Monday, November 29, 2010

Of Gods and Gadgets

Micah Hanks explores ancient astronauts, seemingly anachronistic technology, and hybrid beings in this post from Mysterious Universe.  Hanks comes to some surprisingly terrestrial conclusions, but keeps his mind open when it comes to the origins of anomalous technology.

I find it patronizing to the human intellects of only a few thousand years ago when we speculate that these things can only have been accomplished with the aid of alien help. Time and again, archaeologists are learning just how adept and advanced early civilizations were, but the Alien Astronaut theorists hold fast to the belief that we humans were barely capable of walking upright until some gray landed and showed them the light.

This intellectual snobbery is made doubly egregious when commited by the likes of Diffusionists who frequently demonstrate racism and bigotry when they denounce that great stone temples, mounds, and pyramids could have been built by backwards natives.

And don't get me wrong; I'm not accusing Mr. Hanks of this. On the contrary, I think his observations are sound. I especially like how he illustrates the absurdity surrounding the premise that half-man/half-beast illustrations from ancient times have to be based upon something real when our own creative minds today can easily fashion the most fantastatic Star Wars creature.

Read his post and give me your thoughts.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Barbados Sea Monster Surfaces

Two Barbados fishermen recently described an encounter with a sea "monster" 3.5 miles off Shower Bank, near Hilton Barbados.

Joel Brooker and his fishing buddy, Wendel Bryan, spotted the beast that Brooker described as 40 feet long with a flat head, two eyes, and a mouth that remained open throughout the entire event. At first Brooker thought it was a sunfish, but then thought it was a submarine. It wasn't until he saw small symbiotic fish attached to it that he realized this was a living creature.

Brooker discounts that it was any species of shark. In fact, he felt it didn't look like anything he had ever seen in the sea.

Read more at the Daily Nation

Two years ago, I was in Barbados peeking in at the mysteries surrounding the famed Chase Vault, which you can read about here.  And having lived in the Caribbean for several years, it's easy for me to imagine the setting for this fantastic tale of surfacing sea monsters. Perhaps more sightings are to come.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Awesome Paper Dragon Illusion

I'm tempted to make these for next Hallowe'en

Sweet Dreams Are NOT Made Of These....

Recently I spoke on the now-defunct Ghost Divas Live (??? I may have been there very last guest, at least in the show's original incarnation) about nocturnal phenomena that plague our dreams and the gray world between waking and sleep. I've had some experience in the matter and subsequently did a lot of research on the topic. Here is a brief run-through about the subject.
Many suffer from sleep disorders, ranging from mild insomnia to some fantastic and seemingly impossible phenomena. Among these, none are more incredible than those of Sleep Paralysis and appearances of the Old Hag.

Normal sleep involves REM (Rapid Eye Movement), the state wherein we dream. During this period, the body's gross motor functions are largely immobilized, ostensibly to avoid injuring ourselves should we act out our dreams.
However, in rare instances, an individual's body mightn't enable these security measures, leaving one free to move about during REM sleep. Known as REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, the condition affects 25% of the population (according to some studies) at one point or another throughout their lives. Often times, sufferers aren't even aware of their movements, but a smaller percentage still might notice unexplained wait gain, learning later on that they awake most nights to eat -- in their sleep. Sleep walking has long been a staple of comedic literature and films, but for the sufferer, the truth is doubtlessly unfunny.
At the extremes of this condition are individuals who act out violently, misperceiving their environment and circumstances.
>>> A woman dreamed her house was on fire and tossed her children from and upper story window to "save" them.

>>> A girl in Tennessee killed her family with a gun because the thought they were intruders.
The reasons for these behaviors (despite their severity) aren't clearly known. However, it is believed that stress, narcolepsy, drugs and alcohol might all contribute to episodes of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. It is recommended that anyone who believes he or she might be suffering from this disorder be tested for narcolepsy.

Non-REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is something of the opposite. Wherein the first disorder the experiencer is free to move about as they sleep, those afflicted with this condition remain immobilized -- even if they are awake. The body's motor functions are still locked down, but the mind might be fully or partially awake. And that's where it gets weird.
In this gray area, on the cusp of waking, an individual may be in what is termed a post-REM hypnopompic state where dreams can "appear" around the individual, as real as any other object in the room. It's frightening enough, especially considering this person feels paralyzed, but when accompanied by another phenomenon the seemingly occurs in concert, the whole experience become horrific.
Many who have experienced this phenomenon report sensing a "presence" in the room with them, a feeling of not being alone. It usually seems unwelcomed or malevolent. Many throughout history have reported a crushing weight upon their chest, making it hard to breath. And reports of a person -- often, but not always, and old hag -- perched atop their bodies are common throughout history. In fact, the word 'nightmare' is contracted from the English word 'night' and the Germanic expression 'mare,' which means a hag, witch, or crone.

