Friday, March 31, 2006

Red rain

The recent red rain in India has caused something of a stir.

Paranormal? I think not.

There have been suggestions that the red component is made up of extraterrestrial microorganisms. The inability of researchers to find DNA in the samples has been cited as 'proof' of this.

Perhaps there's no DNA to find? Perhaps it's sand?

Saharan sand has fallen on the south of England before. It happens. Fine sand can travel a long, long way.

Another potential explanation has been algae. Those researchers are puzzled as to how algae can fall as rain.

With many well documented falls of frogs, fish, shellfish and all sorts of other bizarre things, I hardly think a fall of algae will pose any difficulty.

I'd really like to see that red dust reassemble itself into a giant demon. Now that would be a paranormal event worth investigating.

I have an acquaintance who writes such stories. I'll suggest it to him. It's the same one who wrote the tale that started all those urban legends of 'death calls' on mobile phones.

I suspect he'd prefer I hadn't said that.
So you know about her relationship with Sweeney. So who do you think he will support if it comes to a show-down between you and the school? Once again who's side are the big $$$ on?

Elaine met Sweeny on one of our investigations. At his house, which is now my house. So yes, I did know about it.

Whose side will he choose? Sweeney was refused a place at the university. He didn't get the grades. The smug weasel Farty-Jones didn't get the grades either, but he managed to get a place. His dad's on the board.

So I think Sweeney will choose wisely.

In any case, sides are irrelevant. I mentioned my thoughts on setting up on my own to Orson. Just as an aside. He won't hear of it.

UK research departments are rated by the productivity of their staff. My departure will drop this department's rating by two points - and there are only five on the scale. The rating determines the willingness of funding sources to part with their cash.

If I did leave, no doubt Imogen would be next in line for the job. Is it any wonder I suspect her motives in being here at all? Her own department is five hundred miles away. I'd really prefer not to have her on my doorstep.

For now, at least, I'm staying.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Persistence annoys.

Another phone call tonight, from European Strategies India.

They phoned at 7 pm, which at a rough guess is 11:30 pm in India. So they must keep unusual office hours. In Botswana it would have been 6 pm. Hmmm. I already stated, I think, that the Email they sent me came from Botswana. So European Strategies India is in neither Europe nor India, and in fact sells dodgy US shares to UK citizens from Africa.

You have to admire their persistence. I responded to their Email with anger. The next day, they phoned and asked me if I was interested in the shares. Impressive. I said no.

Tonight they phoned again, as though the previous conversations, and my responses to them, had never happened. Now, either they employ astoundingly persistent sales staff or they have unbelievably short memories. I said no again. I pointed out that they were selling Regulation S shares. They denied this, even though the information they sent me clearly stated these shares were subject to Regulation S.

Never, ever, buy something offered by a phone call. They are all, without exception, confidence tricks. Always.

I think they hope I'll give in and buy their shares so they'll stop phoning. Keep phoning, guys. It's your phone bill. Persistence will not pay off this time.

This kind of persistence just annoys me.

Another scheme bites the dust.

More attempted manipulation by the Queen of Devious Schemes.

But now, it seems young F-J is rather enamored of the idea of a promotion for Elaine - and perhaps enamored of Elaine?

Farty-Jones, the hideous scrawny goblin, has no authority or power and never will have. Have you told Elaine of his romantic inclinations? No matter, I'll do that for you. I'd better have a bucket handy.

Besides, Elaine has taken up with the equally wealthy, but rather more human-looking, Norman Sweeney. Perhaps you haven't heard of that yet? So much for 'finger on the pulse'. Sweeney isn't too bright, but at least he worked for his money, unlike the disgusting Farty-Jones. So once more, the schemes of Imaginary LeFevre fall flat. I admit your schemes aren't too boring, for a woman, but you can't win.

Sweeney has a house I like, and he doesn't. Apparently a house full of ghosts and demons is not to his liking, but it's very useful to me. That might just be the spur I need to start up my own investigative laboratory. We shall see.

