SECRETS ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ENIGMATIC EMPYREAN

(Alleged patent of Nikola Tesla, unverified)

Hearken not, the man who fears,
All things we seek to know.
When shadows fall and storm-cloud nears,
His ilk, are soon to go.

As veils rise and darkness burns,
The beast called truth appears.
Strange winds will stir the tide that turns,
once 'certainty', to tears.
 —C. M. Johnson

The Unidentified Flying Object (or more commonly known UFO) ignites a certain wonderment among a great many of us. Because despite the fact that there is often a perfectly logical explanation for these sightings, in many instances the explanation is as dubious as the peculiar sighting itself. Like it or not, the situation is unusual and for this, it draws our gaze. But just as it stirs among the imaginations of those willing to believe the extraordinary, so too does it require the justification of those who see it merely as a misunderstood spectacle. And thus, the great and (seemingly) eternal dance of polarized perspectives begins.

People will go to great lengths to share their point of view on a popular matter. Especially if that matter holds a great deal of importance to so many people around the world. Some want others to share their opinion, or gain a more “logical” insight, some merely want you to be aware, some just want to be heard and don’t particularly mind what they’re saying. Whether it’s true or not, doesn’t matter to them. But despite all of these factors that seem to muddy the already turbid waters, somewhere somehow the truth will be unearthed. We may or may not like what is discovered, but truth doesn’t require an opinion to exist.

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

—Arthur C. Clarke

If I were to address the biggest problem (in my experience) in genuinely studying the nature of anything within the paranormal spectrum, it would be the disingenuous nature of people. Only a liar has the power to change the entire universe as they see fit (even God can’t theoretically control human free will). Unfortunately, a great many will always desire this power. It doesn’t mean that all believers and/or non-believers are lying, but that reality doesn’t always play a part in what some people define as truth. They desire a certain truth and that’s all that matters to them. Utterly blind to any other possibility, even if they’re clutching at proverbial straws.

If asked, personally, where I stand on the existence of extra-terrestrial beings and the appearance of seemingly advanced unidentified flying objects; I could only honestly say, “I don’t know.”

I remember vaguely, seeing something strange as a child (around 8). Some kind of aircraft hung extremely low, seemingly hovering at varying speeds, tailing the family car as we drove along a country road. At one stage, I pressed my face against the rear window and looked up and it seemed to be meters above the car, then quickly ascended into the cloud cover and completely out of sight. Is this a credible memory, even to me the bearer of said memory, absolutely not.

I couldn’t tell you the form of the “craft” because it was so dark, I couldn’t even tell you the layout of the lights. The lights were so bright it was difficult to look directly at them, but most lights in the night are. I can recall, however, the feeling more so than the actual visual spectacle, which was a childish certainty that something extraordinary was happening and how lucky I was to be seeing it. But there were a lot of Alien and UFO cultural influences at that juncture in my childhood. I even learned years later that we were about an hours drive from a large airbase at the time. Which has led me to speculate that what I witnessed was possibly a reckless or faltering pilot of an ordinary craft, mistaken by an 8 year old to be something out of this world. It certainly made an otherwise long and boring car trip entertaining.

This event may have contributed to my interest in the subject of UFOs, but it also led me to understand how a similar event could take place and someone could be deceived. I also appreciate the fact that maybe it was exactly as bizarre as my memory recalls and I tried to subconsciously justify it as a mundane ordinary event to keep a sturdier footing on a blissfully (and willful) ignorant state of normality.

My singular experience in no way contributes to any argument for or against extraterrestrial visitors. Unfortunately, as more and more objects get sent into the skies, we are seeing an influx in reported UFOs. Often UFO sightings also trend with the popularity of the term. Which makes sense because not only would people be more inclined to report false claims, but they would be more likely to look up to see legitimate unidentified objects.

Things like drones, various other flying/floating devices, satellites are more numerous throughout our skies now than ever before. A great many UFO sightings are also considered to be foreign nations or private endeavors utilizing seemingly highly technologically advanced aircraft. Stealth reconnaissance, testing for tactical weaknesses?

It could even be a governmental means to keep track of what makes a society tick. Almost like psychological stress tests to see how the masses respond to certain anomalies. In the same sense, if a government (or groups of) or maybe even something beyond all governments wanted to distract the world population from something, they could manufacture a distraction. A distraction the likes of a global obsession with UFOs.

If only we could go back to simpler times, surely the case would be closed if we could deduce the fact that the UFO is merely the creation of modern times. Maybe after the Roswell incident?

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

As lightly illustrated by Charles Hoy Fort, in his book published in 1919.

Sourced from The Project Gutenberg:

ᴛʜᴇ BOOK ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ DAMNED

In the Scientific American, 40-294, is published a letter from Henry Harrison, of Jersey City, copied from the New York Tribune: that upon the evening of April 13, 1879, Mr. Harrison was searching for Brorsen’s comet, when he saw an object that was moving so rapidly that it could not have been a comet. He called a friend to look, and his observation was confirmed. At two o’clock in the morning this object was still visible. In the Scientific American Supplement, 7-2885, Mr. Harrison disclaims sensationalism, which he seems to think unworthy, and gives technical details: he says that the object was seen by Mr. J. Spencer Devoe, of Manhattanville.

