Thursday, December 9, 2010

EARTH LIGHTS

THROUGHOUT HISTORY, PEOPLE have noted strange lighting phenomena emanating from remote areas of natural land. ‘Will-o’-the-wisps’ are well known occurrences featuring small flames that spark from marsh and woodland. Ball lightning is a curious form of meteorological phenomenon where air pressure causes an electrical charge in the form of a ball. But the most fascinating natural lights are even more bizarre. People across the world have reported seeing strange orbs of light that seem to ignore the standard laws of physics – explanations for their appearance are anything but definite. Present theories range from alien spacecraft to pan-dimensional energy. All we do know is that they seem to appear from the ground, and so they have been termed Earth Lights.

These odd glowing visions have been witnessed radiating all manner of colours, from bright white, to blue, red or even black. They can be as small as a tennis ball, or as large as a car, and although they are normally spherical, witnesses have seen Earth Lights of many designs. Accounts of glowing tadpole shapes are particularly common. People who have managed to view them close-up report odd internal reactions, and bizarre crackling noises. The lights move in erratic directions, and can split into formations of multiple floating orbs. They seem to have a strong connection to geological and geographical features, and linger around lakes, mountains and rocky ridges.

One of the most impressive series of sightings happened in Hessdalen, Norway, in the early 1980s. People living in the area began to see strange lights emerging from the valley in November 1981. The glowing designs ranged from bullet shapes to triangles, and were commonly white and yellow in colour. The level of reports reached such a pitch that two airforce officers were sent by the Norwegian government to examine the occurrences. By the start of 1984, Swedish and Norwegian UFO enthusiasts had begun Project Hessdalen, a month long scientific study of the valley. This yielded some readings of Earth Light properties and also managed to capture examples of the Earth Light phenomenon on film.

Although the 1960s saw the creation of theories that connected these unexplained light displays with earthquakes and fault lines, in-depth study of the subject had always been overshadowed by alien and UFO interest. However, unlike UFOs, the verifiable scientific relationship between these lights and the earth has allowed the phenomenon to be quietly, but seriously, studied. The leading name in this field is Paul Devereux, the man who actually coined the term ‘Earth Lights’. Devereux has travelled the world studying versions of the phenomenon, separating fake or mistaken incidents from genuine Earth Lights. His conclusion is that they are an honest and real phenomenon.

Devereux, along with much of the interested scientific community, believes the lights may be connected with the strains and conflicting energy found in the Earth’s crust. Just as heavy pressure in the atmosphere causes storms and lightning, so too pressure under the surface causes equally impressive reactions. As the tectonic plates rise and fall, it is suggested that energy is released through particular areas of weakness such as fault lines, or areas of high mineral or rock density. It has been discovered that many historical accounts of strange lights appeared on recently discovered fault lines, or just before earthquakes developed.

Different theories suggest the lights could be alien landing craft; some alien abduction victims have reported seeing similar glowing features. Other people believe they have amazing paranormal qualities, and link our world with another dimension. Some witnesses claim to have heard ghostly voices and seen apparitions after an Earth Light display. In both these cases the effect of magnetic variation on brain patterns has been cited as having an influence. Many experts believe the extreme magnetic upheaval caused by conflicting tectonic forces needed in Earth Light creation may cause the brain to suffer hallucinations.

The effect on witnesses, although not dangerous, can be striking. One of the most common areas for Earth Light incidents in Britain is the Longendale Valley in the Peak District. Sean Wood is a local resident who has seen the lights over thirty times in sixteen years. As a catalogue of his sightings he now produces paintings of the local landscapes. In all his pictures, in the corner of a field or the side of a valley, there lurks the image of a small glowing orb. For him, the phenomenon of Earth Lights is an unexplainable, but acceptable, natural occurrence.

*) Matt Lamy
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

REMOTE VIEWING

REMOTE VIEWING IS one of the most verifiable of all human paranormal abilities. It allows ‘viewers’ the power to see and experience situations and places separated from them by distance and time. Using naturally inherent psychic talents, known as psi, the viewer then records details of what he or she has seen. Many enthusiasts say it is an acquirable craft rather than some divine gift and that, whereas many so-called psychic powers now have unfortunate connotations of con-men and tricksters, remote viewing, or RV, began as a scientific experiment and is used by police, military and large corporate organisations.