I've discussed swapping houses with Sweeney. He's agreed. So all I need now is something to convince me to leave the university.

An orb convention should do it.

A question of ranking.

Do you really think it wise to bad mouth your superiors on a public blog.

What superiors? Orson is my current employer. I can change employers at any time. I have the funding sources to run my own laboratory. The only reason I haven't done so is that I have not so far decided to do so. That may change.

Orson is my employer. He is certainly not my superior. As for young Chinless, if I were to say he were superior to a squid, I would expect strong protests from squid.

He might be superior to a fungus, in that he's more irritating than a skin infection.

Let's get this clear. Romulus Crowe has no superiors.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Storm in a teacup.

Elaine was rather more difficult to convince than Orson. Not surprising, since she's considerably more intelligent than him. Sometimes I suspect Orson is nothing more than a walking mound of sea-cucumbers. He certainly displays their collective intelligence.

I brought my full powers of tact and diplomacy to bear, and told her she'd just have to lump it. I alleviated her inevitable sulk with the promise of allowing her to lecture to my students. Naturally, I didn't say when.

So I almost have things back to normal, at least as normal as they ever get here. Imogen is still hanging around, and that wretched priest still appears from time to time.

However, most of life is now back where it belongs.

Under my control.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Quashing rebellion

Well, that was an interesting week.

It seems our visiting worker has an agenda of her own. I suspected as much. Imogen lost to me at the interview for this position, and she hasn't forgotten that. I have noticed her becoming overly friendly with my assistant, and expected some kind of devious action, but I had expected more subtlety.

However, Orson is as weak-willed as he is balloon-shaped, so it took just a short conversation to dissuade him from Imogen's scheme. A mention of salaries, a hint of discord in his departments, a suggestion that if he promoted Elaine, practically every professor's assistant in the whole university will want the same. He saw sense in the end.

Naturally, I don't want to stand in the way of Elaine's career development. So I will allow her to take over some of my lectures. She's always wanted to do that.

Now, I just have to get rid of Imogen, and everything will be back to normal. Including, unfortunately, that hideous reptile Farty-Jones. Still, it could be worse. If he was a ghost I could never hope to be rid of him.

I think I'll take a holiday while that orb convention is here.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The dust-chasers are coming.

This is a direct consequence of Elaine burying messages in old posts.

The meeting I missed because of her incompetence included the Chinless Wonder himself, Jeremy Farty-Jones. I threw him out of my office weeks ago, along with his ridiculous notions on investigating orbs. Orbs! Dust on a lens, nothing more.

Well, it seems he's hooked up with a couple of dust-chasers and persuaded the fat idiot Orson to allow a convention. Here. In Marchway. On orbs. The place will be full of the half-witted morons.

I could have argued against this if I had known about that meeting.

Honestly, the woman is insufferable.

Back to reality

As to reality Rom, I at least have flesh and blood to confirm mine. And the agreement of thousands who have seen, heard, touched me in the flessh.

To paraphrase Crowley 'Reality is difficult to get rid of'. So, it seems, are you.

You might well have been poked and prodded by a thousand grimy fingers. It's not something that appeals to me at all. Nonetheless, your statement does not prove your reality, any more than my telling you how many students I've lectured to proves mine.

You are words on a screen, and when I switch off the screen you no longer exist, in any sense at all, in my current reality. You might as well be a character in a book: I close the book, you're gone.

If only...

Thursday, March 23, 2006


It seems Elaine, who is allegedly my assistant, has been leaving messages in earlier postings. I don't mind, I can ignore them there.

However, she then gets upset when I do ignore them. It must be some kind of 'woman thing'.

Apparently I was supposed to meet some orb investigators, and then meet Imogen LeFevre for lunch. As I had ignored her posting, I did neither.

She did not react well to my perfectly logical response that, had I known about these two events, I would not have attended either in any case. So really, nothing has been lost.

Now she's not speaking to me. So I have a few hours of peace, at least.

More dodgy dealing

European Strategies India is actually based in Botswana. Their real name is Cross Border Advisory Services.

