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The Anomalist


July 26

Losing a pet is like losing a family member, and even for someone as conspicuously vapid as Miley Cyrus. She too experiences profound grief over the loss of her pup, Floyd, and hopes a medium can soothe her sorrow. Just beware, Tyler Johnson's heavy on snark, but light on details that could advance anomalistics. For example, the tough question, Do Animals Have ESP? Turns out dogs have Peak-in-Darien experiences, elephants are far more sensitive than their thick skins suggest, and kitties just want to come home to nap with their humans. Even if they ran out of those nine lives. With enough anecdotes, notes Tara MacIsaac by way of Dr. Michael Fox, you have a statistic. Elsewhere in celebrity news, there's a new grab for publicity as Megan Fox Announces 'Bigfoot Is Real And I Could Find Him.' Perhaps some enterprising anomalist could introduce her to Rick Dyer.

Just last week, everyone's been crawling out of the woodwork with crackpot theories regarding the tragedy of MH17. Taking his sweet time, in the style of his Appalachian upbringing, Micah Hanks shies from conspiracies while acknowledging some provocative coincidences, deepening the whispered conversations in the twilight language. Read it while you can, you might not be as lucky as Maarten De Jonge and have a second, or third, chance. Speaking of co-inky-dinks, The Professor connects two sightings, separated by time and space, with an astonishing correspondence featured in the eyewitness descriptions. Oh yes, those Coincidences Again, And Again, And...

Ah, the great names of astronomy. Galileo, Copernicus, and Shen Kuo. Wait, who? Tara MacIsaac knows, after thumbing through her translation of Dream Pool Essays, featuring an astounding, repeating sighting of a luminous object over medieval Yangzhou. Still not sold? Before there were a billion screaming Chinese, there's a 19th Century Account Of A UFO Flight Witnessed By Hundreds In China, immortalized upon an Asian analogue to the Bayeux Tapestry. Glancing at the eyewitness account, it's eerily reminiscent of the Kaifeng affair in 1990. Even if our ball of mud isn't being visited, surely there are alien contemporaries scanning their skies for company. Perhaps one day, some lucky tentacled horror will catch a glint of Earth when smoggy Beijing is facing its 'scope. It's one of Henry Lin's SETI hypotheses how Aliens May Be Easier To Spot If They Pollute. Then again, one sophont's pollution is another sophont's fresh air. Even if these beings are vaguely analogous to us, they might be intentionally pumping sulphur dioxide into their atmosphere to counteract their version of global cooling. Oh well, Paul Seaburn explains it a whole lot better so listen to the guy!

Leave it to MUFON's mover and shaker, Roger Marsh, getting his mitts on curiously compelling corroboration of the tall tales haunting Wright-Pat since '47. A graying Wikileaker shares only enough to tantalize, since the full truth would only precipitate panic among the populace. Next up, Roger's does his best impression of the late Casey Kasem with the Top UFO Cases From 2013 Identified By MUFON’s Science Review Board. Among these reports are tons of swell infographics illustrating the USA's UFO hot spots, the top ten types of sightings, and how 2013 compares to the last seven years of official denial. Still not sold that something might be haunting our skies? Sit tight, 'coz Fabrice Bonvin and pals are Interviewing UFO Researcher And Author Jacques Vallée. Jacques waxes eloquently on psi, cryptids, and other forteana in the context of flying saucers, along with bemoaning the constant bickering within the UFOlogical community.

July 25

Marjorie Johnson’s local newspaper picks up the news of her posthumously published book—Seeing Fairies: From the Lost Archives of the Fairy Investigation Society, Authentic Reports of Fairies in Modern Times (Anomalist Books) and tells the remarkable backstory of a manuscript she wrote more than 50 years ago. A few people who knew her provide reminiscences, as the book is starting to draw praise by reviewers. An expert on Chinese folklore found the book important enough to mention, puzzle over, compare to Chinese sightings of inexplicable creatures… and recommend. In Seeing Fairies by Marjorie T. Johnson: A Review, Fred Lobb says: “…[the book] reminds us that a worldwide phenomenon is still ongoing, still puzzling and perplexing all who come face-to-face with it…” before concluding, “Seeing Fairies is a boon to the scholarship on folklore.”

