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The north wind blows with fresh visions of arboreal sleep. Where green once danced in harmony with the Earth's loving breath, vibrations of matter freed of material concerns reveal the browns, gold and orange of weary leaves. Restless wings stretch in anticipation of the open sky and the siren call of lands over the horizon. Soon, the quiet serenity of frozen slumber will draw itself over the land with sweet promises of carefree dreams and Persephone’s return.
This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such nerve-wracking stories as:
- Human Intelligence 'Peaked Thousands of Years Ago -
- Yes, The FBI and CIA Can Read Your Email. Here's How -
- Poltergeists: Teen Angst & Telekinesis -
- Still Haunted by Amityville -
Werewolves in Myth and Legend
~ And Now, On With The Show! ~
NEW TITLE FROM TIMOTHY BECKLEY - INNER LIGHT PUBLICATIONS
Traveling the Path Back to the Road in the Sky
A STRANGE SAGA OF SAUCERS, SPACE BROTHERS, SECRET AGENTS AND ALIEN ASTRONAUTS THROUGHOUT ANTIQUITY.
George Hunt Williamson – known as “Brother Philip” throughout the highlands of Peru, the jungles of South and Central America, and the arid plains of the Southwest – traveled the longest highway in the world, leading him to discover a vast road into the sky that can be linked to the arrival of visitors from elsewhere in the universe throughout the ages.
Within these pages are the stories of the Hopi Sun Clan, including the legends of the “Giant Star.” The secret of the Stone Tablets of Peru. The Time Spanners. The Beacon of the Gods. The Martian Miniatures. Fossils, Footprints and Fantasy.
Evidence for the existence of the “Silent World,” and the reality of the Unholy Six. Also this is the book that gives: * Williamson’s behind-the-scenes battle with the FBI and the Silence Group.
* His investigation into the mysterious disappearances of Hunrath and Wilkinson, who might have been murdered or abducted by UFOs.
* The accusations of smuggling and his “association” with a sexy flying saucer pilot whom the FBI identified as a “ravishing woman commandant!”
Williamson, sometime in his life, must have come to realize that, in America, if you try to buck the status quo or change the system you can easily be slandered and identified as a dangerous dissident, whether you are called a communist, a fascist, or a neo-Nazi.
Many of the contactees of the early UFO/New Age communities were unduly slandered, as was the man aka “Brother Philip.” It was also suggested that Williamson was a “Mind-Controlled Soldier” of the Soviet Union, a label he found difficult to shake off during his years of conflict with the “system.”
How he persevered in spite of all this undeserved conflict makes for a story of true UFO heroism.
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This Weeks Guest: Christopher Knowles
- FEELING DUMB TODAY DEPARTMENT -
Human Intelligence 'Peaked Thousands of Years Ago
Is the human species doomed to intellectual decline? Will our intelligence ebb away in centuries to come leaving our descendants incapable of using the technology their ancestors invented? In short: will Homo be left without his sapiens?
This is the controversial hypothesis of a leading geneticist who believes that the immense capacity of the human brain to learn new tricks is under attack from an array of genetic mutations that have accumulated since people started living in cities a few thousand years ago.
Professor Gerald Crabtree, who heads a genetics laboratory at Stanford University in California, has put forward the iconoclastic idea that rather than getting cleverer, human intelligence peaked several thousand years ago and from then on there has been a slow decline in our intellectual and emotional abilities.
Although we are now surrounded by the technological and medical benefits of a scientific revolution, these have masked an underlying decline in brain power which is set to continue into the future leading to the ultimate dumbing-down of the human species, Professor Crabtree said.
His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.
“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important issues,” Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics.
“Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2,000 to 6,000 years ago,” Professor Crabtree says.
“The basis for my wager comes from new developments in genetics, anthropology, and neurobiology that make a clear prediction that our intellectual and emotional abilities are genetically surprisingly fragile,” he says.
A comparison of the genomes of parents and children has revealed that on average there are between 25 and 65 new mutations occurring in the DNA of each generation. Professor Crabtree says that this analysis predicts about 5,000 new mutations in the past 120 generations, which covers a span of about 3,000 years.
Some of these mutations, he suggests, will occur within the 2,000 to 5,000 genes that are involved in human intellectual ability, for instance by building and mapping the billions of nerve cells of the brain or producing the dozens of chemical neurotransmitters that control the junctions between these brain cells.
Life as a hunter-gatherer was probably more intellectually demanding than widely supposed, he says. “A hunter-gatherer who did not correctly conceive a solution to providing food or shelter probably died, along with his or her progeny, whereas a modern Wall Street executive that made a similar conceptual mistake would receive a substantial bonus and be a more attractive mate,” Professor Crabtree says.
However, other scientists remain sceptical. “At first sight this is a classic case of Arts Faculty science. Never mind the hypothesis, give me the data, and there aren’t any,” said Professor Steve Jones, a geneticist at University College London.
“I could just as well argue that mutations have reduced our aggression, our depression and our penis length but no journal would publish that. Why do they publish this?” Professor Jones said.
“I am an advocate of Gradgrind science – facts, facts and more facts; but we need ideas too, and this is an ideas paper although I have no idea how the idea could be tested,” he said.
THE DESCENT OF MAN
The human brain and its immense capacity for knowledge evolved during this long period of prehistory when we battled against the elements
The invention of agriculture less than 10,000 years ago and the subsequent rise of cities such as Athens relaxed the intensive natural selection of our “intelligence genes”.
As genetic mutations increase over future generations, are we doomed to watching soap-opera repeats without knowing how to use the TV remote control?
The fruits of science and technology enabled humans to rise above the constraints of nature and cushioned our fragile intellect from genetic mutations.
