News Briefs 08-02-2016

Blue moon...

Quote of the Day:

From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that, you son of a bitch".

Edgar Mitchell

The Sleeping Girl of Turville: A Real Life Sleeping Beauty

Disney's Sleeping Beauty

It happened in 1871 in a small village named Turville, located in Buckinghamshire, UK.  At a mere 11 years old, Ellen Sadler passed into a deep sleep and didn’t wake for nine years.  But, alas, there was no prince charming to bring this sleeping beauty out of it.

Ellen was a typical little girl, born to a large family of 12 children.  The Sadler’s were impoverished farmers, and at age eleven, Ellen was sent to work as a nursemaid, but soon after, she started experiencing bouts of drowsiness and eventually took to seizures.  She was hospitalised for a brief time, but sent home when she was declared incurable.

Two days after her release from hospital, on March 17, 1871, she suffered a series of gran-mal seizures and fell into a deep sleep from which she could not be roused.  Her mother, Anne Frewen – widowed by the death of her husband, Ellen’s father, when Ellen was a toddler – called for local doctor Henry Hayman, who was at a loss to explain the little girl’s condition.

As the days and weeks went by, with Ellen asleep in a seizure-induced fetal position, word of her plight reached the press and the Sadler home (now known as “Sleepy Cottage”) became a veritable tourist attraction for medical practitioners, reporters, and curiosity seekers alike.  Many descriptions of the girl’s condition exist, due in part to the 19th century media circus; such as this from Bucks Free Press[1]:

“Her breathing was regular and natural, the skin soft and the body warm, as in a healthy subject; the pulse rather fast. The hands were small and thin, but the fingers quite flexible; the body somewhat emaciated; the feet and legs like those of a dead child, almost ice cold ... the aspect of her features was pleasant, more so than might be expected under the circumstances ... her eyes and cheeks were sunken, and the appearance was that of death ... but although there was no colour on her cheeks, the paleness was not that heavy hue which betokens death.”

No official diagnosis was ever achieved, doctors at the time were stymied, and talk of a hoax was floated about the small community.  This was supported, apparently, by the fact that Anne – who remarried to Thomas Frewen – was accepting monetary donations from those who wished to view the little girl in her deep slumber.  Anne was also criticised for limiting medical professional’s access to Ellen for fear that their poking and prodding was detrimental to her daughter’s health, such as it was.

Of course, when one falls into prolonged unconsciousness, several logistical issues begin to crop up.  Such as feeding; Anne undertook to sustain Ellen by feeding her port, milk, and tea, and when Ellen’s jaw eventually locked shut, Anne was forced into using small toy teapots, the spouts of which were inserted between two broken teeth, to feed her gruel and other liquid foods.  (It isn’t known whether her teeth were already broken, which is possible and even likely, given the era, or if they were damaged in this effort.)

Onlookers soon began to cry foul though, and drew parallels between Ellen’s case and the case of Sarah Jacobs; a girl from Wales who allegedly was able to survive without nourishment due to divine intervention.  Jacobs died of starvation in 1869 and her parents were charged and convicted of manslaughter.  Some insisted that authorities step in and move Ellen to a hospital, most thinking that her condition could be confirmed and successfully treated, but it was decided that there were no legal grounds for removing the girl from her home.

Anne Frewen died in May 1880, leaving her sleeping daughter to be cared for by her two married sisters.  But five months later Ellen mysteriously awoke and was fully recovered by November of the same year.  This miracle recovery further fuelled the skeptics, who claimed that Anne had either been hoaxing the entire illness or that she was suffering from Münchausen Syndrome and had deliberately exaggerated and exacerbated Ellen’s condition – possibly with poison – which obviously ended when Anne passed away, leaving Ellen the opportunity to recover.