“A formation having the shape of a dirigible.” It was reported from Huntington, West Virginia (Sci. Amer., 115-241). Luminous object that was seen July 19, 1916, at about 11 P.M. Observed through “rather powerful field glasses,” it looked to be about two degrees long and half a degree wide. It gradually dimmed, disappeared, reappeared, and then faded out of sight. Another person—as we say: it would be too inconvenient to hold to our intermediatist recognitions—another person who observed this phenomenon suggested to the writer of the account that the object was a dirigible, but the writer says that faint stars could be seen behind it. This would seem really to oppose our notion of a dirigible visitor to this earth—except for the inconclusiveness of all things in a mode of seeming that is not final—or we suggest that behind some parts of the object, thing, construction, faint stars were seen. We find a slight discussion here. Prof. H.M. Russell thinks that the phenomenon was a detached cloud of aurora borealis. Upon page 369 of this volume of the Scientific American, another correlator suggests that it was a light from a blast furnace—disregarding that, if there be blast furnaces in or near Huntington, their reflections would be commonplaces there.

We now have several observations upon cylindrical-shaped bodies that have appeared in this earth’s atmosphere: cylindrical, but pointed at both ends, or torpedo-shaped. Some of the accounts are not very detailed, but out of the bits of description my own acceptance is that super-geographical routes are traversed by torpedo-shaped super-constructions that have occasionally visited, or that have occasionally been driven into this earth’s atmosphere. From data, the acceptance is that upon entering this earth’s atmosphere, these vessels have been so racked that had they not sailed away, disintegration would have occurred: that, before leaving this earth, they have, whether in attempted communication or not, or in mere wantonness or not, dropped objects, which did almost immediately violently disintegrate or explode. Upon general principles we think that explosives have not been purposely dropped, but that parts have been racked off, and have fallen, exploding like the things called “ball lightning.” Many have been objects of stone or metal with inscriptions upon them, for all we know, at present. In all instances, estimates of dimensions are valueless, but ratios of dimensions are more acceptable. A thing said to have been six feet long may have been six hundred feet long; but shape is not so subject to the illusions of distance.

The interesting thing about this text and others like it, is it suggests that people have been observing unidentified flying objects even before mankind had mastered flight in 1903. Depictions and stories hinting toward celestial “gods” and “visitors” exist throughout human history. Are the sightings a continuation of a possibly human desire? A desire for a connection with the “supreme” or “divine”?

Or have there been events taking place on this planet, all around us, which the majority of us are utterly (and in some cases willfully) blind to?

ᴛʜᴇ FRAGILITY ᴏғ HUMAN ANATOMY

(Animation from GIPHY.com)

Our bodies are extremely complex systems, one human body is more accurately described as a living organism in itself. The moment you’re born your body is already riddled with billions of microbes (some estimates in adults exceeding hundreds of trillions). Life begets life. But this system, comprised of systems, this organism comprised of organisms, brilliant though it may be, can fail with no warning signs, whatsoever.

It’s estimated that recorded deaths in excess of 100, 000 occur naturally every year among individuals aged between 0 and 35 years old. Most of us know someone, or of someone who though seemingly healthy, retired to bed one night and just never woke up. One of the myriad of systems tirelessly working, for whatever reason, gave out. In my experience it’s these anomalous and inexplicable deaths of the young and otherwise healthy that reveal to us just how fragile our lives can be. Yet, most of us take our health for granted, until something goes awry.

HOW DO WE DEFINE LIFE?

Is life the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death (dictionary.com)?

Generally it’s agreed upon now that death can only truly be achieved with the declaration of total brain death. Once the brain is dead, the individual is considered deceased. (Some believe the individual should be kept alive, regardless. Others believe that it is immoral to provide means to sustain life when someone is in a severe comatose condition. Usually comes down to decisions made by next of kin and the specific laws of the country involved.)

So in the hypothetical instance (discussed by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku) where future technology has allowed for a brain to be augmented with machinery, is the more capable mechanical component of the brain, slightly less alive? Despite the functionality working in unison to present one singular living mind.

What if (by some extremely technologically advanced means) a human brain was integrated with a highly sophisticated system. Where consciousness as we understand it is existing simultaneously in both the brain (attached to a living body) and in some machine/system. Eventually integration becomes absolute and consciousness as a whole is existing just as it had done so in the organic brain in the system. Then the organic brain, along with the human body, dies and is destroyed. The mind, however, is completely intact, interpreting the world through audio and visual sensors. Generating responses that transmit audible speech. Would you be talking to a dead man? An imitation? Artificial intelligence? The soul?

