Tag Archives: Weird News

I’m Not Making This Up: Why I’m Skeptical of Eyewitnesses

Sharon_hill_80pxBy via The Huffington Post

One of the major disconnects between those who practice effective skepticism and those who believe in paranormal possibilities (or are emotionally invested in unexplained mysteries) is over the topic of anecdotes and witnesses’ testimony.

tape recorder brain_300pxIf there is one fact that I wish we could all accept early in life, I would vote for drumming in the idea that memory is not like a tape recorder. If we learn this truth about the human mind, we could avoid so much trouble.

Memory is constructed. Pause a moment and let that sink in.

Memory is not objective, it is constructed by our own brains. It is not burned, or ingrained, or seared into it, as much as we would like to think that is the case. The truth is less precise, uncertain, and disturbing.

Most of us rely on our short- and long-term memories nearly every moment of the day. For the most part, our recollections are simple and good enough to get us through situations and day-to-day activities without much trouble, but false memories are ubiquitous.

I don’t trust my memory at all. I’ve seen it fail epically. That’s why I try to keep logs and records of what happened and when. I’ll take pictures of things I want to remember and write copious notes.

I’ve had a journal since I was 7. There have been times when I looked back on events and was dumbfounded at the dispute between what I thought had happened and what I wrote happened in my journal. For a moment, I doubt my journal! But that’s incorrect. My current memory had evolved into what I wanted it to be for my state right now. It had been reconstructed each time I accessed it in the intervening years.

memory falseI’d bet many of you think you have a great memory — that you can relate your observations clearly and accurately. But you’re wrong, too. Don’t feel bad about this! We are all imperfect when it comes to observing and remembering. Our brains are incredible things but they function mostly for self-preservation and propagation of the species, and only moderately well as an accurate memory collector.

Several paranormal subjects such as hauntings, UFO sightings, and Bigfoot reports rely solely on witnesses’ recollections. Sometimes years or decades pass, but the memory is still taken as credible and true because the people seem sincere. I’ve lost count of how many times the argument has been put to me that the eyewitness reports for Bigfoot are so compelling and voluminous that there must be something to them. Frequently, they present the really poor argument that if this was a court of law, Bigfoot would be ruled genuine. It’s more complicated than that.

Not only are our memories generally far from perfect, perception is poor too.

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Look-Alike UFOs Videotaped Over Missouri And Arizona (VIDEO)

FBI Alien Ufos

By via The huffington Post

Whatever it was over the skies of Tucson, Ariz. and Kansas City, Mo., eyewitnesses in both cities agree — it was quite a show.

ufo 835_200pxUnusual displays of lights were reported in both cities on Saturday night, giving rise to UFO chatter.

According to one eyewitness, identified as Cbazz on YouTube: “My family and I witnessed these strange amber lights in Tucson on our way home from dinner. There were seven or eight of them crossing the sky, some solo and others in pairs flying very, very close together.

Watch the UFOs videotaped over Tucson.

“Living in this part of the country, we often hear fighter jets from the Air Force base, but we are used to that and it is always recognizable and very loud,” Cbazz wrote.

“These objects we saw tonight were silent and moving across the sky very fast….Not sure what we were seeing, but I never really believed in this sort of thing until tonight. Glad I had my phone to record.”

Several eyewitnesses saw and videotaped similar objects in the sky — but this time, they were flying over Kansas City, Mo.

Watch the Kansas City UFOs here.

“Not for sure what they are, but I got several videos of them and pics. Looks like a UFO fleet!?” wrote YouTube poster jemnich1, who was contacted by another witness, GoGraveside, who sent this message on YouTube: “I really hope you get to investigate this incident. I was in the same vicinity and recorded the same lights on my cell phone. There were 3 additional passengers in my vehicle at the time who witnessed the ‘lights’ as well.”

So, what were these folks looking at from different parts of the country? Or does it just get buried in those numerous reports that are never adequately explained?

“In my opinion both videos are definitely . . .

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‘Evil Spirit’ Scam Plagues Asian Immigrants In NYC

By COLLEEN LONG via The Huffington Post

psychic_scam_362pxNEW YORK — One woman was told by a fortune teller that her son was possessed by demons. Another was approached on a Chinatown street by a stranger who eerily claimed her daughter would die in two days. A third was informed that her dead husband was communicating from the grave, telling her to hand over thousands in cash.

“Your son will die in a car accident – he is cursed,” a 65-year-old was told.

In each instance, the women bundled up cash and jewelry in a bag and gave it to strangers they’d just met – self-proclaimed spiritual healers. They were told the contents would be blessed in an effort to ward off evil spirits, bring good luck to the family or heal a sick child – they just have to wait a period of time to re-open it.

When they do, they find water bottles, cough drops and beans. But no valuables.

