Two posts in one!

Michael Prescott - 4 hours 8 min ago

This post consists of two unrelated topics. I don't have a lot to say about either of them, but together they add up to one barely adequate post.

First, I was interested in an article that a commenter named Ingrid pointed out in a previous thread. The article, "How Understanding Randomness Will Give You Mind-Reading Powers," talks about how people are better than expected at predicting some random patterns. People, it seems, have an innate sense of what a well-shuffled sequence would look like: OOXOX seems more likely than XXXXO, for instance. Since they are more likely to guess the first sequence than the second, their guesses can exceed expectations in many cases.

It's an interesting point, but I'm not sure how relevant it is to psi research. The article points to experiments done by J.B. Rhine in which test subjects guessed the sequence of Zener cards, and to tests performed on a radio show in which the national audience participated. As best I can tell, the radio tests involved only Xs and Os, and these sequences are, as mentioned, sometimes easy to guess. But the Zener card experiments involved five different cards, each imprinted with a different shape. It's not clear to me that people can guess better than chance when such a complex sequence is involved.

The article's implicit bias against psi also gives me pause. We're told that Rhine was gaining "notoriety" for his work, a loaded term; would we hear that Einstein gained "notoriety" for his theories? We're also told that the ability of humans to predict some random sequences is "far more interesting" than telepathy, which would be true only if telepathy is silly nonsense, as the writer evidently assumes. The article is also notable in what it neglects to say: that the Zener card experiments involved more than two options, and that more recent parapsychology experiments use random number generators to produce lengthy, complex, and presumably unguessable sequences.

Now on to the other topic. Last night I watched Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2012). It's a well-made film dominated by Daniel Day-Lewis's spellbinding performance. I liked it, but I noticed a certain choice of emphasis that I found interesting—namely, that the religious and spiritual dimensions of the subject were almost totally ignored.

The casual viewer would never guess that abolitionism was largely a religious movement, born in Protestant churches and seen by its proselytes as a holy mission. Though abolitionists figure in the film, and though they occasionally make reference to moral concerns and to natural law, they seldom if ever ground their arguments in Christian beliefs, as the real abolitionists did. In fact, religion is mostly absent from the film, even though that era was much more religious than our own. I assume that the filmmakers, as secular humanists, were simply uncomfortable with religious sentiments and chose to exclude them from the story. (I've read that a similarly secularist approach was taken toward the abolitionists in Spielberg's Amistad, thoigh I haven't seen the film.)

Of more relevance to this blog is the treatment of Mr. Lincoln's personal spirituality. There is one scene where Lincoln asks if a man can choose the circumstances of his birth, which could be taken as a religious or spiritual question, and we do see Lincoln making reference to God's plan in his famous second inaugural address, but that's about it. Lincoln is shown as having a deep antipathy to slavery (even though, historically, he moved cautiously in the direction of abolitionism throughout his career, and may have been primarily concerned with saving the Union), but his antipathy is not based on any religious or spiritual doctrine.

Now, in real life, Lincoln seems to have been ill-disposed toward traditional religion; he did not attend church, is said to have written (but never published) an atheistic tract in his younger days, and probably had a somewhat pragmatic or even cynical attitude toward religious doctrines when he became president. However, all indications are that his attitude changed over the next four years, in part because of the strain of overseeing the war with its tremendous loss of life, and in part because of the death of his young son Willie. Lincoln's speeches became progressively more steeped in religious language and imagery as his presidency wore on.

After Willie's death, Mrs. Lincoln became attracted to spiritualism, even inviting mediums to the White House (then known as the Executive Mansion) to perform seances. It is known that Lincoln attended some of these seances. Mainstream historians like Doris Kearns Goodwin, whose book Team of Rivals inspired the movie, downplay the idea that Lincoln took such affairs seriously, stressing that he was only humoring his wife or amusing himself. And yet we do have the testimony of Nettie Colburn Maynard, a trance medium who wrote a memoir describing her encounter with Lincoln. The book's publisher tracked down several contemporaries who endorsed Maynard's claim that Lincoln was sincerely interested in spiritualism.

I can see why today's filmmakers would not want to associate the revered Abe Lincoln with something seemingly as tawdry and discredited as spiritualism. But to leave out almost any indication of Lincoln's personal quest for religious and spiritual meaning is unfortunate. I suppose it may make him more "relatable" to the modern audience, but it also makes him just a bit less interesting, I think.

It's still a good movie, though.

Categories: Fortean

Sasquatch 101

Cryptomundo - 6 hours 46 min ago
Latest audio from the last visit showing direct verbal communication between sasquatch and human. This shows a continued proven method in gaining the trust and insight of the sasquatch people. After 16 months of continued progression, we are now at our 5th consecutive visit of direct verbal interaction.
Categories: Fortean

John Mionczynski’s Bigfoot Encounter

Cryptomundo - 9 hours 13 min ago
John Mionczynski describes in detail his encounter with a Bigfoot pressing down into his tent.
Categories: Fortean

Teddy Roosevelt: Sasquatch Hunter Free Kindle Download

Cryptomundo - 14 hours 38 min ago
Today, September 17, 2014 only.
Categories: Fortean

Jane Goodall: Where Science Has Gone Wrong

Cryptomundo - Tue, 16/09/2014 - 5:34pm
Jane Goodall opens up about where science has gone wrong.
Categories: Fortean

Eve: A Short Film Adaptation

Cryptomundo - Tue, 16/09/2014 - 3:12pm
Anna McLain, a woman lost to her own world, finds herself in a serious situation. While exploring one more wilderness road before heading home, she soon finds herself stranded on a remote road in the wilds of the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. After an anxious night alone, she comes face to face with a newly confirmed species that was once only a legend.
Categories: Fortean

What Makes the Sierra Sounds Credible?