Many companies now offer remote viewing tutorials and promise that anyone can understand and control this ability with practise and a good teacher. Unlike other psi powers such as clairvoyance, remote viewing is conducted under strict controls. Viewers are not allowed to know anything of their target other than the detail that instigates the search. It might be a photograph or a coordinate on which the viewer then trains their thoughts following a scripted format. The viewer operates in a quiet room, often going into a trance-like state, and sometimes has a companion who helps direct them. Unlike an out-of-body phenomenon, the viewer always knows where they really are. They still feel and experience all aspects of their target.

The creator of remote viewing was an American artist and paranormal student called Ingo Swann. Swann had taken aspects of previous psychic experiments and formed a new technique, which was tested by scientists at the American Society for Psychological Research. In these tests, he was able to accurately describe in detail the weather in different US cities. In 1972 Swann was introduced to Dr Hal Puthoff, a physicist at the Stanford Research Institute in California. The two conducted further experiments and were subsequently approached by the CIA. The department approached Puthoff with some tasks it wanted his team to look at, and were impressed with the results.

At the time, American intelligence experts were becoming increasingly worried about reports coming from Russia that Soviet authorities were spending vast sums on paranormal activities. The CIA had become aware that Communist scientists were developing psychic warfare capabilities including ‘psychic spies’. Initially, Puthoff’s programme was used to test the feasibility of this. But as remote viewing produced more accurate and detailed results, the use of viewers in intelligence gathering roles was explored, and various military and intelligence agencies developed their own branches of the remote viewing programme.

The potential of Swann’s work grew immensely, and rather than just using people who already had a demonstrable psychic ability, he recruited normal, non-psychic civilians. In 1991 the entire US programme was renamed the ‘Star Gate’ project. With the end of the Cold War, viewers were used to collect intelligence against a broad range of targets, including drug dealers, tyrants and terrorists. Swann had also developed an effective new technique called Co-ordinate or Controlled Remote Viewing, which actually directed viewers to their targets. In 1995 the US Congress decided that the remote viewing programme be given back to the CIA, who then commissioned an unfavourable report. The team was disbanded and many of the military viewers have gone on to offer their services privately with a few even receiving contracts from the US intelligence agencies to work in a freelance capacity.

Other nations have not been so quick to end their official psychic warfare divisions. The intelligence agencies of Russia, France and especially China continue to fund and study in-depth experiments. Many intelligence experts believe China has a select group of military ‘Superpsychics’. Their programme is said to be highly advanced, even to the point of recruiting and training particularly talented psychic children.

More peaceful uses of remote viewing have been adopted by large corporations, and controlled, scientific research in civilian universities has come to some staggering conclusions – particularly talented viewers are said to achieve results with odds of over 100 billion to one. As the subject has become more widely available in the public domain, former members of the US military involved in the project have spoken out; even former president Jimmy Carter has recounted tales of remote viewing. He reports having once met a female viewer who was looking for a lost aircraft: ‘She went into a trance. And while she was in the trance, she gave us some latitude and longitude figures. We focused our satellite cameras on that point, and the lost plane was there.’ With testimonies like this there can be little doubt that remote viewing is a genuine phenomenon.

*) Matt Lamy
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

THE PIRI REIS MAP

The Piri Reis map, showing the coastline of Antarctica under the ice.
IN 1929 A GROUP of historians at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, found something rather fascinating. Imprinted on an old Gazelle skin dated 1513 they uncovered a segment of an amazing map. The chart seemed to depict part of the Atlantic Ocean and included the Americas and Antarctica in perfect detail. The mysterious thing was it had been drawn up only a few years after Columbus’ discovery, and three centuries before Antarctica was even known about. Over the years since the find, debate has raged about how the cartographer had assimilated his knowledge. Did an advanced ancient race, or aliens, create his source charts, or have the map’s features been adapted to fit wishful-thinking theories?

