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Wednesday, 23 August 2017


8/21/17  #919
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Tired of being kept in the dark about what is really going on in the world today?  Are you sick of stories on your local news about what Hollywood star is getting a divorce this week?  Worried that your missing out on all of the strange stories of conspiracies, UFOs, and the paranormal?  Well cheer up! Because once again the Conspiracy Journal has arrived in your e-mail box to keep you informed on all the news and info that THEY don't want you to know.


This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such toe-tingling tales as:

 Into the Fourth Dimension -  
Beeping Creatures - A Star Is Made: Where Does Talent Really Come From -
AND: Dogs With Blue Fur Seen in India

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~

Hidden Treasures of the Knights Templar


The hidden treasures of the Knights Templars cannot be estimated in terms that are realistic or that we could readily understand.
Today, we speak in terms of the Rockefeller Dynasty, the Rothschild banking family, Goldman Sachs, the Clinton Foundation . . . but, even if you merged all the vast wealth of these and many more conglomerates, you would get nowhere near the vast fortune of the Knights Templars.
Not only are we talking about tons of gold and silver and kingly jewels, but unimaginable treasures such as the Holy Grail, as well as the Ark of the Covenant. The Templars also organized the first banking system and many of their depositors were fabulously wealthy beyond one’s wildest dreams. They put their monetary weight behind kings, queens, and assorted nobility. They are also known to have sacked Greece and Rome of vast fortunes.
This book answers many questions concerning the whereabouts of their unique treasure trove and how it found its way to the New World long before Columbus or other explorers had set sail.
*** Evidence indicates that the Freemasons are closely aligned to the secret plans and ultimate supremacy of the Knights Templar. Some say they are an esoteric brotherhood hungry for forbidden knowledge. Others say they are similar to a coven of black magicians, using the dark arts to achieve their purposes.
*** For many years, the wealthy Templars enjoyed the blessings of a succession of popes. What caused the allies of the Templars to turn on the knights and put their leaders to death?
*** Did the Templars receive prophecies and blessings from the decapitated head of Jesus? Such is one of several legends surrounding the knights’ excavations in Jerusalem. It is also claimed they found the Holy Grail from the Last Supper and written material that proved Jesus and Mary Magdalene were husband and wife.
*** In 1307, after the persecution of the Knights Templar began and they were forced to go underground to survive, it is said that they infiltrated the trade union of the Freemasons. In the centuries since, the Freemasons have demanded secrecy and silence from its membership. Some say the covert rituals and covered-up occultism extends to the most highly-placed world leaders. Are we being ruled by a cabal of Freemasons?
Also, read the work of Ambrose Noble, a fervent apologist for the Freemasons and a Freemason himself. He tells the story of modern Freemasonry FROM THE INSIDE as he pays homage to what he believes is a blessed philosophy destined to overcome and rule the world. Noble claims that their spiritual truths are an open secret, based on a love of the Gospel of Jesus. But is that really the whole story?

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Into the Fourth Dimension
By Brian Allan

One of the most bizarre of all the convoluted aspects of ‘superscience’ i.e. the kind of technology that allegedly permits alien spacecraft to visit the planet Earth, is the enigma of ‘time travel’, or the ability to move a from the present day to a set point either in the past or the future. It is a subject that has fascinated science fiction writers since the genre was created and was celebrated by the author HG Wells in his classic novel, ‘The Time Machine’, which went on to be filmed twice. The manner in which Wells imagined his apparatus was very much a product of the 19th century in Victorian Britain, a mechanical device that seems to have used the then fledgling science of electricity as it source of power.

This was admirably recreated by the special effects designers in the first 1960 George Pal version of the film, where it resembles a kind of partially enclosed sleigh with a rotating umbrella-like device at the rear. The 2002 remake directed by Simon Wells, the grandson of the author, features a similar construction, but in this case light and rotating prisms appear to provide the motive force. In both examples the inventor climbs aboard, sets the desired date on a dial, then commences his journey by pulling on a short lever. The concept of a time-travelling vehicle or machine has been used many times since in number of guises in various science fiction films.

