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The Anomalist

February 24

Well, this was bound to happen. Current events in the world generally and in the US specifically have left even the best among us going WTH? So in answer to their unspoken questions, NO, this is not an alternate universe. NO, no bits of other universes are leaking into ours. And NO, the large hadron collider has not been misused to bring about the end of civilization as we know it. Unless civilization requires ghosts to exist. Has the Large Hadron Collider Disproved the Existence of Ghosts? According to Dr. Brian Cox, an esteemed physicist who is working on the Atlas project with the LHC at CERN, if ghosts existed they would have left behind particles, and since nothing of the sort has been detected by the advanced technology now on hand, clearly they do not exist. All we have to say is, Well La-Dee-Da Brian, you don't know everything. We know stuff too...(CM)

Three worthy offerings from Mysterious Universe are up for inspection. First, Paul Seaburn highlights a fight between a "UFO video provider and a UFO video debunker/researcher." There's a much larger issue here than just between two people, and that's how much hoaxed videos, "fake news," and poorly-researched books and glitzy presentations without substance have become standard fare in ufology because they "sell" to the indiscriminate multitude. Any hopes for the "discipline" to be accepted as a truly worthy field of inquiry depend powerfully upon the way in which it is prosecuted. And the outlook isn't particularly positive. But there are rays of hope, as Nick Redfern tells us, although his article's title UFOs: 'No Explanation Has Yet Been Found' doesn't at first seem to say so. Nick's valid point is that Freedom of Information Acts (FOIAs) of various nations have produced some significant solid data, if not the "ufological smoking gun" that everybody wants and some even expect. See for yourself at the FBI's own website, courtesy of Nick's link. But not before reading Nick's description of three crackerjack 1957 cases from now-declassified British Air Ministry files. And then there's More Bizarre Tales of the Men in Black in Japan. Brent Swancer gives two third-hand and one second-hand story of creepy "people" bothering Japanese UFO bloggers and authors. The article is a good though disturbing read, and highly informative about "a phenomenon that transcends cultural and physical borders to lodge itself very deeply into the realm of UFOs." (WM)

Here's a piece that will intrigue the forteans among us with a taste for Paleobiology. You may recall the news last year that the mystery of what the heck a Tully Monster was had been solved. It was declared a type of lamprey and some researchers closed the file and moved on to other bits of prehistoric investigation. Not so for Lauren Sallen, paleobiologist and assistant professor with the University of Pennsylvania. She is most adamant that a fish is that last possible thing a Tully Monster could be. We admire her passion, and hope to goodness this doesn't degenerate into a twitterverse war, because we just can't take any more of that sort of thing. Perhaps all the disgruntled researchers will be distracted by this recent anomaly, 'Messengers of the sea god' fish wash ashore in Philippines sparking fears earthquake is about to hit. Fingers crossed that this is a false alarm, although past events like the Japan tsunami of 2011 make it understandable if anyone gets jumpy. For a little change of pace, Glasgow Boy reviews Karl Shuker's latest Nessie book and the Surgeon's Photo. Not only is Shuker's newest given the seal of approval by our favorite Nessie enthusiast, but we're even given a fragment of hope that there might be more to discover. That gets the monster seekers among us very excited. (CM)

The Reverend Matt Cook is doing his part to ensure the chunk of history encompassed by the British Pub remains intact for future generations to experience. As part of this mission, he reviews his own experience at the George and Pilgrim, a functioning inn and ale house that has been in operation for more than 600 years. So, yes, there are lots of spirits running about if you're looking for a paranormal destination in the near future. Now if you're a paranormal history buff, this next piece by Chris Woodyard should interest you. A Death’s Head Photograph details how quinine was used in the past to alter the content of photographs such that ghostly images appeared on negatives. This proved to be a most lucrative way of capturing the public's attention when one wanted to set up business as a medium, or ghost hunter. Just don't try this at home as quinine poisoning is similar to the worst stomach bug you've ever experienced. You've been warned. (CM)

