7/9/10  #580
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The crystal ball glimmered with an iridescence of days of future past.  The nearby flickering candles threw shadows of  things yet to be upon the orbs crystalline matrix.  The prophet, withered and aged, breathed deeply of the smokey air and continued to gaze deeply into the heart of the crystal.   Deep within his brain, universal connections that bind us all in a web of  wholeness are stimulated by the hypnotic shapes that danced faintly in the ball.  Time and space are one and all information contained within reality are available to those who can master their intellect and allow the stream of information to be downloaded directly into the brain -- bypassing the rational mind that would block anything received through such unconventional methods.  The prophet sighs in contentment -- because once again his crystal ball has brought him his subscription to Conspiracy Journal, the free weekly e-mail newsletter of everything weird and strange from the past present and future.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such teeth-clenching stories as:

- Disclosure! Are We Ready For The Truth About UFOs? -
- UFO on Radar Forces Airport Shutdown in China -
-  Native American's Believe in Bigfoot -
Dowsing for Water; Magic or Miracle? -
AND: Running Rings Around True Believers?

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


Breaking Through The Barrier Of UFO Secrecy!



As an unprecedented wave of sightings and landings sweep the globe, will the next several years be the landmark time for interplanetary relations to be established?

Will America, Russia, China or some "independent" nation be the first to reveal that we are being visited on a regular basis by off-world beings, or possibly from another dimension in a parallel universe?

DISCLOSURE! Is it on the way? Or will the "Truth Embargo" prevail?

Internationally recognized UFO expert Tim - "MR UFO" - Beckley assisted by journalists Sean Casteel and John Weigle pull aside the veil of 50 plus years of UFO censorship to discover what is really known about these mysterious aerial travelers.

Here are formerly Top Secret reports released under the Freedom of Information Acts of the nine nations that have recently come forward with hundreds of sensational UFO reports by a host of reliable witnesses to a phenomenon that has defied explanation.


Here is the insider scoop on what Hillary and Bill Clinton were told "on the record" about UFOs. And see for the first time a photo of Jimmy Carter's helicopter being followed by an UFO in Panama (not a fake -- as filed in the Carter Library).

FREE DVD WITH EVERY COPY: Classified Disclosure Interviews

This mind-blowing book is now available exclusively for Conspiracy Journal subscribers at the special price of only $22.00, plus $5.00 shipping.  (YOU WON'T FIND A DEAL LIKE THIS ANYWHERE ELSE...SO GET YOUR COPY TODAY!)

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Disclosure! Are We Ready For The Truth About UFOs?
by Sean Casteel

Disclosure is a hot topic among the various factions of the UFO community. It is perhaps the most divisive issue in the field, polarizing believers of various stripes who otherwise might have little to quibble about. Will disclosure finally happen? Will the United States or some other sightings-besieged nation finally go public and declare the UFO phenomenon to be real? Or will the cover-up, what some in the disclosure community call the Truth Embargo, continue without letup in the hope that the problem will simply go away?

My editor and publisher, Timothy Green Beckley, and my sometimes writing partner, John Weigle, along with myself, made up the team that wrote the recently published DISCLOSURE! Breaking Through The Barrier Of UFO Secrecy! (Book & Bonus DVD Feature), available now from Global Communications. While we knew going in that we would not be able to provide readers with any definite answers, we did discover a wealth of interesting material that has recently been declassified by several nations throughout the world, including the U.K., Argentina, Canada, China, Russia and a handful of other countries.

For my part of the book, I spoke to several experts and advocates of Disclosure, which I was told by lobbyist Stephen Bassett should always begin with a capital D. Bassett told me that the recently disclosed files, while still valuable and interesting, only amounted to disclosure with a small d, not the government’s open admission of the ET reality that is Bassett’s long sought after Holy Grail. According to Bassett, what the newly declassified documents do achieve, however, is to reinforce the familiar patterns of sightings and abductions that we have collected data on for many previous decades. What has been released not only functions to strengthen what we already knew, but it opens up a new international dialogue on the subject and makes available to masses of people on the internet files that are a confirmation of all the research conducted since 1947, and in some cases even earlier.

One of the longest serving White House Correspondents Sarah McClendon spoke frankly about UFO Disclosure with President Clinton and covered the topic in her numerous syndicated columns.

“What those files contain,” Bassett said, “is of course not all that we know. But if one took the time to review the entire tens of thousands of documents, they would clearly find some very interesting material. You put it all together and you’ve got a massive amount of evidence.”

