Thursday, 14 August 2014

About Crop Circles

About Crop Circles

The inexplicable formation of flattened circles in fields of crops has gripped our imagination since the first recorded evidence in a seventeenth-century woodcut. They range from complex geometric patterns and DNA symbols to more delicate versions that look like snowflakes and spiders’ webs. While enthusiastic hoaxers may be responsible for many crop circles and patterns, not all can be dismissed so easily.

In the mid-1980s, the crop circle phenomenon gained momentum, as hundreds of patterns began appearing in the fields of southern England. More outlandish explanations – flying saucers, fairies, field sprites and the Devil himself – were quickly laughed off by a sceptical media. But “natural” explanations, such as rolling hedgehogs, mating foxes, plasma clouds, whirlwinds and changes in the earth’s magnetic field hardly seemed more credible. Within a few years, many commentators had agreed that the circles were all just a big hoax.

Soon newspapers were revealing how gangs of tricksters armed with ropes, planks, surveyors’ tape, stakes and plastic garden rollers were touring the shires to make their mark in the dead of night. These groups of hoaxers even gained a measure of notoriety and were given names – Merlin & Co, The Snake, Spiderman, The Bill Bailey Gang – but the undisputed grand old men of British “cereology” were known simply as Doug and Dave. In 1992, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley admitted to devoting more than twenty-five years to making crop circles. This seemed ample proof for the sceptics that all circles were hoaxes. And yet a couple of successful pranksters working for a few years in southern England could not explain historical and worldwide reports of crop circles. This was certainly not the end of the story…

from "Encyclopedia of the Paranormal" by Rupert Matthews

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Bigfoot - The Yeomans Sighting

Bigfoot - The Yeomans Sighting

In 1939 a prospector named Burns Yeomans was near Harrison Lake, British Columbia, when he saw a group of five creatures in a clearing about a thousand yards away. The beasts were described as being big and hairy like bears, but shaped more like massive humans. Two of the creatures were wrestling with each other, while the others watched. Intrigued, Yeomans also sat down to watch. The wrestling continued for almost half an hour. Then one of the wrestlers appeared to give up, and the creatures walked off in to the woods.

from "Bigfoot" by Rupert Matthews
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Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Trinidade UFO Sighting

The Trinidade UFO Sighting

In January 1958 a Brazilian survey ship, the Almirante Saldanha, arrived at the Pacific island of Trindade where Brazilian Navy had an oceanographic station. Just after noon on 16 January the photographer Almiro Barauna was on deck when another crew member pointed out to him an object in the sky. The object was at first taken to be an aircraft, but its lack of wings made Barauna reach for his camera. The object circled around the island, then flew off. Barauna managed to take four photos, though in his excitement he did not check the settings on the camera and all four pictures were consequently slightly over exposed. About 100 men of the ship’s crew or base’s residents saw the UFO.

Realising that there must be no suspicion of fraud or hoaxing, Barauna persuaded the captain of the ship to supervise the developing of the photos in the on-board laboratory and on the ship’s return to port submitted the negatives and prints to the Brazilian navy for expert study.

The developed photos matched exactly the descriptions given by the witnesses. The craft was shown as being a flattened sphere with a wide rim or flange around its centre, giving a rather Saturn-like appearance. The body of the craft was pale grey, the rim dark grey and a greenish mist or spray trailed behind it. The overall diameter of the craft was estimated to be about 130 feet and its speed around 600mph.

The Trindade sighting is famous largely because of the photos that were taken. The UFO shows features that are repeated in many sightings. The shape of a flattened sphere with a rim is one that is reported in a great many cases. That apart the behaviour of the UFO was not particularly noteworthy. It flew at a speed easily attained by conventional aircraft and its flightpath, circling the island and heading off in a straight line, could be mimicked by a human craft. Were it not for the photos sceptics might have dismissed this sighting as being that of a misidentified aircraft.

from "Alien Encounters" by Rupert Matthews
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Monday, 4 August 2014

Just last summer I saw a UFO.