Source: The Independent
- ARE YOU REALLY SURPRISED DEPARTMENT -
Yes, The FBI and CIA Can Read Your Email. Here's How
By Zack Whittaker
The U.S. government -- and likely your own government, for that matter -- is either watching your online activity every minute of the day through automated methods and non-human eavesdropping techniques, or has the ability to dip in as and when it deems necessary -- sometimes with a warrant, sometimes without.
That tin-foil hat really isn't going to help. Take it off, you look silly.
Gen. David Petraeus, the former head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, resigned over the weekend after he was found to have engaged in an extra-marital affair. What caught Petraeus out was, of all things, his usage of Google's online email service, Gmail.
This has not only landed the former CIA chief in hot water but has ignited the debate over how, when, and why governments and law enforcement agencies are able to access ordinary citizens' email accounts, even if they are the head of the most powerful intelligence agency in the world.
If it makes you feel any better, the chances are small that your own or a foreign government will snoop on you. The odds are much greater -- at least for the ordinary person (terrorists, hijackers et al: take note) -- that your email account will be broken into by a stranger exploiting your weak password, or an ex-lover with a grudge (see "Fatal Attraction").
Forget ECHELON, or signals intelligence, or the interception of communications by black boxes installed covertly in data centers. Intelligence agencies and law enforcement bodies can access -- thanks to the shift towards Web-based email services in the cloud -- but it's not as exciting or as Jack Bauer-esque as one may think or hope for.
The easiest way to access almost anybody's email nowadays is still through the courts. (Sorry to burst your bubble, but it's true.)
The 'save as draft' trick
Petraeus set up a private account under a pseudonym and composed email messages but never sent them. Instead, they were saved in draft. His lover, Paula Broadwell, would log in under the same account, read the email and reply, all without sending anything. The traffic would not be sent across the networks through Google's data centers, making it nigh on impossible for the National Security Agency or any other electronic signals eavesdropping agency (such as Britain's elusive GCHQ) to 'read' the traffic while it is in transit.
And yes, terrorists and pedophiles have been known to use this 'trick', but also sophisticated criminals also use this technique. It eliminates a network trail to a greater or lesser extent, and makes it more difficult to trace.
But surely IP addresses are logged and noted? When emails are sent and received, yes. But the emails were saved in draft and therefore were not sent. However, Google may still have a record of the IP addresses of those who logged into the account.
However, most Internet or broadband providers offer dynamic IP addresses that change over time, and an IP address does not always point to the same computer, let alone the same region or state every time it is assigned to a user. Even then, recent U.S. court cases have found that IP addresses do not specifically point to a computer, meaning even if the authorities were sure that it was Petraeus, for instance -- though IP addresses very rarely give the exact house number and street address -- it would not stick in court.
As is often the case, human error can land someone in the legal spotlight. 37-year-old Florida resident Jill Kelley, a family friend to the Petraeus', allegedly received emails from an anonymous account warning Kelley to stay away from the CIA chief.
But when Broadwell sent these messages, it left behind little fragments of data attached to the email -- every email you send has this data attached -- which first led the FBI on a path that led up to the very door of Petraeus' office door in Langley, Virginia.
Get a warrant, serve it to Google?
There's no such thing as a truly 'anonymous' email account, and no matter how much you try to encrypt the contents of the email you are sending, little fragments of data are attached by email servers and messaging companies. It's how email works and it's entirely unavoidable.
Every email sent and received comes with 'communications data,' otherwise known as "metadata" -- little fragments of information that carries the recipient and the sender's address, and routing data such as the IP addresses of the sender and the servers or data center that it's passed through. Extracting this metadata is not a mystery or difficult, in fact anyone can do it, but if you have the legal tools and law enforcement power to determine where the email was passed through -- such as an IP address of one of Google's data center in the United States.
The system is remarkably similar to the postal system. You can seal the envelope and hide what's inside, but it contains a postmark of where it came from and where it's going. It may even have your fingerprints on it. All of this information outside the contents is "metadata."
That said, even if you use a disposable Gmail account -- such as firstname.lastname@example.org, for instance -- it's clearly a Gmail account, and Gmail is operated by Google. Sometimes it just takes a smidgen of common knowledge.
Ultimately, only Google had access to the emails. Because it's a private company, it does not fall under the scope of the Fourth Amendment. If the U.S. government or one of its law enforcement agencies wanted to access the private Petraeus email account, it would have to serve up a warrant.
In this case, however, the Foreign Intelligence Services Act (FISA) would not apply. Even the Patriot Act would not necessarily apply in this case, even though it does allow the FBI and other authorized agencies to search email. However, in this case, above all else, the Stored Communications Act does apply -- part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
The act allows for any electronic data to be read if it has been stored for less than 180 days. In this case, the law was specifically designed -- albeit quite some time before email became a mainstream communications medium -- to allow server- or computer-stored data to be accessed by law enforcement.
However, a court order must be issued after the 180 days, and in this case it was. Reporting from London, the BBC News' Mark Ward summed it up in a single sentence:
Once it knew Ms. Broadwell was the sender of the threatening messages, the FBI got a warrant that gave it covert access to the anonymous email account.
And that's how they do it. No matter which way you look at it, no matter how much the government or its law enforcement agencies want the data or the proof of wrongdoing, they must almost always get a court order.
And Petraeus is no different from any other U.S. citizen, U.K. citizen, or European citizen -- and further afield for that matter. What it always boils down to is a court order, and it's as simple as that. It's not ECHELON or an episode of "24" using hacking or cracking techniques; it's an afternoon in a fusty courtroom with a semi-switched on (and preferably sober) judge.
That said, it doesn't grant unfettered or unrestricted access to a user's inbox or email account, but when an alleged crime has been committed or law enforcement starts digging around, it allows a fairly wide berth of powers to request access to electronically stored data.
