Friday, February 26, 2010

Everyday Spirituality; Flight

Cold morning today. A breeze that goes through the clothes. The gray clouds are hurrying from the Northwest. No walk today. --------------------------------------Birds are all over the sky. A flock of fifty or more small birds is flying straight into the wind. Crows are intermixed. Back towards my house comes a handful of chickadees. The boy cardinal shows up--just on the nearest branch of the birch tree. He stares at me awhile and off he goes--his girlfriend catching up with him as they go with the wind. They are flying where they want to go.... Am I? I think so. The animal part of me doesn't think so. The soulful part of me is sure. Across the street, a neighbor tries to get her dog to go outside to do its duty. It doesn't want to go. Ha! What a message. -- so long, fine old place...fine old house... There will be birds flying in West Virginia... and you will still be here when I return.

Where is The Mind?: Science gets puzzled and almost admits a non-local mentalscape.

This will be the last "home-produced" blog entry for a while [save the short "Everyday Spirituality" which will follow it as a sign-off] . West Virginia beckons tomorrow morning and off I will go to whatever that entails. As I said in one of the commentary responses the other day, I hope that reading two journal runs "cover-to-cover" will bring up a few thoughts worth sharing. This day's entry was inspired by two articles bumped into coincidentally which had scientists puzzling about a holographic universe and a non-local mind. Those scientists would cringe to see how I've taken their sign-posts-on-the-path, but that is their hang-up, not mine.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The first of these articles [both from the New Scientist] was "Where in the World is the Mind?" The "mind", as the article talks about it, is not the brain. It is not the specifically-dedicated "facilities" of the brain, such as where one feels pain, moves a finger, hears the musical note "C". The authors' view of what they're talking about is that aspect of our consciousness which seems to "observe" all of these bits of data and, perhaps, do something about them. A quote: " The mind-body problem is about where the mind is located. Is it bound by the confines of our skull or does it lurk nearby, non-physically?" After the required dissing of the "ghost-in-the-machine" sort of theories [or, in my tradition, the Soul in the body], the writers go on to remark how puzzling this all really is, and that "Minds are smeared out over more space than neuroscience would have us believe". The reductionist theory that the mind is simply bound within the brain as another part of the meat-machine is deemed insufficient to account for the facts. The writers really don't want to give aid and comfort to the spiritually-inclined "enemy", but even in their waffling they seem to be saying that some kind of wider view of the Mind and it's different nature from the stimulus-response brain is looking to be necessary. They are reduced to a bit of speculative babbling at this point, in my opinion, but it reminded me of someone who presented a clearer vision of this some time ago. ----I once attended a lecture by Karl Pribram. It was quite insightful, as far as I was concerned. Pribram was also a [even honored] member of the neurocognitive tribe, at least until he began scaring them with his ideas of a holographic mind. Pribram was very aware of the phenomenon that after certain, even extensive, surgeries, the patients didn't loose memories, but rather those memories seemed to get dimmer [if anything]. It was as if the memory storage was holographic in nature--not located in one place discretely, but rather "smeared out" as a holographic storage was. I even went so far as to buy a cheap hologram [plastic] and cut it up to witness that phenomenon for myself.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
That brings in the second serendipitous article. In this one, the New Scientist's cover screamed "YOU ARE A HOLOGRAM"! It talked about the "new" idea that our sense perceptions pick up not "direct" linear contact with commonsense solid stuff, but that the whole of our reality is composed of "force projections" [sort of concretely-solid holograms] being imaged on the stage of three dimensional space by whatever the underlying mechanics of the Universe is doing in its multi-dimensional ways. Strange as this might sound, it is where I think our understanding of "physical" reality is heading. It is what, at bottom, all the hype about superstring dimensions and theories-of-everything is about. What "Science" is not ready to stomach, and what will frustrate its ability to find that Theory-of-Everything, is the inclusion of "dimensions" of consciousness, and thereby [horrors] an element of reality beyond sub-atomic particles, the four physical forces, and their interactions. Such an admission would cast science into the bigger study of the realms of consciousness, the paranormal, and all that entails.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It reminded me then, also, of a moment when I was able to spend a [too short] time with David Bohm, the famous theoretical physicist. He, at the same time as Pribram was suggesting a holographic model of consciousness, was suggesting his version of a holographic model of the universe [to deal with quantum mechanical paradoxes]. I was, of course, not competent to converse on much of this [meaningfully] with him, but I asked him if he thought it was possible that whatever the "driver" was for the measurable actions of "light" in our three-space wasn't acting out of our three-space at all, but rather did what it did from another dimensional platform, and instead "conditioned" areas of our three-space so that we only detected light when we stuck some detection mechanism in there, and that there would be no "light" anywhere except where the "interfering material" had been inserted. He surprised me [because I was 99% sure that I was speaking nonsense] by saying: yes, you can envision it that way. That has continued to encourage me to view the universe as this sort of holographic [but much more "forceful"] projection from the other dimensions. And, with Pribram, that the Mind, the "Observer" within us, [for me, my Soul] operates similarly from the vantage point of its own sort of dimension/platform, equally part of the total reality. It is this privileged position in the scheme of things, which allows us "Quantum Observership", free will, altered states of consciousness, and occasional paranormal awarenesses. It is in fact the model of reality that allows me to imagine enough "size" in reality to allow all of "the biggest study". -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am happy to be [in body] a holographic projection of force dimensions--not from the "edge" of the universe but its core reality. I am much happier about that than the image of a clever meat-machine who blunders about fooling himself that he is making true choices and has any meaning at all. In an only slightly lesser way, I am happy that I live in a universe which allows the non-local healings studied by Larry Dossey, the range of encounters studied by Catherine Crowe, and the Global Consciousness Project of Roger Nelson to be real and not at all ridiculous to contemplate. To Larry and Roger [and all their exploring colleagues in the biggest study], GOD's speed and health. Catherine is there, in one of those "forbidden" dimensions, her consciousness still cheering us on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WHACKLAND: IT Came From Out Proctor.

