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.