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4/13/07  #412
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What's the matter bub?  Life got you down?  Did your boss yell at you?  Did your kid get kicked out of school for running with scissors?  Did your wife run away with your marriage therapist?  Did your dog bite you and also leave with your marriage therapist?  Worst of all...did they cancel your favorite TV program because it was up against American Idol?  Well buck up mister!  It may be Friday the 13th, but your luck is about the change for the better. That's because joy has once again returned in another heart-warming issue of your favorite newsletter of the weird and strange...Conspiracy Journal!  (Guaranteed free of black cats and broken mirrors.)

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such lucky charm tales as:

- Jesus Tomb Scholars Rethink Opinions -
- Physicist Needs $20,000 for Time-Travel Experiment -
- Near Death Experiences Have Differing Explanations -
- The Mystery of Past Life Recall -
AND:  Friday the 13th and Other Superstitions

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~



The Incredible Search for Dr. Halsey
By Sean Casteel With Original Material by Michael X Barton

In 1965, renowned researcher and author, Michael X. Barton, began a quest to find the remains of one of his dearest friends, Dr. Wallace Halsey.  A respected UFO and occult researcher himself, Dr. Halsey had disappeared  two years earlier while flying a small plane from Logan, Utah to Sunset  Beach, California. Along with his flying companion, Harry Ross, Halsey was presumed dead but, since no bodies or wreckage had ever been found, Halsey's widow could not collect the much-needed life insurance monies until seven years had passed.

This is one of the things that gave Barton a sense of prove for legal reasons that Halsey and Ross had, indeed, died in a plane crash enroute to California. But there was soon an added dimension that spurred Michael Barton onward. He began to receive strange messages through which the spirit of Halsey seemed to be leading him to the exact location where the wreckage and bodies could be found!

What follows is an inspiring story of courage, both physical and psychic, as Michael Barton ventures into the desert and mountains beyond, with the spirits of the dead and an aerial display of UFOs as his guide!

GONE FOREVER IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE contains the full text of Michael X. Barton’s 1965 book on the spiritual journey, THE INCREDIBLE SEARCH FOR DR. HALSEY, as well as new material written by Sean Casteel that delves into the history of other mysterious disappearances down through the ages.

Gone Forever in the Blink of an Eye is only $20.00 (plus $5.00 for shipping) and if you order RIGHT NOW, we will throw in for FREE the audio CD - Tim Beckley as Mr Creepo reads Tales of the Unknown and Unexplained. 

So don't delay, be the first kid on the block to own this fantastic book and get your free audio CD as well.

You can order online via our secure order page:  

You can also phone in your credit card orders to Global Communications
24-hour hotline: 732-602-3407

And as always you can send a check or money order to:
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                    In This Issue:
* The Enduring Quest for Eternal Youth
* Interview with Dead Famous TV Host
   Chris Fleming
* Doppelgangers: Seeing Double
* The Mystery of Astral Projection
* Cattle Mutilations Continue to Mystify
And Much, Much More!


Jesus Tomb Scholars Rethink Opinions

Several prominent scholars who were interviewed in a bitterly contested documentary that suggests that Jesus and his family members were buried in a nondescript ancient Jerusalem burial cave have now revised their conclusions, including the statistician who claimed that the odds were 600:1 in favor of the tomb being the family burial cave of Jesus of Nazareth, a new study on the fallout from the popular documentary shows.

The dramatic clarifications, compiled by epigrapher Stephen Pfann of the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem in a paper titled "Cracks in the Foundation: How the Lost Tomb of Jesus story is losing its scholarly support," come two months after the screening of The Lost Tomb of Christ that attracted widespread public interest, despite the concomitant scholarly ridicule.

The film, made by Oscar-winning director James Cameron and Emmy-winning Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, prompted major criticism from both a leading Israeli archeologist involved in the original dig at the site as well as Christian leaders, who were angered over the documentary's contradictions of main tenets of Christianity.

But now, even some of the scholars who were interviewed for and appeared in the film are questioning some of its basic claims.

The most startling change of opinion featured in the 16-page paper is that of University of Toronto statistician Professor Andrey Feuerverger, who stated those 600 to one odds in the film. Feuerverger now says that these referred to the probability of a cluster of such names appearing together.

Pfann's paper reported that a statement on the Discovery Channel's Web site, which previously read "a statistical study commissioned by the broadcasters...concludes that the probability factor is 600 to 1 in favor of this being the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and his family," in keeping with Feuerverger's statement, has been altered and now reads, "a statistical study commissioned by the broadcasters... concludes that the probability factor is in the order of 600 to 1 that an equally 'surprising' cluster of names would arise purely by chance under given assumptions."

Another sentence on the same Web site stating that Feuerverger had concluded it was highly probable that the tomb, located in the southeastern residential Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot, was the Jesus family tomb - the central point of the film - has also been changed. It now reads: "It is unlikely that an equally surprising cluster of names would have arisen by chance under purely random sampling."

