Monday, June 27, 2011

"In praise of the weird"

Page 30 of the 18 June 2011 issue of the "New Scientist" magazine carries an opinion article written by William Laurance (click here) , a professor at James Cook University, Cairns, Australia, titled "In praise of the weird."

It opens with the recent publication of an 8 second long amateur video, taken in Northern Tasmania. This blurry footage shows a long tailed mammal "...trotting across a meadow with an oddly stilted gait." The person who took the video believes the animal is the extinct Tasmanian Tiger.

Laurance himself, upon seeing the animal on the video thought that it was in fact a red fox. A faecal sample obtained from the animal, was subjected to a DNA test which said it was, indeed, a red fox.

The article then goes on to talk about "cryptobiology" "mythical, mysterious or supposedly extinct species."

Laurance acknowledges that there are some credible people undertaking this study. He names David Bickford, National University of Singapore, a tropical ecologist (click here) ; and Aaron Bauer, an evolutionary herpetologist, from Villanova University in Pennsylvania. (Click here.)

"But for mainstream scientists being a cryptobiologist isn't easy. Some have paid for their efforts."

However, he notes that new animal discoveries continue to be made including that of "The Mindoro fruit bat, discovered in the Phillippines in 2007, has a 1 metre wingspan." (Click here.)

In conclusion, "...we should celebrate the intrepid efforts of cryptobiologists. Yes, they chase bizarre creatures and flit around the fringes of conventional science, but we ought to appreciate their adventurous spirit rather than be disdainful."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Psychic spies - remote viewing


If you have been following the topic of "remote viewing," then an article in the April 2011 issue (number 272) of the English Fortean Times, by author Jim Schnabel, may be of interest to you.

Schnabel's article starts by mentioning the use of remote viewing in 2007 and 2009 to try and locate US Army privates who were missing in action overseas.

John B Alexander is quoted as saying about the information provided by a number of remote viewers: "Most of the input that came back was pure garbage...It was so non-specific, what could you do with it?"

Paul Smith, who was involved in the other case said "...I thought the project was fairly successful." (p.30.)

Remote viewing continues:

Hal Puthoff was involved in an official US government sponsored remote viewing program in the 1970's. He is quoted as saying "...a lot of the individual remote viewers...were recontacted by various federal authorities and asked for help" after 9/11. (p.30.)

Another former military RV Lyn Buchanan "...set up a project in the late 1990's-the Assigned Witness Program- in which a team of remote viewers would solve crimes, but apparently has since abandoned it." (p.32.)

Ed Dames:

"Ed Dames, a former member of the military remote viewing unit who is now a fixture on late-night paranormal-oriented talk radio, claimed recently, on the basis of his remote viewing data, that President Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii..."

The military program:

Schnabel then reviews the Government sponsored RV program in the US "The programme had supporters at virtually all levels, from junior intelligence analysts and operations officers up to senior agency officials and even key senators and their staff." (p.32.)

"Yet for all its promise, the remote viewing programme eventually lost support, and was terminated. Later, it was almost entirely declassified-as if to emphasise that US intelligence would never venture into the parapsychological realm again." (p.32.)


There are numerous individuals who have set up RV companies. "From browsing the RV-related websites and speaking to people who are still connected to that world, I get the impression that money-oriented remote viewing-in trading and betting contexts-is an activity on the increase." (p.36.)

"There are rumours of ARV teams that ply unsuspecting casinos, and even hedge funds given over to ARV guided trading." (p.36.)

My comment:

Schnabel's 1997 book "Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America's Psychic Spies" is still very relevant today.