For Wells to have even contemplated such a scheme speaks volumes for his imagination, and perhaps prescience, when the concept was considered utterly impossible by the science of his era, but now, using the arcane calculations of quantum mechanics the idea becomes at least theoretically possible. Unfortunately,although to actually construct a device capable of bringing this about is, for all practical purposes, highly unlikely, it has not stopped people from claiming that they have indeed done so using two quite clearly defined processes. One method apparently assumes that it is entirely possible to move a physical body in both space and time, while the other claims to move only consciousness and awareness, which on the face of it seems to be the more attractive and attainable proposition.

The Travellers

One of those who claim to have physically travelled in time is one John Titor, an enigmatic character supposedly from 2036, whose assertions appeared briefly between January and March 2001 in a series of posts on an Internet time travel site. These featured a considerable amount of semi-scientific jargon and borrowed heavily from the theorising and musings of modern physicists. An example of this is a direct reference to the ideas of, amongst others, the physicist Frank Tipler, who postulated that a mile long cylinder composed of extremely dense material, like the stuff of dwarf stars, spinning at near light speed would create the conditions (i.e. a powerful, localised, gravity field) causing a breach in space-time.

Titor’s acknowledgement of Tipler came in the form of an unexplained concept called a ‘Tipler Sinusoid’, and a nod to other physicists came from the application of ‘rotating micro-miniature singularities’. These, he insisted, were present in the device he used, which, incongruously, resembled a small rectangular box. Like Tipler’s spinning cylinder these would have the necessary ability to generate the gravity forces required to rupture space/time, but since they are in effect ‘black holes’ just how they were supposed to be used, let alone controlled, is something of a mystery. Whether Titor’s claims were nothing more than a hoax is beside the point since the entire subject is riven with speculation and conjecture anyway, nevertheless we will return to the subject a little later.

Views of The Apocalypse

As it happens, at the time of writing there was a furore concerning the impending activation of the European Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is situated on the Swiss/French border. This gigantic and hugely expensive underground toroidal machine, (it is seventeen miles long), which was built by the European Organisation for Nuclear research (CERN), is intended to advance our understanding of the fundamental particles in the universe by colliding protons at near light speed and creating the conditions present immediately after the ‘big bang’, this it is hoped will prove the existence of, amongst other particles, the so-called ‘Higgs Boson’. This theoretical particle, which is named after Dr. Peter Higgs the physicist who theorised its existence, is assumed to give other particles their mass and therefore weight.

The fear is that once activated the LHC might also create an unstable miniature black hole and lead to the ultimate destruction of the earth. Those who accept this possibility worry that due to the incredible density and weight of the black hole irrespective of size, it could not be contained by the superconducting magnetic fields surrounding the LHC and would literally fall through the walls of the Collider and into the earth. This would lead to the planet being sucked piecemeal into its ravenous maw from the inside out. It was a similar mindset considered by the physicist, Edward Teller, who predicted that the first ever nuclear explosion during the Manhattan Project might ignite the atmosphere and extinguish all life on the planet: it did not. With this in mind and assuming the worst does not happen, the LHC might just provide unexpected insights into time travel though. Incidentally, fear of the unknown was the reason that the maps drawn by early cartographers carried the dire warning that, ‘Here be dragons’, on areas of the ocean that had not been explored.

Oddly enough, in common with the plot device used in another time travel based film, ‘Back to the Future’, Titor’s device was securely attached to the car, in his case a Chevrolet Corvette rather than a DeLorean, in which he made his ‘time jumps’. He also posted impressive looking diagrams of the object itself on the Internet. Titor’s assertions notwithstanding, there is another character claiming to have devised a machine that allows him to liberate his consciousness on the oceans of time, his name is Aage Nost an inhabitant of New Orleans in the USA. The machine Nost constructed does not use pseudo-scientific applications of physics but, instead, appears to be transmitter of sorts that generates a strong electromagnetic field in the radio frequency (RF) bands. This, he says, allows him to travel at will forward and backwards in time and to ‘see’ what is there and he has demonstrated it many times including at least once on TV, although the results rely entirely on the subjective evidence supplied by Nost.

Out of Body Experience

A third claimant to time travelling, who lives in the city of London, is Mr Tony Bassett who calls his device a ‘bio-energiser’. The claims made for the machine have at least been independently tested and appear to be partially effective, although Mr Bassett promotes the use of ‘guided meditation’ as part of the transition process. The introduction of a technique like guided meditation is commonplace with psychologists, counsellors and others within the medical support field to induce relaxed mental and physical states conducive to suggestion. Of those who have tried the sessions with Mr Bassett, very few have actually gone much beyond the instructions given in the guided meditation, but of those who did actually succeed in ‘letting go’, one described ‘travelling’ out into deep space among the stars. This should come as no surprise since, as with hypnosis, not everyone is susceptible to suggestion, but this must raise doubts concerning the efficacy of Bassett’s machine.

