Thursday, May 28, 2015
Americans get all the conspiracy theory fun. Fine, Obama is a socialist Nazi Kenyan Muslim stoner who’s controlled by aliens. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the world’s leaders don’t have bizarre theories about them as well. Here are 10 examples from the silliest corners of the Internet.
10. Shinzo Abe Was Behind The Tokyo Subway Gas Attack
Some believe that the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway by the cult Aum Shinrikyo was, in fact, orchestrated by the militarist wing of the Liberal Democratic Party, with Shinzo Abe as a key figure. The attack was the culmination of three generations of militarist plotting, dating back to the chemical weapons research of Unit 731 overseen by Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi. Other members of the conspiracy included far-right firebrand and former Tokyo mayor Shintaro Ishihara, Liberal Democratic Party espionage chief Toshio Yamaguchi, and influential diplomat and politician Shintaro Abe. The conspiracy was also allied with brainwashed ex-Soviet spies and military scientists, the Unification Church, and North Korea.
Aum Shinrikyo was created by Japanese intelligence out of elements of other esoteric religions to serve as a front for the Japanese government to pursue advanced weapons technology on a deniable basis. Abe is said to have been the mentor for Aum Shinrikyo “science minister” Hideo Murai, who was killed by a Korean yakuza assassin before he could reveal the truth behind the attacks. The subway attacks were a cover for an attempted militarist coup.
The goal was to wipe out the pacifists, seize the reins of power, re-militarize Japan, attack China with a combination of chemical weapons and a Japan-Taiwan-Mongolia strike force wearing PLA uniforms, and finally destroy the United States in an apocalyptic war involving nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, as well as earthquake machines. The end goal was Japanese theocratic world domination. Apparently, this whole plan failed because of media exposes and the National Police Chief’s survival of an assassination attempt. Despite the failure, however, the conspiracy is also linked to the Fukushima catastrophe, said to be the result of earthquake machines, nuclear weapons research, or both. Are you confused yet?
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Have you witnessed some spooky goings on in Torquay? Well it turns out you're not alone.
The town has been named the UK's 'most paranormal place' based the ghost sightings amongst members of the public.
A survey of 30,000 people by Rightmove.co.uk found that over a quarter of people in Torquay say they have seen a ghost, compared to the national average of 17 per cent.
Torquay, which held off Stoke on Trent and Wigan for the top spot, has always been associated with a long history of spooky happenings and the resort regularly offers ghost walking tours.
Saurabh Singh is a commercial pilot who’s just conquered a deep fear. It wasn’t fear of flying but a dread of the dark and of what he might encounter in its depths that had Singh spooked for years. Until a few months ago, he wouldn’t even sleep without his bedroom lights on. But a three-month course in paranormal studies has changed all that. “The course equipped me with knowledge of what ghosts are all about and how to deal with them. Now, I sleep peacefully in the dark, secure in my new-found knowledge,” says Singh.
He is not alone in the pursuit of the unknown. An increasing number of urban Indian professionals are signing up for courses and training in paranormal sciences from a host of institutes that have mushroomed across India. And the cost of these courses — which can touch Rs 75,000 — is no deterrent.
Some, like Singh, sign up to face their fears, but for others it’s all about the thrill and sense of adventure. “When I started the Indian Paranormal Society a few years back, the word ‘paranormal’ was not familiar to everyone. I am happy that so many people are now taking interest in paranormal investigations. Ghosts are nothing but human consciousness without a physical body,” says Delhi-based Gaurav Tiwari, the country’s most famous ghost-hunter.
His Indian Paranormal Society runs the Ghost Research & Investigators of Paranormal (GRIP) academy from which, Tiwari says, around 3,700 have ‘graduated’. The academy’s three-month-long course can cost anything between Rs 45,000 and Rs 75,000 depending on the level of specialisation one wants to achieve.
It includes training in the use of ghost-hunting devices such as the electromagnetic field meter, infra-red thermometer, electronic voice phone, full spectrum cameras etc.
