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Bizzare & Odd

Thoughtography

Yup, it’s a real word. If it is a real phenomenon is another matter.

I was watching the relatively new psychological thriller “Red Lights” the other night, and was reminded of a phenomenon of the psychic world that I have not seen addressed very much recently. Thoughtography was once a popular performance of psychic phenomena. Also called Projected Thermography.Spirit Photography and Nengraphy, from the Chinese Nensha which translates as “sense inception,” Thoughtography is the process of projecting mental imagery onto photographic film.

For a demonstration here is an excerpt from Arthur C Clarke’s World of Strange Powers:

But the history of Thoughtography goes back further than Ted Serios. Nikola Tesla believed there must exist some way for the imagery of the mind to be projected in the external world. His idea has a very appealing sense to it, but I fear is trying to force an understanding of physics to apply to the workings of biology.

“I became convinced that a definite image formed in thought must by reflex action produce a corresponding image on the retina, which might be read by a suitable apparatus. This brought me to my system of television which I announced at the time… My idea was to employ an artificial retina receiving an object of the image seen, an optic nerve and another retina at the place of reproduction… both being fashioned somewhat like a checker board, with the optic nerve being a part of the earth.”

Nikola Tesla

Tesla’s idea sounds shockingly like the research that is happening now in creating optical implants for the blind, so in a way he was not far off. But I guess the genius who conceived of AC electricity, remote control vehicles, radio and television had ideas that were so far on the fringe that even he could not make them reality in his time.

The serious, using a liberal interpretation, study of thoughtography dates back to 1910 when Professor of Psychology, Tomokichi Fukarai at Tokyo University began experiments with a group of women who claimed clairvoyant powers. While the idea of clairvoyance has pretty much always been part of human culture in one form or another, the early 20th century saw a surge in popularity for the practice, or at least a surge in its integration into popular culture. Heck, the early 20th century saw a surge in the idea of pop culture as communication began to span the globe at speeds that far outstripped the fastest steam ship or train.

Tomokichi Fukarai

Fukarai was a believer in psychic phenomena, and as such, perhaps not the most impartial observer to conduct related experiments and in the end his research led to his eventual resignation from his position but he did not give up his pursuit and in 1959 established the Fukurai Institute of Psychology to carry on with his research, as it does to this day.

Fukurai’s first success was with a woman named Ikuku Nagao

Ikuku Nagao

Nagao took ill soon after her work with Fukurai began to get results and she died. Her illness was attributed by some to the stresses exerted upon her by skeptics naming her a fraud. Fukurai carried on his research and in 1913 began to get positive results once more with a new subject, Sadako Takahashi.

Sadako Takahashi

Fukurai’s research at Tokyo University lasted another six years until his resignation under accusations of fraud in 1919. Ironically, the year after the birth of the next widely known practitioner of thoughtography, the earlier mentioned Ted Serios.

An alcoholic, Serios apparently was typically unable to produce results while sober, was prone to throwing demonstrative and animated fits during sessions, and always used a small cylinder that fit into the palm of his hand as a “focus.” Unless you speak German, the narration of the following video will not do you much good, but it does show Serios at work, and shows something else as well.

What I see in this video is absolutely no controls being enforced in this “experiment.” The men in the video are merely holding up cameras, no one is making certain that Serios could not be palming images as suggested in the Arthur C Clarke video. There is no control over the “exposed” film in evidence, and no actual evidence that the pictures shown in close up are the same taken by the cameras.

Following in the footsteps of Serios are two notably renown psychics, one you have probably heard of, Uri Geller and the other Geller’s equivalent in Japan, Masuaki Kiyota.

Masuaki Kiyota

Masuaki Kiyota

Masuaki has admitted to fraud in certain instances of his performances, and in many cases was insistent upon being given privacy while in possession of the cameras and film to be used in his demonstrations offering him ample opportunity for fraud. He is thus easily dismissed.

Uri Geller was, in his day, probably the best known psychic in the world. As such he drew the attention of perennial debunker James Randi who made Geller a special project of his, as shown in this video:

And while this video does not deal specifically with thoughtography, it does demonstrate that as soon as a few simple controls are put in place the psychics ability to produce results is significantly reduced to the point of vanishing completely.

