Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Sing The Body Electric...& the Electric Girl

In my [some would say "degraded" but I say 'phooey' and loosen up your shoelaces and get out of the Middle Ages] view of life, there are a large number of "electric girls" blessing the landscapes of our lives, but this is about one special one: Angelique Cottin of early 19th century France. {By the way, this blog engine has a "nasty" character when it comes to placement of illustrations under certain constraints. Since I would like to place in this post the translated material from the electric girl case [which I have not seen before in the treatments/descriptions of these matters], I am forced to either make a complete mess, or string the pages of the primary material along the side. That I'm doing. But it requires me to begin each new "thought" with huge gaps in the text, unless I want a huge blank string. Well, you can scroll past the gaps.}
Angelique Cottin was a poor daughter of French peasantry in the Commune of La Perriere. She lived with her aunt in a small home with an earthen floor. She made some money for the household by serving in her aunt's cottage, weaving silk gloves. It was the evening of January 15, 1846 that the first of many paranormal events occurred. The heavy oak frame, attached to the warp, was "thrown down" in a way that none of the girls working there could understand. A candle was also blown out. This happened a second time and the girls ran screaming out. Sooner or later they came, one-by-one, back. Nothing happened until Angelique returned, when the frame was thrown again. Now everyone was convinced that some witchcraft was involved and Angelique was somehow affected. Fortunately, it was her aunt who was in charge, and so instead of being subjected to "God knows what", the girl was taken to the local priest. This priest was an exceptional man in that he did not immediately rush to the idea of exorcism [as was being pushed by the aunt]. Instead he had it demonstrated to him what the phenomenon was. While sitting in his heavy chair, Angelique approached and the good curate and his chair were flung to the ground. This impressed him but, amazingly, he still did not see the Devil at work here. Instead he suggested that Angelique see a physician.
Things went more calmly for a couple of days, but then with a physician visiting the weaving room, he found that he could not hold the frame anywhere near the girl. The object would tear itself out of his hands with a rotary motion. If there was an exceptionally heavy piece of furniture, Angelique could not move it [her "force", whatever it was, had limits], but she herself would then be flung away. The town was now sure that witchcraft was involved although the physicians, priest et al thought otherwise. The phenomenon got worse with not only furniture but tools, utensils, books, and even lighted firewood were moved when she approached. Note that most of these objects were non-metal, so the idea that some electrical or magnetic repulsion was in operation is not in the cards--just the fact that the objects were "yes this; no that" is indication that no crude natural force was operating.
Angelique was taken to a somewhat larger town nearby. There one of the physicians created a test. A block of wood weighing more than 150 pounds was laid on the ground with a piece of weaver's silk attached. Angelique was asked to sit nearby and touch the block. When even her "frock" touched it, it would rise from the ground. It would perform this "levitation" up to 40 times a minute. As many as three men sat on the block, and they too rose from the ground [though less in height]. Shortly other manifestations were noticed, but they also discovered that they seemed to be able to insulate her from creating the effects by having her feet out-of-touch with the earth. This, and an experiment in which Angelique seemed to make the hair on the arms of an experimenter "stand up", convinced the physicians and priests that this was somehow a static electric phenomenon. [despite the fact that from our perspective 150 years later, this makes no sense at all].
Because of recent discoveries with static electricity, and because people like Luigi Galvani had found ways to store electricity so one could do experiments with it, early scientists had begun fooling around with things like you see in the upper left above. Here a bunch of French experimenters have a young woman on a non-conducting suspended table and have loaded her up with static electricity [like the Van der Graff generator science fair stuff where the girl's hair stands straight out like a fright wig and everybody laughs] and are watching in amazement as small pieces of paper and light non-conducting objects are attracted to her. I note that the male scientists never volunteer for these experiments and always get children or, preferably a young woman. For some "biologically electric" reason they seem to like it this way and she seems typically to like it too. The deeper meaning of that electric phenomenon I'll leave to you. [I cannot resist noting that in these experiments, the scientists finally discovered lint. A hundred years later, and through the natural progression of the electrical/technological revolution, someone discovered in-home washers and driers, and all of us got in on the discovery. Of such leaps is progress made. For our story, we can say that this idea of electricity and bodies and attraction [of lint, not the opposite gender, though that's in here too] was in the scientific air. The fact that Angelique was repelling not attracting things seems to have escaped them.
Angelique had increasing difficulties. She couldn't sit at table to eat nor sleep normally [tables and beds flying everywhere]. Note however that she could eat [thank the Lord] and that she could dress and that people were not flying around, unless they were seated on a nearby chair. The repulsion was freakily selective. This the scientists also failed to [want to? ] acknowledge. She was also becoming a freak show celebrity with people now migrating to see the possessed girl. One physician noted that her "powers" were largest when he was around. He felt that this was because he never doubted her, nor in any way made her feel that she was somehow "bad". He felt that she was most relaxed with him and that lack of being stressed allowed the phenomenon to most strongly express itself. Inevitably, a charge was made that it was all fake--a thought that skeptics have voiced today, giving however only the most preposterous theories to explain it [like Angelique having some electrical device under her skirt which I suppose they felt could toss away 100-400 pounds of weight somehow---or maybe some mighty weight-lifting dwarf was hiding under there...yeh, that's it].
Finally, Angelique was taken to Paris in hopes of being studied by the world leading French Academy of Sciences. This sort-of happened and sort-of didn't. Most of the Academy were apparently the same brand of arrogant cowards that we still have today, and would not look. But we are lucky. A few did. Among those few was the leading member of the Academy [and its corresponding secretary] the famous physicist, Francois Arago. If you had to choose only one, Arago was the one you wanted. At the Paris Observatory, Arago and the resident astronomer, Goujon, tested Angelique. Both of the great scientists were treated to the experience of being tossed aside while trying to remain in a chair with Angelique coming nearby. Arago noted with interest that she had no effect on a magnetic compass whatever. It is this "moment" which gives credence to the story. Many intelligent observers put their names to testimonies of witnessing these sorts of incidents, but it is the reputation of Arago that clinches it. The phenomenon was as real as the chair torn from Arago's hands. Angelique's powers began noticeably waning after this but still flared up particularly after the evening meals. Then they came to a sudden halt. The cause seems to be an experiment which members of a team, formed due to the recommendation of Arago, created to further test her. One team member, doubtless recalling the research of Galvani [where he touched eviscerated frogs with electrodes and caused the dead frog legs to "come alive"] and the belief that it demonstrated that electricity was the "life force", decided that it would be cool to surprise Angelique with a splayed-out dead frog on her arm. They also had her connected to a "galvanic cell" [i.e. primitive battery] and its current made the dead frog jump about on her arm. Angelique was screamingly hysterical [and the "scientist' should have gone to the guillotine]. She had nightmares about this and the phenomenon rapidly left her.
Angelique Cottin's "troubles" were real---but what were they? They act like no natural physical force, but rather like an intentional one. In fact they are very like the poltergeists or the physical manifestations arising through some of the Ouija sessions. Other so-called "electric people" are in the literature, None of them exactly the same, and none of them with an Arago [or anyone vaguely as prestigious] as a testimonial. This is the Spiritual interfacing with the physical again. Whether "just" subconscious psychic projection of "mind-over-matter" or brief incidents of "take-overs" by some other entity, something was bursting out of the wherever into our law-abiding physical world and making a mess of things. And poor Angelique surely didn't deserve it. Walt Whitman wrote singing the body electric about charging those one loves with the "charge of the Soul"... Angelique probably needed persons to love her and so "charge" her, perhaps so as to counteract whatever this destructive "charge" was all about. Ray Bradbury wrote singing the body electric about what it means to be human...yes ... that is exactly what it is all about.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