Their email arrives from 'Anna' with an attachment and no subject line. I usually delete those - lucky for me I checked this one.

The shares are American (surprise!) and covered by Regulation S which means they can't be sold to Americans. Only to us saps in the rest of the world. Why? Because they're worthless. They can't even be sold back into the American market.

The American stock market is providing these shysters with the products they sell. It's time they sorted themselves out. If the shares in an American company aren't worth buying in America, stop trying to sell them to the rest of us.

I wonder how many poor sods worldwide have paid up when they got the contract note, believing it to be legally binding?

It's things like this that make me think that there might be a use for guns, after all.

Dodgy share dealers again.

A company called European Strategies India phoned yesterday, asking if I would be interested in shares in a company called Gazprom. As these people never understand 'no', I said they could send the information if they wanted. I had no intention, of course, of buying any shares and did not agree to buy at any time. They were merely to send information.

Today they sent a contract note by Email. Fortunately I read it. In the small print, they state that unless I respond within 24 hours, the deal is considered confirmed. Clever, eh?

Oh, I responded all right.

I think an article for Moneywise magazine is called for, too.
As for aluminium - wake up and hear the lingustic progress.
al·u·min·i·um noun
A chiefly British variant of aluminum.

Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary

Well, it doesn't surprise me to hear an American dictionary say that. The whole country gives me an Orwellian shudder.

However, a little history is available here:

A quote from that site:

"1808 Sir Humphry Davy (Britain) established the existence of aluminium and named it."

You renamed it.
heyjude said...
"Spirits have no mass, occupy no space and seem to be independent of the reality we can see and touch."
The reality that you say is not prevable anyway?

I'll try to explain in terms even an American could understand.

I see the computer. I touch the keys. My fingers don't go through them. From that I deduce the computer is real. It's not absolute proof because it's just nerve impulses firing, but it's enough to work with for now.

There are amputees who deny the limb in question has been amputated. They see it, they feel it, they genuinely believe it's still there. To them, it is absolutely real. To the rest of us, it is not. Who's right? The majority? How do you know they're real? Perhaps you imagined them agreeing with you to support your conclusion. Americans do that, I believe, especially presidents.

There's enough in that one example to make an intelligent person start to question reality. I doubt it will filter through the American mind, since it doesn't involve invading somewhere.

If I were to place you in a lightproof, soundproof room (an appealing prospect) and play the sounds of a large animal moving around, for how long could you convince yourself it wasn't real? To your mind, it would be real. You'd start to smell it. You'd feel it brush past you. It might even chase you around the room.

What we perceive as real is only the total of what our senses tell us. Ghosts pass through walls, yes, but usually not through walls that existed when they were alive. They hover above the floor because they're walking on the floor that existed - still exists - for them. New walls don't exist for them. They walk through. Old walls are real. They go around. They are seeing a reality which is different from the one we see. Which is the right one? Could it be that we are the imaginary beings, dreaming up our own world and superimposing it on some existing world? We see the ghosts when our imagination falters and the real world peeks through.

That's enough for now. I don't want to overstrain the colonial mind, I know you have important things to do, such as burning hamburgers and polishing your guns, so I don't want to force you to think too hard.

I realise that's not the American way.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Rebel colonists

heyjude said...
and oh yeah, I forgot to mention, in America croutons are much more common in salads.
Anonymous said...
I ate them last night straight from the sack, sans salad or soup. Had a V-8 to wash 'em down. Does that count as a soup?

This is why we let you win the War of Independence (or the rebellion, as it's known over here). There's just no civilising some people.

heyjude said...
I don't find that term in either the Oxfor or an Am. dict. Please explain.

Hardly surprising, since they are not English words. For an explanation, try here:

and here:

Prepare to be depressed.

There and Zen

If not via direct methods how can I deduce that you are not merely a cruton in my salad bowl of life?

You can't. Nor can I prove that I'm typing this. Besides, croutons (note the spelling) are more commonly found in soup than salad. At least in civilised (British) society.

We are getting into deep Zen here, where even if we met it would not be absolute proof of our existences.

