Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The history of the Freak Show

Freak shows were popular attractions during the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries until changes in societal attitudes towards handicapped persons and tightening of local laws prohibiting “exhibition of deformed human beings” led to the decline of the freak show as a form of entertainment. Featuring attractions such as deformed humans and animals, unusual physical performers, “pickled punks” (abnormal fetuses preserved in glass jars), and occasional hoaxes (e.g. “bouncers” – fake pickled punks made from rubber), the freak show has captivated audiences since as early as the 16th century.

By 1600, severe physical human deformities and animal abnormalities were no longer deemed bad omens or manifestations of evil spirits residing within the person’s body and the public display of deformed persons began to see increased popularity. During the 1600’s through 1700’s, conjoined twins Lazarus Colleredo and John Baptista (whose upper body dangled from the front of Lazarus) toured England along with a “female about four feet high in every part like a woman excepting her head which nearly resembles the ape” made rounds in Europe. By 1810, Sarah Baartman (aka Hottentot Venus), a southwestern African woman was exhibited throughout London and France until her death in 1815 (at which time her body was dissected and her brain, skeleton and genitalia put on display for more than a century).

3-year-old knows who killed him in past life

The young boy's story is one of the most fascinating accounts of reincarnation to have arisen in years.

A resident of the Golan Heights region between Israel and Syria, the boy was born in to a culture that accepts reincarnation as unquestionable fact, yet despite the controversial nature of his claims it becomes difficult to simply dismiss his story as a mere fabrication.

According to the testimony of Dr. Eli Lasch who witnessed the events as they unfolded, the three-year-old was born with a red birthmark on his head, a sign that some believe to be associated with the way in which a person had died in their past life.

Faking evidence is tough

Just about all of the paranormal investigation shows on television have been accused of faking evidence — from the members of T.A.P.S. on "Ghost Hunters" to Zak Bagans and his crew on "Ghost Adventures."

I'm sure those pros agree that, as a paranormal investigator, it's my goal — as well as the goal of every member of Jersey Unique Minds Paranormal Society — to present the truth.
So, when JUMPS was asked to fabricate paranormal activity, it was a very different request from what we usually get.

"Late last year, we were contacted by a former client," said JUMPS Founder and CEO Doug Hogate Jr. "He wrote a script and someone bought it, and he said he wanted JUMPS to be a part of it."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Harvard student group canceled plans to reenact a Satanic black mass

A Harvard student group’s plans to host a “satanic black mass” on campus tonight has managed to roil even the most liberal of college campuses with controversy.

The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, which is affiliated with the university’s continuing education division, says it plans to team up with the Satanic Temple (the same group that brought us this gem: a satanic statue for Oklahoma’s state capitol) to reenact the ritual.

The Satanic Temple claims the event is not supernatural in nature (because, of course, they do not believe in the supernatural) and the Harvard club suggests that it is all about the study of different religions.

But the Catholic Church isn’t brushing it off as the religion-baiting shenanigans of a campus group. The Archdiocese of Boston released a statement condemning the group’s plans, citing the recent warnings of Pope Francis about the encroaching influence of Satan in the world:
The Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Boston expresses its deep sadness and strong opposition to the plan to stage a “black mass” on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge.

For the good of the Catholic faithful and all people, the church provides clear teaching concerning satanic worship. This activity separates people from God and the human community, it is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil.

In a recent statement, Pope Francis warned of the danger of being naïve about or underestimating the power of Satan, whose evil is too often tragically present in our midst. We call upon all believers and people of good will to join us in prayer for those who are involved in this event, that they may come to appreciate the gravity of their actions, and in asking Harvard to disassociate itself from this activity.

Woman receives murderous threat from dead father

A warning from beyond the grave failed to stop Angela Jackson from dabbling with an Ouija board.

But the mum of two quickly came to regret her decision when she received a murderous threat from the spirit world.

It all started when Angela received a message from her dead father at a spiritualist meeting. She explains: "Cradling a cup of tea, I took my seat at the back of the packed hall."

A lady stood on stage at the front. She scanned the crowd, then her eyes fixed on me. 'Welcome to my world...' she began to sing, blasting out the Jim Reeves' classic at the top of her voice.

"I squirmed under her intense gaze. But then it clicked - that was my dad, Charlie's favorite song. He'd passed away 20 years ago.

"The singing stopped and the psychic said, 'Your dad has a warning for you. You're thinking about using an Ouija board, but don't. No good will come from it.' My jaw dropped open - she was right, I had been thinking about it."