These can detect changes in electromagnetic field and temperatures which, paranormal investigators point out, can be indicators of paranormal activity.
Islands, whether fictional or real, have long been the subject of myths and mysteries. Just think of Atlantis or the Oak Island pit. And there are plenty of other islands with mysterious or creepy stories attached to them.
10. Isola La Gaiola
At first glance, Isola La Gaiola seems like a perfect example of the beauty and romance of southern Italy. Situated in the Gulf of Naples, the island is split into two sections joined by a rough stone bridge. Surrounded by ruins dating back to Ancient Rome, the island is at the center of Gaiola Underwater Park, an area famous for its rich marine wildlife. At one time, Isola La Gaiola was a status symbol for the rich, with Europe’s wealthiest vying for ownership. Today, the island stands deserted—due in part to the string of unfortunate incidents that plagued its former owners, leading to rumors that the island is cursed.
Fittingly, the island’s first recorded inhabitant was a hermit known only as “the Wizard,” who lived there in the early 19th century. Later, a rustic villa was built. Talk of a curse began in the 1920s, when the owner of the villa was found murdered, his body concealed inside a rolled-up carpet. Shortly afterward, his wife apparently drowned in the gentle seas of the Gulf.
The island then passed to a wealthy German named Otto Grunback, who soon suffered a heart attack while staying there. The next owner, a Swiss pharmaceutical tycoon, went insane and committed suicide. So did the son of legendary Fiat head Gianni Agnelli. His nephew, who had replaced his son as heir to the Fiat empire, died of an extremely rare type of cancer shortly afterward. Yet another owner bankrupted himself with his lavish spending, while J. Paul Getty’s grandson was famously kidnapped shortly after he purchased La Gaiola.
The island and its decaying villa have been abandoned since its last owner was jailed in connection with the collapse of his company. Unsurprisingly, nobody has been rushing to buy it.
Via theepochtimes.com by Tara MacIsaac
Graham Nicholls had an oppressive feeling just before entering an out-of-body state on April 25, 1999. He seemed to leave his body and find himself in a jungle. He came to a clearing in the trees, then the experience split and he found himself standing on the corner of Moor Street and Old Compton Street in Central London, in Soho. There was an explosion a short distance off. He witnessed the chaos, he saw a man running close by him, he seemed to feel the emotions of those who were injured or simply frightened.
Lawrence Brighton was among a small group of people who witnessed Nicholls’s out-of-body experience (OBE). Brighton remembers that Nicholls emerged from the OBE in an agitated state and explained to the others in detail what he had seen and felt.
Nicholls had never claimed in the past to experience precognition, though he had many OBEs before this one, but this time he told the witnesses he felt what he saw was precognition.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Ashmore Estates is everything a haunted asylum should be: massive, isolated, and proceeded by an intensely dark history. We were lucky enough to visit and investigate the intimidating red building on a hill alongside Ghost Adventures‘ Nick Groff and Ghost Stalkers‘ Chad Lindberg this April, and were instantly overcome by its palpable, and often times overwhelming connection to the past.
Once an almshouse, Ashmore Estates was built in 1916, and was a fully functioning facility until the late 80s when it closed its doors indefinitely. Originally, the land was part of the Coles County Poor Farm, which was home to the poor and mentally insane from 1857 to 1869. Unfortunately, it soon became less of a haven for those in need and more of a nightmare, with conditions described as truly deplorable. The facility quickly became not just unsanitary, but a very unsafe place.
There were 32 recorded deaths that occurred between the years 1870 to 1879, though there is estimated to have been hundreds of undocumented deaths on the grounds over the years. At the time, the building was described as having “vermin infested walls”, improper ventilation, and “swarms of flies everywhere”, making it an unimaginable place to live. By 1911, the conditions had become so bad that the building was officially condemned by the State Board of Charities, citing lack of plumbing and fire protection, with further notes that the mentally insane were allowed to roam about the building freely.
