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Jun. 13th, 2011

Karkat, Homestuck

Moving soon

 In order to meet the growing demands of my massive readership, I'll be moving the blog to Blogger. Check back soon for a link.

Jun. 10th, 2011

Karkat, Homestuck

Back for real

 Normal services will resume shortly? That sure didn't turn out to be true, did it?

Basically a combination of college work and that whole McKenna thing killed my enthusiasm for this hobby of mine. But never fear! I have returned. What brought about this sudden change of mind? 

Basically there was a UFO flap in my local area, and I just couldn't help myself. I'm like an investigative shark who needs to keep investigating or else his brain will shut down from lack of investigation. I call it Asphyxigation. 

I have a pretty interesting case coming up, but it's the sort of thing people who aren't insane steeped in paranormal lore like me not fully appreciate so I better lay some groundwork first. Check back soon for more.

Feb. 12th, 2011

Karkat, Homestuck

Normal services will resume shortly

 Busy with college work. Back soon.

Feb. 4th, 2011

Karkat, Homestuck

Update on the McKenna case

 I'm getting this from second-hand sources so take it with a grain of salt, but apparently the McKenna's daughter has been hospitalized for suspected mental illness. People are also saying the parents are under investigation by the Guards as well, but that's probably just gossip.

I knew there was more going on there, and I'm glad something is being done about it. I've been feeling anxious about this since yesterday. If it turns out the police really are involved I'm going to come forward and tell them what I witnessed in that house. Not that I'm looking forward to explaining what I was doing there in the first place. You have not seen a blank stare until you've tried to explain to a room full of people that your hobby involves chasing after ghosts.

I'll keep you posted on anything else that comes up.

Feb. 3rd, 2011

Karkat, Homestuck

Social Networking to the max

 I has a Twitter account. Although as you can see I had to go with the fancy European spelling of my name because "Paraskeptic" was taken.

Follow me on twitter so I can send for help next time I'm trapped in a crazy person's kitchen. 
Karkat, Homestuck

Well that was interesting.......

 So, I got back from my investigation a few minutes ago. It didn't turn out like I expected it to.

Initially I was planning on just putting the entire incident out of my mind, but I figure it might be informative to talk about what it's like when an investigation goes bad, as well as to illustrate that there are some dangers involved in investigating the paranormal that have nothing to do with being stalked by ghosts or abducted by aliens.

For the purposes of this post I'm going to refer to the couple who contacted me as Mr and Mrs McKenna. I arrived at the McKenna household- a bungalow within walking distance of where I live, nothing out of the ordinary- rang the doorbell, shook hands, the usual routine. When they invited me into the kitchen, things started to get a little weird.

As I've mentioned before, people who think their house is being haunted are often very frightened by what they've experienced (I didn't think there was any point in insisting on an outside location, since we live so close). I could tell that was the case here, but the pair of them were acting way too shifty on top of the usual nervous tension. I guessed there was something they weren't telling me, and it turned out to be so.

Once I started the interview they revealed it was their 5 year old daughter who had seen the ghost. I have a generally policy against involving children in investigations. As you're probably aware, they're prone to flights of fancy and imagining things, and it's hard to get anything coherent out of them for an investigation.

Begrudgingly, I did the rest of the interview like normal. Mr. McKenna did all the talking while his wife just sat there wringing her hands and looking nervously over my shoulder. Apparently their daughter had begun describing a tall, dark figure entering her room at night several weeks ago. At first this didn't seem to bother her, and the McKennas dismissed it as an imaginary friend or a recurring dream. But after a week or so she grew afraid of the night-time visitor (always referred to as simply "the man") and insisted on sleeping in her parent's bed. Then she started to see "the man" during the day, either outside, at the playground or the shops, or looking in through the window.

Just as I was trying to think of a discrete way of suggesting that they needed to call a child psychologist instead of me I heard a banging sound from the corridor behind me. The McKennas instantly turned pale and looked nervously at the door where the banging seemed to have come from. It was around this time I realized that I hadn't seen or heard anything of their daughter, and neither of the McKennas had mentioned where she was.

Starting to really get suspicious now, I asked if I could talk to her. Mr. McKenna said I couldn't. When I asked why not he started babbling in a barely-coherent way about a particularly terrifying sighting of "the man" that had occurred the previous day. In the middle of it his wife suddenly spoke up- the first time she had said anything since the interview started- and said (I'm paraphrasing from memory here): "She's not, it's like she's not our daughter anymore. He did something to her."

