How odd...an image of Carel Struycken popped into my head twice during these news briefs. First person to tell me which two news briefs wins a prize...
- Geologist revives the controversy over the 'Jesus family tomb'.
- Bizarre 'Jerusalem Syndrome' makes visitors to the Holy City go crazy.
- Filipino devotees nailed to cross in Crucifixion re-enactment.
- Aliens are enormous, science suggests.
- Set the controls for
the hearta close orbit of the Sun: solar probes being designed for the mission to Hell.
- David Lynch leaves the Twin Peaks revival. And Jesus wept.
- Exotic particle turns out to be a 'quark molecule'.
- If parallel universes exist here's how we can find out.
- What is Morgellons Disease? Singer Joni Mitchell's disputed diagnosis.
- Chao Lu of China recalled 67,980 digits of pi in correct order. So, what are the actual limits of human memory?
- Is this the Loch Ness Monster's tiny ancestor?
- Research findings support Aboriginal legend on the origin of Central Australian palm trees.
- Are ghost sightings caused by breathing toxic air?
Quote of the Day:
Intelligence is knowing that Frankenstein is not the monster. Wisdom is knowing Frankenstein IS the monster.
Celebrated primatologist Jane Goodall turned 81 yesterday. Back in 2002, Goodall controversially stated in an interview on NPR - prompted by a question from a caller - that she believed that a Bigfoot-type species did indeed exist, citing reports from Native Americans she has spoken to, as well as a news story at the time about a possible Yeti hair having been discovered.
Edited audio from the original interview can be listened to in the animated clip above - the transcript of the relevant section is below:
Caller: I wanted to know if you believe there are any undiscovered large ape species.
Jane Goodall: You're talking about Yeti, or Bigfoot, or Sasquatch?
Ira Flatow: Is that what he's talking about?
Jane Goodall: Yes, yes he is.
Caller: Ah, pretty much.
Ira Flatow: *laughing* I'm out of the loop.
Jane Goodall: Well now, you'll be amazed, when I tell you that I'm *sure* that they exist. I've talked to so many Native Americans, who've all described the same sounds, two who've seen them. And there was a little tiny snippet in the newspaper just last week, which is that British scientists have found what they believe to be a Yeti hair, and that the scientists in the Natural History Museum of London couldn't identify it as any known animal.
Ira Flatow: Did you always have this belief, that they existed?
Jane Goodall: Well I'm a romantic, so I always wanted them to exist...
That a Mexican plays the part of Jesus so that he can be crucified seems like overkill by now…
- Wikileaks: Corporations want the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade agreement (TPP) to grant them the power to sue states in private courts.
- "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." And now thanks to Monsanto, also the stork!
- Polio 2.0? New virus is causing life-long paralysis in Californian kids.
- Shoko Asahara left a bigger scar on Japan than the 2011 tsunami.
- Why Scientology's cone of silence finally started to shatter.
- Pew pew! The first film shown via laser beam premiered yesternight at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
- Seth Shostak: "Aliens don't respond to our e-mails? Let's spam them with porn and cat pics!"
- Screw the aliens! It was ghosts the ones who kickstarted civilization.
- Is Ayahuasca the key to empty our prisons?
- Synchronicities: When the Unlikely and the Unbelievable collide.
- John Keel's search for Mothman and its kin.
- Lil' Ganesha: Girl born with proboscis-like deformity worshipped as deity in India.
- Can we harness telepathy for moral good, or will it ruin our relationships and shatter our society?
- The divine witches of Cyberspace.
- Meet Hector: A robot prepared for self-awareness.
- Red Pill of the Day: Artoo in Love --A Star Wars story of love and deception, with a definitive turn to the dark side.
Thanks to the J-Man for granting us a 4-day long weekend. Hang in there, bro!
Quote of the Day:
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary investigations."
