NTS LogoSkeptical News for 22 May 2001

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings

Monday, May 28, 2001

Face it -- It is a Face

If you don't know about Richard Hoagland, you need to check this out: http://www.enterprisemission.com/about.htm

Today, May 24, 2001, after years of political pressure, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration finally released a long awaited overhead, high-resolution view of the Face on Mars. Unfortunately, while we are generally pleased with the image, it has a number of problems -- which once again call NASA's commitment to a fair hearing of this entire issue into question. After withholding the image for almost two months (it was taken on April 8th, 2001) NASA released the new image today amid a flurry of extremely negative public comments simultaneously posted on several official NASA websites.

While we are disappointed that NASA has chosen to continue the disinformation campaign they began when the initial "catbox" Face image was released, in April, 1998, we are hardly surprised. As noted, especially prepared "hit pieces" were posted today coincident with release of this new image. Obviously, these were prepared days or weeks before today's data release, and we know that senior NASA officials were meeting late into the night last night, plotting "strategy." We would like to remind our readers that these were political strategy sessions, not scientific, and we saw today the results of this two-months-late, carefully orchestrated release. A scientific approach would have been to simply release the data the day it was acquired, and allow the scientific debate to take its course. Instead, we were once again treated to a calculated smear campaign obviously aimed directly at the national media. We deplore this unscientific propaganda campaign and call on NASA Headquarters to put a stop to it immediately.


From: Raymond Nelke


In Good Spirits
Lily Dale, New York, is a curious little village where the still-quick commune with the once-quick

Article Located At:
PARANORMAL - Fairies - Conan Doyle

The Man Who Believed in Fairies (September 1997)

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PARANORMAL - Colonel Henry Steel Olcott - Helena Petrova Blavatsky Spiritualism

The Spirited Story of the Psychic and the Colonel (May 95)

Article Located At:
PARANORMAL - psychic phenomena

What Can the Paranormal Teach Us About Consciousness? Parapsychologists seem to assume that psychic phenomena -- if they exist -- would prove the "power of consciousness." Yet this may be no more than trying to use one mystery to solve another. The author reviews some of the evidence for psi and asks just what it does tell us about consciousness...
Skeptical Inquirer magazine : March/April 2001

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PARANORMAL -Distant Healing - Elisabeth Targ - William Targ

Distant Healing and Elisabeth Targ William Targ's beliefs in the paranormal trickled down to his son Russell, and now they have descended on Russell's attractive and energetic daughter Elisabeth Skeptical Inquirer magazine : March/April 2001

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Investigative Files Mysterious Australia... Convicts' Ghosts... Cryptids... Spiritualist's Grave Skeptical Inquirer magazine : March/April 2001

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PARANORMAL - Exorcism - Demonic Possession

Investigative Files Belief in demonic possession is getting a new propaganda boost. However, a year-long investigation by a Maryland writer, together with my own analysis of events chronicled in the exorcising priest's diary, belie the claim that a teenage boy was possessed by Satan in 1949
Skeptical Inquirer magazine : January/February 2001

Article Located At:
PARANORMAL - Robert Morris - Koestler Parapsychology Unit

Tales of the paranormal For 15 years Robert Morris has run the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh, one of a handful of centres dedicated to studying the paranormal. Our author interviews him on his recent progress... From New Scientist magazine, 03 March 2001

Article Located At:
PARANORMAL - human consciousness - mystical experience

Into the Mystic Scientists confront the hazy realm of spiritual enlightenment. Psychologists want to launch a science to study the characteristics of human consciousness that make mystical experience possible. From Science News, Vol. 159, No. 7, Feb. 17, 2001, p. 104.

Article Located At:


Master helps others harness 'chi' for health and healing


With a devoted following among students, staff, and faculty, and sworn testimonials of increased dexterity, relaxation, and balance of body and mind, the meditative practice of tai chi is a force to be reckoned with. So much in fact, that the Harvard Crimson selected classes in tai chi - which is said to foster the flow of a vital force ("chi") throughout the body - as a top 100 "must-do" for Harvard students. Beginner tai chi student Rakhi Nandalal Mahbubani '04 seems to agree. "My week doesn't start until Thursday" she explains, referring to that day's class.

Yet even with the growing popularity of this ancient Chinese practice among the University's community, Harvard's chief tai chi and kung fu instructor - Master Yon Lee - a fourth generation disciple of the Tiger Crane Kung Fu style, is forever pushing this age-old art to greater levels of Western acceptance and utility.

"One of the things I wanted to do was separate the mysticism that surrounds it [tai chi]," explains Lee, who teaches beginner through advanced classes in tai chi, kung fu, and chi kung through the Harvard Health and Fitness program at the Malkin Athletic Center.

With his affable manner and contagious smile, Lee, who is also an Adams House senior common room associate, seems to have no problem imparting this idea - this demystification - to his students. Following a session of airy circles and slow stretches, Lee's students, some of them seasoned practitioners, talk of regained strength from past injuries, corrected posture, and an enhanced sense of calmness. According to Lee, who is also the senior adviser to the Harvard Tai Chi Tiger Crane Club, the prescribed movements of tai chi and chi kung help one's body to align itself, thus allowing the body to function at its optimum. "I believe that the human body has tremendous potential to heal itself," Lee explains. "The movement of tai chi and its calming effect encourage body healing in an accelerated rate."

For the academic Lee, a graduate of Brandeis University and the Graduate School of Physics at Northeastern, his efforts to have these healing practices - and their fundamental chi source - recognized by the medical and health care communities, go well beyond class instruction.

In 1984, Lee collaborated with a team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital to measure the effects of chi energy on cancer growth in mice. The "purely academic" research project proved to have some statistically significant results. The mice that received Lee's chi energy treatment had a 10-day delay in tumor development versus the control group. Even more startling, Lee never actually touched the mice, which were kept in plastic containers throughout the study.

"We know it goes through plastic," says Lee, taking chi's healing properties for granted.

Lee looks to continue such bridge building between traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine. He is currently negotiating with Peking University about a similar research project involving diabetes patients. In addition, Lee spreads the word through speaking engagements at venues like Harvard Medical School and the Department of Athletics.

In the end, Lee is optimistic about the challenge of winning the endorsement of the Western medical community, seeing the "compatibility" problem as, essentially, one of communication rather than substance.

"Right now almost every software system that you want to sell you have to make a PC or Mac," explains Lee. "In medicine it's almost like the same thing - traditional medicine or Chinese?"

With unfettered enthusiasm and smarts to spare, one begins to suspect that a successful interface is on its way.

Copyright 2001 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College

Face On Mars Nature Trail

From: James Redekop

CNN has a story on the new photo of the Face On Mars at

According to the story, Cydonia is of great interest to areologists because it's "a curious transition zone between smooth lowlands in the north and crater-pocked highlands in the south" -- so taking photos of the area isn't a waste.

Jim Garvin of NASA has used the topological data they got from surveyor (accurate to +/- 30 cm) to plot a hiking trail to the highest point on the mesa. He says, "the start and midsection of the hike would be easy, with some steep flanks in between. It would take about two hours to reach the summit. From there the view would be spectacular."

The CNN article goes on to say that Garvin cautions hikers to bring plent of water and oxygen...


Richard Milton (who has never won it) talks about Randi's challenge

Most people have heard of the challenge by James Randi offering $1 million to anyone who can demonstrate psychic powers.

On the face of it, Randi's challenge must be a good thing mustn't it? There's a million dollars just sitting there waiting to be picked up, and all anyone has to do to win it is perform under controlled conditions the kind of claim we read about every day in the newspapers -- spoon bending, mind-reading, remote viewing.

So doesn't the mere fact that no-one has won Randi's challenge prove that such things are impossible? As usual in the murky world of "skepticism", things are not exactly what they appear to be.


Clergy stress the need for exorcism to fight the 'paranormal'

From the UK Daily Mail 8 June 2000:

By Steve Doughty
Social Affairs Correspondent

Demons the doctors are powerless to chase away

Ghosts and demons really do exist, the Church of England declared yesterday.

Accounts of hauntings may reflect a 'paranormal phenomenon' whose cause is unknown or has no scientific explanation,' it said.

Although films such as The Exorcist have sensationalised demonic possession, religious experts accepted some people 'may be spiritually afflicted by evil'.

The conclusions came in a report by a team led by a senior bishop and endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey.

It said many in the Church believed in Satan as a personal devil. Others who rejected the idea of mythological devils nevertheless accepted evil exists and that exorcism was sometimes necessary.

'We do not wish to reduce or explain away evil oppression or possession simply in medical or psychological terms,' said the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend John Perry, and his colleagues.

'We recognise there are evil forces at work which cannot be psychologically integrated and where the resources of medicine and psychology are only partial solutions.'

In these cases, they said, exorcism - which the Church now prefers to call 'prayers of deliverance' - may be 'appropriate and beneficial'.

Four years ago, a CofE report concluded that Hell does not exist and the worst a damned soul can face is nothingness. The new study reinstates the Devil - if not his domain. If spiritual good can exist, it said, then so must its opposite.

The acknowledgement of evil came in a study on the 'ministry of healing', trying to cure sickness through prayer and methods such as the laying on of hands.

It encouraged churches to offer spiritual healing to worshippers and to tell churchgoers the benefits can include miraculous recovery - 'a healing which is so unexpected that we immediately want to thank God'.

But it warned clergymen to tread carefully in cases where exorcism may be required. Priests should refer such cases to specialists - for the last 25 years each diocese has had priests trained in exorcism, under orders to attract minimal public attention.

'Young people come into contact with the occult, through friends, the media's interest in this area, youth culture, including computer games, and heavy metal music,' said the report.

'Some may only dabble on the fringe; other go on to become more involved and in increasing danger.'

Parish churches were among the few organisations which could help, it said.

But it warned that exorcism 'is not an area of ministry for the untrained and unauthorised to "have a go".'

It explained: 'Possession normally means that a person will appear to be no longer in control of his or her own will, whilst oppression indicates a degree of self-control.'

There were psychiatric disorders that produced the symptoms, the report said, and drugs or abuse could produce the effect.

It went on to say that 'most clergy and authorised lay people will encounter individuals or situations where evil is at work or where people are oppressed by evil'.

It added: 'Over the centuries, the Church has traditionally distinguished between a greater and a lesser exorcism.

'In a greater exorcism the demonic is itself addressed in the name of Christ; in a lesser exorcism prayer is addressed to God to banish or protect someone from evil.'