Cryptomundo - Tue, 16/09/2014 - 12:17pm
Ron Morehead shares the Sierra Sounds Expert Opinions. Professional analysis by Dr. R. Lynn Kirlin, Scott Nelson, Joe Hauser.
Categories: Fortean

Exclusive Exists Clip

Cryptomundo - Mon, 15/09/2014 - 9:50pm
Watch a clip from the movie here on Cryptomundo! Exclusive Clip: Bigfoot Meets Blair Witch in "Exists"
Categories: Fortean

Boggy Creek Festival 2014

Cryptomundo - Mon, 15/09/2014 - 7:11pm
The 2nd Annual Boggy Creek Festival will be Oct 24-25, 2014. A special meet n' greet get-together will be hosted on Friday Oct 24 (location TBA), while the main event will happen along Fouke's main strip just off Highway 71 and Main Street. (Just come to Fouke and you can't miss it!)
Categories: Fortean

Update: Orang Pendek Shot and Killed?

Cryptomundo - Mon, 15/09/2014 - 6:15pm
The news source itself is suspect. If you look at it, it does not even purport to tell the truth. As Luke Mackin who has lived over there for many years says Kinabalu is in Malayasia. We also cannot find an anthropologist with that name either, nothing in the local newspapers. I don't mind being wrong but I am pretty sure I am right in this instance.
Categories: Fortean

Orang Pendek Shot and Killed?

Cryptomundo - Mon, 15/09/2014 - 3:35pm
Peoples of the mountainous area of Kinabalu, Borneo, have reported the killing by shotgun wound of an ape man-like creature that has been terrorizing local villagers these past weeks. The ape man-like creature that is called by locals Orang Pendek, or short person in Indonesian, has allegedly attacked three villagers and tried to kidnap a three week old baby in the past weeks, reports the Kalimantan Press.
Categories: Fortean

Update: White Bigfoot Sighted in Maine

Cryptomundo - Mon, 15/09/2014 - 12:31pm
Last Wednesday, we were alerted by Bill Brock, Bigfooter and team leader on Monsters Underground, of a sighting of a white Bigfoot in Maine.
Categories: Fortean

Cryptologic Radio Archive: The Olympic Project

Cryptomundo - Sun, 14/09/2014 - 4:15pm
This week our guests are Derek Randles and David Ellis of the Olympic Project. Derek is a wilderness guide and the co-founder of the Washington State based Olympic Project which was founded in 2008 to document the existence of Sasquatch in a non-invasive manner utilizing science, education, habitat study, game camera deployment, and DNA analysis.
Categories: Fortean

Sasquatch With Glowing Yellow Eyes

Cryptomundo - Sun, 14/09/2014 - 1:28pm
Strange creature reported to RCMP, Colwood BC, September 10, 1975.
Categories: Fortean

Pepie: The Lake Monster of the Mississippi River Reviewed

Cryptomundo - Sat, 13/09/2014 - 4:29pm
Mention lake monsters and everyone immediately thinks of the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, depending on how familiar they are with the creature. However, lake monster stories and folklore can be found on almost every country on the planet, and the U.S. is no different. Here, in our own backyard, a strange creatures is rumored to inhabit the murky depths of Lake Pepin, the widest naturally occurring part of the Mississippi River.
Categories: Fortean

Bergmann’s Rule & Bigfoot; the Evidence!

Cryptomundo - Sat, 13/09/2014 - 4:17pm
Michael Merchant, one of the contestants and finalists on Spike TV's 10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty, discusses Bergmann's Rule as it pertains to reported Sasquatch sightings and how it shows that this is a real biological phenomenon.
Categories: Fortean

Sasquatch Tracks Found in Upstate New York

Cryptomundo - Sat, 13/09/2014 - 1:29pm
On August 23, 2014, our expedition came across clear tracks on a riverbank in Upstate New York. Representing three individuals, the tracks measured six inches, eight inches, and thirteen inches in length. Video by Christopher Noël with contributions from Lisa Gilmore, Kevin Romero, Jeff Sheppard. And special thanks to Brian Gossellin for pointing us in the right direction!
Categories: Fortean

White Bigfoot Sighted in Maine

Cryptomundo - Wed, 10/09/2014 - 4:18pm
Bill Brock, Bigfooter and team leader on Monsters Underground, reports the sighting of a white Bigfoot last night!
Categories: Fortean

A Tale of Two Saskatchewan Sasquatches

Cryptomundo - Wed, 10/09/2014 - 3:12pm
Comparing the latest Sasquatch footage from Saskatchewan to footage from Craven, Saskatchewan that we showed back in January, 2014 here on Cryptomundo. The figures in the two videos look very similar.
Categories: Fortean