Monday, July 17, 2017

New Book Release- "Handbook for the Amateur UFO Investigator"

Brian D. Parsons, PhD, celebrates his sixth book release with his take on how to research and investigate UFOs. This book brings his "Handbook" collection of anomalous research guidebooks full circle with a closer look at this controversial and conspiracy laden topic.

His latest effort is a balanced look at the UFO phenomenon through the culture and history of sightings and related phenomenon. Brian looks at a number of historical UFO sightings and brings you the truth behind these events that have shaped our thoughts on the reality of alien crafts visiting Earth. From there he identifies other phenomenon typically related to UFOs and puts them into perspective. Following this is an explanation into how UFOs have been shaped by culture with books, radio, television, and movies.

The book then describes a number of logical solutions to UFOs before landing into methods of research and investigation. From here the reader will learn thorough methods of interviewing clients based on science as well as his own methods crafted from over 20 years of anomalous research. Onsite investigation methods as well as offsite research techniques are also discussed and the book is then topped off with a list of resources that will help point anyone of any background of investigation in the right direction of becoming a well rounded UFO investigator.

Brian is the author of Handbook for the Amateur Ghost Hunter or Paranormal Investigator: How to Become a Successful Paranormal Group in 2008, Betty's Ghost: A Guide to Paranormal Investigation also in 2008, Handbook for the Amateur Paranormal Investigator: Part II: The Art and Science of Paranormal Investigation in 2011, The "E4" Method: Breaking the Mold of Paranormal Investigation in 2013, and Handbook for the Amateur Cryptozoologist in 2014 with a second edition in 2015 which includes a foreword by Loren Coleman.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Kitwe "Man in the Sky" busted

We all knew this was fake, but the news story has been quickly sweeping its way across social media. A giant human-like "thing" was seen over the skies of the Makuba Mall in Kitwe, Zambia, in south central Africa recently. It purportedly panicked many and made some flee and others pray, according to the story.

Oddly, the major source for this story, which has been copied and pasted in many languages in many websites, blogs, and fake news sites all over the world, is the Daily Mail. Tracing back this story I was able to find the Facebook page called "Zambian Watch" that posted the story back on March 1, 2017 with the exact information stated in the Daily Mail article. I read through the comments and found very little of value except for the mention of the Dineo cyclone which lead me to a story where a purported mermaid washed ashore. The image of the mermaid was actually from the set of the 2011 film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and was created by makeup and special effects artist Joel Harlow. The series of images of this mermaid have been all over the Internet since. Next to the mermaid was the photograph of the "flying man" that was supposed to represent Dineo as some sort of monster.

The image used of the "flying man" used along with the mermaid was a bit clearer than that of what was seen in the image of the Kitwe "creature". Using this as a guide I simply Google image searched and found the exact image on Pinterest of a “Spirit Man” kite manufactured by Martin Lester out of the United Kingdom.

Another hoax busted.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Top Ten Paranormal News Stories of 2016

Why this list? Don’t we have enough countdowns? This list helps us remember the stories from the year and helps us remember some of the issues we encountered that might have fooled us or taught us something along the way. It helps us prepare for next year where we will more than likely see many similar stories. As we look back on these stories years from now we may see similar patterns or how some that were high on the list and so promising turned out to be nothing at all; it’s all about documentation and remembering the past as it happened.

How is this list designed? The Top Ten Paranormal News Stories are put together strictly by my opinion. They are collected from the stories I’ve talked about all year long and are ranked by a few pieces of criteria. First, have they made a positive impact on one area of the paranormal? Many stories I talk about are hoaxes and misinterpretations, but what stories have created an awareness of a paranormal subject or taught the general public something, or better yet has something been learned about our mysterious world? Granted, even hoaxes can teach us something if we know for sure they were a hoax. Some feel all hoaxes harm the paranormal, but I say some educate us on what to look out for as far as a story or types of data that is presented. It’s easy to believe everything, but hard to be skeptical when you want deep down to believe.

Second, how viral was the story? Many stories I talk about are popular on paranormal websites but have not been heard of outside of this arena or where the story took place. A story that is big at a regional level will have more weight than a local story and a global story will be higher than that. Also with this I look at how much it was talked about through social media as well as how long it lasted in the news as a developing story. Lastly, I look at the reality of the story. Meaning, does this story include a real person or it is possibly just a story made up for website hits? I usually do this early on to make sure these are truly newsworthy stories to begin with, but still some stories are a bit questionable in their makeup and are just stories hyped up for the paranormal community.

My first "Top Ten" was back in 2010 when the Paranormal News Insider began to go to a weekly segment in late September of 2010. Prior to that it was a monthly segment that started in September of 2008. It's fun to look back at the stories that seemed so important and how many of these top stories that had much hope turned out to be hoaxes or just no big deal.

