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The Anomalist



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)

February 17

Most of our readers were no doubt unsurprised by recent revelations of the CIA utilizing psychics in the 1970s, in particular during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979. It also comes as no surprise that come critics declared the ‘CIA psychics – absurd, waste of taxpayer dollars’. It would seem that much of the time the "data" gleaned from the paranormal team of Grill Flame was incorrect, or so ambiguous as to be useless. Then again, working under duress for the Central Intelligence Agency while tucked away in a private bunker away from prying eyes wouldn't have been the best environment for right brain types. But these Psychic Warriors, as Kevin Randle likes to call them, gave it their best effort and, as he reminds us, the most valuable facts of this project are still classified and unavailable for objective evaluation. (CM)

Dolphins and Nessies Loch Ness Mystery
Great news for those of you who follow every Loch Ness lead: The Dolphin population at Loch Ness has reached record levels which means, since dolphins are considered an indicator species, the environment of the Loch has improved to the point it could support large predators. More importantly, the eco-system is reviving which is good for everything and everyone... Nessies included. (CM)

Alessandra Potenza tells us that an unpublished essay by Winston Churchill has been rediscovered in the US National Churchill Museum library in Fulton, Missouri. "Are We Alone in the Universe?" shows that Churchill thought powerfully about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Churchill's essay also recognized the problem that vast distances conferred upon interstellar travel. Rich Reynolds' post Artificial Intelligent UFO Probes? considers a possible route civilizations might take towards dealing with this issue. Rich's suggested for some time that alien civilizations might have constructed artificial intelligence probes to do their exploring for them, and that these may produce some "UFO" reports. This contention certainly requires more attention than it's received, as Reynolds notes. He adduces three remarkably similar "UFO" cases as support, and even if the William Loosely account both he and we find so fascinating was "imagined by the hoaxer," it lends weight to the AI argument. But what if aliens are spreading their information by something less substantial than solid mechanisms? We're not talking about SETI here, but something called "NU-SETI." Researchers Say We Should Check for Alien Messages in Neutrinos because signals that a postulated neutrino beam would carry are "less likely to be distorted en route to Earth than would be the case for an electromagnetic signal." Greg of the Daily Grail notes that the projected $20 million cost for a proposed multi-site detection system has an actual applied science business case. Checking the file Greg has linked to, it appears that the proposers have already developed the basic software and patented technology for neutron detection. (WM)

More interesting stuff from Rich Reynolds. First up: the Cisco Grove Bow and Arrow Case of 1964. Separated towards nightfall from others in his party, a hunter signals what turns out not to be the forestry helicopter he had thought was looking for him. Subsequently the hunter contends with an overnight series of "attacks" from small, silver-suited humanoids, accompanied by one, and then two, robots emitting a kind of sleep-inducing gas. It's interesting to compare the different versions of this most interesting, and weird, case. UFOs and The Britannica makes Rich's points that the government and public once properly took flying saucers and UFOs seriously, and that to see why, one should "go back to the early days and read what you find." A Valentine for Valentich discusses one of those cases, and offers some skeptical sources for it. For much of the recently-released official information on this October 1978 disappearance of a plane and its pilot, we accessed Keith Basterfield's Valentich Files Released by Australian Government. While the weight of the evidence argues against the popular notion of a capture by a UFO, we agree with the Australian researcher that "we may never know what actually happened that night." Reynolds aptly points out a couple of the "takeaways" from the story. (WM)

Back to the 1960s...John Keel continues to frighten himself by solo drives at Mount Misery, and Paro reports that she's done the same and come upon a whole gaggle of people who look physically like Agar and her buddy Apol. Keel feels he may be making some progress, for Agar answers a series of questions over the phone and through the intermediacy of Jaye Paro. This time it's different, for Keel hears what he believes is Agar's voice in the background as he quizzes her through Paro. But the answers themselves, if anything, increase Keel's blood pressure. And there's more. While we're talking about John Keel, why not also Indrid Cold? Rich Reynolds relates, and provides links for more information regarding, the grinning, "Men-in-Black-Like" weirdo. Cold bothered Keel and others for a time, beginning in October of 1966, with his odd appearance and manner. (WM)

February 16

These offerings recall a sighting we'd discussed yesterday. But Australia and 1966, not Wales and 1977, form the setting for another schoolyard mass sighting of an anomalous object. See whether researcher Keith Basterfield's suggested explanation satisfies you or not. It certainly raises questions about witness perception. Moving a year forward from 1966, Rich Reynolds then takes us to Cussac, in central France, and A 1967 'UFO Sighting' that isn't a 'UFO Sighting'? Two children monitoring their family's pasturing cows spied four smallish "Beings-in-Black" who possibly were engaged in doing a site survey outside a small spherical UFO. The story the kids later related was very strange, complete with the "ufonauts," upon becoming aware they were being watched, diving head-first into their "machine" as it took off. Reynolds doesn't share the strong skepticism often accorded tales from juvenile witnesses, and those who investigated the case felt that the children were honestly relating their common experience. Thematically bound to these stories is J.P. Robinson's presentation of The Ariel School UFO Encounter. Sixty-two primary school students in Ruwa, Zimbabwe, described seeing three mysterious silver balls in the sky and one eventually land or hover in a wooded area nearby. Approaching the suspected landing site, the children saw a "UFO" and two small figures in shiny black, tight-fitting outfits. As with the French case, upon recognizing that they were being observed, the beings entered their machine and the kids went in the opposite direction to tell the teachers what they'd seen. Questions have been raised about the investigations of this 1994 incident conducted by veteran researcher Cynthia Hind and later by psychiatrist John E. Mack, but the school's headmaster believed the children were relating honestly. And about thirty-five of the kids separately drew very similar pictures of what they'd seen. (WM)