Israeli archeologists have said that the similarity of the names found inscribed on the ossuaries in the cave to the members of Jesus's family was coincidental, since many of those names were commonplace in the first century CE.

The film argues that 10 ancient ossuaries - burial boxes used to store bones - that were discovered in Talpiot in 1980 contained the bones of Jesus and his family. The filmmakers attempt to explain some of the inscriptions on the ossuaries by suggesting that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, and that the couple had a son, Judah.

One of the ossuaries bears an inscription reading "Yeshua son of Yehosef" or "Jesus son of Joseph;" a second reads "Mary;" a third is a Greek inscription apparently read by one scholar as "Mary Magdalene;" while a fourth bears the inscription, "Judah, son of Jesus." The inscriptions are in Hebrew or Aramaic, except for the one in Greek.

But Shimon Gibson, who was part of the team that excavated the tomb two and half decades ago and who appeared in the film, is quoted in Pfann's report as saying he doubted the site was the tomb of Jesus and his family.

"Personally, I'm skeptical that this is the tomb of Jesus and I made this point very clear to the filmmakers," Gibson is quoted as saying.

"We need much more evidence before we can say that the Talpiot tomb might be the family tomb of Jesus," he added.

In the film, renowned epigrapher Prof. Frank Moore Cross, professor emeritus of Hebrew and oriental languages at Harvard University, is seen reading one of the ossuaries and stating that he has "no real doubt" that it reads "Jesus son of Joseph." But according to Pfann, Cross said in an e-mail that he was skeptical about the film's claims, not because of a misreading of the ossuary, but because of the ubiquity of Biblical names in that period in Jerusalem.

"It has been reckoned that 25 percent of feminine names in this period were Maria/Miriam, etc. - that is, variants of 'Mary.' So the cited statistics are unpersuasive. You know the saying: lies, damned lies, and statistics," Cross is quoted as saying.

The paper also notes that DNA scientist Dr. Carney Matheson, who supervised DNA testing carried out for the film from the supposed Jesus and Mary Magdalene ossuaries, and who said in the documentary that "these two individuals, if they were unrelated, would most likely be husband and wife," later said that "the only conclusions we made were that these two sets were not maternally related. To me, it sounds like absolutely nothing."

Furthermore, Pfann also says that a specialist in ancient apocryphal text, Professor Francois Bovon, who is quoted in the film as saying the enigmatic ossuary inscription "Mariamne" is the same woman known as Mary Magdalene - one of the filmmakers' critical arguments - issued a disclaimer stating that he did not believe that "Mariamne" stood for Mary of Magdalene at all.

Pfann has already argued that the controversial inscription does not read "Mariamne" at all.

The burial site, which has been contested from the start by scholars and church officials alike, is some distance from the Church of the Holy Sepulchrr in the Old City, where many Christians believe Jesus's body lay for three days after he was crucified.

According to the New Testament, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion, and an ossuary containing Jesus's bones - the explanations of the movie director notwithstanding - would contradict the core Christian belief that he was resurrected and then ascended to heaven.

Source: Jerusalem Post


Physicist Needs $20,000 for Time-Travel Experiment

Without funding, lab space will be lost.

The Seattle scientist who wants to test a controversial prediction from quantum theory that says light particles can go backward in time is, himself, running out of time.

It's not a wormhole or warp in the space-time continuum. The problem is more mundane -- a black hole in the time-and-money continuum spawned by today's increasingly risk-averse, "performance-based" approach to funding research.

"I guess you could say we're now living on borrowed time," wryly joked John Cramer, a physicist at the University of Washington. "All we need to keep going is maybe $20,000, but nobody seems that interested in funding this project."

It's a project that aims to do a conceptually simple bench-top test for evidence of something Albert Einstein called "spooky action at a distance." The test involves using a crystal to split a photon, a light particle, into two reduced-energy photons that -- through careful manipulation -- Cramer thinks could reveal a flash of time traveling backward.
The UW physicist has applied for funds from the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Both agencies have, in the past, funded far-fetched ideas and, on occasion, had big hits -- such as the Internet.

DARPA recently sent out requests for proposals from researchers interested in developing shape-shifting, liquid robots (think Terminator 2) as well as cyborg insects (half robot, half normal bug). NIAC has funded similar projects and first took seriously science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke's idea of a geosynchronous elevator into space.

"I've heard that NASA is closing down NIAC so I don't expect to get any funding from them," Cramer said. "And the guy from DARPA decided what I was trying to do was too weird even for DARPA."

The military research establishment thinks testing a fundamental paradox in physics is weirder than seeking to build a sci-fi robot they saw in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie?

Still, it is fair to say Cramer, an experimentalist with plenty of scientific "street cred" from his stints at mainstream places such as the Brookhaven National Laboratory and Geneva-based CERN (the world's largest particle physics lab), has gone out on a theoretical limb lately.

