Tuesday, December 1, 2015

10 Mysterious Flying Objects From The Turn Of The Century

Via listverse.com by David Tormsen

With the development of more sophisticated forms of air travel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the skies were suddenly open to mankind’s expansion. Our mythology evolved to match the changes, particularly when it came to mysteries from above. The dragons and angels of the past were replaced by human beings in ingenious flying machines built in secret and by even more bizarre meteorological phenomena.
10. New Zealand Zeppelin Panic

In 1909, the British Empire was buzzing about the possibility that the German navy might have become strong enough to launch an invasion of the British Isles. There were also many fears regarding Germany’s growing fleet of zeppelins. Many in Australia and New Zealand feared that the British navy would be recalled to defend the British Isles and leave the antipodes open to invasion. Furthermore, aerial warfare was a much-used trope in science fiction at that time. This atmosphere might help to explain the mass hysteria that followed.

According to the Otago Daily Times in July 1909, several Kaitangata residents had seen a zeppelin for 30 minutes over the Wangaloa Hills, which the Evening Star reported as an aircraft launched from the German vessel Seestern. For the next two months, there were thousands of reports across the country of sightings of German airships. In the town of Kelso, 23 schoolchildren and their adult minder claimed to have seen such a craft swooping over the township, which led to the police and a party of young men tramping through the nearby Blue Mountains to search for it.

At Kaka Point, several boys reported seeing an illuminated object that seemed about to alight on the beach, so they ran off. There was even a rumor that an airship had crashed near Waikata, killing two or three Germans aboard. The Geraldine Guardian reported that a crowd had gathered outside a post office to debate sightings of a mysterious orb in the sky, though that turned out to be a prank in which some young boys had placed a candle inside a hollowed-out turnip and placed it on a flagpole.

By late August, the hysteria had died down, with one final report of a dark cigar-shaped object near the Tapanui Hills. A Southland Times investigation determined that it had been caused by “repeated flights of thousands of starlings, which, prior to nesting season, were making their temporary homes in a clump of pine trees.”
9. Swimming White Horse

According to an 1878 article in the The New York Times, the Cincinnati Commercial had reported that a bizarre telegram had been received from a correspondent in Parkersburg, Virginia, reporting that a local farmer had seen a strange creature in the sky while plowing his field.

Around 7:00 PM, the farmer looked up at the cloudless sky and saw a strange flying object about 1 kilometer (0.5 mi) away in the west. He described it as “an opaque substance, resembling a white horse, with head, necks, limbs, and tail clearly defined, swimming, moving its head from side to side, always ascending at an angle of about 45 degrees.”

He rubbed his eyes, assuming that it was a hallucination or trick of the light, but it was still there, swimming through “the ether.” When he yelled at some men about 100 meters (300 ft) away and asked them what they saw, they confirmed that there was a white horse swimming through the sky. They were scared, but the farmer was apparently stoic enough to simply sit down and observe the apparition until it finally disappeared into space.

According to the Cincinnati Commercial: “Illusions of different appearance have been seen at different times, in the same vicinity, frightening the superstitious, and laughed at by the skeptical.”

Monday, November 30, 2015

Has the mystery of DB Cooper been solved?

Via telegraph.co.uk by Rob Crilly

It is 44 years since a man known only as DB Cooper leapt out of a hijacked 727 airliner with a parachute on his back and a bag stuffed with $200,000 (£132,000) of bank notes.

No trace of him has ever been found.

But now a new theory suggests he may have been a grocery store manager who disappeared before the hijacking.

Lisa Lepsy said she remembered watching news coverage of the audacious airborne heist on television two years after her father, Dick, failed to return from work.

"We were all sitting on the couch watching Walter Cronkite," she told WZZM, a local TV station, referring to the news anchor. "When the composite sketch of DB Cooper came on the TV screen, everyone looked at each other and said, 'That's dad!'

"We were stunned because the resemblance was unbelievable, and my brothers and I were all sure that was our dad."

The legend of DB Cooper has become the stuff of American Thanksgiving legend.

A man known as Dan Cooper boarded Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 in Portland, Oregon, bound for Seattle, Washington, on November 24, 1971.

