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 < mswords@att.net >. 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.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

FISH-TAILS. part one

There are projects that you begin "for no good reason" and this is probably one of them. I'll just jump in the Deep End and see where this goes.

I don't recall in the chaos of a week or so ago why I started to "make a list" of Mermaid Encounter sightings, but I did --- something from Sanderson? [there are a few mentions in PURSUIT] --- some random info-bit coming over the web? Whatever the reason I was confronted with Internet statements like "due to the massive amount of evidence, etc" and said "really?" So, off I've gone [some would say that I've "gone off" long ago --- a topic for another day] to try to find this "massive amount." As a spoiler, I've not found it. Instead I've found a little over 100 cases from Pliny's time to our 21st century. I'm going to list them here with a small amount of amateur commentary, and then you and I can judge whether they are "enough" to lead us to any worthy views of Merbeing reality.

I also found, in my opinion, two useful further things: if you want to lay a foundation for your own understanding of this topic, you should read Jerry Clark's review chapters in the 1993 and 2013 editions of his UNEXPLAINED! [they are sufficiently different to be worth reading both] and Benwell and Waugh's SEA ENCHANTRESS. Jerry will give you the best overview of encounter evidence, while Benwell and Waugh will give you a deep amount of information on the cultural setting of the beliefs.

 One thing that I think that I know about Jerry's interest in this topic [since we've discussed it at least a little], is that IF there is good reason to buy into the reality of Merbeings, then one is forced [well almost --- it is the simplest hypothesis] to see reality as having within it things which are not candidates [ever] for inclusion in "physics/biology" textbooks. Such things would constitute aspects of reality beyond the boundaries of physical law and its constraints. {Jerry refers to such realities as being the source of what he calls "experience anomalies", which, not being physical textbook in nature, will always resist being "taken to the laboratory or the dissection table" or any such physical handling and testing of the "things themselves". They are not physical textbook pieces of the Universe, and will not behave in those ways.}

Such things would indicate that there is a need for a larger concept of reality than materialistic science approaches can produce [I'm a scientist by training, by the way, and a History of Science PhD, so I have GREAT respect for what the approach of the Scientific Method has accomplished. My remarks aren't "prejudiced" against science as a real contributor to humanity. But it's one tool in the shed.]

Ceasing to speak for Jerry, my own interest in topics such as these "folkloric entity" possibilities has been [as readers of the blog know], an attempt to discover whether [no matter how hard] there is any evidence in their favor --- with NO presumption that there is going to be any "scientific proof" of that. Blog-wise, we've explored three such folkloric "claims" somewhat thoroughly: "Little People", "The Fairy Dog", and "Dragons." We, I attest, found a whole forest-world-full of Little People encounters, a fair number of impressive "Fairy Dog" encounters, and, hard as I tried, almost nothing looking like an iconic "Dragon" encounter. The Dragonworld, therefore looks as if it does not exist [particularly in anything like recent times --- maybe WAY back in the Age of Legends] --- and the Fairy Dog appears to be a legitimate Apparitional phenomenon. The Little People however can be viewed as pointing to this third sort of reality.

The claims of Merbeings are potentially significant in this quest because the Merbeings represent a type of living entity which is biologically impossible. Little people are not obviously biologically impossible; it is their behavior and paranormal tricks which give them their wholly anomalous nature. But Merbeings start right off ["Weird at first sight" one might say] as impossible. Maybe that's not obvious to everyone who might not have an education in biological evolution and genetics, but a truly human-top with truly dolphin bottom in a nice sharp differential line is "naturally" biologically impossible. If you insist on trying to force whacko alien biotech engineers into this story, well, that's your problem, not mine.

So... finding evidence that such things might be real pushes me strongly towards this third sort of reality --- I'm trying NOT to allude to Middle Earth and it's imagery of a mixed together "physical-force-based" vs "paranormal-force-based"entity world, but it's sort of entrancing ... rather like a Siren Song.

On to it: today I'll list the earlier cases --- mainly just a list --- which constitutes 35 in number. There ought to be two or two-plus more such lists, and consequent blog entries. The uncertainty here is because this has been WAY more labor finding original references for the entries than I thought. Since I'm starting from scratch, some more expert person should be doing this, but I haven't seen long lists.

The first seven in the list don't offer much in evidentiary quality, but since they are the oldest that's expected. I DO draw something from such cases however, and that is the simple knowledge that this idea/belief has an extremely long past, which is not only within the province of legend or fairy tales, but had a powerful hold on the "common" person's mind as well.

As to legend and fairy tale: I like them [very charming usually] but I believe them to be useless for searching for real truth in any but social-psychological-religious meanings. Therefore I've tried to NOT pick any of these sorts of stories --- I perhaps cross the line in this first seven with the "St. Muirgen" case as illustrated by her carving to the left, and the "Melusina" case as in number seven above [and probably illustrated by the "peeping Tom" painting below], but these two are mentioned all over the place, so I left them in.

The St. Muirgen [or Liban] case is for me easily the most bizarre thing in mermaidom. As a Catholic, I know that the Church had some weird alleged ancient saints, and some of them were basically made up fictions, but how a mermaid got to be a saint boggles even me. I include the watery lady not because of her saintly story [which is fairytale-ish] but because it is my feeling that even the made-up saints were based on somebody --- i.e. there is SOME kind of basis from which such tales begin. Liban is therefore an echo of something quite old in "Old Ireland" which could have involved real folkloric entities.