Animal Psi Paranormalia
Robert McLuhan adds this report to the PSI Encyclopedia regarding what pet owners already know: our four-legged friends (and winged or scaly buddies) often know as much about what we're thinking as we do ourselves. McLuhan delves into research that is anecdotal (as science insists animal psi is pure fantasy) and reviews Rupert Sheldrake’s Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals. You don't have to be an animal lover to be fascinated by this topic. On a less palatable note, Dozens Of Dead Owls Showing Up Along I-84: 'It's Like They Fell From The Sky'. Now authorities are claiming this is not out of the ordinary, as the owls apparently hunt mice along the highway and are struck by oncoming cars in the process. We just think it's odd how they all got whacked within a small area like they were chasing the Pied Piper as he lead a mischief of mice down the road and out of town. (CM)

Gene does a solo interview with The Graelian Report's Micah Hanks, and the worthwhile discussion ranges along the outskirts of popular ufology at first, to come "home" to the future of the field itself. Most of the program deals with the history of odd things being reported in earth's orbit from the early fifties, Hanks making the important point that the subject goes back well before then. There's some good information about physicist-anomalist William Corliss at the outset, as well. You don't have to be a history buff or a Tesla fan to find this podcast engaging, although the latter gentleman does find his way into the proceedings a few times. Hanks is an affable and low-key interview participant. He has an interesting attitude regarding--and has published even more interesting material about--the 1890s airship phenomenon. Toward the end of the podcast, Hanks expresses some hope for ufology, and here as throughout the interview, his remarks are well-taken. (WM)

February 15

Recently the image of Jesus appeared in the parting clouds over a village in Polynesia. While it could easily be argued that it was a case of pareidolia, in light of how dark the news has been lately we suggest taking the good vibes wherever they happen to show up. But if the thought of a World without end, amen scares the living heaven out of you, Michael Prescott has some reassuring words for the sufferers of apeirophobia. The fear of death and the fear of eternity are merely opposite sides of the same coin, and both can be remedied by NDEs or deep cosmic experiences such as those reached through deep meditation. Most importantly, stay focused on today: The Specious Present: It’s the Size of the Moment that Matters. The point is, there is this moment right now and anything else before or after is just speculation. (CM)

Meteor or Robot? Fortean Ireland
This site is a true "Miscellany of the Unusual," lately reporting a variety of older oddities from the Emerald Isle. This case, from January 18, 1955, sounds much like different "takes" on a natural phenomenon. The same can't be said of The Extraordinary Story of the Entire Class Who Claimed to have Spotted a 40ft-long UFO in a Field Near their School 40 Years Ago...and how Mystery Still Surrounds the Sighting. This short article recalls a 1977 event in Broad Haven, a "small seaside South Welsh town." A fearfully excited group of primary school students claimed to have seen a silvery object hovering over the playground. When tested by the headmaster to draw the object separately, the students' renditions appeared quite similar. A skeptical reviewer might offer that the children were rendering, quite honestly in their minds from some unusual stimulus, the culturally understood version of what a "UFO' would look like, and one of the kids did add a rendition of an apparent occupant in his version. Accessing the 2015 article Ministry of Defence Officials 'Did Investigate Mass UFO Sightings in West Wales Village' provides some support for that idea, and an explanation why "Author Neil Spring" in 2017 remains "determined to get to the bottom of the Broad Haven mystery." (WM)

Haunted Executioner's Table Two Crows Paranormal
The Society of the Supernatural recently visited Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in Panama Florida and discovered an enormous array of paranormal activity while exploring. Most notable was the thermal image of a figure leaning over the ancient executioner's table used for beheading. Yet as intriguing as the accompanying video clip is, the fear factor pales in comparison to The Moffitt Family Poltergeist Case 1987-1992. A review of Unwelcome: The True Story of the Moffat Family Haunting, this piece serves up a compelling passages from the book, including messages written on mirrors, symbols carved into furniture, and the blatant destruction of belongings as the entity residing with the Moffat Family pointedly refused to move on. Perhaps Peter Rogerson could help by Sniffing Out A Mystery, a review of Joshua Cutchin's The Brimstone Deceit, the first book ever on supernatural smells. This work, concludes Rogerson, "can be equally read as a source of either extraordinary human experiences or of modern folklore. It certainly represents a huge effort in collating material and will no doubt be referred to by people with very different viewpoints." (CM)

Don Ledger Interview A Different Perspective
Kevin Randle's interview with Don Ledger mostly concerned the October 4, 1967, Shag Harbour UFO incident, as time ran out before the two men could come to grips with Don Ledger's other book, Maritime UFO Files. Piecing the 1967 story together was a major task for Ledger and co-author Chris Styles in their 2001 book Dark Object, and the interview occasionally dove into details, diminishing focus on the story's fascinating main thread. Some of the same frustration is engendered by Randle's Roswell in the 21st Century, dissected by David Halperin in The Roswell Bookshelf -- Kevin Randle, "Roswell in the 21st Century" (Part 1). We wished we had read Halperin's post before the book, as he was provoked enough to provide the "missing" Table of Contents. Halperin pointedly notes the book's deficiencies in editing and in its allocation of topics to appendices versus the main text. Reading the detailed discussions of all the different accounts by witnesses and of the often conflicting positions of the researchers involved can overwhelm minds not intimately familiar with all aspects of the case. But Roswell in the 21st Century remains a crucially important work, obviously the product of a frank review of years of research by probably the world's best living scholar of the Roswell Story--but it's not, as Halperin correctly notes, "the definitive book." We look forward to Halperin's insights in a second post. (WM)


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