crypto-Whales Weep Not

I wonder what you would have thought? One day I was enjoying a trip to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and found myself taking in one of the best kept secrets of the world of art: Haida, Kwakiutl, Tlingit Pacific Northwest Native Peoples artifacts. That would have been just fine in itself. There on the wall was a map and an informative commentary on these images that I was seeing. The commentary said that the tribal or clan nature of the peoples honored certain animals as particularly sacred to them : as in each clan having a "totem" animal as it's main guide and strength. And then it gave this list of the animals commonly seen so portrayed: Hawk, Orca [killer whale], Shark, Raven, Frog, Beaver, Bear, Eagle, Seal, and Sea-Wolf. What thought goes through your mind? Mine went: WHAT? Sea-Wolf? That sent me on an exploration to see what this mystery was. The museum said it was "like a wolf,with long muzzle, and narrow,pointed teeth, but with curled tail, flippers, and fins--often shown with whales in mouth." Really? I wonder why no one told the biologists? This sent me reading literature on Pacific Northwest Coast "myths" and looking at things like rock-carvings and paintings. [as above]. It all told an unexpectedly consistent tale. People of the region had been claiming to see these beasts for centuries all along the coastal islands and up rivers as well. Otherwise why choose something that had no physical reality when all your rivals had totem animal-spirits which were physically real? Paintings, rock carvings, AND tales. These tales were not only "folk wisdom-around-the-campfire-style" tales but many were just like encounters...this big violent thing suddenly showed up and we had to try to kill it. The fact that some of these encounter tales were "modern" really added the zest to it. Could the Wasgo/ the Sea-Wolves/ the Sisiutl, be the [or one of ] legendary "sea monsters"? It seemed not terribly unlike other sea monster reports from far afield and it even had a possible known candidate for what it was [from the palaeontological record: a primitive whale, or zeuglodont].
Above at the bottom left are a drawing of the "whale" of the Nazca Plain in Peru, and the tail-similar painting of what seems to be a Wasgo from Nazca pottery. How did the early Nazcans know about Wasgo or zeuglodonts unless they occasionally saw one? When I was at Nazca and in the local museum at Ica, I was practically tripping over the fossil bones of zeuglodonts [alongside the museum director] which had been scattered on the museum floor because they had no other place to lay them out. Something very like Wasgo lived there once anyway. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Lets tell a tale or two. March 1953: Dungeness Spit, Juan de Fuca Strait. A biologist and her sister-in-law and their two sons were boat watching when a big creature, originally thought to be a tree limb surfaced. "I think all of us gasped and pointed. We could distinctly see three humps behind the long neck...we could distinctly make out color and pattern, a long floppy mane [the wolf's mane] and the shape of the head...the animal was rich deep brown with large reticulations of bright burnt-orange". What stretched out of the water was the seven foot long neck and head. How long the body was ...who knows? New Years Day 1937: Yachts, Oregon. A couple was watching a stormy sea when a big beast showed above the water. It came to within 100 feet of them. The neck was about 15 feet long, and the head shaped somewhat horse or camel-like. It had either two upright ears or two small horns. It had a mane the color of seaweed. The barrel of the body was 6 feet in diameter and its total length 55 feet. As in most of these cases there isn't anything to the story but the beast itself--but Wasgo-hunters like Dr. Paul LeBlond of the Oceanography department of the University of British Columbia has collected dozens of them. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"Sea monsters" like the Wasgo have been reported worldwide for many centuries. In the middle collage on the left are actual rock carvings from British Columbia with inserts of Prow Carvings of representations of sea dragons from Viking ships. Just below is an iconic form of what is known as the "Pictish Beast" of similar North Sea raiders. One hesitates to mention that Loch Ness is in the same geographical area. To the right is the famous Mesopotamian carving of the sea-beast goddess Tiamat, the destroyer. The business of picturing her with only forelimbs--counter-intuitively but correct for Wasgo, Pictish beasts, AND zeuglodonts--is, well, a trifle uncanny. And on America's east coast, there it is again: the elongated water-beast with a horsey head and only front limbs. In my opinion it's almost a done deal.

However... when I look at the palaeontologists' reconstruction of the zeuglodont, I wonder if we should be all that joyful at the "welcoming back" of zeuglodonts to our waters.[by the way, the artist here has reconceived one of the earliest of the retro-whales--ones "just" back to the water and not yet having lost their back limbs, which are relatively useless for deep-water swimming, and it's fluid-dynamically faster to be smooth like a porpoise back there]. Obviously these characters are carnivores with large appetites. It would be a bit of a downer for the first successful cryptozoologist wading pleasantly in Juan de Fuca to suddenly shout "Hey! It's an AARRRRR!" If no more distant cryptozoologists were in sight, we wouldn't even know he'd discovered the AARRRRR....hmmmm, maybe this has already happened. "They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains the hottest blood of all." [Zeuglodonts] Weep Not by D.H. Lawrence

Monday, September 28, 2009

NOCTURNAL LIGHTS: How many different phenomena are we dealing with?

Taking a research break today--this stuff can wear you out if you want it to have any substance or novelty. The pictures are one alleged "fairy light" photo, one nice piece of art from Russia, and a bunch of bonehead art by me, trying to illustrate cases of Somethings-or-other which have been presented to the UFO community. Now you have to go to work; is all this the same thing or four or five different phenomena? Hint: some of these sorts of cases seem to indicate clear "intentionality" while others seem to just blunder about. Scientists are a LOT more comfortable with the latter. And now for a nap.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Sometimes I wish that I had been a field researcher but that was not the case. Anytime I have been privileged to listen to encounters first hand have just been dumb luck. But there's nothing like listening to the actual witness retell the event. There was a chance to do that once which led to a description of something that I have no idea of what it was. Here's the tale: "once upon a time" I had an particularly unusual student. He was pretty good--about as good as he desired to be at the moment. He was [and doubtlessly still is] full of life and spirit of adventure, participating in macro-art displays, Society for Creative Anachronism mediaeval battles, and Darth Vader full regalia Halloween frights for neighborhood kids trick-or-treating. He was a futuristic technophile and loved all-things-technoexciting. Somehow he had managed to insinuate himself into an apprenticeship at the local Planetarium and began giving the lectures on the wonders of the Universe. More amazingly, they then gave him the job even though he was still an undergraduate senior. All of that is to explain how when one evening the phone rang at the Planetarium, a student of mine picked it up. On the other end of the line was a young woman. She and a friend had recently had a very strange experience, and REALLY wanted to know if anyone could help them understand it. My student called his odd teacher and said: How would you like to take a little trip to Sturgis, Michigan? He was pretty insistent. I said yes and was glad I did.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We met the witnesses just a couple of days after the event--thankfully, as that quickness had not allowed other odd ideas to creep in and attach themselves to the story, although one of the two girls was already seeking to do so. The witnesses were two young women in their mid-twenties, and of blessedly different personalities. [a fact that markedly advantaged a "clean" harvesting of the facts from the speculations]. I'll call the dark-haired darling [both these girls were very attractive] "Brandy", and the blonde-haired girl, "Bonnie". Bonnie was the one who was trying to synthesize everything imaginable into the event [but not unnaturally so] while Brandy was amazingly grounded about the whole thing, viewing it as something really interesting that happened the other night. Well, OK, what DID happen? -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My student and I met the girls at the scene. He stayed with Bonnie at the place where they parked during much of the event, while I walked with Brandy a ways up the highway to where the main weirdness began, and they both independently described the action blow-by-blow. The recollections matched exactly--no kidding. My student and I had agreed to ask step-by-step sequential and patient retelling of the events, and the two girls told exactly the same story in all details. The story is this: they had spent a day-plus with friends on their farm. There had been a lot of electrical interference with radios and televisions all day. They also had heard that there might be an auroral display the previous evening but because of overcast couldn't see anything. The next evening was fairly clear but showers were around. At 2:30am, they began to drive back to Sturgis as Brandy had to work the next morning. There was no rain but there was fog. Still the girls knew this road completely. A half hour into the drive the windshield was showing rain. For a brief while it rained only only on Brandy's side, and when she mentioned that it moved over to Bonnie's [who was driving]. Bonnie tried the wipers but the "rain" just smeared all over. She tried some fluid and it helped a little, but the smearing got worse in time. She stopped the car and Brandy got out to hand wipe the "stuff" away. It was brown "goo" and smelled like rotten eggs. [this is what some anomalies researchers call a "Fortean Fall"--a rain containing things it shouldn't]. Brandy got back in the car and they started off again but the rain suddenly stopped, the goo dried solid, [it was thin and piecemeal enough that the driver could still see forward], and then the engine died. [About this time a UFO researcher would be thinking: where's the flying saucer? THAT anomaly never showed up]. Bonnie also could not get the brakes to function, and the car rolled on down a slight slope in the road. Both girls had the thought that the car was moving but it shouldn't be [despite the slight slope--I walked this with Brandy, and it isn't much ]. The girls began to get a bit panicky. Ahead was an outdoor market, of course closed and abandoned at the moment, and Bonnie steered the automobile towards its parking lot. Once there, the car rather violently slammed to a stop. Brandy sensed the interior heating up and screamed at Bonnie that they had to exit the car. They began walking back to the road, and found themselves surrounded by "millions of small, 2 to 3 feet in length, rays of lightning flashing everywhere, around our feet, our legs, over our heads, everywhere in the air. The air was filled with them". These whatever-they-were bolted forward in brief bursts showing a spectrum of light, the red end leading, and rapidly disappeared after short flights. Looking back towards their car, they saw that the sky was starkly clear of any cloud or fog. In its place was a pink-orange-red fluorescent glow which arced over half the sky, and having a sharply divided border from the other half of the sky which was dead black. This awesome display drove the witnesses nearly hysterical, and they ran back towards their car. To their sides, roadside weeds stood rigidly upwards and their crowns emitted flashes and glows of lightning. Back at the car, the windows were steamed and the interior so hot that they couldn't stay there and ride out whatever was happening. So they ran. Back to the road. Down in one direction on the roadway, about 100 yards away, there were a bunch of "deep red lines" dancing. "It looked like a bunch of little kids no taller than two feet, outlined in what I imagine to be infrared, dancing around in the road". They didn't go there. Instead they pounded on the door of the nearest house--all dark-- that they could reach. The rainbow lightnings still flashed about. The apprehensive trailerhome owner refused to look outside but did allow them to use a phone [which did work] and they called a friend. By the end of the call the lightshow was failing. They walked back to the car, which still would not start. Five minutes later clouds moved in and the "thing" was gone. By the time their friend arrived...nothing. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If this had been only Bonnie who reported all this, I'd have been skeptical of many of the details. But it was also Brandy. Brandy was rock-solid. A thoroughly grounded person, who said she was a little disappointed in herself for being so scared at the height of the action, but that she felt it was a very interesting experience that was over and had little to do with "going to work each day and living one's life". Bonnie as I've said, was different. She was not "crazy" by a long shot, but the experience so interested her that she didn't want to let it go without understanding it. This was a bit of an obsession for a while and Brandy was apparently a bit amused by that in her friend. The bottom line was: these two very different personalities told the exact story, down to small details. I have very little choice than to believe that I received a report of something precisely as two different minds feel that they honestly experienced it. And because I'm not a big fan of the idea of highly detailed group hallucinations, I am left with the idea that this was primarily an objective experience. Some other experiences having bits or pieces of this one, exist in the anomalistic literature, but none that I've found has this richness. What was it? Does the planet throw up a highly focussed point wherein utterly-out-of-the-norm static electric phenomena manifest? The Aurora is no easy culprit either, as the direction of the Half-of Heaven Color Effect wasn't anywhere in the vicinity of North.[a few off-center auroras are in the literature but nothing like this]. Did our sweethearts slip into a patch or overlap of "otherworld" for several minutes--if they were in our world, it wasn't behaving very well. So...mystery. One can hardly blame Bonnie for her interest. I'm just glad that she had a friend like Brandy to balance things off.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Now, WHAT Did You Say This Was?