The map came to be named after its creator – Piri Reis. The word ‘Reis’ actually means ‘Admiral’, and it was discovered that Muhiddin Piri had originally worked as a privateer for the Turkish Ottoman empire, before accepting a role in the imperial navy. On his travels, he had collected all manner of charts, sketches, drawings and diagrams of coastlines and lands in the known world. In 1513, using an exhaustive list of source charts and data, he drew his first world map, which
is what we now recognise as the Piri Reis Map. He is known to have compiled another, quite different, global study in 1528 and continued to enjoy a distinguished military career until 1554, aged almost 90, when he was beheaded by the Ottoman Sultan.

The segment of the map that still exists is only a portion of the original, and shows the Atlantic Ocean from the west coast of Africa, to the east coast of South America, to the north coast of Antarctica in the south. Piri also included details about his sources on the map, claiming some of the reference charts he used were from the fourth century or even before. The map is not drawn with the straight lines of longitude and latitude found on today’s maps. It was designed using a series of circles with lines radiating out from them. These types of charts were called ‘portolan’ maps and were used to explain sailing routes, guiding ships from port to port, rather than giving sailors a definite position in the world. Ancient charts of this type were widespread, and Columbus is said to have used one when he set off to find the Americas.

Many Piri Reis Map enthusiasts believe the level of geographical detail and mathematical knowledge needed to create the map was far beyond the reach of navigators from the sixteenth or earlier centuries. Indeed, experts at the United States Air Force in the 1960s found the map so accurate they used it to replace false information on their own charts. Some people believe the map could only have been achieved with the help of aerial surveys, and suggest alien creatures mapped the planet thousands of years ago, leaving their results behind to be copied by Mankind.

The map’s seemingly accurate depiction of the geography of Antarctica is its most fascinating aspect. Antarctica was discovered in 1818, and the actual land of the continent was only mapped in 1949 by a combined British and Scandinavian project that had to use modern equipment to see the land underneath the mile-deep icecap. The theory put forward to compensate for this is that an ancient race using advanced, but now lost, technology was able to accurately record details of the continent before it was covered with ice.

Most experts suggest Antarctica was icefree no later than 6,000 years ago, although others believe ice has covered the continent for – at least – hundreds of thousands of years. Similarly, many cartography experts claim the accuracy of the portolan system of map drawing is more in the eye of the beholder, and many maps of this time included imaginary continents in the south Atlantic. But there are still some unexplainably accurate details on the map. The Falkland Islands are placed at the correct latitude, despite not being discovered until 1592, and the unknown Andes mountain range was included on the map of America. Similarly, Greenland was shown as three separate islands, a fact only discovered this century.

So the debate continues. Did Piri Reis just strike lucky with cartographic guesswork? Or did the Turkish admiral have access to charts and maps created by an advanced race, living on the planet thousands of years ago?

*) Matt Lamy
Thursday, November 11, 2010

UFO CRASHES

IN 1963, A SCIENTIST known as Fritz Werner was working on specialist nuclear tests in Arizona. In May of that year, Werner was asked to go on a specialist assignment – he was flown to Phoenix, and then taken by bus with a group of other men to a destination north-west of the city. The men were told not to talk to each other, and when unloaded from the vehicle they were shown a crash site. Werner claims that he saw a 30-feetwide metal disc protruding from the desert sand. He was asked to calculate the speed of the impact, and says that during his time on site he also saw the body of a four-foot-tall creature wearing a silver suit in the medical tent. He was taken back to Arizona and made to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

In 1957, a crashed UFO actually resulted in physical evidence being put into the public domain. On 18th September a journalist named Ibrahim Sued, who worked at a major Brazilian paper called O Globo, received a very odd letter. It was unsigned, but was said to be by a man who had been fishing near the town of Ubatuba in Sao Paulo, and saw a bizarre flying disc almost crash into the sea. The anonymous man said the craft was travelling at incredible speeds, and although it missed the water, it exploded in mid-air. The man managed to collect fragments from the strange vessel, which he included in the letter. These pieces were sent for official testing, and the Brazilian agricultural ministry declared it was a form of unusually pure magnesium. The results of experiments carried out by the Brazilian Army and Navy were kept secret.