Billy Cox turns over his DeVoid column to Don Berliner, former NICAP investigator and director of the inactive Fund For UFO Research. Don presents some ideas on how to jump start a serious re-evaluation of the UFO subject. We are not convinced that, as he suggests, having independent scientists re-examine completely declassified Project Blue Book files is the way to go, but we certainly agree that we are not going to get anywhere by sending out "saucer fans" to interview people who claim to have seen funny lights. And speaking of Project Blue Book, Kevin Randle cites of few cases of Air Force Character Assassination and On [the] Bullshit that followed their “investigation.” Seems like the investigators would focus on every negative (and largely irrelevant) detail of the witness personally in order to discredit the sighting. It would be like dismissing what Stephen Hawking has to say because he’s disabled. Randle’s conclusion—that we have been peppered in BS—sounds a little like what James Carrion has to say in The Rosetta Deception (see July 22 post).

University of British Columbia PhD candidate Christopher Laursen is conducting historical research into the poltergeist phenomenon in the twentieth century.  He has updated his call for experiencers, as most people who responded the first time around had just experienced an object moving on one occasion—what J. Gaither Pratt at J.B. Rhine's lab called isolated spontaneous psychokinesis (ISPK).  A single incident does not have the same dynamics as those that are repeated, as occur in the poltergeist phenomenon, which is what Laursen is looking for. And while we are on the subject of parapsychology, check out this interview by Carlos Alvarado of University of Greenwich psychologist David Luke, who served as President of the Parapsychological Association between 2009 and 2011. Luke is the co-author, with Jack Hunter, of Talking with the Spirits: Ethnographies from Between the Worlds .

July 24

Yet another fireball was spotted, this time over Canada making this the umpteenth time a meteor or fireball has streaked across the sky this year. There's never been a really clear answer as to whether this is a steady increase of fireballs that we possibly should be a little concerned about or if it simply reflects the huge increase of devices that can shoot instant photos and video of these occurrences. Meanwhile, way out in the wilds of Siberia, scientists finally get a look inside the mysterious Yamal crater. Thankfully, it is not full of alien pods or giant ancient giant monsters reawakened and angered by all our annoying fraking aboveground. It's actually just full of nothing, except some icy water at the bottom. The sides are oddly smooth and it really looks exactly like something huge hurled itself out of that hole in a big hurry. And since we're already sort of talking about world-endy apocolyptic things, the Washington Post wants you to know that economic recovery after the zombie apocalypse is a pretty bleak process. Aside from all the undead who want to eat us, we'll also have to worry about a complete breakdown and rebuilding of society and entirely new forms of government, mostly in the shape of the authoritarian "Governor" from The Walking Dead. So basically, we're damned if we do, and damned if we die.

In the 1970s, an Indian woman claimed to be channeling her former personality from a past life in sessions with reincarnation researcher Ian Stevenson. This personality took over the woman's body and spoke fluently in a dialect that hadn't been commonly used in 150 years; she even knew the genealogy of her former family during that lifetime, which was confirmed by checking local records. At first glance, this is a remarkable case, but a closer look shows some rather interesting details...the woman had a degree in English and was highly educated. She would have had access to language studies and history, and it's not very hard to hypothesize that her account may have been less fact than fiction. Or to put it more delicately, maybe she even tricked herself? And just in case you're intrigued by the possibility of discovering your own past lives, or if you too have suddenly been overtaken by a discarnate past personality, here's some tips on discovering your past lives and why you might benefit from doing so, from Intuitive Donna Velardi.

If and when it ever makes itself known, that is. And what will that statement be? That's for them to know and us to find out, says the Vatican. Falling into De Void, Billy Cox gives the cryptic warning, "Be careful what you ask for", as he chronicles the long, strange and very difficult trip UFO researcher Erol Faruk has traveled to finally see the publication of his study: The Indisputable Scientific Evidence for a UFO Landing and Deposition (aka The Delphos Case) that was denied Publication by Scientific Journals. The unwieldy yet effective title tells a story in itself.

July 23

We aren't experts here but we're pretty sure that the mystery hum that has been reported all over the world is the same sound that's being heard in Monterery Bay, and it's definitely not caused by tiny little fish. Especially when the sound is heard a quarter mile away from the location where the fish reside. The same sort of Mystery hum is being reported in the UK as well, where toadfish are nowhere to be found. In fact, this article states that around 2% of the entire population of the UK hears the Hum. That's a lot of well-traveled toadfish.

