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8/24/07  #431
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What's the matter bucko, tired of those flying saucer people pestering you every day with their tales of woe and Armageddon? Are you scared of the government and their corporate cronies looking for new ways to spy on you and take away your personal rights and freedoms? Are you sick to death of those pesky Men-In-Black harassing you because of those unwanted contacts with those flying saucer folks and government agents?  Well cheer up, because once again, like a bolt of awareness and enlightenment from the sky, Conspiracy Journal is here to uncover all those dirty little secrets that THEY are trying to hide! So sit back and relax and enjoy another thought-provoking issue of the number one e-mail newsletter of conspiracies, UFOs the paranormal and much, much more.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such lip-smacking stories as:

- Life May Have Been Detected on Mars in 1976 -
- The Air Force and Psychic Teleportation -
- We Are Meant to be Here -
- L.A. Times Discovers Creator of "Haiti UFO" Video -
AND:  All the News That Seemed Unfit to Print

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


Too Incredible to be True...or is That What They Want You to Think?



This manuscript contains expositions of an extremely revealing and concentrated nature. There are powers of spiritual origin that will attempt to interfere with the dissemination of this information. In the event that the reader begins to sense such an oppressive influence while reading this book, the author strongly recommends that they stop and read the 23rd Psalms aloud and then continue. This will break the power of the spiritual attacks.


O The great cosmic conflict between humans and the REPTILIANS.
O The Serpent Race and its influence throughout history.
O The Missing Link between Lizards an Snakes.
O Horrible battle between humans and aliens.
O AGHATRA - Contact with the subsurface world beneath our feet.
O What this group of ETs WANT!
O The great Biblical Deluge.
O Tribal memories of Flying Saucers.
O TELOS -- city beneath Mt Shasta.
O Chinese on the moon 4300 years ago.
O Underwater Bases.
O The Seven Sisters Constellation.
O Tunnel Beneath Salt Lake City.
O Secret Microwave Stations identified.
O Mysterious Disappearances in the Black Mountains.
O The Illuminati tie in.

Learn about the underground base beneath Dulce, NM. Cross breeding with aliens. The Skull and Bones Society and its connection with the Reptilians.  This is one of the most bizarre and amazing works you will ever own...GUARANTEED!!!

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In This Fantastic Issue:
The Hidden History of Haitian Vodou By K. Filan
Oak Island Money Pit:
The Dig Just Keeps Getting Deeper
An Interview with Ray Santilli
The Signs of Stigmata
George Hensley's Serpent Handlers
PLUS: Summer Horoscopes

Get your issue TODAY at your favorite bookstore
or magazine stand.


Life May Have Been Detected on Mars in 1976

The soil on Mars may contain microbial life, according to a new interpretation of data first collected more than 30 years ago.

Scientists want to know whether or not Mars ever supported life.

The search for life on Mars appeared to hit a dead end in 1976 when Viking landers touched down on the red planet and failed to detect biological activity.

But Joop Houtkooper of the University of Giessen, Germany, said on Friday the spacecraft may in fact have found signs of a weird life form based on hydrogen peroxide on the subfreezing, arid Martian surface.

His analysis of one of the experiments carried out by the Viking spacecraft suggests that 0.1 percent of the Martian soil could be of biological origin.

That is roughly comparable to biomass levels found in some Antarctic permafrost, home to a range of hardy bacteria and lichen.

"It is interesting because one part per thousand is not a small amount," Houtkooper said in a telephone interview.

"We will have to find confirmatory evidence and see what kind of microbes these are and whether they are related to terrestrial microbes. It is a possibility that life has been transported from Earth to Mars or vice versa a long time ago."

Speculation about such interplanetary seeding was fueled a decade ago when researchers said an ancient meteorite found in Antarctica contained evidence of fossil life on Mars. Doubt has since been cast on that finding.

Houtkooper is presenting his research to the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam, Germany.

While most scientists think our next-door neighbor in the solar system is lifeless, the discovery of microbes on Earth that can exist in environments previously thought too hostile has fueled debate over extraterrestrial life.

Houtkooper believes Mars could be home to just such "extremophiles" -- in this case, microbes whose cells are filled with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water, providing them with natural anti-freeze.

They would be quite capable of surviving a harsh Martian climate where temperatures rarely rise above freezing and can fall to minus 150 degrees Celsius.

Houtkooper believes their presence would account for unexplained rises in oxygen and carbon dioxide when NASA's Viking landers incubated Martian soil. He bases his calculation of the biomass of Martian soil on the assumption that these gases were produced during the breakdown of organic material.

Scientists hope to gather further evidence on whether or not Mars ever supported life when NASA's next-generation robotic spacecraft, the Phoenix Mars Lander, reaches the planet in May 2008 and probes the soil near its northern pole.

Source: CNN


Pentagon's New Drug Weapons

They’ve got Skunk, they’ve got Special K, they’ve got Angel Dust, they’ve got Aceeeeed….and they’ve also got a whole pharmacy of extra special stuff that they’re not going to tell anyone about. They’re heavily armed, and the law can’t touch them. Because they’re the Pentagon’s own nonlethal chemical weapons developers.

While the CIA and military drug experiments of the 50s and 60s might be written off as just a phase they were going through, a new report from the Bradford Nonlethal Weapons Research Project shows that the interest in psychoactive substances has continued right up until the present day. It’s called ‘Off the Rocker’ and ‘On the Floor’: The Continued Development of Biochemical Incapacitating Weapons.

Author Neil Davison explains the title:

Broadly speaking agents were colloquially divided into “off the rocker” agents having psychotropic effects and “on the floor” agents causing incapacitation through effects on other physiological processes. “Off the rocker” agents prevailed since the safety margins for other agents, including anaesthetic agents, sedatives, and opiate analgesics, were not considered sufficiently wide for them to perform as ‘safe’ military incapacitating agents. Writing in 1971, Perry-Robinson noted:

“The psychomimetics in fact seem to be one of the very few classes of incapacitating drug which have sufficient selectivity to give a wide enough margin of safety. Some of them are sufficiently potent for CW purposes.”

