Sunday, December 23, 2012

Evelyne Curtin Swords: 1916-2012.

At about 3am, Sunday before Christmas, 2012, a great lover flew to God's arms in Heaven. She left this physical universe bearing a mountain of Love which is the only thing which God cares about, and the only thing that He cannot have without us freely giving it. She thereby brings Him one of the greatest Christmas Presents He's had in years --- 96 and 1/2 years of choosing Love.

We'll miss our Mom, true, but it was her amazing body's time to finally give into old age. She was ready; we were ready; God was doubtless ready and patiently awaiting her. We know she is more than welcome in the afterlife and that this transition is a joy. The only tears shed here are tears of affection and not sadness. We are happy for Mom, and God, too.

When Dad died, as we sat in the family home, a great buck deer came from behind the neighbors' house across the street and walked directly towards our living room window. Getting as close as it could, it stayed there staring in on the family producing great awe in all of us. It then quietly turned and walked calmly back the way it had come.

When we got word from the nursing home that Mom had passed, two of my brothers, my sister-in-law, and I drove over. We parked, and got out. Between the nearby houses, twenty feet away, appeared two deer. They calmly stared at us awhile, and walked quietly away.

It's been a good life. And it has a happy ending. Carrying a light burden now: just love.

For me, it's time to make my own mundane transition. Much to do here in Wheeling to finish all the necessary activities associated with a death, and then the moving out of my "stuff" to "permanently" resettle back home in Michigan. The Blog might have to go silent for a time. Till then, my friends.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Mist at Death

Going through the SITU "junk boxes" and trying to discard contentless paper as well as redundant duplication ... it's an often-dull occupation but every so often you are rewarded with something interesting. The SITU files has/had a ton of FATE magazines. Often these were in duplications of four to a number. Well, as interesting as FATE can be, we cannot afford the shelf space for anything like that, and so they must go. I have a nearly complete run myself, so no help there. Several of my friends have their own or prefer to come over here and use mine [or now, Ivan's] and not lumber their own shelves. So, for some of these duplicates, I decided to "extract" the interesting articles and notes. place them into topical files, and recycle the remnants. None of these were REALLY old "classics", by the way. This makes content MUCH easier to access when one decides to make a review of a subject in the anomalies, and I've done the same thing with a duplicate run of PURSUIT. {and CUFOS' IUR}. I'll never do such a horrid act to anything rare but that does make research harder NOT doing so.

The relevance to a blog post is that in a very small number of FATEs that I was dismembering, there arose three notes from readers about "mists" rising from the bodies of relatives or patients at the moment of death. One hears, vaguely, of such things, but these were the first "personal report" sorts of incidents that I'd read. As my Mother is just going into hospice now, and maybe is facing her final soul-moments here in the physical universe, this coincidence stuck a little more tightly. [I am, by the way, perfectly at Peace with the possibility of an imminent passing, even of this person residing so near the center of my existence. Mother has lived a grand 96+ years, filled with outpourings of Love, and I am certain that God is proud of her. I'll feel her passing at the animal-level, but my own soul will ultimately be joyful for her new status in the next stage of her existence, surrounded by those who meant so much to her].

And so.... what did those readers say?

One person said this: [a woman was in hospital in a double room with an elderly patient in the other bed. She told this to her daughter] "Late one night shortly after twelve o'clock, my mother lay awake. Suddenly, she told me, she felt her attention drawn to Mrs. Melberger's bed. As she watched, she saw a white mist rise from her head. It hovered for a few seconds, then slowly began spiraling and floated away from the woman and out through the closed door of the room." This made the other woman nervous, but after a while she could fall back asleep. When she awoke the next morning, the other bed was unoccupied. Her nurse told her that the older lady had died a little after midnight that evening.

Robert Crookall of OOBE fame, wrote to FATE to mention that in a book by Reverend Maurice Elliott and his wife Irene, that they were present at a deathbed and witnessed some sort of angel-like "visitants" come saying that they were there to take the patient home. Shortly a "white hazy mist" began to form above the body and to take on the form of the near-deceased. The witnesses said that some sort of "cord" seemed to attach this mist to the physical body and the angel-visitants assisted in detaching it, whereupon the mistbody [soul as interpreted by those present] left the premises with a company of spirits.

