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2/6/09  #507
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In a dark, smoke-filled room, somewhere deep in the bowels of an secret government agency, electronic spies quietly monitor all communications throughout the planet. When key words are detected, programs go into action to trace the source and destination of the targeted communication.  And now, red lights are flashing, tapes are spinning, secret intelligence operatives are scrambling, and the black helicopters are flying.  All because once again, cyberspace is filled with your number one source of information on conspiracies, UFO, the paranormal, and much more - Conspiracy Journal!

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such mind reading tales as:
- The NSA Wants to Know How You Think—Maybe Even What You Think -
- When Time Goes Crazy -
- Third Man Theory of Otherworldly Encounters -
- Can You Choose Your Reincarnated Successor? -
AND: Basements of the Damned

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


OMNEC ONEC - Ambassador From Venus

DO THEY LIVE HERE AMONGST US? Have Aliens Walked In To Earthly Bodies?

Take this link to hear a special Venusian Greeting!
It's a part of UFO research and the paranormal you seldom hear about, stresses Timothy Green Beckley, editor of the Conspiracy Journal and long time investigator of the unexplained.

I have often heard stories of human-looking, Nordic-like, aliens living amongst us, having become part of our society without the knowledge of their neighbors. They are even said to have married humans. One should recall that in Genesis it says that the sons of God in those days mated with the daughters of men, who were lovely and fair, to produce a race of giants.

The late Dr. Frank E. Stranges said he once met a man inside the Pentagon who was from another world and could read minds. The visiting stranger had no fingerprints because there was no crime on his home planet nor any wars. A college professor once told me how he had witnessed the landing of a spaceship and saw its alien crew emerge and drive off in an American-made automobile, only to see one of them standing in a supermarket line shortly thereafter.

The unique work you are now holding is the personal account of a living human being who was, with her full consent and active cooperation, transported to Earth in a spacecraft from her home planet. She arrived in the company of her paternal uncle after being carefully prepared and conditioned to live here and grow in the physical society of the native life-wave of our own planet. And the remarkable thing is that Omnec Onec is still here, perhaps getting ready to reemerge from hiding once more as our planet s people go through tough times yet again.

Before she arrived on this planet, she was carefully conditioned to our density and became physically manifest in an earth-body equivalent to a 7 year old girl. Her uncle and the crew who brought her here introduced her into a Tennessee family who had just lost their own little daughter. And although Omnec had the appearance of a 7 year old she had the Venusian wisdom and knowledge of her 210 year equivalent at the time of her arrival here in 1955.

This then is her story of her early life on Venus, her arrival here in the middle of our first modern excitement over UFOs, her preparation and adaptation to Earth living and its peculiar problems, unknown to her on her home planet.

Copies of the first printing of the hardcover edition of this book have been selling for upwards of $700 on the net. And one copy went in auction for around $1800.00. Due to a personal relationship with Col Wendelle Stevens (Ret) we are able to make copies of this work available to the vast number of people who have clammered for it but could not obtain a copy at a reasonable cost.


This Earth-Shattering book can be yours for the SPECIAL PRICE OF ONLY $25.00
(Plus $5.00 for shipping.) You can't find this book for this special price anywhere else. PLUS, if you order right now we will throw in for FREE the DVD Woman From Venus!

Click Here to Order With PayPal

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In This Incredible Issue:


America’s Oldest Mystery: Rhode island’s Newport Tower - Newport, RI, has long been famous as the summer playground for the fabulously wealthy. But nestled amongst the luxurious mansions and the private yachts is a mysterious stone tower whose history has baffled historians for centuries. It is believed to be the oldest stone structure in America, though no  one can say precisely when it was built.
Was there a Golden Age? Historical Proof for the Garden of Eden -
Almost all of the ancient cultures of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia have myths which speak of an earlier time when life was easier and humans lived in harmony with nature and each other.  Most historians believe that these myths are little more than fairy tales, perhaps the result of our need to idealize the past. However, there is now evidence that suggests that these myths may contain a kernel of historical truth, a kind of distant folk memory of an actual historical era.
The Higgs Boson and the Large Hadron Collider: Seeking the God Particle - Tucked away in a sleepy Swiss  village lies the Center for Nuclear Experimentation and Research, the site of the recently completed Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle collider and perhaps the most complex machine ever built. The principle goal of the LHC is to reveal the so-called god particle: the Higgs Boson, which is about 120 times more massive than a proton, and gives mass to all other particles as they emerge from the primordial quantum field.

The Parapsychology Revolution: An Interview with Dr. Robert Schoch -
A geologist and paleontologist by profession, Dr. Schoch has studied some of the greatest ancient monuments around the world including the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx,and the underwater structures near Yonaguni Island, Japan. He has also written several bestselling books, including his most recent, The Parapsychology Revolution.

Find it at your favorite bookstore or magazine stand.


The NSA Wants to Know How You Think—Maybe Even What You Think

The National Security Agency (NSA) is developing a tool that George Orwell's Thought Police might have found useful: an artificial intelligence system designed to gain insight into what people are thinking.

