Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘paranormal

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.)

Remote Viewing and Other Things that go Bump in the Night

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Wait… what??!

I loved this picture when I saw it. Sometimes I think I should just make a blog about fun pictures that I find. Then I realize it’s been done, it’s called Facebook. Granted most of the pictures on Facebook aren’t all that funny, but this one was. Obviously it is photoshopped, but whoever made it did a good job. The background image is perfect, the choice of black and white adds a wonderful element of spookiness and verisimilitude to it. And the image is a bit blurred, as if it really was snapped quickly from a moving car. I’ll have to look for other images like this. And no, I don’t think there are extent dinosaurs anywhere. The world has been pretty well explored by now. At least big dinosaurs, like the Mokele-mbembe, a creature reported from the jungles of Africa which some claim is a surviving brontosaurus. Small dinosaurs, the size of chickens, who knows. I’m not holding my breath though.

Moving right along, it has been recently claimed that remote viewing experts helped solve a murder. Remote viewing is where people use psychic powers to view things at a distance, perhaps even things they knew nothing about. The US military experimented with it for decades, the Stargate Project, but ultimatley decided it wasn’t very useful. That’s the problem with remote viewing, under experimental conditions it has never been conclusively established as a reality. Often the “information” provided by remote viewers is so vague that people can (and do) interpret it any way they please. In this murder case however, the remote viewers not only determined the location of the body, in the water near Santa Catalina Island, they provided details about the murderer and where he had fled to. Well, that couldn’t be a coincidence, there must be something to remote viewing.

Or, well, not. If the information provided in accounts of the case is accurate, yes. Unfortunately the case happened some six years ago, and details are just now coming out. I have grown increasingly skeptical of cases like that, six years is a lot of time for memories to alter and facts to be lost or re-arranged. I hope the case gets seriously investigated at some point, I am curious to see what actually transpired. I suspect there is less here than meets the eye.

On the other hand, I had a remote viewing experience myself once. I was living in Idaho, it was 1984. I had a nightmare about a friend of mine, it was kind of vague, but I remember seeing the underside of a car. I was disturbed enough about it to write her a letter and ask to to be careful driving as I had had this dream about her and something bad happening in a car. She wrote back to tell me it was too late, she had recently rolled her car on a freeway interchange. She was pretty banged up but nothing serious. As far as we could tell, I had the dream at the same time she had the accident. Coincidence? Beats me. It’s likely the only time in my life I’ve written someone to warn them about a dream I had.

In other news of the weird, not much. Not much worth repeating. UFO reports and Bigfoot reports are common as dirt these days. None of them very convincing, and none of them having good videos or other empirical evidence. In the Baltic Sea a team of explorers has found a “saucer shaped” object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.  At least it seems real, there is a sonar of a curiously shaped object on the ocean floor. And divers recently visited it, without really clearing up the mystery. It could just be a rock though. And things like this are always suspect these days, since good money can be made milking it for all its worth. I mean, the Baltic Saucer was discovered by professional treasure hunters. Again, not holding my breath.

Upon further reflection, I have more doubts about the remote viewing case I started this post with. The story is that this fellow hadn’t heard from an old friend for over a month, was concerned about their well being, and contacted a group of remote viewers for assistance. I find it very difficult to believe that anyone, no matter how concerned they were for a friend, would contact the psychics first. And if his friend was as well known as is claimed, a radio DJ, his disappearance would have been noted by all sorts of people. There’s clearly a lot of information missing from accounts of this event. Oh well, another one bites the dust.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post, since the post is partly about the image itself. I have no clue who holds the copyright, the image is all over Facebook, but if I find out I will properly credit it. Next, maybe a post on some of the weird comments that have been showing up on old posts lately. Or not.)

Written by unitedcats

June 18, 2012 at 7:02 am