Former assistant secretary to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Stewart Baker told the Associated Press:
The government can't just wander through your emails just because they'd like to know what you're thinking or doing. But if the government is investigating a crime, it has a lot of authority to review people’s emails.
So there it is. A court order is all you need to access a person's inbox, but sufficient evidence is often required in order to do this -- particularly through the Stored Communications Act, or the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
It sounds obvious, of course, that's because it is.
That said, if there is reasonable suspicion albeit lacking evidence, or a U.S. law enforcement agency is dealing with a foreign national outside of the United States, that normally requires a secret FISA court order to be granted in order to proceed with the interception of data or warranted access to an email account, for example.
Outside the U.S.: Is it still 'just' a court order?
A simple court order is all it takes and it can apply to anyone in public office or the man on the street holding a sign warning that "the end is nigh."
But it's OK; you're in Europe, or Australia, or Asia. The U.S. can't use their laws against you in a foreign country because, well, you're outside of its jurisdiction. Again, sorry to burst your privacy bubble but that excuse didn't wash with the European Parliament, it shouldn't with you either.
If you're a European citizen with a Microsoft, Google, Yahoo or Apple account -- or any email offered in the cloud by a U.S. company -- which is most consumer email services nowadays -- it is accessible to the U.S. courts and other nations through various acts of law, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) or the PATRIOT Act, in which the latter amended much of what the former had implemented in the first place.
("Oh great, he's talking about the Patriot Act again," says everybody.)
It's worth noting a common few misconceptions. Since first reporting this some years ago (and subsequently sparking a trans-Atlantic diplomatic row, whoops) analysts and experts alike, some who are under the thumb of the cloud companies themselves, claim that the Patriot Act -- to use the umbrella, common term -- does not allow the U.S. government or its law enforcement agencies the powers that others (*cough* including me) claim.
Let's just run through a few examples of false claims on top of false claims:
The Patriot Act is the magic wand that allows the U.S. government unrestricted access to any data, anywhere, anytime.
The Patriot Act gives the U.S. government unprecedented access to data hosted by U.S. companies anywhere in the world.
All countries have similar legislation that gives the authorities a means to requisition data on cloud services, to investigate and prevent acts of terrorism.
Actually, quite true.
It doesn't give "unrestricted" or "unprecedented" access to date outside the U.S., because for the most part these warrants must go through a special FISA court. The trouble is even though there is some level of accountability via the FISA courts, these sessions are held in secret and there are no public minutes or record to go from, so swings and roundabouts.
Only in exceptional cases where warrants are not issued is when there is an immediate threat to life. But because these courts are secret, there's no definitive and ultimate way to know for an absolute fact that the U.S. authorities don't just bypass the FISA courts and skip ahead with their investigations anyway. (You only really have my word -- and my sources in the U.S. government, such as legal counsels and spokespeople, to go on.)
On the third point, other countries do have similar laws and this should be noted. (I personally thought it was relatively common knowledge, forgive my naivety.) The U.K., for instance, has the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act that can be used to acquire data from a third-country via a U.K.-based firm, just as the Patriot Act can be used on a U.S. firm to access data in a third-country via a local subsidiary.
But in terms of where the major email and cloud providers are based -- the United States, notably on the West Coast -- it means that U.S. law must apply, in spite of foreign laws that attempt to or successfully counteract the provisions offered in U.S. law. Not many major cloud providers operate solely in the U.K., whereas Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon are all U.S. headquartered with a subsidiary in the U.K. and other countries.
The lesson here? We're all as bad as each other and no legally or financially reasonable place is safe to store data if you're a massive criminal or looking to stash a bunch of secret or uncouth documents away from the authorities.
As for Petraeus, he may have been careful but in spite of his counter-terrorism knowledge and clever tricks in going under the radar, ultimately there was a weak link in the security chain -- and no matter how far you go to try and cover your tracks, often it always falls down to two things: human error, or sex.
- THE GHOST WITHIN BREAKS OUT DEPARTMENT -
Poltergeists: Teen Angst & Telekinesis
By Andrew Nicholson
Is poltergeist activity, those unexplained noisy bangings and rappings on walls and inanimate objects like furniture, toys and stones flying through the air, levitating or materialising from nowhere, the result of troublesome ghosts or evil spirits?
Or, does it have more to do with the pent-up psychic energy of lovelorn, rebellious and frustrated teens with hormones coursing through their veins and manifesting in the form of telekinesis. Three Australian cases of poltergeist activity appear to support the view that rather than troublesome ghosts and evil spirits, it may be more a case of teen angst and telekinesis.
The Guyra Ghost is arguably Australia’s most famous case of poltergeist activity, and appears to be the first Australian case in which the term poltergeist was actually used to describe the phenomena.
It all began in a small weatherboard cottage in April 1921 when the Bowen family of Guyra suddenly began experiencing “tremendous thumpings” on the walls of their home. Soon after the thumping sounds began, the Bowens were subjected to destructive showers of stones. Upon investigation, the Bowens found there to be “no human agency” involved in the wall banging and stone throwing.
As the unexplained activity continued, it soon became clear to the Bowens that their young daughter, Minnie, appeared to be the target of the supernatural happenings. Wherever Minnie went within the house, the “tremendous thumpings” accompanied her. Stones would crash through her bedroom window, landing on her bed.
In a Sydney Morning Herald article about the Guyra Ghost written in 1954, young Minnie was described in rather unflattering terms as “a thin, dark, little girl with an impassive face” and academically as “not very clever” and that she was “backward for her age at school”.
With the Bowens becoming increasingly desperate, and the stone trowing becoming increasingly destructive, they soon called on their neighbours for help. The locals quickly came to the family’s defence.