One researcher interviewed for the book who is more than pleased with the newly released files in his own country is A.J. Gevaerd of Brazil. Gevaerd, now cheerfully middle-aged, has been the editor and publisher of Brazil’s “UFO Magazine” since his early 20s, and was able, along with the small team of fellow Brazilian ufologists working with him, to bring meaningful pressure to bear on the government and Air Force there. Brazil not only released several thousand pages in batches by decade, they even invited Gevaerd and his team to visit the Air Force’s Integrated Center For Traffic Control and Air Traffic Control and Defense installations.

“In both places we were welcomed by the military and briefed,” Gevaerd said in our interview.

At one point during the visit, Gevaerd and his group were led into a room with several files on top of a big table and were allowed to scrutinize all the material contained in the files, though they were not permitted to make photocopies or even to take handwritten notes. One of the files detailed a case Gevaerd calls “The Official UFO Night In Brazil.” The night in question took place in May of 1986. Seven jetfighters were scrambled to pursue 21 huge spheres, each of them a whopping one hundred meters in diameter. The enormous objects appeared over most of the inhabited places in Brazil, forcing the Minister of Defense to go on national television and admit that something had indeed happened. The Minister acknowledged that 21 objects had been seen in the skies of Brazil and that the matter was being thoroughly investigated. He promised that a report would be issued within 30 days.

Antonio Huneeus with General (Ret.) Ramon Vega, former Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Air Force, at his office in Santiago in 1997. Gen. Vega, who was then a Senator, is holding a copy of the Laurance Rockefeller-funded UFO Briefing Document, co-written by Antonio Huneeus. This report helped Vega to convince the Chilean authorities to launch an official UFO investigation called CEFAA (Committee for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena) attached to Chile’s Civil Aviation agency.

The report never saw the light of day. But Gevaerd was able to ascertain that a report had indeed been done and sent to the highest authorities in Brazil because he now has a copy of it, written in June of 1986.

“This material is one of the treasures that we have in all these 5,000 pages,” Gevaerd said. “It declares that the objects detected by radar and pursued by jetfighters on that night were solid and under some sort of intelligent control. That was a full admission the objects were intelligent in origin.”

Gevaerd also said that he has a staff of people going over the pages to classify and organize them. Many of the pages are out of order, with pages from one document mistakenly grouped with another. Some of the files are available at Gevaerd’s website at UFO.com.br.

Gevaerd hopes that the Brazilian government will be even more forthcoming in the future, and he promises to post everything he obtains on the internet, in both English and Spanish, so that the information can spread throughout the world. Meanwhile, in the wake of the Brazilian disclosures, he has been inundated with invitations to lecture and media requests for interviews.

“After disclosure,” he said brightly, “things have been upside down. Thank God!”

Canadian researcher Grant Cameron also granted me an interview for the book. Cameron specializes in collecting files and evidence pertaining to just what the United States presidents, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt, really knew about UFOs. I learned that Bill Clinton had made a few public statements to the effect that he had sought, on more than one occasion, the truth behind the Roswell Incident and the rumor of an alien being held captive at Area 51. Clinton’s requests for information were denied, in spite of the fact that he was the commander-in-chief and ostensibly the most powerful man in the world. It was quite often the case, Cameron told me, that merely being president did not afford one sufficient “need to know,” and that it is doubtful that any of the past several presidents were ever told the entire truth. Harry Truman was maybe the last to be fully informed, perhaps by some of the original members of MJ-12, if one can take MJ-12 at face value.

Meanwhile, Cameron doesn’t believe disclosure would necessarily be a good thing.

“I don’t think there’s any way to do it,” he said, “without everything falling apart. It’s not exactly ‘The War of the Worlds’ or the stock market crashing. The problem with politicians, with government, is that they only want things that are predictable. And this is the most unpredictable thing, because once you let it out . . .

“I looked at Jimmy Carter,” Cameron continued, “a guy who’s taught Sunday School since he was 18-years-old, and always says he’s going to tell the truth. He’s going to be honest, to be upfront with people. He always seemed to be an honest-type guy. And I said to myself, ‘How did they turn this guy?’ The guy was into UFOs and he wanted to release it. He gets to be president and suddenly he turns, he becomes one of them. What did they tell him to convince him to be quiet?”

Cameron speculates that whatever has convinced the government to keep quiet on the subject of UFOs, it must be a legitimate reason, something they feel is the right thing to do morally in spite of the Utopian dreams some people in the UFO community cling to so tightly. Perhaps we’re not being denied the truth so much as being protected from it.

I also spoke to Nick Pope, the former UFO officer for the United Kingdom, a position he held for three years, from 1991 to 1994.

“I was posted to an area,” Pope explained, “where my duties included responsibility for the UFO phenomenon, both in terms of policy and investigation – investigating the sightings that were reported to us. We received about 200 to 300 reports a year.”