I suppose this is as good a time as any to bring up the subject of crazy people. Do I encounter them in my quest for information about the paranormal? Oh yes. Not very often, but once or twice is really enough. My policy on the subject had always been the same: remove myself from the situation immediately. I'm not getting involved in anyone's paranoid delusions.

I told the McKennas this didn't look like the sort of thing I'm experienced enough with and got up to leave, and here's the thing: they wouldn't let me. Mrs. McKenna actually tried to block the door. I was starting to think I'd have to grab a chair and fight my way out when they eventually came to their senses and let me leave. Just as I was going out the door I heard that banging sound from the daughter's room, much louder this time.

So, there you go. Part of me feels a little guilty for just leaving like that in case the girl really does need help, and it also crossed crossed my mind that this might be the result of some sort of abuse (the fact that the "ghost" is male and that the father did all of the talking hasn't escaped my notice), although I'm really hoping that's not the case.

 The whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth. Hopefully I can find something a little more light-hearted to write about next time.

Feb. 2nd, 2011

Karkat, Homestuck

Jerusalem UFO 2: UFO Boogaloo

 As promised, here is the Yahoo News report about the Jerusalem UFO:

UFO spotted hanging over Jerusalem
6 hours 34 mins ago

A UFO has been spotted hovering over one of the holiest sites in Islam, the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It is the place where the prophet Muhammad is said to have ascended to heaven, built on top of a site sacred to Judaism.

The event was captured on camera by an American tourist and posted on YouTube.

It could easily be dismissed as a hoax, but someone else filmed what appears to be same event from a different angle.

The glowing ball of light dropping until it hangs just over the Dome of the Rock, before suddenly shooting off as if disturbed.

By way of contrast, here's what the extremely credible folks over at "All News Web" have to say on the matter:

 Two witnesses who happened to be at the Armon Hanatziv panoramic lookout over Mount Zion and the Dome of the Rock/Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel at 1am managed to film what might be one of the most interesting UFO clips ever captured (see video below). The sighting took place only yesterday on the morning of the 28th of January.
The men notice the large ball shaped UFO suspended in the night sky and begin to film. At a little after one minute into the clip the UFO descends almost to ground level directly over the Dome of the Rock/Temple Mount. The craft hovers there for a short while and then flickers and shoots upwards at an incredible speed, to the shock of the witnesses.
One of the witnesses and filmatographers, Mr Eligael Gidlovitch of Tel Aviv, notes during the filming, in Hebrew, that he is certain that it must be forbidden for civilian craft to hover over Jerusalem in such a manner.
This video opens all kinds of questions; Do aliens take an interest in our religions? Did aliens have a hand in creating our belief systems? Was the rod of light that allegedly lit the fire on the altar in the courtyard of the ancient Jewish temple, in fact, merely the product of advanced technology; beamed down by a UFO? And finally, is this object the star that was seen over nearby Bethlehem at the time of the birth of Jesus?
Perhaps this UFO visit to the Dome of the Rock/Temple Mount is a prelude to open contact believed by many to be only a short time away.

This article is called "Smoking Gun UFO footage over Jerusalem: aliens are here" and includes a painting of a group of hikers stumbling across a crashed alien space-craft. That would be smoking-gun evidence that the aliens have arrived. This is just a ball of light.

(I'm embarking on my latest investigation tomorrow, so the report will likely be out either late tomorrow or the day after.)

Jan. 31st, 2011

Karkat, Homestuck

We've got a live one

 Breaking news, people! A fairly interesting UFO story is unfolding as I write this.

The adventure started with two witnesses who took this video of a "ball of light" in Jerusalem.

Given the usual quality of UFO photos and videos, this is quite possibly the best recording of a UFO sighting I've ever seen (not that it had to edge out particularly tough competition). Notably, the part at the end where it zips off into the sky matches purported UFO behaviour that's frequently described but rarely actually documented.

(This  is supposedly the cell phone footage taken by the guy in the foreground)

The first thing that came to mind when looking at the video is that someone else would have seen an object hovering that low to the ground. Pretty amazingly, it turns out they did.

So what's going on here? Is this the vanguard of a cosmic invasion?

Check this out. That doesn't prove that the UFO really was added with CGI, just that it would be fairly easy to do so. Given the two choices- cheap CG effects or a mysterious unexplained light- I'm tempted to go with the former, particularly since the "UFO" is identical in size an shape to a large round white object just to the left of where it descends. 

