The Anomalist



Journal Issues

The Anomalist 7

Winter 1998/99

192 pages, illustrated, $9.95

Cover art by Scott Reed

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The Complacent Intelligentsia
A Commentary by John Chambers

What in the universe is going on? Though hard figures are hard to come by, paranormal experiences seem to be occurring at unprecedented rates as our century nears its close. Faced with the mounting evidence that significant new phenomena are shaking up the psychic landscape of humanity, organized science and the intellectual community have tended to dismiss these experiences as hysteria--mere fearful whistlings in the dark by the common folk who need to be propped up with new gods in times of spiritual crisis. This tendency--a tragic one, since there are those who would argue that awesome mysteries are being unfolded before us--is well-illustrated by the works of even such notable scholars as Anthony Aveni and Harold Bloom... [Full Text]

An Unfortunate Encounter for All Concerned:
The Santa Clara Disaster of 1947

by Gary Mangiacopra and Dwight G. Smith

The passage of time has an odd effect on public memory. Events that were widely known and talked about years and decades ago quickly become forgotten, leaving only scattered records, published in many now defunct newspapers and magazines. Often, the present crop of writers can only give a brief description, maybe a paragraph or two, of a once notorious event. Such is the case with one of the most celebrated sea-serpent episodes of all time--the Santa Clara's collision with a 30-foot sea serpent. This classic encounter began inconspicuously on Tuesday morning, the 30th of December 1947...

Incident at Usovo:
From the Soviet and Russian Military UFO Dossier

by J. Antonio Huneeus

It sounds like a tabloid headline, but the question is a valid one: Did UFOs almost trigger an accidental nuclear war in 1982? The incident in question occurred in south-central Ukraine on the evening of October 4th, according to official depositions from Soviet military units and interviews with one of the officers in charge of the investigation. There were multiple witnesses to the event, which took place between 7:30 and 9:37 pm, and many of them were Soviet military officers and personnel stationed at a long-range nuclear missile base in Usovo, near Byelokovoriche...

The Abduction Conundrum
by Greg Sandow

I learned how strange abduction stories can be--and how hard it is to think about them--when I first talked to David Jacobs. Jacobs, of course, is one of the leading abduction investigators, by day a tenured history professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. I was interviewing him for a piece in the rock magazine Spin (which, in the end, was, never published), and I'd read much of the abduction literature, including what then was Jacobs' only book on the subject, Secret Life. But I wasn't prepared for what happened when I asked him an obvious journalistic question, whether there was physical evidence that abductions are real."Wanna see?" he replied.

Transplant Memories
by Michael Grosso

Nothing is more basic to our mental life than memory. Memory is the basis of personal identity, our way to the past, the bank of our sense experience, the raw material of imagination, and our guide to the future. Memory, however, is a puzzling phenomenon. Clare Sylvia's story told in the book, A Change of Heart, calls attention to a recent development: anomalous memories associated with organ transplant operations. This is a popular account that focuses on one case, but growing numbers of people who undergo organ transplants tell of acquiring tastes, habits, attitudes, and specific recollections appropriate to their dead donors. Physicians, in fact, have been aware of these reports since the early nineteen seventies. Not surprisingly there has been resistance. Transplant effects collide head on with a dogma of modern medical science...

Intermediate States:
Charles Fort's Degrees of Reality

by Colin Bennett

In his relentless searches, Charles Fort found an Aladdin's cave full of unexplained phenomena, some of which smacked of the very sinew of late-Empire muscle. He discovered reports of falls all over the world of resin, amber, India-rubber, various waxes and oils, butter, grease, woolly substances; material loosely identified in reports as nitric acid, turpentine, carbonate of soda; all appear to have fallen apparently from the sky at various times, and some from quite fixed points in space. It is as if part of the very heart of the 19th century trade routes descended from the very heavens on occasion, for no rhyme or reason, and from nowhere in particular. And there were considerable amounts of it: tons of dead fish, millions of crabs, eels, shellfish, minnows, all fall, as if "the bottom of a super-geographical pond had dropped out." In most cases, he was able to record the expert scientific reactions to such events, and found there, in the face of this wonderfully unpredictable and theatrical display of amazing impossibilities, a mundane and singular note which combined laughter, ridicule, and denial.

Vanishing Vanishings
by T. Peter Park
The notion that people occasionally vanish into thin air--if only rarely--is no doubt one of the most outrageous in all the anomaly literature. The most detailed such stories, like disappearances of the Tennessee farmer David Lang and the Indiana farm boy Oliver Lerch, seem to have a life of their own despite repeated--and often well-researched--attempts to expose them. Everyone seems to have been fooled by a bogus "scientific" essay, "Science to the Front," which Ambrose Bierce placed at the end of the "Mysterious Disappearances" section of his horror story collection, Can Such Things Be?, apparently in an effort to "justify" the reality of his "stories." The essay quotes a non-existent "Dr. Hern, of Leipsic" in the imaginary publication Verschwinden und seine Theorie ("Disappearance and Its Theory") on "void places-- vacua " in the "visible world," "cavities" in the "ether" like "cells in a Swiss cheese," through which "animate and inanimate objects may fall back into the invisible world and be seen and heard no more." Can such things be? Indeed, they can--or rather, they can't!

So You Want to Materialize?
by Hilary Evans

Most of you who read this are still alive on Earth. So perhaps you think it premature to be thinking about how you will return to Earth, when you are no longer living here? Someone planning to emigrate to Australia doesn't waste time thinking about return visits. Nevertheless, when we see how unsatisfactory most spirit materializations are, perhaps it would be prudent to do some advance planning. For you must be prepared, when you are dead, to be invited back to Earth, like a student revisiting his old school. By thinking about it now, you will make it easier for yourself when that invitation comes...