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Weird News: Where the Weird Meets the Sublime

Welcome, fellow Google+ User!

That's the signpost up ahead... your next stop, the Weird News Zone!

This Collection focuses on the edge of understanding, on the precipice of strange discovery. Do not attempt to adjust your screen: we are controlling transmission.

Bigfoot, Aliens, Gremlins, the Bermuda Triangle, Florida, no topic is too strange or scary to discuss, for “Man has to postulate weirdness, before reaching the new science." (Toba Beta)

If you're into news that's more weird-funny than weird-strange, you might want to follow That Headline, Though, a Collection of The Craziest News Headlines:

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Enjoy your Streams, fellow Plussers!

~ +Eli Fennell

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Weird News - 06/16/2016

Mark Zuckerberg Denies Being A Lizard Person (Of Course) -

Facebook CEO +Mark Zuckerberg​, during a Facebook Live Q & A earlier this week, denied rumors of being a Lizard Person. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a Lizard Person is a person alleged to be some some type of extraterrestrial or otherworldly being, or possibly the direct genetic descendent of such being, whose 'real' form is a humanoid reptile. Basically, if the movie They Live was a documentary instead of a SciFi.

Of course, skeptics might point out that you'd expect a Lizard Man to do nothing less than deny his true serpentine nature. So, I guess, well played, Mister Zuckerberg. Well played. You've got almost everyone fooled.

Canadian Juror Dismissed for 'Ghostly' Evidence -

A Canadian woman has discovered a unique approach for getting dismissed from a long trial. The unnamed female juror argued that she could no longer be unbiased on the basis that she was a medium, and had been shown a vision of the crime by the spirit of the deceased victim. Luckily for her, this vision came only one day into the multi-week trial, allowing her to avoid that difficult period of civic service.

The Amityville Real Estate Sale -

The Long Island home that inspired The Amityville Horror is up for sale for the first time since it was last sold in 2010. It joins the home of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, which also recently went on the market again as I have previously reported:

The real 'Amityville' house is a spacious five bedroom, four bathroom home with a boat house, a boat slip, a 2-car garage and, of course, a history of murder. In 1974, a man named Ronald DeFeo killed his entire family as they slept in the house. The house's next owners reported haunting phenomenon and moved out after only 28 days.

This gem of the New York real estate scene will only set you back a mere $850,000, and possibly your life and eternal soul. May come with free ghosts.

#WeirdNews #LizardPeople #OhCanada #Amityville

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Weird News - 04/01/2016
Weird April Fools Edition

If you thought April Fools Day wasn't nearly weird enough already... I agree with you! So, enjoy the following tales of the extramundane, which I assure you are absolutely 100% true.

Zimbabwean Pastor Buried Alive, Resurrects From the Dead -

A Pastor in Zimbabwe was called to a family's home to help cleanse it of evil spirits, Zimbabwe being the modern home of most evil spirits due to their low real estate costs and excellent employment rate, and decided the only solution to their problem was to be buried alive, in order to resurrect with the power to summon spiritual forces to cleanse their homes.

Despite their concerns, he insisted they finish burying him, and as he predicted when they later dug him up, he was resurrected from the dead completely unharmed. He then banished the dark spiritual forces and returned home to his family for a homecooked meal.

Don't bother clicking through to read the original story, just rest assured he is currently being studied by the finest medical authorities in the world and is on a fast track to Sainthood after proving the reality of life-after-death. Who doesn't love a happy ending?

James Randi Retires Million Dollar Challenge, Admits "I Was Wrong" -

Former Magician and well-known debunker James Randi, creator of the 'Million Dollar Challenge' for anyone willing to prove the paranormal under controlled conditions, has laid his classic challenge to rest after a sudden and unexpected change-of-heart about the existence of the paranormal.

In a statement, Mister Randi conceded, "Yeah, I was wrong. I mean, after aliens came into my home and kidnapped me to their spaceship a few weeks back, I started thinking maybe there was something to this whole paranormal thing after all. Then the ghost of Carl Sagan came to me in a dream and got me baked on spirit weed, and that clinched it. No point in the challenge anymore, I've been proven wrong by ET and the author of Contact."

The prize money will now be given instead as a donation to the Journal of Parapsychology to continue investigating the mysteries of human consciousness, apart from a small donation to professional psychic John Edwards to help fund his valuable mission of reuniting the living with their deceased loved ones.

