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The Anomalist

November 19

Beloved Weirdos, brace yourselves. These next two crackpots have us wondering how much worse it can get. The acting Attorney General in the US, Matthew Whittaker, has a background that includes fraud, a variety of lawsuits, and a patent for toilet seats for well-endowed men. As such, his detractors believe he is unfit for his position. No argument there. But what really chafes is how the man is claiming to have evidence of Bigfoot and has publicly stated that time travel will be a reality in 10 years time--and it's those two details that are making the supporters of the current US government object to his appointment. Good to know we can get away with just about anything as long as we hide our Sasquatch tee shirts. It gets better--or worse, depending on which way your sense of humor leans--in the second part of this Jason Colavito post: Acting Attorney General's Bigfoot and Time Travel Claims; Plus: Kentucky's Governor Blames Zombie TV for Mass Shootings. Governor Matt Bevin has performed the great reveal and unmasked the culprit in the ever escalating series of gun related tragedies in the US. It's zombie programs. Of course! We knew it couldn't be the need for gun control laws or a national leader whose solution after a temple shooting is to suggest the Rabbis hire armed security. Zombies. It's always zombies. (CM)

We have another report from Cropster of an ill-mannered polt throwing stones in Zimbabwe. Authorities can find no earthly cause for the rocks falling from the sky. Worse, anyone who has commented negatively on the phenomenon has themselves fallen victim to the rain of pebbles. On a different note, we also have Ghosts Counting Oranges. Back in 1922, Scientific American offered cash to anyone who could prove themselves to be a true medium. The test of the purported medium's skills would be to discern, by way of the spirit world, the number of oranges spilled from a bag hidden from view. Evidently the game of "Guess the number of jelly beans in the jar" hadn't been invented yet. (CM)

We just had to lead with this headline. Paul Seaburn had fun with this one, though the Metabunk and UFOofInterest sites throw water on the claim. Paul offers more information on real and fabled UFO-related alcoholic beverages, domestic and very, very foreign. And then there are the UFOs that get deflated, as Tim Binnall reports about a Weird Weather Balloon Over Quebec Mistaken for UFO. The video and explanation by Scott Brando present a situation that seems to be causing more misidentifications as the age-old lighter-than air creation assumes increasingly exotic shapes. The source(s) for the article St. Helens Woman Reports UFO Sightings may still be up in the air, as the video does not seem very promising, but the Oregonian witness appears sincere. (WM)

One more entry in John Keel's Special File on his dealings with the Long Island contactees and their android/alien/? acquaintances. This comes in the form of mysterious leader Appell (Apol) answering more of John's questions about whom he represents, what is the nature and purpose of their meddling with Earth's affairs, and the History of UFO Contact. Giving due consideration to the credibility of these replies, one is struck by the relatively large number of Appell's "people" stationed in Holland, and his cryptic note "For Good Reason." Tourism? Possible flooding in the event of an Event of some sort? On a more serious note, the trend of Appell's claimed "contacts" suggests that whoever composed these answers had some familiarity with the subject. (WM)

November 18

There are materialists, and then there are materialists. The latter push the envelope, maintaining an open mind without their brains splattering all over the road like a possum. Poor little possum. For them the noumenal isn't spirits, crystals, and the 5th Dimension but the ultimate key to the universe: mathemtics. Riffing on this theme, Tam Hunt wonders "Could Consciousness Come Down To The Way Things Vibrate? From the cosmic microwave background to your murderous Ford F-150, I still can't get over that possum, everything's resonates together and our concept of "self" may arise from that cosmic tune without a necessity for the paranormal. That underlying oneness, as experienced by psychonauts and meditators, illustrates the key to existence but not everyone appreciates the revelation. Being a white, cis-male living in the capitalist, near-utopia of western civilization, John Horgan begs "Don't Make Me One With Everything!" Why? He finds it to be creepy. Why? Maybe watching Being John Malkovich will drive his point home. (CS)

"It's not paranoia if they're really after you" is an appropriate coda for Jean Guerrero's biographical sketch of her father, and the state of society in 2018. Rather than writing off Marco's anxieties as schizophrenia, Jean argues that's just the tip of the iceberg and there are many others with a hand in the festering toxicity of contemporary culture. If you read anything today, please read this. Perhaps reacquaint yourself with MK ULTRA, the rebranded MK ULTRA known as Facebook, and the fate of Ernest Hemingway. (CS)