The report, A Time to Heal, encourages churches to set up groups of clergy and trusted churchgoers to try to help the physically ill or psychologically troubled.

It warns churches advertising their efforts to be wary of falsely promising cures.

A leaflet will tell worshippers spiritual healing can either bring a cure or make illness and death more bearable.

During the laying on of hands, clergy are warned, 'there is the possibility that the person will fall to the floor. In some circles, this is described as "being slain" or "resting in the Spirit".'

Churchmen are told: 'Ministering in a carpeted area is advisable.'

Church's lifelong battle to deliver us from evil

The Exorcist, which was released in 1973, made demonic possession one of the popular topics of its decade.

Starring Linda Blair as a possessed girl whose head rotates on her shoulders, it was blamed for inducing fainting and fits in filmgoers.

British censors refused to allow it a video release until last year.

The C of E's report blames the recent re-release of the film for encouraging a 'growing public interest in the occult and the paranormal.'

The New Testament made Satan the enemy of God. In the Gospel of St Matthew the Apostles are told to cast out unclean spirits and cure sickness.

Early Christians turned exorcism of demons into a powerful propaganda and recruitment tool.

The tradition continued through the centuries. Baptism services included exorcism, because it was assumed that when pagans were christened, the demons they previously worshipped would need to be driven out. Even the C of E's new Common Worship prayer book requires candidates for baptism to reject the devil.

In the Lord's Prayer, the words translated since the 16th century as 'deliver us from evil' are a form of exorcism.

Exorcism was commonly used until the 18th century in a world where belief in witchcraft and devilry was rife. Clergy were required to take the office of exorcist for a period as part of the process of becoming a priest. Exorcism declined in popularity as confidence in science and practicality replaced superstition in the industrial 19th century.

In 1972 the Church appointed specialists for exorcism. Clergy are now told to call on psychiatrists and other medical professionals to ensure troubled individuals get proper secular help. The rule that medical professionals should be involved followed a death during an exorcism in 1974.

Bear chiropracter

From: Craig Clayton

Check out

It's NPR so you'll have to listen to the story (RealAudio), but here's the blurb:

"Robert talks with Montana chiropractor Kyle Goltz about his recent treatment of a 700-pound grizzly bear, whose neck was out of alignment. Goltz has treated a cat, a dog, and horse before, but this was his first bear. (3:30)"

Note, there's no discussion of subluxation or any other stuff beyond simple spinal adjustments to relieve a physical problem (which also jibes with my recent personal experience of chiropracty as well).

--Craig Clayton

Chileans Believe Chupacabras to be a NASA Creation

by Marcial Campos Maza (EFE) Forwarded by: Scott Corrales

(http://www.inexplicata.com/ )

Monday 29, 2000 CALAMA (Chile) EFE newsagency

"The gringoes had at least three genetic experiments run away from them and they've only been able to capture two of them," states Dagoberto Corante, a Chilean architect.

Residents of the city of Calama and nearby communities are blaming NASA, the U.S. space agency for the apparitions and attacks of the mysterious Chupacabras, which has caused ruin among farm animals in the region and in other parts of Chile. Several dozen goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits and other animals turned up dead in northern Calama and its environs last April--their bodies completely exanguinated and undevoured by the mysterious predator.

Among the Chupacabras' alleged characteristics are the ability of leaping over three meter tall walls and walking unmolested among dogs, while police and volunteer patrols who have set out after it only find some scattered footprints which are nearly impossible to identify in the areas desert terrain, some 1500 km from Santiago.

An investigation ordered by the authorities concluded that the slayings were the product of attacks by packs of wild dogs, but no one beleived this version while claims of new Chupacabras attacks developed in different parts of central and southern Chile.

According to Dagoberto Corante, one such creature was captured by elements of a local regiment in an operation that resulted in the death of a soldier, but the military have allegedly refused to discuss the matter. "It is said that the captured animal was kept all day at the regiment's [barracks] until NASA experts arrived to take it away." observed Corante, who is well known and respected in the area in which the Chupacabras has feasted on blood and spread fear among the population. "The day that the events transpired, the military even closed the airport for several hours to enable the landing of a helicopter conveying American scientists." he added, "although no one is quite sure why they had to close an airport in order for a helicopter to function--these are devices able to land anywhere, and the fact has given rise to much spectulation and rumor." Mario Ramos, a respected resident of San Pedro de Atacama, where he owns a butcher shop, largely agrees with the Corante's story and concerns, and while he doesn't care to discuss the subject, agreed that a soldier had indeed perished during the Chupacabras' capture.

Translation (c) 2000. Institute of Hispanic Ufology. Many thanks to Gloria Coluchi for this information.

First 'Monkey Man' - now villagers panic over 'Bear Man'

From Ananova at


As Monkey Man hysteria dies down in Delhi, villagers in north-east India are claiming a new menace is on the prowl - Bear Man.

Villagers in areas of Assam claim the creature makes itself invisible before attacking people. Bear Man apparently disappears when caught in a ray of light.

More than a dozen people say they have been attacked by Bear Man.

Police have dismissed the sightings and reported attacks as figments of the imagination.

Deputy Commissioner Kalyan Chakravarty says the panic may also have been fuelled by reports of Delhi's Monkey Man.

He says: "Such stories always create sensation among the villagers, who easily give in to superstition and ghost stories."

The creature has reportedly been sighted in the Nalbari district. Villagers have organised all-night watch groups to protect themselves, says the Indian Express.

Harmonic Products fan

From: Daniel Rutter

I just got this e-mail, concerning the products of the people I talk about at http://www.fromorbit.com/drutter/quacks.htm .

If anybody thinks it's impolite of me to forward this private e-mail to the list, note that the author invites me to publish it on my Web site - IF I DARE :-).

Needless to say, not one of these amazing claims - and Harmonic Products make similar claims themselves - has ever been subjected to proper scrutiny. If these gadgets did what these people say they did, then the owners of the technology could quite literally buy General Motors with, oh, a week of their income. Amazingly, though, they don't actually have the spare money to give someone a review unit, even after years in business.

From: "Vera Costello & Michael De-Campo"

Hi Dan,
My name is Michael De-Campo, and I also crossed paths with the Orchards, earlier this year. I went to an information evening and spent about 3 hours listening and asking questions. I was not very convinced at all. I am highly skeptical and not easily fooled. So the next day I purchased a Empower Modulator and plugged it in.

This is what happened, no more and no less: Our toaster, (which we thought was about to die since we had to keep adjusting the toasting level up and up to about 3/4 just to brown a normal piece of toast) burnt the toast very quickly! We had to re-adjust it down to about 1/3 for normal and quick toast.

Same thing happened to a small oven/toaster left at its normal setting it heated things rapidly.

The fridge had to be turned down to less than half its setting, as it was too cold. Same with the freezing compartment.

All fans in the house (bathroom, on heaters etc.) sounded like they were blowing stronger.

The usual static on our TV and VDU screens was gone.

That night whilst lying in bed I felt a tension (behind my left eyeball and also behind my left ear) was releasing / relaxing, and since then my left eye and ear have become stronger (ie. my eyesight has improved and so has my hearing in the left ear).

Arguments between my teenage son and daugther just stopped the next day. They usually argue without fail every morning.

When I sit in front of a / any computer screen and especially at home, I usually get sore eyes and become edgy and irritable after an hour or so. That does not happen now.

We had left some veges in the back of the fridge and would usually throw them out when they smelt off. After leaving some carrots for 2 months wrapped in a plastic bag, they had no smell to them and had actually grown tops / sprouted!

These are just some no nonsense, plain observations. We of course were very impressed so I then purchased a Car Plate that was supposed to burn the petrol / diesel more efficiently, and "condition" the electro-magnetic field coming off the alternator.

We actually went on a trip / holiday just after purchasing the Car Plate. We used it in our 93 Mazda E2200 diesel van at about 173,000 km. Even though I keep this van up to service every 5,000 km I have noticed it was getting slower up hills and just generally. We placed the Car Plate in the van and I noticed it was ticking away (idling) slightly quicker than normal. The next morning on my usual routine of warming the van up and driving about 1 km before releasing the choke, I noticed the warm up time and distance was cut to about 1/2.

We drove to Melbourne and back, a distance of about 2,300 km, filling up in about 7 different petrol stations on the way, The van (from the start to the end of our trip) ran like a new vehicle. It had more power, it gave us an average of 100 km extra per tank full. And it handled remarkably well. Not to mention NO usual tension in my neck and shoulders, nor no usual driver fatigue after the usual 2 to 3 hours of driving.

On return I had the van serviced at its usual 5,000km (this time it had its usual all filter change). I received the van back after servicing and they had not replaced the fuel filter (which they always done every 10,000km for the last 100,000km). I asked the senior service mechanic why they had not replaced the fuel filter as usual. His reply, he said "Remarkably, it did not need changing, there was no muck in it, and even more remarkably, there was no water in the filter!" This was more evidence to me that something beyond my understanding and cynicism was happening.

So yes the Orchards are not good sales people, they did not even try to sell anything to anyone, they simply said well try it for yourself and see for yourself. Offering a full money back refund up to 90 days from purchase. Not even Harvey Norman would give such an offer!

My point is this, if you are willing to allow an actual customer like me to the testify as above, by placing this email on your site then maybe that would allow others to make judgements for themselves. I think the whole process of skeptics having the last word is highly biased. And yes people thought Nikola Tesla (father or electrical generation etc) was wacky when he said he could send people wireless electricity!

I think any skeptic worth his or her salt would take up any ongoing positive input as above and allow others to place there experiences on the line.

Thanks for your time.

Harmonic Products fan

From: Daniel Rutter

For amusement, I just did a Google search for my correspondent's e-mail address, and found it as the contact address for this site:


...which peddles "natural" household cleaning products, free of various things that may be harmful and various other things that probably aren't, but what the hey. Environmentally conscious herbal mung bean macrame et cetera.

The site's far from a hive of woo-woo, despite cheerfully alleging that "The World Health Organisation has called for a total ban on all chlorine-based household products" - which sounds like a misunderstanding of what the WHO has to say about various chlorinated compounds _other than_ household cleaning products. Chlorinated solvents and pesticides; yes, nasty, because they generally release 'orrible compounds when decomposed by heat. Chlorinated cleaning products in the supermarket, no, not nasty; they just contain chlorine bleach, which is one of the WHO's favourite-in-a-good-way substances because you can get it pretty much anywhere and it kills pretty much every germ. Mix it with ammonia and you're in trouble; pour it on nappies and you're not. But if you're into the Multiple Chemical Sensitivity hoo-hah (which, of course, my correspondent apparently _is_), then pretty much anything with a strong smell that didn't just get wrung out of a plant in front of you is going to give you conniptions.

