Sunday, June 30, 2013

And the Dead Got Up and Walked Around…

Every culture and religion around the world seems to have stories where the dead get up and walk around. These tales can be categorized in different ways. If purely by the creature they’ve become, we have resurrections and resuscitation, the undead, and ghosts. By type of story, we can find tales that are cautionary, those that speak of hope for life after death, and those that are clearly true.

Last month it was reported that a Zimbabwe man woke-up at his own funeral. Lack of access to medical equipment cause his shallow vital signs to go unnoticed. But there are also several instances where someone clinically dead and was resuscitated (you may very well know someone who’s been resuscitated).

That same month a man in California told cops he was speeding and swerving (in a stolen vehicle) to escape zombies. Which is clearly a different take on someone returning from the dead.

Back in February hackers bombarded television broadcasts with warnings of zombies. And in June Archeologists announced that they’d found corpses with anti-vampirism measures preformed on them (such as wedges of brick in their mouths), in Bulgaria.

It happens several times in the Holy Bible (bible just means book, so I’m using Holy Bible here to refer to the specific sacred book which you probably know as the Bible). Sometimes it’s believed to be a vision or figurative event, as when Ezekiel sees the valley of dried bones regain their flesh through God’s power. But in other instances it’s clearly meant quite literally, as in the resurrection of Lazarus, the resurrection of Jesus, and the Saints who walked the Earth when Jesus passed.

Greek Philosopher Athenodorus is said to have rented a house for cheaper than it would normally be, only to find it was haunted by a noisy ghost. The ghost, bound in chains lead him to the courtyard, where the next day he dug up a skeleton wrapped in chains.

Mexican legend tells of La Llorona, a desperate woman who drown her children in the river (or lake), then herself. Unable to find her own children, she now wanders the riversides (and lakesides) at night drowning or spiriting away children that go out after curfew.

Many Haitians are so afraid of their loved ones coming back as zombies, under the control of a bokor (a type of witchdoctor), that they often stake their dead to insure they are dead. This practice stems from a disturbing reality. The bokor may slip a poison to victims which will mimic death by suppressing vital signs, then dig them up after the funeral. They usually awake with brain damage due to lack of oxygen and are easily accepting of any manual labor their bokor instructs them to do.

Chinese tales speak of hopping corpses (jiangshi), who bound in burial garments are unable to walk properly, but hop from place to place. They sound almost comical, but they’re the Chinese equivalent of vampires, because if they touch you you’ll die and become a hopping corpse too!

There’s countless more tales, all of which seem to point at a hope for, or a fear of, life after death. So, it seems to be up to us to choose; hope for an afterlife later, or fear the dead right now.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

5 Things That Aren’t Paranormal Anymore

Paranormal - it means something is impossible to explain with science. So, if science manages to explain such phenomenon (be it a hoax or a misconception), it ceases to be paranormal, because apparently it can be explained with science.

Here are a few phenomenon that have now been explained by science:

* Georgia Ghost Car:
Footage from a police car chase shows a car turning and accelerating at what seems to be impossibly fast speeds, and at one point the car is seen on the other side of a fence with no apparent means of having gotten there except intangibility.

The TV show ‘Fact or Faked’ tested this one and was able to recreate the footage. They were able to proved that there was enough time for the car to drive under a loose fence while the police vehicle was turning.

* Mercy Brown Vampire Incident:
The year is 1892, and the Brown family has just lost a second daughter to illness, Mercy. Both her elder sister Mary Olive, and their mother (Mary) had died of a similar illness in 1988. Her brother Edwin is also very sick, having contracted the disease shortly before Mercy.

Rumors spread through the village that one of the dead is responsible, therefore there are three suspects; mother (Mary), Mary Olive, and Mercy. Their bodies are exhumed, and Mercy’s body is suspiciously unchanged, with blood still in the heart. Their perpetrator found, the villagers burned her heart and have Edwin drink the ashes mixed with water. Two months later, he dies.

Because the Mercy Brown case was so well recorded at the time, modern investigators have been able to conclude the reason for her lack of decomposition. Having died in January, the hard ground forced the family to bury her in the crypt, which kept her body cold into spring when she was exhumed. The mysterious disease is now understood to be tuberculosis.

* Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance:
Earhart and her co-pilot (Fred Noonan, incase you were wondering) were not abducted by aliens or transported into an alternate dimension. Instead, we now know they crashed on a small island, lived as castaways, and terrorized the local turtle population. Human remains, artifacts, and anomalies on old aerial photo have provided the necessary evidence.

