The Misconception: You take randomness into account when determining cause and effect.
The Truth: You tend to ignore random chance when the results seem meaningful or when you want a random event to have a meaningful cause.
Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were both presidents of the United States, elected 100 years apart. Both were shot and killed by assassins who were known by three names with 15 letters, John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, and neither killer would make it to trial.
Spooky, huh? It gets better.
Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy, and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln.
They were both killed on a Friday while sitting next to their wives, Lincoln in the Ford Theater, Kennedy in a Lincoln made by Ford.
Both men were succeeded by a man named Johnson – Andrew for Lincoln and Lyndon for Kennedy. Andrew was born in 1808. Lyndon in 1908.
What are the odds?
In 1898, Morgan Robertson wrote a novel titled “Futility.”
Written 14 years before the Titanic sank, 11 years before construction on the vessel even began, the similarities between the book and the real event are eerie.
The novel describes a giant boat called the Titan which everyone considers unsinkable. It is the largest ever created, and inside it seems like a luxury hotel – just like the as yet unbuilt Titanic.
Titan had only 20 lifeboats, half than it needed should the great ship sink. The Titanic had 24, also half than it needed.
In the book, the Titan hits an iceberg in April 400 miles from Newfoundland. The Titanic, years later, would do the same in the same month in the same place.
The Titan sinks, and more than half of the passengers die, just as with the Titanic. The number of people on board who die in the book and the number in the future accident are nearly identical.
The similarities don’t stop there. The fictional Titan and the real Titanic both had three propellers and two masts. Both had a capacity of 3,000 people. Both hit the iceberg close to midnight.
Did Robertson have a premonition? I mean, what are the odds?
In the 1500s, Nostradamus wrote:
Bêtes farouches de faim fleuves tranner
Plus part du champ encore Hister sera, En caige de fer le grand sera treisner, Quand rien enfant de Germain observa.
This is often translated to:
Beasts wild with hunger will cross the rivers, The greater part of the battle will be against Hister. He will cause great men to be dragged in a cage of iron, When the son of Germany obeys no law.
That’s rather creepy, considering this seems to describe a guy with a tiny mustache born about 400 years later. Here is another prophecy:
Out of the deepest part of the west of Europe, From poor people a young child shall be born, Who with his tongue shall seduce many people, His fame shall increase in the Eastern Kingdom.
Wow. Hister certainly sounds like Hitler, and that second quatrain seems to drive it home. Actually, Many of Nostradamus’ predictions are about a guy from Germania who wages a great war and dies mysteriously.
What are the odds?
If any of this seems too amazing to be coincidence, too odd to be random, too similar to be chance, you are not so smart.
You see, in all three examples the barn was already peppered with holes. You just drew bullseyes around the spots where the holes clustered together.
Allow me to explain.
I’ve discussed here and here how practitioners of paranormal piffle wish to look scientific. They fail under actual scientific scrutiny but, we have to admit, they are pretty effective at bamboozling the public with a sciencey show.
I came across a news story in Business Insider about an astrologer who was doing mighty well for herself. In times of uncertainty, society tends to turn to anything that will give them a sense of control. Astrologic and psychic advisors seem to fill that role for some people, even professional businesspeople. This astrologer, who thinks quite highly of her craft, had these things to say:
“What I do is scientific. Astrology involves careful methods learned over years and years of training and experience.”
“There are so many things we don’t understand in the world. What if 200 years ago someone had said that these metal barrels in the sky would get us around the world in a few hours? Or that we’d inject ourselves with mold to treat illnesses? People are so skeptical.”
And then I laughed.
Few examples of pseudoscience are more perfect than astrology, which has been studied A LOT, and whose practitioners still cannot demonstrate a root in reality.
Picture it. You and your better half are on your way home after a night on the town. It’s late, it’s dark, and you pull into the gas station for a pack of smokes. He runs in, you wait in the car.
You’re sitting there, idly waiting for him to return when suddenly you get this inexplicable, overwhelming feeling of terror. You sit up a little straighter and glance toward the driver’s side window, and there, staring in at you, are two children. But not just any children. These are Black Eyed Children. And they want to get in your car with you.
Sounds like something out of one of those Village of the Damned sequels, right? Well, it’s not. This is real life, as real as it gets. And this is just one of thousands of reported sightings. Black Eyed Children are knocking on doors and tapping on windows, asking to be let in, all over the world.
BECs have, as the name implies, black eyes, completely void of color or light. No pupils, no irises, just dead-looking black eyes. In fact, some witnesses say their eyes seem to be bottomless pools of blackness.
These children, typically between the ages of 8 and 16, have very pale skin, some people say it even looks plastic, or artificial, but other than that they look like normal children. Witnesses say they either dress in drab clothes, generally blue jeans and a hoodie, or they wear very old-fashioned, handmade clothing, similar to what Amish people wear.
Sometimes they travel in pairs, sometimes in groups and sometimes you’ll see just one. Regardless, these BECs seem to evoke an instant feeling of terror. Not just suspicion or even fear. But pure, gut-wrenching, “I think I just shit my pants but who cares cuz I’m about to die anyway” mind-numbing terror.
What do they do that’s so terrifying? They ask to enter your home or your vehicle. But it’s not what they ask – it’s how they ask it.
We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own.
So began one of the most famous radio broadcasts of all time: the October 30, 1938 adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. Whenever Halloween rolls around, I always get in the mood to listen to the so-called “Panic Broadcast”. It’s one of my favouite radio shows. Not only is it a great program by itself, but I’m also fascinated by the story around it. Not the story that’s usually told, however, but the far more interesting truth behind what we all think we know about the “Panic Broadcast.”
Most people know the broad strokes of the popular story. On the evening before Halloween, the Mercury Theater on the Air starring Orson Welles performed a radio version of the popular science fiction story. What set the War of the Worlds broadcast apart from other shows the Mercury Theatre produced was its script, written by Howard Koch with input from Welles. Koch and Welles decided to use what was at the time an uncommon trick for creating realism: they framed the audio play as if it were itself a totally different radio broadcast experiencing a series of journalistic interruptions to the normal nightly entertainment.
What happened next is widely told today in books, in television documentaries, and online: many people tuned in after the show began and, lacking the context of the intro, assumed they actually were listening to news reports about New Jersey being invaded by Martians. This triggered a night of chaos as listeners panicked about the arrival of the interplanetary menace. People fled their homes; people flocked to churches; people called the police; people grabbed their guns; people contemplated suicide; all because of a fake news broadcast about Martian invaders.
The event created a social and political firestorm that threatened the radio industry’s very existence. Within a few days, newspapers were reporting that “literally MILLIONS OF PEOPLE understood the broadcast to be REAL”. A flurry of lawsuits was filed against CBS. Congressional hearings were declared, and regulations were imposed forbidding stations from airing fake news broadcasts. The Panic Broadcast has since become a morality tale for broadcasting, a warning against the misuse of the great power that media wields over the public.
At least, that’s the way it’s told. But how could reasonable people accept a fantastic event like Martian invaders as real? Before we answer that question, we need to ask a different question, one often asked here on Skeptoid: did it really happen the way it’s told?
MORE – – –
Originally posted March 3, 2013:
You’ve likely heard of Dan Brown’s best-selling book “The Da Vinci Code” and the subsequent movie adaptation. The book has sold tens of millions of copies, while the movie, with more than $757 million in box office revenue, stands as the 22nd highest grossing film of all time as of July 2007 [Source: IMDb]. Brown’s story centers around the theory that Jesus married his follower Mary Magdalene, had a child with her, and that the descendants of that marriage live today.
The book also invokes two other popular theories, both of which have been discounted by art historians: that Mary Magdalene, rather than the apostle John, sits on Jesus’ right in Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” painting, and that a disembodied hand in the painting holds a knife. For years, amateur theorists and art historians alike have considered whether “The Last Supper” contains hidden imagery. The latest theory du jour has generated so much excitement that several da Vinci-centered Web sites crashed from an overwhelming amount of traffic.
