12/2/18  #981
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This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such stupendous stories as:

 Mysterious Seismic Event Stumps Scientists - 
- Star that Flickers like Tabby’s Star Spotted -
The Electric Girls of Smyrna -
AND: Haunted School Lab Abandoned

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Mysterious Seismic Event Stumps Scientists
By Maya Wei-Haas

On the morning of November 11, just before 9:30 UT, a mysterious rumble rolled around the world.

The seismic waves began roughly 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, a French island sandwiched between Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. The waves buzzed across Africa, ringing sensors in Zambia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. They traversed vast oceans, humming across Chile, New Zealand, Canada, and even Hawaii nearly 11,000 miles away.

These waves didn't just zip by; they rang for more than 20 minutes. And yet, it seems, no human felt them.

Only one person noticed the odd signal on the U.S. Geological Survey's real-time seismogram displays. An earthquake enthusiast who uses the handle @matarikipax saw the curious zigzags and posted images of them to Twitter. That small action kicked off another ripple of sorts, as researchers around the world attempted to suss out the source of the waves. Was it a meteor strike? A submarine volcano eruption? An ancient sea monster rising from the deep?

“I don't think I've seen anything like it,” says Göran Ekström, a seismologist at Columbia University who specializes in unusual earthquakes.

“It doesn't mean that, in the end, the cause of them is that exotic,” he notes. Yet many features of the waves are remarkably weird—from their surprisingly monotone, low-frequency “ring” to their global spread. And researchers are still chasing down the geologic conundrum.

Why are the low-frequency waves so weird?

In a normal earthquake, the built-up tensions in Earth's crust release with a jolt in mere seconds. This sends out a series of waves known as a “wave train” that radiates from the point of the rupture, explains Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton.

The fastest-traveling signals are Primary waves, or P-waves, which are compression waves that move in bunches, like what happens to an extended slinky that gets suddenly pushed at one end. Next come the secondary waves, or S-waves, which have more of a side-to-side motion. Both of these so-called body waves have relatively high frequencies, Hicks says, “a sort of ping rather than a rumbling.”

Finally, chugging along at the end come slow, long-period surface waves, which are similar to the strange signals that rolled out from Mayotte. For intense earthquakes, these surface waves can zip around the planet multiple times, ringing Earth like a bell, Hicks says.

However, there was no big earthquake kicking off the recent slow waves. Adding to the weirdness, Mayotte's mystery waves are what scientists call monochromatic. Most earthquakes send out waves with a slew of different frequencies, but Mayotte's signal was a clean zigzag dominated by one type of wave that took a steady 17 seconds to repeat.

“It's like you have colored glasses and [are] just seeing red or something,” says Anthony Lomax, an independent seismology consultant.

Mayotte's volcanic roots

Based on the scientific sleuthing done so far, the tremors seem to be related to a seismic swarm that's gripped Mayotte since last May. Hundreds of quakes have rattled the small nation during that time, most radiating from around 31 miles offshore, just east of the odd ringing. The majority were minor trembles, but the largest clocked in at magnitude 5.8 on May 15, the mightiest in the island's recorded history. Yet the frequency of these shakes has declined in recent months—and no traditional quakes rumbled there when the mystery waves began on November 11.

The French Geological Survey (BRGM) is closely monitoring the recent shaking, and it suggests that a new center of volcanic activity may be developing off the coast. Mayotte was formed from volcanism, but its geologic beasts haven't erupted in over 4,000 years. Instead, BRGM's analysis suggests that this new activity may point to magmatic movement offshore—miles from the coast under thousands of feet of water. Though this is good news for the island inhabitants, it's irksome for geologists, since it's an area that hasn't been studied in detail.

“The location of the swarm is on the edge of the [geological] maps we have,” says Nicolas Taillefer, head of the seismic and volcanic risk unit at BRGM. “There are a lot things we don't know.” And as for the November 11 mystery wave, he says, “it's something quite new in the signals on our stations.”

Motion in the ocean

Since mid-July, GPS stations on the island have tracked it sliding more than 2.4 inches to the east and 1.2 inches to the south, according data from Institut National de L’information Géographique et Forestière. Using these measurements, Pierre Briole of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris estimated that a magma body that measures about a third of a cubic mile is squishing its way through the subsurface near Mayotte.

