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In a dark, smoke-filled room, somewhere deep in the bowels of an secret government agency, electronic spies quietly monitor all communications throughout the planet. When key words are detected, programs go into action to trace the source and destination of the targeted communication. And now, red lights are flashing, tapes are spinning, secret intelligence operatives are scrambling, and the black helicopters are flying. All because once again, cyberspace is filled with your number one source of information on conspiracies, UFO, the paranormal, and much more - Conspiracy Journal!
This week Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such nail-biting stories as:
- Fake Election News Stories Outperformed Real News On Facebook - - Aliens May Be Woven Into Fabric of Reality Itself -
- Mom Says Ghost Appeared in "Selfie" -
AND: Why Are Ghosts Seen Wearing Clothes?
All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of
~ And Now, On With The Show! ~
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- DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN DEPARTMENT -
Fake Election News Stories Outperformed Real News On Facebook
By Craig Silverman
In the final three months of the US presidential campaign, the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC News, and others, a BuzzFeed News analysis has found.
During these critical months of the campaign, 20 top-performing false election stories from hoax sites and hyperpartisan blogs generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.
Within the same time period, the 20 best-performing election stories from 19 major news websites generated a total of 7,367,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.
Up until those last three months of the campaign, the top election content from major outlets had easily outpaced that of fake election news on Facebook. Then, as the election drew closer, engagement for fake content on Facebook skyrocketed and surpassed that of the content from major news outlets.
“I’m troubled that Facebook is doing so little to combat fake news,” said Brendan Nyhan, a professor of political science at Dartmouth College who researches political misinformation and fact-checking. “Even if they did not swing the election, the evidence is clear that bogus stories have incredible reach on the network. Facebook should be fighting misinformation, not amplifying it.”
A Facebook spokesman told BuzzFeed News that the top stories don’t reflect overall engagement on the platform.
“There is a long tail of stories on Facebook,” the spokesman said. “It may seem like the top stories get a lot of traction, but they represent a tiny fraction of the total.”
He also said that native video, live content, and image posts from major news outlets saw significant engagement on Facebook.
Of the 20 top-performing false election stories identified in the analysis, all but three were overtly pro-Donald Trump or anti-Hillary Clinton. Two of the biggest false hits were a story claiming Clinton sold weapons to ISIS and a hoax claiming the pope endorsed Trump, which the site removed after publication of this article. The only viral false stories during the final three months that were arguably against Trump’s interests were a false quote from Mike Pence about Michelle Obama, a false report that Ireland was accepting American “refugees” fleeing Trump, and a hoax claiming RuPaul said he was groped by Trump.
This new data illustrates the power of fake election news on Facebook, and comes as the social network deals with criticism that it allowed false content to run rampant during the 2016 presidential campaign. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said recently it was “a pretty crazy idea” to suggest that fake news on Facebook helped sway the election. He later published a post saying, “We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here.”
This week BuzzFeed News reported that a group of Facebook employees have formed a task force to tackle the issue, with one saying that “fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season.” The Wall Street Journal also reported that Google would begin barring fake news websites from its AdSense advertising program. Facebook soon followed suit.
These developments follow a study by BuzzFeed News that revealed hyperpartisan Facebook pages and their websites were publishing false or misleading content at an alarming rate — and generating significant Facebook engagement in the process. The same was true for the more than 100 US politics websites BuzzFeed News found being run out of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
This new analysis of election content found two false election stories from a Macedonian sites that made the top-10 list in terms of Facebook engagement int he final three months. Conservative State published a story that falsely quoted Hillary Clinton as saying, “I would like to see people like Donald Trump run for office; they’re honest and can’t be bought.” The story generated over 481,000 engagements on Facebook. A second false story from a Macedonia site falsely claimed that Clinton was about to be indicted. It received 149,000 engagements on Facebook.
All the false news stories identified in BuzzFeed News’ analysis came from either fake news websites that only publish hoaxes or from hyperpartisan websites that present themselves as publishing real news. The research turned up only one viral false election story from a hyperpartisan left-wing site. The story from Winning Democrats claimed Ireland was accepting anti-Trump “refugees” from the US. It received over 810,000 Facebook engagements, and was debunked by an Irish publication. (There was also one post from an LGBTQ site that used a false quote from Trump in its headline.)
The other false viral election stories from hyperpartisan sites came from right-wing publishers, according to the analysis.
One example is the remarkably successful, utterly untrustworthy site Ending the Fed. It was responsible for four of the top 10 false election stories identified in the analysis: Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton selling weapons to ISIS, Hillary Clinton being disqualified from holding federal office, and the FBI director receiving millions from the Clinton Foundation. These four stories racked up a total of roughly 2,953,000 Facebook engagements in the three months leading up to Election Day.
Ending the Fed gained notoriety in August when Facebook promoted its story about Megyn Kelly being fired by Fox News as a top trending item. The strong engagement the site has seen on Facebook may help explain how one of its stories was featured in the Trending box.
The site, which does not publicly list an owner or editor, did not respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.
