Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, and Humbug.

I couldn't find any humbugs again this year. Jesmona Black Bullets are close enough.

Happy New Year to my few readers, and may it be an improvement on last year. If you're in the UK at least, that shouldn't be difficult.

Tonight I will be mostly avoiding the revelries. I'm in Scotland where the drinkers won't have to be back at work until Tuesday so it'll be mayhem here. The whole country is closed until then.

There was a time when January Sales would have started on the first Monday in January. Now they are called Boxing Day Sales and they start before Christmas. In my younger days, everything closed - absolutely everything - for Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year's day. Every other day was just a normal day. Decorations went up a couple of weeks before Christmas and came down a couple of weeks after.

Now the festivities start before Halloween, shops are covered with tinsel and glitter from November onwards, January sales start before Christmas and today - the final straw - I read that supermarkets have just started stocking Easter eggs.

We seem to be caught in an accelerating loop of consumerism. There is no way I will buy an Easter egg in January because it will be past its expiry date by Easter. I have noted, in previous years, mince pies on sale for Christmas but which expired in November. The trappings of each festivity are now sold so far in advance that they are unusable by the time the actual festivity arrives. It's insane.

Soon, children will open Easter eggs on Christmas morning and take presents from under the tree at Halloween. They will go out trick-or-treating in the summer and families will take their holidays in April.

Eventually it will all make its way back round to the proper time of year for each event.

Or maybe it'll just become one continuous lunatic frenzy of celebration until the whole lot collapses under its own acceleration. If that happens, perhaps we'll be able to get back to normal, with the right event at the right time of year and none of this shut-down for weeks at a time when nobody can get anything done and nobody knows which festivity they are currently buying for.

I don't even know when to exclaim 'Humbug' any more!

Blue moon.

I haven't been doing much since Christmas. You can blame a box set of 21 DVDs containing all of Laurel and Hardy's fine work. I'm not finished with them yet but I'm still humming 'Lonesome Pine'.

However, as Astrology Bites pointed out to me, this coming night is not only New Year's Eve, it's also a blue moon - the second full moon in a calendar month - and this one is on the last day of the year.

Calendars are a human construct with no real consequence to the natural world. The year could start at any point. We just call it 'New Year' on January 1st because that's where our calendar starts. Other calendars start on different days. The months, too, are arbirtary divisions of the year. They don't match with any celestial activity and there weren't always twelve.

So a blue moon on New Year's Eve, astronomically, has no meaning. It's just an interesting thing. There are no known paranormal connections, at least, there are none known to me. Astrologically, well, you'd have to ask Astrology Bites about that. It's not my field.

If you're wandering around the streets tonight, slurring 'happy new year' at people, cast an occasional glance skywards. That's the second full moon of December, and the last one of 2009. Or the first of 2010 depending on when you look.

There's also a partial lunar eclipse but I don't know where it's visible from. I'll have to look it up.

Added: Found something:

The year ends with a partial eclipse of the Moon. Starting at about 6.50 pm on New Year's Eve it will end around 9.30 pm as 8 per cent of the Moon is submerged in the Earth's shadow.

That's a UK newspaper so the times will be GMT.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tales from the riverbank, abridged version.

I know this wrecks the experiment, but those pictures refused to enlarge when clicked on. They might have been too big for Blogger to play with. I hope this cut-out section will enlarge properly.

This is from photo 1 in the last post. Here's what I was looking for:

The manifestation in question involves no actual spirits. It's a replay, a recording. The ghosts will not interact because they are not ghosts in the 'dead human' sense. This sort of repeating manifestation is more like a hologrammatic TV programme which repeats, appropriately enough, at Christmas time every year.

I wasn't sure - I'm still not sure - where the original ford was located. This photo is near the marker set up by local historians. Nowadays, the shallowest part of the river is under the bridge and the part near the marker has been disrupted on both banks by construction work. If the replay depends on a recording in the ground, and if this is the site of the ford, it'll be weaker than it used to be.

So what I'm looking for are images of people crossing the river. The recording will not vary due to the new deeper riverbed. If there is an image it will be of someone crossing the river, roughly waist deep in the water. The one I think I see is faint, but severe disruption of the banks would account for that.

There are conditions. The images would be approaching the bank I'm standing on. They must be human shaped and sized. No giant faces. Ideally, they should be clear of riverside vegetation which can produce misleading shapes.

Naturally, even if everyone saw what I think I see, I'll have to go back next year to confirm it. More photos and some video next time. Even if we all see the same thing, that might still be an artefact. Since it's reported as a recording-type phenomenon it should be the same next year.

It should also fail to appear at any other time. Therefore, once the layer of ice that currently makes the local streets deadly has melted, I'll go back and take more photos which should show nothing at all.

Paranormal investigations are notoriously difficult to repeat. This kind of date-fixed phenomenon should be reproducible. We'll see. It won't prove anything concerning survival of the mind after death but it would advance the study of the non-ghostly recording phenomena.

If I can prove that and then figure out how it works, then work out how to make such recordings, I'll have all the funding I'll ever need.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tales from the riverbank.

For the last three years, on December 22nd and 23rd, I have been to the local river to take photos. On one of those dates in 1745 (accounts vary on the exact date), one hour after sunset, a small force of Jacobite soldiers crossed this river at a ford. The main Jacobite force attacked from the east. This little group drew the attention of the Royalists in the town, so the main attack was a surprise. It is said that the Jacobites still cross the river on this date, one hour after sunset, at the ford.

The biggest problem has always been determining the exact site of the ford. There have been a lot of changes in the intervening years. I assumed the ford would be where the road bridge is now because that's currently the shallowest part of the river. However, the marker that shows the site of the battle is a few hundred yards downstream. The river there is too deep to walk across now, but one side is now the start of a canal that was there in the 1800s and the other side now has a sewage works water inlet built into it. The marker could be right.

Tonight I tried both locations. I took along a Sony DSC-H5 still camera set to monochrome. The wide aperture lens makes it a good low light camera and monochrome means a) it's not trying too hard to process the image so it can take photos quicker and b) the photos, at just over 2Mb each, will fit here without reduction. What you see are the photos I took. If you click on the images you should see an enlarged version which you can then copy and fiddle around with to your heart's content. The onscreen ones usually look darker than the ones I have so you might want to increase the brightness of them.

It wasn't too cold, just under 0C (about 25F) so I didn't need gloves which is always good when handling a camera. They don't make buttons for chunky glove-covered fingers! These are straightforward monochrome photos, not infrared. The ground is actually white tonight and the overcast sky gave a fair amount of diffuse light. Ideal photography conditions, in fact.

I think I see something in one of the photos below. Just in one of them, in the water. The other photos are 'control' photos, in which I'm sure there's nothing unusual in the water. I haven't scoured the woods for possible images because that's not what I was there for. Lights in the trees are of no relevance because there are houses behind them.

I'll be interested to hear what - if anything - anyone else sees in any of these photos. As I said, clicking on them should get you the full sized image.

This is where the marker says the ford would have been in 1745. The railings are where the sewage works water inlet pipe takes water from the river. The outlet is downstream and nobody with any sense goes fishing down there!

Heading towards the bridge. Dark shapes in the water here are ducks.

This is where I was last year. There was no snow at all that time. The dark shapes in the water are ducks again.

Another shot of the bridge.

The combination of snow and low cloud made the scene a lot lighter than last time. This was one hour after sunset again, as before, and here that means 4:30 pm. A late afternoon investigation, twenty minutes' walk from my house. That's why I keep going back every year. It's the easiest investigation imaginable.

Feel free to download the pictures for closer examination, or just to play around with. If you want to repost them elsewhere for any reason, that's okay with me as long as I get a link!

(edited to add - If clicking on the pictures doesn't work, I'll try putting them on Facebook)

Edited again. I can't get Facebook to work so the photos are on Myspace.

Edited yet again. Oh hell, Myspace has shrunk them! If anyone wants the originals and Blogger won't let you have the full size ones, it'll just have to be Email.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

White Christmas?

It's looking like a possibility. We have snow here, not very deep but extremely cold and once it's been compacted by traffic, it just sets into ice.

I set out to clear the driveway today, so went to fetch a shovel from the shed. The shed lock was encased in ice. I thought I might need a blowtorch or at least some spray de-icer, both of which I have... in the shed.

Since I moved from smoking to electrosmoking, I don't carry a lighter any more. So there followed a frantic rummage to find an old lighter, then some time standing in the cold trying to melt the lock. Since the lighter only works from beneath the lock, every drop that dripped hit the thing and put out the flame. Eventually I managed to get in.