Difficult for me to get serious lately. It's sort of a paradox. My change of venue to WVA and the "loss" of my research materials [as far as availability goes] has not made the use of them urgent, but rather lacking in energy and intent. That change officially arrives with a plane flight Saturday, so this blog will have a change as well, then. I hope to maintain some frequency of entries, but the heavy-duty essays and historical syntheses will probably not be possible. Still, we'll see. Today, I'm in retreat to Out Proctor and Believe-it-or-not. Maybe you'll find it fun; maybe not. To keep yourself amused, you might ask yourself which of these alleged events seem likely to have really happened. Then you can ask yourself which of them do you think have anything to do with UFOlogy. They ALL ended up in somebody's UFO files.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Globs. Their "name" almost tells you that you're not going to really understand them. But there they seem, occasionally, to be, doing their globby business. A). 1955: Baltimore, MD--"a fuming spherical mass drifted over Baltimore and landed in the city". Thus began a note to Wright-Patterson AFB and Project Blue Book. Many people congregated about it including the police. People tried to puncture it, but it healed up. One guy tried to squash it with a tire, but couldn't damage it. Police cordoned off the area, and after several hours, the thing degenerated and left behind a yellowish residue. Analyzed at the morgue, the residue contained Metallic oxides and animal tissue. Blue Book was told that the answer was "a detergent bubble filled with exhaust gasses from a diesel locomotive in a railway yard." !! [this is one of the goofiest "explanations" in my files of an "answer" not meeting the reported characteristics of the event]. But, there you are.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
B). 1950: Philadelphia, PA--Four policemen saw an "airborne object" which sailed above the city before landing in an urban field. The thing was six feet in diameter and glowed purplish and misty. One of the policemen tried to pick it up, but some of it adhered to his hands, dissipated, and left a sticky residue. The officers watched for 30 minutes while the blob slowly disappeared. Lest one believe that the story was just made up, the policemen reported the event to the FBI and the relevant document still exists. At least no one tried to explain this one as containing train engine exhausts.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------C). 1979: Frisco, TX--A lady woke up one morning and walked outside. There on her lawn were three purple blobs. They were small, about breadloaf sized. As she watched, one of them "just faded away". The other two persisted. They "looked like smooth whipped cream, purple... I stuck this stick into the object. It went in easily, very easily. I punctured it. On the inside it was the same thing--just like real whipped cream, and it looked like it was melting". When the police arrived, an officer tried to pick one up. He said that it was "pretty warm". He put the blobs into boxes and they were sent to a the local Natural Science Museum. The curator said that the blobs were emitting an acidic liquid and contained uranium [!!] and a strange pattern of specks of lead. These weirdos were then sent on to NASA in Dallas and placed in freezers to preserve them. The NASA spokesperson said: "It's kind of like plum-pudding. It has round solid chunks in it that remain after the goo goes away. We don't know what it is." Uhhhhhh...what?! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------D). 1966: near Ellicotteville, NY--The NICAP subcommittee field investigators said at the beginning of their report: "[This] is a report, which for the first time we have encountered, dealing with something seemingly more fantastic and even more out of science fiction". Uh Oh. [the case refers to my drawing that accompanies this section]. Two buddies were riding motorcycles along route 219 in NY. One several yards ahead of the other. The lead cyclist saw an object coming on an intersecting course from the right about 10 feet off the ground. He judged that it would pass between the two of them. The thing was a watermelon-sized oval glob, dull green in color. Turning he watched the thing pass just in front of his friend, swerve into him, and attach itself to him !! Wrapping itself around his lower leg, the friend tried to kick the thing off, losing his shoe in the process. The glob became more interested in the shoe, and left to go after it. It seemed to briefly inspect the shoe from above it, rise in the air, and fly away over the hillside. The close-up description was: smooth surfaced and jelly-like in "feel". Translucent dull green. Oval in shape while in the air, but flexible in contact. May have made a soft whirring [dare I suggest "purring" ?] sound. Produced a large red mark on the person's leg with a white oval center, 4 to 6 inches in size. Around this were 5 or 6 [how can they not have a single count?] puncture marks. {maybe I should give them a break on that if the marks were really small and hard to see}. The victim of the "Attack Glob From Magonia" never became ill, and the red/white area went away in a day, leaving only the pin-pricks. Yep. Just another day in the life.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E). 1968: Swansea, UK--BUFORA field investigators reported that one fine day a gentleman decided to go outside for a breath of fresh air. Something had other plans. He saw what appeared to be a patch of fog coming toward him. It was a little fluffy, white thing about two feet by one foot and gliding only two feet from the ground. What a nice little curiosity. For three minutes the cloud came slowly on. Now directly upon him, it touched his leftside. A stabbing pain racked the left side of his abdomen, and the cloud vanished. He staggered back into his house, the pain like a knife going into him. It lasted for several minutes. After it subsided, his stomach felt like ice and he would not eat. Only after getting medicine from his physician [what do you prescribe for a Magonian attack?] did he return to normal--well, physically anyway.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------F). 1887: North Atlantic, east of the Canadian Maritimes--The Dutch Bark "J.P.A." was confronted with an inexplicable phenomenon one day in March at 5PM. In the air, heading their way, were two "balls". One was black. The other was illuminated. The illuminated object was oval or cigar-shaped. As it came overhead, the environment became pitch black above the ship, but the deck itself [and the sea immediately around] was brightly illuminated as if in a sea of fire. With a roar, this "ball" fell into the water, creating splashes that swept high enough to throw water onto the deck. Worse, the air was suddenly foul, and hands began suffocating and breaking out in perspiration. Then [logically] ice chunks rained down on the deck and even the rigging became iced over. The thermometer registered 19-degrees C. nevertheless [i.e. the ambient temperature was way too warm to allow this]. The barometer was going nuts. Shortly hurricane force winds seemed to [temporarily] arise. Of course the explanation for all this is obvious--they were close to the Bermuda Triangle, yet didn't have the sense to abandon ship and become another Mary Celeste. Yep. That about explains that.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------G). 1958: in the Mediterranean off southern France--Three guys were out to begin night fishing. [this is the tale that goes with the above picture]. It was clear and the sea was calm. They saw an orange-colored light in the sky coming towards them. It seemed to be rotating as it came. It came and just rested lightly on the surface nearby, whipping up the water and causing a strong air displacement. It began to roll towards their boat. Fortunately the globe didn't roll right over them, but passed close-by. The waves it created nearly caused them to capsize. They felt a powerful heat from the thing and heard a faint humming [a bit like insects]. Its diameter was four meters. It continued to roll on, leaping forwards in the waves and skimming them. It made a right-angle turn, and whisked away to the horizon [show-off]. Once again, it was the Big One That Got Away. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
H). 1974: Springfield, OH--near the end of a localized UFO flap in southwestern Ohio, a nightshift employee was leaving work at 3AM. His car, running normally, now began to fail. Engine and lights were now dead. Ahead of him was a display of aerial lights colored like a rainbow. the rainbow went out, replaced by an oval object of brilliant illumination and six feet in diameter. The object approached to within six feet of the car. Inside it was a golden room with five occupants. They sat motionless stiffly in a row. They were three or four feet tall, with long hair, covering their faces. They wore capes. After fifteen minutes, the golden-roomed oval shot up at a sharp angle and disappeared. His car started immediately. This is the case as written for publication by Len Stringfield. Ted Bloecher read the report at CUFOS and added that their robes were brightly colored and they had brown hair which reached all the way to the floor. On the other hand, Ted drops the reference that the original object[s] was like a rainbow in color. [one wonders what subtle little things cause us to put something in and not something else? ] Either way, I could easily be convinced that this was as much like a "little people" encounter in their rainbow sky chariot with their golden room and their ridiculously long hair, as any ET incident. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I). 1975: Catskill Mts, NY--Two guys decide to get their stresses off their backs for a while with a little heavy beer drinking at a camping ground in the Catskills [this was a "regular" affair for them--nothing like the great outdoors and a six-pack]. They were awakened by a bright light that illuminated even the inside of the tent. Going out to investigate, everything went pitch black. [not THAT again!] Soon they saw a dull glowing object up on the hillside [no roads up there]. Then, what we all love, ghostly-phosphorescent shining entities floating down the hill towards them. A siege mentality arose, with the heroes panicking and lighting fires in the nearby covered picnic area, and generally going nuts. The "ghosts" would come nearer, then retreat for a while. [the picture for this is my drawing above]. During a more "away" period, one guy ran for the car. [he was going to get something to defend themselves]. Ultimately, they decided that all that was foolish [how do you fight ghosts?] and both of them made it to the car and drove home as fast as the bad conditions allowed. This case was used by a researcher as an example of a "missing time" abduction. I have read the transcriptions of the case notes and find NO evidence of any missing time at all. In fact there is nothing about the case that says, necessarily, "UFO". We make a lot of mistakes in my opinion cramming things into ready-made hypotheses, and it gets us into all manner of trouble [in the field and out]. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
J). 1968: Grant Town, WV--well, this should make it easy for you---if this one is real, anything probably is. "Allegedly" a young coal miner in my old home state was out bow hunting for deer--so far this is eminently believable. An unusual noise came down from above. He saw nothing. OK, we'll go with that. A high-pitched jabber changed to English and said: "You need not fear me! I want to communicate! I come as friends! I come in peace! [I can see the images from MARS Attacks! forming] We know of you all! [well, he knew enough to say 'you-all' to a West Virginian] I wish medical information! [OK. that does it] I need your help! [what Lunch?]" At that moment our hero was "puzzled" [yep, me too]. He felt something grab his wrist. He seemed paralyzed. The thing was a seven foot tall, yellow-eyed extraterrestrial asparagus with pointed ears [actually this happens a lot in West Virginia]. Suddenly the asparagus' eyes changed from yellow to red and began to rotate. Spinning orange light circles emerged from the eyes and moved towards him. He felt no pain. [hmmm]. Shortly [ you know it's hard to say shortly for a thing seven feet tall] he was released and the ET-asparagus bounded away. A humming noise came from the woods and a bright silvery object rose and shot off. The young man did the only logical thing: he joined the Air Force. Four months after his discharge, Men-in-Black entered his room at night, gave him a shot and forced him to tell them about his UFO experiences. Both Asparagusses and MIBs wanted information from this man. Wow!. Hopefully you don't need much more information to evaluate this case [some would say it's obviously a screen memory for something] , but if you do, the case "investigator" on this was Gray Barker. That should relax you; I know it does me.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You know, I think that both of these gals know exactly what they're talking about. Wish I did.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Entities and Sacred Texts in 1959

