Yesterday, three women escaped from a house where they say they were held captive for a decade. One of those women was Amanda Berry, whose mother, Louwana Miller, was told by 'psychic' Sylvia Browne in 2004 - a year after her disappearance - that she was dead:
Miller: Can you tell me if they’ll ever find her? Is she out there?
Browne: She’s–see, I hate this when they’re in water. I just hate this. She’s not alive, honey. And I’ll tell you why, here we go again. Your daughter was not the type that would not have called you... I’m sorry they didn’t find the jacket. I’m sorry they didn’t find, because that had DNA on it.
Louwana Miller died in 2006, without having full closure on the case of her missing daughter - though news reports from that time indicate that Sylvia Browne's comments ended her hopes that Amanda might be found alive. "She was never the same" from that point on, said one person that knew her.
This is not the first time that Sylvia Browne has been horribly wrong about a missing person. In 2007 Shawn Hornbeck was found alive, after Browne had previously told his parents that he was dead. In 1999 she told a missing girl's grandmother that she had been kidnapped and put into slavery in Japan, but four years later her body was found in the U.S. - investigators found that she had been killed shortly after her abduction. The list of terrible gaffes goes on.
I'm not an easy person to anger, but this list of cases gets my blood boiling, and here's why: the incorrect calls I could live with, if it was offered privately just as a "I've got a feeling, but I could well be wrong". But to go on TV, and tell these people outright the fate of their children in public - sometimes even rebuking them when they throw doubt on what you're saying - is just wrong on so many levels. Perhaps some readers of this blog are Browne fans; I can't apologise for my opinion. If there's one skill I have, it's being able to pick a person's character very quickly, and Browne has always sent a shiver up my spine (for all the wrong reasons). The growing list of cases where she hurt families with misinformation only confirms my gut feeling.
And if you are someone who thinks there might be something to psychic powers or mediumship, there's a further reason to dislike Browne. Her ineptitude and callous attitude throws the entire field into disrepute, even though there are some indications that 'something' might be going on that is worthy of scientific investigation. While this woman has (somehow!) made a fortune peddling her nonsense, scientific researchers struggle for funds to research aspects of mediumship properly.
There could well be something to mediumship. Heck, Sylvia Browne may even have some minor psychic powers, who knows? But no medium has ever been shown to be right 100% of the time, and so anything that comes from them should always be taken with a grain of salt. Certainly not told flatly to the parents of missing children on popular TV shows. Browne's track record now offers ample evidence that if she has any psychic talents, they are buried deep and rarely show themselves amongst a farrago of incorrect and harmful statements.
Stop Sylvia Browne. Don't buy her books, watch any TV shows she is on, or reward her in any way for what she does. Enough is enough.
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Ray Harryhausen, a pioneer in the use of stop-motion animation effects in movies, has passed away aged 93. Harryhausen inspired many (most?) of today's filmmakers in the fantasy and sci-fi genres with his work, including James Cameron, Peter Jackson, and Steven Spielberg - a formidable legacy indeed.
For anyone that has tried their hand at stop-motion animation, even using modern tools, the fluidity and naturalness of his work invokes the greatest respect. The clip at the top of this post features all the creatures and effects he contributed over the years, from mythical warriors to UFOs crashing into the Capitol. Good fun!
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Thanks to the mighty Tool, and the esteemed Blair MacKenzie Blake, for a music treat last night…
- Oldest Mayan Sun observatory hints at origin of civilisation.
- Stunning astronomical alignment found at Peruvian pyramid.
- European and Asian languages emerged from a single mother tongue just 15,000 years ago.
- Bizarre 6-inch long 'alien' skeleton shown to be human.
- Something noisy this way comes: after seventeen years, hundreds of millions of cicadas are about to emerge from beneath the soil.
- The apocalyptic 'colony collapse disorder' of honeybees has happened before - 18 times in the last 150 years.
- 'Magic mushrooms' could transform cancer treatment.
- Has the internet killed the Loch Ness monster? One blogger says…no!
- Iran cracks down on Sufi mystics.
- Lost Egyptian city revealed after 1200 years under the sea.
- The visionary notes of rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard.
- Meet the thousands of people ready to die on Mars.
- The mystery of John Titor: Hoax or time-traveler?
- Government lab reveals it has been running a quantum internet for over two years.
- It has begun: bizarre 'organism' appears after lightning strike, while weird 'bubble creatures' invade nature preserve during full moon.
- After a decade missing, three women escape from their alleged captor. Surprise, surprise, 'psychic' Sylvia Browne was wrong, telling one girl's mother that she was dead.
