News Briefs 24-04-2014

This is your brain.
This is your brain on TDG.
Any questions?

Thanks to the Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss

Quote of the Day:

“Nobody can have your psychedelic experience for you; you just have to screw your courage up and raise the cup to your lips or smoke the pipe or whatever it is and face what’s in there.”

~ Dennis McKenna

The Origins of Consciousness in the Technological Age

Here's a fascinating panel discussion on "The Origins of Consciousness in the Technological Age " involving Graham Hancock, futurist (and Darklore contributor) Mark Pesce, Dennis McKenna and Mitch Schultz (creator of the documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule).

Which reminds me that Graham will be touring Australia in a few weeks - if you're near one of the lecture locations, make sure you take the opportunity to get to one of his presentations:

Hancock will be presenting his radical theories and philosophy at a series of events across Australia including Melbourne, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Sydney and Perth. A formidable story teller, Hancock will deliver keynote presentations that draw on his vast body of research, weaving recurring historical themes with profound questions such as: What happens after we die? What is the nature of consciousness? How and when did human culture emerge and what lessons can be learnt from our past?

Highlights from his talks include:

  • An update on his theories first proposed in the book ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ - Hancock provides compelling new evidence that supports his research into a technologically advanced ancient civilisation that was destroyed in a catastrophic event during the end of the last ice age. This will include findings from his own fieldwork into the recent astonishing archaeological discoveries at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and Ganung Padang in Indonesia, which has forced scientists reconsider
    the age of human culture.
  • The War on Consciousness: An extended version of Hancocks controversial TED talk that was banned, then reinstated after an immense public backlash. Hancock sees the “war on drugs” as more like a war on consciousness and an affront to adult liberty. He reveals a personal account of the transformative power of shamanism, ayahuasca and altered states – a story which Russell Brand went on to publish when he was guest editor of the New Statesman magazine last year.
  • Past research into biblical mysteries and also more recent research into the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in Mexico, including the intriguing hidden story behind the tragic confrontation between Moctezuma and Cortés.

Always captivating, continually surprising and forever pushing the boundaries, Hancock entertains, educates and inspires. His presentations take the audience on a dazzling journey through time, delivering a profound message that invites us to challenge conventional paradigms, whilst offering rigorous evidence of much
more profound mysteries.

More information and tickets are available at the website (or click the image below).

Graham Hancock Australian Tour

Total Death Experiences

The following excerpt is from Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife, which looks into the evidence for the survival of consciousness beyond death. The book is available right now as an eBook download and in paperback format.

Near Death Experience

NDEs and Communication Through Mediums

After days of struggle against the disease that had struck him down, Dr. Horace Ackley could take no more. All of a sudden, he felt himself gradually rising from his body, with the distinct feeling that he had been divided, though the parts retained a tenuous connection of some sort. As the organs within his physical body ceased functioning, the feeling of being divided came to an abrupt halt, and he found himself whole again. Except he now appeared to be in a position slightly above his lifeless physical body, looking down on it and those who had been in the room with him. Then, without warning…

…the scenes of my whole life seemed to move before me like a panorama; every act seemed as though it were drawn in life size and was really present: it was all there, down to the closing scenes. So rapidly did it pass, that I had little time for reflection. I seemed to be in a whirlpool of excitement; and then, just as suddenly as this panorama had been presented, it was withdrawn, and I was left without a thought of the past or future to contemplate my present condition.

Dr. Ackley realized that he must have died, and was gratified to learn that it seemed a rather pleasant experience. “Death is not so bad a thing after all,” he said to himself, “and I should like to see what that country is that I am going to, if I am a spirit.” His only regret, looking down on the whirl of activity in the room, was that he was unable to inform his friends that he lived on, to set their minds and hearts at ease. At this point, two ‘guardian spirits’ appeared before Dr. Ackley, greeting him by name before leading him from the room into an area where a number of ‘spirits’ whom he was familiar with had assembled.

You may well be saying to yourself “ho-hum, another stock-standard near-death experience”. You might guess that Dr. Ackley then woke up in his resuscitated body and told an NDE researcher about his experience. But if you did, you would be wrong. Dr. Horace Ackley truly did die that day, never to return to this life. The report that you read above was an account of his death, allegedly given by him through a spirit medium – one Samuel Paist of Philadelphia. And what makes it truly remarkable is that it was written down by Paist in his book A Narrative of the Experience of Horace Abraham Ackley, M.D., and published in 1861 – more than a century before the near-death experience had come to the attention of researchers and the general public. And yet Paist/Ackley tells of an OBE shortly after death, a “panoramic” life review (the exact word "panoramic" is used, just as in many other NDEs), and being greeted by spirits who subsequently guided him to an afterlife realm!