“Night after night, the men of the township threw a double cordon round the cottage. Night after night, the stone-throwing and the thunderous rapping on the walls continued,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
“On the night of April 15 Minnie sat in a well-lighted bedroom, watched by two police officers and a number of other people. Outside ‘in weak moonlight’, 50 men patrolled the silent fields.
“About nine o’clock the silence was shattered by a loud knock on the bedroom wall, followed by two further thumps. Their force was such that the entire building shook. The women inside the house were white with fear, but Minnie remained impassive.
“A Mr Davies, who was interested in spiritualism, suggested to the child that she should ask a question, and she immediately said, ‘Is that you, May?’ naming her half-sister who had died some months before. Observers heard nothing, but Minnie claimed later that May had said to her, ‘Tell mother I am in heaven, and quite happy. Tell her it was her prayers which got me here, and I will look after her for the rest of my life.’”
Was Minnie actually communicating with her dead half-sister, or was she telling Mr Davies, and her mother, what she thought they wanted to hear?
As the stone throwing and wall banging continued, Minnie’s parents were at their wits’ end and so sent their daughter off to stay with her grandmother, 60 kilometres away in Glen Innes. But what had now been dubbed the Guyra Ghost, now made its presence felt in Glen Innes in the home of Minnie’s grandmother.
The Guyra Ghost had followed that “thin, dark, little girl with an impassive face”.
The Cooyal Ghost
In early 1887, the Large family, living on a remote property at Cooyal, near the central west New South Wales town of Mudgee, was terrorised by an inexplicable nightly rain of luminous stones falling, and sometimes floating, inside their house.
On 3 March 1887, the Kilmore Free Press reported that: “A farmer named Large has reported to the police that, for several nights, himself and family have been terrified, in consequence of stones, some weighing one pound, continually dropping inside the house, apparently dropping through the roof.”
Before long, news spread throughout the district of the Cooyal Ghost with visitors turning up at the remote homestead to witness the inexplicable occurrence for themselves.
“All who have visited the place, seeing for themselves, the police included, persist in applying what they regard an appropriate term ‘ghostly missives’ to the huge stones, which have dropped into the house when both doors and windows have been secured.”
In this case, the mother of the family bore the brunt of those “ghostly missives”.
“The effect on the poor woman, Mrs Large, who feels that she is the victim of some awful vengeance is most alarming. At times, while the missiles are falling around her, deathly chills affect her whole system and almost prostrate her.
“On one evening, fearful to: remain indoors, the poor woman sought a quiet spot outside the house, but, strange to say, several large stones dropped close to her, whilst one, although falling on some part of her, left no mark – in fact was hardly felt. A cold deathly chill then crept over her and she had to be taken to the fire, but this did not restore warmth to her system.”
Mrs Large explained the phenomena to a reporter from the Ballarat Free Press and Mining Journal who visited the family’s home.
“It was not stone-throwing, but stones falling, the stones coming so it seemed, through the roof, at times appearing to float in on the air, and while floating looked white. When the stone fell on the floor, it fell with a dull thud, and looked black.”
When the stones struck either her or one of her children, it was “as though a small bag of feathers struck them”.
It is perhaps when the “ghostly missives” first made their appearance that may hold the key to the true nature of the Cooyal Ghost.
The Ballarat Free Press and Mining Journal recounted the events of that first night.
“On the first evening of this strange manifestation, Mr Large was returning home with a bag of flour on a pack horse, and on approaching the house the animal stood still, apparently afraid to move towards the dwelling. After no little persuasion, with much pulling, the terrified steed was got to the door. With difficulty he was unpacked, and an altogether unusual thing for the beast to do, he bolted as though maddened, careering in every direction except near the house.
“This set the family wondering. Just then, for the first time, the stones commenced dropping in the house. Mrs Large at once concluded some of the young people having a lark with her in revenge for her refusal to permit a dance being held there that night.”
Was one of the children, unconsciously taking their frustrations out on their mother, the cause of the floating stones?
Poltergeist in the milking shed
In the summer of 1949, Laurie Wilkinson’s milking shed, of all places, was the setting for a strange case of poltergeist activity in which metal plates from Laurie’s milking machine began to inexplicably fly off and out of the shed. When tied down, the milking machine would twist and contort. Tin cans floated and spun in mid-air. And on one occasion, in front of intrigued locals, Laurie’s 15-year-old son, Robin, began to move one of the plates with an iron bar when the bar was suddenly wrenched from his hands and became embedded in the concrete floor while the plate was flung 200 yards away.
A visitor from Sydney, Clem Gorman, witnessed the flying plates firsthand.
“I saw it, but I wish to God I had not seen it. It is frightening. There’s no reason so far as I can see why this should happen, and I’m a mechanical man. I wish I’d never seen it because it disturbs me greatly.”
Another witness to the poltergeist in the milking shed, who visited the farm regularly, described another encounter.
“Mr. Wilkinson walked into the engine-room and turned off the engine. He had only just left the engine-room when an empty one-pound grease tin, which had been standing on the top of the vacuum pump, began to rise slowly in the air. We saw it spinning as it rose. It cleared a six foot wooden partition … then turned and fell with terrific force to the ground about 18 inches from where I stood.
“A peculiar thing about it was, that it seemed much bigger than it really was – as big as a football. I suppose that was because it was spinning diagonally. We were so astonished we thought we’d see what would happen to an empty 50-cigarette tin. We put it on the top of the moisture trap of the vacuum pump. A minute or two later it also rose over the six foot partition.”
Eleven months after the plates first began flying, the mystery remained unsolved and the disruption to the daily milking routine at the dairy farm continued. Speculation on the cause of the mystery ranged from black magic and evil spirits to a new theory of gravitation.
A member of London’s Magic Circle, said to be the leading and oldest society of amateur and professional magicians in England, believed he had the answer to the mystery.
