Monthly Archives: November, 2012

No Huge Discovery by Mars Rover Curiosity Yet

via LiveScience

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity used its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to snap a set of 55 high-resolution images on Oct. 31, 2012. Researchers stitched the pictures together to create this full-color self-portrait.
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
View full size image

Contrary to rampant speculation, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has not made an earth-shaking find just a few months into its Red Planet mission, agency officials said today (Nov. 29).

Rumors of a big discovery began swirling earlier this month, after an NPR story quoted Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger as saying that the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument had recently gathered data “for the history books.”

SAM is capable of identifying organic compounds, the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it. So many people assumed that Curiosity had detected organic compounds in the Martian soil.

But that’s not the case, officials said.

“Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect,” officials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., which manages Curiosity’s mission, wrote in a mission update today. “At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics.”

Grotzinger, who is a geologist at Caltech in Pasadena, and several other members of the Curiosity team will hold a press conference Monday (Dec. 3) at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

Don’t expect a bombshell announcement.

“The news conference will be an update about first use of the rover’s full array of analytical instruments to investigate a drift of sandy soil,” JPL officials wrote.

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Bigfoot totally exists, everybody!

Gravity's Wings

So apparently some “scientist”, and I use the term loosely, has sequenced some DNA that’s totally from a Sasquatch.  Take a look:

A team of scientists can verify that their 5-year long DNA study, currently under peer-review, confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch,” living in North America. Researchers’ extensive DNA sequencing suggests that the legendary Sasquatch is a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species.  [From the press release]

Seems legit.  Although wouldn’t it be better to prove that Bigfoot exists before you start sequencing it’s DNA?

Also, how did they get the Sasquatch DNA sample in the first place?

Ketchum says her DNA sample was obtained from a blueberry bagel left in the backyard of a Michigan home that, according to the owner, sees regular visits from…

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Mayan doomsday mountain blocked: French officials ban access

via Mail Online | h/t Thomas J. Proffit

French officials ban access to sacred mountain which believers claim will be refuge from ‘Mayan apocalypse on December 21′

  • Rumours say the mountain will burst open on December 21 to reveal an alien spaceship which will save those nearby from the apocalypse
  • French police will control access to the mountain and village to stop expected hordes of New Age fanatics, sightseers and journalists
  • December 21 is the estimated end of the Mayan long calendar, which some believes marks the end of the world as we know it

The Pic de Bugarach, south-west France: Online rumours claim that on December 21 the mountain will burst open to reveal an alien spaceship that will rescue those nearby from the apocalypse

Fears the end of the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world this coming December have run rife on the internet in recent years.

Less well known is the rumour that one particular mountain in south-west France will burst open on that day revealing an alien spaceship which will carry nearby humans to safety.

Well, if you were counting on that possibility to save you from the apocalypse, prepare to be disappointed. French officials have banned access to the Pic de Bugarach to avoid a rush of New Age fanatics, sightseers and, above all, journalists.

A hundred police and firefighters will also control approaches to the tiny village of the same name at the foot of the mountain, and if too many people turn up, they will block access there too.

Believers say the world will end on December 21, 2012, the end date of the ancient Mayan calendar, and they see Bugarach as one of a few sacred mountains sheltered from the cataclysm.

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Alex Jones Says People Who Can’t Swim Have A Mental Illness

Ladies and gentlemen … grab some popcorn … because once again, i present to you … my favorite moron …   … Alex Jones! (ht Thomas J. Proffit)

by

Alex Jones Says People Who Can’t Swim Are Mentally Ill

Alex Jones Says People Who Can’t Swim Have A Mental Illness – YouTube.

Magical Thinking

via Unnatural Acts that can improve your thinking

 magical thinking is “a fundamental dimension of a child’s thinking.”
Zusne and Jones

Magical thinking is a belief in the interconnectedness of all things through forces and powers that transcend physical connections. Magical thinking invests special powers and forces in things and sees them as symbols on various levels. According to anthropologist Dr. Phillips Stevens Jr., “the vast majority of the world’s peoples … believe that there are real connections between the symbol and its referent, and that some real and potentially measurable power flows between them.” He believes there is a neurobiological basis for this, though the specific content of any symbol is culturally determined. (“Magical Thinking in Complementary and Alternative Medicine,” Skeptical Inquirer, 2001, November/December.)

One of the driving principles of magical thinking is the notion that things that resemble each other are causally connected in some way that defies scientific testing (the so-called law of similarity, that like produces like, that effect resembles cause). Another driving principle of magical thinking is the belief that “things that have been either in physical contact or in spatial or temporal association with other things retain a connection after they are separated” (the so-called law of contagion) (James George Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion; Stevens). Think of relics of saints that are supposed to transfer spiritual energy. Think of psychic detectives claiming that they can get information about a missing person by touching an object that belongs to the person (psychometry). Or think of the pet psychic who claims she can read your dog’s mind by looking at a photo of the dog. Or think of Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance, the idea that there are mysterious telepathy-type interconnections between organisms and collective memories within species. (Coincidentally, Sheldrake also studies psychic dogs

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Book-riffling robot scans one page at a time

By Paul Marks, chief technology correspondent via newscientist.com

Like a bored child who can’t be bothered to read, this robot flips from page to page. This odd contraption is actually a new way to scan and digitise the world’s books – at a speed of 250 pages per minute. Although it’s only a research machine, that reading rate easily beats manually-fed commercial scanners that only scan around 12 pages per minute.

The secret of the University of Tokyo’s new system is to eschew the flatbed scanner used by most book digitising systems, including the kind Google uses to digitise the British Libary’s precious collections for instance. Instead, Masatoshi Ishikawa and Yoshihiro Watanabe use a process they have dubbed, for obvious reasons, Book Flipping Scanning.

In their technique, there’s no need for an operator to laboriously turn the pages from one spread to the next. Instead, the book is held with its spine under slight tension so that a robot arm with a stepper motor can flip from one page to the next by moving a fraction of a millimetre per spread. Then – and Google does this too – the page image is corrected for the 3D curviness of the page to provide a clean scan for the optical character recognition system.

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Long Island Medium – The Learning Channel

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Long Island Medium is a television program on The (so-called) Learning Channel featuring Theresa Caputo doing readings as a psychic medium in the tradition of Sylvia Browne, James Van Praagh, John Edward, and thousands of other men and women claiming to get messages from dead people. What are the odds that Caputo is not deluded or a fraud? I’d say they’re about the same as those for Gordon Smith or Allison DuBois or Char Margolis or Noreen Renier or Sylvia Browne or Rosemary Althea or Lynn Ann Maker or Greta Alexander or Phil Jordan or James Van Praagh or John Edward or George Anderson or Dorothy Allison.

