7/6/12  #678
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It may only be the sixth day in July - but strangeness still abounds. Weirdness still stalks the night. Craziness continues to lurk in the open. Madness meddles those who seek openness and truth.  That is why we bring you Conspiracy Journal every week - to uncover the uncoverable. To reveal the unrevealable. And to enlighten the unenlightenable all the strange news that everyone else is afraid to even admit.

This week Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such brain-numbing stories as:

- "God Particle" May Have Been Found -
- A Poison for Assassins -
- W.R. Drake - Alien Tales From The Ancient World -
- Ghostly Apparition Caught on Camera at Perth Tearoom -
AND: NOAA Issues Statement: "Mermaids Do Not Exist"

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~

Weird Inventions of the Strangest Men Who Ever Lived!

Men of Mystery - Nikola Tesla and Otis T. Carr


Here are plans for a "Telephone" to call other planets. . .An apparatus that can read the human aura. . .a disc-shaped craft that can take us to the moon in under an hour.

NIKOLA TESLA - Though chosen to share the 1912 Nobel Prize in Physics with Edison, Tesla refused the award and during his life tore up royalty contracts which would have earned him millions of dollars. Not much is known about this "strange" loner as Tesla spent most of his life in total seclusion. However, those who did know him even slightly say he was not a normal human, but a real SUPERMAN, either a reincarnated master -- or a spaceman with superior mental powers placed here to assist in earth's technological development.

OTIS T. CARR - A student of Tesla's, the Baltimore-based engineer believed that every person should have the opportunity to travel to other planets which he believed to be inhabited by human-looking space people as physical as you and I. Based on conversations with his mentor, Carr constructed a flying saucer-shaped device that he believed would take us to the moon and beyond. He received much ridicule and harassment that eventually landed him in jail under bogus charges of fraud -- the government claiming that it is impossible to create an operational free energy device. History has made Tesla out to be merely a scientist and an engineer when he was really MUCH MORE. There is an entirely different part of his live story -- and it is an UNEARTHLY ONE!

This incredible book is now available at the special price of only $18 (plus $5.00 shipping).  Order right now and receive Commander X's free Audio CD about the mysterious Dr. Nikola Tesla.

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Be sure to tune in to Unraveling The Secrets Saturdays at 11:59PM EST
with your hosts, Wm. Michael Mott, Rick Osmon and Tim Swartz
on the PSN Radio Network.

This weeks guest:  Frank Joseph



"God Particle" May Have Been Found

Scientists at the world's biggest atom smasher hailed the discovery of "the missing cornerstone of physics" Wednesday, cheering the apparent end of a decades-long quest for a new subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, or "God particle," which could help explain why all matter has mass and crack open a new realm of subatomic science.

The Higgs boson appears in a theory first fleshed out in 1964 by Peter Higgs at Edinburgh University and five other physicists. Finding the particle proves there is an energy field that fills the vacuum of the observable universe. It plays the crucial role of giving mass to certain subatomic particles that are the building blocks of matter. The Higgs field is thought to have switched on a trillionth of a second after the big bang that blasted the universe into existence. Without it, or something to do its job, the structure of the cosmos would be radically different than it is today.

As the highly technical findings were announced by two independent teams involving more than 5,000 researchers, the usually sedate corridors of the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, erupted in frequent applause and standing ovations. Physicists who spent their careers in pursuit of the particle shed tears.

The new particle appears to share many of the same qualities as the one predicted by Scottish physicist Peter Higgs and others and is perhaps the biggest accomplishment at CERN since its founding in 1954 outside Geneva along the Swiss-French border.

Rolf Heuer, director of CERN, said the newly discovered particle is a boson, but he stopped just shy of claiming outright that it is the Higgs boson itself — an extremely fine distinction.

"As a layman, I think we did it," he told the elated crowd. "We have a discovery. We have observed a new particle that is consistent with a Higgs boson."

The Higgs, which until now had been purely theoretical, is regarded as key to understanding why matter has mass, which combines with gravity to give all objects weight.

The idea is much like gravity and Isaac Newton's early theories. Gravity was there all the time before Newton explained it. The Higgs boson was believed to be there, too. And now that scientists have actually seen something much like it, they can put that knowledge to further use.

The center's atom smasher, the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider, sends protons whizzing around a circular 27-kilometer (17-mile) underground tunnel at nearly the speed of light to create high-energy collisions. The aftermath of those impacts can offer clues about dark matter, antimatter and the creation of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang.

Most of the particles that result from the collisions exist for only the smallest fractions of a second. But finding a Higgs-like boson was one of the biggest challenges in physics: Out of some 500 trillion collisions, just several dozen produced "events" with significant data, said Joe Incandela of the University of California at Santa Barbara, leader of the team known as CMS, with 2,100 scientists.