If this transference of consciousness happened overnight, to an individual who had no idea it ever occurred, the mind placed into a synthetic replica of their previous organic body. Complete with simulations of all organic bodily processes. Would they be dead? They would not think so, because in this scenario they would be completely unaware.

All said and done, I believe who we really are, are our thoughts, our memories, dreams and desires, the things that matter to us, the decisions we make and made. Sure we have impulses, urges with a basis in our biology, but does that define us? Are we defined by our limitations, such as the fragile mortal forms we currently find ourselves within?

Are we alive right now, or is it purely our organs that are “living”, and we are merely the by-product, exactly the same as we would be if situated in a machine, a by-product of a series of complex processes?

Who is more alive, the sentient mechanical being, who can interact with the world around them. Or the (technically) living human comatose patient, who has already experienced brain death?

TIME TRAVEL ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ 2ɴᴅ ʟᴀᴡ ᴏғ THERMODYNAMICS

(Animation from GIPHY.com)

In some ways the birth of our universe could be compared to the lighting of a candle, the “Big Bang” was when it was first lit. With this now burning wick, entropy increases, the once stagnant unaltered order/state of the wick and candle’s pristine structure begins to diminish as time passes. So begins the gradual decline into total disorder. Total disorder being the incineration of the wick, the form of the candle being lost, and equilibrium is achieved. The energy (wherever it came from) has been transferred, converted, but for all intents and purposes, it is gone (a process is deemed ‘irreversible’ if dissipation occurs, which in most instances, it does). As the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states, in all processes that occur (including spontaneous) the entropy at least in regards to thermodynamics, is irreversible.

So just as the flickering flame of the candle will at some stage burn out, so too, as theorized by some, could/will our universe reach it’s equilibrium and enter a phase known as “total heat death”. In this outcome of achieved equilibrium everything in the entire universe would be the same temperature. The height of entropy, total disorder, no transference of energy or structure. No rhyme or reason. Just stagnate remaining mass, moving unpredictably in an eternity of darkness.

Entropy is intrinsically linked with the Arrow of Time (in physics). Coined by the British astronomer Arthur Eddington. Eddington gave three factors regarding, the arrow of time:

⦿ It is vividly recognized by consciousness.

⦿ It is equally insisted on by our reasoning faculty, which tells us that a reversal of the arrow would render the external world nonsensical.

⦿ It makes no appearance in physical science except in the study of organization of a number of individuals.

Threes three factors pertaining to the arrow of time are extremely localized around human perception.

In a way, time going in one direction only → relies on the basis that nothing ever happens/happened after theoretical “total heat death”. Because if something did occur (which it is theorized to be nigh impossible), then we could readdress the definition of the direction of time. As the system of the universe is no longer irreversible. For instance, after total heat death, a gradual pooling of mass begins to occur. Taking billions and billions and billions (times infinity, why not) years, so much mass could be drawn together that a high-density and (and even less likely) high-temperature state is reached. In that scenario, could the “Big Bang” occur again? Could that be the process that occurs over and over and over? If that were possible, the process of our universe’s creation could be deemed reversible. Rendering time no longer linear, but cyclic and infinite.

Meaning time isn’t a straight arrow pointing in one direction, but rather a circle ↻ that always returns to a structured state, a starting position. In a process larger than we could ever hope to imagine.

If that wasn’t as extremely far-fetched and hypothetically scientifically offensive for you to consider, then consider this, what if everything forms, exactly the same, every single time the universe goes through this cycle? (There are some that argue that there is no such thing as a truly random outcome of events. It merely appears that way to our understanding, as we cannot perceive what is going on at the most finite level.)

As it stands, our current time traveling abilities are extremely limited. We have access to such a tiny portion. At best, around 100 years. We’ve mastered travelling forward through time. We’re doing it right now. As your eyes trail over this text, the words previously read give an indication that you are progressively moving forward.

But consider this science-fiction scenario:

The adult son of two prominently known archeologists (by some extraordinary hypothetical means) manages to momentarily travel back in time, some 145 million years, for a total duration of 15 seconds. He travels to a region somewhere in North America, during the Cretaceous period. Where his brief appearance momentarily distracts a pack of deinonychus (the 100kg version of the 15kg velociraptor) from noticing a tenontosaurus in the distance, prey they would have otherwise eaten. Thus, eliminating the specific archeological dig site where his parents first met. Subsequently, either, eliminating himself from existence, creating an alternate reality. Or whatever other scenario someone might imagine.

One of the many problems with this hypothetical scenario is that small, minuscule detail skimmed over at the beginning. The act of travelling backwards in time. It’s virtually impossible to imagine a means by which anyone could travel backwards through a process while entropy is taking place.

Unless, a being was somehow capable of making itself entirely independent from the process (the universe reaching equilibrium). In which case, according to the theories suggested (total pseudo-science, if that wasn’t obvious already), the way to travel backward in time could be to actually go so far forward, that you catch the past as it occurs again for the first time, in one of the next formations of the universe.