ScamAlertDetectives say there has been a rash in New York of what’s known as an evil spirit or blessing scam, where older immigrant women, mostly Chinese, are swindled out of their valuables by clever scammers arriving from China who prey on superstition and fear. In the past six months, two dozen victims have reported valuables stolen – in some cases more than $10,000 in cash and $13,000 in jewelry, according to police reports. A total of more than $1.8 million has been stolen.

“They know the culture, they know how to talk to these victims to get them to listen,” chief New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said of the grifts. “One person’s spirituality is another’s superstition, and they prey on that distinction.”

The scam itself has many permutations, but the basic principle is the same: A woman, usually in her 50s or older, is approached by a stranger, usually a younger woman, who asks the woman if she knows where to find a particular healer or fortune teller. Another seeming stranger joins the conversation, says she knows where the healer is located, and convinces the older woman to come along. The healer convinces the victim that in order to ward off some evil, she must hand over valuables in a bag to be blessed. And then they switch the bag.

Similar scams occur in other places in the U.S. with large Asian communities, such as . . .

MORE . . .

This undated image provided by the New York City Police Department shows a poster that has been displayed in Chinatown in Manhattan and in Asian neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens warning of blessing scams. Detectives say there has been a rash this year in New York of what’s known as an evil spirit or blessing scam, where older immigrant women, mostly Chinese, are swindled out of their valuables by clever scammers who prey on their superstition and fear. (AP Photo/NYPD)

This undated image provided by the New York City Police Department shows a poster that has been displayed in Chinatown in Manhattan and in Asian neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens warning of blessing scams. Detectives say there has been a rash this year in New York of what’s known as an evil spirit or blessing scam, where older immigrant women, mostly Chinese, are swindled out of their valuables by clever scammers who prey on their superstition and fear. (AP Photo/NYPD)

Cornered and Someone Wants to Tell Me Their Paranormal Story

Sharon_hill_80pxBy Sharon Hill via Huffington Post

One of the hazards of being a “skeptic” about paranormal subjects is that those who have had their own personal experiences or investigated a peculiar case like to play “Stump the Skeptic.”

“Oh, you are a Skeptic. Well, I have a story for you,” and then I get an earful.

GhostGirl_250pxHow do you explain that?” they conclude, with added self-satisfaction of a story well-told.

I can’t. And I’m not going to try to explain it.

Unless it’s a well researched case which has published documentation, I can’t say anything about it. It’s just a story. If I accepted every story I heard at face value every day, I’d be broke and in a mess of trouble. I am not accusing people of lying. I’m saying “I wasn’t there. It was not my experience,” so I’m not going to speculate about what you saw or what may have happened.

There is nothing to go on when cornered with these stories. I can’t fact check or confirm. I can’t pull an explanation out of a hat. I have no place to go with them except to say, “Hmm, interesting.”

Paranormal books are primarily these types of stories. It’s unusual for a case to be well-investigated compared to the thousands of stories that are related from eyewitnesses or referenced from other sources. Too many stories aren’t referenced at all. I was recently reading a book on local monsters and some accounts lacked accurate locations. There was no town of that name or there were no details. Useless. That is such poor quality evidence, it might as well be discarded since it is more likely wrong than helpful.

anecdote_200pxAnecdotes do not necessarily garner strength in numbers — not for paranormal subjects. A pile of unreliable tales is no better than one unreliable tale. It’s all hollow.

When it comes to local ghost and monster tales, the stories just exist and it is unclear where they originated. Such tales are great as local folklore. A problem arises when these anecdotes are elevated to “evidence.”

There is an over-reliance on anecdotes in the paranormal community — for hauntings, cryptozoology and ufology — as the basis of investigation. A case will start with an observation but if that is ALL that it is, with no physical evidence, no verification and a cold trail left to follow, there is nothing you can do with it but document it.

Had your own experience? Cherish it as your own. I just can’t help you and it’s a bit rude to put me on the spot. You had the experience. It’s up to you to provide evidence to support it, not for me to disprove your claim.

[end]

via Huffington Post

British Psychic TV Channels Fined For Not Telling Viewers It’s All B.S.

By via The Huffington Post

Why don't you remember this headline?

Why don’t you remember this headline?

In a move no one saw coming, A British TV channel set up to offer dial-up psychic services has been fined for not telling viewers it’s all “for entertainment purposes only.”

Psychic Today, a 24-hour psychic network, was fined the equivalent of $19,079 U.S. for claiming on-air that its psychics could provide “accurate and precise” readings for callers, for offering anecdotal stories of successful predictions, and for making claims that presenters had helped solve crimes for the police, according to the Register.

Another TV channel, an interactive quiz channel called The Big Deal, was fined the equivalent of $15,262 for advertising psychic services.