#10 
CERN Sacrifice

Just what happened at the CERN particle accelerator facility? A strange video surfaced in late August of what appears to be a human sacrifice. The two minute video shows the Geneva facility near the Shiva statue that has been the source of controversy since its donation to the facility in 2004 by India. Shiva is a Hindu deity portrayed as a dancer who performs a dance that is said can destroy the universe. Many have focused on this aspect of Shiva and have thought that CERN is no doubt up to evil and will ultimately destroy Earth. Others have also expressed concern about what CERN is up to including physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking. However, the monument’s plaque is meant to show the symbolism between Shiva and what CERN is doing with science by stating, “Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”

But what about this video? In the video you see a bunch of people wearing long black robes walking into a courtyard between buildings near the Shiva monument. In a matter of seconds a woman has her robe taken off and seconds later she lays on her back as others kneel. A robed person then displays what appears to be a knife then seemingly stabs the woman as the cameraman who is filming through a window begins to run away swearing. A couple of obvious things here before we get too far. First, it seems a bit odd that this person would be filming out the window just as the people make their way to the courtyard. He also seems to be wearing a black cloak just like those in the video by looking at the reflection. Officials at CERN, known as European Organization for Nuclear Research,
immediately launched an internal investigation into the video which appeared on YouTube uploaded by a username of Ron Johnson who then told username RichieFromBoston to post it. Ron Johnson states the video was on a Facebook occult site and was not supposed to go main stream. All those who enter the CERN facility do so with a badge, so determining a few facts has or will lead them to uncover who was responsible. They determined this was a hoaxed video that was used to make fun of those who feel that CERN is decidedly evil and plans on blowing up the world if not the universe. It appears that some scientists have a sense of humor, but this attempt has only helped fan the flames of those who believe that CERN is helping the devil. Some people think that the person who filmed the video might have been a whistleblower to the group and the investigation by CERN, which has excluded the police, is nothing more than a cover-up.

Why it’s on the list: A sacrifice on film involving CERN? What’s not to love about this story? The Large Hadron Collider has been the center of many top stories over the years here on the Paranormal News Insider and is a closely followed subject by many in the paranormal as well as conspiracy theorists. I doubt anyone saw a human sacrifice being filmed at the facility coming and it certainly garnered a lot of attention.

Why it’s only number 10: While the story is still creating thoughts of cover-up it has essentially been recognized as a prank and was dealt with quietly by the folks at CERN. While it remains probably the most outlandish paranormal and viral story of the year it really did not stay in the media very long and seemed to disappear without a whimper.
Story link

#9
The Conjuring 2

The movie, “The Conjuring 2”, came out in theaters on June 10th and was the obvious sequel to the 2013 movie, “The Conjuring”. The first movie was the 19th highest grossing movie of 2013 and was based on a case from 1971 involving a farmhouse in Rhode Island. The sequel is based on a bit more famous case, that of the Enfield Haunting or also known as the Enfield Poltergeist. There seemed to be a lot of heat coming ahead of this movie and there were seemingly two camps. On one side we have the Warren followers who feel this movie is going to be fairly accurate in its interpretation of the case as well as ghost activity just like the first. Many feel this way partially due to their respect of Lorraine and the now deceased Ed Warren and also partially due to their mere belief in the paranormal. On the other side of the fence are those that are highly skeptical of the purported facts behind the actual case of the Enfield Poltergeist itself and even go so far as to say the Warrens were frauds and were not even a part of the Enfield case and should not be highlighted in a film dealing with this case.

The entire Enfield Poltergeist case is look upon as a hoax by many, but a lot of true believers stick to the belief that this is the best proof of poltergeist or possession – depending on which side of the paranormal coin you prefer- in history. Personally, I’m willing to believe that there was a little truth to some of the initial activity, but overall the case was mostly a hoax. I believe that Margaret or Janet may have been the agent for the poltergeist activity which is brought on by unreleased stress. But, as far as a possession it really did not hold much in the way of evidence for this claim. As for the movie, there was a lot of dramatization within it and many things it the movie did not actually happen during the case.

One June 21st I reported that People were losing their minds over the new movie, “The Conjuring 2”. Many people are freaking out about how scary the movie is as well as a purported curse associated with it. Strange events from a woman claiming to be possessed in a theater to a man who purportedly found a cross drawn on his bathroom mirror at a hotel he was staying at after watching the movie. It was also reported that a 65 year old man in India complained of chest pains during the movie and was rushed to the hospital. The man later died, but that’s not the weird part. When his body was sent to another hospital for a post mortem examination the driver and the body never made it to the hospital and disappeared without a trace. Obviously these stories are not directly related to the movie, but it certainly continues to add to the mystery and hysteria surrounding this movie.

In early July it was reported that “The Conjuring 2” had been removed from almost 300 theaters in France. Apparently, not only is the movie too scary but it also promotes violent reactions from viewers. The successful sequel has been pulled from 262 French theaters following loud laughter and hysterical yelling. Purportedly, the frequent screaming has also lead to physical altercations in at least one theater. The movie was reportedly removed on June 29th, the opening day for the movie in France, due to disruptive conduct. Is this movie just too scary to be seen in France?  Well, Paranormal Activity 4, Annabelle, and Sinister have also been partially banned in French theaters.

