; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, October 07, 2011

Just the Facts? Asteroid Impact Threat Downgraded, Alien Invasion and Charles Fort Movie

Fewer dangerous asteroids surround the Earth

The Earth is surrounded by nearly 50 percent fewer potentially dangerous asteroids than thought previously, a new NASA study has found.

According to the US space agency, a space telescope that meticulously mapped the entire sky has found that about 19,500 medium-size, potentially dangerous asteroids are orbiting near the Earth.

The discovery significantly lowers their number by 50 percent, as their number was initially estimated at 35,000, LiveScience reported.

The study suggests that the threat to Earth by dangerous asteroids may be “somewhat less than previously thought,” NASA officials said in a statement.

Still, there are thousands more of these asteroids, which can measure up to 3,300 feet wide, that remain to be found.

“Fewer does not mean none and there are still tens of thousands out there to find,” said study leader Amy Mainzer, principal investigator for NASA’s NEOWISE project at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

Additional research will also need to be conducted to determine if fewer medium-size asteroids also means fewer dangerous asteroids that could pass hazardously close to Earth, NASA officials said.

Scientists believe that asteroids measuring about 460 feet wide can cause widespread damage around their impact sites, but much larger space rocks would have to strike Earth to cause global devastation. - discoveryon

Collision Course: Asteroids and Earth (Jr. Graphic Environmental Dangers)


Will the Aliens Be Nice? Don’t Bet On It

The probability that there is intelligent life somewhere other than earth increases as we discover more and more solar systems that seem capable of sustaining life. The thought that there might be extraterrestrial intelligences (ETI) somewhere out there excites us and has led to organized efforts to contact any such beings. We have sent space probes with data about us, and we transmit signals with a structured content (like symbols expressing mathematical formulae) to what we hope will be an intergalactic audience. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence project (SETI) is obviously based on the assumption that the possible benefits of contact with ETI outweigh the possible harms. But do they?

A recent study by researchers at Penn State and NASA provides a useful outline of the various ways that encounters with ETI could be beneficial, neutral or harmful to us. The study faces up to the most chilling possibilities: ETI might “eat us, enslave us, attack us,” inadvertently infect us with horrible diseases or just decide to eliminate us for the greater good of the universe. (Regarding this last point, the report is especially concerned that ETI might be at least metaphorically green and see us a threat to the universe’s ecology.)

The report draws no conclusions about the wisdom of pursuing SETI, though it does urge the need to develop quantitative measures of possible harms and benefits. Its final sentence seems content with the idea that we will “continue the search for extraterrestrials into the future.” Especially after reading the report, I am not so content. Continue reading at Will the Aliens Be Nice? Don’t Bet On It

Alien Invasion: The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Ultimate AttackScience Books)

The Alien Invasion Survival Handbook: A Defense Manual for the Coming Extraterrestrial Apocalypse


Mangy Coyote...Blue Dog...?

A Simpson County man says he’s been hunting for 50 years but recently killed something he's never seen before.

“It’s an ugly looking beast,” Truitt Barnard, said. “I know it’s not a coyote. I’ve killed some mangy coyotes too, and I just haven’t seen something quite like it. “

Friend and family believe this could be a Chupacabra, which literally means goat sucker. Chupacabras are a legendary creature suspected of killing livestock and sucking their blood.

A couple weeks ago in the middle of the afternoon, Truitt was on his property in Simpson County just outside of Mendenhall, when a “funny-looking animal” walked through an open field about 130 yards away.

He could immediately tell the animal didn’t have any hair, but when he looked through his rifle scope, he knew this was something very strange. The animal’s back legs were several inches taller than his front legs, his ears were rounded, he had no hair and his teeth were very long, said Truitt’s son Scott Barnard.

And a group of buzzards wouldn’t even touch it.

“I’ve never seen anything a buzzard wouldn’t eat,” Scott said.

The mysterious animal has become pretty popular around Mendenhall and several people have reported sightings of strange animals since news of this one spread.

“I’ve seen several different things they say we don't have in Mississippi,” Truitt said, so finding this creature “wasn’t a big deal” to him.

Take a look at the pictures and decide for yourself, he said. - wlbt

Chupacabras and Other MysteriesControversial Knowledge in Religious Studies Books)

Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore


Swiss Couple Claim 'Forest Boy' Is Grandson

A Swiss couple have come forward to claim that the mysterious 'Forest Boy' Ray is their grandson.