It wasn’t until 1916 that the next chapter in Ashmore’s mythology began with the building of a new almshouse. For years, men and women worked the attached farm for their bed and meals, and for a time the almshouse seemed to heal the wounds of its past by giving those in need a safe and hopeful haven. In 1959 that brief but bright chapter ended when Ashmore Estates was sold again and re-opened as a private psychiatric facility. It didn’t last long. The hospital quickly became overcrowded, and with little to no funding for renovations, closed its doors for good in April of 1986.
The healing efficacy of placebos has risen exponentially in the past three decades. In the 1980s, the placebo effect (or response) was almost zero. Now, it accounts for more than 70 percent of an effect in a medical trial.
The implications of this rise in efficacy are astounding.
What is changing in our world so dramatically and so rapidly that the placebo effect has become ubiquitous? If placebos work increasingly well, what does that mean for the real medications that are tested against them before receiving approval for common usage? The urgent need to understand placebos in light of these serious health care considerations has driven Dr. William Tiller, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Stanford University, and Dr. Nisha Manek, M.D., formerly of the Mayo Clinic, to study the placebo effect.
The relationship between the body and mind has long been contemplated in placebo studies, but Tiller and Manek take this train of thought in an unusual direction.
Traditionally, a placebo is seen as something, like a sugar pill, that doesn’t have an effect on health in and of itself; it’s a person’s thoughts that must affect the body in some psychobiological way. But what if human intention physically changes the placebo and the placebo does have an effect on health in and of itself? What if the placebo is no longer inert?
“No object is mysterious. The mystery is your eye” – Elizabeth Bowen
In the dark days of my teenage confusion, I worked at a little hole-in-the-wall retail store that sold a variety of fringy accoutrements including simple magic tricks, costumes, all manner of occult and strange phenomena books, puzzling symbolic jewelry, and tarot cards. We were equally popular among tweens and local biker gangs (consequently, nobody ever dared rob us, since both categories are frightening), and our somewhat difficult to find location gave people the sense that they had either stumbled upon a hidden gem or sent them running for the door. The eclectic and sometimes complex nature of our products required employees to do anything from explain how to create fake scars with liquid latex, demonstrate basic sleight of hand, gauge whether a customer was really interested in Aleister Crowley’s Goetia or simply wanted the latest popular book on love spells, discern ufologists from cryptozoologists, and answer loaded questions like “Are Ouija Boards evil?” I was admittedly young and naïve, but enthusiastic and determined to soak in the business acumen and seemingly boundless knowledge and curiosity of my older and wiser co-workers, some of which I have remained friends with nigh-well on thirty years. Having just entered my maudlin mid-forties, I find myself reflecting on just how formative the experience was in terms of fleshing out a more robust philosophic and psychological appreciation of the question of how we determine what is real, or whether the question in any way matters.
I quickly learned to discuss the latest conspiracy theory, Bigfoot encounter, UFO sighting, the value of psychedelics in expanded consciousness, practical witchcraft, or the best uses of fake blood to achieve a horrifying effect at length with those who cared to indulge. Over the years, the store had become a sort of clubhouse for oddballs and the intellectually disenfranchised, customers often cheerfully loitering for hours as they shot the breeze with staff (we also tried to play cool obscure music before alternative was a sales category). I could even talk at some length about the relationship between tarot cards and Kabbalistic mysticism, yet the one inquiry that invariably tripped me up was the simple, but genuinely curious question, “Do tarot cards really work?” At the tender age of sixteen, I had yet to experience anything truly strange or inexplicable outside of the literature, and thus could not in good conscience confirm or deny with any authority.
Rick C. Dodson was driven by soul-rattling personal experiences to investigate a phenomenon in which disincarnate beings are said to speak through electronic devices.
For example, some people have said they’ve picked up a ringing phone and heard a dead relative on the other line. Some people have said they’ve heard spirit messages in the white noise between radio stations, or have seen faces of dead friends looking out at them and speaking from a fuzzy television screen. These are known as electronic voice phenomena (EVP).
