The Big Study

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SLOW SWAN SONG, part three

Third piece of this last walk full of personal opinions ....

The piece on UFOs: I felt that I'd earned an opinion due to my work on the subject.

The piece on PSI: I felt that I had a well-founded opinion based on powerful experiences within my family plus knowing the giants of the field and respecting their honesty and competency.

Today=entities --- "crypto-entities" if you will. The famous cryptozoological ones and the ones split off into the category of Faery: I'm less sure that I've earned my opinions here but I AM sure that I've spent a lot of time with several areas of this. Still, I'm no expert.

My credentials, such as they are, include a couple of good ones [two refereed papers; one on the SET animal of Egypt, and the other on the Wasgo/Sisiutl of the Pacific Northwest], and some take-them-or-leave-them things like working in the Ivan Sanderson collection and a fairly formidable pile of resources. Out of those things came the blog entries on sea monsters, "Little People", black fairy dogs, merbeings, dragons, ABSMs et al that you have read. But no personal experiences nor any from my family, though I have had a small number first or second hand from friends.

Still, I feel more humility in these opinions than on the earlier two. But, on we go Out Proctor .....

Faery or The Middle Kingdom: I used to not think about this as anything but romantic fun, and the famous cryptozoological critters as hidden biology. As the blog "progressed", the evidence for me turned nearly completely around. It did NOT point to the NON-existence of these things, though.

"Little People", Fairy Folkloric Entities, and "The Good People": Diarmuid MacManus was the man. His book The Middle Kingdom contains encounter reports so close to him [in terms of knowing the witnesses] and so detailed [so as to make necessary "strangeness" obvious], that for me as a decades-long UFOlogist, they rivaled some of the best UFO reports. The aura of authenticity was dense around them. Suddenly, my reading of Evans-Wentz' The Fairy-faith in Celtic Countries, which I'd read to try to understand what Vallee was on about, made more compelling sense. Whereas I didn't come to Jacques' conclusions that the Faery Phenomenon was real AND explained UFOs, I saw the probable truth in the first part and the probable falsity in the second [i.e. I agree on the raw data, but feel that the two realities have ENTIRELY different feels about them  --- Jacques is a "lumper" on this, and I am a "splitter".] Then came Janet Bord with Fairies and The Secret Country, followed by Wirt Sykes' British Goblins.

I began to collect the cases and produced a 500 or so case catalog whimsically called LEPRECAT. The reality of these things was getting almost impossible to deny. But what sort of reality was this? I've spent much time since buying old texts to find out more of what the people 150-200 years ago thought, and there are [of course] two schools: "modern debunkers" who were snickering as they make patronizing comments about the ignorant "lower class" and naive older generations, and a type of amateur folklore-collector who was open-mindedly trying to preserve the cultural traditions at least from being forgotten. These latter persons don't always have the same personal opinions, but they find the same things: an interpretation by the people that these entities are undoubtedly real, often interact with them as simple encounters between different "persons", and are paranormal or call it quasi-spiritual in Nature. ... and, in my opinion, that is exactly how those encounter stories seem, and continue to seem right up throughout the 20th century.

"Dr. Beachcombing" seems to see this the same way. He is a British academic who seems to have traveled a similarly intellectually-shifting path to my own, and who now has resurrected the old records of the British Fairy Investigation Society of the 1920s-1950s, and is collecting a MASS of information for his blog and a book of review chapters by different experts. He believes, as I do, that there is not only something very real here but it is possibly important.

As readers know, one of the things that MacManus inspired me to look into was the claim that in some places there have been [even modern] sightings/encounters with what may be called the Black Fairy Dog. I've scoured the internet and old books on this, and the investigations are surprisingly strong. This phenomenon, particularly in a few concentrated areas in Britain plus the MacManus cases, seems as real as any "crypto-entity" in the literature. AND when the evidence is taken whole, this crypto-entity appears to be some sort of highly-defined but non-material apparition. [examples: instant vanishment and you can put your hand through its image.] What in the world does that portend? The one thing that it DOESN'T point to is biology.

Does the Black Fairy Dog hint to us about the rest of LEPRECAT? Maybe. Maybe not. Could all the encounters from Faery be apparitions? That might go for some of the reports but not others. There are plenty of reports which include "physicality", although one should keep in the juggling-processes of our minds that a paranormal entity could physically affect the world [via psychokinesis.]

I've looked for merbeings recently and as you know didn't find much, but perhaps enough to give them some credence --- but, if so, they must be non-biological and part of Faery. We've searched for dragons and found almost nothing --- a shame in my opinion but that's where the data goes. A modern weird thing, Mothman, was looked into quite deeply here, and with the exception of John Keel and Gray Barker getting involved and fouling the waters, there seems [pre-their involvement] enough good investigating and reporting from the local journalist to give it some credit --- but again, as a paranormal entity.

It is folkloric entity encounters [and the Black Dog] where this category of anomaly is strong. There is an ongoing [unless I just haven't heard] screw-up in the crypto-community which could/should be nailing down [or not] a foundationstone case: the encounters had by Moyra Doorly and her friend on the Isle of Arran. That experience --- a set of fascinating claims --- needs to be properly investigated, most notably the lack of a detailed interview of the anonymous friend, and a site visit. I hope that this has happened and I just don't know about it. If her case is true, it not only is coherent with just about everything in the old literature, but widely expands our consciousness.

As I "came over" to the position that the old concept of Faery has a great deal of evidence for it and as a realm of paranormal/spiritual or psychic entities, my assumptions about "normal cryptozoology" changed. Bigfoot, Yeti, Loch Ness Monster, Mokele M'bembe, et al had difficult-but-just-possible-biological hypotheses for them, but the further one looked into most of them the more difficult it became to sustain.