Theresa Caputo is just one of many unsinkable rubber duckies, as James Randi calls them. No matter how many of these characters skeptics expose, dozens more will pop up to replace or join them. Why? Not because they really get messages from the dead or have special powers, but because people want to believe in them, people are easily deceived, and most people don’t understand subjective validation and how it works. For more on how subjective validation works see “Gary Schwartz’s Subjective Validation of Mediums.”

It is understandable that many people want to reconnect with loved ones who have died. Belief in the afterlife and in spirit communication seems natural to many people. People who are skeptical of life after death seem to be in a minority, so there is little reason to distrust such beliefs when there is substantial communal reinforcement for them.

Another reason these rubber duckies remain unsinkable is that they are playing a win-win game. Skeptics don’t have a chance against them. Even when caught in egregious falsehoods–as Sylvia Browne has been several times–support for their work increases rather than suffers. When Sylvia Browne appeared on the Montel Williams show and told the parents of a missing 10-year-old boy that their son was dead, she did not lose any followers when four years later Shawn Hornbeck was found alive. Browne had also claimed that the man who took Shawn was a “dark-skinned man, he wasn’t black — more like Hispanic.” She said he had long black hair in dreadlocks and was “really tall.” She was wrong on all counts.

She was also wrong about the vehicle driven by Michael J. Devlin, the man convicted of kidnapping and child molestation in the case. Another alleged psychic, James Van Praagh, said that two people were involved in the abduction and that a person who worked in a railroad car plant was involved and the body might be concealed in a railway car. He was wrong on all counts.

A look at Van Praagh’s message board will reveal why such errors do little to destroy people’s faith in characters like Browne or Van Praagh. To the devoted believer, the psychic can do no wrong. If there was an error, it wasn’t the psychic’s fault. What may appear to be an error may not really be an error. It’s possible the psychic got his or her wires crossed and mistook one spirit for another. And so on. And, as Van Praagh and Browne have often said, they’re not gods and not infallible. When you’re validated you’re right and when you’re wrong your fallibility is validated. For the alleged psychic it is always a win-win with your devoted followers.

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Subjective Validation

via Skepdic.com

Subjective validation is the process of validating words, initials, statements, or signs as accurate because one is able to find them personally meaningful and significant. Subjective validation explains why many people are seduced by the apparent accuracy of pseudoscientific personality profiles. Subjective validation deludes everyone from the housewife who thinks her happiness depends on her blood type or horoscope, to the FBI agent who thinks criminal profiles are spot on, to the therapist who thinks her Rorschach readings are penetrating portraits of psychological disorders.

Subjective validation is an essential element of any successful cold reading done by astrologers, palm readers, tarot readers, mediums, and the like. The sitter in such readings must cooperate. Fortunately for the medium, most sitters are usually eager for the reader to succeed and are willing to work hard to find personal meaning in whatever the reader throws out. In a successful cold reading, the sitter will be convinced that the accuracy of the reading was not due to her ability and willingness to cooperate but rather to the powers of astrology, palmistry, tarot, or mediumship.

Sitters are often very compliant. A medium will say he senses a father figure trying to contact him from the spirit world and the sitter has only to find someone to fit the bill. It need not be the sitter’s father. So, when the sitter identifies this father figure as her deceased husband, the medium is validated by the subject. The medium is validated by the subject when the medium says she is getting the message “I do not walk alone” and the sitter makes sense out of this by seeing it as a communication from a departed soul who was in a wheelchair before she died. There may be thousands of ways to make sense out of an ambiguous stimulus like the name ‘Michael’ or the expression ‘broken wheel’ but all it takes is for the sitter to find one and the medium is validated.

Selective memory is also involved in subjective validation because it is very unlikely that any sitter will be able to find meaning in every utterance the medium makes. Fortunately for the reader, the sitter will usually forget the misses and remember only the hits. That is, the sitter will remember what she was able to make sense out of and forget the stuff that made no sense to her. Also, it rarely occurs that anyone makes an independent check of the accuracy of the sitter’s rating of the reader.* So, if a sitter is satisfied that a reading is very accurate that is usually taken as sufficient evidence by the medium – and by experimenters who test mediums such as Gary Schwartz – as proof of the accuracy of the reading.

The stronger the desire to make contact, the harder the sitter will work to find meaning and connections in the medium’s items. This fact should impact the design of experiments that are supposed to test a medium’s ability to get messages from spirits. Experimenters should always checks factual claims made by sitters. But even though the concern with factual accuracy is important in verifying the success of the medium, one should not lose sight of the importance of the studies that have been done on how the human mind works when it comes to making sense out of and giving significance to disparate data presented to it. The overall effect of subjective validation should show up in the way sitters rate the accuracy of the mediums’ claims.

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Apophenia

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Face? What face?

Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena.

Soon after his son committed suicide, Episcopalian Bishop James A. Pike (1913-1969) began seeing meaningful messages in such things as a stopped clock, the angle of an open safety pin, and the angle formed by two postcards lying on the floor. He thought they were conveying the time his son had shot himself (Christopher 1975: 139).

Peter Brugger of the Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Zurich, gives examples of apophenia from August Strindberg‘s Occult Diary, the playwright’s own account of his psychotic break:

He saw “two insignia of witches, the goat’s horn and the besom” in a rock and wondered “what demon it was who had put [them] … just there and in my way on this particular morning.” A building then looked like an oven and he thought of Dante’s Inferno.

He sees sticks on the ground and sees them as forming Greek letters which he interprets to be the abbreviation of a man’s name and feels he now knows that this man is the one who is persecuting him. He sees sticks on the bottom of a chest and is sure they form a pentagram.

He sees tiny hands in prayer when he looks at a walnut under a microscope and it “filled me with horror.”

His crumpled pillow looks “like a marble head in the style of Michelangelo.” Strindberg comments that “these occurrences could not be regarded as accidental, for on some days the pillow presented the appearance of horrible monsters, of gothic gargoyles, of dragons, and one night … I was greeted by the Evil One himself….”