Just before the writing of DISCLOSURE! Breaking Through The Barrier Of UFO Secrecy! (Book & Bonus DVD Feature) began, the U.K. released the fifth in a series of declassified files packages, this time consisting of over 6,000 pages of documentation. But still, there was no obvious smoking gun or concrete admission of the ET reality. I asked Pope if the new files were really just part of a larger smokescreen.

“First of all,” Pope replied, “I would say that in general terms the entire release program is hugely significant. It’s what I call ‘disclosure with a small d.’ I know a lot of people in the UFO community talk about disclosure and they tend to spell it with a big D. They imagine some scenario with the president going on television and the hangar doors of some military establishment swinging open and some great revelation of an alien spacecraft. This is not what is in these UFO files. There is no spaceship-in-the-hangar smoking gun.”

Unidentified cigar glides silently above San Paplo, Brazil, a country that is at the forefront of UFO Disclosure!

Nevertheless, the declassified files are “the real deal,” according to Pope.

“There are literally tens of thousands of pages and this is a government-sponsored release program,” he said. “So, unlike a lot of documents making the rounds, there’s no dispute over the authenticity of this material.”

I also spoke to John Greenewald, a wunderkind of UFO research. Greenewald operates a website called “The Black Vault” on which he makes over a half million pages of formerly classified UFO documents available for download. Greenewald provided some excellent anecdotes about his experiences working with the Freedom of Information Act in order to wrestle UFO documents from the viselike grip of numerous government and defenses agencies such as NORAD and the NSA.

However, Greenewald does not share in the optimism about future disclosure as espoused by advocates like Stephen Bassett and A.J. Gevaerd.
“Everyone wants to think,” Greenewald said, “that the government is going to come clean. They don’t have to. We are intelligent enough to figure it out. Will disclosure happen? I say that disclosure is going to happen on a case-by-case basis within yourselves. We have to make it happen for us. If we believe it, great. That’s the disclosure. We don’t need an official acknowledgement.”

Along with my contributions, the new book DISCLOSURE! Breaking Through The Barrier Of UFO Secrecy! (Book & Bonus DVD Feature) also presents the research of John Weigle, who has been in the newspaper business for 46 years and has been interested in UFOs since the early 1950s. Weigle did yeoman work in tracking down some of the recently released UFOs files available on the internet and gathering them together in book form for, in many cases, the first time. The book concludes with Weigle’s summation of what disclosure on the internet is really like nowadays, as well as arguments both for and against disclosure and a list of the relevant internet website addresses so you can see firsthand what is actually out there.

Then there is of course the work done by editor and publisher Timothy Green Beckley. Tim not only wrote several of the chapters, he also organized the book and assembled a wonderful cross section of articles from little-known government documents, UFO publications and private researchers into a large format book that is nearly 300 pages and very lavishly illustrated with many, many photos that combine to form a visually exciting whole.

For instance, Beckley reprints an article from his now-defunct “UFO Review” about a strange Saturn-shaped object that seemed to follow the presidential helicopter when Jimmy Carter made a visit to Panama in 1978. There is even a photo of the incident taken by a woman on the scene that is reprinted here as well. In the course of his research, Beckley learned the bizarre photo is on file in the Carter Presidential Library, which adds a little to the overall mystique of the event, though of course that does not imply any kind of endorsement on the part of Carter or his archivists.

DISCLOSURE! Breaking Through The Barrier Of UFO Secrecy! (Book & Bonus DVD Feature) was truly a team effort, with each of the three of us providing crucial elements that were essential to providing the reader with an up-to-the-minute overview of the disclosure effort both here and abroad.

But the story of disclosure continues unabated. As I was writing this article, in the first week of July, 2010, I ran across an online article that talked about an Italian member of the European Union who was circulating a petition encouraging member countries to share all of their UFO data with the world. While expressing the hope that scientific and technological breakthroughs would be one result of the new openness he proposed, the European Parliament lawmaker, one Mario Borghezio, said, “I think that, under the principle of transparency, the EU member states have a duty to make public and available to all scientific data on UFOs which today are partially or wholly withheld.” He also said the EU needs to establish its own “X-Files” archive where anyone can see information on UFOs, including data gathered by the military.

Borghezio is admittedly just one small voice, and he has managed to gather only 18 signatures so far in an assembly that has 736 members. But the point is that there is some kind of momentum to be observed, some kind of growing worldwide consensus that the truth should be told for the good of the people everywhere. Nick Pope, for one, believes that disclosure would not necessarily bring with it mass hysteria, and Stephen Bassett passionately argues that the public can handle the truth.

