The Psychic and the Missing Girl

Paranormal Review tells the curious tale of how psychic Joe Power seems to have offered clues as to the abductor of a British girl. The case is very interesting because of the specific nature of some of Power's insights, and that he told them to a newspaper reporter before the girl was found (alive). It would be good to have a little more information, such as whether the abductor was a known suspect, whether he received 'helpful' feedback from the mother, and direct confirmation from the newspaper reporter concerned about Joe Power's predictions. However, it does conform to one of the more bizarre traits of mediumship...lots of obtuse, or completely wrong, information, embedded with some amazingly specific hits. I look forward to seeing some follow-up on this, to either confirm or debunk the story.

Treasure Controversy Continues

The intrigue continues in the case of the $500 million underwater treasure: a U.S. judge has ruled that the location of the find will be kept secret for now. Sensible enough it would seem;

The judge ruled that although artifact summaries and pictures are not confidential, "in the interest of protecting the site, other information including the preliminary site assessments, the site plans, the photographs of the sea bed and the photomosaics should remain confidential at this time."

What makes the decision crucial though is the case presented by the Spanish government - they claim that if the treasure was on a Spanish ship, or was found in Spanish waters, then they hold the rights to the treasure.

This has the makings of a huge case. Half a billion dollars worth at stake - not to mention the lives and careers of the treasure hunters, as Spain has considered charging them with stealing of Spanish heritage objects.

News Briefs 21-03-2008

My God... it’s full of stars…

Quote of the Day:

You are incubating your soul, not living a heroic adventure. Care rather than cure. Organize your life to support the process. Arrange your life accordingly. Tone it down. Get what comforts you can, but don't move against the process. Concentrate, reflect, think, and talk about your situation seriously with trusted friends.

Thomas Moore

Death Defying Acts

I'm looking forward to seeing the movie Death Defying Acts, starring Guy Pearce as the legendary Harry Houdini and Catherine Zeta-Jones as a fraudulent psychic. Despite the film not getting overly enthusiastic previews, I'm really interested to see how they treat Houdini's interaction with the spiritualist scene, and how much historical information is included. The movie outline reads...

It is 1926, and Harry Houdini is the most famous performer in the world. Audiences flock to watch him perform his amazing stunts. But the man behind the legend is a tortured soul, having been unable to hear his mother’s dying words. He offers a $10,000 reward to anyone who can contact his mother from beyond the grave. When a beautiful but deceptive psychic, Mary McGregor, and her sidekick daughter, Benji, take the challenge, Harry is initially skeptical, but is soon captivated by her charms. The more time he spends with the mysterious woman, the more attracted he is, and what began as a con soon evolves into a passionate and complicated love affair, as Houdini attempts the most dangerous stunt of his career.

That description might be enough to get James 'The Amazing' Randi foaming at the mouth, considering how he holds Houdini as somewhat of a hero-figure - a magician who turned his talents to exposing bogus spiritualist mediums. But perhaps the outline is a little misleading, and Pearce's Houdini will in fact be the harsh skeptic that Houdini was in life. It will also be interesting to see how this romance between Houdini and the psychic is managed, considering that in real life Houdini was married for 33 years to his wife Beatrice (Bess), right up until his death.

During the 1920s, Houdini became perhaps the most well-known debunker of psychic claims (despite this, he had a rather peculiar friendship with Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an avowed believer in Spiritualism). One of the more notable cases he investigated was the physical mediumship of 'Margery' (real name: Mina Crandon), as part of a Scientific American investigating team which offered $2500 for proof of psychic abilities - and this story itself is worthy of a movie.

News Briefs 20-03-2008

The news will get you so excited, that by the end of it you might start sweating blood!

Quote of the Day:

"I hope that we have learned something from the most barbaric century in history -- the twentieth. I would like to see us overcome our tribal factions, and begin to think and act as if we were one family. That would be real globalization."

Arthur C. Clarke

News Briefs 19-03-2008

It's Wednesday already?

Quote of the Day:

There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.

Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke Passes Away

Science fiction author and future visionary Sir Arthur C. Clarke has passed away aged 90. The man behind 2001: A Space Odyssey had quite a prescient mind when it came to picturing how the future would look - this is a huge (though hardly unexpected) loss:

George Whitesides, the executive director of the National Space Society, on which Clarke served on the board of governors, paid tribute to Sir Arthur.

He told BBC News 24: "That particular enthusiasm of his was what I think made him so popular in many ways.

"He was always thinking about what could come next but also about how life could be improved in the future.

"It's a vision that I think we could use more of today."

Clarke was also fascinated by the paranormal and mysteries, and many will remember him for his "Mysterious Worlds" television series. Although he later recanted some of his previous 'belief' in the paranormal, he appears to have retained his interest in 'strange' topics throughout his life.

Sure to be many thousands of words written about his passing, so no need for me to add any more to it.

Apology in Advance

I'm slayed with a flu at the moment, so apologies if updates are a bit scarce this week. New briefs should continue as normal, but some features I had planned for this week may have to wait until I can handle the glare of the monitor...

Tuesday Blogscan 18-03-2008

A strange assortment to get you through the week...

  • Paranormalia recounts the story of "The Andover Poltergeist".
  • Cabinet of Wonders offers some lifestyle programming via "Cooking with Qi".
  • This week's Binnall of America audio interview is with paranormal researcher and author Jeff Belanger (mp3/podcast download, or streaming via Flash).
  • Psychedelic research advocacy group MAPS have released their March Email News Update.
  • The latest Fate Radio interview is with Australian UFO researcher Bill Chalker (Real Audio or Streaming mp3).
  • At Beyond the Blog, Anthony North gets into the Easter spirit by taking a look at...err..."Vampire Mythology".
  • Filip Coppens opens the sacrililicious pages of "La Vie de Jesus". That's more like it.
  • Skeptic Randi's latest newsletter offers salvation from the Lord of Skepticism.
  • UFO Casebook #298 has nothing to do with's all about the UFOs baby.


Psychedelic History Documentary

Entheogenic Reformation has a heads-up to an upcoming television documentary that I'm very excited to hear about: "Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey":

Plant Explorer Richard Evans Schultes was a real life Indiana Jones whose discoveries of hallucinogenic plants laid the foundation for the psychedelic sixties. Now in this two hour History Channel TV Special, his former student Wade Davis follows in his footsteps to experience the discoveries that Schultes brought to the western world.

Shot around the planet, from Canada to the Amazon, we experience rarely seen native hallucinogenic ceremonies and find out the true events leading up to the Psychedelic Sixties.

Featuring author/adventurer Wade Davis ("Serpent and the Rainbow"), Dr. Andrew Weil, the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and many others, this program tells the story of the discovery of peyote, magic mushrooms and beyond: one man's little known quest to classify the Plants of the Gods.

The feature is scheduled to air on The History Channel on April 20th. Not only is the topic a great one, but I'm really looking forward to seeing Wade Davis presenting it (see this video for an example of the man's knowledge and passion about ancient cultures).