Monday, August 29, 2011

Continue to get hits to this blog on 'Phil Imbrogno' searches

Apparently my deleted posts are still appearing in search engines. If indeed Imbrogno fabricated his academic background--and all evidence points to this--he has done some damage to the paranormal "field." As it is confined to the field, the damage is limited, but I do regret the harm caused to his publisher, Llewellyn. I consider Llewellyn to be good guys in an area that has some dodgy operators. Llewellyn approaches the subject with the right mix of fun, curiosity, non-didacticism and open-mindedness. They were at one time publishers of 'Fate' magazine, which I've read for forty years and which influenced my present attitude toward the subject: curiosity, open-minded skepticism, and a willingness to consider anomalous personal experiences as credible, without enshrining them as mystical truths or otherwise trying to shoehorn them into a New Age belief.

In other words, anomalous experiences are simply that--anomalous. I find them fascinating, informative concerning realities presently invisible, and suggestive of other species of consciousness, but I've learned to be cautious of imposing any meaning on them (though it's fun to try). My personal opinion is that paranormal, mystical, or anomalous events fall into two broad categories: projections of our own consciousness; and genuine intrusions into our reality from "elsewhere." If they originate from "elsewhere," it is impossible to know what they "mean." We can try to impose a human meaning upon them, and some of the meanings might fit, for a while. But ultimately, any imposed meaning will fail, and we will be left with what we started with--an enigma.

I think that it's for this reason that two of the more enduring paranormalists are Charles Fort and John Keel. Both writers presented the phenomenon "as-is" without subjecting their readers lengthy sermons about the phenomena's true meaning. Ironically, Imbrogno's work fits nicely into the Fortean school of paranormal observation. He simply presented his observations; and if he had just kept his mouth shut about his academic background, no one would be questioning his work today. Neither Fort nor Keel had advanced degrees, and they didn't need them--it doesn't take a rocket scientist to observe that something strange is out there; and there is no PhD that can prepare the observer of something truly anomalous to understand what it means.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Notes on a some recent paranormal shows

Since I've gotten selective in what I listen to--weeding out the vast majority of what's out there--I don't have to waste too much virtual ink pointing out to the world what's already obvious to everyone except the true believers: much paranormal speculation is disingenuous at best, ill-informed at most, and patently deceptive at worst... and really not very interesting to me anymore.

For instance, I skipped a Bright Side talk with Suzanne Ward that I had downloaded. I liked her initial show on The Bright Side, got her book, "Messages From Matthew"-- then checked out her website. She now describes herself as a "channel" for Matthew, who she learned to communicate with telepathically by meditating on him for months.  Not surprisingly, she eventually got an answer. The messages posted on the Lightworkers site--from "Michael" and other ascended masters--bear no correspondence to any reality that I know of, and they seem to encapsulate every New Age conspiracy and delusion of the past century.

Instead, I listened to the Brightside interview with Bill Birnes. Birnes is probably the most entertaining UFOlogist around--by default, since UFOlogy, as a whole, has some serious intellectual deficiencies. Birnes is a perpetual dynamo of ideas: speculations about the historical underpinnings of the Garden Of Eden myth, the intrigue surrounding the cancellation of "UFO Hunters," the Serpo hoax, bases on the moon's dark side... endless.  However, while Birnes is a good disseminator of ideas, many are probably not true, and I always have the niggling suspicion the he doesn't believe them, either. He is a master story-teller. He likes to weave compelling narratives around his interests, and I think that he selects stories that tell well, even if, ultimately, they are soundly debunked--as in the Philip Corso story.  Another example is the Jackie Gleason "alien bodies" story. While this event might have actually happened, Birnes asserted that it was revealed by Gleason himself in his autobiography. I'm no Gleason expert, so I did some digging.  As far as I can tell, Gleason did not write an autobiography, and the source for this story is Gleason's widow; it was never published (to my knowledge) by either Gleason or his widow.

I also listened to the medium Marla Frees' Dreamland interview. While I believe mediumship exists, I am skeptical of public mediums; I haven't found a single one who is credible. Still, like Houdini, I keep searching for one. Frees has avoided the traps set for other mediums by following some simple rules--she doesn't use her messages to grandstand, preach, or predict the future.