Dodson’s quest for knowledge was not a popular one when he began it in the 1980s; it was a down-right odd one to his family and friends in small-town Texas. Nevertheless, Dodson wrote countless letters and made countless phone calls in that pre-Internet era. He got in touch with pretty well everybody who knew anything about EVP. His quest extended even to famed physicist Stephen Hawking.
“Getting in touch with that fella was a job though,” said Dodson with a laugh. He hand-wrote a unique letter to every professor he could contact at Cambridge University, where Hawking works, explaining his reasons for requesting Hawking’s direct contact information. Most declined to release the information, but “One wrote me back and said, ‘Here it is, good luck, I know you’ve tried hard.’ My name was going around the teacher’s lounge there probably … ‘Somebody answer this guy and get something on Hawking’s desk!'”
His persistence earned him a response, but Hawking didn’t have any insights on EVP for Dodson.
Whenever Dodson has been tempted to question his own senses, years after his personal paranormal experiences, strange phenomena have reappeared in his life as affirmations. He shared with Epoch Times the stories of his EVP experiences, the insights he’s gained as an avid amateur researcher, the time he scared himself silly, and more.
Monday, May 25, 2015
When Ghosts Attack: How Getting Scratched by an Invisible Monster Changed My Opinions on the Paranormal
Via weekinweird.com by Greg Newkirk
Imagine, if you will, four people locked into a dark room hidden on the upper floor of a decommissioned prison notorious for its restless spirits. As they attempt to speak to the ghosts that inhabit the walls, one of the would-be paranormal investigators, a former inmate, takes on a stern tone and begins to taunt the entity in the windowless room. As the scene plays out in the muted tones of night vision cameras, one of the ghost hunters suddenly clutches his back. As the investigators rush toward him, he complains of a burning sensation while lifting his shirt, revealing three fresh red claw marks running across his spine. It appears he was attacked by a ghost.
No, I’m not giving you a play-by-play of the latest episode of Ghost Asylum. Believe it or not, I’m recounting exactly what happened to me last month, far from clipboard carrying producers or enraged men in tiny Tapout shirts. It’s an experience that has had me aggressively reconsidering my opinions on the paranormal.
I never believed that ghosts could hurt you
My brush with the more touchy-feely side of the supernatural happened in Ohio State Reformatory, a historic prison known for being a set piece in The Shawshank Redemption and Con Air, but more recently as a favorite location of reality television shows like Ghost Adventures. Interestingly enough, the whole reason I was at OSR was in support of the Nick Groff Tour, a cross-country ghost hunting tour featuring Nick Groff, who not only starred in, but Executive Produced a decade of Ghost Adventures.
I won’t go into too much detail surrounding the event (Dana wrote a detailed breakdown of the evidence we captured at Ohio State Reformatory, including video footage of the actual “entity attack” itself), but its been almost a month since an invisible appendage reached out from the darkness and left its mark on me, and I’ve still been fairly quiet about my side of the whole thing. The only reason for that is, to be perfectly honest, I’m still pretty rattled by the whole ordeal and have needed some time to process it.
You see, I’ve been actively chasing down the strange and the unexplained for nearly two decades. While instances like this are few and far between, in that time I’ve heard disembodied voices whisper in my ear, watched books levitate and fly through the air, and even dragged a man out of a haunted church after a pair of invisible hands choked him to the ground. Heck, Dana and I have a few pieces in the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal that often remind us they’re haunted. My point is, I’m no stranger to weirdness. But in 18 years of active paranormal investigation, nothing has ever physically hurt me. Not once. In fact, before that night at OSR, I’d only been physically touched by something I couldn’t explain once, and despite that being one of the most personally terrifying things to ever happen to me, it didn’t hurt a bit.
I was always of the popular mindset that ghosts can’t hurt you, believing that the stories of scratches from an unseen force were just fodder for reality television, the product of an overactive imagination, or a forgotten brush with a rusty nail in an abandoned house. That’s not to say I didn’t want to believe it. Even as I was dragging a documentary camera man out of the Church of the Damned in 2003, I couldn’t shake the thought that maybe he wasn’t being attacked by a ghost, but was having an allergic reaction, or an asthma attack, or maybe even playing it up for the camera. The hand-shaped welts on his neck said otherwise, but I remained skeptical.