In legend, the Old Hag goes back very far. The earliest written records in English seem to date to the 14th century, but it seems the phenomenon is far older. In ancient times, people talked of the Incubus and Succubus, demons that invaded a sleepers bed chamber to molest the dreamers sexually.

Modern researchers theorize the latter was a way for a scientifically ignorant society to explain away erotic dreams, nocturnal emissions, and even rare incidents of Non-REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. Science has also learned that the sense of "presence" that arises likely occurs in a cross-communication error between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. During this state, the brain essentially becomes "aware" of itself and perceives that externally as the presence of a stranger. This likely triggers warning bells and accounts for the feeling of terror or danger than can accompany the occurrence. It seems this all happens because of a lag time (anywhere from seconds to minutes) in communication between the various parts of the central nervous system. As a result, the body isn't "unlocked," the right brain and left brain aren't on the same page, and the experiencer is left with a terrifying event.

All very logical.
However, even among these learned researchers, question linger -- questions they might not want to answer. Why, for instance, is an Old Hag so often seen? It's not exactly the most relevant apparition. With a looming sense of something malevolent having invaded the dreamer's space, why does the mind not manifest something more contemporary, like the image of a burglar, serial killer, or movie monster? Why so often the Old Hag?

On a final note, there are those researchers and scholars who feel that humanity's long history of hags, incubii, fairies, bedside ghosts, and alien visitations are all various iterations of this phenomena, changing with cultures and times.
Whatever the explanations, we should be aware that these phenomena are real. Should you experience them yourself in the future, you'll have a better understanding of what is happening and make a call to your doctor before you call your local paranormal investigation team.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

'UFO' Singer's Strange Disappearance

I pride myself on the fact that, even if I don't know the particulars, I'm generally familiar with the more interesting UFO cases out there. I have to admit: I've never heard of this little gem. With nary a saucer seen, this makes for a somehow more compelling story. The man is writing about lonesome desert hightways and UFOs in his songs in the years prior to his sudden and complete disappearance in the New Mexico desert. I'm going to need to research this one a bit more....

Friday, November 19, 2010

MUFON Says OK Sightings Credible

Earlier this fall, residents of Stigler, OK reported sightings of a mysterious triangle-shaped UFO. Mutual UFO Network state director Marilyn Carlson investigated the sightings and found the witness statements credible.

The first incident occurred on September 16, 2010 when an unnamed witness spotted a triangle-shaped craft hovering over a field near Stigler. Along the perimeter of the object ran a series of white lights. Later, the field was discovered to have a bare patch of earth beneath where the object hovered.

More than a month later, a similar craft was spotted at around 10:30 in the evening of October 26, 2010. Witnesses described the object as enormous - the size of a city block - with white lights at its various points.

As remarkably familiar as these descriptions are to countless other reports over the past few decades, I'm somewhat skeptical without something more tangible to go on.  In fact, it's that very ubiquity that makes them all the more suspect. With such ready-made descriptions at the disposal of witnesses, I wonder exactly what prompted the local MUFON representative to believe these tales aside from her own willingness.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Anyone Wanna Play 'Cowboys and Aliens'?

Nice Pentagrams! Or How To Investigate Ritual Satanic Murders

Often times, one is called in to investigate those ritualize Satanic murders that often times occur to nubile young girls that look like Kelly Bundy. Often times, you will be called upon to note the tell-tales signs that often times tell you Satanists Wuz Here, as in the St. Joseph's Case.

Brace yourself for a morning laugh. To laugh even harder, read some of the pithy comments posted on Boing Boing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Should We Be Concerned Over Designer Bacteria?

There are bacteria to eat up oil spills, bacteria engineered to excrete a waste suitable for a gasoline substitute, and now bacteria that can patch roadways. It seems like there is no limit to the uses for designer bacteria and yet I can't help but think there's a new global issue waiting in the wings. What happens when these bacteria mutate, grow, and attack? You laugh but when we're slaves to a master race, this paranoia won't seem so funny.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thylacine Lives?

