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The Anomalist

May 22

In a bombshell interview constituting the first hour of Alan B. Smith's Paranormal Now program, Peter Robbins said he'd "been had" to a certain degree and didn't blame the so-called "Larry haters" who had successfully poked holes in Larry Warren's account of the December 1980 Rendlesham Forest Incident. In the process Robbins disassociated himself from his former colleague and co-author of two editions of Left at East Gate, Warren's version of that series of "UFO" events outside an American air base in Great Britain. After the interview covered Peter's own prior involvement in UFO studies, Robbins acknowledged that he had been "remiss" a number of times with respect to the Warren story; could have been less trusting of Warren "up front"; that he now realized there had been an "intent to deceive" him by his former associate; and that he had early discounted problems raised by investigators that might be more significant than he had thought at the time. Peter defended himself against charges of knowingly participating in a fraud; allowed that the whole Warren story was now cast under a pall; and promised to review all of the questions raised about the book as dispassionately as possible. Robbins also agreed that questionable practices ascribed to Mr. Warren in the Rock memorabilia field harm his credibility. Nonetheless, Peter feels that, in spite of the many "inaccuracies" within Left at East Gate, solid elements remain. In particular, Peter claimed that evidence is "gilt-edged" that Warren was in the field on the third night of the Rendlesham events, though his chain of reasoning on this point was not entirely compelling. (WM)

The Fairy in the Box Haunted Ohio
Chris Woodyard takes a look back to Edwardian lady novelist Florence L Barclay whose talents included interaction with charming "Little People" who, in an almost Disney-esque fashion, would nightly float around her bedroom ceiling. But to her dismay, none of these fairy-folk could be captured. Chris wants to hear more of similar stories. And what of William Blake and Bruno's Fairies? Dr Beach is intrigued by Blake's reference to such in a letter from 1800 and thinks Bruno was probably his sturdy steed. But if you know of "any other Bruno's for the fairies," contact the good Doctor. As to early Nessie references, Glasgow Boy has found An Interesting eBay Item (Secret of the Loch), which was edited in 1934 by David Lean. If anyone wants to purchase this "collection of old 9.5mm reels" showing this famous film, now's your chance. (LP)

We have to say it: everything is bigger in Texas. At least, everything in the bodies of water, if these accounts of large watery beasts are to be believed. The creatures spotted aren't all that outlandish, so we'd give it a decent possibility that they really exist. You probably weren't going to go swimming in the first place though, right? The Mystery of the Gambian Sea Monster: Dolphin, Whale, or Something Else? We'll never know, because not only were no photographs taken back in 1983 (no cellphones), but the individuals who stumbled upon the beached carcass decapitated the corpse and sold it to tourists. Just a desecration, if you ask us. (CM)

Nick Redfern has been doing a lot of interviews lately for his new book The Roswell UFO Conspiracy: Exposing a Shocking and Sinister Secret, and both the Paracasters Gene Steinberg and Chris O'Brien, on the one hand, and Greg Bishop's solo with Nick at Nick Redfern--Throwin' More Rocks at Roswell do good work in conveying Nick's message. Nick rather tempers some of the promos we'd read, admitting that he can't prove his theory. But the information that has accrued since the 2005 publication of Redfern's Bodysnatchers in the Desert has in Nick's mind only solidified his non-ET Roswell explanation. If anything, Nick avers, the narrative that he has pieced together from information collected by himself and other investigators is even more outrageous and certainly "darker" than the "traditional" notion of a crashed alien saucer and occupants. He successfully handles suggestions that the horrible story of clandestine experimentation with human subjects he relates can simply be regarded as a fiction created to divert research from the real ET story, and he does a good job of painting a backdrop of government projects that makes more plausible the idea that an immediate postwar program employing "captured" Japanese scientists could have explored high-altitude manned flight and tested "lifting bodies" with huge balloons. Nick seems less successful explaining some of the iconic Roswell accoutrements like "memory metal" and "hieroglyphic tape," and the Walter Haut press release and testimony by Jesse Marcel get short shrift here. Neither of the two interviews is likely to push those firmly uncommitted to any specific dogma about Roswell off of their positions on the proverbial fence--but they do make a strong case for buying Nick's latest book. (WM)