“When I went to Mr. Wilkinson’s dairy I had two things to settle in my mind. Was the rampaging, milking machine in a state of neglect and disrepair? And was there any loophole for trickery? The answer to the first question was patently ‘No’.
“Mr. Wilkinson himself is too stolid and hard-working a farmer to want to play tricks on himself. The continued disintegration of his milking machine has imposed a tremendous physical strain upon him and reduced his nervous system to a wreck.
“Then what of his son, Robin? Here is a strong, healthy boy of 15, obviously interested in machinery, always doing odd jobs in the dairy and – most suspicious circumstance of all – the indefatigable retriever of missing engine parts. But I am convinced Robin intentionally was not responsible for these strange goings-on.
“The evidence of eyewitnesses is that although he was present when some phenomena were happening, he was miles from the place when other things happened. Yet it was the boy Robin who gave me a clue. He said, in answer to my question: ‘Not much happens when I’m away’.
“That was it. The history of psychical research in other countries proves that nearly all poltergeist phenomena occur in the presence of a human agent, usually an adolescent boy or girl. In other words, I think it reasonable to suspect that the absurd happenings at Mr. Wilkinson’s farm are of poltergeist origin and that the human agent in the case is Mr. Wilkinson’s son.”
Source: Mysterious Universe
- THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT DEPARTMENT -
Still Haunted by Amityville
By Steve Dollar
One of pop culture's most enduring nightmares began 37 years ago this December in the bucolic bayside town of Amityville, on Long Island.
That winter, George and Kathy Lutz and her three children from a previous marriage moved into a Dutch colonial house at 112 Ocean Ave, about 30 miles east of the city. Over the next 28 days, they contended, the family endured an onslaught of bizarre events that ranged from inexplicable hordes of flies to demonic visions. The Lutzes fled, leaving all their possessions behind. Their story, however, never went away. The 1977 book "The Amityville Horror: A True Story," and the 1979 horror movie that was based on it, sparked a media phenomenon that has yet to fade from public memory.
Now a new documentary, "My Amityville Horror," makes it personal, introducing a man who is still living through that nightmare. The film, which will have its New York premiere Saturday at IFC Center as part of the third annual DOC NYC festival, features the first-person testimony of Daniel Lutz, the eldest of the Lutz siblings, who was 9 when the events occurred. A recluse who had a troubled, combative relationship with his stepfather and claims to have been homeless for a period after leaving his family in his early teens, Mr. Lutz has kept his secrets to himself until now.
"He's been carrying around this weight for nearly 40 years," said Eric Walter, the young filmmaker who devoted three years to making the documentary, amid a decade of obsessive amateur research into the case. "It's not easy to talk about."
Nor is it easy to hear. Whatever happened, Mr. Lutz, now 46, appears to have suffered from it for much longer than the month he spent in the house. He recounts stories of abuse and family dysfunction, combined with claims of continued paranormal disturbances that he has struggled to move beyond. The film revisits the original "haunting" and its many complicated tangents—including its ostensible source, the murder of six family members by one of the home's previous residents, Ronald DeFeo Jr.—through TV footage and newspaper clippings, but its focus remains on Mr. Lutz, both as an adult and as a child.
"He's got those ice blue eyes that really come out at you," said Laura DiDio, who in early 1976 was working for the news department at New York's Channel 5 (WNYW) while a student at Fordham University. She tracked down the Lutzes, who were in hiding, and also produced coverage of a seance—the so-called "psychic slumber party"—at their vacated house. The footage is seen in the new movie, as is a seance reunion. Ms. DiDio, who now lives in Massachusetts, met Daniel Lutz again at Mr. Walter's invitation. "You're struck by his intensity and then you're struck by, 'Oh my God, he's saying all this stuff.' I believe Danny really believes what he's saying."
Ms. DiDio recounted some of her own unusual experiences at the Amityville house, which she visited alone and in the company of various mediums, investigators and cameramen. But she says she never witnessed anything that could be verified as supernatural. Still, her encounters with George and Kathy Lutz, both now deceased, left her sympathetic.
"Take away all the stories of the oozing green slime, the flies and everything, but for what they went through over the years, if the Lutzes did perpetrate a hoax, they got the bad end of the deal."
Several years ago, Daniel Lutz, who lives in Queens, reached out to Mr. Walter through a friend, Michael Russo, who was impressed with Mr. Walter's work on an Amityville website. Mr. Russo, who serves as an executive producer of "My Amityville Horror," had known Mr. Lutz for awhile without making the connection. One day he heard Mr. Lutz referred to by the nickname "Spooky."
"I asked him if he could tell me what this is all about in one sentence," said Mr. Russo. "He said, 'Yes I could. I've been spiritually and emotionally abused by spirits.' I said, 'Thank you very much. That's all I wanted to know.'"
Mr. Lutz is not expected to make a public appearance with the film, nor is he doing interviews to promote it. According to Mr. Walter, Mr. Lutz's brother Christopher and sister Melissa did not participate because "they either don't want to talk about the experience or they want to do it in their own fashion."
In the film, Mr. Lutz's conversation with Mr. Walter (who sits off-camera) becomes tense at times, the wrong question igniting flashes of anger. At the very end, he walks off. Skeptics might suggest he has coped with real childhood trauma by incorporating the lore promoted by his stepfather into his memories. "He was haunted by this man, along with these events," the filmmaker said, "and they seemed to intermingle into this one energy."
But Mr. Walter opted for a neutral position on the "did it happen" question, saying the movie concerns the impact that the mystery made on a single life. "People being haunted by a haunting is not something I had seen before," he said. "The evidence we can present is this man's life, everything that has happened for the last 40 years—it comes down to a family story and it's quite tragic."
Source: Online WSJ
- MAD SCIENTISTS DEPARTMENT -
By Stephen Wagner
From human invisibility to amazing demonstrations of levitation, these strange devices, weird experiments and impossible observations - if true - challenge conventional scientific knowledge.