Recently Geller is quoted in a German magazine Magische Welt (Magic World), as offering just short of an admission of fraud:

I’ll no longer say that I have supernatural powers. I am an entertainer. I want to do a good show. My entire character has changed.

And that about wraps him up.

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Bizzare & Odd

Why These Animals Were Accused of Being International Spies

Deep within uranium mines, lizards were lurking around, attracting atomic waves and delivering intel on the Iranian government.

Or at least that’s the narrative Iranian military advisor Hassan Firuzabadi told media outlets earlier this week.

Firuzabadi’s comments came after being asked about a group of environmentalists under arrest since late January. According to the Times of Israel, a local Iranian news agency quoted Firuzabadi as saying that, in the environmentalists’ possession, they found lizards and chameleons. Allegedly these were deployed to find where Iran was mining and developing uranium.

The lizards’ skin, Firuzabadi said, was capable of attracting atomic waves. The espionage effort, he added, had failed.

It’s unclear how or why Firuzabadi reached this conclusion, but this alleged attempt would have failed regardless because lizard skin isn’t capable of absorbing measurable atomic waves, say scientists. Further, as cold-blooded animals, the lizards likely would not have sought out cool, dark caves. (Although these cave-dwelling crocs may be becoming a new species.)

It’s not the first time animals have been accused of spying—not by a longshot. Read on for more surprising examples.

In 2016, a large griffin vulture with a six-foot wingspan crossed the Israeli border into Lebanon. When the bird was caught by local villagers, it was found to be wearing a small tracking device on its foot. The locals suspected the animal was being used to spy on them.

The real reason the vulture was wearing a tracker? It was part of a program to repopulate raptors in the Middle East and had been living at the Israeli Gamla Nature Reserve. According to the BBC, it was eventually returned to its home after UN peacekeepers intervened.

An Israeli vulture was also detained in 2011 by the Saudi Arabian government. That griffin vulture was wearing a GPS tag owned by the University of Tel Aviv, which was studying the endangered bird’s movement patterns.

Squirrely Behavior

Iran isn’t a stranger to alleging animal espionage. In 2007, they detained 14 squirrels that local news agencies said were equipped with spying equipment. Allegedly, the squirrels had some sort of small recording or radio device that was used for eavesdropping.

At the time, national police confirmed they were aware of the story, but did not divulge more information about where they thought the squirrels came from or what happened to them.

NPR interviewed a former CIA agent, and wildlife professor John Koprowski, who were both extremely skeptical that squirrels could be trained for such a purpose.

K-Dog, a Bottle Nose Dolphin, leaps out of the water in front of Sgt. Andrew Garrett while training near the USS Gunston Hall in the Arabian Gulf. PHOTOGRAPH by PETTY OFFICER FIRST CLASS BRIAN AHO, U.S. NAVY

A Few Good Dolphins

While lizards, vultures, and squirrels are more outlandish accusations of animal spies, some may not be as far-fetched.

In 2015, Hamas—a Palestinian political organization that the U.S. State Department has accused of terrorism—claimed they apprehended a dolphin that was spying for Israeli forces.

The Times of Israel reported allegations that the dolphin was outfitted with spying equipment, including but not limited to cameras.

The details of that story remain murky, but it’s indisputable that dolphins have been used in military tactics a number of times over the years.

In 2014, when Russia took over Crimea and infiltrated a Ukrainian military unit, they found several “combat dolphins.” The marine mammals were believed to be used to find underwater targets like mines or to block intruders from entering restricted areas.

In the 1960s, the U.S. Navy ran a similar program. Speaking with National Geographic in 2014, a representative from the marine mammal research program at the University of Hawaii said that the U.S. has not only used dolphins as guards, but the animals are also highly skilled at detecting underwater mines.

Dolphins’ echolocation is so precise, they’ve even been used in lieu of machines.

