A topic about outer-space and everything in it, from little green men to big spirally galaxies

Musical Interlude: Beyond The Blue Horizon

Here's a jazzy little tune spiced up by computer animation courtesy of Bill Domokos. Or, maybe, Bill removed the filter preventing humanity from seeing the true faces of the performers, The Three Suns.

This tune's notable for inspiring Alex Courage's composition of the haunting Star Trek theme, as it was a "long thing that...keeps going out into space...over a fast moving accompaniment."

Those were gentler times when the expanse of space held promise for everyone, not just the plutocrats and their k-razy exit strategies.

C'mon and sing along with Artie Dunn and his pals, who certainly didn't name their band in honor of their homeworld's trinary system far, far away.

Beyond the blue horizon
Waits a beautiful day
Goodbye to things that bore me
Joy is waiting for me

I see the new horizon
My life has only begun
Beyond the blue horizon
Lies a rising sun

Beyond the blue horizon
Waits a beautiful day
Goodbye to things that bore me
Joy is waiting for me

I see the new horizon
My life has only begun
Beyond the blue horizon
Lies a rising sun

Beyond the blue horizon
Waits a beautiful day
Goodbye to things that bore me
Joy is waiting for me

I see the new horizon
My life has only begun
Beyond the blue horizon
Lies a rising sun

Beyond the blue horizon
Lies a rising sun

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New Developments Around KIC 8462852

Image
A new paper on prior observations of KIC 8462852 deepen the mystery surrounding this star. Also known as "Tabby's Star", this F3-type star is brighter, hotter, and more massive than our sun. The mystery lay in the sudden dips of luminosity seen by the Kepler Space Observatory. Kepler's mission is to detect earthlike planets transiting distant stars.

Speculation about this object captures our imagination, with Jason Wright suggesting it could be evidence of an alien megastructure in his paper The Ĝ Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Large Energy Supplies [1], while others claim it's just comets. [2] The basis for arguing this is artificial stems from the lack of flux when it dims. If the cause was natural, like a cloud of cometary dust, the dimming should be gradual rather than abrupt.

Recent attempts to detect the extraterrestrial intelligences behind this anomaly have fallen flat. No radio signals were detected by the Allen Telescope Array between the 15th and 30th of October 2015. [3] Between the 29th of October and the 28th of November, weather permitting, the Boquete Optical SETI Observatory joined the fun. But astronomers didn't detect any periodic optical signals one could ascribe to alien communications. [4] Barely two months of observations of an anomaly possibly a thousand years old is merely a drop in the bucket. Yet the absence of evidence from this dataset only emboldens those pushing their comet agenda. Which reminds me of a soundbite from Jill Tarter's 2009 TED Talk on the search for extraterrestrial intelligences:

All of the concerted SETI efforts, over the last 40-some years, are equivalent to scooping a single glass of water from the oceans. And no one would decide that the ocean was without fish on the basis of one glass of water. [5]

While SETI may only have forty years of observations, traditional astronomers are sitting atop a mountain of photographic evidence collected since the 19th century. Tabetha Boyajian, author of the original paper KIC 8462852 – Where’s the flux?, knew this and took advantage of the archives at the Digital Access to a Sky Century @ Harvard (DASCH) for past data on KIC 8462852. DASCH is a treasure trove of digitized astronomical photographic plates from previous sky surveys from the late 19th century to the present. Upon review, her conclusion was summed up as "the star did not do anything spectacular over the past 100 years" [6]

Bradley Schaefer disagrees with her conclusion, having pored over the plates himself. His findings are outlined in his new paper at arXiv.

The KIC8462852 light curve from 1890 to 1989 shows a highly signifcant secular trend in fading over 100 years, with this being completely unprecedented for any F-type main sequence star. Such stars should be very stable in brightness, with evolution making for changes only on time scales of many millions of years. So the Harvard data alone prove that KIC8462852 has unique and large-amplitude photometric variations. [7]

Dumbing it down a bit more, the anomaly's been gradually dimming the star over the past 125 years. For the extraterrestrial faithful, it supports the hypothesis of little green men engaged in one of the universe's largest public works projects this side of the Death Star. Just as Jason Wright, et al., riffed on Boyajian's discovery, Chris Lintott and Brooke Simmons let their imagination run wild with Schaefer's evidence at the Journal of Brief Ideas.

We assume our observations cover a typical period in a constant construction rate. Given the current B magnitude of 12.262 and a decrease in flux of 0.165 mag (or 14.099% of total observed flux) per century, an alien civilisation requires at least 7.09 centuries to occlude 100% of the observable surface of its star. Thus, if this time is typical, an alien civilisation capable of constructing such a structure requires a minimum of 1400 Earth years to do so. [8]

Regardless of what's behind this, whether aliens, comets or something completely different, the mystery behind KIC 8462852 isn't going away anytime soon.

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  • Astronomy, Megastructures, SETI, and Synchronicity
  • Astronomers Discover Something 'You Would Expect an Alien Civilization to Build', and SETI Wants a Look
  • 'Wow!' Signal Receives 'Meh' Explanation
  • REFERENCES

    1. http://arxiv.org/abs/1510.04606
    2. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?fe...
    3. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1511.01606v1.pdf
    4. http://arxiv.org/abs/1512.02388
    5. https://www.ted.com/talks/jill_tarter_s_...
    6. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.03622v1.pdf, page 7
    7. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1601.03256v1.pdf
    8. http://beta.briefideas.org/ideas/424bb64...

    'Wow!' Signal Receives 'Meh' Explanation

    If you talk to a member of SETI, he'll probably tell you the closest we've ever got to finding scientific evidence of Extraterrestrial intelligence was in 1977, professor Jerry Ehman at Ohio State University detected a peculiarly-strong signal from deep space using the Big Ear radio telescope. This is the famous Wow! signal, which was cemented in popular culture thanks to a brief mention during the start of The X-Files' second season.