Me, I'm inclined to think that a "highly skeptical" person, albeit one with delusions of unfoolability, might be less prone to fall for the sodium laureth/laurel sulfate scare stories ( ref: http://www.snopes2.com/toxins/shampoo.htm ). But then, I'm not a professional seller of natural thingummies in Katoomba.

Which, for people who aren't too hip to the nature of different towns in New South Wales, is the hippy-trippy community you join if you want sealed roads, good supermarkets, and cold winters.

Sunday, May 27, 2001

The Sci-skeptic FAQ


Ancient American Magazine


The purpose of Ancient American magazine is to describe the prehistory of the American Continent, regardless of presently fashionable beliefs--- to provide a public forum for certified experts and nonprofessionals alike to freely express their views without fear nor favor.

In sharp contrast to majority academic opinion, its editorial position stands firmly on behalf of evidence for the arrival of overseas visitors to the Americas hundreds and even thousands of years before Columbus--- not only from Europe, but the Near East, Africa, Asia, and the Western Pacific. Each issue presents such otherwise neglected and even suppressed factual evidence demonstrating the lasting impact made on the Americas by Scandinavian Norsemen, Pharaonic Egyptians, Bronze Age Mediterraneans, Semitic Phoenicians, West Africans, Dynastic Chinese, seafaring Polynesians, and many other culture- bearers. All contributed to the birth and development of numerous and sophisticated civilizations which flourished throughout the American Continents in pre-Columbian times.

It is the magazine's purpose to show readers just how, when, and why these once powerful societies arose to great heights of cultural splendor and fell into deep obscurity as dramatic object lessons for our time. No rehash of well-worn theories, Ancient American offers up-to-the-moment news about ongoing discoveries and original perspectives, bringing to light a surprising abundance of fresh material that is seriously challenging entrenched conceptions of our past.

As such, our staff and contributing reporters believe they are writing a New History of our nation by convincingly offering research that, in the coming century, will amount to virtually a total revision of American antiquity. Because of its revolutionary potential, Ancient American, although authoritatively written, is not a scholarly journal. It is a popular science publication specifically aimed at attracting the broadest possible general readership, while refusing to compromise its scientific credibility.

The Illinois "Rosetta Stone" ?

Did the Incas Sail to Africa? Our current issue, AA #32

Contact Us

Mission Statement: The purpose of Ancient American magazine is to describe the prehistory of the American Continent, regardless of presently fashionable belief-systems, and provide a public forum for certified experts and nonprofessionals alike to freely express their views without fear nor favor.

Our task is to translate often complex research into accessible, attractive language in a visually appealing format ordinary readers can understand and enjoy. Ancient American writers and artists appeal as much to the imagination as to the intellect in the conviction that mankind's past belongs to all inhabitants of the Earth; it is not the exclusive property of establishment academics. Each issue features articles submitted by the world's leading authorities on prehistory in clear, non-technical language, and illustrated by a wealth of original color photographs and artwork published nowhere else.

Features include reports of Scottish mariners who sculpted the images of New Mexican cactus in a Highland church nearly a century before Columbus was born, and Vikings who left evidence of their visits behind in Minnesota and Oklahoma. Our research traces influences from 4th Millennium BC Japan in Ecuador, and prehistoric African themes throughout the earliest Mexican civilizations. We describe Semitic visitors, whose trek across ancient South Dakota is commemorated by native American Indians in four bluffs still referred to as "the Hebrew Brothers". Our writers examine a huge stone wall underwater 55 miles east of Miami, Florida, together with a Phoenician altar for human sacrifice found in Chicago, Illinois. These are only some of the puzzling enigmas showcased in every issue of Ancient American magazine.

Founded in 1993 by Wayne N. May as a vehicle for common enthusiasts, Ancient American has since grown to achieve worldwide distribution.

Current News

-- Ancient American is a bimonthly, semi-color, popular science magazine
- the most unique of its kind, because it is the only publication to describe with dramatic photographs and exciting reports true accounts of overseas visitors to America hundreds ... even thousands of years before Columbus!

Ancient American is published six times annually. Subscription requests can be by email, web form, phone (Weekdays 9-5 pm central standard time) or mailed to:

Ancient American
Post Office Box 370
Colfax, Wisconsin 54730
United States of America
(715) 962-3299
Cost is $24.95 per year for six issues. Newsstand price, $4.95 per issue.
International subscriptions, $29.95. Books for review by Ancient American should also be sent to the above address.

Astro-Archaeology: Extraterrestrial traces on Moon?

From: Terry W. Colvin

Astro-Archaeology: Extraterrestrial traces on Moon? The Moon is an indicator of possible alien visits to the Earth during past ~4 billion years. New computer algorithms are proposed and tested for the archaeological reconnaissance of our satellite. About 20,000 Clementine lunar orbital lunar images have been processed, and a few ruin-like formations were found. According to a fractal analysis, some of these finds are different from the lunar surface on which they reside, and formally resemble terrestrial archaeological objects.

Link: http://www.astrosurf.com/lunascan/arkhipov2.htm
Link: http://www.evansville.net/~slk/lunascan.html

FWD (IUFO) [MC] Remote Viewing

From: Terry W. Colvin

The 2nd Annual Remote Viewing Conference is being held at Mesquite, Nevada 5/26-28 and the agenda and speakers may be seen at:


It is of interest that what until the 20th century was an arcane, occult practice has been popularized by the KGB and the CIA to the extent that with 10,000 websites and annual conferences, it is now a full-blown industry. As a 9 yr. MC victim, I think anybody who endures 24/7 attack and believes it is all electronic and does not involve heavy-duty remote viewing is dreaming.

Many of the conference speakers are well-known to us: Jessica Utts to Cheryl Welsh, Russ Targ and Larry Dossey to me, John Alexander to some of you. They are all well-meaning and speak about the benefits and positive applications of RV, seeing it as the next wave of development of human consciousness. None of them speak of the abuses, the co-ordinated group attacks, the horrifying effects and domestic terror which criminal groups around the world using RV have generated.

I feel the main thing to realize is that RV techniques are being popularized world-wide now and can be quickly absorbed by sadistic, egocentric bullies and groups who want to play Masters and Slaves with unwitting victims like you and me. To what extent such RV abuse is enhanced by electronics or acoustics is unknown. Self-protection books like Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune provide little or no relief. Witchcraft laws are history, though we do have highly effective conspiracy laws if inside witnesses can be converted. From my own experience and reading that of others with similar experience, I believe RV abuse is a major attack weapon used by perps, and we have to learn more effectively how to expose it and protect against it.

Fred Sicher

Check this-Physicists probe the paranormal

From: nelke


PhysicsWeb - Saturday 20 May - from:
Physics World - Features: May 2000
Physicists probe the paranormal - Matin Durrani

Face it: it's a rock

From: Dave Palmer

NASA has gone and spent even MORE time and money photographing the "face on Mars:"


I dunno, I'm kind of two minds about this. On one hand, expending real scientific resources on this sort of thing gives wack jobs like Hoagland credibility they don't deserve.

OTOH, if it can win over a few borderline cases, well....

Of course, these latest images won't sway the hard-core facies, they'll just call the photos faked, or say that NASA destroyed the face with Tesla beam weapons, something like that.

FWD (PVT) George Agogino passes away...

George Agogino was a friend of Carleton Coon, Tom Slick, Ivan T. Sanderson, and many others. George served quietly, in the 1950s and 1960s, on Slick's board of consultants assembled to review the hominological and cryptozoological material coming out of Nepal and the PNW.

I was lucky to have known George, and appear with him on the 1991 NBC-TV's "Unsolved Mysteries" segment on the "Pangboche Yeti Hand." He sat with my son, Malcolm, for over three hours, talking to him calmly about anthropology and Yeti, as the crew filmed me. It was a wonderful interaction that my son has never forgotten, nor have I, of course. As we walked back to the studio car, George and I talked of his and Carleton Coon's work for the CIA. He was always full of surprises.

I was sad to learn recently that he had passed away late last year.
The Agogino family has given me permission to post the following:


Dr. George Allen Agogino died at his home early Monday morning, September 11, 2000, after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 79. He came to Portales in 1963 to lead a summer excavation at the Blackwater Draw archeological site; he stayed to create the Department of Anthropology at Eastern New Mexico University, which he chaired for eleven years. He was the founding director of the Blackwater Draw Museum which he designed and found the resources to build. In 1989 he was selected to be a New Mexico Eminent Scholar by the Governor. He retired as Distinguished Research Professor in 1991.

Between graduating from Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1940 and volunteering for service in WWII in 1943, he was employed by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company to examine the accuracy of conductors¹ reports. In WWII he was a member of the Signal Service Group in the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations where he was a high-speed radio operator, sending and receiving code signals. He was also placed on detached service to reconnoiter remote New Guinea villages for Japanese presence. After the Allied occupation of Japan, he was assigned to Tokyo headquarters under General MacArthur.

With a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Sociology from the University of New Mexico, he began his teaching career at Nasson College in Maine. He also taught while he completed his Ph.D. in Anthropology at Syracuse University. His inspiring teaching and prolific research career included positions at the State University of South Dakota, the University of Wyoming, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He was also a post-doctoral research appointment at Harvard University. He published more than 600 articles and chaired numerous sessions and presented many papers at professional meetings. While he is best known for his contributions to Paleo-Indian archeology, he had broad interests including the ethnology of the Southwestern U.S.; Mexican archeology, ethnology, and history; forensic physical anthropology, and the supernatural. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Anthropological Association, and the Royal Anthropological Association of England. He was selected for membership in the Explorers Club in 1980 and for inclusion in Who¹s Who in America (1988 to 1997) and Who¹s Who in the World (1991-1992).

His selection as a member of the US Olympic track team for the 1940 summer Olympics (canceled due to the war in Europe) was a high point in his athletic career, which included three national high school indoor track team championships at Overbrook High School and organizing and running on the University of New Mexico cross country track team. He combined his exceptional athletic ability with his capacity to lead and inspire to coach college baseball and basketball. He continued to compete in sports, particularly tennis, well into his retirement.

