Saturday, March 28, 2015
UFO lore has been one of the most exciting and recurring elements in modern mythology, inspiring public fears, wild theories, and pop culture with stories of extraterrestrial visitors flying over our heads. These strange sightings have been reported by individuals all over the world, and the possibility of a cosmic threat to national security has led a number of countries to seriously investigating the matter over the last century.
10. Office Of Investigations Of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena
Following the 2001 collapse of Alberto Fujimori’s regime, the Peruvian Air Force announced the creation of a formal office for UFO investigation, the Oficina de Investigacion de Fenomenos Aereos Anomalos (OIFAA). A series of UFO sightings over the capital city of Lima created a perceived need to investigate any possible national security threats from aerial anomalies. Some in the administration were more inclined to support UFO research due to Fujimori’s alleged 1991 UFO encounter. According to the story, the ex-President, well-known for his fishing trips on the Amazon, had just landed on the river where he and a group of military officers were buzzed by a huge metallic object moving south 300 meters (1,000 ft) over their heads. The President swore the officers to secrecy for fear of political embarrassment, but the Peruvian military’s UFO interest remained keen.
First located in Lima’s middle-class suburb of Miraflores, the OIFAA was relatively open to the media, the public, and civilian UFOlogists. Air Force Commander Julio Cesar Chamorro recounted that the Office once received a call about UFOs from rural farmers. Rather than fearing imminent invasion, the farmers were requesting the government intervene to prevent the UFOs and their occupants from spooking their livestock. The Peruvian Air Force’s open-mindedness dates back to 1980, when Captain Oscar Santa María Huertas shot at a UFO that resembled a giant drop of mercury hanging in the sky over the La Jolla air force base in front of almost 2,000 witnesses. Another pilot reported three hours of missing time during a flight without loss of fuel.
Administrative issues led to OIFAA’s closure in 2008, though the Air Force’s Division of Aerospace Interests remained open for UFO reports. In 2013, the OIFAA was reactivated following another batch of sightings, including those of luminous objects over the central Andes town of Marabamba. UFO-related information is analyzed by air force personnel, sociologists, archaeologists, and astronomers, and the public has been told that there is an institution that will go over all of the information they gather regarding the “seemingly unconventional phenomena.”
An Iron Age Celtic prince lay buried with his chariot at the center of a huge mound in the Champagne region of France, according to the country’s National Archaeological Research Institute (Inrap).
Standing near the small village of Lavau, in northwestern France, the mound, 130 feet across, has been dated to the 5th century BC. The 2,500-year-old tomb has at its center a 150-square-foot burial chamber, housing the deceased and his chariot.
“This exceptional tomb contains unique funerary artifacts, which are fitting for one of the highest elite of the end of the first Iron Age,” Inrap, who has been excavating the site since October last year, said in a statement.
The major find so far has been a large bronze-decorated wine cauldron, most likely made by Greek or Etruscan craftsmen.
The cauldron measures about 3.2 feet in diameter and has four circular handles which are decorated with bronze heads that depict the Greek god Acheloos. The river deity is represented horned, bearded, with ears of a bull and a triple mustache.
More decorations are found around the edge of the cauldron. These include eight lioness heads.
One of Thomas Edison's little-known ambitions was to build a device to hear the voices of the dead, according to a nearly lost chapter of the inventor's memoirs which is being republished in France this week.
The American, who developed the phonograph and is often cited, inaccurately, as being the first to come up with the light bulb, wanted to create a sort of "spirit phone" that recorded the utterances of departed souls.
Edison (1847-1931) detailed his efforts and they were published posthumously in 1948 as the final chapter of his "Diary and Sundry Observations."
Strangely, though, his account of dabbling in what would today be considered the occult was expunged in subsequent English-language editions of the book.
Some in America thought the idea was maybe a hoax or a joke by Edison, as no design for a "spirit phone" has ever been uncovered.
But in France, the 1949 French translation of inventor's original "Diary" was preserved intact -- with the missing final chapter.
The 33-year-old and her family have been forced to move house multiple times since the activity began back in 2009. Now in an attempt to document and better understand the phenomenon she has started recording each incident and posting the videos online.
Examples include unexplained knocking sounds, household objects moving around by themselves and the appearance of mysterious scratch marks on the walls at night.