Pseudo-Skepticism: A Case Study Consciousness Unbound
Ardent adherents of The Anomalist will recall past battles with so-called skeptics, calling them out on their bullshit, but those skirmishes are a shadow of Michael Grosso's umbrage for Joe Nickell. By all means study Mike's technique, his deconstruction of their flawed ontologies in staunch defense of St. Joseph of Copertino and his hagiography. One will find their claws a bit sharper the next time a pseudoskeptic dares to frame their opinions as empirical fact. With Grosso's words still ringing in your ears, Francisco Mejia Uribe harmonizes with the argument of Believing Without Evidence Is Always Morally Wrong. The philosophies of William Clifford are more profound today, than when they were first written in the 19th century, where beliefs are manipulated in a world demanding more responsibility on the behalf of audiences to stay frosty in the midst of "fake news" and propaganda. (CS)

November 17

While John Hagan isn't saying near-death experiences are paranormal, what he's advocating here is remarkably taboo: Serious inquiry into the phenomenon and the evidence surrounding NDEs. Oh, you can't be arsed to do the legwork? Good thing Dr. Hagan's collected the datapoints to kickstart your greyface into the investigation and methodologies. Others are not so lucky to brush shoulders with Death, Thanatos, and/or Mister Skeltal, rather finding themselves Cremated Alive. Or worse. This is why we (platonically) love Chris Woodyard for reminding us that the 19th and early 20th centuries were terrible and far from the conceit of being "gentler", going into grisly and horrific detail guaranteed to arouse Ed Gein. Should anyone doubt death is a Bad Thing™, why not ask the dead yourself? Just stay frosty like Micah Hanks since those Oddities Of Automatism And Idiomotor Response could be the culprits behind the mystery of yes, no, and maybe. (CS)

Just when you thought Linguamyrmex vladi weren't the most metal members of Formicidae, Gemma Tarlach pulls something so awesomely bizarre out of her hat making 1954's THEM pale in comparison. Put into a human context, stay frosty when you see someone who looks human-enough and make sure you're faster on the draw than a potential predator. (CS)

Hear that sound? That's the sound of Greg Taylor and Graham Hancock popping open champagne bottles over a discovery lending credence to Hancock's theory regarding the Younger Dryas impact. While the mainstream is playing it safe, after all they have kids to feed and sugarbabies needing hush money, Greg's leading the charge of the mavericks in pointing out the current and available evidence is positively screams, "HEY, I CRASHED 13,000 YEARS AGO AND CAUSED THOSE MICROMETEORITES IN MASTODON TUSKS!" Perhaps by the time Exxon, Shell, and BP have denuded Earth of ice, more craters will give away their secrets of our planet's violent past. Staying in the vein of otherworldly disaster, The Controversy Continues: What Is 'Oumuamua? Hot on the heels of Avi Loeb posting speculation at arXiv, mainstream media's milking the interstellar asteroid for more ad revenue. Don't have the time, nor patience, to catch up? Welp, Paul Seaburn's done the legwork and shares the choicest tidbits pimped by the blogosphere's "luminaries". At least they're not wasting their journalism degrees by writing about the Kardashians, ĉu ne? Amidst this storm, Tim Binnall's the lone voice crying in the wilderness. Everyone else seems to have forgoten how 'Oumuamua's Discoverer Disputes Alien Origin Theory. Sanity, based on evidence, from the great-granddaddy of all "woo-woo" sites. What a time to be alive! Just when you thought it was safe to step outdoors, Brett Tingley's gotta ruin the mood after hearing through the grapevine about an Unexplained Megacryometeor Nearly Kills Man In England. Yes, pseudoskeptics, Brett's pretty damned certain it wasn't poop from an airplane. (CS)