Like several other hyperpartisan right-wing sites that scored big Facebook hits this election season, Ending the Fed is a relatively new website. The domain endingthefed.com was only registered in in March. Yet according to BuzzFeed News’ analysis, its top election content received more Facebook engagement than stories from the Washington Post and New York Times. For example, the top four election stories from the Post generated roughly 2,774,000 Facebook engagements — nearly 180,000 fewer than Ending the Fed’s top four false posts.
Alexa estimates that nearly 30% of Conservative State’s traffic comes from Facebook, with 10% coming from Google.
Along with unreliable hyperpartisan blogs, fake news sites also received a big election traffic bump in line with their Facebook success. The Burrard Street Journal scored nearly 380,000 Facebook engagements for a fake story about Obama saying he will not leave office if Trump is elected. It was published in September, right around the time Alexa notched a noticeable uptick in its traffic.
That site was only registered in April of this year. Its publisher disputes the idea that its content is aimed at misleading readers. “The BS Journal is a satire news publication and makes absolutely no secret of that or any attempt to purposely mislead our readers,” he told BuzzFeed News.
Large news sites also generated strong Facebook engagement for links to their election stories. But to truly find the biggest election hits from these 19 major sites, it’s necessary to go back to early 2016.
The three biggest election hits for these outlets came back in February, led by a contributor post on the Huffington Post’s blog about Donald Trump that received 2,200,000 engagements on Facebook. The top-performing election news story on Facebook for the 19 outlets analyzed was also published that month by CBS News. It generated an impressive 1.7 million shares, engagements, and comments on Facebook. Overall, a significant number of the top-performing posts on Facebook from major outlets were opinion pieces, rather than news stories.
The biggest mainstream hit in the three months prior to the election came from the Washington Post and had 876,000 engagements. Yet somehow Ending the Fed — a site launched just months earlier with no history on Facebook and likely a very small group of people running it — managed to get more engagement for a false story during that same period.
“People know there are concerned employees who are seeing something here which they consider a big problem,” a Facebook manager told BuzzFeed News this week. “And it doesn’t feel like the people making decisions are taking the concerns seriously.”
BuzzFeed News used the content analysis tool BuzzSumo, which enables users to search for content by keyword, URL, time range, and social share counts. BuzzFeed News searched in BuzzSumo using keywords such as “Hillary Clinton” and “Donald Trump,” as well as combinations such as “Trump and election” or “Clinton and emails” to see the top stories about these topics according to Facebook engagement. We also searched for known viral lies such as “Soros and voting machine.”
In addition, created lists of the URLs of known fake news websites, of hyperpartisan sites on the right and on the left, and of the more than 100 pro-Trump sites run from Macedonia that were previously identified in BuzzFeed News reporting. We then looked for the top performing content on Facebook across all of these sites to find false stories about the election.
We conducted our searches in three-month segments beginning 9 months from election day. This broke down as February to April, May to July, and August to election day.
Even with the above approaches, it’s entirely possible that we missed other big hits from fake news websites and hyperpartisan blogs.
To examine the performance of election content from mainstream sites, we created a list that included the websites of the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, USA Today, Politico, CNN, Wall Street Journal, CBS News, ABC News, New York Daily News, New York Post, BuzzFeed, Los Angeles Times, NPR, The Guardian, Vox, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Fox News. We then searched for their top-performing election content in the same three-month segments as above.
It’s important to note that Facebook engagement does not necessarily translate into traffic. This analysis was focused on how the best-performing fake news about the election compared with real news from major outlets on Facebook. It’s entirely possible — and likely — that the mainstream sites received more traffic to their top-performing Facebook content than the fake news sites did. As as the Facebook spokesman noted, large news sites overall see more engagement on Facebook than fake news sites.
- ET AS MUNDUS DEPARTMENT -
Aliens May Be Woven Into Fabric of Reality Itself
Alien life is behind the mysteries of the universe, according to a radical new theory.
Ancient non-human life forms morphed into the physical world and are the driving force behind mind-boggling quantum physics and phenomena like dark matter, according to a Columbia University astrophysicist.
The expert says our universe is the remains of intelligent alien life which controls all aspects of the physical world — from gravity to the speed of light.
The theory helps to explain the great mysteries of the cosmos and also answers why we are yet to find intelligent life beyond our planet, Professor Caleb Scharf says.
In an article for science journal Nautilus, the radical thinker wrote that alien life could exist in the behaviour of sub atomic particles and the expansion of the universe.
“Perhaps hyper-advanced life isn’t just external. Perhaps it’s already all around”, he said.
“It is embedded in what we perceive to be physics itself.
“In other words, life might not just be in the equations. It might be the equations.”
He points to a theory that suggests alien life forms intelligent enough to reach us will have already turned themselves into living machines.
Humanity too faces this prospect when our creations overtake our own intelligence — a process dubbed “singularity”.
Taking this a step further, Prof Scharf says hyper-advanced aliens may have gone beyond turning themselves into machine creatures and gone as far as becoming a complex physical system.
“If you’re a civilisation that has learned how to encode living systems into different [materials], all you need to do is build a normal-matter-to-dark-matter data-transfer system: a dark matter 3D printer,” Scharf explained.