Just last summer I saw a UFO.
I’ve been investigating, researching and writing about UFOs and aliens for some 15 years or so now, but never before have I seen something flying in the sky that I could not identify. I have seen odd lights a plenty, but generally close to airports or airfields that would probably explain them. Although I have spoken to plenty of people who have had odd encounters I had never had one myself. Judging by what witnesses had told me, I was not altogether sorry about this.
But there I was on a beach in Cornwall, England, on a balmy summer’s evening walking back to the holiday cottage that I and my family had rented after a rather nice meal at a local pub. My friend Pete suddenly stopped and pointed up into the sky.
“What is that?” he asked.
Moving slowly through the sky toward us was a line of red globes. They made no sound, moving with an eerie silence. There were eight of them, all moving at a steady speed and  in a straight line - coming from inland and heading out toward the sea. I stopped to watch them, as did my wife and Pete’s wife. The objects came steadily onward heading more or less straight for us.
It was difficult to gauge their height, size or speed since in the clear night sky of a Cornish summer there was nothing to really compare them to. I would guess that they were not very high, perhaps a few hundred feet at most, and that they were quite small, maybe a couple of feet across. Nor did they move very quickly. Perhaps no faster than I could run.
As we watched, the objects reached a point almost overhead, though slightly to the east. Then the first one came to a gradual stop, seeming to climb steadily. The second reached about the same spot, then it too halted and began to climb. Moving in silent succession each of the objects did precisely the same thing. By the time the eighth had come to a stop and begun to climb, the first two or three had faded from view.
For a few moments we watched as the glowing lights climbed. Then the final one faded out of sight. They had gone.
What were they? Well, the easy answer is that I do not know. And for that reason they can be counted as a UFO. They were Unidentified, they were Flying and they were Objects.
I doubt that there was anything very odd about them, however. Cornwall is a holiday destination for teenagers, the elderly and everyone in between. And people on holiday can get up to all sorts of odd things - especially in a New Age place like Cornwall.
My personal view is that the objects were mot probably a number of those paper balloons that are powered by a small burning lamp suspended underneath them. The hot air from the lamp fills the balloon, causing it to rise into the sky. When let off at night the balloon is virtually invisible, only the flaming lamp is to be seen as if suspended in empty air.
The movement of the objects we saw would seem to fit the idea. Several balloons let off from the same spot a minute or so apart would go up into the sky and follow a similar path. Drifting north on a breeze they may have reached the turbulent air flows that usually form over the coast as the warm sea airs ride up over the cooler land air columns. That may have been the cause of their sudden halt and steep climb.
Well, that is my idea. When dealing with UFOs it is usually best to propose a mundane explanation whenever possible. But the truth is that we saw so little of the objects that it is impossible to be certain what they were.
And that is very much the problem with reports of UFOs. So many of them are lacking in detail, could be explained as perfectly normal objects or are rather uninteresting. On that basis, skeptics argue that there are no such things as truly unexplained flying objects, there are only ordinary objects in the sky that the witness did not identify properly. Less charitable skeptics would suggest that at least some witnesses have simply made the whole thing up.
But that is not the case. As this book will show there is much, much more to it than a few glowing fires seen drifting through the summer sky.

from "UFOs: A History of Alien Activity from Sightings to Abductions to Global Threat" by Rupert Matthews
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Roswell Incident Cast of Characters (part1)

 Cast of Characters

Studying the mosaic of information given by the various sources of information and using it to attempt to produce a coherent account of what is claimed to have happened in and around Roswell in July 1948 can be a complex business. In particular remembering who all the different witnesses and others involved can be difficult. I therefore provide this list of the people mentioned in this book.

Gerald “Gerry” Anderson came forward in the 1990s giving a detailed and comprehensive account of events at Roswell that he claimed to have witnessed for himself. It later emerged that Anderson had been only five years old at the time and there was no evidence that he had, as he claimed, been with his uncle in Roswell in July 1947.

Pete Anaya and his brother Ruben were civilian workers at Roswell air base who had a security pass to enter the outer compound of the base with its living areas, storerooms and hospitals. Pete claims to recall the events of July 1947 clearly and although he did not see much himself claims to be able to remember accurately what other people more closely involved told him at the time. 

Grady “Barney” Barnett was in 1947 a civil engineer working on projects across New Mexico, but based in Socorro. He died before UFO researchers became interested in the Roswell Incident, but had told of his experiences to friends several times. These accounts were consistent and clear, though in places rather vague.

Bessie (or Betty) Brazel was the daughter of Mac Brazel. Aged 14 in 1947 she claims to have seen and handled some of the wreckage.

William “Mac” Brazel was the rancher on whose land the “Debris Field” was found. He was quoted in the press at the time and spoke about the event to his friends and neighbours. Brazel died in 1963 so his testimony survives only as the second hand accounts remembered by others and in documents written in 1947.

