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Paranormal
Over at livescience.com, Ben Radford analyzes a video that supposedly shows an angel falling to the floor of an Indonesian shopping mall. The video is said to have been taken on Sep 11, 2011.



Radford concludes that whoever created the video (and he's sure it's a fake) got the lighting all wrong when they inserted the animated angel.

Light sources near the top of the frame are clearly reflected in the polished, semi-glossy floor (which appears to be painted and sealed concrete), though when the brightly luminous figure falls to the floor, its light does not appear in the foreground on the right of the scene, where its reflected light should be.

He also quotes Derek Serra, a Hollywood visual effects artist, who notes: "look at the light hitting the building behind it: given its movement, we would see high contrast shadows from the window frame and tree move across the inside of the building as the light moves around, but those shadows are conspicuously absent."

Of course, true believers might respond that angelic light doesn't behave the same way that normal light does.

Regardless, the only real mystery remaining here is who created the video, and why.
Categories: Paranormal, Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri May 18, 2012
Comments (2)
Fairies have a pretty good public image. They're widely regarded as good creatures, since they're small, delicate, and magical. But in European folklore, they were often considered quite malevolent. The wikipedia article on fairies notes the belief in fairy kidnapping:

Any form of sudden death might stem from a fairy kidnapping, with the apparent corpse being a wooden stand-in with the appearance of the kidnapped person. Consumption (tuberculosis) was sometimes blamed on the fairies forcing young men and women to dance at revels every night, causing them to waste away from lack of rest. Fairies riding domestic animals, such as cows or pigs or ducks, could cause paralysis or mysterious illnesses.



And apparently, the belief in fairy kidnapping created an opportunity for con artists. Dr. Beachcombing, who runs Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog, notes the existence of what he calls "fairy shysters":

Sharp swindlers who, in the nineteenth and twentieth century, went around taking innocent and usually vulnerable men and women for 'a ride'. Beach has gathered some remarkable examples together, including three extraordinary instances of 'fairy shysters' posing as fairy kidnapped family members.

Unfortunately, Dr. Beachcombing is holding off on describing these cases until a later date, but I thought the idea of a fairy shyster was intriguing.
Categories: Con Artists, Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Fri May 04, 2012
Comments (1)
Ginny Stein reports for Australia's ABC News on the mermaids of Zimbabwe. Although Zimbabwe is landlocked, it's apparently home to many mermaids. And these aren't the friendly Disney kind of mermaids. These are evil, nasty creatures that live in ditches and creeks, kidnap people, and hold them prisoner for years.

No Myth - Scourge of mermaids in Zimbabwe
abc.net.au

A mermaid is very mysterious creature. You can't really say what complexion it is, what colour it is. It can be like a white person, or an Arab, but one distinguishing factor is that they have long hair; very, very long hair, it is metres long."
GINNY STEIN: Around these hills, Mr Manyonga is known as the man who not only survived being seized by mermaids but as someone who had spent two years being tutored by them. Under their tutelage at mermaid school he became a traditional healer.
As far fetched as this may sound, there's no denying Mr Manyonga's belief in his past, or that many Zimbabweans believe that mermaids exist in the dams and creeks across the country today.
JUSTICE MANYONGA (Translation): Once they take you there, you live like them. You wear something that does not show your feet. You eat what they eat. You eat fish, rice and chicken only. On the first day you are taken into the water, you are given millet or sorghum meal and two silver fish. The fish will be rotten but you are told to eat them. If you show any sign of disgust, the mermaids won't be happy with your ancestors and you could be killed.
Categories: Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Sat Apr 28, 2012
Comments (1)
Posted by "klove614" on reddit: "Going through pictures from the other night...holy shit"



Reddit users quickly pointed out that the ghost in the background bears a strong resemblance to this poster of Janis Joplin:

Categories: Paranormal, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 24, 2012
Comments (1)
Interesting article in tehelka.com about Tarksheel, the Punjab Rationalist Society, which is a chapter of the larger Indian Rationalist Society. Its members try to combat superstition by using logic and skeptical inquiry. After reading the article, it sounds like they have an uphill struggle ahead of them. Some highlights:

The head of the Indian Rationalist Association, Sanal Edamaruku, spent close to 23 hours in a studio in New Delhi last year, while a sadhu invited by the news channel pranced around, muttering a curse that would supposedly end Edamaruku's life on air. This April, he faced the ire of the Organisation of Concerned Catholics when he unravelled a 'miracle' at a church in Mumbai. Edamaruku discovered that the droplets of water trickling from a statue of Jesus Christ in Vile Parle were, in fact, from a nearby drainage system, and is currently facing arrest for 'blasphemy'.

And also:

THE LION'S share of cases on Tarksheel's investigative roster involves 'possessed' women. Rora says the easiest way to discourage women from moving around freely or mingling with the opposite sex is to instill fear in the form of supernatural repercussions from an early age. The myths that proliferate in villages are centred on feminine virtue and its containment. Oft-repeated ones include djinns love women with open hair, or those who wear perfume, or new brides. Walking under a peepul tree at midnight or when everyone is asleep in the afternoon is a sure way to get possessed.
Categories: Paranormal, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 20, 2012
Comments (2)
Either it's a hoax, or a muggle wandered across a wizarding lesson. (via HuffPost)

Categories: Paranormal, Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 11, 2012
Comments (1)
This Is Cornwall has a brief article about the "Owlman of Mawnan." They write:

The first sighting occurred in April of that year. Don Melling, who was holidaying in the area, said that on April 17 his young daughters, June and Vicky, were walking through woods near Mawnan church when they saw a "half-man half-owl" hovering above the church.