* African Fairy Rings:
Large rings of barren ground in Africa had scientist stumped. Grassless and almost perfectly circular, it seemed something odd was afoot. Scientist now know, after surveying the content of the soil in the rings, that they were caused by sand termites. Through their tunneling behavior and eating grass roots, they killed off the vegetation above them.

* The Face on Mars:
In 1976 Viking 1 snapped an overhead shot of what many interpreted to be an alien monument, The Face on Mars. I recall fist seeing the face (years after it was taken), on the front of a tabloid at the grocery store.

Not long after, in 1998, a second photo taken by Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) was revealed. It was blurry, but clearly not a face. In 2001 the MGS was able to snap an even clearer picture, and it was clearer than ever that this was no face.

Of course there still are some conspiracy theorists that believe the second set of photos to be altered...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bloody Mary - Childhood Summoning Rituals

Warning: If you engage in any of the activities described below, you do so at your own risk. Even if you don’t believe there is a paranormal risk, there actually are non-paranormal risks to summoning rituals, as I’ll explain.

The schoolyard scary stories that stand out the most from my childhood, are those that concern Bloody Mary. Hyped on TV shows like ‘Ghost Whisperer’ as a College urban legend and initiation right, before Junior High I’d heard dozens of variations on the Bloody Mary ritual, and had been present at almost as many attempted summonings.

Generally Bloody Mary is summoned by going into the bathroom, closing the door, turning of the lights, and chanting her name (at least 3 times). Some variations require you to turn or close your eyes as you chant her name.

While I’m fine and nothing ever happened to me, beyond seeing the normal optical illusions cause by staring at reflections in the dark, and having other girls shriek in my ears, I still don’t recommend this:
* Staring at your reflection in the dark can actually be bad for your mental health, as prolonged exposure to the distorted image of yourself may cause identity disorders.
* Running in fear often causes injuries, and exposure to loud noises can cause hearing loss.

Historically ‘Bloody Mary’ is the nickname give to Queen Mary I, who is best known for persecuting Protestants and experiencing multiple false pregnancies. However she is rarely the featured Mary in the Urban Legends. Sometimes Mary is stated to be a prom queen, sometimes she is a farm girl, and at others she overstressed college student.

Bloody Mary’s demise is attributed to several things, shooting, hanging, car crash, suicide… but never influenza. Yep, thanks wikipedia [1]. Often she was said to be pregnant, or a new mother. One dramatic story involves a pregnant prom queen being shot at the event and falling back onto a mirror shattering it, forever cursing her to haunt the realm of mirrors. Interestingly, mirrors have a long been thought to be capable of trapping the souls of dead, so much so that in some regions people used to cover all the reflective surfaces in their house when someone died to keep their spirit from being trapped.

Some tales explained that Mary’s baby that survived her, and you can supposedly coax her out by saying, “Bloody Mary, I’ve got your baby.” In some stories Mary had a cat, and also, sometimes a horse. You could ask her to show you one or both of them, “Bloody Mary, I want to see your cat”, “And I want to see your horse”, but it was said the cat would scratch you, and horse might trample you.

Mary was also sometimes said to be in league with Candyman (who apparently can be summoned in a similar fashion).

Hearing all these tales, it became pretty obvious that they couldn’t all be true. And the summonings were never very effective, so perhaps Bloody Mary didn’t really even exist at all. But then, how long until she could exist? There’s some that believe spirits can be created through prolonged concentration and belief. If this is true, the next time someone tries to summon Bloody Mary may be their last.

Due to the internet the number of summoning game options for young (and old) experimenters has surged, crossing cultural and geographical boundaries.

Some similar Summoning Rituals include:
* Fortune Game/Crossroads Divination - Asking strangers to tell you your fortune in the middle of the night in hopes they are ghosts or the devil.
* Hide and Seek/One Man Hide and Seek - A ‘game’ of hide and seek with a possessed doll.
* Love Me Game - Summoning an evil spirit to curse someone if it turns out they don’t love you.
* The Midnight Game - The summoning of a dark sprit, just to play hide and seek.
* Pencil Game - The summoning of a ghost to answer questions.
* Three Kings - Summoning beings from other dimensions. This ritual also involves mirrors.
* White Kimono - The summoning of a ghost woman to your dreams.

Full rituals for these can be found on the Scary For Kids website. Alternate translations of some can also be found on the Saya In Underworld Blog. Saya asks that you do not repost her posts, please respect this.