The fines were laid down by Ofcom, an independent regulator of the British communications industry that has strict rules about how psychics can label their skills.

psychic_200pxIn one case, a psychic told viewers she was involved in the police investigation regarding the death of teenager named Milly Dowler, while another claimed she once accurately predicted that her friend would become friends with Michael Jackson.

Majestic TV, which holds the license for Psychic Today, told Ofcom that while the claims made in both cases were “factually correct,” the reference to Dowler was “unfortunate,” SkyNews reported.

According to a document the organization released in December 2011, anyone claiming to be in touch with a spirit guide or a dead person must qualify their powers by saying it’s “for entertainment purposes,” a phrase that must also be stated by the presenters and scrolled on screen.

Psychics are also prevented from predicting the future, offering life-changing advice, talking to the dead or even claiming to be accurate, the Register reported.

MORE . . .

Also see: Telly psychics fail to foresee £12k fine for peddling nonsense • The Register (UK).

psychic-john-edward-2012-events_02

Open Up Your Mind and Let Your Brain Shut Off

Sharon_hill_80pxBy via The Huffington Post

People tell me I should be more open-minded.

There is a clichéd saying regarding open-mindedness: “Keep an open mind — but not so open that your brain falls out”.

This piece of advice is most often said to come from physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988), but also a slew of other more or less famous people, most of them from the field of science: Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, James Oberg, Bertrand Russell, J. Robert Oppenheimer. It’s plausible that they all certainly said it at one time or another because it applies every time one is presented with a fringe or alternative explanation for something. It’s well worth remembering as a rule of thumb.

Because I peruse paranormal-themed sites and various “water-cooler” forums on the web, I frequently see ideas thrown out there that would qualify as amazing and paradigm-shifting. So, what do I think about this latest crazy thing, people ask?

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The Starchild skull.

Here’s a recent example. With all the recent speculation about “alien” remains, someone on Facebook mentioned Lloyd Pye who contends (for almost 15 years now) that a curiously-shaped skull he has is that of an alien-human hybrid. Called the “star child” skull, Pye promotes the story that this is proof that humans descended from extraterrestrial beings.

The plausibility of this idea is practically nil. There is no decent evidence in support of it except a nifty story. To accept it, we’d have to throw out all of what we know about human history, evolution, and a good bit of well-established physics. Just because of one odd-looking skull? No, thank you. That would be stupid. Thus, to consider such an idea takes me about a minute before I realize that would be unreasonable. It’s an imaginative idea, just like mermaids and remote viewing and time travelers. But in order to accept it, I’d have to discard too much (e.g., my brain and society’s accumulated knowledge). The evidence clearly suggests another more down-to-earth explanation. Since the skull DNA tested as human, and we know that certain genetic conditions can cause the enlargement of the skull in just this way, I’m going to accept the obvious and not some far-fetched story just for kicks.

Calling skeptics closed-minded because we discard wacky ideas is a common ploy. It’s often used as a personal insult because the skeptic has rejected a baseless idea that the promoters fancy. When you don’t have evidence to support your idea, observe that the proponent resorts to derogatory tactics.

But all ideas are not equal. Not all ideas are worthy of consideration.

“But all ideas are not equal. Not all ideas are worthy of consideration.”

It’s not about actually being open-minded towards new ideas. Instead, the proponent is accusing the skeptic of being stubborn, undemocratic and unfair. They see it as the skeptical person, being overly rational, ignoring a possibly worthwhile option to be considered. But all ideas are not equal. Not all ideas are worthy of consideration.

Let’s take another example: energy healing. I should be open-minded, reiki practitioners say, and try these forms of energy medicine where healing energy gets channeled or manipulated for better health. If someone offers these treatments to me and I just say “OK! Sounds good!” (and hand over my money) is that actually being open-minded? No. It’s swallowing what I’m being fed without a thought. The same would apply to . . .

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Weird Word Salad: The Terminology of the Unexplained

Sharon_hill_80px via The Huffington Post

Paranormal investigators say they look for evidence of paranormal activity. That phrase always confounded me. I don’t quite get it. What does it mean when someone says they have evidence of “paranormal activity”? And, how do you know it’s not normal activity that you just couldn’t ferret out?

ElmerGhost02_250pxThere is a problem with how the word paranormal is used because it is often utilized in a way that is perhaps not consistent with the original intent.

Language evolves. Let me take a shot at unpacking some of these definitions about unexplained phenomena. See if it makes sense.

“Paranormal” and other terms for strange goings-on have changed over time. The word paranormal was coined around 1920. It means “beside, above or beyond normal.” Therefore, it’s anything that isn’t “normal” — or, more precisely, it is used as a label for any phenomenon that appears to defy scientific understanding. Ok, right there is a tripping point. Whose scientific understanding? The observer who is calling it “paranormal”? If so, that is problematic as a theoretical physicist sees things a lot differently than a dentist or a police officer. So, it appears too subjective to be precise. Each person may have their own idea of what constitutes “paranormal activity”.