According to Brugger, “The propensity to see connections between seemingly unrelated objects or ideas most closely links psychosis to creativity … apophenia and creativity may even be seen as two sides of the same coin.” Some of the most creative people in the world, then, must be psychoanalysts and therapists who use projective tests like the Rorschach test or who see patterns of child abuse behind every emotional problem. Brugger notes that one analyst thought he had support for the penis envy theory because more females than males failed to return their pencils after a test. Another spent nine pages in a prestigious journal describing how sidewalk cracks are vaginas and feet are penises, and the old saw about not stepping on cracks is actually a warning to stay away from the female sex organ.

Brugger’s research indicates that high levels of dopamine affect the propensity to find meaning, patterns, and significance where there is none, and that this propensity is related to a tendency to believe in the paranormal.

In statistics, apophenia is called a Type I error, seeing patterns where none, in fact, exist. It is highly probable that the apparent significance of many unusual experiences and phenomena are due to apophenia, e.g., ghosts and hauntings, EVP, numerology, the Bible code, anomalous cognition, ganzfeld “hits”, most forms of divination, the prophecies of Nostradamus, remote viewing, and a host of other paranormal and supernatural experiences and phenomena.

Those of us who have had the pleasure of spending some time with a person having a psychotic episode have often been asked to see the significance of such random things as automobile license plate numbers, birth dates, and arrangements of fallen twigs.

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Embarrassing Conspiracy Theory (ECT) Follow up: FEMA camps: Executive Orders

via The Soap Box

In a previous Embarrassing Conspiracy Theory post I talked about how many conspiracy theorists believe that the government is going to place citizens who object to government authority in prison camps. One of the key pieces of “evidence” for people who believe in these prison camps that are allegedly being built is that there are Executive Orders that have been made by the President which will give the government, FEMA, and the military the authority to round up citizens who object to government authority and ship them off to these alleged prison camps. Often times they also claim that government will create a disaster that will kill millions of people in order to justify the execution of these Executive Orders.

While conspiracy theorists often times cite real Executive Orders as evidence for what they believe is the planned coming of Martial Law, many of the conclusions they come to about these Executive Orders are very deceptive and quite frankly, incorrect.

First, many of the Executive Orders are often claimed to have been made by either President George W. Bush, or President Barack Obama. In perhaps most of these cases this is incorrect, and is either the result of poor or non research, or even an outright lie.

If you do the research you will find that the Executive Orders that are often cited by conspiracy theorists were not made by either President Bush or Obama, but were actually made by either President John Kennedy, of President Lyndon Johnson. In fact most of the Executive Orders that are commonly cited were made during the Cold War when the threat of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union was very real.

Also, most of the Executive Orders that are cited makes no mention of things like “prison camps” or “Martial law” or anything even of the like. The only things mentioned in these cited Executive Orders that would come even come remotely close is …

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Stunt Driving in San Francisco: Gotta-See Video

Nothing mystical or magical here, just sheer awesomeness! Check it out 🙂

via Discovery News

Gymkhana is a timed motorsport involving the memorization of a track with obstacles. DC Shoes co-founder Ken Block is also an expert at rally driving. He took to the streets of San Francisco in his 650 horsepower Ford Fiesta to drive a crazy complex course as fast as possible. Don’t miss it! via Today Show

Click here for more Gotta-See Videos From Discovery

How Long Will a Lie Last? New Study Finds That False Memories Linger for Years

By Kyle Hill via Scientific American Blog Network

True memories fade and false ones appear.

Each time we recall something, the memory is imperfectly re-stitched by our brains. Our memories retain familiarity but, like our childhood blankets, can be recognizable yet filled with holes and worn down with time.

To date, research has shown that it is fairly easy to take advantage of our fallible memory. Elizabeth Loftus, cognitive psychologist and expert on human memory, has found that simply changing one word in a question can contort what we recall. In one experiment, Loftus had participants watch a film of a car crash, and then asked about what they saw. They were either asked “How fast were the cars going when they hit each other,” or “How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other.” One week later the participants returned for some memory questions. Loftus asked whether or not there was broken glass at the scene of the accident. Those participants that heard the word “smashed” were more than twice as likely to recall seeing broken glass than those who heard the word “hit.” Keep in mind, there was in fact no broken glass at the scene[2].

This kind of insight—that our memories are terrible camcorders of reality—had serious pop culture ramifications. “Repression” and “repressed memories” have entered our culture’s lexicon, without evidential support. Even with numerous accusations of sexual abuse and other childhood horrors filed in court with the explosion of “recovered memory therapy,” the same research pioneered by experts like Loftus has suggested that most if not all of these “repressed” memories are merely false ones[1]. At CSICon, a skeptic’s conference earlier this year in Nashville, Tennessee, Loftus herself noted that the same techniques used to implant false memories in psychological experiments are precisely the techniques used by repression therapists to recover supposedly buried traumas.

Nearly four decades later, Loftus and colleagues aim to further memory science once again. Introducing a false memory in experiment can be done quickly and with some degree of reliability, but how long does the lie last? Surely bolstered by a digital age reverberating with misinformation, the results point to a disturbingly long half-life of lies.

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Narcissistic People & the Lost Art of Conversation

This is so apropo given the upcoming holiday conversations 😉
by Joseph Burgo, Ph.D. via Psychology Today

Most people are narcissistic.

I’m not using that word in the clinical diagnosistic way, nor in the everyday sense of vain or conceited. What I mean is that most people are almost exclusively focused upon themselves, their personal interests and their own emotional needs for attention. A certain amount of preoccupation with oneself is normal and healthy; it becomes a problem when you’re not truly interested in other people or ideas and only want to talk about yourself.

Here’s a fairly common experience for me: I’m at a party or social gathering, speaking to someone I’ve just met, or an acquaintance I haven’t seen in a long while. I’m asking questions, inquiring about the person’s background or catching up since we last met. Fifteen, twenty minutes pass…we’re still talking about the other person. I get the feeling that I could be anyone; I’m just a receptacle, a mirror or an audience. I provide needed attention to the other person; he or she has no interest in getting to know the man who’s listening.

As a therapist (by temperament as well as profession), I’m a good listener and adept at drawing people out. As a student of human nature, I’m genuinely curious and, for the most part, fascinated by the variety of people I meet. Sometimes I feel lonely, though. I used to be surprised and disappointed that the person I’d just met didn’t want to get to know me. Now I expect a lot less. Lack of genuine interest in others—that’s what I mean when I say I find most people to be narcissistic.