Each of the teams confirmed Wednesday that they had "observed" a new subatomic particle — a boson. Heuer said the discovery was "most probably a Higgs boson, but we have to find out what kind of Higgs boson it is." He referred to the discovery as a missing cornerstone of science.

As the leaders of the two teams presented their evidence, applause punctuated their talks.

"Thanks, nature!" joked Fabiola Gianotti, the Italian physicist who heads the team called ATLAS, with 3,000 scientists, drawing laughter from the crowd.

Later, she told reporters that the standard model of physics is still incomplete because "the dream is to find an ultimate theory that explains everything. We are far from that."

Incandela said it was too soon to say definitively whether the particle was exactly the same as envisioned by Higgs and others, who proposed the existence of an energy field where all particles interact with a key particle, the Higgs boson.

Higgs, who was invited to be in the audience, said Wednesday's discovery appears to be close to what he predicted.

"It is an incredible thing that it has happened in my lifetime," he said, calling the discovery a huge achievement for the proton-smashing collider.

Outside CERN, the announcement seemed to ricochet around the world with some of the speed and energy of the particle itself.

In an interview with the BBC, the world's most famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, said Higgs deserved the Nobel Prize. Hawking said he had placed a wager with another scientist that the Higgs boson would never be found.

"It seems I have just lost $100," he said.

Marc Sher, a professor of physics at William & Mary College, said most observers concluded in December that the Higgs boson would soon be discovered, but he was "still somewhat stunned by the results."

The phrase "God particle" was coined by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman, but it's used mostly by laymen as an easier way of explaining the theory.

Wednesday's celebration was mainly for researchers who explore the deepest, most esoteric levels of particle science. But the particle-hunting effort has paid off in other ways for non-scientists, including contributing to the development of the World Wide Web.

CERN scientists used the early Web to exchange information, and the vast computing power needed to crunch all of the data produced by the atom smasher also boosted development of cloud computing, which is now making its way into mainstream services.

Advances in solar energy, medical imaging and proton therapy used in the fight against cancer have also resulted from the work of particle physicists at CERN and elsewhere.

The last undiscovered piece of the standard model of physics could be a variant of the Higgs that was predicted or something else that entirely changes the way scientists think about how matter is formed, Incandela said.

"This boson is a very profound thing we have found," he said. "We're reaching into the fabric of the universe in a way we never have done before. We've kind of completed one particle's story. ... Now we're way out on the edge of exploration."

The discovery is so fundamental to the laws of nature, Incandela said, that it could spawn a new era of technology and development in the same way that Newton's laws of gravity led to basic equations of mechanics that made the industrial revolution possible.

"This is so far out on a limb, I have no idea where it will be applied," he added. "We're talking about something we have no idea what the implications are and may not be directly applied for centuries."

Source: Phys.org


A Poison for Assassins
By Deborah Blum

In the late 19th century, a then-unknown chemistry student named Marie Curie was searching for a thesis subject. With encouragement from her husband, Pierre, she decided to study the strange energy released by uranium ores, a sizzle of power far greater than uranium alone could explain.

The results of that study are today among the most famous in the history of science. The Curies discovered not one but two new radioactive elements in their slurry of material (and Marie invented the word radioactivity to help explain them.) One was the glowing element radium. The other, which burned brighter and briefer, she named after her home country of Poland — Polonium (from the Latin root, polonia). In honor of that discovery, the Curies shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with their French colleague Henri Becquerel for his work with uranium.

Radium was always Marie Curie’s first love – “radium, my beautiful radium”, she used to call it. Her continued focus gained her a second Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1911. (Her Nobel lecture was titled Radium and New Concepts in Chemistry.)  It was also the higher-profile radium — embraced in a host of medical, industrial, and military uses — that first called attention to the health risks of radioactive elements. I’ve told some of that story here before in a look at the deaths and illnesses suffered by the “Radium Girls,” young women who in the 1920s painted watch-dial faces with radium-based luminous paint.

Polonium remained the unstable, mostly ignored step-child element of the story, less famous, less interesting, less useful than Curie’s beautiful radium. Until the last few years, that is. Until the reported 2006 assassination by polonium 210 of Russian spy turned dissident, Alexander Litveninko. And until the news this week, first reported by Al Jazeera, that surprisingly high levels of polonium-210 were detected by a Swiss laboratory in the clothes and other effects of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Arafat, 75, had been held for almost two years under an Israeli form of house arrest when he died in 2004 of a sudden wasting illness. His rapid deterioration led to a welter of conspiracy theories that he’d been poisoned, some accusing his political rivals and many more accusing Israel, which has steadfastly denied any such plot.