His theory centres around the idea that we have not seen complex life apart from our own because it already exists around us.
“We don’t recognise advanced life because it forms an integral and unsuspicious part of what we’ve considered to be the natural world”, he wrote.
Scharf isn't the first person to suggest that we need to look for aliens beyond our idea of "life".
While life on Earth is based on carbon, astrobiologists have argued for decades that there might be life "not as we know it" out there in the Universe that use, say, methane instead.
It's also been suggested that advanced alien life could have long ago done away with their mortal bodies and uploaded themselves into some other, unrecognisable kind of technology.
There's even a group of scientists out there who are convinced we actually live in an alien simulation.
All of these claims might sound whacky, but they could explain one of the biggest questions in science, known as the Fermi Paradox: where are all the aliens?
So how does all this tie in with the laws of physics?
As Scharf explains, if we're willing to admit that aliens might not look the way do, and could be far more advanced than we can comprehend, then we should also consider the possibility that they could be behind some of the stranger phenomena we see in the Universe.
Take dark matter, for example. All the visible matter out there in the Universe, the stars, and planets, and cosmic gas, can't explain the amount of gravity that holds together our galaxies.
So scientists came up with the concept of dark matter - a mysterious kind of matter that doesn't interact with electromagnetic radiation - to explain this inconsistency.
Dark matter is thought to make up around 27 percent of the mass and energy in the known Universe, but there are inconsistencies in our observations of the phenomena, and we're yet to find a way to properly explain it within the laws of physics.
But what if what we consider dark matter is actually an advanced extraterrestrial civilisation that learnt to encode themselves in this strange type of subatomic particle that's essentially invisible to the rest of the Universe?
"What better way to escape the nasty vagaries of supernova and gamma-ray bursts than to adopt a form that is immune to electromagnetic radiation?" Scharf writes.
"Perhaps the mismatch of astronomical models and observations is evidence not just of self-interacting dark matter, but of dark matter that is being artificially manipulated."
If that's not mind-melting enough, Scharf's ideas about dark energy are even freakier.
Dark energy is the hypothetical force responsible for speeding up the expansion of the Universe. But the Universe didn't actually begin expanding at an accelerated rate until about 5 billion years ago, and researchers aren't too sure why.
Scharf suggests that maybe dark energy was created by an advanced alien civilisation who wanted to avoid the crowded Universe from getting too hot by spreading things out a little more.
"Any very early life in the universe would have already experienced 8 billion years of evolutionary time by the time expansion began to accelerate," he writes.
"It’s a stretch, but maybe there’s something about life itself that affects the cosmos, or maybe those well-evolved denizens decided to tinker with the expansion."
None of these ideas have been peer-reviewed, and they're just the opinion of one astrophysicist pushing the boundaries of what's theoretically possible.
But while we can't test any of these ideas just yet, we also can't really rule them out. The reality is, there's a lot about physics that we still don't understand. Scientists need to be open to the possibility that there could be other forces at play we can't yet even begin to imagine.
Source: The Sun
- TO INFINITY AND BEYOND DEPARTMENT -
NASA Says EM Drive Works
By Fiona MacDonald
After months of speculation and leaked documents, NASA's long-awaited EM Drive paper has finally been peer-reviewed and published. And it shows that the 'impossible' propulsion system really does appear to work.
The NASA Eagleworks Laboratory team even put forward a hypothesis for how the EM Drive could produce thrust – something that seems impossible according to our current understanding of the laws of physics.
In case you've missed the hype, the EM Drive, or Electromagnetic Drive, is a propulsion system first proposed by British inventor Roger Shawyer back in 1999.
Instead of using heavy, inefficient rocket fuel, it bounces microwaves back and forth inside a cone-shaped metal cavity to generate thrust.
According to Shawyer's calculations, the EM Drive could be so efficient that it could power us to Mars in just 70 days.
But, there's a not-small problem with the system. It defies Newton's third law, which states that everything must have an equal and opposite reaction.
According to the law, for a system to produce thrust, it has to push something out the other way. The EM Drive doesn't do this.
Yet in test after test it continues to work. Last year, NASA's Eagleworks Laboratory team got their hands on an EM Drive to try to figure out once and for all what was going on.
And now we finally have those results.
The new peer-reviewed paper is titled "Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum", and has been published online as an open access 'article in advance' in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)’s Journal of Propulsion and Power. It'll appear in the December print edition.
It's very similar to the paper that was leaked online earlier this month and, most notably, shows that the drive does indeed produce 1.2 millinewtons per kilowatt of thrust in a vacuum:
"Thrust data from forward, reverse, and null suggested that the system was consistently performing at 1.2 ± 0.1 mN/kW, which was very close to the average impulsive performance measured in air. A number of error sources were considered and discussed."
To put that into perspective, the super-powerful Hall thruster generates force of 60 millinewtons per kilowatt, an order of magnitude more than the EM Drive.
But the Hall thruster requires propellants, and that extra weight could offset the higher thrust, the team concludes.