Ivan Sanderson hated that way of thinking. He wanted flesh, blood, bones, teeth, and a specimen --- alive if possible. He was a zoologist and zoo-keeper, so of course he did. He disliked the paranormal, as it, for him, made the investigation of anomalies problematical. He wanted something "you could get your hands on." He wanted proof for the establishment. His files are full of this. SITU takes its turn towards the paranormal only after he dies and John Keel briefly ascends and then Bob Warth takes over. One strong contributor then is Berthold Schwarz, who is all PSI and paranormality. But Ivan was not. And most folks in cryptozoology are not. And I wasn't either.

For me that era's past. Below are some "light-weight" opinions critter-by-critter:

A). Yeti: some "real" but paranormal folkloric-type entity encounters are true. No artifacts seem to be. No "hair" seems to ever check out. "The Shipton Print" is a great enigma --- why is it THE Shipton print? Where are all the other cases of prints such as this? We've certainly been crawling about looking for them? My only hope for a biological entity at this point is a relict Neanderthal population as suggested by Myra Shackley.

B). Bigfoot: I used to like the Patterson film --- no more. And nothing has replaced it. Grover Krantz' reconstruction of gigantopithecus is impressive, but unless one considers some relict population of it in Asia long ago as a source of cultural memories, I no longer see the relevance. The only thing that I have left is the set of prints which have dermoglyphs on the them--- seems pretty sophisticated and tough to fake. But even then, does that preclude paranormality? A lot of Bigfoot encounters take me to Native American ways of viewing them as spirit entities. And a recent acquaintance told me of his own encounter where the entity just vanished. He told me this detail as he struggled to maintain his belief that the thing was "only" an unknown [intelligent] ape.

C). Lake Monsters: Maybe I should be ashamed to admit it, but I'm at least halfway removed from Robert Rines and Henry Bauer by now and moving towards F.W.Holiday. The study of Nessie's cousins [a la Mhorag] is pushing me there. Really old 19th century reports describe something of a much more folkloric entity than biological. And that has been the grass-roots opinion, possibly since St. Columba and before.

D). Mokele m'bembe: I really liked the idea, and the geography [over millennia] and the isolation gave this a reasonable chance. Maybe it still has one. But there has been a lot of surveying there by now and all we have are the tiring normal claims of results far beyond their substance. Dr. Challenger, where are you?

E). Sea Monsters: some of these reports seem to have merit, but none of the meat and bones ones. When I did my research on the Wasgo/Sisiutl, there were a lot of bits converging impressively around a biological answer --- most favored hypothesis: a relict population of primitive [zeuglodont] whales. Maybe that's still an option.

Maybe if Ivan was still alive, he'd still have a shot at a few of these crypto-beasts as potential zoo animals but maybe there are none.

My opinion, again however unworthy, is that a few crypto-possibilities might exist under one or more of the following situations:

A). Relict populations of "extinct" creatures: Zeuglodonts or similar, Neanderthals or [very] similar, and not much else. The SET desert canid or hyenid of Egypt might well have been a real violent animal, even driven to extinction in ancient times, just as we did to the mammoths and mastodons in North America.

B). Out-of-place animals --- frankly this would have to be a VERY spectacular thing to even rise to the level of much interest to me in this age of wealth and bizarre human "ownership behavior."

C). A really big squid ... or octopus ... or snake. The oceans and jungles are still "big" enough for that.

I've given these crypto-beasts a reasonable shot over many years. Even though I didn't [apparently] "find" them biologically, it was worth the trip. I think that I found their Middle Kingdom "shadows" instead, and that seems to me to be a better find.

Peace friends.

Friday, October 2, 2015

SLOW SWAN SONG, part two

Hello, folks. Part two of the final walk-in-the forest.

Today's opinions: the world of PSI.

People can object that I haven't earned much of an opinion on these matters, since the core interest of my research on anomalies has been UFOs. OK. I'll accept that. But my biased view is that I and almost all of us have plenty of personal reasons to know that much of the PSI world is real. For better or worse, here goes:

1). Clairvoyance and Telepathy are real; we just aren't very good at them. This is, in fact, such an obvious truth for anyone with even a crack of openness in their minds, that it is stunning to me that the established intellectual community is in near-total rejection of the phenomenon. Some MIGHTY sociology is going on here and we, as a human race, would do well to understand it, face it squarely, and obliterate this barrier to seeing the bigger picture of reality.

I'll wager nearly everyone has their moments of seeing-around-the-corners. I have had many, despite being a rather severe critic of my own experiences therein --- since they are so "scientifically weak." But I used to take long car rides with a very good friend [with a lively and diverse set of interests] and nearly every trip between Kalamazoo and the Center for UFO Studies in Chicago, he'd suddenly break away from the discussion we were having and blurt out something entirely different, which, however, had just flashed across my mind. Once I began relaxing about this and began facing reality a bit more openly, I saw how frequent [and frequently repressed] these little "anomalies" were. As I say, I believe that almost all of us have them.

The lady and gentleman above are my maternal grandparents. The lady was a Wisconsin farm girl and she could look around the corners more frequently and clearly than most. In my family both my mother [her daughter] and my father were rather in awe of her gift, even though you almost had to bully her into trying it. The point of this is that some few of us seem better, though far from scientifically perfect, at this gift. I suspect more folks have been embarrassed away from their gift than encouraged to pursue it.

This is Eileen Garrett. She was one of the best at the gift. Read her biography and do yourself a favor in terms of expanding your consciousness. I don't know how many times she essentially proved [under test conditions of various kinds] that she had the gift, but apparently no number would be great enough to allow the idea that this is real to enter the Hallowed Halls of academe.

The military was impressed though. In a rare moment of synchronicity between my UFO "hobby" and another anomaly, one of my favorite guys, Colonel Howard [Mack] McCoy, the head of the Intelligence Division at Wright-Patterson AFB [and thereby the UFO investigation, Project SIGN], had in his files [now in mine] a document showing military testing of Eileen Garrett in the late 1940s. The document was QUITE interested in her abilities, and possibly as a long-range spy technique. 