During the flight he ordered a glass of bourbon before asking a flight attendant to write a note: 'I HAVE A BOMB IN MY BRIEFCASE. I WILL USE IT IF NECESSARY. I WANT YOU TO SIT NEXT TO ME. YOU ARE BING (sic) HIJACKED.'

Was British policeman abducted by aliens?

Via unexplained-mysteries.com

Former police officer Alan Godfry had a close encounter with a UFO while on patrol back in November 1980.

The incident took place along Burnley Road in the town of Todmorden where Godfry had been investigating reports of missing animals in the early hours of the morning.

Just as he was about to give up for the night he witnessed what he initially believed to be a bus heading towards him on the other side of the road. When it got closer however he realized that it was actually something far more unusual - an object that he later described as a 'large mass'.

"It was a fuzzy oval that rotated at such speed and hovered so low over the road that it was causing the bushes by the side to shake," he said.

His next recollection was of driving along further up the same road but with the mysterious object nowhere in sight. Confused, he returned to the spot where he had encountered the phenomenon and discovered "a circular patch where the road had been dried in a swirled pattern."

Birds are Mysteriously Committing Suicide by Drowning

Via mysteriousuniverse.org by Paul Seaburn

Strange, unexplained deaths of animals in large numbers are always a cause for alarm. But what does it mean when entire flocks of birds commit mass suicide by drowning in ponds and birdbaths? That’s what appears to be happening in England and experts are struggling to find a reason why.

The birds are starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), which were once widespread across the UK (as well as much of the world) but have been disappearing at alarming rates in recent years due to loss of nesting areas and food sources. According to a new study by the Zoological Society of London and published in the journal Scientific Reports, the starling population in the UK dropped from 45 million in 1980s to 3.4 million, making them a red-listed or threatened species. Is this depressing loss of fellow feathered friends causing the starlings to commit suicide?

That’s as good of a guess as any. The study found 12 cases between 1993 and 2013 where flocks of starlings numbering from 2 to 80 were found dead by drowning. Drowning is an extremely rare way for birds to die so to find this many in multiple cases is definitely disturbing. Autopsies showed no signs of diseases or wounds from attacks. All signs indicate the deaths were self-inflicted.

10 Relentless Personifications Of Death

Via listverse.com by Matt Martin

Death is inescapable. Why is it we have to put a face to our inevitable end? It can’t be for comfort. Because the personifications humans have made for death are far scarier than a cold, merciless void.
10. The Dullahan
The Dullahan is a headless horseman that moves with purpose through the Irish countryside. His head, which he carries in one hand, has pale glowing skin and a twisted smile that stretches from ear to ear. When the Dullahan holds his head up high, his beady black eyes can spot his target from a great distance. He rides a horse so fast that bushes catch fire as he passes. No matter how firmly a gate is locked, it will blow open to allow the Dullahan to enter. Once his severed head calls out your name, you immediately die.

Even those who aren’t the Dullahan’s targets should avoid him. He throws a pail of blood on passersby or strikes them blind using his whip, which is made of a human spine. This death rider does have a weakness though: He is inexplicably afraid of gold. When traveling the roads, it is best to carry gold in your pocket. Should the Dullahan ever run you down, drop the gold in front of him, and he will disappear with a frightful howl.
9. The Washerwomen

The Bean Nighe is a fairy ghost from Scottish folklore. Legend has it that you can find her at a stream, washing the bloodstained clothes of someone who is about to die. A Bean Nighe is created when a woman dies during childbirth; her spirit becomes a fairy washerwoman until the day she would have normally died. She takes the form of a small woman who dresses in green and has red, webbed feet.

Unlike other death portents, this is one you’d want to find (just hope that it’s not your clothes she’s washing). If you stand between her and the water, she will grant you three wishes and permit you to ask her three questions to which she will answer the truth. But she will also ask you three questions that you must also answer truthfully.

The Bean Nighe has an Irish counterpart called the Bean Sidhe. But unlike their Scottish sisters, these washerwomen will wander away from the riverbanks, gathering around the houses of the doomed. Once they begin wailing, the condemned’s fate is set.

