News Briefs 13-04-2016

We are bearly aware of our surroundings.

  • The ancient Peruvian mystery solved from space.
  • A billionaire's plan to send robots powered by lasers to Alpha Centauri.
  • Alcohol to be banned from Stonehenge celebrations.
  • Robot finds no 'Nessie Lair' in Loch Ness, but finds a Nessie.
  • Can we sense magnetic fields?
  • Neanderthals may have been infected by diseases carried out of Africa by humans.
  • How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell.
  • Do our dynamic brains predict the world?
  • Birth control pills are turning male amphibians into females.
  • Psychics 'can't predict the future and we never read clients' minds'.
  • Terrified couple draw picture of 'Werewolf of Worcester' after claiming to have bumped into it in the Cotswolds.
  • Smashed skulls suggest large European battle 3,200 years ago.
  • Massive undersea crab swarm caught on video.

Quote of the Day:

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Festival 23 - Convergence of Disco

Festival 23- Convergence of Disco

A brand new outdoor festival celebrating Discordian counter-culture

Taking place on the weekend of July 23 at a secret South Yorkshire location

Artists confirmed so far include Jimmy Cauty, John Higgs, Knifeworld, Super Weird Substance, Richard Norris, Cosmic Trigger cabaret

Already compared by DJ Greg Wilson to the legendary 1967 'Gathering of the Tribes,' Festival 23 is not just a music festival. Neither is it an arts, literature, theatre, film or poetry festival. It's none of these things and it's all of them. It is everything that you imagine it to be. Inspired by the exhortations of the late, great Ken Campbell, organisers Notwork 23 are setting out not to make money or to lose money, but to do something heroic!

Festival 23 is a celebration and exploration of contemporary counter-culture, inspired by generations of radical artists and writers, from William Burroughs to Alan Moore, Alan Watts to Robert Anton Wilson. The focus for these energies is Discordianism; a joke disguised as a religion, or a religion disguised as a joke, most famously popularised by Bob Shea & Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! -the ultimate cult novel series- itself adapted into an infamous nine-hour play in 1976 by maverick theatre director, actor, writer and genius Ken Campbell.

As a member of the KLF, Jimmy Cauty re-introduced Discordian ideas to a new generation in the late eighties and early nineties. We're overjoyed that he'll be bringing his acclaimed art installation, The Aftermath Dislocation Principle (ADP), to Festival 23.

In 2014, Ken Campbell's daughter Daisy Campbell brought Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus sequel Cosmic Trigger to the stage, acting as a powerful catalyst for the current Discordian revival. Daisy will be leading Cosmic Trigger's cast and crew, including poet Salena Godden, in a cosmic cabaret that will take over Festival 23's main stage on the Sunday night.

Writer John Higgs has also brought Discordian-related ideas to a wider audience with his books The KLF: Chaos, Magic And The Band Who Burned A Million Pounds, and Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense Of The 21st Century. At Festival 23 John will be delivering a new talk entitled Ziggy Blackstar and the Art of Becoming.

Headline musical acts include psychedelic/progressive rock titans Knifeworld, a full live set from Super Weird Substance (featuring legendary DJ Greg Wilson and Ruthless Rap Assassins/ Black Grape member Kermit, who will also both be performing separately), Richard Norris (The Grid, Circle Sky, Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve, Time and Space Machine, Psychic TV), Pete Woosh (DIY), AOS3 and Cowtown. Also confirmed so far are Barringtone, Bloom, Giblet, Horton Jupiter and Map 71.

Plus: films, rituals, esoteric workshops, poetry, theatre, art installations and more, including Puppet Alan Watts- part of the Future Zen Variety Show- and the Milk the Cow podcast crew, who will be producing an exclusive radio podcast onsite.

Website: Facebook community:

Facebook event:


News Briefs 12-04-2016

Meep meep!

Thanks Adam Gorightly and @Fortean_UK.

Quote of the Day:

The holy warrior is he who struggles with himself.

Idries Shah

Atlas Robot Thoughts

When we recently saw that amazing video of Boston Dynamics' new Atlas robot being tested to the max, most of us felt empathy for them being 'bullied'. For those that were wondering what the Atlas was actually thinking during testing, the above video may clear things up...