The shovel stays outside, and all the de-icer sprays are now in the house. I also have rock salt. Not the stuff the councils use. This is lab grade stuff and you don't need much, once the snow is scraped away to reveal the ice.

The papers are still full of that terrible, terrible global warming. The same papers tell of 20 inches of snow in Washington and record snowfalls all over the place. Temperatures here are reaching -10C (about 7F) overnight and not getting much above 0C during the day. Global warming? Where's my share?

Forget global warming. Start preparing for an ice age.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Red Square, Grey Triangle.

A strange fuzzy grey pyramid has apparently been seen hovering over Moscow. There is a video of it here and it made Russian news.

The videos don't look faked. The one from the moving vehicle would be very hard to fake.

Yet, this is Russia which is almost as authoritarian as the UK. This thing was floating over Moscow for hours. Where are the helicopters and the jets? Why does nobody on the ground seem at all bothered by the sight of a huge pyramid rotating in the air? I can't believe any country's authorities would just ignore something like that.

So is it a fake? If it is, it's cleverly done. If it's not, why did the Russian air force ignore it?

Something just doesn't feel right about this one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Messing around.

I have been playing with the new Blogger tools at last. Now I can put a blog in the sidebar and it'll update with that blog's latest post. If you think a link would be of value to you, just let me know. It's an excellent little toy. I don't have to mess with the HTML at all.

I make no distinction on religion or outright atheism, belief or not in any form of spirituality. Whether you follow God or Dawkins, I'll read it. I won't guarantee to like it or agree with it, but I'll read it. If it's cogently argued I'll link to it too, whether I agree with it or not.

If it's just a sweary shout-them-down rant, forget it. Once you start the ad hominem stuff, you lose.

There will be more fiddling around between now and Christmas especially if the promised heavy snow appears. I'll try not to break anything but... no promises.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What's this thing?

Norway has been treated to a bizarre light display. It's on YouTube here and here but the videos aren't anywhere near as impressive as the still photos. Wider lenses, people, wider lenses! Those compact things just don't capture enough light.

I admit, my first thought on seeing the photos was 'bah, computer graphics' but according to the story, that's what people actually saw.

It is nothing like any light show produced by the Aurora, it looks nothing like a UFO, it's not 'earth lights', it doesn't link at all with anything I've ever seen or heard about.

Could it be done by a ground-based laser display?

Whatever it is, I'd have liked to see it. With a proper video camera to hand!

Update: Apparently it was a failed Russian missile test. They're much more fun when they don't work.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Strange days.

I have to come to terms with something. An acquaintance, a friend of a friend, a man I have been fishing with and thought a decent sort of chap (if a bit odd, but that's not illegal) has just been convicted of child porn offences.

Nobody knew. The friend is in shock. I am stunned. You hear about such people but never think you'll meet them. The offences took place in 2007, before I (or the in-between friend) met this guy. We had no idea. Needless to say, he's off the fishing party list for good. For his own good, too. Next to large bodies of water, accidents happen.


On a less sickening note, the UK Ministry of Defence has closed its UFO hotline. For 60 years, anyone could report anything unusual in the skies and the MOD would record it and often look into it. They weren't looking for UFOs. For most of that time they were looking for Russian spy planes and that's why they wanted to hear about odd aerial activity. It's not closed because the cold war has ended. It's closed because the country is skint. They can't afford it. That's all.

It's a shame because if you wanted to look at past UFO sightings and the results of investigations of them, the MOD files were the most complete in the country. They would tell you whether the sighting was explained or unexplained. You can bet if there was something unexplained, they looked at it very hard indeed.


I watched another Doomsday film. There are a lot of them about at the moment. This is the one in which Scotland is sealed off because of a deadly virus. The virus then turns up in England, and since there are people alive in Scotland, the English assume they have a cure and send in troops to beat it out of them.

Trouble is, it's Glasgow they visit and it hasn't improved at all in the 25 years it's been isolated. It's exactly the same. Not many of the crack troops get back alive. Great film but seriously gory. Some very nasty deaths and not for the faint of heart.


My mind is still baffled by the revelation in the first part of this post. I'll be back when I've sorted it out.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Things are picking up.

Reports of ghostly activity have been thin on the ground for some months. People are just too distracted to notice anything unusual.

However, this one sounds promising. Unfortunately the security cameras saw nothing. That does seem odd because those cameras would be more useful looking at the customers than the staff. I hope they post the footage at some point.

It's dark, it's cold, it's time to get back to work.

Oh, and the thing in my house is back too. Let's hope it's a long dark winter.


There is no longer a United Kingdom. As of the 1st December 2009, the European Union is now the only game in town.

We have a President nobody voted for and a Constitution that every vote has said 'no' to. EU law overrides UK law and our Parliament is an expensive white elephant. It can do nothing. Not that it tried, in recent years.

This is my only post on the subject. So secure are the EU in the knowledge that they are right, that they are supported by the people, that to criticise them is illegal.

Therefore all further discussion on this subject will be out of public view. Sorry about that.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dark things in the light.

A few days ago, a hacker apparently extracted a massive amount of data from the University of East Anglia's computers. That's where a lot of the global warming scientists work. I didn't say anything until I could decide whether to believe it, but it looks genuine. There is some hint that it was leaked, rather than hacked.

Some have taken the trouble to delve into this data and have found considerable evidence that the whole 'global warming' issue has been nothing but a scam. This is possibly the biggest scandal to hit science since Piltdown Man. Newspapers have ignored this. Bloggers have not (caution, some are not quite as temperate as me).

Now there are all sorts of vague threats of 'doom' appearing in the papers here and since it's currently summer in the Southern Hemisphere, look out for reports of melting Antarctic ice. Like last year. And the year before. Have you ever noticed how the ice-doom is in the Arctic when it's summer here and in the Antarctic when it's summer there?

The game is up for the warming scam but I doubt they'll let it go so easily. Too much money and too many careers built on it. Oh, and plenty of tax income dependent on it too.

Should you be thinking that I must have fallen for some hoax or other, that no government could be so crass and idiotic as to lie - not just mislead, actually lie - to its own people and to treat human life with contempt in the pursuit of their own aggrandisement, take a look at this. The global warming money machine game is no problem to people who could do that.

Next May, we will have an election in the UK and it is likely that the Tory party will replace the Labour party. It is unlikely anything else will change. For a couple of months, the fury in the country will subside but it won't stay away for long.

Next summer, the UK might not be a good choice for a holiday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seeing is not believing.

Our primary British idiot, the singer Sting, claims to have seen a ghost in his own bedroom. A ghost that manifested clearly enough to describe. A ghost seen by himself and by his wife.

Then he says:

"Intellectually, no I don't believe in them (ghosts), but I've experienced them on an emotional level.''

Right. So he sees a ghost with his own eyes, is certain he's seen a ghost, and doesn't believe 'intellectually'. His visual experience is only 'emotional'.

Just what will it take for these people? Even when they experience a ghost for themselves they won't believe it.

One day they'll die. Then they're going to get a very big surprise.

Apocalypse later.

A friend (yes, I have some. Not many, but some) gave me a DVD he'd bought in the bargain bins. His comments were along the lines of 'If you see this one on display, always pick it up. There might be something worth watching underneath'.

The film was 2012: Doomsday. One of many such doom-laden films, all very popular nowadays. This one is laced with Christian messages, which is no problem for me as long as it's a good story well told. I don't get upset at religious messages. I just ignore them.

What I could not ignore was the desperate stupidity of the film. It opens with a large gold cross in an ancient Mayan temple which 'proves that Christians arived in South America long before Columbus'. Which is utter tosh. If that were the case, and they were making two-foot crosses out of gold, Columbus would have arrived at a Christian civilisation.

They then take the cross to Chichen Itza, the stepped pyramid in Mexico. They carry this damn thing which is solid gold and must weigh around fifty pounds as if it's just gold-painted wood. They do this because the Earth is slowing down and it's December 12, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar's 'long count'. Which has, incidentally, ended twelve times before and just gone back to the start again each time. Calendars do that. Ours ends every year on December 31st and funnily enough, starts again with January 1st the very next day.

Several groups are converging on this pyramid. It's snowing on some characters but not on other characters in the same places. The snow is apparently personal. Some get called spontaneously to Heaven in the Rapture which is what's meant to happen when the world ends but...