Maybe you can make up your own mind about that when you read DISCLOSURE! Breaking Through The Barrier Of UFO Secrecy! (Book & Bonus DVD Feature). Once you have digested the available evidence and the opinions of the experts interviewed for the book, you can start a disclosure movement of your own, one that doesn’t require the belief of anyone but yourself.

If you enjoyed this article, read more of Sean Casteel’s work on his website at www.seancasteel.com

Source: UFO Digest


UFO on Radar Forces Airport Shutdown in China

An unidentified flying object (UFO) disrupted air traffic over Zhejiang's provincial capital Hangzhou late on Wednesday, July 7, the municipal government said on Thursday.

Xiaoshan Airport was closed after the UFO was detected at around 9 pm, and some flights were rerouted to airports in the cities of Ningbo and Wuxi , said an airport spokesman, who declined to be named.

The airport had resumed operations, and more details will be released after an investigation, he said.

A source with knowledge of the matter, however, told China Daily on Thursday that authorities had learned what the UFO was after an investigation.

But it was not the proper time to publicly disclose the information because there was a military connection, he said, adding that an official explanation is expected to be given on Friday.

Inbound flights were diverted to the nearby airports in Zhejiang province's Ningbo and Jiangsu province's Wuxi. Outbound flights were delayed for three to four hours.

A staff member at the airport's information desk said the airport had "no idea" how many flights were affected by the closure.

At around 11 pm on Wednesday, a netizen wrote three entries announcing the airport's closure in

his microblog at Sina.com, but they were all soon deleted.

He posted an apology at midnight, saying the news had not been confirmed and asking those who had republished his earlier entries to delete them.

Source: People's Daily


Native American's Believe in Bigfoot

TAHOLAH — Phillip Martin knows the Quinault River. The 79-year-old Quinault tribal elder is an experienced guide, having fished on the river for years. He’s memorized the landscape. The sounds of the wind whispering through the trees. The cry of an eagle circling through the sky. The way the river smells and flows at different parts of the day. Nothing can startle him.

Well, almost nothing.

He recalls a fishing trip more than 50 years ago that made him want to go home. The sun was setting, casting long shadows over his crew’s cedar canoe. As he paddled through the calm water, there was a loud splatter, as if someone had thrown a rock.

“There’s this big ker-splash!” Martin exclaimed. “Holy smokes!”

“There are no cliffs and it was all flat bar. I said, ‘Well, the only thing I could think of was ‘Ol C’iatqo.’ He’s the only one around here that makes everyone want to just get out of here.”

C’iatqo (pronounced SEA-at-co) is one of the many words Native Americans throughout the country use to describe the ape-like creature — commonly referred to as Bigfoot — that allegedly inhabits the wilderness. Martin, along with several Quinault Indians and members of various other Olympic Peninsula tribes, were interviewed this spring about the creature and its influence on Native culture for an upcoming show on the A&E network.

The film crew, along with host Bob Saget, who starred in the television show Full House in the 1980s and ’90s,visited areas around the Peninsula including Queets, Taholah and Port Angeles, to learn about Bigfoot for an episode in a new seven-part series, Bob Saget’s Strange Days. In the series, Saget travels around the country, immersing himself in unusual cultures including mail-order brides, survivalist cults, biker gangs, Amish teenagers and, of course, Bigfoot.

The series is wrapping up production, according to an official press release on the network’s Web site. Network officials have not yet announced specific air dates, but say the show premieres sometime this summer or fall.


Harvest Moon is familiar with several native legends about Bigfoot. The Quinault woman works as a storyteller at the Lake Quinault Lodge and other resorts along the coast during the summer.

She tells the story of the “Glue-Keek” monster she learned from a Lummi elder and its ties to the creation of mosquitos. The monster frightens tribal members and prevents them from hunting and gathering food.

“His legs were as big as tree trunks,” she said while swaying her hips and making arm and hand gestures during a recent storytelling presentation at the Lake Quinault Lodge. “His skin was as tough as leather and his eyes had a hypnotic glow to them. The monster started chasing the women through the berry patch. He took his huge, big feet, knocking over every basket of berries, wasting them on the ground.”

According to the legend, warriors from various tribes gathered and vowed to kill the monster. They dug a hole, tricked Glue-Keek into falling into it and burned him. As Glue-Keek perished, he swore he would return to drink the villagers’ blood. As his ashes ascended into the air, they transformed into mosquitos.

Moon said though some stories may seem exaggerated, they’re often based on real experiences.  She’s almost sure she had an experience with a Sasquatch recently. Earlier this year, she completed a mid-life “passage.” Passages are life stages every Quinault goes through — birth, teenager, mid-life and elder. Moon had to camp in the Quinault Rain forest until she felt she completed the passage. She stayed in a tent — with minimal amenities and survival gear — on and off for three years. She would often walk the trails, and strip bark from trees to use for weaving baskets. One night she woke in her tent with a “paralyzing” feeling, and thought something was standing outside.

