2/23/13  #711
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Who can it be knocking at my door? Make no sound...tip-toe across the floor. If he hears, I'll be stuck all day.  I'll be trapped, and here I'll have to stay.   That's OK, because you'll have this weeks exciting issue of strange conspiracies, UFOs and the paranormal - Conspiracy Journal! So tell those pesky intelligence operatives that you don't have time for another mind-control session, because Conspiracy Journal is here at last and demanding to be read.

This week Conspiracy Journal has such tendon-snapping stories as:

- The Chelyabinsk Meteor: Separating Fact From Fiction -
Film Maker to Announce $100,000 UFO Reward for Proof of an ET Spacecraft -
- Crop Circles: ET’s Art? Nah. . . -
-Not Finding Bigfoot -
AND: Ectoplasm: Hokey but True?
All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~



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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 R. Swartz
on the PSN Radio Network.



The Chelyabinsk Meteor: Separating Fact From Fiction

Almost as soon as footage of this extraordinary event hit the internet, so too did the conspiracy theories...

"This has all the earmarks of a false flag event."
"It wasn't a meteor at all, it was a secret weapons test."
"I think it was a top secret satellite crashing back to earth."
"The meteor was 10 times lower than what we've been told, that town should have been vaporized!"

Everyone please take a deep breath and calm down. This was an unprecedented event to be sure, but nothing more or less than a meteor strike, albeit a rather large one.

Just the Facts, Please

NASA, NORAD and the Russian Federal Space Agency have all verified the facts and figures of this meteor: it was approximately 56 feet in diameter and weighed around 10,000 tons--likely a nickle-iron meteorite with an extremely high density. This meteor and it’s effects–by the numbers–makes perfect scientific sense. The physical effects of a 500 kiloton blast at 90,000 feet would look and feel exactly as it did. It seemed lower than it was in the video because it was so intensely burning. The size of the pocket of superheated, ionized gas around the shock boundary was many times larger than the object itself. The human eye simply wouldn’t be able to detect an object 56? in diameter (stationary or moving) at 90,000 feet, but something burning up at potentially Mach 57 (44,000 mph) is quite another story. Even if the actual entry speed turned out to be half that speed, it's still devastatingly fast.

Why Didn't a Blast 30x Larger Than Hiroshima Vaporize Everything?

Take for instance “Operation Grapple X” where the UK detonated a series of hydrogen bombs over Christmas Island in the late 1950?s. Grapple X mk2 was 1.8 megatons detonated at only 8,000 feet (asl) over land and within 20 miles of 1,200 troops standing out in the open. They were hit with a shock wave that knocked a few people off their feet accompanied by an earth shattering bang (as you can see and hear in the footage). There was naturally some damage to structures on the island directly beneath the blast, but nothing was leveled or vaporized, and we’re talking about a blast 3 times larger and 8x lower in altitude than this meteor was. Keep in mind that this meteor was also traveling at an extraordinary speed, so the shock wave is actually conical as it’s impacting the ground. Even the initial largest blast wave would still be affected by the forward momentum of the object. The Tunguska shock wave was later found to have impacted the ground in the shape of a butterfly due to it’s angle of trajectory.

Could it Have Been a Satellite?

There is absolutely no way this was a satellite or man-made object because of two very important factors:

1) Mass. The largest satellite in orbit (aside from the Hubble) is the NRO’s L-32 spysat which tips the scales at 5,200 kg or 5.5 tons (estimated). Even the International Space Station (440 tons) doesn't come anywhere close to matching the sheer density of this meteor. Besides, if something we put in orbit was going to catastrophically deorbit above Russia, I'm pretty certain everyone would be warned ahead of time. Mistakes like that start world wars. Interestingly, there seems to be some discrepancy over the actual weight of this bolide. Russian scientists say the meteor weighed about 10 tons before it entered the Earth's atmosphere, and broke apart 30–50 km (20–30 miles) above ground level. NASA estimated the diameter of the bolide at about 17 meters and its mass at about 10,000 tons. Since NASA likely had input from other sources--namely NORAD--I'll stick with their estimation for the time being, but it's still open to debate as far as I'm concerned. Looking at the relative visual sizes of these objects it wouldn't seem like you could cram the entire density of a warship into an object exponentially smaller, but it's entirely possible when you're talking about an iron-nickel meteor. Have you ever picked up a baseball-sized meteor and held it in your hand? I have, and it was deceivingly, freakishly heavy.

2) Velocity. A satellite re-entering the atmosphere would do so from orbital velocity which is about one-quarter of the speed at which this meteor was traveling, nor would there be a massive explosion and concussive shock wave like this. That blast was from the sheer density of the object. It may have only been 56 feet in diameter, but it weighed more than a Ticonderoga class missile cruiser! When you put size and density into perspective it's easy to see how a 10,000 ton rock hurtling through the atmosphere at 44,000 mph could result in a 500 kiloton blast.

Finally, there were actual pieces of the rock that impacted earth along with evidence of those impact points, one of which was in a nearby frozen lake. Russian authorities have already begun the hunt to find any remaining fragments of the meteor, which are extremely valuable not only to scientific study, but from a monetary standpoint as well. 

But it Looked So Much Lower to the Ground in the Videos!

The visual evidence we have to go on is based upon Russian dashcams and security camera footage, which are mediocre at best, but can still provide us with some valuable data. For instance, the speed can be fairly accurately measured based upon it's transit speed across the sky and height relative to the ground. In the video footage it certainly seems to be much closer to the ground than 90,000 feet, but it's quite deceiving because of the sheer intensity of the burn. We also know it's relative altitude based upon the time it took for the sound of the shockwave to reach the ground, which was just over a minute. Sound (at sea level) travels at approximately 1,115 feet per second. Based upon, let's say 80 seconds, well that works out to 89,200 feet. In the grand scheme of things, that's not very high at all.

To put things into perspective, the Tunguska event--which was most likely a comet fragment--exploded only 6 miles (31,000 feet) above ground level with the force of nearly 30 megatons and as we know that blast knocked down an estimated 80 million trees over an area covering 2,150 square kilometres (830 square miles). It is estimated that the shock wave from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter scale.

An explosion of this magnitude is capable of destroying a large metropolitan area. If the Chelyabinsk meteor had exploded at that height we would have certainly seen much more widespread damage and likely more fragments actually impacting the ground.

If it Looks, Sounds and Acts Like a Meteor--It's Probably a Meteor

I think this was just what it was–a meteor strike over a populated area. Nothing more, nothing less. There are an estimated 5-10 meteors of this size which strike Earth every couple months but the vast majority of them are over oceans or polar regions where they go unnoticed by the population. I find it quite extraordinary to have actually witnessed something like this in our lifetime.