Classic Lake Monster April Fools Prank Revisited -

24-years ago a pair of journalists from the Sierra Nevada region decided to pull an April Fools prank by inventing a phony Tahoe Lake Monster. Using a small brontosaurus toy, weighted with a shoestring, they reproduced a near facsimile of the famous and iconic Loch Ness Monster photo (the one used as the cover image of this very Collection).

The only problem was that it worked, really, really well. As ridiculous as the photograph was for something shot in 1992, and as outlandish as the story told about it in the associated article in the Lake Tahoe Bonanza was, hundreds of local citizens took the whole thing surprisingly seriously.

So you can only imagine how surprised everyone was when an actual lake monster came ashore later that month and destroyed the entire town in the worst monster-related disaster since Tokyo was ravaged by a fire breathing monster in 1956. Worse, because people remembered the recent hoax, few residents took the local news outlets seriously when they tried to warn people to evacuate.

Who could have seen that coming, though, really?

#WeirdNews #AprilFools #LifeAfterDeath #Nessie #JamesRandi

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Weird News - 02/19/2016
Alien Invasion Special Edition

We are not alone. There is life elsewhere in this universe, and one such form of life, a more advanced species from the stars, has begun the invasion of Planet Earth.

That, at least, is the conclusion some UFO Enthusiasts have drawn from a string of eerily similar UFO Sightings in recent years ( These sightings, involving multiple witnesses and even video from around the United States and reported to the Mutual UFO Network, share some potentially ominous similarities.

In each case, witnesses described the UFO as a glowing object in the night sky, which proceeded to drop or release (or maybe shed?) a smaller glowing orb, which then apparently fell to the ground before the 'parent' UFO vanished. This has been likened to the UFO's jettisoning 'escape pods'.

This has led some in the online UFO Community to speculate that an alien race from the heavens has begun the silent infiltration of our world, in preparation for some future interplanetary 'D Day'.

If true, this couldn't have come at a worse time for humanity, as Argentina just mothballed their elite 'X Files Unit', the CEFAE (Commission for the Study of Aerospace Phenomenon ; The Commission, a sort of UFO Investigation 'Dream Team' created by former President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, hired civilian and military experts to evaluate evidence from UFO reports to answer the question, "Is the truth out there?"

Unfortunately, in its five years, the Committee produced only a single, unsigned paper detailing ten UFO sightings, nine of which they debunked. Like the Kirchner Administration itself, it appears the CEFAE was deeply corrupt and spending wastefully, rather than pursuing their purpose with all the dogged determination of a 1990's Basement Dwelling FBI Profiler. It appears the aliens need not concern themselves with our interference, as we are too busy creating our own problems to deal with them.

Then again, some might suspect that the timing here is not a coincidence, that the CEFAE was shut down as part of a conspiracy to hide the truth from an unsuspecting public who would only panic anyways. A recent paper published in the scientific journal PLOS, "On The Viability of Conspiratorial Beliefs", claimed to prove that such conspiracies were nearly impossible, setting millions of minds at ease.

Unfortunately, it appears the author of the paper made elementary mathematical errors and unjustified assumptions (, which the journal reviewers somehow also missed prior to publication. Just when you thought it was safe to forget about the Illuminati...

Personally, I'm not that concerned that we may be approaching our Independence Day moment. If there is one thing science fiction has taught me, it is that invading aliens are always allergic to our planet somehow. No doubt the invasion will be cut short when the Reticulan Troops discover that they have a fatal reaction to cat dander.

Either that, or Tom Cruise will have to fly one of their own ships into the mother ship, sacrificing himself to save us all from destruction.