“They say (Glue-Keek) can hypnotize you,” Moon said. “I couldn’t move or speak. You couldn’t get a peep out of me. I didn’t know if it was a dream or if it really happened.”


Bigfoot’s ability to hypnotize and change forms in order to trick people are recurring themes in many native legends, according to J. Robert Alley, author of “Raincoast Sasquatch: The Bigfoot/Sasquatch Records of Southeast Alaska, Coastal British Columbia & Northwest Washington from Puget Sound to Yukutat.”

The book has a chapter analyzing cross-cultural descriptions of Sasquatches among western Washington, coastal British Colombian and some Alaskan tribes. There are subtle differences in regions, but several characteristics — such as giant size, living in the mountains, nocturnal, hair-covered, whistling to communicate, stealing food or people and/or having been killed by humans — seem to overlap.

Diane Beers, curator for the Ocean Shores Interpretive Center, says some Bigfoot depictions in Native American legends are consistent with what researchers have observed. She’s worked at the center for 12 years, and has read many books about Sasquatch with accounts from eyewitnesses and reports submitted by anthropologists, cryptozoologists and other researchers. She’s read published reports with photographs of alleged hair and bone samples, nesting areas and footprints of the elusive creature. The center has a cast of a footprint Grays Harbor sheriffs collected in 1982 from an area at Porter Creek, about halfway between Elma and Rochester, Beers said.

Since she’s worked there, 31 people have told her stories of alleged encounters of Bigfoot and said the number of consistent accounts can’t be dismissed as tall tales.

“The stories are the same. There’s got to be something out there if people keep seeing them.”


Whether or not Bigfoot’s existence can be proven by science doesn’t matter to Martin.  He’s heard stories from Natives in Taholah, Elwha Valley and the Lummi reservation, north of Bellingham, who say they’ve heard it running on rooftops and banging on doors.

He said some native stories about C’iatqo were made up, just to scare children so they wouldn’t misbehave or wander off into the woods. He’s never seen one personally, but says he’d “never call anybody a liar because so many (Natives) have seen them along the roads and rivers and beaches when they’re out hunting. And we’ve seen tracks. They’re undisputed.”

He describes an incident his daughter, who lives with her husband on the Lummi reservation, once shared. He said they heard a loud pounding noise outside their house:

“Whatever was pounding on them had to be at least six, seven feet tall,” he said, mimicking a slamming motion with his fist. “It scared the hell out of them. They thought someone was throwing rocks at first, but it kept repeating. ... By the time they got out there they didn’t find anything. After a while, they said, ‘I’ll bet it was a C’iatqo.’”


The term “Sasquatch” is an Anglicized name based on coastal Salish vernacular that was coined in the 1920s by a British Colombian teacher to describe a large, hair-covered, manlike creature, according to “Raincoast Sasquatch” by J. Robert Alley.

The following is a partial list of Native American words various tribes use to describe Bigfoot, along with some beliefs.

Tlingit (Southeast Alaska) kushtakaa; Believed to be the embodiment of lost relatives. The kushtakaas were men who through near drowning or becoming lost, had been influenced by the kushta (land otters),  and had grown hair all over their bodies and were sent to live with others who had undergone the same transformation.

Haida (Queen Charlotte Islands, B.C.): Gagiit;  Meaning “man on all fours.” The Haida believed if a person was lost at sea their body would transform into a long-haired “wild person” with large feet and forearms.

Tsimshean (Central coast of British Columbia): buk ‘wus; meaning ape, monkey, or anything that imitates man; Also called ba’oosh or ba’ wes:  Species remnant of solitary forest-dwelling “hairy people.”

Nuxalk: (Bella Coola, Northern British Columbia) boq’s; Some accounts describe a creature with a hooked nose and wide nostrils, while others describe an animal with flattened apelike nostrils. Some believe that the boq’s have supernatural powers and eats shellfish.

Nootka (West coast of Vancouver Island): matlox;  Black-haired with a head similar to a human; large, bear-type eye teeth, large and toes and arms with fingers with large nails

Coast Salish/Upper Stalo (Fraser River in British Columbia south to American border): suhsq’utch; Has dark fur, stands more than eight feet tall and leaves footprints about 20 inches long. Some accounts  say it causes bouts of unconsciousness,  are known to abduct women and cause them to have half-human children; Has some form of simple language.