To begin with, he thinks the celebrated theoretical physicist and author of "A Brief History of Time," Stephen Hawking (who happens to speaking tonight at the Seattle Center's McCaw Hall), is wrong. Not about everything. Just time.

"Hawking has this 'arrow of time' idea in which he argues that time can only advance in one direction, forward," Cramer said. It's appealing, elegant and certainly makes sense intuitively, he noted, because this is the only way we experience time.

Unfortunately, the one-way notion of time doesn't fit all that well with the mathematical and experimental evidence of quantum theory. This is a highly counter-intuitive branch of physics, also known as quantum mechanics, that describes the bizarre behavior of matter at the atomic and subatomic levels.

One of the mysteries of quantum mechanics is the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox. Quantum theory predicts two subatomic particles derived from a single particle -- like two photons split from a single photon -- will, if not further influenced by other particles, continue to influence each other's behavior no matter how far apart.

This is known as "entanglement." Experiments at the subatomic level tend to support the idea, but there's a conceptual problem. It means the two photons must be able to communicate instantaneously, even if light years apart, which violates the speed of light.

"There's been a lot of interest in this problem over the years," Cramer said. In 1986, he proposed a solution to this paradox that he called the "transactional interpretation" of quantum theory. Some of his approach was based on the ideas of such physics luminaries as Richard Feynman and John Wheeler.

Basically, Cramer showed how entanglement could be explained -- and how the paradox could be explained away -- by assuming some kind of signal that can travel both forward and backward in time between the two photons. His theory, he says, violates no rules of quantum theory and resolves the mystery.

All that's needed now, Cramer said, is some way to provide evidence that it's real.

In the basement of the UW's Astronomy and Physics building, the UW physicist and his student, Skander Mzali, are making do with what they can find in the lab. At the business end of an ultraviolet laser is an array of prisms, filters, splitters and other devices aimed at directing or altering the laser light.

A camera hooked up to a computer monitor sits at the receiving end. On the PC monitor is a grainy screen displaying an interference pattern of photons.

What Cramer hopes to be able to do is split a photon, sending two "entangled" photons down two very different pathways of varying lengths using fiber-optic cables. Photons can exist in either particle or wave forms. The outcome can be manipulated by placement of detectors.

Because the photons are entangled, however one is detected (i.e., whether as a particle or a wave) also will determine the form taken by the other. But by running one photon through a 10-kilometer spool of optic cable, the second photon will be delayed 50 microseconds.

In short, moving the location of the detector for the delayed photon to change it from wave to particle would also change the first photon -- according to standard quantum theory. For this to happen, some kind of signal has to go backward in time.

"In 20 years, nobody has been able to tell me why this can't work," Cramer said. "They just say it can't work like that. It's unacceptable."

To really see if they can pull this off, the UW physicist said, he would rather not have to depend upon what kind of scraps they can cobble together. Cramer said they first need a more precise crystal prism and a more sensitive camera.

So, time, if not proven yet to sometimes run backward, is running out on the UW experiment seeking evidence of "quantum retrocausality." They will lose the lab space soon if they can't move forward with the project, Cramer said.

"We're about to hit the wall if we don't get funding," he said. "It would be a shame because even if this doesn't work, I'm sure we'd learn something from trying."

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Near Death Experiences Have Differing Explanations

Those who believe they have seen beyond the grave and into the afterlife are not alone.

Though experts in psychological, medical and religious fields differ on what the meaning and cause is behind near-death experiences, people of all walks of life have had them.

According to research from the International Association for Near Death Studies, 10 percent of patients who experience a cardiac arrest in hospital settings have a near-death experience. The association, which is comprised of about 50 scientific study groups of near-death experiences, estimates the number of living Americans who have had such experiences to be in the millions.

One of the more famous examples of a man who reported the hereafter is Don Piper, who was in Gainesville Monday for a monthly Christian men’s luncheon at First Baptist Church’s activities building. A story on his presentation appeared in Tuesday’s Register.

Piper, a Baptist minister from Pasadena, rejects the use of the term “near death experience” for what he went through, claiming to have been dead for about 90 minutes following a car accident on a Lake Livingston bridge in 1989.

In the last pages of “90 Minutes in Heaven,” his New York Times Bestseller book, Piper wrote “All these years later, it’s still not easy for me to relate what happened. Several times I tried to write this myself but couldn’t ...”

Piper said it was the prayers of concerned believers that allowed him to be brought back to life. For three years, he said, he didn’t talk about the experience, and he did not begin to write the book until recent years.

The tale of a brush with death and a subsequent vision of a world not like our own is a difficult subject for many people to discuss. Several Cooke County residents who have reported near-death experiences wished not to have their stories published in the Register for a variety of reasons.

Others aren’t so shy as to keep their story a secret, but haven’t sought publicity for their accounts, either.

Kay Raney, a Rosston area resident, is one who has told select friends and family members her tale, but few others. She said she stayed silent about her experience for many years throughout her childhood.

