Saturday, January 25, 2014

Alongside the Stream of Consciousness



Just watching the flow these days..... nothing profound to say, but probably all that is well-seen is profound anyway. To keep-on keeping-on with the blog [in the face of a lot of worthy distraction], I'll try occasionally to just dip into the Chaos Pile of unfiled materials and hand you a bowl of Anomalistic Popcorn now and then. Today is one such day.

This is something that someone knows something about, and I probably should too --- but I don't.

These are four photos from a SITU Chaos Box serving to "document" a Bigfoot footprint discovery in Astoria, OR in 1977. I looked on the internet and there is a Bigfoot sighting there in 1977, but it was in September, and the discovery of these prints was in November. Also, and this is where I am in arrears, this set of photos should have appeared in PURSUIT [SITUs journal], but putting in a "little" time at least, I didn't find it. Probably they're in there somewhere and I just blew it.

The September case is an 8' red-haired critter with 14-16" long feet, which were c. 8-9" wide. Our anomaly was making off with a chicken.

The November pictures are of two kinds of footprints: one "traditional" --- 17" long and 7 1/2" wide; but another apparently walking alongside of only 4"x2". The "Little Bigfoot" seemed to limit the stride of the bigger, as the walking went from 6' strides to only 8" at times. Both types of prints were barefoot in the snow.

Mermaids at Play by Arnold Bocklin, 1886.

1886 was a good year for Mermaids it seems. Bocklin's painting celebrated an enthusiasm for the concept, Over at Cape Breton, Canada Nova Scotian fishermen spotted a mermaid floating in the water from their boat, which "sat up" in the water as they approached. This in September.

After what must have been a long hard swim, the Mermaid appeared again in the waters of Sanderstrand, Denmark. Here she [as she was ostensibly female] also showed herself to a fisherman at sea.


Our sea girl couldn't have been as pretty as the above illustration as it took awhile for our reporter to become certain that she was a girl [well, she said she was 30]. 

Whoops --- she SAID this to him? Yep, the Mermaid and the fisherman had a conversation. After exchanging much Q&A together [none of which was detailed in my resource @#%^*##], the dark-haired lady swam off, doubtless to bring news of we goofy humans to her people.


Down in one of the Chaos Boxes resided a single page of some longer document. It looked like something sent to Ivan Sanderson by one of his far-flung nature roaming buddies. {I don't believe that it was by Ivan himself.} 

The page described a set of experiences had by the crew of Academic Kurchatov in 1968. They were in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America. The research vessel had been accompanied by schools of pilot whales and blunt-nosed dolphins for some time. They were attempting to take deep-sea readings with instruments lowered on steel cables. [the people were, not the dolphins --- no one's sure what the dolphins were doing.]

They sent down a heavy net device for collecting sea creatures and plankton, and 500 meters down the equipment broke away. The steel cables had snapped. This was odd as these rarely snapped and then only when being hauled up under some force. The core-extracting device was also ready to lower, and it too snapped at about the same depth. Then it was the turn of the bottom dredge and, yep, its cables too. 

What had happened? Each of the three sets of cables had been sliced off with areas near the end "polished to a fine gleam" as if "cut with an enormous file." Throughout this fiasco, the pilot whales were merrily swimming about looking out of the water at the ship. Nobody believed that the pilot whales nor the dolphins had the requisite tools to pull this off. 

Who done it?




Cryptozoologists prefer to think that big-toothed underwater nasties "did it", and maybe they're right, but some would like to believe that intelligent characters in fancy machines are the culprits [although  the cutting of research cables is fairly lacking in intelligence to me.]

One set of candidates for such malfeasance could be the Malcontented Maltese sub-Mariners of 1947. Well, to be fair, they're only "malcontents" if they were the same guys who cut the cables in the earlier story. 

These descendants of Nemo allegedly surfaced near fishermen plying their craft 20 miles to sea from the island. Looking Big, Black, and Round, the rising object was intimidating, and judged originally to be a "monster." But shortly it lit up the area and out on its deck emerged "little men" gamboling about on some agenda. Shortly the small men re-entered their submarine, which put out a blinding glow, and then submerged. 