Light sails on the other hand, which are currently the most popular form of zero-propellant propulsion, only generate force up to 6.67 micronewtons per kilowatt – two orders of magnitude less than NASA's EM Drive, says the paper.
But the team makes it clear that they also weren't attempting to optimise performance in these tests – all they were doing was trying to prove whether or not the drive really works. So it's likely that the EM Drive could get a lot more efficient still.
When it comes to how the drive actually works without messing up the laws of physics, that's a little less clear.
It's not the focus of this paper, but the team does offer a hypothesis:
"[The] supporting physics model used to derive a force based on operating conditions in the test article can be categorised as a nonlocal hidden-variable theory, or pilot-wave theory for short."
Pilot-wave theory is a slightly controversial interpretation of quantum mechanics.
It's pretty complicated stuff, but basically the currently accepted Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics states that particles do not have defined locations until they are observed.
Pilot-wave theory, on the other hand, suggests that particles do have precise positions at all times, but in order for this to be the case, the world must also be strange in other ways – which is why many physicists have dismissed the idea.
But in recent years, the pilot-wave theory has been increasing in popularity, and the NASA team suggests that it could help explain how the EM Drive produces thrust without appearing to propel anything in the other direction.
"If a medium is capable of supporting acoustic oscillations, this means that the internal constituents were capable of interacting and exchanging momentum," the team writes.
"If the vacuum is indeed mutable and degradable as was explored, then it might be possible to do/extract work on/from the vacuum, and thereby be possible to push off of the quantum vacuum and preserve the laws of conservation of energy and conservation of momentum."
Of course, this is just one hypothesis, based on one round of tests. There's a lot more work to be done before we can say for sure whether the EM Drive is really producing thrust – the team notes they that more research is needed to eliminate the possibility that thermal expansion could somehow be skewing the results.
And even once that's confirmed, we'll then need to figure out exactly how the system works.
The scientific community is also notoriously unconvinced about the propulsion system – just yesterday a Motherboard article on the EM Drive was deleted by the moderators of the popular subreddit r/Physics because they "consider the EM Drive to be unscientific".
But is the first peer-reviewed research ever published on the EM Drive, which firmly takes it out of the realm of pseudoscience into a technology that's worth taking skeptically, but seriously.
The next step for the EM Drive is for it to be tested in space, which is scheduled to happen in the coming months, with plans to launch the first EM Drive having been made back in September.
If it produces thrust there, the scientific community will need to sit up and take note. Watch this space.
You can read the full research paper here.
Source: Science Alert
- SMILE FOR THE CAMERA DEPARTMENT -
Mom Says Ghost Appeared in "Selfie"
By Ryan Adelson
It was just a normal day for Melissa Kurtz, 48, who was driving on a highway in the Maitland area of Florida, near Orlando, to take her 13-year-old daughter, Harper, to a beauty pageant. Harper wasn't wearing a seat belt, which was normal for her, and taking selfies to pass the time.
It wasn't until a month later that this normal day turned into something quite abnormal. Kurtz was looking through the pictures on her camera and spotted a selfie Harper had taken in the car, which had a boy in the background – a boy who wasn't in the car the day the picture was taken.
Kurtz decided to do some research on the road they were driving on that day and discovered that there had been an accident on that same road and the day her and Harper were driving on it happened to be the anniversary of the death that occurred because of it.
"Where the picture was taken there was an automobile accident one year ago exactly. When I looked into it, someone had been medevacked away in a helicopter. However they would not tell me any specific details when I enquired, which leads me to believe that it was a child, as that might be why they couldn't provide the information," Kurtz told the Daily Mail.
Kurtz decided to send the photo to Greg Pocha, the director of parapsychology, afterlife and paranormal studies at the Eidolon Project Canada. Pocha was able to use an image analysis program on the picture, a program that is also used by the FBI and CIA, to determine that the boy had no color or temperature, which could prove that the photo was indeed real. He also had a reason as to why the ghost may have appeared. 'To warn may be the purpose, the unfinished business, of this ghost. To warn others how not to meet the same fate as others who have died because seat belt issues. It probably saddens him when he see that."
Pocha's reasoning adds up, as Harper is known to not wear a seat belt, something her mother is none too pleased about. "[Her seat belt] is something I yell at her about all the time. I've had 13 traffic tickets in two years due to her not wearing one. She is very stubborn — though I'm always trying to catch her when she hasn't got it on." Kurtz told the Daily Mail. You would think that this selfie would be enough to convince Harper to wear a seat belt, but unfortunately this is not the case. "Harper doesn't see the picture as a big deal at all. She just says 'oh, the one with the ghost, what's the big deal?' I tell her how no one can debunk it but it doesn't really phase her." Another correlation the boy has with the family is the death of Kurtz's brother Timothy and his fiancé who died in a car crash in February 2003.
Either way, we say always make sure you buckle up.
Source: Good Housekeeping
- BIGFOOT OF THE DESERT DEPARTMENT -
Two South Texas Men Say They Saw Bigfoot
By Will Axford
Of all the places Bigfoot could be, Bee County, Texas is the last place some people would expect, and that's coming from someone who claims to have seen it.
