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The Anomalist



December 15

This piece seems to come  a bit out of left field, but the further you read  the deeper you--quite willingly--go down the rabbit hole. Joshua Cutchin, the author most recently of The Brimstone Deceit, examines both the classic novel and movie The Jungle Book, viewing them through a cryptozoological lens. His ability to draw parallels between purported ancient hominid species and the monkey kingdom in this classic work is oddly enthralling, and whether or not his connections are accurate, Cutchin's writing is both imaginative and intriguing. Keeping it hairy, Nick Redfern presents us Some of the Most Discussed Pieces of Bigfoot Footage Ever. Redfern focuses on several of the most well known examples of Sasquatch activity, and includes links to video footage. It's a walk down crypto-memory lane, and it's very satisfying--poor video quality be darned. (CM)

"Sometimes the speculation on what a UFO might be is more informative than the photo or video itself." So begins Paul Seaburn's article about two photographs of something apparently hanging over the Crazy Horse Memorial, a monument of the great Lakota leader both near, and perhaps a Native American answer to, Mount Rushmore. If the image captured in the two photos by "Jonathon" isn't some kind of camera artifact, then it does have more than passing interest. Until such an explanation can be provided, Paul provides some of the wilder possibilities. We're not as intrigued with Argentina: Not a Bird, Not a Plane...Was there a UFO over Las Heras? Accessing the indicated video frankly doesn't incline us to reject any potential explanation. With Alleged UFO Photos over China Lake Analyzed Philip Mantle provides more of a back story and four separate analyses of some snapshots supposedly taken ten years ago. Paul Seaburn reported on this case on November 15th at Donuts, Bowls and Rings are the Popular New UFO Shapes. Paul noted then that "Hoax is getting the most votes here," and it seems that these analyses mostly incline towards the suspicious. (WM)

Sorry, but we looked at this clip several times and had to use an awful lot of imagination to detect anything remotely ghostly. Having said that, it was probably ridiculously eerie being in that abandoned building and maybe if we'd been there ourselves we would have thought we saw something otherworldly too. Perhaps that British paranormal team should have flown over to Newfoundland, Canada, to find something more camera-worthy: Ghosts on the Loose after Old Canadian Orphanage is Torn Down. Paul Seaburn reports that since opening in 1826 the orphanage was known for abusing its young charges, so it's not surprising that things got ghostly when the building was converted into a schoolhouse in 1967. The question that remains to be answered is whether its unsettled spirits have found their peace with the building's destruction, or if they have just transferred their angst elsewhere. (CM)

The First Men in Black? UFO Conjectures
Rich Reynolds proposes that Biblical "messengers from God" and modern versions such as apparitions of Mary, the mother of Jesus, share commonalities with the "Men in Black" who supposedly didn't surface until the so-called "modern UFO era." Rich continues the examination of humanoid-human communication through the ages with Albert Rosales' Humanoid Encounters [Redux]. Rich introduces the "1 A.D. - 1899" Rosales volume with a charming fairy-type account whose sources are George Eberhart and Jerome Clark. Whatever reality may lie behind these stories of non-human message-bearers and denizens of a "Middle Earth," Rich sees an Incipient Madness (in Ufology and Society), that goes unnoticed by many in both the smaller and the overarching communities. So what's the difference between "UFO-madness" and the general craziness going on in this world, epitomized by out-of-control social networks that "are starting to erode the social fabric of how society works," to quote a former Facebook executive who apparently won't let his kids use the site, and "even he's backed away from using it"? Rich offers what he considers an important distinction. Rich considers another such possibility in Mining Empty UFO Troves. He's got a theory why certain "moldy oldies" iconic UFO cases never die: ufology's "lesser lights" seek to carve niches for themselves by unearthing one more snippet of data that will attach their names to a long tradition, without adding much of value to the understanding of already-fathomed cases. (WM)