Slavisa Pesci, an information technologist who’s taken up an interest in da Vinci’s iconic painting, created an interesting visual effect by overlaying a semitransparent, mirrored version of the painting on top of the original. The result is that two figures that look like Templar knights appear at both ends of the table, while someone possibly holding an infant stands to Jesus’ left. Pesci also cited the presence of a previously unseen wine goblet in front of Jesus. Pesci suggested that it may be a depiction of the first Eucharist, when Jesus gave his disciples bread and wine at the Last Supper to represent his body and blood. Pesci didn’t indicate who he thought the baby might be, but many amateur scholars have said it’s the child of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
As for the meaning of these ostensibly hidden images, Pesci has no comment, though he believes they may be a product of da Vinci’s noted love of mathematics [Source: AOL News]. Da Vinci was also known to write from left to right and from right to left, a technique called mirror writing.
Pesci’s theory and its possible relationship to da Vinci’s mirror writing, while alluring, present some problems. Chief among them, one da Vinci scholar notes, is that the original painting has deteriorated over time [Source: AP]. The mural is no longer as vivid or crisp as it was when da Vinci first unveiled it. The composite image is distorted and blurry, a problem made worse by the original’s current, faded condition. Still, Pesci’s composite image does seem to show something or someone.
Before we dissect this and other theories about “The Last Supper,” let’s investigate the painting’s history and subject. Leonardo da Vinci completed the work between 1494 and 1498. It’s a wall mural in the Church and Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The painting depicts the famous Biblical scene known as the Last Supper, when, shortly before his death, Jesus predicted that one of his followers would betray him. “The Last Supper” actually shows the moments immediately following Jesus’ pronouncement, explaining why his followers appear engaged in a frenzied conversation. The painting is considered remarkable for, among many celebrated features, its realism and for portraying the apostles as full of emotion and taking part in an intense discussion rather than simply standing quietly behind the table [Source: The Cenacolo].
Today we’re going to go back more than a century and a half to a hot summer day on the central coast of California, to the town of Santa Barbara. June 17, 1859 began as a summer day much like any other, clear with plenty of warm sunshine, plus a cool breeze to make it just perfect. But according to legend, something happened that wrought sudden death and destruction: from out of nowhere, a wind with temperatures usually reserved for baking ovens blasted down from the hills, killing animals and injuring people. It immediately set the country’s highest recorded temperature. They named it the simoom, after the hot Sahara wind of the same name. But it turns out that data is hard to come by. Was the Santa Barbara simoom a true freak of nature, or perhaps merely a tall tale told to visitors?
Here is a snippet about the 1859 simoom from the Insider’s Guide to Santa Barbara:
Until 1934, Santa Barbara had a record high temperature on the U.S. Weather Bureau’s books. On June 17, 1859, a simoom (scorching wind) swept down from the northwest, and the mercury soared to 133° Fahrenheit (about 56° Celsius). Cattle dropped dead, and birds fell from the sky. The record was topped when the mercury hit 134° Fahrenheit (about 57° Celsius) in Death Valley in 1934.
It sounds a bit like a tall tale, a perfect subject for our skeptical eye.
Sudden, hot winds are absolutely a reality on the California coasts. They’re called the Santa Ana winds, and are the main contributors to the wildfires that can so often be so destructive to coastal communities. Dry air from the Mojave Desert and even the Great Basin further inland forms a high pressure region which cools, sending it spilling downhill toward the coast. The wind is very dry and gusts can reach hurricane forces at their strongest. The wind is usually hot, but not because it came from the desert; it gets heated on the way by adiabatic forces; basically, compression. Santa Ana winds can happen at any time of year, but are most common in the late autumn and early winter.
Although Santa Barbara is a ways up the coast from the Santa Ana winds, it is indirectly affected by them. The high pressure systems that create the Santa Anas are usually moving east, so a few days before they collapse into Santa Anas, they often cause a similar phenomenon in Santa Barbara that locals call the Sundowner. When the Sundowner winds spill over the Santa Ynez mountains and rush to the sea, they can wreak some havoc; but because their path is much shorter, adiabatic compression forces don’t have as much opportunity to heat the Sundowners as much as their more southerly cousins.
Today we’re going to up in altitude, back into history, and down in temperature, to the days when the most daring adventurers wore wool, cotton and leather instead of advanced lightweight synthetic materials. They had heavy wood handled ice axes instead of aluminum. Their canvas and nylon sleeping bags and tents weighed at least three times what today’s climbers use. They packed calories with heavy metal tins of fish and fruit instead of dense energy bars and electrolyte shots. Their only support was sparsely manned expeditions, rather than today’s crowds of competing porters and contractors and rope layers. Their chances of survival were far slimmer, yet even in the punishing days of the mid 20th century, men managed to compete to be the first to summit the world’s tallest point: Mt. Everest.
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to summit the mountain and live to tell the tale, which they did in 1953. But they certainly weren’t the first to try; Tenzing had, in fact, made it the previous year to a point only 240m short of the summit with a Swiss expedition. A competing claim exists from about 30 years earlier, when climbers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine disappeared while on the final leg of their climb. Their claim is a thin one; it’s based only on the fact that they disappeared and thus aren’t proven to have failed. But today we’re going to examine what evidence there is, and see if we can arrive at a “best guess” at who was first.
Let’s look at some foundational information about the mountain. Everest is, in broad strokes, a three-sided pyramid. Its north and east faces are in Tibet, and its southwest face is in Nepal. The boundary between the two countries follows the ridge lines over the summit, so only that northeastern ridge is entirely in one country, Tibet. Tibet and Nepal were both originally closed to outsiders, so nobody had ever been able to try and climb the mountain. But in 1921, Tibet was persuaded to allow access, giving mountaineers access to the north face, the east face, and the northeastern ridge between them. Thus, this ridge, today called the north ridge route, became the route used by the early mountaineers, including Mallory and Irvine. Its grand finale is a series of technical walls that must be climbed, called the First Step, Second Step, and Third Step. The Second Step is the hardest of the three. In 1950, coincident with China’s assertion of its claim over Tibet, access to foreigners was closed, and the north route was no longer available.
So when Hillary and Tenzing’s 1953 expedition succeeded, it was via the southeast ridge route. Having secured permission from Nepal, climbers start from the base camp west of the mountain in Nepal, ascend to that southern ridge dividing Nepal from Tibet, and head northwest to the summit, straddling the border all the way. This route remains the most popular today, and is significantly easier. Its most famous obstacle near the summit is the Hillary Step; besides that, it’s mostly no more than a strenuous hike.
So, since Hillary and Mallory took different routes to the summit, we can’t directly compare them. Hillary made it up the southeast ridge route, no problem; and will only be dethroned if evidence ever surfaces that Mallory made it up the north route thirty years before. The only way we can ever solve the mystery is to . . .
Is Arkansas’ Fouke Monster a real zoological specimen, or an important part of local folklore?
It was 1971, in Fouke, Arkansas. Fouke is a small hamlet of under a thousand people, in the Boggy Creek area of southwestern Arkansas, tucked in just between Texas and Louisiana. It’s in the middle of a thousand miles of flat country, dense dark woods rippled with rivers and creeks that twist every which way before finally draining into the Louisiana swamps. It was on a hot summer night in May that two newlywed young couples, and a friend or two, were crashing in the house they’d just rented a few days before after a long day of unpacking. But the mellow evening took a shocking turn for the worse when Elizabeth Ford, 22, thought she’d have a nap on the couch when it happened.
You know that moment when you see something unexpected, but it takes a few seconds for your mind to process what it is? That was Elizabeth’s experience. When she realized that what she was looking at was a huge furry hand with claws, reaching through the open window and groping on the couch as if to find her, she screamed — and Fouke would be changed forever.