- Your fragmented self, reconstructed: artist collects DNA from discarded objects, and uses it to create 3D portraits.
Quote of the Day:
I have never experienced another human being. I have experienced my impressions of them.
Robert Anton Wilson
This article is excerpted from Darklore Volume 7, which is now available for sale from Amazon US and Amazon UK (collectors/investors: a Limited Edition hardcover is also available). The Darklore anthology series features the best writing and research on paranormal, Fortean and hidden history topics, by the most respected names in the field: Robert Schoch, Nick Redfern, Loren Coleman, Robert Bauval and Daniel Pinchbeck, to name just a few. Darklore's aim is to support quality researchers, so it makes sense to support Darklore. For more information on the series (including more free sample articles), visit the Darklore website.
From Operation Mindf**k to The White Room
The Strange Discordian Journey of the KLF
by J.M.R. Higgs
In the 1980s, pop stars made movies. Prince, Madonna and the Pet Shop Boys all went in front of the cameras. The KLF made a film as well, but they went about it in a very different manner. Theirs was never released, or even properly finished, and they made it before they had a string of hit singles rather than afterwards. It was called The White Room.
The White Room is a very different beast to Purple Rain or Desperately Seeking Susan. It’s a dialogue-free ambient road movie just under an hour in length, for a start. The band had experimented with ambient film before, shooting an experimental movie called Waiting on VHS on the Isle of Jura the previous year. The White Room, however, had been shot with a professional crew and cost around £250,000, money they had earned from a Doctor Who-themed novelty record they had released under the name The Timelords.
The film starts at a rave in the basement of a South London squat known as Transcentral. Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, the duo behind The KLF, leave the party and get into a 1968 Ford Galaxie American police car. In the back sits a solicitor, played by their own solicitor David Franks. He hands them a contract, which the pair sign without reading. Franks exits and Drummond and Cauty drive off.
Pretty much most of the rest of the film is them driving.
First, they drive around London at night. Then, they drive around the Sierra Nevada region of Spain. This goes on for some time. Not much happens, although they do find a dead eagle, and at one point they stop for petrol.
Eventually the pair stop and build a camp fire, an event which occurs twice in the film. At each point, the solicitor is seen in the smoke from the fire, studying the contract – a distinctly Faustian image. The solicitor discovers something in one of the contract’s clauses, and writes ‘Liberation Loophole!’ on the contract.
Events in the film now gain more momentum. Drummond is seen throwing the contract into the air, obviously delighted. He has, by this point, changed into a pair of plus-fours and is dressed not unlike an Edwardian mountaineer. Cauty then paints the car white and they drive, past a burning bush, up into the snow-peaked mountains. When the car gets stuck in the snow they abandon it and continue up on foot. Cauty has not joined Drummond in sporting the Edwardian mountaineer look, instead wearing a more sensible white parka. Eventually they reach the summit, where they find a large white building with a radio telescope. They go in.
They find themselves in a white, smoke-filled void – the White Room. They find a pair of fake moustaches on a pedestal, and put them on. Then they find the solicitor, sitting at a white table. He shows them the clause he has found in the contract. They nod. The pair then walk away, dissolving into the smoke and vanishing into the void. The End.
It was, all in all, an odd way to spend £250,000. The story of why it was made, however, is far stranger.
The Most Influential Photocopier in History?
In the mid-1960s a photocopier was state of the art technology, and having access to one was something of a privilege. The act of using an office photocopier after hours for personal projects, without the boss knowing, was therefore a far riskier and more rebellious act than it is today. This was certainly the case for Lane Caplinger, a secretary for New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.
In 1991 Garrison was portrayed by Kevin Costner in Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, a film based on Garrison’s book On The Trail Of The Assassins. But this was 1965, a year before he became involved in Kennedy conspiracies and two years before the Summer of Love thrust hippies, psychedelic drugs and alternative lifestyles in front of an unprepared public. Things had not yet begun to ‘get weird’, in other words, and for a respected public figure like Garrison, there was little to indicate what surprises the future had in store. He would have been quite unprepared, then, for ... Read More »
- Archaeologists uncover hundreds of mysterious orbs buried deep beneath an ancient pyramid in Mexico City.
- Babylon's hanging garden: ancient scripts give clue to missing wonder.
- The odd things very young children sometimes say.
- Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo.
- Your body doesn't want to be an interface.
- The sights, smells, and sprays of 'Iron Man 3' in 4DX.
- Nuclear fusion rocket could allow travel to Mars in 30 days.