Ellen went on to marry the son of a nearby neighbour and had five children of her own.  She never experienced the symptoms of her earlier illness again, and suffered only slightly stunted growth and a weak eye from her extended slumber.  As mentioned, no diagnosis had ever been made, and considering the state of medical knowledge at the time, it’s no wonder.  A modern diagnosis might be extreme narcolepsy, or possibly coma induced by epilepsy, but the lack of a thorough examination of her condition by qualified medical practitioners, means the true cause will never be known.  And of course, the possibility that the whole thing was hoaxed will never go away.

Many of us view sleep as a sanctuary, a place of comfort and something to look forward to every evening, but what if you went into a deep sleep and for whatever reason, slept away the better part of a decade?  In Ellen’s case, the missing time would be much less of a shock, culturally and technologically, but imagine if you will, that this case had taken place in the modern era.  The pace at which technology and culture changed between, say, 1970 and 1980 would have served to transport a girl like Ellen Sadler forward through time, and into a world scarcely recognisable to her eyes.  Still yet, imagine the extreme culture shock that those who recover from long-term coma would go through upon realising the drastic changes that have taken place in the world around them, while they slept-away the years.

This world would be an alien and confusing place for someone who’s been asleep for nine-plus years, for as Arthur C. Clark said, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”


[1] Gurney, Rebecca J (2006). "The Sleeping Girl of Turville". Origins (Buckinghamshire Family History Society).

 

Another Starman Sails Away: Vale Dr. Edgar Mitchell

Last year, after attending the infamous Be-Witness presentation, some of my friends invited me to their podcasts so I could share my impressions about the farcical event organized by Jaime Maussan. They were particularly interested in learning about the reaction of the audience after the ad-nauseamly discussed Roswell slide was revealed --were they disappointed or outraged?

I know I did end up disappointed. Not because of the alleged proof presented by the Roswell 'Dream Team' and Maussan, though --since I was already prepared to take it with deer lick of salt-- but because at the last minute, Maussan announced one of his guest stars for the event hadn't been able to make it: Dr. Edgar Mitchell; the 6th man to walk on the Moon, who because of his deteriorated health, was forced to follow the advice of his doctors and decided to cancel his trip to Mexico city. Of all the UFO celebrities Maussan had invited to join him at the National Auditorium that night, Dr. Mitchell was the *only* one I was genuinely looking forward to seeing onstage when I paid for my ticket.

Sadly, now I'll never have that chance again. Dr. Mitchell's family has just recently announced he passed away last night at around 10 pm, at a local hospice; just one day away of celebrating the 45th anniversary of Apollo 14th's lunar landing. He was 85 years old.

Of the 12 Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon, only 7 now remain alive --Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean,David Scott, John W. Young, Charles Duke, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt. They won't be around for much longer, and I fear a long time may pass before we replenish our batch of explorers, who have actually set foot outside of our world.

When we choose to remain still, we do a disservice to the memory of these men.

Predicting the future is a risky game, because more than likely you'll end up making a fool out of yourself in the face of unborn generations; nevertheless, I dare to guess that in the future the name of Edgar Mitchell will actually be most remembered, not for his involvement in the early stages of space colonization; and not even for his somewhat-questionable activism in support of the UFO reality and the push toward Disclosure. No, I think our descendants will still remember his name because of his support on the exploration of the mysteries of Consciousness, through his founding of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which I suspect will have a pivotal role to play in our transition toward a new reality paradigm. It is then when Mitchell's name will stand tallest from the rest of his astronaut brothers, and will be regarded as a Magellan who charted the course to a better future for humanity; a future he managed to feetingly glimpse on his return to the Moon, when he experienced a feeling of 'Unity' with the entire universe:

Safe travels, Dr. Mitchell. And thank you.

Edgar Mitchell Apollo astronaut earth overview effect politicians politics

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News Briefs 05-02-2016

"Sunshine cannot bleach the snow,Nor time unmake what poets know."

Quote of the Day:

“Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment.”