"I never thought Bigfoot would be in South Texas. But once you see it, once you hear it, you become a believer," Baldemar Galvan said.
Galvan, who runs the Facebook group Bee County Bigfoot Research, said he first saw Bigfoot in 2014 while working at a ranch about 10 miles north of Beeville. He described the creature as a black figure that stood on two legs and ran into the woods after a few seconds.
"I was baffled. In my mind I knew what it was, but I didn't want to believe it," Galvan said. "The only thing we could smell was this really musky smell, like a wet dog and rotten eggs."
Galvan started asking about Bigfoot sightings. His inquiries led him to Richard Rabe.
Rabe, a real estate agent, said he saw the creature around 2006, walking under a bridge. He described Bigfoot as 8 feet tall. Rabe said he only saw its head and shoulders as he drove past it.
"There's one story my neighbor told me, back in 1925, where he saw one of them stick their heads in an old ranch house. He started putting all the pieces together, with animals disappearing and strange noises," Rabe said. "I don't think people would just make this up."
Bigfoot has been a part of American folklore for generations. And according to some, the creature may have actually existed at one point.
Smithsonian Magazine writes "an ape as big as a polar bear lived in South Asia, until going extinct 300,000 years ago." The ape is known as Gigantopithecus and is estimated to be more than 10 feet tall and weighing 1,200 pounds.
Galvan and Rabe both say several people have spotted the creature. Galvan plans on setting up cameras under bridges and other wooden areas in hopes of catching footage.
"There's a lot of people who ridicule these animals. They'll go out there and make hoaxes and fake tracks, dressing up like gorillas," Galvan said. "But people have actually seen it and believe it. Right now scientists don't believe that an animal like this exists. But there have been other species that they have now just found that they thought were extinct."
Source: Houston Chronicle
- HAUNTED SKIES DEPARTMENT -
An Interview With John Hanson
By Philip Mantle
An interview with author, publisher and UFO researcher John Hanson (JH) by Philip Mantle (PM).
The UFO book that seems to be gathering interest and momentum at the moment is 'THE HALT PERSPECTIVE', so I have taken this opportunity to interview the book's co-author and publisher - John Hanson. Lots has been said on social media and the arguments still continue, so I thought it might be the right time to go direct to the source and get an interview with the man in question.
PM: Please tell us something about your background. Who is John Hanson? When did you first become interested in the UFO phenomenon?
Early roots and sides of life!
I am a retired West Midlands Police Officer, born in Didcot, Berkshire, now living in Worcestershire.
My father - ex-RAF John Thomas Hanson, a Yorkshireman - joined the RSPCA as an Inspector. In those days Inspectors were not allowed to stay more than 7 years on a posting, so I have many pleasant memories of having lived in Halifax, Leeds, Cheltenham and Surrey. My Dad worked many long hours and was always being called out in the middle of the night to rescue an animal. This was before the hours were regulated. I am proud of him and my Mum - Didcot born Barbara Anne Hanson (nee Keats) - whom I adored and miss both of them. I have a sister, Carole, who lives in Gravesend, and for the life of me cannot understand why I am referred to as John Hanson 'Fsg' on the website booksellers. I have complained about this but I seem to be stuck with it!
Trained as a chef
After leaving school, my father found me a job in a solictor's office but I took alternative employment as a chef at the Moorend Park Hotel, Cheltenham, before working for an outside caterers - R. Sills - where I certainly saw the other side of life, cooking at Hunt Balls and private functions at Stateley homes. How the other half lives!
Birmingham City Police
I joined the Birmingham City Police in 1966, after my Dad had his Sunbeam Talbot stolen, one night, while we were living in Chelteham. I spent half of my career in the CID and saw another side of life! In 1995, I left the force and had not the faintest idea that UFOs even existed. I have no memory of having seen any such incidents reported in the newspaper, during what was a prolific period of UFO activity. If I had, I would have believed the witnesses were suffering from flights of imagnation, drink, or in need of psychiatric attention. Was I in for a shock!
PM: Could you explain how your series of HAUNTED SKIES books first came about?
JH: How it all began
My interest in the UFO phenomena began on the 19th January 1995, after Chris Hanson (my son) - a newly joined P.C., also based at the same Police Station - was directed (along with another officer) to a suburb close to the Police training centre in Selly Park, South Birmingham, following a number of 999 calls made to the public, reporting an object with a blue tail and dark blue head seen racing over the City Centre, at about 6.15pm.
A Doctor in Moseley then saw it drop down from the sky over the Stirchley area. The two officers interviewed the Doctor and, while on the way back, saw a fat elliptical object with a blue field around it, with a line of rippling red through the middle, hovering over a copse of trees. Within seconds, it shrank into itself and disappeared. I thought they were joking, but in due course managed to find some witnesses from the Oxford area that saw a 'D' shaped object following the contours of the land, a few minutes later.
Explained away as a shooting star by the local papers!