[1] ~ Also, according to wikipedia the ritual originally made no mention of Bloody Mary, but rather was a way for young ladies to find out the face of their future husband, or if they would die unmarried.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Case File: Demon Photo (Sept 1987)

This story was originally posted on the Portland Paradex website (which no longer exists) and the adjacent forums (which still exist but are not really in use), by myself (BatMaster) and a woman known there as darkmoon.

Time: Night?

Date: September 1987

Place: Columbia Boro, Lancaster County, Pa

Witnesses: Darkmoon

What happened:
While living in an old Farm house Darkmoon experiences several instances of paranormal activity. This is her original statement:
“I lived in a very evil haunted farmhouse, located at the edge of Columbia Boro in Lancaster County Pa. My bed would shake all over my bedroom at night. I would hear footsteps going up and down the steps when no one was home but me. Our cupboard doors would open and slam shut. I had a tree catch on fire, just burst into flames for no reason. After the fire was put out there was the face of the devil burned into it. Nothing would cover it up, it just bled through every time. We eventually dug it up and removed it. And once I had something sit on top of me when I just laid down to sleep. I was fully awake, I just had my eyes closed. No one was home at the time but me. When I opened my eyes and yelled it was gone. But I have a picture here taken inside the house of my sleeping son. The fiery thing is a demon I am sure of it. You can see the face and little horns, arms and tail. It was taken by me in September 1987, it was a normal September evening, the house faced south and the cradle was by an east facing window. no lights were on at the time and it has not been tampered with. I have had it in my possession for 19 years now, and it has never been posted or shown to anyone outside of family.”

Notes & Evidence:
The image is below, I uploaded it to my photobucket account as Darkmoon had trouble uploading it after scanning it in, and instead e-mailed it to me. After that, I removed it from my computer, because I didn’t really want it hanging around in there.

Note not only the orange demon/entity, but also the merciless expression we thought we saw on the care bear. It took me until recently to realize we were misinterpreting this, as it’s not actually a bear, but rather, Lotsa Heart Elephant. Knowing that the shading on him is not quite so creepy.

I do not believe the image to be altered, but have not personally studied it. Darkmoon received a email from stating they could find no evidence of alteration:
"Hi, Melanie. Great story and interesting picture. The picture of the fiery thing on the porch was sent to us by a kid who has sent us several fake pics - and we busted him (he admitted it). Your pic, we believe, has a great ghostly anomaly. We will post it later this month with your comments and a link to your website."

PortlandPardex Forums (aka VampireLemons):

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Case File: Tainted Dream Catcher

This is my true experience with a cheap dream catcher of uncertain origin…

Time: Multiple Days

Date: Uncertain, probably 2011 or 2012

Place: VPM’s Home

Witnesses: VPM

What happened:
My mother gave me a dream catcher, just a cheap little thing she got in the mail from some charity looking for a donation. I don’t know if she did. Actually the free gifts are generally annoying, it’s like admitting that you won’t spend the money wisely. Worse is when they send money.

So, it was cheap, but the only dream catcher anyone had bothered to give me, so I hung it up. I can’t say I actually believed in it, it didn’t even look like a traditional dream catcher, with the chimes and all, but I thought it looked nice enough from a distance. Though up close it just kind of looks pathetic.

For the next few nights I had nightmares, and the only change I’d made in my room was the dream catcher, so I took it down. This was spatial/chi troubleshooting, as much as it was suspecting there might be something wrong with the object itself. After two nightmare free nights, I hung it back up in the interest of Science, or some such thing. That was apparently my second mistake because again, I had a nightmare. So now, it no longer hangs on my wall.

It’d be interesting to know if anyone else got nightmares from it, but I don’t really want to subject anyone else to that. However, from what I can tell, I’m not the only one that’s had this problem with a dream catcher:

I also found reference to actually putting curses on dream catchers:

So apparently, there’s a lot of speculation as to what can go wrong with a dream catcher including; who made it and how well, where and how you hang it, if you believe in it, and that it could be purposely cursed (perhaps it’s purposely cursed, and will only catch dreams properly if the charity gets a donation). There’s also some suggestion that they’re demonic. I actually find this kind of sad, based on one ‘Christian’ site where they quote the description they found on a dream catcher’s retail tag as evidence, and the description was mostly about them representing the unity of the native people. Several times I saw a common Christian suggestion for dealing with a cursed or possessed thing, which is to burn it. I’ve heard stories in the past of Ouija boards that wouldn’t burn, and of ones that literally screamed when they were burned. Actually, resorting to burning things kind of seems like the possessing force won, because basically saying it has so much power that you’re unable to cleanse/exorcise it. It could also be dangerous, as that would free the spirit to posses something else, wouldn’t it?