There will always be extraordinary conspiracy theories surrounding extraordinary natural events, but they also require extraordinary evidence to back them up. This wasn't a wayward UFO, it wasn't a military experiment gone awry, nor was it one of the Decepticons coming from the dark side of the moon. Chelyabinsk will go down in the history books as one of the most well documented cases of a meteor strike on record and we should all be thrilled to have seen such an astronomical treat as it unfolded in real time.

Source: The Object Report


Film Maker to Announce $100,000 UFO Reward for Proof of an ET Spacecraft
By Alejandro Rojas

Nearly every day, videos, photos and eyewitness accounts of UFOs pop up on the Internet.

Some are hoaxes. Some are quirks in the weather. Some sightings are never explained and forevermore remain UFOs.

The photo above, taken by Hannah McRoberts on Vancouver Island in British Columbia in 1981, is considered one of the most credible UFO pictures.

Still, never has there been widely accepted positive proof of an extraterrestrial spacecraft, though there are those who believe various government agencies around the world have conspired to hide the truth.

Now, however, if someone can prove otherwise, they will be $100,000 richer.

Filmmaker James Fox will make this announcement as part of the promotion for his upcoming movie The 701, inspired by the Air Force's two-decade UFO study, Project Blue Book.

The massive study into 12,618 UFO sightings, which ended in 1969, was able to explain away all but 701 of these sightings.

Fox, who previously directed Out of the Blue (2002) and I Know What I Saw (2009), will reveal the $100K challenge at the 22nd International UFO Congress (IUFOC), which begins Feb. 27, in Fountain Hills, Ariz.

"One of the aspects that sets our film apart is the producers' commitment to bringing forth never-before-seen evidence. As part of this effort, we're offering a $100,000 reward for the best proof that some UFOs are alien spacecraft," Fox told The Huffington Post exclusively.

"This material can be in the form of a photograph, video or film footage or debris from an alleged crash site. But it must be able to withstand scientific scrutiny by our chosen panel.

"Our intent is not to create another television UFO documentary, but to produce a feature film for worldwide theatrical release -- 'The 701' -- the most compelling film ever produced on UFOs," Fox said.

"701 is the number the government doesn't want you to know about. The U.S. Air Force had a serious problem, starting in the late 1940s. Technological devices were invading our airspace with total impunity. Glinting, metallic discs, which could accelerate and maneuver in ways hard to imagine, were being seen in incredible numbers by reliable witnesses. Many of them were pilots."

Fox, one of the co-stars of National Geographic's Chasing UFOs, will be sharing the IUFOC podium over the five-day event with former nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman; ex-FBI Special Agent (and host of the Syfy Channel's Fact, or Faked) Ben Hansen; skeptical research scientist Ben McGee; former UK Ministry of Defense officer Nick Pope; and regression therapist Barbara Lamb, among others, presenting a compelling variety of topics, including:

    Ancient Astronauts and Technologies
    Physics of Space Travel
    A New Look At The Cosmos
    ET/Human Hybrids
    Close Encounters of The 4th Kind: ET Contact

Congress co-organizers Jason McClellan and Maureen Elsberry host "Spacing Out," a weekly web series that explores UFOs, outer space and the search for extraterrestrial life.

McClellan says the IUFOC, now in its 22nd year, fights to maintain credibility, a not-so-easy task given how many people regard the search for extraterrestrial life.

"Putting aside the giggle factor often associated with UFOs, people can come here and share their stories, experiences and personal viewpoints without being ridiculed," McClellan told HuffPost.

An interesting daily conference activity invites people to attend special experiencer sessions, led by licensed therapists, and which is closed to all press and media.

"It's a place where people can go and share their experiences," said Elsberry. "If they think they've had an experience, whether it be an abduction or any type of close encounter, they can tell it to a professional and share it with other people -- anybody can go and share their story. People can try and find some answers to what they're experiencing. Honestly, for many people, that's the main reason they come to the conference."

Once the $100,000 UFO challenge is announced, it's expected that many people will submit items they feel are credible contenders for the reward. On the other hand, the ease by which UFO photos can be made these days may account for many of the entries.

The image above is an enlargement from the main picture at the top of the story. Could this be a candidate for a $100,000 payoff? Let the contest begin.

Source: Huffington Post


Crop Circles: ET’s Art? Nah. . .

By Nick Redfern

As some people may already be aware, many of my views on crop circles are hardly what might be termed conventional. But, as crop circles are themselves in no way conventional, for me, at least, my approach to the subject is a highly appropriate one. Here’s the deal: for numerous people crop circles are the work of aliens, ET, little grey men with large, wrap-around black eyes, and over-sized heads. You get the picture, right? Of course you do! For the true-believers who pray daily at the altar of our hallowed lord and master, Kenneth Arnold, it has to be ET; it just has to be.

Actually, when it comes to crop circles, no, it doesn’t have to be. At all.

In response to those true believers, I say: “Okay, then what about the human element of the crop circle mystery?”

Well, whenever I bring up that distinctly thorny issue I very often hear two tired, well-worn and usually utterly defensive statements that broadly go something like this: “All those people who say they make crop circles are liars.” Or: “They’re nothing but hoaxers.” Blah, blah, blah. Etc, etc., etc.

To the uninitiated, the unacquainted and the outright biased, I say this: have you ever actually spoken to any of the people who make these formations? Have you ever spoken to even just one such person? Have you ever hung out in an English field – in the dead of night – and watched carefully while a massively complex formation is created undercover of darkness by a highly-skilled team?

For those who have not, but who instead prefer to make loud proclamations from the confines of their office or living-room (and possibly even on the other side of the world), I say that it’s about time you did! To all of the above.

Most people who create highly intricate crop formations are actually not out to fool anyone, to con anybody, to entice tourists to the area, or to deceive the populace and the Fortean community in the slightest. That is nothing but a media-driven myth, which is believed by millions. And it’s a myth that many people accept without question or barely a second thought.

In reality, the motivations for making crop circles run much deeper and stranger than just having a laugh at the expense of someone else. One person I have interviewed extensively on the human angle of crop circle-making is Matthew Williams. He is one of the very few people in the world, thus far, arrested, charged and convicted for making a crop formation. Or, for causing a bit of a fuss in – and damage to – a field in Wiltshire, England, as the local police preferred it when they decided to haul Matt before the judge.

Now, Matt is a good mate of mine, and I have known about his circle motivations, beliefs and actions for around 15 years or so. Basically, Matt is of the opinion that the human element is the key element in crop circles: to put it bluntly, they are made by people.

Very early on in his crop circle research, however, Matt came to realize something deeply strange and highly intriguing: namely that many people who made the formations were themselves experiencing unusual phenomena – and on numerous occasions in the formations of their very own making.