Even as the two young couples made emergency move-out preparations, giving up on their new home after less than a week, reporter Jim Powell covered the incident for the Texarkana Gazette, calling it like it was a campy 80s slasher pic:
Elizabeth Ford said she was sleeping in the front room of the frame house when, “I saw the curtain moving on the front window and a hand sticking through the window. At first I thought it was a bear’s paw but it didn’t look like that. It had heavy hair all over it and it had claws. I could see its eyes. They looked like coals of fire … real red,” she said. “It didn’t make any noise. Except you could hear it breathing.”
Ford said they spotted the creature in back of the house with the aid of a flashlight. “We shot several times at it then and then called Ernest Walraven, constable of Fouke. He brought us another shotgun and a stronger light. We waited on the porch and then saw the thing closer to the house. We shot again and thought we saw it fall. Bobby, Charles and myself started walking to where we saw it fall,” he said.
About that time, according to Don Ford, they heard the women in the house screaming and Bobby went back. “I was walking the rungs of a ladder to get up on the porch when the thing grabbed me.”
…The “creature” was described by Ford as being about seven feet tall and about three feet wide across the chest. “At first I thought it was a bear but it runs upright and moves real fast. It is covered with hair,” he said.
The episode triggered a rash of sightings that kept the Texarkana Gazette lively for months. And more significantly, it attracted the attention of filmmakers, who quickly shot the 1973 docudrama The Legend of Boggy Creek. The film dramatized dozens of sightings and featured many Fouke and Boggy Creek residents, telling and reenacting their stories. One of the most fantastic involved a boy named Lynn Crabtree who encountered the beast while hunting in 1965, and shot at it repeatedly without effect.
It’s at this point when, during researching such a story, we start to examine the timeline.
Now it’s official: The Bermuda Triangle is a bunch of bunk.
Most of us already suspected that was a myth. Yet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just posted a story declaring the Devil’s Triangle, as it’s also known, is no different than any other open ocean region — and that foul weather and poor navigation are likely to blame for any mishaps.
“There is no evidence that mysterious disappearances occur with any greater frequency in the Bermuda Triangle than in any other large, well-traveled area of the ocean,” the agency stated this month on noaa.gov.
Ben Sherman, spokesman for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, said the agency wrote the story as part of an educational program where it responds to readers’ questions.
The story was based on information from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Guard, which make no bones about saying the mythological area is so much balderdash.
“The Coast Guard does not recognize the existence of the so-called Bermuda Triangle as a geographic area of specific hazard to ships or planes,” the military branch said. “In a review of many aircraft and vessel losses in the area over the years, there has been nothing discovered that would indicate that casualties were the result of anything other than physical causes.”
Not everyone is in full agreement, including Minerva Bloom.
She’s a volunteer docent at the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum, which pays homage to Flight 19, perhaps the highest-profile incident involving the Bermuda Triangle. The five U.S. Navy torpedo bombers took off from Fort Lauderdale on a routine training exercise in December 1945, never to return.
“I don’t think there are aliens or anything like that, but I do think there’s something going on there,” Bloom said.
Between 1799 to 1892, families across New England dug up the corpses of their children, parents and siblings, desecrating the bodies in an effort to prevent them from rising from the grave.
If you read between the lines of your favorite novel, you might discover a crazy conspiracy theory. From Elizabethan England to the 21st century, people have made some pretty weird claims about books and the folks who wrote them, ranging from secret identities to dastardly deeds.
10 • Is J.K. Rowling Real?
J.K. Rowling was just an average working mom who became a world-renowned, uber-wealthy author. At least, that’s what the Bloomsbury publishing company wants you to believe. According to Norwegian filmmaker Nine Grunfeld, there is no J.K. Rowling. The author never existed.
Grunfeld believes the Harry Potter books are just too successful to be the work of one woman. She’s suspicious of how Rowling can churn out seven Potter novels in 10 years, and how those books, written by a nobody, can sell more than 250 million copies worldwide. Grunfeld claims this whole operation is too professional, too slick to be the result of a single author. Instead, Harry Potter is a corporate creation, written by a team of writers a la the Nancy Drew series. The woman we know and love as J.K. Rowling is actually an actress paid to fool readers. Anybody else think Grunfeld is just a tiny bit jealous?
9 • Did Charlotte Bronte Kill Her Sisters?
The Brontes were a pretty special family. Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre, Emily wrote Wuthering Heights, and Anne wrote the lesser-known The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Only Charlotte’s and Anne’s novels were successful in their day, but all three have since become classics of English literature. Sadly, none of the Brontes made it past their thirties, thanks to tuberculosis. But . . . was it really TB?
Criminologist James Tully, author of The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte, has a much more sinister theory. According to Tully, Charlotte was jealous of her sisters’ fame, so she teamed up with her father’s curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, and poisoned Anne and Emily along with their brother Branwell. Thanks to their scheme, Emily and Branwell died in 1848, and Anne passed away in 1849, allowing the deadly duo to cash all their royalty checks. After the murders, Arthur and Charlotte were married, but Tully claims Nicholls double-crossed his wife. He poisoned Charlotte, thus eliminating all the Brontes, and kept all those fat checks for himself.
Tully tried to have his theories published as a nonfiction book, but couldn’t find a willing publisher. So he rewrote the whole thing as a novel, proving that sometimes truth isn’t necessarily stranger than fiction.
8 • Were J.R.R. Tolkien And C.S. Lewis Occultists?
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are two of the most influential fantasy authors of all time, and their novels are beloved across the world. However, several conspiracy theorists claim these two men were heavily involved in the occult and were priming their readers for a New World Order—the one conspiracy to rule them all.
For example, in The Lord of the Rings, the eye of Sauron supposedly represents the all-seeing eye of the Illuminati. Some theorists claim Gandalf symbolizes famous magician Aleister Crowley, and that Frodo is an “aspirant,” someone hoping to be initiated into Gandalf’s illuminated brotherhood of black magic. The infamous John Todd preached that Tolkien actually copied his novels from The Book of Shadows, a Wiccan text, and that his runes are really the witches’ alphabet.
To top it off, some claim the Illuminati uses rings to enslave people! In fact, the “One Ring” poem is allegedly an incantation used to control brainwashed servants. As proof, conspiracy theorists note that Tolkien taught at Oxford, a college obviously run by the Illuminati. They claim Tolkien was softening his readers’ resistance to the occult, preparing them for the coming Illuminati kingdom.
And what about Lewis? His novels are really Christian allegories, right? Well, conspiracy theorist Mary van Nattan says Aslan actually represents pagan solar deities. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe focuses on a land plunged into eternal winter. However, the wintry curse is broken by the return of Aslan, so he’s like the mid-winter solstice breaking through the winter nights. Van Hattan also points out that Aslan has golden fur, a golden face, and golden eyes. Guess what else is golden? The sun!
And going back to John Todd, he claims that Lewis is required reading if you ever want to join a coven of witches. So anyone wanting to practice witchcraft better head down to their local Christian bookstore.
7 • Was Edgar Allan Poe Murdered?
As the father of the detective genre, it’s appropriate that Edgar Allan Poe’s death is a mystery. On October 3, 1849, Poe showed up in Baltimore, delirious and wearing someone else’s clothes. He died four days later, though no one is sure how. Some think he overdosed, some say he had diabetes, and some even blame rabies. It should come as no surprise that some say Poe was murdered.
One of the more prominent theories suggests that Poe was “cooped.” In the 1800s, when election season came around, gangs would round up men wandering the streets, beat them up, and get them drunk. The men would then be taken to polling booths and forced to vote for a particular candidate multiple times, rigging the election. To make sure their captives weren’t recognized, the kidnappers would force them to wear different clothes every time they cast a ballot. Some think this is why Poe showed up unhinged and wearing clothes that weren’t his.
