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The Anomalist

May 1

It's amazing the lengths people will go to when they have a horse in a race. Just the other day Daniel Engber was led down the skeptical rabbit hole by Mike Sutton, and their warren has just as many twists and turns as our own. Presented here is a demented case of Whack-A-Mole where something gets debunked, apologists spin why it was debunked, and everyone saves face rather than relegating outdated science to the dustbin of history. Worse, those datapoints have been so wholly ingrained in the popular consciousness they're still considered solid science. Here's to learning from our mistakes in the name of truth. (CS)

If our lead item doesn't call everything, and I mean everything, into question then Daniel D. Hoffmann's sure to precipitate your Sunday existential crisis. Central to the hard question of consciousness is the subjectivity of our perceptions. Everything must be doubted. Everything. So humans find solace in the illusion of certainty, and David D. Hoffman upsets our comfort by schooling Amanda Gefter on the concept of 'conscious realism'. Before you get cocky about empirical science having a bad day, Adam Bear relates What Neuroscience Says About Free Will and none of it is good. Logical fallacies and confirmation bias enable us to rewrite history in our favor, usually to our detriment. Case in point: Wikipedia Is Basically Just Another Giant Bureaucracy, tailoring articles catering to deeply held beliefs rather than facts. Thanks Fiona MacDonald, it's good to have some confirmation. But when nothing is true, everything is permitted and opening the door to "Crackpot" theories. Dysphemisms aside, Jennifer Fumiko Cahill shares her lucid profile of Dr. Richard Stepp, his open-minded approach to maverick science, and why it's important to be weird. (CS)

Here's an interesting look at how UFOlogists see themselves, and their beliefs, in the media. Was General Mark A. Milley dropping code words describing one terrifying scenario, or was he winking at us with yet another? We're glad Alejandro Rojas knows the score, or does he? "They" might be among us, and not even look like our familiar Greys nor reptilians. One UFO Spotter Claims To Have Photographed An Extraterrestrial, and whatever's caught on his camera is straight outta your nightmares. "B-but Mr. Anomalist, photos can be faked!" Good point, but Miguel Mendonça declares, "I Proved Human-Alien Hybrids Exist". We're just not clear on why Jon Austin's calling Miguel a scientist. I listened to RadioLab once, but does that make me a scientist? Our advice? Stick with renewables and sustainables so we have an Earth that aliens can demolish, invade, kumbaya for our children. (CS)

While Ghost Rockets gives us a glimpse into how non-Americans see UFOs, a new book Phenomena by a brace of Danes clues us in on how the rest of the world sees our saucer obsession. Of particular interest is how Peter Helles Eriksen, Sara Galbiati and Tobias Selnaes Markussen are still haunted by the conviction of the UFO faithful. Bonus, Benazir Wehelie shares a few of their images. (CS)

April 30

On Looking Inward Herald-Tribune
While the hype hasn't exploded just yet for Ghost Rockets, Billy Cox just watched it and he's intent on boosting the signal for this iconoclastic documentary. Unlike fortean-themed fare on Discovery Networks, Ghost Rockets's pace and setting is necessarily contemplative, measuring the circular trajectory of the titular objects by starting anywhere. If you're still on the fence, Ben Grundy and Aaron Wright invited UFO-Sweden's Clas Svahn on Episode 15.16 of their amazing podcast to discuss their current investigations and the innovative Ghost Rockets Investigation Portal. While waiting for your DVD to be delivered, pop down to the shops and pick up George Pendle's Strange Angel taking us To Philadelphia And Beyond. Gareth Medway finds a trail of breadcrumbs between those covers, leading to a possible science-fictional conclusion for the Philadelphia Experiment. (CS)

Sorry Robert Bauval, the pyramids of Giza probably don't correspond with Orion's belt. Cygnus aligns far better than mighty Orion according to Rodney Hale and Andrew Collins's latest inquiry. Oh well, at least Nazca's tarantula still has a connection with the most recognizable constellation. Back on Earth we tour New York City with Rob Schwarz, stopping at its iconic Flatiron Building for a time-travel story. We think it was Superman, rather than someone in a cape using a jetpack. If Superman did exist, he could get to the bottom of these Mystery Lines Showing Up In Satellite Images Of The Caspian Sea. Stephanie Pappas buys conventional wisdom's line of ice scraping the sea bottom, but take a gander and share your best guess on our Facebook page or harass our Twitter feed with your maverick theory. Not every point of interest is on our Earth, rather remembered in our collective consciousness and folklore. An odd correspondence between Jewish mysticism, the American southwest's creation myths, and the Myers-Briggs personality test's been nagging at EsoterX. His Four World Theory makes so much sense that it must be seen to be believed. (CS)