For example, Matt has experienced (as have a number of other, well-known circle-makers, more than a few of who are reluctant to speak on the record) a wealth of weird phenomena in crop circles that he himself created, including seeing small, aerial balls of light zipping around, detecting unexplained animal-like presences, and even experiencing significant periods of missing time.

Matt spelled out to me what he believes lies at the heart of all this, and it involves a belief system suggesting that crop circles are somewhat akin to 21st Century versions of Stonehenge or the Avebury Stones. They are rather like modern-day – but highly alternative – temples that, via ritual magic, can be instilled with extraordinary properties that, in turn, lead to the sometimes unusual effects experienced within such formations.

Of course, discussion of scenarios like these can often lead to a distinct rolling of the eyes on the part of those obsessed by nothing but Area 51 and Roswell, and who long for the return of Mulder, Scully and the Cigarette-Smoking Man. And, to an extent, such ideas are dependent on the belief systems of the circle-makers and those that share their views.

But, the fact of the matter is that some human circle-makers do believe this: they firmly accept that creating a crop formation, and engaging in ritual and rite within the formation in question – sometimes coupled with entering altered states of mind via the use of psychedelics – can open doorways to other realms of existence, and to paranormal-style phenomena. Plus, they have seen that high-strangeness up close and personal in their own crop-based creations.

Now, this is all highly controversial, I’ll be the very first to admit. It’s also worth noting, however, that I came across a crop circle at Chartley Castle, Staffordshire, England in the summer of 2006 that showed clear evidence of occultists having been at work in the direct vicinity of the formation and which involved the ritual slaughter of a peacock.

Now, Matt and his colleagues try and instill circles with positive energy; but there was nothing positive about the Chartley Castle crop circle: it utterly oozed negativity and was shrouded in an air of menace. But, all the same, the highly intricate Chartley Castle creation was without doubt the work of humans.

So, for those interested in crop circles, but who are massively misinformed about the people who make them and why they do so, I say this: look to the human angle for the answers to the crop circle puzzle. But don’t label those people such as Matthew Williams as hoaxers. That is the very last thing they are. It’s much more subtle than that, and runs deep into the heart of British folklore, mythology and ancient rite and ritual.

And stop focusing on bloody ET. The truth of the crop circle enigma may be far stranger than anything those bug-eyed little creeps could ever hope to cook up.

Source: Mysterious Universe


Oklahoma Man Dies In Fire, Spontaneous Combustion Not Ruled Out As Cause

SEQUOYAH COUNTY, Oklahoma -The Sheriff in an eastern Oklahoma county said his office is investigating what could be a case of spontaneous combustion.

Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart told News On 6 that deputies were called to a house on Bawcom Road, between Sallisaw and Muldrow, around 10:50 a.m. Monday. A neighbor had reported seeing smoke coming out of a home.

Lockhart said they found the nearly completely charred remains of a man in the kitchen, but that there was no other damage done to the home.

The man has been identified as 65-year-old Danny Vanzandt, according to CBS affiliate in Fort Smith, KFSM.

Sheriff Lockhart spent about 20 years as an arson investigator for the Fort Smith, Arkansas Police Department, before retiring to run for Sheriff in Sequoyah County. Lockhart said he'd never seen anything like it. He said it didn't seem that any accelerant was used and only the floor below Vanzandt's body was damaged.

Lockhart said his remains have been sent to the Medical Examiner's office in Tulsa for examination.

Lockhart said Vanzandt was an alcoholic and a smoker. But KFSM reports that Lockhart said Vanzandt's body was burned in a way that was inconsistent with the fire being started by accident, such as by dropping a lit cigarette.

The Sheriff said the investigation is still ongoing, but that he is not ruling it out spontaneous combustion as the cause of the fire.

Another mysterious fire involved an 11-year-old cancer survivor who is now recovering from third-degree burns after her shirt mysteriously caught fire in a Portland, Ore., hospital room.

The girl, Ireland Lane, had been painting in her room at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, ABC affiliate KATU reported. Moments later, she ran into the hallway screaming, with her T-shirt aflame.

"I've been in medicine going back 30 years now and never heard anything like this. And hopefully I never will again," Dr. Stacy Nicholson, physician-in-chief at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, told KATU.

"Our safety experts are working closely with the Oregon State Fire Marshal's office on its investigation," Nicholson added in a statement to ABCNews.com. "We anxiously await the their findings and will certainly make adjustments if the cause was preventable."

Hospital staff extinguished the flames, but the cause of the fire remains a mystery. Ireland said she used hand sanitizer to clean a table that rolled over her bed, where she had painted a wooden box as a gift for her nurses, the Oregonian reported. Officials are investigating whether the alcohol-based sanitizer and static electricity could have sparked the fire, a spokesman for the Oregon State Fire Marshal told ABCNews.com.

Ireland, who is a cancer survivor, had been hospitalized for an unrelated head injury. She was due to leave the hospital the day of the fire, Feb. 2. Instead, she is undergoing treatment for third-degree burns on her chest, neck, arms and earlobes at Legacy Oregon Burn Center, the Oregonian reported. She is listed in serious condition and scheduled to undergo a second skin graft Thursday - her 12 th birthday.

"She's quite a tough one," the girl's father, Stephen Lane of Klamath Falls, Ore., told the Oregonian. "She's been through more than any child I've ever heard of, and to still walk around with a smile on her face and enjoy the things of the day that are going on, and be a kid is to me pretty amazing."

Lane said his daughter "still has bad dreams," but doesn't remember the fire. He, on the other hand, can't get it out of his head. He was sleeping in Ireland's hospital room when the fire erupted and followed his frantic daughter into the hallway, where hospital staff proceeded to smother the flames.

"I can handle all of it - I'm a dad and I'm supposed to," Lane told the Oregonian. "But I hate seeing her unhappy stuck in a hospital again."

Source: News On 6


MIB-UFO: Virtual Reality and Reality Tunnels
By Christopher Knowles

This is my contribution to an upcoming book on the Men in Black by Nick Redfern.

Imagine that you've built a time machine. Imagine you enter that machine and abduct English-speaking pilgrims from the rocky shores of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Imagine you take the brightest citizens you can find and show them your television and your cellphone and Google Earth, things we all take for granted. How would you explain any of it? How would you explain satellite feeds and wireless internet?

How could you begin to explain these things to people- separated by a mere moment in geological time- who have no concept of electricity, never mind microchips? Can you imagine the terror, the confusion, and the myths they would create to explain such an experience? No matter how hard you tried to explain these wonders, your poor abductees would have no context at all to process any of it. Even the most serene sounds and images would seem to mock their entire conception of reality.

You wouldn't necessarily need a time machine. There are still isolated tribes in the Amazon, the great heartland of Mother Earth, Stone Age peoples who have been sheltered by millions of square acres of impassible jungle. There have been flyovers of film crews, which surely has caused a great deal of confusion among the tribes. What context do they possibly have for a helicopter or airplane in their conception of the world? These surreptitious flybys must be utterly magical and mysterious. Or more likely, demonic.