Now the pair are due to give a DNA test which will be matched with Ray, who claimed last month in Berlin to have been living in a wood for five years.

Berlin's BZ newspaper reported on Friday that Ray's photo was seen by the couple in Switzerland and that they then contacted police.

There was no official comment from authorities in the German capital and no further details in the newspaper report.

Police and social workers began suspecting two weeks ago that his story was bogus and that his motives were suspect.

He is only 17 and now in the care of social workers after a legal guardian to represent his interests was appointed.

If it is found that he comes from Switzerland he will be deported back there.

The blonde, blue-eyed boy claimed to remember few details about his life and where he had been when he pitched up on the steps of a town hall in the east of Berlin on September 5.

He spun a tale - in accented English - that gripped the imagination of the world: that he had been living in a tent in a forest for five years with his father, called Ryan, and that his mother Doreen had perished in a car crash five years previously.

He said he began walking towards Berlin after his father died suddenly in the woods a fortnight before his arrival. He said he had buried him among the trees.

"I'm all alone, please help me," he bleated. He was taken into care at a cost to the German taxpayer of around £2,500 per month.

But the tall tale he wove began to appear to have more holes than a Swiss cheese.

A check of police computers in all 16 states of Germany showed up that no woman called Doreen had died in a car crash in Germany in the past decade.

No sign of a grave has been found in cursory searches of forests in the Harz Mountains, along the Bavarian-Czech border or in Thuringia.

He was unable to pinpoint the forest where he said he lived, he was also unable to say what nationality he was, although police soon suspected he was not British despite the words he spoke.

The tent he carried did not look like it had sustained five years of treatment in a German forest and he was well dressed and clean.

As Interpol was alerted to check with police forces for missing people in other European lands, Ray triggered more suspicion when he said he did not want to pose for photographs or make an appeal to try to find any of his family members.

"They're all dead," he said. "I just want to get on and make a new life for myself."

"Unfortunately it seems that the boy told his guardian that he wasn't interested in discovering who he was," said a police spokesman.

But now the Swiss link is the most promising development so far. If true, Germany would be in a position to make a claim from Switzerland for money towards his upkeep so far. - sky


Robert Zemeckis Plotting Spooky 'Charles Fort' at Universal

Universal Pictures is plotting a spooky feature called Charles Fort with producer Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos. Fort, which is being described by some who know the material as a "period Ghostbusters," is the first project set up under Zemeckis and his Imagemovers' newly minted first-look deal with the studio.

Charles FortParapsychology Books) was an early-twentieth-century American researcher and writer whose focus was "anomalous phenomena" and the unexplained. Books Fort wrote such as The Book of the Damned (1919) and New Lands (1923) were some of the first to explore everything from levitation and teleportation to alien abduction and other paranormal pursuits. Fort was essentially a curious skeptic who enjoyed collecting data to support explanations for things that he felt were no less possible than the scientifically accepted ones.

Dark Horse Comics published a four-issue series in 2002 titled Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained, which turned Fort into an adventurous investigator tangling with aliens and murderers in turn-of-the-nineteenth-century New York City.

In addition to Zemeckis, Dark Horse's Mike Richardson is producing the film, as are Imagemovers partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey. Dark Horse's Keith Goldberg will be an executive producer. Scott Bernstein is overseeing for the studio.

Repped by UTA and manager D.J. Talbot, Spiliotopoulos worked on the script for the Universal film Snow White and the Huntsman, which is filming now for a June release.

The CAA-repped Zemeckis is prepping to direct the drama Flight for Paramount this fall. As a producer, he most recently produced Real Steel, Mars Needs Moms and A Christmas Carol, which he also wrote and directed.

Dark Horse Entertainment also has an adaptation of its comic R.I.P.D. in production at Universal for a summer 2013 release. The writer of the source material, Peter M. Lenkov, created the Fort comics as well. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) and 30 Days of Night (2007) were also based on Dark Horse comics. - hollywoodreporter

The Complete Books of Charles Fort: The Book of the Damned / Lo! / Wild Talents / New LandsWitchcraft Books)

The Book of the Damned: The Collected Works of Charles FortUnexplained Mystery Books)

Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the SupernaturalParapsychology Books)