Why it’s on the list: “The Conjuring 2” was one of the most discussed paranormal based movies in many years and had many people lining two different sides of the fence. The fact that this movie continued to play in the paranormal news with certain strange circumstances behind it helped push it into the top 10.
Why it’s only number 9: While the movie generated a lot of ongoing discussion through the summer, the hype was seemingly there just to help the movie. While the movie was fairly successful it is just the 24th top grossing movie of 2016 and has grossed less than a third of the original film. As for the rest of the stories related to the movie none really seemed to be based in anything other than to just how scary people interpreted the film to be.

#8
Pedals

The upright walking bear was seen once again in June of 2016 in Oak Park, New Jersey. The bear now famously known as Pedals was last seen in December of 2015, and locals wondered if he would ever be seen again. The bear sustained injuries to both of its front paws, and is missing one completely, and has since relied on walking upright to get around. This is a perfectly natural thing for bears to do; however, they usually do it just for short distances. There was public outcry to have the bear moved to a sanctuary, namely the Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York. Even a GoFundMe page was started that generated $28,000. However, officials stated that the bear would do better in its natural environment and if its health deteriorated they would step in. On episode number 187 of the Paranormal News Insider back on August 12, 2014, I reported on the upright walking bear in Oak Park that was walking upright near the same neighborhood. This original video has generated 2.7 million views and this was a big story back then. While there hasn’t been an unusual amount of Bigfoot sightings reported in New Jersey these videos do tend to make us think of Bigfoot and upright walking bears are probably responsible for quite a few reports.

The folks at the Washington Post decided to take on the task of deciding whether or not upright walking bears represent the many sightings of Bigfoot over the years. The Washington Post brought in what they referred to as two experts to comment on the bear misinterpretation angle.
The first was Matt Moneymaker from the Finding Bigfoot television show fame. Moneymaker is also the leader of the Bigfoot Field Researcher’s Organization, which is one of the most popular of the Bigfoot-themed investigation groups. Matt Moneymaker feels that upright walking bears do not explain Bigfoot sightings not even a little bit. He said, “The BFRO has collected thousands of bigfoot-related observations over the years. In not one of those observations was it noted that the witness spotted a figure they thought was a Bigfoot but it turned out to be a bear walking on hind legs for an extended period. That would happen quite a bit if it explained even a fraction of Bigfoot sightings. On the other hand, it is quite common for witnesses to initially think an upright furry figure is a bear on hind legs until the car gets closer and they realize it is an ape-like figure —  a bigfoot (a type of ape).” While I think those comments are a bit closed minded and obviously none of BFRO’s cases have turned out to be a bear walking upright since every sound in the woods is "definitely a Squatch!" I do agree with another point he brought up and that is there is not a single report of a Bigfoot in the Oak Ridge, New Jersey area where Pedals lives. If there had been even a handful then it would lead me to believe that upright walking bears may in fact explain many Bigfoot sightings. However, Pedals is a known upright walking bear and has become quite famous in the last three years. It is possible that the expectation of seeing an upright walking bear may have misreported some Bigfoot sightings or has merely lowered the potential for misreporting a Bigfoot. The second expert called upon for the article is a Bigfoot researcher and co-editor for the Bigfoot Evidence website Matt Knapp. Knapp’s logic is that people describe Bigfoot like Bigfoot not like bears. His thoughts are further mapped out by his view that since we are conditioned since birth to know what a bear looks like that they are easily identified versus seeing a Bigfoot which tends to confuse a witness. I think this is kind of a straw man theory here. Regardless, this argument is meaningless since the Patterson Gimlin film, Harry and the Hendersons, and countless television commercials have cemented the idea of what a Bigfoot should look like into everyone’s heads. Who hasn’t heard of Messin’ with Sasquatch?

October 10th through the 15th was New Jersey’s black bear hunting season for bow and muzzle-loaders. A total of 549 bears taken were reported by the New Jersey division of fish and wildlife and sadly among them was an icon of an ongoing story covered here. Well, a hunter who had waited for three years to kill pedals apparently got his wish. According to the Facebook page that covers pedals, two biologists were on hand to examine the bear and upon inspection of the paws determined that this was a bear that spent considerable time walking upright. While this is sad it does provide some closure for the bear that was more than likely suffering through this condition and we should set our emotions aside when it comes to things like this. I do think it’s a bit unnerving that someone would purposely go after this bear and a little unmanly to stalk an injured animal, but pedals was more than likely suffering and would quite possibly not survive another winter.

Why it’s on the list: A story I’ve followed closely since it broke in 2014, Pedals has become a beloved figure of the paranormal even though many seemingly forgot about him for a little while. Sadly, while his story began to generate more interest it was heartbreaking to hear of his death. Although it does put closure to an animal that tore the public and private minds of wild animal protection and did bring an end to any misery Pedals might have been dealt with through injuries, strain, and malnutrition.

