; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just the Facts?: Celebrities Who Believe in Supernatural Intervention -- Scientists and UFOs -- Oldest Captive Manatee

Celebrities Who Believe in Supernatural Intervention

What do James Bond actress Gemma Arterton, Hollywood star Denzel Washington and television presenter Gloria Hunniford have in common?

Here’s a clue: it’s not the agent looking after them. In fact, all three have spoken of their belief in guardian angels.

Arterton recently told Vogue magazine she believes her deceased grandmother acts as her guardian angel, sending her signs about, among other things, whether or not to accept film projects.

Washington described seeing an angel which looked like his sister — only with wings. Hunniford once claimed to have a ‘parking angel’ which helped her find spaces for her car.

It’s enough to bring out the cynic in anyone. Can we expect to see celebrities bearing angelic talismans as conspicuous as those little red bracelets when Kaballah, a spiritual movement rooted in Jewish mysticism and practised by Madonna, Demi Moore and Victoria Beckham, was all the rage?

Actually, yes.

Wayne Rooney’s torso already bears a tattoo of a guardian angel, reportedly dedicated to his son Kai. Mrs Beckham has said she and husband David wear matching guardian angel necklaces that apparently emit a powerful ‘energy’.

And as if to prove that celebrities are fascinated by angels, last month singer Adele showed off her seven-month-old son in public for the first time. His name? Angelo.

But it isn’t just the rich and famous who are professing their belief in guardian angels. In a recent survey by pollster ICM, 31 per cent of Britons — and 41  per cent of British women — admitted they believed angels existed. Nearly a third said they were convinced a guardian angel watched over them.

The internet is bulging with blogs and websites set up by those claiming to have seen their guardian angel.

And sales of books on the topic have soared. Big-name publishers such as Penguin and Hodder & Stoughton have snapped up writers claiming angelic visions.

‘The genre appeals because people naturally have the desire to find meaning and depth in their life,’ says Mark Booth, from Hodder & Stoughton. ‘Often the established Church doesn’t fulfil that.’

Some of the best-known recent ‘angel books’ are those by Lorna Byrne, an Irish mother-of-four.

Her 2008 memoir, Angels In My Hair, about a life filled with visions of angels, has sold more than half a million copies around the world.

It has been translated into 26 languages, including Mandarin, Japanese and Korean, and been published in more than 50 countries. Two further books written by Byrne, Stairways To Heaven and A Message Of Hope From The Angels, have also become bestsellers.

Byrne claims her earliest memory was of lying in a cot and attempting to play with ‘angels’ as they floated above her head. And, she says, they’ve never left her.

Sometimes they appear as bursts of white light. At others, they assume a ‘human form’. They can be male or female, are frequently tall, and do not always have wings.

It’s tempting to write off her claims as the work of a fantasist.

Nevertheless all those book sales must have added up to a lot of royalties.

Six years ago, Byrne was working as a cleaner and struggling to make ends meet as a widowed mother of four.

Now, as she puts it, she ‘doesn’t have to worry about paying for the electricity’.

There is clearly money to be made from people’s faith in guardian angels.

A host of self-appointed ‘mystics’ offer everything from ‘angel card readings’ — like Tarot readings with cards bearing fortune-cookie-like ‘messages’ from angels — to ‘angel therapists’ promising to ‘heal and harmonise every aspect of life’ by putting you in touch with your guardian angel.

Jacky Newcomb, a 50-year-old self-described ‘angel expert’ from Bristol, offers angel card readings and angel healing.

She made her name writing books about angels, including the 2006 bestseller An Angel By My Side, in which she gives the details of a collection of angel ‘sightings’ from around the world.

Her online store offers everything from ‘inspirational’ posters of herself wearing angel wings to narrated CDs to put you in touch with your guardian angel through meditation.

Her one-on-one angel card readings cost anything between £5 for a basic reading and £60 for a more extensive reading of 60 cards.

She appears regularly at spiritual fairs where believers can experience her ‘healing with angels’ sessions — a series of ‘positive visualisations and relaxation techniques’.

She claims that one woman who visited her was due to undergo an operation but didn’t need the treatment after the session.

‘I’m not professing to be a healer,’ she insists. ‘It won’t work for everyone. I don’t know why it works for some people.’