And then there are the cargo cults of the South Pacific, who came face to face with technological society during the Second World War. Cargo cults have become a bit of a cliche in UFO circles, but they and the isolated tribes serve as a more effective metaphor for those of us who subscribe to heretical ideas on flying saucers.

We breathe the same air these tribes do but we live for all intents and purposes in two entirely separate worlds. But would we- do we- behave any differently when confronted with a bewildering superior technology?

I'm one of those handful of weirdos who believe flying saucers are real physical objects guided by intelligence but do not believe they are filled with spacemen from another planet. I believe these things for the very same reason- too many people have been witnessing these things for too long for a truly reasonable individual to dismiss them all as illusions. But the fact that so many people have seen so many UFOs for such an incredibly long time effectively rules out extraterrestrial vehicles, at least to me.

I love Star Trek more than anyone but the distances between stars are huger than we can imagine. And even if an advanced civilization has mastered the warp drive I don't think they'd come here and behave anything like flying saucers have since prehistory.

Let's go back to those poor abductees from Plymouth. If we were to try to explain our technology to them we would have to use their modes of language, and here we would inevitably lapse into symbol, simile and metaphor; "It's all kind of like this... or it's as if.. or it's like that, you see." It wouldn't be easy. And you can be certain they would initially see it all as the Devil's work.

Human beings fill in blanks with imagination, and when faced with superior force those blanks are invariably painted black. As much as we want to believe in angels, I think most of us are afraid that those higher powers are exclusively demonic. This speaks to the fragility of the human condition. In the end, this world kills us all.

Because the mind-killing virus of Fundamentalism (spiritual or secular) still infests the world of the paranormal and Conspiratainment spheres, too many people who don't  dismiss the UFO phenomenon out of hand paint it all black. This is an inevitability based in ignorance and fear. Fear is an important evolutionary mechanism and fearing what we don't know is based in our survival instinct. But it can also metastisize into religions of fear. Even the starry-eyed crystal-kissers seem increasingly likely to lapse into these kneejerk fear responses these days, thanks in large part to David Icke.

But based on what we know, it's hard to justify these fear projections, even following the liberal rules of evidence in UFOlogy. Only the most extreme- or gullible- UFO researchers can argue that the phenomenon has caused any physical damage to human beings- certainly nothing even remotely approaching the mass murder, oppression and slavery that human beings have always inflicted on each other.

A skeptic would argue this is because the UFO phenomenon only exists in the human imagination. And perhaps they'd be half right.

Just as I can't find any compelling evidence that UFOs are interplanetary vehicles, neither can I find compelling proof of recent physical contact with physical "aliens" as we would commonly understand such a thing. The fact that there's been such of variety of creatures reported in these accounts- particularly before the Grey archetype took hold in the media- argues against the literal, physical reality of these experiences.

But there is compelling evidence that something else is going on and has been for a very, very long time. Most people familiar with UFOlogy know that Men in Black showed up before, if not in a different context, particularly in America.  You have a long tradition of encounters,  told in the most sober of fashions, with beings good, bad and indifferent as angels, demons, fairy folk, and on and on and on. Local cults would spring up commemorating these encounters in pre-Christian times.

There is an ancient key that can unlock this puzzle. "Abductees" and "Contactees" have often described their encounters as terrifying, but I've yet to see any compelling evidence of real physical harm. But these contacts do remind me of ancient contacts that were enshrined into the Mystery religions of the ancient Mediterranean, so much so that terrifying initiates in order to prepare their minds for contact with divine beings became common practice in many cults.

Even a cursory read of the ancient Mithraic Liturgy of the Paris Codex-- which tells of an abduction into a metallic flying disk filled with strange beings who take the initiate on a tour of the heavens-- shows that these encounters long predate the science fiction trappings of extraterrestrial contact that dominates the conversation today.

This is no small thing: this liturgy belonged to the most powerful cult of its day, a severe warrior cult that commanded the rulers of the known world and whose liturgy was instrumental in Carl Jung's conception of the Collective Unconscious.

There are of course other explanations for this phenomena-- night terrors, sleep paralysis and so on-- but even without those cases you still have an interesting corpus of contact. You may be familiar with the many parallels between fairy lore (fairy being a catch-all phrase here for any number of supernatural but non-divine beings) and modern abduction accounts- the focus on sexuality and reproduction, the hybrids.

Some might use these parallels to dismiss it all, but I see it as confirmation that contact is taking place in an artificial environment that behaves a lot like our modern conceptions of Virtual Reality. How predictable that the gods of the ancient Mysteries insinuated themselves into our modern conception of Virtual Reality from the start: witness the Loa and Orisha manifesting themselves in Cyberspace in the work of SF novelist and VR theorist William Gibson.

Or note that the most popular VR narrative of our time- The Matrix- also features MIBs as the heavies (as does its prototype, Dark City). Both films are also drenched in Mystery symbolism as well. One day we might see it all as a return to first principles.

There are greater mysteries though, ones which the Men in Black phenomenon raise. Our concept of physical reality is a reductive, artificial construct, created to facilitate a common consensus that allows the day-to-day responsibilities of life to be seen to. There are conscientious objectors to this construct though, ones you can't lynch or toss in prison.

Throughout history we've seen accounts of beings and objects which appear and disappear at will, often in front of large groups of ordinary citizens, sometimes in front of cameras. They don't care whether or not anyone believes in them or can explain them. They do what they want and don't worry much about the consequences.

The UFO isn't so easy to explain away, though not for lack of trying. But these anomalous beings are a different story. I've encountered a couple of them myself, and the lingering question in my mind is still "what the fuck was that?" But the fact that other people across time and geography have had identical experiences leads me to believe it was not my imagination.

One thing people who have these experiences can speak to is how random, and well, totally irrelevant these encounters can be. They usually explain nothing, they accomplish nothing, and they confirm or deny no deep-seated need; they just are. Dreams can usually be traced to psychological urges, hallucinations less so but still seem to fit into some larger psychic context.  Encounters with what UFO heretics call "Ultraterrestrials" usually make no damn sense at all.

And then there are Men in Black. There are a whole host of explanations that can easily explain the phenomenon as gov't agents, pranksters, or simple hoaxes. But what matters is not the encounter so much as the result. What was the result of this encounter? If it radically changed the course of a person's life, chances are pretty good that something important is at work. If they scare people, they just as often as not scare them into a heightened awareness of deeper realities than the shampoo commercial reality the snitches and debunkers demand we all be forced to live in.

I'd go even farther- I think we'd sooner trust the reality of a demonic encounter than an angelic one. We tend-- and with good reason-- to dismiss stories of angelic encounters, whether in their Biblical or Space Brother incarnations.  In fact, a lot of people are inclined to interpret angels as devils in disguise; leading their victims to disaster by hypnotizing them with pretty promises. In contrast a Man in Black seems to be a WYSIWYG proposition.