R.W. Emerson

Teleportation: From Ancient Myth to Modern Science

Being a die-hard fan of Star Trek, I basically grew up accepting the idea that people could be beamed from one location to the next.  They made it look so easy; you just stepped onto the lighted pad while some guy in a red (or yellow) shirt hit a few icons on his control board and after a few wibbly lines and sparkles, away you went.  They were never really clear on exactly how it worked or how far they could send you, but it must have been anywhere from a few hundred thousand miles to a million.  What a way to travel!

Of course, that’s a TV show.  A particularly good TV show in my opinion, but a fictional construct nonetheless.  Mr. Roddenberry was faced with a conundrum when he created a show based on interstellar travel, including visits to all manner of alien worlds.  How do we get our characters from the ship to the surface without endless voyages in shuttlecraft or what have you?  Easy, we invent a machine that magically transports them in an instant!  But did Roddenberry really invent the idea?

Well, no, he didn’t.

The idea that a person or thing can be magically transported from one location to another is actually quite an old one.  It has shamanistic origins, and there are accounts, arguably, in the Bible, but it likely predates the Biblical period.  Those Biblical accounts, Ezekiel 11:1, and in the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den from the Hebrew Bible, tell of the mystical phenomenon of bilocation, where a person is observed in two places at once, often impossibly far apart.  This idea is also found in Vedic traditions, Buddhism and many other spiritual customs.  The story from the Holy Quran, of the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, is sometimes thought of as another example.

The idea has a few names too: bilocation (also given as bi-location), apportation (or to apport), teletransportation, or more commonly, teleportation.  These terms all have slightly different meanings, but all refer to the same phenomenon.  The term teleportation was first coined by the inimitable father of paranormal research, Mr. Charles Fort in 1931, in his second non-fiction book titled Lo!.[1]  In it he described various events and happenings revolving around the idea and presented his thesis that, by way of a “cosmic joker”, certain objects and people could be transported over great distances by unknown means.  Fort connected many disparate phenomenon with teleportation, from telekinetic apportation, which is associated with spiritualistic séances and mediums, to missing persons cases and even weird rain (strange items and/or animals falling like rain, often from clear skies).

"Mostly in this book I shall specialize upon indications that there exists a transportory force that I shall call Teleportation."

But as mentioned, the idea long predates Fort and the spiritualism movement of the late 19th century.  The problem, as with any Fortean subject, is that the older the account, the less credible the source.  There are many stories from almost every culture that feature an event resembling Fort’s idea of teleportation, but it’s exceedingly difficult to pin down details, and thus we are forced to look at them as apocryphal myths.   Of course, the more modern accounts don’t really offer that much reliable information either.

Apportation gets a bad rap, resulting from the questionable methods of mid to late 19th century and early 20th century mediums and spiritualists, who used sleight of hand and outright trickery to dupe sitters into believing objects, such as flowers, stones, perfumes, and small animals, were either spontaneously disappearing or appearing (or both) during a séance.  Almost every account from this period has either been debunked or is considered to have been hoaxed, but there are a few worth mentioning.

The amazing story of the Pansini Brothers is one such account.

The Pansini Brothers, the sons of Signor Mauro Pansini, an Italian building contractor, were considered to be “mediumistic children”.  Following what was said to have been poltergeist activity in the family’s older home in 1904 and ongoing accounts of the older son speaking in tongues, the boys, Alfredo (10) and Paulo (8), we mysteriously transported a distance of ten to fifteen miles from the home in mere minutes.  Apparently there were multiple teleport events involving both boys, and on one occasion, in the presence of a bishop Bitonto, the boys vanished from the room as their mother and the bishop discussed means for ending this “obsession”.[2]

Despite fairly close scrutiny by Italian scientists at the time, no explanation was ever found for the events.