    But now Antonio Paris, professor of astronomy at St Petersburg College in Florid, wants to burst our galactic bubble. His explanation for the Wow signal? The passing of one or two comets.

    He points the finger at two suspects, called 266P/Christensen and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs). “I came across the idea when I was in my car driving and wondered if a planetary body, moving fast enough, could be the source,” he says.

    Paris theorizes that the large quantity of hydrogen released by the comets as they were passing right in front of the Big Ear, could have generated the strong signal which caused the excitement of Ehman and spurred almost 40 years of speculation among SETI scientists.

    Other astronomers are skeptical that cometary hydrogen could create a signal that 'bright' in the radio frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum --because if they did, radio telescopes would be picking them up all the time. But the strength in Paris' hypothesis is that it can be tested: All we have to do is wait for those comets when they return to our solar neighborhood, and listen closely:

    To test his idea, Paris proposes looking at the same region of space when the comets are back. Comet 266P/Christensen will transit the region first, on 25 January 2017, then P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs), on 7 January 2018. An analysis of the hydrogen signal of the comets should reveal if he is correct.

    If Paris is correct, then that gives yet another blow to the SETI methodology for searching intelligent life we can Skype to. Then again, if you're reading this then chances are you're already of the opinion that SETI is a pointless endeavor, because the aliens are ALREADY visiting us --or that instead of Skype they rely on PSI abilities to chat with self-proclaimed Contactees.

    Here is important to point out how Antonio Paris, unlike most of his colleagues, is not hostile to the UFO phenomenon. In fact, he's the director and founder of the Aerial Phenomena Investigation Team, intended to investigate UAPs through the lens of Science. He's been on many podcasts and radio shows, and here you can listen to an interview conducted by Open Minds' editor Alejandro Rojas.

    Should we mourn the Wow! signal's possible unexciting explanation? Certainly not, IMO. After all, as the late Terence McKenna used to say, "to search expectantly for a radio signal from an extraterrestrial source is probably as culture-bound a presumption as to search the galaxy for a good Italian restaurant."

    LINK: Famous Wow! signal might have been from comets, not aliens

    Bon Voyage, Ziggy Stardust (1947-2016)

    There's a starman waitin in the sky
    He'd like to come & meet us
    But he thinks he'd blow our minds

    That's certainly one way to take El Chapo's capture out of the front pages...

    David Bowie, one of the biggest music icons in the last 4 decades, lost his battle to cancer last week, just after having turned 69.

    If you're an audiophile, that's a shitty enough way to start off 2016. But Bowie earned a special place in the Fortean pantheon due to his long-life interest in both the UFO phenomenon and the occult, which had a great influence in his music as well as his sporadic stunts as an actor. His role in the movie The Man Who Fell to Earth is highly commendable for his attempt to capture the inadaptation felt by an alien being on our planet --then again, alienation from the rest of the boring, one-dimensional humans living on this rock is something he must have been pretty familiar with all of his life...

    Bowie's interest in UFOs began with a sighting he witnessed in his early childhood, which was reported in the English newspapers after he became a celebrity:

    "They came over so regularly we could time them. Sometimes they stood still, other times they moved so fast it was hard to keep a steady eye on them."

    This was not to be the only close encounter Bowie would have throughout his life.

    Famous rock stars are not an unusual demographic in the annals of UFO reports; in fact, it would seem that artists are more open and predisposed to entertain ideas that would make left-brained people frown upon --and also more open to share their UFO sightings. What was unusual, though, was Bowie's departure from traditional explanations with regards to the phenomenon. In the book The Laughing Gnostic: David Bowie and the Occult, author Peter R. Koenig reports on another UFO encounter Bowie had --this time, while he was traveling across the English countryside with a friend-- and paraphrases his interpretation of the event:

    I believe that what I saw was not the actual object, but a projection of my own mind trying to make sense of this quantum topological doorway into dimensions beyond our own. It's as if our dimension is but one among an infinite number of others.

    That right there is a deeper insight into the mind-boggling reality of the phenomenon than the speculative theories of MOST 'professional' UFOlogists!

    Perhaps is because Bowie was approaching the UFOs more from a perspective closer to Aleister Crowley's teachings, than from a materialistic 'nuts and bolts' worldview. The Golden Dawn philosophy was not only right at the core of his musical output during the 1970s, but also present on one of his last videos: Blackstar (2015)

    I think about a world to come
    Where the books were found by the Golden Ones
    ...
    Let me make it plain
    You gotta make way for the Homo Superior
    Look at your children
    See their faces in golden rays
    Don't kid yourself they belong to you
    They're the start of a coming race.
    Homo Sapiens have outgrown their use
    All the strangers came today
    And it looks as though they're here to stay.

    ~'Oh! You Pretty Things' (1971)

    Androgyny, eccentricity, and the ability to walk back and forth between different worlds. These are all the stapler marks of a true shaman.

    Here's hoping Ziggy returned safely to his home planet, that Major Tom accomplished his cosmic transformation without a hitch, and that deep down in dark caves, the spiders from Mars keep singing Bowie's songs for many eons to come.

    Indians & Aliens: Close Encounters in Canada's Cree Country

    Indians and Aliens is a fantastic six-part documentary series exploring the surprisingly large number of UFO encounters in the vast, remote Cree territory of northern Quebec, Canada. Director Ernest Webb, himself a Cree native, speaks with local Cree as well as scientists and experts (including a familiar face in the UFO community, Chris Rutkowski) in a bid to understand the phenomenon. Although UFOs and encounters with otherworldly beings have long been a part of Cree traditions, it's no less a mystery to them as it is to the rest of us. And the mystery continues to perplex Cree communities into the 21st century. Webb describes his documentary as the Cree's "contribution to the global dialogue on Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon."