He had a lifelong love of music, which he pursued for over sixty years. He started playing guitar and singing with his strong, beautiful voice at a young age. He played with Pete Seeger in 1946. His most recent musical activity was singing at services at the Central Christian Church.
Dr. Agogino was fascinated by "the unexplained" and worked with Ivan T. Sanderson and others to lend his expertise in physical anthropology to analyze evidence of what has been called the Yeti, Big Foot, Abominable Snowman, and Sasquatch. Here* is the Forward he wrote for Ivan T. Sanderson's book Abominable Snowman in 1951. Here** is a 1969 article from Argosy Magazine, "The Minnesota Iceman Story", followed by an article written by then Argosy Science Editor Ivan T. Sanderson titled: "THE MISSING LINK?"The Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained, of New Jersey, U.S.A., May 1969. pp. 23-31. Over the years, as all of the evidence sent to Agogino appeared to be either fraudulent or of some known species, Agogino came to the conclusion that it was unlikely that any such creature could continue to exist now that most of the land masses of the earth have been explored. He was recently featured on the "unexplained mysteries" television program with the negative results from DNA analysis of an ancient finger specimen obtained from a monastery in the Himalayas.



Terry W. Colvin

Tonya Harding Shot JFK


For good measure, check this out, too:

Lesbians and Homer Simpsom Can Reduce Your Electric Bill

Beth Wolszon

My sources are unreliable, but their information is fascinating.
- Ashleigh Brilliant


April 2001

(Palo Alto, CA) NARCAP held its first, organizational meeting on 17 Feb 01 at the California Institute for Physics and Astrophysics. In attendance were experts in Aviation and Aeronautics, Meteorology, Air Traffic Control, Flight Instruction, Physics, Engineering, and several other disciplines. The purpose of the meeting was to set the tone for an in-depth, unbiased study of UAP and its relationship with aviation safety.

NARCAP Chief Scientist, Dr. Richard F. Haines, started the meeting with a discussion of the NARCAP background, mission and administrative organization. Dr. Haines then presented material concerning NARCAP National Technical Specialists and their role in the investigative process. Following this material came a discussion about NARCAP Foreign Technical Specialists and their role in assisting with investigations involving US aircraft and crews over other countries. Dr. Haines also stated the position that NARCAP stands ready to assist other countries in developing their own UAP/Aviation research groups. Dr. Haines then did a very interesting presentation of the investigation of an aviation related UAP sighting using NARCAP procedures. This discussion included confidentiality, team identification and assignment, data collection, related administrative matters, report preparation and dissemination.

NARCAP Executive Director, Ted Roe, presented information regarding NARCAP operating standards. This included a discussion about protecting the confidentiality of reporters. The NARCAP reporting system is based on the confidential NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System. Ted also emphasized the need to remain unbiased and allow the data to speak for itself. It is the position of NARCAP that the definitive work regarding UAP has not been done, and that all possibilities regarding the nature and source of UAP remain open. NARCAP is expected to maintain high standards and develop a reputation for responsible, objective research. Dr. Haines conducted an informal survey amongst the NARCAP Technical Staff regarding which atmospheric phenomena warrant further study. The results are published on this site on the "Publications" link as Technical Report #2.

Both Dr. Haines and Mr. Roe emphasized the need for NARCAP to remain unaffiliated and independent from organizations investigating "UFOs". NARCAP has no basis for conjecture regarding the true nature or source of this phenomenon. It is the NARCAP position that certain unidentified aerial phenomena have an effect on aviation safety that can be quantified. It is the intention of this organization to develop a body of data that will stand up to scientific scrutiny and serve as a basis for understanding this phenomenon.

Dr. Richard F. Haines and French Foreign Advisor Dominique Weinstein presented a preliminary report regarding electro-magnetic effects on aircraft. The website version of this presentation is titled "NARCAP Technical Report Three - A Preliminary Study of Fifty Seven Pilot Sighting Reports Involving Alleged Electro-magnetic Effects on Aircraft Systems", by Dr. Richard F. Haines and Dominique Weinstein. Credentialed parties are encouraged to review this report and respond.

Brian E. Smith, Chief of NASA's Aviation Safety Program Office at Ames Research Center and meeting participant stated, "NARCAP appears to be taking a serious, objective look at all forms of unexplained aerial phenomena that may affect aviation safety. Their charter ranges from research into here-to-for unknown processes related to atmospheric physics and geophysical events. NARCAP also investigates legitimate pilot reports of objects that have unconventional appearance and flight characteristics. I find it intriguing that some of these objects have also produced inexplicable effects on avionics systems of conventional aircraft according to a number of anecdotal reports."

Submitting Papers
Narcap is aware that mainstream scientists and researchers have been quietly working on the topic of UAP for many years. We encourage open discussion regarding this subject, especially amongst the scientific community. We will post scientific papers on this website with appropriate acknowledgements, references, and appendices, if we feel they demonstrate high standards for research and are appropriate to our study. Papers concerning data related observations of UAP, observations of possibly related natural phenomena or sources, electro-magnetic observations, astronomical and meteorological observations, and other topics may be submitted for consideration. Observations or counter-points regarding our own publications are also encouraged. Submissions must be in scientific essay form, with references and appendices. All submissions should be in English and in digital format (preferably MSWord). The author will be listed with the paper; names will be withheld upon request.

Copyright 2000 National Aviation Reporting Center For Anomalous Phenomena

Free will?


Consumer research and marketing suffer from a presumption that every event results from a direct cause, and given enough data and the tools to measure them, any event is predictable. But if this is true, we live in a deterministic universe with total absence of free will. What is fully predictable is predetermined; what is predetermined is not subject to free will. Few people are prepared to totally deny the existence of free will. Yet there is much about consumer research that implies free will exists minimally or not at all.

Scientists are beginning to look to quantum physics for explanations of free will. Some suggest that subatomic particles may even have rudimentary wills. An electron found at one point can suddenly be found elsewhere without passing through space. What force internal to the electron results in this quantum leap?


When UFOs Land


Popular Mechanics, May 2001

Article primarily focussing on the Peter Sturrock panel that looked at the physical evidence for UFOs.

Popular Mechanics, May 2001

Article primarily focussing on the Peter Sturrock panel that looked at the physical evidence for UFOs.

Saturday, May 26, 2001

Hi All!

From: (James Randi)

A bit late, but....

The JREF will be going on Internet Radio Thursday nights -- at 9:00 p.m. EST

Just get the page up (www.randi.org) and click on the radio-listen spot.

You need Microsoft Media Player, I'm told.

This is STRICTLY an experimental first-try, after which we'll be on regularly, same time, same spot.

Please let us know how it goes. Don't expect miracles this first time....

You can e-mail in comments, questions, etc., at

You can send in faxes to +1 954 467 1660

Or you can call in by phone at +1 954 467 1112

Hope that you'll be listening!


Articles of Note & New "Face on Mars" Photo

From: Barry Karr

Special Thanks to: Joe Littrell, Ken Frazier, Amanda Chesworth, Jon Alexander and Gary Goldberg

From: NASA Science News
Sent: May 24, 2001 2:00 PM
To: NASA Science News
Subject: Unmasking the Face on Mars
New high-resolution images and 3D altimetry from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft reveal the 'Face on Mars' for what it really is.


Interesting Site to check out: http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/

Interspersed among the junk mail and spam that fills our Internet e-mail boxes are dire warnings about devastating new viruses, Trojans that eat the heart out of your system, and malicious software that can steal the computer right off your desk. Added to that are messages about free money, children in trouble, and other items designed to grab you and get you to forward the message to everyone you know. Most all of these messages are hoaxes or chain letters.

Amy Bruce is a made-up Internet hoax girl
Tulsa World

"There is a bogus e-mail circulating around offices and elsewhere in Tulsa involving Amy Bruce. It reads:"

Chess Hustlers
By Matt Gaffney

"Springtime is upon us, and with it, scrappy chess players return to the urban landscapes of America's cities. In Boston, they play at Harvard Square. In New York, they play in Washington Square Park. In San Francisco, they play at the corner of Market and Powell. They've also been Hollywoodized in the movies Fresh and Searching for Bobby Fischer. Can you play them without getting scammed?"

The alien in my freezer
Seattle Weekly

"LIKE THE LATE-NIGHT RADIO UFO talk show host they admire, Seattle Art Bell Chat Club members believe aliens are out there. They just question whether the evidence ever existed in Jonathan Reed's freezer."

Researchers Debunk Placebo Effect, Saying It's Only a Myth
New York Times

"In a new report that is being met with a mixture of astonishment and, sometimes, disbelief, two researchers say that the placebo effect is a myth."

A painful affair of the Internet heart
By Bob Sullivan

"At least hundreds, if not thousands of Webloggers and other Netizens spent the past year rooting for 19-year-old Kaycee Nicole, who was battling leukemia and chronicling her incredible efforts online. They sent hats when her hair fell out. They sent Amazon gift certificates so she had reading material. They even sent money when mom lost her job to be at Kaycee's bedside. There was a worldwide groan May 14 when Kaycee's passing was announced, followed by an online wake. Only one problem: There was no Kaycee Nicole."

By Geoff Watts

The power of nothing

With the right encouragement, your mind can convince the body to heal itself. What is the mysterious force that conventional medicine seems to have forgotten?

Jura Koncius
Feng Shui for Skeptics

The latest books on feng shui are piling up in our office, as the ancient Oriental art of placement becomes a lifestyle staple of the new millennium. We have seen books on feng shui for the garden, feng shui for the office, even "Feng Shui for You and Your Cat," which might be taking things too far.


From: Raymond Nelke


Is Papa home?
item is in the middle of the article
POW museum; Hemingway's ghost; civility code for parents (4/20/98)

Complete Article Located at:

Business & Technology 1/8/01
Psst! Want a hot tip? Try a crystal ball
In a turbulent market, psychics see the future
By Marci McDonald
Some psychics thrive in a turbulent stock market (1/8/01)
Businesses and investors are turning to psychics for advice in an unsettled economic climate.

Complete Article Located at:

Cover Story 1/11/99
Belgian group checks facts
The Belgian Bollandists check facts, unmake saints (1/11/99)

Complete Article Located at:

Four saints and five beatified "blesseds" have U.S. ties (1/11/99)
Cover Story 1/11/99
Hometown heroes
At this time, only four saints and five beatified "blesseds" have U.S. ties.