A video, shot more than a year ago, has crytozoologists abuzz lately. Loren Coleman, Nick Redfern, and others are all weighing in on whether it actually depicts a living specimen of the extinct thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, an animal indigenous to Australia. Some think the video simply shows a fox or such, but in the scant seconds we can glimpse its blurred form racing across an open field, we can see what seems to be an unusually enlongated skull, a feature of the thylacine. However, we cannot easily discern its tell-tale tiger stripes and its tail seems rather bushier than what has been exhibited by known specimens of thylacines.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cullan Hudson on Ghost Divas Live Wednesday Night

You can catch me this Wednesday night at 10 PM Central chatting with the Ghost Divas about waking nightmares, sleep paralysis, and the legends of Old Hags and Incubi. I will share both my research into these phenomena as well as my own experiences and those of individuals whom I know. It should be an interesting show and I hope you tune in to   And learn more about the Divas at

I will also be in person at the Enid Public Library in Enid, OK this Saturday.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Twisting Path To The Truth

In my inbox today I received a series of photos depicting a herd of cattle attacking a juvenile black bear. The images claimed the event took place north of Tulsa, OK. However, in looking at the vegetation and topography, something didn't add up. A short Internet search later led me to the truth - eventually. Check out the details and links on my Facebook page.

Tecumseh HS Students Snap Pic Of Oklacabra

KOKH FOX 25 :: Special Reports - Chupacabra sighting in Oklahoma

Famed cryptozoologist Nick Redfern investigated a recent sightning in Tecumseh. Local high school students snapped a photograph of what some believe is a chupacabras. He believes reports of chupacabras in Oklahoma, Texas, etc... are merely canines, likely coyotes, exhibiting genetic anomalies. Wildlife officials and other scientists agree, but feel that - aside from cases of mange - there is nothing extraordinary about these animals. So why all the excitement then? As society moves forward, even in the most rural areas, we are losing touch with the natural world. What once seemed mundane now takes on a fantastic new guise as the mysterious and supernatural.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ghost Hunting: A Decade In Review

Closing in on the end of 2010, I thought I would take a moment to look back on the past decade in the terms of paranormal investigation of ghosts and hauntings. While it is not my goal to harangue my readers with personal frustrations, I must confess to these feelings nonetheless. I rest confident in knowing I speak for a great number of investigators and paranormal enthusiasts as I outline the following lament....

Since the zeitgeist of paranormal television sprang forth from the dark like a mugger to capture America's attention, more and more individuals have followed, joined, or started their own paranormal investigation teams. Now many long-standing teams sit back in the shadows, scratching their heads. They wonder how the slow-building respectability they had worked so hard to foster could be snatched from their grasps in the blink of an eye.

Prior to the likes of Ghost Hunters, there were teams (much like TAPS) that investigated these phenomena. Some wore matching t-shirts, to be sure, but many were simply comprised of regular folk seeking answers wherever they could. The gadgets existed, but they were largely experimental. The main pieces of equipment used were cameras (both video and still), audio recorders, and your wits.

When EMF meters were being trotted out back then, terms like "baseline readings" were bandied about. After all, there was no established protocol for these devices, inarguably calibrated for another use altogether. If they were to be used, an understanding of what was to be expected from these devices without ghostly activity present had to first be established. These days, one might be hard pressed to find anyone among the plethora of nascent teams that knows what is meant by that. "Certainly," they would ask, "you just whip this gadget out and when the needle moves, you've got a ghost, right?"

Gadgets now outnumber common sense and are proudly displayed in "tech" or "gear" galleries on the various web sites in an almost competitive fashion. After all, the one with the most toys wins.

When once video cameras, mounted on tripods, were employed passively to capture evidence of the paranormal, they now play an active role in capturing the investigators themselves. These videos--full of What-was-that's and Did-you-hear-that's--are then posted on their web sites and on YouTube. Without this, one cannot hope to mirror the red carpet status enjoyed by the likes of TAPS and the boys over at Ghost Adventures. After all, if the bio listed on your web site doesn't read like an actor's resume, you're not going to make it as a 21st century ghost hunter. You have to cite at least three different TV shows with which you have had even the faintest contact. Then, by all means, name drop.

Of course, matching t-shirts are dernier cri for anyone who wishes to be taken seriously. As well, it is now imperative to interject the appellation "International" to your group's name should any part of your team go on vacation and snap some pictures of haunted places. You must have a website with a black background upon which dripping green ecotplasmic fonts and every conceivable Hallowe'en clip art are mounted. Your team must be comprised of personnel with the following titles: Lead Investigator, Lead Historian, Lead Techncial Dude, Lead Psychic, Lead Obscure Shamanistic Ritual Cleanser, Lead Assistant To The Lead Videographer, Lead Videographer (the individual gesticulating wildly whilst holding the camcorder)... With so many leaders, one wonders who is following in these teams. Or is this what comes from an everybody-wins-a-trophy society?