    "One thing is certain, with all the stories filtering in from the different communities, from so many different people, something is out there. The question is: what and who?"

    It's easy to say the UFOs are just misunderstood atmospheric lights, due to the far northern latitude, or the military up to shenanigans thinking no one's around to see them. But as Indians and Aliens clearly shows, Cree natives have stories of these unidentified lights stretching back generations. As one man said, some stories describe animals that are now extinct -- that's how old the stories are, and how long they have been handed down. Clearly, UFOs in this region have been around long before the word shenanigans reached North America.

    Indians and Aliens is currently being shown in full, for free, on Australian network SBS for the next two weeks. If that's geo-blocked for folks outside of Australia (oh the irony!), or you're reading this in the future, then use your Google Fu. Like the truth, the documentary is out there.

    For another fascinating look at the UFO mystery from an indigenous perspective, Encounters With Star People by Ardy Sixkiller Clarke is a must read. Dr Clarke, a Professor Emeritus at Montana State University, has worked extensively with American Indian communities. Being a part of their communities herself, she continually heard tales of close encounters with strange beings and lights in the skies. From reservation elders to policemen and basketball players, Dr Clarke was stunned at the number of stories she was personally told, and the consistency of their strangeness. Embedded below is a 2-hour interview with Dr Clarke on the Grimerica Show. And definitely read her book, which apparently is just a fraction of the many stories she's recorded over the years.

    So only rednecks named Bubba see UFOs on hunting trips? Try harder, skeptics and cynics! As Webb and Clarke have shown, the UFO mystery transcends modern America and has been a part of human history. The stories presented by Webb and Clarke also point to a spiritual side to the UFO enigma. The documentary begins with the suggestion of occupants of interplanetary most extraordinary traveling from other star systems. It's possible, the universe is infinite. But often throughout the series, their purpose for visiting our little blue and green planet is often interpreted as metaphysical than physical. It's also a testament to many American Indians (and I use this honorific instead of Native American, for reasons Dr Clarke explains in the Grimerica podcast) that they're willing to accept the mystery, integrate it into their traditions... and just let it be a mystery, for mystery' sake.

    Encounters With Star People: Untold Stories of American Indians
    Amazon US/Kindle
    Amazon UK/Kindle.

    Sky People: Untold Stories of Alien Encounters in Mesoamerica
    Amazon US/Kindle.

    Hillary Just Showed the UFO Card in Her Campaign Hand

    It seems aliens have the potential to be a pivotal topic in the race to the White House. Mind you, not the illegal kind who cross the Southern border pursuing the mirage of the American dream --which Donald Trump and most of the GOP contenders have been sadly exploiting to fuel the fires of Fascism in America. I'm talking about the ones which enflame the passions of OUR little tin-foiled demographic.

    Yeah. THOSE.

    On a recent interview, Daymond Steer of The Conway Daily Sun reminded the presidential hopeful of a previous conversation they had back in 2007 (when she was still a member of the US Senate) in which Steer brought the subject of UFOs --which automatically makes him my favorite person in all of New Hampshire, BTW-- to which Mrs. Clinton replied with a smile and a uncharacteristically willingness to discuss a subject which still remains Taboo in political circles --Kucinich anyone?

    "Yes, I'm going to get to the bottom of it," said Clinton with enthusiasm.

    She also commented on her husband's appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel's show last year, in which he talked about his efforts to learn about what happened in Roswell, and pry inside the secrets held at the infamous Area 51, by adding "I think we may have been (visited already). We don't know for sure."

    That's an interesting response in itself, because it may hint at how even the spouse of the former "most powerful man in the world" --and someone who aspires to win that high office for herself-- may have not managed to get to the bottom of the UFO rabbit hole, and answer with certainty the question 'have we been contacted, Yes or No?'... OR it could even be that those inside the government who have looked into this darkest of abysses, are still scratching their heads at the mind-boggling complexity of the UFO enigma; a phenomenon that doesn't really seem to conform to the simplistic explanations spawned during the early years of the Space Age.

    ...Then again, who really knows WHAT was discussed between she and the late Laurance Rockefeller during those long, private chats at his JY Ranch near Jackson's Hole, Wyoming. It was then that Rockefeller gave Clinton a copy of Paul Davies' Are We Alone? Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life --Memo to the UFO community: Notice how Rockefeller chose NOT to give her a book written by ANY of you??

    But if there's someone who seems to beat the Clintons in his enthusiasm about UFOs, that is John Podesta: The former chief of staff during president Bill Clinton's administration, highest-profiled X-Files fan, who is now overseeing his wife's campaign-- and who caused quite a stir with that little Tweet he tweeted last year:

    "He has made me personally pledge we are going to get the information out," said Clinton. "One way or another. Maybe we could have, like, a task force to go to Area 51."

    Well, promising has never hurt a politician's career, right? Especially during election year --and frankly, sending a task force to storm Area 51 seems less laughable to me, than forcing Mexico to pay for the expenses of a border wall…

    Still, I must say I find this move by Clinton both bold and refreshing. Her Democratic ticket is by no means secure IMO, with all the thunder Bernie Sanders has stolen from her campaign among the younger demographics --the fact that the Establishment both on the left and right side of the spectrum is so antagonistic towards him is quite telling-- and thus bringing up the UFO wildcard is a daring, unexpected move. Ever since I started to pay attention to Grant Cameron's research into the US presidents' involvement with the UFO question, I was eager to see if the subject would be brought up during the 2016 campaign.

    Now it seems that it might, no matter how much the mainstream media will seek to either ignore it, or belittle its significance.