Whether the witnesses caught any fish that day isn't reported.


Another loose sheet of paper was a letter to "someone" [maybe SITU; maybe Joan Whritenour who sent some boxes to SITU when her magazine died], dated February 28, 1978. In it was a report of a sighting of a sky anomaly from December 19, 1971 from Villa Igara, Canoas, Brazil. 

"A luminous cloud was moving slowly from south to north. It was very illuminate, and it was egg-shaped and I could see that in the middle of it was something just like a dark pit. My father observed the strange appearance with his field glass and so he could identify two red lights that were in diagonal position compared to its course, that could be seen clearly in the middle of the dark pit. 

"The illuminate cloud had the same diameter as Orion. When it was exactly over us it was shining brightly, but it continued to move slowly from south to north.... Suddenly we saw that it was losing its luminosity and when it was coming closer to the Pleiades, it was almost invisible. Even so, the two red lights in the middle of it could be seen clearly for a while, and then they disappeared."

The sighting took six minutes. Many people witnessed this thing in cities all around Rio Grande do Sul. The writer said no one could explain what this was, but: " I am sure you can give me a positive answer very soon and I thank you beforehand for this great favor." 

Yep, we'll get right back to you with the answer on that. Yessirree Bob. {or rather, Ingrid}. 


Lastly, there is a photocopy of a letter to Official UFO, which I copied simply because it was too mind-addling [or just fun] not to.

In the letter a young woman is pleading with the readership to help her with her frightening experience [I'll let you speculate why this went to a UFO magazine.] She and her boyfriend were driving when they saw a "glowing thing" coming closer to them. She stopped the car and they got out. She got scared and wanted to get back in, but he said that he wanted to see it closer. She felt faint, and blacked out.

When morning arrived, she was still at her parked car, but her boyfriend was gone. And.... NOW THE MOVIE............

She drove to her boyfriend's house and told his parents what had happened. They informed her THAT THEY NEVER HAD A SON. 

Her own parents informed her that she wasn't dating anybody, and the police stated that there was no such individual. 

The witness {?} then went on to insist to Official UFO that she wasn't crazy, described her vanishing boyfriend and pleaded for help. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of nonexistent persons in Endicott, NY should chime in here for humanitarian if not cosmic ontological reasons. 


Well, that's a Big "NO" to Death-by-Aliens, but a good place to stop this entry short of Deepest Out Proctor. Sitting by the Stream of Consciousness is meant to be fun I believe at least some of the time. 

I see my "position" by the Stream like an Old Fisherman on an island with streams left and right. One of these is overtly tangible spraying droplets of reality all over me and my physical life. On the other side, the stream is misty. It's still real, but it resists close inspection. We need to spend some time reflecting on both streams. 

It is a dull soul who looks only on the drenching stream; it is a lost soul who spends all its time with the Mists. 

And it is the Happy Soul which occasionally takes a swim in both.


Peace brothers and sisters. And warmth --- that stream is solid ice right now in Kalamazoo.


Friday, January 17, 2014

JUST TO BE DOING SOMETHING


Hello, folks. I've been almost completely "dry" on anomalies pursuits lately, both the sustainable house project and "rumbling innards" {stomach flu?} taking precedence. The rumbling at least is gone, albeit the malaise remaining. But I feel guilty enough that I hear the duty to the blog calling.

I tried six volumes of my 19th century bound magazines and struck out. The best thing I found was the report of a near-original observer of the weirdness surrounding the Cardiff Giant hoax. Alas, though an enjoyable read, there was nothing new there to pass on. Out of desperation I've just sat down with a chaotic box of stuff "I'll have to get to later", and began paging through. This "first fruit" of that "ain't great" but it's a start maybe.


There was an article which had been torn out of the magazine above --- I swear my innocence: I DID NOT tear up this copy of Fantastic Universe myself. Anyway, it's July 1959, and Ivan Sanderson and the CSI-NY crew [Davis, Bloecher, & Mebane] were publishing fairly regularly on flying saucers then.