Another notable account of teleportation is that of Damodar Ketkar of Poona, India.  Ketkar, described as a young child in the grips of a “poltergeist persecution”, suffered a teleportation event on April 23, 1928.  According to a letter written by the boy’s British Governess, Miss H. Kohn, Damodar materialised in front of her and said to her “I have just come from Karjat!” (Which is approximately 63 miles from Poona)

Kohn noted, with some enthusiasm, that the boy’s posture upon materialising was “…of a person who has been gripped round the waist and carried, and therefore makes no effort but is gently dropped at his destination.”[3]  He apparently suffered no ill effects from the experience.

This case is unique and particularly interesting, as it’s the only known case of a person’s teleportation arrival being witnessed independently.  As with the others though, this tale stands, and will remain, uncorroborated.

Of course, anyone who stays abreast of modern technological advancements, is aware that scientists are working on making the Star Trek transporter a reality.  This research is in the realm of quantum physics, and it involves what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”, otherwise known as quantum entanglement.  A certain level of success has been achieved in the field of quantum teleportation, but we’re still far from zipping through space, from planet to planet, for various complicated reasons.

It is reasonable to think, though, that in time our greatest scientific minds will master the science and bring us something like a sci-fi transporter, but as Eric W. Davis concluded in his 2004 special report to the US Air Force Research Laboratory on teleportation physics:

“At present, none of the theoretical concepts explored…have been brought to a level of technical maturity, where it becomes meaningful…”[4]


[1] Charles Fort. Lo!. Claud Kendall (Publisher) 1931 New York [Online annotated version]: http://www.resologist.net/loei.htm

[2] Lapponi, Joseph. Hypnotism and Spiritualism. New York: Long-Mans, Green and Co. 1907

[3] Price, Harry. An Indian Poltergeist with Miss H. Kohn. Psychic Research (New York) March 1930

[4] Davis, Eric. W. Teleportation Physics Report. Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Materiel Command – August 2004 AFRL-PR-ED-TR-2003-0034 http://www.rense.com/1.imagesG/teleport.pdf

 

News Briefs 04-02-2016

Defying sensibility, one link at a time.

Love and waffles to Kat, Red Pill Junkie, and David Metcalfe for some of the links!

Quote of the Day:

"We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest."
- Buckminster Fuller

News Briefs 03-02-2016

Likely stories:

Quote of the Day:

Needless to say, urgings by ravens are ignored at one's peril.

James D. Doss

Kickstarter: The Secret Drugs of Buddhism

I've long been fascinated with shamanism and the use of psychedelics throughout history, and am honoured to be the publisher of Paul Devereux's classic The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia (Amazon US or Amazon UK). So a few years ago I was intrigued by a book, published on-line, titled Secret Drugs of Buddhism.

Written by long-time researcher Mike Crowley, the book offered some brilliant observations on the crossovers between certain aspects of Buddhism and the use of psychedelics. And now, after continued interest from many readers, Mike has created a Kickstarter in order to do a print run of an actual book version. With a foreword by Ann Shulgin, Secret Drugs of Buddhism...

...represents over four decades of research by Buddhist scholar Mike Crowley into the use of psychoactive sacraments in the religions of India.

Beginning with prehistoric cultures of central Asia, the book considers drug use from prehistoric central Asia, through the Indus Valley civilization and then Vedic ritual to medieval Indian Buddhism and, eventually Tibet.

The author points out that some mythic elements (e.g. Shiva's blue throat) rely on simple (Sanskrit) word-play to conceal allusions to psychoactive plants. Some of this research has already been aired in learned journals (e.g. Time & Mind) but the book treats the subject in far more detail.

If you're at all interested in the shamanism and the secret traditions of ancient cultures, I highly recommend chipping in to this Kickstarter as the book is wonderful.

Link: Secret Drugs of Buddhism, a book

News Briefs 02-02-2016

Looking for some good reading? Look no further...

Quote of the Day:

It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary. War is obsolete. it is a matter of converting the high technology of weaponry to livingry.

R. Buckminster Fuller