Allow us to blow our own (Anomalist Books) horn here. The great science-fiction novelist William Gibson has just given Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior by Hilary Evans and Robert Bartholomew a big thumbs up in Mother Jones. "At 784 pages," he writes, "a literal encyclopedia of the workings of rumor, fear, and the madness of crowds...The election of Donald Trump is best understood in terms of collective behavior. Familiarity with the weird and terrifying things we've done before, as a species, is essential to understanding what many of us, driven by fear and uncertainty, are doing now. Baffled by Trump's popularity (such as it is)? Read Evans and Bartholomew on lycanthropy and laughing epidemics. Seriously." Please note that the political spin on the review is Gibson's, not ours. (PH)

May 21

Guessing by the volume of hate mail we received over yesterday's links, we should put one of our own in the hot seat. One of Daryl Bem's test subjects opened up to Daniel Engber, unravelling Bem's signature study on precognition. On the bright side, Bem's notable for bringing attention to precognition much in the same way Neil Tyson's famous for popularizing science. Before you get all "special snowflake" on us, Alex Tsakiris invited Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove on his podcast to address the long-term future of parapsychology. No hardball questions, as usual, but Mishlove does outline a few brilliant ideas relevant to the study of psi. If everyone's a little psychic, does that include plants? Marta Zaraska told us of a new study wondering Can Plants Hear? The findings suggest playing Mozart for your prize petunias might not be for naught. (CS)

Mia de Graaf's story is equal parts Awakenings and Frankenstein as Belgian doctors zapped the brain-dead back into awareness, responding to questions. By no means were they chatty, but they could respond with gestures. Low on the list of the University of Liege's list of questions for the patients was "Does God exist?" Pascal's wager is compelling but others need stronger Arguments Why God (Very Probably) Exists. Packed in Robert H. Nelson's arsenal are the unlikely fields of math, science, and evolution. Others find gnosis through chemistry much like The Curious Fortean's very own Scarlet Woman praising DMT: The Spirit Molecule after a particularly profound ayahuasca trip. Even if you're a straightedge, skeptical atheist it's worth a read. (CS)

Looks like Saint George didn't slay all the dragons if this curious encounter from 1906 is to be believed. Even if you don't, Nick Redfern's found a light bit of fun for your Sunday morning and we're pleased as punch to share. Feel fortunate that specimen could just fly, rather than rain fire from the heavens since Nick knows Where There's Smoke, There Are Monsters - And Fire. What better way to find our elusive cousins, or eliminate them as competition, than by smoking them out of house and home. Perhaps that's how H. floresiensis met their fates. From another bald British ex-patriate, Dr. Karl Shuker, has an unexpected cryptozoological tale involving a celebrity. Moby Dick's Herman Melville Encountered A Polynesian Mystery Cat, but is it a whale of a tale? There are no indigenous big cats in Polynesia, but mainstream biologists have been wrong in the past. (CS)

The old adage of "All the news that's print to fit" is alive and well, and Kevin Randle calls out the mainstream on their shenanigans. Rather than looking at the evidence, they're raising the spectre of the Bermuda Triangle claiming yet another victim. Its enough to make us wonder if Peter Jennings will be replaced with Giorgio Tsoukalos. Next we have Jason Offutt with the weather who says it'll be cloudy with a chance of The Phantom Time Hypothesis. According to Heribert Illig we're missing 297 years, but Jason suggest Heribert's missing more than a few cards in his deck. Fortunately Robin Carlile can account for the 43 years between the Franco-Prussian War and World War I, but does Tobias Churton share Too Much Information? Let's just say Occult Paris, The Lost Magic of the Belle Epoch is exhaustively researched and well-documented, but makes for exhausting reading. (CS)

