Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Loch Ness Monster

Paranormal Watch

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PIA14934_saturn

I feel almost guilty writing this post. I used to be such a fan of paranormal mysteries. Loch Ness, UFOs, ancient aliens, and other curious little corners of reality. I’m still a fan, but I have grown more skeptical over the years. Sadly this is because I’ve realized that the signal-to-noise ratio is rather low in these areas. Worse,  cashing in on the credulous has grown mainstream, and now things like the History Channel are shamelessly spreading paranormal nonsense to make a buck. Still, just because there’s a lot of fraud, poor scholarship, and pseudo-science doesn’t mean it’s all nonsense. A UFO could crash on the White House lawn tomorrow. Not bloody likely, but not impossible. And in the vein of keeping my toe in the paranormal water so to speak, here’s a brief rundown of recent developments on the fringe.

UFOs: OK, the big recent news is that the Russian PM said that if Obama doesn’t come clean about aliens living among us, Russia will. He made the remark in the context of a joke about the Men In Black movies. Some in UFO circles took it seriously. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Obama’s announcement. Ufology is a very active field, but it mostly concerns itself with blurry  videos of lights in the sky. Or anecdotal reports. Nothing with actual evidence. And the field is always rife with some rumor about how all is going to be revealed soon. A peculiar class of belief not limited to ufology by any means.  I also did some recent research on Roswell, and it’s not looking good. One of the biggest “researchers” on the case was shown to be a fraud, all of his “discoveries” are suspect, and some main stream ufologists no longer think Roswell involved aliens or an alien craft. Well, crap.

Bigfoot: Oh, the usual crop of blobsquatch videos. There was a claim awhile ago that Bigfoot DNA had been obtained. It’s generally considered to be a hoax at this point. There’s a recording of Bigfoot screeches making the rounds. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that this is evidence of nothing. Animals make a vast array of sounds, this will more than likely be eventually explained as normal wildlife noise. At this point, well, it’s hard to understand why a bigfoot hasn’t shown up as roadkill. Maybe they are smart enough not to cross roads? In other words they are smarter than people? Wouldn’t that be wild if Bigfoot was the true intelligent species on the planet, and they were just hiding and biding their time until we destroyed ourselves? Stranger things have happened. Sarah Palin for example.

Loch Ness Monster: Exciting news on this front. None less than Megan Fox believes in the Loch Ness Monster! Who is Megan Fox? Damned if I know. That’s about it on the Loch Ness monster. I’m assuming the whole silly thing is dead since I pointed out that no sightings preceding the 1930s is impossible to explain. You can thank me later for clearing this one up.

Baigong Pipes: Someone brought to my attention the Baigong Pipes, supposed iron pipes that predate human civilization by tens of thousands of years. Well, two problems. The first of which is saying someone laid all these pipes, but left no other evidence? That’s a little hard to swallow. Secondly, scientists believe (backed with actual evidence) that the Baigong pipes are natural formations that are created when buried tree trunks get replaced by iron deposits. Examples are found in a number of locations around the world. Scientists would be thrilled to find evidence of ancient alien technology. Think of the research grants and fame and getting laid by cute ancient aliens chicks that would result in. So when scientists say: “Um, no, these are natural formations.” I think we can believe them.

Infinite Universes: It’s long been a  popular meme that since there may be infinite universes, then there are infinite versions of each of us on said universes. IE if you got up and decided to wear a blue shirt today, there is a universe where someone identical to you chose to wear a red shirt. Ad infinitum. Well, some scientists (yes, that matters) have taken a look at this idea and pointed out that it is “highly speculative.” In other words, science fiction. For one thing, the idea that our universe is infinite is by no means the accepted scientific view. Secondly, they point out that if there are infinite possibilities for life, then each planet with life could and should be unique. Crap. And I was so hoping to exchange places with a richer me in one of these universes.

Quantum Birds: Well, it turns out that quantum physics may play a role in biology. A big role actually. This is a revolutionary idea, but it is gaining credence as experiments suggest it is the case. It almost certainly plays a role in photosynthesis. It’s also suspected to play a role in small and animal navigation. Research continues, but this could be the “new biology” of the 21st century. It would take me a whole post to explain quantum physics, and even then I might get it wrong. OK, probably would get it wrong, quantum physics is hard to grasp.

“Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine – it is stranger than we can imagine.”  — J.B.S. Haldane

(The above image is of Saturn taken from the Cassini Orbiter. The Sun is directly behind it. It’s legal to use this image non-commercially. Credit and copyright: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Space Science Institute, Cassini Imaging Team. I chose it because it’s a beautiful spooky image … and an example of the incredible frontiers science is still advancing on. NASA rocks.)