My interest was triggered by this singular event and I knew this was no shooting star. What a load of rubbish! When I wrote to the Bristish Astronimical Association, asking them for assitance, the head of the organisation sent me a postcard informing me that he had asked his fireball co-ordinator not to enter into any dialogue with 'crackpot organisations' presmuably alluding to myself? One thing that has always motivated me, even as a 'copper', is adversity - it can only spur one on!
Following a talk given at the local Redditch College, Worcestershire, on UFOs,in the mid 1990's I met Redditch resident - Dawn Marina Holloway - who had photographed some trianguler objects in the sky over Barmouth. We became friends and decided to write a book, taking into consideration there was a dearth of books being written on the UFO subject, ironically triggered-off by an ernormous interest in popular science fiction such as the X Files, Star Trek, and other films that had gripped the public's imagination, portraying man's heroic fight against the alien invading hordes!
First strange incident
Oddly, a strange thing happened after talking about Tony Dodd's investigations into a UFO encounter involving allegations of aliens captured in South Africa, which had involved showing film through my Panasonic VHS camera (the projector wasn't working at the college). I returned home to Alvechurch and was about to get into bed, when the bedroom was lit up. I looked out and saw a 'globe of bright light' opposite the house. I picked up the camera and took a clip of film. The next thing I was aware of was waking up and carrying on with the daily duties. At some stage, I discovered the camera was missing and thought I had left it at the college or the pub aftewards, where I had enjoyed one pint only!
During the evening, I searched the bedroom and found the camera. Immediately I remembered the UFO incident and examined the camera, and was pleased to find the film was still there. I will show the images in Volume 13 of Haunted Skies (1995) and still find it a little embarrassing, as I cannot explain what happened at least to explain away the incident with any rationaility!
We spent more years amassing a large amount of reports obtained from our own investigations. After interviewing witnesses in the West Midlands area, we thought, naively, we could fulfil our ambition.
Gordon Creighton - Editor of Flying Saucer Review
We went to see Gordon Creighton at his house in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. He was a distinguished diplomat who reported seeing a flying 'disc' in 1941 while serving in China.He had a passion for preseving UFO sightings Worldwide in the now famous magazines and despite being seriously injured in a car accident insisted on putting the FSRs together from his hospital bed. We have so much admiration for him and his wife, Joan, and the rest of the team we met, and were so proud when he asked Dawn and I to be Consultants for FSR, after seeing our folders of catalogued reports.
Dawn and I were also humbled to be invited to his funeral and I still have regrets about being asked to take over the Editor's job, some years ago, which I had to refuse because of my full-time commitment to the Haunted Skies series of books.
Forewords by Tim Good, Jenny Randles, Nick Redferen, Phil Mantle, Matt Lyons
At some stage we met Tim Good, who promised us a foreword, and then sent the 'Chronicles of a Phenomenon' synopsis off to his agent - who declined it, saying it was not focused, although he was impressed by our commitment and some of the work provided. We weren't sure what he meant and, rather than pay a fee to be advisied accordingly, decided to present the sightings in chronoloigcal order - which meant a humongous amount of time spent in libraries, searching through telephone directories and then writing to newspapers appealing for information. Most of the time the results were unsuccesful, but others came forward to tell what they had seen.
Preparing the foundation
We read the majority of FRS/UFO Magazines/Newspapers and hundreds of books, determined to track down and interview the witnesses personally, feeling their UFO sightings and encounters should be preserved for posterity and future generations.
We managed to trace people like Margaret Fry, Jessie Roestenberg, Robin Gibbons, James Salandin and other RAF officers, to name just a few, not forgetting the researchers - some of whom have now passed away.
This cost us money to travel all over the country, but if we had the chance we would do it again.
We feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to share what, in some cases, has been a traumatic expereince, sometimes followed by ridicule, taking into consderation these people did not know us and were still prepared to discuss what, in some siuations, were very private matters.
Under criticism - goes with the territory
A few years ago, we were criticised by one well-known researcher, who told us that it was a waste of time interviewing people and that we, as researchers, should just catalogue the reports without getting involved. Apparently, this course of self adopted action dictated him rubber stamping one famous UFO photograph as a hoax, without even speaking to the parties concerned!
I would be the first to accept that, while I cannot categorically prove this either way, surely common sense dictates there is a benefit to interviewing people personally about their experiences, because that's what good UFO investigation work is all about!
Haunted Skies Publisher
In 2010 we found a publisher, who agreed to publish Haunted Skies, Volume 1, and then 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, which were produced not through email or internet, but the old-fashioned way of driving backwards and forwards to Devon - sometimes twice a month, in all weathers often 'kipping in the car', as we couldnt afford the accomodation.
Removed from sale - a devasting blow
Sadly, in 2015, these six books were removed from sale; this meant we had lost £2,500 in total fees, paid to the publsher for each book - not forgetting the other out-of-pocket expenses! These books are now fetching crazy prices of up to £2,000!
However, we learnt, as I explained before, that advertisity can only spur one on - sentiments expressed by my colleague, Phil Mantle, who now publishes his books through the Flying Disk Company.
Haunted Skies Publishing
In 2012, we set ourselves up as Haunted Skies Publishing and published Volume 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. In November 2016, we completed the revised Volume One, in colour, and three times the original size!
