; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Daily 2 Cents: MH370 Vanishing One-Year Later -- Stealing Charlie Chaplin -- UFO With 3 Cylindrical Fuselages

The MH370 Vanishing One-Year Later

The red-eye to Beijing lifted off the tarmac six minutes late, at 12:41 in the morning, and made a climbing turn over Kuala Lumpur until it was pointed northeast, into the dark over the South China Sea. The aircraft, a twin-engine Boeing 777, was a marvel of engineering and avionics, one of the safest machines of any kind, ever, to transport people, and was flown by a pilot with more than thirty years of experience. The first officer, a young man who was engaged to be married, hadn't been born when the pilot started flying, but he was fully certified and still had thousands of hours of flight time.

There were ten other crew members on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which flew for the last time on March 8, 2014, and 227 passengers. More than two-thirds were Chinese nationals, and another thirty-eight were Malaysians. There was a Russian and two Canadians in business class, two Ukrainians in coach, and two Iranians traveling on stolen passports, from Italy and Austria, hoping eventually to slip into Europe. There was an Italian in 34C and a New Zealander in 19C. A French mother, two of her children, and her son's girlfriend filled a row of middle seats, and on the left side of the plane, two Australian couples were four days into an Asiatic tour they'd planned for a year.

There was a single American adult, in an aisle seat in the first row of economy. His name was Philip Wood, and he managed sales to high-end clients for IBM. The company had transferred him from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur, and he was flying back to close out some accounts and help his partner, Sarah Bajc, pack up their apartment.

Twenty-four seconds after the plane left the ground, air-traffic controllers cleared it to climb to 18,000 feet on a line to IGARI, a spot in the sky at the edge of Malaysian airspace and one of thousands of oddly named navigational waypoints airliners follow. Over the next eight minutes, MH370—the flight's call sign—was cleared for 25,000 feet, then 35,000, its cruising altitude.

Just before 1:08, the plane's ACARS (aircraft communications addressing and reporting system), which automatically reports on various flight and mechanical systems, bounced a routine message off a satellite to a ground station. There was nothing abnormal.

Controllers in Malaysia watched MH370's label, a cluster of letters and numbers, stutter-step up their screens toward IGARI. The flight by then was out of primary radar range. At that distance, air-traffic relies on secondary radar, longer-range technology that gathers information—call signs, altitudes, headings, speed—from transponders in every aircraft. There are two of them on commercial airliners, because every system is redundant in case one fails.

At 1:19, just before MH370 reached IGARI, Malaysian controllers instructed the flight crew to switch their radio to the frequency for Ho Chi Minh control, which would take over beyond the waypoint. The co-pilot answered in a flat, professional cadence. "Good night, Malaysia three seven zero." Read more at The Vanishing


Americans are turning away from organized religion in record numbers

With fire-breathing religion figuring anew in global conflicts, and political discussions at home often dominated by the nuttery of the Christian right, you might get the sense that somebody’s god is ready to mug you around every street corner. But if you’re the type who doesn’t like to hang your hat on organized religion, here’s a bit of good news: in America, your numbers are growing.

There are more religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. today than ever before. Starting in the 1980s, a variety of polls using different methodologies have come to the same conclusion: people who do not identify with religious labels are on the rise, perhaps even doubling in that time frame.

Some call them “nones”: agnostics, atheists, deists, secular humanists, general humanists, and people who just don’t care to identify with any religious group. It’s not exactly correct to call them nonbelievers, because some still have faith and spirituality in some sense or another. A 2012 Pew study noted that 30 percent of these people believe in “God or universal spirit” and around 20 percent even pray every day. But according to the latest research, Americans checking the “none of the above” box will make up an increasingly important force in the country. Other groups, like born-again evangelicals, have grown more percentage-wise, but the nones have them beat in absolute numbers.