Much less-Secret-Project-like testing has been done of course, and although the gift resists the artificiality of the unnatural laboratory setting, taken as a bulk the data impresses me. Plus, you and I know that this stuff happens without the lab work. Still, you might read Dean Radin's stuff, as the most creative guy who's ever been involved with all this difficult-to-test phenomenon. 

2). Psychokinesis is real, at the very least at the very micro level. The mind/ consciousness/ intention can influence matter at the subatomic level. Can it influence mass amounts of matter? I don't know about that. My instinct says "if so that is very rare." 

But I'm down to essentially zero doubt about the subatomic influences, and Bob Jahn's studies are the reason. Bob is the fellow who at Princeton began testing whether people could influence the results of a random [theoretically non-controllable] process like radioactive decay --- he used random number generators sensitive to radiation from the decays to produce graphs which the "willful volunteer" would attempt to make diverge from a random result. Guess what? Almost anyone can do it. It's a small effect and on small matter, but it IS an effect and THAT's HOW WE MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN OUR BRAINS. Bob Jahn saw the Thumbprint of our brains' "willpower" to choose one action rather than another. I'd never thought of that. I owe Bob Jahn a great deal for one of the most important insights that anyone has discovered. .... naturally the established academics refuse to even consider the work. How ironic THAT is. Bob just showed them that they had Free Will to therefore possibly live a purposeful life, and they're "willfully" desperately ignoring him. There are people who refuse to accept a drink of water on their way to hell, I guess.

Because Bob Jahn is right, Roger Nelson might also be onto something. Roger trained with Bob so this would be no surprise. So I'll say this:

3). It COULD be possible that groups of humans might in some not-understood way be able to "contribute" to a group action-at-a-distance effect similar to the ones measured by Bob for individuals. Translation: if one person might influence a random subatomic process in one of Bob Jahn's machines, might an isolated machine be influenced by numbers of minds who happen to be "thinking" the same way, or emoting the same way?

Roger has set up [with host volunteers] a set of these devices literally worldwide. He calls them "Eggs" [I like it]. The hosts only make sure that the devices are powered up and working, and then leave them alone. The EGGs continuously send Roger their status data. What he's looking for are instances where the EGGs [or many of them] seem to wander off non-randomly and mysteriously. Could, the hypothesis goes, these "excursions" from statistical randomness in multiple EGGs be due to something that is engaging many minds on the planet to get into an unusual and similar mind state? An example would be a huge tragedy, or a great Space Program moment, or an economic collapse, or maybe even a Soccer World Cup match.

The jury's out, but the results tend to point to YES, this happens. If it does happen, it's like a widespread telepathy combined with Jahnian micro-PK. Some might rather call that "the signature of an epiphenomenal World Mind. Poetic. I'll stick with unconscious telepathy plus micro-PK for now.

All this scares the bejesus out of academe [Boy, we REALLY need to understand this pathological socio-psychology]. One guy it doesn't scare is my friend Larry Dossey. {I have been privileged beyond my ability to repay to have known such wonderful and gentle and brilliant people as Larry, Bob, Roger, and Dean --- what a treat it would have been to know Eileen.}

Larry is partially responsible for opinion number four.

4). Healing-at-a-distance and by "touch" is real.

Long before I met Larry I had a nun for high school biology who kept her light under a bushel. When she was reassigned from Charleston (WV) Catholic High School to a small college near her Mother house, she became known to the anomalies world as Sister Justa Smith, scientific, controlled variables tester of alleged laying on of hands faith healing. And she found it. I blew it there. Never knew anything about that side of her, but I WAS a typical high school knucklehead, so...

But Sister Justa "proved" this sort of healing, even though the established authorities ignored her work. Others followed and finally there was Larry, collecting all the work together into a mass which should have been enough to drastically alter some fields of research. But no. As usual.

I have had a few good friends who have had unexplainable near-instant healings, and, being a Catholic this does not surprise me. I've read the Lourdes Commission work, and it all fits together. {I know that many do not want to hear this, but I am being frank here --- having grown up a Catholic with a Dad who saw the wonders possible in these things and did not mock them, and a Mom with a second-sight mother, this life foundation gave this to-be-academic science teacher good insulation against the crippled character of the overly analytic mind.}

This is part of my family. Three of my four brothers are there plus one of my sisters. Mom is the little lady in the center. There are some amazing anomalies stories represented there. The broad fellow in the maroon shirt is my brother with whom I witnessed our CE1 domed-disk UFO in 1958. The giant in the middle is my Olympic weight-lifting coach brother, who, against all type-casting, has REGULAR clairvoyance episodes, occasionally quite spectacular. But the people I want to direct attention to are the brother at top left, and his wife at bottom right.

We are getting photographed in their home in Wheeling WV. It is a poltergeist house.

5). Poltergeist phenomena are real, though what's causing them isn't at all clear.
6). Apparitions of formerly-existing persons are real, and can be associated with poltergeist houses.
7). Occasionally encounters occur wherein an apparently, tangibly physical, person or entity is engaged in some way, and later vanishes or is found not to currently exist.

I've read about all of these things and have been unimpressed by my readings and particularly the typical investigations, and, worse, the speculations of even famous "ghostbuster-type" book writers.

But then my brother and sister-in-law moved into their old historical house. Their ghost, trickster, faery, djinn, or whatever it is, is a friendly sort of mischief-maker, but undeniably real for them. There are the "normal" sounds, messing with doors, turning on of radios and tvs, and occasional weirdnesses of a more spectacular sort such as a flying whisk in the kitchen, a set of "thrown" nutcracker toys falling all over the floor, and some strange helium balloon behaviors which seemed responsive. These things have happened so often that my sister-in-law's log is quite long.

Apparitions occur in the same house, all of which seem based upon a family who lived there between the 1880s and about the 1920s. Two figures are prominent: the patriarch of the family, a very important doctor in Wheeling, and a young son. The young son is interactive with a young girl of the present when she is visiting. The reality of this was pretty much proven when "he" introduced himself to her with a name not known by anyone, but much later found to have been his nickname [from an old relative still alive but not in town.]