The third anecdote was from a soldier in the Pacific Theatre [GUAM] of WWII. While treating a wounded soldier, a sniper killed the man who was accompanying the fellow who wrote to FATE. He in turn killed the sniper, made the other man that they had been treating comfortable, and knelt down next to his companion, now just barely with a beating pulse. The pulse flickered and stopped; his companion dying in his arms.

"As his heart stopped beating, I noticed what appeared to be a fine mist emanate upward from his face into the bright sky, and in this mist I saw a rainbow with all the colors of the spectrum. After a few seconds, it was gone."

Of course none of these stories would surprise meditative persons of a previous more-spiritually-oriented age, just our own which operates in puzzling denial of even the possibility of such a happening. Whether in a society emphasizing an afterlife or a reincarnation, our past is filled with imagery of soul-representing birds flying into the heavens or, like the Phoenix, burning and rising again anew.

Raymond Moody, he of the Stages of Near-Death-Experience fame, has apparently published a book, Glimpses of Eternity, which contains many further instances of the "Soul Mist" at the moment of death. Louisa May Alcott is apparently one famous person who witnessed such a thing, and, although I do not own the book and have not read it, there seems to be a whole list of more incidents.

So, are these experiences veridical objectively? Are they "evidences" for the lucky few that some subtle essential "me" discards the failing body in the end, and giving slight last manifestation of that separation here in SpaceTime, sails its way on to God?

I, as a Catholic, believe that something like that happens, and will, probably shortly, happen with Mom. But whether the event is accompanied by a subtle "mist", rarely glimpsed by a fortunate few, the scientist in me cannot say.

Blessings to you all as we grow close to Christmas. Don't feel sorry for me, if Mom passes. That will be one of her days of Glory, mist or not.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

TRINDADE: " Hey Zorf! You forget to turn off the Anti-Photo Field Again?"

January 16th, 1958, near the Island of Trindade off the Brazilian coast: A Brazilian Navy science ship, the Admiral Saldanha was anchored off shore and preparing to embark on a mission associated with the world's studies of the International Geophysical Year. Almost everyone was on board and many on deck, military higher and lower ranks, scientists, technicians, and engineers, and a photographic team. The last exercise prior to departure, the hoisting of the launch, was progressing, and in the stern of the boat, the chief photographer was set up to film the activity. And then.....

At almost precisely the same moment, ship's personnel in both the stern and the prow of the boat shouted an alert that some unidentified aerial object was approaching Trindade. Many persons were able to watch as the unknown object approached, circled the Island, and flew back out to sea [a persistent error exists in our minds about this, though not in the official report. The object came from the direction of the continent, almost precisely west-to-east, not the deep ocean. It then retreated back towards the continent roughly NE to SW; this visualization occurs because the ship was north of the island looking south mainly].

It was the photographer's squad leader along with a retired Air Force captain who went quickly to Almiro Barauna [the man who would take the photos], yelling and pointing to him the shiny object still some distance away. The ship's dentist also came running to him, stumbling over the deck furniture as he came. When Barauna located the thing visually, he pointed his [fortunately] already loaded and readied camera, and managed to get four reasonably good shots. The "lucky" one over the island occurred when the object posed momentarily in a hover.

By this time at least a dozen and probably significantly greater number of witnesses were present to observe the approximately thirty-second performance of the object near the island. Barauna had six shots ready in his camera and took them all. (Four were deemed good and different enough [after the initial look at the developed negatives] to proceed later to the positive prints that all of the rest of us see).

 It was the Commandant of the Brazilian Trindade base himself, Carlos Alberto Bacellar, who was onboard the Admiral Saldanha at the time, who took charge of Barauna and the roll of film and took the undeveloped photos to an improvised darkroom in the ship's infirmary. There Barauna [in a ten minute working period] developed the film and showed the negatives [still wet] to Bacellar. Bacellar affirmed that the markings on the negatives showed what he had seen visually. Negatives were then shown to several other on-deck witnesses, who confirmed that these images portrayed what they had seen.

These are the real world facts which are important to keep firmly in mind when/if one tries to debunk this case. Almost ALL of these facts are ignored by debunkers who ply their dishonest ways by looking, from great distances, at the pictures and rumors surrounding personalities. To ignore these "on the ground" facts while pronouncing speculations at large variance to them is, at a minimum a disturbing comment upon the functioning of the human mind. I say that seriously.

