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The Anomalist



May 25

A short while ago comments appeared on long-time MUFON Pennsylvania State Director John Ventre's Facebook page regarding a NetFlix show that Mr. Ventre found objectionable. Side remarks on the post, which has since been deleted from Ventre's site, have raised the ire of many in the UFO field. Sharon Hill includes that "racist rant" and comments about the "avoidance response" by MUFON's Executive Director Jan Harzan at MUFON Reaction to Recent Social Media Postings. Hill's perspective should be supplemented by Regan Lee's take entitled MUFON's John Ventre and Acceptance of the Repugnant. The angry replies to Harzan's insensitive and off-the-point "non-pology" made by people such as Greg Bishop, Philip Mantle, Lon Strickler, Michael Huntington, et al. have been removed from the MUFON site. This action also erased statements by MUFON's Roger Marsh that Ventre was removed from producing the 2018 MUFON Symposium; replaced as a Journal columnist; that his books were "pulled from the MUFON store"; and that he "has been censored in MUFON." Pursuant to this, Fringe New Jersey informs that "As a result of all this outrageous crap" Nick Redfern has told MUFON he will no longer write his monthly column for their magazine, and has "severed ties with them." Whatever the case about the show that incited Mr. Ventre's remarks, his side charges are racist, obscene, and evince a profoundly deplorable misunderstanding of history, not to say of acceptable research method. The matter is certainly one of the most disgraceful episodes this reviewer has noted in more than 25 years of involvement in ufology. Mr. Harzan's statement, particularly given the roles that Mr. Ventre has been given within the MUFON organization, seem disengaged and do nothing to contradict the impression that the organization is rudderless in its mission, save in its pursuit of the almighty dollar. This may be reinforced if claims are true that a promo picture for the upcoming International Symposium, which just appeared in our email box, is in fact hoaxed. The loss of Redfern's talents will certainly affect the value of MUFON's e-Journal. And, absent a clear clarification by MUFON's leadership of its intolerance for and condemnation of racism, made necessary by the extraordinarily ineffective and off-point response by its Executive Director, Nick will definitely not be the last person to end a formal association with the organization. (WM)

frequency call from the deepest, loneliest part of the Pacific Ocean. While it was concluded to be a call from an as yet undiscovered species of whale, oceanographers at Cornell University have posited that it's more likely an anomalous song that could have come from any of the known whales to date. Party poopers. But as we know from Diabolus in Musica: The Devil is in the Dissonance, certain frequencies evoke certain specific reactions. Or in other words, the whale is looking for friends and the devil enjoys a good diminished fifth at the end of a long day. (CM)

Selections from a new book by Spanish journalist Jose Manuel Garcia Bautista, Ovnis en Andalucia, which features 100 such cases, going back to 1938. Besides strengthening the pre-WWII history of UFO sightings, Garcia Bautista has uncovered evidence that the Spanish military takes and has taken UFOs and their implications seriously. "If we published all of the UFO incidents in Spain that resulted in intercept missions, we would be providing a sense of tremendous insecurity," Bautista quotes "a military friend." The comment is supported by the Victor Vela article Spain: Government Dossier on the Villalon de Campos UFO (1968). The featured case is one of about 80 regarding Spanish UFO sightings. "A veritable UFO fever raged in 1968," Vela tells us, detailing on the one hand the attempts of the Air Force Ministry to calm the populace, and on the other, press attempts to "make hay" out of the flap. What could the press have done with John Keel's story? In Special Cases--The Long Island File (39): The Council of the Ten Men Keel seems to believe his contact Jaye Paro's tale of a very weird meeting of "androids" and an even stranger and frightening laboratory with scenes out of a Boris Karloff movie. Keel hopes for an alien "light show" as "the first step" towards bringing them and humans together. Given elements in this post, as well as what we've been reading for some time, one would ask why such a union would be desirable. (WM)

This newest episode of Skeptiko focuses on a woman afflicted with a medical condition that has caused her to have hundreds of NDEs over the course of her lifetime. Her perspective on the subject of life after death is most certainly unique and will be of interest whether your leanings are toward religiosity or consciousness. In other news, The Rolling Shot Ghost is also unique, both it how it refuses to be clearly identified and in its strangely innocuous behavior. Chris Woodyard has done her homework here and pretty much exhausted all her leads, so let's help her get to the bottom of this mystery. (CM)

May 24

It seems if you want to throw a group of humans into a tizzy all you need do is suggest their version of evolution is incomplete. Researchers have been investigating the possibility that the last known ape-like link to homo sapiens came from the eastern Mediterranean, not East Africa as originally thought. And you thought alien DNA from the Annunaki would turn perspectives on their heads...In similar news, research is being done regarding The hill of the 'dwarves' where either culturally significant burial practices were performed, or an entirely new species once lived. It certainly is looking like Earth has been shared quite a bit more than originally believed. (CM)

Voices from Beyond: Notes on a Consciousness Unbound
This is a troubling piece about a young man who heard "voices clamoring inside his head" for years, disturbing his life and making him sick. Though he came to believe the perceived "entities" were "intelligences from another dimension" trying "to open him up to a new perception of reality," the UFO connection is tenuous and it appears that the core events Grosso describes were anything but elevating. We wonder what Rich Reynolds, with his psychology background, would make of this story? Would this be one exception to the case Rich is making in Ufologists Miss the Point? Here Reynolds argues that ufologists grant too much attention to "outer factors that may, indeed, have some bearing, but usually only becloud aspects of the thing (UFO) itself under examination." Rich would no doubt have a good answer for this, and in any event, the point he makes about the 1952 Sonny Desvergers Florida Scoutmaster case is apt and has value beyond it. (WM)