Onward, Upward, and Around the Corner on Poltergeists et al: [as promised, more of Ernesto Bozzano's summary of his studies]. "In their visual form, the phenomena of haunting comprise luminous manifestations and phantom-apparitions. The luminous manisfestations are fairly frequent; usually there is a diffuse light, illuminating a site in such a way as to render the phantoms visible; or they are lights emanating from the apparition itself. In some cases they take the form of spheroid lights with vague outlines, which run rapidly along a short trajectory and then disappear; more rarely they take the shape of globular lights with sharp outlines, and remain for a long time while floating in the air. And there is finally the case of a light seeming to shine from a hallucinatory lamp or candle, carried by a phantom, or even the embers, no less hallucinatory, of a dead fire near which the apparition seems to crouch. The visualized phantoms, except for a few apparitions of animals, always clothe themselves in human form. Far from showing themselves swathed in the spectral white drapery of old legend, they seem to be dressed in the costume of the period in which they lived....Generally they appear so lifelike that they could be thought alive....Usually they seem to enter a door, pursue their way and enter another room, where they disappear; but often they appear suddenly and vanish from the spot like vapor, or they disappear by passing through a wall or a closed door....Manifestations are usually preceded by a vague feeling of "presence" which seizes the percipient and causes him to glance in the direction where the phantom appears. If the apparition draws near, the percipient feels a kind of cool breeze."----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bozzano had this conclusion: "Whoever, instead of losing himself in idle discussion [amen, brother] undertakes systematic and deep researches in metaphysical phenomena, and who perseveres in them for long years, ...must without fail, end up by convincing himself that metaphysical phenomena constitute an admirable assemblage of proofs, all converging as to a centre toward the rigorously scientific demonstration of the existence and of the survival of the Spirit". Well, Ernesto, I wouldn't phrase it in quite those "scientific" terms, but some of this stuff is very persuasive of that. Unfortunately there has been a great deal of bogus "proofs" as well. Up in the picture insert are two guys who had an interest in these matters. The big fellow is Arthur Conan Doyle. The small fellow is Harry Houdini. Houdini certainly wanted to believe but spent his life exposing fake "apport mediums" [persons claiming to produce physical phenomena] over and over. Doyle wanted to believe even more than that, accepting some things even in the face of very contrary evidence or suspicion. Nearing the end of his life, Doyle scanned a great number of "prophecies" that had been presented to him [often through his own wife's automatic writing] and saw that none of it had come true [something of no surprise to me since I believe on theological grounds that you can not "see" the future]. Doyle's response to this was to wonder if he had not been made the butt of a long term practical joke by a denizen of the Spirit world. My intuition is that Doyle himself may or may not have been "joked", but that the concept is not a silly one. What Bozzano's and other "serious" researchers tend not to include in their conclusions is "personality". A lot of this stuff expresses NOT goodness or evil or even random mechanicalness, but whimsey, emotion, and...individuality. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Among Herbert Thurston's encyclopedic gatherings of incidents, was one from 18th century Germany [yeh, I know, there wasn't any "germany" yet...picky, picky] from a chemical doctor named Gerstmann. There were poltergeist "throwing events" all over the laboratory [reminiscent of the famous "Miami poltergeist"]. Some of the violence occurred while objects were still in the hands of the witnesses. Many manifestations also occurred in the home. Gerstmann's pipe was stolen. His wig was tied in unravelable knots. A new wig was tossed into hot water. At this point it is still alarming but beginning to get funny. Finally, a voice was heard: "The end, The end today of mischief and stench." And it was over. Well, the Irish would say that this was pretty leprechaunish. My current feelings about these things is that they stem not from devils nor angels, but from consciousnesses in a strange way like our own. Consciousnesses that have the capacity to act well or ill, either way. Spirits that have the capacity to still choose between a good or a bad act, and who often differ by the day. Some of these characters, like ourselves, may have degenerated into being pretty consistently "bad" actors. Some, like ourselves, may be consistently pretty "good". All may be making judgements as to what's good or bad for themselves or for others of their association.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm going to tell one last story that will probably be well beyond your ability to tolerate. When I was in Biochemistry Grad school, we had two post-doctoral fellows on the floor, one from Pakistan, one from India. Both were fine and friendly folks. One evening [and there are plenty of "evenings" as a grad student], Aslam, the Indian PhD, told us of a happening when he was a teenage boy in India. His family had moved to a new city, one of the big ones,I can't remember which. This city was like many others--lots of abandoned big houses for new occupants. It must have been common there to rent just one floor of a home, while the upper floor and its 6-10 rooms remained empty. This is what Aslam's family did. According to contract they were not supposed to go upstairs at all. Well, you guessed it. At night [usually] they would hear all manner of sounds from the upper story. Aslam's father naturally thought that there might be "squatters" and they could be dangerous to the family, which had small children younger than Aslam, the oldest. So he and Aslam explored the upper story several times, finding no signs of occupation. But there were other things: downstairs and external doors left unlocked and open day and night---most of this happened overnight and would be discovered in the morning. After a while the father was rummaging widely upstairs looking for the culprits. Then one evening, the family gathered for dinner but the youngest daughter was missing, a girl of about three. Once realized, Aslam had a sense of great alarm and urgency, and ran out of the dining room to the foot of the stairs. His family was quickly in pursuit, in time to see the little girl plummet over the second floor railing and into Aslam's arms--fortunately unhurt. As family gathered around, the girl said in a strange voice not at all like her own: STAY OUT OF OUR PLACE!. and then lapsed into a confused normalcy. Aslam and his family were from then on convinced that they were sharing a house with Djinn...and they never went back to the second floor. Maybe you can swallow that, maybe not. I tell it to you as it was told to a pretty good fellow, but, who knows? KNOCK KNOCK Who's REALLY There?