~Tim Binnall, host of Binnall of America
Morpheus: "Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"
The characters inhabiting the world created by Mischa Rozema and PostPanic Pictures for their proof-of-concept short film Sundays, are faced with the same philosophical quandary Morpheus posed to Neo in The Matrix. Sundays is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign which crowdfunded the US$50,000 needed to turn Mexico city into a distorted dystopia which would have made Philip K. Dick proud of --although as a
prisoner citizen of Mexico myself, it didn't require that much of an effort...
The end of the world seems like a nightmare to Ben. A memory of a past life that doesn’t belong to him. When Ben starts to remember Isabelle, the only love he’s ever known, he realises she’s missing in his life. An existential descent into confusion and the desperate need to find out the truth begins. This reality depicts a stunning, surprising and dark world. A world that is clearly not his.
As a matter of fact, this is not the first time Mexico city is featured as a Dicktopia. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the first to realize the city's Sci-Fi potential for his 1990 movie Total Recall.
Not only did the Empire never end, Spanglish is the official language! Here's hoping PostPanic lets us explore it further.
Scarfolk to host British Science Festival in 2016!
- Is this ET? Mystery of strange radio bursts from space.
- Researchers create eye-drops that let you see in the dark.
- The physicist who wants to build a time machine to communicate with his dead father.
- Saharan 'carpet of tools' earliest known man-made landscape.
- Awaken to the Truth About Conspiracy Theories!
- MoD accused of UFO cover-up after delaying release of massive cache of evidence dubbed 'Britain's X-Files'.
- The rapid rise of human language.
- Latest theory behind 'mystery booms': it's all in your head.
- Ireland set to impose levy on Holy Wells.
- Why did a group of medieval monks see part of the moon explode?
- Artist removes summit of Scafell Pike - England's highest mountain.
- The origin of April Fools' Day.
- Charles Fort 'blue plaque' unveiled in London.
- China's mysterious stone circles likely used for sacrifice.
- Ants in space grapple well with zero-g.
- L. Ron Hubbard and the Ordo Templi Orientis.
- Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left.
- Priest greeted by strangers discovers doppelganger neighbour.
- Anglo-Saxon antibiotics are just the start – it's time to start bioprospecting in the past.
Quote of the Day:
We all have a right to know, and if the government has been suppressing information about other life forms, that's the cruelest hoax of all.
Last week I linked to a video uploaded by Jaime Primak Sullivan on her Youtube channel and Facebook account, which apparently showed her little 4-year-old daughter Charlie 'delivering' a message from Jaime's grandmother, who died last November.
A number of members --the big bossman himself included-- expressed an understandable amount of skepticism toward the video, mentioning how it could have been easily scripted; I myself conceded from the beginning how there was really no way of knowing whether little Charlie had already heard the nickname used by her dead great-granny --whom she only met a couple of times-- to call her mom Jamie. I was content to leave it at that, but yesterday my cosmic compadre Micah Hanks on his radio show The Gralien Report mentioned my previous article, and he also pointed out this other video, which is a commentary about a previous one with Charlie recorded right after a family trip to Disneyland; the important part starts at 3:25:
So here again we seem to have a little girl, using a rather peculiar phrase which was deeply characteristic of Jaime's dead grandmother --"the walls (of my house) are crying"-- as a way to express homesickness. Once more, we can't vouch for the veracity of this account --the fact that the video embedded above and the previous one I linked to last week were posted on Youtube with only a day's difference is a bit fishy, although if these are attempts to attain notoriety on the social networks, so far it hasn't succeeded.
But if what Jaime is saying is true, then it would seem to suggest her child is able to 'channel' somehow the 'spirit' of someone who was very important to her mother at the time she was the same age as she is now. Whether that 'spirit' is more metaphorical than literal, is again open to personal interpretation...
[H/T Micah Hanks, a.k.a. 'The Mouth of the South']
Angels on the sideline, baffled and confused...
- Buried pyramid discovered beneath Tiahuanaco.
- Violin maker claims to have discovered the location of buried Nazi treasure by cracking a code hidden in a musical score. Take a bow sir.
- The eerie enigma of Cicada 3301.
- Who were the first yogis? (video)
- The Antikythera shipwreck: the Titanic of the ancient world and its sunken historic treasure.