Following a meeting with Hugh Lodge, the nephew of the late Sir Oliver Lodge who, along with the physicist Sir William Crookes was one of the early investigators into psychic phenomena, Mr Bassett developed an interest in the promotion of ‘Out Of Body Experiences’ (OOBE’s). Hugh Lodge introduced him to a process known as the ‘Christos Experiment’, which is a method of inducing OOBE’s. These experiences allegedly occur when consciousness leaves the physical body and travels through space and time, which in this context is called ‘The Astral Plane’. Bassett used the Christos technique on various people and claims to have had a 20 to 30% success rate. It may be arguable that the process itself is analogous to the Remote Viewing programme instigated by the CIA under the auspices of ‘The Stargate Project’, where operatives were trained to allow their awareness/consciousness to travel to locations indicted by no more than map co-ordinates. Intriguingly, it soon became aware that the remote viewers could see, not only what was present at the map co-ordinates, but images that were not on this planet and not even in this time. However the programme was officially closed down and abandoned due to the unreliability of the results, although to be fair there were also a few spectacular successes.

From the available information, the machine designed by Tony Bassett looks and sounds like a variant on what Aage Nost produced and relies on the generation of a wide range of high frequency EM fields. To be fair, the claims made for both of these devices may actually have some basis in reality since they can and will induce effects in the brains of those exposed to the radiation rather in the manner of the equipment devised by Prof Michael Persinger, a neuroscientist at the Laurentian University situated in Ontario, Canada. In Prof Persingers case the equipment was used to successfully demonstrate that external magnetic fields could produce altered states of perception in people exposed to them. Whether the subjective impressions experienced by the volunteers were purely neurological effects induced by the EM themselves, or whether the EM fields somehow retuned the brain to receive another range of inputs is another matter. The only thing one can say with any certainty is that when the EM fields were switched off, the impressions likewise stopped.

Before leaving Tony Bassett and his bio-energiser, he evidently had plans to actually build his device into the walls of a room to act as a permanent installation, although there is no evidence that this was ever done. It is also as well to note that Mr Bassett is acknowledged as a constructor of rather bizarre electronic musical instruments, chiefly an oddity called the ‘Theremin’. This ‘instrument’ has popped up several times over the years and could be regarded, along with the ‘Ring Modulator’ and similar devices, as a forerunner of the modern electronic synthesiser.

The Theremin was first invented in 1919 by a Russian, Leon Theremin, and is basically two antennae radiating an EM field that respond to the proximity of objects, it this case the human hand. The musician approached the instrument and ‘played’ it by altering the proximity of his hands in relation to the antennae thereby altering the EM field, the result was amplified and played over speakers. The sound was, for want of a better word, ‘spacey’ and rather eerie and featured on the sound tracks of several early Sci-Fi films (including ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’) and radio plays. Its use was also featured in examples of ‘musique concrete’ and other forms of electronic music consisting of strange and frequently discordant melodies, pops, screeches, hisses and whistles produced by avante garde composers including such UFO luminaries as the late Desmond Leslie. I hasten to add that this observation is by no means designed to diminish the other achievements of Tony Bassett, but only serves to illustrate just how unintentionally synchronous such events can be.

The Wingmakers

There is yet another case of time travel that might just be relevant here, and that is the odd set of circumstances surrounding what came to be known as ‘The Wingmaker Conspiracy’. This particular set of events caused much head scratching and puzzlement on the Internet in the late 1990’s and is worth recounting here because it outlasted the brief supernova that was John Titor. In 1972, in an isolated New Mexico canyon, a group of trekkers stumbled upon a unique find consisting of, amongst other things, highly unusual examples of rock art drawn on the canyon walls and a strange looking object. The group contacted the University of New Mexico who sent an archaeologist to examine the artefact and search the area where it was found, but he could find no obvious signs that any homegrown culture had ever established a permanent encampment there.

