Friday, November 27, 2009

The Dwarfs of Mount Atlas

In a collection of research papers entitled The Dwarfs of Mount Atlas (Coachwhip Publications), the late author Robert Grant Haliburton expressed his opinion that an entire tribe of little people dwells (or at least dwelt) in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. He based his assertions on local stories and eyewitness accounts but was unable to prove or disprove their existence, leaving us instead with a tantalizing legacy.

If you're intrigued by such anthropological mysteries, by all means check it out. However, if you want a real spectacle from the area, you will most likely delight in the goats that climb into trees like those pictured to eat the fruit. I snapped this shot outside Touradant, Morocco back in April.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hi, My Name Is Earl (of Sefton)

Caught on CCTV cameras at the 400 year-old Croxteth Hall in Liverpool, England earlier this year is what some deem the spirit of William Osbert Molyneux, 7th (and last) Earl of Sefton.

Many argue it is simply an errant insect or falling leaf, but to those who want to believe, it is indeed Molyneux back from the dead to patrol palatial Croxteth.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Texas Lights Make Return

Those mysterious lights that made the Stephenville, TX area such a paranormal hotspot in the past 24 months, returned the night of November 19, 2009. Read the account here.

TAPS Head Responds To Allegations

Since the now-infamous interview of Donna LaCroix on Ghost Divas Live!, the Internet has been abuzz with controversy. Yet, for the longest time, neither the TAPS team nor Ghost Hunters crew were addressing the allegations and insinuations - until now. Over at a recent post shares Jason Hawes' views on the matter. You can also read the comments below the post to hear what one Ghost Diva has to say in response.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I've been neglecting the routine of regular posting, partially because there isn't much going on out there, but mostly because I'm in a state of flux at the moment and juggling way too many projects. I'll scratch my noggin and see if I can't come up with something interesting tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Monday, November 16, 2009

In The Wind: TAPS Press Release Forthcoming

Over the past year(s), claims of hoaxed evidence have steadily risen against The Atlantic Paranormal Society and the production staff of their show Ghost Hunters. Most recently, former member Donna LaCroix spoke to the ladies of the Ghost Divas Live! and intimated that things might not be altogether kosher behind the scenes of the successful SyFy Channel program. Within hours of the broadcast, the Internet was abuzz with talk about the interview. While many have taken LaCroix's words out of context or seemingly misunderstood her meaning, most have been supportive of the burgeoning stance against any attempt to commit or excuse fraud on shows like Ghost Hunters. If deemed true, these allegations could have a devastating impact on the paranormal community, painting (however unfairly) all involved in the field as charlatans and liars.

It seems that while at first these claims were ignored by TAPS and their production company, rumors have now surfaced that a public statement addressing these allegations soon will be forthcoming. On the blog "Paranormal Eyes", Ghost Diva Tonya Hacker explains in brief much of the community's concerns regarding Ghost Hunters and takes a moment to clarify what exactly Donna LaCroix said and didn't.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

They'll Leave The Light On For You.

I like this guy's almost retro-like sense of humor. Juxtaposing mid-century design with spectacular shots of nebulae, etc. creates this sort of live action Jetson's vibe.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Ghost Hunters Controversy Arises

Another video surfaces from the depths of cyberspace to stalk the reputation of SyFy's Ghost Hunters (aka The Atlantic Paranormal Society, or T.A.P.S.). In this one, a lamp purportedly moves of its own accord, but tireless watchdogs point out that the tablecloth beneath is switched out for another and that the position of the cord has changed.

This makes the third or fourth time in the past year that videos like this have surfaced. As far as I can tell, there has been no response from SyFy, the Ghost Hunters production staff, or T.A.P.S.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Snow on the ground, "mist" in the air - what could be the cause??

Not that I'm picking on this poster, but it was a good example of what is wrong with most amateur ghost hunting these days. This image, found on flickr, was tagged as a spirit mist. If you click on the linked image, you will see that someone has placed a note into the picture as well, stating they see a man dressed in black with a ruffled collar in the image.

I see snow on the ground and a mist clinging near to the lens. It doesn't take much to connect the two.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How To Craft A Successful Episode Of Destination Truth or Where In The World Is Common Sense?

Josh talks about what is supposedly heard/seen/felt.

Josh is interrupted by second party, perhaps a cameraman.

What? Josh asks in excited tones.

Shhh! Did you hear that?

No one did. There was nothing to hear.

Yes! I heard it, Josh exclaims. What did you hear?

It sounded like [fill in the blank, which references what's expected to be heard]. Is that what you heard?

Why, yes [of course]! That is EXACTLY what I heard too!