News Briefs 11-04-2016

Status update...

Thanks Blair, Mitch, and Cat.

Quote of the Day:

I will not serve God like a labourer, in expectation of my wages.

Idries Shah

News Briefs 08-04-2016

“Though Truth and Falsehood be near twins, yet Truth a little elder is.

Many thanks to Kat!

Quote of the Day:

“Man, who is the noblest part of the earth, melts so away as if he were a statue, not of earth, but of snow.”

John Donne

News Briefs 07-04-2016

ParaMania was everything I'd hoped for, and then some. See you all in 2017!

Thanks to Kat, Chris and ALL the ParaMania attendees.

"Quote of the Day:

"Hate doesn't improve anything."

˜Holocaust survivor Henry Flescher, in his Reddit AMA.

Invoking the Spirits of Place

On Saturday the 2nd of April 2016 Calderstones Mansion in Calderstones Park, Liverpool was home to #SpiritsOfPlace. This was a multidisciplinary symposium with nine guest speakers, all of whom took their cue in one way or another from the Neolithic stones which give the park their name.


I was the organiser of the event and my talk "Invoking the Spirits of Place" served as a kind of introduction and mission statement for the day. Based in part on my earlier Calderstones article, a piece I wrote about the genesis of the event for #FolkloreThursday, and even in some small way something I wrote for, I present here the full text of my talk.

Welcome to South Liverpool, to Calderstones Park, and to Spirits of Place.

South Liverpool is where I was born, where I grew up, and where I live still. It is a place full of green-spaces. Its abundance of woodlands, parks, cemeteries, playing fields and golf courses are linked by an intricate network of narrow, bramble-lined public footpaths and overgrown roadside verges. The more romantically inclined might be tempted to call them faerie paths, or corpse roads, and perhaps some once were; back when an Iron Age fort stood on top of Woolton's Camp Hill, or perhaps longer ago still.

The area is bursting with history to the point where many of its residents seem to have become immune to the strange sites and artefacts they pass every day. Many people are dimly aware that the ornamental lake in Princes Park is filled by one of the city's many “lost” subterranean rivers, the River Jordan. There is an extant 17th century chapel just round the corner from the same park where astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks was once schooled by a member of the Mather family who later emigrated to America and played a large part in the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Williamson's Tunnels - an uncharted labyrinth of vaulted, brick-lined tunnels constructed under the orders of an eccentric 19th century tobacco magnate - lay buried and largely unexplored beneath Edge Hill. There's a 15th century Holy Well in Wavertree, right next to a swing-park, which bears a Latin inscription translating to “He who here does nought bestow, The Devil laughs at him below”. Allthis is normal, commonplace stuff in South Liverpool, it seems. So much so that even more ancient monuments are sometimes taken for granted.

Robin Hood's Stone stands on the pavement at the junction of Booker Avenue and Archerfield Road surrounded by green painted metal railings. During term time in the summer months an ice-cream van is often parked next to it, ready to supply the kids from Booker Avenue school with frozen treats on their way home. Robin Hood's stone was given its name on account of a series of deep grooves in its surface once believed to have been used for sharpening arrowheads. The grooves are now considered to have ... Read More »

Life After Life: A Discussion of the Near-Death Experience

For those interested in the near-death experience (NDE), the 30 minute film above is well worth a watch. It features video from the January 2016 'Life After Life' discussion at which skeptic Chris French and NDEr Raymond O’Brien talked about the topic, and is interspersed with pieces of footage from short films:

Life after Life was a short film and discussion event presented by Rich Pickings at London Short Film Festival 2016. The event examined the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and how they can affect people’s lives. It featured a programme of short poetic films about life, death and what may or may not lie beyond. These films were a jumping off point for a discussion with two guests with very different approaches to the subject.

You can learn more about the event, and view the full versions of the videos that were cut into the discussion, at the Rich Pickings website. One of those videos is "Crossing Over: The Art of Jeremy Down", which is a beautifully told story of one man's encounter with death, and the experience he had during it (embedded below).

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