Eventually he came to the conclusion that the artefact and the rock drawings were probably the products of some nomadic Native American tribe who had left traces as they passed through. Although this theory seemed to tick some of the necessary boxes, there were two distinctly odd facets relating to the puzzle. Firstly, all except one of the artefacts could be dated to around the 8th century AD. The odd one out, termed the ‘compass artefact’, appeared to be based on a different type of technology not contemporary with other items that had been found, i.e. tools and pottery shards etc. The ‘compass’ was covered in inscriptions, some of which also appeared on the pottery shards. Secondly, the illustrations were unique and incompatible with other known designs and styles of the period or area, nor for that matter anywhere in North America.

Because of this the US government became interested, and both the discoveries and the find were placed in the hands of the NSA, (National Security Agency). Typically, the reason for the NSA’s involvement was due to a suspicion that the artefact and the images were indications of pre-historic contact with a race of extra-terrestrials. If the story is true it is deeply offensive and truly annoying that we as a race are not deemed ready by out alleged betters to receive information concerning our origins. Whether we evolved from primordial ooze, a Creator God, a passing comet, or through the intervention of a spacefaring race is beside the point and the only really interested parties are those with a vested interest. They are of course the established religions who’s function would be rendered superfluous, and of course the legions of believers who, without a godhead would experience a degree of anxiety.

To compensate for this they would probably invent a new belief system much as they largely invented the present one. All that matters is that we as a species survive and hopefully improve. We should also bear in mind that the US constitution and political system are heavily predicated on religion and its dogma so it may be that the desire to conceal such contentious matters is fundamental to its existence. In 1973 the NSA had the location evaluated by its own archaeological team, but little else was discovered that pointed to a visit by extraterrestrials. Although additional pictographs and symbols were found, even with expert assistance there was no obvious method of translating them so no general consensus of opinion emerged. As a result of this the project was deprioritised and eventually shelved under the code name, ‘Ancient Arrow’. The canyon was declared a restricted area, ostensibly to preserve its natural beauty, but more likely in case anything else was unearthed that would bring unwelcome attention from the media, treasure hunters and vandals.

However, in 1994 a rockslide revealed another section of the Ancient Arrow site prompting the NSA to reopen the file and send another team to the area where they unearthed a new entrance to a tunnel leading deep into the rock face. The team discovered that the main tunnel was the entrance into many cavities and chambers (twenty three in number) cut into the heart of the rock. Each of the chambers connected to a common corridor, and each chamber contained either a single painting or a series of pictures and glyphs plus depictions of what appeared to be unknown technology. The team immediately contacted the director of project Ancient Arrow who in turn contacted another NSA department, ACIO, the ‘Advanced Contact Intelligence Organisation’, an officially denied ‘invisible’ operation funded through the ‘black budget’. It is organisations such as these that fuel much of the speculation about ‘the government within the government’.

After studying the new information the ACIO came to the conclusion that a race of extraterrestrials had arrived in the canyon and established a settlement in the eighth century. They appeared to have had a purpose in mind, to establish a ‘time capsule’ in an attempt to contact human beings, so it was therefore vital that a method be found to translate the pictures and written information. The consensus suggested that the chambers were not set out in an arbitrary manner and neither was the information they contained, but there was no obvious way to decipher it. It transpired that in the twenty-third and final chamber a small disc similar to a CD-rom was discovered. It was assumed that this might be the key and the means of decoding the information. The disc was analysed, but the researchers could not make sense of the information it contained.

Eventually two scientists in the research team reached a startling conclusion, they were approaching the problem the wrong way, the disc was not the key to the drawings, the drawings were the key to the disc. The researchers approached the ACIO and requested permission to assemble a full-scale copy of the Ancient Arrow site in a laboratory. The ACIO, because of the lack of results, was reluctant to continue funding the project, but the scientists were persuasive and managed to convince their superiors that their ideas were viable and they were allowed to proceed. To cover their intentions the project was officially closed down and the personnel ostensibly reassigned to other operations although, in effect, it continued as before. After several months of work a linguistics expert eventually noticed that the symbols were similar to ancient Sumerian texts and he managed to create a workable cipher.