The term “paranormal” used to just mean extrasensory perception and psychic power but, since the 1970s in particular — thanks to TV shows and proliferation of the subject in popular culture — the term expanded in scope to include all mysterious phenomena seemingly shunned by standard scientific study. It was a convenient way to bring many similarly peculiar topics under one heading for ease of marketing. So today, it can include everything that sounds mysterious: UFOs, hauntings, monster sightings, strange disappearances, anomalous natural phenomena, coincidences, as well as psychic powers.

images.jpgUFONot everyone agrees that fields of study such as UFOlogy or cryptozoology (Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster and the like) should be considered paranormal but, if we think about the fact that after all this time, we have yet to document what these things actually are, that is beyond normal. Therefore, paranormal (arguably).

What appears as paranormal could essentially one day become normal. This has happened before with meteorites and still mysterious but likely explainable earthquakes lights and ball lightning. Or, we might not have developed the right technology or made the philosophical breakthrough yet to provide an explanation for some seemingly paranormal events. Perhaps we may find an instrument that can measure whatever it is that results in “hauntings” of a particular type. (Notice that I didn’t say an instrument that detects ghosts — an important distinction.)

Contrasted with paranormal is “supernatural.” To say something is supernatural is to conclude that the phenomenon operates outside the existing laws of nature. We would call such phenomena . . .

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The Internet: A Superhighway of Paranormal Hoaxes and Fakelore

Sharon_hill_80pxBy Sharon Hill via The Huffington Post

It’s been a hot time for hoaxing thanks to the Internet. With Photoshop, citizen journalism sites, YouTube, and postboards for the latest photo leaks, it is way too easy to send a lie half way around the world before the truth can pull its shoes on.

This iconic image of the Lock Ness monster was hoaxed by Hugh Gray in 1933. (source)

In this post, I wrote about a busy week in paranormal-themed news. In chatting with a correspondent — Jeb Card, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department of Miami University — over a shared interest in the state of the paranormal today or “occulture,” we got to talking about the state of hoaxing.

Make no mistake, hoaxing has always been around. Hoaxers have been trying to fool people by displaying their special skills (scams) or stupendous stories since the beginning of civilization, I think. But there is a particular history of hoaxing in occulture. Lately, it has gotten more frequent (or we sure notice it more), more absurd (to outdo the last one) and more involved (because the payout can be big while the scrutiny greater).

There are many famous hoaxes from this scene. It’s hard to say if it’s more common now than in the past. Some of the hoaxes, notes Jeb, have been very influential in the creation of popular folklore. Big ones have defined UFOlogy: Roswell and the Men in Black. Not everyone would conclude these are deliberate hoaxes — there is a grain of truth to them — but they went way out of control and now there are hoaxed videos, documents and tales based on these events that never happened the way the lore says it did. Stories like that, which have taken on a life of their own as if they were true, are called “fakelore.”

bigfoot-2The Bigfoot field is trampled over with fake footprints, stories, casts, photos and videos. It can’t be denied that the majority of Bigfoot stories are unbelievable, without supporting evidence, or obvious hoaxes. Every new bit of Bigfoot “evidence” these days makes us roll our eyes and say “SERIOUSLY!?” This reputation is damaging to those who truly believe something is out there to be found. The credibility of Bigfoot researchers scrapes the bottom of the barrel. The history of hoaxes colors this topic deeply when we realize that the seminal story of “Bigfoot,” Ray Wallace’s trackway, was revealed to be a hoax.

Actually, the same can be said for the Loch Ness Monster. The iconic Nessie photo — the long-neck arching out of the rippling water — was hoaxed.

A longtime follower of the occulture fields, Jeb says he can’t think of a time when these communities weren’t awash with . . .

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Citizen Hearing on Disclosure: ET Believers To Get Congressional-Style Grilling From Former Lawmakers

By via HuffPost Weird News

aliens-ufo_300pxAre we alone in the universe? Could UFO sightings actually be extraterrestrial spacecraft?

We ask these questions every day, especially on HuffPost Weird News, but now, four former lawmakers are about to open up the discussion to a congressional-style grilling.

The former federal legislators will convene in Washington, D.C. later this month and hold a serious meeting on the subject, called the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure. They’ll hear some 30 hours of testimony from researchers, military personnel and witnesses, all claiming to have proof of alien life.

Don’t worry, taxpayers, this isn’t an official meeting at the public’s expense. But it’s meant to focus public opinion.

The man organizing this event — Stephen Bassett of the Paradigm Research Group — is essentially a lobbyist for extraterrestrial issues.

The retired representatives will be paid, but they won’t be speaking to the press. That said, having a pseudo-official congressional-style hearing about aliens is an ambitious one, and it’ll all be recorded and released as a documentary.