But ask yourself: are these MIBs doing God's or the Devil's work? Warning a witness not to talk about their sighting, not to pursue the matter at all; well, to some people that can be seen as a nasty business. But those of us who've seen how UFOlogy can consume or destroy lives, by becoming a career-killing and wallet-draining obsession, aren't quite so sure. Reporting a UFO or abduction experience can open a person up to constant abuse and ridicule, which paradoxically often deepens the UFO obsession.

Would a devil really try to steer a poor soul away from that road? The more I read the lore, the more I'm reminded not of devils, but of those stern-faced angels in Sodom, darkly warning the populace of the hellfire about to rain from the Heavens.

If you really take the time to see past the skeptic-believer dichotomy, the UFO phenomenon takes on the feeling of theatre- a high theatre in the skies. The high weirdness of the entire UFO drama, the juicy bits that the fading nuts-n-bolts crowd dismiss out of hand, starts to feel less anomalous than typical the more you really look at it. If you dispense with the pulp sci-fi trappings  and set your sights before 1947 on the timeline, what seems bizarre and ridiculous starts to make a lot more sense.

Many of the old UFO legends- the men like Kenneth Arnold and Aime Michel, not to mention John Keel and Jacques Vallee- dispensed with the invader from Zeta Reticuli mythology and came to realize that UFOs and their aftershocks have been our intimate companions since we lived in trees and caves. But this exegesis is a lot less comforting than the idea of space saviors to the believer, and heart-stoppingly terrifying to the Debunker.

We all have a normality bias. In fact, for nearly 25 years I dismissed what I now see as a classic UFO encounter as a "swamp gas" sighting with weird after-effects. And for good reason; I happened to be driving through the Great Swamp of New Jersey (immortalized in Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast). But it wasn't until I actually researched swamp gas (or foxfire or Will o' the Wisp or faerie fyre or take your pick) that I realized there's no way it could have been swamp gas.

I was my own debunker: I latched onto some weak, lameass excuse, one that didn't hold up to serious scrutiny and set it all in stone. I realize today I did so because the experience was pretty unsettling, and not unlike any number of Man in Black encounters.

It happened one night when my wife, myself and our infant son were driving Great Swamp Road to the 24-hour Pathmark supermarket. We kept weird hours at the time. We had a Volkswagen Rabbit convertible, and since it was warm we probably would have had the top down.

At some point I noticed three stars in formation over the tree line; a bit on the bright side, similar to Venus on a good night, but nothing out of the ordinary. They weren't blinking so they probably weren't planes or choppers and it would be years before anyone around heard of Chinese lanterns.

The trees were in full bloom and blocked out the sky on much of the drive, but every time we came to a break in the treeline I noticed the positions of the stars changed. And noticeably so, from a straight line to a triangle to an inverse triangle and so on. I wasn't thinking about UFOs at the time, so I don't remember exactly what I thought it was. Just weird.

It got weirder.

After shopping, we were getting ready to leave and a strange man approached us in the nearly deserted parking lot, very much intruding into our personal space. He was no Man in Black. Actually, he looked more like a typical CSICOP debunker-type; big and bloated, late middle-aged, bespectacled and unkempt.

He spoke in a Eastern European accent, feeding us some bullshit story that he had some baby furniture he was trying to get rid of.  I didn't believe it for a second. I seem to remember he wanted us to follow him to his house to pick it up- it was getting close to midnight. And my wife recently reminded me he also offered his services as a sitter.

Yeah. Brrrr.

As I loaded the groceries I spotted a slovenly older woman watching all of this, obviously his wife. She was leaning on a beat-up old Ford LTD wagon, her arms stiffly folded at her chest looking like a woman watching a nightmare she didn't have the will to stop.

I wasn't having any of it. I physically placed myself between the man and my own wife and dismissed him with clenched-teeth pleasantries. I'm six foot five and was pretty fit at the time, so the guy backed off and returned to the car. As we were getting ready to leave I noticed him sitting in his darkened car, smoking and staring at us very intently. His wife's face still looked etched with a mix of anger, fear and humiliation, even in the dark.

To some abduction researchers this might sound like a typical screen memory of an encounter- a young family driving down a dark, deserted country road, strange lights in the sky, an anomalous encounter with a creepy stranger speaking in a foreign accent.

To Debunkers, always eager to rationalize any kind of predatory behavior directed at young children, I'm making something of nothing. A Debunker would also double down on the setting of the sighting and kick and screech and foam that it just had to have been swamp gas, Mommy!

It's immaterial because what really interests me here is the synchronicity and symbol that accompanies so many encounters with UFOs. We were driving through a landmark featured in one of the pivotal events of 20th Century UFOlogy and my wife's name --Elizabeth Knowles-- is etymologically identical to Elizabeth "Betty" Hill, who had her own world-changing encounter with the hidden world one balmy evening. Facts I was unaware of at the time, I might add.

To others this might confirm the demonic nature of UFOs; a sighting followed by a confrontation that sounds like something out one of those horrible "true crime" magazines. But I don't see it that way myself. At the time I was under the illusion that the world was conspiring on my behalf and nothing bad would ever happen to me again; you know, the stupid shit that kids in their early 20s like to believe. But maybe if the utter weirdness of the light show in the sky hadn't  interrupted my reverie, I might have bought this character's bullshit story and paid a terrible price for my naivete.

Even if we rightfully mistrust Space Brothers and Fairy Godmothers, we still operate under the assumption that pleasant events help us and unpleasant events hurt us. For my money that's a dangerously naive view.

Encounters with Men in Black or the like might be scary, but if they lead to a more holistic view of reality-- maybe even a more cautious or skeptical one, if you will-- then perhaps we should think about these things a bit differently.

Meister Eckhart taught that the devils in Purgatory were actually angels, who were tearing away our attachments to the physical plane to allow us to move on to the next. Whatever tears away our attachment to the politically-motivated fiction we call consensus reality-- no matter how unpleasant it might be at the time-- can't but help but be a blessing in disguise.

I tend to agree with the view in High Weirdness circles that nothing entities like Men in Black say or do should be trusted or taken at face value. But I also believe that these entities could be directed by something else entirely for reasons it's up to us to figure out.

If these encounters are frightening or intimidating that only means we should treat these experiences all the more seriously. It could well mean that somebody- or something- is trying to get your attention. The least you can do is pay it.

Source: The Solar Satellite


Not Finding Bigfoot

Why can't anyone seem to find Bigfoot?

The skeptical response is of course that there is no such creature, and that the big guy is simply a myth and a meme, a folly perpetrated upon humanity for ages by wishful thinking and the innate human need for "monsters" in the mists and shadows. There are even those who insist the phenomenon is recent and originated around the time of the Patterson-Gimlin footage.