Unlike more remote areas, the great advantage UFO researchers have when investigating odd incidents in America is that there are often plenty of witnesses. On 9th December 1965 hundreds of people saw a bizarre object streaking across the skies over Ohio and Pennsylvania. Some of the witnesses were airline pilots whose planes were shaken by the turbulence created by the unusual heavenly body. For six minutes, people watched what they thought was a meteorite travel from north-west to southeast before it seemed to explode. In fact, the object crashed in a wooded area in the town of Kecksberg, and started a small fire. Local police and fire authorities were unable to reach the site because they were turned away by a specialist military team who had immediately descended on the area. Witnesses said they had later seen the armed unit load a rounded metallic object onto a flatbed lorry which was then covered in tarpaulin to disguise its load.

Undoubtedly the most unsettling UFO crash and subsequent government reaction is reported to have occurred in northern Mexico, in the state of Chihuahua. UFO investigators have obtained documents which they claim reveal that an unidentified object was tracked by two US Air Defense radars on 25th August 1974. The object seemed to be entering the atmosphere from orbit, and was heading towards the United States, but veered off at the last minute and disappeared from sight over Mexico. At the same time, Mexican authorities said a light aeroplane had been lost over the area. The next day, Mexican search and rescue teams hunting for the downed plane started reporting that they had found the crash site, and two aircraft seemed to have been involved. When they transmitted a message that claimed the second appeared to be metallic and circular in shape, all broadcasts were ordered to stop.

UFO enthusiasts believe the US government heard these messages and immediately organised a response team. The US government strongly urged Mexico to accept their help, and when the local authorities ignored the offer, they decided to go in anyway. Mexican salvage squads had already loaded the two craft onto a truck and were heading south. By the time the US forces, travelling in helicopters, had caught up with them, a terrible tragedy had occurred. All the people with the convoy had somehow been mysteriously killed, so the American team, wearing protective clothing, took charge of the suspect air vehicle. They ferried it slung underneath a cargo helicopter, and took it to a secret installation in the US.

There is no absolute proof of UFO activity, but investigators continue to claim that more and more official evidence is being revealed that support these stories. The truth may not be ‘out there’, but it could certainly lie hidden in the vaults of a government agency.

*) Matt Lamy
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

THE TUNGUSKA EXPLOSION

AT 7:17AM ON 30th June 1908 there was a massive explosion in the atmosphere five miles above Siberia. It left the forest underneath burnt and charred, and pushed trees over in a 20-mile radius. It threw people to the floor and broke windowpanes 50 miles away. One hundred miles away, witnesses reported seeing the explosion create an enormous black cloud of ash which was accompanied by a terrific roar. This deafening noise was even heard 300 miles away, and all across the world scientific equipment recorded strange occurrences in northern Russia. To this day, bizarre growth patterns in plant and animal life can be found in the area. But what exactly happened in Tunguska that day?

The nearest witnesses to the explosion were reindeer herders 25 miles from the blast’s epicentre. They were sleeping in their tents when the massive force blew them into the air. One man was reported to have died, and the others lost consciousness. When they came round, they saw the forest around them devastated and smouldering. Other witnesses at a trading post in Vanavara 50 miles south of the explosion, reported seeing the sky split in two, with the northern part covered in flames. A blast that washed over them was so hot it felt as if their clothes were on fire. It threw them 20 feet in the air, and when they regained their senses, a terrible crashing bang was followed by a noise which sounded like a downpour of small stones hitting the ground.

More distant witnesses had seen the phenomenon’s final impressive act approaching. Residents in remote towns had seen a great ‘ball of fire’ with an iridescent tail streaking across the morning sky. Many thought it was the beginning of the great final apocalypse. The local newspaper, the Sibir, reported what was seen from the village of Nizhne-Karelinsk, 200 miles from the explosion:

The peasants saw a body shining brightly – with a bluish white light. It moved vertically downwards for about ten minutes. The body was in the form of a ‘pipe’. The sky was cloudless, except that low down on the horizon in the direction in which this glowing body was observed, a small dark cloud was noticed. It was hot and dry and when the shining body approached the ground it seemed to be pulverised: in its place a huge cloud of black smoke was formed and a loud crash, not like thunder, but as if from the fall of large stones, or from gunfire, was heard. All the buildings shook and at the same time, a forked tongue of flame broke through the cloud. The old women wept, everyone thought that the end of the world was approaching.