Even with friends, conversation tends to mean waiting your turn to launch into your own story, waiting for the gap or the conversational trigger that will make the transition over to you seem more or less natural. With some truly narcissistic people, the transition seems forced—they’ll use any excuse to change the subject. It can even seem funny if you look at it from the right point of view, although painful when you recognize the reasons for that kind of behavior.

[…]

With the holidays upon us, where parties and family gatherings are on the calendar, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to watch yourself and others at work. Is the conversation of the type I described? Are family and friends just waiting for their own turn to be the center of attention? Does one person tend to dominate? How about you? Do you ask questions? Do you take an interest in other people?

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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.

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16 Signs That Your House is Haunted

By via paranormal.about.com

How do you know if that persistent rapping on your walls is bad plumbing or a mischievous spirit? Here are some of the signs of a haunting

You hear heavy footsteps in the upstairs hallway when you know no one is up there. Doors slam unaccountably. Commonly used items disappear and reappear without cause. The kitchen light turns on by itself. There’s the unmistakable scent of a strange perfume in the air.

These may be indications that your house is haunted. True hauntings are rare occurrences, and it may be difficult to determine whether or not any strange phenomena you are experiencing in your home might be due to a haunting. For one thing, no one really knows what a “real” haunting is – what causes it or why it starts. There are many theories, of course, which we have discussed in this space in the article “Ghosts: What Are They?” But if you think your house may really be haunted, what can you do about it?

THE SIGNS OF A HAUNTING

The first step is to determine, as best you can, whether or not you truly have a legitimate case of a haunting. Not all hauntings are alike, and they may exhibit a variety of phenomena. Some hauntings feature a single phenomenon – such as a particular door slamming shut that occurs repeatedly – while others consist of many different phenomena, ranging from odd noises to full-blown apparitions.

Here’s a partial list of phenomena that might indicate that your house is haunted:

  • Unexplained noises – footsteps; knocks, banging, rapping; scratching sounds; sounds of something being dropped. Sometimes these noises can be subtle and other times they can be quite loud.
  • Doors, cabinets and cupboards opening and closing – most often, these phenomena are not seen directly. The experiencer either hears the distinct sounds of the doors opening and closing (homeowners get to know quite well the distinctive sounds their houses make) or the experiencer will return to a room to find a door open or closed when they are certain that it was left in the opposite position. Sometimes furniture, like kitchen chairs, are perceived to have been moved. Very rarely will the experiencer actually witness the phenomenon taking place.
  • Lights turning off and on – likewise, these events are seldom seen actually occurring, but the lights are switched on or off when the experiencer knows they were not left that way. This can also happen with TVs, radios and other electrically powered items.
  • Items disappearing and reappearing – this phenomenon, which we have dubbed “the DOPler Effect” (DOP = Disappearing Object Phenomenon), has been examined in the article “The DOPler Effect.” Others have called this “the borrowers” phenomenon, and it’s the familiar experience of not being able to find a regularly used item – say, your set of car keys – which you believe you placed in a spot you routinely place them. But they’re gone and you look high and low for them with no success. Some time later, the keys are found – in exactly the place you normally put them. It’s as if the object was borrowed by someone or something for a short time, then returned. Sometimes they are not returned for days or even weeks, but when they are, it’s in an obvious place that could not have been missed by even a casual search.
  • Unexplained shadows – the sighting of fleeting shapes and shadows, usually seen out of the corner of the eye. This phenomenon has also been discussed in some detail in “Shadow People.” Many times, the shadows have vaguely human forms, while other times they are less distinguishable or smaller.
  • Strange animal behavior – a dog, cat or other pet behaves strangely. Dogs may bark at something unseen, cower without apparent reason or refuse to enter a room they normally do. Cats may seem to be “watching” something cross a room. Animals have sharper senses than humans, and many researchers think their psychic abilities might be more finely tuned also. (See “Animals and Ghosts” )
  • Feelings of being watched – this is not an uncommon feeling and can be attributed to many things, but it could have a paranormal source if the feeling consistently occurs in a particular part of the house at a particular time.

Those are some of the most common experiences of those who think their houses are haunted. Yet even stranger things can happen…

Next page: Stronger Evidence

Are Flat-Earthers Being Serious?

via LifesLittleMysteries.com

A Flat Earth model depicting Antarctica as an ice wall surrounding a disc-shaped Earth.
CREDIT: Creative Commons 1.0 Generic | Trekky0623
View full size image

Members of the Flat Earth Society claim to believe the Earth is flat. Walking around on the planet’s surface, it looks andfeelsflat, so they deem all evidence to the contrary, such as satellite photos of Earth as a sphere, to be fabrications of a “round Earth conspiracy” orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies.

The belief that the Earth is flat has been described as the ultimate conspiracy theory. According to the Flat Earth Society’s leadership, its ranks have grown by 200 people (mostly Americans and Britons) per year since 2009. Judging by the exhaustive effort flat-earthers have invested in fleshing out the theory on their website, as well as the staunch defenses of their views they offer in media interviews and on Twitter, it would seem that these people genuinely believe the Earth is flat.

But in the 21st century, can they be serious? And if so, how is this psychologically possible?

Through a flat-earther’s eyes

First, a brief tour of the worldview of a flat-earther: While writing off buckets of concrete evidence that Earth is spherical, they readily accept a laundry list of propositions that some would call ludicrous. The leading flat-earther theory holds that Earth is a disc with the Arctic Circle in the center and Antarctica, a 150-foot-tall wall of ice, around the rim. NASA employees, they say, guard this ice wall to prevent people from climbing over and falling off the disc. Earth’s day and night cycle is explained by positing that the sun and moon are spheres measuring 32 miles (51 kilometers) that move in circles 3,000 miles (4,828 km) above the plane of the Earth. (Stars, they say, move in a plane 3,100 miles up.) Like spotlights, these celestial spheres illuminate different portions of the planet in a 24-hour cycle. Flat-earthers believe there must also be an invisible “antimoon” that obscures the moon during lunar eclipses.

Furthermore, Earth’s gravity is an illusion, they say. Objects do not accelerate downward; instead, the disc of Earth accelerates upward at 32 feet per second squared (9.8 meters per second squared), driven up by a mysterious force called dark energy. Currently, there is disagreement among flat-earthers about whether or not Einstein’s theory of relativity permits Earth to accelerate upward indefinitely without the planet eventually surpassing the speed of light. (Einstein’s laws apparently still hold in this alternate version of reality.)