The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute has documented this sea change in its American Values Atlas, which it released last Wednesday. The fascinating study provides demographic, religious and political data based on surveys conducted throughout 2014. According to PRRI director of research Dan Cox, “The U.S. religious landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation that is fundamentally reshaping American politics and culture.”

Last year, for the very first time, Protestants lost their majority status in the Institute’s annual report, making up only 47 percent of those surveyed. The religiously unaffiliated, who come in at 22 percent, boast numbers on par with major religious groups like American Catholics. All told, the unaffiliated is the second-largest group in the country. It was also the most common group chosen by residents in 13 states, with the largest share (a third or more) in Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire. In Ohio and Virginia, this group was tied for first place. The unaffiliated don’t find too many like-minded folks down in Mississippi, however, where they make up only 10 percent of the population.

The study also found that there are 15 states where the unaffiliated constitute the second-largest group.

So what do we know about these people? Nones tend to be more politically liberal — three-quarters favor same-sex marriage and legal abortion. They also have higher levels of education and income than other groups. While about one out of five Americans is unaffiliated, the number is much higher among young people: Pew research shows that a third of Americans under 30 have no religious affiliation. Harvard professor Robert Putnam, who studies religion, thinks the trend among younger people is part of their general lack of interest in community institutions and institutions in general.

Last year, the Washington Post ran an article citing research by Allen Downey, a professor of computer science at Massachusetts’ Olin College of Engineering, who claims that people become nones mainly for two reasons: lack of religious upbringing (OMG those hippie parents!) and… the Internet. According to Downey, as much as 20 percent of unaffiliation is attributable to Internet use. He found that between 1990 and 2010, the share of Americans claiming no religious affiliation grew from 8 percent to 18 percent while the number of Americans surfing the Web jumped from almost nothing to 80 percent. But he acknowledges, as his critics are quick to point out, that correlation does not causation make.

One thing is certain: voting nones are making their presence felt in politics. They are thought to have helped Obama win a second term.

But the GOP doesn’t seem to show many signs of reducing the outsized influence of white evangelicals, who represent only 18 percent of the population, at least publicly. Just a couple of weeks ago, presidential hopeful Scott Walker could be seen refusing to answer a question about evolution, as if embracing widely accepted science would make him an apostate. Ordained Southern Baptist Mike Huckabee, also making noises of running, just released a book titled God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy, which kind of makes the Lord sound like the Great Bubba in the sky. But on the secretive big money donor trail, which all serious candidates must follow, the only religion they’ll be talking about much is free market fundamentalism. Your libertarians, your supply siders, and your various fatcats care a whole lot more about their bank accounts than any spiritual reckonings. Getting the government out of their way to leave them to their plundering is their holy scripture.

But when talking to voters, the GOP really can’t afford to tone it down, because while monied elites tend to be secular, selling free-market pillage to the people getting robbed is not a very effective strategy. So they still have to mask their agenda behind appeals to popular religion so the non-rich will vote against their economic interests in places like Tennessee, which has the highest share of white evangelicals, at 43 percent. (White mainline Protestants account for 14 percent of the population nationally.)

As you might expect, the fact that religion is losing its grip on the daily lives of Americans is freaking a lot of people out. The New York Times’ David Brooks is quite alarmed, admonishing nones that “secularism has to do for nonbelievers what religion does for believers — arouse the higher emotions, exalt the passions in pursuit of moral action.” Of course, secularists only form one portion of the unaffiliated group, but considering that Mr. Brooks likes to wax on about the moral probity of America’s founders — your George Washingtons and so on — he might ask himself which box they might have checked. - Raw Story

NOTE: People are just tired of 'religions' telling them what they should believe in and preaching morality...when, in fact, their rolls consist of pedophiles, cheaters and crooks. Lon


Stealing Charlie Chaplin

Almost forty years ago, on March 2, 1978, Oona Chaplin got a call from the local police. Three months earlier, her husband Charlie Chaplin—the British star of silent films and early “talkies”—had died peacefully at their home near Corsier-sur-Vevey, by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. He was 88. Oona, his fourth wife, and their eight children had buried him in a quiet cemetery by their home.