Does Spongebob Squarepants exist? I've seen him. So, probably, have you. Yet we both know he does not exist. He's a cartoon. Even so, there is more proof of his reality available to readers of this text than there is for either of us. The square car-washing device has a series of television programs to his name. Books, toys, videos, games. If he wasn't real before, he is now.

It does beg the question: if the unreal can become real through repeated exposure, can the real dissipate into unreality through withdrawal from life? Obviously I won't try this on myself because I could not then report on my findings. A student, perhaps. I have too many anyway.

Reality is illusion, but it is an illusion difficult to get rid of. Alistair Crowley said that. Of course, he was completely bonkers but his point is still valid.

In these days of television, computerised special effects and the internet, what is reality? It is, without doubt, becoming difficult to tell.

The buddhists would love this. There is a term for this time that fits well - Kali Yuga.

Look it up.

Ghost writers

heyjude said...
So, a muse by any other name is still a

A muse is a supernatural being, from Greek mythology and by other names from other mythologies.

A ghost is a supernatural being from almost every mythology.

Is there a difference? I wonder. Perhaps when writers and artists talk of 'the Muse', they're not being as fanciful as many suppose.

Perhaps that whisper in the ear, that nudge of the paintbrush, that movement of the pen isn't accidental. Perhaps it's guided.

I don't suppose anyone really cares as long as it produces something worthwhile. Least of all the writers and artists.

As long as they get paid.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The tales you can tell...

heyjude said...
"These discarnate entities hang out in the places they favoured when they were alive. Boozers in bars, ... They want a fix."
Add to that writers in front of computers!


When a writer's character 'comes alive', can you be sure they weren't already? Alive in the the sense that they already existed, and simply found someone to tell their story?

I know someone who wrote a story called 'Last train to Marchway'. In that story, a man's personality is lost during a train journey, only to be taken over by someone else.

In real life, a man in New York woke on a train, with total amnesia. This only reached the news after the story was written.

A coincidence. Probably.

In both cases, the man's name was 'Doug'. A common enough name for a coincidence? Is it?

So you writers, watch out. There are things with stories to tell, but with no hands to type. They're looking for a way to speak.

They're looking for you.

And another thing...

It's often said that there are more people alive on the planet today than have existed, in total, throughout human history.

Therefore there are more living people than ghosts. Since a person can be possessed by multiple ghosts simultaneously, it follows that relatively few people are possessed at any one time. Also, if we take the view that most dead people move on to somewhere else, Heaven, Valhalla, Gwynfyd or whatever you want to call it, then it follows that ghosts are in fact relatively rare. Particularly if most of those remaining with us are busy possessing the living just to get another beer.

So it comes as no surprise that few people meet real ghosts, and that most reported 'hauntings' are nothing more than misinterpretations of natural events. Often these are reported by simpletons, naturally, although sometimes they do involve people who should know better. Few ghostly events are real, so the real events are difficult to sort from the mistaken events.

Now, if we take the argument above, that 'loose' ghosts are rare, then it is likely that there are fewer ghosts than there are mediums to talk to them.

Therefore my original stance, one I have held for years, remains correct.

Most mediums are charlatans.

Dead Annoying

I read an interesting book this week. That’s something of an obvious statement really, since if it wasn’t interesting, I wouldn’t have read it. No matter.

The book is called ‘People who don’t know they’re dead’, by Gary Leon Hill. It raised an interesting possibility.

I see frequent studies in the Journal of Scientific Exploration concerning reincarnation. Every other issue, in fact. Children recall events they could not have known, describe places they or their families have never visited, speak about ‘relatives’ from their past lives who have no connection with their current family. It does indeed sound convincing, and many of these studies come down firmly in favour of reincarnation. There is, however, another explanation.

Gary Leon Hill’s book explores the dead who don’t know they’re dead. Sound ridiculous? Well, consider how Hill himself explains it. If you think there’s no life after death, if you believe death is like turning off a light and there’s just nothing, how do you react if you die and that’s not true?