As tension mounts, Josh shrieks: Oh my God! What is that?!

What? Where?

A rustle in the bushes strikes fear into the team.

Two beady "eyes" appear amongs the indistinguishable shapes on the everpresent FLIR camera.

Someone stumbles, possibly fracturing a leg bone.

Someone [probably a girl, but not always] screams.


When we return, we find the hysteria was about a small rodent darting about the underbrush.

A sigh of relief is expressed by all.

Oh, Scooby! [insert group laugh]


So, Dr. [insert name of individual looking to pay off that second mortgage], what can this amorphous blob captured on our grainy night vision camera possibly be?

Well, Josh, it might well be your [insert Monster-of-the-Week], but it's actually [insert animal so common that said scientist must bite lower lip and refrain from popping Josh in the head].

Then we come to the EVP work, which seems to crop up -regardless of the situation- as a shameless ploy to cross promote SyFy's OTHER show, Ghost Hunters.

Well, lesser TAPS members, what could this EVP be saying? Although it was recorded at the sacred ruins of Quetcha'ass Mejican Chetup where only the lost language of those native peoples was ever spoken, Josh nonetheless discerns from the random static words in English. The TAPS team waxes non-committally, which Josh takes as a thread of validation that he then turns into his equally non-committal narrative denouement.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

V Premiere Lacked Emotional Punch

Much like the disaffected Visitors themselves, the whole of last night's debut of "V" lacked the gravitas of the original. The revelation of giant motherships hovering ominous and silent over the world's largest cities seemed anticlimactic, lacking that quinessential what the hell is that? moment. Throughout the one-hour episode, key elements were continually flung at viewers faster than could be properly appreciated. There was no time for the citizens of earth to sit, cowering fearfully in the shadow of those great ships looming high overhead, wondering who or what was inside and if they were dangerous. Scant moments after arriving, the underbellies of these ships turn into giant jumbo-trons whereupon the ethnically ambiguous leader of the aliens appears like the new face of Cover Girl.

This new incarnation of the famed mid-1980's miniseries/series didn't take the time to truly craft characters and their backstories so that we may care about them going forward. No, instead we see our would-be resistance fighters brandishing the emotional range of sedated mental patients. Even when panicked mother/FBI agent frantically searches for her child during the initial chaos, you sense she easily could have been looking for a set of keys she dropped. And each other main character is set up in this same lackluster fashion, almost as if the writers/director are banking on that big V (which looks more like a gorey smear than a spray-painted emblem) to sell this show. Well, let me tell you: a large portion of that 18 to 35 demographic were yet even a gleam in their parents eyes when the first "V" aired.

Even though I was around 10 when the miniseries first debuted, I still picked up (being the special child I was) on the more important elements at work behind the cool sci-fi action. There was a powerful allusion at work that resonated with emotional experience. While such close comparisons as the Visitor arrival to Nazi occupation might, on the surface, seem dated, they are in many ways more relevant than ever. Our current socio-political landscape is, too, ripe with issues to address and allegories to craft, but instead we are served simply another sci-fi show with aspirations of dramatic grandeur, a la "Battlestar Galactica". And much like BG, this new offering ends up being pretty people with guns.

While I'm the first to admit that the ultimate big-haired, Dynasty-in-space mess that became the original "V: The Series" was a pit of bad writing, over-acting, and poor production values, you could at least blank all that out and remember the really great miniseries that started it all. It was a show that made you care about the disparate characters who banded together: a young, idealistic doctor who reluctantly comes to lead a rag-tag group of freedom fighters comprised of scientists, blue-collar workers, and even criminals - and an old woman. In that confluence of tension, a great story of survival against all odds was crafted.

Now, flash-forward to 2009: a laconic FBI agent is shaping up to lead former terrorists against the encroaching reptilian invasion. Oh, sure, there's a priest thrown in the mix - probably to muddle the morality from time to time - but, in all, you've got a pretty good group to lead the resistance movement. Ideal, almost. As trained militants, they won't be burdened with questions of "can I do this" or "I'm no leader, I'm just a doctor". All that pesky nonsense has just been pushed aside, quite cooly I might add.

And, ultimately, that's my biggest beef. V-09 is sci-fi on Zoloft. "They're lizards here to harvest us for food? Meh."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Budding Astronomers Report OK Sighting To MUFON

The following is a statement reported to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) from members of an amateur astronomy group

On the evening of 10-17-09 myself and four other club members were at our astronomy clubs’ observatory (N35.8308, W96.14518 - near Mounds, OK) for a clear night of observing. With many years of experience in observing under our belts we were needless to say quite qualified to identify most anything that we would see. Between approximately 6:40 – 7:00 P.M. one of the members noticed something off in the west and queried as to what it may happen to be.