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Hear You Knockin'...Whatever You Are.

Poltergeists, ghosts, Ouija, automatic writing, trance, possession...I get the creepy feeling that we're dealing with [mostly] the same thing. But it's tough to see through to the Other Side of the Mirror, so let's just continue to fumble in the dark for a while. Despite a lot of what's said, a good bit of this stuff is not "evil" or even consistently nasty. A prominent "haunted house" in Michigan is the old Lockhart mansion in Frankfort. Residents there have experienced heavy furniture moved during the night, footsteps on the stairs, lights repetitively turned on after the family would get up to turn them off, TVs activating in empty rooms in the dead of night, and once [a rariety] direct vision [by two people] of a framed picture "climb" up the wall and then crash down. A neighbor thinks that the ghost is a little girl called "Mary", as previous residents called "her" by that name. When sounds occur, well, "It's so frequent that we don't even get up and look." Owners view the "ghost" with mainly amusement, and think that the idea of an "exorcism" is the creepy idea, not "their" ghost. {a picture of the mansion is in the lower part of the collage}.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Trying to decipher the meaning behind these experiences may be impossible, but we can at least read the opinions of people who have tried to research it. A person who studied more cases than probably anyone was Ernesto Bozzano.[upper left]. He was an Italian psychic researcher of the first half of the 20th century, and is largely unknown today. I will quote from a translation of his book The Phenomena of Haunting as it appeared in the Journal of the American Society for Physical Research, January 1937. [I wish I could quote more, but the conclusions are too long]. As to sounds: "In their auditory form they comprise all sorts of apparently causeless sounds, from raps and cracks of different intensities to noises imitating the sound of falling furniture or the breaking of household objects, such as bottles, bowls, window-panes. .... [and much more]....In other cases the sounds seem to have a human origin: particularly the measured footsteps which pace corridors or go up and down stairs....more rarely...cries, groans, sobbing, sighs, murmurs, and words or phrases.....Observation shows that these sounds...are partly subjective and hallucinatory and partly objective and real; those of a subjective nature however are more frequent. Actually the doors and windows one hears banging usually remain closed; the pieces of furniture which were overturned, the vessel which was smashed, are found intact in their places....On the other hand, incontestibly objective noises and sounds are not rare, for it has been testified that doors and windows do really swing open, or that they have been seen in the moment of banging shut; furniture is found out-of-place or overturned, pottery found shattered, or all witnesses simultaneously hear the sounds." Because Bozzano goes on interestingly, and because he is a "forgotten" expert, I'm going to continue with his conclusions in a later post, and complete today's with the views of a few other experts.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nandor Fodor was a Hungarian immigrant to the US, then Britain, then back to the US.[ middle left picture ].He was a contemporary of Bozzano. Dr.Fodor, a psychologist, became what we might call a "field researcher" of all-things-paranormal. While in London, he became the center of a group which received news of "events" and Fodor would often go to the scene, even invited by residents to stay over for days if necessary to investigate. In that he is another unusual resource. He was not an "anything goes" guy by the way, often coming down on the "nothing really happened" side. Fodor, along with another contemporary, Fr. Herbert Thurston, a Jesuit who wrote the book above and one entitled Ghosts and Poltergeists as well, were among the first to focus on the pattern that young women were often a primary ingredient in whether the phenomenon happened or not. [where have we heard that before?]. Fodor's very first case involved a young woman of striking unusualness: "She was a beautiful creature of sixteen, and there was something very odd about her psychological make-up. I was told that birds alighted on her shoulder and came into the house without budging from their perch. She could catch mice with her bare hands, as they would not run away from her. I heard before that some people have a strange affinity with wild life. This was the first time that I saw such a nature child." So, "happy ending", they fired her and the poltergeist phenomena stopped. Not my favorite story.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am a Catholic and the Church has had many [and diverse] opinions on these things. In fact, it can't get its views clear at all. As mentioned, Herbert Thurston was an expert and historical scholar in all these matters. His opinion was that all this has much reality in it, and that the true cases point to some spiritual agency...but what? "Official" pronouncements tend to just say that all of this is dangerous and leave it alone...despite many of the saints having similar activities surrounding their own sanctioned lives. A prominent Catholic counsellor of the 1950s, Fr. Francis Filas of Loyola University [middle right], was asked to comment upon the unusual poltergeist phenomena which was interesting the media in 1958. "Nothing unusual about it. Such strange things as bottles popping open, things flying through the air, and ghostly footsteps have been reported for many centuries in many countries." He then went on to tell of a poltergeist story with a family that he himself knew. Asked about what Catholic Theology said about this, he said that there were three theories: that this is a manifestation of the devil; that this is due to a soul which is "not of this world"; and that this is due to un-understood "psychic powers" that people themselves have. I guess that covers it. I used to think that Filas' #1 was a big player. Now I think that some combination of #2&3 are the likely causes, with my bet on the prime agent being #2. Well, at least that's what I think today.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Well, Ya gotta talk about it sooner or later: ROSWELL