Phantom Passenger In Korea Two Crows Paranormal
Ghosts of the drowned are flagging down taxis in Japan. American folklore is replete with spooky hitchhikers. But Korea? Leave it to David Weatherly to stumble upon a creeptastic tale illustrating the commonality of human paranormal experience. Fan death not included. If that doesn't whet your appetite, recently Dr. Rosalind Hammond Told Tales Of Mathews, Virginia Ghost Lore replete with kids getting slapped, demonic buzzards, and unique advice on breaking curses with unexpected results. Thanks for sharing, Elsa Verbyla! Stranger still is The Ghost Of Richelieu Rock way down in Thailand which may be a hallucination of exhausted divers, or a manifestation of one of their fallen friends. (CS)

Move over John Titor, 'cause Andrew Basiago's in the running for America's highest office! *record scratch* Who? Andy's been ignored more than Bernie Sanders by the mainstream media. Good thing Paul Seaburn's stumping for this dark horse. His platform reads like a frightening hybrid of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Before succumbing to those nightmares, Greg Taylor has the perfect distraction summed up in the Magic Leap Mystery. Why Did The Tech Company's Founder Give A Surreal TED Talk Filled With Skunk Apes, 2001 Allusions And A Hardcore Band? Because he wants to give you a yo-yo should anyone decipher the enigma. Dude, yo-yos are cool. (CS)

April 29

Recently published images from the Magellan probe have got some UFO hunters very excited. It seems the surface of Venus is covered--completely covered ---with structures that these researchers claim could only be made by alien hands. We'd like to point out that anytime CGI needs to be utilized in order to force an unfocused image into something recognizable, it probably is nothing more than a case of  pareidolia mixed with a little wishful thinking. And it seems the pitfalls of wishful thinking are plentiful, at least in the field of ufology. As The Pitfalls of the UFO Disclosure Movement reveals, it seems the problem isn't with the actual disclosure, it's with our desire for the government to disclose something that we've been wanting disclosed. It makes it a little too easy for those in charge of the truth to dole out the nuggets as they see fit--which isn't disclosure at all. This raises another intriguing yet disheartening question:  What if UFO experiences are not alien contact at all, but are instead parapsychological events? Illuminations: The UFO Experience as a Parapsychological Event - Author Interview delves further into this topic with sociologist, UFO witness, and parapsychological researcher Eric Ouellet. Prepare for your previously held assumptions to be turned on their heads. (CM)

The debate over whether or not the hominid species Homo naledi buried its dead is heating up. The discovery of more than 1,500 bones of this species in an almost inaccessible cave in South Africa has convinced some scientists that this small, bipedal human relative did, indeed, reverently dispose of its deceased mates. Other scientists are not so sure. The truth matters as it is thought only modern humans ceremonially bury their dead. In Russian Mothman II David Weatherly brings us the strange story of a winged human-like figure seen by Russian troops along the Chinese border in 1968. Was it the Asian version of the Mothman? We’ll never know as the Russians opened fire on the flying figure with automatic weapons and the creature disappeared. Communists, it seems, hate flying humanoids. For anyone truly desperate for entertainment, check out Chupacabras Caught On Tape. A better title might have been something more along the lines of “Mangy Dog, Mangy Raccoon and Nothing Caught on Tape.” Don’t say you were not warned. (MM)

Neuroscience has approached the question of NDE's and come away with explanations that are both intellectually intriguing and absolutely disheartening--that is, if you are of a spiritual leaning. But not all science dissects what we hold sacred. For Dr. Bernardo Kastrup, Science and philosophy gave him something he never thought he’d find… respect for religion. Might we suggest everyone just keep their minds more open than not when it comes to the unexplained? Even If Ghosts Are Imaginary, Their ‘Presence’ Suggests Something Strange at Work. This particular study may have started out trying to debunk ghostly phenomena, but they ended by coming close to creating their very own tulpa. Nice work guys.  Really. That was awesome.  For anyone left who believes the notion of spirits is nothing but a sham, Mr. Miller Wants to Speak to You: A Dead Friend on the Phone. Don't keep him waiting, the roaming charges from the afterlife might make you keel over and end up nowhere at all. (CM)