Recently (and for undisclosed reasons) his widow agreed to the forensic analysis of articles including clothes, a toothbrush, bed sheets, and his favorite kaffiyeh. Al Jazeera agreed to paid for the analysis and took the materials to Europe for further study. After the University of Lausanne’s Institute of Radiation Physics released the findings, Suha Arafat asked that her husband’s body be exhumed and tested for polonium. Palestinian authorities have indicated that they may do so within the week.

And at this point, as we anticipate those results, it’s worth asking some questions about the use of a material like polonium as an assassination poison. Why, for instance, pick a poison that leaves such a durable trail of evidence behind? In the case of the Radium Girls, I mentioned earlier, scientists found that their bones were still hissing with radiation years after their deaths. In the case of Litvinenko, public health investigators found that he’d literally left a trail of radioactive residues across London where he was living at the time of his death.

In what we might imagine as the clever world of covert killings  why would a messy element like polonium even be on the assassination list? To answer that, it helps to begin by stepping back to some of the details provided in the Curies’ seminal work. Both radium and polonium are links in a chain of radioactive decay (element changes due to particle emission) that begins with uranium.  Polonium, which eventually decays to an isotope of lead, is one of the more unstable points in this chain, unstable enough that there are  some 33 known variants (isotopes) of the element.

Of these, the best known and most abundant is the energetic isotope polonium-210, with its half life of 138 days. Half-life refers to the time it takes for a radioactive element to burn through its energy supply, essentially the time it takes for activity to decrease by half. For comparison, the half life of the uranium isotope U-235, which often features in weapon design, is 700 million years. In other words, polonium is a little blast furnace of radioactive energy. The speed of its decay means that eight years after Arafat’s death, it would probably be identified by the its breakdown products. And it’s on that note – its life as a radioactive element -  that it becomes interesting as an assassin’s weapon.

Like radium, polonium’s radiation is primarily in the form of alpha rays — the emission of alpha particles. Compared to other subatomic particles, alpha particles tend to be high energy and high mass. Their relatively larger mass means that they don’t penetrate as well as other forms of radiation, in fact, alpha particles barely penetrate the skin. And they can stopped from even that by a piece of paper or protective clothing.

That may make them sound safe. It shouldn’t. It should just alert us that these are only really dangerous when they are inside the body. If a material emitting alpha radiation is swallowed or inhaled, there’s nothing benign about it. Scientists realized, for instance, that the reason the Radium Girls died of radiation poisoning was because they were lip-pointing their paintbrushes and swallowing radium-laced paint. The radioactive material deposited in their bones — which literally crumbled. Radium, by the way, has a half-life of about 1,600 years. Which means that it’s not in polonium’s league as an alpha emitter. How bad is this? By mass, polonium-210 is considered to be about 250,000 times more poisonous than hydrogen cyanide. Toxicologists estimate that an amount the size of a grain of salt could be fatal to the average adult.

In other words, a victim would never taste a lethal dose in food or drink. In the case of Litvinenko, investigators believed that he received his dose of polonium-210 in a cup of tea, dosed during a meeting with two Russian agents. (Just as an aside, alpha particles tend not to set off radiation detectors so it’s relatively easy to smuggle from country to country.) Another assassin advantage is that illness comes on gradually, making it hard to pinpoint the event.  Yet another advantage is that polonium poisoning is so rare that it’s not part of a standard toxics screen. In Litvinenko’s case, the poison wasn’t identified until shortly after his death. In Arafat’s case — if polonium-210 killed him and that has not been established — obviously it wasn’t considered at the time. And finally, it gets the job done.  “Once absorbed,” notes the U.S. Regulatory Commission, “The alpha radiation can rapidly destroy major organs, DNA and the immune system.”

I titled this piece with a reference to assassins and you’ll see me repeating that word in the above paragraph. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that polonium-210 is not very readily available to the average citizen. It’s a rare element. And a rare industrial product. About 100 grams are produced worldwide annually — and production is both limited and controlled. For instance, the NRC licenses polonium-201 for use in certain static elimination devices in industry. But the amount allowed is so small that the agency estimates that it would take 30,000 devices to assemble a lethal dose.

The element is most commonly produced through neutron bombardment in nuclear reactors, which again suggests that it’s product available to a chosen few. Which brings me to an assassin disadvantage — traceability.  In the case of the Litvinenko killing, investigators suggested that the polonium isotope found in his body had a chemical signature that indicated production in a Russian nuclear reactor. Such clues, according to Al Jazeera, would be sought in analyzing Arafat’s body: “A conclusive finding that Arafat was poisoned with polonium would not, of course, explained who killed him,” the story concludes. “It is a difficult element to produce, though — it requires a nuclear reactor — and the signature of the polonium in Arafat’s bones could provide some insight about its origin.”