Coast Salish/Lummi (Bellingham): camukws;  A great, tall animal about seven feet in height, mountain-dwelling and has the ability to steal souls

Coast Salish/Twana (shores of Hood Canal and Skokomish River watershed): c’iatqo; described as mountain and forest giants, generally referred to in English as “stick Indians,” borrowed from Chinook jargon meaning “forest.” They were often of human form, but taller than normal humans and went naked except for a beach clout. People feared the c’iatqo, but suffered little harm from it beyond occasional thefts of killed game.

Source: The Daily World


Dowsing for Water; Magic or Miracle?

To some it’s the work of the devil, they call it water witching. It’s probably right up there with rock ‘n roll music and young folks dancing together shaking their pelvises - Elvis’ bad influence lingers on.

On the other hand, there are others who feel it must be a heavenly influence – those people call it divining for water.

The real name is dowsing and most of us are born with this ability.

When you stop and think about it, mammals need water to survive and need a method for finding water. It’s remarkable how adept many species are at finding water even in deserts.

Humans are certainly not adapted to go without water for very long, but since water is usually available in most buildings, our water finding abilities have faded along with the hunter gatherer prowess our ancestors once had.

People have many senses besides seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting and touching. Unfortunately, the dowsing sense is a use-it-or-lose-it sense for many of us. It also appears to be hereditary, handed down from generation to generation.

Back to the original question, witching or divining?

Mankind needs water to survive, therefore finding water sources for people should be a helpful thing. Still, if you can’t explain the force, then it might be evil. I must admit that when the forked stick pulls so hard that it almost tears the skin on my palms, it does seem a bit unnerving.

 When developing homesteads for myself and others, I’ve had to have a number of wells drilled and they don’t come cheap.

I’ve always been a firm believer in paying the small extra fee to have someone divine the location and have seldom been disappointed.

One elderly chap divined a well for us in Yellow Point using a crowbar. His health was waning and he died a month later. After he found the location, I was asked to try, nothing happened until he put his hand on my shoulder, then down the bar went with unmistakable force.

About fifteen years later, a member of the Canadian Dowsing Society divined a well for one of my clients. She took the time to show me how to use the rods properly and this time it worked for me. Once I knew what to try my ability grew. It worked for my daughter and father on their first tries.

On a forestry field trip, nine of us looked at a willow propagation site. While talking about niche markets for certain willows, I mentioned dowsing and was met with the usual mix of scepticism, curiosity and even enthusiasm.

I gave a quick demonstration and then the other eight people gave it a try. It worked for one – the fellow with enthusiasm. Then one by one the other seven tried it with me holding one side of the fork while they held the other side.

This gave them the chance to experience what it felt like to sense the water. Four of them were able to do it on their own. The other three were the sceptics. I had little energy for them and the willows had even less.

I’ve divined many wells, found a lot of septic tanks and am able to find pipes in floors, walls and in the ground with accuracy within an inch. I consider it a gift, and I’ve never charged. One day I helped a neighbour, Curtis, who had divined all his life and was taught by his father.

The well we were looking for had to be a hoe dug well. It was the driest part of the summer. We both found the same spot and then Curtis showed me how his father had taught him to determine the depth.

Most dowsers don’t believe you can determine the depth, so I wasn’t too optimistic.

Curtis had a springy metal rod with a weight on the end. The idea was to give it a shake and count the bounces based on the unit of measure we agreed upon. We chose feet and each tried it twice. It came up 18 feet all four times and when the well was dug, we hit water at 18 feet.

I’m not sure how seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching work, although I know it has to do with sensors in our eyes, nose, mouth, ears and skin combined with other scientific explanations.

How the dowsing sense works is much more of a mystery, and has been studied a lot less, but I certainly believe it is a sense, not the work of the devil or guidance from angels. Although if it is angels, you won’t hear me complaining.

Source: Ladysmith Chronicles


Eucharistic Miracles

Transubstantiation is the changing of bread and wine in to the body and blood of Jesus Christ. There are many tracts written on how Christ can be present but the appearance or “accidents” of the bread and wine remain the same. However this is not always the case. Stories abound throughout history of actual changes of the Eucharist into flesh and blood. There are also other miracles including levitating and incorruptible hosts.

There are far too many cases to include them all in this post but here are three of the most interesting ones, all of which can still be viewed to this day. All of these are in Italy but similar miracles have taken place all over the world, including this one in Poland.

Lanciano, is the setting for our first miracle where an 8th century priest-monk experienced doubts about the true presence while celebrating mass. Before his eyes the host transformed into flesh and the wine into blood. The blood dried into five pellets and investigations by the monks showed that the smallest pellet weighed as much as the largest, one pellet weighed as much as all five together and two as much as any three.