William “Bill” Brazel jr is the son of Mac Brazel. He was a young adult in 1947. He remembers some events that he experienced himself, and also recalls much of what his father told him about the Roswell Incident.

from "Roswell" by Rupert Matthews
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Saturday, 26 July 2014

A World War II Poltergeist

A World War II Poltergeist

One slightly odd case from Price’s files is in many ways a typical poltergeist visitation, but in others is quite unique. It concerns a Dr Wilkins of Sunderland and his family and took place in 1942. Dr Wilkins’s daughter Olive fell in love with a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF in 1940 when she was only 19 and he was only a few years older. The airman proposed, but Dr Wilkins and his wife were reluctant to give permission for the marriage to go ahead. Not only was Olive young but there was a war on and the prospective husband was on active service. There was every possibility that their daughter might be left a very young widow. There followed some debate, none of it bad tempered apparently, which ended with the young couple getting married in the autumn of 1941. The young couple set up home in a rented flat in Sunderland, where Olive had a job as a secretary. If her new husband was on duty, Olive would often go to her parent’s home for supper. Because the flat was small, Olive had left many belongings - such as books, tennis racket, old toys and the like - in her old bedroom.

On 26 February 1942 Mrs Wilkins borrowed from her daughter’s jewellery box a kilt pin to secure a wrap. Nothing in the bedroom was out of place. After spending the day in town, Mrs Wilkins returned home, took off her wrap and went to replace the pin in the dressing table in her daughter’s former bedroom. As she entered the room she stopped dumbfounded. The bedclothes had been carefully and neatly turned down, just as they should have been toward bed time if the family had still had a maid. Mrs Wilkins was certain she had not touched the bed, and nobody had a key to the house except herself, Dr Wilkins and Olive - both of whom were at work.

Three days later Mrs Wilkins was in the kitchen preparing dinner when she heard the front door open. The familiar sound of her husband’s footsteps approaching across the hallway were heard, accompanied by the click-clack of her daughter's heels. The kitchen door opened and in came Dr Wilkins alone.

“Where is Olive?” asked Mrs Wilkins.

“I don’t know,” replied Dr Wilkins. “Gone home I suppose.” She was not with him, nor had he heard her footsteps.

Four days later, Mrs Wilkins went into Olive’s room to find that the bed had been disarranged just as if it had been slept in. Two days later one of Olive’s books had been removed from the bookcase  and left open on the windowsill as if somebody had glanced at it, then put it down. A week later Mrs Wilkins again heard the front door open, but this time Olive’s footsteps alone came across the hallway. The footsteps went up the stairs, along the landing and into Olive’s bedroom. Then they came out again and into the bathroom. The toilet flushed and then there was silence. After a while Mrs Wilkins went up but there was no sign of her daughter. When Dr Wilkins got home he was sent hotfoot round to Olive’s flat to find her and her husband sitting down to supper. Olive said she had not been round to her parent’s house at all.

A couple of weeks later, Olive really did come round after work. She came with the happy news that she was pregnant. One month later her husband was posted overseas.

from "Poltergeist" by Rupert Matthews
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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Farisees (Fairies) at Ash, Surrey

Farisees (Fairies) at Ash, Surrey

The Puttenham farmhand got off lightly compared to Matthew Trigg. In the  early 18th century Trigg was a cantankerous old codger who lived at Ash. One day the villagers noticed he was missing. some children had seen him set off for a walk in the woods between Ash and Tongham. A search party set off, but there was no sign of him other than his walking stick found discarded among the trees. Worried, the villagers consulted the local wise woman, or witch. She poured pure spring water into a brightly polished copper basin and sat staring at it for a while.

“The farisees have him,” she finally declared. “He came across them dancing in the woods and the old fool spoke to them. Now they have him far away to the east and have put an enchantment on him to make him dance forever for their amusement. If we don’t rescue him soon he will die of exhaustion.”

In answer to the demands of the villagers that something be done, the wise woman asked each of them to donate a small personal item that they were willing to give to get Matthew Trigg back again. One woman gave a hair ribbon, a child donated a doll a man gave a whistle. The wise woman put all the items into a pot and set them on fire. She then collected the ashes and mixed them with some goose fat. Taking the resulting mixture outside she smeared it on the head of her old horse, then whispered the name “Matthew Trigg” in the horse’s ear. The horse gave a whinny, and set off at a trot.

“Now we wait,” said the old woman. Everyone sat down as the time passed. A few hours later there came a whinny. The people looked about, but could see no horse. Then they realised that the wise woman was looking upward. Coming toward them through the air was the old horse with a terrified Matthew Trigg hanging on for dear life. The horse seemed to be having trouble flying in a straight line and at one point it collided with the steeple of Ash church, its hooves inflicting a dramatic dent on the side of the spire. Then it came down to earth and Matthew Trigg was saved.

The hoofmarks remained on Ash church steeple until 1864 when an unimaginative new vicar had the old spire replaced with a flawless new one, which remains to this day.

from "Paranormal Surrey" By Rupert Matthews
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