If you can catch a Bean Sidhe, you can get her to reveal the name of the person about to die. Look out for an old woman with eyes bloodshot from crying, long and scraggly hair, and large, pendulous breasts.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Cult of Mary: How Supernatural Apparitions and Miracle Healings Led to Veneration of the Mother of Jesus

Via dailygrail.com by Greg

The cover story for the latest edition of National Geographic. "How the Virgin Mary Became the World's Most Powerful Woman", looks at the rise of the 'cult' of the Virgin Mary, specifically through the lens of the miraculous/supernatural/Fortean apparitions of - and 'healings' by - the mother of Jesus throughout history. Award-winning journalist Maureen Orth looks at how the iconic religious figure has permeated Western culture (as well as Islamic culture to some extent as well), and how alleged miracles in her name provide sustenance to her on-going mythos:

Mary is everywhere: Marigolds are named for her. Hail Mary passes save football games. The image in Mexico of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most reproduced female likenesses ever. Mary draws millions each year to shrines such as Fátima, in Portugal, and Knock, in Ireland, sustaining religious tourism estimated to be worth billions of dollars a year and providing thousands of jobs. She inspired the creation of many great works of art and architecture (Michelangelo’s “Pietà,” Notre Dame Cathedral), as well as poetry, liturgy, and music (Monteverdi’s Vespers for the Blessed Virgin). And she is the spiritual confidante of billions of people, no matter how isolated or forgotten.

Praying for the Virgin Mary's and being devoted to her are a global phenomenon. The notion of Mary as intercessor with Jesus begins with the miracle of the wine at the wedding at Cana, when, according to the Gospel of John, she tells him, “They have no wine,” thus prompting his first miracle. It was in A.D. 431, at the Third Ecumenical Council, in Ephesus, that she was officially named Theotokos, Bearer of God. Since then no other woman has been as exalted as Mary. As a universal symbol of maternal love, as well as of suffering and sacrifice, Mary is often the touchstone of our longing for meaning, a more accessible link to the supernatural than formal church teachings. Her mantle offers both security and protection. Pope Francis, when once asked what Mary meant to him, answered, “She is my mamá.”

Her reported appearances, visions experienced often by very poor children living in remote or conflict-wracked areas, have intensified her mystery and aura. And when the children can’t be shaken from their stories—especially if the accounts are accompanied by inexplicable “signs” such as spinning suns or gushing springs—her wonder grows. 


The Gruesome Mysteries of the Texas Killing Fields

Via mysteriousuniverse.org by Brent Swancer

There are places in the world that are not evil due to any supernatural forces or demonic influences, but rather because of the darkness lying coiled within the human heart. It is these places that are perhaps more terrifying than any paranormal activity, for they stem from something that we know is real and which can be seen all around us; the horrors that lurk within us, and the grotesqueries we as a species are capable of. Lying out over rugged scrubland, nestled out of sight of an interstate among uninhabited oil fields and wasteland, is a place which certainly holds the stain of such human wretchedness. It is here that for decades the dead have appeared, sprawled across the parched earth, their glazed eyes holding the secrets of their last horrifying moments on this planet. It is an isolated patch of nothingness which has nevertheless managed to attract to it body after body, in the process making it a source of one of the largest caches of baffling unsolved murders there is. These are the sinister Texas Killing Fields.

Located about a mile off of Interstate 45, bordering the Calder oil field and League City, between Galveston and Houston, Texas, is a remote, uninhabited patch of land measuring around 40-kilometer (25 mi) long and marked by abandoned oil fields, marshes, and thick, nearly impenetrable tangles of overgrown brush. This forbidding landscape is ominous enough, especially so considering that this particular stretch of the Interstate is often referred to as the “Highway of Hell” due to the inordinate amount of traffic accidents that occur here. Yet, despite its eerie, bleak desolation, and sinister reputation for traffic accidents, at first glance there is little to differentiate this dusty area from the many other such isolated places among the rugged, monotonous scenery of the region. It is an area where one could easily drive past without really giving it a so much as a second thought. However, this remote area has a dark secret that truly makes it stand out as a location to send chills up the spine, for it is here that since the 1970s the bodies of over 30 girls and young women have been found, with most of these murders still unsolved, many of the bodies not even properly identified, and even more who have gone mysteriously missing in the area never to be seen again. It is easy to see why this wasteland has gained its much deserved nickname of “The Killing Fields.”