Why it’s only number 8: The story of pedals, sadly, did not generate worldwide outrage like the story of Harambe did obviously due to not having a human connection. While it was a popular story in the paranormal it still did not seem to gain a tremendous amount of traction. For me, I wanted this on the list since it was a story that has lingered for a couple of years and has now met an ending.

#7
Urban Legend Claims a Victim

Roquel Bain, 26, of Dayton, Ohio, was in Louisville, Kentucky, with her boyfriend to take a tour of Waverly Hills Sanatorium over the weekend of April 23rd. While in the area Bain decided to investigate a local urban legend of the Pope Lick Monster. The Pope Lick Monster, named for the Pope Lick Creek, is purportedly a part man, part goat, and part sheep that is said to live under a train trestle that passes over the Pope Lick Creek. Of the many purported urban legends about this creature is one that states that it lures people out on to the train trestle using hypnosis or voice mimicry to lead them to meet their death.Crypto news.com many investigators are under the impression that the trestle is abandoned based on the urban legend. A bit of research would have revealed that the tracks were not only used, but very active. A bit of common sense could have kept them off of the tracks, but all we can do is use this as a lesson to not trespass and to be aware of any danger associated with investigating any type of claim. Again, thanks to Crypto News.com and Loren Coleman for the information for this story.
Sadly, Bain and her boyfriend were out on the 772 foot long trestle when a Norfolk Southern train surprised the couple. They were unable to escape to the end of the trestle although Bain’s boyfriend was able to hang on to the side, she was unable to do so and was struck and fell 80 to 100 feet. She was pronounced dead at the scene. As tragic as this is it could have been avoided. A chained fence and warning signs are up at the location to keep people away from the active trestle. According to Crypto news.com many investigators are under the impression that the trestle is abandoned based on the urban legend. A bit of research would have revealed that the tracks were not only used, but very active. A bit of common sense could have kept them off of the tracks, but all we can do is use this as a lesson to not trespass and to be aware of any danger associated with investigating any type of claim. Again, thanks to Crypto News.com and Loren Coleman for the information for this story.

Why it’s on the list: For someone to be killed by an urban legend seemingly just as the legend describes it a bit creepy. This story should also serve as a warning and lesson to those that trespassing is never a good idea.

Why it’s only number 7: While it was a powerful story it seemed to only flutter in the paranormal news for a brief bit of time. Sadly, the lesson that Roquel Bain lost her life for is just the latest in a long line of illegal activities perpetrated by paranormal investigators. The story’s inclusion on this list is solidified, if for nothing else, to serve as an ongoing beacon to others who will certainly be faced with decisions like this in the future.

#6
Is There Life Out There? (NASA, SETI, and FAST)

In early May, NASA held a press conference outlining some of the recent developments of the Kepler Space Telescope and its search for planets. Just prior to this announcement many people went into the typical hyperdrive conspiracy solar storms that usually precede any announcement by NASA. One such article was published in the United Kingdom’s Express which was titled “'World on brink of being told aliens EXIST' after NASA 'hints at announcement'”. This article goes a long way just to say that NASA has stated in the past that they feel that life may be found within the next 20 to 30 years or possibly even within the next decade. Although the best candidate would be microbial life many on the conspiracy train have jumped the tracks to say that alien life must mean aliens, those big-eyed and big brained grays that are coming to take over our planet and convert us to slaves or just turn us into mulch. The announcement at 1 PM eastern on May 10th by NASA essentially outlined the fact that they have discovered many more new exoplanets- the most discovered to date which more than doubles what was previously known. The announcement was 1,284 to be exact, which now raises the total to 2,325 total potential planets.

SETI, known as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, made the news in late August with an announcement that they have found a signal from a potential intelligent civilization. The word hit the street on August 27th when Paul Glister published a post on the Centauri Dreams website titled, “An Interesting SETI Candidate in Hercules”. In the post Glister cautioned that no one claims that this is the work of an intelligent civilization, but that this signal warrants further study and continuous documentation. This new signal was detected by the RATAN-600 radio telescope located in Russia and the signal was detected back on May 15, 2015. The signal originated from a star known as HD 164595 which is roughly 95 light years away in the constellation Hercules from our perspective here on Earth. There is already one known planet in that sun’s system which is Neptune-like and probably not capable of harboring intelligent life, but there could be other planets not yet known.

However, I wouldn’t get too excited about it, yes, here comes the bad news. The signal was first documented back in May of last year it has not been repeated. This does point toward a logical scenario of basic space noise and nothing intelligent, but hopefully they keep listening in that particular area.