Rich Reynolds gives us another "baffling" close encounter case, like the one he recently discussed from Victoria, British Columbia. This one's an apparent abduction that transpired on August 8, 1993, in Victoria, Australia. Rich is positive that "ET abductions" aren't "ET" and that the abduction experience is "open to question," providing some suggestions for a psychological element in part of Mrs. Cahill's experience. To that element one is tempted to say, to paraphrase a statement attributed rightly or wrongly to Sigmund Freud, "sometimes vomit is just vomit." But Rich freely admits there are other elements to the Cahill case that pretty much stump him and hopes that Australian UFO researcher Bill Chalker will weigh in on the matter. (WM)

February 23

MJ Banias covers several cases in which British police officers responded to UFO reports over the last two years. Banias reports the justification the police have for occasionally responding to something as fairly common as "strange lights in the sky." One reason is a concern about the caller's welfare. That was operative when a Couple 'Ran Home and Locked Doors' after Spotting a UFO in the Skies above a Popular Cornish Beach. Hannah Maltwood actually relates two evening tales of two people each, one event occurring over Penzance on Wednesday, January 18; the more recent and headlining one happening at Portreath Beach on February 20, both in Cornwall, at the far southwestern tip of England. The title event featured a black-shaped boomerang that "mesmerized" the duo until the UFO disappeared and the paralysis lifted, to be replaced by the two fleeing home. The Penzance "squashed triangle" of January 18 initially scared the daylights out of the two women as they thought the object was about to crash, and the incident has haunted one of the witnesses "immensely" since. Reading these accounts provides a strong sense of the emotional impact of a close encounter. (WM)

Back in 1979, a few kids walking through Wollaton Park claimed to have been entertained by "60 little men" complete with long white beards and "little cars." Writer and historian Simon Young wants to speak to the youngsters, who by now are oldsters, to learn more about their story. And from the Emerald Isle we learn from Dr Beachcombing of Irish Fairies in the 1930s: Marrie Walsh. This book published in the 1990s reminds us that fairy-folk were "a real presence" in the lives of Irish peasants not so very long ago. (LP)

Hasta la Vista, MUFON! High Strangeness
Mark O'Connell relates the reasons he's once again resigned as a Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) Field Investigator. These stem largely from the actions he lists by his State Director, the absolute last straw being her changing his case dispositions without his knowledge. MUFON Field Investigators (FIs) are supposedly armed with the tools to prosecute their own investigations, and MUFON has recently taken some steps towards their better education. But those who've actually done the fieldwork and put their names to a report should at least be given the courtesy of being informed when their results have been changed. One commenter to the article factually notes that such "quirks" as described in Mark's post have existed in the organization since the early '90s. Apparently the vetting of MUFON's officers still has its weak points. Those in the organization such as Robert Powell and Rob Swiatek, who are working hard to promote sound, rigorous investigations, deserve better support. So do those who have volunteered their services to do what is arguably the most important work towards the organization's mission, for after all does MUFON not exist to provide credible information on the UFO mystery to the public? (WM)

The past continues to amaze and baffle we modern humans. The National Archaeological Museum in Athens is currently displaying a strange granite statuette which seems to have been made without the use of metal tools. How this was achieved and what the statuette represents are unknown. More recent but no less curious is the Earth's Mysterious Magnetic Field Stored in a Jar. No, it's not one heck of a big jar, but several small ones from Iron Age Judea. The clay and the time the pots were fired has preserved precise information about the magnetic field of the time, a vital, yet mysterious component of life on Earth. (LP)

February 22

Things recently got very exciting for a school in Columbia when a student playing with a Ouija Board app began displaying symptoms of what authorities assumed was possession. Strange behavior spread throughout a group of students, requiring exorcists and the police to become involved, but nothing could be done to quiet the 11th graders. While there are those who are certain the Ouija app came with an evil price tag, we're suspicious that a couple dozen sixteen year olds may have pulled a fast one on the school administration and got a few days off school. Of course, we weren't there so who are we to say? Debra Moffit, on the other hand, has experienced some terrible phenomena first hand: Clues from 'Mr. Entity' - The Moffitt Family Poltergeist Case is a brief excerpt from the nonfiction title released in 2015. Outlined therein is the Moffitt family's desperate attempts to first rid themselves of an entity intent on destroying them, then later of simply trying to live in peace with this unwelcome visitor. In this case, we will happily take her word for it. It's unfortunate that the Moffit family was about a century too late to take advantage of Eusapia Palladino: IV. The Milan Commission. It seems Palladino's mediumship skills were so great as to merit an investigation all their own. While lacking a certain scientific merit, the investigation left those involved with few doubts as to the validity of the medium's reputation. And finally we wrap up this collection of mischievous anomalies with Chris Woodyard's summary of That Missionary Spirit. What is one to do when a spirit from beyond the grave is intent on saving one's soul? Seems a whole lot worse than being forced to go to church on a Sunday morning, but just as frightening in its own way as poltergeist activity. (CM)