The early period of rumbling was also overprinted with what seemed to be the P- and S- waves of tiny tremors, explains Lomax, who spotted the faint pings by filtering out the low-frequency signals. Such pings are commonly associated with magma moving and fracturing rock as it squirts through the crust. But even those signals were a little strange, says Helen Robinson, a Ph.D. candidate in applied volcanology at the University of Glasgow.

“They're too nice; they're too perfect to be nature,” she jokes, although she quickly adds that an industrial source is impossible, since no wind farms or drilling are taking place in the deep waters off Mayotte's shores.

Ekström thinks that the events on the morning of November 11 actually did begin with an earthquake of sorts equivalent to a magnitude 5 temblor. It passed by largely unnoticed, he suggests, because it was what's known as a slow earthquake. These quakes are quieter than their speedy cousins since they come from a gradual release of stress that can stretch over minutes, hours, or even days.

“The same deformation happens, but it doesn't happen as a jolt,” Ekström says.

These slow types of quakes are often associated with volcanic activity. At the Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a similar slow earthquake and low-frequency waves were linked with a magma chamber collapsing. Slow quakes were also stunningly frequent during the most recent fiery run of Kilauea in Hawaii, which produced nearly 60 of these events between May and the end of July, sending seismic waves around the world.

Assembling the geologic puzzle

So what is actually causing the super-slow vibrations at Mayotte? A submarine eruption could produce these low rumblings, but evidence for such an event has yet to materialize.

Most current guesses revolve around resonance in a magma chamber, triggered by some type of subsurface shift or chamber collapse. The resonance itself can be any type of rhythmic motion, like sloshing of the molten rock, or a pressure wave ricocheting through the magma body, Ekström explains. Studying the intricate features of the seismic waves could yield clues to the size and shape of the molten material lurking below.

“It's like a music instrument,” says Jean-Paul Ampuero, a seismologist at the Université Côte d'Azur in France. “The notes of a music instrument—whether it's grave or very pitchy—depends on the size of the instrument.”

The signal's odd uniformity could be due, in part, to the surrounding rocks and sediments, Lomax adds. Perhaps the local geology is filtering the sounds and only letting this single 17-second wave period escape.

Robinson agrees with this idea, noting that the geology here is extremely complex. Mayotte sits in a region crisscrossed by ancient faults—including fracture zones from the final breakup of the southern supercontinent Gondwana. What's more, the underlying crust is somewhat transitional, shifting between the thick continental crusts and the thinner oceanic crusts. Perhaps this complexity drives the simplicity of the escaping waves, Robinson says.

Secrets of the sea

For now, though, the lack of data makes it tough to say more about the wiggly forms. Hicks' preliminary models hinted that the waves emanated from subsurface inflation, rather than a magma chamber draining or collapsing. But with a little additional data, the model flipped and pointed to chamber deflation instead.

It also could be a bit of both, notes Robinson: “Some collapse mechanisms, you can get inflation and deflation occurring at the same time,” she says. Or sometimes they can alternate, pumping up and down like Earth's fiery lungs.

“It is very difficult, really, to say what the cause is and whether anyone's theories are correct—whether even what I'm saying has any relevance to the outcome of what's going on,” Robinson says.

BRGM plans to do ocean bottom surveys to get more detailed information about the region and investigate the possibility of a submarine eruption. In the meantime, the seismic sleuthing continues with the data that's available. Whether the cause is ordinary or extraordinary remains to be seen, Lomax says, but the science—and the fun—is in the chase.

“Depending on what field and what time in history, 99.9 percent of the time, it's ordinary, or noise, or a mistake, and 0.1 percent, it's something” he says. “But that's just the way it goes. That's the way it should go. That's scientific advance.”

Source: National Geographic


Star that Flickers like Tabby’s Star Spotted

Astronomers using a telescope in Chile have discovered a star whose strange dimming and brightening of light are reminiscent of Tabby’s star, which was once suggested to host an alien megastructure.

The megastructure idea, first posited in 2015, was later quashed by data suggesting that the dips are probably from dust particles obscuring the star’s light (SN Online: 1/3/18). The new star’s behavior is probably not due to aliens, either. But it is baffling, says astronomer Roberto Saito of the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianópolis, Brazil. He and his colleagues reported the star’s flickering November 6 on arXiv.org.

“We don’t know what the object is,” he says. “And that’s interesting.” The star could have some sort of orbiting debris that periodically blocks the starlight, but Saito and colleagues say they need more observations to figure out if that’s possible or if the flicker is caused by something else.