Now, I’m not so sure anymore.
I stopped believing in ghosts in 2007 and for the first few months I decided that the best use of my time was to explain to others how the things they thought were true were wrong. It bordered on me being almost offended that people could believe such silly things until I realised that I had believed in those things too and it had been really easy.
For a while now I have equally admired and loathed the fields of paranormal research for the complex systems that they are and for the way in which they have changed rapidly as the world around us has changes while, at the same time, not changing very much at all in some aspects. In doing so I have realised that over the years my approach to my paranormal research has become humanistic in nature which isn’t all that surprising considering I identify as a humanist, but of all the places that these values would manifest themselves ghost research seems the less obvious place. That is… until you start looking a bit closer at ghost research and the variety of people who come with it.
Paranormal researcher, CJ Romer, once described his main method of research as a Cup of Tea method where the well-being of the person or people that a case of potentially anomalous phenomena centres around comes before the research into the phenomena itself. “As an academic one of the first things you are taught is that you don’t do research with the recently bereaved and unfortunately one of the groups you’re most likely to be approached by is someone who has suffered a recently bereavement … Do you look at the phenomena, do you offer anything more than a cup of tea and sympathy– my preferred approach -and break off contact as quickly and gently as you could?”
Important questions. Ensuring your research is ethical should be a priority – this is something I interviewed CJ Romer about previously on this blog. Once you start considering the ethics of your research into anomalous phenomena and once you start focussing on the people more than chasing the ghosts I think you acknowledge the complexity of being human and belief and your approach becomes humanist in nature.
One of the best things about taking the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal to events across the country is that it gives us an opportunity to share some of our weirdest finds with other lovers of the strange. Sure, we love letting people get up close with ritually-used skulls, chunks of the Amityville Horror house, and haunted paintings, but we also make it a point to bring along a folder of our latest case files – not just because guests love to see what we’re working on, but because once in awhile, someone will be just the right person to crack the case.
Back when I was a kid, I grew up in a town with more monsters, mysteries, and legends than Sunnydale. As the epicenter of local weirdness, Troy, Pennsylvania was within driving distance to century-old haunted cemeteries, ritually-cursed churches, and alleged UFO landing sites. We had tales of monsters for almost every town, county, and Parrish, from the “Granville Black Beast” to the “Mt. Pisgah Monkey”. One of the creepiest legends, though, was that of the “Burlington Boogeyman”.
The tale of the Burlington Boogeyman was one that kids whispered to each other in-between classes and around campfires for generations. Our parents talked about the Boogeyman when they were kids, as did our grandparents, and so on and so forth. While some of the details would change depending on who was telling the story, the basics always remained the same; the Burlington Boogeyman was a vengeful Native American spirit that roamed the Pennsylvania forests luring people in the dark woods after the sun went down.
In some versions of the story, the spirit was summoned by a local tribe for protection and revenge, in others it’s one of the tribe members themselves doomed to spend the afterlife torturing local teenagers. Those who had seen the Boogeyman described it as “the ghost of a skeleton”. Some claimed it had glowing yellow eyes, the tail of a lizard, and made a sound like a shrieking cat. For every person who claimed that they had seen the monster with their own eyes, there were a dozen more whose best friend’s brother’s cousin knew a kid who had been the unfortunate victim of the creature.
The Burlington Boogeyman was the ultimate urban legend. The stories of the monster were inescapable, from kids daring each other to walk into the woods at sleepovers to teenagers in their hand-me-down cars driving down Route 6 all night in search of it. But like all of the best urban legends, there was no real evidence that the Boogeyman existed at all. Despite the occasional image of glowing eyes in the darkness, the terrifying creature lived on in campfire stories… not hard evidence. Until April 17, 2012.