Physicist Robert Schroeder, interviewed by Gene Steinberg and Goggs Mackay, takes us into the world of theoretical physics to explain how he thinks extraterrestrial spacecraft get here and then perform those awesome feats that mess with the power of inertia. Upon reading Major Donald Keyhoe's concept of "mother ships" trucking smaller "saucers" to earth from wherever, Schroeder had an "Aha!" moment that explained an anomalous sighting he'd had as an 11-year-old in 1957. Since that time Schroeder's had another good UFO sighting and a "maybe," and has researched the matter of possible UFO propulsion. He does a good job of navigating through the latest theories and suggesting how they could be applied to human interstellar spacecraft. Some will find his opinions about Socorro and the civilized progress of humankind a bit too credulous, but neither opinion is crucial to his theories. He seems to be a careful researcher, and the dialogue is interesting throughout. Schroeder's 2011 book Solving the UFO Enigma: How Modern Physics is Revealing the Technology of UFOs is going on our "to read" list. (WM)

The Kentish Baboon Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog
The good doctor shares a rather entertaining story of a baboon unleashed on an unsuspecting community in Kent, UK in 1858. Seems the witnesses, of whom there were many, were of the mind that what they were seeing was the devil himself and gave no thought to the possibility of a primate having escaped from a zoo or circus. Seems people really do like to jump to the most frightening conclusion, as in: Trail Cam Bigfoot or Ghili-Suited Beard Man? Now we tend to agree with Bigfoot Base on this one--the camera did not record a Sasquatch walking past. But plenty of people have decided that proof has been found. We actually find the ghili suit concept a whole heck of a lot more frightening...and a lot more likely. But while we're Searching for Sasquatch: Cryptozoologist Lyle Blackburn has new book featuring Fouke Monster. Reviewer Aaron Brand is impressed with Blackburn's analytic, objective style and would do well to be the cryptid writer's publicist. What makes Lyle a unique investigator is the way in which he allows patterns to reveal themselves, as opposed to deciding ahead of time what the patterns are going to be and looking for the supporting evidence as much bad science does nowadays. If you're in Fouke on March 4, Blackburn will be signing books at the Monster Mart. We may just clear our schedules and plan a road trip. (CM)

Rich Reynolds has been turning out interesting posts so fast lately that we can't keep up. In this first offering, some will shy away from comparing the "hysteria" that has become "Roswell" with many of the fascinating but terrifying examples in the links Rich supplies. But Reynolds' point is rather about the mechanism rather than the degree of madness involved. In No Skeptical Rebuttal? Rich helpfully provides several versions of a dramatic CEIII sighting by a Vancouver, BC nurse. Rich couldn't find a balancing skeptical treatment for the 1970 case. With A 1978 Alleged UFO Abduction (with a Sexual Element?) Rich gives us a poorly-known but significant CEIV case. Per usual, links are provided that expand the value of his posts. (WM)

February 21

Daniel Oberhaus presents an interview with Bob Davis, of The Dr. Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial Encounters (FREE). The interview mainly concerns the relegation of ufology in general to pseudoscience status by the scientific and academic communities. While we're on the subject of humans who report close encounters with non-human intelligence, Loveland (CO) Reporter-Herald's Sam Lounsberry relates that New Evidence Delays Hearing in Stanley Romanek Case. Abductee-claimant Stanley Romanek's pre-trial readiness conference relating to child pornography charges has been delayed. Evidence has surfaced that could affect the defense team's previously endorsed alibi defense, according to Romanek attorney Elizabeth McClintock. Romanek, whose claims and photographic evidence of close encounters have been questioned by some within the UFO community, was arrested in February 2014 following an April 2013 search of his home. Romanek has contended that a "space organization" bent upon harassing him had planted "disgusting things" on his computer. (WM)