Angela had been obsessed with the afterlife since she was a child and sometimes had dreams that came true.

"One night I'd dreamed my dad wouldn't be around to see the following Christmas," she says.

"A few months later he was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away soon after."

She soon developed a fascination with Ouija boards and began to read up about them.

"It was risky because there was no knowing who you may connect with. Demons and evil spirits could get through too.

"I decided that was probably what Dad was worried about. But despite his warning, I couldn't get the idea out of my head."

New research suggests autistic savants may have enhanced telepathic abilities

The amazing abilities of autistic savants – prodigious feats of memory and calculation, as well as musical and artistic talents, despite the presence of mental disabilities (see the bottom of this post for examples) - remains one of the most fascinating topics in brain science. But these abilities may only be the tip of the iceberg, with new research suggesting that autistic savants may also have an enhanced capacity for extrasensory perception.

In 2013 neuropsychiatrist Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell was sent three homemade videos of a severely autistic nine-year-old girl which claimed to show her demonstrating a telepathic ability. Intrigued, Powell organised to conduct research sessions with two separate therapists who had reported telepathic experiences with the girl.

Though the ideal scientific set-up would be to keep the 'sender' and 'receiver' isolated from each other, this case had the complication of the sensitive nature of the girl's condition. As such, Powell kept the therapist in the same room, noting that "even subtle changes to the environment are very distracting and disturbing for a child with severe autism". Instead, a divider was put between the therapists and the child. Then randomized numbers, sentences, fake words, and visual images were presented to the therapists. The girl was then asked to “read the therapist’s mind.”

The therapists were asked to write their own verbal descriptions of the images for comparison to the girl’s answers. Random numbers were generated for mathematical equations.

The girl was asked to give all the numbers involved in the equations and duplicate the answers generated by the author with a calculator…The child typed her answers after choosing them from a stencil. To assess for any possible visual and/or auditory cueing, five high definition point-of-view (POV) cameras and three microphones were strategically placed in the experimental space to capture coverage of the entire room, the therapist and child, and their separate workspaces.

Powell presented her preliminary findings at the 57th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, held last weekend. The results were jaw-dropping, with 'hits' such as 100% accuracy on two random numbers, one eight digits and the other nine; 60 to 100% accuracy on three of the five-letter nonsense words; 100% accuracy on six out of twelve equations with 15 to 19 digits each; and between 81 to 100% accuracy on sentences of between 18 and 35 letters. The video surveillance showed no evidence of cueing or fraud.

Powell's conclusion: "The data is highly suggestive of an alternative, latent and/or default communication mechanism that can be accessed by people born with severely impaired language abilities.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Florence Cook, medium at large

Florence Cook, known as “Florrie” to close friends and family members, was born on July 3, 1856, in Hackney, a section of East London populated at that time mainly by respectable working class families. Given to bouts of ill health throughout most of her childhood, Florence had, by the time she reached her middle teens, developed into what one contemporary account described as “a beautiful young woman, with expressive dark eyes, a full, expressive mouth, and a gentle, deferential manner designed to make a stranger, especially one of the male persuasion, feel at ease in her presence.”

Florence was 14 when she first began making claims of mediumistic ability. Her claims were supported by what appeared to be her propensity to slip into sudden trances in front of friends and family members, during which loud knocks and raps reverberated in the room around her. Objects were also said to move of their own volition when Florence was in trance, a situation that reportedly resulted in her being fired from her job as an assistant teacher in a local school. Given to sudden trances, unable to work as an assistant teacher, what was poor Florrie to do but answer the paranormal call and officially declare herself a spirit medium once and for all? And that’s exactly what she did.

Chile declares UFOs pose no threat to aircraft

A recent high level meeting at the headquarters of Chile's Civil Aviation Department will likely be the envy of those Americans desiring open government participation in UFO investigations, rather than the familiar blanket dismissal.

The question of whether UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) pose any danger to civilian and military air operations was up for discussion. An official video about the event (the first 4 minutes), posted on Friday, is telling. You don't need to understand a word of Spanish to take note of the serious expressions on the faces of the participants.

Chile's agency investigating UFOs/UAP, known as the CEFAA (Committee for the Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena) is located within the Ministerial Department of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC), the equivalent of our FAA, under the jurisdiction of the Chilean air force.

Gen. Ricardo Bermúdez, director of the CEFAA, invited nineteen highly qualified experts from a range of specialties to the July 31st meeting, to explore the safety question and attempt to achieve a conclusion. The resulting dialogue lasted three hours.