December 14

Billy Cox returns for another scathing look at the failure of current mainstream journalism to do its duty regarding the UFO question, aka The Great Taboo. This in the guise of The Atlantic publishing lengthy excerpts from Kurt Andersen's new book Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, A 500-Year History. Cox has no problem with the basic thesis of the book, but, as so often happens when commentators and historians get hold of a great "hammer," everything starts looking like a nail, and Cox finds Andersen's application of his premise to UFOs simplistic, overreaching, and poorly-supported. But there is another lesson here, and Cox pointedly makes it; and of course it deals with journalistic responsibility, the application of which to the matter of Tom DeLonge's To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science should be a no-brainer. So far, however, investigative journalism has not touched this subject. (WM)

An interesting question which, disappointingly, is not answered in the article. Lots of info on how it developed from something with the characteristics of numerous beasts, but as to its place in Scottish imagery, we are none the wiser. However, if we want to know What Extraordinary Discovery Led to Unicorn Cave Magically Transforming into a Cash Cow, the answer appears to be an early example of Fake News. Ancient mammal bones found long ago in a German cave have been hyped over the centuries to create a belief in the existence of Unicorns and the medicinal powers of their skeletal remains. In other doubtful enterprises, there's No Doubting Dowsers. "It's witchcraft" insists a UK professor in response to the revelation that some UK water companies use dowsers to locate H2O. However, in Ireland, where folklore still counts, they prefer to employ geologists to find leaks because dowsing was shown in the past to be wholly unreliable. (LP)

One of the challenges of archeological discovery is the way that certain finds can turn our perspective of history as a species on its head. Case in point: while we've grown up with the understanding that 60,000 years ago homo sapiens left Africa in a mass exodus and populated the rest of the world, current studies would indicate we were in process of moving away from home at least 120,000 years ago in what is being described as a trickle. What that means in terms of interbreeding between hominid species is still inconclusive, but scientists expect that at least some of our modern DNA has a new story to tell. What Newly Discovered Ancient Civilizations Can Teach Us? For one thing, they can show us evidence of climate change and its impact on the population and culture at that time. Looking more closely, we may even find signs of other civilizations predating the original discovery. Even discoveries made quite some time ago continue to reveal new information about their peoples and culture. Stonehenge 'casts phallic shadows as part of cult's fertility play'. Think of an enormous, earth based, erotic calendar and blend it up with some magic and awe. Seriously, you'll want to catch the next flight to Scotland. (CM)

Rich Reynolds provides a "Deansfest" of venerable UFO cases from Australian researcher Paul Dean. First up is a flat-out abduction scenario set in England, but as Rich notes, "compromised by being recalled in 1977." With A 1952 UFO Report from USAF Files (via Paul Dean) we have an August 25, Pittsburg, Kansas, CEIII report with possible CEII--damaged vegetation. But, as Rich points out, perhaps the most outrageously noteworthy element in this report is a "series of small 'propellers' along the outer edge of the object." What's with that? A 1954 Sighting (from a 1954 Report) is a detailed English account including entities looking a lot like George Adamski's "Orthon," according to Rich, and a commenter includes more data that might indicate a "prepared" main adult witness. But what to make of the case referenced in An Hallucination? Probably Not? Rich goes through the "likely suspects" for an explanation to this CEIII case, and finds no easy answers. While it's worth noting that the report came to NICAP 15 years after the experience, Rich observes that this "upside-down submarine-with occupants" story is just one variant of many such cases in the Dean collection. (WM)

December 13

Back in October of this year our concept of how planets are formed was turned on its head as our solar system welcomed its first guest. Oumuamua, Hawaiian for "first messenger," bears no resemblance to any space rock ever before detected, nor does it seem to be artificially created by an interstellar life form. So what the heck is it? Fortunately for science, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner is going to use his giga-bucks-investment Breakthrough Listen to find out if the wildly spinning and oddly elongated object is emitting radio waves. Exciting? Yes. As pointed out in this article, the possibility of alien life is very, very small. But it's not zero. And it's that not zero that's got everyone all a-tingley. To quote Milner, “If you look more, everywhere, I think chances are that eventually you will find something.” Fingers crossed. (CM)