Roswell has been fun for me--a real-life adventure. Many times I've trekked down to the Center for UFO Studies to meet "in secret" with Kevin Randle, Don Schmitt, and the boys to hear of the latest breaks and new witnesses. Sitting there at CUFOS, there were absolutely no reasons to believe that what was being uncovered was not true [at least in the general terms]. And, generally, I still believe that to be true. Going down to Roswell itself, I saw the shifty Frank Kaufman [who always made me doubtful of his stories--especially when he said he had to sit on the john with mirrors so that he could always see the radar screen that fateful evening--complete military fish-story nonsense told to see just how "tolerant" his listeners were to bullshit]. But I also saw the son of James Ragsdale, wiry strong and desert sun-blasted, drive up to his dad's home to see who we intruders were, and confirm to Don and Mark Chesney that his father had spoken of seeing the crash-site long ago. It was disgusting then to see what was probably good testimony ruined by an "entrepreneurial" family decision to rewrite the dying father's memories in ways that facilitated making a few bucks. I spent a little time looking in nooks and crannies at a possible second crash site, and as this was way before any word of this came out, well...we just might have found something. There were the latest audio interviews and transcripts, and Don and Kevin looking on nervously as Frank Reid wrote copious notes on matters not yet ready for prime time. It was a blast. And it could have ALL been real. So, how much was?-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Something VERY anomalous happened at Roswell. There shouldn't be much doubt in people's minds about that. The reasons are very simple actually. [Despite how most folks try to muddy the issues]. Something scattered debris, reasonably widely, around a large field on the Foster ranch north of town. Everyone agrees to that. The Army Air Force authorities announced first that it was a flying disk and then that it was a weather balloon. Everyone agrees to that, too. As part of the second half of the AAF's Roswell strategy, high authorities at Fort Worth AAF HQ held a press conference where they had the Roswell base intelligence officer hold up pieces of an ordinary weather balloon and claim that that was what he found. Again, all agree. Now, this ordinary weather ballon was NOT the debris that the intel officer picked up and brought back to base. This is true because even the skeptics and the Air Force say that the thing which came down was something else--a completely different type of balloon. Therefore, by unassailable logic, the press conference was rigged and the military authorities lied. This as yet doesn't say that they were lying about a UFO, but it DOES say that they were lying, and we should quit being so naive or dissembling to continue to believe that they didn't do this sort of thing. Also, they are not pathological liars, but rather do so when they feel it's required due to the importance of the situation. The debris was important and they lied about it. But, what WAS it? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Air Force continued its debunking of the crash right up into modern days. In their extensive reports, they pointed out something which should be of some interest to people wanting to know about Roswell: they showed many pictures of "everyday folks" retrieving some of these high-tech balloons for the researchers. If everyday ranch folk can easily recognize a Mogul balloon, then I am supposed to believe that the chief intelligence officer of the base can't? This is so astoundingly preposterous to me that it continues to baffle me. Of COURSE Jesse Marcel could recognize the difference between balloons, no matter HOW "fancy", and something that went FAR beyond his experience. Marcel knew what he picked up and brought back to base was no kind of balloon [one wonders why it is even necessary to mention such a thing]. Base Commander Blanchard would hardly have problems noticing either. Marcel knew that the Fort Worth conference was making him be the stupid fall-guy for something and he didn't like it, but with a General giving him orders, what could he do but smile and bear it? [look at the guy's face]. How anyone has entertained that this stuff was some balloon debris is a testimony to our ability to really not want to believe in alternatives. But still, what was it?----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What-it-was was really strange material. You can go with that wherever you wish, but you need to at least start there and dump all the preposterous stuff. Major Marcel said that the materials had some properties that he had never seen anything like before. His descriptions don't need a lot of elaboration. Cigarette-paper-thin but not dented by hammer blows. Plus, wouldn't burn, and [the piece-de-resistance] when a different metal type was crumpled, it would fold back out to its original form. We can decide that Marcel is a big liar, but if you don't go there then you have significant problems explaining what this debris could possibly be. Marcel isn't alone on the "accuse" list, either. About 20 other people have stated that one kind of the metal had the crumple-up/ fold-out property. And one of those was another of the base's important intelligence officers, M/Sgt Louis Rickett. Rickett was "counter-intelligence" and was assigned to Marcel's office, but under the command of Captain Sheridan Cavitt. Rickett, prior to his death, was quite willing to talk extensively about his role in matters like clearing up the debris field. He, like Marcel, had no doubts that they were dealing with something outside of our current experience. What of the other two main Intel/security officers?---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Provost Marshall Major Edwin Easley took this whole affair extremely seriously. Though placed at the scenes [such as the debris field clean-up] by Easley and others, he steadfastly refused to discuss the incident, saying that he was under oath even after all these years and would not discuss any detail even if given the OK by the Pentagon. Quite odd, I'd say, no matter how "loyal" one might be. Kevin continued to be a mighty pest and Easley ended up admitting that he WAS involved with a clean-up of whatever-it-was and he said one more "odd" thing. Asked if the direction that Kevin and Don should pursue would be to the "extraterrestrial", Easley said: "well, it wouldn't be the wrong direction". Chief of Counterintelligence, Sheridan Cavitt, was even more of a stonewall over the years. Marcel said that he and Cavitt together went out to the Foster ranch to pick up the debris. For most of this time Cavitt denied even being on base during these goings-on. Weirdly, when the Air Force made their recent GAO-stimulated investigation, he admitted that he had not only been on base but went to the ranch and collected debris. Rickett, meanwhile, remembers Cavitt taking him out to a second [more interesting] crash area and ending by telling him "We didn't see this." There has clearly been a LOT of lying going on about this incident, and when it comes to the military side, the lying has been in the direction of trying to convince us that nothing important happened. Well, pardon me if I can no longer believe anything you guys say.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are a million more stories, always complex in that one can choose to pick at them or just deny, and way too many to continue on here. I'll leave off with just one. My old buddy John Timmerman was standing alongside the CUFOS UFO display on day when an elderly couple approached and said that they had briefly known that rancher that discovered the crashed disk in New Mexico. John was more than mildly interested. They said that they had rented rooms from him when he was living in Tularosa, and that Mac was a great guy and quite willing at that time to talk about the event, even taking the husband out to the ranchsite and showing him around. According to the husband, Brazel said this; "He explained one thing about it that I can remember quite distinct. He had a piece of metal of some sort which he'd never seen before in his life. He got hold of it and wadded it up. When he wadded it up, it would wad up all right, but when he released it, it came back to its original form, just like a piece of spring steel." Despite our metallurgical advances with alloys like Nitinol, we can't pull that trick off today. Did something anomalous happen at Roswell? You bet! Did WE do it? Not in any technological universe that I'm familiar with. Oh, and about the "bait-and-switch": what a brilliant psychological ploy to put out the real story, and then take it away with a colossal lie and a big HA HA HA, that everyone now admits WAS a lie. Ya gotta take your hats off to those Pentagon Intel guys, much as you'd like to take their heads off instead.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

OZ TWO: We're Not (Quite) In Kansas Anymore

UFOlogists have been receiving reports containing uncanny shifts in the normal environment for years without noting that it was a "theme" in much of the high-strangeness pile of incidents. It was never a concentration of interest for me until recently, and it is only after-the-fact that I notice about 40 or so of these cases in my files. Because the phenomenon of the OZ effect is genuinely interesting, and because these particular three cases that I'm about to describe are interesting, I'm going to present them even though I've had no direct relationship to any of the investigations. So, "buyer beware". I put them out there because [although they are "better", fuller, stories than most] they are coherent with many other reports in the literature. So, off we go "to see the wizard". -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Case one: December 1959, Proberta, California. A truck driver was heading to work at 5:45am. His radio began going out, and his lights begin to dim. He pulled off the road and got out. He noticed that unlike any other time time in his life, the road was completely devoid of cars. Despite the time-of-day, the road was normally heavily travelled. And there was something else. Hanging over the road behind him was a large, bright, green crescent. He was terrified by this and broke into a full-body sweat. The thing seemed to be drawing him towards it ["I felt like I was being sucked up in space toward the object as by a magnet"]. He thought about getting his gun from the truck and firing at the object. His thoughts cleared and he rushed to the truck only to find that the object was gone. The truck's lights had come back on and he began to drive away. Smelling a burning odor, he makeshift-repaired the truck and limped in to work. He later found that both his battery and his generator were badly damaged and had to be replaced.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Case two: April 1978, Montreal, Quebec. A young man [19] was just finishing first Sedar with relatives and it had grown late [10:15pm] and the dog needed to be walked. He had a "standard route" for this chore and so was completely familiar with the surroundings. This night, however, there was a distinct lack of anything else going on: "I was the only person out that night. It was like in the movies when a crime is committed or a monster comes out and chases you--you are all alone and the viewer thinks how unrealistic can you get! But that's exactly what happened. The streets were deserted , no animals, no cars passing by, no other people". There was something though. A bright yellow light was dancing about in the sky. Feeling a bit foolish at the moment, the young man said [mentally] that he'd like to go on a trip with a spaceship. At that the cylindrical yellow light became a silver saucer and instantly moved almost directly above him. [over a streetlight]. A door or hatch seemed to be opening, and the witness was scared to death. He said [again mentally] that he didn't want to be taken and please go away. The hatch then closed, the saucer became like light, and then "broke up into smoke and disappeared", only to reappear some distance away. He and his dog [which never responded at all to this thing] were walking in the direction of the now-distant light towards a small forested area. That thought gave him pause. Did he really want to walk the dog in the forest? Mentally he thought: No you're not getting me to go in there. The light changed to the disk again and flew straight at him. This time he completely panicked and screamed "NO!" out loud. Very near to apparently hitting him, the disk did its vanishing act again and reappeared in the distance. Dog-walking was now low priority, and he ran back towards his house. The disk however was not quite through and resolidified and parked over the house across the street. Running inside, he told his mother what had happened, she of course not believing a word of it. Finally he convinced her to take a look. There the thing was, hatch open, and the craft vibrating. His mom said: "Oh my!" The hatch closed, the saucer became light then smoke and was gone again as a distant light. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Case three: November 1978, Daventry, England. A school teacher was leaving a school party due to a crashing headache [skeptics have seized upon this as the cause of what follows and each of us may have their own opinions]. She was driving home and saw a UFO above the road [two connected spheres, one with a green light emission, one with red]. Traffic at this point was normal--no OZ, yet. After driving a bit further on, she stopped ,got out and watched the thing from this different perspective.[the fact that the perspective changed appropriately is an argument against this being some mental light-flash illusion]. Getting back into the car and driving on, she found that the accelerator pedal would not work properly and the car was slowing towards a stop. There was no noise from the engine at all. Still, the automobile continued to creep forward at a slow pace. At this point the rural road was empty. She calmly got herself together and went through a start-up sequence [while rolling] and it worked. She proceeded on for about 300 meters normally. The car entered an area where the trees overhang the road like a canopy or tunnel. At the end of that tunnel, suddenly, without any awareness of how it happened, she was sitting in a stopped vehicle and the surroundings were totally black--no light anywhere. This was at the border of Church Stowe--a place she knew very well. Although not even able to see her own vehicle, she"felt strangely calm and unafraid". Suddenly a brilliant globe of white light appeared at the left side of the car. She was immediately able to recognize exactly where she was in relationship to known buildings of the area. Then the light extinguished--total blackness. On again a bit further around the car. Off. On. Fifteen times the globe cycled a bit further around her. Fascinated, she sat there taking every detail in. And then, "Good Gracious!", the whole world was back to normal lighting. What was REALLY wrong about this, though, was that she was now in motion, driving 30 yards further down the road in the village. She had been stopped--all of her senses during the 15 periods of illumination told her that she was in the same spot and NOT in motion. She drove straight home and told her stunned police inspector husband the encounter over dinner. Later on that evening, she had another headache, which never occurred again. Perhaps all this was aberrant brain chemistry, but the "event" was awfully elaborate and not-at-all painful or even unpleasant while it was going on. And she had no previous imagery to draw from to invent the experience. Still, who knows? Could it have been that "Good Gracious, Toto, we're not in Church Stowe anymore"?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hiding In The Bushes of our Minds?