In a world where most mentions of the word "refugees" are at the beginning of bad news, this particular story is a bit of light in the darkness. We'd really love to find out that an Eternal Deity personally saved an endangered boatload of unfortunates, but even if that didn't happen, they were somehow rescued and hope was renewed. Frankly we need more of that. In other news the Residents Of Spanish Town Call For Exorcist. Seems the mayor of a community in Granada has his hands full with civil servants who we hope are at least as good at their jobs as they are at scaring themselves and each other. (CM)

Paul Seaburn profiles Robert Llimos, a noted Spanish artist whose career has lately included a mission to depict aliens. Turns out that a Brazilian vacation in 2009 included an encounter with a huge spaceship and two occupants who look rather like reptilian-grey hybrids. Llimos hopes his sculptures, paintings, and drawings will reduce the fear people may have of these aliens when they return. Seaburn notes that it matters whether this expressionist artist is engaging in realism in these works. While we're on the subject of artists and alien encounters up close, the Daily Grail has a post about Sleep Paralysis Nightmares Recreated by Photographer. Rick MG highlights the work of artist Nicolas Bruno, whose imagery reflects the condition that plagues the "Sleepless Photographer." Sleep paralysis has often been suggested as a cause of alien abduction reports. Though perhaps not a persuasive abduction explanation, sleep paralysis certainly is an interesting subject, and Rick MG has provided numerous links for learning more. Note the autobiographical interview of pioneering authority David Hufford, included in the Daily Grail piece. (WM)

Normandy, France, in the 1850s took their exorcisms rather seriously, so when a young boy preparing for the priesthood claimed to be besieged by poltergeist activity, fingers quickly pointed to the local braggart sorcerer. As skilled as he was at the black arts, he would never be described as overly intelligent. The boastful magician found himself ostracized and without employment, yet unable to grasp how his own actions got him into the predicament. This could have been avoided if only he had access to Paranormal Pointers. Peter Rogerson reviews Parapsychology: The Science of Unusual Experiences, an apt reference for decoding what might seem inexplicable to the average lay person. Rogerson comments that the book is more suited to undergrads but still gives his stamp of approval for the rest of us to give it a read. (CM)

February 20

Indefatigable UFO FOIAer John Greenewald, Jr. displays the results of his prodding the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service to release its UFO-related documents. There's a set of ambiguous photographs and a diverting December 30, 2013, communication about a secret governmental and alien installation as reported by a well-meaning eccentric. Kevin Randle gives us some thoughts on a question UFO icon and NICAP website host Fran Ridge posed about BG Shulgen and His Memo. USAF Brigadier General George Francis Shulgen's October 1947 memo included a section called "Items of Construction" pertaining to UFOs. Fran wanted to know whether there was anything in this that indicated knowledge of the purported UFO crash at Roswell. Randle particularly focuses upon the part suggesting that "balsa wood" may have been used in some UFO construction. (WM)

Reports are coming in from Iowa of Fisher sightings, something mostly unheard of since the 1800s. This trail cam photo confirms witness stories and begs the question of why these ferocious little beasts are on the move. Next, under the category of Wish We Had A Photo, Possible Pterosaur Recently Sighted Over Alaska . This story is intriguing but unfortunately loses some believability due to the very early hour it occurred and the witness's lack of detail. But it's referencing story from more than a decade ago makes up for that, with details from a credible source--a pilot who at first mistook this flying thing for another Cessna. We really wish these sightings weren't so rare. (CM)

Looks like a slow news week down under. ABC News has reported a "crop circle" appearing in a field over a series of years at the same time each year. Interesting? Yes. Crop circle? No. Read the Anomalist guys and get your paranormal vocabulary up to standards, OK? We wish reporters were well informed on these subjects like Late Las Animas County sheriff was an expert on cattle mutilations. Sheriff Lou Girodo passed away on February 12, leaving a true fortean legacy behind him. Girodo embraced the strange with curiosity and a sense of humor, and he didn't mind saying what he was thinking. He was also an active member of the Las Animas community and an all around cool guy. Rest In Peace, Sheriff Girodo. (CM)

