Oregon Installs Angry Owl Warning Signs

Image

Readers of John Keel's The Mothman Prophecies will know the owls are not what they seem, and now Parks & Recreation officials in Oregon are learning the same thing. After a spate of owl attacks on joggers, outdoor enthusiasts, & 16-year-old girls named Sarah, officials are installing "beware of angry owl" signs throughout Salem Oregon's Bush's State Park to warn people of swooping owls. So forget your A.A. Milne image of jolly old owls dispensing wisdom, or JK Rowling's magical postal service; now it's sharp talons coming for the back of your head.

And before you decide to take a road trip to Oregon and nab yourself one of those shiny signs, you can download and make your own here. I seriously hope they start selling the real deal, as it'd be a great way to raise funds for the park & owl conservation.

Via io9.com & The Statesman Journal.

See William Butler Yeats's Magical Golden Dawn Tools and Private Journals

Yeats and his Golden Dawn Earth Pentacle
Irish poet William Butler Yeats is perhaps the most well-known member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the influential secret magical society which originated in the late 19th century (and still exists in a number of forms today). Yeats was initiated into the order in 1890, taking on the magical name Demon est Deus Inversus—"the Devil is God Inverted." As the order fell into chaos in the early 20th century, Yeats struggled to keep it intact, but he eventually left the offshoot Stella Matutina temple in 1921.

In 2009, noted Tarot author and scholar Mary K. Greer blogged about an exhibit at the National Library of Ireland showcasing a number of Yeats's Golden Dawn tools and writings, including pages from his private magical journal. The exhibition is still online and I encourage you to view it here (although it is build in Flash and employs a clunky navigation system). Navigate to "Interactive" then click on "The Celtic Mystic" to see the showcase.

I also recently acquired a copy of the out-of-print and rare book, Yeats, the Tarot, and the Golden Dawn by scholar Kathleen Raine (The Dolmen Press, 1972), and was astonished to find it contained several black-and-white photos of Yeats's hand-crafted elemental weapons (magical tools).

Yeats's Magical Golden Dawn Tools

In the above image, clockwise from top left, are: the chalice (representing the element of Water); dagger (representing the element of Air) and lotus want (a general "all-purpose" wand); magical sword and sheath; and the Fire Wand.

Another photo, this one from the National Library of Irelands exhibit, shows Yeats's hand-constructed and painted Pentacle, which represents the element of Earth. You can see his magical motto, Demon est Deus Inversus, painted on the pentacle. All of the magical tools are inscribed with Hebrew names of angels, and some (noticeably the cup) feature the sigils constructed from their names (the odd geometrical figures). This image comes from the collection at the National Library of Ireland:

Yeats's Golden Dawn Earth Pentacle

It is still quite thrilling to see Yeats's drawings in the notebook illustrating his progression through the grades of the order. Here, he has sketched and painted the angel Michael Auriel. [An earlier version of this article stated the angel was the Archangel Michael, but someone on a Golden Dawn forum caught the mistake.]

Archangel Michael from the Golden Dawn notebook of William Butler Yeats

And a beautiful gallery of pages from a Golden Dawn notebook from Yeats's uncle, George Pollexfen, can be found on Flckr, too.

The full story of Yeats and his involvement with magic and the Golden Dawn is covered in a number of books and online, but seeing these magical tools and drawings—carefully constructed and painted by the great poet himself—really brings the tradition alive.

News Briefs 13-02-2015

"We don't have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself..."

Quote of the Day:

“...What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.”

Douglas Adams

Talking with Tsakiris About Talking with the Spirits

Talking With the Spirits

Paranthropologist Jack Hunter recently spoke with Alex Tsakiris (of the Skeptiko podcast) about the anthology on mediumship around the world that he co-edited, along with David Luke, Talking With the Spirits* (Amazon US and UK). It's a fantastic discussion of how the paranormal can be approached by both the scientific method, and through anthropology - for instance, see the excerpt below:

Alex Tsakiris: One [question] is: Does [psychic] ability manifest itself more in some people than in others? And obviously we know it does. But particularly, what I think you bring that I had never thought of, and I think is…interesting to…grind on is: Is it more prevalent in certain cultures? Is it more prevalent in certain social situations with certain combinations of events, people, rituals, practices, all those things. I just think that’s mind blowing. That opens it up in so many different ways. Am I in the right direction, and what are your thoughts on that specifically in terms of what…directions…folks might want to go to find this phenomenon manifesting itself more frequently, more measurably, all the rest of that stuff?