That was what the police were calling about.

"They said, look, somebody dug up the grave and he's gone,” Chaplin’s son, Eugene, later recalled to the Independent.

That was the beginning of one of the most spectacularly unsuccessful body snatchings in history. The thieves soon called the home with their terms. They wanted the equivalent of about $600,000 for the safe return of Chaplin’s body and threatened the lives of the couple’s young children should their demands not be met.

Oona would have nothing to do with it. "Charlie would have thought it rather ridiculous," she said, according to Mental Floss.

But the body-snatchers were desperate and the local police diligent. In May of that year, expecting another call from the crooks, police had Oona’s phone tapped and every one of the area’s 200 phone booths monitored by detectives. The efforts paid out, and two mechanics and political refugees from Eastern Europe, Roman Wardas and Gantscho Ganev, were finally nabbed.

After the two led the authorities to the cornfield where they had temporarily re-buried Chaplin, they were prosecuted for grave robbing and attempted extortion. Wardas, the reported "mastermind," was sentenced to four years, while Ganev got an 18-month suspended sentence.

Both appeared somewhat sorry for their crimes. Eugene told the Independent that both graverobbers wrote letters to his mother, who was ready to let bygones be bygones. "The wife of the nicer one wrote and said 'We're so sorry'. My mother wrote back and said: 'Look, all is forgiven.'"

As for poor Charlie, he was reburied in his original plot. This time, however, the family opted for a concrete coating over the grave to deter any future robberies. Though a 2014 French film on the ordeal called The Price of Fame reawakened interest in the case, for the last four decades, as far as anyone knows, the comedian has been resting quietly in peace. - Smithsonian Mag


UFO With 3 Cylindrical Fuselages

Norfolk, Virginia - 12/15/1988: Was coming home from Christmas shopping. Stopped at red lite. Saw bright lite in front. Thought was nightingale at accident. Turned left. Light came parallel. Took another left light hovered in front. Light was so bright had to put visor down. Told wife "wouldn't it be cool if it was UFO?" Turned left again light followed turned right ,light followed. Turned into driveway. When got out of car expecting to hear helo rotors. Looked up as craft described above flew over. Looked at wife and said **** that thing is longer than our street. She said, doesn't make a sound either. Then my daughter, who was about 7 or 8 said dad it doesn't have any tail wings. It was a bright moon lit nite. We could see the shape very well. It appeared to be a gunmetal grey. Had red lights front and rear of all 3 fuselages that stayed on steady. I guess the altitude to be about 1200 ft. It was traveling east at maybe 25 MPH. Told wife, let's follow it. We all got back in car. As I was backing out of driveway, told wife, I'll drive you tell me which way to go. As I backed out , had just put car in gear when wife said Never Mind it's gone. I asked where did it go? She said I don't know. When I blinked my eyes it was not there anymore. I did have a set of Christmas lights in a tree that were setup to look like a flying saucer that was spinning. Neighbors said it made them dizzy. Can't win them all. That's my story. I'm divorced now, but ex will still agree with what we saw. Daughter still remembers also. Remember telling wife (was working in Naval Shipyard at time) the center fuselage was larger then aircraft carrier that was working on. The center fuselage was about 1/3 larger and longer than the outer two. Center fuselage was approx. 75-100 ft. Dia. And close to 1/4 Mile long. Steet I lived on was close to 1/4 mile long. That's what I guaged it by. I remember telling wife, we could put every house on our street inside that center fuselage. I kept asking, how can something that big fly 25 mph and stay in the sky, much less making no sound at all. Norfolk airport landing pattern is just west of my house. We could hear a plane landing in the background.as far as feelings we were all left in aaw. Had no other whitnesses. All were inside or in bed. - MUFON CMS



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