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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...



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...

Our Sun May Be Capable of Emitting 'Superflares', 1000 Times More Powerful Than Anything Previously Recorded

Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun

A newly released scientific paper has suggested our Sun might be capable of emitting 'superflares', 1000 times as powerful as previously recorded. Such an event would, quite obviously, be disastrous for human life on Earth (see Robert Schoch's article 'Death Star' for a detailed look at how vulnerable modern society is).

Astrophysicists have discovered a stellar “superflare” on a star observed by NASA’s Kepler space telescope with wave patterns similar to those that have been observed in the Sun’s solar flares. (Superflares are flares that are thousands of times more powerful than those ever recorded on the Sun, and are frequently observed on some stars.)

Typical solar flares can have energies equivalent to a 100 million megaton bombs, but a superflare on our Sun could release energy equivalent to a billion megaton bombs.

The Earth’s communications and energy systems could be at serious risk of failing, the scientists note, and disastrous for life on Earth. Our GPS and radio communication systems could be severely disrupted and there could be large-scale power blackouts as a result of strong electrical currents being induced in power grids.

Link: Evidence that our Sun could release ‘superflares’ 1000x greater than previously recorded

Related: 'Death Star'

Reddit AMA with Dr Jacques Vallee on the UFO Phenomenon

Jacques Vallee Reddit AMA

On Sunday one of our favourite people, legendary UFO researcher Jacques Vallee, took part in a Reddit AMA ('Ask Me Anything'), in which he directly answered questions from Redditors related to his field of research. As with any AMAs, there's a lot of 'noise' comments drowning out the signal (such as chest-puffing by self-claimed 'rational' thinkers), but if you stay with the first up questions, and answers from Jacques - without following down into the threads too far - there's plenty of interest in there.

For example, in response to the question "What is the most convincing case (and/or documented) that you have studied?", Jacques' response was:

There is a large number of cases that pass the "serious" screen: cases with unexplained physical traces and multiple witnesses over significant duration, etc. but I mostly look for overall patterns that can characterize the phenomenon as a whole. One especially significant case took place at Valensole in France years ago and has never been explained: a landing with physical traces and two "beings" that paralyzed the witness. The French government space agency has has a long-term group of investigation about such cases and I am on their advisory committee. Valensole has never been explained. Of course the paralysis has many scientists very interested. UFOs have many physiological impacts on humans.

Jacques' AMA appearance coincided with the final days of his crowd-funding campaign for a deluxe, limited copy collector's edition of his book Wonders in the Sky. It is currently at 69% of its funding goal, so if you're interested in backing the campaign and getting yourself a copy - no doubt a wise financial investment, if you could ever bear to sell it at a later date - then make sure you sign up *now*. Here's a mock-up version to make your eyes salivate:

Wonders in the Sky Collector's Edition

This would make the most amazing Christmas gift idea for anybody you know interested in the topic of UFOs (though, obviously, they will have to wait for the physical product to be manufactured), so with less than two days left, be sure to head to the crowd-funding campaign site and put your name down for a copy as soon as possible.

Link: Crowd-Funding Campaign for 'Wonders in the Sky: A Breakthrough in UFO Research'

Link: Reddit AMA with Dr. Jacques Vallee

Earth is an Alien Planet: The Mysterious Camouflaging Ability of the Cuttlefish

If the cephalopods didn't exist, would any sci-fi or horror writer even have the imagination to invent them? From tentacles to ink to their amazing camouflage abilities, they seem a creature born into the physical world out of the nightmares of fish (see the animated gif above for a prime example).

In the video below, from which the top animation was taken, BBC presenter Richard Hammond puts the cuttlefish's abilities to the test by placing it in an artificial - i.e. human - environment.


The Glory of Ra: NASA Releases Ultra-HD Video of the Sun

A number of ancient cultures worshipped the mysterious light-giving globe in their sky as a deity, but over time as science has revealed the true nature of our Sun our reverence has been replaced with ambivalence. But staring at this new video released by NASA, of the Sun in 4K ultra-HD, might be enough to make us religious again. Taking in its size, the energy it is releasing, and how its presence sustains all life on Earth, one can only marvel at this slowly rotating sentinel.