May 20

While the world holds its breath for the next dip in Boyajians Star's flux Zaza Osmanov confided in Paul Seaburn there are other megastructures in our cosmic neighborhood. Nor are the megastructures spherical and the stars really aren't stars. While I was writing that, Jason Wright of Penn State tweeted a call to action for all astronomers as Boyajian's Star is dipping. The excitement is palpable! In a potential coincidence, Astronomers Are Unable To Explain The Latest Mysterious Radio Burst. Since its point of origin was highly unlikely, Brett Tingley wonders if it was intentionally aimed at Earth. Much closer to home, our upper atmosphere to be precise, Brett's learned those Mystery Lights Seen By Carl Sagan Have Been Solved by NASA. Should global warming continue, our descendents may never glimpse this phenomenon. (CS)

Grab the popcorn 'cause this is one of the best podcast episodes of 2017. Graham Hancock, Michael Shermer, and Randall Carlson as Joe Rogan moderates a forum concerned with anomalous ancient artifacts and potential evidence of advanced civilizations. Who wins? You do. Thanks to Greg Taylor for sharing! If you're still doubtful of fringe archaeology, Clyde Winters could change your mind with The Exceptional Inscription On The Pokotia Monument which curiously resemble ancient Sumerian script. While this Mystery Box Found In The Tomb Of An Ancient Egyptian Princess isn't as sexy as Hancock or Carlson's maverick theories, it gives us a glimpse at the funerary customs of ancient Egypt. (CS)

Rational. Logical. Realistic. But arrogant? People who are weary of Neil Tyson's overbearing pedantry and Bill Nye's snark will agree, but Simon Makin has read a study from Tillburg University proving scientists are prone to the same human foibles associated with their woo-peddling fortean counterparts. The same goes with skeptics who so earnestly believe everything they've read, there's no room for being skeptical of themselves. Hayley Steven tells us how those kinds of people she often meets at Skeptics In The Pub Helped Her Perfect Her "Bitch, Please" Face. (CS)

We're always pleased as punch when mainstream media looks at fortean phenomenon, acting like a gateway drug to our sweet science. Even when the tacit conclusion involves intelligent waterspouts capable of picking up just one type of object. Omitted from Sarah Zielinski's collection of tales is a report straight out of northern California from earlier this week. Sharon Hill notes the Oroville Fish Fall Remains A Mystery. Should you live near one of the many Portals Of Strangeness peppering the Earth, high weirdness is be old hat, just like it is for Ray Grasse. There's more afoot than the phenomenal, but the significance behind these omens and portents. (CS)

May 19

Well, the latest release date for those 18 British Ministry of Defence UFO files the MoD once said it didn't have has come and gone, and now it looks like that won't happen till mid-June. And that's "hopefully." Andreas Muller of the German frontier science/paranormal news-blog "Grenzwissenschaft-Aktuell" has learned this exclusively from the British National Archives. Muller's post gives the recent history of these several-times-delayed documents, as well as file titles and topics. Staying in the U.K., the Croydon Advertiser's Craig Simpson asks readers What Were the Strange Lights Spotted Circling above Croydon Last Night?. It seems that about four bright points of light danced around in circles in the night skies above this London borough. Sounds like these may have a mundane explanation, but some people "freaked out" at the display, and we'll be looking for a calming diagnosis for this event. Now to the Colonies and their famously-productive state, as a California Witness Describes Six Hovering Triangles. There are several details that aren't completely clear about this 8:40pm April 15 sighting of "six groups of multi-colored lights in vertical triangular shapes." Why, for example, did the larger triangle remain stationary while the five smaller triangles slowly moved west; and what happened eventually to the larger triangle after the others disappeared into clouds? There is a MUFON Field Investigator working this case. (WM)