Using this they were able to decode the symbols on the paintings and when the decoded words were put in the same order as the chambers everything fell into place and they were able to design software to decode 8,000 pages of information from the disc. However, although the information was now available, a form of index to achieve the translation was required and this took several months to develop and even when this was done the resulting text had to be translated into English. The team of translators began their task and starting with the first chambers in the series they constructed a database of information describing the philosophy, culture and technology of the race that left it. The most astonishing revelation was that the race, which referred to themselves as ‘The Wingmakers’, was not extraterrestrial, but, instead, were our descendants from 750 years in our future.

Driven by his instincts, one of the research team became convinced that the public would never learn of either the Wingmakers or their mission to help mankind. The only likely beneficiaries would be the US Government and for obvious reasons the military/industrial complex. The scientist, adopting the pseudonym, ‘Dr. Anderson’, confronted his supervision and claimed to be in contact with the creators of the Ancient Arrow site (just how he did this is not revealed). He also stated that the Wingmakers were likewise observing the progress of the project and if the authorities failed to release the findings then they would, although just how they achieved their surveillance is not clear. Not surprisingly the ACIO project director, uttering dire threats at this show of conscience, promptly removed Anderson from the project. Anderson, probably quite wisely, disappeared from sight after making sure that information regarding the Wingmakers and their project reached a randomly selected journalist. It is still not by any means clear if the project was eventually closed down or still exists in the ‘deep black’, it fact it has effectively vanished from sight.


Will time travel ever become a reality or will it forever exist entirely in the equations of particle physicists? Certainly as we have seen there are many claims that it is a reality, although if so it may be more likely in a non-physical sense. What to make of John Titor and the Wingmakers? An initial and reasonable reaction is to assume that they are an elaborate and intricate hoax, but for whose benefit? Are they just moneymaking scams (both the John Titor and the Wingmaker websites sold merchandise), or are they an attempt to reveal by ‘drip feed’ a great secret into the public domain? The Wingmakers supposedly travelled back to the eighth century AD to leave their time capsule, why? Why not travel to the here and now and presumably have their message found much more quickly rather than leave it for close on twelve hundred years? There is no obvious answer to this. As far as Aage Nost and Tony Bassett are concerned, Nost hosts a radio show in the USA and Bassett, who still lives in London, has faded into relative obscurity, neither of them seems to have made much money from their enterprises, so why bother, was this, to quote the artist Andy Warhol, their ‘ten minutes of fame’ perhaps? Sadly, the type of information they presented was more likely to earn them ridicule and notoriety than fame, so perhaps they did genuinely believe that they had a method of reaching beyond the strictures of space and time.

The basic premise of time travel itself, although theoretically possible in the esoteric equations of quantum mechanics, is fraught with many pitfalls and anomalies. Logically, if a future race like the Wingmakers sent back this information for our, (and ultimately their), benefit, then we must have acted upon it and it must have worked. Or, conversely, our descendants are perhaps not happy with their lot and are attempting to change their present by persuading us to alter our future. If nothing else it is encouraging to think that mankind, as a species, has not managed to destroy itself and is still here on planet Earth. I’ll leave the reader with this thought, what if the subterranean LHC in Switzerland really does bring down the barriers of space-time and permit travel to and from the past and future, what then?

Author Brian Allen is the editor of Phenomena Magazine.





Beeping Creatures
An interesting characteristic of Bigfoot, UFO and alien encounters is the electronic, beeping sound many witnesses report hearing during these incidents.

(My personal experience with beeping sounds: I’ve occasionally have been abruptly awakened late at night, and yes, around 3:00 am, because of a loud beeping sound in my head. The sound is very distinct, very mechanical, and all I can say is, as loony as it sounds, it’s from inside my head, not an exterior source, like from a truck outside or someone’s alarm clock. This has happened several times.)

In Peter Guittilla’s Bigfoot Files, he writes about a 1979 report of Bigfoot activity in the area where the witnesses lived -- hearing screams, etc. -- as well as beeping sounds:

“One night in April at 2:30am my husband woke me to listen to odd beeping sounds coming from the woods. These have not been identified and continued on and off for about a year.” ~ p136

Guittilla recounts other Bigfoot stories, where witnesses say they hear all kinds of unusual sounds coming from areas reported to have Bigfoot activity, including coming from underground: The sounds which often occur in combinations, are described variously as buzzing, beeping, whirling, humming ...” ~ p 197 Bigfoot Files

In The Hunt for The Skinwalker, a “hairy humanoid” was seen racing across the property (the ranch in Utah, home of the skinwalker phenomena) The rancher shot at the creature, being sure he hit it:

”. . .but the creature barely flinched. . . . When he chased after it, he heard a weird sound that resembled a soft whine combined with an electronic beeping noise. ~ p179, Hunt for the Skinwalker

The following is from an interesting report on “skinwalker ranch” type phenomena that occurred in the 1970s on a ranch in Elvert County, Colorado:

On another evening, very annoyed at the repeated blows, Jim hurried outside with his rifle and fired at the fleeing bigfoot. Jim is a good shot and the creature was hit although without seeming to be too inconvenienced by the fact. It must have been wearing a bulletproof vest! Subsequently the people at the ranch heard a hoarse crying sound mixed with a kind of beep-beep. ~ From Prologue: US Air Force, UFOs and Bigfoot, the Great Deception.

UFOs and Aliens

Some think alien abductions are the work of aliens from space, the military (MILABS) or both. Bonnie Meyer, author of Alien Contact: The Messages They Bring, writes, in a section titled “Scanning:”

”If you are Healings a lot of beeping sounds, it is probably a small scanning instrument. this scanning if kind of like a mind probe. I doubt you could tell the difference where or who it’s coming from.”

Barney and Betty Hill experienced hearing beeping sounds on the night of their sighting. In Captured! the beeping they heard is described as being “code like,” with several beeps, a pause, then more beeps. Were the beeps some kind of alien Morse code?

Researcher, author and experiencer Raymond E. Fowler has experienced this beeping sound while in asleep (similar to my experiences) and dreams about aliens, making two entries in his journal:

January 27, 1995: I awoke twice to a electronic beeping sound. the second time I thought it was my watch alarm sounding and actually reached to shut if off before the beeping stopped. My right nostril is still sore.”

The next day, January 28, Fowler experienced it again:

I woke up again to a electronic beeping sound and again reached for my watch alarm, but it was not the watch. My right nostril is still sore. ~ ”Synchrofile: Amazing Personal Encounters with Synchronicity and Other ~ Page 188

In UFO Mysteries: A Reporter Seeks the Truth, author Curt Sutherly recounts the story of Harold Butcher . In 1965 Butcher, was working on his parents farm in New York state. Butcher noticed that the animals were panicking over something, at the same time, the milking machine Butcher was working abruptly stopped:

”Looking out a window, Harold saw a large elliptical object land about a quarter-mile away. The object emitted a smell of burned gasoline and a red vapor clouded its rim. A strange beeping sound was heard. the object departed by ascending straight up into the clouds.

What is the cause of this beeping sound? Why does a consistent characteristic -- beeping -- occur with diverse phenomena such as UFOs, various alien beings, robots and Bigfoot?

Maybe it’s a mistake to assume that these things are not connected; they may share a relationship with each other in ways we don’t readily see. Some see Mothman, some Bigfoot, others weird aliens or craft, but if they are manifestations of the same kind of phenomena, it isn’t so strange. If they come from the same source, as John A. Keel, Andrew Colvin, and so many others have suggested, it makes some sense. (Keel calls it the “superspectrum.”)

If this source, that throws out all kinds of weird things at us, lulls us into a hypnotic, trance like state, beeping would be a way to induce that state. In his Mothman Prophecies, Keel suggests beeping sounds have something to do with lulling us into a passive, amnesiatic state:

”There is a kind of posthypnotic suggestion involved in many UFO and psychic incidents. The witness is driving along a road late at night. He hears a beeping sound and lapses into a trance. . . as if he had been preconditioned to lose consciousness at the sound of the beep. Later, he awakes to the sound of another series of beeps.”

The witness wakes up hours later to find he or she is now a victim of missing time.

In some cases, it may be a combination of human involvement, possibly working with some paranormal or alien agencies, to manipulate other UFO, cryptozoological and or alien phenomena. This theory has been suggested to explain cases like Mothman, the Flatwoods creature, UFOs and aliens, as well as Bigfoot.

A seeming glitch in this idea is in the fact that in many of these areas: the area in Utah, location of the Skinwalker ranch, or Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia, home of Mothman, have had a history of paranormal and UFO activity going back hundreds of years. But if we consider that there are human agencies working with this energy in some way, manipulating both it and us, we find that there isn’t a contradiction.

Now the question isn’t if these things are happening, but why are covert human elements so interested?