    So kudos to Daymond Steer for making this election a whole less depressing that what it threatened to be, and for *hopefully* helping make the UFO subject become something more than a late-night show punchline --although I'm sure my thanks will not be as enthusiastic as those of Roland Emmerich's...

    ____________

    LINK:

    Astronomy, Megastructures, SETI, and Synchronicity

    Image
    KIC 8462852 made headlines when volunteers spotted sudden, anomlaous dips in its light. Also known as Tabby's Star, Penn State's Dr. Jason Wright suggested this might be evidence of an alien megastructure. A mainstay of science fiction, megastructures are objects constructed on a planetary or stellar scale. It's an interesting idea since Tabby's Star isn't young, ruling out protoplanetary disks as the cause. Mainstream media went off the deep end with talk of aliens and first contact, but the loyal opposition went a bit nuts too. After a cursory optical and radio scan of Tabby's Star by SETI, skeptics are acting vindicated, crowing how there are no aliens, never will be, and it's just comets. Case closed. Since we can't directly image Tabby's Star, saner minds are left guessing the true nature of this phenomenon.

    Just when you thought it was safe to peek through your telescope, there's a vanishingly small chance mainstream media's going to cry aliens again. Markus Janson, and a few friends, spotted a circumbinary disk around the faint binary star AK Sco. One theory proposes we're looking at a ring system, but there aren't any gaps in the rings to be seen. Another explanation is these might be spiral arms moving in opposite directions, clockwise and counter-clockwise, but their symmetry defies explanation.

    Most likely the disk is natural, but it is weird and important. Discoveries like AK Sco and Tabby's Star may be an example of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Never heard of it before? You're probably going to hear about it again real soon. Baader-Meinhof is when you encounter something unusual or unique seemingly at random, then suddenly examples of it show up everywhere. No one's certain if it's a bias, quirk of our pattern matching algorithms, or synchronicity, but it may be key to spying aliens hard at work expanding their civilization. Perhaps, in a few decades, we'll detect so many inhabited systems, humans will wonder why we thought we were alone in the first place.

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    Thanks to m1k3y for the tip.

    Messengers of Owlception: A Q&A with Mike Clelland

    I've been following Mike Clelland's blog Hidden Experience since 2009, the same year in which he felt 'compelled' to start sharing with the world, what many in his place would have chosen to keep forever away from prying eyes: Startling personal events and synchronicities, which seemed to point out to the unsettling realization that what our society calls 'UFOs' was somehow deeply intertwined with the thread of his life.

    It's hard to tell what made Mike's posts so fascinating to me. A part was his disarming honesty and the fact that he was his biggest critic, not willing to fall into easy explanations for what was undoubtedly a VERY complex situation. The other reason, I guess, is that I felt some strange 'personal connection' with Mike and what he was going through; at some point I decided to do my best in what little I could offer to helping him in this very arduous self-examination. I was not alone, though; very rapidly Hidden Experience amassed had a very respectful following, and a community started to build around Mike and his exploration of synchronicities, as well as his borderline obsession with owls.

    Inevitably, Mike started to receive an incredible amount of correspondence from people who also felt a mystical connection with owls, and wanted to share their experience to him. By now if you Google "UFOs + Owls" Mike's blog is the FIRST link that appears in the search-list --it's a good thing he doesn't mind his unofficial title as 'the owl guy'; like all of the best people in the UFO field, Mike is endowed with a healthy sense of humor (which seems to be indispensable to retaining your SANITY when dabbling with the high-strangeness of UFOs).

    In the end, the progression from being a simple blogger sharing his own experiences, to becoming the biggest repository of 'owl stories' was the origin for The Messengers, recently published by Richard Dolan Press (by the way, it seems Mike's work is one of the reasons why Richard started to depart from his 'nuts and bolts' perspective on UFOs, and began to embrace some of the 'fringier' aspects of the phenomenon).

    I asked Mike if he was willing to engage in a small Q&A via e-mail to discuss some of the aspects to the book, and he accepted. Mind you, being a personal fan of his for such a long time, I wasn't interested in following the typical 'press interview' shtick! I wanted to go deeper into what Mike went through, what he discovered (both about the mystery itself, as well as himself) and about the personal transformation he went through after completing The Messengers. As always, his heartfelt answers did not disappoint:

    ____________________

    [RPJ] The Messengers is finally fresh off the printers, and given it's still ranking #1 in the UFO category on Amazon, it seems to be getting a lot of deserved attention. Does it give a sense of closure to you? The end of a long journey you started back in 2009 when you felt "compelled" to start your blog Hidden Experience?

    Or is it perhaps the complete opposite, and you feel like it's just the beginning of a longer trip?

    [MC] It feels like the start of a longer trip. Even after trying to untangle all the weirdness archived in the book, I am still just as amazed as I ever was. More so given that I have tried to examine this owl and UFO weirdness from so many different angles.

    [RPJ] Has the sense of "urgency" and/or "purpose" that you felt when you started sharing your experiences in your blog subsided, after the completion of the book?

    [MC] Actually, to a great degree, it has. There was definitely a time where this stuff just sent me into a tizzy. I would have an odd synchronicity, and I would spin my wheels trying to make sense of what had happened. That frenetic energy was helpful in a way, forcing me to really examine what was happening as well as my own denial. The sense of purpose is still there, but the urgency has been dialed down a few notches.

    [RPJ] Who did you write this book for?

    [MC] Well, the foundation of the book is my own experiences. I saw a lot of owls in the years when I first started looking into my own UFO experiences. This doesn’t seem like coincidence. It feels like the owls are somehow a reflection of my own self examination. So, in a very real way, I wrote the book for myself. It feels like a way to formalize my own thoughts and struggles on something that is terribly elusive. The book was self-therapy.

    [RPJ] Did you manage to find the answer you were seeking (i.e. "what's the connection, if any, between owls and the UFO phenomenon)?