With the entire Internet and thousands of databases for a brain, the device will be able to respond almost instantaneously to complex questions posed by intelligence analysts. As more and more data is collected—through phone calls, credit card receipts, social networks like Facebook and MySpace, GPS tracks, cell phone geolocation, Internet searches, Amazon book purchases, even E-Z Pass toll records—it may one day be possible to know not just where people are and what they are doing, but what and how they think.

The system is so potentially intrusive that at least one researcher has quit, citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability.
Getting Aquaint

Known as Aquaint, which stands for "Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence," the project was run for many years by John Prange, an NSA scientist at the Advanced Research and Development Activity. Headquartered in Room 12A69 in the NSA's Research and Engineering Building at 1 National Business Park, ARDA was set up by the agency to serve as a sort of intelligence community DARPA, the place where former Reagan national security advisor John Poindexter's infamous Total Information Awareness project was born. [Editor's note: TIA was a short-lived project founded in 2002 to apply information technology to counter terrorist and other threats to national security.] Later named the Disruptive Technology Office, ARDA has now morphed into the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).

A sort of national laboratory for eavesdropping and other spycraft, IARPA will move into its new 120,000-square-foot home in 2009. The building will be part of the new M Square Research Park in College Park, Maryland. A mammoth two million-square-foot, 128-acre complex, it is operated in collaboration with the University of Maryland. "Their budget is classified, but I understand it's very well funded," said Brian Darmody, the University of Maryland's assistant vice president of research and economic development, referring to IARPA. "They'll be in their own building here, and they're going to grow. Their mission is expanding."

If IARPA is the spy world's DARPA, Aquaint may be the reincarnation of Poindexter's TIA. After a briefing by NSA Director Michael Hayden, Vice President Dick Cheney, and CIA Director George Tenet of some of the NSA's data mining programs in July 2003, Senator Jay Rockefeller IV, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote a concerned letter to Cheney. "As I reflected on the meeting today," he said, "John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveillance."
Building "Hal"

The original goal of Aquaint, which dates back to the 1990s, was simply to develop a sophisticated method of picking the right needles out of a vast haystack of information and coming up with the answer to a question. As with TIA, many universities were invited to contribute brainpower to the project. But in the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11, with the creation of the NSA's secret warrantless eavesdropping program and the buildup of massive databases, the project began taking on a more urgent tone.

"Think of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the most memorable character, HAL 9000. We are building HAL."

In a 2004 pilot project, a mass of data was gathered from news stories taken from the New York Times, the AP news wire, and the English portion of the Chinese Xinhua news wire covering 1998 to 2000. Then, 13 U.S. military intelligence analysts searched the data and came up with a number of scenarios based on the material. Finally, using those scenarios, an NSA analyst developed 50 topics, and in each of those topics created a series of questions for Aquaint's computerized brain to answer. "Will the Japanese use force to defend the Senkakus?" was one. "What types of disputes or conflict between the PLA [People's Liberation Army] and Hong Kong residents have been reported?" was another. And "Who were the participants in this spy ring, and how are they related to each other?" was a third. Since then, the NSA has attempted to build both on the complexity of the system—more essay-like answers rather than yes or no—and on attacking greater volumes of data.

"The technology behaves like a robot, understanding and answering complex questions," said a former Aquaint researcher. "Think of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the most memorable character, HAL 9000, having a conversation with David. We are essentially building this system. We are building HAL." A naturalized U.S. citizen who received her Ph.D. from Columbia, the researcher worked on the program for several years but eventually left due to moral concerns. "The system can answer the question, 'What does X think about Y?'" she said. "Working for the government is great, but I don't like looking into other people's secrets. I am interested in helping people and helping physicians and patients for the quality of people's lives." The researcher now focuses on developing similar search techniques for the medical community.
Thought policeman

A supersmart search engine, capable of answering complex questions such as "What were the major issues in the last 10 presidential elections?" would be very useful for the public. But that same capability in the hands of an agency like the NSA—absolutely secret, often above the law, resistant to oversight, and with access to petabytes of private information about Americans—could be a privacy and civil liberties nightmare. "We must not forget that the ultimate goal is to transfer research results into operational use," said Aquaint project leader John Prange, in charge of information exploitation for IARPA.

Once up and running, the database of old newspapers could quickly be expanded to include an inland sea of personal information scooped up by the agency's warrantless data suction hoses. Unregulated, they could ask it to determine which Americans might likely pose a security risk—or have sympathies toward a particular cause, such as the antiwar movement, as was done during the 1960s and 1970s. The Aquaint robospy might then base its decision on the type of books a person purchased online, or chat room talk, or websites visited—or a similar combination of data. Such a system would have an enormous chilling effect on everyone's everyday activities—what will the Aquaint computer think if I buy this book, or go to that website, or make this comment? Will I be suspected of being a terrorist or a spy or a subversive?
Controlling brain waves

Collecting information, however, has always been far less of a problem for the NSA than understanding it, and that means knowing the language. To expand its linguistic capabilities, the agency established another new organization, the Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL), and housed it in a building near IARPA at the M Square Research Park. But far from simply learning the meaning of foreign words, CASL, like Aquaint, attempts to find ways to get into someone's mind and understand what he or she is thinking.