Complete Article Locate at:

World Report 9/25/00
An enduring mystery
Evidence points to a flood of biblical proportions
By Michael Satchell
Evidence points to the great flood (9/25/00)
Bob Ballard's Black Sea exploration has found evidence of an ancient major flood that some believe may confirm the Biblical story of Noah. With map.

Complete Article Located at:

The reason God tested Abraham
And other revelations from a half century of Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship
07/07/97: Revelations from the Dead Sea Scrolls

Complete Article Located at:
DEAD SEA SCROLL - mysterious text - Archaeology

Science & Ideas 10/11/99
Finding a missing link
If authentic, this purported Dead Sea Scroll could be the discovery of the century
By Jeffery L. Sheler
"...Scholars say the mysterious text, which was partially revealed in Israel last week, is either an elaborate millennial hoax or the most important archaeological discovery of the century. ..."

Complete Article Located at:
OCCULT - Voodoo Science

News You Can Use 5/8/00
How bad science can be hazardous to your health
By Avery Comarow
Bad science leads to fuzzy thinking–and worse (5/8/00)
Interview with Robert Park, physicist and author of Voodoo Science. With box: Where to learn more Correction published 5/22/2000.

Complete Article Located at:

Fortean Times 147, July 2001, p. 07


Something in the Air

Beastly Boeing 747 in trouble and Somerset's bus route from hell

Pilots of a United Airlines 767 must have thought there would be the devil to pay when both engines on their aircraft mysteriously shut down just a few minutes into a flight to Los Angeles on 5 March this year. The US Federal Aviation Administration incident report contains the curious, er, 'revelation' that the aircraft involved in the extraordinary incident is registered as number 666 in the United Airlines fleet. Beastly problems occurred as the aircraft --- which had taken off from Kahului on the Hawaiian island of Maui --- was about to begin climbing from 27,000ft (8,230m) to a higher cruising altitude. The FAA incident reports says the aircraft suddenly and unexpectedly "lost power in both engines."

According to the US National Transportation Safety Board investigators, the jet descended to around 12,000ft (3,660m) before the crew managed to re-start the engines and divert to Hawaii's Kona Airport for an emergency landing. None of the 238 passengers and 12 crew was injured. The NTSB is studying the aircraft's data recorders at its Washington DC laboratory in an effort to determine what went wrong. Although Boeing 767 aircraft have only two engines, they are considered reliable enough for airlines to carry out long-distance flights over oceans. This class of flights is known collectively as Extended Twin Operations, or ETOPS --- an acronym which is cynically interpreted by those who worry about the chance of double-engine failure as meaning Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim. Source: David Morrow, Air Transport Intelligence, 10 Mar 2001.

Route 666, the bus from Shepton Montague to Castle Carey, the Somerset village's nearest town, leaves at 12.29pm for the four-mile (6.4km), 10-minute journey. The return service is at 9.47 the next morning. Passengers must pay 5Pounds for a taxi or be stranded overnight. "We realise it is not ideal," said a spokesman for the busy company, Atmos of Taunton. Guardian, Express, 21 Feb 2001.

The Placebo Effect
It's Not All in Your Head

by Cindy Seiwert
Posted May 25, 2001 · Issue 103


Placebos have a somewhat shady history: the term makes some people think of bloodletting, nerve tonics, and snake oil. Recently, though, the placebo effect has begun to gain respectability, at least in the eyes of many scientists who study it. Late last year, for instance, the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine convened a conference called The Science of the Placebo, at which participants discussed the biological, behavioral, and sociocultural aspects of placebos. And the field continues to expand.

Traditionally, scientists define a placebo as a substance without specific pharmacological activity that is administered as a control in clinical drug trials or given to a patient for potential "psychological" benefits. Current thinking about placebos stresses the mechanisms responsible for the placebo effect, and suggests that this response might be a fundamental part of the body's healing process. The entry in The Skeptic's Dictionary on the placebo effect emphasizes the phenomenon's immense power. Among the examples cited are sham surgery that was as effective as internal mammary artery ligation in reducing angina; a wart that disappeared after the patient was told that a procedure (painting it with an inert, colored dye) would remove it; and a trial in colitis patients in which over 50 percent of those receiving a placebo reported improvement in symptoms. As a site called Placebo explains, the proportion of patients who experience a placebo response varies by disorder, but can be anywhere from 20 to 100 percent.

Like conventional drugs, placebos affect the specific condition for which they are administered, rather than producing a general feeling of better health. Moreover, placebo side effects mimic drug-specific effects. Consequently, placebos are not completely benign, and their adverse effects - which can be anything from headache, vomiting, and fatigue to ataxia and hallucinations - appear to depend on what side effects a patient expects. Placebos also exhibit time-effect and dose-response curves that mimic those of pharmacologically active substances. You can read more about these characteristics in an article called The Importance of Placebo Effects in Pain Treatment and Research.

All of this raises a fundamental question: What causes a placebo effect? Two hypotheses involve possible physiological mechanisms. First, the placebo might reduce a subject's anxiety level because it is perceived, reassuringly, as a form of treatment, and the resulting stress reduction might generate physiological effects that contribute to recovery. Second, placebos could trigger the release of endorphins, our natural painkillers. Some scientists favor this explanation because, as shown in a classic study entitled The Mechanism of Placebo Analgesia, pain relief provided by placebos can be reversed with naloxone, which blocks endorphins.

On the other hand, placebo effects could be caused by psychological or sociological mechanisms. For example, a placebo response may be a conditioned reflex. In support of this theory, many placebos are effective only after the subject has had experience with the pharmacologically active drug. In studies of placebo analgesia for postoperative pain, for instance, patients who received the active drug on the first day experienced a healthy placebo effect the following day when given a placebo. Patients who received the placebo on the first day, however, had a blunted response to the active drug the next day. In other words, as explained in Placebo Effect: The Power of the Sugar Pill, a patient can learn to associate medication with relief, and this appears to potentiate the placebo effect.

Expectations also have significant power. For example, more than three-quarters of participants in one study vomited in response to sugar water when told it was an emetic. Subjects also report feeling "up" after taking red placebos and "down" after taking blue ones. Patients may also expect to feel better after treatment, which causes them to notice small improvements, which in turn leads to positive behavioral changes. The book How Expectancies Shape Experience, by University of Connecticut psychology professor Irving Kirsch, gives more detail on responses to expectations. In the end, scientists may find that each of these hypotheses plays an important role in the placebo effect.

An apparent placebo effect might even arise from "noise" - in other words, it could emerge from factors that have nothing to do with the placebo itself. The Mysterious Placebo Effect cites spontaneous improvement, symptom fluctuation (including regression to the mean in highly variable diseases), and other random effects as confounding factors. The New England Journal of Medicine has supplied more in-depth information on the mechanisms underlying placebo effects in reviews of several books devoted to the topic: From Placebo to Panacea: Putting Psychiatric Drugs to the Test, The Placebo Effect: An Interdisciplinary Exploration, and The Powerful Placebo: From Ancient Priest to Modern Physician.

Although people usually think of placebos as enhancing health, they can also make one ill. In such cases, scientists use the term nocebo, defined as something that "induces a feeling of ill health for no very good medical reason." For example, placebos can trigger anaphylactic reactions or be physically addictive. For an overview of this topic, see The Nocebo Effect. For a very graphic example, see Mass Psychogenic Illness Attributed to Toxic Exposure at a High School.

In part, the existence of detrimental effects from placebos awakened a debate about the ethics of prescribing placebos. A sampling of this debate can be found under the heading "Is Prescribing Placebos Ethical?" in volume 10, number 4 of Priorities for Health, the quarterly magazine of the American Council on Science and Health.

There are also ethical concerns over the use of placebos in clinical trials. In many cases, new therapies are being tested for ailments in which an established treatment is available. The Declaration of Helsinki on ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects states that placebo use in such cases is rarely ethical. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes a less definite stance. For example, The Healing Power of Placebos, published in the agency's official magazine FDA Consumer, recommends a case-by-case approach to use of placebos in clinical trials.

As this brief survey indicates, the importance and reality of the placebo response can scarcely be denied. It is also apparent that these effects are mediated by changes in the brain that somehow lead to improved bodily function. The nocebo effect appears to be equally real. Nevertheless, we cannot conclude that "belief is all that matters." Many, if not most, medications provide benefits that placebos do not, and many diseases elude even the most aggressive medical treatment. Understanding the placebo response might help scientists unlock the human body's "inner pharmacy," but any pharmacy occasionally needs to reorganize and refresh its stock.

Cindy Seiwert is a freelance science writer based in Haddam, Connecticut.


From: Raymond Nelke

I have been doing some research from a bunch of magazines regarding Cryptozoology. Paranormal, Healing, UFO's, Wicca, Fortean.

As I come across some articles that may be of interest to various lists I will pass the URLs on.

Any person, List, site whatever/whomever not wanting this information just let me know and I will not send it to you.


DISCOVER Vol. 19 No. 4 (April 1998)
Table of Contents
Monster of the Tub
By Dick Teresi
Through the icy depths of Lake Champlain glides a mysterious beast, affectionately known as Champ. Maybe it's a Plesiosaur left over from the Age of the dinosaurs. Or maybe it's just a very peculiar water wave.

DISCOVER Vol. 20 No. 9(September 1999)
Table of Contents

Beasts in the Mist
If David Oren could find just one of the horrifying creatures he knows are out there-- huge sloths with giant claws and a reputation for twisting off the heads of humans--he could save the world's largest rain forest text and photographs by Marguerite Holloway

excerpts from the complete article-----

"...mapinguari tales

"...Oren is not the first scientist to reach this conclusion. In the late 1800s an Argentinean paleontologist named Florentino Ameghino took an eyewitness story of a strange creature seen in southern Patagonia to be an indication of a living ground sloth. Although Ameghino never found the evidence he sought, his reasoning is described in detail by zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans in On the Track of Unknown Animals. The book, published in 1955, launched cryptozoology--the study of hidden animals--and captivated Oren when he read it years ago. Heuvelmans ends his chapter on Ameghino and the giant ground sloths with a tantalizing query about the Amazon: "Might they not still live in this 'green hell' and find it a heaven of peace?"

"...Filled with rice and beans and manioc, the men are out of camp by 7:30 the next morning; clouds of blackflies follow them. As Dos Santos leads the way, Oren cups his hands around his mouth, throws back his head, and calls out again to the mapinguari, wherever it may be.