(Spoiler coming. If you haven't seen the film but would like to endure it, miss out the text in blue)

... The world doesn't end. The sun goes down, a woman gives birth, the sun comes back up again at once. That's it. That. Is. It. No seven-headed monster, no horsemen of the apocalypse, no Whore of Babylon, no mark of the beast, nothing. Sunset, birth, sunrise, and that's the end. The Earth continues as normal and all those killed in the Rapture must be pretty pissed about it.

And yet people believe this. They really think the world will end when the Mayan calendar runs out. They actually believe that a Christian God pays attention to Quetzalcoatl, the flying serpent of the South American religions.

People are really wondering when they should kill their pets and children to spare them the horrors of the End. Seriously. It's a film! It's not real.

The Mayan calendar is a calendar. It gets to the end and it starts again. It has nothing at all to do with the Christian view of apocalypse. Only one thing will really happen after December 12th 2012.

December 13th 2012.

Nothing else will change.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The real danger of global warming.

There is a great danger associated with global warming and it's this -

It's not happening. Instead, the Earth is now cooling. Oh, it was warming up to around ten years ago but now it's cooling again and with sunspot activity extraordinarily low, it can cool quite fast. The Global Warmers who insist we are causing warming by producing CO2 emissions that barely touch on those from volcanoes or marshlands are all demanding that we throw away all our heat sources because otherwise, global temperature might rise by a few degrees over a period of centuries.

You know how fast global cooling can happen? Go on, have a guess. If an ice age started today, how long before Scotland is under ice? Centuries? Decades? Years?


Global cooling cannot be blamed on the greenhouse effect nor can it be blamed on emissions. That's why you don't hear those words. Instead, it's 'climate change' and we are to take the blame and pay the taxes because somehow, moving little bits of paper around will cause the Earth to stop its natural cycles of warm and cold and settle into a steady temperature forever. Something it has never done and will never do. The climate changes. Sometimes it gets warmer and sometimes it gets cooler. We've been through a warming patch and now we're in a cooling patch. It might or might not tip into ice age, it could go back to warming again but that does not mean that any of it has anything to do with what we build or burn.

It also does not mean that we can stop it. No matter how much tax we pay to people who run half a dozen huge houses each and who fly the world in jets to tell us about 'carbon footprints' and the evils of patio heaters. Those who want us to discard all power sources and live in mud huts are the real danger.

Because if that ice age does come, it's not going to be a matter of 'in a few decades'. It'll be 'this time next year, you'll live in an igloo'.

Take a look at this article on the polar bear.

"There aren't just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears," said Mitch Taylor, a polar bear biologist who has spent 20 years studying the animals.

The words of a polar bear biologist with 20 years' experience. Or the word of Al Gore, a politician with a huge house and a vast vested interest in the whole 'climate change' industry. You choose.

The global warming argument?

"I don't think there is any question polar bears are in danger from global warming," said Andrew Derocher of the World Conservation Union, and a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "People who deny that have a clear interest in hunting bears."

Bear numbers are increasing so they're in danger from global warming and anyone who denies it is a bear-hunter. He ignores the detail that conservation efforts would be totally ineffective if the globe was warming because the bears hunt on ice and if there's a lot less ice, where are these increased bear numbers living?

This technique is well known in the UK, where anyone who so much as mentions immigration is a racist, anyone who objects to Sharia law is an islamophobe, anyone who objects to the State-driven ID cards or criminal records checks or collection of DNA for the database must be a criminal in hiding, and so on. They pick the most evil thing they can think of and link objectors to that in an effort to silence them. For 'climate change denier', go back to the days of the Inquisition and read 'heretic'. The techniques of such people never vary. I have a friend who has studied them and who refers to them as 'The Righteous'. I used to think of him as a crazed conspiracy theorist but now I'm starting to wonder. The techniques he describes are still in use.

Every summer we hear about arctic ice melting, and every (northern) winter we hear about antarctic ice melting, when it's summer down there. It grows back in winter but that's never mentioned. Just think about that for a while.

A favourite technique used by these people is 'for the children'. Every adult in the UK is a suspected paedophile and must be checked and catalogued 'for the children'. Smokers are banned from everywhere 'for the children'. Anyone buying alcohol in a supermarket might find they are refused if they happen to have a child with them - for the children. Lately, the State wants access to anyone's home at any time they choose so they can snoop around for things to report... for the children.

So please, don't give me that 'for the children' line in the comments. It is not for the children. It is for the tax revenue it can raise. If politicians really believed their lives were in danger from aeroplane travel they'd have banned it. They have not. They would be driving Toyota Prius cars. They are not. Travel is the same as before, it's just taxed more. Therefore it has nothing to do with saving lives, because politicians would be first in line for that. It has everything to do with squeezing more money out of you.

There is no logic to it. Look at this and despair. Trees are the best carbon dioxide absorbers available and our Green Men think it's a good idea to cut them all down, ship them around the world and burn them for a trivial return on energy production. Do you actually believe they give a stuff about carbon dioxide?

Our countryside is dotted with wind farms. Guess why the windmills don't blow down? Think in terms of massive concrete blocks, one under each windmill. The windmills are made of steel. The carbon footprint of a windmill is far higher than the equivalent in coal-fired energy production and yet they are 'green'.

There is no global warming. The globe is cooling. Man-made carbon emissions are nothing compared to volcanic and other natural emissions. None of it will stop the world cooling. If it tips into an ice age while we're all turning off our power supplies, the death toll will be unimaginable and it will be a matter of months before it's all over for us. Forget the children. There won't be any.

It is all a scam. I've seen a lot of scams and learned how to recognise them, but this one is orders of magnitude above any other.

This one is a planet-killer.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Not always easy.

Fakes come in many guises, ranging from the simply deluded to the outright scammer. One thing that generally starts the fake-o-meter twitching is when they ask for money.

In the old days, and occasionally still, a gypsy fortune teller might ask you to cross her palm with silver. She was not actually asking for money although let's be fair, she wouldn't have been wealthy and would not have turned down a donation. What she meant was literally what she said - take something silver and draw it across her palm. Why, I'm not sure, maybe it was something to 'activate the power' or maybe it was a matter of showing trust - that you could put something valuable in her hand and she wouldn't steal it from you. You cannot form any sort of bond with someone who doesn't trust you.

Now we have those massively wealthy 'mediums' who claim to be able to call up any spirit associated with anyone at any time and who can do it on the phone or internet via an assistant (excuse me while I pause to swear a lot) where the interaction involves a voice or typed text and no actual medium at all (another pause...) and they charge money for this.

It doesn't work like that. Mediums don't know who's going to turn up. There is no way to make money from mediumship. No medium could stand in front of an audience of strangers and immediately get the right number of spirits to match the length of the show, none of those spirits being unconnected with anyone and never, ever, finding that someone's brought the whole dead family along. My ancestors are not going to know what phones are and are not likely to turn up at the other end of the line if I talk to a medium on the phone. If they turn up they'll be at my end of the line where the medium can't be talking to them.

So I have that first guideline. If they ask for money, they're most probably faking and the more money they want, the higher up the fake-scale they go. Phone and internet mediumship is just stupid.

That's mediums. What about others? Reiki, homeopathy, astrology, crystal work and so on don't rely on the vagaries of spirits. They rely on internal or external chemical, physiological or physical attributes and if those things are reproducible then it's possible to make money from them. I'm only talking about spirits in this post.

The other side of mediums, the 'anti-medium', is the exorcist. In recent years (the last 2000) this has been the sole preserve of religion. That's because religion attributes all spirit contact as evil and only religion has the competency to deal with it. Which is rubbish.

I've recently driven an annoying presence from my house through no action other than being more annoying to it than it was to me. I'm not an exorcist. I did not banish it. I'd like it to come back because I'm not finished with it. I make no claim to exorcist powers and have not witnessed an actual 'demonic possession' of anyone and if I did, I'd be unlikely to try to get rid of it without collecting a lot of data first.

As with mediums, I am sceptical of any exorcist that charges for their services.

So this one poses a dilemma.

He charges nothing. He enjoys success but has no interest in fame or money. However, the explanation for the boy's behaviour given by the priest is entirely plausible except where the priest says the exorcist made matters worse. He did not. In fact, the exorcist appears to have effected a cure - which could be real or psychosomatic. In this case, did the exorcist drive out a real demon or merely set the boy's mind at ease?

He believes he exorcises demons. I don't think he's a fake because he's not scamming anyone. Is he deluded or is he really doing it? It's not possible to tell for sure from that one case but I'd be interested to hear more from anyone who's experienced such things.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keeping quiet.