Read More On This At National Geographic News

 

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Bizzare & Odd

Missing New York skier found 2,900 miles away in California

© WNYT
Constantinos “Danny” Filippidis

Brad Evans
NBC5

A skier missing from Whiteface Mountain has been found in California.

New York State Police said Constantinos “Danny” Filippidis, 49, of Toronto, was found 2,900 miles away Tuesday in Sacramento.

Filippidis was reported missing last Wednesday by friends who said he could not be found as the resort was closing.

His belongings were found at the lodge and his car was still in the parking lot.

Since then, hundreds of volunteers have spent about 7,000 hours combing the mountain.

Crews used K-9s and helicopters as part of the search.

The steep and icy terrain make the search even more challenging.

Filippidis made contact with law enforcement officers in Sacramento.

He was reported to be in good health.

The circumstances of Filippidis’ disappearance remain under investigation.

Officials have not said why he went missing.

Before Tuesday, police said they had no reason to believe Filippidis was not on the mountain.

The Department of Homeland Security, New York State Police, New York Department of Conservation, United States Customs and Border Protection and officials in Toronto assisted with the search.

Filippidis is a married father of two and a 28-year veteran Toronto firefighter.

He had been skiing with a group of firefighters and retired firefighters.

Toronto Professional Firefighters Local 3888 President Frank Ramagano answered reporters’ questions Tuesday evening.

He said Filippidis was found confused and unable to answer questions as to how he got to California.

Ramagano said Filippidis was receiving medical care after calling his wife and then 911.

Filippidis was found alone.

Ramagano said Filippidis did not have a history of mental illness or substance abuse.

He said Filippidis was found wearing the same ski gear, including the helmet and goggles, he was last seen in when he was reported missing.

State police did not say if Filippidis would face criminal charges.

Officials have not said how he traveled to Sacramento.

Ramagano said he did not believe Filippidis flew because he left his identification at Whiteface.

The state has not said how much the search for Filippidis cost.

A press conference was scheduled for Wednesday. More information about the case was expected to be released then.

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Bizzare & Odd

England’s Wild Hunt of 1127


Dr. Beachcombing
Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog

In spring 1127, in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire strange things happened. At night locals heard repeated horn blasts and some, who were foolish enough to be out in the dark, saw ghastly sights: men appeared on black horses and on black goats riding through the woods following black hounds. It goes without saying that this was not some local form of carnival: the locals repeatedly came into contact with what folklorists call the ‘Wild Hunt’.

What is the Wild Hunt? Essentially a charismatic and awfully powerful spirit, usually with unpleasant leanings, takes evil followers on a hunt through the dark, continually blasting his horn. Hunt leaders have included the Devil, Odin, local bogeymen and notorious spirits of the dead. What does the hunt do? Well, that is trickier to answer. In some stories they chase down evil men; in others they just keep everyone indoors, hiding under their beds.

There are literally scores of medieval and early modern references to the wild hunt from western Europe. What makes the events of 1127 unusual is the quality of the evidence and its early date. We have two separate sources recording the extraordinary events of that spring: one contemporary and one written by an author who, though writing as much as a generation later, had lived through the terror.

The two sources were both written at the Monastery of Peterborough, a Benedictine house and one of England’s most important medieval foundations. Both are included below in translation and with the original languages, a very late Old English and a very medieval Latin. The first was a chronicle of the year events and was clearly based on interviews (too portentous a word?) with those who had seen or heard the hunt. The hunt had passed through the monastery’s deer park and had arrived as far as fifteen miles away in the woods near Stamford.

The second was a history of the monastery written by Hugh Candidus as much as a generation after the events described there. But Hugh, who had been born in the very late eleventh century and who spent all his life in the monastery, had certainly lived through the events of 1127. Hugh’s account does not have any new information about the hunt. But the very fact that Hugh included it, shows that, as he was polishing his history, perhaps in the 1150s, it was still a newsworthy event.

However, here we must add another important consideration. The Chroniclers and later Hugh included the information, not for its Fortean value, but because of an important event in the history of the Monastery. In 1127 a new abbot arrived, a grasping s-o-b called Henry de Angeli. Henry had bought the monastery and was not greatly loved by the monks. The Wild Hunt began immediately after Henry arrived and was, therefore a sign of divine disapproval for this Simoniac.