It’s always shining, always ablaze with light and energy. In the ubiquity of solar output, Earth swims in an endless tide of particles. Every time half of the Earth faces the Sun, we experience the brightness of daytime, the Sun’s energy and light driving weather, biology and more. But in space, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) keeps an eye on our nearest star 24/7. SDO captures images of the Sun in 10 different wavelengths, each of which helps highlight a different temperature of solar material. In this video we experience images of the Sun in unprecedented detail captured by SDO. Presented in ultra-high definition video (4K) the video presents the nuclear fire of our life-giving star in intimate detail, offering new perspective into our own relationships with grand forces of the solar system.

Full screen or GTFO.

UFO Hotspots Just Got A Little Hotter


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Ufology is one of forteana's toughest nuts. Organizations like MUFON, NUFORC, and others have tons of data winding up as interactive maps and infographics. That's all well and good knowing where to see saucers, but what does it all mean? Could there be an underlying pattern?

Over at the Toulouse School of Economics some researchers have submitted an analysis of locations known for sightings. They draw upon the UFO reports archived with GEIPAN, a branch of the French Space Program (CNES). French citizens can submit their sightings to the local police, passing the buck over to GEIPAN, who classify each account into one of four categories. Type A sightings have been explained without a shadow of a doubt, B's are probably identified, and C-class encounters lack enough meaningful data to be of any use. Type D events are the sweet spot. The kinds of reports that, despite a wealth of data, defy identification. Real, unidentified flying objects.

Out of the 1,961 sightings recorded between 1951 and 2013, Thibault Laurent, Christine Thomas-Agnan, and Michaël Vaillant have 381 D-class observations, and their conclusions are provocative. They considered many variables surrounding these events. Population density being a key factor for their models. More people and more sightings mean more reports. But this is only the tip of the iceberg as Thibault and pals note a strong correspondence of D-class reports around nuclear power plants and toxic waste dumps. Also factoring into the mix are rural areas, forests, and wetlands. Either our space brothers are playing guardian angel as humanity self-destructs, or it's a whole lot of swamp gas.

They lay out all the math in black and white for anyone hoping to crunch the numbers for their own country. A cursory Google search brings up American, Australian, and other world UFO maps, in addition to many public domain records regarding contaminated land, nuclear power plants, population centers, and sacred sites like Uluru and Roswell.

Investigations like Spatial Point Pattern Analysis of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon in France should inspire researchers to apply the same methodologies to their work, broadening our understanding of the phenomenon. Goodness only knows what can be learned by comparing sightings over rich and poor neighborhoods, or if the UFOs appeared after a major event with a profound psychological impact on the population. Bringing us back to Charles Fort's admonition of "One measures a circle, beginning anywhere", giving fresh insights on an old topic.

Related stories:

(h/t Norman R.)

Astronomers Discover Something 'You Would Expect an Alien Civilization to Build', and SETI Wants a Look

Dyson Sphere

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Well this is interesting. Astronomers have spotted a strange bunch of objects around a distant star - "like something you would expect an alien civilization to build" - and SETI is scrambling for a closer look:

In 2011, several citizen scientists flagged one particular star as “interesting” and “bizarre.” The star was emitting a light pattern that looked stranger than any of the others Kepler was watching.

The light pattern suggests there is a big mess of matter circling the star, in tight formation. That would be expected if the star were young. When our solar system first formed, four and a half billion years ago, a messy disk of dust and debris surrounded the sun, before gravity organized it into planets, and rings of rock and ice.

But this unusual star isn’t young. If it were young, it would be surrounded by dust that would give off extra infrared light. There doesn’t seem to be an excess of infrared light around this star.