Perhaps beings beyond our comprehensible universe have been aware of this cyclic order of things longer than we even have words to describe what we call “time”?

Could God himself be a being who discovered how to isolate himself from the process? Or perhaps his ability to escape the process is innate?

If extraterrestrial life does have an interest in our planet, could it be monitoring the formations of this universe each cycle? Comparing our status with last time and the time before that? Eternally making comparisons to previous visits. Maybe they require things that occur so rarely, they come to a specific point each cycle to gather a valuable resource.

These theories are just a handful of many theories that are more than likely, all completely wrong (like most theories). But, it’s still intriguing (for some) to entertain the thought. Maybe we’ll never truly understand the mysteries of the universe, maybe next time around?

ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴍʏ HOME ʙᴇ HAUNTED?

(Illustrated by Édouard de Beaumont, 1871)

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Well, firstly, anything can be “haunted”, when you think about it. A location that is regarded as “haunted”, is considered to be a place frequented by ghosts. What are ghosts? The remaining trace or vestige of something that “once was”. If something traumatic or humiliating happens to us, we may want to avoid the place where these things occurred, because to the individual, those places are (sometimes eternally) haunted with unpleasant memories.

In most instances, where the question of ‘hauntings’ arise, people aren’t referring to mere memories but instead phantasms, spectres and apparitions. Spirits or unforeseen forces that by whatever means, make their presence known. Usually causing negative implications on the living, at the very least, some form of psychological duress.

According to Pewresearch.org, in 2009 a study discovered that out of 2,003 Americans surveyed; 18% claimed to have seen a ghost. While 29% believed they were somehow in touch with the dead.

Interestingly, as you may have already recognized from anecdotal stories you might have heard or even seen in Hollywood depictions of the “haunted house”, it’s quite often an individual/family unit moving into a new unfamiliar home/place. It starts off with something subtle like an eerie feeling that progresses to lost items, anomalous electrical activity etc. Then the apparitions start and it progresses on, usually culminating with the discovery of some physical evidence of some horrendous tragedy, like a desecrated corpse hidden beneath the basement. At least in film.

The essential element that Hollywood gets right, along with most anecdotes is that something happens when you take any living creature out of its natural habitat. If you take an animal from its habitat or terrarium and place it in another, the animal experiences some initial duress, because change means uncertainty and uncertainly means fear. This works the same way in humans, with the change of locale or the increase of stress (most often caused due to a lack of sleep) natural human paranoia kicks in.

This concept is so old in fact, that there is a ghost story with this exact premise dating back some 2,000 years.

According to a surviving written account by Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus), 61 – circa 113 AD, he claims he was told stories of unusual circumstances regarding the Greek philosopher, Athenodorus Cananites (Ἀθηνόδωρος Κανανίτης), circa 74 BC – 7 AD. In a letter titled, ‘LXXXIII. To Sura’ he explains Athenodoros coming into possession of a large house, being sold for a suspiciously low price.

“In the dead of the night a noise, resembling the clashing of iron, was frequently heard, which, if you listened more attentively, sounded like the rattling of chains, distant at first, but approaching nearer by degrees: immediately afterwards a spectre appeared in the form of an old man, of extremely emaciated and squalid appearance, with a long beard and dishevelled, hair, rattling the chains on his feet and hands.”  

—Pliny the Younger

The story concludes with Athenodoros being led by the apparition to a certain spot in his home, which he marked. Later having the floor dug up to reveal the mangled skeletal remains of a chained man. Immediately after the remains were exhumed the hauntings ceased.

Essentially, there are two fears being represented in this ‘haunted house’ trope. One is the human fear of ghosts, which is intertwined with the fear of death and the unknown. The other fear, is spending a great deal of money on a new home, to discover it is haunted, or the premise of something gruesome and unpleasant. Thus, becoming a bad investment.

Two common human fears, death and the loss of money.

The “unknown territory” leading to heightened senses and (in some cases paranoid interpretations of otherwise normal) response to generic stimuli could account for a great many people believing their domicile is in someway haunted by an unworldly entity.

But this in no way accounts for all of them.

The most commonly reported signs that your home may be haunted are:

⦿ First and foremost, history. Cut to the chase, is it an old home? Does the land have a dark past? The noose hanging in the garage could save you a lot of guess work here. Older, creepier homes, in areas with a dark rich history of murders etc are far more stereotypically common to be considered haunted. Not exclusively the case, but for the sake of ascertaining if your home is haunted it’s good to take all elements into consideration.

⦿ More often than not, it begins with the faintest feeling as though you happen to be somewhere that you not welcome. Undoubtedly, the precursor to many unfortunate events.

⦿ Feeling as though you’re being watched. (Relatively common even if your home isn’t haunted. In fact this is so common, many individuals will momentarily feel as though they are being watched after reading this sentence.)

⦿ Objects appearing in strange places, or disappearing entirely without viable explanation. Things being moved even to a minuscule degree. Falling paintings/pictures, religious icons, clocks stopping etc.