- Forget butterfly wings: Breaking ocean waves contribute most of their energy to the air, contrary to experts' previous belief.
- Lightning may be triggered by cosmic-ray particles.
- Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government? A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims on CNN that this is the case.
- Do you want the government buying your data from corporations?
- Better living through chemistry: Toxic stew has made every American a guinea pig and has turned the US into one grand unnatural experiment.
- Students can’t resist media multitasking while learning, and it’s impairing their memory.
- Gross National Product: Two new books look at how we turn food into poop — and what happens to it afterward.
Quote of the Day:
We are transforming a wonderful, complex planet into piles of shit.
More cosmic weirdness:
- 82,000-manuscript collection Vatican Library goes online.
- Filming of 'Fishing with David Lynch' interrupted by 'sea monster'.
- The Oatmeal's campaign to buy Tesla's old lab for a museum succeeds.
- We are avatars: our online psyches are leaking into meatspace.
- Was the UFO that nearly hit an airliner above Glasgow a remote-control flying shark?
- Rupert Sheldrake on potential positive outcomes of the TED fiasco.
- Two free chapters of Graham Hancock's new novel 'War God'.
- 3D-printed bionic ear made of cells and nanoparticles detects radio frequencies beyond human hearing range.
- Scientists make transistor out of DNA and RNA. Next step - a transistor radio for the bionic ear to listen to.
- Our solar system is a cosmic weirdo. As above, so below.
- Giant rubber duck draws attention to the global bathtub.
- First Tunguska meteorite fragments discovered.
- Disappointingly, déjà vu not a glitch in the matrix.
- An exerpt from The New Science of Psychedelics (Amazon US/UK) by David Jay Brown.
- Do blind people believe in ghosts?
- BoA Audio returns with a discussion of Michael Bott's new book (Amazon US/UK) on subterranean mysteries.
- From Baltimore to Venus - in 1928.
- Scale the universe with a scroll bar.
- Shroom Trip Opera.
Quote of the Day:
Our eyes are the eyes of the earth; our knowledge is the earth's knowledge.
In this short video excerpt, Robert Anton Wilson holds forth on belief systems. Another nice piece of 'kinetic typography' using the words of a wonderful thinker (although I think it's supposed to be 'Rajneesh', rather than 'Roger Neich').
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The Daily Grail: Where all materialistic assumptions come to die.
- Citizen Hearing on Disclosure: Despite the fact it's likely a futile pursuit, Lee Spiegel is doing a yeoman's work covering the proceedings.
- US media: Come for the credible testimonies, stay for the highlight of woo.
- YESSS! Radio Misterioso is back: now it's time for Brent Raynes, head of the long-running magazine Alternate Perceptions.
- On to the 2nd cup of java? time to f#$k up with your eyes then, courtesy of New Scientist.
- Is Arthur C. Clarke's 3rd law flawed? --Do have a look on my comment thread, that guy (or gal) mxyzptlk is one smart cookie!
- Fusion is coming --at a #$%&ing snail pace, but it's coming.
- Time Crystals: not as interesting as Time Lords, but they could nonetheless upend the laws of physics.
- DIY God helmet.
- Tiniest. Animation. Ever!
- A monster in lough Foyle --& a MIB too!
- With Bigfoot there's weird, and there's beyond weird.
- From Paul to Patty: Seth Rogen producing a Bigfoot animated comedy.
- The aquatic ape theory: still hanging there after 50 years --Me? I'd rather explore the stoned ape theory...
- Catfish, beer & scorpions: The origins of Egypt.
- Good ole American traditions: 4th of July, apple pie & cannibalism.
- Red Pill of the Day: I <3 <3 <3 my madre, but this is freaking awesome!
Gracias, Ricardito! ojalá se te haya quitado lo huevón ;)
(thanks to Susan too)
Quote of the Day:
“To me, all creativity is magic. Ideas start out in the empty void of your head - and they end up as a material thing, like a book you can hold in your hand. That is the magical process. It's an alchemical thing. Yes, we do get the gold out of it but that's not the most important thing. It's the work itself.”
~ Alan Moore
Dan Piraro nails it. See more of his stuff at BizarroComics.com.
What sort of view did the ancient aliens have, as they flew back to Nibiru, of the magnificent structures they built?* Check out this nice little gallery of ancient structures as seen from space. If you want to use Google Earth to fly around a bit in each location, check out the latitude/longitude information I posted a fair while back in this Google Earth tour.
Above: Angkor Wat from space.
Below: Angkor Wat from not quite so far above the ground.
* Look, I'm not saying it was aliens. But...