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The Anomalist



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)

November 12

Something monstrous is on the loose in a village in India where residents are being attacked in their sleep. Oddly, while these nighttime rampages are vicious in nature, the creature shows no sign of eating anyone it has attacked. That's good news for the villagers, but it's made it more difficult for authorities to ascertain the source of these attacks. On the other side of the world, Unidentified Deadly Creature on the Loose in Kentucky. Both livestock and pets have fallen prey to the mystery beast, and it's appearing likely that a big cat is to blame. With steady encroachment on natural habitat, authorities need to prepare for this type of incident becoming more commonplace. (CM)

Yep, this headline caught our eyes, too, as some wag at the NASA website Astronomy Picture of the Day fully intended. Worse yet, the hard landing took place some 14 years ago. The mission's title, purpose, and denouement conjure up visions of the movies Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and The Andromeda Strain. Tim Binnall also shares some footage on Odd Orbs Spotted Near San Diego. This video dates from late last month and features what look like flares generally affected by gravity, but some of the movements aren't consistent with that simple an explanation. Sequoyah Kennedy finds fault with a Disc Shaped UFO Filmed Darting Through Clouds Over Scotland. He's pretty unhappy at the lack of "coolness" of the object itself, and (with justification) "the horrendous shaky-cam situation" of its filming. Ever been on a guided tour and found yourself wanting to stay or go in another direction while the leader and rest of the group pushed onwards? That was the dilemma Rodrigo Zion experienced on November 3rd as detailed in A UFO Over Palermo (Buenos Aires)? Rodrigo describes a more interesting sort of UFO than Kennedy bemoaned in his article, but the South American photo showed "barely anything." (WM)

The Most Compelling Argument for Ancient Aliens Alternate Perceptions Magazine
Dr. Greg Little thrusts Carl Sagan in the faces of those vocally dismissive of ancient ET visits to Earth, even suggesting that hardened skeptics "usually just ignore what Sagan wrote in the hopes the masses won't become aware of it." Greg then sketches Sagan's reasoning, concluding with two particularly provocative proposals by the late Cosmos storyteller. On a rather lower level in the "AA" debate is Giorgio Tsoukalos Offers More of the Same in New Interview. Jason Colavito takes exception to a Tsoukalos comment about a rather silly matter, but then slides into a much more serious one--"criticism that the ancient astronaut theory denigrates the achievements of ancient civilizations." Greg Little had also mentioned a recent poll indicating "nearly 57% of the population now believes in ancient advanced cultures like Atlantis." Numerous claims circulate about supposed remains of such civilizations. Some time back Stephen Smith penned The Balochistan Temple Complex Part One about one such enthusiasm. The article concerns some rock formations in southern Pakistan that, when regarded from the proper angle, appear similar to a sphinx and temple structures. While Smith properly reserves judgment on the ultimate creation of these interesting features, he offers a possible interpretation for their eroded appearance that is, well, highly-charged. We'd like to see photographs of the "sphinx" from other angles. No Part Two yet. (WM)

November 11

Nick Redfern presents his work and thoughts on a rather disturbing subject--why the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, and possibly other UFO-related government programs, lost funding and/or were terminated through the influence of powerful military and political people driven by religious ideology. Worse yet, there are indications of other programs that thoughtful people believe actually worked with "non-human entities," fostering unspeakable acts in the process and potentially opening humanity up to devastating--and Ultimate?--danger. Nick's first contribution deals with the "toxic" effects that too deep an immersion into ufology can have upon individuals. Nick entertains the notion that the Men in Black phenomenon might somehow be a warning to some of these people. And Nick wonders if there might not be something more insidious, larger, and frightening operating here. In More On The Deadly Dangers of UFOs, Part 1 Nick begins the story told by Ray Boeche, a story that could make one examine the very fundamentals of their belief in the field. Nick's Final Events and the Secret Government Group on Demonic UFOs and the Afterlife, published by Anomalist Books, examines this disturbing possibility more exhaustively. But Part 1 and More on the Deadly Dangers of UFOs, Part 2 make for eye-opening, gripping reading, even if one discounts the presence of demonic forces active in ufology. And in the podcast Nick Redfern: UFOs, Government Insiders, and Satanic Influences Nick elaborates further upon this story, demonstrating nuances within it. (WM)

David Metcalfe takes a look back at the occult beliefs of Violet Firth, aka Dion Fortune, who gathered "a group of like-minded practitioners [with whom] she co-ordinated visualizations of Arthur and Christian archetypes to combat the fevered mytho-poesis of the Nazi Party." And moving right along, we hear of a Haunted Doll Dispute Settled on British TV Court Show. The UK equivalent of Judge Judy ruled against a defendant who had refused to pay what he owed for the purchase of said doll, because it told him he shouldn't do so. Maybe if the doll had spoken up on his behalf, the outcome might have been in his favor. (LP)

Brent Swancer goes lyrical in his description of the recent discovery of a lost civilization in the jungles of Honduras and Nicaragua, and with justification. The story of "The White City," its vanished inhabitants, its imperilment by human interests, and the sinister natural (and even possibly other) forces which "guard" it all reinforce the notion that Romance has not yet left this 21st-century Earth. And one wonders who was to wear The Oldest Bracelet In The World. The tale of this small wonder's discovery comes from JP Robinson, who also covers some of the back story of the Denisovan culture and some of the controversies surrounding this find. Finally, Ed Whelan contributes a fascinating piece about the 'Abundant' Occurrence of Skeletal Abnormalities Found in Early Humans. Here, too, there is debate on the methodology used by researcher Erik Trinkaus, but the effort is praiseworthy and the potential insights into our ancestors's social organization are worth considering, even if speculative. (WM)


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