As for what lies underneath the disc of Earth, this is unknown, but most flat-earthers believe it is composed of “rocks.” [Religion and Science: 6 Visions of Earth’s Core]

Then, there’s the conspiracy theory: Flat-earthers believe photos of the globe are photoshopped; GPS devices are rigged to make airplane pilots think they are flying in straight lines around a sphere when they are actually flying in circles above a disc. The motive for world governments’ concealment of the true shape of the Earth has not been ascertained, but flat-earthers believe it is probably financial. “In a nutshell, it would logically cost much less to fake a space program than to actually have one, so those in on the Conspiracy profit from the funding NASA and other space agencies receive from the government,” the flat-earther website’s FAQ page explains.

It’s no joke

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Also see The Flat Earth Society

What You Need To Know About… Psychometry

via paranormal.about.com

The incredible phenomenon of psychometry that senses an object’s past – by touching it

WHAT IS PSYCHOMETRY?

Psychometry is a psychic ability in which a person can sense or “read” the history of an object by touching it. Such a person can receive impressions from an object by holding it in his/her hands or, perhaps, touching it to the forehead. Such impressions can be perceived as images, sounds, smells, tastes – even emotions.

Psychometry is a form of scrying – a psychic way of “seeing” something that is not ordinarily seeable. Some people can scry using a crystal ball, black glass or even the surface of water. With psychometry, this extraordinary vision is available through touch.

For example, a person who has psychometric abilities – a psychometrist – can hold an antique glove and be able to tell something about the history of that glove, about the person who owned it, about the experiences that person had while in the possession of that glove. The psychic may be able to sense what the person was like, what they did and even how they died. Perhaps most important, the psychic can sense how the person felt – the emotions of the person at a particular time. Emotions especially, it seems, are most strongly “recorded” in the object.

The psychic may not be able to do this with all objects at all times and, as with all psychic abilities, accuracy can vary, but the ability is available to the psychic.

A BRIEF HISTORY

“Psychometry” as a term was coined by Joseph R. Buchanan in 1842 (from the Greek words psyche, meaning “soul,” and metron, meaning “measure.”) Buchanan, an American professor of physiology, was one of the first people to experiment with psychometry. Using his students as subjects, he placed various drugs in glass vials, and then asked the students to identify the drugs merely by holding the vials. Their success rate was more than chance, and he published the results in his book, Journal of Man. To explain the phenomenon, Buchanan theorized that all objects have “souls” that retain a memory.

Intrigued and inspired by Buchanan’s work, American professor of geology William F. Denton conducted experiments to see if psychometry would work with his geological specimens. In 1854, he enlisted the help of his sister, Ann Denton Cridge. The professor wrapped his specimens in cloth so Ann could not see even what type they were. She then placed the wrapped package to her forehead and was able to accurately describe the specimens through vivid mental images she was receiving.

From 1919 to 1922, Gustav Pagenstecher, a German doctor and psychical researcher, discovered psychometric abilities in one of his patients, Maria Reyes de Zierold. While holding an object, Maria could place herself in a trance and be able to state facts about the object’s past and present, describing sights, sounds, smells and other feelings about the object’s “experience” in the world. Pagenstecher’s theory was that a psychometrist could tune in to the experiential “vibrations” condensed in the object.

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“They” Are Watching

by via Mysterious Universe

Some people will tell you it’s totally untrue. It’s not. Others will say it’s unfounded. Dead wrong. And probably more than a few will claim it’s nothing but paranoia run rampant. Wrong again. What is it? Well, I’ll tell you: it’s the claim that Intelligence agencies not only monitor UFO activity, but carefully take note of what is being said on the subject at conferences around the world, too; even to the extent of sitting in the audiences and carefully making notes or recording every word that comes out of the mouths of the speakers. Think I’m wrong? Read on. You’ll see several examples of around no less than 30 cases that I have been able to document via the Freedom of Information Acts of several countries.

In the late 1970s, the FBI was taking a keen interest in the research of a number of investigators of the cattle mutilation mystery and even went as far as dispatching agents to attend a conference on the subject that was held on 20 April 1979 at the New Mexico-based Albuquerque Public Library. A report to FBI headquarters from Albuquerque, dated 25 April 1979, outlined the flavor of the conference, and addressed the various opinions of those in attendance:

Gabe Valdez, New Mexico State Police, Dulce, New Mexico, reported he has investigated the death of 90 cattle during the past three years, as well as six horses. Officer Valdez said he is convinced that the mutilations of the animals have not been the work of predators because of the precise manner of the cuts. Officer Valdez said he had investigated mutilations of several animals which had occurred on the ranch of Manuel Gomez of Dulce, New Mexico.

“Manuel Gomez addressed the conference and explained he had lost six animals to unexplained deaths which were found in a mutilated condition within the last two years. Further, Gomez said that he and his family are experiencing fear and mental anguish because of the mutilations.”

The FBI document on the conference turned its attention to the various and diverse lectures given by a range of additional speakers at the conference:

“David Perkins, the Director of the Department of Research at Libre School in Farasita, Colorado, exhibited a map of the United States that contained hundreds of colored pins identifying mutilation sites. He commented that he had been making a systematic collection of data since 1975, and has never met a greater challenge. He said, ‘The only thing that makes sense about the mutilations is that they make no sense at all.’

“Tom Adams of Paris, Texas, who has been independently examining mutilations for six years, said his investigation has shown that helicopters are almost always observed in the area of the mutilations. He said that the helicopters do not have identifying markings and they fly at abnormal, unsafe, or illegal altitudes. Dr. Peter Van Arsdale, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Denver, suggested that those investigating the cattle mutilations take a systematic approach and look at all types of evidence is discounting any of the theories such as responsibility by extraterrestrial visitors or satanic cults.”

And as the FBI also noted: “Richard Sigismund, Social Scientist, Boulder, Colorado, presented an argument which advanced the theory that the cattle mutilations are possibly related to activity of UFOs. Numerous other persons made similar type presentations expounding on their theories regarding the possibility that the mutilations are the responsibility of extraterrestrial visitors, members of Satanic cults, or some unknown government agency.

“Tommy Blann, Lewisville, Texas, told the conference he has been studying UFO activities for twenty-two years and mutilations for twelve years. He explained that animal mutilations date back to the early 1800’s in England and Scotland. He also pointed out that animal mutilations are not confined to cattle, but cited incidents of mutilation of horses, dogs, sheep, and rabbits. He also said the mutilations are not only nationwide, but international in scope.