Electrodes flash and spark, illuminating the dimly lit laboratory. Vials of eerie glowing liquid bubble and spit. The scientist, with a mad glare in his eyes, closely watches the progress of his secret experiment. Something weird is happening in this dark, cold basement - something the scientist hopes will finally prove what the rest of the scientific world said was impossible.
We've all enjoyed the image of the mad scientist in the movies as he toiled away in his creepy lab, working on the very edge of scientific knowledge. There really have been such independent scientists, of course. And although they might not quite be mad, their pursuits have been unconventional. Perhaps impossible.
Here are a few intriguing tales of "mad scientists" and their wild inventions. They may be true, exaggerated, hearsay, legends or outright hoaxes - we may never know for certain. But the possibility that they are real is irresistible.
THE INVISIBLE MAN
Human invisibility is a fun idea, one that has been the subject of several sci-fi books and movies, including H.G. Wells' classic The Invisible Man and the more recent Hollow Man. Has some obscure scientific genius actually achieved it? Consider this story found on Keelynet:
The scene is a public hall in London England. The year is 1934. A young scientist, claiming he has discovered the secret to electromagnetically induced invisibility, steps into an open-front cabinet on a brightly lit stage before a curious audience. On his head he wears a device he calls an Electro-Helmet along with some other paraphernalia. He reaches up and touches two contacts above his head with both hands, then gives the signal for the switch to be thrown. The switch allegedly sends a current of electricity to his strange devices... and his body gradually vanishes from his feet to his head!
According to the story, spectators could touch and feel his body within the cabinet, but they could not see him. "All one could see," the story goes, "was the development of a cone of light such as might be projected between the two poles of a powerful transmitter." Naturally, the inventor refused to reveal how his contraption worked, stating only that it was the result of many years of experimentation.
Was he a brilliant scientist? Or a clever magician? The demonstration sounds very much like illusions performed by top magicians today. The part of the story that makes it most intriguing, if it is accurate, is that his body vanished from toe to head "gradually."
The U.S. military in recent history is said to have experimented with creating invisibility by bending light through electromagnetic means, and may have been one of the goals of the legendary "Philadelphia Experiment." Was this "young scientist" decades ahead of them?
ANOMALOUS TRANSPARENCY: THE FAILE EFFECT
Dr. S.P. Faile doesn't believe he can make himself invisible, but he does think things around his laboratory sometimes inexplicably become partially transparent. In a curious article titled "Observations of Anomalous Transparency: The Faile Effect," author Nicholas Reiter writes about the weird observations Dr. Faile began making around his home in 1997 and 1998.
Faile, a semi-retired materials research engineer and scientist noticed the strange effects after he had been conducting experiments in "new energy." According to the article, "the effect seemed to mainly consist of occasional circumstances where common, normally opaque objects ranging from one's forearm, to sheet metal, to furniture, would seem to turn partially transparent. More distant objects seemed to be visible through these structures, even to the extent of such details as printed characters."
Was it just an optical illusion? Failing eyesight? Or had Dr. Faile stumbled upon a new phenomenon?
At first, Faile too wondered if the effect was just an illusion, but dismissed that possibility after numerous experiments and corroborating observations by colleagues. In numerous tests, he was able to observe this transparency both indoors and out, in various kinds of lighting. The effect is not the common observation anyone can make if they hold their hand or an object close to one eye and allow the other eye to see past it, resulting in an illusion of transparency.
So what is it? "At present it seems to be a phenomenon in search of a definition or methodology," the article states. "One model would place the effect into the realm of anomalous human talent, such as clairvoyance or remote viewing. However, other individuals, with only a minimum of technique refinement, have been able to confirm the effect. Additionally, because a number of 'real world' factors such as lighting, location and certain material structures can greatly affect its magnitude, it seems to more properly belong in the realm of optics, and probably quantum mechanics."
JOHN KEELY'S FLOATING MINI-SOLAR SYSTEM
John Worrell Keely (1827-1898) was a rogue inventor who tirelessly experimented with free energy, something called a "compound disintegrator" and numerous other devices on the fringe of mainstream science. He still has a devoted following today of like-minded experimenters who are convinced that free energy is out there somewhere, just waiting to be tapped.
One of the most fascinating stories about Keely concerns his encounter with John Jacob Astor, heir to the Astor fur-trading fortune (and who later perished on the Titanic), at the World's Fair in the late 1880s. Keely was demonstrating a device he called "The Musical Globe." This sphere (the story does not mention its size) was painted black on one side and white on the other and was said to contain some secret arrangement of vibrating components. When properly tuned, the sphere would react to the playing of a harmonica and begin to spin of its own accord.
Astor was so impressed by the demonstration that he sought Keely out. Allegedly, Keely told Astor that The Musical Sphere was only part of a much more fantastic discovery - the the "good stuff," he said, was in his laboratory, if Astor would like to see it. Of course, he did.
In Keely's lab was a very curious device that consisted of a large metal sphere centered on a large ring. An outer, larger ring was supported by the first and in it were nested smaller spheres of various sizes. The appearance was of a mini solar system - planets surrounding a central sun. When Keely turned on his machine and fiddled with some dials to make the necessary fine tuning, the large sphere began to rotate on its axis. Soon the small spheres began to rotate too, and also to orbit the large sphere.
So far this demonstration could be explained by any number of mechanical means, but what happened next enters the realm of the impossible. In just a few minutes, the large sphere, still spinning, rose off of the ring, as did all of the smaller spheres in their orbits. When reaching a certain height, the smaller spheres spread out to their optimum orbits. So what Astor stood looking agape at was a completely free-floating, moving representation of our solar system.
Supposedly, Astor reached up and grabbed one of the smaller spheres - and was carried around the room by it. His touching it had no affect on its height or speed of rotation.