The Russian authorities were not able to send anyone to investigate the phenomenon until March 1927, when Leonid Kulik was chosen by the Soviet Academy of Sciences to find out what had happened. Kulik arrived in the area and noticed the lines of trees all knocked down radiating from a distant point. He took photographs and studied the land, but never found any fragments or meteorite samples. It seemed that whatever had caused the huge heavenly event had vaporised itself. The absence of physical remains left the Russians perplexed. They felt that only a massive rock from outer space could have caused those effects.

Following the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan during the Second World War, photographs comparing the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the area near the epicentre of the Tunguska explosion displayed many similarities. A revision of eye-witness accounts also increased the possibility of the Russian phenomenon being a nuclear explosion. However, no nuclear weapons existed in 1908, so some people speculated the blast was caused by an alien space craft crashing to Earth.

Such an idea is now largely scoffed at, and has been replaced with theories of antimatter or a black hole imploding above Siberia. Our improved scientific knowledge has been able to deduce that the explosion was the equivalent of a 40-megaton nuclear weapon. But Man’s ideas about what caused this amazing event, whether it involves UFOs or other intergalactic oddities, requires an understanding of a subject that we still have not quite grasped.

*) Matt Lamy
Thursday, November 4, 2010

THE WHITE RIVER MONSTER

The White River Monster – or possibly an elephant seal – basks on a river beach.
OF ALL THE awesome and hideous mystery beasts in the world, nothing is loved by its neighbours quite as much as ‘Whitey’, the White River Monster. In fact, Arkansas State Legislators have declared the area where it has been most often seen – around the town of Newport – a ‘White River Monster Refuge’. It is now illegal to ‘molest, kill, trample or harm’ the legendary beast. But this has not always been the case – originally locals wanted to dynamite the monster.

Whitey’s first appearance was in the 1890s. He then reappeared in 1915, but it was only in the first week of July 1937 that he really made a splash. Men fishing in the White River, a tributary of the great Mississippi, noticed that they were finding it hard to land many fish. One day they spotted a strange creature in an eddy, and reported it to the local plantation owner, Bramlett Bateman. Bateman was sceptical, but agreed to have a look at whatever they had found. He was shocked at what he saw. A monster with the skin of an elephant, four or five feet wide by twelve feet long, with the face of a catfish, was lolling on the surface of the water.

Bateman felt this beast was a threat to his crops, and applied to local officials to blow up the eddy with TNT. The authorities refused permission, and by then hundreds of people had heard of the phenomenon. They came from as far away as California, some with cameras, some with explosives; one man reportedly brought a machine gun. A plan to capture the monster with a giant net fell by the wayside, and Bateman’s use of a deep-sea diver to find the creature came to nought. As people lost interest in the beast, Bateman felt he was being accused of creating a hoax although there had been over 100 confirmed sightings recorded during the short period of excitement.

Whitey was forgotten, but he made a dramatic return in June 1971. A man was fishing with two friends when suddenly a great fountain of water spurted in front of them and a creature with a 20-feet-long spikey back was seen to surface and then disappear beneath the water. The man managed to take a photograph of the beast, which he sold to the Newport Daily Independent newspaper. People who saw the picture were unimpressed by its clarity and the newspaper has since lost the original copy.

However, numerous other witnesses saw a long, grey creature surfacing in the water of the White River. Some said it was the length of a boxcar, that its smooth flesh looked as if it was peeling. Others said it made a bizarre noise, like a cow’s moo or horse’s neigh. Those who managed to see the beast’s face in detail told of a strange tusk protruding from its forehead. A trail of peculiar 14 inch tracks were found on the nearby Towhead Island, and a CBS news team was duly despatched to report on the area. The last reported sighting came in late July when two people out fishing claimed their boat was rocked by what they believed was the monster. Media coverage killed off sightings of Whitey, and in February 1973 the Arkansas Senate passed its resolution to protect the beast.