Some even say that the “truth” will be revealed at the hearing.

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Sacramento ‘UFO Explosion’ Mystery Revealed

By Lee Speigel via The Huffington Post

The explanation for what many people thought was an exploding UFO above Sacramento is no longer a mystery — it was a weather balloon.

After HuffPost reported how Elijah Prychodzko videotaped a circular, bright aerial object through his telescope over Sacramento on Dec. 20, 2012, the volume of explanations began rolling in for the possible identity of the object.

Those included alien spacecraft, military weapons test, a runaway planet, Doomsday rock headed to Earth and shot down by the Air Force, North Korea’s satellite, and, even, a hoax.

This exploding weather balloon over Tampa Bay, Fla., was recorded on July 2, 2012. It looks nearly identical to the object that exploded over Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 20, 2012.

This exploding weather balloon over Tampa Bay, Fla., was recorded on July 2, 2012. It looks nearly identical to the object that exploded over Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 20, 2012 (below).

If the images above and below look similar, it’s because they both show the same type of event as seen through telescopes — the difference being that the picture above was taken over Tampa Bay, Fla., on July 2, 2012, and the one below was the object photographed over Sacramento on Dec. 20.

o-SACRAMENTOUFO-570

This object exploded over Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 20, 2012.

Many readers speculated that what Prychodzko captured on video was a weather balloon and not something that occurred in deep space.

“Obviously, something of this magnitude (planetary-size space explosion) would have been noticed by government (NASA) and or professional astronomers along with a host of amateur astronomers,” 40-year veteran UFO researcher Frank Warren told HuffPost in an email.

Warren, editor and publisher of The UFO Chronicles website, did a follow-up investigation of the Sacramento video and concluded the object was clearly terrestrial in origin.

“After reviewing several videos of ‘weather balloons bursting’ at altitude, it leaves no question as to what the image in the Prychodzko video really is. Like any case we dig into, one either finds ancillary evidence in support of a claim, none, or just the opposite. This one fell apart rather quickly — research 101.”

In videos of weather balloon explosions — which can be found on the Internet — it looks like something is “orbiting” the main balloon, when, in fact, it’s an instrument package called a radiosonde that swings under the balloon, giving the appearance of being in orbit around the balloon. As the balloon rises, the decreased air pressure causes it to expand until it eventually bursts.

According to NBC News.com . . . MORE . . .

Doomsday 2012 Hoax: NASA Scientist David Morrison Debunks End Of World Theories

via huffingtonpost.com

Is the world going to end right in the middle of the upcoming holiday season? While that wouldn’t be good for retail sales, many people feel that Dec. 21, 2012 is a date that will linger in our minds forever — assuming we all survive the calamities that are supposedly headed our way.

The ancient Mayan civilization calendar is believed to end this year on Dec. 21. And somehow, through word-of-mouth, movies, books, the Internet, etc., a cult-like belief system has sprung up in our culture suggesting any number of awful things will take place on that date.

Some of these include:

  • An unknown planet on a collision path with Earth.
  • A close encounter between Earth and a black hole in deep space.
  • More natural disasters around our planet.
  • A shifting of Earth’s magnetic poles.

But where did all of these rumors actually start?

Many believe it goes back thousands of years to the ancient Sumerian culture who reportedly discovered a twelfth planet they called Nibiru — aka Planet X — which was predicted to have a close encounter with Earth in 2003.

When that didn’t happen, a new Doomsday was moved to December 2012.

On the other hand, there are some who believe the December date heralds not doom and gloom, but a more positive transformative experience for Earth and its inhabitants.

It all sounds rather sketchy, especially to a scientist.

“It’s all a hoax, and it’s based on absolutely no factual information. None of the things that are supposed to happen are real, and so it’s kind of hard to even have a scientific discussion about what they’re worried about because there’s no science there,” said David Morrison, a leading space scientist and director of the Carl Sagan Center for Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute in California.

Watch this Doomsday video with David Morrison

While SETI scientists are involved with the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, they also want to quiet any fears the public has about the alleged Doomsday.

To that end, Morrison created a special Doomsday 2012 Fact Sheet in September that’s posted on both SETI and NASA websites.

According to this fact sheet, “opinion polls suggest that one in 10 Americans worry about whether they will survive past December 21 of this year.”

“Think about that. It means when you walk down the street and look around, there are 25 million people who presumably have no stake in anything because their world’s going to end in [December]. That is scary,” Morrison told The Huffington Post.

When Morrison was researching information for his Doomsday fact sheet, he didn’t find anything that confirmed that the Mayans left us any dire predictions.

MORE (VIDEO) . . .