⦿ Unusual noises. Formulaic patterns of knocks, often at the same time of day/night. Footsteps, audible calls, muffled speech.

⦿ Anomalous electrical activity, though there is a correlation of old creepy houses and genuinely bad defective, corroded wiring. Unusual electromagnetic fields are not conclusive reasons (alone) to believe your home is haunted as there are various natural and man-made causes.

⦿ Visual, olfactory and auditory hallucinations. Seeing, smelling or hearing things that by all rights you should not be seeing/smelling/hearing. Primarily experienced on an individual level. Foul odors appearing and going away without explanation, at certain times, maybe in certain parts of the house. Momentary glimpses of shadowy entities. Sounds like calls, laughter, sobbing. Footsteps heading down a hallway, etc.

⦿ Parts of the home/house seem to hold certain temperatures. Like a room being consistently cold, maybe a specific area of a room. Temperature fluctuations, usually spikes of cold that cannot naturally be explained. More often than not experienced at night, maybe at a reoccurring hour.

⦿ Bruises, marks, injuries you cannot explain, often appearing when you wake up of a morning. Rare accounts, human bite indentations on extremities.

⦿ Unusually intense/vivid nightmares. Experiences of sleep paralysis disorder/Old Hag syndrome. Often the nightmares pertain to a sort of torment, that will carry over into nocturnal disturbances.

⦿ Sightings of apparitions. By the time you are frequently sighting apparitions appear in your home you should attempt to have someone other than yourself witness said apparition. Once more than one person has witnessed the phenomenon then it’s swiftly becoming apparent that your home may in fact, be haunted.

⦿ Finally, bouts of confrontation/interaction with an incorporeal entity. In worst case scenarios, actual physical contact with a spirit. In extremely rare cases, individuals have claimed the confrontation can be as real and dangerous as a physical altercation with another living being. At which stage, some sort of religious or third party intervention is usually suggested. Along with the immediate ejection from the premise until the situation can be assessed/dealt with.

If you’re experiencing anything outlined above the last thing you should do is suffer in silence. As horrifying as it can be for the home owner, living in fear, there are many people who would be interested in helping you assess if there is something supernatural going on in your home. Maybe a friend or relative, or you could contact someone (you trust, at least enough to be in your home) to look into it with you.

I find it fascinating hearing about haunted homes. But in my experience, the “hauntings” are generally so subtle that the “ghost” really isn’t doing anything so offensive to bother the occupants of the home. To this day, I don’t believe I have witnessed a truly haunted home.

Maybe I’ll haunt this home when I die? Physically abuse the living, so they know it’s a proper haunting. Maybe they’ll even link it back to this specific article, “the bastard, it says here he planned to haunt the house all along! Even before he died!” “You’re kidding, darling!?” “Then there’s a sort of back and forth exchange of speech at the end, sort of mocking us, I suppose,” “horrendous!” “Yes, quite, then it goes on to say here if we both say ‘Yowsa Yowsa Yowsa’ he won’t haunt us anymore.” “Well, thank God that’s over with.”

ᴛʜᴇ ᴘᴇᴄᴜʟɪᴀʀ EVENT ᴏғ TUNGUSKA 1908

ТУНГУСКА СОБЫТИЕ

"The pines were roaring on the heights,
The wind was moaning, in the night,
The fire was red, it flaming spread,
The trees like torches, blazed with light."
—Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold, J. R. R. Tolkien

They say the sky was torn asunder, that the great void was then filled with fire. A flame so bright, it bore a bluish hue. The thunderous booms shook the earth, the heat was nigh unbearable. Some fell to their knees, wept in the streets and looked on, as if the world had begun to end.

No, this isn’t a Biblical text, nor is it a piece from mythology or even the work of a dragon in some far off distant land, detailed in a fantasy novel. Some 111 years ago (from the time of writing this text) a strange and powerful phenomenon occurred that exposed a rather small group of individuals on this planet, to something extraordinary and utterly terrifying.

On the 30th of June, at 7:17 in the morning, 1908, people across the northern region of what is now Siberia, Russia, noticed something spectacular flying across the morning sky.

Account translated from Russian, from records of eyewitnesses of the Tunguska Event:

“The sky was cloudless, only not high above the horizon, on the same side in which the luminous body was observed, there was a noticeably small dark cloud. It was hot, dry. Approaching the ground (forest), the shiny body seemed to have blurred, but in its place a huge club of black smoke formed and an extremely strong knock (not thunder) was heard, as if from large falling stones or a cannon fire. All buildings were trembling. At the same time, an indefinite flame began to erupt from the cloud.”

—N. Ponomarev

“The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire. At that moment I became so hot that I couldn’t bear it as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few metres. I lost my senses for a moment, but then my wife ran out and led me to the house.”

—S. Semenov

A column of blue light was seen, as seemingly bright as the sun. Followed by a series of resonating sonic blasts, which toppled people over inside their homes. Estimated to have registered around 5.0 on the Richter magnitude scale, far across the region, despite the fact that this was not an earthquake and there was no sign of actual impact after the phenomenon had ended. Sightings of a strange blue light in the sky were were seen across the Northern Hemisphere at the time of the event.