In fact, it looks like the military are all set to start deploying a new generation of – well, as the report points out, they carefully avoid calling them chemical weapons. The preferred terms are nonlethal techniques, riot control agents, or, more commonly, calmatives.

How’s that? Calmative originally meant something quite specific, but researchers at the Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center have started using their own definition:

A calmative agent can be defined as an antipersonnel chemical that leaves the victim awake and mobile but without the will or ability to meet military objectives or carry out criminal activity.

So anything from tear gas to LSD to a dozen tequilas would count as a calmative. However, although the report describes work looking at a whole range of substances including THC (the active ingredient in cannabis), LSD, PCP, Valium and Ketamine - as well as 'selected club drugs' - the biggest development recently seems to have been in the area of Fentanyl derivatives.

Fentanyl is an opiate which was used as an intravenous analgesic in the 1960’s. It’s classified as a narcotic in the US, with effects said to be similar to heroin. It’s first known use a weapon was in the Moscow Theater siege, when a Fentanyl derivative called Kolokol-1 (believed to be carfentanil) was pumped into the building. All of the terrorists were overpowered without firing a shot, but over a hundred hostages died as a result of respiratory depression.

US work is said to involve a Fentanyl derivative combined with an antagonist which will counter the respiratory depression. According to the Bradford report, it may already be in use:

Since the 2003 National Research Council (NRC) report confirming renewed US Military research on incapacitating agents there has been no further openly available information on the programme, due to likely classification of the ongoing work….It is unclear whether these types of chemical weapons can now be accessed for US military operations. Two unconfirmed reports in 2003 quoted Rear Admiral Stephen Baker, the Navy's former Chief of Operational Testing and Evaluation, as saying that US Special Forces had “knock-out” gases available for use in Iraq.

By a bizarre coincidence, the report comes out just as we're getting stories of campers being rendered unconscious by thieves using some sort of gas, but that's probably just a silly season story. Any such gas is probably in (fairly) safe hands.  Stay calm....but don't overdo it.

Source: Wired


The Air Force and Psychic Teleportation

In the early 1970s, the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies funded top-secret research into psychic phenomena under the direction of Hal E. Puthoff and Russell Targ at the Stanford Research Institute. Using established psychics such as Ingo Swann and Pat Price, the program explored how they could use their abilities at will to "see" targets, regardless of distance and time.

The program, which became known as remote viewing, employed specific methods and protocols that allowed virtually anyone to tap into this phenomenon in a way that was measurable and repeatable. The many successes of these experiments are well documented. Obviously, the intelligence community saw such an ability as having many amazing strategic and defensive possibilities. And although the intelligence agencies and the military say they no longer use remote viewing, experiments and research continue among many civilian organizations.

A New Direction

Now, however, the intelligence community may be investigating psychic abilities that go a leap beyond remote viewing – psychic powers that are more sophisticated and potentially more far-reaching: psychic teleportation.

The U.S. Air Force has commissioned an 88-page study entitled "Teleportation Physics Study" in which author Eric W. Davis of Warp Drive Metrics says that teleportation – the movement of a thing or person from location to location through the power of the mind alone – is "quite real and can be controlled."

This astonishing claim has already been dismissed as science fiction by many mainstream scientists. But how many of those scientists also dismissed remote viewing – in fact, still dismiss it despite documented evidence of its reality, simply because it does not fit into their view of how the universe works?

The Air Force, however, is intrigued enough by the possibilities of psychic teleportation – or p-Teleportation, as they call it – to spend $7.5 million to research it.

What makes them think there may be something to p-Teleportation in the first place? Evidence in the form of some interesting phenomena and experiments that have been conducted by others around the world.

The largely untapped (and unexplained) power of the human mind is taken quite seriously in Davis's Air Force study. He notes several experiments, demonstrations and other phenomena that seemingly cannot be explained by conventional science:

• The successes of the remote viewing programs demonstrate the ability of the mind to transcend time and space.

• Psychokinetic (PK) experiments have shown that it's possible to effortlessly bend metal objects, such as spoons and forks, into shapes that are impossible by physical means alone. Yes, magicians like The Amazing Randi have shown that spoon and key bending can be accomplished through sleight-of hand, but real metal bending of this kind is no magician's trick; it has been observed and documented under tightly controlled conditions.

• Although skeptical about this, Davis even cites the reported teleportation of individuals in UFO encounters.

• In 1975, psychic Uri Geller made part of a vanadium carbide crystal vanish. The crystal had been completely encapsulated so Geller could not touch it, and the experiment's secure controls ruled out any sleight of hand.

• Controlled and repeatable PK experiments took place in the People's Republic of China in the early 1980s. According to a paper summarizing them, "gifted children were able to cause the apparent teleportation of small objects (radio micro-transmitters, photosensitive paper, mechanical watches, horseflies, other insects, etc.) from one location to another (that was meters away) without them ever touching the objects beforehand."

• Similar successful experiments were also conducted with Chinese children in the early 1990s. "The experiments were well controlled, scientifically recorded, and the experimental results were always repeatable," Davis says. In fact, these tests were actually videotaped or recorded by high-speed photography, and when objects were teleported through containers, for example, "the test specimens would physically 'meld' or blend with the walls of sealed containers." Other times, they would simply disappear from the container and appear in another location. In some cases, it would occur in the fraction of a second, other times it would take several minutes.

This is remarkable stuff and well worth investigating. If this research can do for p-Teleportation what the '70s programs accomplished for remote viewing, we may be in for some truly astonishing discoveries.

Of course, paranormal literature includes many anecdotes of human teleportation and people seemingly (and impossibly) being seen in two places at once. p-Teleportation could explain the doppelganger phenomenon, in which a person's double is seen in some distant location. Could this be a psychic projection of the mind? It could also explain disappearing object phenomena.