“Chief Raleigh Tafoya, Jicarilla Apache Tribe, and Walter Dasheno, Governor, Santa Clara Pueblo, each spoke briefly to the conference. Both spoke of the cattle which had been found mutilated on their respective Indian lands. Chief Tafoya said some of his people who have lost livestock have been threatened.”

Moving on from cattle mutilations, from 1992 and 1993, come other examples of official interest in monitoring conferences that had UFO themes or connections. For example, American military intelligence personnel were in attendance at the first European meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, which was held on August 7-8, 1992, in Munich, and that had the UFO subject on its agenda.

A three-page document pertaining to the conference, originally classified at Secret level, was made available to me under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act by the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1993. Its contents make for interesting reading:

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Spark Socket Connects Your Regular Old Light Bulbs to the Internet

Very cool . . .

via Gadget Lab | Wired.com

Companies from Google to Comcast to Electric Imp are trying to connect home devices and appliances to the web, but the internet of things remains more of a complicated, distant dream than a reality. Spark Devices wants to start off simple, with one of the most used items in your house — the light bulb.

Spark Devices launched on Kickstarter with a working prototype of what it calls the Spark Socket. All a user needs to do to get their lights on the web is screw a regular light bulb into the Spark Socket and screw that into a regular light fixture. They can then control their lighting — on, off, and dimming — through an iOS or Android app, which opens up entirely new avenues for home lighting. Users can schedule their lights when they’re away, set them to slowly turn on in the morning, and even set them to flash when someone calls their phone.

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Alien Mug Shots: The Ten Best (or Worst) Photos of Aliens

via CSI

Photos of supposed UFOs abound. Most of the time they show dark stains or bright dots in the sky, of varying dimension and quality, which could be due to a lot of things: military aircrafts, weather balloons, birds, meteors, etc. Sometimes the UFO is well focused, but the flying saucer always looks suspiciously similar to a pan lid suspended from a thread or a lamp holder or a wheel cap thrown in the air. And of course today the possibilities for digitally retouching an image are endless.

What are lacking, however, are credible photos of the creatures that should be flying these UFOs—the actual aliens or extraterrestrials. It appears there are no more than fifty such photos shot in the past eighty years, but once you take out those plainly fake and the more suspicious looking ones all you are left with are about ten photos. These are, essentially, “mug shots” of wanted extraterrestrials. Here is my personal list of the best (or worst) photos of aliens.

10. High Bridge, New Jersey (August 2, 1956)


Howard Menger was a well-known American contactee who claimed he had met extraterrestrials throughout his whole life. He detailed in his books his chats with friendly Adamski-like Venusian “space brothers” who also gave him a wife and took him on their bases on the Moon and on Venus. This is one of the photos that he took of his ET friends; interestingly, in his photos the aliens are always dark shapes illuminated from behind. They almost look like Menger’s mother or wife coming out in the porch at night with a flashlight in hand, calling for that weird Howard, always lost in his UFO dreams.

9. Lossiemouth, Scotland (1954)


Cedric Allingham was an amateur ornithologist who was looking for birds in the North of Scotland when he saw a flying saucer descend to the earth. One of the occupants exited the spaceship and walked up to him. The alien told him he was coming from Mars and, after a little chat, left. Precisely in that moment, Cedric took this picture. Well, yes, the beanpole here looks more like a janitor or a plumber than an extraterrestrial. However, it was later suspected that Cedric Allingham never existed and that the photo was circulated by Patrick Moore, an astronomer well known for his pranks.

8. Carp, Ontario, Canada (August 15, 1991)


The photo of this alien “entity” was supposedly taken along with the film of a UFO landing. The fact that nobody knows who took the photo or the film, both sent by an unknown person calling him or herself “Guardian” to Tom Theofanous, a Canadian UFOlo­gist, does not help in taking the photo seriously. Other messages sent by “Guardian” describing a “conspiracy between the Chinese and Grey Aliens planning to take over the world” did little to increase its credibility.

7. Alaska (1930s)


This seems to be the most ancient of the lot, even if it was seen for the first time in 2003. The anonymous source claims that his grandfather took the picture seventy years before in Alaska and gave it to him the day before he died. Nothing is known about the photographer, the location, or the date of the photo. Some thought that since the little man seems to be leaning on one side it might actually be a dummy. What is more suspicious, however, is the fact that with the original source “conveniently” dead exactly one day after his revelation (isn’t that a little too trite?), all possibilities of verifying the story are defunct.

6. Falkville, Alabama (October 17, 1973)


That night, police chief Jeff Greenhaw received a phone call from an excited lady who said that she had witnessed a “spaceship” land in an open field not far from the town proper. The sheriff took off with a camera and found a “tinfoil alien” who consented to be photographed but then ran away. The ridicule that the whole story brought on the sheriff’s office cost Greenhaw his job as well as his wife. Some think that he may have encountered someone wearing a fireman’s as­bestos suit; others, however, think that the being in the suit was a friend of Greenhaw and that the whole thing was an attempt to get famous that went terribly wrong.

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Automatic writing (trance writing)

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Automatic writing is writing allegedly directed by a spirit or by the unconscious mind. It is sometimes called “trance” writing because it is done quickly and without judgment, writing whatever comes to mind, “without consciousness,” as if in a trance. It is believed that this allows one to tap into the subconscious mind, where “the true self” dwells. Uninhibited by the conscious mind, deep and mystical thoughts can be accessed. Trance writing is also used by some psychotherapists who think it is a quick way to release repressed memories. There is no scientific evidence that trance writing has any unique therapeutic value.

Advocates of automatic writing claim that the process allows them to access other intelligences and entities for information and guidance. They further claim that it permits them to recall previously irretrievable data from the subconscious mind and to unleash spiritual energy for personal growth and revelation. According to psychic Ellie Crystal, entities from beyond are constantly trying to communicate with us. Apparently, we all have the potential to be as clairaudient as James Van Praagh and John Edward.