Source: UFO Digest/Regan Lee

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A Star Is Made: Where Does Talent Really Come From

If you were to examine the birth certificates of every soccer player in next month's World Cup tournament, you would most likely find a noteworthy quirk: elite soccer players are more likely to have been born in the earlier months of the year than in the later months. If you then examined the European national youth teams that feed the World Cup and professional ranks, you would find this quirk to be even more pronounced. On recent English teams, for instance, half of the elite teenage soccer players were born in January, February or March, with the other half spread out over the remaining 9 months. In Germany, 52 elite youth players were born in the first three months of the year, with just 4 players born in the last three.

What might account for this anomaly? Here are a few guesses: a) certain astrological signs confer superior soccer skills; b) winter-born babies tend to have higher oxygen capacity, which increases soccer stamina; c) soccer-mad parents are more likely to conceive children in springtime, at the annual peak of soccer mania; d) none of the above.

Anders Ericsson, a 58-year-old psychology professor at Florida State University, says he believes strongly in "none of the above." He is the ringleader of what might be called the Expert Performance Movement, a loose coalition of scholars trying to answer an important and seemingly primordial question: When someone is very good at a given thing, what is it that actually makes him good?

Ericsson, who grew up in Sweden, studied nuclear engineering until he realized he would have more opportunity to conduct his own research if he switched to psychology. His first experiment, nearly 30 years ago, involved memory: training a person to hear and then repeat a random series of numbers. "With the first subject, after about 20 hours of training, his digit span had risen from 7 to 20," Ericsson recalls. "He kept improving, and after about 200 hours of training he had risen to over 80 numbers."

This success, coupled with later research showing that memory itself is not genetically determined, led Ericsson to conclude that the act of memorizing is more of a cognitive exercise than an intuitive one. In other words, whatever innate differences two people may exhibit in their abilities to memorize, those differences are swamped by how well each person "encodes" the information. And the best way to learn how to encode information meaningfully, Ericsson determined, was a process known as deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice entails more than simply repeating a task — playing a C-minor scale 100 times, for instance, or hitting tennis serves until your shoulder pops out of its socket. Rather, it involves setting specific goals, obtaining immediate feedback and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.

Ericsson and his colleagues have thus taken to studying expert performers in a wide range of pursuits, including soccer, golf, surgery, piano playing, Scrabble, writing, chess, software design, stock picking and darts. They gather all the data they can, not just performance statistics and biographical details but also the results of their own laboratory experiments with high achievers.

Their work, compiled in the "Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance," a 900-page academic book that will be published next month, makes a rather startling assertion: the trait we commonly call talent is highly overrated. Or, put another way, expert performers — whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming — are nearly always made, not born. And yes, practice does make perfect. These may be the sort of clichés that parents are fond of whispering to their children. But these particular clichés just happen to be true.

Ericsson's research suggests a third cliché as well: when it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love — because if you don't love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good. Most people naturally don't like to do things they aren't "good" at. So they often give up, telling themselves they simply don't possess the talent for math or skiing or the violin. But what they really lack is the desire to be good and to undertake the deliberate practice that would make them better.

"I think the most general claim here," Ericsson says of his work, "is that a lot of people believe there are some inherent limits they were born with. But there is surprisingly little hard evidence that anyone could attain any kind of exceptional performance without spending a lot of time perfecting it." This is not to say that all people have equal potential. Michael Jordan, even if he hadn't spent countless hours in the gym, would still have been a better basketball player than most of us. But without those hours in the gym, he would never have become the player he was.

Ericsson's conclusions, if accurate, would seem to have broad applications. Students should be taught to follow their interests earlier in their schooling, the better to build up their skills and acquire meaningful feedback. Senior citizens should be encouraged to acquire new skills, especially those thought to require "talents" they previously believed they didn't possess.

And it would probably pay to rethink a great deal of medical training. Ericsson has noted that most doctors actually perform worse the longer they are out of medical school. Surgeons, however, are an exception. That's because they are constantly exposed to two key elements of deliberate practice: immediate feedback and specific goal-setting.