In this number Ivan had an article entitled: " What Could They Be?". I thought that it was interesting enough to extract some of its thoughts here.


Ivan does two things with this article: 1). he comments about what science really should be about, and who does and doesn't actually act like a scientist; and 2). approaches his essay analysis about the nature of UFOs with the direction which is comfortable to him, the biologist's method of taxonomy.

On the scientific approach:

Ivan reflects on his interactions with many people as regards anomalies [and basically everything]. He says that in his experience, skeptics are more intelligent and knowledgeable on average, but they "are lacking in any true grounding in scientific methodology." Sanderson means here that although they work often in fields which address "scientific subjects" or technological work on material things having to do with scientific subjects, they somehow missed some important tenets of what Science is supposed to be about in terms of attitudes. I, by the way, have had exactly the same experience as Ivan as to "scientists" not understanding [or at least being functionally aware of] the foundational mindset of the "Method."

Ivan gives us this neat phrasing of this mindset: " The basis of Science is the investigation of possibilities; the business of Technology is the proving of probabilities." I think that given its brevity, it's rather brilliant. It tells us that when investigation has proceeded far enough that little doubt in the validity of the discovery exists, technology can take over and solidly "prove" the accuracy of the analysis by making it jump when told to jump on the lab bench, or even finding useful application for that "jumping." But even more importantly, it tells us that the scientific method does not reject possibilities while they are still possible. THAT is the great Sin of modern so-called scientists who blithely march in step violating the "Prime Directive" of the Method.


Ivan would say: sure exploring some of these things is hard, but one has not earned any right to an opinion on them, if one has not done that study. Ivan would demand that commenters make the effort, or be shunned. If they at least make the effort they will understand, a bit, what the issue actually is about, and, like Fermi, be confused but at a higher level. Skeptics of today are almost all bottom feeders .


The other half of the article then discussed the possible natures of UFOs. Ivan-the-biologist could never really shake his training [and shouldn't have], so he approached this dilemma from his zoological perspective. For him, the case reports spoke of a wide variety of things. And, of course, they do. But he wanted to ram this home and so said:

"To say that there is a 'thing' in our skies which has not been identified is just like saying that there is only one kind of animal in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is so illogical it cannot be regarded as just stupid; it is manifestly an example of deliberate non-thinking."

He was setting up his "Baconian-style" taxonomic approach to classifying sky-anomaly reports. He after a few more paragraphs, listed his types of possibilities, based on differences in physicality, animation, natural/artificial, et al. I find some of his divisions awkward but not bad; but I'm going to just list some of his categories [occasionally with some word smoothing], because I believe that you will see his breadth easier that way.

He divides possibilities from inside our Universe from those without. Since we have no firm knowledge about the latter, he wisely just lets that sit there. Other ideas are more imaginable:

a]. hallucinations, natural or induced;
b]. radiation and plasmas [he said "energy packets"];
c]. ghosts/apparitions;
d]. holograms [he said "projections"];
e]. mirages/ tricks of light;
f]. terrestrial biological forms;
g]. non-terrestrial biological forms;
h]. artificial life forms;
i]. non-animate matter [he said "minerals"];
j]. terrestrial technology;
k]. non-terrestrial technology.


Sanderson, as we know, had several views of UFOs, one of which was that they were aerial lifeforms of significant size. He didn't pursue any individual theory here. While I admire the broad Baconian net that he casts, for me UFOlogy has moved somewhat on. For me, the great core pile of sound reports screams "TECHNOLOGY!"

Whereas the photo or the glowing energy ellipse [two pictures up] could be argued to be many things, cases which report structure like in the Balwyn photo above [it doesn't make a difference whether you buy this exact photo; it's there to illustrate the concept] clearly cannot be viewed as anything but somehow involved with technology. So, for me, many of Ivan's hypothesis concepts vanish for what I see as the core UFO phenomenon.