That assertion number seven above came utterly out of the blue for my family and has been retold as the "Helen Lane" story [a version of the Phantom Hitchhiker --- and by far the best one I've heard about]. Look the re-telling up here on the blog. {It's way back there in 2009}.

As I said: most of these categories of things I used to read with an open-mind but with little positive feeling. My family's own experiences completely changed that. I don't blame anyone for tossing this sort of thing into the gray basket, I surely did. But don't throw them into the trash. Now, when I read about such claims elsewhere, I say "maybe, maybe not, but this doesn't stun me at all."

And that's the exact mindstate in which to read my favorite girl in history --- Catherine Crowe, who wrote her Nightside of Nature in the early 1800s to try to save us from rejecting all these indicators of the Spirit world. I'll praise "St." Catherine later.


Peace friends.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Slow Swan Song

Time to begin the final walk down these wonderful paths with you.

This will be the first of a very short series of opinions that I have about the status of several of the anomalies that we've looked at over these six years. But first, I want to dispense with a duty to all of you and whomever else might stumble across this blog as long as it rests-in-state [and peace] here.

When I agreed to various people and to myself to caretake certain resources of possible interest to researchers now and in the future, I took on a moral burden [at least that's how I view it]. For awhile, that duty was somewhat achieved by my attempts, however inadequately, to partially mine every one of these resources and share them with you in that way. 500 posts later we've done some of that.

But others may still have intellectual research needs. To do what I can [within reason] I am going to reassert one thing and add another. The reassertion is that any responsible person may [with some prior notice] visit these archives for research purposes anytime [again within reason] that I'm in Kalamazoo. The address of my home, and the archives, is 818 South Park St. /// Kalamazoo, MI, 49001.

As a reminder of what these archives are, they consist of my personal files of course, plus the SITU/Ivan Sanderson files, the Ruppelt files, the George Hunt Williamson files, the John Timmerman files, the notebooks of Paul McCarthy [for his Colorado/McDonald PhD thesis], and a large quantity of the usual books, journals, documents, et al. It is a UFO-heavy archive, but a fairly substantial general anomalies archive as well.

That's the reassertion of something that longterm readers already have seen. The addition is my e-mail. It is < >. Obviously that is useful for warning me of your desire to show up here in person sometime. I will do [again within reason] one further thing. If someone has a pretty specific request for information, and it is something of some research import [not a mere whim which has crossed the mind], then I'll read the request, and if feasible try to be of service. I cannot be "on-call" Anomalies Central, and I'm sure you folks realize that.

Well, on to my first statement of opinion ............

UFOs are real. The percentage of doubt in my mind is so small that I'm tempted to slide from mere belief into certainty. But we should define the term.

People want to use the term Unidentified Aerial Phenomena {UAP} --- fine if that's their view. For me it's the coward's way out and almost useless for accomplishing anything but protecting one's butt. There are OBVIOUSLY unidentified aerial phenomena --- anything which seems off the ground that the viewer can't classify clearly fits that vague label. I have interest in some UAP reports like thunderbirds, mothmen, witches on broomsticks, strange atmospheric phenomena, flying men, ivory-billed woodpeckers, and on and on. But this is not about some useless vague category which then must have its subsets more strongly defined. My interest lies in the subsets. In this case: UFOs.

UFOs for me are, hypothetically, either physically-present aerial technology or the result of some such technology, the characteristics of which exceed what our Earthly engineering has accomplished. In short some form of non-terrestrial technology which we have nevertheless encountered here on familiar old Earth. And it is THAT hypothesis which I believe is nearly beyond doubt.

And I believe that it has been nearly beyond doubt for a very long time --- at least since 1952. Minds which cannot see, after reading cases like Red Bluff, Rogue River, Coyne, Boianai, Levelland, Arnold, Moore, General Mills, Nash-Fortenberry, RB-47, ... Lord, this list could go on nearly indefinitely .... are minds so fearful of error that they are crippled with paranoia.

To see the reality of this, one has to immerse oneself in cases. Few have done so. Not all who have conquer their own irrational enthusiasms and end up making the job of the scholarly student harder. I will let you in on a strange observation, however. I have found that it is EXTREMELY rare even among UFOlogists [especially public figures] to have actually done much work in the files. Translation: despite their "authoritative BS" they don't know UFOlogy. They usually know all sorts of sociology and gossip [just like the debunkers], but their assertions are the products of ego and/or an excitable wannabe mania, at best it is the product of extremely narrow interest in some small piece of the whole. As to the debunkers: they are a strangely bent lot. They seem to enjoy lifetimes of cockadoodle strutting, mocking other human beings, and trolling to get fun out of irritating people. There may be some worthy severe lifelong skeptics out there [Menzel, Klass, and Csicopians in general are NOT them], but the majority are just intellectual criminals.

One further thing: if the evidence is so persuasive, why are "we" as a culture where we are in our attitudes about UFOs? I've answered this so many times here that I can't count. But the thing which, in the majority, sets the foundation for any open-thinker to feel their way through this 50+ year sociology is: Read UFOs and GOVERNMENT!! OK, 600 pages. But as Aristotle said to Alexander the Great: "There is no Royal Road to Mathematics." Truth and clear vision often have a price.

................  That's my view of UFOs in brief. Everyone will have their own, of course. My own is the product of quite a lot of years not spent casually, so I feel that I've at least earned that opinion.

I've no interest in arguing this by the way. If deeper interest exists, the Blog is full of explanations, as are books like UFOs and Government, Grass-Roots UFOs, the Journal of UFO Studies, as well as lots of things done by others smarter than myself.

The next time I'll be blowing off steam on several other of the anomalies --- that "list" will probably take more than one post --- but the number will be small.

Peace, folks. All the best, and keep your eyes and intuitions open.