Others suspect the murder was personal. As the story goes, Poe was involved with a woman who had some pretty possessive brothers. When they learned Poe was an alcoholic, they had a nice, long talk with the author and encouraged him to see other people. Evidently, they convinced him a little too thoroughly.
The most bizarre theory has Poe being murdered by the Masons. By exposing their evil deeds through short stories such as “The Cask of Amontillado” and “Never Bet the Devil Your Head,” Poe incurred their wrath and was murdered on his trip to Baltimore. However, most historians put little stock in this theory as it’s stark raven mad (sorry).
6 • Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays?
Shakespeare’s authorship has been questioned by crazies and scholars alike. Those who believe the man from Stratford-Upon-Avon was the sole author of works like Hamlet are known as Stratfordians. All those opposed are anti-Stratfordians, and this camp has attracted a surprising number of notable figures, such as Charlie Chaplin, Vanessa Redgrave, Sigmund Freud, Charles Dickens, and Orson Welles.
Conspiracy theorists have a problem believing the Bard penned his own poetry because he was a commoner. The son of a glover and wool-smuggler, Shakespeare was just an actor who didn’t even go to college. How could this guy write some of the most beautiful prose in the English language? He didn’t hang out with royalty, and he’d never traveled outside of England, so how could he write about those topics with such depth and precision? Anti-Stratfordians think Shakespeare was just too ignorant to write a play like King Lear. Instead, the author had to be someone with education and class. So who was the man behind the man?
Anti-Stratfordians have several candidates, the most popular being Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere, and Sir Francis Bacon. Marlowe was a famous playwright who was murdered in a bar fight before many of Shakespeare’s plays were written, but according to conspiracy theorists, he actually survived. As he was a spy for the Crown, Marlowe was smuggled into France where he spent the rest of his life writing Shakespeare’s canon.
The second candidate, de Vere, was the 17th Earl of Oxford and has the support of the Roland Emmerich film Anonymous. However, de Vere also died before plays like Macbeth and The Tempest were even written.
The Francis Bacon theory is the most plausible, mostly because he wasn’t dead at the time. Some believe he was the sole author of Shakespeare’s plays while others think he was one member of a dramatist conspiracy. Mark Twain favored the Bacon hypothesis and believed you could find the words “Francisco Bacono” hidden in Shakespeare’s First Folio. But if you think these suspects are just a little too usual, then how about Queen Elizabeth I? Some actually believe the Virgin Queen penned Shakespeare’s words. It seems some will always wonder if Shakespeare achieved greatness or had it thrust upon him.
- 10 Crazy Literary Conspiracy Theories (listverse.com)
- 10 things you might not know about conspiracy theories (illuminutti.com)
- 5 Things I’ve noticed about… Conspiracy Theorists on Youtube (illuminutti.com)
- 5 Things I’ve noticed about… 9/11 Conspiracy Theories (illuminutti.com)
- 5 Things I’ve noticed about… Bizarre Conspiracy Theories (illuminutti.com)
- ZeroHedge: Are Conspiracy Theories The Biggest Threat To Democracy? (silveristhenew.com)
Bank runs in February 2009. 9/11-scale terror attacks in 2010. 50% of the U.S. population will be killed in a bio-weapons attack in 2009. 16 year-old soldiers will enforce nationwide martial law by 2012. A major terror attack will occur in the U.S. by the end of summer 2009 (oh, and it’s a false flag). The U.S. will go to war with Russia in 2009. Texas stores are being looted and National Guard troops are moving into Austin right this minute (December 31, 1999). The UN will announce the presence of ET intelligence during 2009 to stage a NWO takeover. The U.S. dollar will be devalued by 50% by 2012.
If you’re Alex Jones, you’re used to being wrong. But that doesn’t stop his wild-eyed fans from listening – there’s always another edge-of-your-seat, apocalyptic prediction coming down the pipeline, after all. In this highly entertaining mash-up, Alex Jones Clips runs down 45 of the most wild, failed Alex Jones predictions.
[END] via disinformation (disinfo.com)
- Alex Jones articles on iLLumiNuTTi.com
- Is Alex Jones a False Flag? (carlcymru.wordpress.com)
- Alex Jones: Globalist conspiracy created Navy Yard ‘patsy’ shooter to ‘discredit’ me (rawstory.com)
Located off the coast of India, North Sentinel Island is a distrubing anomaly. Mysterious people live on it, but all attempts to contact them have gone disastrously wrong, and they attack any outsiders with unparalleled ferocity. So what’s going on at the island? Tune in to learn more.
- The North Sentinel Island (trufriend4u.wordpress.com)
- Best Island In The World to See (crossrenny.wordpress.com)
- No family is an island, unless it’s your own (greig.cc)
- Majuli – The Largest River Island of India (allresourceupdates.wordpress.com)
- LETTER – Moving lighthouse would require making it Big Green (hollandsentinel.com)
- Mystery tune (gearslutz.com)
- Sentinel Completes Initial Phase of North Carolina Data Center (datacenterknowledge.com)
- Extension’s response to disease threat shows its value to farming (southeastfarmpress.com)
- Tome Travels India and Ireland (Tome 221) (thetomeshow.com)
Regression hypnosis has long been used during investigation of alleged alien abduction. Some have made up their minds that the activity provides reasonable evidence. For them, there is no amount of expert opinion or scientific research contradicting their belief that can motivate sincere review of the circumstances. Even the words of warning from former hypnosis subjects, lengthily explaining firsthand how its ill effects and misuses can be harmful, fail to inspire objective evaluation of the use of hypnosis as a mythical truth serum.
Much has been learned of memory functions, potential dangers of regression hypnosis and related issues since researchers first began hypnotizing self-described experiencers in hopes of uncovering hidden memories. However, many investigators continue subscribing to the now decades old concepts while the professional research community has long since updated its understandings. If you are sincerely interested in reviewing facts surrounding regression hypnosis, including taking into consideration some opinions of qualified experts and documentation of relevant circumstances, please continue reading.
The fact of the matter is the professional research community has never established hypnosis as an effective investigative tool or a reliable memory retrieval technique. The American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association released statements clarifying its members should not inaccurately represent the stance of the American Medical Association on such matters.
“The American Medical Association (AMA) is concerned that many individuals using hypnosis may be making the inaccurate statement that hypnosis is approved by the AMA as a legitimate therapy for medical or psychological purposes,” the APMHA explained. “The AMA has a current position that this statement is inaccurate.”
The AMA clearly does not recognize or define hypnosis as approved for use for medical or psychological purposes. That would of course include subjecting traumatized individuals to the exploration of the possibility they are regularly abused by perpetrators from other planets, to say the least.
It should be further understood that significant portions of the UFO community itself came to accept and agree with policies as established by the AMA. The British UFO Research Association (BUFORA) enacted a moratorium in 1988 on the use of hypnosis, and the policy continues to remain in place.
Across the water in America, researchers of alleged alien abduction nonetheless continued and increased their uses of hypnosis. Purposes could reasonably be interpreted to include it was identified as the easiest way to create evidence for what were otherwise largely unsupported claims and theories. In other words, researchers could not prove their assumptions through professionally recognized credible means, so they resorted to hypnosis and what writer/researcher Sharon Hill coined sham inquiry: nonscientific activities conducted and misrepresented as scientific investigation.
The BUFORA moratorium on hypnosis is referenced and relevant issues are explored in the Heather Dixon article, Alien Abduction, Hypnosis and Memory. The piece contains an interview with Judy Jaafar, a BUFORA investigator and researcher with some 20 years experience at the time of the interview. Ms. Jaafar is also a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist who clearly and competently explained reasons hypnosis should not be used during the investigation of alleged alien abduction.