“My friends are going to be calling me after they read this!” she said, of her decision to share her story with the Register. “... I don’t tell people about all this, so people don’t look at me and call me a crackpot.”

Raney said when she was a five-year-old girl living on a farm east of Muenster, she and her sisters were on the roof of a barn with the intention of jumping off to see if the wind would catch their dresses like parachutes upon descent.

A loose nail on the roof caught Raney’s dress as she lept from the roof, causing her to land awkwardly and break her arm.

“It was a pretty bad break, so they took me to the hospital,” she recalled. “They put me on ether.”

She described an out-of-body experience, hovering over her body briefly before being shrouded with darkness.

“I could see my body on the operating table, as I was floating up and looking down on what was going on. I saw four doctors and a nurse, and the anesthetist,” she said. “I didn’t see them before, but then I could see them as plain as day.

“Then it was like suddenly I was being drawn under quicksand, covering me with darkness. All of the sudden I began to go through a tunnel. At the end of the tunnel I could see the brightest light I’ve ever seen in my life.”

She said two beings appearing as elderly females took her hands on each side and walked her to the light, announcing their intention to help escort her to the end.

“I was walking with them down the long tunnel and toward brilliant white light when I stopped and said, ‘I don’t want to go. I want to go back to my mother and daddy,’” she said. “When I said that, they just looked at me and smiled, and instantly I was transported back through that tunnel back toward my family. And then I woke up.”

Raney said most accounts she has heard since that day have been positive, but as a five-year-old girl she was frightened.

“I’ve heard people later on say it was a pleasant thing, but it wasn’t for me. I hadn’t lived my life, yet, and wanted to go back,” she said. “I never heard those kinds of stories before, and it was never something I had heard about from anyone. It was before we had TV.”

Years later she recalled various television specials and news features about near-death experiences and “light at the end of the tunnel” stories. She was surprised at how much they lined up with her own recollection.

“A light bulb went off in my head when I saw those stories and I said, ‘That happened to me!” she said. “I’m not sure if it was the ether’s effect or if it was genuine. But since I have a spiritual leaning, I believe that affected my life in such a way that it made me want to be more spiritual, and made me want to live my life in a way that I would go to that light again one day.”

A faithful member of the Prairie Point Church of the Nazarene in Prairie Point she said the experience — whether it was spiritual or chemically induced — has reminded her to have faith.

“It’s helped me to remember that God does exist, and remind others that Jesus is waiting at the end of that bright light,” she said.

She said that brightness coincides with descriptions of radiating, divine glory in the Bible. She noted in Exodus 33:21-23, Moses hid himself “in the cleft of the rock” to catch a glimpse of God’s back, after God told Moses he would die if he were to see Him face-to-face.

That brightness was also described by a Denton resident, recalling the account of his now-deceased father.

Eric McCrary, 30, said he was sitting with his father, Newman McCrary, on a bench at a Wal-Mart in Marshall. His father told his son what he saw during a coma a year and a half prior.

“He was diabetic and had a coma,” McCrary said, of his soft-spoken father. “It’s kind of weird — it took him about 15 minutes to tell a five minute story. Broke down and cried while explaining it ... It seemed like he was really there.”

McCrary said his father, who later died in 2004 from a heart attack, described heaven as “really white, and brighter than anything you can imagine.”

He wasn’t forthcoming with exact details, McCrary recalled.

“But the emotion behind it was incredible,” he said.

An organization which studies near-death experiences (as they call them for short “NDEs”) says its not unusual to have feelings of doubt, fear or confusion afterward — enough to cause the person who had the experience to hold off on talking about it.

For some it is a traumatic experience, but the great majority report feelings of joy, comfort and amazement.

According to a frequently-asked questions pamphlet from the International Association for Near Death Studies, it helps for those who have experienced such an otherworldly journey to talk about it.

“First, realize that you are not alone and you have not lost your mind,” the pamphlet said. “Millions and millions of people from all over the world and from ancient times up through this very moment have had similar experiences. Thousands of people in the last 24 hours alone have had an NDE. An NDE is an extraordinary experience, but it happens to ordinary people, and it happens frequently.

“You may want to tell the world about your NDE, or you may want to think about it, possibly for a long time, before trying to say anything. You will probably feel frustrated trying to find words to describe it, and fearful that no one else will understand. But there are many resources available to you.

The association has a list of resources listed on its Web site (listed below). The association is non-denominational and does not favor one religion or another.

And then there are skeptics.

According to the Nov. 20, 2006, issue of Discover magazine, Zen Buddhist psychiatrist Rick Strassman of New Mexico proposed a theory that traces spiritual experiences such as an NDE to a single compound: dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

In Strassman’s book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule,” he proposes that DMT secreted by the human brain triggers “mystical visions, psychotic hallucinations, alien-abduction experiences, near-death experiences and other exotic cognitive phenomena,” the article said.