We are currently working on the Wiltshire book and revised Volume 2. Incredibly, although we have now self-published Volumes 8, 9, 10, and 11 of Haunted Skies books, we have still yet to publish the events of 1992 onwards, which is what we set out to do some 20 years ago!
PM: Have you ever had a personal UFO sighting at all?
JH: 2nd sighting
In June 1996, I was with my son at The Crown Public House, Alvechurch. The time was 9.25pm. We both saw two huge well-defined 'globes' - the size of dustbin lids (in comparison to the tiny satelittes and aircraft overhead) - which then moved through the celestial arc across the sky, as if joined together side-by-side, before slipping down towards the eastern horizon.
Dawn and I were in Rendlesham Forest on the 27th December 2000, with Brenda Butler and other 'sky watchers', when an object was seen in the sky over the same area as nominated by Colonel Charles Halt and the other airmen. We took some film and were interviewed about the incident by the local news channel. Stills of the UFO are shown in The Halt Perspective. It is important to also point out that we have experienced on more than one occasion a fall of a warm stone which fell with a thud onto the forest floor. This is referred to as 'apports' and is recognized phenomena examples of which we have covered in the books.
PM: Has being a former Police Detective helped you in your research of the UFO phenomenon?
JH: Yes, I suppose it has. However, at the end of the day it's about treating people with decency and courtesy. Many people who have the courage of going to the newspapers to report simply what they have seen later, become the butt of ridicule by others. If one examines the thousands of UFO reports going back to the early 1960s, 90% are presented 'tongue in cheek' with banner grabbing headlines - published to entertain rather than alarm. After many years research, it is patently obvious despite promises made of some form of disclosure by various Governments that the 'real truths' which lie behind the daily incursions of these objects - (that's presupposing they are known about) - will be kept from us for many years to come. I believe this is because the reality might be nothing like we could ever imagine!
PM: Whilst compiling your research for your new book, THE HALT PERSPECTIVE, is there any one piece of evidence that for you really stands out?
JH: The forgotten 'wave'
There are so many pieces of evidence that do stand out; the main one is that most of us are aware of the UFO 'wave' of what became known as the Triangular UFO, the subject of so much media attention in the mid 1980s. On occasion, the Belgium Air Force attempted to intercept the UFOs….but how many people know or suspect the existence of a similar UFO 'wave' over Essex and its surrounding borders with East Anglia, which began approximately in 1978 and went through to 1990 and onwards? Some of these objects were seen over Sizewell Nuclear Power Station, and the majority of these objects often showed three lights around the tips of the triangle. Sightings of three lights in the sky have provided the backcloth of so many reports that we have come across over the years.
We have tried to attract the interest of the local newspapers in the Norfolk/Suffolk localities of East Anglia about this forgotten 'wave', but they do not appear to be interested. Whether this is because their editors have been advised accordingly, we do not know. All we can say is that after six years of publishing these fantastic books, we have never received any interest by the tabloid newspapers apart from one or two slight references of late.
Colonel Halt's views
"I still didn't say much publicly until people started putting out all kinds of garbage and nonsense…..So much disinformation out there and people bugging me about what happened - I finally decided, it's time to tell the truth. I believe the objects that I saw at close quarter were extraterrestrial in origin and that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted - both then and now - to subvert the significance of what occurred at Rendlesham Forest and RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practiced methods of disinformation.
I was a non-believer; I never really gave it a second thought before the incident. But I've got so much material from so many people, and talked to very credible people - people that do not want their names used - that are in very influential positions, including some that are as high in the government as you can get. I can tell you, we are not alone. I can guarantee you that.
Folks, there is an agency, a very close-held, compartmentalized agency, that's been investigating this for years, and there's a very active role played by many of our intelligence agencies that probably don't even know the details of what happens once they collect the data and forward it. It's kind of scary, isn't it? In the last couple of years, the British have released a ton of information, but has anybody ever seen what their conclusions were, or heard anything about Bentwaters officially?
When the documents were released, the time frame I was involved in the incident is missing - it's gone missing. Nothing else is missing. I have never been harassed over the reports I made about the Bentwaters UFO incidents, probably for a couple of good reasons - number one, my rank and some of the jobs I've held, but also very early on, I sat down and made a very detailed tape and made several copies of everything I know about it and they're secluded away. Maybe I'm paranoid. I don't know, but I think it was time well spent when I made the tapes."
PM: What do you say to those that remain sceptical of the events in Rendlesham Forest back in late December 1980?
JH: Read The Halt Perspective book!
PM: In your opinion, how do we keep moving forward with UFO research?
JH: Learning to respect each other, instead of fighting with each other on Face book, and other social media vying to raise individual profiles and increase the size of personal egos. Most people would never dream of writing their vociferous complaints in a letter but feel free to profane and attack others on Face book, knowing they are not going to be taken to task. You know as well as I do that a huge number of UFO groups no longer exist and that we are becoming 'ring fenced' on the Internet.