US and China work together to avoid space war

Via unexplained-mysteries.com

A new space hotline has been set up between the two countries to help prevent future misunderstandings.

War in space might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but as offensive and defense space technologies become ever-more sophisticated it might not be long before rival nations start shooting each other's satellites out of the sky.

Now in a renewed bid to stop this from ever happening, China and the United States have set up their own direct communications line through which they aim to share information about their operations in space to prevent accidents or misunderstandings that could lead to war.

10 Horror Stories That Intersected With Real Life In Frightening Ways

Photo credit: Carniphage
Via listverse.com by Gregory Myers

Everyone loves a good horror movie. As long as we remember the difference between fantasy and reality, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally indulging in a slasher flick or two. And for those more sensitive to scares, they can always reassure themselves that none of it is actually real.

However, some people get so engrossed in horror movies that they decide they want their life to be like one. Other times, that story we thought was just for scares had more truth than we initially thought.

10. The Strangers And The Director’s Childhood

When the horror movie The Strangers was released, it struck a particular chord with many people because it claimed to be based on a true story. In the movie, strange people come up to the door of a couple who are staying in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. After the bizarre encounter at the door, the couple starts to fear for their safety. Before long, several frightening people in masks have invaded their home and begin torturing them.

When the homeowners ask why they were chosen for this seemingly random torment, the strangers answer, “Because you were home.” This iconic tagline left many people particularly disturbed because the story was supposed to be based on true events, leaving some to wonder how true the story actually was.

According to the director of The Strangers, when he was a little kid, someone knocked on the door when he and his sister were home and asked for a person who did not live at the house. Later, he found out that the men knocking on doors had been looking for a vacant house to rob.

This got the future director thinking about what might have happened if they had decided to enter the house. He also claims to have received a fair amount of inspiration from some of the Manson murders. The combination of strange people knocking on doors and the murder of seemingly random people for bizarre motives left a powerful mark on his imagination and inspired a terrifying horror movie.
9. Friday The 13th And The Boy Scout Camp

The original Friday the 13th didn’t yet feature the iconic killer we all know now, but it struck such a chord that it spawned a long-running franchise and many similar movies. While the Friday the 13th movies were never particularly popular in a mainstream way, they developed an incredibly strong cult following.

Some of these fans are so obsessed with the movies that they will go on pilgrimages to sites where events from the movies actually took place. The most popular one is the iconic Camp Crystal Lake where Jason Voorhees originally drowned and where the events of the first movie took place.

People who are not hard-core fans of the film franchise may not realize that Camp Crystal Lake was originally a Boy Scout camp that was rented for one month to the film crew. The Boy Scouts never expected the film to become as popular as it did or give them the attention that it did.

The camp is still an active Boy Scout camp which has to deal with a constant flow of trespassing fans touring the area, making it hard for the young Scouts to actually get anything done and likely scaring some of them senseless. The police regularly arrest people for trespassing, but it seems to do little to stop their enthusiasm. Recently, the camp allowed a brief period of guided tours to dissuade people from bothering them the rest of the year. The tickets sold out almost immediately.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

UFOs: Invasion at Oak Ridge

Via mysteriousuniverse.org by Nick Redfern

For me, one of the most important aspects of a UFO encounter is the location. And when the location is one of significance and importance, it makes the encounter even more intriguing. A classic example is a series of startling UFO incidents which occurred at the Atomic Energy Commission facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, from the latter part of 1950 to early 1951. The cases are documented in the now-declassified UFO files of the FBI and make for notable reading.