DMT was used by Amazonian Indians in South America in the form of ayahuasca, the article claimed — a hallucinogenic tea used in ritual sacraments. Although DMT is a controlled substance, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that members of a religious group in New Mexico can ingest the tea for religious purposes, the article claimed.

DMT, when injected into the body, triggers an extremely powerful hallucinogenic trip lasting less than an hour, the article said. And it occurs naturally in the human body in small traces, particularly in the blood and the brain.

Strassman suspected that DMT might be produced in the pineal gland, a minute organ deep in the brain, the Discover article said.

Piper refuted earlier studies on NDEs attributing the phenomena to oxygen depravation and other factors.

“It comes down to this: Until some mere mortal is dead for a lengthy period and subsequently returns to life with irrefutable evidence of an afterlife, near-death experiences will continue to be a matter of faith, or at the very least, conjecture.

“But then, as one of my friends would say, ‘What else is new?’”

On the Net:

Don Piper Ministries:

The International Association for Near Death Studies:

Rick Strassman’s research:

Source: Gainesville Daily Register


The Mystery of Past Life Recall

Under hypnosis, numerous people recall the details of previous lives, even to the point of taking on the personalities of their former selves - and speaking in foreign languages!

In 1824, a nine-year-old boy named Katsugoro, the son of a Japanese farmer, told his sister that he believed he had a past life. According to his story, which is one of the earliest cases of past life recall on record, the boy vividly recalled that he had been the son of another farmer in another village and had died from the effects of smallpox in 1810. Katsugoro could remember dozens of specific events about his past life, including details about his family and the village where they lived, even though Katsugoro had never been there. He even remembered the time of his death, his burial and the time he spent before being reborn. The facts he related were subsequently verified by an investigation.

Past life recall is one of the most fascinating areas of unexplained human phenomena. As yet, science has been unable to prove or disprove its genuineness. Even many who have investigated claims of past life recall are unsure whether it is an historical recollection due to reincarnation or is a construction of information somehow received by the subconscious. Either possibility is remarkable. And like many areas of the paranormal, there is a propensity for fraud that the serious investigator must watch out for. It's important to be skeptical about such extraordinary claims, but the stories are nonetheless intriguing.

Past life recall generally comes about spontaneously, more often with children than adults. Those who support the idea of reincarnation believe this is because children are closer to their past lives and that their minds have not been clouded or "written over" by their present lives. Adults who experience past life recall often do so as the result of some extraordinary experience, such as hypnosis, lucid dreaming or even a blow to the head.

Here are some outstanding cases:

Virginia Tighe / Bridey Murphy
Perhaps the most famous case of past life recall is that of Virginia Tighe who recalled her past life as Bridey Murphy. Virginia was the wife of a Virginia businessman in Pueblo, Colorado. While under hypnosis in 1952, she told Morey Bernstein, her therapist, that over 100 years ago she was an Irish woman named Bridget Murphy who went by the nickname of Bridey. During their sessions together, Bernstein marveled at detailed conversations with Bridey, who spoke with a pronounced Irish brogue and  spoke extensively of her life in 19th century Ireland. When Bernstein published his book about the case, The Search for Bridey Murphy in 1956, it became famous around the world and sparked an excited interest in the possibility of reincarnation. Over six sessions, Virginia revealed many details about Bridey's life, including her birth date in 1798, her childhood amid a Protestant family in the city of Cork, her marriage to Sean Brian Joseph McCarthy and even her own death at the age of 60 in 1858. As Bridey, she provided numerous specifics, such as names, dates, places, events, shops and songs - things Virginia was always surprised about when she awoke from the hypnosis. But could these details be verified? The results of many investigations were mixed. Much of what Bridey said was consistent with the time and place, and it seemed inconceivable that someone who had never been to Ireland could provide so many details with such confidence. However, journalists could find no historical record of Bridey Murphy - not her birth, her family, her marriage, nor her death. Believers supposed that this was merely due to the poor recordkeeping of the time. But critics discovered inconsistencies in Bridey's speech and also learned that Virginia had grown up near -  and had known well - an Irish woman named Bridle Corkell, and that she was quite likely the inspiration for "Bridey Murphy." There are flaws with this theory, too, however, keeping the case of Bridey Murphy an intriguing mystery.