February 19

On England's south coast a resident has recorded an odd noise underlying the usual maritime sounds which perhaps adds to the frustration of locals who have for some years been plagued by the "Plymouth hum." Meanwhile New Research Into the Mystery of Anomalous Meteor Sounds suggests that those who have "reported hearing meteors at the same time as seeing them" have not been imagining it. The science journal Nature reckons the sounds are caused by "photoacoustic coupling," which we assume is not pornographic. (LP)

Hayley Stevens presents a sound argument for looking at all evidence as it relates to paranormal events. While only a very tiny percentage of experiences will ultimately be labelled as paranormal, the remaining data outside that definition needs to be examined at the very least as outside the normal (Xenonormal). We wonder how the experiences would be categorized from the Investigation at Ripley's, Panama City, Night 2. David Weatherly reports disembodied voices, the sound of drums, and a strange manifestation caught on camera moving over a statue in the museum. Certainly not normal-- at least in most tourist destinations. This next story is an example of phenomenon with a very pragmatic cause. Young girl farts in vlog and brilliantly blames it on a ghost. While we applaud her efforts to maintain plausible deniability, and we really like that her first reaction was to reach for the weird, we think the final conclusion might just stink a little. (CM)

Locals in England's heartland have been unsettled by low-flying prop-planes buzzing their cars. Lots of spooky ideas around as to where they come from, but has anyone checked with nearby vintage flying clubs? Apparently not. No such simple explanation seems forthcoming in this account of Haunted Skies: The Ghostly Tale of Flight 401, which looks back to a 1972 air crash that seemed to instigate numerous sightings of the dead air crew for many years after. (LP)

Rich Reynolds provides links to versions of a 1968 "classic" Vermont multiple-abduction case. Two young workers at a girls' summer camp on Lake Champlain had what is now regarded as a "typical" abduction experience, but went their separate ways without discussing the matter. Ten years later, the male of the pair contacted the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies for help in dealing with the unsettling sequelae of the 1968 event, and Walter Webb of Boston's Hayden Planetarium and the Betty and Barney Hill case worked for five years on the subsequent investigation. The female witness was also located and contacted, and both underwent regressive hypnosis. Whatever one wishes to make of that practice, very similar and complementary stories emerged from the pair, who also had (though in the girl's case, considerably less) conscious recall of the experience. Webb published the story in Encounter at Buff Ledge: A UFO Case History, regarded by most of those who even know of it as a model in the abduction field. Rich's "pro-UFO" sources may be too sure in their touting of the case, but one source tried to explain the events as a "hoax" staged by fellow counselors, and that effort was unsuccessful, per its Comments. (WM)

The Scarlet Woman enlightens us as to the contents of the Magical Records of the Beast, Crowley's second chapter of his journal in 1919. The synopsis: Crowley became a drug addicted womanizer who used anyone and any creature for his own benefit. The most fascinating part of reading the journal was witnessing his gradual unraveling under the influence of heroin, hashish, and cocaine. Moving ahead 40 years, we look Inside the bizarre 1960s cult, The Family: LSD, yoga and UFOs. The debauched principles of this group extended to middle class Australians who believed their leader was Christ reborn, and who willingly committed acts of fraud, scam adoptions, forgery, and spouse swapping at her behest. Almost 60 years later and the cult persists, albeit on a much smaller scale. The LSD must have been so good no one wanted to leave. (CM)