The Scholars and the Goddess
Devotees of Wicca have laid claim to an ancient heritage. Historians now believe that not a single element of the Wiccan story is true.
by Charlotte Allen


Copyright © 2001 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved. The Atlantic Monthly; January 2001; The Scholars and the Goddess - 01.01;
Volume 287, No. 1; page 18-22.

The Atlantic Monthly | April 2001
Innocent Bystander

Thy Will Be Done
Blind studies and unanswered prayers
by Cullen Murphy



Copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved. The Atlantic Monthly; December 2000; A New Way to Be Mad - 00.12; Volume 286, No. 6; page 72-84.

A New Way to Be Mad

Medical science has a newly prominent sickness -- apotemnophilia, the compulsion to amputate one's own healthy limbs. The condition has found expression on the Internet, and apotemnophiles are turning up in surprising numbers. The correlation raises disturbing questions.

by Carl Elliott

'Monkey man' case still baffles police

NEW DELHI, India -- New Delhi police say injuries reported by dozens of people in the Indian capital were not caused by a mysterious "monkey man" creature -- or any other animal.


NASA releases new Mars face image

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Nearly 25 years after an orbiting spacecraft caught the Red Planet "mugging" for the camera, NASA released the highest-resolution image yet of the so-called "Face on Mars." The new picture, taken by the camera aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft April 8 and released Thursday, shows the area in far sharper detail, but reduces any resemblance to a humanlike extraterrestrial. Since the Viking 1 orbiter first photographed the hill on Mars in July 1976, its facelike features have stirred the imagination of those who believe it was carved by an alien civilization. The face even played a minor role in the movie "Mission to Mars." National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists say the interplay of light and shadow gave the hill the brooding anthropomorphic features that stood out in the Viking pictures.

Full article at: http://www.infobeat.com/fullArticle?article=407490620


From: Raymond Nelke


Medieval zoology was a liberal mix of fact and fantasy (8/16/99)
Cover Story 8/16/99
Creatures of fact and fiction

Complete Article Located Here:

Shroud of Turin - Mysteries of History - U.S. News Online
Scientific testing of the Shroud of Turin is continuing along with controversy. With box: A rare public display.
From the 7/24/00 issue of USN&WR
Cloudy shroud
Is the linen a holy relic or just a pious fraud?

Complete Article Located At:

Great Hoaxes - Mysteries of History - U.S. News Online
Hoaxes included: The Cardiff Giant, Piltdown Man, Tasadays, Newark Holy
Stones, British military misinformation meant for Germans in World War II, Deborah Sampson, soldier disguised as a man in the American Revolution, the Donation of Constantine, antisemitic book, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, crop circles, fairy photos, Kirlian photos, baby rabbits born to a woman, the horse Clever Hans, Glomar Explorer mission. With chronology: Fringe history.
From the 7/24/00 issue of USN&WR
Hoaxes of the ages

Gotcha! History is full of pranksters, hoaxters, and assorted deranged souls who've created what seemed like a mystery of his­ tory . . . but turned out to be nothing but a goof.


New Jersey Twilight Zone drive: Travel - NYCU - U.S. News Online
From the 1996 Great Vacation Drives Book
New Jersey's Twilight Zone
The spirit said to haunt the Bernardsville Public Library has its own library card

Complete Article Located Here:
Near-death experiences

03/31/97: Are near-death experiences peepholes into a world beyond? Is there life after death?
Near-death experiences may be physiological. Or they may be peepholes into a world beyond

Complete Article Located Here:

Tunguska on Discovery Channel

From: Michael D. Sofka

Coincidentally, the Discovery Channel aired a program about the Tunguska impact last night. It was quite good, and dealt with the early and latter expeditions to study the impact area, the lack of a crater and debris, and why. The most interesting part, to me, was that from the shape made by the pattern of fallen trees, it is likely the object exploded 4-8 miles above the surface, and came in at an angle of approximately 30 degrees from the north (IIRC).

That's pretty specific, so some explanation is in order. An air burst from an object coming strait down would leave a circular pattern. When the object comes in at an angle the pattern starts to spread out, looking more and more like butterfly wings. The first expedition to Tunguska surveyed the fallen trees and found a butterfly pattern. Nobody could explain this for some time. The answer was found by a Russian astrophysicist who built models and set off small moving explosions. (This was after WWII, when the atomic bombs provided a vivid example of a *big* explosion.)

Simulations at Sandia National labs suggest that the object itself disintegrated with most of the matter being ejected into space and the (very) upper atmosphere. Lake Baikal was suggested as a likely place to find any debris. The size of the blast, btw, is estimated at 15 megatons---about 1000 times stronger than Hiroshima, and putting it right up there with the Bikini Atoll blasts.

There is still some debate about whether Tunguska was a comet or asteroid. The angle and time of impact (June 30th, 1908) does coincide with the maximum for a meteor shower. If it was a comet fragment from that shower, it drastically changes estimates for the likelihood for impacts of that size. This is why finding any debris is important. Isotopes collected from Tunguska peat is consistent with a comet.

The program is worth watching, since it conveys a sense of just how difficult it was to do any studies of the area, and how difficult it still is to get definitive answers to just what happened. Were it not for the early surveys (after reindeer herders reported it to Russian Authorities) we would not now have good data about the blast pattern.

The local PBS station rebroadcast the National Geographic special about Eugene Shoemaker last week. Prior to his work, most geologist thought large impacts did not occur any more, or were very rare. Many craters were attributed to volcanism, largely because of the lack of a meteorite. It has only been in the past few decades that impacts have come to be accepted as a common explanation, and even more recently that the good data about the frequency of such impacts has become available. And, only recently that a network of observation stations looking for nuclear tests started detecting evidence of large atmospheric impacts, and started releasing data about them. Science marches on.


The Icarus Syndrome

Fortean Times 147, July 2001, p. 50

forum contact

Peter Jones rakes over a couple of recent FT articles and concludes that if he were ET, he might not tell the folks back home about us.

I read with great interest two articles in FT135, namely 'Nothing Succeeds as Planned' (NSAP) and 'Shafted', which dovetailed beautifully. NSAP dealt with the concept of natural selection and evolution being anything but a steady progression towards ever improved biological organisms. Indeed, intelligence clearly is not the pinnacle of evolution, but more of fortuitous, unplanned occurrence, given time, environmental conditions and so on. The article (correctly) pointed out that to assume widespread extraterrestrial intelligence as being inevitable is completely illogical, given the known facts of evolutionary science here on Earth.

However, I must take issue with some of the assertions and reasoning in NSAP. The author, Peter Brookesmith, states: "If intelligence means self-consciousness and the capacity for symbolic thought, we find ourselves reflecting that this form of intelligence has evolved precisely once in 3.5 billion years of life on Earth --- that is in the form of *Homo sapiens*..."

I beg to differ. We know that dolphins have a complex social structure and language --- a language that we have yet to decipher. The fact that dolphins do not have (as far as we are aware) a developed technology does not preclude the ability to engage in symbolic thought, and there seems to be no evidence that proves this either way. Recent studies show that parrots are not mere mimics, but are puzzle solvers. The ability to solve problems normally requires the application of some form of abstraction of the real world into symbolic thought processes. Chimpanzees are certainly capable of limited symbolic thought, as demonstrated in the experiments to teach them symbolic language. They also make and use tools in their natural environment; it might not match human technology, but it is a technology.

Further, the article misses the real point of what it is that makes humans so different from all other life on Earth, namely our remarkable combination of cognitive power, manual dexterity, inquisitiveness and super-competitiveness. This combination of characteristics gives humans the unique ability to 'step outside' the normal processes involved in natural selection.

Peter Brookesmith casually threw in the notion of the laws of nature, but these are no more or less than the mental models that we use to understand and predict the world around us. True, they have been developed over time on the basis of repeatability and robustness, but they are not immutable or eternal.

If we need a reminder of the limited nature of our understanding of the Universe we should ask ourselves whether we are able to describe the actual means of propagation of electromagnetic waves. I think not. (Maxwell's equations only provide a predictive model --- they don't actually tell you what EM waves are or what, if anything, they propagate through).

Thomas Gold's assertion, in the NSAP article, that the adaptation of life on a planet in a biosphere powered largely by photosynthesis is something that would occur very rarely, is interesting, but no supporting evidence or argument is given. I doubt that anyone on Earth has the information necessary to calculate this probability, particularly when we have only visited planets within our own solar system. This is the very same kind of non-logic for which Peter Brookesmith is berating Professor Michael Swords!

'Shafted' was a most interesting article, challenging the whole of the current understanding of human evolution on Earth. However, the main issue is to test the veracity of Michael Cremo's claims. And the NSAP article is totally correct in challenging the current scientific hierarchy to look at the physical evidence as well as the currently known facts. If the artefacts claimed to have been found are genuine, they would indicate the presence on Earth of advanced humans at the very same time as the first primitive apes! And the metal spheres most certainly do not appear to be natural formations. So wha or what made these spheres 2.8 billion years ago?

This seriously challenges current knowledge and deserves serious scientific examination; qualified, internationally-recognised scientific observers should go to the sites concerned and verify the truth or otherwise. Let's have some actual scientific research! Humanity is currently too enamoured with its own reflection and technological creations. Like Icarus, we believe that we can fly up to the Sun. If humanity isn't a little more circumspect, the wax is going to melt!

The application of a little logic to the content of the two articles might lead to some disturbing conclusions. Firstly, if there are many races of intelligent, technologically advanced ET beings out there, why haven't we heard from them? Logic tells us that either they don't exist or they do exist but aren't responding. Assuming they do exist (and are technologically in advance of humans), then they are either unable or unwilling to respond. If they are unable to respond then either they are not as technically advanced as humanity or their technology is so entirely different from ours that they are unaware of our existence.

But you have to ask: if you discovered the existence of Earth, would you want to respond to a world like ours? Could it be that we might just appear to be a race of reckless, devil-may-care genocidal maniacs? Maybe ET wouldn't want to phone *Homo sapiens*. And suppose the 'Shafted' article is accurate; how is it that there were modern humans carrying out mining operations on Earth 55 million years ago? If the fossil remains are *bona fide*, perhaps all we have to do to see ET is look in a mirror!

Peter Jones is probably owed money by Bob for this article. Any help in tracing his whereabouts would be greatly appreciated by all at Fortean Towers.