#WeirdNews #AlienInvasion #Aliens #WarOfTheWorlds

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Weird News - 01/27/2016
The X-Files Returns Edition
This past weekend witnessed the return of TV's The X-Files, after more than a decade off the airwaves.  The show was iconic of the popular interest in the UFO Phenomenon and Extraterrestrial Visitation that peaked in the 1990's, before going into decline in the early 21st Century.
Its return, however, may herald a resurgence of interest in the phenomenon, and in speculation about a government conspiracy to hide the biggest secret in history: that we are not alone.  Fox Mulder's shadow hangs over the following stories like a UFO over a rural cornfield on a hot summer night.
X-Files Creator Feared FBI Would Shut Him Down
Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, experienced his own bit of mystery and intrigue in the process of bringing the show to air in the first place.  During the original run of the series, Mister Carter claims to have been spoken to by a man who claimed to be high up in a secret government agency, and who expressed concerns that the show might be getting 'too close' to 'the truth'.
Later, as the show neared going on air, he found himself the focus of sudden interest by the FBI, who wanted to know all about who he was and what he was doing, seemingly reaffirming the warning he had been given about getting 'too close' to something and leaving him concerned they might even shut it down.
In the end, the FBI became huge unofficial fans of the series, so if Agents Mulder and Scully were indeed getting close to some dangerous truth that someone wanted kept secret, it seems they never quite reached it.  Or, conversely, there was no truth to be hidden in the first place.
In somewhat related news, another government agency is using the return of The X-Files to do a bit of disclosure of their own about the UFO Phenomenon.
CIA Declassifies Hundreds of UFO Documents with Nod to Mulder and Scully
The CIA has declassified hundreds of UFO related documents from the 1940's and the 1950's, even taking to Twitter to encourage people to look through them and draw their own conclusions.
In an homage to the return of the hit series, The Agency has even taken the unusual step to highlight ten of the best cases in the documents: five of which they believe Agent Mulder would seize on as strong evidence that 'The Truth Is Out There', and five which his more skeptical partner Scully would readily debunk.
Proof that the Intelligence Agencies have nothing to hide about the phenomenon and are at best as clueless as the average Ufologist about their nature and origin, or a whitewash to mislead people by appearing 'open' while secretly keeping their best evidence and information Classified Above Top Secret?  I think we can guess, at least, which of these two possibilities Mulder would likely side with.
Then again, Mulder may have bigger problems making a comeback due to the ways in which society has changed since the 1990's than any obstacles the UFO Conspirators might throw at him, if the following is taken seriously.
Facebook The New Online Home of UFO Research?
Ufology, a loosely organized (at best) field of research into the UFO Phenomenon, was long relegated to non mainstream outposts such as conventions, blogs, and niche journals and publications.  While this made it hard to raise serious attention to the issue beyond an 'echo chamber', it did at least mean that much of the literature and discussion was thoughtful, deep, and serious.
But in this second decade of the 21st Century, the flying saucers have invaded... your favorite social network.  Why languish away on an obscure blog somewhere, shouting at the wind and hoping someone shouts back, when you can reach out to your 'Friends' and Followers for the endorphin rush of the Like, the Share, or the drive-by Comment?
Social media, sadly, has become the new Interstellar Hub of UFO Activity, and as a result Ufology has received all the careful thought, scrutiny, and fact-checking social media naturally invites.  (Translation Note for Alien Readers: The previous sentence is an example of what we human beings call 'sarcasm'.  Add it to your Babelfish Software.)
The Truth Is Out There... but finding it online these days may be more akin to finding a needle in a haystack than finding it in the far reaches of the cosmos would be, as the mindless chatter of social sharing makes it increasingly difficult to locate intelligent life even on our own blue world.
Then again, this may just be a case of, "Back in my day, weather balloons reflected twice as much swamp gas light from Venus, and we liked it that way!"
#WeirdNews #TheTruthIsOutThere #TheXFiles

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Weird News - 01/12/2016
Space Wars Revealed, Pleasant Nightmares, and the Cannibal Real Estate Blues

Weirdness can be found in every corner of creation, from the infinite heavens above us, to the depths of our very souls, and sometimes even the house next door. Don't believe it? Consider the following Weird News stories.

Cold War Air Force Manned Space Program Declassified -

Newly released documents have shed light on the U.S. Air Force's highly secret Cold War era space program called the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, or MOL. The project, which ran from 1963-1969 but never put men in space, was a planned orbiting space station whose purposes remain highly secretive, but likely included visual and electronic reconnaissance, radar scanning, interception of enemy space craft and technology, and even possibly the use of 'negation missiles' for unspecified purposes.

While NASA was working towards that one small step, one giant leap, the United States military was similarly planning for a future of space based and electronic espionage, intelligence gathering, and warfare, one which they (perhaps wrongly) believed would involve manned, orbital platforms. They were ahead of their time, though, in the use of automated intelligence technologies.

Sadly, the failure of the project ensures that we will be defenseless this coming Independence Day, when the alien mothership returns. As a result, we'll be depending once again on Jeff Goldblum and his Macbook to save the day from aliens who are hopefully still running Norton '95 on their operating systems.