The researchers had been searching for supernovas, stars that suddenly brighten as they explode, when the team spotted the object in data taken with the VISTA telescope in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The data were part of a larger survey of the galaxy’s center called the VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea, or VVV.

Instead of brightening, this star suddenly dimmed. The team called it VVV-WIT-07, for “What is this?”

From 2010 to 2018, the star’s brightness waxed and waned with no set pattern. That lack of pattern is similar to Tabby’s star, except VVV-WIT-07’s light dropped by up to 80 percent, while Tabby’s star dimmed by only about 20 percent.

There’s another flickering star, J1407, that might be a closer match. That star periodically dims by up to 95 percent, astronomer Eric Mamajek of the University of Rochester in New York and colleagues reported in 2012. Astronomers think J1407 hosts an orbiting planet with an enormous ring system that periodically eclipses the star (SN: 3/7/15, p. 5).

Finding multiple stars that all dim sporadically could mean that the sources of such flickering, whatever they are, must be relatively routine, says astronomer Tabetha Boyajian of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, who is also Tabby’s star’s namesake.

“If this phenomenon is the same as what’s happening with Tabby’s star, then we can’t invoke an elaborate explanation for what’s happening in both systems,” Boyajian says. “If you’re starting to see stars similar to this all over the place, then it’s got to be a really common thing that happens in nature. That’s really cool.”

But she’s not yet convinced that the stars are similar.

Because VVV-WIT-07 is located in the plane of the galaxy, the view from Earth to the star is full of dust, making it hard to make out details such as the star’s distance and even what kind of star it is. If it’s a young variable star, for instance, then its light dips might be internal. Then astronomers wouldn’t need to invoke orbiting rings or other strange things.

“Pretty much everything’s on the table for it right now,” Boyajian says. “We need more data.”

Saito and his colleagues hope to follow up on the star with bigger telescopes, like the 8.1-meter Gemini telescope or the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, both in Chile.

Source: Science News


All We Zombies

When the French chemist Michel-Eugene Chevreul, who discovered the margarine, received a pendulum as a gift in 1812, he was really surprised. As he was told, the pendulum worked as a detector of occult forces: it only oscillated when held in the air over water, metals or living things. When a different material was put between the pendulum and the metal, however, the oscillation ceased. He could verify it himself, holding the pendulum. It was not a fraud. It worked as magic.

But Chevreul was a scientist, and he knew that it is not enough to eliminate the possibility that other people may deceive him. We also deceive ourselves.

Chevreul then conducted a series of experiments, among them the simplest of all, but that nobody had done until then. He simply blindfolded himself and asked another person to place and remove objects under the pendulum without his knowledge. All of a sudden, the pendulum stopped working as a magic detector of materials.

Chevreul discovered the simple basic fact that he was indeed the one moving the pendulum and it only reflected his own knowledge. No magical forces included.

On the other hand, Chevreul knew that he was not consciouly making those movements, which were nevertheless intelligent and coherent. His expectations were being transmitted to the pendulum unconsciously. This unusual effect would be called the ideomotor effect, and further study of it would prove even complex movements may be accomplished unconsciously.

In a previous post we saw how our own conscience and free will are not what they seem to be. That intelligent unconscious movements can emerge should not be surprising: it is the same that happens with our own conscience. The only difference is that such movements are not felt as being ours, they are not tagged by our conscience.

Which brings us to the zombies.


Libet’s famous experiment on the free will evidenced that almost half a second before we feel we made a decision, our brain has already been taking steps in such direction, exhibiting the so-called “readiness potential”. Our free will, at least as the freedom of making decisions the moment we feel we made them, is an illusion.

But if the readiness potential already indicates that we will make a decision, couldn’t we create a machine to foresee our decisions before we feel we made them?

Surprise: this has been already done, even before Libet’s famous experiment.

In 1963, William Grey Walter asked some subjects to control a slideshow with a button. What they didn’t know was that the button was not connected. What was connected were the sensors on their heads, measuring the readiness potential in their brains. As soon as the potential to press the button was detected, the slideshow went forward.

The result was reportedly bizarre. The subjects said that the slideshow seemed to predict their decisions. Amazingly, Walter created a precognitive machine more than forty years ago.