I was reading Sacred Texts the other day [letter exchanges between Dick Hall and Isabel Davis in 1959]. Much of interest continually fell off the pages. Several of these bits of "news" involved Dick, Isabel, Ted Bloecher, and Lex Mebane's grappling with the problems of the great menagerie of creatures which might or might not be involved with unidentified flying objects. Isabel and Ted had gotten well inside the Kelly-Hopkinsville stories; Dick and NICAP had not. Lex had examined much of the French 1954 wave [for his translation and publication of Michel's book], NICAP was still pretty uncomfortable. To give NICAP a break on this, their current goal was to impress congressmen with the validity of the UFO phenomenon [to get open hearings] and adding in a healthy dose of mischievous hairy dwarves was probably not "politic". Nevertheless, here is Dick, well out of the earshot of Keyhoe, wondering where all this weirdness is heading. By the way, Dick was just "transferring" his life from Tulane University to DC [he'd gotten there in the summer of 1958] and was probably a bit unsettled on "borders" being set by NICAP [but being a quick study, I'll bet that he had it figured out what to say to friends and what to say to the press]. Well, lets see what they did say. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What they said was quite a lot of course; so much that I could never get it all across to you on this blog. I've picked three things which were going on regarding entity cases; each of which you may find interesting. The first regards "Hairy Dwarves", probably no one's favorite UFOnaut. Dick had a friend and investigations buddy named Don Neill. Neill and Hall were apparently already wondering about the true nature of certain "UFO" encounters. Neill was reading Bernard Heuvelmans' On The Track Of Unknown Animals [what might be regarded as Cryptozoology's foundational text], and focussed on the chapter entitled, "The Little Hairy Men". Dick says to Isabel: "One incident describes an attack from behind on human beings reminiscent of the Venezuela affair." Dick, surprisingly, seems here to be willing to entertain the hypothesis that some UFO cases may be more in the line of productions by long-term "folkloric" entities known by other names for ages. We don't have Isabel's return letter on this [believe me, I'm sorrier about that than you are]. But right at that moment, she was shaking her head about a set of cases which were coming to CSI that seemed to multiply the variety of entities beyond all sense. [And her big work on the Kelly "hobgoblins" was certainly in this mode]. We'll look into a couple of these other cases later in this post.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dick's flirtation with the idea that the Hairy Dwarves may have owed something to folklore entities would have been easy to circumstantially defend. We have today turned the folkloric entity "Brownie" into a cute little fairy handful-sized and basically friendly. That concept owes to writers like Palmer Cox, who constantly wrote charming fiction about such lovable creatures. The folklore about these critters is somewhat different. They are described as smaller-than-humans but not much [perhaps four foot high] and of definite brown skin, and covered with thick hair--hairy dwarves, in fact. Their behavior might be tolerable, but it depends on which one you encounter and what mood it's in. Brownies might ignore you or even do you some service; but it's just as likely that you're in for mischief. Because they are not of the "handsome" variety of folklore entities, they fall under the general class of the "Bogles", sometimes said to be led by Puck, with all that entails about behavior. They might be nasty [like bogeymen or bugaboos] or just neutral but dangerous [like The Fenoderee]. It is at least a mind-stretcher to contemplate the [to me] extremely odd Venezuelan part of the 1954 wave in such terms. One wonders how much Dick and Isabel kept things like this in mind.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other cases were stretching them in other directions. One was the Old Saybrook, CT case. This encounter occurred on December 16,1957 .the witness, a Yale graduate with two degrees, Mrs. Mary Starr, did not report the sighting immediately [she was living in a cottage on the Connecticut side of Long Island sound, the other cottages were unoccupied at that time of year, and she was concerned that there would be no other witnesses to back up her story]. Nevertheless, in September of 1958, she decided to report to NICAP. Dick Hall fielded the letter and talked to CSI about the event. Dick and Isabel arranged to meet Mrs. Starr at the cottage and take her story. This is what she said: "I was alone that night so I went to bed early, about ten o'clock. Sometime between two and three in the morning, I was awakened by a bright light in my room. I looked out the window and there was what I first thought was a crippled airplane in my back garden. But when I got my eyes really open, I saw it was a cigar-shaped object, brightly lit and with square portholes, hovering above my clothesline. I could see three men inside. An antenna poked up from what seemed to be the tail of this object. There was no sound. After about five minutes, it turned at a right angle and I could see that it was so shallow that the men could not have been more than three and a half or four feet tall. It glided out of my garden, rose almost vertically, and then disappeared." [These were the quotes in the news story that the Air Force included in the Blue Book file, though it did not bother to investigate]. The rest of the story was published by Isabel in the CSI Newsletter of July 15, 1959. In it Mrs. Starr describes the occupants as having squarish head-gear [possibly robotic] colored orange-red and having an attached bright red bulb. There were no "hands". When Mrs. Starr leaned forward to get as good a glimpse of the things as she could, the portholes "coincidentally" faded out, and the object began a sparkling brilliance. This led to the retraction of an antenna, and its sharp turn and departure. Dick and Isabel were VERY impressed with the quality of the witness, and CSI published the case with no apologies. NICAP didn't. Dick wanted to mention it in his famous UFO Evidence, but as it was headed to Congress, only the craft was mentioned without the occupants. Later, NICAP got over some of its hang-ups and published the details in Lore/Keyhoe's UFOs: A New Look. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A second case disappeared even more profoundly. This was the March 7, 1959 case of Silver Springs, MD. Once again, NICAP got the case report, and Hall fielded it. He and Don Neill and a third person went to the scene. The case had seven witnesses and two had seen pieces of the encounter close up. The first primary witness saw a person with a "white helmet" on, standing on the opposite side of some bushes on their property. Moving around a hedge to see who this was, she was startled to encounter a small person in an all-white body-suit, covering even his feet. The only variation to this was trunks of bright blue coloring. The "helmet" was attached to the bodysuit as well. [by the way, folks, I have never seen any of the original field report on this; hopefully it has not been lost. But the descriptions of the letters allowed me to make a general guesstimate as to what they were talking about. Unfortunately, I didn't read one key phrase clearly when I made the drawing that you see above--the "helmet" should cover everything but the eyes, which were described as dead black "holes" as if nothing but empty {outer} space were there. Sorry for the screw-up, but the blog technology doesn't allow me to correct this with a new drawing without messing everything else up. So just imagine the "eyes-only" blackly staring out at you]. The first witness screamed, and the entity "ran off", seeming to "skim" rather than meet the ground. As it passed, the second main witness got a good look at its face, noting the "empty" eyeholes. Whereas the Old Saybrook case boggled NICAP, the Silver Springs case boggled everybody. It was never published anywhere, maybe because Dick became really busy and dropped the ball. We would know nothing of it had not Ted Bloecher published a note about it in HUMCAT twenty years later.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So this is what they were facing in those early days: Hobgoblins from Kelly-Hobgoblinsville [my nowadays nickname for the case], Bogles from Venezuela, Robots from Connecticut, and what Dick called the "blue-tailed flyer" from Maryland. NICAP was schizophrenically trying to cope while still "selling" UFOs to Congress, and CSI was thinking "how weird is this going to get?" Isabel was wondering whether the Air Force might occasionally put something really goofy out there to make things maximumly confusing and incredible. I think that maybe she was on to something, but with the wrong perpetrators. I think that it just might have been, occasionally, the folkloric characters that were deliberately messing with us and having their time-honored fun. Who knows, maybe Ted would have agreed with me, even if Lex and Isabel thought I was nuts? It would have been great fun to have been back there with them to find out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Returning To Earth: The Down-Home Wisdom of Mountain William