Frees' interview focussed not on mediumship, however, but on her visit to the Monroe Institute and her participation on their Gateway program. What she brought back from that experience was quite nuanced and highly intriguing. While her claims about seeing John Mack at Level 27 are unverifiable--as well as his assertion that "UFO" stands for "Unknown Family Of Origin"--her encounter with the light entity that morphed into various archetypal figures is intriguing, as well as what this entity purportedly said: "We want you to understand your belief systems, and not to be stuck in them." The message that I take away from this is identical to an argument that runs throughout the Seth material--just as our physical reality reflects our beliefs, so does the reality that we encounter in the the astral realm. The non-physical realm is manufactured according to beliefs just as is the physical one, but when we are out of the body, those conscious projections, and the illusions that they create, are more powerful. As physical consciousness, we are taught to believe that the physical reality that seems apart from us is both "real" and objective."  When we are physically alive, this belief is both necessary and useful; but it's a barrier to progression outside of the physical. So I am hopeful that Frees continue her Gateway research and talks more about her experiences in the future.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Some enigmatic readings today from Mr. Ghost Radar...

(Punctuation mine)

Crop circles?  "Crop didn't entirely shape there; vast middle part."

And this seems to refer to a friend who is very sick and is visiting the doctor a lot: "Sick; needs one trip herself fewer," with the last word of "fireplace" (which was in front of me in my living room).

The words are generated by the Ghost Radar at random; by what process, I have no idea.

However, I plan to leave it on when I go to bed, to see if anything interesting manifests.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Ghost Radar app

I just downloaded the Ghost Radar app for that iPhone; it's on multiple platforms. While it claims to measure "anomalous changes in the Quantum Flux," I think that it may just look for patterns from a random number generator... which is still intriguing, since there is some evidence that consciousness can affect random number generators. So while the app probably won't pick up any ghosts, it may show effects from the user's consciousness, which, if it does (and the reviews on the app's page as well as YouTube seem to suggest this), it would be a pretty nifty app. Which leads me to a more general speculation (and prediction) that as our electronic detectors become more sensitive and ubiquitous, we will finally be able to do what classic science insists that we do: measure, and show repeatability. In any case, it's a fun app.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Update on update on something strange happening

Last night, at about 3 a.m., my indoor-staying shepherd jumped onto the bed, plopped down on me, and jarred me from complete sleep, reminding me that, yet again, I was being "protected." There's something about having an 80-pound dog jump on you when you're asleep that concentrates the mind. As I've written earlier, this has happened quite a few times in recent weeks. So, I have a silly shepherd that is "protecting" me--from what, I don't know. I don't remember much of anything from these experiences, and I've usually been afraid to look for anything.

But this morning, as I was carrying the dog outside, it dawned on me that the shepherd might be seeing or sensing something that I can't (or won't), because his behavior is otherwise inexplicable. I didn't sense any presences; there were no sounds or anything else odd in the house, as far as I was concerned; but the dog saw it. Who, or what, is visiting me at 3 a.m.? Whatever it is, it's probably not harmful, since it's been happening for years, and I haven't had any ill effects from it. But it is definitely spooking the dog.

I've actually experienced far more evil in the physical world than in the metaphysical, but then, I have a firm practice of not dabbling with the unseen. To the extent that "living right" can guarantee a certain amount of protection, I've tried to do the best I can. So, I've tried to avoid the obvious sorts of things that would bring on an unseen, malevolent visitation, including (and not limited to) not robbing banks, not dealing in meth, not murdering people serially, and not cheating on my taxes. To the extent that there is some sort of controlling universal Nanny who bothers to worry about what we do or don't do, I've tried to cover all the bases.

I've thought a lot about Rachel Baker's experience (on Paratopia) where she "called" or "invited" these strange, unseen forces to manifest in front of her... and then spent the entire subsequent night, afraid that they might do just that. I know exactly what she's talking about. I went through a phase of experimentation in the '80s, when I was young, naive, foolish, and had not yet completed my Fleetwood Mac vinyl collection. The unknown was still unknown then. But I never really pursued it. But it might still be coming around. And I would be none the wiser, were it not for a silly dog that thinks that pounding me halfway through the mattress in the middle of a dead sleep is somehow going to make me safe from the unknown.

Whatever it is, it seems benign. And maybe I'll get a glimpse of it soon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ponderings on Biblical innerancy...

I've been trying to memorize the last remaining piece of the Masonic ritual, the Third Degree slide lecture, which details the construction of the Temple of Solomon in the first millennium BCE, so I decided to do a little research to see if it would help my memory work. Was there a King Solomon? What is the historical evidence for the existence of the temple?