February 18

This is the kind of news that does our hearts good. A bill has been sponsored in Washington allowing Bigfoot to be named the Official Cryptid of the state. How is this possible, you may ask? According to Republican Senator Ann Rivers of La Center, Sasquatch is an integral part of the Washington state heritage and environment. Thank you Senator, we all agree with you. Next Nick Redfern reviews the new book by Lyle Blackburn. In Beyond Boggy Creek – Reviewing the Southern Bigfoot, Nick is convinced the book will grab the interest of any cryptid hunter with a fascination for human-like creatures that behave like monsters. Nick was especially impressed by Blackburn's personal experience in the Southern woods, which added real life atmosphere to the stories in Beyond Boggy Creek. The Southern Sasquatch is not the only cryptid with a fondness for water. Brent Swancer recounts The Curious Case of the Orang Ikan. Apparently, Japanese soldiers in the 1940s encountered these strange, humanoid/fishlike creatures frequently around lagoons where the 5- foot-long beings would stuff fish into their spiky toothed mouths. Definitely not your typical mermaid story. And finally we have Karl Shuker Exposing Yet Another Fake Black Lion Photograph. Coming upon a black lion photo which had hitherto escaped his notice, Dr. Shuker wasted no time dissecting its elements and declaring it bogus. As always, impressive detective work. Hoaxers Beware, Shuker is watching you. (CM)

Reporter Kim McLendon makes more than a meal of what seems to be a teasing bit of flippancy from Depp, whose lifestyle is routinely fodder for the tabloids. And sounding equally bizarre, though apparently quite normal, The Guardian tells us that Fictional characters make 'experiential crossings' into real life, study finds. If you've ever enjoyed a book so much that your brain just couldn't put it down, then you probably recognize the phenomenon. (LP)

Along with the Holy Grail and the missing 18 minutes of Watergate tapes, the whereabouts of the Ark remains in the top ten of stuff we want to find. An archaeological team from Tel Aviv University is all set to wield their shovels around the ancient city of Kiriath-Jearim in West Jerusalem. Mind you, given that the Ark is said to spread "mice, hemorrhoids and tumors," maybe it's best left undisturbed. Not left undisturbed is this Skeleton of an Ancient Giant Found in Iran, but hold back on the excitement because, after much speculation, Paul Seaburn admits the remains are likely just those of "a very tall man." And from England comes the question Did Frome have a Stonehenge? Resident appeals for help tracing history. Ancient skeletons and "a number of standing stones and archaeological features" in this Somerset town are the subject of research by local man, Tony House, who would be glad of any info on these enigmatic relics. (LP)

Why are we attracted to scenes of beauty and destruction? Take for example the Face on Mars, which was apparently recognized by at least two prominent artists long before the Viking Orbiter ever photographed these "ruins," according to anthropologist Eric Wargo. Comic artist Jack Kirby wrote and illustrated a story called “The Face on Mars” in 1958, and 11 years earlier Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi created a small sand model for an earthwork called “Sculpture to be seen from Mars” that looks uncannily like Viking’s photograph, including the tilt at which it appears in the artist’s photo. So, you wonder? Well, the sublime--a word which was originally used to describe the specific feeling evoked by landscapes and works of art that suggest immensity and destruction--is highly relevant to psi, Wargo believes, as it happens to be precisely these kinds of scenes and situations—including fires, natural disasters, and ruins in a landscape—that have always dominated people’s spontaneous accounts of ESP experiences. And the sublime, he notes, is essentially identical to the notion of jouissance, the kind of thrill we get that seems to trigger precognition. (PH)

Red Bluff: 1960 Saturday Night Uforia
This long and worthwhile piece by Daniel Ropkin deals with the rather misnamed, as is noted, August 13-14, 1960, event whose core feature was a more than two-hour encounter between two California Highway Patrolmen and a large, football-shaped, highly maneuverable aerial phenomenon. The article sifts through the many sidelights to this central experience, as well as the rather shoddy Air Force response to it, in an effort to provide an understandable account of what happened. This recourse to primary sources is so much preferable to what you get in a lot of popular books. Elsewhere, Jack Brewer's Revisiting the Gulf Breeze Six starts out with a major gift to the serious reader in a 117-page pdf file of such source materials, courtesy of himself and James Carrion, who provided them to aid Brewer's contemplated FOIA requests regarding the Gulf Breeze Six. These were six US Army intelligence analysts who went AWOL from their station in Germany on (or before!) July 9, 1990, and traveled to Florida supposedly on a mission to kill the Antichrist (or for other reasons). Follow Brewer's link to the late Philip Coppens' case summary to get a bearing before "diving in" for what Brewer discusses next. (WM)

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