This latter assertion is not only nonsense, it is also a bit insane. The truth is that human beings across cultures and eras have reported the presence of giants, trolls, ogres, wild men, spirit men and a host of other analogous beings. The enduring icon of the "forest God" is also worthy of our attention, since it may describe the spirit of this otherwise very real creature. We cannot ignore some of the oldest potential references, like the Humbaba in Sumerian legend, slain by Gilgamesh and his trusty companion Enkidu: He was the guardian of the "Cedars of Lebanon" which is possibly a convenient way of saying that a giant man-like creature lived in the forest. Sound familiar?

Enkidu himself has been suggested by other cryptozoologists and students of myth and legend as a prototypical wild man. He is directly described as such by the Epic of Gilgamesh: A hairy man living beyond the edges of civilization, doing his thing out in the wilderness. He is brought into the fold of the rest of humanity by an attractive woman left out as bait. Bigfoot enthusiasts will note the significance of this reference, since after all, Sasquatch is said to like the ladies.

The concept of the wildman or the hairy giant has been with us for a very long time, possibly since the very beginning of story-telling among human beings.

Perhaps the most famous of these is Grendel of Beowulf fame, although debate rages with respect to that character, since he is poorly described. The imagination of the reader is important in this particular case, since one member of the audience may imagine a reptilian entity where another envisions a hairy, ape-like thing. But this means little against the backdrop of the old poet's characterization: Grendel was clearly intended to be pictured as man-like, since he is identified as descended from Cain. The "monstrous" nature of Grendel is a result of Cain's marking by Yahweh for the murder of Abel. In short, to the audience of the original poem, this was a man-like troll, and later Biblical themes reinforced this idea by factoring in the "mark of Cain".

Sharp literary critics have long suspected that this Christianization of a flatly pagan myth is a later interpolation meant to make the Norse/Germanic tale palatable with audiences as the Christian faith rose in popularity and dominance during the Middle Ages. It may additionally have been used in a way analogous to modern media programming, where the entertainment factor is secondary and the primary role is to present advertising. In essence, you came to hear Beowulf at the chieftain's hall, but instead you got reminders to be a good Christian. While this may be a factor, there is absolutely no reason to believe that the man-like nature of Grendel is part of that propagandistic device. Instead, it is more reasonable to assume that Grendel was always defined in man-like terms, and as such, he belongs to the world of Trolls and other giant beings considered akin to humans, but eternally unfriendly towards them.

We cannot find such a creature because we would be fools to endeavor to look very hard, essentially. The cultures that evolved independently on the fringes of the old Classical world had many demonic or otherwise homicidal neighbors derived from tales not unlike our own monster reports. Men came in from the wild lands with stories of beasts of legendary proportions and dreadful proclivities. We must pause to wonder at this, since a primitive culture lacks for the mechanisms of the modern media that promise fame to those with an interesting experience. True, being the man who met a monster in a 5th Century CE village in Finland might be good for a few free horns of mead at the local chieftain's hall, but men are now as they once were in terms of core psychology - talking about such creatures was as apt to bring derision as it was to yield fame. Fortune was based on military prowess, no less, so making up monsters may have been a practice more useful for those unable to win battlefield glory, but hardly sufficient to make a skald sing the story of your days.

Perhaps the trolls and giants of these kinds of stories were merely a type of entertainment, but that hardly explains the distribution of wild man reports throughout the world. A keen researcher will note that the best reports - those featuring tantalizing bits of evidence that suggest something valid and real - are focused on the remotest and most inaccessible ranges on the planet. Some good reports also emerge in surprising places, however, very near centers of human habitation or at least on the fringes of civilization. The type of evidence in question is sometimes physical or visual: curious tracks, bits of hair, enigmatic and stubbornly irrefutable film or video records have a habit of surfacing from time to time. Skeptics insist that this happens because hoaxers and true believers generate material - intentionally or otherwise - in order to continue the legend. But this is also exactly the circumstance we should expect if the "spirit man" of Native American lore is what he is described to be: Some sort of human being.

The Vicar is of the opinion that "Bigfoot" is a catchall term for a real creature of diverse range, and that the entity in question is indeed a type of man. Melba Ketchum's "research" is apparently being touted in some circles to support this idea, but hard science is not usually advanced by founding one's own scientific journal when no one else will take your work. The underlying principle is therefore lost, and the critical element of truth is obfuscated by the nonsense of doctrine and inflexible institutionality. Group-think among hard scientists has demanded of "serious researchers" that they not consider these anomalies too much. Convincing the scientific community should therefore be the last of our concerns, since these tend to be the kinds of people that would insist that the Bigfoot body we bring them for dissection is a cunningly contrived hoax manufactured by a criminally mercenary genetics laboratory somewhere in the Urals or central Siberia. (That's where you find the best genetic designers for hire, these days.)

The existence of a relic population or a divergent form of homo is neither surprising nor revolutionary, and there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that multiple forms of humankind have previously occupied the earth simultaneously. But the real question is this: How does the hominid "Bigfoot-Yeti-Orang Pendek-Yowie" avoid us so well? Brief encounters are all we have ever had to go on, if we leave aside the murderous rampage carried out by a mother-son team of these things sometime in 7th Century Denmark. Why can't we find it?

The Vicar - given his training - is apt to form lists, and the following list is one of his favorite.

1.) We aren't looking hard enough.

Very little effort has actually been put into the development of an organized plan for identification, verification and possibly even capture. Killing such a creature might raise a host of issues variously discussed elsewhere and for many years. The legal status of a variant hominid is not established, and only a fool would want to be part of such a test case, particularly when the case would also inevitably involve matters of jurisdiction, Federal laws for the protection of endangered species, and media rights. Scientific institutions tend to laugh evidence for this creature and its proponents out of the room, so grant money is not exactly flowing into a verification effort.

2.) Bigfoot is smarter than we are.

The term, "smarter" is perhaps a bit of a misnomer. I doubt that Bigfoot and his cousins are very good at using information technology or building architectural masterpieces. But this creature, in its natural environment, moving effortlessly (as is almost always reported) through its range, can likely outmaneuver and outpace any homo sapiens with a will to discovery. Odds are good that the species can smell us coming for miles, hear us over a similar distance, and hide from us with great effectiveness. It appears not to use tools or weapons with any regularity, which would imply that it does not need them. Evolution is very much a function of needs and corresponding reactions to said needs. The absence of Bigfoot clothing, fires, spears and structures suggests a creature perfectly wedded to an environment that would kill most humans in short order due to the effects of starvation, exposure and predation - were we to occupy those areas as Bigfoot seems to, minus clothes, shelter and gear.

3.) Bigfoot is more evolved than we are.