One area of study is to attempt to determine if people are lying simply by watching their behavior and listening to them speak. According to one CASL document, "Many deception cues are difficult to identify, particularly when they are subtle, such as changes in verb tense or extremely brief facial expressions. CASL researchers are studying these cues in detail with advanced measurement and statistical analysis techniques in order to recommend ways to identify deceptive cue combinations."

Like something out of a B-grade sci-fi movie, CASL is even training employees to control their own brain waves.

Another area of focus explores the "growing need to work with foreign text that is incomplete," such as partly deciphered messages or a corrupted hard drive or the intercept of only one side of a conversation. The center is thus attempting to find ways to prod the agency's cipher-brains to fill in the missing blanks. "In response," says the report, "CASL's cognitive neuroscience team has been studying the cognitive basis of working memory's capacity for filling in incomplete areas of text. They have made significant headway in this research by using a powerful high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) machine acquired in 2006." The effort is apparently directed at discovering what parts of the brain are used when very good cryptanalysts are able to guess correctly the missing words and phrases in a message.

Like something out of a B-grade sci-fi movie, CASL is even trying to turn dull minds into creative geniuses by training employees to control their own brain waves: "The cognitive neuroscience team has also been researching divergent thinking: creative, innovative and flexible thinking valuable for language work. They are exploring ways to improve divergent thinking using the EEG and neurobiological feedback. A change in brain-wave activity is believed to be critical for generating creative ideas, so the team trains its subjects to change their brain-wave activity."

Source: PBS


When Time Goes Crazy

We depend on time to be consistent, but its not always so dependable.

In the movie Star Trek: Generations, Captains Kirk and Picard join forces to fight Dr. Soran, a madman who viewed time as his enemy. Picard, however, came to see time as a companion that accompanies us on our journeys through life.

Throughout the many experiences of our lives, we regard time in both ways: as a kind of enemy when we’re late for something or eager for something to happen; but on an everyday basis as something we can rely on. One thing follows another, cause and effect, twenty-four hours in a day.

Every once in awhile, however, time seems to go haywire, gets fouled up in a glitch, moves impossibly fast or impossibly slow. Is it time itself that gets screwed up? Or is it just our perception of it? Consider these reports from people who suspect that the flow of time (or the flow of their lives through it) went mysteriously wrong.


Don and his wife had their encounter with missing time in the Nevada desert in 1997. They were driving their small, three-cylinder Geo Metro to Laughlin, Nevada from San Diego, California. “We took the back way to Laughlin on 8 East through the desert to 95 North,” says Don. “Around dusk, our windshield had a rather large collection of bugs, so we pulled into the only gas station at Vidal Junction to clean the glass.”

As they pulled into the mini mart station, Don noticed a seedy looking character at the pumps staring at him and his wife. He had greasy hair, a disco shirt and a leather vest, and was driving a beat up, early ’70s Toronado. Don quickly cleaned his windows and got back in his car. The greasy dude was still staring at them.

Darkness was quickly approaching as Don pulled back onto 95N, hoping the creepy stranger would not follow them. But he did. “Immediately, I had a bad feeling,” says Don, “knowing that in the lonely desert there are bandits who prey on tourists, nudging their car, then robbing them after they pull over for a fender bender.”

Don knew his Geo Metro was no match for the stranger’s aging muscle car, but tried to outrun him anyway. Even managing to reach 80 mph, the stranger stayed on his tail. Don and his wife began to get frightened. “I told my wife to get the gun out of our backpack we travel with for protection.”

But then something weird happened. “A split second later, with no turn offs, we were suddenly alone on the highway,” Don remembers. “No greasy dude, no one but oncoming traffic miles ahead. A few minutes later we were at 95N and Hwy 40 in Needles. But it was 7:00 p.m. when we left Vidal Junction, and Interstate 40 is fifty-five miles north of there. Now it was only 7:20 p.m. Somehow we'd made the entire fifty-five miles in twenty minutes! No Geo Metro can fly like that. We would have had to go at least 130 mph or more on a two-lane that twists through some mountains. The other strange thing was we had a strange floating feeling just as the other car disappeared.”


Two years later, in August 1999, Kim and her husband also had a weird experience near Laughlin, Nevada. Instead of their trip taking a far shorter time than it should have, it took inexplicably longer. “I was following my husband home from Las Vegas to Kingman, near Laughlin,” Kim says. “He was on his Harley and I was following in my car. We had made this trip several times before and knew exactly how long it took to reach home from the Hoover Dam – one-and-a-half hours.”

The weirdness began with their perception of the weather. “My husband swears it was raining in the distance and lightning was so close he could almost feel the electricity,” Kim says. “I swear it was dry as a bone. Also, I had a hard time keeping up as he was going very fast around the corners. I could see him in the distance, and suddenly there were a lot of cars ahead of me and behind him. I thought that was odd since there was a mountain up one side and a sheer cliff down the other. There was nowhere for those cars to have come from. Oddly enough, as soon as I thought that was weird for them to be there, they were gone.

“It seemed as though the trip was taking forever and I was getting really tired. When we arrived home, I thought it was really late and so did my husband. We looked at the clock and the one-and-a-half hour trip had taken over four hours! We are afraid of what happened to us during that missing time.”