- The colossal head of the ancient king Decebalus, carved in the year 1993...A.D.
- Fiery debate between SETI scientists as to whether we should phone E.T.
- Giant alien planet has four suns in its sky. Tanned from all angles...
- Breakthrough for understanding whale language. Not sure I want to hear what they're saying about us.
- Medieval remedy containing garlic and cow bile could be the key to killing anti-biotic resistant superbugs.
- Star Trek tricorders and weird diseases.
- The consciousness conundrum: end of the materialist worldview?
- In Iceland, 'respect the elves - or else'. Sheesh, talk about small-man syndrome.
- Signs of the coming robopocalypse: Drones are now herding sheep. Next: humans.
- A Saucerful of Strange Secrets: Pink Floyd's fascination with the Marvel Universe.
- Image of the Day: Bigfoot, explained.
Quote of the Day:
Silly monkeys give them thumbs.
They make a club.
And beat their brother down.
It seems that these days every superhero is getting a movie, so it was no surprise to find out that one of my all-time favourite Marvel characters, Dr Strange, will be coming to the big screen in 2016.
Marvel's master magician has been around for over 50 years now, and during that time he's influenced plenty of people (including myself) - even though most of the general public might not recognise him as easily as the likes of Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. But, rather fittingly, many people have probably looked at an image of the Sorcerer Supreme on multiple occasions without actually seeing him. In particular, Pink Floyd fans.
Hidden on the cover of Pink Floyd's second album, A Saucerful of Secrets (1968), is an image of Dr Strange taken from Marvel's Strange Tales #158, published the year before the album was released, in 1967. Created by the late Storm Thorgerson, legendary designer of many of Pink Floyd's album images, the cover includes a barely visible Dr Strange, as well as the character Living Tribunal, who are facing off over the future of the Earth.
Not content with this sly album cover inclusion, a year later the Floyd made another reference to Dr Stephen Strange in their song 'Cymbaline', on the soundtrack to the movie More, with the lyrics "and Doctor Strange is always changing size". Here they are playing it live in 1971 (listen closely and you'll hear a tip of the hat to another famous Doctor near the end):
There was almost yet another reference to the Marvel Universe in Pink Floyd's work just a few years later. Thorgerson confirmed a few years before his passing that a photo version of the Silver Surfer was one of the images he once considered for the cover of Dark Side of the Moon (happily, he settled on the now famous light prism image, one of the most famous album covers in modern music).
Or maybe Thorgerson should have just gone with something like this instead...
- SETI has begun looking for hot aliens. Captain Kirk was waaay ahead of you SETI.
- Hundreds report UFO sighting in Cannock Chase.
- A sign from beyond the grave?
- People in Kazakhstan are falling asleep for days - and nobody knows why.
- Buddhist monk displays 'unheard of' brain activity while meditating.
- In Brazil, some inmates get therapy with hallucinogenic tea.
- How a West African shaman helped my schizophrenic son in a way Western medicine couldn’t.
- Will telepathy machines make us closer, or are there unforeseen dangers in melding minds?
- 'Chinese Stonehenge' found in the Gobi desert continues to mystify experts.
- Is the statue with a mummified medieval monk inside it a stolen relic?
- Oldest evidence of breast cancer found in 4200-year-old Egyptian skeleton.
- Magic robots of the medieval world.
- Real-life vampires exist, and researchers are studying them.
- Porpoises, whales and dolphins use sound searchlights.
- Image of the Day: John Keel chats to Jacques Vallee.
Quote of the Day:
Belief is the enemy
There once was a man named David, he loved his family so. They lived on a farm in Tennessee, in eighteen hundred eighty. One day while his daughters played nearby and his wife watched from her swing, David walked across the field and vanished without a word.
That’s the gist of the story, though I admit to having taken some artistic liberty with the wording (I’m no poet), but even my version offers pretty much the same amount of detail to the original. The man in question was David Lang, and he did indeed vanish, or so the story goes. It’s said that he took a stroll through the field next to his family home, while his wife and children watched from the yard, and after only a few steps he simply disappeared without a trace, right in front of their eyes. This, apparently, was also witnessed by two men who happened to be passing by the farm in a buggy at the time. The full version of the tale says that an exhaustive search was undertaken to find the poor vanished soul, but to no avail. David Lang was never heard from again.