Another "giant squid" was hauled up out of the Gulf of Mexico...less than 20 feet long; the cryptozoologists went "ho hum". Cryptozoology, the exploration to find "hidden animals", attracts a variety of adventurers. Some of these are pretty conventional. They want to know if the Ivory-billed Woodpecker still exists or is really extinct...or if that "cougar" spotted in Michigan means that the beasts are really expanding their territory beyond what anyone thinks...or even if that squid was really that big. Other cryptozoologists are out there going for the Big Strike--The Loch Ness "Monster", "Bigfoot", The Abominable Snowman, Mokele Mbembe [the African Dinosaur], The Giant Octopus, or The really Giant Squid [these 20 to 40 footers are just "shark bait"]. This group wants the BIG ONE but only if the big one is physical--that is, biological, and in that sense "ordinary". The third group is "All-the-way-Fool". Pookhas? Leprechauns? Mothmen? Disappearing Glowing-eyed Black Cats? Bring them on. As you can guess, it's an uneasy alliance, if at all. I know people in all camps and a few who are all three explorers in one head. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Not long ago, there were rumors and sightings of a big cougar-like cat prowling about northern Mexico. It had gotten the name of the "Onza". Professional biologists generally said it didn't exist, as usual, but local farmers/stockmen insisted otherwise. Finally the local people killed one and still no "professional" agreed. Five or so kills later, they finally admitted that something [either a "new" species or some cross-breed] DID exist. One of those dead Onzas is in the top right photo. It seems to take a lot of killing things to get the biology establishment to risk saying anything exists. It would be rare dark humor if we had to kill every one of a hidden species before "science" would say that they were alive. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Out-sized black cats seem to be running loose all over the place, particularly in England. Some cryptozoologists have almost made speaking and writing about them a cottage industry. Who knows what's behind all this, but a "recent" suggestion has been that some kind of probable(?) mutant or overly large [and retrogressed ?] cat tribe has arisen. A picture of this thing, the so-called Kellas Cat, is middle right above. But what of all the really weird cases? The glowing-eyed black stalkers, the uncanny Pookhas, the Vanishers? For most "respectable" cryptozoologists they are better left unsaid. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Frankly, I like Pookhas myself, but one of my rare attempts to do cryptozoology was a bit more academic than that. I was studying Egyptian mythology [well, why not?] and noticed that all the "theriomorphic" [animal-formed] gods were, when in their "animal head/human body" forms, representative of known animals except one. That one was a rather important one: SET. The dark lord of the south, the slayer of Osiris, and the forerunner of the image of the Christian Satan "didn't fit" the pattern. This turned out to be a matter of debate among Egyptologists, the vast majority of whose ideas I felt were obvious poppycock. Some baled out entirely and said , well they just made him up [when all others were real]. I said:B.S. Others tried to identify him with the most ridiculous of solutions, ridiculous because they never came close to matching the representations of the beast [sometimes being so far off that one wondered what medicines the guys were taking who suggested it--a lot like certain UFO theorists by the way]. I thought that if this was the best they could offer I could at least be forgiven for trying. Looking at a few dozen representations of SET across several dynasties, the vast majority of living animal candidates quickly fell away. Reading the religious texts which [surprisingly] described animal-like behaviors for SET, I became convinced that we were dealing with a real [at least at the time] animal, and not a myth. The animal was one of a very few choices: 1). an extinct violent wild dog breed, structured somewhat like a hound; 2). an early partly-tamed cross-breed hunting dog [old texts indicate a fear of bred dogs with certain SET-like characteristics]; or 3). a type of Hyena, with longer snout than today's, now probably hunted to extinction. I got valuable coaching from biological professionals so that my remarks weren't howling errors, and even got the paper published. SET was a Cryptid [I believe]. It was a dangerous man-killing, meat-eating thing and it was no myth. Though no longer hanging around the pyramids [if it ever were that far north], it could still be out there somewhere "just around the forest path" in sub-Saharan Africa. I wait in hope of someone discovering it...without being eaten of course. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Although my SETian foray was in the conservative area of cryptozoology [Hey, that's where the data led], my leanings, as you might guess are right past the liberal and onto the spiritually radical. Oddly, while dealing with this major spiritual icon [SET] I ended up grounded in the desert. But I don't believe the deep interest in the subject lies there, and there will be more about Pookhas later.

