to try to encourage a spirit to communicate. It may simply be that rain is significant to some spirits, perhaps if they died during a rainstorm.
So when it rains the downpour is acting as a trigger and their energy might be stirred up because the weather matches the conditions on the day they died.
There are countless reports of ghost sightings that are linked to specific weather conditions, these weather dependant apparitions only appear when atmospheric conditions are right. This might be during fog, sunshine, a thunderstorm, wind, or of course rain.
The Paranormal Database lists several such apparitions across the UK, including a phantom lady seen in a raincoat on the A435 in Warwickshire who is said to vanish in front of drivers eyes, and the ghostly and unexplained sound of singing that is said to be heard at Ewloe Castle in Wales when it is raining.
The best way to find out if rain really does affect the amount of paranormal activity is to test the theory yourself. Take note of the weather conditions during an investigation, and if there's light rain or a storm during the ghost hunt try to determine if this affects the amount of activity you experience - either positively or negatively.
The downside of investigating in the rain is that it can contaminate evidence. The sound of driving rain on a roof, walls or windows can be mistaken for unexplained sounds. There's an increase chance that you'll hear water dripping onto various surfaces creating unusual sounds, and drowning out any EVP recordings as well.
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- BETTER THAN FROM YOUR FILLINGS DEPARTMENT -
Illinois Family Hears Voices, Music From House Wall
By Ann Pistone
LOCKPORT, Ill. -- A family in Lockport, Illinois said strange sounds, including music and talk radio, has been coming out of their walls and keeping them up at night off and on for about six years.
"There are voices in the wall and I don't know what it is," said 9-year-old Brianna Smith.
It may sound like an episode of the popular Netflix show "Stranger Things," but the mysterious sounds Brianna is hearing are real.
"It has been waking me up at night," she said.
The sounds are coming from the bedroom walls of her home in the middle of the night.
"It kind of keeps us up at night," explained Brianna's father Richard.
Richard said the family doesn't have any speakers in their walls. He captured some of the late night noise on his phone and sent it to the WLS I-Team. The music was faint, but the I-Team could hear it.
"It's one of our favorite songs, but not at 10 o'clock at night," Richard said.
Richard Smith called Lockport police, who took two detailed reports about the bizarre problem. In one, the officer noted that he could hear "voices and music" and "talking about Christ." Then the officer said he heard a commercial for the Christian radio station AM 1160.
"I'm going to play another example, and you can hear the commentator or the pastor's voice in the wall," investigative reporter Jason Knowles said.
"He is praying over someone for healing," said Richard.
"There it is. You hear this voice echoing through the wall, what do you think?" Knowles asked.
"I think this is about 1:30 in the morning and woke me up out of a sound sleep," Richard replied.
In another police report, Smith said he believes the noise is being transmitted from one of six radio towers just south of his residence. Smith said AM 1160, owned by Salem Media Group, sent out an engineer to investigate the transmission.
"He said, 'I got to be honest with you. I don't know what is acting as a speaker. There is nothing I can explain of why you're actually hearing it,'" explained Smith.
Smith even tore up his daughter's bedroom wall to inspect the electrical grounding, but it isn't helping.
"No, it isn't. So we took a piece out to expose the electrical wire and conduit to come up with a solution," he said.
Smith said the Federal Communications Commission was unable to help.
"It doesn't happen all the time, but it does," said Patrick Berger, director of engineering with Cumulus Media.
Cumulus Media is not affiliated with the radio station playing in the Smith's walls.
"AM is a wild thing," he said.
Berger said under FCC rules, that station has no obligation to help.
"When it comes to something like this, there is a small amount of people who actually have experience," said Berger.
Berger said the Smiths may have to hire an experienced engineer to pinpoint the issue, using special tools to measure the signal and block it. Berger said an expert can also check inside the wall for corroded piping or duct work, or the placement of metal.
"The metal could act like a speaker," Berger explained. "That is what they are hearing."
Smith said that after several years of on-and-off disturbance, he and his family are desperate.
"I fall asleep in my parent's room," said Brianna.
"Sometimes when we think we've arrived at a solution, the next season comes around, and it's back," Smith said.
The ABC 7 I-Team reached out to Salem Media Group, which owns the radio station, and has not yet heard back. The family said an engineer from the local station has been trying to help them.
The I-Team also emailed the FCC, and it has not yet responded.
There is a long history of radio signals, especially AM, being picked up by an odd assortment of things such as metal teeth fillings and braces.
