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Sun, 22 Oct 2017
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High Strangeness

Black Cat 2

Can pets see what humans can't? Why cats & dogs may be more sensitive to the paranormal

One of the key elements of Adam Ellis' Dear David Twitter tale is his cats. Throughout his ordeal, as he's attempt to figure out whether his apartment is actually haunted and whether the alleged ghost stalking him is trying to kill him, he's posted pictures and videos of his two cats doing weird things - prompting many to ask, can pets see ghosts? Is that why the cats keep gathering by the front door to Ellis' apartment at the same time every night? Are they responding to Dear David's presence? Or is it more easily explained than that?

The strange behavior of Ellis' cats showed up early in the story; they were part of the very first thread Ellis tweeted about the whole thing. To recap, he began by telling us that he had first had a series of dreams: One in which a boy with a misshapen head appeared on a rocking chair in his bedroom before starting to come after him threateningly; one in which a girl shared both Dear David's name and a few rules for how to communicate with him; and one in which Ellis asked Dear David some questions and accidentally broke one of the rules. Some time went by; Ellis was unable to find out anything about Dear David via the internet, and eventually he moved to the apartment above the one he had originally been living in.

Comment: See also:


The clearest images yet of Area 51 emerge

UFO HQ? This is the famed Area 51 - a detachment of California's Edwards Air Force Base - located in the Nevada desert, seen through a high-powered telescope. The base is famously barred to all without top level security clearance.
A pair of intrepid explorers have taken fascinating new images of one of the most closely-guarded US Army Bases of all time: supposed alien prison Area 51.

Located out in the arid Nevada desert, Area 51 - a detachment of California's Edwards Air Force Base - was founded in 1955 to test the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance plane.

Since then, however, it has become the subject of numerous UFO sightings and has become inextricably linked in the public's mind with captive aliens and government conspiracies.

Closed off to those without top-level security clearance, the site has largely remained a mystery - until now.

Amateur alien investigators Tim and Tracey Doyle, who run YouTube channel UFO Seekers, made the 8,000-foot-high hike to the top of Tikaboo Peak - 25 miles east of the site - and used a super-long-distance lens to record these images.

Grey Alien

Close Encounters of the Third Kind - Just a movie or was there more to it?

© Columbia Pictures
Close Encounters of the Third Kind was plagued by production issues.
While Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind is renowned for its sense of cinematic mystery and awe, the meta-fiction that surrounds it was just as intriguing.

Conspiracy theories. Unusual storms. Warnings from NASA.

And in 2005, information posted to the internet by a group of US Defense Intelligence Agency insiders gave rise to the notion that Close Encounters could actually be portraying real events.

It's certainly one of those instances where the truth is just as strange, and engaging, as the fiction.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Close Encounters, the film is getting a 4K remaster re-release - so it's a good time to delve into the stories that surround it.


Passenger jet has close encounter with UFO at Glasgow Airport

© Pixabay
A passenger aircraft had a narrow miss with an unidentified object at a British airport, an official report has revealed.

An official report by the UK Airprox Board released on September 1, said investigators were unable to establish what the object, passing less than 200ft away from an Airbus A320, which was making its final approach into Glasgow Airport in Scotland, was.

As the jet was attempting to land, the pilot of the aircraft described seeing an "orange light" as they prepared to touch down at 1.50am on May 29, 2017.

He said it was probably a drone, but investigators have now confirmed it as an "unknown object."

There was no time to take any action to avoid the item, which was traveling in the opposite direction, the captain later reported.

Five days later, the pilot of an offshore helicopter was forced to take action to avoid a large helium balloon, after it unexpectedly appeared near Portsoy, Aberdeenshire.

The safety of the S92 chopper was put at risk during the incident, according to another Airprox Board report following the investigation.


Not just 'nuts and bolts': Interview with authors of UFOs: Reframing the Debate

Robbie Graham
On this episode of Skeptiko...

Robbie Graham: I would be surprised if there were not an extraterrestrial component to the UFO phenomenon. But again, I would be very surprised if the extraterrestrial hypothesis could be proved to be a catch-all answer for the riddle.

That's Robbie Graham, author of a new book, UFOs: Reframing the Debate. What debate? Well that's a real Skeptiko question like, how does frontier consciousness science, like the recent near-death experience science published by Dr. Sam Parnia as part of his AWARE study, how does that factor into the UFO question?

Robert Brandstetter: And they had one piece only that they could use, even that case couldn't prove anything.

Alex Tsakiris: Respectfully Robert, you're misrepresenting that research. The lead investigator, Dr. Sam Parnia - who's a worldwide, recognized expert in resuscitation - his conclusion is that consciousness survives bodily death. Dr. Pim van Lommel, Dr. Jeff Long, every researcher who's actively involved in study near-death experience has come to the same conclusion; you can't take their work and then just put a spin on it based on your interpretation of it.

And does UFO research lead to the kind of deep spirituality I like to talk about?

Robbie Graham: I don't feel I'm any more spiritual than I was when I first became attracted to the subject, when I was a teenager. I consider myself to be a spiritual person but I've shaken my dogmatic attachment to UFOs.