We are now only beginning to plumb the depths of the human mind and the potential of psychic abilities. As a species, as we have always pushed out into new frontiers: we have explored the geography of our planet, the advances of technology and the wonders of space. It may very well be that our next great exploration in this century will be the frontier of psychic powers.

Source: Wagner


How To Survive a Poltergeist

When your family is the victim of unseen forces, the solution might surprise you

Knocks on walls, objects thrown about by unseen hands, furniture moved around by the invisible, water dripping inexplicably from ceilings where no pipes are hidden, even small fires breaking out. These are classic manifestations of what has become known as poltergeist activity.

As the word itself implies (poltergeist translated from the German means “noisy ghost”) such manifestations were long thought to be the mischievous pranks of spirits or, more frightening, the malevolent works of demons. Most researchers today, however, theorize that poltergeist activity is not the work of spirits (either impish or evil) at all. Thanks largely to the work of parapsychologist William G. Roll in the 1950s and ’60s, they are now commonly understood to be psychokinetic manifestations produced by living persons.
(Psychokinesis refers to things being moved solely by the power of the mind.)


Roll called it “recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis” or RSPK and found that the paranormal activity could almost always be traced to a person, clinically labeled an “agent.” This agent, although a victim of the puzzling and sometimes frightening activity, is unaware that he or she is actually the cause of it. By some mechanism that is still not understood, the activity arises out of the unconscious or subconscious of the individual in response to emotional stress or trauma.

So little is really known about the human brain and mind, but somehow the psychological stresses suffered by this agent produce effects in the surrounding physical world: pounding on the walls of a house, a book flying off a shelf, glowing orbs zipping across a room, heavy furniture sliding across the floor – perhaps even audible voices. In some rare cases the manifestations can turn violent, producing scratches on skin, shoves and slaps. So powerful is the unconscious mind under stress.

One possible and famous historical case is that of The Bell Witch from the early 19th century. This was a case of severe poltergeist phenomena that centered around young Betsy Bell. The activity, then attributed to a “witch”, threw things around the Bell home, moved furniture, and pinched and slapped the children, according to eyewitnesses. Betsy Bell appears to have been the agent in this instance. It has been suggested (although never proved) in two films about the case – The Bell Witch Haunting and An American Haunting – that Betsy was under profound emotional stress brought about by sexual abuse from her father, John Bell. It’s interesting to note that John Bell became a special victim of the “witch”, who was blamed for his sickness and death. Was this a case of Betsy’s unconscious exacting revenge?


Poltergeist agents are very often adolescents, but not always. It seems true that some adolescents under the combined stresses of growing up and the hormonal changes occurring during puberty can produce poltergeist activity, but adults under stress can be agents as well – especially, perhaps, if they have unresolved stresses from childhood.

It is unknown how common poltergeist activity is. Certainly, remarkable cases in which household objects are tossed about are relatively rare. But those are the cases that get attention and are documented simply because they are remarkable, especially if the activity persists over many days, weeks or months. There may be many more cases, however, that occur just once or on rare occasions to people. A child furious with his parents storms into his room and a picture flies off the wall. A couple having a heated argument is interrupted by a pot inexplicably falling to the floor. These and a thousand other possible scenarios could be taking place all the time to temporary poltergeist agents, but are dismissed as coincidence or with some other rational explanation. (Indeed, in many instances it might be just coincidence or have another rational explanation; the point is, we don’t know.)


There is ample documentation that poltergeist activity does take place, in various levels of severity and for various lengths of time. Many cases have been documented by such researchers as Hans Holzer, Brad Steiger and others (their books are available in libraries and bookstores), and I have recounted a few notable cases in my articles, “Poltergeists: Three Famous Cases” and “The Terrifying Amherst Poltergeist”. Readers have submitted stories of their poltergeist experiences as well, and you can find many of them here.

So if you have poltergeist activity in your home, what should you do?


How about you? Are you experiencing poltergeist activity in your home? If so, what can you do about it?

First, you must be as certain as you can be that the poltergeist activity is genuine. Don’t look for paranormal drama where there is none. Perhaps there was a logical reason the picture fell off the wall when Billy stormed into his room: he slammed the door pretty hard. Try as best you can to find reasonable explanations for the activity. If reason and logic fail, and especially if the activity is consistent and persistent, you may have a case.

In the past and even today, people react to poltergeist activity by calling the clergy, an exorcist, a psychic or a paranormal investigator. Can you blame them? After all, some unseen force is pounding on their walls and throwing their hardcover copy of The Secret around the living room.
They do so because the movies and spooky novels have told them that ghosts or demons must be responsible.

If we realize that the activity arises out of a family member’s unconscious, however, and could very well have a stress-induced psychological genesis, then the priests or ministers, exorcists and ghost hunters probably are not the right folks to call.

It may well be true that clergy, exorcists and ghost hunters have been helpful to poltergeist victims. After their visits and subsequent rituals, the unexplained activity might have lessened or disappeared. But why? Because the ghosts were banished or the demons exorcized? More likely, it’s because the comfort brought by these people alleviated the stress the agent was feeling. In other words, it worked because the agent believed it would work.

In other cases, however, bringing in these types of people can backfire. A well-meaning clergyperson who blames the devil for everything or a bumbling “exorcist” could only add to the stress of the agent, especially if the agent is an impressionable child who is ill-equipped to handle the idea that there is a malevolent spirit in the house or that a demon is lurking about – or that they themselves are possessed! Such irresponsible suggestions could elevate the stress and therefore the poltergeist activity.


If poltergeist phenomena are stress-induced, there are better courses of action.

People get stressed out over all kinds of things; sometimes serious, sometimes trivial things. If the activity seems mild and harmless, it might be best to wait it out. Research has shown that most recurring poltergeist activity lasts only a few weeks. In rare cases it can last a year to 18 months or so. And in the vast majority of instances the phenomena are harmless: lights going on and off, toilets flushing, things being moved around the house, etc.