We begin with a three-article "Redfernfest" with Nick detailing the early and little-known history of government interest in the MJ-12 Documents. Nick finds that a few loose ends remain in that story. With The Government's Files on the Men in Black Redfern considers FBI interest in Gray Barker and Albert Bender, whose story about being "hushed up" by "three men in black suits" seems to have as much intrigued the Bureau then as it does us now. In George Adamski: Aliens, the FBI, and the Air Force Nick recounts contactee George Adamski's public version of his meeting with the Venusian Orthon, and Adamski's account on same to an FBI and an Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent at his home in January of 1953. The entire Adamski story is a fascinating one, although Nick reports that the photographs Adamski provided the agents were apparently debunked within the government. (WM)

Troy Moon provides a straightforward piece on the now-30-year-old Gulf Breeze UFO photographic controversy. Moon succinctly lists the major elements of this controversial case, and some reasons pro and con about taking the Gulf Breeze 1987-88 UFO flap seriously. Taking us back even farther is Not Quite a Crop Circle, But... takes us back even farther. Nick Redfern has been rummaging around in old government files again, and here details an Air Force investigation into a September 1952 Arlington, Virginia "lawn circle" which was most likely a "fairy ring". Nonetheless, the thoroughness with which the USAF investigators and FBI analysts employed on the matter is interesting. Even more fascinating is site-minder Doug Skinner's Special Cases--The Long Island File (66): Background on the Principal Witness. This analysis by John Keel of his main Contactee contact with the aliens/androids adds much to our understanding of John's reactions to the "messages" Jaye Paro conveys and hijinks she reports getting involved in. It is truly astounding, as Skinner observes, that all that we've been following in Keel's writings on this subject has taken place over just four months. We also get an inkling of why Keel felt that Paro was not up to knowingly carrying off a hoax. (WM)

Loren Coleman is this week's guest on the Other Side Podcast and he doesn't disappoint. On Friday, December 15 his newest book Mothman: Evil Incarnate hits the shelves in memory of the 50th anniversary of the Silver Bridge Tragedy. Loren's summary of misfortunes befalling those who have investigated the Mothman phenomenon, himself included, will leave you chilled, even as he reminds us that accidents can happen to anyone. And if this makes you want to review the origins of the story, Nick Redfern brings us Mothman: From ’66 to the ’67 Bridge Collapse, noting the key incidents that sparked public interest in the 1960s and started the legend/demonization of the Mothman. (CM)

December 12

Last Saturday night the skies and social media consequently lit up as an echelon procession of a dozen-plus flashing lights flew over the Denver metro area. Locals weary of Denver Broncos losses had something new to worry about, until a military spokesman explained that the hubbub had been caused by C-17 transport aircraft heading over from South Carolina to Nevada to participate in a nighttime high altitude military parachuting exercise. From a bit further north comes ET INVASION? God Says Evil Aliens in UFOs will Soon Invade Earth, Warns 'Prophet'. Jon Austin reports that Boulder resident Marshall Vian Summers has a new book of revelations and admonitions that sound drearily similar at face value to what we've been hearing since, well, the dawn of the atomic age. Speaking of belief, we find that a worldwide Survey Sheds Light on ET Beliefs. Nearly half of the 27,000 people in a Glocalities 24-country poll on the possibility of ET life believe there are "intelligent alien civilizations in the universe." Whether those of us so inclined are extrapolating from, or in spite of, a sample of One is questionable, but company Research Director Martijn Lampert calls such respondents "Homo Universalis," "[B]ased on their fascination for science, arts and life in the universe." (WM)

Adding the thirteenth installment to what has become a macabre and unplanned tradition, a dismembered foot still clad in its owner's shoe washed up on the shores of a British Columbian beach last week. The RCMP claims there was no foul play involved in this or past footish discoveries, but when questioned the BC coroner's office declined to comment. Somebody somewhere is hiding something that smells terribly fishy. No doubt that was the scent in the air when Mermaid Baby Found on Scottish shores in 1898. From reports it would seem the small body was missing its head, which is perhaps why some reports declared it a "young mermaid" while others assured their readers it was nothing but a baby seal, although it seems to us there shouldn't be that much trouble telling the two apart. (CM)