Monica / John Wainwright
In 1986, a woman known by the pseudonym "Monica" underwent hypnosis by psychotherapist Dr. Garrett Oppenheim. Monica believed she discovered a previous existence as a man named John Ralph Wainwright who lived in the southwestern U.S. She knew that John grew up in Wisconsin, Arizona and had vague memories of brothers and sisters. As a young man he became a deputy sheriff and married the daughter of a bank president. According the Monica's "memory," John was killed in the line of duty - shot by three men he had once sent to jail - and died on July 7, 1907.

ujith / Sammy
Born in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), Sujith was barely old enough to speak when he began to tell his family of a previous life as a man named Sammy. Sammy, he said, had lived eight miles to the south in the village of Gorakana. Sujith told of Sammy's life as a railroad worker and as a dealer of a bootleg whiskey called arrack. After an argument with his wife, Maggie, Sammy stormed out of his house and got drunk, and while walking along a busy highway was struck by a truck and killed. Young Sujith often demanded to be taken to Gorakana and had an abnormal taste for cigarettes and arrack. Sjuth's family had never been to Gorakana and hadn't known anyone that fit Sammy's description, yet, being Buddhists, were believers in reincarnation and therefore not completely surprised by the boy's story. Investigations, including one conducted by a professor of psychiatry from the University of Virginia, confirmed as many as 60 of the details of the life of Sammy Fernando who indeed had lived and died (six months before Sujith's birth) just as Sujith had  said. When Sujith was introduced to Sammy's family, he surprised them with his familiarity with them and his knowledge of their pet names. This is one of the strongest cases of reincarnation on record.

Dream Recall
Hypnosis isn't the only method by which past lives are recalled. A Britsh woman was distressed by a recurring dream in which she, as a child, and another child with whom she was playing, fell from a high gallery in their home to their deaths. She vividly remembered the black and white checked marble floor on which they died. She repeated the dream to several of her friends. Sometime later, the woman was visiting an old house that had a reputation for being haunted. With its black and white marble floor, the house immediately was recognized by the woman as the scene of the deaths in her dreams. She subsequently learned that a small brother and sister really had fallen to their deaths in the house. Was she recalling a past life, or had she somehow psychically tuned in to this dramatic history?

Graham Huxtable / Arnall Bloxham
Another fascinating case of past life regression took place in Wales where Graham Huxtable, a mild-mannered swimming instructor, was placed under hypnosis by hypnotist Arnall Bloxham. In a trance, Huxtable not just recalled a past life, he seemed to actually become a man named Ben, a boisterous gunner on an 18th century British frigate called Aggie. While inhabited by the personality of Ben, Huxtable would call out orders to the men on the ship in a heavy accent and use obscure nautical terminology. He even relived every moment of a battle in which he eventually suffered an injury to his leg. Bloxham had difficulty bringing Huxtable out of trance, but when he did, the man complained of a pain in his leg. And when Bloxham replayed a recording of the session, Huxtable was astonished at what he heard, recalling nothing of his experience under the trance. Although experts could verify the terms and language that "Ben" used, they could not find records of a ship named Aggie nor of the ship's captain he had named. Past life recall... or a case of multiple personality?

T.E. / Jensen Jacoby
In 1958, a woman who in this case was identified only as T.E., underwent hypnosis by her husband, a medical doctor and experimenter with past life regression. Once in a trance state, T.E.'s voice deepened to one that was distinctly male and she declared in broken English that she was a farmer named Jensen Jacoby who lived in the 17th century. T.E.'s speech was peppered with Swedish words, a language that she and her husband swore she did not know. After six hypnotic sessions, T.E. was talking exclusively in Swedish, even conversing fluently with several Swedish persons that her husband had brought in to witness the phenomenon. These native Swedes confirmed that she was speaking a somewhat archaic form of Swedish that would have been spoken at the time Jensen said he had lived.
These are just a few of the more well-known examples of past life recall. Those who practice past life regression therapy today claim that it has certain benefits. They say it can shed light on present life personal issues and relationships and can even help to heal the wounds suffered in a past life.

Reincarnation has also been one of the central tenets of many Eastern religions, and one can return to this existence in a new physical form, whether it is human, animal or even vegetable. The form one takes, it is believed, is determined by the law of karma - that the higher or lower form one takes is due to one's behavior in the previous life. The concept of past lives is also one of the beliefs of L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology, which states that "past lives are suppressed by the painfulness of the memory of those former existences. To restore the memory of one's whole existence, it is necessary to bring one up to being able to confront such experiences."



Belief in Reincarnation Tied to Memory Errors

Tendency could explain why some cling to reincarnation claims.

People who believe they have lived past lives as, say, Indian princesses or battlefield commanders are more likely to make certain types of memory errors, according to a new study.

The propensity to make these mistakes could, in part, explain why people cling to  implausible reincarnation claims in the first place.

Researchers recruited people who, after undergoing hypnotic therapy, had come to believe that they had past lives.

Subjects were asked to read aloud a list of 40 non-famous names, and then, after a two-hour wait, told that they were going to see a list consisting of three types of names: non-famous names they had already seen (from the earlier list), famous names, and names of non-famous people that they had not previously seen. Their task was to identify which names were famous.

The researchers found that, compared to control subjects who dismissed the idea of reincarnation, past-life believers were almost twice as likely to misidentify names. In particular, their tendency was to wrongly identify as famous the non-famous names they had seen in the first task. This kind of error, called a source-monitoring error, indicates that a person has difficulty recognizing where a memory came from.