And that is what makes the story’s eventual ending so worth watching. If this was indeed an assassination, if this really was a polonium murder — a heartless, government-sanctioned killing –  forensics still won’t give away the name of the killer in question. But the source of the poison, the home of the assassin? That answer is — somewhat unnervingly — within our reach.

Source: Wired Science


W.R. Drake - Alien Tales From The Ancient World
By Sean Casteel

W. Raymond Drake is little known these days, but his research into the ancient astronauts theory knows few equals. Read how the late British historian broke new ground in understanding the mysterious origins and development of humankind.

* Do you think ancient astronauts are only relevant to our past' Learn some of the connections between the gods of old and our present day UFO phenomenon.

* Prophecies from the Hopis and Incas are being fulfilled right before our eyes. How did the indigenous natives know the future'

* W. Raymond Drake's work preceded that of Erich von Daniken and Zechariah Sitchin. Own the new reprints of two of Drake's classic works and see how it all began!

One of the most popular shows on cable television these days is a weekly program on the History Channel. 'Ancient Aliens' is partially the brainchild of the man with the wild hair: the editor of the publication 'Legendary Times,' Giorgio Tsoukalos. He is also the U.S. representative for the writer and researcher who started it all in terms of public awareness, Erich von Daniken.

Indeed, when one hears the words 'ancient astronauts' or 'ancient aliens,' most people think immediately of von Daniken and his breakthrough bestseller 'Chariots of the Gods'' first published in the U.S. in 1968. While we do not seek to undervalue von Daniken's work, it is still important for the student of the ancient astronauts theory to also factor in the work of W. Raymond Drake, the late British historian who was researching and publishing on the notion that the gods of old were visitors from outer space many years before von Daniken began to make his name for work along very similar lines.

So who was W.R. Drake' For one thing, he was a disciple of Charles Fort and followed in that famed researcher's footsteps by studying in exquisite detail the writings of ancient chroniclers of the times when man had no technology of his own to speak of and so greeted the UFOs and their occupants as gods come down from heaven. In his book about the ancient Mediterranean's strange relationship with the sky people, Drake utilized over fifty writers of antiquity and scrutinized their works through a UFO 'lens.' He spent many years digging through huge archives of material, looking for anomalies that could support his theories of space aliens impacting human history. As Drake himself said, 'I aspired to collect as many facts as possible from ancient literature to chronicle for the past what Charles Fort has so brilliantly done for the present century.'

Drake wrote a dozen books on the Space Gods phenomenon, and Global Communications has recently reprinted and re-titled two of them, adding a good deal of updated material . The new books are 'Alien Space Gods of Ancient Greece and Rome ' Revelations of the Oracle of Delphi' and 'Ancient Secrets of Mysterious America – Revealing Our True Cosmic Destiny .' The contact between man and the visitors from space has left evidence of itself behind throughout the world and influenced every race and tribe on Earth, but these two new books being offered here deal specifically with, as the titles imply, the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean region and the Americas.

But the new offerings from Global Communications provide more than just a reprinting of Drake's classic works. Publisher Timothy Green Beckley has also gathered a roster of writers to input new and updated material on the stories of the ancients as well as research that has taken place in the years since Drake's death in 1989.

In 'Alien Space Gods Of Ancient Greece And Rome – Revelations Of The Oracle Of Delphi ,' Beckley tells the story of his personal journey to see the Oracle's ancient domicile in modern day Greece. With his good friend Penny Melis, a gifted psychic, Beckley, winded but determined, climbs the treacherous path to be right there on the scene of where the Oracle inhaled her magical vapors and babbled stories of the future for her priestly attendants to translate. The question becomes, was the Oracle an instrument of the aliens in her time' Was she something we might call a 'trance channeler' today' Is there a genuine relationship between ancient methods of prophecy and the prophets of the New Age movement' A single source of information that bridges all time and space'

In any case, that's the wide-ranging idea. We must look not only to the past to see the contact between the aliens and earlier, more primitive cultures. We must also see how that same alien contact extends into our own present times and will affect our future as well.

Which brings us to my contribution to 'Alien Space Gods of Ancient Greece and Rome.' I began my chapter by talking about W.R. Drake and his contention that the gods of antiquity were not just illusionary but were instead real flesh and blood beings who emerged from the skies and made themselves right at home, as if they owned the place, which perhaps they did. The chapter also deals with UFO cases in the Greece and Rome of the present era, the point being to illustrate the parallel relationship between the gods of antiquity and the UFO phenomena of today.