For those of you outside the UK, the news you hear coming out of this country must sound completely unbelievable. The truth is more bizarre than any news you might have heard.

We have almost total CCTV coverage and a spy-state Stalin would have sold his own mother for.

Dawn raids are commonplace, for crimes such as 'swearing at a council official' or 'fighting in the playground'. Rapists get told off and sent home. That is not a joke.

People are fined for feeding ducks in the park. That's unbelievable, yes? This report has a picture of the actual crime recorded on the penalty notice.

We have a national health service that is the envy of the world's governments. Nowhere else could the State dispose of inconvenient old people so efficiently. I hear the American government has a similar system in mind.

That's just a sample. It is now dangerous to take photographs in public. It is not illegal to do so but we have all-encompassing 'anti-terrorist' laws that means anyone with a camera can be stopped and searched and if they don't like the look of you, well...

Hanging around derelict buildings at night has become a very dangerous occupation. Not because of falling masonry or holes or even the risk of demonic possession.

Because this country's government has lost all reason and the petty officials never had any. Orwell's 1984 reads like a world we'd all love to live in. This is much worse. Nobody even knows what the laws are any more. Any official can make them up on the spot and hand out a fine.

I'm still working, but much more carefully than before. If you send me Email, be aware that my government will keep a copy so watch what you say.

I might move to North Korea. It sounds much more relaxed there.

Friday, November 06, 2009

It's nice to look at, but is it Science?

New Scientist recently had a story on out-of-body experiences. All manner of perfectly plausible and entirely possible explanations for the experience were put forward, except one. The possibility that it actually happens.

Now, any scientist who wants to keep his job will tell you that's because it's impossible for the mind to leave the body at any time, in any form. It's not possible. If it were possible, there'd be bodiless minds going about the place even after someone died. Everyone knows there are no such things as ghosts. Spooky feelings can be produced by fluctuating magnetic fields so that explains it all.

Humans have never been shown to be able to detect the effects of magnetic fields. We can't migrate over thousands of miles as birds do, with no maps to guide us. And yet this magnetic-field-detection is now an explanation for phenomena that 'the ordinary people' report as ghostly. It's all very reminiscent of those scientists who dismissed the correspondences between medium reports from widely separated parts of the world as telepathy - which they don't believe is possible either. So the inexplicable is explained by reference to the equally inexplicable and science continues to pretend it's superior to religion. Science requires an open mind. To everything. No matter how wild it might appear at first glance. If it can't be disproved, then it can't be dismissed. (For the Popper falsifiability geeks, I don't regard Popper as a prophet of a scientific religion. His methods are good but they are not Gospel. To regard them as such is not science. He might well be horrified to find that they are).

For around twenty years, the CIA tested remote viewing as a possible means of spying on enemies. Then they stopped. Because it was all hokum? Perhaps, but who really thinks it took the CIA twenty years to work that out? The results released to the public aren't very good but then if you were the CIA, would you release your good results to the public? Would it be a good idea to make public something that you'd been using to spy on other countries?

Okay, if it did work, why did they stop the program? It's not that difficult to work out. Look at Google Earth. In a lot of places you can zoom in far enough to make out individual people. Would you think that the military spy satellites are better, worse or the same as Google Earth? Since Google Earth get their images from satellites they don't own, it's a fair bet that the military images are better than the ones you or I can get hold of.

The CIA remote viewing project ended in 1995. Why? One reason might be that by 1995, satellite images were so far superior to the remote-viewer sketches that there was no need for the Stargate project any more. No need for remote viewing when you can get an exact image from a camera in the sky. The CIA's dismissal of a twenty-year project is not proof that remote viewing is impossible. It merely proves that technology superseded the need for it.

Military surveillance is now so good that a satellite can drop a bomb on the top of your head and choose which hair to incinerate first. They don't need the remote viewers any more.

Can humans detect electric, magnetic or electromagnetic fields? I don't know. Is telepathy, telekinesis, remote viewing real? I've never experienced them so I don't know. Well, that's not quite true but it could be coincidence so I still don't know for sure. Are ghosts real? Absolutely, because I've met them, but I can't produce proof so scientifically, I can't publish and that is what counts in my world. It's going to be hell to set up any kind of reproducible experiment where ghosts are concerned. They aren't lab animals and they do as they please.

I've wondered about the voices heard by schizophrenics. The voices are assumed to be unreal and they go away when treated with drugs. Is that because the voices weren't real and the drugs cured a disorder - or could it be that the voices were real and the drugs removed the patient's ability to hear them? Are you sure which it is? Why?

It doesn't matter to the patient of course, they just want the voices to stop. What if they were a medium who hadn't realised it, and the voices were in fact real? That would be frightening for the subject and they would accept drugs to shut their ability down. Much as those whose eyes are oversensitive would welcome dark glasses (I have reactolite lenses that darken when the ambient light brightens - almost perfect) and those whose hearing is unusually acute might welcome earmuffs, the medium who doesn't want the ability would be delighted to have a pill that shut it down. Actually, alcohol does much the same thing.

This is not to say that all schizophrenics are really untapped mediums. Some are undoubtedly nuts. All of them? Maybe. Maybe not. A scientist must consider the possibility. It might be wrong but until it is shown to be wrong, it remains a possibility.

Science these days is full of dogma and belief systems to rival the Catholic church. You cannot question global warming - why not? Is it science or religion? The ice caps have increased in size in recent years, the polar bears continue to increase in number, the sea is cooling, not warming, the recent propaganda about the 'first German boat ever to make the northeast passage' ignores the detail that it's Russian waters and the Russians have been using that route since 1935, and yet we are not allowed to question the Green God's Gospel? Is that science?

Quantum physics and string theory tell us that there are at least eleven dimensions and uncountable parallel universes, none of which we can see and none of which provide any evidence of their existence outside expert thought, and yet the same experts state there can be no God, no ghosts, no telepathy... Science tells us we are affected by barely detectable magnetic fields but are unaffected by the detectable influences of planetary positions... Science tells us that modern industrialisation is causing global warming although it was much warmer in the Middle Ages when there were much fewer people, no electricity and no factories, and the world didn't end.

Science must be open. Must be. It's the whole point of it. You might, as an individual scientist, dismiss something as not worth your time to study and that is perfectly reasonable. Nobody can be expected to study every aspect of everything.

To state that something is impossible based purely on your personal beliefs is not science. Science pays no heed to personal beliefs.

To state that the world must think as you do and believe what you believe without question is religion. Whether applied to global warming or any other subject, including ghosts. You don't believe it so it must be false. That is not science.

If you think that way, you are the AntiScientist.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Halloween - no luck.

No luck at Halloween as far as I have been able to tell. I went to the old mill near the lab but it was windy and rained often. So I have pictures of blowing leaves and raindrops and if there's anything else in there, I can't find it. The picture above is a rare still and non-wet moment in which the leaves and branches aren't a blur. Slightly brightened, it contains a good image of the moon through clouds but that's about it.

The last few years have been plagued with rain. Well, it's the UK and this sort of thing happens from time to time. It's not good news if you're looking around old places at night. It's cold too.

Just have to keep trying.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Papal bull.

Oh, here we go again. The Pope has declared Halloween 'dangerous'. He is an idiot and I know the Catholics out there will take great offence but I don't care at all. He is completely off his head.

Halloween is a number of things these days. It used to be one thing. Before that it was nothing at all.

Go back to the time before humans. Use any timescale you want because science and creation both agree there was a time of no humans. Even later creation has a time of humans but no death.

Before humans there was no Halloween. There was also no Tuesday and no February. None of those things can exist before someone thought to give them names. Halloween is not a component of Earth. It is a component of humanity. As is every other festival of every religion. There can be no 'communication with the dead' until someone dies and that can't happen until someone is alive. Someone who can be defined as human. Communication with an ancestor who says 'oook-ook' isn't helpful.

The Celts, and possibly many before them, measured things starting from what we might now consider the end. For us, the day begins when the sun comes up. For the Celts, the new day began when the sun went down. For us, the year begins in spring. For the Celts, it began with the onset of winter. The time when everything died. They preferred to get the bad stuff over first.

Halloween, then called Samheim (spell it how you like. Until Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, there were no fixed spellings in English) was the end and the beginning of the year. The time of renewal. The Celts built a bonfire and leapt through it to cleanse themselves of the demons following them. They believed that at this time of renewal, the barrier between life and death was thin. It was a dangerous time. Not a time of devil worship because nobody did that at all until the Christians invented Satan. A time to beware of demons and the dead. They did not revel in death. Winter was sure to provide as much of that as they could deal with. The Halloween festival was to ward off death and scare away demons.