If the activity is severe, annoying or you just want it to stop, the first thing to do is try to determine who the agent might be. Who in the household is exhibiting signs of stress? There are many causes of stress, of course, and there’s no reason to assume that anything as serious as the Betsy and John Bell case is taking place. But stress from any source is a serious matter, as it can lead to loss of sleep and health problems, among other negative effects; recurring poltergeist activity is a relatively rare and extreme effect.

Professional counseling or therapy for the stressed individual could be the answer. The person might be experiencing something that is causing extreme emotional stress, or they might not know how to cope with the common stresses we all face with school, jobs and relationships. A trained therapist can help talk through any issues with which the agent is struggling.

Again, recurring poltergeist phenomena are relatively rare, and we don’t really know how our deep emotions can work through the unconscious to produce psychokinetic effects. And we don’t know why it happens to some people and not others when all are under identical forms of stress. However, this is one from of unexplained phenomena that is more prudently examined and treated by a conventional therapist rather than a psychic or exorcist.

Source: Wagner


Cold-Fusion Graybeards Keep the Research Coming

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts -- At an MIT lecture hall on Saturday, a convocation of 50 researchers and investors gathered to discuss a phenomenon that allegedly does not exist.

Despite a backdrop of meager funding and career-killing derision from mainstream scientists and engineers, cold fusion is anything but a dead field of research. Presenters at the MIT event estimated that 3,000 published studies from scientists around the world have contributed to the growing canon of evidence suggesting that small but promising amounts of energy can be generated using the infamous tabletop apparatus.

How reproducible the experiments might be, however, and how the mysterious phenomenon works are still very much open to interpretation.

Demonstrating recent results of energetic radiation streaming from a running cold-fusion experiment, Lawrence Forsley of JWK Technologies in Annandale, Virginia, passed around samples of his group's experimental apparatus -- all of which could be packed into a shoebox with room to spare. The compact plastic and rubber tubing illustrate the intrinsic paradox of this field: Compared to the warehouses worth of billion-dollar gadgetry needed to run "hot fusion," cold fusion research is cheap to fund. And yet cash is the primary limiting factor holding the research back.

The scarcity of funding -- and of young blood -- may testify to the discredited nature of the field, but the "greybeards" (as one presenter jokingly referred to his colleagues) keep turning up new results.

Scientists at the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, or SPAWAR, in San Diego performed the work Forsley presented, which was published in June in the German journal Die Naturwissenschaften. It joins a long list of cold-fusion research papers that many scientists now reflexively write off as junk.

Even some of cold fusion's top proponents are cautious when talking about the science.

"Should people believe in cold fusion based on the SPAWAR experiments (alone)? Probably not," said MIT's Peter Hagelstein, a co-sponsor of the conference, in an interview. "But ... that's not how science works. In the cold-fusion business, a very large number of experiments done by a large number of laboratories over a large number of years have contributed to a knowledge base. And (the SPAWAR) experiments potentially tell you something about what's going on inside, if we can get a confirmation that they're right."

The cold-fusion story began in March 1989, when two scientists from the University of Utah reported they had integrated an isotope of hydrogen (.pdf) called "deuterium" into a palladium rod and, running electrical currents through it, produced nuclear fusion in a jar. Several leading researchers around the United States, however, failed to replicate the results and soon pronounced cold fusion debunked, kicking the entire field to the sidelines of mainstream research.

Today's understanding of nuclear fusion, which involves the synthesis of two hydrogens to make one helium in an energy-creating reaction, doesn't allow for the type of reaction reported in 1989. The only proven recipe to make helium out of two deuteriums requires re-creating the conditions inside the nearest working fusion reactor: the sun.

Creating stellar temperatures and pressures inside a fusion reactor today requires more energy than the fusion reactions give back. In striking contrast to the standard CF tabletop equipment, construction of the world's most promising conventional fusion reactor, the $12.1 billion ITER in Cadarache, France, is expected to begin next year. It will take eight years to complete, and with it scientists hope to see commercial fusion power by 2040.

MIT's Peter Hagelstein, on the other hand, said "cold fusion" reactions have yielded surplus energy from as far back as the initial experiments in 1989. Verification of these controversial results is not the problem -- many labs around the world have reproduced parts of the results many times.

Instead, the damning element has been caprice.

"Excess energy comes in bursts in these experiments," said Hagelstein. "The effect has been observed in many other laboratories. It's also not been observed in other laboratories, especially in the early days."

Hagelstein's co-host, physician and electrical engineer Mitchell Swartz, reported his continued refinement of his own cold-fusion experiments, which he publicly displayed in operation over seven days at MIT in 2003.

"We have been running these (experiments) for so long," Swartz told the audience, "that the question now is not just can we (generate) excess heat, it's can we get a kilowatt? Can we get a small car moving on this stuff?"

Robert Weber, managing director of the Watertown, Massachusetts-based consulting firm Strategy Kinetics, has worked with startup technologies and says cold fusion is in a bind in the United States today. Researchers need at least $50 to $100 million in seed money, he said, to fully test its viability and commercial applications, if any.

With research budgets around the world primarily funding "hot fusion" research, the burden falls to angel investors, corporations (such as Mitsubishi, which has funded cold fusion experiments) and a few countries (such as Japan, China, South Korea and Israel) willing to venture into cold fusion's murky waters.

"If you look at the long tail of innovation, new technologies from the first disclosure to commercialization," Weber said, "it can take 20 years. So we're getting there."

Johnanne Winchester, a member of the development committee for the United Nations' International Year of Planet Earth, said she hopes to appeal to dot-com multi-millionaires and billionaires to help bridge the funding gap.

"I'm interested in helping (create) a renaissance in cold fusion … in rebranding it and getting the word out that it's alive and well and amazing things are happening," she said.