This is the primary idea that is so urgent to bring forth, that we are not simply adrift in a sea of chaos and uncertainty but are instead standing on the cusp of a great deliverance. The ancient gods have not deserted us, but are as present and ubiquitous as ever, simply waiting their time to reveal themselves and offer us salvation.


But that salvation will not come without a price. As the 'Ancient Secrets Of Mysterious America' book so clearly states, the indigenous peoples of the Americas knew full well that the times they are a'changing. I wrote a chapter for the book on the Americas in which I discuss the Incan word 'pachacuti' in an interview with author Judith Bluestone Polich.

'They called the time preceding a world age shift 'pachacuti,'' she told me. 'Now, 'pacha' means all of the physical manifestations, and 'cuti' means to turn upside down. So a really tumultuous time, a time of overturning of time/space reality, always preceded a world shift. Sometimes that would take the form of catastrophic physical events in which the threads to the past were broken and so a new understanding of reality emerged. Other times it might be more of a psychic event, something that happened at a deeper, structural level, that caused reality to shift. So certainly we're in a time of pachacuti right now, a time of very rapid change, a change of our understanding of reality.' …

* If you enjoyed this article, please visit Sean Casteel’s “UFO Journalist” website at www.seancasteel.com to read more of his articles and interviews or to purchase his books.

Source: UFO Digest


Quests Begin to Find Hidden Creatures

Two teams of researchers, one in China, the other in Africa, are now hunting for two legendary creatures. First off, researchers are in the Shennongjia forest of China’s central Hubei province, a forbidding 1,000 square mile reserve of high mountains and deep forests, to find evidence of the “Wild Man”.

For centuries, the villagers around the Shennongjia reserve have believed that the “Wild Man”, or Yeren, lives among them.

Standing just under seven feet tall (2.15 metres) and covered in dark grey hair, this Chinese incarnation of Bigfoot or the yeti has been spotted hundreds of times, the Age reported.

Size 12 primate-like footprints have been documented in the area, and long thick strands of hair have been tested by scientists, who concluded that they did not belong to any of the known creatures inside the reserve.

But no one has ever proven its existence.

The team of 38 researchers drawn from several Chinese universities and research institutes are fanning out across the Shennongjia reserve on an expedition to catalogue the region’s unique ecosystem.

Their trip will continue throughout August, and the researchers will collect data on some 1000 different types of animals that live in Shennongjia, including the golden snub-nosed monkey and a white-furred bear that is found only in the reserve.

If the researchers manage to uncover concrete evidence of the Wild Man, they will have succeeded where two previous major expeditions - one from 1974 to 1981 and one in 2010 - failed.

“I simply want to put an end to the argument that it exists,” said Wang Shancai, of the Hubei Relics and Archaeology Institute, when he set out in 2010.

In 2005, Zhang Jiahong, a shepherd in Muyu, near the forest, told state media he had seen two of the creatures, with “hairy faces, eyes like black holes, prominent noses and dishevelled hair, with faces that resembled both a man’s and a monkey’s".

Another explorer, Zhang Jinxing, spent years living as a hermit in the Shennongjia forest, and said he had seen footprints on 19 separate occasions, without ever finding the beast.

However, Zhou Guoxing, a former director of the Beijing Museum of Natural History and a paleontologist, has cast doubt on the idea that there may be a Chinese Bigfoot.

“There is no Wild Man in this world. I’ve visited every place where the Wild Man was reported in China. I’ve studied everything related to the Wild Man including hair, skulls and specimens. All of them are dyed human hair or come from monkeys and bears,” he said earlier this year.

He added that the local government in Hubei was simply trying to drum up tourist revenue.

Searching for Mokele-mbeme

A group of American explorers have arrived in the Congo as they begin there search for Mokele-mbembe. The team is setting out in an attempt to prove if the modern day dinosaur believed to inhabit the jungles and rivers of the Congo in Africa is fact or fiction.

The creature also known as the African Loch Ness Monster has a long list of reports and sightings by locals.Now a team of explorers is setting out to discover once and for all whether Africa’s monster is fact or fiction.

The team of dino hunters arrived in the Congo capital of Brazzaville with an array of firearms for protection.

"It would be wholly unwise to travel where we are going without firearms," said spokesman for the group Joe Marrero, 28.

"We plan to be in the jungle for three months searching for the mokele and other new species and can only carry so much food."

Biologist Stephen McCullah is leading the expedition along with researchers Joe Marrero and Sam Newton are set to begin there expedition this month. Group spokesman Marrero said they plan to be in the jungle searching for Mokele-mbembe and other new species for 3 months. Recent government studies show that over 80 percent of the Congo still remains unexplored.