As I am returning to West Virginia shortly, I am mindful that this blog has taken us into strange waters and even Out Proctor occasionally. Perhaps it is time to come back to the sod and strengthen the powers of our natural crap detectors. To do so, I am going to mention the wisdom that I have received from West Virginia's most famous philosopher, Mountain William. From his high roost atop a tree-clad hill, William sees more and clearer than the rest of us. It is indeed fortunate that he has been willing to pass along these insights at all. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On something new: "you can't tell much about a Possum by his grin". --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On gettin' smart: "Enlightenment--that's when you dump a bunch of stuff you've been carryin' around". ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On behavior: "Bread cast upon the waters comes back a hundred-fold; same thing with crap."------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On kiddin' yourself about what you do: "You tend to smell like what you roll in."------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On modern life: "Folks round here keep a close eye; then race around bein' exceptionally normal."--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Common sense: "It ain't polite to spit, but the least you can do is check the wind."------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On success: "Some folks have always known that there are three sure-fire means of finding success. But I have never been able to find those people". ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On criticism: "You wet down a big dog, it'll soon wet down you".------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On politics: "In arithmetic, it's two plus two equals four. In biology, it's nearer to eight. In politics it's whatever's sellin'."---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On investing: "I've heard that every time you talk to your broker it costs you $80. My advice is: stop talkin' to him."---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On eatin' out: " Never stop at a restaurant with an ambulance pulled up outside".------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On thinkin': "A friend of mine got lost in thought; it was unfamiliar territory."----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On obstacles: "The hardest thing for most folks is to get out of their own way."-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On normalcy: " If everything's goin' to Hell; go the other way."----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On that new face: "Maybe he likes you, but some dogs'll lift their leg on anything". -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On anomalies: "A good part of livin' is knowin' which itch to scratch and which to leave alone."
The depth of Mountain William is fathomless, but the surface is even better. When I tell him "things ain't goin' too good", he just says "you can turn a corner anytime". When I complain about the work that I'm doing, he reminds me that "hoein' turnips in the spring is a big effort to no good end". Who knows what he's talking about, but it somehow makes me feel better. Hopefully the deeper sense of the mountain man will remind you and I that there's a real world out there and it demands our attention, even if we're exploring uncharted waters.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Everyday Spirituality: AND.

The morning's cold. No snow, but just the little breeze that makes you wonder why you're out here. But it's time for morning prayers and a walk. Nature is up and at it. Maybe Emerson could see beneath to the deeps...but the surface is enough. Crows are grouping and hollering. Yellow Finches and Towhees are flying in their separate groups. The chickadee "flock" is all over the Paper Birch tree, finding something in the dry hanging seeds that interests them. They're interested in each other too. Almost as if they don't know that mating time is a weather season away.
Something is going on here. What would Emerson see? There's a tree with four different squirrel nests. As combative as they sometimes seem, they are not doing that now. They meet...and they tolerate. It is hard times. It's time to be with and not against. Emerson might feel that there is a "being with" and a "being in" now. There probably always is...I'm just not wise enough to see it. There's always more to things than the things themselves. A person said: We once thought that if we could understand one thing, we could understand two--because one-plus-one is two. We found that we were wrong. We had to understand "And". Analysis is a good thing. Emerson knew that it was only a baby step upon the path. Being with...being so much more. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ahead of me, as he seems always to be, geographically and "philosophically", the old man walks his old dog. She stops, and he is patient. He pauses, and she turns to look. Something fine there. Something greater than either one. We all need "others". We all need them to be the least "otherly" that they can be. And that's "natural" the birds are saying...and the old man...and the old dog.
Yep. Companionship. Down at Emerson's depths, we're all in this together...and it feels pretty good when we act like it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The LAW of the TIMES: is there a Close Encounters Pattern?