There’s no doubt that an awful lot of people do believe they have come face-to-face with a guardian angel.

History is full of tales of angelic encounters, from the Old Testament to Joan of Arc’s belief that the archangel Michael told her to lead France in battle against the English.

But if the sceptics are correct, what is it that all these people have seen?

‘A lot of people are genuinely seeing these things,’ says Christopher French, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths University. ‘For example, mountain climbers who have lost their bearings sometimes report seeing a figure guiding them out of the danger.

‘It may be a psychological defence when faced with danger. Of course, we don’t hear from those whose guardians led them off the edge of a cliff!’

Neuroscientists have identified several factors which may induce fantastical visions.

'Brain scans of Tibetan monks showed mystical experiences tended to occur when sections at the front of the brain (typically involved in concentration and planning) were very active'

In 2005, Swiss researchers found that sending electric currents through the left temporoparietal junction — a small area at the back of the brain which retains visual memories and sensory information — resulted in patients seeing ‘ghostly’ figures.

Brain scans of Tibetan monks showed mystical experiences tended to occur when sections at the front of the brain (typically involved in concentration and planning) were very active, while those involved in navigation and spatial orientation were calm.

In other words, there was evidence that there is a physical difference in the brains of those who experience such visions.

Believers often say a vision ends with the angel passing on a message or sign, frequently in the form of white feathers.

Gemma Arterton has said in the past that she ‘has feathers which follow her everywhere’.

TV presenter Judy Finnigan claimed she found white feathers in her house, which she believes were evidence of her friend, television presenter Caron Keating, who died of cancer, returning as an angel.

Before she wrote her debut novel, Eloise, about the grief she felt after Caron’s death, Finnigan asked the blessing of Caron’s mother Gloria Hunniford, a fellow believer in guardian angels.

Analysts argue that such phenomena simply reflect a human need to find patterns and significance in otherwise random events.

And the truth is that the powers of guardian angels — even if they do exist — are rather patchy. An awful lot of bad, sad things happen to good people. Why don’t guardian angels protect them?

Lorna Byrne says she hasn’t got a categorical answer, but insists: ‘Your guardian angel has protected you in millions of different ways throughout your life.’

Perhaps. But the next time you’re trying to find that elusive parking space, be wary of relying too much on guardian angels. You could be looking for an awfully long time. - DailyMail

Lifted by Angels: The Presence and Power of Our Heavenly Guides and Guardians

The Kabbalah & Magic of Angels


Oldest Captive Manatee

Snooty the manatee was born when Harry S. Truman was president, Columbia records had just released its 33 1/3 LP format, and people were still talking about how the NBC television network had broadcast Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in its entirety.

Life in America, of course, has changed.

But Snooty is still around, entertaining visitors, munching on lettuce and swimming silently in his tank at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.

Sunday is his 65th birthday, and to mark the occasion the museum will host a free party Saturday.

He's the oldest manatee in captivity and possibly one of the oldest ever, experts say.

"If you lived in a pool where people gave you a bath and fed you lettuce by hand and you had no other predators and the water was always a nice warm temperature, you'd be living long too," said Brynne Anne Besio, executive director of the South Florida Museum. "He's protected, he's safe, he has a great diet, he has regular medical care, and so he's got all the odds for him in terms of living long."

Snooty, who is in good health, eats about 80 pounds of lettuce and vegetables every day to sustain his 1,000 pound body. He shares a tank with two smaller manatees that are being rehabilitated for cold stress. And lately, he appears thrilled to greet his visitors from the media.

"He loves cameras," said Marilyn Margold, the museum's aquarium director. Indeed, on a recent day, Snooty glided from his deep tank to a shallow medical tank and hoisted his torso above the water so he could sling a flipper onto the edge of the pool. When he spotted a video camera, he slowly inched forward toward its lens.

Snooty has been invaluable over the decades for education and conservation purposes, said Robert Bonde, a research biologist and manatee expert for the United States Geological Survey in Gainesville.

"Every year we celebrate a birthday for Snooty, it sets a new records as far as the aging potential for manatees," he said.

Bonde said that among the wild manatee carcasses found in Florida, research showed the oldest was 53 — yet the average manatee only lives to be about 13 due to man-made threats and environmental stressors, such as cold weather.