This article highlights six ghostly sports-related tales from around the world that coincide nicely with the amusing report of cricket players fleeing the haunted Langham Hotel in London after hearing and seeing otherworldly paranormal activity. The Eerie Incidents That Reportedly Have England’s Terrified Cricket Players Making Paranormal Claims run the gamut of typical haunted activity, from taps on the wall to turning water and lights off and on. It's unclear if this activity indicates the ghostly residents of the Langham are excited fans of the teams or or disgruntled fans of their rivals.

This UFO looks a lot more like something drifting around on fire (Chinese lantern?) than a genuine UFO, but it was sighted quite close to the nearest crop circle to appear in Europe so it's being linked to that. As far as that Wiltshire crop circle is concerned, it seems a little slipshod and sloppy compared to others in the past. We'd give it a solid 5.5 rating. But don't feel too bad Wiltshire crop circle artists, there are worst examples to be found over in Russia where Russian Crop Circle Is Bad News For Sunflowers. Nearly 40% of Russia's crop circles appear in the same region among sunflower fields, and aside from the beautiful geometric patterned one that appeared two weeks ago, there have been some oddly messy ones cropping up also, as if sunflower fields are a giant cosmic graffiti wall.

While this is not strictly Fortean in the purest form of the word, it sure is weird and deserving of comment as it's not every day you see something like this. Dressed in head to toe black and pulling a hand cart, the woman creates a very startling sight along the side of the road, and it wouldn't be surprising to hear some new urban legends spring up in her wake. Perhaps even a few fender benders as people slow down to rubberneck her bizarre getup. From limited answers she gave a local news reporter, she's walking from her home state of Alabama and south, on a supposed "Bible mission".

July 22

The former director of MUFON speaks out and says a lot of things the true believers won’t want to hear. In short, there’s a lot of deception going on in UFOlogy, all kinds of deception, and it all began back in 1946 and 1947 when the intelligence community conducted secret operations that affected the public perception of UFOs. That’s the subject of Carrion’s new book, The Rosetta Deception. But it’s what he says at the beginning of the Paracast interview with Gene Steinberg and Christopher O'Brien (listen to the whole program here) that will make most people grind their teeth. A lot of the modern cases he investigated while at MUFON were not paranormal, were not extraterrestrial, says Carrion: “there was a large element of human deception involved.” Specifically, he said, "We get a lot of these strange characters that just pop into the UFO field. They make these grandiose claims and none of it really pans out." Of course, when it comes to intelligence deception, that’s sometimes an accepted part of the game, as a bunch of tourists in an Area 51 tour bus recently discovered when they crossed over the line: Tourists Enter Area 51, Meet Men in Black and Live to Tell.

Alex Tsakiris interviews consciousness philosopher Tim Frreke, the author of The Mystery Experience, on what science has become. And it’s not pretty. “A new hegemony has arisen in the west… It’s a very dead form of science… Which creates this meaningless idea that we’re clever monkeys clinging to a rock hurdling through space on a meaningless journey to nowhere…I really think our job today is to undercut it, because it’s in danger of suffocating us.” One area of research that science has willfully refused to confront is mediumship. But Dr. Julie Beischel, the co-founder and Director of Research at the Windbridge Institute for Applied Research in Human Potential, has. And in her new ebook entitled From the Mouths of Mediums, she shares the person stories of more than a dozen mediums, talks about how they experience communication from the deceased, and recounts what suggestions they have for people interested in experiencing such communication on their own (and why it might be that someone has not heard from their loved one). And while we are on this subject, it’s worth noting A Brief Objection to Near-Death Experiences by Taylor Shlacter, who argues that if our connection to the physical world is truly severed when we die, “why would it be the case that any continued existence would retain elements from the previous physical world?” Like seeing those loved ones?