The new DGAC director, air force Gen. Rolando Mercado, former director of operations and strategic planning of the Joint Chiefs, welcomed the participants and attended the early part of the discussion. "I wish to thank all the members of this committee for their serious, scientific approach in the investigation of this phenomenon," he said afterward, "which has rightly earned prestige for the CEFAA, not only in Chile, but also in foreign countries."

Scientists in attendance included two well known astronomers (each with an asteroid named after him), a nuclear chemist from the Nuclear Energy Commission, a doctor of aerospace medicine who is also a UN representative, a physicist, an army psychologist and an air force psychologist.

Among the DGAC specialists were the director of the Meteorological Observatory, the chief of Radar Operations Metropolitan Center, the head of Accident Investigations, DGAC chief of operations, the director of Airport Security Operations, and an aerospace engineer.

Representatives from different branches of the armed forces and the police corps were also present. All of them, including a navy commander who is in charge of flight security for navy aviation, are also pilots, or have been in the past. Along with Mercado, Bermúdez was once a combat pilot.
The panel members were familiar with the subject matter due to their various affiliations with the CEFAA as advisors, committee members, and experts called upon to assist with case investigations.

Each participant had already accepted the fact that UFOs are a real phenomenon which needs to investigated, without question. This, alone, is unusual, as we Americans see it.

"For Chileans, this is completely normal and we don't consider it news at all," says Jose Lay, international affairs director for the CEFAA.

"Peaceful" Satanists in Detroit?

A new religious group aims to bring the devil to Detroit.

The Satanic Temple on Saturday marked the launch of its first chapter outside New York. But leaders say they don't worship Satan. They don't practice cannibalism, or sacrifice people or animals.

"It's peaceful," said Jex Blackmore, 32, local leader and part of the temple's executive ministry. "The idea of sacrifice specifically is to appease some demon or some god, and that's a supernatural belief that we don't subscribe to."

The group's tenets include free will, compassion toward all creatures, respect of others' freedom — including freedom to offend — and beliefs supported by scientific understanding: "We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs," according to the Satanic Temple's website.

Based on Western civilization's most notorious evil character, the sect is intrinsically controversial. The Satanic Temple was started about two years ago and has drawn national attention for First Amendment-related demonstrations in communities as far-flung as Florida and Massachusetts.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How to develop your psychic abilities

Every once in a while, you get the feeling that the phone is going to ring... and it does. Or you know who it is that is calling... and you are right. A song is playing in your head; you turn on the radio, and there it is... the same song. You are overwhelmed, somehow, with the feeling that a close friend or relative is in trouble or needs your help at that moment... and you soon learn that is actually the case.

Are these examples of mere coincidence? Or is there something more profound taking place? Are we, in fact, tapping in to what many researchers believe is a shared consciousness - or superconsciousness - that connects all people... perhaps all living things? These are no longer just "New Age" concepts, but are subjects of serious speculation and research by a growing number of mainstream scientists in the fields of quantum theory, psychology, and other disciplines. The idea that extrasensory perception (ESP) and related psi abilities are quite real (if difficult to measure) phenomena is gaining respectability.

Those who research ESP suspect that most if not all people have this remarkable ability to varying degrees. The ability is often likened to that of musical talent. Some people are naturally gifted with the ability to play and compose music, and practice makes them virtuosos. Others must learn and work and practice to be able to play an instrument even adequately or in the simplest way. But nearly everyone can learn to play to some degree. The same may hold true for psychic abilities.

Here's what you need to know about developing your psychic abilities.

Ring of skulls: ancient and modern sacrifices to the water gods

The macabre discovery of a ring of children’s skulls buried in the earth around lakes in Germany and Switzerland has revealed an age-old tradition of making offerings and sacrifices to the water gods.

Archaeologists from Basel University, Switzerland found the skulls of children forming a protective ring around the settlements in what they believe was a sacrifice to the water gods to prevent disastrous flooding.

The ancient skulls are broken and slashed, displaying the head trauma of suspected axe blows. The researchers said that the children had suffered violent deaths, perhaps due to war, and were buried. Much later, their skulls were retrieved by Bronze Age communities and placed strategically around the settlements to keep the water at bay, as they regularly faced flooding.

These skulls are a rare find. Benjamin Jennings, archaeologist at Basel University told LiveScience, “the remains are found at the perimeter of the settlement — not inside and not outside, but at a liminal position on the border between in and out”, suggesting they were used to protect against rising waters.