Although Snooty is the longest lived manatee in captivity, it's entirely possible that they could live just as long in the wild if they didn't face threats like boat propellers, said Bonde.

"It's tough to be a manatee in Florida," he said.

Manatees are evolutionary relatives of both elephants and dugongs (a manatee-like creature that lives mostly in waters near Australia). Both of those are long lived, said Bonde, so it makes sense that manatees would be as well.

Over the years, some have claimed that Snooty has been replaced by younger manatees. Museum officials laugh at the tales.

"That was a popular thing to do years ago: if you lose one marine mammal, you'd get another one and just give it the same name," said Margold. "In our particular case, it's not true. Snooty has two scars on his side from some abscesses that were removed over 30 years ago, and that's a real strong identification. Also he has a very predominant tail. And those two things are giveaways that it's the same Snooty." - Yahoo

NOTE: My wife and I had a close encounter with one of these gentile giants in the Indian River several years ago. It's an experience I'll never forget. That's why we support & fund the preservation of this species...Lon


Why Scientists Don't Talk About UFOs

For a very long time, the scientific community has been wary of studying UFOs, and the scientists themselves hesitate to talk about their beliefs of unexplained aerial phenomena.

But that attitude is changing, and many scientists are joining the discussion without fear of ridicule.

"UFOs are real phenomena. They are artificial objects under intelligent control. They're definitely the craft of a supremely advanced technology," says physicist Eric Davis, a researcher of light-speed travel.

Davis, a research physicist at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin, studies propulsion physics, which he hopes will one day allow humans to travel easily and quickly through our galactic neighborhood.

He's aware of the public perception -- mostly from skeptics and debunkers -- that no legitimate scientists would ever touch the subject of UFOs.

"They're wrong, naive, stubborn, narrow-minded, afraid and fearful. It's a dirty word and a forbidden topic. Science is about open-minded inquiry. You shouldn't be laughing off people. You should show more deference and respect to them ... Scientists need to get back to using the scientific method to study things that are unknown and unusual, and the UFO subject is one of them."

Davis is one of several scientists who are presenting their views this weekend on a variety of UFO-related topics at the 2013 MUFON Symposium in Las Vegas.

The physicist, who recently won an award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for his study, "Faster-Than-Light Space Warps, Status and Next Steps," knows many colleagues who quietly study UFOs.

"There are scientists who are aware of evidence and observational data that is not refutable. It is absolutely corroborated, using forensic techniques and methodology. But they won't come out and publicize that because they fear it. Not the subject -- they fear the backlash from their professional colleagues. The impact on their career might be detrimental and they'd get bad publicity.

"It's not an acceptable, funded line of research. The National Science Foundation does not accept UFOs as a subject for scientific study."

It may come as a surprise that many scientists have been interested in UFOs for decades.

For 20 years, astronomer J. Allen Hynek was the U.S. Air Force scientific consultant on UFOs during its famous Project Blue Book UFO study that ended in 1969.

Davis believes that the domain for UFO investigations doesn't really belong in the hands of scientists.

"It's the domain of military intelligence," he suggests. "The fact that [unknown] craft are flying around Earth is not a subject for science -- it's a subject for intelligence-gathering, collection and analysis. That's because UFOs are not a natural phenomenon, and that's what science studies." Videos at THP

Flying Saucers and Science: A Scientist Investigates the Mysteries of UFOs: Interstellar Travel, Crashes, and Government Cover-Ups

UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record

Firestorm: Dr. James E. McDonald's Fight for UFO Science (Voyagers)



A novel of alien abduction

Philip Mantle

Once Upon A Missing Time is a powerful and emotional journey involving married couple Alan and Pamela Morrison and their teenage daughter Wendy. Alan is a teacher at the local High School and his wife Pamela is a social worker for the local authority. One night whilst driving back from their in-laws home near the rural North Yorkshire village of East Yardsley, the Morrison family encounter something that would change their lives and world view forever. The Morrison’s have a close encounter, a close encounter with something quite extraordinary. On arriving home they discover nearly four hours of their lives MISSING. Plagued by nightmarish shared dreams the Morrison’s look for answers for their ‘MISSING TIME’. Their search for answers threatens to tear the family apart, leaving them with lives that will never be the same again. Set in rural England in 1990 this was an era before the internet and the digital age. The Morrison family search for answers that eventually ends in frustration and betrayal. This is not a story about alien visitation but rather how a family try desperately to cope with a phenomenon that no one seems to understand.