The general belief of what occurred on June 30th was the entry of a meteoroid into the earth’s atmosphere. Subsequently as it descended, it disintegrated entirely some 5 to 10 kilometers from the surface. The size of the meteoroid presumed to be anywhere between 50 and 190 meters in diameter. The descent of the disintegrating meteoroid caused an air burst with a force estimated to equate to a range of 10-30 megatons of energy. An estimation thousands of times more powerful than the energy released from the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, 6th of August, 1945 (.02 Mt).

This explosion of energy flattened approximately 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) of forrest and was responsible for 3 human casualties. To this day, at the epicenter of the blast, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska (Подкаменная Тунгуска) river in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, trees and plant-life are scarce. There is no sign of impact, yet the earth has been scarred. Even though the meteoroid never actually collided with earth, the Tunguska event is considered the largest (human witnessed) impact recorded in history.

There are a string of theories that attempt to explain the Tunguska event, with various means of natural phenomenon. Some of which suggest large amounts of natural gas may have been involved, pooling above Tunguska before being ignited by a natural ignition source (possibly lightning) causing an explosive eruption.

Then, of course, there are more wild (and imaginative) theories. Pertaining to mysterious forces, the likes of extraterrestrial activity. Some of these theories suggest that the cosmic air burst was not a fluke phenomenon but rather the work of a highly advanced weapon. From some of the descriptions given by eyewitnesses, some believe it sounds as though something (possibly a flying craft) was being repeatedly struck during its descent, billowing black smoke, as stated in eyewitness reports.

Suggesting the blue beam was not the tail of light following the meteoroid but instead a weaponized energy source willfully destroying something as it plummeted toward our planet. Eventually, completely obliterating it before it touched the ground. Though the immense energy used to do so, made an earth shaking impact of its own.

One theory surrounding the reason for this conflict of advanced crafts is that our planet was/is under the protection of a highly advanced alien race of beings. Who watch over our simple existence in a similar fashion to the rangers watching over the realms surrounding the Shire, of Tolkien’s Middle-earth. On this particular occasion an invading force slipped through their defenses, but they managed to destroy it and obliterate its existence just in time. An intriguing idea, but very little evidence corroborates with this far-fetched theory.

Perhaps we’ll never truly know exactly what caused the Tunguska event and hopefully, we’ll never witness anything like it.

ᴀɴ INTRODUCTION ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ OUIJA BOARD

The Ouija Board, once a trademark of the ‘Parker Brothers’. Today the trademark and surrounding rights are held by Hasbro, Inc. A compound of the French word Oui, meaning “yes” and the German word Ja, also meaning “yes”. A name almost consistently mispronounced, the world over. Patented on May 28th, 1890. Officially, the Ouija board (Spirit/Talking Board) is patented as a toy and a game. It is alleged to be a means of communicating with “spirits”, via the manipulation of an indicator (planchette) being aligned over letters, numbers, “YES”, “NO” and “GOOD BYE”.

Is there indisputable proof that the Ouija board does (or ever has done) the one thing it claims to do, produce a viable means of communication with the dead?

No, there isn’t.

Not for lack of trying. Harry Houdini made it his public ambition that after death he would do anything he could to commune with his wife. As it stands, even with the regular séances (held even to this day) to contact him, he’s never reached out to reveal the secret he left to prove authenticity. That doesn’t disprove the functionality of the Ouija board. But it sure as hell doesn’t help either.

There isn’t indisputable proof to back up a great many things that billions of people believe around the world. Which is essential for peaceful life on this planet, freedom of belief should be a protected human right. No matter how absolutely, uncannily ridiculous something may seem. We should disagree, peaceful disagreement makes life more interesting. Some days I believe certain things, other days I might not. But in regards to the Ouija board, maybe it requires very specific circumstances? Very specific individuals in very specific locations. Or maybe it was in fact, merely a late Victorian novelty that allowed men and women to touch knees, awkwardly flirt and pass the long dreary hours between the deaths by childbirth and public floggings.

Never the less, in most instances where Ouija boards are used now, it’s usually among groups of teenagers trying to get a rise out of one another. Some feign shock and awe while others are genuinely terrified. Everyone swears they aren’t manipulating the planchette but the thing drifts around the board with ease. Only while everyone’s touching it, of course. In the rare instances where people have attempted using Ouija boards blindfolded, the results are rarely even decipherable. Again, maybe somehow the spirits can only see through the eyes of those manipulating the board or something equally elaborate?

One of the interesting things people say about Ouija boards, especially those that subscribe to the notion that they do work; Is in a solemn warning tone they’ll say, “never use a Ouija board on your own!”