First and foremost it was bright, more or less as bright as Jupiter, yet setting about ten to twelve degrees above the horizon, due west. At our first sighting most of us thought that it was nothing more than an airliner reflecting sunlight from the setting sun but that determination was tossed aside shortly there after. If it had been what we first thought it was it would’ve lost it’s size and brightness fairly quick as it shifted positions in relation to the sun while in flight. But, it continued to maintain its position, did not move in any direction - vertically, horizontally. If by some chance it were a celestial body it would follow a gradual celestial track that all of us would have noticed in a few minutes. Again, it didn’t move, remained in one position, which eliminated the possibility of it being a celestial body that none of us were unlikely familiar with. That alone became puzzling since the obvious – Venus, Mercury – are now tracking in the morning eastern sky, not the evening western sky. With that we continued to watch it as one of the guys used his 10x50 binoculars to get a better view.

What was seen initially brought to mind that it may perhaps be a high altitude research balloon but the more we watched it and as it maintained its position that thought was tossed quickly also. From the beginning it remained in one position, never moved. Balloons, of any type, will not remain in one specific position be they weather balloons, high altitude research balloons or otherwise.But as we watched it more closely it was very surprising as to the manner in which it morphed into various shapes and sizes. Its brightness would vary some but that was easily seen as being caused by the low-lying clouds on the horizon. As we commonly call it – it was “sitting in the soup”. When they would move in front of it the objects brightness would dim some. Otherwise it would maintain its brightness. That was easily seen via binocular observations.

The longer we watched it the more curious we all became and with that growing curiosity we quickly set two telescopes onto it. Two different sized telescopes were used, one, Celestron 11” Schimdt-Cassegrain telescope and a smaller Orion 4.5” dobsonian telescope. Between the two we could pull it in for a much closer look in a very inquisitive effort to determine just what it actually was. Charts and web sites were checked also to make sure we weren’t simply forgetting perhaps one event that may explain what we were now seeing. Nothing could be found. The Celestron was using a 40mm eyepiece for a much wider field of view whereas the smaller Orion had a 15mm eyepiece to pull it in much closer.

Through the Orion one could easily see what appeared right off as a bell shape. The same was viewed in the other also. But as mentioned before it morphed into what was clearly seen and could be interpreted as the same basic outline of the Shuttle that anyone would see as it flies over. Again, the same basic shape as to what you would see looking up at the bottom of it. That distinctive shape was easily recognized. At the rear of it you could see what looked like bluish green waves that would both come and go from the main rear line of the object. Nowhere else was this color and wave seen, just at the rear. The objects color was a combination of the just mentioned bluish green at the rear to a lighter orange yellow up through the main body and then into red orange, much more intense, than any of the other colors at the top or perhaps, from appearance at that time, leading edge. None of us had ever seen a color distribution of this sort before. Especially on either the Shuttle or any other normal day-to-day satellites.

From our position/location it appeared to be hovering over either Bristow, Ok or possibly even Oklahoma City. There was no attempt by any of us then to determine its specific distance or altitude from us. The same applies to its actual size. Visually, it appeared very similar to the size of Jupiter. Other than that comparison we honestly don’t know either its distance or specific altitude. It remained in the same position for approximately 40 minutes and never moved.

Close to 8 P.M. we started to notice what appeared to be a ring of lights that was rotating around the bottom portion. The lights were seen in the same location that the bluish green colored waves were at. Several of us noticed this while looking at it through the telescopes. Needless to say this was surprising to us all. This carried on for one to two minutes and then suddenly the object started to move. The movement was slow at the beginning but increased very rapidly. I had my eye glued to the 40mm eyepiece when this began and once it started I could not move. Within two seconds it had totally disappeared from open visual sight but I still had a lock on it in the eyepiece. Fast, very fast it moved from dead center in the eyepiece field of view upwards and at the same time was getting smaller and smaller as it flew away. Two or three seconds later it was totally gone from view in either of the telescopes.

The speed that it moved was without question way beyond anything that we have knowledge of or is publicly known to be in our military. At the rate it flew away would make a SR-71 Blackbird look very old and slow. Could it have possibly been a new experimental aircraft? Possibly yes but if so what was something such as that doing in Oklahoma? Most generally new experimental, top-secret aircraft of that type are being tested at either Edwards AFB or Area 51, not Oklahoma. In a nutshell, we will never know. It was unidentifiable, it was in the air and flew away and it most certainly was an object of some unknown kind/type. From this alone it could be justifiably categorized as a UFO.