April 28

Most discussions involving the Loch Ness monster center around exactly what the beast might be. Alessandro Palci is not that concerned with they ‘what’ of the matter; rather, he is intrigued by the ‘why.’ While no new ground is broken here, and the author cannot quite contain his snarky attitude about the subject for the entire article, asking why Loch Ness matters so much to us is a question worth exploring. One reason we remain intrigued in the legend is that sightings, and every so often, photographs come to light that are at once compelling and maddening. Glasgow Boy explores just such a series of photos in More Webcam Photos – Head And Neck? While exactly what might be pictured cannot be discerned, something is clearly there for a few moments before sinking out of sight seconds later. If you are a fan of conspiracy theories, secret government agents or warring tribes of hairy cannibalistic giants, Nick Redfern’s Bigfoot, “Government Agents,” And “Giants” is for you. Just what the heck was going on in the wilderness outside of Vancouver in the mid 1950’s? (MM)

In a Brazilian case not dissimilar to Roswell, an unidentified craft was observed hovering over a farmer's field, followed by the sighting of a strange creature by a small group of school children. Several days later, the area was taped off by the military and witnesses were firmly informed they had seen nothing out of ordinary. What makes this incident different from other apparent coverups are 10 million year old jade sculptures from China bearing an uncomfortable resemblance to the being described by the children. Coincidence or historical record of visitors? If you'd enjoy more food for thought, allow us to direct you to Ghost Rockets: 1946 [More interesting than you think]. Part of an ongoing Scandinavian ufology project, this documentary is worth the time it takes to watch. (CM)

April 27

No doubt you remember the recent reports of mass hysteria and the questions these events have raised regarding how such aberrations can spread like a contagion. This article revisits the topic, looking at it instead through a couple of different lenses--anthropological and religious. We commend the author for treating the topic with more respect than it has received in the press to date, and for suggesting that there are more explanations for the incredible than those claimed by science. Another topic worthy of revisiting is the Ramey Memo Update. As always, Kevin Randall doesn't pull any punches and calls it like it is. No false hopes, no coverups, no conspiracies. If there was something to report he'd report it, which is another reason we like him so much. (CM)

Many believe that bigfoot was “born” in the late 1960s with the discovery of huge footprints in Bluff Creek, California. Simply put, this is not true. The Sasquatch has been a central figure in Native American lore for centuries. There is, however, more than just folklore to back up the assertion that the Bigfoot legend predates Bluff Creek. Nick Redfern details the observations and writings of two 19th century explorers that would seem to make the case that signs of the Sasquatch were observed long before Jerry Crew cast those famous tracks. Goatmen continue to stay in the news. This time the creature was sighted in a Maryland park. There is even a photo, which for this type of thing is incredibly clear. What Is This?! Is It The Goatman? Decide for yourself. (MM)

What if an Artificial Intelligence from the future learned how to time travel and eliminated anyone that would have prevented it from being created? Don't ponder that line of thinking for long--apparently it's been known to drive its followers into the pit of despair. Turn your thoughts instead to the idea that UFOs are not alien visitors, but instead extraterrestrial research robots. Hopefully they're not reporting back to the home world, "There's no intelligent life down here, send a toaster oven next time."  At any rate, we are not be much closer to sorting out what's going on when we see those lights in the sky.Black Vault Obtains UFO Docs from NCIS. Much to our disappointment, these Navy documents reveal very little about the UFO experience, but they do shed some light on how episodes have been handled in the recent past. Finishing on a sad note, in UFOs, MIB, the Occult, and Trevor James Constablethe ufology community mourns the passing of one of its earliest researchers, Trevor James Constable on March 31, 2016. Trevor was most certainly aware of the interconnectedness between UFO phenomena and the occult, and his even-handed approach lent credence to all his research.  Rest in Peace, Trevor. (CM)

April 26

Sometimes the search for legendary beasts turns out to be more dangerous than the cryptid creatures themselves. A sobering reminder of this fact is the tragic death of a female monster hunter named Roquel Bain. This unfortunate woman was not killed by the half-goat, half-man said to lurk below the railroad trestle at Pope Lick Creek outside of Louisville, Kentucky; rather, she was killed when struck by the train that regularly traverses the trestle. The story of the Pope Lick monster is a frightening one but no more so than the tales of beasts said to haunt other parts of the country. It seems every nook and cranny of our great nation holds a monster. See what lurks near you in Here Are The Creepiest Monster Legends From Every State In The Country. Whatever beast it is that walks the dark places in your home state, it may pale in comparison to whatever haunts the woods in Amherst County, Virginia. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself in Encountering The ‘Brown Man’ On The Appalachian Trail. (MM)