In the 1970s, some investigations were done and both flesh and blood were found to be human and of the blood group AB. The tissue was heart tissue and the blood was found to have been from a live body and not a cadaver. No trace of any preservatives were found. The previous anomalies regarding the weight of the pellets were not found.

The church was demolished after earthquake damage but the miraculous flesh and blood still reside in the new church, dedicated to St Francis of Assisi.

S Maria Del Vado in Ferrara, on the 28th March 1171 a host turned in to flesh and sprayed blood over the marble vault behind it. The church was enlarged in 1500 and the marble vault removed to a side chapel and displayed. The drops of blood can still be seen. There is an excellent website with PDFs containing photographs of this and other miraculous events in PDF form, filed in country order.

Siena boasts two Eucharistic miracles, the first as the bloody page of a breviary in which a priest hastily inserted a host to take to a sick person in 1330. This maltreatment caused the host to bleed and stick to the pages and the priest quietly took it back and confessed. It may be seen today in the Basilica of St Rita in Cascia.

The second consists of a ciborium containing hosts which have remained uncorrupted since August 14th 1730 when they were stolen by thieves who had taken advantage of fact that clergy were distracted by the feast of the Assumption. The hosts were eventually located but due to their dirty and cobwebbed state when found, it was decided that the hosts could be allowed to decay naturally at which point they would no longer contain the body of Jesus Christ. They are held in the Basilica of St Francis in Siena and are not on permanent display but are shown at various times, mainly on the 17th of each month to commemorate the day of their discovery and are also paraded on the feast of Corpus Christi each year in a processional monstrance.

More modern miracles such as that in India 2001 and La Reunion 1902 have tended to consist of the appearance of the face of Jesus in a host. The Indian host survives and may be seen in St Mary of Chirattakonum in the diocese of Trivandrum.

Other Eucharist related activities of note include some astonishing acts of perpetual worship. Apparently the Cathedral of Lugo, Spain was the setting for the perpetual worship of the Eucharist for over 1000 years from the 4th century (from Joan Carrol Cruz although online sources say 6th century). The present Cathedral was built starting in 1129 and is very impressive.

A 500 year perpetual adoration took place in France in the Chapel of the Holy Cross Avignon from 14th September 1226, continuing till 1793 when there was a break until 1829 (after a bit of choppy choppy) when the adoration resumed.

Perpetual adoration has become popular, so popular in fact that the diocese of St Petersburg, Florida has banned the practice, fearing that worship of the host would detract from other sacraments.

Source: Cabinet of Wonders


Running Rings Around True Believers?

Why do some have faith in holy trees or stumps in the shape of the Virgin Mary? Holy trees are linked to rebirth and healing, and ‘otherworldly’ apparitions also have a lot do with this world

For years a tree grows in that unobtrusive way trees have. One day a passing human sees something in the tree: a vision. Suddenly the tree is a celebrity. There are reports of healings and miracles and lottery wins. A row erupts between devotees of the tree and sceptics who want it burned or pruned or decommissioned. From the pulpit the parish priest denounces the whole idea of apparitions in trees and pronounces such things to be the result of ignorance, dodgy theology or superstition.

Does it sound familiar, this story? Isn’t it a dead ringer, in fact, for what went on last summer at St Mary’s church in Rathkeale,

Co Limerick, after a tree stump was described as being in the image of the Virgin Mary? Okay, there were no miracles in Rathkeale – not even a lottery win – but there’s plenty of evidence, online and elsewhere, of a slanging match between devotees and sceptics while, right on cue, the institutional church distanced itself from what it regarded as an error in spiritual transmission. It was, we all felt at the time, a peculiarly Irish story – perhaps embarrassingly so.

According to a newly published book, however, tales of holy trees are pretty common. They can be traced not only right across the Mediterranean but back in time as well, as far as classical Greece and beyond; and they feature all varieties of tree, from laurel to walnut, myrtle to oak and cedar.

The author of Holy Trees and Other Ecological Surprises , Lucy Goodison, is interested in how our relationship with the natural world has been influenced by cultural factors, and how this has affected our spiritual development. An archaeologist whose special subject is the Aegean Bronze Age, she discovered her first “holy tree” by accident while doing fieldwork on prehistoric Minoan remains.

A former documentary film-maker who left the BBC to get involved in community politics, Goodison isn’t a holy-tree devotee, but nor is she a dismissive sceptic – which is what makes the tone of her book so interesting. She presents case histories of rituals that have been conducted around trees from Minoan times to the present day. She also describes her personal experiences as she carries out research in Cretan cafes and Portuguese mountain villages – and also in Willesden, a northwestern suburb of London where “the crowded living conditions and heavy traffic would not now encourage you to think of trees, let alone rural visions of Our Lady”.