Jack Hunter: That’s exactly what I’m talking about…when you look at the Anthropological literature, all the Ethnographic literature, and look at the kinds of experiences that people have reported to anthropologists in the field all over the world, you find these kinds of common characteristics. For instance, like you said, ritual is…an important process for people to go through in order to have these sorts of experiences. And I think that the parapsychological community has missed out on that. They could, for instance, use ritualized procedures in laboratory. That’s one example. Or take the laboratory out to the rituals…

You can listen to the full interview (or read the transcript, if that suits better) over at the Skeptiko website. Talking With the Spirits is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

* Full disclosure: Talking With the Spirits is a Daily Grail Publishing book.

News Briefs 12-02-2015

As a foreigner, I've long considered The Daily Show to be the most reliable window into American politics. Jon will be sorely missed.

Thanks to Susan, Charles and Jon.

Quote of the Day:

“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.”

~Jon Stewart

News Briefs 10-02-2015

New stories:

Quote of the Day:

Old stories often turn out to be true.

Arthur Machen, The Terror and Other Stories

A Survey of Psi Research

Dream Telepathy

Over at his blog, Carlos Alvarado has a summary of a recent survey, by Dr Harvey Irwin, of 114 people involved in parapsychology - an attempt to understand the views of contemporary psi researchers.

From the abstract:

Some issues, such as the reality of psi and the importance of specialist training in parapsychology, attracted substantial consensus, but a disparity of views was evident on other issues (e.g., the unity of ESP and PK); somewhat surprisingly, developments in anomalistic psychology and mainstream concerns over probabilistic evaluation of hypotheses appear to be of limited interest to parapsychologists.

Some of the quick take-aways were:

  • When asked for their estimate of the reality of psi, using a scale ranging from 0 to 100%, the mean answer was 78.91.
  • When asked about the possibility that their interests were motivated by spiritual concerns, replies were spread fairly evenly: “strongly” 21%, “moderately” 29%, “slightly” 24%, and “not at all” 26%.”
  • When asked about belief in life after death: “strongly disagree” 3%, “disagree” 10%, “somewhat disagree” 1%, “neither agree nor disagree” 36%, “somewhat agree” 16%, “agree” 18%, and “strongly agree” 17%.
  • How many agreed with (ie. responded 'somewhat agree', 'agree', and 'strongly agree') the following diverse questions: "Ganzfeld now less effective": 18%; "survival research essential": 45%; "significance testing unsatisfactory": 48%.

Additionally:

Three survey items related to the use of constructs from the philosophy of science to discount some findings of parapsychological research . . . Although there was some variation in responses, approximately half of the sample deemed commentators’ use of the concepts of the need for replication and the principle of parsimony to be purely rhetorical devices in the criticism of parapsychological research. On the other hand, over 40% of respondents evidently saw more than rhetoric in the critics’ demand for replicability. Views were rather more cohesive on the third issue: only 13% of the sample believed parapsychologists were using the concept of psi-missing primarily to explain away inconvenient experimental findings.

An open-ended question about current problems of parapsychology elicited mention of low financial support, resistance from institutions to research, the views of critics, and other issues.

Link: Survey of Parapsychologist’s Opinions

News Briefs 09-02-2015

Attempt no landing there...

Thanks to @CatVincent and @AnomalistNews.

Quote of the Day:

It is useless to ask a Magician if God, angels or demons ‘really exist’. Simply by saying the words, you have made them exist.

Ask again whether these abstract entities can produce any effect on the physical world and they already have — they have caused you to ask questions.

Ramsey Dukes

The Man in the High Castle: Amazon's Pilot Episode Available for Free


Throughout most of his life, Philip K. Dick was obsessed with the concept of alternative realities. There was a time for instance, when he believed he'd switched places with his twin sister, who passed away only six weeks after they were born prematurely, and that he was the one who had died. On other occasion he became convinced that the Nixon regime was actually a 'projection' of the Roman empire in which he was still living, as a persecuted Christian of the first century A.D.

Schizophrenic delusions or perhaps glimpses of parallel universes, we'll never know for certain. What we do know is that his visions inspired his literary work, and in 1963 he won the Hugo award for his novel The Man in the High Castle, an alternative history novel in which the Axis powers won the 2nd. World War, and have divided the rest of the globe among themselves.

Now Amazon has made a video series adaptation of Dick's story --Must we still call these 'TV series'?-- Starring Rufus Sewell, Luke Kleintank, Alexa Davalos, and executive produced by Riddley Scott; you can watch the pilot episode for free by clicking here.

Here are a couple of segments to pique your interest:

Whether Dick would be pleased with this adaptation --or surprised with the fact that the United States is now more resemblant of a police state than ever-- is also something we'll never know... or will we?

News Briefs 06-02-2015

“Is the surface of a planet really the right place for expanding technological civilization?”

Quote of the Day:

“We should ask, critically and with appeal to the numbers, whether the best site for a growing advancing industrial society is Earth, the Moon, Mars, some other planet, or somewhere else entirely. Surprisingly, the answer will be inescapable — the best site is "somewhere else entirely."

Gerald K. O’Neill