Notes & Evidence:
Here’s a picture of the cheap little trinket in question (I think it was always missing the bead at the bottom left):

It’s currently house in the box I call, “my box of things man was not meant to possess.” I may share some other entries into that box in the future, but I think this is enough for now.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Seven Strange, but REAL Plants and Animals

The world is full of strange things, and many of them are perfectly true. Here are some strange organisms you may not have heard of:

Saola - Aka Gilled Antelope
For years, the natives told stories of polite and quiet antelope that breathed using gills, scientists dismissed the stories until they actually found them. The gills are actually scent glands, but they’re still a bizarre creatures:

The Sheep Eating Plant
It sounds like a horror film for sheep, but it’s real, a spiked plant that captures sheep and uses them for fertilizer once they’ve starved to death:

Sea Angel
Some people find these transparent critters cute, but others see them as disturbing. Decide for yourself:

Hydnora africana
This bizarre plant grows entirely underground, except for the flower which looks something like a cross between a melon and an alien mouth:

Neon Pink Terrestrial Slugs
These Australian mountain slugs are pinker than pink:

Dragon Blood Tree
It sounds like myth, or a plot point straight out of Harry Potter, but these trees, in fact, do exist:

An then there’s this Thing...
A fossilized cigar shaped relative of starfish and sea urchins. Words are insufficient:

Egyptian Statue Seems to Move on it’s Own

Yesterday, an interesting story hit the internet. An ancient Egyptian statue that only recently seems to have started moving on it’s own:
Some are attributing it to ‘differential friction’ despite the fact that it apparently didn’t used to happen. Others accuse museum workers of hoaxing it. And still other are convince there’s sprit activity involved.

The Paranormal Enthusiast in me says:
* It could be a spirit, such as a ghost or demon
* It could be some magical magnetic power
* Someone may have accidentally initiated a curse

But, the Scientist in me says:
* It could be a hoax, there could be a turntable hidden underneath
* It could be vibrations or seismic activity
* The building or display case may have settled, allowing for differential fiction at it’s new angle

And the Animator in me says:
* It’s be really easy to use a time-lapse video to make a stop-motion animation

Monday, June 24, 2013

What is the Cultural and Geological Effect on UFOs?

When I think of UFOS, silver disks, bright white or multicolored lights, and black triangles are usually the first things to come to mind. I haven’t seen any personally, but when you live in the USA, these are the sorts of UFO stories you hear.

( * I’d like to retract my previous statement, as it occurred to me in the last few days that I did in fact once see something in the sky I could not identify, it just did not make a huge impression on my mind, and I do not believe it to have been a space ship. I was walking to work and I saw two orange and silver masses which I at first thought to be helicopters, but they moved more like bunches of balloons as they rose, twisted, and circled around one another. It seemed like a strange color for balloon bunches and too early for any celebration, but the activity hardly seemed like a manned [or aliened] flight.)

The UK MoD has recently released the last of it’s UFO related files. (You can download the declassified files free at: if you’re interested.) The MoD has decided that cataloging and replying to such inquiries and reports is a waste of it’s resources, so future UFO inquiries and reports are going to be round filed after 30 days.
So, I downloaded a couple of interesting sounding files (there’s a points of interest guide). While orange orbs/fireballs were among the featured items, these files contain several more reports of them. One in particular caught my attention:

I’m not really sure what was so special about it, because the reports I downloaded were full of orange orb/fireball sightings, but I decided to check Mufon for reports on the same day (2009, Sep. 19) in the same area, as the MoD reply hadn’t mentioned if there were any other UFO reports or not. (You can check Mufon out at: if you’re interested.) There were Mufon reports for that date, but they didn’t match.

However if you expand the search to include more dates, there are several orange orb/fireball UFOs reports in both the Archives and Mufon, for the UK/GB.

So that got me wondering, is the excess of orange orb/fireball UFOs cultural or geographical? If you look up the USA on the Mufon Map, you’ll probably find a large cluster of UFO sighting in Miami, I always do. I think this deserves further investigation.

What do you think?


Why Problematica? What is Problematica? Problematica is a scientific classification (one of several) for organisms (often fossilized) which are not easily placed into current scientific classification.

Really then, who has the problem, the organism or the scientist? If you’re familiar with the book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, then you’ll know that Conseil could classify almost anything, but basically had no other skills.

Anyways, it seems like fitting title for a Blog on all things unusual and hard to explain. So, I hope you’ll stick around to read my case files, and see what other interesting things I dig up (pun intended).