New Mexico in the 1970s was anything but serene wine country. Cattle mutilations were rampant and despite the seeming consistencies between each maiming, authorities were unable to explain the cause. Enter conspiracy theorists who were certain that the US government was testing biological weapons on the cattle. If you consider what goes into livestock feed nowadays, we can safely say that not much has changed. Not everything is so mysterious though, at least not if you're Dr. Karl Shuker. In Seeking Glycon - Blond-Haired, Human-Headed, Serpent-Bodied, And Very Talkative! Shuker strips off the mystique surrounding the "serpentine soothsayer," revealing the snake to simply be a python and Alexander of Abonoteichus to merely be a charlatan. Clearly things are never what they seem to be at first glance. The Paranormal: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water reinforces this understanding, reminding us that in the search for all things Fortean, we need to distance ourselves from the outcome or risk the loss of our objective reasoning. Research that is intended to serve any purpose other than the discovery of truth must be questioned to within an inch of its life, or else risk becoming a new myth unto itself. (CM)

Let's just say this up front: Hayley Stevens has integrity. Regardless of the backlash, or a lack of attention based on her research, the woman holds true to her course. So when she decides to debunk a "famous" ghost hunter, we're going to listen. Moving onto something lighter, Matthew Taylor brings us The Poltergeist House, 'Sexy' Graffiti And Young Cliff Morris - Westhoughton Through The Ages. We like his style, by the way. He presents the data--or the archival data in this case--keeps it interesting, and then lets us make up our own minds about what is going on. And what is going on is that we are going to Pour A Glass of Wine for the Spirits: Haunted Vineyards and Wineries. We wonder how much of the witness accounts are directly related to the amount of wine consumed on tours? Who cares--count us in! (CM)

Some of us are not too keen on swimming in the ocean or walking on the beach to start with, so imagine coming upon--maybe walking into or through--a glob of decaying whale. If you want to reduce your appetite, think about it a lot. (You're welcome.) Or if you'd rather a distraction from the greasy stink of a late cetacean taking a dirt nap at your picnic, this Video Shows What May Be Maine’s Penobscot River Monster. Or a floating log. Or maybe even a previously posted video from another lake because we can't all be experts on waterfront details of the world. (CM)

May 18

Oh Malaysia, we know you are famous for your abundant wildlife, but this wasn't what the brochures were talking about. Seems a pair of hairy beings have been addressing villagers on one of the islands by name, causing the named to become ill with fever. Those who don't become ill are forced to fend off unwanted advances by these horny hominids. Sounds to us like a prank put on by someone familiar with the Malaysian culture, but there's nothing funny about frightening people so badly they become ill...and they should keep their hands to themselves. A similar though less malicious type of story can be found in Maine Mysteries: The Durham Gorilla, where in the 1970s residents of rural Durham, Maine, reported seeing a being that intermittently walked on all fours or upright, with a hairy body and a monkey face. But it wasn't interested in getting to know the local women better, and it wasn't terribly long before the creature disappeared, lending some credence to the theory that it was an escaped zoo animal or pet. A more sinister presence is making itself known in Central America, where Chupacabra Blamed For Mysterious Animal Deaths in Honduras. It's anyone's guess what or who the culprit may be, tearing out the hearts and anuses of its livestock victims and sucking their blood. We would personally prefer it be a Chupacabra than a human being though--a cryptid is one thing, but a flesh tearing maniac human is far more terrifying than anything we've come across in this line of work. (CM)

Houston Texas Meteorologist Brooks Garner has provided an excellent article and "cheat sheet" against which his readers should check odd aerial phenomena personally or on film to isolate those events that may truly be worthy of closer attention by investigators. His characterization of the Mutual UFO Network as "a venerable, science-based organization that's been debunking UFO sightings since the late 60s" is interesting. Especially so when considered against Hangar 1 and the Roswell Case. Kevin Randle is steamed at the weaknesses in the MUFON-supported television series and in particular its treatment of the Roswell Crash story. He gives chapter and verse here from his special background and his two summary sentences are concise, cutting, and perhaps hard to refute. MUFON should reassess the congruence between its mission statement and some of its projects. (WM)