When is a physical relationship with the dead not necessarily a mental disorder? When it takes place between a consenting spiritual guidance counselor and any number of ghosts, that's when. For those who have grown tired of Tinder and wants their own dose of Ectoplasmic Polyamory, we recommend instead some cold showers and sessions with a therapist who specializes in the living. If that's not helpful, nightmares are always effective distractions: The Surreal and Scary World of Dream Demons. While it's clear this phenomenon is strongly connected to sleep paralysis and night terrors, those who experience it firsthand would be hard pressed to separate the frightening trance from waking reality. But when the end result includes physical injuries it becomes more difficult to dismiss the entire experience as a sleep disturbance or mere bad dream. (CM)

Concerned by what he regards as an attempted transformation of ufology to a "dark and demonic...paranormal enterprise," Rich Reynolds offers another explication by Spanish thinker and ufologist Jose Antonio Caravaca of his novel "Distortion Theory." This adds to our understanding of Caravaca's interesting and perhaps unfolding thought upon the matter, and invites us to hope that he will soon produce a full-length exegesis. In this particular instance, it might be helpful for the general readership were Mr. Caravaca to summarize explicitly the Vallee and Keel theoretical models' key characteristics as well. Caravaca potentially extends this process to other (paranormal?) phenomena in "all the supposed communications obtained from the 'beyond' for centuries." (WM)

December 11

Glasgow Boy takes us back to the earliest mention of our favorite cryptid in this newspaper, from 1833, which shows that the story predates by a century the better-known reports that began today's Nessie fever. Turning to other folklore, Dr. Beach stretches a point to tell us of The Rise of the Vegan Fairies, which is not a culinary movement among the fey, but an observation at how fairies have undergone a perceptual change among humans. No longer seen as "a mirror for human communities," Beach reckons they're now "spirits of vegetation." Vegans, of course, eat neither fish nor meat, which would be one less worry for a "mermaid" brought out of Aberdeen harbor in 1886: A Mad Mermaid? Lacking scaly tail and requisite comb, this "sea-nymph" proved to be a confused young woman who tried to drag her rescuer with her to the depths. (LP)

Lonnie Zamora as the Hoaxster A Different Perspective
Kevin Randle has been getting a lot of mileage mopping up what he, with reason, considers less satisfactory scenarios than purely "unidentified" for the April 24, 1964 Socorro, New Mexico CEIII. Here he considers one that J. Allen Hynek and others soon on site had considered, but rejected, long before Phil Klass suggested it. Though Randle terms the Officer Lonnie Zamora-as-primary-hoaxer explanation the "simplest," he lists numerous reasons here why it just won't wash. With Lonnie Zamora, Lance Moody and Purrgurrl Kevin attacks some loose ends readers have thought they discerned that might support the hot air balloon student hoax theory or the other-type of balloon theory offered by Tony Bragalia. And with Lonnie Zamora's Sobriety Kevin properly attacks and soundly defeats what Kevin calls "one of the most outrageous statements about the Socorro UFO landing case." (WM)

The author of the new book, Monster Hike: A 100-Mile Inquiry Into the Sasquatch Mystery, published by Anomalist Books, is interviewed by Gene Steinberg and Christopher O’Brien, who gets in a few Bigfoot stories of his own. Avrel explains what convinced him of the reality of these creatures, and what he found, or didn't find, when he went out to look for them himself. By the way, you might be curious to hear why he insists on calling them bigfoots and sasquatches, contrary to cryptozoological convention: "...one of the biggest barriers to belief stems from the fact that when people hear 'bigfoot' or 'sasquatch,' the vast majority still envision a single creature roaming the woods. This being the case, I will always use the plural form of either word unless I am in fact talking about an individual. Further, I use lowercase to put these terms in parallel with the names of other animals: horse, not Horse; cheetah, not Cheetah, humans, not Humans, etc. In some small way, I think these stylistic changes will help lead readers away from the assumptions that put these creatures in the same category as Babe the Big Blue Ox." (PH) 