Glasgow Boy takes the search for monsters away from Loch Ness, exploring some of Scotland's other large bodies of water where kelpies and water horses have been rumored to put in appearances. Next, Michah Hanks examines The Stinson Beach Serpent: A California Sea Monster, Reconsidered, in which we are reminded that what are considered monsters today may well simply be a recognized species a decade from now. But what about Caddy: Monster, Whale, or Legend? Nick Redfern takes a look at the Canadian counterpart to Nessie, the monster of Cadboro Bay, British Columbia, which even the illustrious cryptid hunter cannot yet identify. (CM)

Curt Collins has delivered a gorgeous article made thus by the lyrical prose of science-fiction genius Ray Bradbury, as well as colorful visual imagery, and the piece's deft interspersion of a short history of human-created "orbs." If you've not read the Bradbury short story of which the article speaks and to which it is linked, please consider doing so. You just may remember Fourth of July nights long past but still redolent of warmth, loud sounds, and fiery, fleeting eruptions of incredible beauty. Breaking that spell, we journey into another area of human creativity, as we learn about Another Possible UFO Crash Site Spotted in Antarctica. Paul Seaburn isn't particularly buying Valentin Degteryev's latest bit of photoanalytic interpretation, but he and two readers get a kick out of the "Unidentified Frozen Object"! (WM)

May 23

In 1967 Canada was the site of several UFO cases that have become iconic within the history of ufology. MJ Banias reports the awful news that the Canadian government's "Canada 150" program has not chosen to help fund a celebration of one of these incidents. 50 years ago this October, a dozen people saw something splash into the waters off the small village of Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia, and over the next few days efforts to locate the object supposedly failed. The 500-person community has since held small commemorations of that event and was hoping that some of the monies earmarked for supporting local observances of Canada's 150th anniversary would be granted for an especially big to-do. Well, not to worry, because OpenMind's Alejandro Rojas now reports that an Anonymous Donor Saves Shag Harbour UFO Incident's 50th Anniversary Event. The show will go on, on a suitable scale, as a week-long festival from September 29 to October 1, with a satellite event on October 4th, the actual anniversary date of the occurrence. (WM)

Here's another major UFO case that occurred in 1967 in Canada. Even if you're familiar with the Stefan Michalak/Falcon Lake Incident, you'll want to look at this excellent Winnipeg Free Press account by Kevin Rollason that describes the effects of the-then 51-year-old amateur prospector's dramatic experience upon himself and his family. You'll find another good treatment of the case in Falcon Lake incident is Canada's 'best-documented UFO case,' even 50 years later. (WM)

All Rats Go To Heaven Michael Prescott's Blog
Apparently the brains of dying rats experience a spike in post-mortem electrical activity, which has led some to wonder if this might be an explanation for NDEs. But the electrical activity is apparently too small to account for any kind of consciousness. We wish the rats could talk, because research has proven Memories of Near Death Experiences are 'More Real Than Real'. A study was recently undertaken by Dr. Bruce Greyson and his co-author Lauren Moore to determine if such memories were "real" or "imagined." You'll have to read the blog post to find out the answer. Also interesting is the book A Philosophical Critique of Empirical Arguments for Post-Mortem Survival by Michael Sudduth, which makes a very strong argument for the possibility of survival beyond physical death. After reading Post-Mortem Examinations, Peter Rogerson in his review of the book concludes that "non-paranormal explanations may be more complex and subtle than is usually thought." (CM)

Oh, Chicago--we can't make up our minds whether we want to get on the next plane and come visit, or to never visit you again. What's going on with all these flying cryptids lately? Granted, a pair of large bats might not be the strangest thing any of us have ever seen, but considering all your other large winged anomalies springing up lately, one can't help but think they may be connected. Better call Nick Redfern and get him on the case. Mothman? Chupacabras? Or Something Else? Chile in 2003 experienced a series of similar sightings which sparked fears of mothman and chupacabras, among other supernatural nasties. Maybe he's on a plane to Chicago right now? (CM)

David Halperin concludes his two-part post regarding the testimony of physicist Charles Moore, "pivotal 'witness for the prosecution'" debunking the ET-Roswell explanation. Halperin challenges the recollections of this former member of the team that launched the "Project Mogul" balloon trains, bringing up things that just don't "add up." Halperin's points are not "rock-solid" and are not meant to impugn the essential truthfulness of the late Roswell witness, nor do they lend especial support to the "ET" origin of whatever did land on the Foster Ranch in New Mexico. Halperin is more interested in the development of the myth that surrounds and largely obscures the events that played out 60 years ago. And some of the "noise" around this case is described in Roswell: When Ufologists Turn on Ufologists. Nick Redfern reports on some of the flak he prophesied his new book The Roswell UFO Conspiracy would receive. Nick instances several cases of "pro-Roswell/E.T. Ufologist turning on pro-Roswell/E.T. Ufologist," sensing an unconscious fear "that perhaps aliens didn't crash at Roswell, after all. A worry that all those years of work might be worthless"--and more. (WM)

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)


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