Which is brilliant advice because the likelihood of anything happening while one genuinely intrigued, albeit naive individual sits alone waiting for a planchette to move over a Ouija board, is very, very low. To prove a point to myself, at the time of writing this, I actually dug out an old Ouija board and asked the questions people ask, “is anyone here?” etc. I only dedicated 10 or so minutes, (the time it takes to slowly drink one beer) before calling it quits. If there are any spirits here, apparently they’ve got nothing they want to say to me. Or I am simply too dense, unworthy or inept of hearing from them. The possibilities are endless.

Perhaps, I should have first consulted the instructions that were once supplied with the board, some 117 years ago:

Original instructions provided with the commercially sold Ouija Boards in 1902, written by William Fuld (sourced from The Museum of Talking Boards):

⦿ 1: “Place the board upon the knees of two persons, lady and gentleman preferred, with the small table upon the board. Place the fingers lightly but firmly, without pressure, upon the table so as to allow it to move easily and freely. In from one to five minutes the tablet will commence to move, at first slowly, then faster, and will be then able to talk or answer questions, which it will do rapidly by touching the printed words or the letters necessary to form words and sentences with the foreleg or pointer.”

⦿ 2: “Care should be taken that one person only should ask questions at a time, so as to avoid confusion, and the questions should be put plainly and accurately.”

⦿ 3: “To obtain the best results it is important that the persons present should concentrate their minds upon the matter in question and avoid other topics. Have no one at the table who will not sit seriously and respectfully. If you use it in a frivolous spirit, asking ridiculous questions, laughing over it, you naturally get undeveloped influences around you.”

⦿ 4: “The Ouija is a great mystery, and we do not claim to give exact directions for its management, neither do we claim that at all times and under all circumstances it will work equally well. But we do claim and guarantee that with reasonable patience and judgment it will more than satisfy your greatest expectation.”

⦿ 5: “In putting the table together wet the tops of the legs, and drive them firmly into the table. Care should be taken that they are firm and tight.”

⦿ 6: “The board should be kept smooth and free from dust and moisture, as all depends upon the ease with which the feet of the table can glide over the surface of the board. Rubbing with a dry silk handkerchief just before use is advised.”

Well, it does indicates in step one that a minimum of two people are generally required, so my experiment was for naught. But part of the difficulty I have in understanding even the basic concept of the spirit board, is what significance is there behind the cardboard and the small piece of wood or plastic? What is so special about these mass produced objects, being printed out by the same machines that make Monopoly boards, that allow them to act as conduits for the spirits?

Why can’t spirits manipulate monopoly pieces? Or even things that aren’t on boards? There will always be questions asking why not and there’s an equal amount of answers that will claim to know exactly why. Whichever voice is loudest doesn’t indicate who is correct, it just depends on whoever is most fervent in the declaration of whatever opinion happens to matter most to them.

The board and the planchette are essentially novelty tokens. Even the name ‘Ouija’ invokes terror into many superstitious people. But the fact of the matter is, communing with the dead isn’t likely an easy feat, as if it was we’d be hearing from the some (estimated) 102 billion of our species that have already crossed over into the afterlife. Either the living participant is capable of something supernatural or the anomaly resides is the presence of a “spirit” capable of actually manipulating the physical world.

Either occurrence must be very, very, very rare. Something that may exist. But to this day, hasn’t been adequately documented or proven. Maybe there was a legitimate boom during the 19th Century that had some connection to the rise of the spiritualist movement?

The word séance is French for “session”. Throughout the Spiritualist movement that stretched from the 1840’s until around 1930, a great amount of time was spent conducting these “sessions” attempting to commune with the dead. Through various methods, automatic writing, mediums, spirit boards, etc.

Those leading the way were primarily self-proclaimed mediums and spirit guides, but the bulk of the numbers (estimated to be over eight million world wide at its peak) were middle and upper class Americans and Europeans who saw the communion with the dead as a sort of parlor trick. An eerie, macabre, yet intriguing experience. A great many of these “experiences” were proven to be fraudulent.

One interesting coincidence relating to the Spiritualist movement (purely my personal observation), is that these people of this 19th and early 20th century seem to be how we now (in the western world) imagine ghosts. Of all the ages of human development to take shape as ghosts, we seem to see people of the Victorian age dominate film and literature. It could also be that was the earliest period to be photographed with the growing ease of access to cameras. So their many cold, ghostly expressionless faces have seeped into our imaginations.

So in an ironic sort of way, they did achieve communing between the dead and the living. Only they now fill the role of the dead in our depictions of eerie past socialites, reaching out from the beyond the grave.

So whether you consider it group hysteria, bogus, legitimate or pure evil (as the spirits are instead demons attempting to prey on unsuspecting mortals) the Ouija board continues in sales today. Selling millions of boards worldwide every year.

ᴛʜᴇ INTRICATE DICHOTOMY ᴏғ GOOD ᴀɴᴅ EVIL

What is ‘GOOD‘? What is ‘EVIL’?