Because my lifestyle will be changing shortly [going to WVA temporarily, but semi-permanently, to be with my Mother day-to-day as she makes a life transition to a new living environment], this blog is going to change alongside that shift. Due to the fact that I won't have my library/resource room handy, I'll not be able to be very "smart" anymore--most of my brains are in hardcopy afterall. So, I don't know how this is going to proceed. But I hope to keep it up in some form. Because there is little time in this current mode [fly out is Feb.27], I thought that I better at least put out the "Law of the Times", because, even if its significance is still in doubt, and therefore very debatable, it is a finding of great intrigue to me, and I think that it should be to all interested in UFOs. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law of the Times is firstly a product of the statistical interests of Claude Poher [upper left] and secondly of the collaborative interests of Jacques Vallee [upper right]. It caught the early interest of Vicente-Juan Ballester-Olmos [lower right, talking to Hynek], who checked the findings of Poher and Vallee with his own Spanish data. Later, Ted Phillips [lower left] published a graph which also seems to show the phenomenon. I view these four [Poher/Vallee used two independent sets of data] findings to be pretty robust, and I believe the overall finding to be sound. What they all were studying were Close Encounters---this is important---this was not a study of any old UFO case set; this was study of very "concrete" close encounters of the "landing" variety. These cases, therefore, leave very little room for confusion, alternative hypothesizing, ordinary mistakes. The cases are either extremely anomalous or they are lies. In the briefest terms, what these graphs are about is a determination of WHEN during the "day" such close encounters took place. The results are rather stunning. The first, solid smack-in-the-face finding is that these types of cases occur almost always at night. [not 100%, but overwhelmingly.] Cases occurring in daytime scatter about like a background to the real statistical action. The second finding was weirder yet and harder to interpret.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is my redrawn graph showing the night-time peak vs. the day-time lull. The graphs, in FSR [vol. 21/ #3/4], are not numbered on the vertical axis, but reading the whole text indicates that the night-time "jump" is many times more powerful than the background. [I just looked up my "unofficial" Poher manuscript, and it seems to indicate that there is a six times increase of night-time observation even on mixed UFO cases--close encounters of the second kind seem to be much higher]. My graph shows two other things: a bifurcated peak, with its secondary peak at about two or three in the morning; and a yellow line. The yellow line shows what a good scholar Poher was/is. He went to the trouble of looking at sociological statistics to find when people in France [his stat sets were from French "landings"] were out and about, and, therefore, noting the "potential" for any humans to see an encounter at all. Note that in the graph [don't take my yellow line too seriously; it's there to illustrate the general relationship, not to be part of a college thesis], the potential human witnesses bottoms out at the time that this secondary bump of reports occurs--exactly NOT what you'd expect to happen if UFO close encounters were a random process.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is the checking done by Ballester-Olmos [in case anyone does not realize this, V.-J. is the leading UFO authority in Spain, and has been for 30 years]. Ballester graphs his own independent CE2 set and comes up with a generally good match with the two Poher-Vallee sets. The night-time dominance is there, as is the idea that during the early morning hours a secondary rising-up occurs. [don't know the primary source of Ballester's publication, but I got this graph from the newsletter, DATA-NET]. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In 1971, or so, Ted Phillips published a time-of-day graph for his landings [where an actual observation by witnesses of the object which made the trace was possible]. I don't believe that this graph was made with any knowledge of the "Law". Yet it does seem to show the Law [night-time dominance and an early morning secondary peak]. These four independent sets impress me. I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I doubt it. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Because Jacques Vallee is a creative man, he wondered what would happen if he synthesized the two graphs that he and Poher knew [the actual time distribution of close encounters--the blue line to the left--and the "opportunity to see" graph--the yellow line in Poher's graph above]. The result of that mathematical synthesis is shaped like the red dashed line in the accompanying graph. [How "high" the curve would be in actual vertical reach is not known--i.e. you cannot put numbers on it without making some assumption as to what the "efficiencies of reporting" would be for UFO cases of the CE2-Trace kind]. What the synthesis said to Jacques was that there seemed to be a "deficit" of unreported close-encounters, shown as an orange area above. If one made the assumption that one was dealing with a constant rate of reporting, and that the curve was generally symmetric, then the peak of that curve would be over the secondary observed peak at the 2-to-3AM area. AND it would be quite high. [higher than I've drawn it to fit it into the graph space]. [again the point is not academic accuracy for our purposes, but to show the qualitative situation]. Due to this apparent evidence of a severe deficit in reporting even the most spectacular encounters, Vallee assumed that a mind-bogglingly huge number of these must be occurring all the time. This seems to be one of the data-oriented reasons that he rejected the extraterrestrial hypothesis. The question is, of course, still open as to what these curves really signify.I have a few thoughts of my own, but since they are somewhere between All-The-Way-Fool and Out Proctor, you may want to get the trash can ready.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You can interpret the curves and the "deficit" the way Jacques does, that's an honorable idea. It is, I think, just one interpretation. Can one, therefore, think about the "deficit" in more ways. Guess#1: the ufonauts are performing these close encounters with human observers in mind, but are somewhat botching the job, and the humans are responding differently at different times, or missing the experiences entirely. I don't like this guess much because it makes the ufonauts more sociologically incompetent than I think they are. [remember folks, that I think that the evidence is overwhelming that the phenomenon is not Sci-fy explorer-dirt samplers, but rather some kind of sophisticated display aimed at the observers]. Guess#2: The ufonauts are performing events with human observers in mind, but for some reason is selectively blocking observer memories during the time-deficit period. I don't like this guess at all. Remember that these numbers refer to CE2-trace/landing cases not humanoid cases [primarily] nor "abductions". Plus, why would the blocking change pace/percentage from one moment/hour to the next--as the "bump" requires it to do? Guess#3: The ufonauts are performing these events with us in mind, but it is us that is weird between midnight and 4AM, and we cause them statistical troubles no matter how overt they try to ram their CEs down our throats. Well, I'm willing to admit that we're weird, and maybe not easy to control on anything, but even if this would have something to do with the curve, it tells us only about ourselves and not about UFOs. But I don't think it's much of an answer anyway. These cases are very concrete experiences. They should be well within the order of stimuli which would affect almost the entirety of our species [grossly] the same way. Guess#4: In the 1AM to 5am period the UFO agency is presenting close encounters which are not primarily or at least singly concerned with the human species, but are nevertheless aimed at some class of potential observers. Hmmmmm. Out Proctor? Guess#5: The ufonauts are not concerned with us at any times, and our presence is just accidental, and the curve is just what it is. Well, OK, in the sense that you can't directly argue with the possibility, but all my other study on the display nature of UFO cases says that this is wrong. I have an All-the-Way-Fool idea that shouldn't be viewed as anything more than that, but I like it anyway. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When I look at the bifurcated curve, and when I add my bias that I believe that these guys know almost exactly what they're doing, I'm tempted to see two independent curves. There would be an earlier curve peaking at 10-to-11PM, and a later curve peaking at 2-to-3AM. If so, they would indicate two different "agendas". For me, this would not be shocking, as those of you who have read the blog know, I think that it is likely that we have more than one type of super-civilization possible [see the entries on What Will They Be Like? for the differing philosophies of these types]. I could easily fit an agenda of one civilization type being "run" [by mutual agreement] in a separate "time-slot", for non-interference reasons, with a second agenda running later, into my hypothesis of differing philosophies of cultures. If that were true, we might have our first defensible hint that more than one supertech culture was on the scene. The idea that one of these civilizations might see Earth as residence to a type of intelligence other than our own, and more interesting to learn about/contact, is a thought I will keep in interest.
Whatever guess that you want to buy into, or construct on your own, I believe that The Law Of The Times is one of the most provocative findings in our research history. At the absolute least, the mystery that the vast majority of these CE2s happen at night should set your imaginations reeling. And then, going beyond to the curve--what explains it? What respectable assumptions might we make? And how "good" are these critters at what they are doing? And, far beyond that, are we the only game in town? Might it be the greatest of ironies, that what the ETs were most interested in were the folkloric entities that Jacques wants THEM to be? Well, all in speculation, my friends--but based on some pretty sound stuff from some of our finest.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sacred Object: CSI-NY Tells Hynek About UFOs.

