November 2010

The Woods Are Full Of Cameras

It sounds like the worst sort of paranoid fear-mongering, but it's completely true.  If you go out into the woods in America, the probability is very high that your picture will be taken at least once, by either a trap cam or a stealth video camera.

In 2008, Slate reported that "at any given time, there may be about 10,000 [camera traps] deployed in research projects."  And as Slate notes, "that's just the tip of the iceberg" because as many as 300,000 trap cameras are sold every year, "mostly to hunters."

Even assuming that not all cameras end up being deployed (I'm sure at least some end up still in the box, gathering dust at the bottom of a closet), and that some cameras are destroyed every year (mechanical malfunction, being dropped, being trampled by a rhino, etc) that's still an awful lot of cameras. 

HAARP: Not Scary, Just Science

A friend recently recommended a great show to me, "Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory."  It features all the bombast of MonsterQuest, combined with the crazy-ass topics of Coast to Coast.  Add in Jesse Ventura's emphatic personal style, and you have yourself a winner.

The first episode of "Conspiracy Theory" focuses on HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project.  HAARP has been a particular darling of the conspiracy theory set ever since 1995's (self-)publication of "Angels Don't Play This HAARP" by Dr. Nick Begich. 

Begich, who has a Doctorate in Alternative Medicine from a university in Sri Lanka, is one of the headliners in the protest against HAARP.  Governor Ventura also interviews a number of Alaskan citizens, as well as a few "researchers."  They all agree: HAARP is, in one man's words, "some kind of futuristic weapon."

The Skogsra: Evil Swedish Woodland Spirits

I have been reading "Let Me In" by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, and one of the chapter intros caught my eye.  A brief poem by Viktor Rydberg titled "Skogsgraet."  The word "skogsgra" was left untranslated, with a footnote from the translator defining it as "a beautiful but sinister forest spirit."

Rydberg, a Swedish poet of the mid to late 1800s, wrote of the Skogsra in the same light as Keats wrote of La Belle Dame Sans Merci.  Rydberg's poem "Skogsgraet" tells of a "strong and handsome bachelor" named Bear, who goes hunting in the woods one autumn night.  Bear falls in love with a skogsra which he glimpses on the shore of a moonlit lake, and he is forever ruined. Doomed to a life alone, because he can love only the Skogsra, who he of course can never have.

Vampires Among Us

  Their legends have intrigued us, even terrified us for years. Stories of blood sucking creatures that haunt our villages, stalk our city streets, and steal away the unsuspecting in the middle of the night to satisfy their blood lust. But, how much of these stories are true? How much is simply demonizing what we do not understand and is it possible that there are actually vampires among us?



The Living Human Vampire:

Indigo Children

I have difficulty writing about the topic of indigo children, because it's just so sad.  In the broadest, most meta sense, the concept of "indigo children" is a way to fleece gullible parents out of shed loads of money. 

Although the idea of "indigo children" first came to a wide audience in the late 1990s and early 2000s, they were originally "discovered" by a New Age psychic named Nancy Ann Tappe.  She made an off-hand mention that she had noticed a lot of children with indigo-colored auras. 

In 1998, a husband and wife team wrote a book called The Indigo Children, and the phenomenon was off and running.  According to Carroll and Tober, "indigo children" were actually mystical creatures, foundlings of a sort, who would grow up and improve the world for the better.

Dolphin Telepathy

Someone recently brought this Dolphin Communication Orgone Pendant to my attention, and I couldn't be more enthralled.  What it may lack in visual appeal, it makes up for in "dolphin gem elixir."

I was not aware that dolphins were telepathic.  I learned that from reading about the pendant ($99) the dolphin gem elixir ($39) and the impressively hefty desktop Dolphin Portal Orgone Cone ($170).

When you think about it, it's remarkable what a connection we as a culture (if not as a species) have made with dolphins.  They are seen as friendly, spiritual, healing, mystical.  At the very least, cheerful.  All this from an animal that is so incredibly different from us. 

Dolphins live underwater, breathe through the tops of their heads, have two fins in front instead of hands, no legs, and a big fluke instead of feet.  Most people are even unaware that dolphins are mammals.  It's an understandable mistake, since they seem more like a fish made from an inner tube, with the fin attached sideways.