Let’s Take a Stab at the Medical Myths Surrounding Vampires

By Glenn D. Braunstein, M.D. via huffingtonpost.com

If you buy into the current pop-culture craze about vampires, they’re simply the most intriguing, seductive creatures around, trapped in torrid love triangles with young, beautiful people. With super-speed, super-strength, killer wardrobes and a thirst for blood that can’t be slaked, the “undead” now dominate the box office, rack up ratings and top the bestseller lists. Whether it’s vampire Bill guzzling True Blood in the swamps of Louisiana, Edward Cullen brooding in the twilight of the Pacific Northwest, or revenants hunted by Abraham Lincoln (?!), the public never has seemed more obsessed with saying fangs you very much to these mythical demimonde.

But let’s dig deeper into their past, racing beyond creepy Count Orlok of black-and-white cinematic fame and dashing across historical Europe to ask whether whispers of health, medicine and science can stake out a different view of vampires: A considerable body of scholarly work seeks to explain what might have created the folklore of the vampire or Nosferatu — a name that comes from the Greek nosophoros, or plague-carrier.

Records of vampire-like creatures can be found in ancient religions of Tibet, India and Mexico. Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian and other ancient cultures also appear to have held beliefs involving a dead figure who returns to life in its own body and feeds off the living. Similar myths exist in European, Chinese, Polynesian and African cultures.

Our modern ideas about these monsters probably originated in Scandinavia and the British Isles but really took hold in Central and Eastern Europe in medieval times. In a region of what is now Romania, the unspeakable deeds and a reputation for barbarism gave rise to the posthumous name for Vlad III Dracul, a prince of the region, as “Vlad the Impaler.” In turn, this inspired author Bram Stoker‘s legendary tale, making Dracula a synonym for vampire. Of course, even in modern times, we occasionally read about a psychotic killer who cannibalizes his prey (remember Jeffrey Dahmer).

Even more fundamental to vampire lore may be a misunderstanding of the death and disease people once encountered in their everyday lives.

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Bigfoot Bounty: Spike TV Offers $10 Million For Irrefutable Proof Of Legendary Creature

via huffingtonpost.com

What would it take to get you interested in heading to remote wooded areas of America to try and prove the existence of the legendary creature known as Bigfoot? How about $10 million dollars.

Spike TV is offering the largest cash prize in television history for its new reality show, “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty.”

Hoping to whet the appetites of Bigfoot hunters everywhere, the cable television channel has partnered with the international insurance market, Lloyd’s of London, to put teams of explorers on the track of the elusive, tall, hairy, human-like animals that allegedly live in the wilderness areas of North America.

“If this series idea had come in without that Lloyd’s of London mark attached to it, I don’t think we would have taken it seriously, but that’s no small chunk of change,” said Tim Duffy, Spike TV’s senior vice president of original series.

“What it signified to us was an opportunity to attract the best scientists, zoologists, trackers and Bigfoot hunters in the world in an attempt to prove or disprove its existence,” Duffy told The Huffington Post.

[…]

The 10, hour-long episodes of “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty” are in pre-production now, with teams being assembled that will travel to various locations in the U.S., applying different methods in the search for their evasive quarry. The show has a scheduled launch on Spike TV in the fall of 2013.

In an odd twist for a new television series, besides the outrageous dollar amount prize for the first person to prove Bigfoot’s reality, Duffy said he and other Spike TV executives actually hope the show doesn’t last more than one season.

“Yes, absolutely! No one has ever done anything like this before, and that’s what I love about this show,” he said. “We’re going to do this right, not fast, and we’re not going to do it purely for entertainment purposes.”

Certainly one question that must be considered is: Does the $10 million bounty depend on whether Bigfoot is captured dead or alive? In some states, like Texas, it’s perfectly legal to shoot the alleged creature.

“We haven’t gotten to that point yet with Lloyd’s of London. Because they are the guarantors of this prize, they have a huge say in it. We’re still in the process of figuring out what the requirements will ultimately be for the retrieval of the bounty by whoever is successful bringing Bigfoot in,” said Duffy.

The most controversial piece of evidence to date that has been …

MORE (including photos and video) . . .

Watch this analysis of the Patterson-Gimlin 1967 Bigfoot film

Alejandro Rojas: New Book Chronicles Official Government UFO Investigations

By via huffingtonpost.com

Many do not realize that for several decades the United States took UFO reports very seriously. In fact, it was the Air Force that coined the term UFO in the first place. Furthermore, there are several governments around the world who still take UFO reports very seriously and continue to investigate them in an official capacity. All of these government-sponsored UFO investigations have been documented like never before in the new book UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry.

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or to purchase

The cover of the book says it is a history of government UFO investigations “from the perspectives of the governments themselves.” That is because the authors have undergone years of painstaking research, unearthing hundreds of official government documents from government and university archives chronicling the manner in which government agencies went about tackling the UFO phenomenon and why they even bothered.