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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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Cognitive Dissonance

via Unnatural Acts that can improve your thinking

Cognitive dissonance is a theory of human motivation that asserts that it is psychologically uncomfortable to hold contradictory cognitions. The theory is that dissonance, being unpleasant, motivates a person to change his cognition, attitude, or behavior. This theory was first explored in detail by social psychologist Leon Festinger, who described it this way:
Dissonance and consonance are relations among cognitions that is, among opinions, beliefs, knowledge of the environment, and knowledge of one’s own actions and feelings. Two opinions, or beliefs, or items of knowledge are dissonant with each other if they do not fit together; that is, if they are inconsistent, or if, considering only the particular two items, one does not follow from the other (Festinger 1956: 25).
He argued that there are three ways to deal with cognitive dissonance. He did not consider these mutually exclusive.
  1. One may try to change one or more of the beliefs, opinions, or behaviors involved in the dissonance;
  2. One may try to acquire new information or beliefs that will increase the existing consonance and thus cause the total dissonance to be reduced; or,
  3. One may try to forget or reduce the importance of those cognitions that are in a dissonant relationship (Festinger 1956: 25-26).
For example, people who smoke know smoking is a bad habit. Some rationalize their behavior by looking on the bright side: They tell themselves that smoking helps keep the weight down and that there is a greater threat to health from being overweight than from smoking. Others quit smoking. Most of us are clever enough to come up with ad hoc hypotheses or rationalizations to save cherished notions. Why we can’t apply this cleverness more competently is not explained by noting that we are led to rationalize because we are trying to reduce or eliminate cognitive dissonance. Different people deal with psychological discomfort in different ways. Some ways are clearly more reasonable than others. So, why do some people react to dissonance with cognitive competence, while others respond with cognitive incompetence?
Cognitive dissonance has been called “the mind controller’s best friend” (Levine 2003: 202). Yet, a cursory examination of cognitive dissonance reveals that it is not the dissonance, but how people deal with it, that would be of interest to someone trying to control others when the evidence seems against them.

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Alex “Einstein” Jones’ Torturous Genius Level Understanding

Ladies and gentlemen, once again i present to you … my favorite moron …  … Alex Jones!

Alex “Einstein” Jones’ Torturous Genius Level Understanding.

Eyes right – eyes left? New illusion

via Richard Wiseman

My pal and amazing psychologist Rob Jenkins has created this great illusion.  The animation below shows the same image getting smaller (you might need to click on the image to get it to animate).  However, at the start the women looks like she is looking to your left and at the end she appears to be looking to your right.

Do you know why it works?

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Mermaids: Why they really are a myth Part 1: Why they can’t hide

via The Soap Box – OCTOBER 23, 2012

Recently the Discovery Networks produced a fictional movie in the form of a documentary called Mermaids: The Body Found. While the movie was indeed a work of fiction, many people thought it was real, and it attempted to present that mermaids could theoretically be real.

The reality is that mermaids are not real. If they were indeed real, we would have known about them by now, despite the fact that they would be close to intelligent as us, if not as intelligent as us.

Mermaids would most likely be sea mammals, and despite the fact sea mammals can often stay under water for long periods of time, they would still need air to breath, and thus must come up to the surface occasionally.

Mermaids would also require a viable breeding population in order to keep the species going. Even endangered animals are occasionally seen in the wild. This includes sea creatures who would have a easier time staying hidden. Sea mammals especially, because as I said before hand, sea mammals must come up air, making it harder to hide from us if they intended to do that. The amount of ships on the oceans, and even the great deal of the population that lives along coast, would make it even harder for an sea mammal to remain hidden.

Another reason why mermaids most likely do not exist is because no bodies have ever been found beached.

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Part 2 of this 3 part series can be found here.

Agenda 21 mind control conspiracy idea circulating among Republicans

Top Georgia GOP Lawmakers Host Briefing on Secret Obama Mind-Control Plot

via Mother Jones

President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That’s according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.

On October 11, at a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus convened by the body’s majority leader, Chip Rogers, a tea party activist told Republican lawmakers that Obama was mounting this most diabolical conspiracy. The event—captured on tape by a member of the Athens-based watchdog Better Georgia (who was removed from the room after 52 minutes)—had been billed as an information session on Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement that commits member nations to promote sustainable development. In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth. The invitation to the Georgia state Senate event noted the presentation would explain: “How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to ‘save the earth.'”

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Water Wars

And the silly conspiracies continue …

by ConspiracyStuff

Billions of people around the world have little or no access to clean water — and experts believe this situation will only worsen. In fact, some analysts believe the next world war won’t be over nukes or ideology — but, instead, a war over water. Tune in and learn more in this installment of … Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know.

Part 1:

via Water Wars, Part 1.

Part 2:

via Water Wars, Part 2.

Top Conspiracy Theories

via Pakalert Press

 The JFK Assassination

This much we can stipulate: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, struck by two bullets — one in the head, one in the neck — while riding in an open-topped limo through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with killing him, and a presidential commission headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren found that Oswald acted alone.

That conclusion hasn’t passed muster with the public. A 2003 ABC News poll found that 70% of Americans believe Kennedy’s death was the result of a broader plot. The trajectory of the bullets, some say, didn’t square with Oswald’s perch on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Others suggest a second gunman — perhaps on the grassy knoll of Dealey Plaza — participated in the shooting. Others believe in an even broader conspiracy. Was Kennedy killed by CIA agents acting either out of anger over the Bay of Pigs or at the behest of Vice President Lyndon Johnson? By KGB operatives? Mobsters mad at Kennedy’s brother for initiating the prosecution of organized crime rings? Speculation over one of history’s most famous political assassinations is such a popular parlor game that most people have taken the rumors to heart: just 32% of those polled by ABC believe Oswald carried out the killing on his own.

 9/11 Cover-Up

Not since the JFK assassination has there been a national tragedy so heavily imprinted in American minds — or that has given rise to quite as many alternative explanations. While videos and photographs of the two planes striking the World Trade Center towers are famous around the world, the sheer profusion of documentary evidence has only provided even more fodder for conspiracy theories.

A May 2006 Zogby poll found that 42% of Americans believed that the government and the 9/11 commission “concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence that contradicts their official explanation of the September 11th attacks.” Why had the military failed to intercept the hijacked planes? Had the government issued a “stand down” order, to minimize interference with a secret plan to destroy the buildings and blame it on Islamic terrorists? In 2005, Popular Mechanics published a massive investigation of similar claims and responses to them. The reporting team found that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) did not have a history of having fighter jets prepped and ready to intercept aircraft that had gone off route. And while the team found no evidence that the government had planned the attacks, lack of proof has rarely stopped conspiracy theorists before.