Source: Wired


We Are Meant to be Here

People are not the result of a cosmic accident, but of laws of the universe that grant our lives meaning and purpose, says physicist Paul Davies.

Forget science fiction. If you want to hear some really crazy ideas about the universe, just listen to our leading theoretical physicists.

Wish you could travel back in time? You can, according to some interpretations of quantum mechanics. Could there be an infinite number of parallel worlds? Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg considers this a real possibility.

Even the big bang, which for decades has been the standard explanation for how the universe started, is getting a second look. Now, many cosmologists speculate that we live in a "multiverse," with big bangs exploding all over the cosmos, each creating its own bubble universe with its own laws of physics. And lucky for us, our bubble turned out to be life-friendly.

But if you really want to start an argument, ask a room full of physicists this question: Are the laws of physics fine-tuned to support life?

Many scientists hate this idea -- what's often called "the anthropic principle." They suspect it's a trick to argue for a designer God. But more and more physicists point to various laws of nature that have to be calibrated just right for stars and planets to form and for life to appear.

For instance, if gravity were just slightly stronger, the universe would have collapsed long before life evolved. But if gravity were a tiny bit weaker, no galaxies or stars could have formed.

If the strong nuclear force had been slightly different, red giant stars would never produce the fusion needed to form heavier atoms like carbon, and the universe would be a vast, lifeless desert.

Are these just happy coincidences? The late cosmologist Fred Hoyle called the universe "a put-up job." Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson has suggested that the universe, in some sense, "knew we were coming."

British-born cosmologist Paul Davies calls this cosmic fine-tuning the "Goldilocks Enigma." Like the porridge for the three bears, he says the universe is "just right" for life.

Davies is an eminent physicist who's received numerous awards, including the Templeton Prize and the Faraday Prize from the Royal Society in London. His 1992 book "The Mind of God" has become a classic of popular science writing. But his new book, "The Cosmic Jackpot," will challenge even the most open-minded readers.

Without ever invoking God, Davies argues for a grand cosmic plan. The universe, he believes, is filled with meaning and purpose.

Source: Salon


L.A. Times Discovers Creator of "Haiti UFO" Video

Images of UFOs, purportedly videotaped in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, have Internet viewers watching and debating.

Though the island in the Caribbean shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic was spared a direct hit from Hurricane Dean this week, it may be that other, stranger entities made landfall there.

Evidence "UFO Haiti" and "UFO Dominican Republic" -- two authentic-looking home videos recently posted on the "News and Politics" section of YouTube. The films, which were uploaded from two different anonymous accounts, both appear to record close-up sightings of Area 51-type craft hovering above the island's beaches at sunset. As the ships pass eerily over, wind whips through the palm trees, dogs bark and a woman gasps in disbelief. All very real seeming. The jerky, amateur camera work could easily be that of a panicked Caribbean tourist.

The videos hummed to the top of YouTube's "Most Viewed" list, and from there invaded discussion forums and news aggregator sites across the Web, where debate raged about their origin and authenticity. Skeptics pronounced the videos a computer-generated fraud, probably part of some viral marketing ploy. Microsoft's Halo 3 was coming out soon, wasn't it? Or maybe it was for Nicole Kidman's movie "Invasion" -- or even the secretive new J.J. Abrams project about some kind of monster attack on New York.

Still, with all the cries of fraud and corporate opportunism, even the most steadfast doubters couldn't find anything in the footage that was obviously bogus. No matter where you stood, you had to agree that the quality of the movies was surpassing. More than a few observers in either camp called them "the best UFO videos ever."

"Frankly I'm worried about this," wrote one observer on the conspiracy site "If people feel it necessary to flood the Internet or the UFO community with increasingly more 'realistic' hoaxes, what will happen in the event of a true landing?"

They're fake, right? Right?!

With so many people scrutinizing every frame in the videos, it was not long before the first imperfections were spotted in the story's hull. For one thing, no one could find any reports of flying objects in the Haitian or Dominican press -- or anywhere else. Surely an extraterrestrial visitation would've at least merited a brief. Or, failing that, a blog entry?

And yes, after a few viewings, "UFO Haiti" began to feel a little too real. In spite of the camerawoman's shaky hand and trouble keeping focus, she still manages a cinematically perfect tracking shot of the ship as it flies directly over her head. Moreover, her gasp is rather glaringly mistimed. It comes after she's already aimed the camera at the UFOs -- seconds after she's first seen them.

But it was the trees that aroused the most suspicion.

Freeze-frame the Haiti and Dominican Republic videos side-to-side, critics found, and you will see a palm tree in both videos that appears to be almost the exact same shape.



Two palm trees on the same tropical island? And they look really similar? Have you ever seen two palm trees that don't look really similar? That was the best the Internet crowd could do?

Someone needed to look deeper. And perhaps that someone was named Web Scout.

False starts, red herrings
The key would be to find the source of the videos. But there was a complication. For one thing, the videos had been posted and re-posted across the Net, and it was not trivial to identify which ones were the originals.

By the time I got in the game, there were several videos entitled "UFO Haiti" that actually predated the version that was on the "Most-Viewed" list. The best idea, then, was to contact the posters of several of the earliest "UFO Haiti" videos, including barzolff814, whose 2.2 million-view video was listed as the fourth to be posted under that name.

Within an hour, I got a message back from a 17-year-old Irish girl named Heather. It read as follows:
"umm yeah. whatever. you people are stupid. find something better to do with your time. and get a life."

A closer look at Heather's "UFO Haiti" revealed that it was 10 seconds of a still photo of her kissing her boyfriend, followed by a short video clip of a scared-looking squirrel, with the word "Pervert!!" flashing repeatedly in white.

Heather was a hoaxster, all right. Just not the one I was looking for.