...And yet, there is this mess of objects circling it. A mess big enough to block a substantial number of photons that would have otherwise beamed into the tube of the Kepler Space Telescope. If blind nature deposited this mess around the star, it must have done so recently. Otherwise, it would be gone by now. Gravity would have consolidated it, or it would have been sucked into the star and swallowed, after a brief fiery splash.

[T]his light pattern doesn’t show up anywhere else, across 150,000 stars. We know that something strange is going on out there.

...Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, is set to publish an alternative interpretation of the light pattern. SETI researchers have long suggested that we might be able to detect distant extraterrestrial civilizations, by looking for enormous technological artifacts orbiting other stars. Wright and his co-authors say the unusual star’s light pattern is consistent with a “swarm of megastructures,” perhaps stellar-light collectors, technology designed to catch energy from the star.

“When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright told me. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

Full story: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy

Support High-Quality UFO Research and Receive a Deluxe Collector's Edition of 'Wonders in the Sky', by Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck

Golden Orbs from 73BCE

The scientific investigation of the UFO phenomenon is a relatively new endeavour, with less than seven decades having passed since the sightings in the late 1940s which propelled UFOs into the limelight through modern media. And one of the longest serving, and most highly respected investigators is Jacques Vallee.

Jacques has been fascinated with UFOs since a well-publicised 'wave' in Europe in 1954 (he is from France originally), and his own sighting of a metallic saucer in 1955. He has spent the decades since traveling the world, interviewing witnesses, and authoring a number of best-selling books not just on UFOS, but also on their effects on belief systems and how they might be manipulated.

(During that time he also managed to complete a Master of Science in astrophysics, a Ph.D. in computer science, win the Jules Verne Prize for his first science-fiction novel.)

One of the most important results of Jacques' research was the realisation that the UFO phenomenon extended well back before those first, well-publicised sightings in the late 1940s. In his seminal book Passport to Magonia* he published a chronological 'catalogue' of UFO sightings that began with a case from July 1868 and listed many more from the same century.

More recently, this catalogue was extended in the book Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times, co-authored by Jacques and researcher Chris Aubeck, which detailed sightings of strange objects from millennia past.

The exciting news is that Jacques and Chris - and like-minded researchers from the 'MagoniaX' group - have continued researching this historical aspect and are ready to release a new, significantly updated edition of Wonders in the Sky. And they're doing so in an exciting way - they are hoping to release the book as a special, deluxe Collector's Edition, limited to 500 copies, which will help fund further high-quality research into the UFO phenomenon.

Employing the benefits of modern crowd-funding platforms, they have now launched a campaign where you can get in early and be one of the lucky few to get your hands on what will surely be one of the most sought-after limited-edition 'esoteric' books in future decades.

Here's Jacques explaining things himself:

The goal of this campaign is to publish a collector's limited edition of Wonders in the Sky. And by supporting this project you will also be supporting UFO research. Help us facilitate future investigations.

Research has flourished in the last five years, with remarkable material added and unique color images obtained from collections and museums all over the world. With the manuscript completed, and the prototype prepared, we now need your help to independently publish this next generation of Wonders that takes the study and research of UFOs to a higher level. We hope you will support our campaign and come to love your book for both its artistic beauty and scientific merit.

This new unique Limited Edition (only 500 signed, numbered and slipcased copies will ever be produced) represents the culmination of many years of exhaustive scientific research.

...Our expanded and updated Wonders in the Sky contains 106 color images of rare photographs and illustrations. These images have been rendered from high quality digital images to create a work of lasting beauty as well as science.

The campaign launches 'officially' next week, but as a good friend of the Daily Grail, Jacques has been kind enough to give us a few days advance notice so that we can get it in early. To ensure you can get a copy of this limited edition masterwork - or even just to chip in a smaller amount to help support further research -head over to the Wonders in the Sky campaign page now.

Link: Wonders in the Sky: A Breakthrough in UFO Research

(* Full disclosure: The Daily Grail is the publisher of Jacques' books Passport to Magonia and Messengers of Deception)