Though it may seem the easiest explanation, the experiments by Libet and Walter are not evidence of time travel: they are evidence of the illusion of our free will. Chevreul’s pendulum and all the other applications of the ideomotor effect are also evidence of the illusion of our consciouness: our unconscious may behave as a sentient being, fooling even ourselves. But it’s all on our own mind. The alien hand syndrome is one extreme demonstration of it.

Walter was also a pioneer of robotics, and his most famous robots were the “electronic tortoises” Elsie and Elmer. They were the first autonomous robots in history, half a century before the Roomba. Elsie and Elmer moved freely, without programmed paths, in search of light sources that indicated where they could recharge their batteries.

Given his studies of free will, it’s very relevant to note he described the electronic tortoises’ movements as showing signs of… free will.

Which brings us finally to the point. If something acts exactly as if it has free will and consciousness, does it actually have free will and consciousness?

It is a philosophical question, and to some, the answer is no. Even if a robotic descendant of Walter’s electronic tortoises behaves exactly as a human being would, showing all of the responses suggesting conscience and free will, that would not mean that it actually has any of it. It would still lack something, maybe a soul, a spirit. Without them, it would be a philosophical zombie.

But the experiments and cases that we saw demonstrate that consciousness and free will are much more complex and hard to define than they look.

We don’t have to wait for a Terminator T-1000 model capable of befriending John Connor and saying “Hasta la vista, baby”, to finally question the popular (and even religious) ideas about consciousness, free will or even soul.

We already live every day with clear demonstrations that unconscious phenomena can have all the appearance of consciousness.

The thing that moved Chevreul’s pendulum was a philosophical zombie. And it lived inside his mind. What’s the difference between it and Chevreul? Play with the pendulum, and ask if you’re not a “zombie” yourself.

Source: Forgetomori

Hunt For Pope Lick Monster
By Andrew Arnett

There is a twisted legend that springs forth from the dark womb of the Kentucky backwoods and it tells of the Pope Lick Monster – a deformed goat like creature that walks upright and has a penchant for killing humans. Rumors of the existence of this man-beast have been circulating across Jefferson County for decades. There’s even a photo making the rounds on the internet showing a startled Goatman looking like it was caught with its, er, pants down? Maybe that’s the problem – no privacy. Not even for the elusive Goatman. No wonder he is ticked-off and on the hunt for young legend trippers, luring them up a 90 foot tall train trestle and forcing them to jump to their deaths. That’s his M.O. and he’s left a trail of dead in his wake.

It is a gruesome fact that Pope Lick trestle is host to numerous casualties. The most recent death occurred in 2016 when a train struck 26-year old Roquel Bain as she and her boyfriend were hunting for the Pope Lick Monster. The two travelled from Dayton, Ohio, to investigate the Goatman’s lair, said to be located below the train trestle running through Pope Lick Park. Bain and her boyfriend were half way out on the trestle when a train came barreling around the corner. The boyfriend managed to hang over the side of the trestle until the train passed, but Bain wasn’t so lucky. She was struck by the train and fell 90 feet to her death. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

There have been other deadly incidents at the trestle. On February 18, 1988, 17-year old Spalding University student Jack Charles Bahm II was hit and killed by a train while walking on the tracks. A year before that, 19-year old David Wayne Bryant died from injuries he incurred after jumping from the trestle while trying to avoid an oncoming train.

Is it possible that a deformed goatman is responsible for these deaths, or are rumors of the goatman nothing more than urban legend? Last spring, I travelled to Kentucky with a group of friends, collectively known as the Brooklyn Paranormal Society, to see what more we could learn about this mysterious Pope Lick Monster.

There’s an eerie feeling in the woods surrounding Pope Lick trestle, that’s for sure. In late May, the forest is hot and stifling. The trestle itself is a forbidding structure, looming 90 feet above Pope Lick Creek, and stretching 772 feet from side to side. Beneath the trestle, we met with Rod Whitenack and Michael Book, founders of the haunted attraction The Legend at Pope Lick. Whitenack told us:

“I grew up in this area. I went to J-town high school, which is ten miles from here, and every kid that goes to that high school hears this story. The story I always heard was that the Goatman had either a ramshackle cave, barn or hut somewhere around this area and he protected this trestle. He didn’t let anybody cross over it and if they tried he had these hypnotic powers where he could look in your eyes and you would be hypnotized. He would lead you up on to the trestle, walking out towards the middle and just as you regained your consciousness there would be a train coming from the other side. You would have to decide wether you would be hit (by the train) or hang off the side (of the trestle).”