“It is a very powerful tool and can be dangerous when used irresponsibly,” Jaffar stated, “and no matter what fantasy a witness might come up with during hypnosis, it has to be remembered that under a hypnotic trance state, your capacity for imagination and fantasy is probably doubled or trebled.”
Jaafar further explained potential dangers to witnesses, or hypnosis subjects, adding, “So whatever experience they describe, during hypnosis as far as the abduction scenario is concerned, and when a recording or transcript is taken, this has now become a real event for them, irrespective of whether it actually happened or not. It is now real – and that really bothered me because I felt that we were dealing with someone’s mental health – for the rest of their lives. Because they’ve been hypnotised, they really believe that they must be telling the absolute truth because they have this peculiar notion that hypnosis is like a truth drug, but it certainly isn’t!”
The psychotherapist continued, “You take someone back for example to ‘missing time’ where they have no conscious memory of any event, so therefore the analytical, logical, judgmental process cannot be brought to bear on the situation. Immediately the witness has to delve into their unconscious mind… which is a wonderful, dreamlike fantasy factory. It is so important in our lives, we need to be able to do this otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. It sorts out all of your emotions, it is not like a filing cabinet, it is not an archive – it is an emotional repository to access every day of our lives; to keep our mental health balance. And this is what you are sending your witness into, totally unprepared, they don’t know what they are looking for except that they feel they have been abducted by aliens otherwise they wouldn’t be with a ufologist in the first place.
- UFO research is up in the air: Can it be scientific? (illuminutti.com)
- Alien abductees gather in Portland (illuminutti.com)
- Is Hypnosis Dangerous? Side Effect of Hypnotherapy (healnowtherapyhypnosis.blogspot.com)
- Roles of the British UFO Research Association (anthonyeccles.wordpress.com)
- Hypnosis and Alien Abduction? (socyberty.com)
- UFOlogy attempts to sound sciencey (venitism.blogspot.com)
With around 390 members, the Trilateral Commission is a fairly small group — so why do they get so much attention from conspiracy theorists? Tune in to learn more about the history of the Trilateral Commission.
- Did You Get the Memo? BE AFRAID AMERICA! (secretsofthefed.com)
- 5 Admissions That Prove The Elite’s Agenda [Video] (secretsofthefed.com)
One study found that 8 to 12 percent of 344 patients resuscitated after suffering cardiac arrest had NDEs and about 18% remembered some part of what happened when they were clinically dead (Lancet, December 15, 2001).*
The term ‘near-death experience’, or NDE, refers to a wide array of experiences reported by some people who have nearly died or who have thought they were going to die. There is no single shared experience reported by those who have had NDEs. Even the experiences of most interest to parapsychologists–such as the “mystical experience,” the “light at the end of the tunnel” experience, the “life review” experience, and the out-of-body experience (OBE)–rarely occur together in near-death experiences. However, the term NDE is most often used to refer to an OBE occurring while near death. Both types of experience have been cited to support belief in disembodied spirits and continued existence after death.
[ . . . ]
Raymond Moody (1944-), an M.D. and psychology Ph.D., is considered by many to be the father of the modern NDE movement. He coined the expression ‘near-death experience’ and has written several books on the subject of life after life. He is well known for his compilation of a list of features that he considers to be typical of the near-death experience. According to Moody, the typical NDE includes a buzzing or ringing noise, a sense of blissful peace, a feeling of floating out of one’s body and observing it from above, moving through a tunnel into a bright light, meeting dead people (saints, Jesus, angels, Muhammad); seeing one’s life pass before one’s eyes; and finding it all so wonderful that one doesn’t want to return to one’s body. (The typical experience he describes does not, however, include trips to the body repair shop or sexual encounters with spirits.) This composite experience is based on interpretations of testimonials and anecdotes from doctors, nurses, and patients. Characteristic of Moody’s work is the glaring omission of cases that don’t fit his hypothesis. If Moody is to be believed, no one near death has had a horrifying experience. Yet, “according to some estimates as many as 15 percent of NDEs are hellish” (Blackmore 2004: 362). Reports of Christians meeting Muhammad or Muslims meeting Jesus or Jews meeting Guru Nanak, if they exist, have not been publicized.
There are numerous reports of bad NDE trips involving tortures by elves, giants, demons, etc. Some parapsychologists take these good and bad NDE trips as evidence of the mythical afterlife places of various religions. They believe that some souls leave their bodies and go to the other world for a time before returning to their bodies. If so, then what is one to conclude from the fact that most people near death do not experience either the heavenly or the diabolical? Is that fact good evidence that there is no afterlife or that most people end up as non-existing or in some sort of limbo? Such reasoning is on par with supposing that dreams in which one appears to oneself to be outside of one’s bed are to be taken as evidence of the soul or mind actually leaving the body during sleep, as some New Age Gnostics believe.
What little research there has been in this field indicates that the experiences Moody lists as typical of the NDE may be due to brain states triggered by cardiac arrest and anesthesia (Blackmore 1993). Furthermore, many people who have not been near death have had experiences that seem identical to NDEs, e.g., fighter pilots experiencing rapid acceleration. Other mimicking experiences may be the result of psychosis (due to severe neurochemical imbalance) or drug usage, such as hashish, LSD, or DMT.
- The Mystery of Perception During Near Death Experiences – Pim van Lommel (disclose.tv)
- Near Death Experiences (getintomedicineuk.com)
- Science Behind Near-death Experiences (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
- Rats and the near death experience (thebigconsciousness.wordpress.com)
- Paranormal After-Death Experiences ‘Explained’ (news.sky.com)
- Near-death-experiences are brain going out with a bang, say scientists (thetimes.co.uk)
- Near-death experiences ‘due to surge of brain activity’ (itv.com)
- Paranormal After-Death Experiences ‘Explained’ (usahitman.com)
- Near-death experiences are ‘electrical brain surges’ (medicalnewstoday.com)
By JIM VOREL via Herald & Review
I randomly ended up watching an episode of SyFy’s brand new “investigation” show “Joe Rogan Questions Everything” (http://www.syfy.com/joeroganquestionseverything) last night, and I have to admit it didn’t send me into the frothing rage I fully expected would follow. Especially given the subject matter of “chemtrails” and government weather control, I was actually shocked to find a mostly reasonable examination of the topic in question rather than the typical pandering to conspiracy theorists that is so popular on TV today, especially in a venue like SyFy. At least in flashes, the show gave me something I never would have expected — genuine scientific skepticism. Unheard of, I know!
Rogan is one of the main reasons I bothered to give it a chance in the first place. Because he is known to most people as simply a comedian, UFC commentator or “Fear Factor” host, many would probably be surprised to see him hosting this kind of show, but Rogan is a very smart guy. If you’ve ever really watched mixed martial arts, it’s tough to name any broadcaster who actually knows the subject material better than Rogan. His reputation as a crass comedian who likes to work blue completely vanishes in that setting. The best word for his on-air presence in the UFC is “professorial.” He practices jiu-jitsu himself and knows what he’s talking about, not that this has all that much to do with “Joe Rogan Questions Everything.” I’m merely pointing out his genuine interest in the things he’s passionate about.
This interest is clear in his ongoing podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” (http://joerogan.net/podcasts/) I haven’t listened to a ton of these, but I know enough to be aware that he’s often used this space to discuss his interest in various supernatural or pseudo-scientific topics, the key word being “interest.” Rogan may want to believe, but he’s not a believer by nature. His attitude toward pretty much any claim is “I’ll allow you to convince me, but only if I have reason to be convinced.”