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope known as the acronym (FAST) went online on Sunday, September 25th.
The Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope is now the largest single dish radio telescope in the world surpassing the dish at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The dish on Arecibo’s telescope is 1,000 feet across while China’s dish is over 1,600 feet across. China’s FAST telescope also boasts twice as much power as Arecibo’s as well. The new dish cost China 1.2 billion Yuan or approximately $180 million U.S. Over 10,000 villagers who lived within a 3 mile radius, who are relatively poor, were forced to leave their land, but were built apartments and given financial compensation by the government.  The large area is needed to keep false positives from disturbing the dish and cell phones are not even allowed to be used in the area due to limit electronic interference.

The Breakthrough Initiatives is a SETI, or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, focused plan that, “are a program of scientific and technological exploration, probing the big questions of life in the Universe: Are we alone? Are there habitable worlds in our galactic neighborhood? Can we make the great leap to the stars? And can we think and act together – as one world in the cosmos?” The Breakthrough Initiatives focuses on three distinct aspects; listen, message, and starshot. Listen is using various radio telescopes to listen for distant messages, message is to send messages into space, and starshot is to journey to other planets or areas initially by unmanned craft. SETI recently conducted a survey in the area of Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star only 4.25 light years from the Sun. Spinning around Proxima Centauri is a recently discovered planet that lies in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri. Despite just being discovered on August 24th of this year Proxima B has created a lot of excitement from the SETI camp as they focused the Parkes Radio Telescope in New South Wales, Australia toward Proxima Centauri with the hope that Proxima B would be sending out some radio signals that would indicate intelligent life. The Breakthrough initiatives has also discussed sending out small probes the size of computer chips with little cameras attached toward Proxima B just to scope it out.

Why it’s on the list: NASA’s announcement, SETI’s research, or the FAST telescope going online was not enough for any of these stories to individually make this list. By bundling them together they do provide a pretty powerful future potential for discovery of intelligent alien life unless it presents itself on Earth first – then these stories will be a bit embarrassing.

Why it’s only number 6: The fact that these three individual sources were needed to crack the top ten is one reason. The other is the fact that despite the hype nothing has really been accomplished this year by any of these organizations with the exception of NASA.

#5
Young Discovers

A 16 year old may have proof of an elusive beast stalking the eastern area of Australia. Jack Tessier was riding a 4 wheeler in the town of Wyee in New South Wales about 70 miles north of Sydney, Australia along the eastern coast of the continent when he spotted large cat-like footprints. He was able to make casts of the prints and posted them on his Facebook page. He feels the prints belong to the elusive black panther that is said to roam various parts of Australia. 

Many ongoing reports of large cats prompted the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries to conduct an official investigation into the existence of purported 'large free-ranging felines' in 2013. Their report concluded no conclusive evidence for the existence of a large cat despite an unusual amount of kangaroo carcass found in various parts of the state along with the sighting reports.  It is interesting to note that in 2001, a freedom-of-information request revealed the state government had been keeping a panther file. Hopefully this young cryptozoologist can validate his claims and prove to the Australian government that these creatures are in fact loose. Jack celebrated his 17th birthday on February 1, 2016.

William Gadoury of Quebec, Canada became fascinated by Maya culture during the 2012 panic over the supposed end of the Mayan calendar. Instead of blogging about misplaced fears or writing a book highlighting the fear of the unknown, he instead theorized that the locations of Maya cities might correspond to stars in Maya constellations. He stated, "I did not understand why the Maya built their cities away from rivers, on marginal lands and in the mountains. They had to have another reason, and as they worshipped the stars, the idea came to me to verify my hypothesis." William studied 22 Maya star maps from ancient books which are known as the Madrid Codex.
He then put these star positions over a Google Earth image of the Yucatan Peninsula and lined it up with the existing 117 known Maya cities. Amazingly, the images matched up with the brighter stars actually lining up with larger cities. Yes, a 15 year old kid. He then used a 23rd constellation map and found a discrepancy. In the image he had three stars, but only two cities showing on the map. The third star was on the Mexico-Guatemala border (not Belize as reported in some stories) and was thick with vegetation. So, what’s a boy to do at this point? William had won an award for his initial findings where he estimated the star and city correlation sat at an astounding 95% accuracy. With winning the award from his work he merely asked a favor of the Canadian Space Agency, what 15 year old kid wouldn’t? They provided him with updated ground maps from their RADARSAT-2 satellite. He also found maps from 2005 where a fire had gone through the area and removed vegetation leaving the man made structures more visible. He then took these images to Remote Sensing expert Dr. Armand Larocque from the University of New Brunswick who determined that William had found a major city with 30 buildings and a large pyramid. While receiving an award for his work he’s not resting yet. 

He is looking to present his findings to the International Science Fair in Brazil next year and while is hopeful for an archaeological expedition he understands the cost involved and how difficult it may be to ever get anyone out there to excavate. As amazing as this story sounds other experts have torn into William’s work. Dr. David Stuart, an anthropologist from The Mesoamerica Center, University of Texas posted a response on Facebook claiming “ancient Maya didn't plot their ancient cities according to constellations”. Stuart also stated that the area in question is actually “old fallow cornfield”. Another Mayanist, Geoffrey Braswell of the University of California, stated that he too felt this was not a Maya pyramid, but was instead an old milpa (a crop growing system where multiple crops are planted at once) or an active marijuana field. 