This post arises from a stumbling-upon accident which happens quite frequently if you are privileged to be able to mess about in original UFO files. Turning over a page in a NICAP pile, the next item turned out to be a letter from Alexander [Lex] Mebane to Allen Hynek. This was not your usual letter. Lex was part of the "trinity" of great UFO researchers of CSI-NY [alongside Isabel Davis and Ted Bloecher--Lex is upper left in the photo montage, Isabel is upper right, and Ted is lower right---the other guy is our young and naive Air Force consultant, Allen Hynek]. The letter is from 1956. Hynek, as consultant to the Air Force on a classified project should have no business communicating "on the quiet" with the leading pro-UFO researchers in the country, but here he is. What was this about? -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hynek, a slow learner on this stuff, had a thought dawning on him that was hard to shake: the Air Force was doing a lousy job researching UFOs. Not only that, because of this lousy job, he and Blue Book weren't getting the best cases. Who would want to talk to people who were going to criticize what you saw if not your honesty or sanity itself? But, Hynek was learning, there are people out there who seem to be both intelligent and rational, who are pursuing UFO research with vigor and are collecting good case material from all over--including the 1954 wave from which Hynek was almost completely shut out. So he took a risk. He made contact with CSI-NY and began a careful correspondence. This contact led to a face-to-face meeting in New York, and the exchange [mutually] of a lot of information. This letter, this "Sacred Object", is before the face-to-face and is a lead-up to it---Hynek was denied by the Air Force to give public talks of any kind. In it, Lex tries to teach the slowly opening mind of Hynek how to really think like a scientist--rather amusing in most ways. Our young chemist has obviously not been polluted by over-restrictive "tribal" thought, and he is challenging the [somewhat] older astronomer to get his act very civilized terms. I'll let you read the whole letter, appended below. Holding it in my hand, there is a mysterious "comfort" about it--our history is real, and it is honorable, and it is powerful. Such an object is, indeed, sacred. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------What we learn from this is that Hynek, admittedly the tortoise in the race, was learning. And he was seeing that the Air Force was wrong--at least in terms of its hostility that was being publicly expressed towards the reality of the objects. He knew that much more was "out there" in terms of data, and he was growing nervous about the likelihood that there were living beings attached to the mystery. From this point forward, he was a closet UFOlogist rather than a debunker, although he still couldn't bring himself to confront his military employers. From here on, Hynek sensed the bigness of this mystery, and didn't want to be left out. Lex, and Ted and Isabel were far more "in" than he.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

NICAP in the Sixties: Have we gone forward? {Plus a little something on glo-balls}.

This is a brief post, mainly because I'm too lazy at the moment to work any harder. Still, there may be something of worth to someone here. In this 21st century, we are sometimes proud of our accomplishments and sometimes have reason to be. I was reading very old NICAP files the past few days [to get a break from reality and just enjoy something without having to argue about it] and something struck me that I'd not seen before. NICAP, even when it was losing its great war against the Air Force for congressional hearings was respected by heavyweight persons and organizations outside of UFO studies like nothing in our field before or since. This finally penetrated my dull wit when coming upon three such instances in a pile--concentrated enough so even I could not miss it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The three pieces of documents were these: a citation in a scientific journal by a physicist not yet turned on to UFOs [at least as he would later be]; another citation in a formal scientific report by a leader in his field of study; and a request from one of the country's leading aerospace research labs. The first was in a paper by Jim McDonald from the year 1960. As an atmospheric physicist, he was interested in the mystery of falls of large chunks of ice. NICAP kept large files on everything that could possibly pertain to the UFO mystery, and Dick Hall had reported to the journal [Weatherwise] on those ice-fall files. McDonald read it, and requested the raw information. Hall happily sent it. Thus began a major collaboration in UFO research history. McDonald's 1960 paper praised NICAP for its wholehearted sharing of data on the anomaly. The second was similar. Famed American Meteor Society leader, Dr. Charles P. Olivier, was, of course, interested in fireball sightings. He requested that NICAP send him whatever they had on this sort of sighting. Hall did. "These sources of reports are invaluable to us", was the quote from the AMS' Annual Report for 1960. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The third example came from Douglas Aircraft Corporation's Research and Development Space Sciences Department. The request was by the chief scientist, A.D.Goedeke, a well-known expert on plasmas and several other areas of frontier physics. Goedeke was interested in "kugelblitz" [ball lightning] and wanted to make field studies of the phenomenon. Of course his problem was exactly like the UFO research problem--with a rare and unpredictable phenomenon, where does one go to set up one's equipment? He asked NICAP to kindly provide data on incidents which might be ball-lightning as well as "areas of concentration" of such sightings. He was, in other words, saying: boys, where should the research team go? His plans were extremely high-tech and it would be good to learn if he ever managed to corral a BOL. In his letter he said the following: "On a recent trip to Brazil, it was learned that there exists a small area, on a plateau, in Brazil, where numerous observations of ball lightning, or some phenomenon, have been made". Hmmm. Makes one wonder if the good sir was open to possibilities other than kugelblitz?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For some reason, in that strange way that we do this, the remark reminded me of something buried in the files. I was, miraculously, actually able to find it. [big anomaly]. It was a letter to Fortean Times 22 years ago from Cynthia Luce, a person interested in many things paranormal. She had moved to Brazil [in the area shown on the Google map, near Petropolis]. She described her new residence as a "remote mountain village" and that is possible in that country, even though cities are not that far away. She wanted to tell FT about the local folklore involving the Mae de Ouro [Mother of Gold]. There is a village not far away called Ouro Preta, by the way, so Gold is playing a role in this area. The Mae de Ouro was a frequently seen yellow-gold ball of light that was a bit smaller than a volleyball. It had been around for at least 150 years [as of 1987]. Locals interpreted it as a spiritual entity [and perhaps so it is], but Luce, and ourselves, would probably put it in UFO file folders. Goedeke, and Douglas, no doubt, want to put it under kugelblitz or at least some novel earth energy emission. Luce says she saw the thing herself. The BOL "passed from east to west with the wavering flight of a butterfly about five feet off the ground...It made a wide curving turn and headed off towards the stables and vegetable garden near the spring. My gardener...reached out to touch it. The ball faded away to nothing as he put out his hand, then reappeared about 15 feet ahead of him....The phenomenon seemed to him to have intelligence." One can't help wonder if Luce and Goedeke were talking about the same area. Those mountains that Luce was living in are called, Serra da Estrela, the "Mountains of the Stars". When you go for a visit, tell me what you see.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Mae de Ouro was the fun of this post. The real reason was a reminder. We in the community have not at all gone forward on the criterion of respect in the scientific or technological community. How many requests for information from our files have any of our organizations gotten [from anyone but media]? NICAP did certain things right. Part of that was the conservativeness of its publications and public pronouncements that everyone rags them about. Sure, UFOlogy deals with things MUCH stranger than those conservatisms. But the "outer world" isn't even ready for our most conservative statements, yet we try to cram hyper-weirdness down its throat. Many of our most notable UFO-personages have no social sense at all. They're running as fast as they can and are getting as far away from acceptability as they can. They don't care. They're on their great explorations, and they really don't think that they need anyone else. Especially they don't think that they need to build a respectable field of study brick-by-brick from the ground up. But we really need to at least try--even if we bite our tongues on the weirdest stuff until we can lay the foundation upon which that weird stuff might be able to be swallowed. Then, like the lady above, we might actually see the Light.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