All this suggests that the Wild Hunt might not have been that remarkable at all. It is all too possible that the good folk of Peterborough and Stamford were forever hearing horns at night and seeing bogeys out in the wood. As always with supernatural events, these would have come and gone in cycles. It was just that this cycle suited the narrative that the monks in the monastery were creating and so was jumped upon.

In other words we don’t have here a truly exceptional event, what is exceptional is that the monks pull back the curtains and give us a glimpse of twelfth-century English woods and English folk beliefs. The image below is a 19C map of the haunted area. The closest we will ever come to running from the wild hunt in 1127. Note Grimeshaw Wood – the Goblin’s Wood?

grimshaw wood wild hunt

Ne þince man na seillice þ we soð seggen for hit wæs ful cuð ofer eall land þ swa radlice swa he þær com þ wæs þes Sunendæies þ man singað EXURGE QUARE O. D. þa son þær æfter þa sægon & herdon fela men feole huntes hunten. Ða huntes wæron swarte & micele & ladlice. & here hundes ealle swarte & bradegede & ladlice. & hi ridone on swarte hors & on swarte bucces. Wis wæs segon on þe selue derfald in þa tune on Burch & on ealle þa wudes ða wæron fram þa selua tune to Stanforde. & þa muneces herdon ða horn blawen þ hi blewen on nihtes. Soðfestemen heom kepten on nihtes. sæidon þes þe heom þuhte þ þær mihte wel ben abuton twenti oðer þritti horn blaweres. Wis wæs sægon & herd fram þ he þider com eall þ lented tid on an to Eastren. Wis was his ingang. of his utgang ne cunne we iett noht seggon. God scawe fore

“Let it not be thought remarkable, the truth of what we say, because it was fully known over all the land, that immediately after [Henry] came there (that was the Sunday when they sing ‘Awake, why sleepest though, O Lord?’) then soon afterwards many men saw and heard many huntsmen hunting. The huntsmen were black and huge and loathsome, and their hounds all black and wide-eyed and loathsome, and they rode on black horses and on black billy-goats. This was seen in the very deer-park of the town of Peterborough, and in all the woods there were from that same town to Stamford; and the monks heard the horns blow that they blew in the night. Honest men who kept watch in the night said that it seemed to them there might well have been about twenty or thirty horn-blowers. This was seen and heard from when he came there, all that Lenten-tide right up to Easter. This was his entrance: of his exit we cannot yet say. May God provide!”

Hugh Candidus

Eodem anno cum uenisset ad abbaciam, uisa sunt et audita monstra per totam quadragesimam, et in noctibus, et per siluas et per plana a monasteriousque ad stanford. nam uisi sunt quasi uenatores cum cornibus et canubis, set omnes nigerimi errant et equi eorum et canes, et aliqui quasi edos equitabant, et oculos grandes habebant, et erant quasi uiginti aut triginta simul. Hoc non est falsum, quia plurimi ueracissimi homines uiderunt et audierunt cornua.

“In the very year in which [Henry] came to the abbey, wonderful portents were seen and heard at night during the whole of Lent, throughout the woodland and plains, from the monastery as far as Stamford; for their appeared, as it were, hunters with horns and hounds, all being jet black, their horses and their hounds as well, and some rode, as it were, on goats and had great eyes and there were twenty or thirty together. And this is no false tale, for many men of faithful report both saw them and heard the horns.”

Update: Bruce T with an enjoyable conspiracy theory ‘Do you think it was hoax got up to by a few monks and unhappy tenants to discredit and get rid of a hated Abbot? It would be dead easy to do in a countryside before electricity and other decent illumination on dark nights. The tenant confederates could be eyewitnesses to the demonic hunt , if not active participants in it running around the countryside raising Hell and blowing horns in the middle of the night. If they’re spotted they’ve got the monks on the spot to vouch for them with the easy excuse that they were out to track down the demon horde down.’

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