Back in the shadows, the old guard waits for the fad to pass and common sense to become common again. However, after more than five years, there are now more television shows tackling the paranormal than ever before. Moreover, each day new groups join one of the various "families" of teams out there like members of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local. It looks like the old guard might have a bit longer to wait.

If I were to make a prediction, it would be that we won't see a significant let up until after 2012. Once our doomsday comes and goes without event, I think a lot of the steam will go out of that engine. True Blood, Twilight, Harry Potter and all that will have run its course. Something else will capture the nation's attention, becoming the latest fad. Americans are, after all, nothing if not fickle.

But it's a double-edged sword, and I would be remiss if I didn't touch on the increased profile and even the strange respectability these shows have given the oft-maligned field of paranormal investigation. More people than ever claim to have at least some belief in that which science cannot readily explain. This willingness has allowed investigations to enter unfettered into hot spots they once couldn't have paid to access.

From this, I can only hope, more data will arise to aid in a greater understaning. Unfortunately, I can't help but fear in whose hands these data lie. Individuals for whom Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures are weekly how-to guides? This doesn't bode well for scientific acceptance anytime soon. Ultimately, that is the caveat I present to anyone: enjoy the shows, but remember that they exist to entertain. They aren't instructional manuals. In fact, there are no instruction manuals and no rules and nothing proven. You can follow the well-worn paths of others through dark woods of disappointment or you can blaze your own trail through new territories.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Experiment Debunks Heebie Jeebies

John Huntington, the mastermind behind the website Control Geek, and Dr. Toija Riggins conducted an experiment to see if there was any validity to the long-standing myth that infrasound can affect anxiety levels.

Infrasound, or sound below the level of human hearing, has long been postulated as a possible explanation for the feeling of free-floating anxiety that can accompany haunted locations. In fact, it has often been employed in amusement park haunted attractions. But is there any substance to this?

Check out the data for yourself, but this pair's initial findings are rather lackluster. While this might be bad for the amusement park industry, it could be good for paranormal investigators long-plagued by those seemingly ubiquitous "underground rivers" whose movement can set in motion subsonic vibrations that have us screaming into the night.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Phantom Voice Conjurs Questions

There we stood, at the dark heart of a block of rooms that hadn't been occupied regularly in more than half a century, listening once more for the sound.

Shhhh! someone from the group implored.

There it was again, a muffled but nonetheless identifiable voice emanating from behind us. It was saying something, certainly. But what?

I had traveled once more west of Oklahoma City to the town of El Reno. I would be participating for the second time in a cognitive trial conducted by local paranormal investigation team, GHOULI. This trial, which consisted of a blind experiment requiring participants to note their impressions as they explored a large historic structure, was the smallest of the four held this fall. In retrospect, this may explain why the night was so eventful.

There were only about 15 participants, so we broke up into three small groups. I led four myself through the old opera house-turned-antique store-turned abandoned building. In the silence and the dark, the attendees opened themselves up to their surroundings and diligently noted their impressions as they explored the accumulated detritus of a century of occupancy.

In time, we made our way to the third floor, where a series of room blocks once served as a boarding house to weary travelers on Route 66 and bootleggers fleeing the law.

We began by just exploring and then worked on coaxing any spirits present to speak so that the various recorders present might have the chance to pick up some phantom words. It wasn't long before we sensed a change in the air as something electric filled the spaces around us. Then the strange occurrences began: footsteps, odd noises, a brush with something unseen in the dark. A voice.

It was soft at first. Someone called for quiet and we all went dead still. We turned off our lights to focus our senses, straining to hear the sound once more.

There it was again! What was that? It was unmistakably the sound of a man talking, but his words seemed indistinct.

The only speck of illumination within the dark chamber came from the tiny LED on the digital recorder. "Can you tell us your name?" Silence. "Is this your home?" More silence. This was to be expected. Later, when the recording is analyzed, the investigators hope to identify the inaudible responses on the audio file. Known as electronic voice phenomenon, this is how many ghost hunters have learned to communicate with these unseen entities.

But what about that voice we just heard at least twice? I checked for myself: no one else was in that block of rooms or even on that floor. I could account for everyone's whereabouts. The next nearest team of investigators was two floors below and I couldn't even hear their voices until I walked down another floor and crossed over to the other side of the building. No forced air vents were ever installed on our floor, so sound couldn't have traveled from them to us in that fashion. No noises penetrated from outside the thick masonry walls. Even if they could, it was nearly midnight in a largely unoccupied historic center of a sleepy town west of Oklahoma City.