Although a work of fiction ‘ONCE UPON A MISSING TIME’ is based on real life “Close Encounter” cases from the UK. All of the characters in this drama are based on people who have either experienced this phenomena first hand or have been UFO investigators. The names, locations and professions of all have been changed to protect the individuals concerned. Once you have read ‘ONCE UPON A MISSING TIME’ you will realise that the phrase ‘Close Encounter’ was not just a figment of Steven Spielberg’s imagination.

Philip Mantle is an international UFO researcher, lecturer and broadcaster. His books have been published in six different languages around the world. He is the former Director of Investigations for the British UFO Research Association and former MUFON representative for England. Philip has written articles and features for numerous publications around the world and has been both editor and assistant editor of high street UFO publications. He lives in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England.

You can purchase at Once Upon A Missing Time


I had a read through again and IMHO, I found it a lovely read, taking into accounts genuine experiences and putting them in a way readers could understand without making it too dark or heavy and yet keeping that balance of light-heartedness without mocking or patronising those who have had experiences. This was a refreshing change for me personally as someone who has had first hand experience of UFO encounters.

Rosalind Reynolds, UK close encounter witness.

"Philip Mantle is probably one of the major unsung heroes of the British UFO scene, having been eclipsed by the likes of Timothy Good and Nick Pope. In this, his first fiction book, he tackles the thorny subject of the "abduction" and "Close Encounter" scenario. Although the book is a work of fiction, it draws from many well documented cases from the never-ending enigma that is the UFO subject. This book will provide a thought provoking read, if you are skeptic or believer in the phenomenon."

Kevin Goodman, author of "UFO Warminster: Cradle of contact", UK.

"A not to be missed fiction from one of the leading authorities on UFO's. Has to be worth a read!"

Philip Gardiner, Author/filmmaker, UK.

"Philip Mantle is extremely knowledgeable about the abduction phenomenon, and it shows. In this graphic novel his real-life expertise translates dramatically into the lives of the characters. Once Upon a Missing Time should not be missed".

"Scrupulously well thought-out, Once Upon a Missing Time provides a gripping insight into one of the greatest enigmas of our era. Although a work of fiction, it carries a disturbing aura of reality on every page".

"They say time is a great healer - and it is, until it goes missing. Philip Mantle's novel takes us on a dark tour through the oft-misunderstood abduction phenomenon - and the angst it can cause in the lives of its victims. A thought-provoking read".

Mike Hallowell, Freelance journalist & author, UK.

"Philip Mantle's long career as an established UFO researcher translates into the gripping story of a family besieged by the inexplicable - a realistic and credible account of the alien abduction phenomenon."

Lee Paqui - Editor, UFO Encounter', or 'Lee Paqui - UFO Research Queensland, Australia.

“The work of Philip Mantle is never a surprise, because we know how good it is. In this book, although a work of fiction, I know that Philip has used all of his experience to bring the close encounter experience to life. “

Thiago Luiz Ticchetti, UFO researcher and author, Brazil.

"Philip Mantle has put the trauma of the alien abduction into perspective for all of us in his story that sucks us in on the first page. It is a tale, not of aliens, but of the results of those who have been abducted and what they experience as a result of something that is beyond their control. Mantle has provided a story that draws to in and keeps you entertained from the first page to the last. It is a story that causes you to keep turning the pages."

Kevin Randle, UFO author, lecturer and broadcaster, USA.

“In a classic example of poacher turned gamekeeper, Philip Mantle has dug deep into his long established background as a world renowned investigator of the UFO phenomenon to produce a first class novel based on his years of experience in the field and a damn fine job he makes of it too. This book bears all the hallmarks of a homage to a well loved and understood subject and it is told in a surprisingly matter of fact manner that belies the central premise of alien abduction and how it can badly affect those involved.”

Brian Allan: Author, speaker and researcher specialising in paranormal phenomena. UK.



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