November 16

Generally when scientists discover a new species of wildlife it's considered cause for celebration. Not so in this case, where a warbler has been found with parentage from 3 separate species. In basic terms a hybrid warbler female mated successfully with a male of an entirely different genus. That alone is significant since hybrids are generally sterile. The deeper and more troubling issue, however, is that this is an indication of species die-off so the warblers are choosing mates from a much smaller pool than before. This next discovery just has people scratching their heads, not knowing what to believe: Mythical Blue Mountain Panther Reported Again in Australia. A high profile radio personality has gone on record describing a sighting of the big cat outside his home. Authorities refuse to take his claims seriously, however. Does that mean cover up, or simply that it takes more than a panther sighting to stir up interest in a land of crocodiles and poisonous snakes? We finish off this trio of cryptid discoveries with Karl Shuker's report of how he first met an inexplicable sea creature: Black-And-White ...And Weird All Over - Solving The Mystery Of The Striped Manta Rays. In this case, his first encounter was via television in 1995, and in fact the program in question was so enamored with their topic of discussion that the anomalous manta ray swam right by without notice. Except to Dr. Shuker, who began a labor of love tracking down the location of the program's filming and learning all there was to know about his strange discovery. Clearly not all television viewing is a waste of time. (CM)

Kevin Randle takes TV personality Tucker Carlson to task for some gaffes in his reportage and discussion about the recent sightings by three different air crews of flaming objects over Ireland. While some of Kevin's specific points are valid, it's frankly doubtful this topic ranks high enough that Carlson, or any other "mainstream" media reporter/personality, is required to learn much about it. We applaud the guy for having the guts to air what have been basically fair, unsmirking discussions of the subject. Kevin helpfully offers links to other sources on this sighting, and preserves a Comment critical of his post's tone. The Drive's Tyler Rogoway did his usual remarkable job on the Irish sighting; for a look at his "day job" covering exotic military flight testing and such, see NKC-135R Tanker From Edwards AFB Flew This Peculiar Night Mission Over Area 51. But maybe there is a day-job connection, as some people believe that secret military objects may have been responsible for the Irish sightings. (WM)

Here's an anecdote in testament to the awe inspiring power of psychics. Or perhaps it's merely a commentary on coincidence. Whatever you believe--and it's entirely up to you--keep in mind that no prediction can prepare us for tragedy. Getting through those kinds of events will always be a test of personal mettle and, if we're lucky, the strength of family. Speaking of which, some families have some pretty discomfiting things in their closets: Psychic Helps Man Find Missing Father's Remains. A Long Island man spent a lifetime barred by his mother from investigating his father's disappearance, but after her passing he enlisted the help of a psychic. It turns out his late father was right there under his nose the whole time. Or rather, under the basement floor. You do the math. (CM)

An extremely wise ufologist once discussed "lumpers" and "splitters"--people who either tend to see meaningful similarities in different events, or who more emphasized those differences. Nick Redfern wonders whether the various accounts he mentions in this article share a meaningful pattern and perhaps cause. One of the stories features a chilling sleep encounter with three Men in Black, which brings up the Redfern article M.I.B. & Me: The Origins. Nick pens an almost lyrical retrospective on what has become the most consuming among his many paranormal interests. Along the way, he gives good reason to find these strange personas--be they material, psychological, or psychic--or Something Else--to be at the same time compelling and repellant. This encourages us to contemplate just When a Bit of Paranoia in Ufology is Justified. Having treated of paranoia-inducing dreams after anomalous experiences and the "undeniably paranoid character named Albert Bender, without who there simply would be no MIB puzzle" in his first and second posts, Nick gives examples from the "MIB-driven paranoia" of close associates and fears based upon undeniably weird real events. In such cases may there be a connection with the UFO field? (WM)

November 15

As expected, numerous people not involved in last Friday's aerial event over the Irish coast have pronounced upon its origin. "Meteorite" seems to be the favorite explanation, though technically the light is a meteor caused by a meteoroid burning up in Earth's atmosphere and "meteorite" applies only to those fragments of the meteoroid that actually get to the ground. David Metcalfe weighs in on the "weighers-in" with Mediating the Mystery--A Few Thoughts on Irish UFOs, Sloppy Journalism and Questionable Experts. This is interesting commentary on how poorly mainstream journalism continues to treat anomalous aerial events, even after a spasm of seriousness in the wake of the AATIP revelations. And Brett Tingley throws his favorite theory in as a possible explanation at Multiple Reports and Air Traffic Recordings of UFOs Over Ireland. (WM)