Nightmares Can Be Good For Your Health -

Nightmares are rarely considered good or pleasant experiences. They can range from the embarrassment of being in your underwear in front of a crowded room or audience, to the pure terror of our worst fears made manifest. They strike most of us at random, and some of us chronically, and in neither case do we have any power over it. It can feel very real when it's happening, even if it consists of the most absurdly impossible things. And we have long feared as a species that they might be bad for us, even dangerous, like the old superstition that dying in a dream means you'll die in real life.

That chronic nightmares can, in fact, be bad for our health has long been acknowledged, in fact, in the medical literature. Having bad dreams on a nightly or near nightly basis for years can create chronic stress and the associated chemical changes, such as heightened adrenaline, blood pressure, and strain on the heart. More generally, they can create chronic psychological stress, which can impair attention, reasoning, judgment, and performance in a variety of ways.

Now some researchers and medical experts are considering the likely benefits of nightmares, as well. These denizens of humiliation and terror may, in fact, be our Inner Psychotherapists putting us through a natural form of exposure therapy: traumatic events and memories in our waking lives are lived out in our dreams, often in fantastical and extreme forms, in order to help us work past those traumas and return to healthy behaviors and patterns.

Nightmares of a car crash, immediately after experiencing one, provide a safe exposure to what for most of us is an escapable situation, i.e. daily driving in a motor vehicle and its attendant risks. Each time we wake up, safe and sound instead of injured or dead, the fear of the crash loses a bit of its power, and helps us feel comfortable with the experience of driving again.

For most people, nightmares are infrequent experiences in daily life, or brief but recurrent phenomenon after a traumatic event. If they persist for too long, however, they appear as clear signals of some deeper psychological scarring or even medical problems, which may require treatment. Dreams, even bad ones, may be the best therapy, but sometimes our Inner Therapists have their own breakdowns and need at least a session or two on the couch.

Silence of the Lambs House A Hard Sell -

A couple in Pennsylvania is finding the real estate market challenging, as no one seems to want to buy their beautiful 3-story Victorian house. It could be due to its remote location, in a small village over an hour drive from Pittsburgh. It could be the fact that the entire three story, four bedroom house has only a single bathroom.

It could also have something to do with it being the home of Buffalo Bill. Yes, their house played the fictional home of the famous killer played by Ted Levine, in the movie where Sir Anthony Hopkins stole the show as Hannibal Lecter. There was no way to know, back when the house was used for filming everything other than the dungeon scenes (which were done in a studio), that the movie would become iconic and the house along with it.

The notoriety has brought their listing a lot of attention, but not of the interested type as yet. It seems a safe assumption, though, that someone out there must be just the type who would buy a home for that reason alone, either for the morbid curiosity and bragging value, or... other reasons too dark to consider, perhaps, like (gasp) a sequel or reboot film!

Image Credit: NRO

#WeirdNews #SilenceoftheLambs #Space

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Weird News - 01/06/2016
UFO's, Politicians, Women, and Other Mysteries

Unidentified Flying Objects used to be all the rage in Hollywood and Television. When they weren't being shot down by a snarky Will Smith, or hunted by an FBI Agent whose greatest mystery was how he kept getting a paycheck from the same government he was trying to expose for committing the greatest of lies, they were objects of quite serious investigation, such as the once popular paranormal news show Sightings.

Once we were done partying like it was 1999 and moved into the new century and millennium, the popular interest started to fade. X Files and Sightings had gone off the air, while alien invasion plot lines in movies seemed to peak in the latter half of the decade which brought us Independence Day.

In general the media and public fascination began to wane, or to morph into new forms no longer associated with the UFO Phenomenon (e.g. aliens viruses, shapeshifting alien monsters hiding among us, etc..., with nary a UFO to be seen). This was, in some cases, further fueled by the popular exposure of major hoaxes, such as Alien Autopsy. None of which is to say that UFO's ever stopped being reported, or allegedly related phenomenon like alien abductions and cattle mutilations, but simply that the media and the culture stopped paying much attention for a while.

Such periods have come and gone before, and with the impending return of The X Files, and cases like the following stories, the time for UFOs may be coming around again.

Mister Mork Goes to Washington -

The American UFO Lobby has found a new ally in one Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State, Candidate for the Democratic Nomination for President, and recently the Gallup Poll's winner of 'Most Admired Woman'. She has pledged that, if elected, she will investigate the phenomenon.