“They opened this (Pope Lick Park) as a park two years ago,” Michael Book told us, “As soon as it opened I thought this is the perfect location for a haunted attraction around the Goatman. This is actually one of the largest park systems in the entire country. Last year, I touched base with them and they were ready and interested. And so we started talking about a haunted attraction based around this folklore.”

There was even a movie made. In 1988, the short film The Legend of the Pope Lick Monster retold the local goat man legend. In the film, a group of high school students go in search of the dreaded Goatman. The protagonist walks across the tracks, encounters the Goatman, who hypnotizes him, then narrowly escapes an oncoming train by dangling over the side of the trestle.

Most describe the beast as having features of both man and goat, possessing a man’s head, whilst sporting a nasty snout and horns. The body is muscular and covered in brown hair. It has the hindquarters of a goat with cloven hooves for feet and can run at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. So how did this Goatman legend come to be?

Some say the Goatman was originally an old eccentric farmer who lived in a shack near the trestle. He would scare off people wandering on his property or get too close to his sheep. Others believe the Goatman was the deformed son of a farmer, who’s face was so hideous he could only go about at night, for fear of scaring people.

Another iteration on the story claims the Goatman was once part of a circus attraction. Whitenack explained: “The Goatman was an escapee from a circus train where he was the star of the freak show. The circus train was coming through town heading to Louisville and it derailed. All the circus cars were wrecked and a lot of people were killed. The Goatman however, got loose, and he’s been somewhere in this area ever since.”

Apparently, the Goatman was just an infant when discovered by the ringmaster one night while the circus was stopped in Beltsville, Maryland. When the evil carney saw the child had severe deformities on his legs and protrusions on his forehead resembling horns, he knew he had struct gold. The reference made here to Beltsville ties in another folklore, that of the Maryland Goatman. Yes, there are more of these horned creatures.

According to the story, there was a scientist named Stephen Fletcher who worked at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Maryland during the 1960s. He was conducting early DNA research involving goats and men when an experiment went awry. His subject mutated into a murderous goatman and escaped from the lab. Carrying an axe, this beast is said to roam the backroads of Beltsville, attacking cars and pets while terrorizing teenagers on lovers lane.

The Maryland Goatman gained notoriety when, on November 10, 1971, Prince George’s County News published a front page story alleging the Goatman had mutilated a teenage girl’s puppy. The girl, April Edwards, and a group of friends, noted how they had heard peculiar sounds outside of her home, then witnessed the silhouette of a large creature roaming in nearby fields. On November 30, 1971, a Washington Post article reported that the dog’s decapitated remains were found near railroad tracks. April’s friends and a relative also reported seeing a goatman climb off a pickup truck and enter the woods.

Skeptics blame the dog’s mutilation on the railroad tracks, and perhaps the group was suffering from some form of mass hysteria. We may never know for sure but, interestingly, another case of a genetically engineered goatman popped up on the opposite coast. This one regards the Beast of Billiwhack, California’s own version of the goatman. On November 4, 1964, the Los Angeles Times reported on the presence of a deformed beast lurking in the abandoned structures of the former Billiwhack Dairy in Aliso Canyon, Ventura County. Sheriff’s deputies found a group of boys on the property obsessed with capturing the creature, described as being a white shaggy nine-feet tall hominid with a ram’s head. One boy brandished a sword, while another claimed he saw a “snarling, hairy man in a hole.”

The property was once owned by a very real August Rubel who, according to legend, was a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), predecessor to our modern day CIA. The OSS had a training camp on nearby Catalina Island and they commissioned Rubel to create, through genetic engineering, a “super soldier” in the vast tunnel system beneath the dairy. The experiment however didn’t go as planned, creating a monster instead, which escaped its confines.

Maybe, as some have suggested, reports of goatmen sightings across the country are the product of government genetic experiments escaped into surrounding communities. And why not? Right now in labs across the U.S., scientists are conducting experiments which involve the fusing of human and animal DNA, creating “human-animal chimeras.” Up until 2016, the National Institute of Health had a ban on such research citing ethical conflicts. David Resnik of the NIH said, “The specter of an intelligent mouse stuck in a laboratory somewhere screaming ‘I want to get out’ would be very troubling to people.”