Friday, March 27, 2015
That's what James Randi has been telling psychics, faith healers and other paranormal money grubbers for more than half a century.
There is no point in calling some of them out as fakes. They're all fakes as far as Randi is concerned. It's been his lifelong quest to save the gullible public from wasting money on flimflam artists who prey on the stupidity of the masses.
The 86-year-old's amazing journey from stage magician to paranormal investigator is celebrated in "An Honest Liar," a documentary opening this month in theaters across the country, after an initial run in Los Angeles and New York. He sat down with the HuffPost Weird News team and the great Todd Robbins to talk about his amazing career.
"Magicians are the perfect people to do this sort of work because we know how to trick an audience," says Randi. "We're honest liars. We tell people we're going to fool you and we do.
"The difference between us and them is we don't claim to be supernatural."
Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky is one of the most famously haunted locations in the country.
Celebrity investigators from "Ghost Hunters," "Ghost Adventures" and tons of other shows have spent time within the walls of monstrous building, and have all captured evidence of spirit activity.
The original sanatorium was a two-story, frame building designed to comfortably house 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients. Once the disease hit epidemic proportions, the massive sanatorium thats stand today was built.
The building saw much death - approximately 6,000 - between 1924 and 1961 when it was shut down due to the discovery of an antibiotic that cured TB.
Later, the building was reopened as a geriatric facility, but closed in 1981.
An expedition to Honduras has emerged from the jungle with dramatic news of the discovery of a mysterious culture’s lost city, never before explored. The team was led to the remote, uninhabited region by long-standing rumors that it was the site of a storied “White City,” also referred to in legend as the “City of the Monkey God.”
Archaeologists surveyed and mapped extensive plazas, earthworks, mounds, and an earthen pyramid belonging to a culture that thrived a thousand years ago, and then vanished. The team, which returned from the site last Wednesday, also discovered a remarkable cache of stone sculptures that had lain untouched since the city was abandoned.
In contrast to the nearby Maya, this vanished culture has been scarcely studied and it remains virtually unknown. Archaeologists don’t even have a name for it.
Christopher Fisher, a Mesoamerican archaeologist on the team from Colorado State University, said the pristine, unlooted condition of the site was “incredibly rare.” He speculated that the cache, found at the base of the pyramid, may have been an offering.
“The undisturbed context is unique,” Fisher said. “This is a powerful ritual display, to take wealth objects like this out of circulation.”
The tops of 52 artifacts were peeking from the earth. Many more evidently lie below ground, with possible burials. They include stone ceremonial seats (called metates) and finely carved vessels decorated with snakes, zoomorphic figures, and vultures.
The most striking object emerging from the ground is the head of what Fisher speculated might be “a were-jaguar,” possibly depicting a shaman in a transformed, spirit state. Alternatively, the artifact might be related to ritualized ball games that were a feature of pre-Columbian life in Mesoamerica.
“The figure seems to be wearing a helmet,” said Fisher. Team member Oscar Neil Cruz, head archaeologist at the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History (IHAH), believes the artifacts date to A.D. 1000 to 1400.
The objects were documented but left unexcavated. To protect the site from looters, its location is not being revealed.
It’s not unusual for little boys to have vivid imaginations, but Ryan’s stories were truly legendary.
His mother Cyndi said it all began with horrible nightmares when he was 4 years old. Then when he was 5 years old, he confided in her one evening before bed.
“He said mom, I have something I need to tell you,” she told TODAY. “I used to be somebody else.”
The preschooler would then talk about “going home” to Hollywood, and would cry for his mother to take him there. His mother said he would tell stories about meeting stars like Rita Hayworth, traveling overseas on lavish vacations, dancing on Broadway, and working for an agency where people would change their names.
She said her son even recalled that the street he lived on had the word “rock” in it.
“His stories were so detailed and they were so extensive, that it just wasn’t like a child could have made it up,” she said.
Cyndi said she was raised Baptist and had never really thought about reincarnation. So she decided to keep her son’s “memories” a secret— even from her own husband.
Privately, she checked out books about Hollywood from the local library, hoping something inside would help her son make sense of his strange memories and help her son cope with his sometimes troubling “memories.”