Stephen McCullah made headlines in April when he announced that he needed to raise $26,700 by May 11 in order to secure enough funds through Kickstarter.com to fund his expedition. When the deadline arrived, the 21-year-old adventurer and Missouri native had received pledges totaling nearly $29,000.

McCullah said that his team will end up at the southern tip of Lake Tele, where mokele-mbembe have been reported. The Newmac explorers will set up camp at the village of a pygmy tribe.

For the remainder of their three-month stay, and as long as there are no health or safety issues intervening, the men will set out every day with a variety of special cameras, searching for new species, large or small, including canine-sized tarantulas.

Sources: Metro, DNA India



Ghostly Apparition Caught on Camera at Perth Tearoom

A CAFE owner in Perth, Scotland has called in the ghost-hunters after claiming to have seen a spirit on his security camera.

Chills went down Dan Clifford’s spine when he checked his CCTV and saw what he’s convinced was a ghostly apparition hovering over a table set for two.

He summoned a team of ghost specialists, who said the sighting – said to be a figure of a woman – was the most striking evidence they had come across in almost 10 years.

Dan, 35, said yesterday: “The first time I saw the shadow moving on the camera my heart went nuts. I thought there was an intruder in the shop.

“But when I looked closer I realised it couldn’t be a live human being – I could see right through it.”

The CCTV image was taken in the dead of night after something set off a motion sensor. And Dan claims it’s not the only evidence of ghostly goings-on at his Curiositeaz Vintage Tea Room in Perth.

He said: “Over the past few months, all the staff have experienced something.

“Some have heard voices. Others have witnessed chairs moving and one was pushed forwards and felt a chill right down their spine.

“We’ve also had a number of mediums stopping in because they felt something when they walked by.

“Some have told of feeling the presence of a woman, which fits with our newest image.

“I have always believed in the spirit world but I’d never experienced anything like this until we opened Curiositeaz less than a year ago. It’s all been very exciting.”

Dan has shown his CCTV images to ghost enthusiasts from Paranormal Investigation Scotland, and has talked to them about the other strange happenings at his cafe.

He has also fitted high-tech new cameras which takestill and moving images if sensors detect anything larger than a cat.

He said: “We are very interested to hear what the experts have to say about the recent sighting.

“We want to prove to any sceptics that we have not tampered with any images.”

A spokesman for Paranormal Investigation Scotland said: “This is the most convincing image we have seen in almost a decade, so we were keen to start looking into it.”

The experts will return to the cafe next month, with some of Scotland’s best-known mediums in tow. They’ll monitor the tea room overnight for signs of ghosts.

Source: Daily Record


The Levitation of the Human Body
By Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., Atlantic University

This is the first of a series of short essays about psychic phenomena that are generally neglected in recent times. A good example is the levitation of the human body, the topic of Joachim Bouflet’s La Levitation chez les Mystiques (Paris: Jardin de Livres, 2006. 202 pp. ISBN 2-914569-27-0), which I discuss here.

Levitation has been the subject of previous reviews. Examples of this include Albert de Rochas book La Levitation (1897), and the works of others such as Herbert Thurston (1919), and Olivier Leroy (1928).

The book reviewed here follows on a tradition in which scholars have been concerned with documenting psychic phenomena–such as bilocation, levitation, luminosity of the body, stigmata–reported to have taken place around mystics and saints, particularly of the Christian tradition. Examples coming from the 19th century to more recent times are Albert Farges, Johann Joseph Gorres, Olivier Leroy, Jerome Ribet, Herbert Thurston, and Joseph de Tonquedec. More recently, others have followed in this tradition, such as the author of the book reviewed here, Joachim Bouflet.

Bouflet, who holds a history Ph.D. from la Sorbonne, has worked with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome regarding beatification processes. He is well known for his writings about the phenomena of mystics and saints, an example being his three-volume work Encyclopedie des phenomenes extraordinaires dans la vie mystique (Bouflet, 2001-2003). In the book reviewed here, Bouflet focuses on levitation, with emphasis on Christian mystics and saints. As we will see, his study is heavily influenced by Olivier Leroy’s Levitation (1928), a unique study of saintly levitation. Furthermore, and following Leroy and others, Bouflet is concerned with establishing differences between natural and supernatural phenomena.

From the beginning of the book, the author affirms his belief in the reality of the phenomena, and comments that, from the spiritual point of view, unusual manifestations are by-products of spirituality that have caused many controversies. Bouflet starts discussing the levitations of Copertino, comparing them to those of medium D. D. Home (such comparisons were also presented by Leroy). Copertino levitated suddenly, unexpectedly, and in plain light, while Home’s levitations seemed to be arduous, took place slowly, and only rarely in plain light.