If I concentrate on Ivan's list to emphasize the technological, I could try to organize my thoughts in a punnett square, Let's imagine across the top the designators "Clear technological appearance" vs " Not necessarily technological appearance". I would be interested in cases and hypotheses which resided on the left side.

If along the left side I listed "Clearly outside of current Earth technology" at the top, and "Not necessarily outside of Earth technology" at the bottom, then the top left red square [obviously technological and outside of current Earth technological ability] is where the cases in which I am interested AND the possible theories for them reside.

What Sanderson lists, which would land there, are: non-terrestrial inanimate technology [possible containing bioforms, but we're talking about the "craft" here], engineered non-terrestrial lifeforms [think StarTrek's V'Ger], elaborate holographic projections [non-terrestrial, since we can't pull that off yet], and stuff from outside our Universe. ...... well, I can deal with that deck.


So, that's it. Not a Ball-of-Fire, I'll admit, but at least a little amusement to lighten your day.

Peace and Warmth, friends.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2000 Years of Smearing the Druids


As often is true with this blog, coincidence catalyzes a posting. This coincidence was my watching of a National Geographic sensationalist drive-by shooting of the Druids, while almost simultaneously having picked up a mid-1800s "magazine" containing a review article complaining about that same sort of small-focus "scholarship".



The TV special was a 2009 production [I believe] featuring two, maybe three, UK archaeologists such as Mark Horton of Bristol [above]. Horton is something of a TV celebrity in the UK, putting on series of public entertainment [mainly British History-based] programs. This fit that description.

The old magazine was the June 1865 edition of The National Quarterly Review, a rare old treasure the care-taking of which is my privilege. In that journal, the anonymous reviewer [basically all review articles from that age are anonymous] researched six named and several other unnamed sources to write this scholarly essay about the treatment of the Druid "character" by establishment [and, he felt, severely prejudiced] academics of his day.

The symmetrical clashing of these two sources was too much to resist, and thus this post.




Horton and his crowd emphasized their vision that the Druids were a brutal, violent people involved with barbarian rituals far inferior to the level of civilization being brought to them by the Roman conquest, and [here is some of the underwash] improperly praised vs the civilization of the Anglo-Saxons. There is an anti-Celtic underpinning to these things, it appears.

The emphasis here was "human sacrifice " [including children] plus cannibalism, with cowardly incompetence in warfare tossed in on the side. To aid in this projection, the camera lingered over "druid priests" appearing as dirty faced, universally aged, scruffy and wild haired forest dwellers with little to no apparent civilized trappings to dissuade the viewer from viewing them as brutes with primitive views.

Back in the 1860s, the establishment had sneered and smeared them in nearly twinned commentaries.

Our journalist relays a quote from the Edinburgh Review of that time: {Mocking the Celts in general}

"It is amusing to observe with what perseverance and success the Celts are proceeding with their endeavors to deserve that character which has been so liberally bestowed upon them by the most contemptuous of their opponents. { he is referring to the charge that anyone with Celtic roots has an inferior mind which just accepts things no matter how ridiculous}. .... Celtic understanding is sui generis; it readily embraces and believes whatever is rejected and laughed at by the rest of mankind. "

The Edinburgh Review goes on to view the positive image then arising of the Druids as a pathetic attempt of people of Celtic stock to seek out some fictional reason to be proud of their heritage, when "everybody knows" that the Druids were human sacrificers, baby killers, and incompetents.

The National Quarterly Review commentator replied with this:

" A critic, more than any other person, has no right to depend on mere assertions; if he differs from others, especially those who have devoted much time and study to the subject under consideration, he is bound to give his reasons for doing so. Ridicule will answer his purposes only when the arguments,  or the mode of treatment to which it is applied, are so obvious as to be at variance with common sense."

..... and he then goes on to show that the sneerers have not supported their opinions with evidence that they have made any quality attempts to read and understand the array of available scholarship, nor have taken clear facts into account.