A recent survey aimed at learning who in the American population has experienced psi phenomena has shown that high strangeness (or moderate strangeness for that matter) doesn't discriminate. Interestingly, even those from backgrounds expected to make them highly skeptical reported experiences, although since the survey was voluntary those results may have been somewhat skewed. One profession that deals with the unexplained regularly is law enforcement. Navajo Police Encounters with the Paranormal are a regular occurrence on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, so much so that an entire department is dedicated to investigating these strange reports. Skinwalkers, Bigfoot, UFOs are only the beginning. All reports are treated as valid, all witnesses are treated with respect, meaning many more encounters are reported here than off the reservation.  Strange Accounts of Fishermen and the Paranormal reminds us of when we were kids,  jumping off the dock and refusing to open our eyes under water--maybe there was a good reason for that. There's more to fear at the ol' fishing hole than snapping turtles and leeches... (CM)

Italian astrophysicist Massimo Teodorani and Greg Bishop converse over a wide range of topics, from UFOs and Consciousness through music and paragliding. All of the topics are worthwhile, with good questions and the affable Teodorani nonetheless making no bones about New Age charlatans who've hybridized bits and pieces of his published thought to create awful money-making programs on the one hand, and lazy "CSICOPians" who from their armchairs lampoon these fraudsters without distinguishing their blather from his own original thoughts. Though scientifically trained and grounded, Teodorani considers himself open to speculations on what underlies the good data he so rigorously advocates, and has gotten into scrapes with more conservative scientists and SETI proponents. Which bothers him not a whit. He discusses his early fascination with UFOs--and his subsequent extensive "book-burning" of most of a huge library of such materials--and his discoveries and beliefs about the Hessdalen Lights. He also emphasizes studying the UFO witness, and proposes a scientific way of uncovering whether there is a real witness/phenomenon interaction with respect to such phenomena as the Lights. And then there are those other enthusiasms of this remarkable thinker, which he and Greg cover towards the end of the entertaining and mind-opening dialogue. (WM)

Occasions where a single artifact--especially a portable one--occurs in a completely out-of-place archaeological level or location should be treated with reserve. This avoids elaborate claims based upon likely "false alarms." On the other hand, "failing to hear the alarm" of such a "one-off" can result in a lost opportunity to illuminate earlier trade/communication routes or technical achievements. So what does one do when the novelty that's found is the size of a house? Martin J. Clemens covers the case of one such Mesoamerican monument. Well, Jason Colavito has been monitoring Clemens, and offers Return of the Colossal Stone Head of Guatemala: Now with 50% More Easter Island. Apparently Jason had debunked this claim--which seems to have centered upon a real colossal head--five years ago. And archaeologist Lee A. Parsons had already done so in 1974, as Jason explains. The whole is an interesting story, based upon a core act of artistic love and remembrance that itself seems somewhat improbable but apparently actually happened. (WM)

November 14

The sky is falling again, or at least chunks of ice are falling from it, and as usual no one wants to be held accountable. While it seems obvious the ice falls are originating with overhead planes, officials are deep in denial and the folks on the ground are left dealing with the literal fallout in terms of damaged property. But while no one wants to admit chunks of ice are dropping out of the sky, NASA Finds Source of Perfectly Rectangular Iceberg. Using satellite imagery scientists were not only able to confirm that the berg was natural in origin, but they also now know which original ice berg birthed this anomaly. We wonder if they'd be interested in watching for passenger planes dumping potable water before landing? (CM)

Nick Redfern begins our look at UFOs past with a short introduction and several interesting accounts of a pre-Kenneth Arnold Scandinavian UFO wave. The book UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry (Anomalist Books, 2012) has covered this remarkable period in great and interesting detail. Nick continues with a case that is Not Quite a "U.K. Roswell" But Still Intriguing. And this one is a real eye-opener, whatever its ultimate cause was. Though the 1946 Scandinavian wave had its share of exciting events, including searches of lakes for fallen missilery, that and this 1996 single incident don't seem to have generated a great deal of nonsense around them. Kevin Randle has been looking at some of these older cases in an effort to separate "happening" from "hype" lately, and notably on the April 24, 1964 Socorro, New Mexico, CEIII event. But Kevin has "other irons stoking his fire" in My Latest Outrage--Bielek, Allende and Several Other Things. This piece continues Kevin's crusade to purge research of UFO and Other Stories Proven Wrong That Will Not Die. (WM)