From the accounts witnesses have provided, some experts believe Whitey may be a lost elephant seal. They can be immense creatures, up to twenty feet long, and the descriptions of noise, skin and forehead horn would all fit correctly. It is also known that the elephant seal migrates seven thousand miles each year so it may just be off-course. However, the nearest seal colony lies on the west coast of America, so it would have to come through the Panama Canal to reach the White River. Also, elephant seals only live for around fifteen years, so no single animal could possibly account for sightings over almost a century. Whatever Whitey is, he can be assured of a warm, if not explosive, welcome the next time he pops up in Arkansas.

*) Matt Lamy

AREA 51

Examining the wreckage of a UFO – or is it a weather balloon?
DEEP IN THE Nevada desert lies a military base that is surrounded by so much official secrecy that the US government has even refused to acknowledge it exists. The base was built by the CIA and all pilots, ground crews and the staff have to retire from their original military departments and join the agency before taking residency on site. As a CIA installation it operates independently of other government departments. To this day, signs at the entrance warn all visitors that they have no constitutional rights on site, and armed units guard the perimeter. It is the UFO world’s worst kept secret, and the area is now a pilgrimage point for alien watchers. This is Area 51.

Built in the 1950s around the Groom Lake Air Force base, and next to the Nevada atomic test range, Area 51 was a perfect site to carry out classified aircraft tests. It had a large flat surface perfect for laying few local residents, and a highly unattractive reputation to new settlers due to the nearby nuclear pollution. Initially it was built purely for testing the U2 spy plane, but the programme was such a success that all the United States secret aircraft were experimentally flown there. The base grew in size, creating its own small community and the landing strip was increased to three miles long. The Blackbird and Stealth planes were developed on site, and countless unknown technologies are housed in the base’s hanger. Many people believe these technologies are, quite literally, from a different planet, and the base is actually a test zone and hiding site for alien aircraft. At night, strange lights are seen in the sky above the base, and many watchers believe the site hides enormous underground installations.

More in-depth knowledge of operations there have come through one man, Bob Lazar. Lazar is a scientist who was employed by a company called EG & G in 1989 who said they were working on a propulsion project at their testing centre near Area 51, on a base called S4. In later conversations Lazar revealed that he and other scientists were employed to pull an alien aircraft apart and see if they could manufacture it using manmade components. As part of their work, the scientists were informed about the role of aliens in the history of the Earth, and on one occasion Lazar even claims to have briefly seen at first-hand, a real, live alien at S4.

It’s out there somewhere: members of a UFO search team pose for the camera.
Over time, Lazar says he decided to rebel against his employers. In the evening of 22nd March 1989 he and a friend went out to the Groom Lake road and watched a flying disc test flight. The following week Lazar, his friend and three others visited the same area. They saw a disc flight, which Huff described as ‘the thrill of a lifetime’. The disc they witnessed glowed extremely brightly, and flew so close that they felt they had to move backwards. The following week, on the way back home from another UFO-spotting trip, the group were seen and stopped by base security patrolling the outlying area. The next day Lazar was sacked from EG & G’s employment. He has subsequently revealed that nine discs are said to be held at S4.

Some of the unsettling things that go on at the base are more real than others. The road to its entrance is known as ‘The Widow’s Highway’ because of the high numbers of workers at the base who die through contact with fatally poisonous materials. Many experts suggest the area is a secret dumping ground for toxic substances, rather than a UFO base. In either case, the workers are sworn to secrecy, and cannot reveal details about what they have been handling to their doctors. This has led to their wives launching court proceedings against the US government, who have traditionally refuted the allegations on the grounds that Area 51 does not officially exist. However, a statement made in January 2001 by President George Bush did refer to the ‘operating location near Groom Lake’, which is the first official recognition of Area 51. But Bush also said that the site was exempt from environmental disclosure requirements, so the widows are still fighting their case. But at least we now know the place is not just a figment of our imaginations.

*) Matt Lamy

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