As I waited for other "Haiti" posters to respond, I decided to make another study of the clues. In the discussion of the controversial palm trees, the name Vue 6 kept coming up. Vue 6 was a program by E-on Software that animators use to generate sophisticated-looking natural environments. A promotional clip on E-on's website included several scenes of tropical islands -- covered in hundreds of identical windblown palm trees. Furthermore, one of the promos even showed a cartoonish flying saucer skimming over a field!

I immediately tried to reach E-on President Nicholas Phelps at his office in Paris. (Another video -- "UFO OVER PARIS" -- had been posted in April. It was nowhere near as convincing as "UFO Haiti," but still -- vaguely reminiscent.)

Phelps' receptionist said he was not available. Soon afterward, I received a message from Phelps asking if we could conduct the interview by e-mail. Despite my repeated attempts to get him on the phone, he was recalcitrant.

On the matter of the video, Phelps admitted that it appeared "very much like the movie was created with Vue 6" but denied E-on had anything to do with creating it. "Although I admit it would have been smart marketing, lol!"

With my main lead blown, I could find nothing to lol about.

Somebody up there . . .
It has been said that the harder you work, the luckier you get. But this is not always true. Sometimes you get lucky even if you barely work hard at all.

The next morning, with all the good leads exhausted and most hope lost, the telephone rang.

(Actually, the computer rang. The Scout uses Skype.)

It was a woman named Sam. From Corsica. "Hello," she said. "I am calling on behalf of barzolff814."

Barzolff814? Why, he was the person who had posted the No. 1 Haiti video!

Barzolff, Sam said, wished to remain anonymous, but he was prepared to share the full story of the videos. I agreed not to reveal his real name. Then I was all ears as Sam began parroting into the phone the words I could hear Barzolff saying in the background.

The 35-year-old Barzolff is a professional animator who attended one of the most prestigious art schools in France and has a decade of experience with computer graphics and commercial animation.

It took Barzolff a total of 17 hours to make both the Haiti and Dominican Republic videos. He did it all by himself using a MacBook Pro and a suite of commercially available 3-D animation programs, including Vue 6. The videos are 100% computer-generated.

The videos, he said, were intended as research for a feature film project he's been working on with Partizan, the France-based production company responsible for, among others, Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

When contacted to verify the story, "Eternal Sunshine" producer Georges Bermann said it was all true, and that Barzolff was "an absolute genius" who could "make anything look entirely real."

To prove that he was truly behind the videos, Barzolff agreed to provide the L.A. Times with a new spacecraft video. Called "Proof," the video depicts a small version of one of the spacecraft floating above a Paris street. As the camera pans over, the viewer sees two elderly women at a cafe, one of whom is holding a remote control device. Humorously, of course, this video makes use of computer graphics as well.

The movie Barzolff is working on for the big screen is about two guys who create a UFO hoax so realistic that it spirals out of their control. "For better or worse," said Barzolff, who cited being "overwhelmed" by the response to his video as one of the reasons he didn't want to go public with his name.

Barzolff stressed the videos were not intended as a viral marketing ploy. His movie is still in the idea phase, and he created the hoax strictly as a "sociological experiment" -- in other words, just to see what would happen.

What happened far exceeded his expectations.

After he finished producing the videos, he posted them and went to bed. "I thought they would reach perhaps 2,000 people," he said through Sam.

"When I woke up the next morning there were 70,000 views," on the Haiti video. "Twenty minutes later it was up to 130,000 views. It grew exponentially from there."

Barzolff called the results of his experiment "entertaining, thrilling, completely addictive, and a little scary."

The scary part, he said, was that in spite of the evidence, "many people refuse to believe it's a hoax."

Take a look for yourselves:

Source: LA Times,1,472835.


All the News That Seemed Unfit to Print

Somewhere in Kalamazoo, Elvis weeps: The Weekly World News is folding.

The Weekly World News was not one of those sleazy tabloids that cover tawdry celebrity scandals. It was a sleazy tabloid that covered events that seemed to occur in a parallel universe, a fevered dream world where pop culture mixed with urban legends, conspiracy theories and hallucinations. Maybe WWN played fast and loose with the facts, but somehow it captured the spirit of the age -- and did it in headlines as perfect as haiku:



The most creative newspaper in American history, the Weekly World News broke the story that Elvis faked his death and was living in Kalamazoo, Mich. It also broke the story that the lost continent of Atlantis was found near Buffalo. And the story that Hillary Clinton was having a love affair with P'lod, an alien with a foot-long tongue. And countless other incredible scoops.

None of these stories was, in a strictly technical sense, true, which explains why the Weekly World News never won a Pulitzer Prize. But in its glorious heyday in the late 1980s, the supermarket tabloid amazed and amused a million readers a week.

But that was then. Now, with circulation plunging below 90,000, American Media, which owns WWN, has pulled the plug. The Aug. 27 issue will be the last. After that, the Weekly World News will be as dead as Elvis, maybe deader.

WWN's cult followers are mad. How mad? Almost as mad as Ed Anger, WWN's perpetually enraged right-wing nut-job columnist. Anger started every column by announcing exactly how angry he was. "I'm madder than Batman with a run in his tights." Or: "I'm madder than a gay football hero on a date with the homecoming queen." Or his favorite: "I'm pig-biting mad."

"I'm pig-biting mad at the demise of Weekly World News," says Joe Garden, features editor of the Onion, a satirical newspaper much influenced by WWN. "They really knew how to take hold of a premise and go as far as humanly possible with it. It was beautiful."


In 1999, somebody taped that WWN story to a wall in the Senate press gallery, where it amused the press corps, although some scribes griped that the paper had underestimated the number of aliens in the Senate by at least three or four. Reporters loved the Weekly World News. Many fantasized about working for it and casting aside the tired old conventions of journalism, such as printing facts.

"Mainstream journalists read WWN and dreamed about killing the county sewer-system story they were working on and writing about a swamp monster or a 65-pound grasshopper," says Derek Clontz, who was a Weekly World News editor for 15 years.