John and his wife also seem to have experienced a serious amount of missing time, and their car was also physically affected. “It was about 10 a.m. when my wife and I departed home in our jeep heading toward the local mall,” reports John. “This was a trip we had undertaken a hundred times before. The entire event would normally take about three hours and we would be back home around 1 p.m. The drive to the mall takes about ten minutes.”

John parked in their usual area, and he and his wife went into the mall to shop. “As we departed the mall, we both looked at each other and we both felt that something was just not right,” John says. “First, for some unknown reason, I had parked the vehicle in an unfamiliar area of the mall, a parking area that I had never used before. Then when we entered the vehicle, it would not start. Finally, when it did start, the clutch would not engage, like it was loose or broken. We noticed the sun was setting! I looked at my watch and noticed it had stopped. I looked at the clock display on my dashboard and it read 5:30 p.m.!

“My wife and I still can't figure out how we lost almost five hours of our lives. We did nothing unusual or out of routine. And I don't understand how a brand new vehicle gets a broken clutch while sitting in a parking lot.”


Such instance of missing time can be quite confusing and stressful, especially when it occurs among other people who are unaffected. Consider the case of a young medical student we’ll call Jim. One weekend he was at the beach with several of his friends from medical school. They had arrived together at the hotel where they would stay, and Jim didn't really pay attention to the hotel's name or its location. They left their luggage and went off for some beers, walking.

Jim recalls that he was walking behind the others, talking to one of his friends at around 2 p.m. Quite suddenly he found himself at the beach, and it was already very dark. His first reaction was confusion, as he knew he was lost, followed by anger, sure that his mates were playing a joke on him. He tried to figure out where he was, walked a little bit, but the beach was deserted.

When he finally made it to the town, he hired a cab. Because he did not know the name of the hotel, it took them two more hours to find it. When Jim went into the room, he was sharing with his friends, he was very upset and said clearly that their joke was not funny. As he demanded them to reimburse him his cab fare, he noticed the puzzled expressions on everyone’s faces, as if they were seeing a ghost. One of them said, "Where the hell have you been? We have been to the police, to every hospital, and we have looked for you for ages!" They were very upset.

Apparently, what for Jim had been a blink of an eye, for the others was actually five hours. To this day, none of them can explain how Jim “disappeared” while talking to his friends and appeared at a different place... and where he actually was during those five hours.


As if such experiences aren’t weird enough, sometimes they get even weirder. On these occasions, people seem to slip not only through time, but also into other dimensions of reality. One night Ben was walking with a friend on a dirt trail between the closely connected towns of Hurley, Wisconsin and Ironwood, Michigan.

“We were half way to his house,” Ben recalls, “when suddenly I was standing outside a huge skyscraper building in what I, for some reason, believe to be Detroit. I entered the building and there was a lady with platinum blonde hair. Her clothes didn't look odd or anything. She told me that I was on time for my appointment, so I followed her to an elevator. We stepped inside and she pushed the button for the fifty-third floor.

“When we got out of the elevator, I followed her to an office. The walls and the floor were done in a decorative business-like way. We got to the door and she told me to go in and sit down. When I went into the office, it looked huge. I don’t think I have ever seen a view so panoramic and beautiful as that one. A man told me to sit. He then started to tell me that they – they meaning the company or something – were happy that I had joined and I would be a perfect fit.

“All of a sudden, I was in a good-sized hallway with about fifty other people, standing in a military-type line. We all had the same blue and black uniforms on and were marching toward a big open garage-style door.”

Suddenly it all ended, and Ben was back in Ironwood, kneeling on the ground by some bushes. “My friend asked me what was wrong,” Ben says. “I asked how long I had been kneeling and he said just for a couple of seconds.”


James also believes he glanced into an alternate reality. James loved to garden, and when he moved into a three-bedroom house complete with a 150-ft. garden, he hardly made time for anything else. “After planting some new borders,” he says, “I proceeded to my den for a quick cup of tea and a snack. The den itself was very small and had one window and a small gap near the roof for spying out of.

“When I proceeded to take a peek out of this hole, I was amazed at what I saw: There was a small pond and beautiful palm trees surrounding it. The dull light green lawn of my garden was replaced with lush, dark green grass, and it was tremendously sunny! The shed was already on the property when I bought it, but the previous owner – a middle-aged man who never went in there – said he had no need for it, so he left it. It was about 10-20 years old and in great condition.

“Could it be that this shed is some sort of portal, depicting another place on this earth? The garden itself had not changed when I took a look out the normal window. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to take a look at that paradise-like place even when I look out the gap… although I'd be eager to see if people on the other side can see me!”

Source: Wagner


Third Man Theory of Otherworldly Encounters

Encounters with otherworldly beings that lead us out of danger are more common than you think.

Charles Lindbergh felt it.

During that first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight in 1927, the aviator, flying just above the ocean, was desperately struggling to stay awake. Twenty-two hours into the trip, he became aware of vague forms aboard the Spirit of St. Louis. They offered reassurance and discussed navigational problems.

They stayed with him until he spotted the Irish coast, and Paris was within reach.