Many metal objects around the house can pick up radio signals. Everything from the coils in your bed frame to tin foil can receive them. Though the signals are going through them, however, it's not often that they are amplified enough to be audible.
But if you are close enough to an antenna the electromagnetic field can be strong enough to oscillate at the frequency of the transmitter. If it vibrates strongly enough, as metal parts within the base of the fan appear to have, it can make a noise loud enough for you to hear.
During WWII, Allied troops were known to use similar methods (intentionally) in order to listen to the radio whilst in Italy. German forces could detect local oscillators (a part within a radio used to select frequencies), so they made their own radios using metals such as razor blades, nails, and pencil lead as detectors.
TV legend Lucille Ball was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show and told a strange story in which she claimed to have helped capture a Japanese spy back during World War II.
In 1942, Ball was filming the movie musical Du Barry Was a Lady at MGM Studios in California…where many feared an attack by Japan could come along any day. One night, she drove home, she heard music…but the radio wasn’t on. The music got gradually louder, and Ball realized that it was coming out of her mouth. The next day she mentioned the odd incident to actor Buster Keaton and he told her she must be picking up radio signals.
About a month later Lucy started hearing rapid Morse Code dashes and dots. She told MGM’s security department, who in turn called the FBI. It was later revealed that Lucy had heard a secret Japanese-run radio station operated by a spy, right there in Los Angeles.
Source: 6 Action News
- HAUNTED TOWNS DEPARTMENT -
Merrill, Michigan...Like Living in Hell
By Jordi Lippe-McGraw
Homes and historic hotels are often reported to be haunted. But one entire Michigan town, some say, is under a spooky siege.
Documentary filmmaker Steve Shippy heads to old farming village Merrill — population 735 — to explore the sinister spirits that have reportedly been torturing residents since the 1970s.
During the premiere episode of the new series, “Haunting in the Heartland,” airing Friday, Feb. 21, on the Travel Channel at 10 p.m., one family reveals to Shippy that they were forced to leave their house in the summer of 1974. They had suffered through six months of unexplained banging — even the FBI and a seismologist couldn’t determine its cause — and several spontaneous fires.
Meanwhile, a mile away, another family reports to Shippy, billed as a paranormal investigator, that they are currently being tormented by an apparition targeting a young girl in their home. And for years, they’ve been dealing with inexplicable occurrences: cold spots, loud banging, cut electricity, shadowy figures, scratch marks and rooms suddenly filling with smoke.
“Living in Merrill seemed like a dream at first,” one resident says in the episode. “Eventually, the dream turned into a nightmare.” Another local remarks, “It was like living in hell.”
Shippy says he was shocked at the number of eerie events chronicled in such a small area.
“The number of hauntings per capita along the stretch of one road was fascinating to me,” he told The Post. “It blew my mind that there were similar hallmarks in all the cases all in one location. It’s the first time I’ve ever experienced something like that.”
With the help of local authorities and historians, Shippy learned that a smallpox epidemic had ravaged the town; there were forced quarantines and tragic fires. “Just imagine the angst and turmoil the spirits left behind,” says Shippy. “That emotional residue stayed on the land.”
On the one-hour show, Shippy enlists the help of a clairvoyant to dispel an evil entity in the home of the family that had been forced out.
It’s uncovering possible causes for such mysterious happenings — and helping Midwest residents finding peace — that will serve as the central theme throughout the season.
In the rest of the “Haunting in the Heartland” season, Shippy will visit five other Midwestern towns: Malvern, Iowa; Atchison, Kansas; Hebron, Kentucky; Holly Springs, Mississippi; and Greeneville, Tennessee. Each place has reported paranormal presences that he strives to understand — so that he can then provide closure to those who feel haunted.
“The stories of the heartland show how powerful these cases can be and how town folks stick together,” says Shippy, who also is also a rapper under the stage name Prozak. “Watching them fight for their peace is one of the most powerful things.”
The reason for his interest in such small towns? Shippy is a kid who grew up in the “creepy house on the corner” in a small town near Saginaw, Michigan — and says he was a victim of a severe haunting.
“Growing up in a haunted house in a small Midwestern town, I understand the isolation of the experience, and it was only when others in town started to have similar experiences that I realized I wasn’t alone,” Shippy said in an earlier Travel Channel statement. “These small towns have a bigger story to tell, and in order to find the resolution these families need now, we need to piece together their past.”
Source: NY Post
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