If that sounds familiar to you, it might be because American journalist, satirist, and short story author Ambrose Bierce wrote an almost identical tale called ‘The Difficulty of Crossing a Field’. If you judge books by their cover, you may have overlooked that title. That’s a short story that first appeared in the San Francisco Examiner in 1888, and later appeared in some versions of Bierce’s ‘Can Such Things Be?’ collection, but it soon took on a life of its own.
Of course, with stories like this, of this age, it can be exceedingly difficult to track down who exactly said what and when. We know, because of his relative fame, that Bierce did write The Difficulty of Crossing a Field sometime in the late 19th century, which detailed the disappearance – in very much the same way – of a plantation owner named Williamson from Alabama, but was he the first to write it? Was he drawing on actual events as inspiration, changing names and locations to protect the innocent, as it were?
The tale of David Lang, which differs only in the minute details, was first published in an edition of Fate Magazine in 1953. That version was penned by novelist Stuart Palmer, who claimed that it was a true accounting, and was in fact the event on which Ambrose Bierce based his story. Palmer’s version has since been copied into several books relating to strange disappearances, such as Frank Edward’s Stranger than Science (1959). Since then, the two tales have been intertwined, confused, misattributed and just plain plagiarized many times over.
Why am I telling you all this? I’m getting to that.
Several researchers have gone to great lengths to confirm or disprove the story of David Lang, and it seems that no such man ever existed. There are no census records for a man of that name in Gallatin, Tennessee (where the story takes place) in that era, nor of his family. No newspaper articles have ever been found discussing or referring to the incident, and no correspondence of any kind has been seen. This doesn’t mean that David Lang didn’t exist, he very well could have. Records get lost all the time, even now. It also doesn’t mean the incident never happened. I just means that we can’t confirm it.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know what happened, but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating based on the little we do know. And I’m about to do the same.
There’s something you should know about Ambrose Bierce; his name is inexorably connected to the concept of strange disappearances, for more than one reason. Aside from the fact that he wrote about people vanishing into thin air on more than a few occasions – An Unfinished Race comes to mind, which features the odd disappearance of James Worson, who, while running a foot race, simply blinked out of existence right before the eyes of several other men – Bierce himself disappeared without a trace while in Mexico in 1914, never to be heard from again.
It’s a strange business, all of it, but things do get stranger.
Did you know that The Difficulty of Crossing a Field has been adapted as an opera? It has! I’ve not had a chance to experience it, but I imagine it was quite the show. It played at the Roulette Intermedium theatre in New York in 2002 and several times since then. Here’s the strange bit though…the man who wrote the adaptation and produced the show is named David Lang.
According to his website, David Lang, the current, is a Pulitzer Prize winning composer and at one time held the Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall. By all accounts he is a brilliant musician and were he named anything else, no one would ever question his involvement.
But since he is named David Lang, I can’t help but let my imagination run a little bit. What if…? And hear me out. What if, the original David Lang really did exist, and really did disappear as the story suggests? If it were true we’d have to consider where, exactly, Mr. Lang went when he disappeared.
Despite the relatively shallow depth of our knowledge in the realms of time travel and teleportation (yes, both are theoretically possible, given certain caveats), it could be said that it is conceivable that the man, David Lang, who disappeared from a field in Tennessee a hundred years ago, is also the man, David Lang, who now works to retell the story of his own mysterious demise through Ambrose Bierce’s tale The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.
OK, yes, I can already hear you pounding your keyboard, typing out a comment to tell me how deluded and credulous I am. The name David Lang is, arguably, a very common name, and yes, strange coincidences happen all the time, some stranger than this. But even if all I’ve done here is point out a strange coincidence that inspires some of you to add Ambrose Bierce to your reading list and David Lang to your playlist, then this was all worth it. For the record though, I think David Lang is actually a Time Lord.