Monday, September 21, 2015

FISH-TAILS, part four {and last}

Time to take one last look for our sea-darling, and judge whether she might exist or whether we're all just so dumb that we can't tell the difference between her and a manatee --- or we're just all a bunch of liars. To be in full disclosure, I tend to think that we're pretty good at telling the difference between a pretty girl-creature and a manatee if she's anywhere nearby, but I also think that the human race has a lot of non-serious lying jerks in it, so "my jury's out" until the evidence shows up. 

Above is the third-to-last set of seven claims, plus an illustration of what a Russian Mer-couple are supposed to look like. It would have been nice if case #100 had been like this, but no tails for the couple in the Chusovaya River in 1974. 

Generally this is an uninspiring set. Case #99 is rather terrible, case #101 is like an extraterrestrial undersea dweller, case# 103 is more like a science fiction monster, and the New Ireland "Ri" situation seems loaded with Dugong-ism --- despite the research work by a US scientist who took Richard Greenwell of the International Society of Cryptozoology with him. 

That leaves just #s 102 and 104. I like them both, but the "evidentiary aspects" are thin, as most of this stuff is. #102 is, however, a charmer, where the beautiful mermaid with the green scale-laden tail rises from her waters to help a friendly fisherman with his catch. #104 has better potential for bona fides, as it is a second reporting of people seeing mer-people creatures in the general area of that ancient rock carving SAN area that we mentioned last time. Supposedly some sort of interviewing was done. 

 This set, to my tastes, is the whackiest set of seven of the whole survey. I, of course, cannot illustrate such supreme odd-ness adequately, so I'll just post a picture of a pretty siren instead.

What we seem to have here is a panicked, deranged seaman seeing a face in a porthole [#106], a Russian {Rock?} musician seeing a tailless woman poking him while swimming [#108], a human being wearing yellow shorts coming out of and going back into the water while making weird noises [#109], giant monstrous bulging-eyed monsters of the depths menacing a diver [#110], another diver cracking open a large cucumber-shaped object on the seafloor and releasing blood and an angry humanoid creature [#111]. 

Not even close to mermaids in my definition. Probably not even close to reality either, even if we're strolling Out Proctor. So that leaves #s 107 and 112. #107 is a case reported by a scuba diver who says that he was pursued by a human-topped, fishtailed-bottom creature who seemed malevolent or at least bad-intentioned. #112 is the only one of these that I like. It is the report of a native man who would take a little-used walking route to his home from a village. The route would take him past an isolated spot on the Hunyani River in Zimbabwe. On several occasions during one concentrated period of time, he saw an iconic mermaid sitting partly in the water on a rock. Whenever she sensed his presence, she would turn and dive immediately beneath the water. The last time that he saw her, she had a young one with her. This case was communicated to Cynthia Hind, a well-known UFO case investigator, so maybe it has some validity. 

Last set of seven: when I finished my collected list, I was at 116, but realized that I'd forgotten Christopher Columbus' manatee [probably] report. Since that was so close to filling up the set, I scoured about and came up with something very ancient, and something renaissance-ish to make a final array --- probably a bit obsessive-compulsive but what-the-heck. The illustration is for that last case by the way. 

Well, nice to end with a list mostly containing iconic mermaid claims. Only #113, the amphibious man with the pinniped bottom is a bit off. Case # 115, where several witnesses see a "white woman with long black hair" thrashing in the water, does not itself mention a fishtail bottom, but the claim is that there is a local mermaid tradition around there. 

Case #116 --- the recent thing from Israel --- seems to be mainly debunked at this time, I believe I've heard. The fourth of the modern cases [#114] is another charmer, where a bunch of children are playing in the water in a lake near Iquitos, Peru, when a beautiful golden-haired mermaid surfaced and acted nicely toward the children. {I was in Iquitos once but she didn't show herself to me; I'm rather hurt by that.} 

Of the old cases the Columbus one [#118] is by far the most well-known and by far the least interesting, as even the great explorer himself characterized the mermaids as ugly. I'll assume that if he'd gotten closer he'd have recognized the manatees. 

#117 is nearing the status of legend rather than report, but the way it is talked about by our old Greco-Roman writers is that this aged Triton was actually seen, not just theologized about. #119 is something that I have only the briefest mention, but it comes with an illustration of the event, as above. The short note says that this ship Captain, Hailborne, saw iconic mermaids, who made beckoning gestures to him. 

In my last second scouring about, I came across this painting, which could relate to a mediaeval era mermaid sighting, but I know nothing about it, and the site was no help. Since we're working hard to present whatever we can winnow from these watery fields, I'll present it as a glimmer of some sort of claim. 

But, as to the picture as a whole: what should we make of it? 119 "case encounters" might seem like a lot, but it's not --- especially when I read phrases like "masses of evidence." I could have listed fifty or so more things, if one wanted to be bored and disgusted by PT Barnum like exhibited monsters and tales of capturing and killing merbeings, but what would be the use of that? As we've seen, the 119 in the list have quite a few losers as well. 

I'm not giving up on the concept of the real merbeing though. But I'm forced to go forward with it with great humility. 

Why go forward with it at all? This is a perfectly understandable position to take intellectually or otherwise, and I respect anyone who wants to reject the possibilities given the low yield of credible and "accurately seeable" evidence. I'll tell you why I think that these creatures probably do exist, thus ruining what little reputation that I might have. 

To begin my "reasoning", I disregard any thought that these entities are denizens of the physical world as described by biology textbooks and physical laws. In short, I believe that they are paranormal entities of whatever the sort of things the "Little People" are. 

My second step then in muddling this out, is to claim that, although I see very few impressive cases of mermaid encounters [but not zero], I've seen many such cases of Little People encounters. My own files, called for my own amusement LEPRECAT, contain several hundred encounter cases, and Dr. Beachcombing is creating an organization which is accumulating a mountain of facts on the topic. 

So, thirdly, if there is a pretty good case basis for "faery", and "faery" seems to "contain" many sorts of appearances for its entities, and that class of beings "behaves" in ways reminiscent of other traditional folkloric entities, then my thoughts go to the position that I need less of a pile of solid cases for a "like" entity claim, assuming that I have a couple of handfuls at least. 