A 16 year old girl caught footage of a bird that was thought to have been extinct in the wild. The video is only a few seconds long and shows a bird with a long tail flying from a tree behind another tree. The video was published on YouTube by Birdlife International. The subject of the video is the Spix Macaw which is listed as critically endangered and thought to be extinct in the wild as the last one was seen in the year 2000, yet there are 130 Spix Macaws held in a captive breeding program to help attempt to keep them from becoming extinct. If you see a picture of this blue macaw it might look a bit familiar as it shared the main characters of the animated movie Rio which came out in 2011. The Spix macaw is an important bird to the Brazilian people and this sighting lead to a search using a Whatsapp group to ensure that no dealers could enter and trap the bird for illegal sale. A farmer saw the bird on June 18th and Lourdes Oliveira and her 16 year old daughter Damilys woke up before dawn and searched for the bird in a local forest. She found the bird and filmed it at 6:20 AM. The Spix macaw has been hunted and trapped mainly for sale for pet birds as well as had their habitat eliminated by the removal of specific trees as well as the building of a dam, not to mention the northerly movement of Africanized bees that competed for nesting sites all of which lead to the demise of the bird from its home range. Birdlife International does think, however, that the bird sighted might have been one that was a released captive bird. The captive breeding program still continues and hopes that the birds can be reintroduced when the ecosystem and number of birds will be able to sustain themselves in the wild.

Why it’s on the list: Again, any of these three amazing stories alone was not enough to get them into the top ten in my opinion. But, since they all three deal with amazing young researchers I’ve tied them together for this great number 5 story. It’s great to see young researchers and investigators challenge the known world and looking at things through fresh eyes. I would also like to throw in Colin Schneider, who I met earlier this year at the Butler Paranormal Convention and was able to speak to his class in June, who has become a well-known researcher and writer this year in the cryptozoology field.

Why it’s only number 5: Whereas these great young minds have challenged science, their stories have not yet changed anything we know of in the paranormal. However, the fact that this story is in the top five should say a lot about these great young minds as well as the future of paranormal and other research that challenges conventional wisdom.

#4
Loch Ness Monster

1.4 million British Pounds. That’s how much it will cost to build a new catamaran that will join in the hunt for the elusive Loch Ness Monster. At 1.4 million British Pounds this translates into roughly just over $2 million U.S.! Cruise Loch Ness, a family run tourism business is currently having the ship built which will be the largest and fastest tourist craft on the Loch. Currently the largest capacity ship holds 120 passengers; this new one will hold 220 and will travel at 20 knots which is about 23 miles per hour. That’s pretty fast for a tour ship on Loch Ness. This new boat will appear in April of 2017 and will help meet the demand for the increase in tourism that the area is feeling for the search for the Loch Ness Monster.

"Operation Groundtruth" involves mapping the floor of Loch Ness by Kongsberg Maritime a Norwegian offshore oil company. While using a missile shaped drone robot to draw up the deep lake a disturbing object was found. Yes, the robot found the remains of the Loch Ness Monster. In the imagery a 30 foot long neck once belonging to Nessie was discovered, but it turned out to not be flesh and bone but of a model used in the movie “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” which was shot in 1969 and directed by Billy Wilder. According to the story, the 30 foot long model had humps which Wilder did not want to be used in the film. The humps, however, provided buoyancy and once they were removed the model sank and had to be replaced by a different one which ultimately made it into the movie. The drone has also found the remains of a 27 foot shipwreck which has yet to be identified and has also put to rest the rumor that there was a trench in the Loch for Nessie to hide.

Tony Bligh of Dublin, Ireland, was at Loch Ness when he got the sight of a lifetime. He saw five humps moving in the water and he quickly pulled out his cell phone to shoot video. Bligh, an engineer, believed that what he captured was more than likely the movement of the famous Loch Ness Monster. However, Loch Ness Project Expert Adrian Shrine checked out the video and came to his own conclusion. He said, “It is a particularly good example of the effect that a reasonably high boat wake can make. It shows how powerful this illusion could be. It produces a line of very solid looking humps.” Apparently, Bligh reluctantly agreed that what he saw was more than likely a wake as he stated there had been a boat in the area that was about 400 yards away that was not included in his 19 second video.

Ian Bremmer, a 58 year old, caught what he thinks could be the Loch Ness Monster in a photograph while driving around the loch.Sun and Cryptomundo who posted about this story both suggest that this could be three seals that are merely swimming in succession.
The photograph shows a creature in the water with three humps and a definitive head sticking out of the water. Bremmer said he was looking for red deer and taking pictures of the loch, but he never saw the creature until he was looking through his photographs while at home. Both the

Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster are at their highest in 2016 since the year 2000. So far this year there have been seven sightings according to the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register kept by Gary Campbell. He attributes this rise to the use of smart phones and webcams (or maybe Pokémon Go).