The National Quarterly Review writer then goes on to take the "academic"/ debunking attitude apart. In doing so, he overtly uses six rather massive druid-related studies [two of which {Davies' Celtic Researches; at the top; and Higgins' The Celtic Druids; middle } I am happy to own.] He is also well read generally, being able to quote things like Maurice's Indian Antiquities, to make cross-cultural observations about ancient societies. It's quite a good [albeit embarrassing to the shallow academic] display of erudition in defense of knowledge and open-mindedness vs the knee-jerk picking of low-hanging fruit. {I can attest that this guy IS in fact scholarly due to being able to check him by reading in my own library --- the value of having one, I might say.}.

 

While our modern TV archaeologists uncover bones in digs which they cannot tie to the Druids [vs the indigenous non-druid locals or even the Romans], and try to make the case that these must be Druidical violence by citing things like the Roman description of the Wickerman within which people were burned to death, our much more learned reviewer points out that the Wickerman was in Gaul not Britain, and the context there is "political" not druidical. He also points out that these claims of human sacrifice are at complete variance with every other detail that the ancient writers write about the Druids as they knew them.

He repeats that Diogenes wrote that the three deepest "laws" of the Druids were: "To honor the gods; To do evil to no one; To exhibit courage in the face of danger." Caesar [our most lengthy source] says that the druids did not go to war [unlike the rest of the gaulish society.] They were painted by him as a civilizing force, with college educations stretching for as many as twenty years in their three levels of training. They were exceedingly learned, protecting their learning by embedding it in verses rather than writing. The knew of many things we would now call science or pre-science.


This "lack of sharing knowledge" with outsiders was brought up by our reviewer with distaste --- it was his main gripe about them. But it is one of the keys to understanding all of this. Both modern and  19th century scholars haven't seen the full reason for this, and therefore have missed the vision of what the Druids were doing {I don't know the whole story either obviously, but I think that I can add this small contribution.}

As I mentioned much earlier on the blog: The concept of a "college" of learner-explorers, deliberately separating themselves from the violence of "The Insane Men" who served as murderous leaders everywhere in the world, was one of the most brilliant constructs in history. It preserved the lives of these wondering pacifists, and preserved the opportunities for study of the world and to apply the knowledge advances thereby attained. But to do that, these explorer-pacifists had to have some form of power to keep The Insane Men at bay and out of their collegial forest groves.

What they had, probably all they could possibly have had, was knowledge and the ability to apply it. ... and that knowledge had to be "secretly" their own. That knowledge, their unique contribution, "what they brought to the table" that was too valuable to blot out, was their leverage. Their unwillingness to share their secrets, while still being willing to share the results of those secrets was the tricky line they tread to stay free. Not until economic advancement and rampant urbanization brought urban-centered guilds of technological craftsmen was such knowledge universalized and the Druids were no more a force to be catered to.


Still, our misfiring substantially-ignorant moderns want to take shots at them. These sort-of scholars revel in Caesar, as it is he who, in violation of all else he says about then, accuses them of human sacrifice and cannibalism, and a brutalism not to be honored. You can hear him saying: it is Rome's glory to have slaughtered these people.

The early western historians of the Roman Empire and its relations with Gaul saw a bit more clearly. Gibbon himself flatly stated that this phony image of the Druids was put forward by Caesar and Tiberius and Claudius as a rationale for ROME's brutality, not the other way around. By the way, as late as the 12th century, an English king tricked the majority of the leading druids in Ireland into a council and slaughtered them. Even that late The Insane Men feared what they stood for.

In the end, both the ancient and the modern smearings of the Druids are "politics". Weirdly, this has always been right in front of our faces. At the very moment of Caesar's conquest of Gaul [c.45bc], a member of the Roman Senate issued a coin [a silver denarius, equivalent to a legionnaire's month pay] commemorating the Gaulish chief Vercingetorix --- admiring his qualities as an honored opponent.

All throughout the mentionings in Caesar or Diodorus Siculos are descriptions of Druids well-dressed in ceremonial robes and accoutrements of high civilization --- why the TV pictorializations of scruffy, dirty countryside dwellers?

