The Psi Encyclopedia: An Alternative to Overly Skeptical Articles on Wikipedia

Psi Encyclopedia

I have remarked previously here about how much of a dumpster fire Wikipedia is when it comes to topics at the fringes of science and history (ie. the topics we like discussing here). Due to both organised groups of, and 'lone wolf', skeptics, most pages on these topics communicate the skeptical point of view, without leaving barely a trace of the information or data that makes the topics interesting in the first place. As such, I've often recommended that people do *not* go to Wikipedia to find out more information on fringe topics.

But now, finally, a new resource has emerged that offers more comprehensive, balanced information - at least on topics related to 'psi' and afterlife research. The Psi Encyclopedia has been created by the well-respected Society for Psychical Research as an antidote to the biased information being presented on Wikipedia and elsewhere:

There is now a vast research literature that validates the existence of psi as an anomalous, fleeting and little understood aspect of human experience. Psi researchers believe that it has been demonstrated many times over, and in a variety of contexts. But this remains controversial, since psi appears to contradict long-accepted scientific principles. In particular, accumulating evidence of links between mental experience and biological brain functions lead many to believe that the brain is the sole source of consciousness. Some scientists are known to sympathize with psi experimentalists, who use well-established statistical methods and robust methodology: the possibility of psychic experience has been seriously considered by an impressive number of Nobel prize winners and other eniment people. However, a vocal minority of sceptics – often active in sceptic organisations – campaign in books, articles and in the media against psi research, disparaging it as 'pseudoscience' and disputing its conclusions.

In recent years this conflict has spread to the Internet, notably the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, where editors hostile to ‘fringe science’ routinely edit articles on psi research to make them conform to their view. As a result, articles that were originally written by knowledgeable experts have become adulterated with misleading claims and assertions.

The Psi Encyclopedia is being created by the Society for Psychical Research, funded by a bequest, to provide a more informative view of psi research (also referred to as ‘psychical research’ and ‘parapsychology’), one that reflects the findings of experimenters and investigators.

The writing project has been underway for a couple of years, but has only just now launched to the public with 110 entries written by around thirty authors and experts. (I was kindly asked to contribute a piece on James Randi's 'Million Dollar Challenge' (likely based on my previous essay on the topic here at the Grail.)

The SPR notes that readers "are asked to bear in mind that this is a work in progress, a multi-year project that will see numerous additions, changes and improvements" - so if you feel like something is missing, please be patient, and feel free to contact the SPR with your suggestion.

Link: The Psi Encyclopedia

News Briefs 08-09-2016

Station to station...

Quote of the Day:

Live long and prosper.


News Briefs 07-09-2016

Something for nothing

  • Prehistoric Cochno stone to be unearthed for first time since 1965 burial next to Glaswegian housing estate.
  • Everyone’s a little bit crazy: Schizotypy and strange phenomena.
  • ‘Bad trips’ from magic mushrooms often result in an improved sense of personal well-being.
  • How do we get something from nothing? The bridge from nowhere.
  • Tromp family: The mystery of a tech-free road trip gone wrong.
  • Consciousness is made of atoms, too.
  • Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones boasts about advising Donald Trump.
  • Mummified body found on Mexico's highest mountain goes on display.
  • An edifice worthy of the pharaohs rises next to the pyramids.
  • Brown dwarfs hiding in plain sight in our solar neighbourhood.
  • Scientists predict the existence of a new boson: New Madala boson might assist in the understanding of dark matter.
  • All of Earth’s carbon came from planetary collision 4.4 billion years ago.
  • Are animals conscious?
  • 3.7-billion-year-old fossils may be the oldest signs of life on Earth.

Quote of the Day:

The question of being is the darkest in all philosophy

William James

Space Probe Found on Comet

Philae Lander Found on Asteroid

There's something otherworldly, if you'll pardon the unintended pun, about looking at a photo of an asteroid traveling through outer space which clearly shows manmade technology sitting on its rocky surface. A few days ago, the Rosetta probe orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was able to image the Philae probe which landed on the comet in late 2014.

The images were taken on 2 September by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera as the orbiter came within 2.7 km of the surface and clearly show the main body of the lander, along with two of its three legs. The images also provide proof of Philae’s orientation, making it clear why establishing communications was so difficult following its landing on 12 November 2014.

Philae was last seen when it first touched down at Agilkia, bounced and then flew for another two hours before ending up at a location later named Abydos, on the comet’s smaller lobe. After three days, Philae's primary battery was exhausted and the lander went into hibernation, only to wake up again and communicate briefly with Rosetta in June and July 2015 as the comet came closer to the Sun and more power was available.

At 2.7 km, the resolution of the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera is about 5 cm/pixel, sufficient to reveal characteristic features of Philae’s 1 m-sized body and its legs, as seen in these definitive pictures.

The image comes at the 'last minute', as at the end of the month the Rosetta mission will also come to an end, with the orbiting probe itself descending to the comet's surface.