The ban has since been lifted and, earlier this year, scientists announced they had successfully created the first sheep-human hybrid, consisting of sheep embryos that are 0.01-percent human by cell count. So scientists may not have yet reached the island of Dr. Moreau, but science is moving fast. And what of other countries, such as China and Russia, and the Military-Industrial complex, that works in secret with no such ethical restrictions, all too eager to weaponize anything they can lay their hands on? If not an actual physical beast, the goatman, at the very least, represents our subconscious fears that something hideous is lurking behind the closed doors of science gone mad.

Source: Paranoia Magazine

Conspiracy Journal Print Edition #49


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The Electric Girls of Smyrna

Contrary to popular opinion, the “Electric Girls of Smyrna” were not an ABBA cover-band, although in retrospect it might have been a more lucrative way to go into show business. Sadly, ABBA would not emerge as a pop sensation for another 133 years and were Swedish.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  They make good meatballs and cheap furniture. Try as I might, I cannot confirm the actual names of the Electric Girls, but they were Greek, from Smyrna on the Aegean coast of Anatolia (the modern city of Izmir, Turkey since about 1930).  Smyrna was originally a Greek colony with the advantage (or disadvantage, depending on your perspective) of being a snazzy port city with good connections to inland river routes, which is why it got successively conquered by the Lydians, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Ottomans, recaptured by the Greeks in World War I, and finally occupied by the Turkish Army at the end of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922). The Electric Girls of Smyrna arrived on the scene much too early.  This is why you always need a good agent.  Their contributions to the mysteries of psychokinesis (influencing physical objects without physical contact) were later overshadowed by the much more popular “Electric Girl of France”, Angelique Cottin in 1846.

In November 1839, the Electric Girls of Smyrna arrived in Marseilles, France, ready to capitalize on their apparent superpowers in an effort to amass a great fortune and perhaps retire comfortably to a nice Greek Island.  This was the heyday of curiosity about Spiritualism, Mesmerism and animal magnetism, so they must have figured they should strike while the iron was hot.  This period in time dovetailed with the burgeoning field of stage magic as entertainment as well as the professionalization of skepticism (as a response to the strange claims of Spiritualists).

Immediately on their arrival, several persons, including various men of science, and professors, visited them and ascertained the following phenomena: First, “The girls stationed themselves facing each other, at the ends of a large table, keeping at a distance from it of one or two feet, according to their electrical dispositions. Second, “When a few minutes had elapsed, a crackling, like that of electric fluid spreading over gilt paper, was heard, when, Third, “The table received a strong shake, which always made it advance from the elder to the younger sister. Fourth, “A key, nails, or any piece of iron placed on the table, instantaneously stopped the phenomena. Fifth, ”When the iron was adapted to the under part of the table, it produced no effect upon the experiment. Sixth, “Saving this singularity, the facts observed constantly followed the known laws of electricity, whether glass insulators were used, or whether one of the girls wore silk garments. In the latter case, the electric properties of both were neutralized. Such was the state of matters for some days after the arrival of the young Greeks; but, Seventh, “The temperature having become cooler, and the atmosphere having loaded itself with humidity, all perceptible electric virtue seemed to have deserted them” (Rogers, 1853, p100-102)

You just can’t trust the weather, but it’s fascinating to note that the electrical properties of the girls seemed to follow patterns consistent with natural laws of electricity and magnetism.  This is of course the problem with a lot of strange phenomena – when they are inconsistent with our understanding of the natural world, they are declared to be obviously non-existent, a hoax, or a parlor trick.  When the phenomena is perfectly consistent with physical laws, the anomaly is similarly declared to be a hoax or parlor trick.  Talk about having it both ways.  As a consequence, the Electric Girls presumably returned to Smyrna and were never to be heard from again.

One may conceive the melancholy of these girls, and the disappointment of the two Greeks, their relations, who have come with them in order to share their anticipated wealth – Marseilles Letter, Sept. 1839 (The Mirror, 1839, p262).

Talented stage magicians have long been able to simulate psychokinetic effects, thus for a good century or so we’ve pretty much assumed that such manifestations of strange talents are mere hokum.  There is a certain arrogance in imagining that because we can reproduce an effect through natural means or simple trickery, that no such effect might exist in another form.  Sleight of hand is as much a tool of the huckster as it is of the skeptic.  We can sleep comfortably having restored order to our little universe, but as Charles Baudelaire said (repeated in reference to Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects), “The devil’s finest trick is to persuade you that he does not exist”.