The book begins during World War II when many Allied pilots in the European campaign reported witnessing balls of light following their aircraft and eventually flying off at great speeds. They were dubbed “Foo Fighters.” After the war the military inquired of the Germans and Russians as to what these Foo Fighters were. Their response was that they had also witnessed the mysterious balls of light, and had assumed them to be secret weapons of the United States. Thus began over two decades of investigation as to what these unidentified flying objects were and whether or not they posed a threat.

Reports of UFOs of varying shapes and sizes increased steadily into the 50s. After sightings over Washington, D.C., President Truman tasked the CIA to look into the matter. They convened the Robertson Panel, which determined that the phenomenon did not pose a direct threat; however, they did worry that it could pose a psychological threat that could be exploited by the Russians.

Over half of the humongous 600 page, 8 1/2 by 11″ book reviews hundreds of files demonstrating the serious nature in which every branch of the United States military, the CIA and the FBI took into investigating the flood of UFO reports coming in from the public, the military and even law enforcement personnel.

Photo From The book

Eventually, due to the conclusions of an independent panel of investigators in 1969 with the University of Colorado, commissioned by the Air Force, official UFO investigations in the United States ended. The panel concluded that there was no scientific benefit to the study of UFOs. However, the authors dedicate a chapter to UFO investigation that took place post-1969, demonstrating that there have been a number of important sightings that the Air Force could not ignore.

One of these incredible events took place over two days at Loring Air Force base in Maine in October 1975. The first day’s event was in the evening when security police saw a craft with red blinking lights fly in and then began circling the base. It came within 300 yards of a nuclear storage area and was tracked on radar before disappearing. It was thought at the time that it could have been a wayward helicopter. However, it apparently returned the next night. This time the crew of a B-52 bomber reported seeing a large football shaped object the length of four cars.

MORE . . .

Leslie Kean: UFO Caught On Tape Over Santiago Air Base (Plus My Analysis)

By Leslie Kean – written with Ralph Blumenthal – via huffingtonpost

Is this the case UFO skeptics have been dreading?

Sightings of mysterious flying craft with capabilities unknown on Earth have confounded mankind throughout recorded history. Most have been convincingly explained away as unfamiliar aircraft, natural phenomena or illusions. But then there are the others, witnessed in our time by pilots and air traffic controllers, military leaders, scientists, law enforcement officers and other trained observers, sometimes with physical evidence, including corroboration on film and video.

“We don’t know what they are,” says Nick Pope, a former head of the official UFO office in Britain’s Ministry of Defense. “But they do exist.”

As agreed by authorities around the world, these truly unexplainable unidentified flying objects appear solid, metallic and luminous, able to operate with speeds and maneuvers that defy the laws of physics. And, most chilling of all, they often behave as if under intelligent control.

One such case has just come to light in Chile, and was presented by government officials for the first time at a press conference on March 13.

It was a glorious, sunny morning on Nov. 5, 2010, when crowds gathered to celebrate the changing of the Air Force Command at El Bosque Air Base in Santiago. From different locations, spectators aimed video cameras and cell phones at groups of acrobatic and fighter jets performing an air show overhead. Nobody saw anything amiss.

But afterward, an engineer from the adjacent Pillán aircraft factory noticed something bizarre while viewing his footage in slow motion. He turned it over to the government’s well known Committee for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena, or CEFAA, for analysis.

The stunning conclusion: The Chilean jets were being stalked by a UFO.

In the clips below, the UFO is difficult to see because it’s moving so fast. The clip is repeated with the UFO highlighted as it makes passes around three separate groups of airplanes:

MORE . . .

My Analysis

By Mason I. Bilderberg

I don’t pretend to be a video/photographic expert, but i do believe this footage has some telltale signs of being a fake.

Above are two frames from the movie. The problem is in the frame on the right where the trees display a blurring or double-image effect. This is consistent with either motion blur (camera shake or movement while recording), video compression or possibly video interlacing. Given the movement of the camera by the camera operator, i believe it’s impossible to have everything in this frame blurred EXCEPT the object in question. This would, however, be completely consistent with a blurred video frame that had an object superimposed (edited) onto it. In other words, this film is faked.

Additionally, this object was supposed to be flying at impossible speeds – yet the object is not blurred in the video.

The image above exhibits the same inconsistencies as the first image. The jets in the second frame are blurred or double-imaged, yet the unidentifed object is not. This looks like the object was superimposed (edited) onto these frames.

The object should be blurred, if for no other reason, the alleged speed of this object.

The image above fails the smell test for the same reasons.

(BELOW) These are a series of frames taken from the video depicting the movement of the object from point “A” to point “B”. These series of frames occurred over an approximate 3 second period.

The first thing you should note is the complete lack of blur on the object allegedly moving at lightning speeds. There are other anomalies:


(ABOVE) Position B appears empty.

(BELOW) The object is starting to appear in position “B” while still located in position “A”.



Still: No blur.