People who are likely to make these kinds of errors might end up convincing themselves of things that aren’t true, said lead researcher Maarten Peters of Maastricht University in The Netherlands. When people who are prone to making these mistakes undergo hypnosis and are repeatedly asked to talk about a potential idea — like a past life — they might, as they grow more familiar with it, eventually convert the idea into a full-blown false memory.

Past life memories are not the only type of implausible memories that have been studied in this manner. Richard McNally, a clinical psychologist at Harvard University, has found that self-proclaimed alien abductees are also twice as likely to commit source monitoring errors.

As for what might make people more prone to committing such errors to begin with, McNally says that it could be the byproduct of especially vivid imagery skills. He has found that people who commonly make source-monitoring errors respond to and imagine experiences more strongly than the average person, and they also tend to be more creative.

“It might be harder to discriminate between a vivid image that you’d generated yourself and the memory of a perception of something you actually saw,” he said in a telephone interview.

Peters also found in his study, detailed in the March issue of Consciousness and Cognition, that people with implausible memories are also more likely to be depressed and to experience sleep problems, and this could also make them more prone to memory mistakes.

Source: MSNBC


Friday the 13th and Other Superstitions

The Number 13

The fear of the number 13 is fairly recent and mostly a western phenomenon. The first mention in writing of the fear of the number 13 was when it was named Triskaidekaphobia. The word is a modern formation; dating only from 1911 (it first appeared in I H Coriat’s Abnormal Psychology). The first writing of 13 as a number to be avoided appeared in 1711:

• "On a sudden an old woman unluckily observed there were thirteen of us in company. This remark struck a panic terror into several who were present . . . but a friend of mine, taking notice that one of our female companions was big with child, affirmed there were fourteen in the room . . ." (1711)

• "Notwithstanding . . . opinions in favour of odd numbers, the number thirteen is considered as extremely ominous; it being held that, when thirteen persons meet in a room, one of them will die within the year." (1787)

• "Many will not sail on a vessel when [thirteen] is the number of persons on board; and it is believed that some fatal accident must befall one of them." (1808)

Many claim that because Judas was the 13th person to sit at the Last Supper and he betrayed Jesus that this is the reason it is unlucky.

Friday the 13th

The fear of Friday the 13th (Paraskevidekatriaphobia) is said to be from many ancient sources; yet it seems that Books of English folklore generally cite a 1913 Notes & Queries reference as the earliest known expression of Friday the 13th as a day of evil luck, and this corresponds to what we found when we searched The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times for similar references. In both newspapers the first mentions of the ill-fated date occurred in 1908, as in this short piece about a U.S. senator from Oklahoma who dared to tempt fate by introducing 13 bills on Friday the 13th.

The omen of a Friday being bad luck is rooted in several countries and religions as being the end of the week and a bad day to start any project as it may interfere with worship.

Many people will relate the fear began based on Norse Mythology about twelve gods having a feast in Valhalla. The mischievous Loki gatecrashed the party as an uninvited 13th guest and arranged for Hod, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Baldur, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Baldur was killed and the Earth was plunged into darkness and mourning as a result.

Some say the arrest of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights on Friday, October 13, 1307 by King Philip IV of France is the origin of this superstition. That day thousands of Templars were arrested and subsequently tortured. They then 'confessed' and were executed. From that day on, Friday the 13th was considered by followers of the Templars as an evil and unlucky day. This is prevalent in Freemason culture. This however is an explanation of why it is unlucky. It was not practiced as an unlucky day until the late 19th century and very much since the 1950s in America and western style European countries. In some countries Tuesday the 13th is the unlucky day.

Folklore offers 2 cures for Friday the 13th; one recommendation is to climb to the top of a mountain or skyscraper and burn all the socks you own that have holes in them. Another is to stand on your head and eat a piece of gristle.

Breaking a mirror

Breaking a mirror is an older superstition and appears in very old text. To break a mirror it is said this will bring you 7 years of bad luck or might cause the death of someone in the family. If a mirror is broken, remove it from the house and, if possible, bury it in the ground (to counteract the evil consequences).

Before the invention of mirrors, man gazed at his reflection, his "other self," in pools, ponds, and lakes. If the image was distorted, it was a mark of impending disaster. The "unbreakable" metal mirrors of the early Egyptians and Greeks were valued items because of their magical properties. If a mirror of polished metal or stone broke it was a very bad omen.

After glass mirrors were introduced, it was the Romans who tagged the broken mirror a sign of bad luck. The length of the prescribed misfortune, 7 years, came from the Roman belief that man's body was physically rejuvenated every 7 years, and he became, in effect, a new man.

Queen Elizabeth's court magician and well-known alchemist, John Dee, used a mirror for scrying (seeing the future). He has been credited with prophesying the plot to kill King James in 1605.

Because mirrors were thought to hold the key to the future, to break one was to shatter your own future.