So, the story leaked out --- not surprising since there was a newsman on board. The Brazilian Navy was "somewhat" forthcoming about concurring to the press that an unidentified object had been photographed, but initially no pictures were released. Fortunately for we US UFOlogists, there were three excellent UFO investigators on the scene with good military connections, who were able to get confirmation of the facts and how the pictures ultimately reached the public. These were three of the guys in the upper left montage above. Top left is Auriphebo Simoes, who was making direct contact with CSI-NY's Lex Mebane. Top right is Flavio Pereira, who had many military and scientific contacts. And bottom left is J. Escobar Faria, who had early contact with Dick Hall. These three were serious conservative "NICAP-attitude" UFOlogists, unlike the sometimes-cautious-sometimes-not "APRO-attitude" UFOlogist, Olavo Fontes, at the lower right. Simoes, Pereira, and Faria were friends whose information always proved responsible. There is no question that the Brazilian Navy felt that the information was true but sensitive. It came out finally due to an accident of a newsman friend visiting the Brazilian president, Juscelino Kubitschek, [seated in the upper right photo], who allowed the journalist to see the prints.

Well, the debunkers now had a major problem. The US intelligence community seems to have played a role in this, but one cannot say absolutely. Brazilian opinion was that the Brazilian Navy was under pressure NOT to publicize this, and the pressure came from some unknown "high" source. The US could put pressure on the Brazilians, as Brazil was totally dependent at the moment upon sales of weapons [like advanced planes] from the USAF. Reports to the Pentagon from military attaches ranged from vague statements about possible hoaxing to smartass commentary like Trindade was such a barren place even aliens wouldn't want to visit there. Concerning the idea of a hoax: you have read how the event occurred. This retelling comes almost entirely [minus homey details like the dentist tripping over the deck furniture] from the formal reports of the Brazilian Navy itself. Hoax?? A literal boatload of witnesses, many of technical skill, seeing an object BEFORE the photographer even saw it --- but of course he must have psychically predicted this so as to have already installed fake photos into his camera. AND EVEN WITH SUCH PSYCHIC PROWESS, the case STILL stands with many witnesses regardless of the corroborating film. Painfully stupid.

But still today this stupidity exists. Desperate debunkers say that Barauna was really good at making fake photos, even of UFOs.... well, he WAS. That's him and a team in the middle right above. What's he doing?? He's BEING PAID by the Brazilian AF to see if they can duplicate the Barra di Tijuca UFO to see if IT could have been faked. Barauna was a photographic ace employed by the government with their confidence --- why do we think that he was on the IGY ship team?? Recent rumors spewed by some distant relative saying that a closer relative once said that Barauna admitted faking the photos was denied by that closer relative. But, hey, if it gets rid of the awkward case, who cares??

When the USAF was asked by NICAP what they thought of the case, notorious Pentagon debunker [and known flat liar] Colonel Lawrence Tacker said it was a hoax. Re-questioned as to how it was determined by the USAF to be a hoax, Tacker said that a USNavy investigation proved it to be. When the Navy was asked about this, they said that they had neither determined nor said any such thing. Glorious.

When Donald Menzel was asked about the case, he said that it was a Hoax. But when queried privately in letters from Dick Hall, he said that he did not have evidence for that, but believed, rather, that it was a misidentification. A misidentification of What?, Dick asked. Menzel replied that not knowing the specifics of the camera used nor the film [these were available, though, and no one has found them to be relevant to the case], he could not say for sure, but it must be something like a conventional aircraft plowing through an atmosphere creating an oval of condensation around it. Now, the BAF and Navy surely could have considered this unlikely event out at sea in a remote location, and no one thought this, but Dick persisted: wouldn't it take pretty specific atmospheric conditions to even consider this? Menzel said yes. Dick then offered to get him the atmospheric read-outs for the place and time for his analysis. Menzel did not respond.

Although very fast-moving jets are known to briefly "explode" an oval of condensation around them, to sustain anything like this over long reaches of ocean and land [which notoriously changes the air environment above it] is, to my understanding, impossible. [Where's Jim McDonald when I need him?]. Plus, the film was analyzed microscopically both by the Brazilian Navy and by the RAND Corporation in the US and, not only were no evidences of tampering or montage found, but the images displayed a consistent definable edge to the object, so as to allow RAND to say: the four photos display images consistent with a single object of determined shape seen/photographed at different distances and tilts.