That second video is more interesting, but there are obvious problems with it. Firstly, you'll notice that a bright flash can be seen in the first video just as the object takes off, but it's not in the second one. Someone in the background also claims that the UFO is "almost too bright to look at", but it's not causing any lens flare like all of the other bright lights are. Most damningly, the video was apparently not posted by the person who actually made it, and they don't say how they acquired it.

Then there's also the fact that it looks super fake.

Honestly, analysing video and photos isn't something I have any particular skill in so it's hard to really come to a conclusion on this. My gut reaction: it's a viral marketing campaign. There are a slew of alien invasion movies coming out soon (some of which I am quite looking forward to) and releasing high-quality UFO footage would be a smart move to drum up hype.

I'll keep the blog updated on any developments. I'll be particularly interested to see what the mainstream news makes of this.

Tags: ,

Jan. 30th, 2011

Karkat, Homestuck

Back in Action

 Well people, my exams are over, my cold is gone and now I'm back.

With a vengeance.

(There was going to be a video here of that bit in the CSI Miami intro where the guy goes "YEEAAAAHH" but I couldn't get the embed code to work)

Why all the excitement? I've got a new investigation to sink my teeth into.

As it turns out, someone in the area has been having some ghost-related problems in their home, and they asked me to come and take a look. The local cases have stopped ever since the traction from that newspaper ad I mentioned back in the second post dried up, so I'm not entirely sure how he found me. The guy was a little vague on the details, but it sounds like our friends the Shadow People are back.

Needless to say, I'll be writing up a full report. Check back over the next few days to see how it went.

Jan. 25th, 2011

Karkat, Homestuck

Let's get hypnopompic

 Did you know that what you're experiencing right now isn't real?

No, it's not Solipsism Time. What I mean by that is that your eyes aren't, as they might appear, transparent windows allowing your brain to look out onto reality. Instead they're data gatherers, collecting photons of light that are constructed into an image in your head. The same goes for all your other senses- the reality you experience on a day to day basis is essentially a virtual construct made by your brain. 

For example, did you know there's a blind spot in your vision? That's right, there's a fairly large hole in the text you're reading right now where you're technically not seeing anything. The reason this doesn't bother you is because your brain fills in the gap.

So the virtual reality you're experiencing right now is usually a pretty accurate representation of non-virtual reality. Only here's the thing: sometimes it's not. If something goes wrong your brain can conjure up people, places, voices, smells and sensations that aren't really there. And I'm not talking about schizophrenia here. Perfectly sane and lucid people can experience hallucinations that are just as vivid and off the wall as anything conjured by the mind if a mental patient. 

So the next time a believer in the paranormal asks you which is more likely- that John Doe was levitated out of his bedroom window by aliens, or that he simply imagined the whole thing- always go for the latter option. And when UFO witnesses are described as being sane, rational people with no history of mental illness, remember how little that counts for.

One particular form of hallucination that lies at the root of many paranormal experiences is the hypnopompic variety. Another name for this is a "waking dream". 

If you've taken even a brief gander through the world of the paranormal you'll discover that many ghost sightings and UFO abductions begin with the witness waking up in the middle of the night and seeing something in their room that really shouldn't be there. The explanation for this is pretty simple- the human brain wakes up in stages, and there's a window (sometimes a fairly large window) in which dream-like imagery can be projected onto the real world.

I've experienced this myself and I can attest that the effect is extremely realistic. One night I woke up and discovered to my surprise that there was a large red security camera hanging from the ceiling which had obviously not been there when I went to sleep. Armed with my knowledge of hypnopompic hallucinations I simply closed my eyes and waited for the image to fade, but I've often wondered how someone with no knowledge of the phenomenon would have reacted. Interestingly, when my eyes were closed I could still see the outline of the security camera against the back of my eye-lids, similarly to how a bright light burns an image into your vision. 

I suppose this as good a time as any to bring up the issue of how I feel about believers in the paranormal. Are they stupid? Gullible, maybe? If we're talking about people who read ghost stories on the internet and swallow the whole thing without a hint of skeptical thought the answer would be a resounding "yes" on both counts. But it's a different story entirely when someone has experienced a terrifying night-time visitation of the sort described above. We're used to the idea that seeing is believing and I can't fault anyone who reaches for a paranormal explanation after seeing something they can't explain.

Unless they've been reading this blog, in which case they have no excuse. 

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