And a couple of handfuls is what I seem to have. When I researched Loch Ness, I felt that I came up with a similar situation. Even Bigfoot seems to fit this sort of entity, rather than something biological. Sea Monsters? Maybe also. Yeti?, almost for sure unless there really is a relict neanderthal population about. 

My soft intuitive reasoning doesn't rest in any way, by the way, on the oft-cited argument that long ago in Mesopotamia Oannes climbed out of the water to found civilization. For sure it doesn't rest with the similar claim for Enki/Ea. The Annunaki are not described as anything but humanoid, and the half-fish illustration for Oannes reminds me much more of the flying man-bull illustrations of the "cherubim" of that culture. Those representations were almost certainly the pictorial way of representing a powerful king-like person who could move through the skies [the wings] and was "strong-as-a-bull." I.e., that culture illustrated god-like powers in that chimeric way --- just as the Egyptians illustrated it with the human/animal parts inverted top/bottom. 

My intuitions are based solely on the sense that the mermaid concept "fits" with other claims having, in my estimation, much greater strength. 

They are also based on my firm belief that I can tell the difference between pretty females and dugongs or even dolphins and seals, and that not every human is a jerk and a liar. 

But I'll plead guilty to being in the fog on this one.

One thing that is much less foggy is that this is essentially the last Big Study blogpost. I'm almost 500 hard-working blog entries in now, and I have a lot of other sorts of writing to do. I'm planning on posting a summary entry sometime soon, and I'll include contact information also there in case anyone wishes to come to Kalamazoo and visit/work in the archives. 


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

FISH-TAILS, part three

Another look for our favorite bathing beauty, who, somehow Noah decided NOT to offer to take on board. I suppose that even with all the storms, she was "in her element" and didn't need the grief of everyone telling her that they didn't believe she existed. 

So, let's take another pass at finding her on our own .... 

In this set we have some possibilities and some "who knows?" claims with no mer-person fish bottoms. #71 and #77 are these sorts of cases which we've seen several of: witness sees person in deep water who seems to be "standing" afloat unlike what they believe that a regular human could do, either too buoyantly or too long, and then just disappears beneath the sea. Well, if accurately portrayed, this would indeed be mysterious/anomalous, and perhaps merbeing-ish. But I want to find the iconic type of merperson, if nothing else to distinguish that from some undersea folkloric water entity like a naiad or selkie or the original sirens [which did not have fishtails.]

#75 is a step closer: no tail but scaly body seen. #74 is in the same "almost getting there" class: "shawl over shoulders" but again no tail. Of course you have to like the idea of a merman in Iowa.

The other three cases are of classic mermaids. I'm always uncomfortable with the stories that the fishermen "caught" a mermaid in their nets. It seems the ultimate "fish story" in a profession renown for such whopper-telling does it not? That's my bias, but I'm sticking with it for case #76.

That leaves cases #72 and #73, both of which I kind of like. #73 is a two-witness case where the witnesses are not heroic and once coming upon a classic mermaid at close quarters, get scared and run away. MUCH better than the macho fisherman with the catch-of-the-century.

#72 is a single witness case [Alexander Gunn, above left] but it is a rarity of a modern actual interview by an investigator. Mr. Gunn came upon this beautiful red-headed blue-green-eyed mermaid while walking his dog on the beach, and she reacted just like the solitary leprechaun would do when disturbed by one of us humans --- she glowered at him with such displeasure that he and his dog beat it out of there. This is also one of those cases where the witness asserted the truth of his encounter until he died. My Good Man, I think that you may have indeed seen one.

This isn't a bad set either. There are two cases where no fishtail bottoms are seen {#s 80 and 83} but both have a little intrigue to them.

#80 has a close encounter in it, and the witness says that the mermaid [green hair, blue eyes] had a glow about her as if she was phosphorescent. [the mind spins onward towards the folkloric Jack-O'Lantern and pixy-led themes.] #83 is more mundane but interests due to the witnesses' familiarity with the place as an unpopulated area, where a lone woman, they felt, would be almost impossible to see.

The two Redondo Beach cases each have mer-being structure, one female [with child!] and one male with extra long tail and beard. Both allegedly multi-witnessed. Would have been nice to have an investigation of some of these things to establish some credibility.

#78 is bare bones, but states an iconic mermaid. Both #s 81 and 82 are, however, very interesting to me, for wildly different reasons. #81 takes place in a shipwreck scene with sailors fighting for their lives in an unforgiving sea. Here the men were assisted by dolphins which [who?] tried to keep them afloat when they were getting too tired to stay awake and hold on. In the midst of this, a mermaid appeared among the dolphins as an encouragement. This could of course be a hallucination under terrible strains, but it is intriguing nonetheless ... and we should always remember that just because it MIGHT have been a hallucination does not mean that it WAS one. Occam's Razor in these matters should NEVER be applied. Occam's Razor is only [marginally] useful in cases of fairly well understood investigations with clearly recognized variables. Almost NO true anomalies fit this description. And one more thing always [conveniently and stupidly] forgotten about Occam's Razor: the Wisdom in the Occam's Razor idea is to give us TWO warnings: a]. when facing a situation which is unsolved, then the "simplest" solution is likely to be the correct one; and b]. --- this is the half conveniently forgotten --- once recognizing one hypothesis which we feel is the simplest [very dangerous in itself], one goes forward with that hypothesis EXTREMELY HUMBLY, as the bottom-line is that YOU HAVE NOT SOLVED THE MYSTERY at that point.

#82 is even more interesting to me. The so-called SAN Art region in South Africa is home to some of the neatest and hardest to interpret ancient rock writings in the world. Some of them are at the top left. Quite the archaeological surprise occurred when it was seen that some of these paintings seem to picture mer-beings. Well, it sends the interpreters into all manner of speculations --- none of which, of course, involve real mermaids. BUT, there are mermaid reports in that area in MODERN times --- reports, as far as anyone can tell, which have been experienced by persons, both native and anglo, who had no idea about the mermaid figures on the rock faces elsewhere in that [general] locale. It is a great "coincidence" at the very least.