To say that I'm impatient with the debunkers is putting it mildly. I'll bet a bundle that the guy above [our legendary NPIC photo analyst, Art Lundahl] looked into this case and was right with me on this one. He really liked UFO photos and had a whole drawer-full of them. I'll bet Trindade was in there.

Here's another bunch of guys who are with me on this. Every one of them is a better UFOlogist than Donald Menzel, and much the better Citizens of the World and Pursuers of the Truth.

Sometimes these things just have to be said without sugar-coating.   Blessings, friends.

Monday, December 3, 2012

BIGFOOT as a Human/Ape hybrid: what's this all about?

The fellow above may or may not be ready for the San Francisco Giants, but even if he is, he'll probably not be allowed to play. He just ain't human. [despite a LOT of appearance to the contrary]. A friend of mine recently bombarded me with several articles on the claim that somebody, who allegedly looks a lot like the fellow above, is in fact human, or at least a big step closer to human. Bigfoot... an ape/human genetic hybrid says the claim. Cryptozoologists have apparently been hashing this over for awhile, but the burst into the popular press is more recent.

I'm not going to claim much for this post [the study which says that this claim is true is "at the reviewers" of a responsible scientific journal, allegedly, and therefore no significant scientific details are available to make respectable comment possible.] The only reason that I'm posting something is that I used to be involved with this strange subject called biochemistry way back in the stone age of the 1960s [masters degree era] and maybe can set up the issue for you for when the data arrives for general reading.

What we've been told is that the data indicating hybridization comes from the study of Mitochondrial DNA. Some of you know all about that; probably some don't. I'm going to do a little "general education science" here to set up the discussion.

When you look at any cell of any complexity other than the simplest, you see within its cell wall an array of microscopic structures [and some less-obviously-organized biochemical "soup" --- mostly water, salts, and big molecules --- which the structures seem embedded in]. The structures have specific roles in maintaining cell functions. One role is "energy-molecule production". The microstructures responsible for this are the mitochondria. The artist above has represented them by the blue ellipses with the reddish "snakes" within. So, mitochondria are vitally important. And, perhaps due to this crucial importance, mitochondria have their own DNA separate from the main store of DNA resident in each cell's nucleus [that's the big blue balloon blob in the drawing above].

That brings us to a brilliant lady named Lynn Margulis. That is her above, celebrating her marriage to Carl Sagan. As Carl's first wife, she was much more than a match for him in intelligence, and .... well .... this pairing of geniuses ultimately could not coexist in the same household. Fortunately, these stresses did not hinder Dr. Margulis from synthesizing a major concept about the evolution of complex cells, which has the happy attribute of probably being true.

The above is a page of notes that I took from listening to Dr. Margulis explain her concept to us scientist-types at the AAAS many years ago. My simple cartoon version shows the first cells slowly diverging from one another into more specialized talents; some animal-like [i.e. carbon-compound eaters] and some plant-like [i.e. oxygen-users and free-oxygen producers]. Margulis' genius was to see the possibility that these early specialized microcells might begin an era of merging, some specific talents "swallowed" into larger less specialized ones. These "random" joinings and co-op livings would be trial periods, mostly failures; but the best symbiotic communions would survive. From these unions ultimately developed something like modern cells, as "comfortable" internal symbionts dropped the need for functions handled as well or better by the larger commune, while keeping hold of the critical functions that they were contributing to the complex. As time [millions of years of getting comfortable] went on, cells appeared with embedded microstructures wholly dependent upon the complex, but also the complex wholly dependent upon them. A symbiotic relationship had turned several entities into one.

In the case of the mitochondria, these organelles retained their specific genetic codes --- i.e. that was not pre-empted by the cell nucleus. The internal structure of the mitochondria was apparently so "right" for production of energy compounds, that messing with it was biologically/evolutionarily stupid. So Mother Nature allowed cells to keep an entirely separate sort of genetic code, embedded in the mitochondria, yet still DNA. This DNA is also passed from parent to offspring differently.