Monday, September 21, 2009


There are many subjects that I know little about [especially as far as what is really going on with them] but this is one of the worst. Still, "we're all friends here", so why not just stumble in and see if there's anything to see. The subject is "haunted houses". The first trouble with this is that a lot of things are put under this label which don't seem, necessarily to be like one another. For instance, there are places where there seem to be "apparitions" but no physical activities. There are other places where there the "agents" seem delighted to throw books off shelves and hide your jewelry, but never show themselves. And there are places where it seems both go on. Within each "class" of phenomenon, there are widely different "observables" as well. The first question of the "rookie" is then: how many kinds of anomalies am I dealing with? The house at the left is the famous Borley rectory. It's basically a "poltergeist" house. Lots of stuff flying around [once upon a time; I believe that it has been leveled now] including the odd brick. The House may have claims of someone seeing apparitions occasionally, which would make most people call it a "haunted" house. The stone below the Borley picture is from an alleged "rock-throwing" poltergeist. To make matters worse, some percipients claim to have seen the stones actually "materialize" in the air and then fall. This stretches me near to my quite liberal breaking point, but I'm at least still listening. The photo at the bottom purports to be of the "Brown Lady" of Raynham Hall and would be classed as an apparition and not a Poltergeist, unless she got up to physical mischief. Yet, she is called "ghost", too. Should we lump all this stuff together or split it? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Folks argue both ways. One of the most prominent splitters has been Dr. William Roll. He investigates "poltergeists". I read his book and he had me seriously considering that these anomalies were caused by psychokinetic bursts of energy
[unconsciously] from humans who were having particularly stressful times in their lives. For some reason he focussed on teenage girls as the likeliest candidates for the unhappy stressed-out person. That felt bogus to me, but what did I know? As time has passed, my feeling is that Roll, smart as he is, is wrong. I don't doubt that teenagers are capable of faking things like this, but the genuine cases seem to me to be the products of the spirit world rather than the mundane one. The main reason that I feel that is again due to my remarkable family. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I am eldest of seven siblings, every one of whom is a "talent". They are perceptive and, as Catholics, open to the spiritual and, along with that, the unusual in general. They tend to marry similar people. They constitute a reservoir of interesting experiences, which they pass on to me. One of them lives in a haunted house. Many, many instances of what we would call a "poltergeist" event have occurred, with or without a teenage girl [or any such person] as a candidate. But there's more to it than that. There are occasional "apparitional" events as well [though rarer]. They have been experienced by several people of all ages, but the largest number have been by a young girl. This is a remarkable girl. She was born with a nearly uncountable number of physical difficulties requiring a similar number of hospitalizations and special care. Today, she is one of happiest members of God's creation [at least usually--she's still a little girl afterall] that I know. Healthy within her scope, and smart in a unique hard-to-describe way. She, either due to herself or to the wonderfully loving way she was brought up, lives more exactly "in the moment" than any person I have ever known. And this is what I think is going on with her ability to experience the phenomena of the house moreso than we "objective" folks can manage. As Wilde Shamrocs said in his prose poem: you cannot see through the barriers as long as YOU create the barrier--you cannot experience the "other" if you keep the world strongly "at arm's length". You have to be "in the moment", right now, if you expect to fully see. As a prof, trained my whole career in objective distancing, I'm particularly crippled at this. Thankfully, others are not and can tell me about it. [once in the classroom, a student group had hung around after class asking about wild and wooly things, and I responded that if I involved myself in experiences in certain ways I couldn't honestly say what in fact I WAS involved in. The group's verbal leader looked me straight in the eye and said: Well, WE'RE in it; YOU keep track of it. Somehow that made me very sad]. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ What the little girl has to do with "knock knock" is this: she sees the "spirits"/ghosts/??? frequently. She particularly interacts with one of them, a little boy near her own age. She has a name for him. Research on the old-time former residents has located the names of a large number of them [this is a historical house] and some of them seem to be the characters who still hang around. [or whatever the relation is between the poltergeist agents and those old residents]. But, there was no record for a young boy with the name given by the young girl who interacts with him. But recently there has been a development. An interview with an old relative of the historical family has revealed for the first time that the young boy was seldom called by his given name, but by a certain nickname--the name long used to describe him by the young girl. She couldn't have known this, unless she got the information the "old-fashioned" way--he told her. Teenage psychokinesis is not what's operating in that house. Something spiritual is. Some spiritual entities who either ARE ,or are imitating, the former residents. We still can't say which. But, maybe we are on the trail. KNOCK KNOCK Who's There?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Air Force Admits Again That UFOs Are Real and Nobody's Listening

Admittedly it takes a lot of "listening" in the right places, but the military has regularly placed into their formal documents the admission that it knows perfectly well that the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects is real. This instance, however, is spectacular on both the level of the phenomenon observed and on the level of the clarity of the admissions. -------------------------------------------------------The incident took place over Tehran, Iran on September 19, 1976. This was seven years after the close of the UFO project, Blue Book, and the alleged ending of any interest in the UFO topic by the military. That evening, several citizens had called the local airport to report unusual lights in the sky. The supervisor ultimately went out and saw the object himself. [All this which will be reported here is, by the way, directly from documents released by the Defense Intelligence Agency in agreement with the National Security Agency (NSA) ]. After watching the "rectangular" object [with a small red light seemingly circling around it] for an hour, he finally decided to call the nearby airbase. The Commanding Officer of the Iranian Air Force Command sent up an F-4 Phantom jet. The pilot spotted the bogey easily and set to intercept. Once he was within 29 miles, his instrumentation [including communications] cut out.He abandoned the mission and headed back to base. The CO sent up another jet. There was again immediate visual perception and a radar lock-on. The object was judged to be the size of a Boeing tanker aircraft. It was extremely brilliant with colors flashing blue, green, orange, red in rapid sequence. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Then the thing did something that the pilot evaluated as hostile. It "emitted" a small red object which flew directly at the F-4. The pilot began to arm and fire at the "missile". At that moment his whole control panel and his communications died. He initiated a violent evasive turn and flew off. The small object returned to the big cylinder, which then emitted another, which flew downward and seemed to land. The F-4 regained instrument function once it had gotten a certain distance away from the big object. The pilot watched the action from a safe distance before returning to base. What he saw he interpreted as a set of light signals which seemed coordinated between the the landed object and the big cylinder. During daylight hours an inspection of the area of the possible landing showed no ground traces. -----------------------------------------------This report leaked through Iranian Air Force sources, or we'd probably never have gotten it. Once "out" however, the retrieval of documents by FOIA or other requests [for instance through Congressmen] gets a little more likely. Ultimately the DIA/NSA decided to release the documents which confirmed everything. In those documents were phrases like "outstanding report", "case is a classic", "meets all the criteria for a valid study of the UFO phenomenon"...I kid you not.

The document on the right was an added surprise. The NSA had given the case reports to one of their operatives [also an Air Force officer] to include in the classified "Secret" intelligence magazine, MIJI Quarterly. They apparently had decided that cases like this needed to be known by operatives in the field who were charged with dealing with problems of "electronic countermeasures" such as jamming, signal confusion, instrument interference, etc. Captain Shields tells the whole tale. But what is of greater interest is the casual admission written just below the title: "Sometime in his career, each pilot can expect to encounter strange, unusual happenings which will never be adequately or entirely explained by logic or subsequent investigation. The following article recounts just such an episode as reported by two F-4 Phantom crews of the Imperial Iranian Air Force during late 1976. No additional information or explanation of the strange events has been forthcoming: the story will probably be filed away and probably forgotten, but it makes interesting, and possibly disturbing, reading." Well, don't say we UFOlogists didn't tell you so. "Each pilot" can expect something like this sooner or later. But we'll just file it away and forget it, because, well, what else can we do? The intelligence community STILL believes that the citizenry "can't handle the Truth". How about you? Can YOU handle it?