    [MC] The short answer is no. I am still seeking. The longer more nuanced answer would be that I came up with some themes and ideas that seemed to feel right, if they are actually correct is another thing altogether. I can say with conviction that there is a connection between owls and UFOs, but I cannot say what it is. The book explores a mystery, and it’s something that remains unsolved even after years of investigation.

    [RPJ] The book is 370 pages long, and something tells me you still left quite a lot on the "cutting room floor" as it were ;)
    Why did you feel the need to provide so much content?

    [MC] As I was writing, I just kept getting more and more accounts, each one leading down a different avenue of thought. Amazing stories of people seeing an owl in conjunction with some UFO event. The whole thing is multifaceted in a way that left me astonished. I was cautious to leave anything out, because each bend in the path seemed to present a completely different aspect of the phenomenon. I talked this over at length with Richard Dolan, the publisher (and editor) and he felt that this subject had never really been addressed in any meaningful way, so we might as well throw everything into the soup.

    [RPJ] Has your view on the UFO phenomenon changed during the process of writing The Messengers? If so, how?

    [MC] Well, I feel like it’s a lot weirder than I had ever dared to imagine.

    [RPJ] What's the thing that surprised you the most during the research of the book?

    [MC] I was surprised that I had tapped into such a bottomless pit of stories. Each account was amazing to me, and they just kept on coming. I was shocked at the power of what was arriving in my email inbox. If there was a theme, it would be that each and every story was rich and heartfelt in a way that leaves me humbled.

    [RPJ] What was the most difficult thing you faced in the process of writing the book?

    [MC] Well, the simple answer is that I wish I had made a formalized outline right at the onset. Instead I just started writing. I would talk to someone with an odd owl story and then write it up as an essay. One after another, until it became a full time job. Somewhere in the middle of the process it felt like I was drowning in the stories, and it took a lot of work to weave them together into a progression.

    [RPJ] What would you say to the people who might not resonate with the theme of The Messengers --i.e. the "nuts and bolts" crowd?

    [MC] I would hope that I make my point in a way that the nuts and bolts researchers would get. I use a lot of accounts of owls and UFOs that seem connected. I try to lead the reader along through a set of stories, my point being that there is some strange aspect of a larger phenomenon at play. I may lose the unadventurous along the way because I explore the very personal side to these strange experiences. There is a transformational aspect to what is reported, and this becomes a core theme to the book.

    [RPJ] UFOlogy seems to be stuck in a state of stagnation that has endured for several decades. What do you feel the field needs in order to get free from its current rut?

    [MC] Well, I don’t really care about UFOlogy, whatever that might even mean. What I do care about is reading and listening to dedicated individuals who are trying to untangle these mysteries. I think once a thing turns into a group (especially with an acronym title) everything gets deluded. Its easy to say that a lot of this field is in a rut, but thats true of almost everything. Listen to popular music. Nothing needs to be done except focus on the really interesting stuff, whatever that might mean to you.

    My advice is to ignore the field as a whole, but concentrate on the people who are doing the hard work.

    [RPJ] What's next for you?

    [MC] There is a follow up book coming out soon, with the title Stories from The Messengers. When compiling information there were a lot of longer stories that simply wouldn’t fit into the book. These accounts would have lost much of their power if they were edited down and squeezed into the chapters. There is a messy aspect to the phenomenon where some of the stories display a complexity that plays out with an eerie consistency. It is as if every odd detail is a thread, and pulling on each one leads to even more strangeness. It would have been unfair to the people who experienced these events to tell their story without including the overall wealth of details. The follow up book will feature these accounts, and it should read like a collection of short stories.

    ____________________

    Exclusive Excerpts from Mike Clelland's Book 'The Messengers'

    If you're still looking for a good book to enjoy during your Xmas holidays, then look no further! Mike Clelland's The Messengers is receiving all sorts of critical praise within and without the UFO community for his novel approach into looking at the phenomenon, by taking into consideration things that used to be shunned away by 'serious' researchers --things like synchronicities, dreams and yes, encounters with owls which seemed to have been events purposely crafted and personalized for that particular witness.

    We asked Mike if we could share a tiny bit of the wonder contained in the pages of The Messengers and he courteously obliged by picking up a selection of passages, which will hopefully communicate the gist of what he set out to do with his research; a personal journey for him, truth be told, whose veiled destination still seems hard to discern --unless you had the eyes of an owl, that is...

    ENJOY!

    ________________________

    Looking for an owl and finding a UFO

    I spoke to a woman at length about a conjoined owl and UFO experience. She is a successful academic who has asked to remain anonymous. Her sighting happened on a Friday evening. There had been some drama leading up to this event. Earlier that day, she had been appointed to a rather prestigious position at a respected university. Her focus has been religious studies, so I took note that this sighting happened on August 15th, a date celebrated by the Catholic Church as the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day commemorates the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven. It is the most important of all Marian feasts and a Holy Day of Obligation, and this woman attended a mass in celebration earlier that same day. (As an aside, I know two women who had what they both call their awakening experience on August 15th, and both accounts involve UFOs.)

    That evening, she sat with her husband, margarita in hand, looking out over the ocean. She was as much celebrating her new position as unwinding after a long and emotional day. They were sitting together on a dock, enjoying a beautiful evening, when she heard the hooting of an owl. She was surprised that there would be an owl so close to the ocean, so she scanned the trees behind her, saw nothing, and then looked up to the sky. There she saw something unusual directly above her. It wasn’t yet dark, so she could see it clearly. It looked like a silvery shiny object, high in the heavens.

    At first, she didn’t tell her very rational husband, she just watched it for about two minutes as it made odd maneuvers across the sky. Finally she asked her husband, “What’s that?” Then they watched the object together for about ten minutes. He was genuinely perplexed. He is a no-nonsense engineer type, and he said, “Well, it’s not traveling in any kind of linear trajectory.”