The siege guns of the smearers: Lindow Man, a unique finding of a bound man not tied to druidism, and generally rejected by anthropologists as druid-related human sacrifice, was touted; a mass grave, also not tied to druidism, could readily be due to military slaughter, clan vs clan violence, unique disease, even the Romans themselves --- no alternatives mentioned. And cannibalism? One split bone --- ONE, and no tie to the Druids. One of the almost nerd-like anthropologists [sorry but that's exactly what he projected] displayed a giggling joy in his own speculations, gushing into a statement that the mass grave was done by Druids in the desperate  attempt to kill a hundred of their own people in the hopes that their gods would kill a hundred Romans.

When an academic creates his own baby theory, there is almost no statement crazy enough that he will not make in support of it [I have seen it too many times.]


On the left, my poor holding of the coin honoring Vercingetorix. Not pretty, but just holding it takes you back in time and reminds you of truths you may be forgetting.

On the right, a bit nicer coin of the Armorican Celts of the "Gaulish side" of the channel. It reminds us of another fact: Gaul was quite different tribe-to-tribe. One group was not like even its neighbor, let alone any alleged druidical underpinning. Caesar writing about "Gaul" does not necessarily widely apply, nor perhaps to druidry at all. If he was talking of Armorica, however, we might pay closer attention. The Armorican Celts were the French cousins of our British Celts, and play a close across-the-channel role right through the Legends of King Arthur, Merlin [the druid?] and all of that.


"My" Druids were gentle pacifists who did what they could to enjoy the Universe and not contribute to its strife any more than necessary.

I hope that one day we'll quit trying to beat up on them.

Peace, folks.



Monday, January 6, 2014

EVERYDAY SPIRITUALITY: Seeing the Math.


{For those unacquainted with the blog: on rare occasions I post a non-anomalies short entry about what I consider to be our direct experience with the Spiritual through Creation. And I always warn those who cannot tolerate overt familiarity with such that this is happening, so that they can pass up this entry. So done.}
========================================================================

The day of the picture was an odd weather day. Here in Michigan, Kalamazoo was having a narrow 30-degree window tightly flanked by two sub-zero days. ... odd stuff ... great for snow.

I was sitting out in front of my garage as is the norm, saying morning prayers. .........and, I go into my mindspace of two days ago :

" It's Snow World today. Loaded everywhere. You can see the simplistic math of humanity overlain on the complex Math of God. Those straight technological things ... and the trees, stretching thick to thin in their fractal construction.


It was one of the great "wow's" of mathematics, when the Mandelbrot sets and all the fractals begin to be seen --- they seem to be part of the mathematical basis of created forms.


.... a mathematics so powerfully applicable that its discoverers have nicknamed the most famous expression "The Thumbprint of God". And here I am looking at it snow-decorated in the trees.


A noiseless day. Fractals everywhere. Just bird sound and the antics of squirrels doing things un-understandable on such a day. The birds, a small flock of chickadees just in the bush nearby, a cawing crow, a pair of resolutely faithful cardinals, a whacky woodpecker who has decided that ramming his head into a telephone pole repeatedly is proper action --- but it's all LIFE --- LIFE right in the depths of winter snow.

So a semi-crazy squirrel treats me to a wild circus act jumping and falling and scrambling around in the snow-filled tree --- to absolutely no identifiable end, except maybe joie de vive. It then runs into the bush scattering the chickadees, one of which flies a display three feet in front of my face, then goes on to a confrontation with a tufted titmouse claiming priority on a tree limb nearby.

It's just LIFE reveling even now. And it's math --- deep inside me, and the squirrel, and the chickadees, our fractal branching bloodvessel systems carry LIFE around in each of us.


How deep ... how universal ... these creative Words of God??

How much of what we see, what we are, are those words still being spoken?

.... ah. Snowblowers starting up. The humans are awake. Time to retreat and contemplate the snowshovel, and that foot deep layer of fractals that arrays before me.

Blessings to us all, and may your fractals be functional ones all your days.


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