Had Keely truly discovered some fantastic unknown force? Or was it a trick? Or is this just a tall tale passed around by Keely's fans? If it's true, how and why would news of such a miraculous device have been kept secret?
There will always be such independent, free-thinking "mad scientists" in our midst. And perhaps one day one of them will incontrovertibly demonstrate a device from his basement workshop that will change the world, and make the impossible possible.
- COMING 'ROUND FOR A VISIT DEPARTMENT -
Mystery of the Alien Satellite
"Our homeland Sun is Epsilon Bootes. It is a double star.
We live on sixth of seven planets, counted from the sun… Our sixth planet has a moon, our fourth planet has three moons. Our first and third planet has no moon.
Our satellite is in a circular path around your Moon… "
Did we pick up the signals from an artificial satellite sent to our planet by an extraterrestrial intelligence?
In December 1927, Carl Stoermer, the Norwegian Professor of Mathematics at University in Olso, and explorer of echo radio was contacted by two American scientists, Leo C. Young, radio engineer and Dr. A. Hoyt Taylor, chief consultant of electronics at the naval research laboratory.
During their experiments with radio waves, Young and Taylor observed unnatural signals coming from space.
On August 25 1928, the scientists along with Carl Stoermer and the workers of Philips Company began to send their own radio signals of various wave lengths.
While sending a series of signals, the researchers received two series of echoes instead of only one, normally coming back after a delay of one seventh of a second.
Weeks passed and on October 11, 1928, the same repeating signals with delays from 3 to 15 seconds were systematically received during several sessions. On October 24, as many as 48 such signals were picked up.
The interval from 3 to 15 seconds was a real puzzle to the scientists. Could they mean a code, an intelligent coded message from an unknown extraterrestrial sender? But from whom? What was the location of the signals?
The observations of incoming signals were still conducted in 1934, 1947, 1949, and 1970.
At the beginning of the 70s, Duncan Lunan, a Scottish astronomer, President of the Scottish Association of Technology and Research, being interested in the phenomenon undertook a thorough research.
The puzzling phenomenon required an explanation of some kind, but all attempts to solve it did not bring any satisfying results. Lunan's approach was different.
Instead of to register the deceleration time in the Y-axis (as the scientist usually practise), Lunan drew the time delay on October 11, 1928, of the received indications… in the X-axis.
The obtained results were shocking.
The signals received on October 11, 1928, originated from the constellation of Bootes (the Herdsman - the Bear Watcher, in Greek), located in the northern sky, dominated by the bright orange giant star Arcturus.
Arcturus of magnitude 0.04 is the fourth brightest star in the sky.
The constellation of Bootes is suggested to be the oldest known constellation listed by Ptolemy (ca. AD 140). Not as widely known as for example Cassiopeia or Orion, Bootes still has its impressive past recorded in history.
The ancient Egyptians pictured Bootes as a constellation they called the Hippopotamus. Both the Hindus and ancient Chinese regarded Arcturus as a pearl-star. The Greeks knew Bootes as the Bear Watcher.
Based on the results, Duncan Lunan created six detailed sky maps, depicting the set of stars in the constellation of Bootes. However, he came upon yet another mystery…
Comparing all data available from his and earlier observations, he discovered two important though strange deviations in the view of star positions. Such deviations could not be, but they were.
Looking at the first deviation, Lunan noticed that the point that should represent the star Artcturus, the brightest one in the constellation was outside of its current position.
He was surprised. He analyzed once again the star positions and found the answer. He was looking at the position of the star Arcturus as it was registered 12,500-13,000 BC!
That was the time at the end of the last large Ice Age.
A new chapter of our planet's history has just begun then. Time of the Sphinx, the pyramids, and perhaps the city of Tiahuanaco, however the last could be even older…
The other deviation was related to the star Izar, a yellow K1 giant star, a binary companion to Arcturus. The point, which should represent the star Izar was not noted on the design, but outside of the constellation lines. This point was the exact result of radio echo of 3 seconds delay, while the other points were represented by radio echoes from 8 to 15 of delay.
Was the star Izar referring to the sun of the unknown civilization in the constellation Bootes?
Perhaps a technologically advanced intelligence from there built and sent an artificial satellite to our solar system. Radio signals sent on separate occasions from the alien satellite reached the Earth's surface and bounced back to the alien satellite. After being registered and deliberately delayed, they were repeatedly sent back to the Earth.
Already in 1960, Professor R.N. Bracewell of Stanford University, California suggested that if an extraterrestrial civilization decided to contact us, they would probably choose to do it by using delayed radio signals.
No doubt, the probe was dispatched to orbit in the vicinity of Earth. The question is: For what purpose? For listening and watching our technological and social progresses? For future contact with us?
Perhaps this contact has already been established. We do not know...
Source: UFO Area
- EVEN A MAN WHO IS PURE AT HEART DEPARTMENT -
Werewolves in Myth and Legend
A werewolf is one of the central figures of the oldest superstitions. This monster featured in numerous Hollywood blockbusters has been terrifying children and adults worldwide for thousands of years as well as vampires, witches, mermaids, ghosts and sorcerers. Werewolf is also known by the name ‘lycanthrope’ meaning “a wolf human” and originating from the Greek word Likantropia. Some dictionaries define the word as ‘turning a witch into a wolf”.
The werewolf theme was always popular in the folklore worldwide, and each country has its name for the creature. Beginning from the epoch of Romulus and Remus, stories about wolves and werewolves excited the imagination of such prominent figures as Jean-Jack Rousseau, Carolus Linnaeus and Jonathan Swift. The talented writers composed an entire series of wonderful stories about werewolves.