Picture Day! Photos Never Lie, But Liars Sure Can Photo: UFOs, Nessie, Bigfoot, Ghosts, and Champ. (Warning: This post may make some people pound their keyboard with their forehead.)

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This is the well known (among UFO enthusiasts at least) Cumberland Spaceman photo. It was taken in 1964 in a field in England by Jim Templeton. He claims there was no one else in the field when the image was taken. Analysts at Kodak confirm the picture is unaltered. While UFO enthusiasts have speculated endlessly about this image, most people have no trouble seeing that the white suited figure is a human being. Was Jim Templeton lying? Maybe. I think modern psychology gives us a better answer though. We know very well now that the human brain often doesn’t “see” perfectly obvious things when it isn’t expecting to see them. He was alone in the field taking pictures of his daughter, and simply didn’t register it when someone walked across the field. The camera doesn’t lie, but the brain sure can.

Here we have the famous Hugh Grey Loch Ness Monster picture. It was the first Nessie photo, and was reprinted widely in its day. Taken in 1933, Mr Grey insists it was an image of an unknown animal, a story he told with apparent sincerity all his life. This blurry picture is supposed to be proof of something? Less credulous minds point out that it looks like a swimming dog with a stick in its mouth. In fact once you “see” the dog’s head the image becomes a lot less mysterious. What is it really a picture of? Who knows. The only thing mysterious about the photo is that anyone thinks there is any mystery about it, it’s just a blurry picture of something in the water. And this is touted as evidence for the existence of the Loch Ness Monster? Sheesh.

Here we have one of the most recent photos of Bigfoot. Like all photos of bigfoot, it conveniantly doesn’t show enough detail to really tell anything at all. At least this one is a close up, but again, a close up of a hairy lump doesn’t have a whole lot of probitive value. At this point the complete lack of clear Bigfoot photos (think decades of security cameras and wildlife trap cameras, not to mention camera equipped hikers,) is damning evidence that there is no there there. It’s going to take a Bigfoot carcass or a substantial portion of one to convince most people at this point.

Ah, the back seat ghost photo. This is often touted as one of the best ghost photos ever taken. This was taken by Mabel Chinnery in 1959 while visiting her mother’s grave. She didn’t see the person in the back of the car until the photo was developed. She claims it looks like her mother. Skeptics claim it looks like a crude hoax. In fact most people claim it looks like a crude hoax as far as I can tell. It’s also a little unclear how a camera would be able to capture an image of a mythical creature, the evidence that ghosts are anything other than folklore is non-existant. It is clear to me that if this is one of the “best” ghost photos ever taken, I think we can safely asign them to the Bigfoot category.

Ah, we come to the famous Mansi Champ photo. Champ or Champy is America’s version of Nessie. A family named Mansi took this picture. They didn’t think anything of it for years. They lost the negative in the interum. They can’t remember where exactly they took the image from. It bears an uncanny resemblance to a  floating log. And this is the “best” evidence for the existence of Champ?  And how come none of these animals ever wash ashore dead? Colour me unconvinvced.

OK, we end with this fascinating image. What the hell is that? It’s a photoshopped image of a squirrel, even the most credulous ten year old wouldn’t be fooled by it. Well, I hope not. No, I’m really not trying to make fun of people who place a lot of stock in the images above. It just sort of comes with the territory. I included this pic because it does have a minor bit of oddness associated with it. This morning one of the last dreams I had was a vivid dream that featured a cat morphing into a squirrel. And then when I got up and logged onto Facebook, what should I see but this image posted on my wall by a friend. That’s one hell of a conicidence! Does it mean anything? Of course not, that’s why I use the word coincidence. Jung might have called it synchroncity, a meaningful coincidence.

Fortunately there are real mysteries out there, though one has to wade through a lot of silliness to find them.  I found a doozy in fact. There is some sort of oceanic creature that constructs incredibly elaborate burrows, and has for a long time, fossil burrows almost as old as the appearance of life have been found. New burrows have been discovered in the ocean floor, whatever this creature is, it still exists. The mystery though is that the creature making the burrows has never been indentified. None have ever been found fossilized, and every modern burrow scientists have found and excavated was abandoned! Slippy little devils obviously, scientists debate numerous possibilities. I’ll post about it soon and my gentle readers can make their own guess.

(With the exception of the Bigfoot photo, the images above are all believed to be Public Domain under US copyright law. The Bigfoot Photo is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Credit and Copyright: American Bigfoot Society.)