The Last Iconoclast Dies

Fortean Times 147, July 2001, p. 26


The life-long flat-earther who thought the space programme was a "ludicrous joke", dies aged 76

Charles Kenneth Johnson, President of the International Flat Earth Society for the last 29 years, died in Lancaster, near Hi Vista, California, on 19 March, aged 76, and was buried in Joshua Memorial Park. Calling himself "the last iconoclast", he carried on a tradition of maverick metaphysics that had long battled "globularism". His quarterly Flat Earth News, which once boasted 3,500 subscribers, had as its strapline "Restoring the World to Sanity". Members of the society paid $25 per annum and received a map of the flat world.

Johnson followed the teachings of 'Parallax' (Samuel Birley Rowbotham), whose 1838 optical experiments along six miles of the Old Bedford Level (a canal in Cdambridgeshire) disproved the curvature of the Earth --- to his own satisfaction at least.

Parallax wrote Earth Not a Globe and Zetetic Astronomy (from the Greek zeteo, "I find out for myself").

The zetetics maintain that the known world is a circular plane of indeterminate size floating in primordial waters, the North Pole at its centre, the South Pole at its circumference, marked by an impenetrable wall of ice 150ft (46m) high. The Sun and Moon, each 32 miles (51km) in diameter, circle the earthly disc at a steady height of 3,000 miles (4,828km), with the heavenly dome 1,000 miles (1,609km) higher up. Sunrise and sunset are mere optical illusions.

The first book to proclaim belief in a flat Earth was the 6(th) century Christian Topography by Cosmas Indicopleustes, a well-travelled Greek monk from Alexandria. Since the Bible refers to "the four corners of the earth" (Revelation, ch7, v1), he maintained our world was a flat rectangle, Jerusalem at the centre, the firmament arching overhead, with heaven above that. Around the Earth's landmass lay the oceans, surrounded by Eden. The Sun revolved around a mountain at the North Pole. Seasonal changes were caused by the position of the Sun at the mountain --- in the summer it revolved around the peak, in winter around the base.

The New Testament tells of Jesus ascending up to heaven but, as Johnson pointed out, "if the Earth were a sphere, there would be no up nor down to the Universe." When asked about solar eclipses in 1979, he said: "We really don't have to go into all that. The Bible tells us the heavens are a mystery."

Although Cosmas's flat Earth was welcomed by the Church and accepted for centuries, it was scorned by the scientifically inclined by the early Middle Ages. (Much later, Galileo got into trouble for denying the Earth was the hub of the Universe more than for denying its flatness).

In the 1790s, the flat or "planist" doctrine was championed by Sir Richard Phillips (1767-1840) with no reference to Scripture. This patent medicine vendor and founder of the *Leicester Herald* was a radical republican, jailed for dealing in atheist literature.

Parallax made many converts at his lectures. The Universal Zetetic Society (UZS) was founded in New York in 1873, and soon had branches world-wide. Brief histories of the zetetic movement can be found in John Michell's wonderful Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions (Thames & Hudson, London, 1984) and in Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief by Donna Kossy (Feral House, Portland, 1994).

In 1956, Samuel and Lillian Shenton of Dover, England, formed a new zetetic organisation, The International Flat Earth Society. When Samuel died in 1971, Lillian decided that Charles Johnson should inherit his mantle.

Johnson was born in San Angelo, Texas, on 24 July 1924 and embraced the flat Earth theory when he was eight. "When I was at school," he recalled, "the first maps I saw were flat. Then Roosevelt flooded all the classrooms with globes. Well, I didn't believe it." He spun a globe in his class, concluded that what his textbook said about gravitation was absurd, and gazed at a nearby lake, observing no curve. "Obviously water's flat, isn't it?" he said in a 1992 interview. "They're trying to tell you water's bent?"

As a teenager, he was an admirer of the Rev Wilbur Glenn Voliva, a flat Earth fundamentalist who ruled the town of Zion, Illinois, with a rod of iron from 1906 until his death in 1942. His puppet city government banned tobacco, alcohol, cinemas --- and globes. Women were forbidden to cut their hair, expose their necks or straddle a horse. There was a steady income from fines for smoking in the street or driving at more than 5mph. In 1922, Voliva became the first religious broadcaster to found a radio station, WCBD, which contintually preached flat earthery and the world's imminent destruction.

Before moving 20 miles (32km) east of Lancaster to a Mojave Desert cabin with its own generator and water tank, Johnson had worked 25 years as an aeroplane mechanic with Pan Am in San Francisco. He ran the Flat Earth Society with his Australian-born wife Marjorie (who, of course, didn't think of herself as coming from "down under"). Johnson carried out his own zetetic experiments across Lake Tahoe and the Salton Sea, "proving" once again that the Earth was flat.

Johnson's cabin was not far from Edwards Air Force Base, where the space shuttle lands after orbiting the Earth; Johnson called the shuttle "a very ludicrous joke." He liked to smoke a cigar at sunset and gaze out at the desert, which was as flat as a pancake except for the occasional tumbleweed. He insisted that the space programme was a hoax scripted by Arthur C Clarke and filmed at Meteor Crater in Arizona. The valuable rights to the production were allotted to the USA at a Kennedy-Khrushchev meeting in return for allowing Cuba to remain communist. A Washington Post poll in 1994 found that nine per cent of Americans thought the Moon landing was faked.

Johnson was regularly interviewed by curious journalists and on one occasion starred in an advertisement for Dreyer's ice cream. In 1995, his cabin burned to the ground. He managed to rescue Marjorie, who couldn't walk and needed an oxygen tank to breathe; but the Society's library, archive, and membership lists were destroyed. Marjorie died the following year. Johnson was evicted from the trailer into which he had moved, next to the ruins of his house, so he moved into the home of his brother Jackie on the outskirts of Lancaster. With the help of Jill Fear, he began to rebuild the Society, which now has about 100 members, all of whom have joined since the fire.

"What everyone has been taught all their lives is complete foolishness," said Johnson. "It's nothing more than a joke. Scientists consist of the same old gang of witch doctors, sorcerers, tellers of tales, the 'priest-entertainers' for the common people. 'Science' consists of a weird, way-out occult concoction of gibberish theory-theology."

Los Angeles Daily News, 21 Mar; Los Angeles Times, New York Times, 25 Mar; D. Telegraph, 6 April 2001.

Going Ape
If the Monkey Man didn't exist, we'd have to invent him. Oh wait, we did.


Saturday, May 26, 2001 12:01 a.m. EDT

The extreme often illuminates the normal. So the bizarre reports of the "Monkey Man," which has, since April 8, terrorized people in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and then in New Delhi, may reveal what lies beneath the surface of everyday life.

Self-satisfied sophisticates may fend off the case by placing it in the category of primitive magical thinking. However, it is worth exploring what this eruption of hysterical fear meant for the people who experienced it, as well as for our own community--one in which the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, New Mexican space visitors and the Yeti compete for tabloid sales with details of Cher's latest makeover.

What happened in India was that flash announcements swept the community that a half-man, half-monkey creature was randomly attacking people at night in the streets where many of them slept because of the heat.

After complaints about 348 attacks by the monster, vigilante groups wielding sticks patrolled the streets. Several hapless candidate-monsters were attacked. Three thousand police officers were assigned to find the creature. At least three people are thought to have died by jumping from windows when the monster pursued them--or perhaps their enemies took the opportunity to push them out. A police reward of 50,000 rupees (around $1,000) turned up no useful leads. It was finally announced that the Monkey Man was the product of "fear psychosis." In any case, we can be sure that he will not be captured because he does not exist.

But the central point is that Monkey Man taps into a deep vein of interest in the ghoulish and disastrous among not only Indians but also Americans. Highway police know that after an accident people will slow down to gaze with evident fascination at someone else's wreckage. One of the most common television news images is the yellow police tape marking a crime scene. Morbid curiosity is surely a prime ingredient of the appeal of dozens of films, television series like "The X-Files," and mystery thrillers, to say nothing of those wholly freakish films and TV series featuring human actors who wear fearful makeup and costumes. In short, consumers often seek out drastically unpleasant stimuli and pay for the privilege to boot, with time if not money. The monster Monkey Man isn't very far away both here and in New Delhi. Even when it appears to recede too far, we contrive to restore its power through nutty fear psychosis on the one hand and well-crafted works of communication on the other.

What appears to be going on is that however comfortable and predictable life may seem to people, the awareness remains that everyone from New York to New Delhi lives on the edge. Drive down the highway and mistakenly turn the steering wheel 10 degrees to the right or left and you may be a bloody mess or dead. The day trader gesticulating to his cell phone on the turnpike has the speed and poundage to kill you in seconds. Children are taught to avoid walking under ladders with good reason--tools fall.

There are inner monsters, too, which connect the smooth modern present with the unruly dangerous past before excellent medicine and lawsuits for remedial damages. Nightmares don't only occur during sleep.

Before amniocentesis became commonly available, bearing a heartbreakingly deformed infant was neither a theoretical fear nor a rare event. There have always been tacit and sub rosa implications that somehow understanding doctors would fail to assure the survival of severely irregular newborns. Pregnant women were and are understandably frightened of everything from the Evil Eye to possibly toxic foods. Some element of the public turmoil about cloning and genetically modified foods must have to do with longstanding fears about genetically modified humans--man-made monkey men.

Small children threatened with having to sleep by themselves seek endless reassurance and comfort. They lack certainty that the boogie-monkey-man will remain in its cage--perhaps this is why Western society is aberrantly alone among the communities of the world in requiring little children to sleep alone, in the dark. And it remains a favorite tactic of degraded statecraft for a group in power to define a subordinate one as a kind of nonhuman monkey man, perhaps by requiring it to wear a version of species marker such as the yellow star for the Nazis. Now we have the Muslim Taliban's up-to-the minute innovation, requiring Hindus to wear specially colored garb, like clowns. They are saying: We fear you because you are different. But we will prevail and box you in. We will make a monkey-man out of you yet.

Mr. Tiger is a professor of anthropology at Rutgers and author of "The Decline of Males" (Golden Books, 1999).

Thursday, May 24, 2001

Articles of Note (Thanks to Gary Goldberg & Joe Littrell)


Everybody knows the image of the mad scientist, but not many appreciate the importance of crazy ideas to the scientific process

Latest Credit Scam Puts Plastic in Peril


"If you think cloning is just about creating identical sheep, you better grab hold of your wallet. Cloning, also known as skimming, is a burgeoning and highly effective form of credit card fraud."



"The Magna Carta of alternative medicine may be in need of a rewrite."

Are 'X-Files' and programs like it fueling increased interest in the paranormal?
Evansville Courier & Press


"When millions of people tune in to the "X-Files" Sunday night to find out if FBI Agent Dana Scully gives birth to an alien baby, most will see it as an evening of fantasy."