Blue UFOs: Night Sky Rave

A recent spate of UFO sightings has featured blue lights, flying in any number of patterns, configurations, and speed.  Problem being: these are the work of hoaxers across the country.

The recent availability of lightweight LED light strips has allowed pranksters with remote controlled aircraft to mimic UFO sightings with remarkable skill.  Metafilter user smoothvirus put together an excellent post about this pranking, and its consequences.

If you are a devoted fan of the late lamented show MonsterQuest, you have already seen these light strips in action in several episodes.  For example, in the "Ohio Grassman" episode, a local RC helicopter enthusiast is enlisted to help with the hunt.  The team attaches a FLIR thermal camera to the belly of the RC helicopter.  The pilot meanwhile attaches a set of lightweight LED strips to the helicopter itself, so that he can monitor its orientation when it is in flight in the darkness.

Are Ghosts Just Time Slips?

One theory to explain the phenomenon of ghosts is that they may represent a time slip, or a "thin spot," where time leaks can occur.  One thing is true: even with all our advancements in physics over the last hundred years, our understanding of the nature of time is primitive at best.

Einstein once postulated that time was like a river, a current which seems to carry us forward.  And just like a river, Einstein believed it was theoretically possible for the current to meander in odd ways, forming eddies and oxbows, and perhaps to even flow backwards at times. 

Colesakick Vs. Intergalactic Reptilian Black Market in Human Meat

Imagine a worldview so convoluted that the answer to "Where are the bodies of the people killed by the Indonesian tsunami go?" is not "They were washed into the ocean," but "They were taken by the Reptilians and beamed up into space, to be sold at an intergalactic black market butcher shop."

Confused?  Don't worry: YouTube Sensation colesakick wants to break it down for you.  In fact, that is what she was sent here on Earth to do: She is a Pleiadian who was incarnated here to blow the whistle on "you guys."  (I think she means the Reptilians and co?)  At the end of the video she identifies herself as "The spirit of the mother of everything in this galaxy."

Unfortunately, colesakick (real name Colleen) had a recent misfire.  In a video titled "Update to Obama and all hostiles" she predicted that "On November 6th the EMP will take out all communications and electrical grids so prepare your electronics, unplug them, place on ground and cover with metal blanket of some kind"  (I don't have a "metal blanket," can you loan me one?)

Mistletoe: A Festive Parasite

I'm sure you have heard of mistletoe, that cute little sprig that hangs overhead to garner kisses during the holiday season.  But did you know that it's actually a parasite?

Mistletoe is a hemi-parasite, which means that it both draws sustenance from the host plant, and uses photosynthesis to feed itself.  (The chlorophyll it uses for photosynthesis is responsible for the plant's festive green color.)

Parasitic plants are somewhat rare, with about 4,100 species in existence according to Wikipedia.  (Out of about 350,000 total plant species in the world.)  Mistletoe parasitizes the stems and branches of other plants, particularly trees.

Galls: Parasitic Plant Tumors

If you have ever found a weird lump or growth on a plant, chances are good that it's a gall.  Leaf galls are the most commonly seen.  You can find these strange lumps on tree leaves of almost any species, all throughout the summer months.  They are easiest to spot late in the season, when they are largest. 

Leaf galls can frequently be spotted on oak trees.  These galls are caused by a species of parasitic wasp, known (logically enough) as the gall wasp or gallfly.  In the center of the gall, were you to cut it open carefully, you would find the larvae of one of these wasps.

The gall wasp injects its egg into the flesh of the leaf.  As the larvae hatches and grows, the gall grows around it, like a sort of leaf tumor.  The mechanism by which this gall grows is unknown.  The larvae grows fat and healthy, eating the gall flesh of the leaf.

The Devil in Dartmoor

Dartmoor is a windswept hilly region of England.  This beautiful land of grassy rolling hills (the moorland) has been rich with myths and legend for thousands of years.  In particular, the Devil is said to stalk the moors of Dartmoor at night.  In fact, the Devil makes quite a few appearances there, in a number of different guises.

Black Dogs
The Devil often appears with his hunting hounds, called the Wisht Hounds.  These large evil animals are pitch black, with glowing eyes.  They hunt down unwary travelers, and carry their souls off to Hell.

A lone black dog may also be the Devil himself, in disguise.  The legend of black dogs in Devon is an entirely separate (and equally rich) set of tales which we talked about a little while back.