“Then we found the picture, and it changed everything,” she said.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
A video has appeared online showing what looks like a dodo in trail camera footage from Costa Rica.
The demise of the dodo is so well known that the species has become synonymous with the very concept of extinction.
Once native to the island of Mauritius, the dodo was utterly fearless of humans when the first explorers arrived there, making them an easy target for sailors. The last confirmed sighting of a live dodo occurred over 350 years ago and for a while many people didn't even believe that the species had ever existed at all.
Most of the zombies you see on television and in movies moan and groan, and pull and tear, and lumber and shuffle, and remain highly focused on finding braiiinns to eat. But why do zombies act the way they do? They suffer from Consciousness Deficit Hypoactivity Disorder, an ailment coined by Timothy Verstynen and Brad Voytek.
“We are tricking people into learning neuroscience and history of neuroscience by talking about zombies,” says Verstynen, an assistant professor in the psychology department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (knowing that Pittsburgh-native George Romero filmed Night of the Living Dead in the area had just a little to do with him moving there). The two presented the neuroscience of zombies at ZombieCon in 2010 and produced a presentation for TEDEd about it.
As any consumer of pop culture knows, a zombie's main characteristic is its drive to eat human flesh. Verstynen and Voytek say that if they really existed, zombies would be hungry because they have lost some hypothalamic functioning, which controls satiety. People with this kind of damage eat and drink nonstop. “Zombies are constantly trying to eat people because they are never full,” Verstynen says. And they can only focus on the immediate problem—and if that means the food is moving, then zombies are hungry.
Throughout decades of pop cultural assimilation, the witch has become a highly recognizable—and highly stereotyped—figure in the American mindset. She comes in two basic forms: the scowling, green-skinned old woman who uses hexes to curse pretty young girls and all who cross her, and the cool, seemingly human witch who uses her powers largely for good, like Sabrina (the Teenage Witch) or Samantha from Bewitched.
At the same time, thanks to U.S. history classes and historical fiction, the American witch has been recognized for her tragic history—not just her vibrant narratives. Most famously in Salem, Massachusetts, witch hunts and trials in the late 17th century reflected the time’s mass hysteria and misogyny brought on by religious fervor and paranoia, showing negative attitudes towards witches as a whole.
But America isn’t the only place where something wicked this way comes. Across time and space, women have been both honored and persecuted for their supposed magical powers. These six examples of witches from around the world prove that magic comes in many forms.
1. South Africa: The Witch Doctor (Inyanga and Isangoma)
The “witch doctor” may be one of the most ubiquitous depictions of a witch (placing behind wicked witches and those in Harry Potter). But the fantastical moniker should not diminish the very real influence these figures have in South African culture. Native to the Zulu people, “witch doctors” are seen as healers who are divided into two different categories: inyanga and isangoma.
While inyanga are not dissimilar to modern day herbalists and practitioners of natural medicine, the isangoma are called to their profession by divine powers and perform tasks like predicting the future and using their psychic abilities to protect against evil spirits. Isangoma verge on being religious leaders in their communities, using trance and musical rituals to communicate with ancestors. Both inyanga and isangoma are viewed with respect in their culture and must undergo years of training; they are often consulted for a variety of problems, from health to spiritual.
Charles Babbage was one of the fathers of computing, but in addition to his fascination with mathematics and engineering, he had a curiosity with the occult. Starting from an early age, Babbage wondered if the existence of God and paranormal phenomena could be proven scientifically — and he started by trying to summon the Devil.
While researching famous scientists who believed in the supernatural, I came across the Ghost Club, a society of paranormal researchers that boasted Charles Babbage as a one-time member. Was Babbage, I wondered, a true believer in the occult, as many people at the time were? Or did he simply enjoy the academic exercise of investigating the paranormal?
Well, it turns out that Babbage was intrigued by the question of whether God and other unseen phenomena could be proved through scientific experimentation from the time he was quite young. While he was still a schoolboy in Alphington, Devon, Babbage made his first attempt to prove the existence of the supernatural by trying to call upon the Devil. As Anthony Hyman points out in Charles Babbage: Pioneer of the Computer, this was an ordinary enough endeavor for a schoolboy, but the methodical way in which Babbage approached his diabolical experiment was quite apropos for the future inventor.