Now, can you imagine the excitement if, in one of these images, we saw non-human technology sitting on the comet's surface...

More information, and a high-res image, can be found at the European Space Agency website.

News Briefs 06-09-2016

In case you missed it: Darklore 9 is now available (featuring articles from Alan Moore, Robert Schoch, Mike Jay and others!). You can grab the paperback or limited edition hardcover from

Thanks @ForteanUK and @UnlikelyWorlds.

Quote of the Day:

Evolution isn't about truth, it's about making kids. Every bit of information that you process costs calories, meaning that's more food you need to kill and eat. So an organism that sees all of reality would never be more fit than one tuned only to see what it needs to survive.

Donald Hoffman

The Crystal Weapons of Prehistoric Spain

Crystal dagger from prehistoric Spain - photo by Miguel Angel Blanco de la Rubia

Keep up to date with fascinating stories such as this one by liking The Daily Grail's Facebook page, and following us on Twitter.

Even in modern times we are fascinated by crystals - from the diamonds we use as a sacred symbol of partnership, to the plethora of 'healing' gems that can be found in a New Age gift shop. So we can only imagine how ancient people viewed these transparent rocks with hidden structure.

Evidence of the esteem in which crystals were held can be found in a "remarkable set" of 'crystal weapons' found in the megalithic tombs of southwestern Spain. At the site of Valencina de la Concepcion, archaeologists have uncovered crystal arrowheads, an exquisite dagger blade, and cores used for creating the artifacts, that date to the 3rd millennium BCE.

The Montelirio tholos, excavated between 2007 and 2010, is "a great megalithic construction...which extends over 43.75 m in total", constructed out of large slabs of slate. At least 25 individuals were interred within the structure , along with "an extraordinary set of sumptuous grave goods...the most notable of which is an unspecified number of shrouds or clothes made of tens of thousands of perforated beads and decorated with amber beads". Additionally however, a large number of crystal arrowheads were found together, which be suggestive of a ritual offering at an altar. The arrowheads have the characteristic long lateral appendices of flint arrowheads from the area - but investigators remarked that "even greater skill must have been required to produce these unique features when using rock crystal."

Crystal arrowheads from prehistoric Spain

Structure 10.042-10.049 is another large two-chambered megalithic construction made from slate slabs. In the second chamber archaeologists found the body of a young male aged between 17 and 25 lying in the foetal position along with a large set of grave goods. These included an undecorated elephant tusk laid above the young man's head, a set of 23 flint blades, and numerous ivory objects. Additionally, red pigment made from cinnabar had been sprayed over the body and the objects surrounding it. The "remarkable crystal dagger blade", however, was not found with these grave goods, but instead in the upper level of this chamber.

The rock crystal dagger blade appeared in the upper level of Structure 10.049 of the PP4-Montelirio sector, in association with an ivory hilt and sheath, which renders it an exceptional object in Late Prehistoric Europe... The blade is 214 mm in length, a maximum of 59 mm in width and 13 mm thick. Its morphology is not unheard of in the Iberian Peninsula, although all the samples recorded thus far were made from flint and not rock crystal...

The manufacture of the rock crystal dagger blade must have been based on an accumulation of transmitted empirical knowledge and skill taken from the production of flint dagger blades as well from know-how of rock-crystal smaller foliaceous bifacial objects, such as Ontiveros and Montelirio arrowheads... It was obtained from a large monocrystal at least 220 mm in length and 60 mm in width. Given that these single crystals are hexagonal, they would have a similar width along all their different axes.

The rock crystal source used in creating the crystal weaponry has not been pinpointed exactly at this stage, though analysis suggests two potential sources, "both located several hundred km away from Valencina".

Given the technical skill and difficulties involved in creating the objects from crystal, rather than flint, researchers believe the motives behind their construction must have been very specific. They note that while crystal objects were found throughout the site...

The more technically sophisticated items, however, were deposited in the larger megalithic structures...As such, it is reasonable to assume that although the raw material was relatively available throughout the community...only the kin groups, factions or individuals who were buried in megaliths were able to afford the added value that allowed the production of sophisticated objects such as arrow heads or dagger blades.

In this respect, however, it is important to note that, paradoxically, none of the most sophisticated artefacts studied in this paper can be ascribed to any particular individual: the rock crystal dagger from Structure 10.042-10.049 was found in the upper level of the main chamber (10.049) in which no human bones were identified; in Montelirio, neither the core nor the arrowheads can be ascribed to any on 20 individuals found in the main chamber; lastly, in the case of Ontiveros, the only available publication offers no evidence that
the 16 arrow heads were associated to any particular individual.