That’s the personality he brings to the show on SyFy, and this is what makes it so different from any of the other shows like it. The first 20 minutes or so of last night’s program were honestly brutal for the chemtrail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemtrail_conspiracy_theory) supporters he interviewed. He reacted to being brought down into a crazy person’s bunker about the same way that I would probably react — he asked for them to demonstrate evidence that was actually compelling. When they failed, he acknowledged that they were probably crazy people and moved on. There was a great moment when one of the chemtrail supporters also mentioned his belief in “Nibiru,” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nibiru_cataclysm) a supposedly rogue, planet-sized body hiding somewhere in our own solar system, piloted by aliens. You better believe that Rogan was ready to jump all over that one.
- Joe Rogan questions everything (signell.wordpress.com)
- Joe Rogan tells io9 why you should question the !@#$ out of everything (io9.com)
- Joe Rogan Questions Everything – Another Show About the Unexplained (mysteriousuniverse.org)
- Joe Rogan Questions Everything Trailer (tightlightning.com)
- Joe Rogan Q And A (scifitalk.com)
By Nancy Bixler via The Blog Herald (2007)
Do you want to put forward a conspiracy theory of your own on your blog? Perhaps you suspect that the CIA and U.S. government, in an unholy union with Muammar al-Qaddafi, are, for nefarious reasons of their own, raising the taxes of middle class U.S. citizens to fund AIDS research in Libya. Or that the Catholic Church, environmentalists, the PLO, or [fill in the blank] are working underground to [fill in the blank] put hallucinogens into the local water supply, make burping in public a capitol offense, or suppress a cure for warts. No doubt they have their methods and motives.
It’s your job, as a buddying conspiracy theorist, to find some troubling elements of life that, so far (in your opinion) lack an explanation and point out the ways the hidden conspirators plan to achieve their aim. With tongue firmly in cheek, let’s look at how to create a conspiracy theory, and if all else fails, you can make your own conspiracy theory with a conspiracy theory online.
1. Define Your Conspiracy Subject Matter
First, choose something people find puzzling. It’s no good providing a theory for something that is already sufficiently clear; conspiracy theories develop where people are mystified, not where curiosity is already appeased. If you believe that aliens abducted Elvis for their own evil purposes, it’s probably because his death seemed impossibly sudden and, therefore, incredible.
People have a built-in need to feel that there is sense in what happens in the world, and we’ll make a story for why events happen even where there isn’t sufficient evidence to really know. The clearer the events in the story, the better.
If you can’t understand why, with all your hard work, your small farm isn’t making enough money to support your family, you’ll be looking for reasons. International trade agreements, tax structures favoring corporate farming, and local laws on land development, waterways, flood management, and wildlife preservation are complex, interlocked, hard to understand, and harder to change. A ravening band of insane environmentalists aching to convert all farmland to human-free wetlands, however, has the virtue of simplicity. (The perpetrators can also be caught and summarily executed, a real plus for any conspiracy theory.)
Second, make sure what you choose to explain is significant to enough readers. Money, especially for those caught in the middle-class crunch of supporting their families, is a powerful motivator. So is fear.
Thousands living along the U.S. Gulf Coast feared hurricanes, but now they have a new respect for nature and the disaster it can bring. Hurricane Katrina triggered fear locally and nationally with the message: Nowhere is safe and help may not be there when you need it. Is the government and citizens ready for a category 5 hurricane to hit the Eastern Seaboard? What about a head-on collision with New York?
Building a good conspiracy theory is improved by taking it international. Don’t just think local. Think global. What’s the international connection to your local problem? Where are the links and pattern?
What if a foreign country had invented a new secret weather machine and a failure in the preliminary tests created the dramatic 2005 hurricane season which culminated in Katrina? What if they set it against the U.S. on purpose? Maybe Japan is behind the powerful weather machine, seeking revenge for Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Or the Russians? Maybe the machine was created as part of the effort to fight against or speed up global warming, and the flooding in New Orleans was just a taste of what’s to come when the oceans rise? Are we ready? Bad weather isn’t a local issue. If you can find a global angle, you will reach a wider audience with your conspiracy theory.
And don’t forget love as a powerful interest-getter and possible motivation. If Marilyn Monroe was your idol, you’re going to care whether she committed suicide or was murdered by government agents to protect her affair with President Kennedy from coming to light.
2. Identify The Agents Responsible For The Conspiracy
It’s normal and entirely human to long for someone to be responsible for the bad things in the world. After all, the alternative world view – that horrible events fall on us haphazardly and randomly – is hardly easy to live with. It’s a complicated, confusing world, and the need for scapegoats is rapidly outstripping the supply.
Let’s face it, explaining a sequence of events without laying blame is not only profoundly unsatisfying to many people, it’s just not a conspiracy theory. Let’s consider the siphoning off of local city water supplies by large corporations who sell bottled water. This is only a conspiracy theory if you hand the corporations a goal and a reason.
If you pick as the goal the total control of the U.S. water supply, then you must supply . . .
- Not all Conspiracy Theorists are Conspiracy Theorists (illuminutti.com)
- How to tell a Conspiracy Theorist from a Conspiracy Believer (illuminutti.com)
- Why people believe in conspiracy theories (illuminutti.com)
- 10 Creepy Pop Culture Conspiracy Theories (listverse.com)
For thousands of years, humans have tried — and failed — to achieve physical immortality. At least, most of us. Rumors of immortals have abounded throughout history, but did anyone actually achieve eternal life? Tune in to learn more about modern medicine and the bizarre story of Henrietta Lacks.
- “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot (goddessbnl.com)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (kwetoday.com)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (abookandabutton.wordpress.com)
- Henrietta Lacks & The SCOTUS Ruling NO on Gene Patents (3chicspolitico.com)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Part 1 (apbiology2014mathew.wordpress.com)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (tsundokureviews.wordpress.com)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (ndgarcia.wordpress.com)
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.
How 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.
Anecdotes 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.
via Huffington Post
- Weird Word Salad: The Terminology of the Unexplained (illuminutti.com)
- The Internet: A Superhighway of Paranormal Hoaxes and Fakelore (illuminutti.com)
- How Does the Skeptic View Paranormal Folk? (bigseance.com)
- Paranormal Witness – Someone Wants to Tell Me Their Story … (skeptical-science.com)
- Paranormal Corner: Where is Bigfoot? (nj.com)
The 10-inch tall relic, which dates back to 1800 BC, was found in a mummy’s tomb and has been at the Manchester Museum for 80 years.
An ancient Egyptian statue has spooked museum bosses – after it mysteriously started to spin round in a display case.
The 10-inch tall relic, which dates back to 1800 BC, was found in a mummy’s tomb and has been at the Manchester Museum for 80 years.
But in recent weeks, curators have been left scratching their heads after they kept finding it facing the wrong way. Experts decided to monitor the room on time-lapse video and were astonished to see it clearly show the statuette spinning 180 degrees – with nobody going near it.
The statue of a man named Neb-Senu is seen to remain still at night but slowly rotate round during the day.
Now scientists are trying to explain the phenomenon, with TV boffin Brian Cox among the experts being consulted.
Scientists who explored the Egyptian tombs in the 1920s were popularly believed to be struck by a ‘curse of the Pharaohs’ – and Campbell Price, a curator at the museum on Oxford Road, said he believes there may be a spiritual explanation to the spinning statue.
Watch the time-lapse video as the statue spookily moves all by itself…
Egyptologist Mr Price, 29, said: “I noticed one day that it had turned around. I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key.
“I put it back but then the next day it had moved again. We set up a time-lapse video and, although the naked eye can’t see it, you can clearly see it rotate on the film. The statuette is something that used to go in the tomb along with the mummy.
“Mourners would lay offerings at its feet. The hieroglyphics on the back ask for ‘bread, beer and beef’.
“In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit. Maybe that is what is causing the movement.”