No. Even to this skeptic, there was no mistaking that this voice was very close to us - in the room with us.

I'm keeping my exuberance in check. Maybe the voice we heard, muffled as it was, had simply been the distorted echo of someone further down in the building that had managed, through means unknown, to travel upward through the heavily insulated building to manifest mere feet from where we stood. Yet, coming so close on the heels of my encounter at the Overholser Mansion, I can't help but think I had again bore witness to the paranormal. I can only wait eagerly for the EVP analyses from the various recorders present, hoping they will hold the answers I can't yet seem to find.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Avoid Timeshares on Apocalypse Island

The History Channel recently reaired a documentary(?) entitled Apocalypse Island, which follows two "explorers" as they bumble toward a mysterious island in the Pacific believed to hold the key to unlocking the Mayan mystery and its revelations for 2012. I should have known from the way in which the film was edited to delay, delay, delay that a needless sense of suspense was being built. To me, this meant the climax would be as disappointing as a night with.... I'll let you fill in the blank. When one resorts to sideshow tactics, invariably the truth inside the tent will be a rip off. And so it was.

Our principle protagonist is James Turner, a self-proclaimed "explorer" with a passion for 2012 doomsday predictions. He believes weathered rock formations on Robinson Crusoe Island, one of the remote Juan Fernandez islands off the west coast of South America, which sits roughly along the 2012 solar eclipse route, are actually monuments fashioned by a famous and powerful Mayan ruler, Chan Balum. Along for the ride is Jeff Salz, a cultural anthropoligist with a penchant for self promotion. He plays the part of the skeptic--to an extent.

Shot more like a reality show, the documentary obviously recreates key scenes to make them look more dramatic. Case in point: the climactic moment wherein our intrepid explorers risk life and limb to make it to the top of island is shot by a camera man who already managed that feat. But our explorer slips on rocks and makes a dramatic display of how dangerous it can be to uncover the truth.

Facts aren't relevant in the History Channel's new-found quest for this sort of sensational programming. Mayan scholars refute facts concerning Mayan abandonment, etc. put forth unquestioningly by Turner. Jim Aimers, a poster on the History Channel's thread for this story, states "Real Maya archaeology is exciting and interesting without bogus end-of -the world fantasies (2012 is merely the end of a big cycle, and the fact that the Maya believed that the world would continue is evident even at Chan Balum's Palenque--so important to Turner's "hypothesis"--, where inscriptions predict celebrations hundreds of years after 2012)."

Yet, throughout the film, we hear precious little counterpoint to Turners ideas. No learned scholars come forth to debunk the dated or wholly inaccurate information concerning the Maya. Furthermore, this purportedly remote and uninhabited island has a thriving tourist trade on its northern flank. If that's not a sitcom staple, I don't know what is.

However, Turner defends himself by saying that what aired was not the documentary he had in mind. He feels he was duped by the History Channel as they attempted to make the show somehow more sexy. Yet, he links to it on his website, so he must not be too put out by it all.

Still, his critics are relentless, as one poster on the History Channel board writes: "Many people commenting on the program have called it a hoax or a scam which wasted two whole hours. Since Turner is appealing for people to donate money (up to $500) to continue his 'research' on these 'monuments,' he is committing fraud. I sincerely hope no one falls for his hype." Another poster marvels at what he views as Turner's extraordinary ability to dupe the History Channel into not only footing the bill for his Pacific holiday, but to air it on TV.

Much like the heated 2010 elections, 2012 hysteria will soon reach a fevered pitch as the clock winds down to zero hour. The History Channel preys upon its viewership with such offerings. All I can offer is this caveat: don't be a victim. Question everything and research for yourself the facts presented in these programs. Don't limit yourself to spurious Internet searches either. Utilize our nations libraries while you still can and refrain from being a mindless TV zombie.

Oh, and what music will be played during the end-of-the-world? Apocalypso? Yes, that was bad. To clear your mind of such bad puns, read more about these doomsday prophecies and 2012 propaganda HERE.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Research Lends Some Credence To Psi Claims

Recent psychological experiments may prove that, at least to some degree, humans posess what might be termed precognition. Although I'm somewhat skeptical as to just what these tests indicate, I await further examination and discourse in this avenue of inquiry. READ ABOUT IT HERE!