 Area 51 and the Aliens

We may have Tang thanks to the space program, but who gave us such innovations as the Stealth fighter and Kevlar? Aliens, of course. Conspiracy theorists believe that the remains of crashed UFO spacecrafts are stored at Area 51, an Air Force base about 150 miles from Las Vegas, where government scientists reverse-engineer the aliens’ highly advanced technology. Fodder for this has come from a variety of supposed UFO sightings in the area and testimony from a retired Army colonel who says he was given access to extraterrestrial materials gathered from an alien spacecraft that crashed in Roswell, N.M. Some believe that the government studies time travel at Area 51, also known as Groom Lake or Dreamland.

The government has developed advanced aircraft and weapons systems at nearby Nellis Air Force Base, including Stealth bombers and reconnaissance planes. And the government’s official line — that the details of Area 51 are classified for purposes of national security — is only seen as further proof that the military is hiding aliens or alien spacecraft.

 Paul Is Dead

Paul McCartney never wrote “Maybe I’m Amazed.” He never formed the band Wings. He never clashed with Yoko, became a vegetarian, or fathered any of his children. When Queen Elizabeth knighted him in 1997, she was actually knighting someone else. This is because, conspiracy-minded Beatlemaniacs say, Paul McCartney secretly died in 1966. Theorists claim the other Beatles covered up his death — hiring someone who looked like him, sang like him, and had the same jovial personality. But the guilt eventually got to them and they began hiding clues in their music. In the song “Taxman,” George Harrison gave his “advice for those who die,” meaning Paul. The entire Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was awash with Paul-is-dead clues: the Beatles had formed a “new” band featuring a fictional member named Billy Shears — supposedly the name of Paul’s replacement. The album contained John Lennon’s “A Day in the Life,” which had the lyrics “He blew his mind out in a car” and the recorded phrase “Paul is dead, miss him, miss him,” which becomes evident only when the song is played backward. Lennon also mumbled, “I buried Paul” at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever” (in interviews, Lennon said the phrase was actually “cranberry sauce” and denied the existence of any backward messages).

Paul-is-dead believers think the Beatles accompanied these backward tape loops and veiled references to death with album covers that illustrated the loss of their friend. The original cover of 1966′s Yesterday and Today album featured  the Beatles posed amid raw meat and dismembered doll parts — symbolizing McCartney’s gruesome accident. If fans placed a mirror in front of the Sgt. Pepper album cover, the words Lonely Hearts on the drum logo could be read as “1 ONE 1 X HE DIE 1 ONE 1.” And of course, there’s the Abbey Road cover, on which John, George and Ringo forwent all pretense and pretended to cross the street as a funeral procession. John wore all white, like a clergyman. Ringo, the mourner, dressed in black. George donned jeans, like a gravedigger. Paul wore no shoes (he didn’t need them, because he was dead) and walked out of step with the others.

If Paul is dead, then his imposter is still at large. He met and married Linda Eastman, with whom he had four children before losing her to breast cancer in 1998. He released a live album in 1993 called Paul Is Live (likely story), and produced more than 20 solo albums — and that’s not even counting the ones released by Wings. Then he endured a horrible divorce from Heather Mills, which may have made him wish he were dead — or, at least, were still Billy Shears. So who is the real McCartney? The world may never know.

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“Bigfoots are real. The evidence shows it.”

via KVAL CBS 13

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Bigfoot is no stranger to the Pacific Northwest: about a third of reported sasquatch sightings happen in Oregon and Washington.

The legend – or search – has gained new popularity from “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet.

“It won’t take long, a few years tops,” Portland native and bigfoot hunter Cliff Barackman told a Springfield High School club. “These things are real, and soon everyone is going to know about it.”

Barackman admits to a lifelong obsession with sasquatch, an obession he now gets to indulge by traveling the country with three other bigfoot experts in search of ‘squatch.

He is used to dealing with skeptics, but during a recent visit to Springfield High School, barackman was preaching to the choir at the Sasquatch Brotherhood, a school club.

“It’s like religion,” said Austin Helfrich of the Sasquatch Brotherhood. “You try to spread religion. Sasquatch, you try to spread it around, and have other people start to believe in it. And it just spreads like wildfire.”

“Finding Bigfoot” has helped fan the flames: 1.3o million people tuned in for the premiere of its third season.

“Certainly more people are becoming believers because of the show,” Barackman said. “I don’t encourage belief. I encourage weighing the evidence and coming to your own conclusion.”

The Sasquatch Brotherhood’s members have come to the conclusion that bigfoot is out there, and like many fellow enthusiasts, they feel there’s a good chance he calls the Pacific Northwest home.

“Lots of forested areas, very wet, mostly lots of animals,” Helfrich said. “I think it would be an easy location for sasquatches to live in.”

Helfrich and his friends admit they get some odd looks from other students.

But the general public’s skepticism doesn’t seem to bother them – or Barackman. They are all convinced that sasquatch’s days in the shadows are numbered.

“I don’t have a PhD. I don’t care what other people think of me,” Barackman said. “Bigfoots are real. The evidence shows it.”

Leap of Faith 2012 (almost here!)

A real life Wile E. Coyote… listen to THIS nonsense …

His crazy world: http://www.1111invitation2012.info/1111Invitation2012/Welcome.html

via Leap of Faith 2012 (almost here!) – YouTube.

Man Finds His Doppelganger in 16th Century Italian Painting

via ABC News Blogs – Yahoo!

Courtesy Nikkie Curtis
(click image for larger view)

What started out as a leisurely stroll through the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Nov. 11 with his girlfriend, quickly turned into quite a surreal experience for Max Galuppo, 20, of Bloomsbury, N.J.

Galuppo, a Temple University student, found his doppelganger in a 16th century Italian painting by an unknown artist titled “Portrait of a Nobleman with Dueling Gauntlet.”

“It was really weird. He goes to Temple so we’d been saying for a while we wanted to go to the art museum,” his girlfriend, Nikkie Curtis, told ABCNews.com. “We went into the armor exhibit and he loved the helmets. He was completely oblivious to it, and I walked past it and was like, ‘Do you see this painting right now? It looks just like you.'”

Although Galuppo’s resemblance to the dark haired, huskily built, bearded face seems obvious to the 735 Reddit users who have commented on the photo since Curtis uploaded it to the site late Sunday night, Galuppo, at first, said he failed to recognize the similarity.

“To be honest, I didn’t see it. I didn’t see the resemblance,” Galuppo said. “And then I saw the picture of me next to it, and you can’t deny that.”

MORE (with video). . .

Updated 11/16/2012 – Via ABC:

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