The after-death narrative of Dr. Horace Ackley is not an isolated instance. More than a decade before the publication of Raymond Moody’s Life After Life – the book that started the modern fascination with near-death experiences – another scientist had already investigated and written at length on the topic. In a pair of relatively obscure books – The Supreme Adventure (1961) and Intimations of Immortality (1965) – Dr. Robert Crookall cited numerous examples

The XXX-Files: Is Area 69, A Brothel Near Area 51, Spying on Government Secrets?

Captain Kirk Does His Thing

Not far up the road from the top secret military base Area 51 (aka 'Groom Lake', 'Dreamland' etc) lies Area 69 - another location with secrets, though of a different kind: it's a brothel. Said to cater to the sci-fi enthusiast, incorporating sex into an array of role-playing settings from famous sci-fi films and TV shows, the house of alien repute is now suspected by some to be targeting other clients - namely, workers from Area 51, in order to pump them (no pun intended) for secret information:

“Because of its close proximity and location, the brothel, gas station and convenience store will see a lot of truck and vehicle traffic from and to ‘the base’ – which official [sic] doesn’t exist. It is conceivable that a femme fatal or spy could work at the brothel and target men thought to work at the base in some capacity. Men get lonely and form relationships sometimes with whores at the brothel. Ply them with drinks and ask leading questions and they could reveal secrets about what they do at the facility at Groomlake…”, says Tony Gibbs of Charlotte, N.C. a private security consultant for high level corporate executives. “Why else would you set up such located out in the middle of nowhere but America’s most secret research facility”, he said.

You can find out more about Area 69 in this 2012 video report from ABC News:

(via @UnlikelyWorlds)

Link: Brothel near top secret base in Nevada poses a serious security concern

News Briefs 22-04-2014

Every time I look at a clock lately it's 1:11, 2:22, 4:44, 11:11…anybody else getting glitches in the Matrix?

Thanks David and Rick.

Quote of the Day:

Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

Morpheus

Snakes Alive, It's a Real-Life Ouroboros!

Ouroboros

The ouroboros is an ancient Greek symbol that many will be familiar with, given its idiosyncratic depiction of a snake (or sometimes a dragon) eating its own tail. The symbol of the self-eating serpent has been found in both Old World and New World cultures, with its earliest known appearance being in a funerary text found in the tomb of Tutankhamun (around 3300 years ago). It can also be found in a number of esoteric texts relating to gnosticism and alchemy. From the Wikipedia entry for ouroborus:

The Ouroboros often symbolize self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things such as the phoenix which operate in cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. While first emerging in Ancient Egypt, the Ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations, where it symbolizes the circular nature of the alchemist's opus. It is also often associated with Gnosticism, and Hermeticism.

Illustration of an ouroboros

A well-known anecdote regarding the ouroboros is the story related by the 19th century German chemist Kekulé, who said that his discovery of the ring shape of the benzene molecule - a major breakthrough in chemistry - was inspired by a day-dream he had of a snake seizing its own tail.

It's not all myths and symbolism though - on a number of occasions snakes have been found eating their own tail. See, for example, this video (worth turning the sound down - not only because of NSFW language, but also some painful 'commentary'). Warning to sensitive viewers/ophidiophobics: it's a snake eating itself:

This Mental Floss article on the topic quotes herpetologist Joseph C. Mitchell as saying an American rat snake was once found dead, "in a tight circle, having swallowed about two thirds of its body."

Link: The Snake That Ate Itself

The Varieties of the UFO Experience

UFO Typology Chart 1967

Next time the Pleiadeans land in your backyard, use this handy chart (created in 1967) to identify their craft type and previous visits.

(via Bruce Sterling)

News Briefs 21-04-2014

Praise be!

Quote of the Day:

There is something out there, beyond the rational mind, beyond the everyday commitments, beyond the cities in the valleys and the cities in our heads, which we need and have needed for much longer than we would care to admit.

Paul Kingsnorth

Life Too Slow to See - Timelapse Footage of Marine Animals

Slow life - timelapse footage of marine animals

Last month, in a post about hummingbird singing slowed down by a factor of eight, I asked whether "our human-based perception of events in time blind us to certain aspects of 'reality'". That principle isn't limited in one direction to things too fast for us to see or hear though - see the stunningly beautiful video below (fullscreen and HD that thing) showing 'slow life', made observable in our natural timeframe only by speeding up timelapse observations:

"Slow" marine animals show their secret life under high magnification. Corals and sponges are very mobile creatures, but their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to ours and requires time lapses to be seen. These animals build coral reefs and play crucial roles in the biosphere, yet we know almost nothing about their daily lives.

...To make this little clip I took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, I used focus stacking. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots where in-focus areas are merged. Just the intro and last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and I spent almost 9 long months just to learn how to make these kinds of videos and understand how to work with these delicate creatures.

Could there be 'slow life' at the extremes, moving on the scale of millennia, all but unobservable to beings like us limited to a century of life?

(Video by Daniel Stoupin - art prints of his photography are available there. Found via Explore)