An avalanche in the Canadian Rockies swept climber James Sevigny 600 metres, breaking his back, scapula, arm, nose, teeth and tearing ligaments in both knees. When he regained consciousness, he saw his climbing companion was dead. He laid next to him to die.

But an invisible being urged him to survive, telling him what to do. The presence stayed with him while he painfully made his way to camp, where skiers found him.

On Sept. 11, 2001, overcome by smoke in a stairwell of the World Trade Center's south tower, money market broker Ron DiFrancesco joined others lying on the concrete floor, some slipping into unconsciousness.

"Get up!" a voice ordered DiFrancesco, who sensed a physical presence encouraging him. Descending the stairs again, he was blocked by fire. The being led him to dash through the flames. He raced down to the plaza; then the tower collapsed. But he survived, one of only four people to escape from above the 81st floor.

Some believe it's a guardian angel. Others say it's the brain's way of coping under great duress. Whichever, the experiences are eerily similar: the sense of a presence that encourages, advises and even leads a person out of peril.

"In every case I found, it was a benevolent helpful companion, not a single example of a malevolent being," says John Geiger, author of The Third Man Factor published this week.

He found more than 100 cases, including those accounts described earlier.

"They're people in a life-and-death struggle, often but not always in nature," he explains.

Among the examples: an American astronaut on the Mir space station, an Israeli soldier undergoing torture, an Austrian mountaineer on a Himalayan peak.
Toronto author Vincent Lam claims to have experienced the phenomena known as "third man."

Most know the being's gender, and a minority identify it as a deceased relative, friend or Jesus Christ.

Geiger, who has written several books about exploration, became fascinated by the otherworldly guardian after reading Sir Ernest Shackleton's accounts of his crew's horrific 1916 crossing of a south polar island, aided by an invisible being.

The phenomenon became known as the Third Man, writes Geiger, because that's how T.S. Eliot referred to it in his poem "The Waste Land."

Spiritual or religious people, no matter the faith, say they were helped by a divine companion, while agnostics see it as a brain function, Geiger says.

Scientific researchers have studied how the human mind might conjure the Third Man.

"Opinion is divided," says Geiger. "There's not a definitive explanation."

Some psychologists believe it's an example of bicameralism. Under stress, the usually dominant left hemisphere loses some hold over the mind, and logical thinking declines. The right brain, involved in imaginative thinking, intrudes, explains Geiger.

Another theory suggests the Third Man is a coping mechanism, a mental process for calming and separating the person from the horrible experience. "Just as we have a biochemical response to stress through adrenaline, this is a mental process that helps us survive."

But why do some people sense a wise helper, and others don't?

"There may be psychological variables," says Geiger.

"Some people may be more open to new things and experiences."

For some people, it may kick in at lower stress levels than others.

Young children's imaginary friends may be Third Man-like manifestations.

In studies of widows and widowers, says Geiger, between 30 to 50 per cent reported having felt the presence of the deceased partner.

Whether the Third Man is an angel or a survival mechanism is for people to decide for themselves, says Geiger.

"I can't solve that riddle. But it is very powerful and raises some profound questions."

Source: The Toronto Star


Anomalous Bats and Cryptozoology

In May of last year, motorists in Washington County, Pennsylvania traveling along a major route suddenly pulled over to watch what many described as a “huge dark-colored flying creature” flying low as it passed over the cars. Prolific researcher Stan Gordon noted at his website how witnesses to the event agreed that the creature looked “more like a giant bat than a bird.”

Indeed, of all places, giant bat-like creatures are often described over America’s skies, though generally speaking, many of this country’s best known cryptozoological mystery-monsters host bat-like traits. Take for instance the membranous wings of the Northern Jersey Devil; or perhaps most famous of all American cryptids, the Mothman of West Virginia, with its large wings and glowing red eyes. Elsewhere in the world, England’s “Owl Man”, essentially a British counterpart to America’s Mothman, is joined by an infamous “vampire” said to have haunted Highgate Cemetery in North London for several decades. Regardless, both of these mysterious European entities bear similarities to America’s most famous fluttering beast, a number of which are indeed bat-like.

In general, Bats have long been associated with strange phenomenon in almost every culture around the world. Sparring the already widely-known European notions of vampires in association with bats, one significant source for this prevailing belief that bats are somehow supernatural creatures may indeed have stemmed from ancient observation of the way bats pollinate the silk-cotton-bearing Kapok or “ceiba tree”. In addition to providing a vital source of timber used in ancient times for constructing native canoes and a variety of structures, in many locales this tree was also considered  to be sacred. Several cultures referred to the ceiba as the “World Tree”, a central figure in the mythologies of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures, especially that of the Maya civilization.

The Mayas believed that a central “world tree” connected the planes of Xibalba, the Mayan Underworld, with the terrestrial realm and the skies above. Mayan art often depicted the trunk of a ceiba in representations of the enigmatic world tree. Not surprisingly, the Mayans also related the transit of bats between the land of the living and that of the dead to their pollination of the ceiba, and witnessing bats roosting in this tree no doubt helped convince the ancients that these dark-dwelling creatures indeed had dealings with the netherworld. To this day, among the descendants of the Mayans who live in the highlands of Guatemala are the Zotzil uinic, a name meaning “bat men”. It is widely believed among them that long ago their ancestors had discovered a giant stone bat, which they adopted as their god.