An FBI teletype of October 13, 1950 refers to the detection of a definitive squadron of unknown objects tracked over the Oak Ridge installation at 11:25 p.m. on October 12. The documentation states: “USAF radar installation at Knoxville…picked up indications of eleven objects and perhaps more traveling across controlled area of Atomic Energy installation at Oak Ridge.” The report continued: “Altitude of objects varied from one thousand to five thousand feet…and density from reading made by light aircraft equal in size to C-47, speed from one hundred to one hundred twenty-five miles per hour…”

Then we have the following from the same document: “No reasonable explanation for radar readings yet developed although operators are experienced reliable personnel and radar set is in perfect operating condition. Bureau will advise of further developments.” Four days later, the FBI received the details of yet another alarming incident, this time involving the visual sighting of a UFO over Oak Ridge. The witnesses were a trio of military personnel. In a report of October 16, signed by Troopers Lendelle Clark and Hank N. Briggs, it was reported…

“…at approximately 2:55 p.m. Trooper [John L.] Isabell stopped us at this installation and showed us an object in the north that was traveling toward the northwest. It looked to be about 2,000 feet in the air and a white-silverish looking color, rotating in a counter clockwise manner. It was round in shape and going in a rather fast motion. This object was at a high altitude and seemed to come in sight and then disappear. It looked about the size of a ball and round at every angle we looked at it.”

Trooper Isabell added further details: “This object was slowly circling in a wide circle and spinning very fast, that is, the object was spinning around and around. The object drifted toward the southwest and in just a few minutes it reappeared at a very high altitude going back into the northeast and going very fast…”

Quantum Psychoanalysis: Interpreting Precognitive Dreams

Via thenightshirt.com

Near the end of Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar, astronaut “Coop” is able to communicate with his younger self (as well as his daughter) decades in the past using a tesseract, a theoretical multidimensional portal created by our descendents thousands or millions of years in the future. Coop’s messages are oblique—he can’t address his younger self directly but has to send symbolic messages using the books on his bookshelf. His younger self, before his planned mission to a black hole, realizes there something significant occurring but misses the precise meaning of these messages: a warning not to go.

If the brain is a quantum computer, the possibility I discussed in the last post, it could work by creating coherent systems of entangled particles that are isolated enough, for long enough, that they are able to manipulate information in ways far beyond what conventional computers can achieve, including sending coherent information into the past and extracting information arriving from the future. Whether or not the mechanism is precisely the one I proposed, based on Seth Lloyd’s theory of time travel via quantum teleportation, I predict that some form of trading and extracting of coherent information across time may turn out to be a basic function of the cortex, a picture that could provide a radically new understanding not only of psi but also of memory and other basic cognitive functions. The brain may be precisely something like Nolan’s tesseract, an organ that is genuinely a tunnel through time, extending across our whole lifespan.

So at the risk of sounding like a reductive materialist bad-guy (which, honest, I’m not), I do think the answer to psi (not necessarily consciousness) is going to be found in neuroscience. All the evidence points to this. No energy transmission or reception has ever been found to account for psi. The physics of information that governs psi and synchronicity has nothing to do with “thoughts through space,” the airy mental image most of us probably have when we think of psychic phenomena. We need to get rid of that mental model of waves radiating from or toward a head. The brain may not create consciousness, but it certainly gives shape to our conscious experience, in the form of memory, thoughts, symbol use, sense of self, and so on. Our experience is processed and shaped by the brain, so our future experiences are mediated by our brain in the future.

Fossils show sign of ancient vampire microbes

Via student.societyforscience.org by Thomas Sumner

BALTIMORE — Microscopic vampires may have prowled ancient seas some 750 million years ago. Scientists have found the fossilized remains of their punctured victims. Those fossils may be the oldest direct evidence of predators hunting eukaryotes. This domain of complex life includes both plants and animals.

The monstrous microbes probably didn’t look like tiny Count Draculas. But, “they’re just as terrifying, at least if you’re a single-celled organism,” said Susannah Porter. She is a paleontologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She spoke here November 1 at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting.

The predators poked holes in their prey. Afterward, they slurped the victim’s juicy innards, Porter proposes. This predation helped drive single- and multicelled eukaryotes to evolve innovations, she suggests. The new developments might have included skeletons and the ability to burrow.

The early emergence of predation makes sense, says Paul Falkowski. He is an Earth systems scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. “Once you make an organism, somebody else will figure out a way to utilize its juices.”