It seems therefore reasonable to suggest that rock crystal may have had a dual significance for the Chalcolithic society of Valencina. On the one hand, it had a social significance due to the exoticism of the material and the fact that its transformation required very specific skills and probably some degree of technical specialisation. These objects would have had a “surplus value” based on the exoticism and rarity of the raw material, the techno-economic investment of their manufacture (a know-how limited to very few people) and their use linked to the world of beliefs and funerary practices. They probably represent funerary paraphernalia only accessible to the elite of this time-period.

On the other hand, rock crystal must have had a symbolic significance as a raw material invested with special meanings and connotations. The literature provides examples of societies in which rock crystal and quartz as raw materials symbolise vitality, magical powers and a connection with ancestors In her analysis of European Neolithic religion, Marija Gimbutas linked the ritual and votive use of white quartz nodules to a symbol of death and regeneration often associated with funerary spaces. Quartz and rock crystal were even portrayed as rocks with great supernatural powers in European Christian tradition. In his Lapidarium, King Alfonso X the Wise of Castile (1276-1279 CE) emphasised its power to connect human beings with the spiritual world, as well as its ability to protect them from danger.

Interestingly though, despite being found relatively frequently in burials of the 4th and 3rd millennia BCE, crystal implements disappear from later funerary monuments in the Early Bronze Age (beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE) - a "truly striking" development, researchers say, as it would seem "the use of this raw material as grave goods was almost entirely abandoned", although the reason remains a mystery.

Paper: The allure of rock crystal in Copper Age southern Iberia

(via Irish Archaeology)

Related stories

News Briefs 05-09-2016

Darklore 9 is now available, featuring articles from Alan Moore, Robert Schoch, Mike Jay and others! You can grab the paperback or limited edition hardcover from

Thanks Cat.

Quote of the Day:

I always had a repulsive sort of need to be something more than human.

David Bowie

Drone's-Eye View of the Pyramids of Nubia

Around 3000 years ago, a number of pyramids were built in northern Africa - not in Egypt though, where the New Kingdom era had recently come to an end, but in neighbouring Sudan. The pyramids of the 'Kingdom of Kush' are generally smaller, and are characterised by much steeper sides than their Egyptian counterparts. The video above gives a different perspective on these unique structures.

In a melding of modern-day technology and 3,000-year-old artifacts, a team supported by National Geographic is getting some of the first glimpses into ancient pyramids, temples, and burial sites sprawled across the Sudanese desert.

The part of the site that draws the most attention is the underground burial chamber of a Nubian king who conquered Egypt in 715 B.C., but today the action is far above ground as National Geographic engineer, Alan Turchik, flies a remote-controlled quadcopter camera over the site to gain a broader perspective of the area.

“The best part with the helicopter is I can fly over and gain this connection between all the other burial sites, between the pyramid and the temple, and get an understanding of what that is from the air,” says Turchik.

Link: Amazing Drone Footage of Nubian Pyramids

Darklore Volume 9: Now Available!

After a year's hiatus, we're back! I'm happy to announce that the ninth instalment of our Darklore anthology series covering hidden history, fringe science, the occult and general Forteana is now available for sale! You can pick up your copy from any number of online retailers through a simple search. But for simplicity's sake, here are the links to Amazon for both the paperback, and the limited edition hardcover:


Limited Edition Hardcover

Darklore Volume 9 Cover

The latest release has themes of magic and mysticism running through it, with essays from regulars including Mike Jay and Robert Schoch, as well as a conspicuous newcomer to our pages: the great Alan Moore!

Here's the summary of the essays in Darklore 9, taken from the introduction of the book:

Within the pages of Volume 9 we have Blair MacKenzie Blake surveying and reinterpreting the infamous grimoires of centuries past; Alan Moore asking if magic is in any way relevant to the modern world, advocating a scorched earth approach and new beginnings; John Reppion using a fictional work to illustrate the origins and practice of various magical traditions; and Cat Vincent looking at the origins and practice of various magical traditions and showing how many of them come from fictional works.

No Darklore release focuses on just one topic though. And so, along with the magical core of Volume 9, we have a number of fascinating articles on other topics of interest: Mike Jay reviews the 'hidden
history' of the 19th century Club des Hachischins; Adam Gorightly looks at the amazing, controversial life of Kerry Thornley, co-creator of Discordianism and one-time JFK assassination suspect; Robert Schoch takes us beyond the Hollywood version of the werewolf to better understand the origins of this archetypal monster; Paul Devereux introduces us to the shamanic plants of the Americas; and Greg Taylor finds that the history of research into meteorites offers a valuable lesson to science on the value of listening to eye-witness reports.

Thanks for all your support of the Darklore series - it helps to fund this website, and also provides financial support for contributors so that they can continue researching and writing about the stranger side of life.

I'm sure all readers will enjoy this latest instalment in the series. For those of you who remain unconvinced, I'll publish some sample articles at the Darklore website (and here at TDG as well) in the coming week.


(Note: Leaving this up on the front page for a few days, regular daily updates can still be accessed via the 'river of news' page view.)