In spite of the supernatural traditions involving bats of normal size and orientation, cultures the world over also describe bat-like manifestations, often of gigantic proportions, which haunt various indigenous people in their locales. For instance, the Ahool of Western Java (named so for a similar sound it is alleged to make) is described as a large, bat-like creature roughly the size of a young child. The Ahool is a grayish color, sporting a monkey-like head, large claws, and of course, bat-like wings. According to one of the most popular “classic accounts”, what was believed to have been an Ahool supposedly flew over Dr. Ernest Bartels’ head as he explored a waterfall on the slopes of the Salek Mountains in 1925.

Bartel’s encounters with the Ahool eventually made their way to naturalist Ivan T. Sanderson, thanks to his associations with the “father of cryptozoology”, Bernard Heuvelmans. Ultimately, Sanderson would take particular interest in creatures like the Ahool, likely due to a similar encounter he had with a large bat-like creature in the Assumbo Mountains of Cameroon, Western Africa in 1932. After shooting a fruit bat that fell into the nearby river, Sanderson had gone to retrieve his catch, when he was suddenly warned to duck by one of his associates.  Sanderson’s description of the events that followed sound almost like a passage recounted from the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs:

“And I looked. Then I let out a shout also and instantly bobbed down under the water, because, coming straight at me only a few feet above the water was a black thing the size of an eagle. I had only a glimpse of its face, yet that was quite sufficient, for its lower jaw hung open and bore a semicircle of pointed white teeth set about their own width apart from each other. When I emerged, it was gone. George was facing the other way blazing off his second barrel. I arrived dripping on my rock and we looked at each other. “Will it come back?” we chorused. And just before it became too dark to see, it came again, hurtling back down the river, its teeth chattering, the air “shss-shssing” as it was cleft by the great, black, dracula-like wings. We were both off-guard, my gun was unloaded, and the brute made straight for George. He ducked. The animal soared over him and was at once swallowed up in the night.”

The giant bat-like creature Sanderson witnessed was variously called “Olitiau” or “Kongamato”, by the African natives he traveled with, the latter being it’s more popular name meaning “breaker of boats”. Making our way back to the states, it is amazing that an entire world (and nearly a century) away, sightings of strange creatures like the “giant bat” witnessed by motorists in Pennsylvania last year continue to occur. I often wonder what Sanderson would have thought of this sort of encounter, especially with the state in question’s history of alleged “Thunderbird” sightings; this, of course, considering that Sanderson was the one man in the history of Forteana who had sworn to ownership of that damned photograph… and yet even the mighty Ivan Sanderson was eluded by the mysterious Thunderbird photo. Did it indeed ever exist? Could Sanderson have been mistaken, or could he somehow have imagined the entire affair? It seems unlikely… but for now, it must remain only one of many encounters he claimed to have with gigantic winged monstrosities the likes of our beloved giant bats.

Is our humble Earth indeed still home to bat-like creatures of gigantic proportions the likes of “something prehistoric”? If so, how and where might these creatures exist? Are they supernatural entities, cryptozoological wonders, “cave demons” that exist here only to haunt and torment mankind, or something else altogether?

Source: The Gralien Report


Can You Choose Your Reincarnated Successor?

The search for the present Dalai Lama commenced in earnest in 1935 when the embalmed head of his deceased predecessor is said to have wheeled around and

Then, the story goes, a giant, star-shaped fungus grew overnight on the east side of the tomb. An auspicious cloud bank formed and a regent saw a vision of letters floating in a mystical lake, one of which — Ah — he took to refer to the northeast province of Amdo.

High lamas set off at a gallop and found a 2-year-old boy in a distant village. This child, they determined after a series of tests, was the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

There is little linear about lama succession in Tibet. And now, as the 14th Dalai Lama journeys into his 74th year, the question of how to pick his successor has come to preoccupy both him and his followers, as Tibet stands at an ever more precarious political pass.

Late last year, the Chinese government again rejected the Dalai Lama’s proposal for a rapprochement that would yield greater autonomy for Tibet. In recent days, Chinese troops have raided thousands of homes and detained at least 81 activists ahead of the 50th anniversary in March of the failed uprising that forced the Dalai Lama into exile in India. China seems inclined to tighten its grip and wait out the aging leader, insisting, a bit improbably for a government that is officially atheist, that it has the legal right to designate the Dalai Lama’s next reincarnation.

When Tibetan representatives met last autumn at their Parliament in Dharamsala, in the Indian Himalayas, their worries about the future echoed down the corridors. A few argued for a militant line, insisting on independence. A majority heeded the Dalai Lama’s counsel to find a pacifist middle way. But the unanswered question remains: How much longer will Tibetans be able to rely on their charismatic and learned spiritual leader, whose persona is so entwined with the destiny of Tibet?

The Dalai Lama has openly speculated about his next life, his reincarnation, musing that he might upend historical and cultural practice and choose his reincarnation before his death, the better to safeguard his exiled people.

But doubts creep in.