However, the werewolf is little known as compared with his fellow, the vampire. The werewolf is more multiform and more mysterious than the vampire. The modern science may easily discredit all the mythical characteristics given to the vampire. But it is known that in old times some strange disease really affected entire settlements and turned people living there into furious beasts. Those diseased revealed all the classical symptoms of lycanthropy.
The interest to the werewolf issue seems to be inexhaustible. In the 20th century, filmmakers were inspired with the issue for making a great number of films about werewolves. Today, fiction and journalism reveal even a deeper approach to the werewolf issue and consider it in a wider aspect.
December 17, 1976 London’s The Daily Mail published a story entitled ‘Werewolf Killer Caught, The Police Say’ that told about the seizure of a criminal known as the Paris werewolf for committing numerous killings. At the end of WWII, Nazis founded a terrorist organization code named Werwolf (Werewolf). Criminals are often described with the strong moral metaphor ‘werewolves’ when they commit really wild series killings, violations that are beyond logic; when they practice cannibalism, tortures, sadomasochism and Satanism. The irony of the metaphor means that the wolf never attacks and kills itself unless it is hungry or wounded. According to recent researches, wolves in a pack maintain close trusting relations where the entire pack is based upon mutual responsibility. And in case some of the wolves in a pack reveals the killer instinct they liquidate it for the welfare of the rest of the pack.
Genuine werewolves in the contemporary society are those who come to mental hospitals as patients and participate in ritual ceremonies of American Indians. Doctors call people of both sexes who imagine or feel they are werewolves ‘lycanthropes’. So, today the word ‘lycanthrope’ is a professional medical term indicating a pathological condition; and the word ‘werewolf’ is a word used in fiction, films and as a characteristic of criminals.
Werewolves and their terrible doings were known already in the time when Rome was being founded. People in Ancient Greece also feared the scary creature. But werewolves as well as vampires were particularly scary for people in Eastern Europe where the only mentioning of a werewolf made peasants turn white and look around numb with fear.
Unlike vampires that got out from their coffins to suck blood out of living people, werewolves do not belong to the other world. The werewolf is an absolutely earthly phenomenon. It is highly likely that the turning of humans into wolves was connected with some disease, and anyone could be affected with the disease. It was for sure that a werewolf bite would make a victim diseased. But nobody knew when and under what conditions the terrible werewolf symptoms could reveal themselves. And this fact explained the wild fear and mass executions in the Middle Ages when people suspected of being werewolves were burnt or executed with swords. When the mass fear sweepingly spread, people known as batty or those having something wolfish in their features could be immediately prosecuted as werewolves.
People suspected of lycanthropy found themselves in a really terrible situation. Such attacks as a rule entailed a huge range of moral and religious problems in the epoch when the church played a really important role in the everyday life of all people.
The tradition of that time was to start open legal proceedings with tortures against those declared werewolves, and then the latter were executed which was usually burning. It is not known exactly how many people were executed by hanging or burning on the charges of lycanthropy. However, ancient written evidence proves that the number was quite considerable indeed.
People particularly feared the full moon as it was believed that the disease affected people particularly at this time. Those affected with the disease found their bodies awfully changed, they looked and behaved very much like wolves. After the terrible transformations, werewolves set off for their night wandering to kill anyone they met. That was a real disaster indeed. A human can turn into a vampire only after an attack and bite of another vampire. But lycanthropy was the disease that could suddenly affect anyone, and there was no salvation from it.
There was little chance that patients suffering from lycanthropy could be cured. As a rule, werewolves were doomed to their every night wandering until some other stronger creature killed them or they were not shot with a silver bullet. Unlike vampires, werewolves could be killed in very traditional ways, but it was believed that especially cast silver bullets were particularly effective against werewolves. It was until the 18th century that people in some parts of Europe believed that werewolves had their haired wolf tails hidden under clothes even when they turned into humans again. People thought that the physical peculiarity was always typical of lycanthropy patients, and doctors stated they actually saw patients having tails. That was true that doctors could offer no medicine to cure the disease.
Ancient treatises say that true lycanthropes not only physically turned into wolves, their mind and behavior also changed at that. Such people sensed they were absolute beasts. Those documents stated that meeting a lycanthrope was also risky on a sunny day, but moonlit nights of the full moon were particularly dangerous. It took just a very short period of time for lycanthropy patients to begin to transform into wolves. They felt fever and thirst, then their hands and legs turned into legs resembling those of a wolf. People threw off their shoes as their feet turned into wolf’s paws. The mind of a lycanthropy patient also absolutely changed, and it could no longer stay indoors. Then nausea and spasms entailed madness when the transformation became perfectly evident: a patient threw his clothes off, his body began to cover with hair and the feet grew coarse. Soon, all of the head was covered with thick hair and it seemed a human was wearing an animal mask. Then a lycanthrope was gripped with the blood lust and it ran away in search of a victim. Like many beasts of prey, lycanthropes killed their victims by biting their cervical arteries. When the blood lust was satisfied, a lycanthrope fell asleep right in the forest where he killed his victim. At daybreak, a lycanthrope turned into a human again.
Lycanthrope always felt when the terrible transformations began, but they usually occurred within a very short period of time. So, people suffering from the awful disease had to take special measures not to be exposed. Lycanthropes having big houses had special secret rooms where they hid until they turned into humans again. Others preferred to escape to forests where they were growling and rolling about the surface.
Philosophers and scholars in all epochs disputed whether werewolves actually existed or were just a fiction. Many of outstanding scholars supposed that in case of some mental diseases patients could feel they are beasts, but they emphasized that real lycanthropes could not exist at all.
In 125 B.C., Roman poet Marcell Sidet wrote that people affected with lycanthropy revealed mania, frightful appetites and wolf ferocity. According to the poet, people were particularly subject to the disease at the beginning of a year, in February, when the disease was widespread and revealed in acute forms.
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