    Later she found articles in the local paper, as well as a local television news report, that described people seeing a silvery disc-shaped UFO that same evening and during the rest of the weekend. Curiously, she didn’t remember the hooting owl in the days right after the sighting. It was early the next week, when she received an article from a colleague at another university. The text described some of the experiences of Whitley Strieber from his book Communion. It was while this woman was reading about Whitley’s odd owl sighting on a snowy windowsill that she heard a ping from her computer. It was me, sending her a Facebook message asking if I could talk with her by phone. It was while reading the article about a UFO abductee seeing an owl—and me contacting her that at the same time—that she suddenly remembered that her sighting of a silvery object in the evening sky was foreshadowed by the hooting of an owl. What seems so interesting is on that evening on the dock, she was actually looking for an owl when she saw a UFO instead.

    Helping a wounded owl

    Kenneth Arnold was unwittingly responsible for the term flying saucer when he described what he saw to reporters in the summer of 1947. His sighting kicked off a media frenzy and ushered in the modern era of the UFO that forever changed popular consciousness. What folks might not know is that Kenneth Arnold had a pet owl!

    Arnold built a cage for his daughter Kim so she could raise an injured great horned owl that had fallen from its nest. It just seems fascinating that this key player in UFO history would have an owl living at his home. Reflecting back, Kim says she thought it was really incredible that her father would actually let her keep such a wild creature. She described the cage he built as an expression of his character, something truly wonderful.

    Helping an injured owl shows up in a more recent case. On the evening of February 17th, 2013, in the foothills of North Carolina, a young couple and their three-month-old child were driving home from a birthday party. The sun was down and they were in their neighborhood when they saw a slow-moving triangle-shaped object just above the height of the nearby houses.

    The husband, Daniel (a pseudonym) pulled off the road and watched the craft from a distance. They were parked and watched in amazement. Then it flew right above their car and just stayed positioned there for at least two minutes. At that point, his wife freaked out, screaming and praying while holding their crying baby.

    Daniel raced home to drop off his wife and child and get his video camera, but by the time he came back out of his house, it was gone. He described the triangle-shaped craft as having three white lights, one in each corner, and a larger red light in the center. He guessed it was hovering 15 feet above his car—so low he could have hit it with a football, and each side of the triangle was about 25 feet long.

    The next night he heard an owl in his yard, something he hadn’t ever noticed before. It was there hooting again for the next three nights. Some months after this, Daniel and his wife were driving on a busy highway when they saw an owl in the ditch right along the side of the road. Daniel was worried it was injured and might stumble into traffic, they pulled over. Daniel took off his hoodie and used it to wrap up the bird. He said the owl didn’t struggle, but acted totally calm and let him carry it to the car. His wife drove the few minutes to their home while the owl was sitting on the floorboard at Daniel’s feet.

    They unwrapped the owl in their driveway and it simply stood there looking at them. It was a big handsome barred owl. After a few minutes, it opened its wings and calmly flew to a tree branch in their next-door-neighbor’s yard. It stayed in that branch for three days, staring at them.

    On February 19th, 2014, Daniel again heard an owl hooting in his yard. He checked the date and realized this was exactly one year to the day that he had heard the same hooting after the triangle sighting. As before, the owl stayed in his yard for three days.

    Daniel spoke to me about how unsettling all this has been, not just the initial sighting, but what followed after with the owls. Since seeing the triangle, he’s had reoccurring dreams that he has been chosen. When I asked what changed since his experience, he said that his Christian faith has become stronger. He also shared something I have heard a lot, the fears of a parent that their child might have some deeper involvement with the phenomenon. This is the one thing that I find most challenging: how can I offer any solace to a parent with these kinds of worries? The emotions are powerful, and my heart is heavy that I am unable to give any meaningful advice.

    Daniel works with animals, he trains dogs, and this is another thing that I see as a pattern. Folks with these kinds of experiences seem to overlap with people who work at animal shelters, train horses, or do volunteer work to rescuing abandoned pets.

    Like Kim Arnold, Daniel came to the aid of a wounded owl. I have collected a handful of similar stories where people with some connection to the UFO lore will rescue an owl. It might be an up-close sighting or out-and-out contact. All these accounts have the feel of a children’s fable, where helping an animal in need is a test, and their simple act of kindness will later turn out to be more important than they ever imagined.

    The owl, directly or indirectly, gets woven into these reports in ways that seem scripted, as if they are meant to be fleeting clues to something deeper.

    Owls are signposts along the path, but a signpost isn’t very interesting on its own, just a stick of wood pounded in the ground with something attached at the top. What is on the sign might be significant. It’s the message on the sign that needs to be acknowledged. “Bridge Out” or “Danger Ahead” might be very important. The challenge is to separate the owl (or the UFO for that matter) from the message, and then to interpret any vital meaning.

    You are not who you seem to be
    Rebecca Hardcastle Wright, PhD, has had so many experiences throughout her life that she is well beyond any doubts of the reality of her own contact. She is forthright about what has happened, almost disarmingly so. In 2008 she authored a book Exoconsciousness. The title uses the Greek prefix exo meaning “outside” or “external” in relationship to our human consciousness. She is promoting the idea of a bridge-building between humanity and extraterrestrials. Along with all her other experiences, Rebecca had a very revealing owl event.

    This happened when she was leaving a restaurant at a strip mall in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. It was full daylight, and as she walked through the parking lot she felt powerfully drawn to look up at one of the tall industrial lights looming above her. She described her vision as being literally pulled to the top of that pole. Looking up, she was surprised to see a massive owl looking down at her.