Whereas ordinary DNA comes from the sperm [half] and the egg [half], this other stuff doesn't. The sperm needs mitochondria to produce energy compounds for the hard swim, But once it gets to the egg, the internal actions of the egg accept only the ordinary chromosomes, and the mitochondria get the shaft [i.e. they become food]. The offspring is built upon the genetics of both parents' chromosomes, but on only Mom's mitochondria. So this is the famous "maternal lineage" inheritance that we've been hearing about particularly as to an "original Eve" in Africa long, long ago.
 Whereas ordinary DNA from the chromosomes will number genetic code words in the many millions [and therefore a real tough research project], mitochondrial DNA numbers only 16,000 [I believe] genes. This is a much more manageable number to make genetic-similarity comparisons with. Also, it's possible that the circular structures of mitochondrial DNA are harder to split and turn into chaos than the linear/spiraling nuclear DNA, and the mDNA is embedded in the tough little mitochondria, so maybe it even lasts a bit better. Whatever the reasons, mDNA is handy and is the measuring stick of choice in making species-similarity comparisons.

The above map is the putative map of Proto-human and human migration patterns from Africa to South America and Australia based upon genetic code differences seen in mDNA from modern native micro-populations and archaeological and palaeontological specimens. Some of this is flat science; some of this is speculation. The science is the number of code differences in the samples, and the speculation is the "temporal distance" represented by any given number of code mutations. [i.e., scientists make some guesses like "X number of mutations represents approximately Z number of years since these species diverged, or this human type had to get from one place to another". So the comparison of mDNA mutation differences is widely used and popular among anthropologists and geneticists of all sorts.

Here's what a test array of mDNA comparisons looks like, and when these "Bigfoot" results come in, is what we should be looking for in them.

The graph shows the array of tests that a study did of human samples [clustering together in the lime green] vs chimpanzee samples [clustering together in blue]. Obviously human variation is nothing like chimp variation from the human. We ain't chimps, much as we act like them sometimes. The red cluster is for some neanderthal samples. FAR closer to us than the chimps, yet still cleanly separate. When the laboratory results are shown for the alleged Bigfoot/Human hybrid mDNA, the cluster from those results COULD end up on either side of the neanderthal cluster, but if it is on the right side then the argument that Bigfoot is a "hybrid" will have to be made on much more specific grounds [something like some mDNA areas are human-identical, and shouldn't be, and some mDNA areas are more like ape mDNA. Such a claim will surprise me at least until I hear the argument, because, as you remember, the mDNA comes not from "mixing" but from the mother alone. Ultimately mDNA is mixed in humans due to a lot of human-human interbreeding. Do we think that there would be a LOT of Human Sasquatch interbreeding? Also, females are the important element in the story. Human mDNA gets into Sasquatch by a Sasquatch mating with a woman, that woman having Sasquatch babies [doubtless a difficult birth for the smaller human birth canal], some of these surviving babies being girls with mom's mDNA, and either being popular successful breeders or there being an awful lot of sasquatch rapes of women who then have successful pregnancies.

I guess that I have nothing to do but to await whatever results and awkward explanations may come.

This is the lady, Dr. Melba Ketchum, who runs a gene-testing laboratory, who has done the work and has prepared the science paper that we await. I have only one legitimate complex question: where were the sasquatch mDNA samples procured and is their provenance good? All manner of credibility issues exist here. The science side should take care of itself and show or not show "strangeness".

Nevertheless despite great prematurity, the story went out. The media blared "over 100 samples tested". Well, WOW --- where in the hell can you get 100 bigfoot samples? It's hard to shove one's incredulity back down one's throat. .... I'm trying.

 I gather that we owe the prematurity to this fellow [Igor Bourtsev], a well-known ABSM researcher with ideas and a new book which would fit quite comfortably with these results as announced --- one "fact" claimed was that the results would show this hybridization to have taken place about 15,000 years ago, a number that I believe both Bourtsev and Myra Shackley would like. Regardless, I think that Bourtsev may have not been able to contain himself and spilt the beans. This use of the term "hybrid" also plays to several of these people wanting Bigfoot to be declared close enough to human to in fact deserve commonly granted human rights --- I suppose that would mean some form of "citizenship".

The term "manimal" has been thrown about, something deceased ahthropologist and sasquatch expert Dr. Grover Krantz detested and felt that there was no evidence for.

Bourtsev apparently visited the US not long ago and particularly wanted to interview a family at a farm setting who claimed regular Bigfoot visitations. Descriptions of these visitations seems to have clinched for Bourtsev [and doubtless others]  Bigfoot's "humanity" or at least intelligence. It seems a regular feeding program is supposed to go on. Brings a whole new meaning to "Guess who's coming to dinner?"

Pretty far Out Proctor for me at the moment. Wonder what our cousins the gorillas think about being no longer closest kin?

Given how we act: probably pretty good.


Blog Archive