Why does any of this matter? As Goodison points out in her introduction, our relationship with the natural world is no longer a decorative extra, something of concern only to poets, visionaries and dreamers. “We are now aware,” she writes, “that trees in particular play a crucial role in preserving ecological balance. Scientifically, we know that they are the lungs of the earth. Spiritually, they have become a symbol of respect for the values which are being destroyed in the exploitation of the environment, a symbol of protest against the damage being wreaked on the earth.”

However, sentimental tree-hugging is not the answer. Goodison is not impressed by the antics of “jolly men with beards and silver tankards in bottom-smacking mood” or “women dressed in robes who describe themselves as witches or priestesses of an old Celtic nature religion”. Many of these “new” approaches to nature and spirituality, she says, are the old approaches made over and dressed up in different outfits; some of them, indeed, represent the ancient human desire for political power, written in runic script.

“People often go to these things with a lot of ego invested,” Goodison tells The Irish Times . “They want to be leaders or shamans or gurus. And, also, people tend to go ‘back to nature’ with a lot of modern preconceptions in tow. To approach nature afresh, in the 21st century, means to question those assumptions.”

Goodison draws on an intriguing range of references, from Van Morrison to Jim Morrison, Carl Jung to the Kabbalah, to question as many assumptions as she can.

She is motivated, she says, by a spirit of inquiry. In fact, her book suggests that if we could set our beloved assumptions aside and rediscover our capacity for openness, and the ability to be surprised, we might learn a lot.

It’s hard to pinpoint when people started seeing things in trees. But a 3,500-year-old bronze plaque from a cave on the island of Crete, unearthed by the archaeologist Arthur Evans in 1896 and now held at the Ashmolean Museum, in Oxford, shows a human figure with a bird, a fish, and clear depictions of the sun and moon. In the centre of the scene is what looks like a leafless Christmas tree. Nobody really knows what it means, but Goodison suggests a cosmology in which trees were revered in their own right. “To honour the tree itself rather than a personified deity linked to the tree means to relocate the divine in the physical world,” she writes. “It means acknowledging that the tree is not a god or an archetypal symbol or a carrier of human projections but a living organism like ourselves with all the miraculous qualities that implies.”

In the 21st century, Cretans still pay their respects to a tree at the foothills of the Asterousia mountains that is said to have healing properties. Healing is a repeated motif in stories about holy trees. What’s also remarkable is how many of the “apparitions” associated with trees are of female saints or goddesses. That, Goodison observes, is because “other-worldly” apparitions have a lot to do with this world. Many of the visionaries are marginal, vulnerable and female. Ivana Ivankovic, one of the Medjugorje visionaries, was a 15-year-old girl who was grieving the recent death of her mother; the Fatima children were starving. Such patterns don’t explain away the visions, says Goodison; rather, they give information that may help to understand the phenomena.

Instead of dismissing the stories out of hand, she feels, it’s more constructive to listen to the claims people are making and ask why they’re seeing those particular visions. “I’m very interested in people’s experiences over generations,” she says. “And it seems to me very narrow minded to reject them just because they’re not experiences that we’ve had. They’re not an accepted part of our consensus culture at the moment – so we say, ‘These people were deluded, or superstitious, or foolish.’ Actually, the experiences themselves served a purpose for people. They formed a connection to the natural world. Often, they’d use them for healing in a situation where they had no access to doctors or medicine.”

In her book Goodison looks at themes of resurrection and rebirth, which surface over and over in stories of a dead branch or staff being planted in the ground only to “miraculously” put forth buds and branches. This motif plays a role in the foundation of a Christian site at Glastonbury, in England, where Joseph of Arimathea is supposed to have planted his hawthorn staff on Wearyall Hill to mark his arrival in Avalon. It also turns up in an Irish legend associated with St Brigid; some wooden altar steps are said to have burst into leaf when she became a nun.

These tales exaggerate only a little, the author remarks, the process whereby something dry and apparently lifeless, such as a seed, can, if planted, create life, leaves and fruit.

At a time of impending ecological disaster, the metaphor is hugely appealing. But even as it makes the case for radical change in our attitude to, and relationship with, the natural world, Goodison’s book sounds a warning: radical change is difficult. Is she an optimist when it comes to the survival of the human species? “Oh,” she says. “It’s so hard to say, isn’t it? Personally, I’m an optimist – because I have to be. You have to look at what’s best in human nature, and you have to hope that it will win through; even though, in various situations in the past, it hasn’t. That’s the only workable position, isn’t it? To look at what’s good and to hope that people will be able to find it. And be able to resist the vested interests which, frankly, often impede our progress in moving towards a more environmentally aware way of life.”

Source: Irish Times

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