{I have no particularly relevant illustration for this set, so we'll make do with the ladies to the left --- even mermaids can use some hair care products ... they sure spend a lot of time combing it.}

Here #s 86, 91, and 88 are not iconic mer-beings. Either we see no bottom at all or the creature has legs rather than a tail. In 86, the merman follows the fishermen's boat too long and too swiftly to be a human; in 91 the being mysteriously appears in a cloud of mist; and in 88 the creature is just WAY off the classical mer-being form, sort of like an analogy of a bogle to an elf. If such a thing exists, it seems to be unique to that part of the world. This would be very easy to discount as something like a dugong but it is described as having human-like legs.

#87 is another one of those claims that the mermaid got hooked on a fishing line. My imagination will have to work a bit feverishly to imagine how that could be going on with a non-biological living creature. If there's anything to such tales, then the mer-being must somehow be controlling the interaction for unknown reasons. ... just a bit too weird/non-sensical for me.

#s 85 and 89 are single witnessed. 85 is a rather nice if too brief scene wherein a hunter suddenly comes upon a sad-voiced mermaid with green hair and glowing eyes. Pretty folkloric picture. #89 has a mermaid floating on something combing her hair --- seemed almost like a movie scene. Report, as I have it, does not mention if witness waited long enough to see her dive off.

My favorite of this set is a mother-daughter sighting of a mermaid in the Zambesi River on an island. She had long black hair, white skin, and was beautiful. There are apparently native traditions about mermaids there, as the mother told the daughter that it was a bad omen to see one. Why my favorite? A long locale tradition seems to exist within which came a modern sighting to a young woman who didn't know much about it --- has "that feel" about it.

This set has more spread to the potential of the cases than any yet. There is a misdated case [#94], a case describing something entirely else than a mermaid [#96], something which sounds like a fish story [#92], and a case of a "normal woman" [#93. There are also three more interesting things.

#95 is in the category of interesting because it is a general statement of persistent sightings of mer-beings near the Isle of Man, plus mention of three separate recent reports. The problem in this specific article is that it is so undetailed about any of the cases that no fishtails are mentioned. I give this a pass in this case because of the brevity plus the lengthy history of fishtail mermaids here, such that when a respondent says "mermaid" in the Isle of Man, a fishtail is implied.

#97 is the sort-of famous Active Pass, BC mermaid case. It's famous because it has a connected photo, and the photo seems to be a bit legendary as far as many internet sites are concerned, which consistently say "alleged" photo, which there is no known copy ... except that there is, as is shown above to the left. That photo [yes, it's lousy quality] was in Ivan Sanderson's collection [and it appeared here quite some time ago.] A photo rarely proves anything, and a poor quality copy of one for sure proves nothing, but I find that the thing is useful nevertheless. This is because it's a great opportunity for each one of us to look ourselves in the mirror.

When you first see that photo, what do you think? If you think: oh what a joke!, then ask yourself --- honestly or you'll never learn anything about you --- WHY did you think that? In fact, if you viewed the thing with any emotion at all, WHY? Some possible questions arise. Am I just a mystery junkie but don't want anything really to be in-my-face real? Do I fear so much being the fool that my defense mechanism is to laugh off any potential concrete data? What's really going on when I am thrilled by stories but threatened by something which if I assented to it might force me to take those stories seriously? It has been my long history with UFO photos that people who happily enjoy the reports start backing WAY off when a photo is shown, and those photos are far from obvious in their goodness, ... they are not, if we're honest, obviously fake or true. This seems to be an ailment of the modern mind --- things are "OK" if they stay a little ways away.

#98 might be my favorite mermaid story. It probably would be no one else's. I like the credibility of the report as it came from a good friend of a quality reporter/writer told to him minutes after the experience. The "strangeness" of course goes without saying. But what makes me like this one is the totally paranormal other-reality-ness of the interaction.

The writer/reporter was tending a driftwood fire for several guests at a party while his friend was wandering down the beach, ostensibly harvesting oysters, but mainly just being-at-one with the seaside and the waters. From a distance the man by the fire saw his friend standing still "transfixed" looking at something, though the distance was too great to see. Shortly the man-by-the-fire decided to walk down towards his friend, who ultimately turned and gestured him over. And he told him what had happened.

The first thing out of his mouth, though softly, was "I've met a mermaid."

" She came into the shallow water at the point and then she came out of the water on the beach, where we get the clams. She was very beautiful. She had long golden hair. Well, it was more like ribbons of kelp, but somehow beautiful. She had a long green fishlike tail that was part of her exquisite body. I just didn't know what to say to her." 

Asked well, what DID you say?, he replied, smiling and a bit embarrassed:

"I said: aren't you cold? She laughed and said, no, she wasn't cold. She asked me why all the people were on the beach by the fire and I explained about New Year's Eve and the rest of it. I wish I could describe her voice. It was very low, like the offshore breeze. The funny thing is that, after the first shock of seeing her there, it all seemed so natural. I suppose that we could have talked for five minutes or more.

" I never did look at her too closely. There was nothing even remotely self-conscious about her, you understand, but since she wore no clothes I felt a little embarrassed about looking at her. Still, I saw enough to know that she was absolutely lovely. You could say breathtakingly beautiful. When I asked her at one point, where she lived, she just pointed to the water and the path of the Moon. Then we saw someone coming down the beach and she took my hand for a second and slipped into the bay and was gone." 

After telling the story, the friend lifted his hand, still wet from the mermaid's touch.

THAT one needs a little moment for a wistful sigh......

I'm going to leave it there for this day. There will be one last entry for this mer-being series, and then one maybe-the-last entry [possibly broken up] for the entire blog. We'll see about the latter, but other things are calling in the forests of this old life.