I found something surprising (to me, anyway):  The sole records of this era, devoutly believed by Christians (and regarded with a more nuanced appreciation in Judaism), are limited to the Hebrew Bible. There is scant evidence, outside of a few archaeological digs, that the great personalities in the Bible ever existed, let alone acted in the manner recorded.

Consequently, Biblical scholarship is divided between two schools: those that assume, from what little evidence there is, that Jerusalem was nothing more of mud puddle in 1000 BCE; and those who implicitly accept the Biblical record as valid history.

Highly educated scholars on both sides of the issue write very convincingly of their points of view; both seem equally valid perspectives, and both coexist in the public imagination by virtue of the simple fact that there are really no other written records of this era, and only scant archaeological data.

Some of the arguments are amusing. Some scholars argue that the Hebrews couldn't have wandered for forty years in Sinai, since no artifacts of such a mass exodus have been found in the desert. Others respond that Bedouins have wandered the desert for centuries and have left nary a trace.

These are not trivial issues; the last time I checked, there was a group of people calling themselves contemporary Israelites who are laying claim to large tracts of land in Palestine  because of these writings.

What is strange, however, is that I, who attended a Christian Bible college, who once practiced as a Christian minister, never bothered to check into this subject until today. (In my defense, there was no Wikipedia in 1979.)

As a fundamentalist Christian, I believed; to the fundamentalist, there exists only belief and unbelief. There is no room to question, or to even think of questioning. Quite literally, the question of "Did King Solomon really exist?" never entered my mind; and when I dropped away from my church, I had no need to think about it, until now--while attempting to memorize a story that is a foundation of both Christianity and Freemasonry.

Strange as that may be, what is even stranger is the fact that there are many millions who will gladly die, and kill, in support of the Biblical writings and never ask the simple question that I asked today.

So what answers would I give now, with decades of metaphysical (and lately, Masonic) study under my belt?

I would say, that, yes, these people did exist, and there was a Temple of Solomon--somewhere.

Somewhere. A myth this powerful has a foundation in a reality somewhere. To paraphrase Seth, if we could go back to 1000 BCE in a time machine, we might--or might not--find a Temple, or a Solomon, materially objectified for our satisfaction. But this would not prove a whole lot, since there are multiple pasts, futures, and presents, some materially objectified, and others that exist not quite in the physical.  Not an easy concept to grasp, admittedly--but one that might explain how two diametrically opposed belief systems, and believers, both contradictory, both mutually exclusive, can summon up substantial evidence proving that each group is "right."

Saturday, August 6, 2011


I noticed that John Hogue indicates on his website that "readers of 'Predictions for 2011,' published in December of last year, are already aware that my oracle predicted  a second great Recession could come in the first half of 2011." I did not purchase this book, so I can't vouch Hogue's claim--but I do know that he indicated on Dreamland last winter that a "cold depression" would be avoided. Often, prominent media predictors go back over earlier published predictions, and whitewash them after the fact. This may be what's happening here; can't say for sure.

As to what *I* think about the current economic turmoil, I think it's an opportunity. Sometimes it's best to catch a headcold now to avoid pneumonia later.

Economists and psychologists know that the intangible thing that we call money is essentially a self-created illusion. Market behavior is founded on a vested belief in the reality of "money." There is no greater illustration of the principle of reality-creation through shared beliefs, than the certitude that "money" is a tangible, objective reality. It is the most powerful and fundamental illusion that supports our consensus reality.  So when belief in "money" begins to waver, market turmoil results. The assumptions that underlie the belief of "money" among competing groups of people fall out of synch; the process of renegotiating these shared assumptions causes turmoil.  If you view our financial system from this perspective, much of the media blathering about the economic crisis comes off as very silly. We're solemnly lectured that "money" controls us, and we must obey it. In truth, however, we have a choice in what we believe and whom we obey.

Our present money-driven system has created massive distortions in our world that most Westerners ignore; while we complain about a few percentage drops in monetary value, over half the world lives hand-to-mouth, and even a slight rise in the price of commodities instantly causes the death of thousands. This imbalance between the super-rich and the destitute, and the competition between the two, is the engine that drives all of our wars, most of our diseases, and has condemned the West to a perpetual spiritual darkness. Until we acknowledge this, and fairly re-negotiate the assumptions that underlie this thing we call "money," we can look forward to increasing "market" disruptions in the years to come. And we don't need a prophet to foresee that.