Why it’s on the list: The Loch Ness Monster is arguably among the top five cryptids in the world. The Loch Ness Monster appeared on the list in 2015 as it was thought to have originated from hotel owners for a money making effort. While the Loch Ness Monster was absent from the list in 2014 it has made a resurgence this year and despite the negative press last year it has not put a dent on the belief of the creature or the purported sightings behind it.

Why it’s only number 4: Despite a resurgence and these stories being tied together to keep the legend afloat the Loch Ness Monster legend seems to be more of just that; a legend yet the scant pieces of evidence is just enough to make people turn their heads, if only for a second, when something happens near the loch.

#3
Clown Pandemic

I did not report on this until October 4th as I had ignored this story due to it not really being paranormal and the fact that the nonsense going on appeared to be driven by the media and social media. However, as October rolled around it was just too much to ignore. The story gained a lot of momentum in the media and had plenty of people genuinely scared.

The clown pandemic of 2016 is arguably one of the biggest media stories of the year outside of the election let alone paranormal stories. The panic seemed to start around the August 20th story from the Fleetwood Manor Apartments in Greenville, South Carolina where children claimed to have seen clowns in the woods behind the apartment complex – no clowns were ever found. legitimate clowns who have suffered through this story. In all, I personally chronicled 55 separate incidents of false claims, threats to schools, or stories involving clown sightings during the two plus months of the clown pandemic.
From there it spread to North Carolina about a week later, Georgia just days after, and then Alabama, Maryland, and Florida where school closures were beginning to be announced due to threats to students and were all discovered to be by students. The clown stories swept many other U.S. states within days of each other and then spread to Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Australia. The clown pandemic also affected the Clown Lives Matter peace march on October 15th in Tuscon, Arizona over threats. The march was organized to bring attention to those who make a living as

Why it’s on the list: The clown pandemic was one that started out small and ended up becoming one of the most viral stories of the year before disappearing right before Halloween despite everyone’s fears it might ruin the holiday.

Why it’s only number 3: Despite have paranormal ties with people writing about this such as Loren Coleman and Benjamin Radford there was very little to truly attach this to the paranormal beyond urban legend and folklore. If it wasn’t for the fact that many paranormal news outlets covered this I would have considered it merely a mainstream media story. I reluctantly began covering the story in early October after the story had already become out of control with the sheer number of reports pouring in.

#2
The WOW! Signal Follow-up

On August 15, 1977 at 11:16 PM eastern daylight savings time the Big Ear Radio Telescope in Delaware, Ohio recorded what is now known as the Wow signal. Jerry R. Ehman was working on the SETI project, short for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence which uses various satellites to search for signals in space, when he saw a surprising vertical column with the alphanumerical sequence “6EQUJ5” that represents 72 seconds worth of information gathered from the radio telescope.
Copy of Wow! Signal print out located at Perkins Observatory
with update by Jerry Ehman.
The alphanumeric code essentially describes the intensity variation of the signal and it has been given two different values for its frequency within the 1420 Megahertz range which puts it in the hydrogen line frequency. What does this mean for searching for extraterrestrials? SETI believed that since hydrogen is the most common element in the universe extraterrestrials might use that frequency to transmit a strong signal. The problem is researchers have been unable to find the signal from the original source of the constellation Sagittarius, near the Chi Sagittarii star group.

Antonio Paris, a professor of astronomy at St Petersburg College in Florida, feels that it is likely that the signal actually originated from one of two comets that were flying by at the time. Many researchers feel that since the signal has not been observed again from the same origin that it must have been something passing through the area. James Bauer of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is skeptical of this hypothesis since the comet would have to release a significant amount of hydrogen to produce such a signal. Paris states that in order to rule out the comets his hypothesis needs to be tested. Comet 266P/Christensen will be back in that region on January 25, 2017, and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) on January 7, 2018. By studying their radio emission and how quickly they move in the sky, astronomers should be able to tell if it really was this that produced the Wow! Signal. Some may think that Antonio Paris is just here to ruin the longstanding belief that this is a piece of leading evidence in the support of life outside of the Earth. Paris is not here to pee in the pool just to get to the bottom of the mystery. Paris is the founder and director of the Aerial Phenomena Investigation team that is a worldwide effort to actively research and investigate UFO claims.

Why it’s on the list: This is a scientific effort to help explain one of the potential largest pieces of alien communication data ever recorded. The “Wow” signal of 1977 has been a mystery since it was collected and while Professor Antonio Paris believes in UFOs he also has a solid understanding of astronomy and science and seeing this idea come to fruition is very exciting.

Why it’s number 2: Simply put, the experiment has not yet been completed. While this story might not be #2 is other’s eyes this is the type of story that can help change the paranormal stories for the good or bad; it’s essentially about discovery. I did originally have this story as number 4, but as it deals with potential alien communication (a popular theme this year) as well as science I felt this story deserved a higher ranking even if it did not receive much in the way of media attention as other stories in the top 5 did. I look forward to how this story will develop after the January, 2017 and 2018 data is interpreted.