Source: Esoterx


Statue of Virgin Mary Continues to Cry Tears of Blood

The statue has attracted thousands of visitors since starting to cry blood 18 months ago.

Now a video has emerged of the phenomenon happening fopr what owner Rosana Mendoza Frias believes is the 38th time.

People have flocked to the home of the Frias family in the town of Metan in the Salta province in northwestern Argentina to see the statue known as the Virgin of the Mystic Rose.

In the video, the statue can be seen with red liquid on its face seemingly coming from its eyes.

Rosana told local news outlet Informate Salta that the Virgin statue was brought to her house eight years ago after she suffered a miscarriage and the statue first started "crying blood" in April 2017.

She says the statue has now cried on 38 different occasions and says the first time a photo was posted online of the apparent phenomenon she had "7,000 people outside our house" 10 hours later.

Rosana claims the most recent incident of the statue crying blood came as she was praying to it for her mother's health.

The statue of the Virgin of the Mystic Rose has been linked to several "miracles", such as a woman who had a three-inch tumour which reportedly disappeared after she visited the statue.

Rosana said: "I always tell people that this depends on faith, not on us, as we do nothing, we only open our doors so that they can come here to pray, and through her God will perform a miracle."

The owner has reportedly built a designated space for the statue in her home with the help of others and her own money, creating a glass cabinet to protect it.

Around 30 people gather in front of the statue to pray from Monday to Friday, according to reports.

Source: Daily Star


Haunted School Lab Abandoned

A laboratory at Mandwandwe High School in Nkulumane, Bulawayo, has been unused for over two years as staff and pupils are still haunted by the death of a science teacher after he allegedly inhaled poisonous fumes in the facility.

Mr Trust Dube died in March 2016 although claims that his death was caused by poisonous gases were not proven.

The Chronicle has established that the school laboratory has not been used since the teacher death. Teachers and pupils complain of itchiness and breathing problems once they get inside the lab, hence the decision to stop using it. A new laboratory has since been built.

Sources at the school said the authorities are considering destroying the laboratory as it has remained "haunted."

Bulawayo acting Provincial Education director Mrs Olicah Kaira confirmed the development. She said they can't speculate on the teacher's death because they didn't get to see the post mortem report.

"Everybody thinks if you get into that laboratory there is something that will affect you. They say they feel some itchiness but I've never encountered it. I think it's all in the mind. They say they feel some itchiness, they have short breath," she said.

"I think there is a psychological mindset that the laboratory will kill us when we get inside to use it. It's well resourced, its got all the fittings but the biggest issue is that it's abandoned. I don't want to say it's haunted because I have heard that but as a Ministry, I'm appealing to the school to have a change of mindset."

She said she has talked to the school authorities not to shun the laboratory to no avail.

"I have spoken to the head, to the teachers and when you leave you think that they will have a change of mindset but alas nothing has materialised from the talks. As it is I'm thinking of engaging professional counsellors to go and talk to the teachers and pupils because I believe it's psychological because they say whenever they get into that laboratory they feel itchy," she said.

Mrs Kaira said a number of stakeholders were engaged to clean up the laboratory since 2016.

"After that gas leak a lot of work was done to make sure that all the experts get there. We have a science inspector Mrs Chikavhanga who assists us as a fundi in science. All the equipment in the laboratory has been cleaned as per advice by the specialist," she said.

"Several meetings have been held. We have done a lot as a Ministry; we just didn't fold our hands. The chemical that was suspected to have leaked was collected and disposed of appropriately in the presence of EMA (the Environment Management Agency) and the city council."

Mrs Kaira said in April 2016 she wrote a letter to the Permanent Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education, notifying her of the development at the school.

She said Datlabs, the National University of Science and Technology, EMA, Bulawayo City Council and the Department of Public Works have been to the school to assist with investigations.

"They made recommendations that the laboratory be cleaned by professional chemical handlers since the water method had failed. So Nemchem was engaged and they conducted a test for halogens. They then cleaned and decontaminated the laboratory," she said.

Mrs Kaira said her efforts to engage the school had hit a brickwall.

"I ask myself is that gas still there? I don't think so because the surrounding areas would be affected. The Principal Director from head office said we must not make a reference that kwafela umuntu because no one died in that laboratory. There was a gas leak but there was no immediate death, I think it was after a month or so that the teacher died and it is alleged that he was suffering from another ailment but it was a lengthy illness."

Source: Our Zimbabwe Our News

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