Christianity took over all the old festivals. The renewal of the sun on December 25th following its 'death' on the 22nd was replaced with the birth of Christ. The tinsel and balls on the trees are a relic of the Druid sacrifice, which was followed by draping entrails over trees. The fairy on top is a Celtic vision of a ghost. The fertility rite became Easter but kept the rabbits and the eggs. Halloween was harder to shift until Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament. That allowed the moving of the bonfire to November 5th and the reclassification of November 1st (the first day of the new year) as all saint's day. All organised religion is scared of Halloween just as they are terrified of the paranormal in general. We aren't supposed to know about this stuff. It messes up the belief and the control.

Halloween went quiet for a long time. In the UK we had ducking for apples and other relics of harvest-end but then America revived the 'guising' aspect of dressing up to scare away the demons. Halloween came back.

The devil-worshippers (who did not exist before Christianity) took Samheim as some kind of Satanic calendar date. It was never about that. It was all about dispelling evil and forming protection for the coming winter. Not about worshipping evil. That would not be a clever move for people about to overwinter in rough huts.

The Pope is wrong. Halloween offers no threat to Christianity and never did. Children in costumes have no idea what they are celebrating, indeed they are not celebrating anything at all. They are having a bit of fun with dress-up and fake blood and free sweets and that is all. They know nothing of Satanism, of witchcraft (NOT the same thing), of communicating with the dead, of protection from demons, of the appropriation of the festival by Christians, none of the history has seeped through and I'll bet there is not a teacher in the world who both knows that history and is willing to tell the children about it. They would not dare.

The barrier betwen the living and the dead is still at its thinnest tonight. Earth didn't do that. Nature didn't do that. Humans did it with collective conviction. A conviction so strong that it's still true today. For a few, Halloween means what it once did. For some, it means they can prance around the woods naked and call up a horned god who isn't Satan but who will probably play along because it's funny. Pan always had a sense of humour and it's not always a gentle humour. For most people it means masks and sweets and nothing more than that.

It's still a time to be very careful but dressing up as Frankenstein or other fictional monsters presents no danger to children at all. They don't come out unless you're looking for them. The dressed-up children are not.

I will be.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mind, matter and mucus.

I've been remiss in not posting here for a while. I thought I had swine flu but it was only human flu, not that that was much comfort because it hurt like hell and left me drained from lack of food and whisky. That'll teach me to socialise with people. Disgusting, diseased creatures. I'll have to keep out of their way for a while because one of them might have swine flu and having ordinary flu offers no immunity to that. Not again, not so soon!

All this 'catching stuff' started when I stopped smoking. I'm sure there's a connection. When I was pumping myself full of carcinogens and toxins, I felt fine. Healthy living doesn't agree with me. I still have the electric cigar but it's not the same, even though it does produce decent smoke rings with practice and is gentle enough on the throat to be puffed at even when your throat is a pus-filled red mess. Within limits.

The thing in my house has gone. It probably became bored since I've ignored it for a couple of weeks. I have a pretty good idea where it's gone so I'll go after it. There might be some question as to who is haunting who here.

While sitting (or generally lying) mucus-filled and hoping the pulsations in my head weren't some kind of countdown to detonation, I had time to waste on YouTube. I found several series on 'how to do telekinesis' but after trying once and having to lie down until the flashes and pounding subsided, I decided to leave it for a while. It wasn't the best time to concentrate.

The best series I found so far is by this guy. I am not impressed by the spinning of tinfoil. If I'm going to do telekinesis I want to be able to tip over cars and throw things. I don't want to wait until I achieve my ambition to become a poltergeist either. I do like the way the Irish guy in the videos thinks, because he's thinking broadly along the same lines as me and the poltergeist example works in there too. Only a few people show any sign of telekinesis and only a few ghosts show signs of poltergeist-type abilities. Neither are common. It takes practice. Nobody is going to practice something they don't believe exists. So telekinesis and poltergeists are both rare things, which is what you would expect if ghosts are dead people.

He also has a healthily angry attitude towards fakes. I like that.

For me, the jury is still out on telekinesis. I'm willing to give it a try though.

I wish I could do this.

It's not paranormal but it's certainly magical.

I have no artistic ability and definitely don't have the patience to paint a mural using a tiny brush over a period of weeks. I would love to have one of these in my house, but it would mean I'd never move house again.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The good, the bad and the weird.

Plants have a long history in medicine - well, in pre-antibiotic medicine. Modern medicine sniffs at such things. If it's not a pill in a bottle, it can't be effective, they say.

Well, the use of mouldy bread poultices to prevent wound infections goes back a long way. Long before the dicovery of penicillin, an antibiotic produced by mould. This discovery was made by accident, by observing the prevention of bacterial growth around a mould on a laboratory Petri dish. It was not discovered by a scientist wondering why his granny used to strap wet mouldy bread to his cuts. The mouldy bread poultice was an old wives' tale and not worthy of the attention of science. Scientific arrogance is not a new phenomenon.

Pity. We could have had antibiotics a lot sooner if scientists had listened to their grannies.

Nowadays, there are scientists looking for plants that might produce potential cures for all sorts of diseases. Still, these scientists are keen not to appear to be herbalists. Instead of using the plant, they take an effective molecule and make synthetic copies of it. Then put it in a pill.

There are many plants that are useful for general ailments. Here are some of the good ones. There are many more. Ask Granny, or these days, perhaps Great-Granny.

You do need to be careful because there are also plants that can kill you very quickly if you eat even a small part of them. So here are some of the bad ones. Some of them are rare, some are common, so watch what you're using for that herbal tea!

And, just because it's interesting, here are some of the weird ones. Not necessarily toxic or medicinal, just very strange.

Plants don't do much. They just sit there being green and are easily ignored. Perhaps we should pay more attention to them.

Copper bracelets.

Science has declared that copper bracelets have no effect on arthritis.

Well, science has declared a lot of things and has had to say 'Whoops' more than once.

I wouldn't be quite so quick to deny the copper bracelet effect. Copper is antibacterial, it's in pig diets to stop them getting the runs, it's been considered as a replacement for door handles in hospitals (ridiculous, it's too soft a metal to be any use. Brass ones would be better, but they've already sold off all the brass fittings for a quick buck).

Add to that the now-prevalent idea that some cases of arthritis, and many other diseases not previously thought contagious, might have a bacterial induction effect. In which case, wearing something that would leach an antibacterial into your body at a low dose rate sounds like a good idea.

'Some' is the key word here. Where you have a set of symptoms (arthritis) with many different causes, it is impossible to say a particular treatment does or does not work unless you can separate the causes. Copper bracelets might not show a significant effect overall in arthritis cases but if it were possible to separate the bacterially-induced cases from others (it isn't, yet) the result might be significant.

So if you have arthritis and you're thinking of a copper bracelet, try it. The only side effect is that it might turn your wrist green but that's nothing to worry about. It might not work. If it doesn't, at least you're not full of worthless drugs. It might work, and that's always good.

It might be a placebo effect that makes your pain recede. Would you care, if you were in pain, about the exact mechanism of relief? I wouldn't. If a Voodoo priest waved chicken feathers at me and my pain receded, I'd be happy with that. No, that's not science, but then science ain't what it used to be.

Modern science denies many things with pompous certainty.

Science should never do that. There is no certainty in real science. Everything is open to question. Nothing is ever settled.

That's how I do it. This new science isn't like the old days.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Satan is after your chocolate.

Halloween approaches again. I haven't decided on a good place to take my cameras yet but I'll be trying somewhere. The only nearby location that claims a Halloween-specific ghost is a hotel, and I'm extra-sceptical about hotel ghosts because perpetuating the story is good for business.

Nonetheless, it is an important time of year, paranormally speaking, and has been for a very long time. It really has nothing at all to do with Satanism, but one thing is for sure, Halloween always brings out the fruitcakes.

A local church magazine in the UK has warned parents that their children will be 'siding with the Devil' if they go trick or treating. Beware, people, Satan wants your chocolate!

It is true, as the article states, that if you go to someone's house on any other day of the year and demand a reward for not tricking them, it would be seen as extortion. However, these are children under ten years old we are talking about here, who have dressed up for a bit of fun and hope to fill a small bucket with sweets. In the UK, they usually tell a terrible joke for their treat rather than threaten a trick (and if they really want to go the trick route, I reserve the right to retaliate). Shops are full of plastic severed body parts and polystyrene gravestones and other junk, which serves to occupy space that would otherwise be filled with the tat and tinsel of Commercial Christmas anyway. Yes, the mince pies are on sale already. I find the toy spiders and bats and chocolates shaped like eyeballs and brains much funnier than yet another laughing fat fool in a red suit.