- The mystery of the Manchester museum moving mummy statuette (doubtfulnews.com)
- Ancient Egyptian statue appears to move on its own at Manchester Museum (metro.co.uk)
- SPIN CONTROL?Enclosed Museum Statue Appears to Turn by Itself (foxnews.com)
- Scientists Baffled: 4,000 Years-Old Egyptian Statue Suddenly Starts Rotating At Museum (aworldchaos.wordpress.com)
Read transcript below or listen here
Should a bright UFO ever streak across the night sky in front of you, don’t be so quick to think the show might already be over. For throughout the 1960s, some who had that very experience found there was more to come. It came in the figure of a man, unnaturally tall, strangely dressed in a long shiny green metallic jacket, bald headed and eery looking. But his most distinctive feature is that from which his name comes: his bizarre ear-to-ear grin, like a silent shriek dashed across his face. The Grinning Man frightened UFO witnesses for many years, and some say his visitations are not yet finished.
The original Grinning Man report to make it into print, so far as anyone knows, was published in UFO researcher John Keel‘s 1970 book Strange Creatures from Time and Space. He devotes an entire chapter to the Grinning Man. This original incident concerned two boys walking along a street in New Jersey one night in October 1966. Keel wrote that they saw a strange tall man standing in some brush beneath a turnpike:
Jimmy nudged me… and said “Who’s that guy standing behind you?” I looked around and there he was… behind that fence. Just standing there. He pivoted around and looked right at us… and then he grinned a big old grin.
The man was over six feet tall, they agreed, and was dressed in a “sparkling green” coverall costume that shimmered and seemed to reflect the street lights. There was a wide black belt around his waist… He had a very dark complexion and “little round eyes… real beady… set far apart.” They could not remember seeing any hair, ears, or nose on this figure, nor did they notice his hands.
That same evening, Keel wrote that a strange UFO was being reported just kilometers away at several sites throughout New Jersey. It was a brilliant white light, darting through the sky and behind hills, and was reported in various locations by civilians and police officers alike, most notably at Wanaque Reservoir.
But the most dramatic and seminal encounter with the Grinning Man came about three weeks later. Woodrow Wilson Derenberger, a 50-year-old sewing machine salesman, was driving home from Marietta, OH to Mineral Wells, WV, on the night of November 2, 1966. He had a very strange experience. So strange, in fact, that the next day he went on WTAP television in Ohio to recount his tale:
I am a salesman and I drive a truck, and last night shortly after 7:00, I was coming from Marietta OH, coming down Interstate 77, and just before I came to the insection of route 47, there was a car, passed me, overtaking me from behind; and following closely behind this car was this unidentified flying object, and as the car behind passed me, this object was following close behind it and swerved directly in front of my truck, turning crosswise. And when it turned crosswise, it slowed down. It started slowing not abruptly or too fast, but gave me plenty of time to step on my brakes and slow down with it. But it forced me to come to a complete stop. As soon as I had stopped, there was a door opened in the side of this vehicle, and this man stepped out, and came directly to me, came to the truck. He walked to the right hand side of the truck, and he told me to roll down the window; he asked me to roll down the window on the right hand side of my truck, and I done what he asked. And this man stood there, and he first asked me what I was called, and I knew he meant my name and I told him my name. And then he asked me, he said “Why are you frightened?” He said “Don’t be frightened, we wish you no harm.” He said “We mean you no harm, we wish you only happiness.” And I told him my name, and when I told him my name, he said he was called Cold. That was the name that he was called by.
They had a telepathic conversation, mostly small talk, where Derenberger was headed, what the next town was; and after a few minutes Cold returned to his vehicle and flew away. Derenberger described the vehicle as a shiny, charcoal-colored thing the shape of a kerosene lamp, tapered at both ends and with a bulge in the middle.
Together, these two events alone comprise the bulk of the Grinning Man legend.
- Skeptoid #367: Who Is the Grinning Man? (skeptoid.com)
In a nutshell: ESP stands for extrasensory perception. If you had ESP, you could see, feel, or hear things without using your eyes, hands, or ears. There are some scientists who say they have proof of ESP, but most scientists think the proof is weak and does not support a belief in ESP.
ESP stands for extrasensory perception.
Sensory perception is seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, or tasting. Extrasensory perception is when you see or hear something that can’t be seen or heard with your eyes and ears. Such experiences happen outside the normal range of the senses and are said to be paranormal or psychic. Most scientists don’t think paranormal events actually happen or that anyone is actually psychic.
If you had ESP, you could see, feel, or hear things without using your eyes, hands, or ears. Somehow your brain would get messages and images from distant places and distant times. If your brain confused you with perceptions from the past and from places far away while you were trying to get dressed, eat breakfast, get on the school bus, pay attention in class, or do your homework, you would have a very hard time making it through the day. As far as we know, this has never happened to anybody.
mind reading or telepathy
Mind reading is a type of ESP where a person “sees” what is in another person’s mind. Mind reading is also called telepathy. The scientific study of telepathy began over one hundred twenty years ago when it was called psychical research. Today, scientists who study ESP are called parapsychologists and their science is called parapsychology. (Psychical comes from the Greek word for spirit. Many parapsychologists say the mind is a spirit.)
The first scientific test of telepathy was done in England in 1882. Scientists at the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) tested several young girls who said that they could tell what each other was thinking. The scientists put the girls in different rooms and asked those in one room about a card or name of a person that a girl in the other room was thinking of. Many tests were given over a period of six years. The scientists said there was no way the girls could have got as many right answers as they did just by guessing. The scientists also said they were sure the girls weren’t cheating. The scientists agreed that the girls were reading each other’s minds. The scientists were right about one thing. The girls couldn’t have gotten as many right answers as they did just by guessing. But the scientists were wrong about the cheating. The girls—the Creery sisters and their servant Jane Dean—admitted they cheated by using secret signals. This wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last time, that children would fool scientists.
In 1848 two sisters, Kate Fox (age 12) and Margaretta Fox (15), said they heard strange rapping noises in their bedroom. They got people to believe that they were getting messages from spirits. Soon they went on tour with their big sister Leah who was in her mid-30s. They did séances, which became the rage in both the U.S. and Europe. In 1871, the Fox sisters fooled Sir William Crookes (1832-1919), an important scientist who attended a Fox-girls séance in London. Sir William said he tested the girls “in every way that I could devise” and was sure they were not producing the rapping noises “by trickery or mechanical means.” In 1888 the sisters confessed that they made the raps by cracking their toe-joints. They made bumping noises by fastening an apple to a string under their petticoats and bouncing it off the floor.
From 1979-1983, two teenagers tricked scientist Peter Phillips into thinking they were able to move and bend objects by their thoughts, a power known as psychokinesis. (Psychokinesis comes from two Greek words meaning mind or spirit and movement. Psychokinesis, when it involves moving an object with mental power alone, is called telekinesis, literally distant-movement.) Steve Shaw (18) and Mike Edwards (17) fooled the scientist for four years through more than 160 hours of tests. One of their favorite tricks was to pretend to bend a spoon or fork with thoughts, a trick made popular by Uri Geller. Geller, however, claimed that he had psychokinetic powers. At one time, he claimed he got his powers from the planet “Hoova” in another star system and a UFO called “IS” or “Intelligence in the Sky.”
Skeptics don’t think there is good evidence that anyone has moved even a pencil across a table using only the power of thought. Psychokinesis nearly always involves trickery, though we might occasionally think we caused something to happen when it happens right after we thought about it happening. If you point to the sky during a rain storm and say “let there be lightning” and then a lightning bolt shoots across the sky, you might think you caused it. You’d probably be wrong.
Here he is exposed as a fraud by none other than James Randi:
It was soon after this appearance on That’s My Line Hydrick confessed the fraud to an investigative reporter.