See above, but also consider this: Can we know with any certainty that such a creature would not have a superior mode of operation to our own? If these types of creatures exist, it is noteworthy that their way of life would not involve pollution or radical change of the environment. Instead, they may in the long run be Earth's preferred inhabitants, and it may just be that they aggressively avoid us in order to prevent direct conflict. If this is an animal of our sort, it communicates and it processes information with an eye toward understanding. There may well be Bigfoot philosophy, poetry and art which we regularly observe without ever recognizing what it is that we are seeing. But more importantly, Bigfoot may have none of these things because he does not need them. It is possible that a version of homo evolved at some point in the past to resolve survival issues in a way different than we are familiar with. In place of weapon and tool use, this version emerged with greater size, speed, strength and resilience. Intelligence as we know it might not be so much reduced as it is focused upon other things - namely hiding from us. How difficult would it be to find a kind of human being utterly wedded to nature and evolved specifically to avoid us at all costs? Given our own limitations, the Vicar imagines it would run something like this: Every so often we'd hear a report or see a fuzzy image or choppy video, but we'd almost never get hard, physical evidence...

4.) Bigfoot is not entirely a physical entity.

This one gives materialists and other such mundane thinkers fits. It really makes some people angry. This is a delightful thing, since it reveals more about the limitations of our own understanding than it does anything at all about the nature of this universe. The cosmos is quite large, and the permutations of form that can potentially or actually inhabit it are uncountable. Could there be "spirit beings"? In the esoteric traditions and occult teachings, the existence of such things is a matter of absolute certainty. A rationalist view reveals that this is an absolutely logical possibility; it is not at all hard to imagine that a species or other category of life form could exist that defies general biological theory.

5.) We're doing way too many things wrong when we look for Bigfoot.

The Vicar has spent some time in the woods. He was raised with a firm foundation in hunting, fishing and camping, as well as the requisite wild-craft skills involved in what is nowadays "extreme survival" of the sort popularized by Les Stroud. For the record, this was normal behavior in the America of the Vicar's boyhood, before the Boy Scouts of America became an organization vilified by certain forces within the media for accusations of homophobia, pedophilia and a tendency toward a certain paramilitarism. Living in a remote area of the Midwest meant having the opportunity to learn from hardened old hunters and woodsmen as well as an extensive involvement with Native American lore - sometimes even taught by real Native Americans - and certain representatives of the survivalist community (now called Doomsday Preppers and essentially satirized at length). What the Vicar sees in those who are presented in the media as Bigfoot researchers is nothing like the set of skills that we should expect to see if we are to have a shot at making contact with this creature.

Why would anyone think that a camera crew would not run off a Bigfoot at the first sign of approach? Moreover, why would we believe that people yelling or beating on trees with sticks in the dark woods would result in a genuine response from Sasquatch? And when expeditions are filmed, we often get these sweeping overhead shots - evidence that a helicopter was brought in to get footage, meaning that anything canny in the forest below is likely to head for quieter and more complete cover.

Are the "researchers" spending weeks at a time in the deep wild, in likely ranges, sans deodorant and other unnatural scents, minus even so much as a tent? It is possible - and sometimes preferable - to build your own wigwam or a simple lean-to. Using natural materials might very well be integral to getting close enough to Bigfoot that a clear picture or video record can be produced. Behavioral reports certainly imply that Sasquatch might be made curious by a nylon tent, but odds are that it will be made more comfortable by humans who are behaving in a way older and more familiar. The Vicar holds that this is an intelligent being, and it might be persuaded to hold still long enough to gather meaningful data if those looking demonstrate a basic respect for living in the wild and for the natural environment. That is, after all, precisely what the Native American (and possibly also Celtic) folklore says: Bigfoot is a creature that lets itself be seen by men when men are either in error in their behavior or have shown respect for the proper spirits.

Melba Ketchum may have a point, whether her research is worth a damn or not... Bigfoot may well be something closer to human, and this is not a new idea. But collecting hair samples or feces or a toenail is not going to satisfy the scientific community, because they will almost always be able to produce an excuse that permits "legitimate" scientists to weasel out of the unpleasant facts they are confronted with. This is exactly the point of doctrinaire thinking. Nothing short of prolonged, reliably recorded contact will verify the existence of Sasquatch.

The best chance of establishing a situation in which such contact can occur might depend upon putting the right people into the field with the right attitude, approach and equipment. The Vicar would like to suggest here and now that someone give Les Stroud his own show in which he looks for Bigfoot. He's already gone on record stating that he heard a suspicious call in Alaska, so he might be game for making a legitimate go of it.

It may ultimately be worth considering the possibility that Bigfoot knows about our trail cams and our DNA-gathering and our clumsy expeditions into territories where we only barely belong. Perhaps he watches us from the fringes of our reality, smiling and biding his time. Perhaps she knows that we do not truly belong to this planet anymore, as we have become so dependent upon civilized things. This may be precisely why we cannot find these creatures.

In the end, whether Bigfoot is ever found or not does not matter. It is more important to recognize that when we search for this creature, what we may really be looking for is something each of us knows is gone from our inner identities, washed away by the tides generated by our chosen path through the maze of evolution.

The search for Sasquatch is in the end a search for ourselves.

In that sense, let's hope we find Bigfoot.

Source: The Vicars Lamp


Ectoplasm: Hokey but True?

It is difficult not to laugh or even scoff at some of the photos of supposed materialized spirits one comes across in books or on the Internet.  Some of these photos are hokey,  bizarre, and absolutely ridiculous.  Who in his right mind would possibly believe that such ludicrous objects are spirits of the dead?  Consider the photo below, which shows a supposed spirit form developing out of ectoplasm produced by British medium Helen Duncan.  Clearly, it is a fake, right?  I wouldn’t be so sure.  At least, the photo in itself does not prove that Duncan was a fraud, as any “rational” person might assume.

Or consider the photo below of an entity called Bien Boa, which materialized in the presence of Dr. Charles Richet through the mediumship of Marthe Beraud, also known as Eva C.  It looks a little more realistic than the Duncan materialization, but appears to have no legs and is hokey nonetheless.  But Richet, a Nobel Prize winner in medicine, had no doubt that it was real.  “I shall not waste time in stating the absurdities, almost the impossibilities, from a psycho-physiological point of view, of this phenomenon,” Richet wrote.  “A living being, or living matter, formed under our eyes, which has it proper warmth, apparently a circulation of blood, and a physiological respiration (as I proved by causing the form of Bien Boa to breathe into a flask containing baryta water), which has also a kind of psychic personality having a will distinct from the will of the medium, in a word, a new human being!  This is surely the climax of marvels!  Nevertheless, it is a fact.”

