The Enduring Mystery of the Naga Fireballs

Naga Fireballs

Dragon fire, swamp gas, earth lights or human hoaxing? The Naga fireballs - mysterious lights that rise from the Mekong river in Thailand in late October each year - remain a hotly debated area of Forteana. Unfortunately, the actual history of the phenomenon remains shrouded in doubt, and the huge festival (and accompanying fireworks) that surrounds the yearly manifestation of the fireballs makes it difficult to study it in any great detail.

Australian ufologist Bill Chalker attended the Naga Fireball festival in 2006, and on his blog he's recently posted some of his thoughts as well as some videos he took during his visit:

I went to Nong Khai and Phon Phisai where the spectacular Naga light fireball festival was in full swing on the Mekong river looking towards Laos. I was in Phon Phisai on Saturday night October 7 for the anticipated fireball display. The human part of the light show - fireworks, rockets, large fire balloons, fireboats etc - was in great evidence, but when the Naga fireballs started emerging, they were strikingly different to the easily discernible human displays - very straight vertical flights out of river to a great height and then disappearing after a few seconds. Each appearance was greeted with a huge roar from the thousands of people lining the river at every vantage point along the Mekong.

This phenomenon has a tremendous social and human dimension and while it is tempting to try to explain the lights, however correctly or incorrectly- planted "rockets", "submarine" firings, Naga Dragon speaking - they all seem to fall short of entirely convincing explanations. The UFO researcher in me calls for an explanation, and I have to wonder about the presence of the manned fireboats plying the river prior to the appearance of the Naga lights, but from my observations it seems difficult to see how they do it and what kind of item is utilised, given nothing seemed to be at the localities around the various exit points in the river for some time either side of each Naga light appearance. The emotional response to these lights on site is to inevitably get caught up in the chaotic flow of the evening events. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and loose objectivity. Perhaps thats why they write books like "Mad about the Mekong". It is a great area full of extraordinary sights and experience, not the least of them being the Naga Light show during the full moon glow over the river.

I saw the lights about 8 times coming out of the river. It was a great day and night.

Visit Bill's blog The Oz Files to view all of the videos and his thoughts on the phenomenon.

Link: The Mystery and Allure of the Naga Light Festival

News Briefs 23-01-2015

"Every experiment destroys some of the knowledge of the system which was obtained by previous experiments."

Quote of the Day:

“Light and matter are both single entities, and the apparent duality arises in the limitations of our language.”

W. Heisenberg

News Briefs 22-01-2015

If you think you know what the hell is going on...

Thanks to @MattStaggs, @elakdawalla and @UnlikelyWorlds.

Quote of the Day:

The things you own end up owning you.

Tyler Durden (Fight Club)

Kickstarter: Crop Circle Towels

Crop circle towel

Well this was an idea waiting to happen: crop circle towels!

Crop circles have immortalized their place in history as sometimes unexplained and curious wonders. Since the 17th century, thousands of crop circles have appeared around the world.

Whether the media-hungry farmer or a media-shy extraterrestrial are responsible for these giant works of art, you can own your own mysterious Crop Circle Towel. Unlike the cornfields, the crop circles will not disappear with the season!

And here's the Kickstarter video promo:

Link: Crop Circle Towel Kickstarter

Dream Sex

Dream Demoness

Erotic Encounters in the Borderlands of Consciousness

by Ryan Hurd

In October 2012, the pop star Kesha claimed she once had sex with a spirit. Her report was conveniently announced along with the promotion of her new song, Supernatural, which happened to coincide with the weeks before Halloween and was quickly dismissed as a headline-attracting media trick. But there may be something to her claim, as her account is very much in line with the experience of millions of contemporary dreamers. Kesha’s amorous ghost is probably a subset of the incubus encounter, a nocturnal meeting with an otherworldly creature that sits on your chest or otherwise gets all up in your business while you lay in bed. The entity can take the shape of known mythological figures, ghosts, demons, or weird human-animal hybrids. Often, the encounter is fearful, and is described as supernatural assault. Part of the assault has to do with the fact that sometimes feelings of paralysis (and victimhood) are felt when sleep paralysis mingles with the vision. But for others it’s pleasurable, resulting in orgasm and bliss. We live in a time that tries to ignore the visionary moments of life, yet the experiences keep happening anyway.