Delhi Journal: Beware Monkey-Man, Scourge of the Gullible
New York Times


"In teeming narrow lanes where rumors spread like a contagion, bands of excited young men brandished tridents, bamboo poles and iron rods in the wee hours this morning, ready to battle an elusive apparition known as the monkey-man, which has terrorized large swaths of this sprawling metropolis for the last week."

Proposal for Vedic City raises questions
Des Moines Register


"An unusual collection of upscale housing developments is expected to band together this week as a new Iowa municipality." School Board ejects pagan over prayer at meeting's start
St. Petersburg Times


"A feud that has been brewing for months between School Board Chairwoman Patience Nave and a pagan man over prayers at board meetings finally boiled over on Tuesday."

Taliban: Hindus must wear identity labels
By Jack Kelley


"Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia said Tuesday it will require Hindus to wear labels on their clothing to distinguish them from Muslims, a proposal sharply denounced by the United States and India."

Evil takes the stand
By Charles Taylor


"As many Monty Python sketches have pointed out, the dignity of British courtrooms is handicapped from the start by the silly, pompous powdered wigs the judges and barristers wear. But even the Monty Python boys never dreamed up a situation as ludicrous as the one that took place in a British courtroom last year when David Irving sued the American writer Deborah Lipstadt for libeling him. Irving is a British author whose romances of the Third Reich have managed to get him acclaimed as a serious historian from the likes of John Keegan ("an extraordinary ability to describe and analyse Hitler's conduct of military operations") and Christopher Hitchens ("Not just a Fascist historian, but a great historian of Fascism"). In her book "Denying the Holocaust" Lipstadt had written that Irving was "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial," a man who twisted evidence "until it conforms with his ideological leanings and political propaganda." When the book appeared in Britain, Irving sued both Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books."

Egyptian Egyptologists Debunk Claims of Two French Archaeologists
By Chris Hahn
Egypt Revealed


"The largest of Egypt's pyramids, Khufu (Cheops) on the Giza Plateau, has long been the subject of outrageous claims made by laymen and scientists alike. These so-called theories range from the purpose of the pyramids being a landing device for extraterrestrial spacecraft, their ability to keep razors sharp and preserve otherwise perishable foods, and that (at least in the case of Cheops) secret passages and chambers abound. Recently, two French archaeologists claimed to have found evidence of the precise location of the entrances to some of these hidden cavities."

Governor of the most populous state of India supports teaching astrology.

From the Times of India at


On the run from L. Ron Hubbard

From Salon at


- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Damien Cave

May 23, 2001 | Keith Henson is waging a one-man crusade against Scientology. Arguing that the church threatens to undermine the First Amendment by suing opponents into submission, he has fought the house that L. Ron Hubbard built at every turn. Since 1995, when the church first angered Net users by closing down a newsgroup dedicated to discussing Scientology's practices, he has posted documents that the church considers secret on the Web, picketed the church's headquarters and defended his actions in court.

Just last month, the California Superior Court in Riverside County handed Henson a major defeat. Citing Henson's picketing in front of Riverside's Golden Era Productions (a sound and film studio for the Church of Scientology) last summer and messages he posted in a Scientology newsgroup, the court found Henson guilty of violating the state's hate-crimes law. His demonstrations, the court ruled, interfered with Scientologists' constitutional right to religious freedom.

Online critics of Scientology, and some free-speech advocates, responded to the decision with outrage, calling Henson "an American hero." His conviction, they said, was nothing less than a "miscarriage of justice," as one poster at geek site Slashdot put it. Others called Henson "a martyr."

Meanwhile, Henson's tactics have often seemed a bit quixotic -- even his supporters say that he tends to act without thinking. They question, for example, the wisdom of Henson's two-line contribution to a thread in the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup about directing a nuclear missile at church members. Henson contends that his post implied no real threat to Scientology members and that it was merely a response to another post in a long-running joke about "Cruise" (as in Scientology celeb Tom) missiles.

Still, it was an odd move for someone ostensibly dedicated to serious critique, and it brought an immediate outcry from Scientologists. "Free speech does not protect threats of mass destruction," said Scientology spokesman Ken Hoden. "It does not protect threats of missile attacks. It does not protect what he did. He's trying to hide behind the First Amendment."

David Touretzky, a Carnegie Mellon computer scientist and fellow Scientology gadfly, says that Henson tends to incriminate himself in his encounters with Scientologists -- often providing church officials with legal ammunition they later use against him.

Henson's legal strategy has been criticized as well. Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says that Henson refused to let the civil liberties nonprofit represent him, choosing instead to have a court-appointed attorney. Henson contests Cohn's claim -- "I've never been offered help from the EFF," he says -- but just last week, he once again confounded his fans by failing to show up at his sentencing hearing, where he could have been sent to jail for a year.

So where is Keith Henson and what is he up to? In a telephone interview from Canada -- where he's applying for political asylum -- Henson explained why he played hooky from the hearing and what he hopes to achieve by moving his case forward from abroad.

You're now a fugitive from justice -- why?

I actually came up here for a different reason. I came up here to picket for another cause. But while I was here, a bunch of people were trolling on the Net, talking about my coming up here as a political refugee. And there was so much trolling and so much interest that we said, "Why not?" So I stayed over an extra day and we checked with Guidy Mamann, who is apparently a top immigration lawyer in Canada. We chatted for a while, and I filled out the paperwork. He fired up a Web browser, found some stories and said this was a viable case. So I blew off [the California court] and I've already paid [Mamann] a retainer to deal with this from up here.

Why not stay and fight from the States?

Well, I would have gotten a certain amount of PR and done a certain amount of damage to [the church] had I gone back and gone to jail there. But there's a justification for being here. In spite of the fact that there's more risk and that it generates even more criminal problems for me, nonetheless, being here has the potential to generate more heat on Scientology.

Have you been in touch with the American courts?

Oh yeah, I talked to the probation guy down there this morning [Thursday]. I just updated him on where I was and what was going on. He didn't have much to say.

You seem to enjoy being a martyr for the cause.

Other people hold me up as a martyr. I'm not a martyr; I just kick ass. But it must feel good to be in the spotlight. How much of what you're doing has to do with the a desire for attention?

It's a minor factor. The social strokes are reward for doing good stuff -- I wouldn't deny that. People work hard to get the Nobel Prize. I'm not going to get the Nobel Prize. I'm not going to get any kind of prize. But I'm a known person because I've been involved with this stuff for a long time.

How much have you spent on your case?

I've spent about $35,000.

How long do you plan to stay in Canada?

Forever. If the U.S. government decides that what I did was not within the framework of free speech, if the [U.S.] State Department supports the government of Riverside County in what I'm arguing is an abuse of human rights, then I ain't going back.

So what happens next?

Well, there's going to be a review of the situation. Because when you apply for refugee status on the basis of human rights, your lawyer is your advocate and the Canadian government is your opposition.

An immigration review board adjudicates this thing. And in order to do this, by treaty and custom, the Canadian [authorities] go to the State Department. They have to go in and investigate, and come up with the transcripts and motions and all of that. They need it in order to defend themselves, to prove that what went on was a fair and unbiased problem.

So the State Department sometimes does this [itself], and at other times [it has] the Justice Department do it. But I suspect that when they start doing this thing -- and they realize that there were severe violations of protocol -- what may well happen is that they may march through Riverside County, Calif., and deal with [the church].

What's the goal of your efforts?

The ultimate goal is to reform or completely destroy Scientology. It's completely undemocratic.

Do you feel like you're getting anywhere with this, in the big picture?

Oh yes, yes indeed. This is the endgame. I don't know whether we're years away or months away or even weeks away. But the problems that Scientology has at this time are legion. Let's put it this way: a [Scientology] event that for years had been attended at a fairly high level had 40 percent of the people show up that they expected.

Where'd you get that number?

From people who were there. We have spies with Scientology -- disaffected Scientologists -- all over the country.

It all sounds so cloak-and-dagger.

Oh, it's definitely that. For example, we think there's a pretty fair chance that Scientology will try to do a snatch-and-grab situation up here, where they come after me.

Are you saying that you're afraid you'll be kidnapped?


So are you just staying at that same house -- the one where you're talking from?

No. I'll be living at a number of safe houses here. I'm also taking perhaps as [much] as a billion dollars of electronics work out of California.

Are you talking about a business that's already established in California?

No, it's a huge development project, a huge development and production project. But I'm not going to go into detail about it. You'll find out. If it works, you'll find out about it shortly.

Since when are you the kind of person who protects secrets?

OK, I'll give you this. Let's just call it a billion-dollar-scale, cryptic stealth surveillance technology. That'll keep them guessing.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
About the writer
Damien Cave is a staff writer for Salon Technology.

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Vigilantes patrol for Monkey Man

Reuters via ExciteNews, May 18 2001


Article on the "Monkey Man" attacks in New Delhi.

Scientist stirs the cauldron: Oil he says, is renewable


By David L. Chandler, Globe Staff, 5/22/2001

It's as basic as the terminology people use in discussing sources of energy: On the one hand, there are ''fossil fuels,'' left over from the decayed remains of millions of years worth of vegetation and destined to run out before long; on the other hand, there are ''renewable'' resources that could sustain human activities indefinitely.

ET appears in garden fence

From Ananova at:


A Shropshire man says he's got an image of ET in his garden fence. Howard Pryce's garden fence is out of this world after the likeness slowly emerged as the timber weathered. Knots in two panels form ET's eyes, while the grain resembles its neck and body. Mr Pryce's wife Sheila first spotted the image. ET was the star of Steven Spielberg's blockbuster 1982 film about a wrinkly extra-terrestrial stranded on Earth. Howard joked: "The non-stop requests to phone home are wearing a bit thin, but he's more popular with the neighbours than I am." He told The Sun: "It's a great feature. I don't want him to disappear again like he did in the film."

Mystery of the 15-legged frog

From Ananova at:


A frog with 15 legs is causing a stir in Mississippi.

The amphibian has sprouted limbs from all over its body including its head.

The two back legs are normal but the rest don't move at all.

Ann Henry, director of the Scranton Nature Centre in Pascagoula, noticed something was wrong when the tadpole started developing into its adult form.

She said: "Legs began to grow out everywhere. Legs sprouted from various parts of the body including the head. New legs would sprout from the older appendages."

The deformity is probably caused by a genetic mutation.

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