These children are not being indoctrinated into Satanic practices. They are not going to go home and think 'You know, that witch costume really suits me. I think I'll start collecting newt's eyes and mandrake root'. They are not going to wake up the next day with a sudden urge to draw pentagrams. Don't worry, parents. Your children are not going to grow horns and hooves. The worst they will experience is sickness from too many sweets.

Halloween is an ancient Celtic new year festival called Samheim. There were no devils when it began. There was no Satan until the arrival of Christianity. There were lots of different gods, which were not so much worshipped as appeased. Celtic gods didn't like people very much and were prone to make their lives a misery unless the people did things to calm them down. They sound a distinctly unpleasant bunch, although none of them flooded the world or sent angels to kill all the first-born. No, they were much more personal and local gods, much more inclined to one-on-one vendettas and one-on-one rewards.

Christianity ousted the old gods with tales of bringing down city walls by blowing horns, tales of the Ark of the Covenant, the old-time equivalent of the Ultimate Weapon, tales of one God who does everything and can wipe out cities at a stroke. The Christians co-opted the ancient festivals and overwrote them with their own, so that Easter took over the Spring fertility rites, Christmas took over the Winter Solstice, and so on. The bonfires traditional to Halloween were allowed for a while, then banned, then shifted to November Fifth to coincide with Guy Fawkes' gunpowder plot. The tradition of burning the Guy (a stuffed life-size dummy) on the bonfire has nothing to do with the real execution of Guy Fawkes. It's just so the masses can have their bonfires without the Pagan festival associated with it.

The real dates of Easter, the birth of Christ, and so on, are nothing to do with the dates we celebrate them now. Those dates were chosen so that the old Pagan celebrations could be erased by giving the locals something else to do. The eggs and the rabbits remain but the significance of the original Spring fertility rites are lost. If they knew what they were imitating by draping tinsel on a Christmas tre, they might think twice...

Halloween was more difficult. No specific festival existed to take it over so it was eventually simply banned. A few made-up festivals were tried such as All Saint's Day or All Hallows Eve but there's no serious Christian festival to replace it. Halloween came back but because they couldn't kill it, the Christians called it Satanic.

It's not. It never was. It's the time of the change of year, the time of the start of winter, the time when everything is dying. It's the time when death was always foremost in people's minds - did they have enough food for the winter? How cold would it be this time? Would the snow be enough to make travel impossible? Did they have enough fuel for their fires? How many would freeze to death or starve to death this winter? Would the wolves get hungry enough to attack the villages? And so on.

Now, it's not so powerful. When everyone was thinking about death, the dead found it easier to communicate. These days, while there are still far too many people worried about the same things people worried about thousands of years ago, most people just go inside their insulated homes and turn up the central heating. They wait for the snow ploughs to come through so they can drive to the supermarket. Winter is an inconvenience these days, where it used to be a deadly foe that killed many, every year.

There is still an increase in ghostly activity at this time of year but the pressure of doom-laden thought is far less than it was. Where most people accepted spiritual contact as normal, now most people scoff at the very notion. The ghosts can't get through as easily.

Still, it has nothing to do with Satan. Those children in costumes will not attract demons or ghosts because they are just wearing costumes. They are not casting spells. They are not concerned about the looming cold. They are playing and laughing and joking.

Fear not, parents. I was kidding. Satan won't get your chocolate this Halloween.

He won't get your children either.

Another rant against fakery.

Still very tired. It's the random nature of sleep at the moment, while I try to catch this thing on camera. It's started making noises that sound like something's fallen in another room. Nothing ever has. Just auditory illusions. Now I'm getting seriously annoyed with it.

If only I had an easy job, like pretending to be able to contact celebrities. Because there's so little information to look up beforehand when hunting down dead celebrities, isn't there? It actually took longer than I expected, but now there is to be a (no doubt vague but 'successful') attempt to speak with the Moonwalking Dead.

Making contact with celebrity ghosts is futile even if it were true (and if it's on TV, it's not). Every minute detail of their lives is documented. It is easy to hunt down some obscure facts that even the most ardent fan didn't know about and spout them as if they were some great revelation, conveniently discovered later in a footnote in a little-known book of which only five copies survive, but luckily one of them is in the back pocket of the 'psychic'. Nothing will ever be proved with celebrity ghosthunting. Not a thing. For two very good reasons.

Any part-time sceptic can tear apart any information provided by such an investigation. Five minutes on the internet will provide any and all information you might need to fake the investigation and ten seconds is enough for a sceptic to prove that what you claimed as 'previously unknown' is actually easy to find. It's not like relaying information from Doris O'Flaherty, a 17th century seamstress who appears in no history books, regarding a hollow wall where her husband hid their few coins from robbers and which is still there now. That would be strong evidence but you never see that on the TV. All they ever get are the standard, well-known facts that anyone could have learned in much less time than it would take me to prepare a lecture.

The other reason is that ghosts don't come to order. Calling up specific dead people is not mediumship, it's necromancy and that's nasty. Real mediums (oh yes there are, for any sceptics reading) never make any money from their ability because it cannot be done. You can't go to a real medium and talk to Granny or Uncle Tobias or Aunt Edna. Real mediums never know who might happen by. Or where. Or when. There is no way to make a buck from it, and it's nearly impossible to test under laboratory conditions.

It is very easy to test a fake under laboratory conditions. It is often not so easy to prove they are faking but a good rule of thumb is that if they start with names like 'John' or 'James', they are 99% likely to be fishing for a cold reading session. Those are very common names and okay, they'll be common among ghosts too but even so, when every reading starts with those names, you've ticked the first 'fake' box. The second box gets ticked when they move on to more and more random names.

Those fakes leave themselves open to ridicule and that's fair enough, but then the assumption is made that there are no real mediums because of the fakes, which is not logic and not science. That same logic would dictate that, since I've seen a few fake Rolexes but never seen a real one, then all Rolexes are fakes and there are no real ones. Someone who's seen a real Rolex might tell me about them but I could just scoff and refuse to listen. A photo? Faked. A recording of it ticking? Faked. Show me a real one? Nah, it's done with holograms, mirrors, hypnosis, suggestion and mass hysteria. I could hold the 'there are no Rolexes' line indefinitely. It's very, very easy to take the full sceptic stance.

If you follow the link to the ridicule you'll see that he fails, but not the way a real psychic would fail. A real psychic 'fails' by finding no contact at all. A fake psychic fails by finding loads of contact, none of which is real.

Amateur cold readers are easily caught out. You lead them into a fictitious series of people and events, none of which ever existed or happened, and let them assert their confidence in their cold reading skills. The more professional readers might catch on to what you're up to and try to divert. Let them. Go with the diversion and make that a fictitious line too.

You'll know you might have a real psychic when you set up everything, start the experiment, wait a while and they say 'I'm really sorry but I'm afraid it's not going to work. Nobody's here'. A fake will always find someone and it will always be someone related to you or someone else in the room. Real psychics sometimes - often, fortunately for their sanity - get nothing. Fakes never fail.

I doubt any laboratory experiment will ever prove a psychic except by chance. Since it depends on the appearance of an agent outside the control of either the experimenter or the subject - a ghost - it will never be reproducible to scientific requirements.

The best way to obtain proof would be to find a way to capture a ghost. I've always been against any attempt to do that since, if ghosts are dead people, it's the same as kidnapping.

However, the thing in my house is slowly changing my mind. It's not human and it's earning itself a prison cell night by night.

I'll have to start wondering about how to make one.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Slow time.

I worked out how to download my Email from the old version of the upgraded account. Unfortunately it downloaded everything including every mail I'd already read but hadn't deleted. I have around 200 mails to deal with, most of which are duplicates but some might not be.

I'd go back to paper post but ours are planning strike action. Some days you just can't win.

The ghost in my house continues to elude my cameras. I have nothing at the lab either but the days are shortening and activity is increasing there. Maybe I'll get lucky.

I'm tired a lot at the moment. It's too easy to blame the ghost-chasing. I'm used to irregular hours so it's not that. Perhaps I should consider getting this thing out of my house rather than chasing it.