The realistic encounter with nonhuman—or supernatural—entities has been recorded as early as Babylonian times. Some sexual imp traditions include the Sumerian sex demon Lilith and the ancient Greek god Pan. More often than not, these encounters were interpreted as demonic possession. But not always. For example, the Greek dream interpreter Artemidorus wrote that a sexual Pan encounter “foretells a great profit,” especially if he “does not weigh a person down,” referring to the more common paralysis sensations.1

In modern populations, a significant minority has erotically-charged hypnagogic experiences despite the lack of cultural prompting. Those who feel safe enough to “go with the flow” and not fight the ecstasy are sometimes rewarded with bliss. Physiologically, this shouldn’t be too surprising, as REM sleep is a sexually-active brain state. It’s quite common for both men and women to have multiple periods of genital engorgement during the night—usually these are not remembered, but clearly visible when men wake up tenting the sheet.

By way of example, one young woman wrote to me, “When I was younger I used to get paralyzed in my sleep and I use to think that the devil was coming in me. It made me scared. Now I’m 28 and started feeling like I was having the best sex. . . . I had no clue this happened to other people.” She went on to describe how she has had visitations since she was a child, and they were not always welcome. “Now that I am older and it’s been happening for so long…I always climax…I really want him there with me.2

Other nocturnal encounters mix pleasure and horror in a bizarre way. A reader of my blog Dream Studies Portal who goes by Nox Influx sent me the following narrative that mixes hypnogogia with sleep paralysis:

I was [sleeping and] lying on my stomach, on top of this beautiful woman, having sex, she was saying things, and the sex got more intense, at the point near orgasm I awoke to sleep paralysis, and I hallucinated me on top of a white skinned, blue-lipped dead body. It stayed a few seconds while I couldn’t move and then vanished when movement returned. It sounds negative, but I found it to be exciting in an odd way.3

So how does the positive incubus encounter take place, even when the dreamer does not have a previous understanding that these things are even possible? Taboo is a big part of visionary consciousness, but cultural influence is not the only influence. In my opinion, the cross-cultural nature of sexual incubi points toward a neurobiological constant, an ancestral legacy.4 David Hufford suggests that not only are extraordinary events normal, but “better knowledge of each [event] strengthens that belief rather than weakening it (e.g., learning that others have had virtually the same experience; information regarding possible physiological triggers is irrelevant to the assessment of the reality of the experience).”5 It’s simply a natural part of being human, but of course like all visionary experiences they can reflect our health and dis-ease as well as our relationship to the unknowable.

Case Study: Lucy Liu's Visitation

Kesha is not the first celebrity to announce supernatural hanky-panky. In 1999, actress Lucy Liu admitted in an interview with US Weekly that she had had sex with a heavenly figure. She was lying down on the couch for a nap, and felt an unknown presence on top of her. What followed was a pleasurable spell of lovemaking. “It was sheer bliss. I felt ... Read More »

News Briefs 21-01-2015

Remember, the mystery of consciousness is all in your head folks...

Quote of the Day:

I'm a reasonable guy. I've just experienced some very unreasonable things

Jack Burton, in Big Trouble in Little China

Love Letters to Richard Dawkins

There's plenty I don't agree with Richard Dawkins on, but I've never felt moved to write him an abusive email. Plenty of others have though - and when you combine nasty insults and threats written by self-proclaimed 'religious' people with Dawkins's clean, crisp English accent, the result is rather hilarious. (NSFW language warning)

News Briefs 20-01-2015

Welcome to the prison library.

Quote of the Day:

When I worked in the prison library, I learnt that the books someone read said everything about them I'd need to know.

Ken London (via @cultauthor)

News Briefs 19-01-2015

Happy 82nd birthday (for yesterday) to the late, great, Saint Bob...

Thanks @drjohnwardkt.

Quote of the Day:

It's important to abolish the unconscious dogmatism that makes people think their way of looking at reality is the only sane way of viewing the world. My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything.

Robert Anton Wilson