This question was first explored by psychologist Edward B. Titchener in 1898 and most recently since the 1908s by Rupert Sheldrake. Now we may have an answer. It's possibly the amygdala, according to a recent study in Switzerland. This area of the brain is thought to process "emotions and information about faces" and in one unusual case, the brain of a stroke patient who was "cortically blind" could detect images of faces that his eyes could not see. A strange quirk of logic may be responsible for Supernatural Staffordshire: Ghost at pub was as real as "man on the moon." Damon Simms insists that if we believe that man walked on the moon, then we should believe in the paranormal because it's "real. That's a fact" and offers as support an un-referenced story about a bartender and his girlfriend who saw a "vanishing old lady." Alas, unlike the moon landing, it wasn't broadcast worldwide, so we'll have to take his word for it. (LP)

Okay, we've got to admit that we thought of "Squidward Tentacles" from the SpongeBob SquarePants series when reading Tristan Shaw's article. Of course, Shaw's not buying the factual reality of the rather quaint tale of claimed alien contacts in Japan in 1974, but it gave him pictures of one of the weirder aliens in the ET menagerie he's been building. The York, Pennsylvania case in which the Witness Says Diamond-Shaped Object was "Humongous" is absent the folkloric details and is much more recent (10pm April 11, 2017), but seems harder to visualize. The "Long Description of Sighting Report" to this case indicates that the witness will draw some pictures for what was seen, and hopefully the MUFON Field Investigator will be able to draw out a fuller narrative. It would be useful were results of these cases also reported on the Open Minds website. (WM)

May 17

Yes, it's all over the mainstream news. A private plane has disappeared off the radar near The Bahamas. The Bermuda Triangle strikes again? We'll see. Debris has been located, apparently. Elsewhere we have a mystery triangle of a different sort in The Mysterious Disappearances of Ireland's Vanishing Triangle. Brent Swancer looks back to the 1990s when a number of women went missing within an area dubbed as the "Vanishing Triangle," generally used to denote an area that stretched from Wexford in the south to Louth in the north and to Offaly in the west. Some disappeared from their homes, others from the streets and highways, but their fate remains unknown. Accusations of police incompetence, cover-up, and IRA involvement are among theories which seem to have offered leads but no evidence. (PH, LP)

Craig Hlavaty reports that Scott C. Waring will no longer post on his seven-year-old UFO Sightings Daily site, because it's strayed from an educational to entertainment outlet, and he's tired of the resultant ridicule. On the site you can, for instance, access 231 images of purported "Moon Buildings," numerous photos of "Alien Faces," and what appears to be Waring's entire book UFO Sightings of 2006-2009, if the red-and-green text and images of Martian squirrels, rats, monkeys, hand guns, and former President Obama in the margins don't grab your attention away. The attributions are, to be most excessively charitable, "super-creative," and what value may lie in some of the text accounts of sightings seems obscured by such noise. (WM)

Nessie enthusiasts will probably like this little tidbit provided by Glasgow Boy, which reproduces a typed letter from author Tim Dinsdale to Herman Cockrell in 1961, asking for "permission to reproduce his classic 1958" photo in his then forthcoming book Loch Ness Monster. The letter was obtained from Cockrell's son and it seems there's more material from that source yet to be examined. Switching cryptids, locations, and books, Peter Rogerson goes Into the Magic Forest with his review of Lyle Blackburn's new book, Beyond Boggy Creek: In Search of The Southern Sasquatch."The sheer ubiquity of such reports, with never a body, never any really conclusive evidence, suggests that we are not dealing with 'real' paws and pelts animals here," says Rogerson, but the forest of the fairy tale. At least he liked the "very evocative landscape photographs by the author"! (LP, PH)