You can see. You can move. You have feelings – so according to your own logic, you can’t be dead. Everyone ignores you, and you can’t pick anything up, but you just can’t understand why.

These discarnate entities hang out in the places they favoured when they were alive. Boozers in bars, gamblers at the race track, shopaholics at the mall, sex maniacs at brothels, druggies in drug dens. They want what they’ve always wanted. They want a fix.

So they attach themselves to like-minded living people, eventually becoming enmeshed with that person. The living druggie experiences his own cravings as well as those of the dead druggie. Soon he’ll be a dead druggie too. Same for the alcoholic, the gambler, the smoker. The entities that attach increase the addict’s needs and accelerate his or her demise. Then they move on – often as a group – to the next living addict who can fulfil their desires. It’s the damaging effect of the drug (alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, whatever) that lets the ghosts gain access in the first place. Once they’re in, it’s difficult to get them out. The host doesn’t even realise they’re there.

Now, consider this in relation to reincarnation. In many reincarnation studies, often using hypnotic regression, there’s been a problem. Mr. X was once Joe Bloggs, 1812-1872. After that he was Joe Smith, 1864-1919. What’s wrong with this picture?

How can he have been Joe Smith, when Joe Bloggs died after Joe Smith was born? The answer is simple. He was neither.

Joe Bloggs and Joe Smith are people who don’t know they’re dead. Mr. X has not reincarnated. He’s been possessed by the ghosts of Joe Bloggs and Joe Smith, but they only come out when Mr. X is in a trance. The rest of the time they control his life by more subtle means.

That’s not to say there is no reincarnation. That has yet to be proved or disproved, despite what’s written on the blinkers of mainstream science, or on the rigid stone pages of the zealous. That question remains open.

As does the question of ghosts. Well, not for me. I’ve seen them. Unfortunately I can’t show them to you so I have no absolute proof. Let’s just call it a subject under study. I think, in at least some cases, hypnotic regression is revealing possession, not past lives. You give your hypnotised subject a time period, and the relevant entity answers. That entity thinks it still lives in that time period.

In those cases we are not dealing with a subject of academic interest. We are dealing with a patient who needs help. Several patients in fact: the living person who needs to have these parasites removed, and the dead ones who need to come to terms with their new existence.

And get the hell out of everyone’s way.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Dracula has the last laugh

It's a wonderful thing, modernisation. My crossbow is made of lightweight composites, as is the recurve bow I just bought. Minimal maintenance and very powerful. If you're so inclined, you can shoot at demons from a very long way away. That has to be a good thing.

The arrows are made of aluminium, fibreglass or carbon these days so they don't warp and they're light and strong. Not a trace of wood anywhere in any of that equipment.

So they're not much use against vampires.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Joining Hood's band

I have decided to take up archery.

In the UK, this is the only way to legally own a lethal weapon without needing any kind of permit. Since I detest practically everyone on the planet, having a few deadly weapons around suits me.

The best part is, once I've shot you, I can pull out the arrow and use it to shoot someone else.

When anarchy arrives, as it surely must, I'll be ready.

Internet limbo

I'm still stuck with that same useless ISP. I had a MAC number which I was assured would allow me to change to someone else. Someone who knows what they're doing.

That was back in early February. I tried. Or rather, the replacement for the waste of wire I'm with tried.

The connection had been closed, but not released. I admit to having little understanding of the workings of these things but it seems the new ISP could not use the MAC because the moron-operated company had shut me down. They could not set me up as a new connection because the old lot had not cleared the line.

So I was in limbo. Still am, really. The first lot have now put me back online (with service as dreadful as it was before) and have promised to send me a new MAC number since they faffed around so much the first one has expired. With their usual efficiency, nothing has happened yet. Meanwhile I'm already paying the new provider for no service at all. It's not their fault. They are trying - I know this because when I phone their customer service line, someone answers. That, in itself,is an astonishing and refreshing change.

I'm starting to use words like 'Ofcom' and 'Ombudsman', but as usual nobody is on the other end to hear them.