July 21

Tara MacIssac of Epoch Times highlights Dr. Imants Barušs' 2001 scientific study of EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) in which he attempted to recreate EVP under lab conditions. His study failed to replicate the phenomenon but was only a "partial failure" since Baruss says he did hear voices but could not understand what they were saying. In other words, in EVP researcher terms Baruss collected "C" class EVP, the lowest rung on the ladder of EVP classification. EVP research has gained popularity in leaps and bounds over the past decade with access to easy to use recording devices and now even smartphone apps to help edit out background noise. Now there's Ghost Boxes, Ovilus, EMP detectors, Spirit Boxes... the list is endless. That, along with the ever-increasing popularity of shows like Ghost Adventures have made EVP recording part of the routine for all paranormal investigators whether they're loudly whispering "Dude, did you hear that?!" in front of TV cameras or investigating a neighbor's haunted house. People seek out messages from the other side for countless reasons--to search for proof of ghosts, to satisfy their own curiosity and to contact their deceased loved ones. No matter what the method or how expensive or inexpensive (Build your own Ghost Box), it's not difficult to learn how to capture EVP voices. In fact, some of the best EVP we've ever heard were recorded using just a simple handheld voice recorder and a little patience, as in these incredible older examples from Voices on the Wind. A decade ago, a mention of "EVP" would get you nothing but strange looks and maybe a skeptical headshake, but today it's become far more widely accepted. There are countless sites devoted to methodology and numerous groups of like-minded people to discuss evidence with. However, quite possibly the best part of EVP research is actually that it's just the tip of the Instrumental Transcommunication iceberg. It's a vast and deep ocean and we're still on the shore testing the water with our toes.

Who or what has been chomping watermelons on this New Mexico farm? There's a nice array of evidence with bitten watermelons, footprints and the best part--a video of...something walking along the side of a hill in the distance. It's bipedal, which is about all that can be said about it from that distance. It could very easily be a perfectly normal human. It could also be Sasquatch. There's no real way to tell without a closer look, but we do know we've never seen a Sasquach on a leisurely midday stroll out in the open like that. We'd be curious to see what it would do if they'd startled it. Where would it go? Would it run or hide? Someone hurry up and do a video breakdown!

So what amazing, indisputable new evidence did the much hyped Aliens on The Moon SyFy channel documentary reveal? Not much, as it turns out. The entire show was a mishmash of images that have been debunked or highly questionable, at best. And the producer? Oh, he's just this guy who also produced this other documentary 20 years ago called Alien Autopsy. That show that was endlessly ridiculed and parodied and labeled a blatant fake long before the producer, Robert Kiviat, admitted as much. Kiviat banked on most of us forgetting that faux pas, apparently. His credibility sailed off past the moon 20 years ago, and that's the only really interesting reveal here.

July 20

Pepie has a long history of sightings, even longer than his cousin Nessie, having been reported first by a Spanish explorer in the 17th century and existing even before that in the myths of Native Americans in the area. As for what Pepie is, the most popular consensus that neatly avoids the "monster" category is giant sturgeon. But witnesses who've seen the creature gliding through the water of Lake Pepin are insistent that's not even close to what they saw...Meanwhile, a sea monster of another sort is finally identified as a 14-to-16-foot-long green anaconda in Lake Hoptcong in New Jersey, which is only slightly less disconcerting than an actual monster. Meanwhile at Loch Morar, writer Tony Healy shares a sighting he was told about while researching the creature that lurks in the water of that other loch. The sighting took place in 1976 and witnesses reported seeing a huge "monster" almost completely out of the water.

The Travellers Asian Age
The human mind is capable of a lot more than we ever give it credit for, as this article explains. The phenomenon of astral travel, near death experiences, and other psychic strangeness are all there lying dormant and untapped in our own minds and are a lot more common than most people realize. Psychic phenomena are notoriously hard to recreate in a scientific setting, and as Princeton Engineering Dean Turned Psychic Phenomena Expert Robert G. John explains, it may be more like "creating a work of art" in a lab. However, recent experiments have brought science and pyshcic phenomenon closer than ever before, including the startling results of a Voluntary Out-Of-Body experience study conducted inside an MRI machine on a woman at the University of Ottawa that seems to prove it's possible for a person's mind to leave the body. After all, despite what Scarlett Johansson wants you to believe in her new movie Lucy, we actually do Use Way More Than 10 Percent of Our Brains.

Here's a closer look at the crop circle that appeared in a remote village in Russia last week. Etched across a sunflower field, the squares and rectangles seem to be a meaningless pattern but it's obvious that a lot of time and effort went into the creation of the art. Whether or not the artists were human is up for debate, according to the locals who say they saw a UFO and mysterious lights hovering over the field around the same time it appeared.


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