#1
"Wessie"

Locals began to report a large snake in Westbrook, Maine, which is just west of Portland, in the middle of June. Police then searched the area, but came up empty handed until June 29th when an officer encountered the snake feeding on a mammal which he guessed was a beaver, around 3:30 in the morning. Another officer arrived on scene and both watched the snake swim across the Presumpscot River where it disappeared into thick brush. The police officers estimated the snake to be about ten feet long. Locals have dubbed the purported snake “Wessie” for the town of Westbrook as well as the “Presumpscot Python” and this purported python even has a Twitter handle @WessieThon for Wessie P. Thon.
Even the new local craft brewery in Westbrook created a few batches of beer it called “Wessie” just for the occasion and it generally holds parties at its tasting room, but now they have been able to expand it and had a “Catch and release” party for the release of the beer. After getting a lot of time in the media locally as well as regionally through July the story began to slowly die down.  It was a big deal in Westbrook where shirts were sold everywhere, business were using “Wessie” to get business and the town certainly felt a bump with tourism at the end of the season prior to kids going back to school. 

Just when it all seemed to be over a photograph of a snakeskin was reportedly taken near a carry in boat launch (kayaks/canoes) at Riverbank Park along the Presumpscot River around 3 PM on August 20th. The snakeskin was collected and measured in at 12 feet in length and about 4 inches in diameter. A sample and photographs of the skin was sent to herpetologists to discover what type of snake this is. It was later identified to belonging to an anaconda, according to John Placyk, a herpetologist from the University of Texas, who identified the skin through genetic testing. Westbrook, Maine police still do not know if the skin is from "Wessie" or if it was planted. Experts determined that the skin is from a 8 to 9 foot long anaconda, which makes it a juvenile. 

Despite no further sightings of "Wessie" the city of Westbrook, Maine, pushed forward to celebrate their time in the national spotlight with Wessie Fest that took place on October 22, 2016. Events included a “Wessie Pie-Thon” pie baking contest, “Wessie Toss” corn hole, a sidewalk parade, photos with a live snake, crafts and vendors that include the International Cryptozoology Museum headed by Loren Coleman. Bill Brock of the television show “Monsters Underground” will have a presentation at 2 PM followed by a Wessie Hunt at 3 PM. Even though it rained on the event it still capped off a wild summer in Maine as well as an interesting year in the paranormal. 


Why it’s on the list: “Wessie” captivated many with the thought of a wild and dangerous snake living in a small town in Maine. While this story probably happens weekly in Florida it just seemed to flourish from the local media reports that seemed to find it completely fascinating. Strange tales of snakes living outside of their normal habitats are not rare in the paranormal, but this latest one kept many of us on the hook for news updates even during the crazy clown craze. 

Why it’s number one: This year was a difficult year to determine the top three let alone the ranking of many of the other stories that either made or missed this list. At one point I felt the clown pandemic was the top choice for #1, but I felt that “Wessie” was more of a true paranormal story despite not being as close to viral. Even though “Wessie” may not have even existed, the story has created a new chapter in snake lore and “Wessie” was the number one cryptid of 2016 for sure.


Hear a recap of the countdown as well as a recap of 2010 through 2015 Top Paranormal News Stories from the Paranormal News Insider.










Sunday, December 11, 2016

Are there really small hairless creatures killing people in India or is the truth too much to bear?

A viral story was let loose on December 1, 2016 by a Facebook user from India. Along with an accompanying photograph and video it was suggested that a creature was eating animals as well as people along the state borders of Kerala and Karnataka in India. Not only that, but this creature in the the cage was just one of four that have been seen. The post to date has been shared over 260,000 times and has spread virally just as designed.

However, is it true that there is some scary monster or even an alien on the loose? Wait, who said anything about an alien? The truth is the photo and video are based on a real animal that made a scary entrance in January of 2015. The creature was seen by workers at a Malaysian Palm oil plantation. The workers filmed the creature making a very slow getaway and it obviously didn't look very nimble or capable of killing a person. It was initially described as potentially being an alien, but those in the area were quick to realize that it was a hairless, and obviously sick, sun bear. It took a team from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation a couple of months to track down the animal and capture it and their hope was to help this obviously sick animal.

The sun bear initially responded to food and fluids, but within a few days began to withdraw from food and water. Every effort was made to save this animal from intravenously administering fluids to placing a feeding tube into its stomach, but in reality the bear was beyond sick. Sadly, the creature died on May 18th of 2015. An autopsy revealed that the sun bear was very old and was in the late stages of cancer.

Sun bears live in the tropical rain forests of mainland southeast Asia as well as the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia. Their habitat has been slowly destroyed and the numbers have dwindled in reaction to this as well as with commercial poaching.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the sun bear as a threatened species as it is considered vulnerable which is one step away from endangered.

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