A conversation with Wren Collier, an avid scholar of the paranormal, and Cherylee Black, whose after-effects of multiple Near Death Experiences have included precognitive dreams, poltergeist activity, and PK powers. This is a listen-in-one-go kind of experience, so be sure you can keep an ear bud in place for the full 87 minutes. When they're not blowing your mind, they're reviewing the new In Search Of series (and no, they're not impressed). Now for some icing on the psychic cake: Super-Empaths Are Real, Says Science. In fact, many don't realize that the swirl of sensations washing over them day after day aren't their own. And while this news offers hope for the 2% of the population who feel what others feel, it may also mean that empathy can be taught in professions like teaching or medicine, where human interaction is key but often sorely lacking. (CM)

HPV, Cochrane Review, and the Meaning of "Cause" Skepticism About Science and Medicine
"Correlation does not prove causation"--that has long been a mantra in the Quality profession and is intended to help practitioners judge when the behavior of two different variables seems related. Application of experience and reason to such cases can help avoid either acting wrongly in a given situation, or failing to act when the situation would actually warrant. That adage and its proper application are most important in the medical field, and Henry Bauer argues it certainly applies to the matter of cervical cancer. Bauer makes additional distinctions in this article, which should cause those in medicine to reexamine their use of statistics, limitations in same ("there exists no systematic, mandatory, global system for reporting adverse events resulting from medical treatment"), and their resultant practice of the healing art. (WM)

November 13

Just before dawn last Friday, pilots from at least three different airlines--British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Norwegian Air--flying over or off the coast of southwestern Ireland reported seeing multiple unidentified objects flying nearby at incredible speed. Military exercises? Negative. Meteors or space junk? Not likely, since such objects "do not fly up alongside aircraft, make hard lateral maneuvers, and then accelerate away at high speed," according to Tyler Rogoway of The Drive. This story is breaking all over, from the Associated Press, BBC News, and other sources, but The Drive, notably, has the tape of the two minutes of conversation between the astonished airline pilots (beginning at 17:50 and ending after 20:00 minute mark). Irish authorities are looking into the situation. (PH)

Here's a pair of video clips that fall into the category of "I dunno, what do you think?" The first captures what appears to be a mysterious figure rushing through a snow covered yard while the family dog goes bonkers. No footprints were left behind though. Next, an Orb Gives Man a Scare? It's possible cold water droplets gave the man a good startle. Or perhaps an insect that also caused one of his companions to make a run for it. His shiver was palpable though. Brrr. (CM)

In honor of Armistice Day we have two posts on some strange and rather unfortunate ways in which soldiers, living and dead, were regarded in times past. This first piece from Chris Woodyard touches on a scheme by undertakers to get the remains of American soldiers out of French cemeteries and back on US soil, lining their very deep pockets in the process. It was never about families' wishes, but about selling caskets. Next we look at The Mysterious Prussian Army of Giants, gathered by Frederick William I in the 18th century. The only qualifying credential a soldier needed was height--and a lack of personal dignity--and it's suggested that this was a precursor to Hitler's attempt to create a master race. Spoiler alert to those who have been living under a rock: both attempts failed. (CM)

Sociologist Eric Ouellet, whose book Illuminations: The UFO Experience as a Parapsychological Event (Anomalist Books, 2015) sheds a novel light on UFO and other anomalous experiences, trades thoughts with Paracasters Gene Steinberg and J. Randall Murphy. Convinced that the long-dominant "ETH tradition" in ufology has gotten the field exactly nowhere, Dr. Ouellet has created a conceptual scheme acknowledging the "realness" of experiences at the personal level, yet seeing them as coexisting with and symbolic of larger, impersonal events. The book considers this "Parapsychological Hypothesis" in light of such famous ufological episodes as the summer of 1952 Washington D.C. over-flights, the Belgian 1989-91 wave, Rendlesham, December 1980, and the Betty and Barney Hill case of 1961. Dr. Ouellet, a professor of Defence Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada, also has interesting things to say about the defense establishment's general attitude toward UFOs, as well as the matter of "missing time," and why some people see a UFO when others staring in the same direction fail to do so. In Phantom Histories: Exploring the Work of Medievalist Claude Lecouteux David Metcalfe argues for a similar attention to more than "the material focus" so characteristic of our time. Only in this instance, Metcalfe shows how French historian Claude Lecouteux delves beneath the simple narratives of folk tradition and more official religious explanations of extraordinary events. Also, his focus is far wider and more on age-old experiences than the modern UFO era. Lecouteux's works also sound like fascinating reading. (WM)

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