But nothing, even a decision, lasts forever.

Peace, friends.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

FISH-TAILS, part two

Part two of this fishy business.

Here are the next thirty-five alleged encounters in my crude file:

These "modern cases" have a distinctive lack of illustrations, in fact with the exception of the piece of art at the left, which represents case #38, there are none at all in this 35. ... so we'll have to put up with "interesting irrelevancies" for the later sets of seven.

For this set: pretty thin evidence for classic merbeings. The artwork to the side is "nice" but with no story/report who can say? Cases #39 and #42 are rather good potentially, but there was no tail seen. I love the fact that the Native American lady labeled the being in #39 as a Spirit Being {Manitou} though.

It's bizarrely charming that "The Pirates of the Caribbean" feared Mermaids and ordered their ships to steer clear of their "known" haunts, but it would be better to have specific reports.

That would leave case #40 and case #41. #40 has a good start with a human top and eel-tail bottom, with some hand-washing of hair, but the stumpy arms and hands are off-putting. #41 is a claim or merbeings regularly seen at the site. They are classic as claimed, except for occasional small bald headedness and dark skin [leading one towards seals et al], but the claim of a very large forked tail might save the claim to a gray box.

For me, this set is pretty weak. Though I'll go with Blackbeard if he insists.

This set of seven isn't that impressive either, but there is a little hope here.

Cases #s 45 and 46 just ache to be referred to as poorly observed or poorly described water mammals of the seal, otter, sea-lion, etc variety. Case #48 isn't much better.

Case #44 would have potential but, once again, no fish-like bottom was seen.

Case #43 would be more pleasing to the mermaid searcher if the idiot who wrote the thing up didn't give himself a pseudonym which made him sound like a fool. Otherwise that is a classical mermaid case. Female top with breasts and long hair and a dolphin-shaped bottom.

Case #47 is more like a mermaid flap, with many sightings being reported in the area for the year 1814. This could be significant if someone would research it. Are any of these sightings clearly distinct from seals et al? It seems that they might be. The typical sighting seems to be of a classic female-top/ cuttlefish-tail bottom mermaid with long dark hair and white skin. Also two fishermen claimed to observe a merman-mermaid pair.

I like those possibilities and the one in case #49. In 49 we have a multi witnessed iconic female merbeing with dark brown hair, which she hand-combed with slightly webbed hands. Allegedly some Irish knucklehead [I'm of Irish descent, so I'm allowed to say that] raised a gun to shoot her, but she dove beneath the sea.

Some losers here and maybe a winner or two.

#53 and #54 are kills or captures which smack of aquatic [normal] misobserved or misdescribed mammals to me. I can't get excited about them.

Case #55 has a witness who seems to have seen nothing but the creature's back, and assumed that it was a mermaid.

Case #56 could have substance if it had any detail, but alas there is little there.

I'm intrigued by the report from Weddell's crew from the South Georgian island group. Too bad that he didn't see it himself, but this is an analogous case [witness-wise] to that of Henry Hudson's men. The reddish skin and the long green hair would have made a striking picture.

Once again, we just missed the boat in case #52. Everything we want is there: multiple witnesses, beautiful naked young female bathing herself and her dark hair [though short this time], seen for minutes at close range --- BUT no observation of her bottom half. The witnesses thought "mermaid" because she stayed effortlessly afloat for so long primping and then just dove below. Maybe that's good enough to wonder about a Naiad or such, but we really should see your fishtail, sweetheart, to label you a mermaid.

That leaves case #51, where an iconic merbeing is claimed to be observed swimming into the Boyne River. White skin, dark hair, long arms, and a fish tail. As the gender is not named, one gets the impression that the creature was some distance away, thus marring the case a bit.

This set doesn't transport us to Mermaid Heaven either, though once again there are hints.

Cases #57, 59, and 63 are way too brief, though they continue to reinforce the idea that these three areas are "merbeing hotbeds".

Case #61 is another capture. MAYBE we give it a little more of a chance because the merbeing was never really helpless, and ultimately went back into the sea.

Case #62 seems to be another North American Spirit Being type of encounter with a Manitou, but not a mer-person.

That leaves #58 and #60. 60 is dangerous for me because it comes from a mysterious source. The source that started me hunting is not mysterious as he is my colleague Albert Rosales, the fine fellow who runs the humanoid reports site --- a massive compilation of great value. Albert referenced a spanish-language site, which is findable but which does not tell you where the story came from. But if it has a decent provenance, then it could be a keeper data point, as it speaks of a beautiful mermaid with long blue hair.

Case #58 is unusual in that it comes from Australia. This was an iconic mermaid with a beautiful womanly top, and long flowing hair which she combed. She had the requisite fish bottom half, and lived [unusually] in a swampy area.

Last of the sets of seven for this blog entry.

With one exception, this is a particularly weak set. Cases #68, 69, 70 [the Orkneys cases] are woefully undetailed, despite that they buttress the claims that the Orkneys are a heavily visited area for persons of the mer-kind.

Case #65 has a creature which has to clumsily roll over and over to get back into the water. Not my sort of mermaid.

Case #67 despite the fisherman's attestation of it not being a seal, is described much like an aquatic biological mammal. Perhaps a fuller description could elevate this report.

Case #66 is quite a bit of fun, but sounds like "someone" I might describe as a different sort of paranormal sea entity than a merman. But ... not having much to go on vis a vis the relative humanness vs horsiness of the thing, I guess merman it is.

Case #64 is another Native American version of this mystery. Multiwitnesses of a water dwelling entity with long blonde hair and brown skin --- but no lower half description. The native american fishing guide thought that this was a water spirit, and I'll go with him, as the entity came right up to their boat.

So, what did we find? A lot of near-miss frustration it seems to me. Our beautiful lady seems to be remaining just out of reach in these reports, though tantalizingly nearby.

And that's probably what her intention is.

I'll try again to find her in a few days. Till then, Peace.