Most of us assume we have a relatively proficient (or “good”) grasp on what actions and intentions deserve to fall into either category. Generally, if it serves the betterment of the individual, family, community, nation, mankind, life on this planet, then we will likely call it “good”. If it lessens the performance of the individual, offends, annoys, impairs us in any negative way, makes us die, lessens the value of human life, or all life, then it must surely be “bad/evil”. But unfortunately, like most things in life, it’s somewhat more complicated than that.

The Japanese Red Bug is said to be one of the most attentive parents in the insect world. Tirelessly retrieving sustenance for its young. In some instances, when exhausting her own energy reserves the mother is incapable of leaving the burrow to retrieve food anymore. At that stage, it’s not uncommon for the Red Bug young to cannibalize the mother before finally leaving the burrow to face adulthood. Possibly, some of them might face the same gruesome fate at the mouths of their own offspring. The murder and cannibalization of one’s own mother, is the Japanese Red Bug innately evil?

When Praying Mantises mate, during intercourse the female Mantis has an overwhelming instinct to decapitate the male and will begin to consume him, as copulation continues (the male Mantis is capable of continuing the sex act without a head). It’s been found in some studies that when the female Mantis does not cannibalize her sexual partner, she produces far less offspring as a result. The murder and cannibalization of a lover, is the female Praying Mantis evil?

It isn’t uncommon for some Duck species to bully their own offspring, testing for weakness. The parents cannot afford to spend time, food and energy on a lame duck. So they give the stragglers a peck to the head, knock them about a bit, pick up the speed and see if they can lose them. In many instances, a poorly developed duckling cannot keep up with the brood, and they successfully cull the group. Is that evil?

Well, who’s to say? It’s unpleasant, but most of us assume that insects/animals run on instinct. Merely going through the motions that have led to their species sustaining itself throughout the ages.

To be brutally honest, most of us don’t really care what animals do, as long as it doesn’t implicate or annoy us. If it’s natural, it’s their business. Much of what goes on in the natural world can seem cutthroat, cruel and ruthless through the human lens. But life, in it’s truest, purest form, is an ugly, chaotic, fleeting struggle. But somehow, the natural world finds order, among the haze of chaos. There’s always a calm before and after the storm.

Human consciousness brings us to an entirely different level of accountability, among our species. But it’s also linked to societal and cultural development, how the governing group feel about one another. Equity and the available resources play a part also. It’s interesting how in a time of panic as mass hysteria sets in, people are capable of doing things they otherwise could not justify, even to themselves. People can get swept up into a frenzy and become a ruthless and destructive force.

So in that sense, good is order and self-control, evil is chaos and the loss of self-control.

Murder as a blanket statement, is bad/evil. Less evil if you’re defending your own life or the life of someone weak/innocent. The act of murder somehow almost transforms into a good deed depending on how “evil” your victim was perceived to be. The warrior that kills a tyrant warlord is seen as a hero, but he may be just as much a murderer as the warlord himself.

Someone may think the butchering of animals for meat is evil, but they still eat the meat. They grow fat while their conscience remains clear. In many instances in life, a clear conscience is a luxury most cannot afford. In the same sense, that the billionaire that donates .1% of his weekly wage gets a ball thrown in honor for his generosity. While someone struggling on minimum wage feels bad for only being able to spare 5 dollars to the homeless pregnant teen on the side of the road.

Why do we even give money to most homeless people or charities? Sure, we want the bad problems in the world to go away, but it also feels good to do good. While that is a nice sentiment, it’s also literally self serving (even if not consciously intended that way). You want to do “good”, so you can lay your head down on your pillow at night and smile and think about how you’ve made a difference. Strangely when people do good, they often love to be seen doing it. Anonymous acts of kindness do occur, but wouldn’t that make you feel special? Secretly giving someone in need one million dollars. I personally would love to be able to do that, can’t afford it, but it’d be a nice thought to drag out to pick yourself up every now and then. “I’m a terrible person, well, I did once secretly give someone one million dollars, so I can’t be all bad”.

Somehow I convince myself I’m helping stabilize the very fabric of society by using “please” and “thank you”, when interacting with anyone. Primarily because I was brought up with the notion that it was perfectly fine if you were any kind of deranged maniac, just as long as you were cordial and held yourself with a modicum of decorum. We’re all conditioned, like dogs, “You got me the newspaper, that’s convenient to me, you’re a Good boy!” “Oh, you’ve done a shit on the living room floor, that’s inconvenient! Bad Dog!”

In the end, what I consider to be good and evil, may be completely different to what you do. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is consensus on moral alignment. It’s strange, when I watch a documentary about a serial killer, I often look at the person and think “You must be completely insane. Why would you do something so stupid?” In the same way I would look at someone if they sold their house so they could give all their money to some charity, they can’t afford to be so generous. It’s deviating from the productive standard human behavior. And that is what good and evil is all about, performing to the generalized standard set by the masses. Reward the desirable behavior, punish the undesirable. Leading the herd in the desired direction. Which is in our best interest, if we don’t want mayhem and general pandemonium to ensue.