Can even so highly evolved a Buddhist as the Dalai Lama select his reincarnation? Will upending the old way of searching for the Dalai Lama’s incarnation, in which priests search for omens, portents and meteorological signs, undermine the legitimacy of his successor?

Since he fled Chinese rule by foot and horseback over the Himalayas in 1959, the Dalai Lama has traveled restlessly and spoken passionately about Tibet. The fruits of his labors are many: The world is spotted with Tibetan centers, and prayer flags flap from Delhi to London to Zurich to Todt Hill in Staten Island. Tibetan culture is celebrated in Hollywood and in popular art. (Exiles number about 130,000; about six million Tibetans live in Tibet and China).

But a darker vision of Tibet’s future is easily divined. This Dalai Lama dies and his successor is young and inexperienced and holds no sway in the chambers of the powerful. Slowly, ineluctably, the Tibetans become just another of the globe’s landless peoples lost in the shadow of a rising superpower.

“Definitely when someone as charismatic and popular as the Dalai Lama passes away, the Tibetans will suffer from less outside attention,” says Tenzin Tethong, a fellow in the Tibetan Studies Initiative at Stanford University. “We will lose a strong unifying symbol.”

The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is no theocratic traditionalist. Should his people ever reclaim Tibet, he says an elected parliament and prime minister should rule; the Dalai Lama would occupy a religious station.

“He is thinking outside the box about Dalai Lama rule,” said Robert Thurman, a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University and author of “Why the Dalai Lama Matters.” “He’s trying to get it through the Chinese heads that he’s helpful to them. Their waiting for him to die is completely misplaced.”

Tibetan Buddhists believe in reincarnation, although not in the sense of an irreducible self passing from body to body. They describe a dying candle lighting a new one; one’s essence passes on.

Typically, when the Dalai Lama dies, the royal court appoints a regent who rules until the next reincarnation comes of age. Over the centuries some regents grew fond of their power and some Dalai Lamas expired prematurely, not to mention suspiciously. The sense of the regency as a time of peril persists.

It is within this context that the Dalai Lama speculates about how to pull off his next reincarnation. Perhaps the four sects that constitute Tibetan Buddhism might form a Tibetan version of the Roman Catholic College of Cardinals and pick a successor. Perhaps he will return as a girl, or as a non-Tibetan.

Or perhaps he will pick his future self.

Professor Thurman offers his own speculation. The Dalai Lama, he says, might declare that a younger lama is the reincarnation of his own long-dead regent. Then the Dalai Lama could die and reincarnate as a new baby, which would be identified after the usual study of portents and signs. “Maybe the one he names as the reincarnation of the regent would transfer the Dalai Lama title back to him when his next reincarnation comes of age,” Mr. Thurman said.

Who could gainsay that?

Politics might pose a challenge as great as metaphysics. The Chinese insist that their army freed Tibetans from theocratic slavery and that Tibet is inseparable from China. They are not shy about enforcing their writ. In 1995, the Chinese government rejected the Dalai Lama’s choice of a 6-year-old boy as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism’s dominant sect, and then appointed its own. The child chosen by the Dalai Lama vanished into Chinese custody.

“The thinking is a bit odd,” Mr. Thurman said, “as the Chinese Communists don’t believe in former or future lives and it is illegal to propagate religion in China.”

Still, China’s power grows as the Dalai Lama ages. Han Chinese now crowd out ethnic Tibetans in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, and exiles are uneasy, some taken again to searching for portents of what’s to come. To find themselves without a transcendent leader at this time is, as D. H. Lawrence once wrote of the Brazilian Indians, to risk being consigned “to the dust where we bury the silent races.”

Source: NY Times


An Encouter With Black-Eyed Kids

There’s something wrong with these children.

They approach quietly, yet boldly. They’re young, usually teens or slightly younger. They insist on coming inside your house to use the bathroom, the telephone or just for a drink of water. But for some reason you’re afraid. Why? They’re just kids. Then you notice their eyes – black, as if the pupil had poured over its banks. You don’t let them in – or do you?

Black-eyed kids. The term has floated across cyberspace since Jan. 16, 1998 when journalist Brian Bethel first posted his chilling encounter with overly-lucid children whose eyes were coal black; not a hint of iris, nor white.

And they scared the hell out of him.

The existence of these children has since become an Internet urban legend, but is it really just that? Maybe not.

Below is a story of black-eyed kids from an anonymous reader of “From the Shadows.” I’ll call him “Bill.”

Bill was driving through Afton, Okla., a town in the northwestern part of the state on historic Route 66 just south of the Will Rogers Turnpike, when he stopped to see some old friends.

“I saw they had a new dog; a very stout dachshund,” Bill said. “I asked them about it and Michael said, ‘The weird kids left her when they left town.’”

Bill asked Michael and his wife about these “weird kids.” They told him a group of young people had knocked on their door and begged to come in and talk. The “weird kids” were driving an old van, but Michael thought it was in good shape because it didn't make noise.

“However, he and his wife felt uneasy and didn't let them in,” Bill said. A few of the kids left the van and walked the dachshund Michael and his wife ended up with. “But they didn’t seem too attached to (the dog).”