The illustrations at the right are of King Olaf The Holy and of the Viking Sea Troll RAN, a very dangerous lady. She and her minions didn't get along with Olaf very well as he was "The controller of Giants and Trolls". The Olaf thing verges on the legendary, but it is completely in synch with the claimed voluminous sightings of merbeings in the Scandinavian-Icelandic area. But not too hot as credible evidence in itself.
The other "sightings" in the first seven only serve to allow me to mention another of my sifting prejudices: I'm not going to include the panoply of cases which allege that a mermaid has been captured and killed on the beach or in a net and subsequently cut up, eaten, buried, or put on display. If any of that was true, it would mean that the thing was a physical-biological entity and "that just isn't on." The idea that it isn't on is defensible by the history that all these things, which have any detail, prove to be misidentifications or rather disgusting fakery.

The second seven have a bit more hope.

The fellow at the left is George of Trebizond, a fairly well-known scholar of his age. In his writings/notes he gives a couple of good-old witness reports, although they have almost no detail. Nevertheless, he states that while a young man [he lived in Crete as a youth] he saw by the seaside Mermaids appear several times. This is almost like reporting in UFOlogy --- high credibility fellow who is seeing something of high strangeness, but who is making no big revelatory story out of it --- just a strange thing which happened "in the life."

This is to me as a folklore amateur the sort of story that I want with no "fairytale" aspect about it which goes on in detail to make some religious, social, or practical point for children and youth to remember --- "don't walk alone in the deep woods", "don't go off with strangers", "don't get drunk", "don't be greedy", "keep your promises". Etc.
The story which has evidentiary possibilities for me is not the fairytale but the simple slice-of-life. I believe that "Georgius Trapanzantius" has given us one personal one and one second-hand one.

I don't know what to make of the one illustrated below: Aldrovandi's Mermen and Mermaids of the Nile Delta. He just says that these creatures have been seen often there. They are fairly classic merbeings, so worth being included. I believe that Athanasius Kircher also refers to and pictures these beings.

This seven also has some promise, though the drawing of case #15 [to the left] isn't its strongest point. I have my usual problem with the captured Merman story, especially if there is no statement that the being somehow rapidly regained the sea. I suppose that I could just barely tolerate an incident where a paranormal being allowed its capture, went off somewhere, and did something followed by mysterious escape, but I have no detail in this story indicating any of that.

A peculiar story comes from a five-page broadsheet related to case #17, and illustrated in that broadsheet as below. The actual description in the narrative is pretty good, but does not include the doggy-looking face, which may have been added dramatically by whomever did the sketch. Without the dogface, this tale of a long multi-witnessed swimming mermaid swimming off Wales is not a bad report. The reason that I comment about the dogface is that it is not in the narrative [long doggish ears are] and the detail doesn't cohere with the majority of alleged sightings.

Elsewise the list contains several "keeper" reports, in fact all the others. I particularly like #18 {Nova Zemlya} and number #19 St. Johns Newfoundland. Both were very "close encounters" with iconic female merbeings. If I had fifty of these sorts of reports I'd think that I knew something.

This is a weak section --- way too much capturing or slashing blood out of merpeople for my tastes --- at least the Merman in case #22 threatened the sailors and they let him go. The references to the Faroe Islands [#26 my library doesn't include Baring-Gould] and the Danish coast [#25] are undetailed, but appear to be iconic mermaid sightings which reinforce the history that these two locations are full of merbeing reports.  I like the detail in #26 where the mermaid is seen holding fish, which is an iconic detail.

For fun purposes, by far the best report is #28, wherein our intrepid deep diver goes beyond the realms of the fishes off the Isle of Man [a great place for weird paranormal things to happen] and enters into an undersea fairy realm, complete with lots of beautiful merpeople, buildings and towers, jewel-like stones and shells --- sort of an undersea Tir-na-Og --- only to be hauled back up by his surface crew due to some safety concern. Needless to say, he was never able to return, nor to be believed.

Ah! It would be nice to believe in that ....... but we're supposed to be reasonable, at least a little bit, so onwards we go with a wistful look behind.

All of these except the last are incidents of simple reporting of iconic merbeings. The #33 case [honored by my using the Faroe Island stamp] might be the best as it COULD indicate both the incident that inspired the Danish Commission to look into this, and the Danish Commission's own sighting of confirmation. Without the original Danish materials [and I couldn't read them anyway] not a lot more, however, can be said.

The reports of the clergyman Pontoppidan are very intriguing to me. It would be nice if someone would grab the material and translate it all for us english language only dolts. Bishop Pontoppidan had such VERY strong opinions about the COMMON reality of these creatures off the Scandinavian shores that one is a bit stunned by his level of insistence. Makes one wonder what all was motivating this enthusiasm. At the least one can say that reports of iconic merbeing sightings were abundant in those waters.

Another sighting that it would be good to read the details of was the 1730 sighting off Newfoundland. This thing was supposedly signed off on by an entire crew of the French vessel, swearing to its authenticity in a document to a French Count. Seems to be a LEGAL swearing to it, in fact. These sightings constitute, for me, buttressing for things like the Henry Hudson crew and the St. Johns sighting in the third list.

So, the first stage of this is done, for better or worse. I haven't been blown away, but there seems to be some real substance here.

I have [maybe] two or two-plus "sets" of 35 to go that I've scribbled down. As I said above: the organizing of the list-bits is tougher than I'd reckoned, so the next one will take a few days, even if I get a little excited to do it. So, patience .....

.... and peace.