Surely, as a group of people dedicated to preserving UFO activity, we should be entitled to some answers - but these are not likely to be forthcoming. How many times have we seen the media's excitement about forthcoming MOD files, accompanied by the glair of publicity, to be dashed away when they are released? I've seen this now happening for over 20 years and one should ask in all honesty what it has actually achieved. Similarly when they did release the files each year the majority of the files were low grade and failed to include many that we had personally investigated, involving being reported to the MOD over 30 years ago! Despite assurances by the MOD to us, they would be! As I said before at the beginning, adversity pushes us forward; we should never give up demanding an answer to what is, after all, the greatest conundrum of all time. Most importantly the work that we all do should be preserved in book for future generations who will have to depend on the Authorities view of such phenomena.
PM: John, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and good look with your new book THE HALT PERSPECTIVE.
The book in question is out now on Amazon and more details can be located at: http://www.hauntedskies.co.uk/
If anyone can help us or would like to comment we can be found on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0121.445.0340
- BECAUSE IT'S CHILLY IN HERE DEPARTMENT -
Why Are Ghosts Seen Wearing Clothes?
A question that ghost researchers often are confronted with concerns the fact that ghosts are most often seen wearing clothes. It is also a question that skeptics raise to support their argument that ghosts are figments of the imagination. But it’s a perfectly legitimate question. If ghosts are human spirit energy, why do their manifestations include the manufactured convention of clothing? After all, clothes are not part of our bodies, our spirits or our “souls”.
Or are they? I posed this question to a number of respected paranormal researchers.
American Ghost Society
Why do ghosts need clothes? No one really seems to know, but it’s possible that in most cases, ghosts seen wearing clothing are simply “residual” images – imprints or memories that linger on the atmosphere of a place like a recording.
A ghost of this sort would have no “personality” and is simply like an old movie that just keeps playing.
But what about ghosts that are not merely imprints? What about those which are true, traditional spirits who died and stayed behind? Many researchers feel that ghosts are made up of electromagnetic energy. This energy, inside of the body, forms what we call our spirit, soul or personality. Now, science cannot prove this energy or personality actually exists, yet we know it does. If it can exist inside of our bodies, then why can’t it exist outside of the body, once the body itself stops functioning? It’s possible that it does and that this electromagnetic energy contains our personality and is what we think of as our spirit.
It has been shown through scientific experiments that exposure to high levels of electromagnetic energy can cause people to have vivid dreams, nightmares and even hallucinations. In other words, people are seeing things as a result of exposure to this energy. If spirits have any sort of control over the energy they are now comprised of (or even if their personalities are somehow manifested in the energy), then I would think it possible for the witness to see the spirit as the spirit sees itself. If the personality really does remain, the spirit would visualize itself as it was when alive, appearing as a living person and wearing clothing.
This could be a totally unconscious effect of the energy on the living person, or it could be a manipulation on the part of the spirit itself, perhaps causing the person to see what it wants them to. To understand this, I suggest that you close your eyes for a moment and then visualize yourself in your mind. How do you appear to yourself? Most likely, you were wearing clothing in your imagination. With the idea that a ghost appears looking in the same way that he sees himself, this might explain why so many ghosts that are seen are not only wearing clothing.
RICHARD AND DEBBIE SENATE
Ghosts and the clothes they wear have long been a snickering question. It’s a sort of “gotcha” question debunkers use, and it tells more about the way ghosts are interpreted than anything about them. Ghosts appear as wearing cloths because that's how they appear to us. In our era, clothes are part of what we are. They are part of how we see ourselves and this mental image is the one projected and picked up. In fact, clothes can many times give us information about who the ghosts are and what lives they had. There are some reports of nude ghosts, but they are few and far between. Ghosts tend to be seen in the garments they are buried wearing. In many ways the clothing helps us to indentify who they are.
Founder of Ghostvillage.com and author of The Ghost Files
In many cases, a ghost is a projection of a person. Whether that projection is coming from our own heads, some intelligent energy swarming all around us, or imprinted on the location itself, I don't know. Consider this: If you were to picture yourself somewhere, it's likely you would envision yourself wearing clothes, looking comfortable, yet presentable, and maybe you'd even drop a few pounds in your "projection" (hey, it's cheaper than liposuction, so have at it).
Very few people would picture themselves naked (though there's usually one exhibitionist in every crowd). If you could project any image of yourself that you like, maybe you'd project yourself bleeding from the gunshot would you sustained in your last moments of life in order to make a point to whoever receives that projection. The apparition is always a representation of something/someone else. It's not an entity unto itself; otherwise it wouldn't be so fleeting.
Central New York Ghost Hunters
I believe that ghosts can show themselves in whatever form they want. If a spirit were more comfortable at a certain age, they may show themselves at that time. I'm not too familiar with any person who is comfortable showing themselves in the nude, therefore they wouldn't want to show themselves au natural in ghost from.
* * *
These are all very good points. If ghosts are manifestations of the energy of human consciousness, then that consciousness would include clothing since, as stated by others above, that is how we think of ourselves. Or as esoteric author Richelle Hawks put it, considering that humans are far more than just their bodies: Why wouldn’t they be wearing clothes?
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