    Rebecca felt she was receiving a psychic communication coming from that owl, and the very clear message was, “You are not who you seem to be.” She also felt an all too familiar sensation, knowing she was going to have a contact experience that night—and she did.

    When we spoke together, she described this owl in such an odd way that I had to ask if she thought it was a real owl. She said no, it wasn’t real in the way we would understand it, she sensed it was some sort of a psychic projection. Even though she described this owl as large, it was still owl-sized, and in a place where an owl might sit, but perched atop a light pole in a suburban parking lot is hardly where you would expect an alien. This is one of many examples of how hard it can be to truly know what might be a real owl, and what might be a screen image.

    Rebecca described how she was seeing an unusual amount of large owls during her years in Phoenix. She wrote me, “They came to me, they hooted, there were even there during the day. I knew they were a screen. I felt the ET presence through them.” She describes this as a time of awakening, and it’s worth noting that, like the owl, the Phoenix is also a mythic bird—one that symbolizes rebirth.

    What is also fascinating is that the owl spoke to Rebecca. That it happened telepathically without any sound is consistent with how almost all communication with aliens is reported. This is most often described as mind to mind, but others will say it is something deeper, as if it’s soul to soul.

    I have heard a lot of stories where an owl does something that could be seen as a kind of roundabout communication, like crossing one’s path or showing up at a prescient moment. These kind of actions require the observer to interpret a deeper meaning. This could be a obvious message delivered symbolically, where the witness understands it right in the moment, or it might take some time to decipher its metaphoric meaning. More clear-cut is when an owl actually talks to the witness, but this is rare.

    The owl is a messenger from ancient folklore. Sometimes these communications unfold in very bizarre ways.

    Royally summoned by a white owl

    A woman named Louise contacted me with a letter that began simply enough: “This is my owl story.” A complex set of events were set in motion in the mid-1990s while looking out her window on a very rainy day. She suddenly knew that she needed to take her dog for a walk. She lived along the coastline, and she felt a strong knowing that she should go to a jetty stretching far out into the ocean. This was one of the regular places to walk her dog, but it was unusual because she normally wouldn't consider going outside in such harsh weather.

    Louise walked with her dog in the downpour as if it were perfectly normal. When she was about halfway out along the jetty, she again knew she should start walking back towards the land.

    When we walked about halfway, I suddenly saw a VERY large white owl standing at the edge of the pier just watching us, as if he were waiting for our return. Riker—my large German shepherd—instead of barking or pulling at his lead simply walked quietly beside me until we were a few feet away from this owl. He then just sat quietly by my side, as if he were in the presence of royalty. It was very strange, very surreal. We stayed that way for what I guess to be around ten minutes when the owl just up and flew away. I walked back to my car with the feeling that we had been royally summoned and I had simply complied with the request.

    … I must say as well, that had I not had my dog with me I might have been tempted to doubt my experience as it was so surreal. But to have Riker sense the majesty of this bird, it was overwhelmingly clear to me that even he had recognized that something special had just occurred.

    Louise described the owl as white and the size of a large sitting shepherd. She has spent years trying to find any kind of owl that looks similar, but cannot. She has seen both snowy and barn owls (her favorite) so she would have recognized those. She is resolute that what she saw was definitely an owl, yet it was tall and slender with a regal look.

    She is also clear that her dog was not acting normal. He is usually eager to run and chase birds, but she felt Riker acknowledged the power of that owl. There is an aspect of this story that plays out like nothing more than a screen memory, but the depth of significance is impossible to ignore.

    In our correspondence, Louise told of a twenty-year chapter of her life that was very active with both UFO sightings and abduction experiences. Like so many others, she also tells of having a lot of psychic experiences, including a time of automatic writing as a form of communication with another realm. At the time of this owl sighting, she was involved in the local UFO community with a primary focus of moving beyond the intense fear that these events generated.

    Shortly after seeing that owl on the jetty, Louise experienced an unusual paralysis in her arm and was forced to go on disability. She was later told she had stage 4 cancer and given less than one year to live. “Two weeks before I was diagnosed, I had a very profound dream, which was the only thing I had to hold on to as I came very close to dying.”

    She was an angel in this dream, looking down at her family. She told me, “I can only describe it as the most all-encompassing feeling of love I have ever experienced. Suddenly I heard God’s voice giving me a choice, to complete the process and become an angel, or to stay. However, if I stayed, there would be conditions.” She interpreted the message that if she chose to stay, it meant a duty to help people.

    Louise had aggressive radiation treatment and surgery that brought her right to death’s door. She has since been cancer free for over 18 years.

    I asked how she is doing as far as the oppressive fear relating to her abduction experiences. She answered, “How am I doing? One-hundred percent! At that time I was afraid of the dark, afraid of what I couldn't control. Not any more.”

    There are a surprising number of accounts where people tell of miraculous healings under the aegis of these alien beings. Some abductees have experienced the complete end to a serious illness directly after a UFO encounter. I asked if she thought she had received any kind of healing? “No, but the owl experience was really the start of all the big and challenging chapters of my life. As I look back, it still feels as if I had been summoned by royalty, perhaps to wish me well on a most difficult journey ahead… The whole experience for me from start to present has been a very spiritual journey, challenging indeed, but profoundly spiritual above all else.”

    The owl can be seen as symbolic of something powerful, but also very difficult, the totem of the deepest inward journey.

    Louise has not only survived a devastating cancer, but has also overcome her fear of the unknown. She feels that all these events are connected to her UFO experiences, but she doesn’t know how. She felt that the white owl on that rainy day held court with her and her dog. She said, “I've seen owls before and since—I love seeing them—but this experience was being in the presence of something of power that I cannot explain.”