(ABOVE and BELOW) The object is simultaneously occupying both positions – “A” and “B”.


(BELOW) In the remaining frames the object is seen continuing to occupy both positions – slowly fading (as opposed to instantaneously disappearing) from position “A”.




My conclusion: FAKED!

Ben Hansen Of Syfy Channel’s ‘Fact Or Faked’ Examines Your UFOs

Lee SpeigelBy via huffingtonpost.com

Armed with millions of available cell phone cameras and digital cameras, people are looking to the skies around the world, and posting images of apparent UFOs on YouTube every day.

It’s about time the FBI helped out with sifting through it all. Or at least former FBI Special Agent Ben Hansen, who now makes a living uncovering the truth behind strange and bizarre sightings.

“I think that having a background in formal investigation helps in a logistical part of how to manage a case, and also gathering information,” Hansen told The Huffington Post.

As the lead host and investigator of the Syfy Channel‘s “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files” series, Hansen, seen at right, uses his FBI-trained skills to debunk fake material and search for the truth. He says most UFO sightings are easily explained.

“It probably falls in the range of about 95 percent. When you actually have a photo or video, I would say the percentage of the unexplained increases a little bit. However, the biggest factor, I think, in the increase [of claimed UFO videos] is due to the availability of computer graphic software.”

Hansen looked carefully at several videos for HuffPost Weird News and offered his expertise on whether they’re fact or faked.

Read More [videos too !]: Ben Hansen Of Syfy Channel’s ‘Fact Or Faked’ Examines Your UFOs.

‘Chasing UFOs’ Stars Blast Their Own Show [EXCLUSIVE]

It’s been said there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but when the stars of your own show give it a thumbs-down, that might be the exception.

The National Geographic Channel premiered “Chasing UFOs,” an eight-episode reality TV show last month, focusing on a trio of investigators traversing America in search of the truth of unexplained UFO reports, alleged alien abductions and reported military cover-ups.

On the heels of less-than-positive reviews and viewer comments, two of the show’s stars — James Fox and Ben McGee — revealed their own dissatisfaction with “Chasing UFOs,” complaining that the show had placed more emphasis on entertainment value than a serious look at the UFO subject.

Keep Reading: ‘Chasing UFOs’ Stars Blast Their Own Show [EXCLUSIVE].

UFO Over Olympics Opening Ceremony: A Classic Flying Saucer [VIDEO]?

Talk about an uninvited guest at the Olympics.

Friday night’s spectacular pyrotechnics display of the most watched opening ceremony in summer Olympics history attracted more than the eyes of over 40 million people. A clearly seen unidentified flying object was videotaped making its way over London’s Olympic stadium, reports Examiner.com.

Watch as the UFO approaches London’s Olympic stadium.

Read More: UFO Over Olympics Opening Ceremony: A Classic Flying Saucer [VIDEO].

Updated: 07/31/2012: Olympics UFO Was Definitely Our Blimp: Goodyear (PHOTOS)

UFO X-Files Released By U.K. Reveal Desire To Weaponize Alien Technology

Newly released X-Files from the United Kingdom’s National Archives reveal the role of that country’s Ministry of Defense UFO Desk officers, what they actually thought about possible alien visits to Earth and their ideas on harnessing alien technology as a weapon.

There are 25 files, comprising more than 6,700 pages, that include UFO policy, parliamentary questions, media issues, public correspondence and, of course, UFO sighting reports. Overall, more than 10,000 UFO reports came through the special Ministry of Defense unit from 1950 to 2009.

“These are probably the most fascinating and bizarre government files ever made available to the public,” said Nick Pope, who was the UFO Desk officer from 1991 to 1994.

Read More: UFO X-Files Released By U.K. Reveal Desire To Weaponize Alien Technology.

‘Chasing UFOs,’ New National Geographic Show, Reexamines Famous Flying Saucer Sightings

This show is a real doozy – and i don’t mean that in a positive way. Here, i’ll let the Huffington Post give you their review, then i’ll post a YouTube review below from one of my favorite skeptics, V00D00SIXXX.

«For most people, looking for UFOs is more of a hobby than an actual occupation. Not so for Erin Ryder, James Fox and Ben McGee, members of a dynamic team starring in the new television series, “Chasing UFOs,” that premieres Friday on the National Geographic Channel.

One can imagine the theme music of the old “X-Files” series playing in the heads of Ryder, Fox and McGee as they travel the country looking for the truth behind reported unexplained UFO encounters, alien abduction and military cover-ups.

The three investigators bring different points of view as they chase UFOs.»

Keep Reading: ‘Chasing UFOs,’ New National Geographic Show, Reexamines Famous Flying Saucer Sightings (VIDEO).


YouTube Review: Chasing UFOs (or not finding flying saucers)
This video is 32 minutes long, i enjoyed it, i hope you do too.

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