The incident is suspected to be a hoax because Tony "Doc" Shiels became involved. He was the first person Melling told about the sighting, and then became the source for various illustrations of the Owlman. Shiels already has a place in the Hoax Museum because he was the source of the "Loch Ness Muppet" image. So his credibility is pretty low.

Categories: Cryptozoology, Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 24, 2012
Comments (1)
In the past two weeks, various blogs have been reporting that "strange metal boxes" have been washing up on beaches in Oregon, Washington, and northern California. In some versions of the reports, these boxes make humming and screeching noises, are seamless, and can't be moved, even by trucks. The boxes are said to have appeared after UFO sightings.


Theories about what these boxes may be (besides the theory that they're the lost luggage of UFOs) include the speculation that they're the floats that were once used to support docks, or that they're left by drug runners.

However, reports are now coming in that people have gone searching for these boxes, to examine them for themselves, but haven't been able to find anything. And it looks like the entire "strange metal boxes" story traces back to two articles posted by a Dave Masko. Perhaps the boxes only existed in his imagination.
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life, Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 22, 2012
Comments (1)
Social networking sites in Nigeria have been ablaze with the rumor that a woman turned into a snake at the Hotel Excel in Warri. The proprietor of the hotel, Chief Moses Odeh, has been doing everything he can to put out the rumor, but once these stories get started, they acquire a life of their own. (informationnigeria.org)

African rumors still have true strangeness to them. Here in America, the majority of twitter and facebook rumors are fake reports of celebrity deaths... which get boring after a while. It'd be kind of refreshing to see a rumor claim that Madonna or Lady Gaga didn't die, but instead turned into a snake.
Categories: Animals, Paranormal, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 21, 2012
Comments (7)
MadCarlotta sent me an interesting video:



The premise of the video (which has over 1 million views) is that people around the world are hearing eerie groaning sounds that seem to rise up from the ground and echo through the sky. My first thought was that it sounds like the noise my tankless water heater makes on cold days. So if anyone in La Mesa is hearing eerie noises echoing through the neighborhood, I'm the culprit.

Is the 'strange sounds' video a hoax? Seems to be. Some of the youtube comments point out that you can hear the exact same bird noises at three separate moments (in segments supposedly shot in different parts of the world): at 0:47, 10:35 and 13:38. Which suggests the audio has been dubbed over the video.

A whole slew of similar videos can be found on youtube. So whoever is behind this has put some work into making it seem as if there's all kinds of people hearing these sounds. But the entire 'strange sounds' movement seems to trace back to a single site: strangesoundsinthesky.com, which launched in Sept. 2011. The guy posting on strangesoundsinthesky.com identifies himself only as "Jay Man," and the site itself was registered anonymously through Domains By Proxy. Hoaxers always love anonymity.

I don't know why someone is trying to make people believe that the "sounds of the apocalypse" are being heard around the world. The obvious suspect would be that it's a marketing campaign of some kind. I'm sure we'll find out in time.
Categories: Paranormal, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sat Jan 21, 2012
Comments (28)
An article by Nick Redfern on mania.com discusses the theory that the Loch Ness Monster (and Bigfoot) may be "phantimals". That is, "the spirits or ghosts of creatures that became extinct thousands of years ago." This theory is promoted by paranormal expert Joshua P. Warren, author of Pet Ghosts, who argues that "the world’s most famous lake-monster, Nessie, might actually represent some form of 'ghostly plesiosaur,' rather than a literal, living animal or colony of animals."

Nice theory. But what I found more interesting was the next part of the article, in which Redfern discusses the research of Jim Marrs, author of PSI Spies, who learned that during some of the U.S. government's experiments with remote viewing (the Stargate Project perhaps?) remote viewers were asked to focus on Nessie and detail what they saw:

Several sessions targeting the famous Loch Ness monster revealed physical traces of the beast – a wake in the water, movement of a large body underwater. Their drawings even resembled a prehistoric plesiosaur, often identified as matching descriptions of Nessie. But when the viewers tried to discover where the object came from or returned to, they hit a dead end. The creature seemed to simply appear and disappear. Considering that reports of human ghosts date back throughout man’s history, the Psi Spies seriously considered the possibility that the Loch Ness monster is nothing less than a dinosaur’s ghost.

And here I went all the way to Loch Ness to see Nessie. I could have just stayed in San Diego and remote viewed her.
Categories: Cryptozoology, Nessie, Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 31, 2011
Comments (8)
Maybe this guy is wearing an asbestos robe. From the Times of India:

When even a match stick singes the skin, is it possible for a human being to lie on fire for four hours, fully clothed and emerge unscathed, body and robe? Even fall asleep in the process? Ramababu Swamiji, 80, from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu,ostensibly did precisely that on Sunday morning when he slept on a homa fire and prayed for the well-being of the society, say his devotees at the Ghanagapur village in northern Karnataka.

And here's some video of the guy. It looks like he's lying next to the fire, not directly on it, but at one point you can see his robe catch fire.

Categories: Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 19, 2009
Comments (5)
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