    Struggling with the mystery

    The UFO riddle holds a sort of power within it, something that forces any thinking person to contemplate life’s grand mysteries, the same questions that have followed us through the ages. If you start out talking about little lights in the sky, you’ll very quickly start talking about God. You’ll end up wrestling with the really big questions. Who are we? Why are we here? What does it all mean?

    I have a friend who meditates, goes to spiritual retreats, has a guru and all that stuff. When we talk we both really get into it. We’ll push each other, struggling to articulate elusive metaphysical concepts, and the conversation ends up getting deeper and deeper. We fall into a kind of spiritual one-upmanship, and at some point he’ll get all frustrated and tell me, “I can’t believe you don’t meditate!” And I’ll snap back, “I can’t believe you don’t read UFO books!”

    The word “real”
    People will ask me, “Do you think this UFO stuff is real?” The easy answer is, “Yes, it’s real.” I can say that with conviction because of my own sightings and the overwhelming glut of evidence. Again, yes, this stuff is real, but I’m at a point where I struggle with what the word real actually means. To me, what might be real has become just as slippery as the overall mystery itself. So much of what I’m looking at plays out as theatrical, or absurd, or beyond the edge of comprehension. What might be real becomes so abstract that it leaves me questioning the source of all existence. The word real is the first for letters of reality, and my definition of that crumbled ages ago.

    The problem is, how does anyone keep their brain focused on the enormity of this mystery? All I can do is examine the little details, and sometimes I can barely grasp those. There comes a point when the trapdoor opens up, and I’m falling. I can only truly wrap my mind around this mystery for a few fleeting seconds. In those moments of clarity, I can’t understand why I’m not running down the street screaming, “They’re here!”

    We’re staring at a Rorschach inkblot. You’ll see whatever baggage you bring to it. It’s going to mirror back your own very specific avenue of research. The one thing I know for sure is that everyone’s got a different take on this phenomenon and nobody agrees on everything. So when you enter this community—and I’m picturing all the contradictory characters milling around at a UFO conference—nobody is going to have the same conclusions. Everyone is telling a different story, but I feel strongly that at the core there is a real experience taking place. That’s the only thing I can say for sure, that something real is happening. Beyond that, it’s all speculation.

    A rational scientist would look at all this UFO and owl weirdness and fight to squeeze it into the tidy box of logic. In doing so they would leave out all the really weird stuff. A poet might be better suited to play with all the elusive strangeness. This might make some pragmatic readers cringe, but sometimes great truths can only be fully revealed through poetry, mythology, or metaphor.

    There is some unknowable facet of reality that creates synchronicity, and I am impelled to follow this magic compass. I am being given clues and they are telling me to step off the well-worn path and into the darkest part of the forest. This research, and all its associated weirdness, has been a deeply personal inward exploration.


    ________________________

    The Messengers, by Mike Clelland
    Richard Dolan Press; 1st edition (December 3, 2015)
    Available at Amazon in paperback (Amazon US / UK) and Kindle edition.

    Published with the permission of the author.

    Ancient Aliens & Tesla Conspiracies, Brought to You by Pepsi

    When it comes to marketing strategies, the geniuses at PepsiCo are famous for knowing no boundaries. After all, they are the ones responsible for one of the most famous TV commercials in all history, featuring the late King of Pop: Michael Jackson --of course, that particular commercial is memorable for reasons the Pepsi executives would probably prefer to forget

    And yet, this latest ad I found during one of my latest online meanderings seemed like it crossed a strange borderline: One marking the limits between 'normal' mainstream pop culture and… well… OUR turf of the strange and bizarre.

    The video in question --almost a mini-movie, truth be told-- released on November 18th 2015 and directed by Jabbar Raisani, deals with one of the most interesting and captivating pieces of modern mythology that's been spawned from the World Wide Web: The story of the Black Knight.

    Black Knight Decoded starts with some ominous text:

    "In 1899, Nikola Tesla discovered a satellite orbiting Earth.
    It's origin can be traced back over 13,000 years.
    This is NOT Science Fiction. This is real."

    And from there the Fortean lever goes up to 10.5 --sorry, but to reach a full 11, they should have also included some mention about Philip K. Dick and VALIS.

    Still, Black Knight Decoded does a pretty good job of mixing together government conspiracies, ancient aliens, Zecharia Sitchin's Annunaki, secret ET codes AND that Steampunk version of Gandalf the wizard that was our beloved St. Tesla.

    And maybe THAT is the reason why the Black Knight mythos is so darn compelling: Because it manages to connect *all* these seemingly disparate themes floating around in the Fortean blogosphere in a yarn that almost makes sense --whether that yarn, and Usher lyrics manage to increase the sales of sugary carbonated water branding a bi-color logo remains to be seen of course…

    Also, never mind that those badass 'official' photos of the Black Knight itself have been IMO convincingly debunked. Skepticism cannot bring a good story down, dammit!

    But wait, there's more: The PepsiCo production is clearly also a flashy advertising tool for the Urthecast company: The Canada-based enterprise responsible for the hi-def camera onboard the ISS which made all those 'gods-level' takes from Xi'An (China), Cancún (Mexico), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Sydney (Australia), Ostrava (Czech Republic), Cluj (Romania), Warsaw (Poland), Sochi (Russia), DaNang (Vietnam), Delhi (India) and SinCity (USA) --really America? You're going with a freaking emoji to communicate with superior alien beings for the first freaking time in History??.

    So, not only did PepsiCo let us learn there's a PRIVATE surveilance system onboard of what was supposedly a publicly-funded multinational space station, but that for some strange reason they chose to name their company after the Sumerian city of Ur --you know? the primordial city in the Fertile Crescent where the Annunaki gods left their mark?

    So I don't know about you, but me I'm getting clear of that Crystal Pepsi stuff for the time being --I think those Nibiru Reptilians finally realized fluoridated water wouldn't cut it anymore...