And since I'm always keen to look at the conspiratorial angle, how does the deep state factor into this, and what about disclosure?


Shattered: A strange saga of the Men in Black

For me, it's always a good day when I put the finishing touches to a manuscript. And, June 16, 2015 was the date on which I completed the writing of my book, Men in Black: Personal Stories and Eerie Encounters. Of course, the manuscript still had to go through the editing and proof-reading stages. And I had to dig out a bunch of photos, too. But, there's a good feeling of satisfaction, while sitting at your desk, knowing that the bulk of the work is done. Plus, it was a hot and sunny day. The birds were singing in the trees outside my apartment. And that night I was due to see, with a bunch of friends, a Motley Crue tribute band play in a local beer and junk-food dive. It was all good!

Except, that is, for one thing which occurred around 9:45 a.m. That was roughly the time when I made the final change to the manuscript, then saved and closed it. I was ready to email it to my agent, Lisa Hagan, for review.

Comment: More on Albert Bender: The man who first saw "the Men in Black" dies

Black Magic

'It was terrifying': Exorcist director shares what it was like to film a real exorcism

© Laura Anotonelli/REX/Shutterstock
Director William Friedkin
When William Friedkin shot "The Exorcist" in 1973, he had never seen an exorcism, though even at the time he believed in the power of this rite. Decades later, the U.S. director came full circle when he was able to film one close up - involving violent thrashing, foaming at the mouth and screaming - thanks to Father Gabriele Amorth, who performed exorcisms for the Vatican's Rome Diocese. The result is documentary "The Devil and Father Amorth," which screened at the Venice Film Festival. Friedkin spoke to Variety about the experience.

How did you and Father Amorth connect?

I was familiar with his books, four or five of which are translated into English. And I knew that he was kindly disposed towards "The Exorcist" movie, even though he had said the special effects were over the top. He felt that it helped people to understand his work. I had never tried to meet him; I never thought I could. But I was in Lucca [Italy] a year or so ago...and someone casually mentioned that Lucca was about a half-hour drive to Pisa...where there was an airport where I could catch a one-hour flight to Rome. Something clicked, and through a friend I was able to write Father Amorth. Two days later he wrote me back, and said he would meet me.

Comment: Witnessing Father Amorth: "The Vatican Exorcist" at work and the pathology otherwise known as possession


Missing 411?: Boy, six, who disappeared while on holiday with his family is found after THREE DAYS wandering in Azerbaijani forest

This is the moment when a six-year-old boy who went missing while on holiday with his parents in Azerbaijan is found by a rescue team after three days in the woods.

Natik Namig oglu Aliyev, had disappeared from the cottage his family was staying in at a holiday camp outside the village of Eski Igrik in north-eastern Azerbaijan's Quba District.

It is believed the boy went to explore the surrounding woods, and got lost when darkness fell.
Found: Natik Namig oglu Aliyev, six, is given food and water by the military search team who found him three days after he disappeared


Former Air Force pilot once saw a 5,000 mph UFO

Those who thought that potential discussions of UFOs in the White House ended with the defeat of Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John 'We'll Open the Secret Files' Podesta, have new hope. The nominee for chief scientist of the Department of Agriculture claims he once had an encounter with a UFO that he believed was traveling at 5,000 miles-per-hour. Will he pursue the release of the files that might identify what he saw?

We'll leave the discussions about whether former radio host and economics professor Samuel H. 'Sam' Clovis Jr. is qualified to be a chief scientist to the political blogs and instead focus on whether the former US Air Force F-16 fighter pilot, former Inspector General of the United States Space Command and alleged UFO witness is qualified to be our inside guy for opening the X-Files.

According to a 2014 report in the Des Moines Register, Clovis was running for one of Iowa's US Senate seats when he admitted to host Simon Conway at WHO Radio that he once encountered a UFO. From Conway's account in the Register:

Black Magic

Is the Canadian Embassy in Ireland being haunted by Irish revolutionary?

© Gareth Chaney Collins
The Canadian embassy in Ranelagh, Dublin, where allegedly paranormal activities are occurring.
The question then becomes, if the ghost of an Irish republican hero has visited Glanmire, is he haunting the house or is he haunting ambassador Kevin Vickers?

Being an ambassador is a tough job these days, even if you're representing Canada, a country seemingly beloved by just about everybody, especially after electing everyone's favorite hunk of a world leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, Canada's ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, may be facing an unusual challenge ... ghosts. He claims to have experiences which indicate his official Dublin residence may be haunted, and he has an inkling of whose ghost it might be.
"I was sitting watching TV when all of a sudden I heard a heavy chain fall on the floor in the dining room. I immediately went there and there was nothing on the floor. A couple of weeks ago laying in my bed, I heard heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. And I could hear laboured breathing. I immediately went out to the hallway and nothing was there."
After those incidents, Ambassador Vickers did what every experienced foreign diplomat would do ... he called Prime Minister Trudeau and advised Canada to declare war on Ireland. Just kidding. Being a modern-day public servant, he posted his experiences on Facebook. Then he did what most people do BEFORE they move into a new residence - he checked into its history for flooding, major structural repairs ... and ghosts.