There are few things we like more than the unexplained, but an objective researcher seeking evidence ranks right up there with our favorite fortean topics. Bill Chalker reminds us that it's well and good to give ear time to topics like alien hybrids and gifted children, but at some point we have to ask for the genetic code. DNA doesn't lie, people. But the government might. More specifically, the National Data Buoy Center is doing its part to dismiss an anomaly picked up by its depth sensors.  Seems the water level off the Jersey Shore did a quick up and down and the sky shortly thereafter was filled with contrails, but no one's admitting that anything was amiss: Is The Sky Falling Again In New Jersey? And while we're talking about a lack of accountability, What happened to the recent Ramey-memo review? Seriously, it seemed as if the ufologists involved were going to follow the trail of that partially visible memo and get to the bottom of what really happened at Roswell. And then nothing. Did you lose interest guys? Or was that memo actually a take out menu and no one wants to 'fess up? (CM)

Here is one we missed earlier. The harsh frozen highlands of Iceland's interior largely remain as wild and mysterious as they were in the time of the Norse Sagas of millennia gone by, even as the march of the modern era has changed the world dramatically around them. Still, belief in the 'hidden people' remains high and this map allows you to read the tales of the island nation's many contemporary elf sightings. Though the map's text is largely in Icelandic, the tool shows just how prevalent elf sightings remain there and provides a way for a nation rich in history and legend to explore its folkloric heritage. (MS)

Alan Price offers a neat synopsis of two books focusing on Hollywood's appropriated versions of ufology and our favorite monsters. Unfortunately, the reviewer found both books to be surprisingly verbose and humorless. Fortunately for the authors, however, some people like reading that sort of thing. If your tastes run more toward the esoteric, try Altered States of Reading (5): Kirk Allen of Barsoom. Think of it as a twist on the phrase "life is what you make it." In this case, reality is what you read into it. (CM)

April 25

A software developer in the UK has designed a program that can both utilize your computer's webcam and scan previously recorded videos for anomalous sky objects. Niftier still is the program's ability to delete footage involving mundane objects, or to learn from its mistakes and become more accurate. Suddenly hanging out on the roof seems like a great idea for date night. It might also be safer, considering Mass hysteria a global problem. If hysteria can spread like wildfire anywhere in the world, and not just in Malaysian girls' schools, it's probably a good idea to seek high ground and wait it out. While your waiting, read this story, Sympathy for the Minor Devil: Hell Comes to New Hampshire. What happened in New Hampshire on the night of June 11, 1682? Was it demonic activity or was the evil-entity-flavor-of-the-day spiced up with it's own special brand of crowd frenzy? (CM)

Did a young man named Douglass Brown really see a giant tentacle emerge from the depths of Puget Sound? Maybe. Are there really giant octopuses living in the Sound, specifically beneath the Narrows Bridge? Yes. This is one of those cases where things are not what they seem, yet, they are, all at the same time. Linda Godfrey reports on a historical sighting of Another U.K. Unknown Canine. The upright beast was spotted by two motorists as it crossed a road near Cresswell on a summer night in 1989. Elsewhere, Glasgow Boy regales us with a couple of very interesting accounts of Nessie sightings that took place on land roughly a century ago in Nessie On Land: The MacGruer-Cameron Case. These land sightings are fascinating as they took place prior to the monster mania that swept the U.K in the 1930s and make reference to the old belief that “water horses” inhabited the loch. (MM)

Orkney, UK's Red Deer population has had its DNA tested against its mainland brethren, only to find that they do not share the same ancient antlered ancestors. The implications of the anomalous red deer bloodline are profound. Not only is it fascinating that Orkney's domesticated red deer arrived by ship over a rather formidable ocean channel some 10,000 years ago. What is most interesting is that their unknown geographic origin lies neither in Scandinavia nor the British mainland. Meanwhile, similar questions echo across the Atlantic as Paleontologists find first fossil monkey in North America--but how did it get here? The puzzling story of the New World simians continues to become more complex, and it's no wonder that notions of Lemuria were conjured in the first place. The teeth of a primeval South American monkey were recently discovered in Panama, a land then separated from the Miocenean monkey's homeland by 100 miles of sea. Late discoveries of anomalous ancient animals abound, leaving us wondering over what strange, resilient seafaring species such as these were using for long distance transport. Perhaps the individuals responsible for the 850,000-year-old human footprints found in Norfolk, UK, which are now by far the oldest evidence of our pioneering ancestors in the European continent, were part of a more interesting life than we have previously imagined. (MS)

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