We Got Rhythm: The Nearly Forgotten Anomalies of Frank Brown

This post is "inspired" by the accident of my stumbling across an old research file that I had not looked at for twenty years. It reminded me of what is a rather spectacular anomalous discovery, which I shouldn't forget, and that the "establishment" of Science is vicious towards all of those things that its biassed minds can't easily swallow. I'm writing it so as to remember both of these things--a possible anomaly of deep importance and as a curative for thinking that the "ordinary fringe" [UFOs, Psi, Cryptozoology, et al] are treated no differently from anything else that addles their constricted minds. This is not about the old fad called "biorhythms" by the way. I studied the data on that quite a bit, and it is an instance of a con game best forgotten [except for the lessons that it teaches]. As with all areas of anomalies, there are instances of our finer qualities as researcher/adventurers and instances of qualities that we, as a species, should be ashamed of. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
One day, as a young graduate student, Frank Brown was sitting on a fishing dock in a warm climate, and was treated to a "visit" by a hoard of shrimp. He caught a few, and no one recognized the species. He went back looking again without luck. One lunar month later, they were back. That simple nature experience started him on a lifelong study of biological rhythms in sea-life. Many of these critters seemed naturally to have a cycle relating to the Moon, very expected in a way, since they were tidal creatures. Brown, particularly after he was hired as a young prof at Northwestern, had the lab and where-with-all to begin detailed work. He chose species like Fiddler Crabs and Oysters. He studied them both in the "field" and isolated in tanks at the University. He found many things relating to rhythms, but I'll mention only two. Less interesting, perhaps, to us "outsiders", he found that creatures like the crabs appeared to have a "clock" which was significantly regulated by "outside" influences [i.e. not just a "hard-wired" internal cellular clock--which is what the establishment believed]. This, astonishingly, bought him not just disagreement but a shameful volley of insults and "professional" dirty tricks. The second thing that he found was that creatures displaced from their native environment "re-set their cyclical clocks" even if placed in lab environments where they were shielded from all gross environmental "natural" inputs. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Those two discoveries are, of course, closely related in Frank Brown's Big Picture, but the second was mostly ignored because it stretched any sort of thinking past most of our limits---but the first thing was viciously opposed as a pseudoscientific concept. [Brown is shown on the left at one of his study tanks at Northwestern]. "Scientific" persons began doing things like blocking his publications, slurring him in talks and even in writing, creating cabals to agree to never cite any of his work nor that of his students, mounting erroneous "statistical" arguments to show his alleged errors of data, refusing to invite him to speak at relevant symposia, or if they had to, offering him ten minutes to his opponents' 50 or 100 minute talks [I kid you not--read this disgusting crap in Brown's biographical chapter in Discovery Processes in Modern Biology, edited by W.R.Klemm. 1977]. Brown eventually "won", although he wasn't trying to "fight" anyone--Frank Brown is a civilized man. But his deeper discoveries are not spoken of much today, at least one of them. This is the fact learned from the oyster research that even if you keep them isolated in the lab, they not only re-set their "tidal" clocks, but they re-set them as if they somehow "know" that they been moved from the East Coast to Chicago--- that is: their new rhythm is the correct rhythm if they were sitting in a tidal situation in Chicago. But they're NOT, so how do they think they are? Brown said that the only way that this is possible is if organisms have astoundingly subtle ways of "sensing" environmental external changes "right through the laboratory walls et al". He said that all life is probably clued to its "local" circumstances in ways more intimately and more subtly than we can even measure. And when locality is changed, life senses that. How? A mystery. Brown also said that whatever is going on here operates in a "normal" range of these forces that life is sensing. Either too low OR too high is not immediately responded to. Life adjusts to such dramatic change but not as "immediately" as to changes in its normal range. How is it doing this? Gravitationally? Electromagnetically? Something even stranger? It's not Light--Brown blocked the organisms completely off from that. And, the lab environment should have knocked out almost any E-M influences from the outside. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A thought that naturally arises and immediately sends the Establishment paranoid, is" what might this have to do with human behavior?" And, uhh-ohh, this leads us into the maelstrom of the Moon-Madness debates. [Brown by the way does not address this]. The old people have felt for time immemorial that lunar rhythms existed in humans, and one of them, the female menstrual cycle, has gotten very grudging acceptance [at least as statistically the correct time length, and, when studied in certain environments, seeming to actually cohere to the real phasing of the Moon]. [Most students of this think that living in the modern world of unnatural light cues has largely discombobulated the rhythm's natural pace]. If there is one spectacularly important Lunar rhythm in humans, might not there be more? This inspired Arnold Leiber's highly debated statistical studies of murder rates in Miami and Cleveland, wherein he wrote that he found significant increases in that source of extreme violence at both the Full and New phases of the Moon. This catalyzed a flurry of objections and a fair number of supportive commentaries as well. Once upon a time, I looked at the debunking studies which were aimed directly at Leiber's work. Those studies were two things: widely applauded and accepted, and, on second look, utterly flawed [for example, some alleged counter-studies looked at general crime rather than violent crime; some took the day when the victim died, rather than the day when the violence was perpetrated---mind-boggling]. I was quite prepared to see Leiber's work as flawed--I have no emotional connection to the issue at all. But the debunking, back then, was inappropriate, and another "scientific" embarrassment. Do we have good data for the human violence "full Moon" effect? Are there behavioral Wolfmen among us? I don't know, I haven't kept up with the literature for twenty years. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What I believe that I DO know from all this is that scientists, often, are an embarrassment to the ideals that they claim to hold sacred. They are petty-minded, paranoid, and even vicious-- and I used to teach science for thirty years. The science is great. How it could have originated from the "scientists" is one of the greatest anomalies of our culture. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------And one last thing for the fun of it: the female menstrual cycle has the full Moon correlating with the ovaries' production of eggs. It seems to me that fertile women and aggressive men is something that Mother Nature wants to get together. :-). "See the Moon; Be the Moon".

Friday, February 5, 2010

Miracles and Anomalies: Magic, Psi, and Science.