Hunting for ghosts on YouTube usually pulls up a lot of nonsense. I've lost patience with the 'boo' type of videos and the blatant fakes. Once in a while it does pull up something that, while providing no advance for me, does at least give me a laugh.

Such as this:

As for now, nothing much is happening. I seem to spend far too long asleep. I'll have to fix that.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Here's a first attempt at posting the Thing. I have no idea whether this was an appearance by my uninvited guest or something non-paranormal. I don't have a non-paranormal explanation as yet so it's still a 'maybe'. My guest has gone very quiet and shy since I brought out the cameras. That happens a lot.

The camera took one frame per second. This clip has 24 frames, and at normal playback speed that means it lasts about one second. In real life, it covers 24 seconds of time. There is no sound on this clip. I used a separate digital sound recorder because it gives good quality and records for hours at a stretch without any tape-changing nonsense. There were no sounds worth hearing on the recording at the time of the Thing (or indeed the whole night). So this is a silent movie.

The quality level is MPEG-3 but unfortunately it's a small box so you'll have to peer at the screen. I'm still trying to get decent quality stills - JPEG files from screenshots are not proving useful so far. If I can get them to work I'll post before, during and after shots for comparison.

The Thing appears on two consecutive frames and you don't see much of it because... well, I won't say which frames it's on, where in the picture you'll find it or what it looks like. The whole film only lasts a second so if you don't see anything, you won't have wasted much time.

So what, if anything, do you see?

Don't blink- it's quick!

If anyone wants to download this and play with it, that's fine with me. Although the quality looks less good on here than it does on my screen and might degrade further on download.

There must be a way around that.

ADDENDUM: I've checked and I can see it but I already know where it is. It's hard to spot on this tiny insert. I'll keep working on those stills - and keep trying for a better shot!


Cluetime. Between frames 8-10, look at the top/back of the white chair - is someone sitting there?

It's not good on the computer copy but then I don't consider this a good capture anyway. It's the only thing I have on this particular beast and it's nothing close to an absolute result. I really need a full-body image. Well, all I can do is keep trying.


Over the last few days, the Email service I use has been upgrading their system. Which means I'm not sure what mail is going where, and if I don't respond, it might be that I haven't found it yet. It should settle down soon.

Our postal service is plagued with random strikes too. Can't get paper mail either!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Interesting times.

I have a film of something but I'm reluctant to post it because I don't consider it particularly convincing. I keep watching it and thinking 'maybe...'

If I do post it, bear in mind that I am not convinced. The thing in my house is quiet at the moment but it's still around. I have to find a way to provoke it.

Anyway, Lionel Fanthorpe is in the news again. He is an ordained priest who has a healthy view of the paranormal, being simultaneously open and skeptical, and he presents cases in an entertaining and informative way.

Some of the things he's turned up in his latest survey are very interesting. For example, poltergeist effects are often explained as energies related to puberty, especially among girls. However, Reverend Fanthorpe's survey gives UK poltergeist reports a definite geographical bias to the south-east of the country. Now, the UK is a wierd place and getting wierder by the day, but we do not yet transport all children to the south-east until they have passed puberty (Since I live in the north, I'd be happy for that to become law). So if there was anything 'normal' hiding in these poltergeist reports, they should be evenly spread over the country.

However, if the ability of a ghost to perform poltergeist-like phenomena depended on, say, geology, then it would be concentrated in particular areas. Worth studying further, I'd say.

A lot of other reported phenomena are location-specific. Not just one location either. So maybe it's time to look for links between these locations.

That might give us a clue into a way to make spirit communication possible. They have little of use to tell us, but that's not the point. The proof is the point.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Nothing on the soundtrack other than my fridge humming and me snoring.

Something might have appeared on one of the overnight films. Might be a head seen from behind, sitting in a chair, but it doesn't look like what I've seen (then again, a digital camera doesn't necessarily see what the eye sees) or it could be a shadow. It's not pixellation, it had become light by then.

I am not confident it's anything useful but I'll try to clip out the bit and put it here for opinions. The whole film is from 4 am to 9 am and there's about 10 seconds of interest so you really don't want me posting the whole thing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The haunter haunted.

I've annoyed something I shouldn't have and it's followed me home. The only sensible response to this is to set up video and trigger cameras in the room it's claimed as its own, and sleep in there to goad it into doing something. If only it had picked a more comfortable room.

I've seen it, it's pure white and unfriendly and has some impressive ability with suggestion and illusion but can't cause physical harm. At least, it hasn't so far. I don't think this is a human ghost.

The chance of obtaining evidence without having to sit outside in British weather... how could I resist?

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Apparently it will soon be possible to cure colour blindness.

I won't be volunteering. Nobody is messing with my vision. I know it's not the same as everyone else's and I like it that way. I see things differently to most people and that does not bother me. I don't form the same sort of emotional attachments as other people either, something the doctors call 'Aspergers' and they think it's a disorder.

Well I like it. I like to see the things I see and I will not risk losing that. I am happy to be able to go for days or weeks without missing human contact, and while I understand that most people find that disturbing, I don't and I like it that way. I don't care what anyone thinks of me and I like that too. Having seen the effects of 'peer pressure' on people, I am delighted to be immune.

I'm not a clone. I don't want to be one. I'm different, some people have a problem with that and I don't care. I can't care. I don't know how and don't want to. Most of all, I really don't want any of it 'fixed'.

Everyone should be different. It's really a lot more interesting than being a sheep.

Smoking steam.

Or steaming smoke, whichever you prefer. I am back smoking again but not really. I have the electric cigar, which blasts nicotine in steam but has no tar, no phenolics, no particulates and in fact none of the lung-wrecking stuff of real cigars. Even so, it feels like smoking, it looks like smoking, it tastes like smoking and it's a hell of a lot more pleasant than sticking pointless patches on or chewing nicotine gum that tastes as if it's already passed through a stoat.

So I am content. I won't be mentioning this to any doctor or they'll have a fit. Enjoyment is illegal in the UK now.

No it isn't.

A newspaper article claims that the discovery of a rocky planet around another star is 'proof that we are not alone'.

I claim that claim is rubbish. All it proves is that there's a lump of rock going around another star.

As for life...

Corot 7b is similar in size to Earth, but daytime temperatures of 1,500C mean it is far
too hot for anything to flourish there.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Smoking, but not really.

Becoming a non-smoker has made me irritable (yes, hard to believe I know) and snappy and unfocused and easily distracted. The tedium of long nights is unbroken by the puff of cigar smoke these days. I can't even entertain myself with smoke rings on still evenings. Temptation to resume the cigars has been unbearable at times but doctor's orders and all that.

I have never been one to follow orders, and never been interested in 'health and safety' as a concept, but this is my health and safety and that matters to me.

All the same... it's not easy being clean.

A smoking friend of mine has taken up something he calls 'Electrofag' which is a battery powered cigarette thing that looks and acts like a cigarette. It produces steam rather than smoke so has no tar content and none of the deadly chemicals of real smoke. I tried his, which is set up to taste like a cigarette and, you know, it does. Thing is, I don't much like cigarettes. Cigars were always my fumes of choice.

Ah, but it seems there is an electric cigar too. With cigar-flavoured steam. None of the nasties, just the smoking action.

It's on order.

So I expect to be back to my normal jovial and ultra-tolerant self within days. Without compromising or exacerbating any previous lung damage either.

Unless it turns out to be a pile of crap in which case, there will be rants, quite possibly followed by a tearing up of prescriptions and a visit to the tobacconist. There is only so much deprivation a man can stand.

Non-smoking is, I'm sure, the healthy way to live but well, it's just not me. I might not live as long but I'll enjoy it at least.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nothing works.

A frustrating few weeks. The last Full Moon brought a mass of activity but not one worthwhile photo or recording. I sometimes think they do it deliberately.

Since we've had rain like rods of water recently, I've been trying to revive my old Myspace and Facebook accounts. The Facebook one is attracting some interest from some odd sorts. I have a feeling I know which particular lunatic is responsible for that. He's harmless.

The Myspace account has gone completely dormant. Well, that seemed like a good time to mess around with it because nobody's reading it anyway (because I haven't added anything to it for so long).

I tried changing the background. It looked like it had worked but when I went back to the page, hey presto - it was exactly the same as before. I haven't worked out why.

Facebook - total blank. I can't find anything that changes anything!

It can be done. There are some spectacular pages on those sites. I don't have anything that ambitious in mind but perhaps it would be worth my while becoming a little more online-savvy. The standard pages just look like some kind of telephone directory.

As for Blogger, I'm scared to play with it in case I wreck the whole blog.