In fact, most of WWN's writers really had escaped from mainstream newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Times. They figured life at the Weekly World News would be more fun -- and they were right.

"It was electrifying," says Sal Ivone, who worked at the New York Daily News before jumping to WWN. "Every day you'd go into the office and somebody would make you scream with laughter."

"It was just a hoot," says Joe Berger, who covered Congress for the Oregon Journal before escaping to WWN in 1981.

"We were the Beatles of fake journalism," says Clontz.

* * *




The story of the Weekly World News is as bizarre as any of the articles it printed. Well, maybe not quite as bizarre as "PLANE MISSING SINCE 1939 LANDS WITH SKELETON AT THE CONTROLS," but pretty bizarre.

It all began in Lantana, Fla., in 1979, when the National Enquirer, America's premier tabloid, bought new color presses to replace its old black-and-white presses. The Enquirer's owner, a former CIA agent named Generoso Pope, couldn't bear to leave the old presses idle, so he founded Weekly World News as a sort of poor man's Enquirer, running celebrity gossip and UFO sightings that didn't quite meet the Enquirer's high standards.

"Early covers tended to be dominated by a gigantic celebrity head -- not headline, head -- like sitcom king John Ritter's head the size of a beach ball," Clontz recalls in an e-mail. "Circulation didn't top 200,000 until then-editor Joe West named my brother Eddie managing editor and gave him sweeping powers over content and presentation. From that point on, it was Katy bar the door."

Eddie Clontz was the mad genius behind WWN. A 10th-grade dropout from North Carolina and former copy editor at small newspapers, he imbued the WWN newsroom with his unique philosophy of journalism: Don't fact-check your way out of a good story.

"If we get a story about a guy who thinks he's a vampire, we will take him at his word," Clontz told the Philadelphia Inquirer before he died in 2004.

Clontz's philosophy of creative credulity led to wonderful stories that excessive fact-checking would have ruined. For instance, WWN ran more Elvis and Bigfoot sightings than the more finicky newspapers did.

"If a guy calls and says Bigfoot ran away with his wife," Ivone says, "we wrote it as straight as an AP story."

"In the '80s, WWN was 85 percent true," says Derek Clontz. "We simply revved up and played big the wild, odd and strange stories that mainstream media overlooked or were too persnickety to run."

One day, Eddie Clontz spotted a tiny newspaper story about a Florida undertaker who was arrested for selling body parts to research scientists. With a little reporting and a little creativity, it became a WWN classic: "FLORIDA MAN SCREAMS FROM THE GRAVE, MY BRAIN IS MISSING!"

In those days -- they could be termed WWN's semi-factual period -- the tabloid employed a squad of "clippers," who read scores of local newspapers and clipped out the weirder stories.

"They would give me a stack of clips and I'd get on the phone and call people," Berger recalls. "If a guy in Omaha got hit by 30,000 volts of lightning and lived to tell the tale, I'd call the poor sucker and get his version of the story and run it. It was all factual."

But too many facts can ruin a good yarn, so Pope and Clontz encouraged their reporters to embellish a bit. The reporters complied and started spicing up stories with lovely details that came straight from their imaginations. Gradually, true stories became half-true stories, then quarter-true stories, then . . .

"It wasn't like overnight we decided to start running fiction," Berger says. "We just added a few facts to a story and got away with it, and it went on from there."

WWN's writers had stepped out onto that proverbial "slippery slope" you hear so much about, and they gleefully slid down it, riding right to the bottom, giggling all the way. Soon they were producing "FAMED PSYCHIC'S HEAD EXPLODES" and "ELVIS TOMB IS EMPTY" and "HEAVEN PHOTOGRAPHED BY HUBBLE TELESCOPE," which was illustrated by an actual photo from the Hubble, enhanced just a wee bit to show a shining city so lovely it made dying seem like a small price to pay for admission.

As the stories got more creative, circulation soared, reaching nearly a million copies a week by the end of the '80s. Staffers debated how many of the readers actually believed the stories and how many were hipsters reading it for laughs.

"It is my belief that in the '80s and into the '90s, most people believed most of the material most of the time," says Derek Clontz.

Eddie Clontz kept telling writers: You've got to give people a reason to believe. To do that, Berger says, they would write their weirdest stories in a very straight, just-the-facts-ma'am style. And they'd quote experts explaining how this strange event could occur. Sometimes the experts actually existed.

"I remember a story about a guy who went on a diet, and he got so hungry that he chased a dwarf down the street with a hatchet because he mistook the dwarf for a chicken," Berger recalls. "I'm pretty sure I wrote that story."

He's also pretty sure it was totally fictitious. But it had to seem true.

"We would explain to people how it was possible that a guy could get so hungry that he'd mistake a dwarf for a chicken," Berger says. "We'd interview a psychiatrist about it and quote him. And if we couldn't find one, we'd 'find' one."

WWN writers quoted sources identified as "a baffled scientist" so often they started joking about a institution called the Academy of Baffled Scientists.

In their quest to make fake news seem real, WWN's writers found an unexpected ally -- reality. The real news reported in real newspapers in those days frequently rivaled anything that WWN writers could concoct. For instance:

Americans elected a president who'd once co-starred in a movie with a chimpanzee. Rich women hired "surrogate mothers" to bear their children. The Soviet Union suddenly dropped dead. Scientists invented a magic pill that gave men erections. California cultists committed suicide, believing that the Hale-Bopp comet would carry them to heaven. Lurid details of a president's sex life were released in an official government document. Religious fanatics hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California. Scientists studying DNA revealed that humans were 98.6 percent genetically identical to chimpanzees.

And on and on. Reality was getting so weird, it was tough for the folks at WWN to keep up. But they gave it their best shot.

* * *




"I have no shame," says Bob Lind, talking about his decade as a writer for the Weekly World News. "I make no apologies. It's not something I try to hide."