There are other differences. Home, he states, never levitated over 5 feet from the floor, while Copertino went much higher. In summary, he stated that mediums “produce but a pale copy of the spectacular manifestations” (p. 47) shown by some saints, which is also in agreement with Leroy.

Bouflet reproduces a table (p. 68), based on Leroy’s study, in which he contrasts features of the levitations of mystics and saints compared with those of mediums. Some of the items, presenting the mystics before the mediums, include phenomena independent of the will vs. willfully induced; spontaneous ecstasy vs. induced trance; bright luminous phenomena vs. weak and rare luminosities; revulsion for publicity vs. looking for publicity; lack of any interest vs. lucrative activities; and place does not matter vs. a specific place.

Furthermore, and following Leroy, Bouflet argues that saints and mystics show ecstasy during levitation, while mediums show trance. The first are seen to be highly spiritual, something that is not the case with the second group.

In addition, and following a French psychiatric tradition barely acknowledged in the book, mediums are seen as pathological individuals. In contrast, saints are assumed to be well balanced. In addition, it is said that they look for union with God, for perfection, something that manifests as virtues, particularly as charity.

All these differences led Bouflet to ask if there were two types of levitation: one with a “religious connotation and significance, and a profane one . . .” (p. 66). He also refers to a possible third type, which he calls “natural levitation,” taking place in normal people.

Bouflet also documents the fact that levitation is not only reported in Christian contexts. In addition to mediumship, he reviews beliefs in the phenomenon from antiquity and from different places. This includes sections about ancient Greeks and Romans, fakirs in India, witches from Africa, and shamans in America and Oceania. The discussion has examples of “emblematic figures” or important religious figures such as Buddha.

Levitation, Bouflet writes, is sometimes accompanied by other phenomena in mystics and saints. These include luminosity of the body and stigmata. More rarely, there are fragances around the person’s body and, “during some exceptional cases, the apport of flowers . . .” (p. 186).

Bouflet does not enter into speculations about the “physics” of levitation. Instead he follows on the ideas of those, such as Albert Farges, that have stated the phenomenon represents an “outward and visible sign of what happens inwardly, when the soul is raised by God to those heights which approach so closely to the beatific vision” (Farges, 1926: 169). According to Bouflet: “All extraordinary phenomena . . . signal a high degree of union with God . . . . They are the sign and manifestation of ecstatic unity . . .” (p. 186). Levitation represents the “degree of perfection and union with God of the person that is such favored” (p. 200), regardless if the person was a Christian, a Buddhist, or a Muslim. The phenomenon, Bouflet believes, may be interpreted as the objectification of the spirit’s internal state into the physical realm through a temporary exemption of physical laws that mimic or dramatize the spiritual liberation of the soul acquired by the grace of God.

The strength of the book lies in the presentation of a variety of levitation cases from the literature about mystics and saints. Many sources in various languages are used to illustrate the phenomenon. In doing this, Bouflet has reminded us that, because of its long history and recorded observations, this phenomenon needs to be remembered as an important aspect of the history of religion and mysticism. In addition, the book also restates the important fact that many of the testimonies for levitation are better than some critics in the past have assumed them to be.

Another good thing about the book is that it reminds us that saints and mystics exhibit more dramatic levitations than mediums. This also seems to be the case with other manifestations, as I have noticed in the case of luminous phenomena (Alvarado, 1987). Such an observation deserves further study, even if this consists only on new analyses of old cases. In fact, the study of accounts of past phenomena such as levitation is in need of systematic quantitative analyses of case features and antecedents, analyses that could support and give better and more precise empirical support to the observations presented in this book. What I have in mind is something such as the coding of cases for a variety of features such as Alan Gauld did in his analysis of hauntings and poltergeists (Gauld & Cornell, 1979).

On the weak side, I do not believe Bouflet has examined the “profane” levitation literature in much detail, particularly the mediumistic one. Contrary to what he states, D. D. Home levitated beyond a height of 5 feet. I would also question the assertion that mediums produce levitation willfully.

Interestingly, the author does not consider levitation in poltergeist cases, a topic examined by Owen (1964). In addition, his contrasts of the levitations of mystics and saints and mediums do not tell us the proportion of features in question. Lacking this information we cannot be sure if Bouflet is referring to small or to marked differences.

I also feel that Bouflet is too quick to classify mediums as individuals with pathology, and saints and mystics as well adjusted. First of all the author does not review the subject in great detail. He focuses on old descriptions of the presumed pathology of mediums but, conveniently, he glosses over a literature that has classified saints as hysterics and the like (Mazzoni, 1996). While I am not arguing for the latter, and I feel both literatures are problematic in different ways, I feel more balance is needed before one classifies both groups as sharply as the author does.