Bill asked Michael if these young people were Mormons.

“Hell, no,” Michael said. “They didn't dress right and they were junkies."

"Junkies?" Bill asked.

"Yeah,” Michael said. “Their pupils were huge."

The kids’ eyes were solid black. Looking into their eyes was like staring into a void.

Turned away at the door, the black-eyed kids eventually left, to the relief of Michael and his wife. Some time later, Michael saw the dachshund wandering around town, felt sorry for it, and brought it home. Michael and his wife are thankful the black-eyed kids never returned for it.

Michael’s story has disturbed Bill ever since.

“(Jan. 18), a friend was talking about dark forces on the move and mentioned black-eyed kids,” Bill said. “I Googled it and a chill went up my spine.”

Bill contacted Michael about the information he’d found on these entities, but, like many who’ve encountered these black-eyed kids, Michael and his wife just want to forget meeting them. Their experience was terrifying.

“They don't want anything to do with an investigation,” Bill said, “or have their name made public, or really have anything to do with any further conversation about black-eyed kids.”

Source: From the Shadows/Jason Offutt


Basements of the Damned

Mike Dash says Rat Kings, tentacles of the Giant Octopus, Fairy Coffins and Ice from the sky need a good home ... and where better than the Charles Fort Institute?

This first appeared in Time Out in 1995. Copyright Mike Dash 1995.

Strange things lurk in the dusty storerooms of great museums -- rarely-opened boxes stuffed with freaks and mermaids, fish that have fallen from the sky and the fragmentary remains of unknown animals. While the few objects the curators deem worthy of exhibit sit in the public galleries, awaiting new admirers, their damned brethren rot below them in the dark, still vaults, crumbling slowly into nothingness.

In 1995, Fortean Times mounted a major exhibition of these wonders of the vaults in association with the Croydon Clocktower museum. Two years' of patient detective work exhumed such startling exhibits as a group of fairy coffins, found buried below Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, a pair of haunted seamen's boots, from the Scottish Fisheries' Museum, said to move of their own accord, and a pickled rat king -- a group of eight rats which had knotted themselves inextricably together by their tails -- from the Zoological Institute in Gottingen. Few if any of the more than 100 objects thus assembled were on regular display in their own museums, yet their collective drawing power was considerable; the exhibition broke all attendance records at the Clocktower, as well as attracting considerable media attention.

What a shame that the exhibits were soon returned to their respective museums -- where they were no doubt consigned once more to the nether reaches of the vaults. But what an opportunity there must be for a permanent exhibit of the bizarre and the bewildering -- something to encourage the senses of wonder and enquiry, as any good museum should do.

Let's not forget that many modern galleries began life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as precisely such cabinets of curiosity. The British Museum, when it opened its doors in 1752, included among its holdings 'monsters preserved in spirits' and a landscape painted on a spider's web -- exhibits that were soon joined by a stone resembling a loaf, a starved rat and cat, a desiccated thumb dug from the foundations of a St James's coffee house, and a monstrous pig from Chalfont St Giles. Such apparently eccentric collections reflected not superstitious muddle but a post-Renaissance world-view in which God's purpose could be discerned in the careful juxtaposition of wonders -- one that, once replaced by the Victorian notion of an immutable classification revealed by science, led swiftly to the dispersal and destruction of many remarkable and irreplaceable exhibits.

Where today could one find such lost wonders as the Royal Society's bottle full of stag's tears, the Smithsonian's jars full of roast chicken-sized lumps of flesh hacked from a giant octopus whose tentacles spanned 150 feet, and the 'real werewolf' displayed by a Margrave of Ansbach?

A Fortean museum, properly funded, would not only preserve and display objects of similarly irresistible interest, such as the frogs, nuts, human excrement and smoked haddock that irregularly shower from the sky and the corpses of the half-dozen jungle cats, pumas, and swamp cats run over and killed on British roads in the past decade; it could also act as a repository for the half-million or so reports of the remarkable gathered by the magazine since 1973 and sponsor some much-needed research into phenomena such as phantom social workers, flying manhole covers and phone calls from the dead, which tend not to figure prominently when scientific research grants are allocated.

Already Fortean Times has made modest progress in this direction. The magazine's scholarly journal, Fortean Studies, gathers the latest detailed research by many of the most respected students in the field, while an annual conference, UnConvention, attracts upwards of 1,000 visitors to the Institute of Education to hear lectures on topics ranging from FBI raids on satanic cults to the sexual aspects of British fertility rites and the unidentified flying wallaby slasher of Newquay. UnConvention is the already the largest gathering of its kind in the world, and a much-needed window onto the present state of eccentric research.

It is, however, only a start. In the United States, scientific and humanist bodies have combined to raise $8 million to fund a research centre for the avowedly-sceptical Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. A London-based British equivalent, combining an archive centre, electronic access to international databases, an exhibition gallery and resources for investigators would not only prove a popular attraction and an immensely worthwhile contribution to the knowledge of mankind -- it would finally assuage the lament penned by Charles Fort, that pioneering scholar of the rum and the remarkable: 'I accept that over the door of every museum, into which such things enter, is written 'Abandon Hope'.

Source: The Charles Fort Institute

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