In this regard she would be continuing the family tradition, as husband Bill Clinton was similarly a friend of the UFO lobby and made good on his promise to look into the matter, which unfortunately did not go very far or break any amazing new ground worth mentioning.

It may surprise you to know, in fact, that nearly every candidate has pledged some degree of support, if only halfhearted, for the investigation of the UFO phenomenon and what, if anything, the government already knows. Apparently this lobby is of sufficient size, or at least influence, to warrant at least stalemating the issue as an advantage for opponents. That alone may be more interesting than anything else about the entire phenomenon: that a political lobby undoubtedly ridiculed even by the most extreme of their fellow lobbyists could exert that much influence over a Presidential Election where ISIS, Gun Control, and the long shadow of Near Economic Collapse loom.

Westall UFO Incident Coming Up On 50th Anniversary -

In 1966, over 200 students and teachers from Westall High School in Australia reported observing a UFO over a period of about 20 minutes, in what was likely the largest mass sighting of a UFO in the history of the Great Down Under.

According to the general reports of witnesses, the unidentified object descended from the sky vertically, hovered, and after some 20-minutes flew over the corner of the high school and descended into a nearby wild grass field, and some time later ascended at speed, where a group of low flying aircraft then instigated pursuit. (Description From Wikipedia:

As luck would have it, I also covered this story back in 2014 (, when the Austalian Government announced their latest official attempt to explain the phenomenon as... a balloon. Seriously. Tommy Lee Jones could honestly have come up with a better explanation, but until the Australian Government mainstreams neuralizer technology, the sense of an unexplained mystery will continue to hover about the story like an Unidentified Flying Object full of your most disturbing conspiracy theories.

U.K. Town with Most UFO Sightings Named -

Liverpool is the current UFO Hotspot of Britain, with 13 calls placed to Merseyside Police since 2013, more than any other town. In 1987 the town of Gulf Breeze, in my home state of Florida, held a similar distinction as an alleged UFO Hotspot, though much of that is now attributed to hoaxes.

One wonders at how many alleged paranormal sightings and encounters the average urban police force is assigned to respond to, or at least receives a report. UFO's, ghosts, and other such phenomenon may seem to violate our laws of physics, but the counterintuitive reactions of some people is nonetheless to alert the authorities. What is it they expect to happen? For the Bobbies to show up, ask, "What's all this, then?", and chase the UFO's away to the tune of a Monty Python soundtrack?

I guess this answers the question, "If there's something strange in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call?" In the U.K., at least, it's 999.

#WeirdNews #UFO #Aliens

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Weird News - 12/20/2015
The Real Frankenstein, The Mystery Man of Sligo, and Bigfoot (Mask) Returns

Welcome to another day in our weird world, and another of its weirder chapters. They say that truth is stranger than fiction, but what happens when truth becomes fiction, fiction becomes truth, and the line between them becomes irrelevant? Today's stories may help answer these questions.

It's Alive! No... Wait... It's Dead. Back to the Drawing Board. -

"In Frankenstein (Silesia), an ungodly body by the name Henrik Krahlen, along with his wife Eva and daughter Anna, has done a hideous and shameful thing. For 8 years they have unearthed dead people and removed their hearts and lungs in order to make a powder. This powder was mixed with poison and cumin and sold to unknowing victims, of which 5 are now known to have died. Furthermore, Henrik Krahlen has spread this powdered mixture on the streets throughout town and put it in fresh drinking wells. People were supposed to have been poisoned by this too, but god intervened, and it therefore had little effect."

Do these sounds like the words, perhaps, of some new take on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein? If you thought they did, you may be onto something... except this did not come from a work of true fiction, but from Denmark's first true newspaper, Extraordinaires Maanedlige Relationer, in February of 1673.

Scholars generally agree that, among her sources of inspiration, Mary Shelly based her novel Frankenstein in part on the life of Johann Konrad Dippel, born at Castle Frankenstein in 1673. Dippel, like Krahlen, earned an unfounded reputation for performing unholy experiments on the dead (as did many medical professionals and students in ye olden days, when autopsies and the like were rarely performed for fear of desecrating the dead), and in fact did perform many chemical experiments on dead animals, resulting in the creation of such chemical products as Dippel's Tieröl, used to poison African wells during World War 2 (among other things).