It is also important to realize that Bouflet fails to consider other possibilities. The “reduced” manifestations of levitation in the seance room are used to show they come from a lower source, while the levitation of saints and mystics comes from the highest possible agency, that of God. But no allowance is made of the psychological context. Assuming both groups of individuals have similar psychic potential–admittedly a concept far from being understood–perhaps the difference can be found in training, expectations, and the like. Certainly mystics and saints work in a tradition in which certain phenomena are expected, while mediums also have a tradition in which they have developed. Higher magnitude manifestations may be the province of mystics and saints because their ascetic way of life leads them to focus their mind in more efficient psi-conducive ways than do mediums. Mystics and saints may develop more piety and selflessness than mediums, aspects that may be associated to the manifestation of large effects.

The point here is that the observed differences may not be a question of different sources. One can only speculate what type of phenomena (or what magnitude) D. D. Home would have shown if he had lived the same life as Copertino. Contrary to Bouflet, I do not present my speculations as facts. I am not even convinced of their validity. But authors such as Bouflet should consider these issues in more detail, if only to be fair to other perspectives.

It is unfortunate that Bouflet’s treatment of the subject is so one sided. He basically promotes a Christian worldview that does not consider alternate arguments. In any case, one hopes that more studies about the past literature of levitation will continue to appear in the future so as to learn more about these manifestations.

Source: Atlantic University's Scholar in Resident


NOAA Issues Statement: "Mermaids Do Not Exist"

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has attempted to put an end to the mermaid myth by denying the existence of the fabled aquatic creature.

The National Ocean Service's June 27 posting that mermaids don't exist may seem an odd fit for a government agency that focuses on real ocean phenomena. But according to a spokesperson the mermaid posting is just one way to educate people, and perhaps bust some mermaid myths.

The timing of the post seems to coincide with the Animal Planet show "Mermaids: The Body Found," which came out at the end of May and explored whether there is "a kernel of truth that lives beneath the legend of the mythic mermaid," according to the show's description.

Not so, says the National Ocean Service (part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA). "No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found," part of the post reads. Nevertheless, a NOAA spokesperson would not confirm that the post was in direct response to the show, which was presented in documentary format.

The reference to "aquatic humanoids" alludes to a controversial theory called the aquatic ape theory, which suggests humans had an aquatic stage in our evolutionary past. Called "pseudoscience" by anthropologist John Hawks on his blog, this theory is not supported by most scientists.

The Animal Planet summary says its show is "a story about evolutionary possibility grounded in a radical scientific theory – the Aquatic Ape Theory, which claims that humans had an aquatic stage in our evolutionary past."

The mermaids post is part of the Ocean Facts section of the National Ocean Service website to answer inquiries they receive. Since October 2008, they have posted 195 ocean facts items.

"The timing was around that time. I think the TV show came out around Memorial Day and we got a few of the questions [about mermaids]," Keeley Belva, spokesperson for NOAA's National Ocean Service, told LiveScience. "Arguably, yes, the timing is tied to the documentary."

She added, "As we had gotten a couple questions about mermaids, we thought this would be a fun way to talk about it and to have information up about mermaids in different cultures and to draw people into our website and learn more about what NOAA and the National Ocean Service does."

In popular myth, mermaids are half-human, half-fish sirens of the sea. As the ocean facts post points out, they "are legendary sea creatures chronicled in maritime cultures since time immemorial." For instance, Homer wrote of them in the ancient Greek epic "The Odyssey," and in the Far East, mermaids were considered the wives of powerful sea dragons, serving as trusted messengers between the spouses and emperors of the land.

In fact, the scientific grouping Sirenia, which includes manatees and their close relative the dugong comes from mermaid legend. Sailors long ago mistook these large gentle marine mammals for mermaids, or sirens who sang songs to lure ships into rocky shores. Legend has it that Christopher Columbus recorded a sighting of a manatee, saying he was surprised at the not-so-beautiful "mermaid," according to the Dolphin Research Center in Florida.

The aboriginal people of Australia had their own name for mermaids, yawkyawks, which could refer to the sirens' allegedly mesmerizing songs. In fact, as far back as 30,000 years ago when humans were becoming the dominant species of the land, and possibly taking to the seas, they seem to have imagined magical female figures. These figures first appear in cave paintings at the time.

"Half-human creatures, called chimeras, also abound in mythology — in addition to mermaids, there were wise centaurs, wild satyrs, and frightful minotaurs, to name but a few," according to the NOAA Web posting.

Even today, "mermaid" sightings still occur. For instance, in 2009 in the Israeli town of Kiryat Yam, locals and tourists flocked to the coast in hopes of glimpsing an alleged mermaid that resembled a cross between a fish and a young girl; apparently she would only appear at sunset.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

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