Saturday, September 19, 2009


When veteran UFO researchers contemplate the great pile of reports that have accumulated, they all begin by tossing out "the obvious"--the errors of knowledge [Venus; Fireballs; scintillating stars et al], and the errors of perception [advertising planes; ordinary objects in non-ordinary conditions; and so on], and the surprisingly-not-too-many hoaxes. These removals and others cull the pile down to the true analysis problem: are those that are left genuinely difficult to explain? All of us try to stretch our minds, but reasonably, to fit the cases to possible military "black projects" and rare natural phenomena like "ball lightning", and if those "stretches" are possible the case goes not to the trash pile, but to the gray pile. What's left over after a reasonable and honest sifting is the still-rather-mountainous pile of UFOs, plus the gray pile sitting alongside as possible support. As I say, all the good UFOlogists do this. Not all the famous ones do, but all the good ones. There are stages in all case evaluations where the human factor comes in. Every one of us will make mistakes on a case here and there, because we don't have all the information, or have an erroneous document, or have mis-read something innocently, etc. But the community of good scholars has general agreement usually on the facts of most cases. That's when I've noticed differences arising among us. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------Most of my UFO buddies are "human" [as far as I can tell---just a joke, folks] and they want to, at greater or lesser degrees of urgency, to speculate on what's going on behind these cases. What has been interesting to me is that almost all of them think that, with very small exceptions in the case pile, what is going on is just one thing. The favorite "one thing" is, of course, the extraterrestrial hypothesis, but an extraterrestrial hypothesis that speculates that it is one civilization that is here. And an extraterrestrial hypothesis that sees all these cases as incidents of variations of that one civilization's technology. There are exceptions to this [like Jacques Vallee with a parallel reality hypothesis] but these exceptions tend to be relatively tightly defined around some unitary reality or agency. I've read, generally, the same pile of cases that everyone else has, and it just doesn't "feel" that way to me. I think---it's a "soft" sort of non-conclusion---that there are many civilizations involved. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This unpopular thought [unpopular because most people are stretched beyond their capacity for tolerance by one civilization let alone several] arises NOT from the phenomenon showing itself with a slightly different "UFO Hot-Rod" design for every next encounter, but from reading cases which are just as "solid" as most in the pile, but don't seem quite to fit with the rest. Once that "feeling" occurs, I believe that a certain "logic" arises to the speculative imagination that supports it. [I'll unravel some thoughts on why we should seriously consider multiple civilization types as reasonable, from non-UFO considerations in a later post]. There are many of these different "feeling" sorts of cases. Today I'll tell of one type: the "windows". -----------------------------------------------------------------------We have well-witnessed incidents of what seem like "openings" in the environment, through which the reporters can see humanoid forms [sometimes] or just bright light [see a few illustrations above]. On occasion the humanoids even egress the "window" and physically interact with the outside. But the "window" cases are all quite different. They have the "feel" of different technologies. Could they be the experiments or the travel techniques of different technical paths, and different civilizations? The Cazalla de la Sierra [Spain] incident was a well-witnessed [4 and two furiously barking dogs] one of an apparently two-dimensional bright-lighted rectangle, about ten feet wide and three feet tall. They described it as a "panel of light". [top left]. The Rosedale, Alberta incident was seen by one adult woman [and a cowering dog] and appeared to be a rectangle with a sliding opening, within which one could see two humanoids inside and one outside who had apparently egressed. [top right]. The Kimba, South Australia incident [four witnesses] had a brightly orange-lit "door", again a rectangle, within which "stood" a bright white form of a humanoid, which did not move. This thing was hovering about three feet off the ground. [middle drawing]. The Albufeira, Portugal incident [two adult witnesses] had a manifestation which hung in the air near their hotel room looking like a great TV screen with no depth. Unfortunately nothing ever showed on the screen. These things are not the normal UFO case, some people would not like to put them in the UFO pile at all, but the four above certainly do not stand alone [in 1978, for instance there were four cases in Tasmania, where, fortunately we have one of UFOlogy's best field researchers]. But the cases don't feel particularly like the "flying disk" aspect of the phenomenon, and they are not exactly like one another either. What might they be?---------------------------------------------------------------------What is allowed by Nature and what is discoverable by intelligence often results in many ways of accomplishing [relatively] the same ends. You can fly to Europe, boat there, send an e-mail, or a video conference, etc. If one wanted to explore some distant world [or whatever reason you wanted to "be"there], you might grind out a long real-space odyssey, punch a wormhole to save the time, or open a "window" and look out. And you can fill in your own imaginative concepts. The point is, there may be different ways of doing even "visitation". One thing I believe Carl Sagan, Frank Drake, and the SETIans have right: there are a very large number of highly advanced civilizations "out there". Many might want to have a look-in here. Why the variety of "entries"? Here is something to meditate upon: when a technology arises it has usually gone through an evolution of stages. There usually is an "accidental discovery". Then there is a series of "trials-and-errors", wherein something works some of the time, but matters are largely out-of-control. Then there is an "almost fool-proof" stage where the experimenters risk deliberately going-for-it. Then there is a "smooth-sailing" stage where the inventors and their bosses have a rather exclusive monopoly of a functional technology. Then sometimes the technology becomes "commonplace" and a lot of possible operators are in action. And lastly, it becomes susceptible to the wild ideas and messings-about of Joe-in-the-Garage. Who knows how much control different civilizations insist on exercising over their hi-tech or what stage any of these things might be at? Occasionally will come a case where there seems to be a particular meaninglessness to it, as if someone did not quite have their act together. One wonders. Maybe they didn't.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Encounters with the Middle Kingdom

This is a post about what some people would call nature [spirit] entities, fairies, leprechauns, akureyri, trolls, gnomes, stick people, geow-lud-mo-sis-eg, devas, peris, nisse, afreet, djinn, ...and you get the idea. The concept is embedded in our Earth cultures all over the place. Such common "primitive foolishnesses" intrigue me. When everyone is a "fool", is, in fact no one? Intuition tells me that there may be something significant at the root of the commonality. I have spent a great deal of my intellectual life in the history of Science, and our changing concepts of the nature of our planet and the physical universe in which we are embedded. So it has not escaped me that sometimes we HAVE all been wrong [Earth is not "flat"]. What about the "Little People"? [who often are not "little"]. My interest in this, let's call it a "concept" to start out, came not from the movies or fiction books [those always left me with a "fun" feeling of fantasy], but from reading UFO cases. After a while there were too many incidents which just didn't feel like UFOs, but felt a lot more like old-fashioned folk encounters. The bulk of the reports coming to UFOlogists have NO such feeling about them. There is, in my opinion, a distinctly separate UFO phenomenon. But, there are cases which not at all like UFOs, and there are [unfortunately] cases which seem very "in-between". What was/is going on?--------------------------------------------------------------------------- My experience as a UFO researcher led me not to seek a lot of old folk-wisdom stories [to pass on cultural wisdom "around the campfire"], but to see if there were accounts of actual encounters analogous to UFO witness reports. The folk wisdom is wonderful, but no one disputes that we are quite capable of crafting vivid tales within which the values and goals of the people of a culture are embedded. Such folktales may have very little "real" basis as far as the imagery is concerned. But, to the UFOlogist, encounter reports by "everyday folks" are different. In fact one way we tend to sort out factual from fictional reports regards whether the alleged witness IS trying to lay some great cosmic message on us. I was hardly the first UFO researcher who felt required to look in this direction. Many preceded me, but the one who stirred the pot the most was the creative thinker, Jacques Vallee. His book Passport To Magonia is full of interesting information and speculation. Jacques comes to the conclusion that the folk entities and the UFO phenomenon spring from the same root, a conclusion that I do not share. Nevertheless I recommend the read. What Jacques did for me was to refer me to the study of these folk entities by W.Y.Evans-Wentz. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Evans-Wentz wrote the Fairy Faith In Celtic Countries to chronicle his researches and express his ideas about these matters. It was the product, largely, of good old-fashioned field research--exactly what a UFOlogist likes. Within it were case after case wherein he interviewed witnesses both telling first and second hand stories, but rarely in a folk-wisdom style. These were encounter stories. Evans-Wentz convinced me that there was something very probably objectively real about these "others" whatever they turned out to be. This experience encouraged me to look for more such reports. And the more "modern" the better. I found several helpful books. Janet Bord's Fairies is an approximation of what we would call in UFOlogy a "casebook" with report after report, lacking the UFO "field investigations" [typically] which make UFO cases a somewhat surer bet. But they were so numerous, that it was hard to deny that something was there. Then came Diarmuid MacManus' The Middle Kingdom. This is for me The Hammer. MacManus collected reports of these encounters mainly from the first half of the 20th century, and most often in personal interviews with people whom he knew well or had some other close tie with. For me, VERY authentic. Of course, I must here admit that I have mostly Irish "blood" in my heritage and am doubtless prejudiced. After MacManus, it was easy to read Ron Quinn's Little People with a sense of corroberation rather than "believe-it-or-not". ----------------------------------------------------------------------------I've since culled a story here, a story there, out of dozens of other resources, and they continue to tell the old tales in simple "this just happened to me" ways with no apparent embellishments. I've gone now to the internet, and even if you throw away [and I'm not sure you should] all the pre-teenage girls' stories of wanting to see fairies and then doing so, there are still hundreds of encounters of these forbidden entities. I have now 5 notebooks full of such interactions with the Middle Kingdom. A good friend of mine also happens to be [probably, prejudice again] the finest writer about anomalies on the planet. Jerry Clark has grappled with these slippery critters for longer that he probably likes to contemplate. For Jerry, and now also for me, there are two sorts of anomalous occurrences. One type is "mundanely" real world. That is, this type is part of our Physical universe and, given time and a reasonable amount of good luck, ordinary science will grasp it and measure it, and put it into the science textbooks. The core phenomenon behind UFOs is probably this sort of thing. If neanderthals still exist somewhere and are being reported as "Bigfoot", they would be that sort of thing. But there is a second sort of anomalous interaction. Jerry calls these things "Experience Anomalies". They are no less real, but they don't seem to behave "lawfully" as science would like them to. This indicates to me that they are not fully [or perhaps at all] part of our common mundane physical reality. Perhaps one could phrase it as them being from "elsewhere" wherever "elsewhere" may be. MacManus calls that The Middle Kingdom. If you want to get really uncomfortable, Tolkien called it The Middle Earth. Alas, on this topic I have no personal nor family tales to report [that are directly on the topic], but all of this smells of the "parallel reality" business posted earlier. This nearby reality may be the source of much mystery beyond "little people", whenever the two intersect. This is what my friend, Wilde Shamrocs, means when he writes about the [barriers between the] worlds "growing thin".


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