The same is not true for, say, a mammographer. When a doctor reads a mammogram, she doesn't know for certain if there is breast cancer or not. She will be able to know only weeks later, from a biopsy, or years later, when no cancer develops. Without meaningful feedback, a doctor's ability actually deteriorates over time. Ericsson suggests a new mode of training. "Imagine a situation where a doctor could diagnose mammograms from old cases and immediately get feedback of the correct diagnosis for each case," he says. "Working in such a learning environment, a doctor might see more different cancers in one day than in a couple of years of normal practice."

If nothing else, the insights of Ericsson and his Expert Performance compatriots can explain the riddle of why so many elite soccer players are born early in the year.

Since youth sports are organized by age bracket, teams inevitably have a cutoff birth date. In the European youth soccer leagues, the cutoff date is Dec. 31. So when a coach is assessing two players in the same age bracket, one who happened to have been born in January and the other in December, the player born in January is likely to be bigger, stronger, more mature. Guess which player the coach is more likely to pick? He may be mistaking maturity for ability, but he is making his selection nonetheless. And once chosen, those January-born players are the ones who, year after year, receive the training, the deliberate practice and the feedback — to say nothing of the accompanying self-esteem — that will turn them into elites.

This may be bad news if you are a rabid soccer mom or dad whose child was born in the wrong month. But keep practicing: a child conceived on this Sunday in early May would probably be born by next February, giving you a considerably better chance of watching the 2030 World Cup from the family section.

Your Star Sign Can Show Whether You Will Have a Car Crash

Never mind how careful you are behind the wheel or how long you've been driving, the signs of the zodiac may be bigger factors behind your ability to avoid car crashes -- or why you have too many.

According to a study by InsuranceHotline.com, a Web site that quotes drivers on insurance rates, astrological signs are a significant factor in predicting car accidents.

The study, which looked at 100,000 North American drivers' records from the past six years, puts Libras (born September 23-October 22) followed by Aquarians (January 20-February 18) as the worst offenders for tickets and accidents

Leos (July 23-August 22) and then Geminis (May 21-June 20) were found to be the best overall.

"I was absolutely shocked by the results," said Lee Romanov, president of Toronto-based InsuranceHotline.com, who also wrote the book "Car Carma" which touches on the correlation between astrological signs and driving ability while doing the study.

Romanov originally wanted to have some fun by examining astrological signs as a possible cause for the variance between insurance companies quoting high and low rates but didn't expect to find anything interesting.

"Now, changing postal codes is far less significant to me than drivers of certain astrological signs," she told Reuters on Wednesday.

Even age, another variable for determining insurance rates, is less of a consideration to Romanov. The cutoff line for being considered a higher risk driver is 24 years of age; 25-year-olds are considered not-high risk.

"I'd rather get into a car with a 24-year-old Leo than a 25-year-old Aries," Romanov said.

Leos, described along with the study results on InsuranceHotline.com/a10.html, are "generous, and comfortable in sharing the roadway."

Aries, on the other hand, "have a 'me first' childlike nature that drives Aries into trouble."

"I wasn't believing in it before," said Romanov, "but I would think twice before getting into a car with an Aries."

Source: Freakonomics


Dogs With Blue Fur Seen in India

Dogs with blue fur have been popping up in the densely populated city of Mumbai, India with their odd color being traced back to a polluted river.

The Kasadi River has been deemed unfit for human consumption for numerous years, but that has never deterred the mutt population, who drink, swim and look for food in the water.

Industrial waste is thought to be the culprit behind the dogs' unusual hue, with gallons of the toxic waste being pumped into the river.

Animal protection officers have expressed their shock over the transformation, and are urging local officials to take action. They are hoping for a crackdown on multiple companies dumping waste in the river, evident by the rise in blue dogs.

Animal protection officer Arati Chauhan said: “It was shocking to see how the dog's white fur had turned completely blue.”

Recent studies of the river have shockingly revealed overall pollution levels in the area are 13 times what is deemed as the ‘safe limit’.

Yogesh Pagade, a local fisherman in the area said: “After numerous complaints to MPCB over the years, only the stench at Kasadi has reduced.

“However, the pollution levels continue to be extremely high.”

In response a formal complaint has been lodged with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), claiming pollution levels have become so extreme animals are now suffering the ill-effects.

MPCB officials have confirmed they are investigating.

A spokesman said: “Allowing the discharge of dye into any water body is illegal.

“We will take action against the polluters as they are destroying the environment.

“We have directed our sub-regional officer to investigate.”

Source: Express

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