McGill University prof Lyle Whyte is an exobiologist who thinks sci-fi films help stimulate the imagination at a time when the opportunity for truly big discoveries requires truly open minds. So finds reporter April Barrett, who also muses upon why the Cold War-era alien "was a poignant monster." Greg Eghigian asks: When Did Alien Sightings Turn into Alien Abductions? He contrasts in particular the 1950s Contactee Movement with the Hopkins-Jacobs-Strieber-and-even-John Mack media phenomenon of the 1980s and 1990s. Greg's short piece suggests the possible impact of larger cultural issues in this transition of the public mind, although he does note that "some of the first claims of kidnapping and experimentation at the hands of extraterrestrials emerged as early as the mid-1960s." Eghigian's "space brother" (and "sister") aliens of Adamski, Bethurum, et al. and Barrett's "poignant monster" of sci-fi films and books can coexist in the general fantasy world without impact upon whatever might underlie a "real world" contact phenomenon. But occasionally the two worlds do intersect, Nick Redfern might have us believe; for instance in the case of George Adamski: "A Rather Comical Anarchist". Contactee George Adamski was, says Nick, "at his 'height'" in the early-to-mid-1950s. Adamski had a lasting magnetism with many who met or listened to him then, and as such became of interest to the U.S. Intelligence apparatus. Nick relates a 1959 instance of surveillance and gives a number of Cold War-impacted security and more general psychological reasons for government attention towards the man and his views. (WM)

December 10

While Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking fret over how aliens will react to us, Ben Guarino consulted ASU psychologist Michael Varnum to gauge humanity's expectations of first contact. Of interest is how Varnum suggests mainstream media's manipulating its audience into being overly hospitable, rather than cautious. When the big day arrives, Sam Dresser foresees a sea-change in human culture. Different philosophies, and alternative perspectives of god and religion are just scratching the surface of How The Discovery Of Extraterrestrial Life Would Change Morality. In hopes of bringing the planet together for a greater good, Jill Tarter tells James Temperton how An Alien Signal Isn't Coming To The US, It's Coming To Planet Earth. We don't blame our space brothers for not targeting the U.S.A., otherwise someone would have to build a ceiling in addition to their wall. (CS)

There is much to love in EsoterX's latest philosophical defense of anomalistics, supported by the circumstances of a famous German poltergeist case. In case you didn't know, German poltergeists are the best kind of poltergeists since Germans coined the word. Deconstructing the fallacies of pseudoskeptics, and the creeping threat of positivism in our culture, should a narrow-minded debunker deign to read they might learn something. Should they claim to be "too busy", one can hear EsoterX chew the fat with Seriah Azkath on Where Did The Road Go, or as we like to call it Radio Free EsoterX with a lively discussion of obscure ghost ships. (CS)

We're not chilled by the face of an phantasmal African-American woman in the reflection of a window, but the fact that Karen, Susan, and Debra aren't using Snapchat filters nor presenting "duckfaces". On the bright side, Tim Binnall's added those gals's numbers to his little black book. Sadly there are no windows left at St. Johns's most notorious haunted destination for its spooky residents. The Demolition Of An Abandoned Orphanage Raises Questions About The Fates Of Its Ghostly Presences. The question we hoped Kevin Bissett would ask, "Why not adopt a poltergeist?" was stridently ignored. Even in death, nobody wants to adopt orphans. Homeless now, those souls will roam Newfoundland and Labrador much like this Phantom Victorian Schoolboy Spotted On A Railway Line by Damon Simms's mate, Gareth. (CS)

A Monster In Lake Tahoe? Mysterious Universe
Nessie's cousins are wide-ranging and after a fishing trip in Lake Taho, Nick Redfern considers the existence of Tessie. We're not talking a giant goldfish fished out of Lake Tahoe a few years back, but a gen-u-ine cryptid spotted by many over the decades. Navigators of the Tasman Sea and all points south are aware the waters 'round New Zealand are boiling with Sea Serpents Galore! Strangely enough, these accounts are from the 19th century leaving one to wonder if 20th century fishermen wiped 'em out on the sly. For the landlubbers, Doc Karl Shuker's certain he won't have bad luck should one of these black cats cross his path. After Delineating The Darker Side Of Leopards, he poses the question if some mystery cats are pseudo-melanistic. (CS)


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