Uri Geller’s Tonight Show failure (courtesy of James Randi):
Also see: Top 10 Psychic Debunkings
- Remote Viewing (illuminutti.com)
- Why the Power of Mind Over Matter is Important (secretsofthefed.com)
- Remote Viewing Pioneer Russell Targ Describes The Origins Of ESP Powers (disinfo.com)
- Uri Geller Psychic Spy? (zen-haven.com)
- Is TELEPATHY Still Considered a Fiction? (joseasanoj.wordpress.com)
- Types of Psychic Abilities (psychicwebinfo.wordpress.com)
- Proof of Psychic Ability and ESP with Physicist Dr. Russell Targ (truthfrequencyradio.com)
- Uri Geller was CIA spy, documentary says (jta.org)
(H/T: Thomas J. Proffit)
Charlie Veitch was once one of Britain’s leading conspiracy theorists, a friend of David Icke and Alex Jones and a 9/11 ‘truther’. But when he had a change of heart, the threats began. He talks to Will Storr.
By Will Storr via Telegraph (UK)
On a June afternoon in the middle of New York’s Times Square, Charlie Veitch took out his phone, turned on the camera and began recording a statement about the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center.
“I was a real firm believer in the conspiracy that it was a controlled demolition,” he started. “That it was not in any way as the official story explained. But, this universe is truly one of smoke screens, illusions and wrong paths. If you are presented with new evidence, take it on, even if it contradicts what you or your group want to believe. You have to give the truth the greatest respect, and I do.”
To most people, it doesn’t sound like a particularly outrageous statement to make. In fact, the rest of the video was almost banal in its observations; that the destruction of the towers may actually have been caused by the two 767 passenger jets that flew into them. But to those who subscribed to Veitch’s YouTube channel, a channel he set up to promulgate conspiracy theories like the one he was now rejecting, it was tantamount to heresy.
“You sell out piece of s—. Rot in hell, Veitch,” ran one comment beneath the video.
“This man is a pawn,” said another. “Your [sic] a f—ing pathetic slave,” shrilled a third. “What got ya? Money?” So runs what passes for debate on the internet. Veitch had expected a few spiteful comments from the so-called “Truth Movement”. What he had not expected was the size or the sheer force of the attack.
In the days after he uploaded his video, entitled No Emotional Attachment to 9/11 Theories, Veitch was disowned by his friends, issued with death threats and falsely accused of child abuse in an email sent to 15,000 of his followers. “I went from being Jesus to the devil,” he says now. “Or maybe Judas. I thought the term ‘Truth Movement’ meant that there’d be some search for truth. I was wrong. I was the new Stalin. The poster boy for a mad movement.”
[ . . . ]
His friend showed him the online documentary Terrorstorm: A History of Government Sponsored Terror, made by the American radio host Alex Jones. It parsed a new version of history, in which governments secretly organised terror attacks to spread fear and extend their matrices of control. From the Reichstag fire to the Gulf of Tonkin up to the present day, it writhed with apparently unassailable facts and sources.Jones is a brilliantly effective propagandist who recently made headlines for his hostile showdown on US television with Piers Morgan, over gun control. His YouTube channel has had over 250 million views while his masterpiece, Terrorstorm, has been watched more than 7 million times.
Shortly after watching it, Veitch was made redundant and, instead of looking for a new job, he used some of his £4,000 payout to buy a camcorder and a megaphone and began uploading short videos to YouTube. As the founder of what he called the Love Police, he was filmed performing quasi situationist stunts, such as standing outside McDonald’s with his megaphone berating customers (“Excuse me, sir. Next time I’d advise you to buy some real food for your son”). In more meditative moments, he’d explore his own spiritual, philosophical and conspiratorial notions. Veitch soon gathered subscribers by the tens of thousands.And the bigger Love Police grew, the more radical Veitch became. He occupied Fortnum & Mason during the anti-capitalism rally and Millbank Tower during the student fees demonstrations. He was a witness to the death of Ian Tomlinson during the 2009 G20 summit, called for “chaos” in London, was arrested in Toronto, Edinburgh and London and invited to festivals around the world. “People were throwing money at me. I did a donation appeal and overnight I had £3,500 in my account,” he says.
Then, there were the women. “I could have anyone. And there’s a lot of cute activist girls in Holland and Denmark.” Thrillingly, he was courted by his heroes, Jones and David Icke, the former television sports presenter who believes humanity is being controlled by alien lizards.
“It was like being a struggling actor and Tom Cruise phones you,” he says. Jones invited him on to his internet show Prison Planet and praised his “great work”. Veitch interviewed Icke outside parliament just after the 2010 general election, and in return was sent a birthday present of a T-shirt and a book, signed, “To Charles, a great man doing great things. Love David”. Veitch was now a well-known figure in the conspiracy community. But, while some believers could be dismissed as harmless crackpots, there was a malevolent undercurrent to many of the theories.
- The 9/11 conspiracy theorist who changed his mind (telegraph.co.uk)
- Info-Spats: Even Conspiracy Theorists Are Sick of Alex Jones (illuminutti.com)
- 10 Counter conspiracy theories (illuminutti.com)
- Former Conspiracy Theorist: When They Say ‘Illuminati’ or ‘Reptiles’ They Mean Jews (algemeiner.com)
- A Former Conspiracy Theorist (blogs.independent.co.uk)
- Conspiracy Theorists to Come Up with Something (wordrat.wordpress.com)
By MAGGIE KOERTH-BAKER via NYTimes.com
In the days following the bombings at the Boston Marathon, speculation online regarding the identity and motive of the unknown perpetrator or perpetrators was rampant. And once the Tsarnaev brothers were identified and the manhunt came to a close, the speculation didn’t cease. It took a new form. A sampling: Maybe the brothers Tsarnaev were just patsies, fall guys set up to take the heat for a mysterious Saudi with high-level connections; or maybe they were innocent, but instead of the Saudis, the actual bomber had acted on behalf of a rogue branch of our own government; or what if the Tsarnaevs were behind the attacks, but were secretly working for a larger organization?
Crazy as these theories are, those propagating them are not — they’re quite normal, in fact. But recent scientific research tells us this much: if you think one of the theories above is plausible, you probably feel the same way about the others, even though they contradict one another. And it’s very likely that this isn’t the only news story that makes you feel as if shadowy forces are behind major world events.
“The best predictor of belief in a conspiracy theory is belief in other conspiracy theories,” says Viren Swami, a psychology professor who studies conspiracy belief at the University of Westminster in England. Psychologists say that’s because a conspiracy theory isn’t so much a response to a single event as it is an expression of an overarching worldview.
As Richard Hofstadter wrote in his seminal 1965 book, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” conspiracy theories, especially those involving meddlesome foreigners, are a favorite pastime in this nation. Americans have always had the sneaking suspicion that somebody was out to get us — be it Freemasons, Catholics or communists. But in recent years, it seems as if every tragedy comes with a round of yarn-spinning, as the Web fills with stories about “false flag” attacks and “crisis actors” — not mere theorizing but arguments for the existence of a completely alternate version of reality.
Since Hofstadter’s book was published, our access to information has vastly improved, which you would think would have helped minimize such wild speculation. But according to recent scientific research on the matter, it most likely only serves to make theories more convincing to the public. What’s even more surprising is that this sort of theorizing isn’t limited to those on the margins. Perfectly sane minds possess an incredible capacity for developing narratives, and even some of the wildest conspiracy theories can be grounded in rational thinking, which makes them that much more pernicious. Consider this: 63 percent of registered American voters believe in at least one political conspiracy theory, according to a recent poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University.
While psychologists can’t know exactly what goes on inside our heads, they have, through surveys and laboratory studies, come up with a set of traits that correlate well with conspiracy belief.
- Conspiracy theories only create more conspiracy theories (illuminutti.com)
- The Conspiracy Theory Flowchart “THEY” Don’t Want You To See (illuminutti.com)
- NYT Article: Why RATIONAL PEOPLE BUY INTO CONSPIRACY THEORIES (secretsofthefed.com)