Covering a mirror when someone dies

The Victorians had a lot superstitions associated with death. When there was a corpse in the house you had to cover all the mirrors," it was believed that mirrors reflected your soul and at death the soul of the loved one was near so many ominous things could happen:

• To see your reflection in a mirror is to see your own soul, (which is why a vampire, who is without a soul, have no reflection.)

• If a couple first catch sight of each other in a mirror, they will have a happy marriage.

• Any mirrors in a room where someone has recently died, must be covered so that the dead person's soul does not get trapped behind the glass. Superstition has it that the Devil invented mirrors for this very purpose.

• It is bad luck to see your face in a mirror when sitting by candlelight.

• Before mirrors, in ancient societies, if you caught sight of your reflection or dreamt of it, you would soon die.

• Someone seeing their reflection in a room where someone has recently died, will soon die themselves.

The origins of covering a mirror are rooted in the Jewish religion and their respect for the dead when sitting Shiva:

It is proper to cover the mirrors (with sheets, or fogged spray provided by the funeral home) in the shiva house for the following reasons:

• During shiva, a mourner is striving to ignore his/her own physicality and vanity in order to concentrate on the reality of being a soul.

• A mirror represents social acceptance through the enhancement of one's appearance. Jewish mourning is supposed to be lonely, silent; dwelling on one's personal loss. Covering the mirrors symbolizes this withdrawal from society's gaze.

• Prayer services, commonly held in the shiva house, cannot take place in front of a mirror. When we pray, we focus on God and not on ourselves.

• Physical relations between a husband and wife are suspended during the week of shiva, and thus the need for physical beauty is removed.

Making sure the deceased leave the house feet first

In Victorian times it was believed when the body was taken from the house, it had to be carried out feet first because if it was carried out head first, it could look back and beckon others to follow it into death.

This ritual seems to have origins in the voodoo culture. In voodooism “a bed should never be placed with its foot pointing toward the street door, for corpses leave the house feet foremost.”

In the Philippines, the coffin is carried out the main door (or in some places, out the window) feet first. The head must not face the door or window. My father says the reason head does not go out first is that the act symbolizes the exiting of a person. When a person steps into a room, his feet come in first, then the body follows. If the head was to go out first, it is believed that the spirit of the deceased will not leave the house. The widow, children, and immediate family members are prohibited from carrying the coffin or else they will become ill and die.

Stopping the clock when someone dies

Again in Victorian times, when someone died in the house and there was a clock in the room, you had to stop the clock at the death hour or the family of the household would have bad luck.

Its origin seems to emanate from Germany and Great Britain. They believed that when a person died time stood still for them and a new period of existence started without time. To permit time to continue was to invite the spirit of the deceased to remain and haunt unendingly. Stopping time was a way to allow the deceased to move on.

Bells were rung at a funeral and bells are the forerunner of clocks. The word clock coming from the word bell, and this would signify a new time period beginning for the deceased.

Black Cats

Black cats are also a very old and changing belief. In actuality a pure black cat id one of the healthiest and longest living cat. And of course the superstition is all rooted in power and religion. It began in the time of the druids, knowing the black cat was

Bad Moon on the rise, or full moon

The full moon or bad moon has its roots all the way back to Hippocrates Hippocrates wrote that "no physician should be entrusted with the treatment of disease who was ignorant of the science of astronomy.” Even when, in the 17th century, Johannes Kepler caused the disciplines of astrology and astronomy to diverge with his discovery that the motions of the planets followed mathematical laws, the belief in the moon's influence lingered. And lingered it has to this day.

The effect of the moon’s gravitational pull does indeed have an effect on our systems, how we as individuals deal with it. It was believed the moon’s effect was the cause of mental illness and therefore another term was Lunacy.

In the 16th century, Paracelsus wrote that "mania has the following symptoms: frantic behaviour, unreasonableness, constant restlessness and mischievousness. Some patients suffer from it depending on the phases of the moon."

Lord Blackstone, an 18th-century English jurist, was the first to define a condition of madness exacerbated by the lunar cycle: "A lunatic, or non compos mentis, is properly one who hath lucid intervals, sometimes enjoying his senses and sometimes not and that frequently depending upon the changes of the moon."

During the 19th century, the German psychologist Ewald Hering observed in his textbook of psychiatry that "with full moon, increasing mania." At the Bethlehem (or Bedlam) Hospital in London, inmates were chained and flogged at certain phases of the moon "to prevent violence." This barbarous practice was abolished only in 1808 through the efforts of John Haslam, the hospital's apothecary.

In the late 20th century numerous studies were done to evaluate the validity of the effect of the moon on mental status as well as the penchant for crime. These studies were conducted with mental patients, suspected mental patients, criminals and ordinary people. It concluded the possibility of a lunar relation was .007% based on 20 years of study.

Why is it still such a powerful superstition? The philosopher and poet George Santayana once observed, "Men become superstitious, not because they have too much imagination, but because they are not aware that they have any."

Source: San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau


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