Richet added that Bien Boa walked and moved, and his eyes could be seen looking around, and when he tried to speak his lips moved. He also floated in the air, far out of the reach of the medium, and vanished into the floor under his eyes three times, only to reappear, “bowing like an actor who receives applause.”

Along with Doctors Gustave Geley and Albert Schrenck-Notzing, two respected scientists, Richet observed the materialization process from the beginning.  “A kind of liquid or pasty jelly emerges from the mouth or the breast of Marthe which organizes itself by degrees, acquiring the shape of a face or limb,” he further reported. “Under very good conditions of visibility, I have seen this paste spread on my knee, and slowly take form so as to show the rudiment of the radius, the cubitus, or metacarpal bone whose increasing pressure I could feel on my knee.”

Richet further explained that the materializations were usually gradual, beginning with a rudimentary shape with complete forms and human faces only appearing later on.  At times, they waited for two to three hours for a full materialization.  “At first these formations are often very imperfect. Sometimes they show no relief, looking more like flat images than bodies, so that in spite of oneself one is inclined to imagine some fraud, since what appears seems to be the materialization of a semblance, and not of a being.  But in some cases, the materialization is perfect.”

Richet’s comments might very well explain why the Duncan materialization appears so imperfect. That is, it was incomplete and may never have progressed beyond that point because the medium was not strong enough or the discarnate attempting to materialize was incapable of doing so.

In one sitting, a communicating entity told Richet that he was unable to materialize because he could not remember what he looked like when alive.  However, the spirit later materialized without a face.

In her 1892 book, There is No Death, Florence Marryat, a popular writer of the Victorian era, told of a sitting with a medium in which an old family friend, John Powles, communicated but initially declined to materialize.  Peter, the medium’s spirit control, communicated that “he doesn’t want to show himself because he’s not a bit like what he used to be.”

However, when Marryat persuaded Powles to show himself, she saw only a face that didn’t resemble her old friend in the slightest.  She wrote that it was “hard, stiff, and unlifelike.  Powles then told her that he would try to do better the next time.

For the next sitting, Marryat brought along a necktie that had belonged to Powles, keeping it in her pocket and telling no one about it.  Soon after the séance began, Peter told Marryat to hand over the necktie and put it on Powles’ neck.  “The face of John Powles appeared, very different from the time before, as he had his own features and complexion, but his hair and beard which were auburn during life, appeared phosphoric, as though made by living fire,” Marryat wrote, adding that she then mounted a chair, put the tie around his neck and asked if she could kiss him.  Powles shook his head, but Peter then told her to give him her hand. “I did so, and as he kissed it his moustaches burned me,” Marryat wrote.  “I cannot account for it.  I can only relate the fact.  After which he disappeared with the necktie, which I have never seen since, though we searched the little room for it thoroughly”.

As I understand it from other research in this area, the discarnate must visualize his or her old self and project that image into the ectoplasm.  The ability of discarnates to do this apparently varies as much as artistic ability varies among incarnates.  While some people have artistic talents and might do a good self portrait, my self-portrait would look more ridiculous than the Duncan materialization above.

When William T. Stead first materialized after dying in the Titanic disaster, only his face appeared. When he was asked about this, he said that he visualized only his face. He explained that it was explained to him by other entities that he had to visualize himself among the people in the flesh and imagine that he was standing there in the flesh with a strong light thrown upon himself.  “Hold the visualization very deliberately and in detail, and keep it fixed upon my mind, that at that moment I was there and they were conscious of it,” Stead explained.  It was in the same way he was able to get a message through.  He stood by the most sensitive person there, concentrated his mind on a short sentence, and repeated it with much emphasis and deliberation until he could hear part of it spoken by the person.

Although I cannot immediately recall the reference, I do remember a case in which a researcher asked a spirit to show himself on a photographic plate. The spirit said he had to quickly visit his old home to view a photograph of himself before he could project his image on to the photographic plate, as he, too, didn’t remember what he looked like when alive. . He returned in a matter of seconds and the photograph that developed looked very much like the portrait on the mantel at his old house.

Likewise, materializations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Raymond Lodge which manifested in the research of Dr. T. Glen Hamilton of Canada looked like old photos of them, which immediately suggested fraud.  But think about it, if you had to telepathically project an image of yourself to someone, what would the self-image be based on?  What you see when shaving or applying make-up in the morning or a good photograph of yourself?  I’m pretty sure that I would visualize myself based on a 40-year-old photograph.  I know that when I sometimes look in the mirror I wonder who it is looking back at me and that person in the mirror does not match the more idealized likeness I have of myself.  And I know that when I think of my brother, who died in an accident 40 years ago, I picture him as he appeared in a high-school graduation photo, not as he appeared in some fleeting moment in our interaction during his lifetime.

Keep in mind also that before photography and quality mirrors, many people had no clear-cut idea as to what they looked like.  If you had no photographs of yourself from your childhood, would you know what you looked like at age 7 or 10? I don’t think I would.

This might also explain why several early materialized spirits looked something like the medium.  The most famous case in this regard is that of Katie King, who materialized through the mediumship of Florence Cook.  Because many observers concluded that Katie looked like Florence, there was speculation that Florence was somehow doing a fast costume change, even though the room was thoroughly investigated beforehand and no costumes found.

But Sir William Crookes, a famous British scientist, said that Katie was much taller than Florence and, in fact, saw them both at the same time – Florence in trance inside the cabinet and Katie in a materialized form. The reason that Katie looked so much like Florence may have been because Katie lived before photography and did not have a fixed image of herself, only that she was much taller than Florence.  Thus, she identified with Florence’s image.  As far-fetched as that may seem, it makes more sense, to me at least, than other explanations offered by debunkers.  .

“To suggest that these trained observers were all deceived by fraudulent operations, those stupid and very tiresome performances which mislead no one but the uninformed and gullible, is to offer an explanation which offends our reason and shows willful indifference to truth,” Hamilton wrote, referring to Crookes, Richet, Geley, Schrenck-Notzing, Sir Oliver Lodge, Alfred Russel Wallace, and other esteemed men of science who witnessed materializations.

Schrenck-Notzing also observed that the cynical press was quick to accept unsubstantiated debunking reports and sensationalize them, thereby defaming innocent people.  These sensationalized reports then became “fact” as far as the public was concerned and later became part of standard reference books, muddying up the waters so that people today don’t know what to believe.  I find it easier to believe that those esteemed men of science were competent investigators than that they were duped in dozens, even hundreds, of materializations.

“This ectoplasmic formation at the expense of the physiological organism of the medium is now beyond all dispute,” said Richet, who won the Nobel Prize for his research on anaphylaxis, the sensitivity of the body to alien protein substances.  “It is prodigiously strange, prodigiously unusual, and it would seem so unlikely as to be incredible; but we must give in to the facts…Yes, it is absurd; but no matter – it is true.”

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores.  

Source: White Crow Books

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