Experiments on the dead... poisoning of wells... Frankeinstein... 1673... Krahlen and Dippel share all these things seemingly in common, yet of the two, only one, the earlier Krahlen, was credibly reported to have experimented with and done blasphemous rites on dead bodies, and faced the wrath of the peasantry for frightening them and threatening their safety by doing so, reminiscent of the angry villagers of the later novel.

Is it possible, then, that the true archetypal 'Frankeinstein' whom inspired Shelly, whether she knew of him or not, was Krahlen, with Dippel merely inheriting some aspects of the legend due to the commonalities of the two?

Either way, one thing seems certain: the name Frankenstein was cursed long before the fictional monster ever rose off its table. Some names are just best avoided entirely.

In this case, it seems a man became a character remembered for fiction, unlike in our next case, where a 'fictional' person became remembered as a man.

The Mystery of the Dead Man Who Never Was -

In 2009, an elderly man calling himself Peter Bruggman arrived in Sligo, Ireland by bus from Derry. The next three days of his life, the final days, became a riddle no one has as yet unraveled.

Mister Bruggman, whose self-claimed name and identity (which he checked into his hotel room using) were pure fiction, proceeded to erase any clues to his existence, even removing all labels from his clothing (to hide his measurements?). He identified the locations of CCTV cameras in the area and, each day, left his hotel room with a purple plastic bag full of unknown items, leaving by routes clearly intended to avoid the cameras. Each day, he returned again to his room empty handed.

His final act was to return to a quiet beach he had previously visited by taxi, on which his lifeless body was found the next morning. There were no signs of foul play and he didn't drown, but his body on autopsy was found riddled with advanced prostate cancer and bone tumors, as well as evidence of having suffered multiple heart attacks in his life.

That is where the story ends, a story so compellingly weird it has become something of a local legend and even found an interested audience beyond Sligo and Ireland.

Who was he? Why was he avoiding cameras, what were in those bags and where did he take them, why did he cut the labels off his clothes, and why did he go to that beach as if knowing he would die and prepared to do so, only to seemingly die of entirely natural causes whose timeline of mortality he surely couldn't have guessed so precisely?

We may never have answers to any of these questions, which may well join the ranks of such unsolvable mysteries as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, is it really the heat or the humidity, and how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

Native Sasquatch Mask Returns After 75-Years -

In 1939, the Sts'ailes First Nation of Canada lost a sacred mask of a Sasquatch, or 'Bigfoot' as modern North Americans tend to call it. Though, 'lost' is being kind; stolen would be more accurate, stolen by a man named J.W. Burns, generally credited with bringing the word Sasquatch into common use.

For the next three-quarters of a century the mask remained lost, until fortunate happenstance led to its recovery. Sasquatch, to the people of Sts'ailes, is no mere cryptid curiosity, but a sacred, almost ancestral creature, whose role is to ensure that the land is being taken care of, not unlike the forest guardians of Europe, such as the British Herne.

If, indeed, such a creature as Sasquatch exists, and remains elusive to this day, one may perhaps concede that this in itself is sufficiently 'magical' to justify any awe and wonderment these tribespeople hold for the creature. If it is merely a creature of myth, then it is a creature of myth in the truest sense, a symbol of powers and principles to guide and inspire the people and give greater meaning to their lives.

American TV may be trying to 'find Bigfoot', but perhaps the real secret is not that the creature does or doesn't exist, but that regardless of this, its real or imagined influence has helped shape ways of life for thousands of years among the natives of North America far more than any of us naked, smaller footed apes likely ever will.

Or in other words: you'll never be as important as Harry Henderson, whether he exists or not. Is there a term for getting pwned by a myth? There should be.

Photo from 1938 Sasquatch Days Festival

#WeirdNews #Frankenstein #Bigfoot

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Weird News - 12/18/2015
The Moldy Host, The Jazzy Surgery, and The Triangleversary

The Holy Fungus Are Among Us -

Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Kearns, Utah thought it had a miracle on its hands, when a communion wafer began to 'bleed' into their ablution bowl, turning its waters a dark red.

In some Churches, the miraculous nature of this event might simply have been taken 'on faith'... but this is the Catholic Church, and things aren't that simple. The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City investigated the claim, and soon found scientific proof that the phenomenon was caused by bread mold, and not by the Sang Real of the Messiah.