Bob Lind. Bob Lind. The name sounds familiar. Isn't he the guy who . . .

Yes. He's the guy wrote and sang "Elusive Butterfly," an achingly romantic folk-rock ballad. Across my dreams, with nets of wonder, / I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love. It was a huge hit in 1966.

By 1991, though, Lind was out of the music business and working as an Everglades guide, giving airboat rides to tourists. He also wrote short stories and screenplays but he couldn't sell them. A friend suggested he write for the tabloids. Lind hated celebrity gossip but he figured writing about aliens and Bigfoot might be fun. For months, he pestered Eddie Clontz for a job and finally Eddie gave him a two-week tryout. He passed the test and went on to write some WWN classics, including "SPACE ALIENS ATE MY LAUNDRY."

"I loved it," Lind says. "The music business is accountant dull compared to the creative fun we had."

They worked in an office in the back of the National Enquirer newsroom, behind a partition installed because Eddie Clontz's yelling disturbed the serious journalists at the Enquirer. Actually, everybody yelled. First, somebody would yell out an idea for a headline, then everybody else would yell out better ideas. The yelling was exceeded only by the laughing.

"There were days when I would leave work," Lind says, "with my stomach and my face hurting from laughing all day at the ideas being kicked around."

Lind witnessed the birth of Bat Boy, who became the tabloid's most beloved character and the subject of an off-Broadway musical. It happened in 1992, when Dick Kulpa, WWN's graphics genius, was playing around with Photoshop, trying to turn a picture of a baby into a picture of an alien baby. He gave the kid pointy Spocklike ears, big wide eyes and fangs. Ivone looked at it and said, "Bat Boy!" and Eddie Clontz turned to his brother Derek and said, "Do it!"

Derek concocted the story of a creature, half bat and half boy, captured in a cave in West Virginia. "BAT CHILD FOUND IN CAVE!" was the headline on the first story. But there were more, many more as the little tyke escaped and was recaptured again and again, constantly fleeing from the FBI and a brutal bounty hunter named Jim "Deadeye" Slubbard, who vowed to stuff him and hang him over his fireplace.

"Eddie fell in love with Bat Boy," Lind says. "He was one of the most in-depth characters we dealt with. He could be mean, he could be spiteful, but he could also be kind. And every once in while, he would be captured by the FBI and held in an undisclosed location near Lexington, Kentucky."

One day -- Lind swears this is true -- Eddie Clontz got a call from an irate FBI agent complaining that the bureau's switchboard was swamped with calls demanding that they free Bat Boy.

"Eddie said, 'I'll never do it again,' " Lind says, "then he hung up the phone and went on to the next Bat Boy story."

In the spirit of Eddie Clontz, we won't risk ruining that story by fact-checking it with the FBI.

Lind was constantly amazed at the letters that came in from readers. "You can't believe what people will believe -- and what they won't," he says.

Back in the '90s, for example, WWN published "HILLARY CLINTON ADOPTS ALIEN BABY" and illustrated it with a Photoshop picture of a smiling Hillary cradling a hideous but cute alien baby.

"We got a letter," recalls Lind, "and it said: 'Do you think we're so stupid that we believe that's Hillary holding that alien baby? Hillary's too cold to adopt an alien baby. You put her face on somebody else's picture.' "

Lind pauses to let that sink in. "So you realize that this person accepted the idea of an alien baby being found, and that somebody was holding it," he says, "but she couldn't believe it was Hillary."

* * *




It sure was fun while it lasted. But then something happened.

"It turned to [bleep]," says Lind. "The guy who took over didn't understand what it was."

The guy who took over bears the delightfully Dickensian name of David Pecker. In 1999, Pecker bought American Media, which owned the National Enquirer, the Star and the Weekly World News. Changes were made and soon a lot of WWN's old-timers were gone -- Eddie Clontz, Ivone, Berger, Lind, Kulpa -- replaced by young comedy writers.

"He wanted to hire comedy writers," Ivone says. "But it's not just comedy. It's a different skill set."

Gradually, WWN changed. Bat Boy became a comic strip, one of several strips in the new WWN, none of them very comic. The new editors also added lame advice columns by "Lester the Typing Horse" and "Sammy the Chatting Chimp." Ed Anger remained and he was still "pig-biting mad" but he wasn't so funny anymore. Circulation plummeted.

"It was like seeing someone you love wither up and die," says Berger.

The old-timers say Pecker ruined the Weekly World News. What does Pecker say?

Nothing. He's not talking. Neither is anybody else at WWN. On July 24, the company issued a brief statement announcing that WWN was folding "due to the challenges in the retail and wholesale magazine marketplace."

"Unfortunately, we are not doing any interviews," says Richard Valvo, a PR man for the company. He says he knows of no plans for a party or a wake or even a greatest hits album.

Weekly World News, a tabloid that screamed in joyous horror for 28 years, is dying with barely a whimper.

The old-timers grumbled, but not for long. They were too busy telling old stories of old glories.

Derek Clontz remembered the time WWN ran a picture of a gorgeous British model -- "Top Model Jilly, we called her" -- who was desperately seeking a "regular guy" to be her boyfriend. Needless to say, plenty of WWN readers eagerly volunteered to help.

"A guy by the name of Norman sent a photograph of himself and asked us to forward it to Jilly," Clontz recalls. "It was a Polaroid and it showed him backed against a wall between hanging tragedy and comedy masks. There was a model of a '57 Chevy on the table beside him and three encyclopedias of the type you buy one a week from the supermarket for $1. He said he had a 'nerve problem' and was unemployed, but he would treat Jilly right if she would be his girl, to which he added, 'I don't smoke, drink or do drugs, either, Jilly, but I will if you want me to.' "

When WWN dies, what will Norman read? For that matter, what will Elvis read as he passes the long, lonely nights up there in Kalamazoo?

Source: The Washington Post


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