I think I'll mess around with Myspace first. It's a dead account anyway so nobody will notice if I turn it into something that looks like a sixties drug dream. If I do, I just hope I can remember how to turn it back.

Don't look yet.

(extra - Uh-oh. I just clicked an 'update' button on Myspace. Now it's gone all strange.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A slow-burning fuse.

Lately, I have become more interested in the politics of this country, and of the world. It's something I've tried to ignore for most of my life but it's hard to avoid these days.

Scotland (where I live) has just released the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing because he was dying. That made no sense to me. Rather, it didn't, until it came to light that the London parliament (who still largely control Scotland) were involved.

If you want to see the most base, spite-driven, self-interested people on the planet, get over to Westminster when the public gallery is open. You won't believe what you see and hear in there.

The Scottish government is getting the blame because, we are told, 'it is a matter for Scottish foreign affairs'. What is less well publicised is that the Scottish parliament, a partial parliament still largely under the control of the main parliament in London, has no authority in foreign affairs. All that power remains with the London parliament. So Scotland might have been able to release him into Scotland but could not have brokered his return to Libya.

Now it appears the man's release was part of an oil deal set up by the London parliament.

I realise there is some doubt as to whether he was guilty or not, but that should be a matter for the courts to decide. Not the oil industry.

There is a wave of anger building in this country and in others. Actions like this, in which politicians of all stripes are dismissive and contemptuous of those who pay their wages, are becoming increasingly common and the anger is building. You can feel it in the street and in any public gathering now.

It's an unfocused rage. A subliminal fury. People aren't really sure what they are angry about but they know it's something worth blowing up over.

I see more and more people in a dream state these days. You know the dream. It's the one where you know something has happened, you can't tell what it is but you know for sure you're going to be absolutely furious when you find it. People are now in that state while awake. Something is nagging at the back of their minds and they know it's going to be bad. So they push it back and try to ignore it, but then another stupid law appears, another idiotic decision is taken and that nagging feeling is back, stronger, more insistent. Still they push it down.

So they don't see other people and bump into them, they step out into the road without thinking to check for traffic, all because they are distracted by that nagging thought that something is not right.

In some parts of the country, photographers are stopped and searched as if they were terrorists. In some places, households are forced to use smaller and smaller bins and fined if they overfill them. Petty, pointless and downright nasty laws appear by the day. Oh, people notice but they push it aside. This is Britain. It can't possibly be happening here. It can't possibly be true that five-year-olds are to learn about masturbation and abortion by legal obligation. Nobody can possibly believe that high-ranking Government ministers are personally teaching school children to sneeze into their sleeves.

No, something is not right but how can anyone accept what they see, when what they see is so far beyond the realms of the sensible that it cannot possibly be true?

It is true. All of it.

That realisation is going to hit people like a hammer some day soon. When it does, the Berserker gnawing away at their subconscious will be let loose.

I have a feeling that once it starts, there will be no stopping it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

An odd thing in the Chinese sky.

During the last total eclipse, visible mainly from China, several Chinese filmed something unusual in the sky.

See what you think.

The Chinese government are taking it seriously enough to investigate. Although I suspect they might be looking not so much for aliens as for USAF insignia...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Thought control.

I know I said in the last post that science was making a lot of paranormal subjects normal.

But this is just too weird.

What will we get next, magnetovision? The ability to control the weather? Blades that slide out of our knuckles?

(I'm sure it's a Great Thing, really, but I'm not comfortable with anything that involves wiring something into my brain. It's just too...Borg...for my liking).

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tasting the scenery.

A long time ago there was a flurry of reports of people who could feel colours. Blindfolded, they could tell the colour of an object just by touching it. There were some who seemed to be genuine but, as with all such things, there were some who found ways to fake it.

Having uncovered some of the fakes, mainstream science pooh-poohed the whole idea. One uncovered fake, in many otherwise sensible people's eyes, means the whole subject is fake. Yet there remained many whose ability could not be explained. These were dismissed as 'also-fakes, we just haven't worked out how they faked it'. Sometimes you just can't win.

Yet now it seems that a computerised device can allow blind people to see through their tongues. Not merely sensing colour, not some tactile form of echolocation. The device, it is claimed, sends impulses through the tongue and the brain can use these impulses to form actual images.

There is some crossover between the senses in everyone. In some people it can be considerable, leading to a particular taste being experienced when they see a particular colour, or colours associated with certain letters or numbers. This is synaesthesia, and like Asperger's it is ridiculously considered a 'disability'. It's just a different way of experiencing the world. Some would argue that it's a more interesting way. I'd certainly like to try it, if that were possible.

Detecting colours through the nerves in the fingers hardly qualifies as paranormal, when real-world images can be visualised through the tongue.

Certain aspects of the paranormal are becoming normal. That's not quite true. They were always normal, just derided as abnormal by those who did not have the ability. Those who show a little skill in producing a fake ability serve only to reinforce the view that all such abilities are faked. I have no time for fakes. We used to have stocks for such people. If only they could be restored!

Other aspects remain completely out in the paranormal wilderness. Ghosts have been proved to exist to me, to my satisfaction, but there exists no empirical method by which I can then prove their existence to you. You have to experience a meeting with a ghost for yourself, and I can't and won't arrange that. It would involve coercion of someone who's vulnerable and anyway, if I did, you'd claim I faked it. Besides, I'm no necromancer. I can't conjure spirits to order, and I don't want to. Despite what you see on TV, deliberately calling up spirits is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

Photos and tape recordings are of interest to me but can be so easily faked that they will never be proof. For most people, the only way you'll find out about your inner ghost is to die. Then you'll find it's too late to tell anyone.

It is encouraging to see some subject areas shifting into the mainstream, even if the mainstream doesn't realise it yet. I doubt the study of hauntings ever will, unless there's some 'Ghostbuster' style massive haunting event coming up and even then, it'll be decried as fakery. So I expect to be working out here on the fringes for quite some time yet.

I don't mind. It's quiet out here and since I am biologically predisposed to enjoy working alone and to care not a jot for other people's opinions of me, it's an area of research I feel well suited for.

One day, though, I'll find a way to produce that proof. Not for the fame, not for the glory, and not for the money (although I won't turn that down).

For the sheer bloody-minded joy of watching sceptics wriggle.

Seeing through your tongue is only the beginning. There's more to come yet.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Remote viewing on the NHS?

A few months ago, a researcher called Richard Wiseman ran a test on remote viewing. He went to a location and sent a Twitter message to seven thousand people. Those people then had to choose from one of five locations and tell him which one he was at.

I didn't take part. I haven't joined Twitter, and I have no sign of any remote viewing ability so I'd have been a probable 'zero' result. Although, I might have chosen the right place by chance, with a 20% probability. That would not prove that I had remote viewing ability, because I don't. It would prove only that I made a lucky guess.

Fifteen percent of those who took part picked the right spot. Professor Wiseman therefore concluded that remote viewing was not real because of that 20% probablity of picking the right spot. His conclusion is incorrect.

The probability measurement only works two ways. For an individual who does not have remote viewing ability, such as myself, there is a 20% chance that I'll pick the right option when presented with five. There is no outside influence because there is no remote-viewing information coming in.

When applied to seven thousand people, the 20% level only applies on the assumption that all of those people have an equal level of ability.

Well, I don't have any such ability. If I was involved, the chances of success are actually diminished. I would be a negative influence on the experiment and skew the results.

Where Professor Wiseman's conclusion fails is that we have no idea what proportion of the population actually have this ability. From the little I know of the subject, it's not very many. Certainly less than 15%. How many of those with the ability took part in the test? All of them? Unlikely. Therefore, such an experiment won't find remote viewers because if they are in the group, they are present at less than the limit of detection of the test.

So it is entirely possible that all those (within the test group) with actual ability came up with the right answer, and a proportion of 'guesses' did too.

For me, this experiment is not finished. It's the first stage only. It has taken 85% of the original group out of the experiment and left 15% who were right. Those 15% should now be tested again, which will further reduce their number since the ones who were guessing have only a 1 in 5 chance of guessing correctly again. Keep repeating this until you have a small enough number to perform some detailed experiments with.

It seems I'm not the only one thinking this way. In the UK, the National Health Service is investigating the possibility of using remote viewing in the diagnosis of illness.

They are not using random people, they are using people who have shown some ability already and testing them.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this.

CORRECTION: The project is a private initiative and nothing to do with the NHS. Good old British Journalism has little regard for facts these days. I should know this by now, I suppose...