Of course, one might protest that if bread is the flesh of Christ, perhaps his blood was originally a type of red mold, later reinterpreted as wine to suit more palettes. In fact, some interpretations of Judeo-Christian scripture argue that many references contained therein refer to hallucinogens, including ergot, an analog and precursor of LSD.

Some have even gone as far as to suggest that the New Testament transubstantiation of water into wine was achieved by means of adding a red mold containing ergot to the water itself.

So... perhaps the Diocese was too quick to dismiss a miraculous explanation. If nothing else, it might have been a good excuse for him to trip the light fantastic for himself and take the Electric Communion Wine Acid Test.

Jazz Cat Proves His Chops During Brain Surgery -

A Spanish jazz musician was worried that a medically necessary brain surgery to remove a tumor might damage his ability to play music.

The Doctors, apparently, understood his concern, and to ensure this didn't harm his ability to play, they did something amazing: kept him awake and playing the saxophone during the procedure. He came through the surgery fine, without any apparent loss of his talent.

This must have been quite a treat for the surgical team. After all, it isn't often you can find a good excuse to Jitterbug during complex surgery.

Happy 70th Anniversary, Bermuda Triangle Mystery! -

This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the popularization of the Bermuda Triangle mystery. The Triangle is a loosely defined oceanic region (only unofficially recognized) with corners touching the island of Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Miami, Florida. It has long been purported to be a place in which ships and aircraft mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again, and accounts of strange phenomenon in the area go back at least as far as Columbus.

Its legend became more popular after the disappearance of Flight 19, a routine training mission on which five military aircraft left from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 5th, 1945 and, some time after allegedly entering the area of the triangle, disappeared and have never been found since. Afterwards, a PBM-Mariner seaplane was sent to scout for the missing planes, also never to return (it is generally thought to have blown up in midair).

Whether there is any real mystery to the alleged Triangle, or whether that is simply a name people gave the area owing to its reputation, remains a matter of some considerable debate, but one thing is for certain: Hollywood won't let the mystery die as long as they can continue to churn out shoestring SciFi thrillers requiring only a boat, water, a few actors, and a vague oceanic region.

#WeirdNews #OnlyInFlorida #BermudaTriangle

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Weird News - 12/17/2015
The Putin, The Witch, and the Time Machine

What's done is done, the past is gone, and the future is an undiscovered country... so the sayings go. Yet, sometimes, history may not be as clearly written as we think, if the following stories are anything to go by.

On the Care and Feeding of the Not-Quite-Deceased -

In 1864, a woman named Mary Doheny was brought to trial in Tipperary, Ireland on charges of swindling. Often thought of by historians as a 'witch trial', Doheny's trial records in fact shed light on a uniquely Irish worldview of the supernatural, and the contrasting English worldview through which the trial was to be ultimately judged.

Miss Doheny stood accused of swindling many clients by claiming to be feeding their recently returned 'deceased' relatives from food supplied by those same relatives, according to the charges. Yet, to phrase it as such was to misunderstand the actual belief system involved, for neither she nor her clients believed these people truly dead but, rather, captives of the sidhe, a mythical Irish race (or possibly races) sometimes translated into English as 'fairies'.

These beings, more often depicted as a rather tall and slender race as opposed to the 'wee folk' they devolved into in later retellings, were believed to often kidnap people from our realm, either bodily or spiritually, for some purpose in their realm: men who went missing or suddenly died of mysterious causes might be said to be 'taken by a fairy bride', or the sudden death or disappearance of a child (in some cases, no doubt, due to foul play by parents) might be attributed to their replacing an older, sick fairy who would temporarily take the child's place in our world as well, a so-called 'changeling'.

Just like the story of Persephone in Greek Mythology, one taken to the realm of the sidhe became trapped there only upon eating their food (and even then, in some cases, the process was considered reversible with enough time), and thus Miss Doheny was perceived by her clients as a sort of 'seer' (sometimes called a 'Fairy Doctor'), able to communicate with these kidnapped people, find out their preferred foods (and in some cases, vices as well), and feed them these foods to keep them from becoming permanently trapped.