"Do you believe in Miracles?" For me, the question would be: Do you know what you're talking about? The topic has been a masterpiece of human non-thought [in most quarters] and many people think that this is inevitably so. I, probably foolishly, don't think that non-thought is the way to go, even on this subject. I particularly don't want it to slide into the "Well, it's just a mystery" category, because my intuition feels that it is central to the understanding of many types of anomalies. So, "Devil take the Hindmost", here's a try at this.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Let's begin with something non-philosophical: Lourdes, one of the poster-children of the concept of "miracles". [In the interest of disclosure, I am a Catholic]. Here's the background: the Marian apparitions took place in 1858. Claims of miraculous cures began almost immediately. Despite what many people think, the Church is not keen on modern miracles, and rather fears them as wild-cards that occur outside the jurisdiction of the hierarchy, and sources of potentially high embarrassment, if they turn out to be bogus. Because this case was immediately so "public" and sensational [newspapers of the day were screaming headlines about the newest cure], the Church decided to try to protect itself by initiating a "Medical Bureau" composed of professional people [deliberately open to non-Catholics] to evaluate alleged cures. As time progressed, the standards that an alleged cure would have to meet to be declared a "miracle" became almost impossible to meet, even if the incident was extremely remarkable. Many instances were recognized as "cures" but, out of many hundreds of cases only 67 have been designated "miracles". Some of the qualifying criteria are: the cure must be "immediate", "complete", and "permanent", and whatever the problem was has to be termed "incurable" due to anything happening at the time or even capable of happening in terms of treatment et al. The lists of the cures are available widely on the web, and you can read about them there and make up your own minds. For our discussion here, the "miracles" at Lourdes are felt by the people who studied them to have occurred outside the bounds of what Medicine and Science deems possible. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And that, of course brings us to the debate. There are at least four main opinions about miracles. "Science" has one. "Religion" has one. People who see the world in terms of "Magic" have one. And people who see the world in terms of "Parapsychology" have one. "Science", if such an entity exists, parrots, still today, the opinions of David Hume--the ultimate restrictive reductionist. Hume said:"A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined... no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle...." Hume was exactly in the spirit of the so-called "Enlightenment" in this, and may be credited as the foundational philosopher of that sort of view. His argument above is based on the premise that there is nothing but empirically-derived physical law and so anything that does not seem to match that set of laws is impossible. If you are a materialist reductionist, you can make that argument [sort-of], but you've prejudiced all discussion a priori. Our favorite girl, Catherine Crowe, as we have seen, saw right through this restrictive prejudice. As it turns out "Science" isn't this reductionist thing that Hume imagines. The picture in the upper left of the collage shows three "scientists". Langmuir, in the upper left, ferociously opposed all "irrationality" whether he understood anything about it or not. He was a mindless skeptic [and that included basically all "anomalies"]. George Gaylord Simpson was an avowed atheist-materialist. He judged things through the lens of automatically denying anything having to do with "spirit". Nicola Tesla, on the other hand, had no time for any of that B.S., and was, in his science, simply trying to explore no matter where it might lead. Depending on what your "philosophy" was, you would be more or less sympathetic to anomalies or miracles on an incident by incident basis. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The other "philosophies", of course take wildly different stances. "Magical" thinking is a bridge between science and psi, in its more thoughtful school, but completely non-think in its other. The non-think school just says "stuff happens"--pop!--no cause. Well, that's beneath comment. The thoughtful side says: there are "recipes" that one can learn about or discover, which if performed according to proper "ritual", will produce certain "behavior" in the world, which is not understood by science. In this, magical thinking is just like empirical science [a discovery process, leading to a type of "law" of the creation, and the establishment of a set of useful tools and a "protoscience"]. Whether you can actually do any of that is, of course, another story, but people who believe in magic feel so. In earlier times, what we call science today was called "natural magic". --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Parapsychology, in its more enthusiastic membership, is quite allied with magical thinking, whether they want to be or not. This is because psychic research sees the root cause of these non-physical law phenomena as "psychic" in nature--i.e. having to do more with the powers of consciousness than matter. If a "Magician" would be successful, the parapsychologist would attribute that success to psychic ability not mysterious properties embedded in the "stuff" of the universe. If he/she had to perform a ritual, that was to get them into the proper mental state. Olde-time Religionists, of course, thought that all such miracles were just part of the immediate ability of GOD to do whatever He wanted to--the "ZAP" hypothesis. That turns out to be the way most religionists still {non-}think today, but it is not the position of current Church theology--more about that later. Hopefully everyone is getting many intuitions as to how all this might come to dominate thinking about anomalies.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, to push at least my thinking a little further: what's a "Miracle"? At a first try: "A Miracle is a Surprise which occurs without us being able to understand it on the basis of the functioning of physical laws". Maybe all schools of thought would agree with that so far. But now I'll make my enemies. This Surprise occurs because either we have an incomplete set of physical laws or understandings, [the UFO anomaly is one which will be solved, in my opinion, not by the spiritual or paranormal, but by our discovering the rest of the elements of the physical universe, i.e. E.T]; or we have not integrated the psychic and spiritual elements resident in the Creation into our cosmology. By this I mean to indicate that we might feel that something is a Miracle, but it will be well understood some day on the basis of "scientific" physical laws, but other things that we see as Miracles will never be understood on that basis, and will demand the inclusion in our thinking of spiritual or psychic "laws". Our difficulties in dealing with Miracles and certain other commonly experienced anomalies are due to our pathetic incompleteness when it comes to our pursuit of our "Theories of Everything". --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Church's "new" theology of Miracles rejects the concept that they are violations of the laws of the Creation. This new Theology says that GOD uses the potentialities already resident in the fundamental laws of the Universe to produce what we see as the miraculous. Well, OK as far as that goes. What the theologians [minus some real adventurers like Herbert Thurston, who wrote the terrific study The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism], are missing is the psychic side of all this. If there are parapsychological potentialities resident in reality, then GOD is loaded with such ability too. Are not there psychic "laws" embedded in this Universe? Even if pedestrian "science" can't get a handle on them?-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------When a "Miracle" or a "True Anomaly" occurs, its presentation to us is [usually] "physical" {yes, pure information-transfer anomalies occur such as clairvoyance or telepathy, but let's stick with a physical analysis for the moment}. That physical presentation or "change" may have occurred at one of several "scales of nature" as far as normal science is concerned. It could have happened grossly on the macroscopic level. [like a whole new arm suddenly appeared]. It could have happened at the microscopic level [physiological systems, molecular actions--like an immunity-related cure--cancer, diabetes, artery-clearing, slow regrowth etc]. It could occur at the atomic level [transmutations, radioactive decay]. Or it might be as deep as the level of the fundamental forces [action-at-a-distance, levitation, ---dare we say psi?][by the way, it is a "dirty little secret" of science that "action-at-a-distance" is a ubiquitous phenomenon, totally unexplained by causal models/mechanisms...i.e., a miracle]. Lourdes-like miracles probably don't occur grossly. But they well could occur by the parapsychological manipulation of molecular and deeper levels of our physical world. The theologians are not yet ready to so openly welcome the terminology of the paranormal, due to old hang-ups about it being dangerous and potentially the Devil's Workshop, but that is where they need to go. A very good book, Miracles, by Scott Rogo [quite recommended], would disagree with me on my merging of miracles and the psychic, but that is where I respectfully disagree. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What we are missing is the inclusion of the spiritual/psychic. Catherine saw that as a colossal cultural error, and it is a colossal "scientific" one as well. We will never get the Theory of Everything until the spiritual/psychic "dimensions" are included alongside the 9,10,whatever number of force dimensions that the mathematicians are fooling with now. Down deep within the engines and gears of creation, there are more elements of "force-projection" and phenomena- manifestation than restricted science is willing to contemplate. "They" will never get there. What they will resist until their last breath [when they'll have a huge shock as the "light-tunnel" shows up] is the centrality of Observership. Not only is the Prime Observer "governing" the stability of the physical laws, as originated at the Big Bang, but constant other observerships are at work, some more consciously than others. Sometimes such observership might be from the Deity, making a traditional "miracle", sometimes it might be from one of us, making a psychic or self-healing "miracle". Sometimes it might even be a spirit entity or a "folkloric" one, doing something "impossible". All of these might occur outside the bounds of restricted "physical" law, and, on that ground, "impossible" [a priori] for Hume. Well, OK. But for "Enlightenment", that is a dim bulb indeed. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I believe that despite the ongoing great discoveries that science will make--and we should all cheer that on-- the reductionist practitioners will ultimately have to change or lose face completely. The hated "Miracles" [spiritual/psi/anomalistic] will continue to happen despite their wishing them away. In the face of those events, they have reduced themselves to only one, [ironically mindless] response: as the avatar of Langmuir and Simpson, and CSICOP, says in the picture above, when faced with the parting of the Red Sea: "Fluke". We have a job in this search for truth that is bigger than what we might feel. It's our job to be little Charles Forts saving the things which don't fit, and obnoxiously bringing them to the attention of---everyone. So mount your chargers; even though you suspect that you are more like Don Quixote than Isaac Newton. What's the option? David Hume?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Last thought: in my old age I have become precisely in the chorus of Minneapolis story-teller-singer, Peter Mayer. Reflecting on the difference of old-style religion and where he has grown into today, he sings: "Wine from water is not so small. But an even better magic trick is that anything is here at all. So the challenging thing becomes. Not to look for Miracles...but finding where there isn't one. "


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