This thoughtful but scary article by Caleb Scharf proposes that, since any contact with an extraterrestrial race might pose calamitous risks upon humanity, thought could be given to limiting the ability of most humans to learn about, far less transmit identifying signals to, potential ET intelligences. Aside from Scharf's own point about earthly signals already being broadcast wholesale as well as by more targeted means, his proposals for "Big Brothering" knowledge transfer are, as one Commenter notes, Orwellian--we'd say frighteningly so--not to say unworkable given the present divided state of humanity. Well, maybe not to worry, if you follow the reasoning in The Platitudes of UFO ETs. Rich Reynolds believes the "sophomoric" content of reported communications between humans and non-humans demonstrates the contention that such dialogues are actually "projections from the unconscious" of abductees and Biblical prophets. Apparently also those often designated as "contactees," and possibly including the material of Special Cases--The Long Island File (38): At This Point Almost Anything Seems Possible. See in particular the purported "Q&A" with a 170-plus-year-old from somewhere "not to [sic] far from the planet Venus," part of an apparently hoaxed letter passed on to John Keel by his "contactee contact" Jaye Paro. (WM)

May 16

Monte Shriver (Aztec UFO Crash) A Different Perspective
As sometimes happens with a stubborn weed, the story of a retrieval of a "crashed" UFO and crew in 1948 New Mexico keeps cropping up in ufology. If you're not familiar with this one, a quick internet search will help you understand the surprising genesis and background to this worthwhile conversation between host Kevin Randle and former Aztec resident Monte Shriver. Shriver never even heard of the event until more than 50 years after it supposedly happened. He secured copies of the three books written on the subject and very quickly recognized variations between the authors, and numerous errors in time and place. Kevin Randle has always suspected the story, but his perspective has been more directly upon the veracity of those who have come forward claiming to be "witnesses" to some of the events, and the lack of documentation. When combined, Randle's and Shriver's points cover much of what should be involved in ufological history writing. Speaking of documentation, Jack Brewer gives a status report on his search for such in DoJ Responds to FOIA Appeal, Directs FBI to Search Further for Lash Files. Whether the strange death and even stranger background activities of Jeffrey Alan Lash have more than a tenuous connection to ufology, reading this short post and then following its link to the 2015 post Brewer did on the "Lash case" will likely enmesh you for some time in a surpassingly bizarre story. (WM)

This is one of the most important posts we've read in a long time, and anyone serious about ufology should read and reflect upon it. Those who have self-assumed the title of "researcher" would do well to copy it--with appropriate attribution--and keep it for future reference. Rich Reynolds has hit squarely upon a fundamental tenet of real research and weakness of ufology. While Rich here primarily alludes to how witness recollections may change over time within their minds and the mutations caused by investigators, we would extend what is implicit in Rich's discussion, that going back, as far as possible, to the "original" or "primary" source applies to all types of research. Thus, a stunning weakness of too many "Ancient Astronaut" books is their copying their own and each other's erroneous, unattributed "facts" which, if successfully backtracked by real researchers, are found to be tendentious. Rich's last three paragraphs in this post are frank, pithy, and frankly completely on target. (WM)

Aaron Homer answers his own questions with "Bigfoot almost certainly does not exist" in this short round-up of recent, unimpressive reports. Much longer and more detailed is Weird, Wicked Weird: Author chronicles 155 years of Maine Bigfoot sightings. Daniel Green provides 500 pages in his book Shadows in the Woods: A Chronicle of Bigfoot in Maine, which recounts sightings of our favorite hairy hominid, from 1855 to 2010. (LP)

JP Robinson has an article on the late Dr. Roger K. Leir's work on purported "alien implants" in human subjects. Robinson is apparently not aware that Leir has been dead for three years, and that his work, creative, courageous, and perhaps significant as it was, has been and still is hotly contested as to methodology and meaning. This article may be a good starting place to learn about Dr. Leir's work, but should be supplemented by other sources. (WM)

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