Indeed, the accounts of the types of foods offered, and the occasional rejections of these foods in favor of other ones by the spirits, would be immediately familiar to any number of tribal and post-tribal belief systems, such as Haitian Vodou, wherein spirits of ancestors and divine beings are fed their preferred diets and have been known to reject foods that aren't proper or of high enough quality. In this case an Houngan, Mambo, Witch Doctor, or other equivalent figure to a Fairy Doctor would often act as the mediator between these spirits and other mortals, relaying preferences and complaints.

Whether Miss Doheny was sincere in these beliefs as were her clients, or whether she was indeed a knowing swindler (though swindling food seems unlikely to achieve much more than keeping a full belly), her perceived role within Irish society was quite different from what the Crown courts made of it, and what most historians make of it to this day.

They say the dead tell no tales, but that is simply not true. On the other hand, as in our following story, death may not even be on the table.

Vlad the Time Traveler? -

Two photographs, one from 1920 and the other from 1941, have fueled speculation on social media that Russian President Vladmir Putin is either a time traveler, or some immortal being. The photos show two Russian soldiers who both bear an uncanny resemblance to the current Russian leader.

Putting aside why the mere existence of 'lookalikes' should automatically be assumed to be paranormal (when finding examples of non-paranormal lookalikes isn't exactly hard to do in this day and age), we can probably rule out that he is an immortal based on the copious photographs of Mister Putin as a young man, unless one also assumes these photographs to have been faked. It hardly seems likely, though, that the KGB would have missed the fact that his entire background was phony when vetting him initially for the organization (or that an immortal would even want to pursue a career that would bring such high level scrutiny to them).

On the other hand, time travel can't entirely be ruled out. Even though one generally expects a time traveler to want to keep a low profile, rather than pose for Polaroid moments, if any time traveler would ever be cocky and vain enough to do so, it surely would be good ol' shirtless Vlad. (The fact that neither photo involves a shirtless man is therefore automatically suspicious...)

Then again, if Putin could time travel, wouldn't he be doing more in the past than playing soldier in forgotten wars? Wouldn't he be able to change history to, say, ensure Russian military and economic supremacy, or worse create some potentially spacetime-breaking grandfather paradox? Perhaps not, if our next story is to be trusted.

Your Grandfather is Safe... For Now... -

A Grandfather Paradox is a name for a paradox whereby changing your own causal past via time travel seems to 'cancel out' the actions or even the existence of the traveler. The name refers to the paradox of traveling back in time and (intentionally or accidentally) killing your own grandfather before he conceives your father. Since you never existed after that, you couldn't have gone back to kill him, yet not doing so ensures you're born and the cycle repeats (or possibly fractures the universe itself).

This isn't a small problem, as time travel does seem to be possible in both General Relativity and Quantum Physics, and indeed for certain potential applications of quantum computing to be possible so, too, must time travel in some form.

Specifically, General Relativity (P.S. - Happy 100th Birthday, General Relativity!) allows for timelike loops that appear to introduce grandfather paradoxes. Spacetime itself can theoretically be curved, and under some conditions made to fold back on itself. In principle, therefore, it should be possible to (e.g.) bend tomorrow back onto today and, stepping through the time machine tomorrow, arrive at today, able to interact with the past and violate causation.

This, at least, is how a Closed Timelike Curve (CTC) would work, and without them certain theoretical applications in quantum computing don't seem possible. A team of international researchers, however, thinks the practical benefits can be preserved while resolving the paradoxes by substituting CTC's with Open Timelike Curves (OTC's).

To use an analogy: CTC's are like a ferris wheel, where the starting point of the loop is also the end point: if the loop closes at today, then entering the loop tomorrow will return you to today, in the manner by which most SciFi time travel actually works. In theory, it could even catch up to and overtake its past self, because both selves are on the same closed loop. Your future self could, for example, prevent your past self from ever entering the loop.

OTC's, on the other hand, would be more like loops on a roller coaster: while the traveler seems to be moving 'backwards' as they follow the loop, the end of the loop is an entirely different point from the beginning. There can be, in this case, no interaction between the past self at the beginning of the loop and the future self at the end of it. (I.E. If another coaster is entering the loop as one is exiting it, the two will go right past each other parallel, but never interact.) Causality is preserved, yet so are the practical benefits of being able to move particles (and eventually, perhaps, macro entities) through a timelike loop.

So, it appears that grandfathers and butterflies may yet be safe from the terror of the Time Travelers. Unless Putin is both a time traveler and an immortal, in which case: so long, and thanks for all the fish.

#WeirdNews #TimeTravel #Immortality
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