Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ancient Aliens: Innocent belief or blatant misinformation?

                If you’re a fan of educational TV shows like me, you may have noticed the slow change in programming. History channel in particular which was once known for World War 2 documentaries now has things like Pawn Stars, American Pickers, and the infamous show Ancient Aliens. The whole premise of Ancient Aliens discusses ancient astronaut theory which is pretty straight forward, maybe even somewhat plausible.

Ancient astronaut theory proclaims aliens visited Earth during a certain era(s) and that evidence is left in “odd” art pieces or inhuman marvels of architecture. The historians behind the show then present historical evidence, giving the audience a chance to decide what they think is the most plausible answer. It sounds innocent enough at face value; it’s a taste of historical education with a bit of fun theorizing thrown in. But after I saw a very long and thorough documentary titled “Ancient Aliens Debunked,” I realized that the entire foundation of the show is based around intentionally lying to the viewer or leaving out key pieces of information.
A common theme amongst the Ancient Aliens episodes is how primitive civilizations had no way to create large or ornate masonry. Their tools were simply too primitive to cut, smooth, and transport these large blocks of hard stone. Yet most archaeological evidence shows that doing these processes was actually not that hard. Cutting hard stones could often be done with a hunk of copper rubbing against sand. And detailing a stone can be done by rubbing a smoothing stone along the surface like a sort of early sandpaper.
Another big piece of “evidence” for ancient aliens is the presence of UFOs in artwork. From the Egyptians to medieval times, various spaceship shaped objects are often depicted floating in the sky. But what the fellow with wild hair won’t tell you is that these symbols are either incredibly common, or they are being misinterpreted. For example, medieval art usually depicts the same religious scenes, where there’s often a glowing cloud shape in the background. Depending on the artist the “cloud” may shoot out rays of light, contain small angels, or simply appear empty. One such picture Ancient Aliens claimed was a UFO was actually rings of small golden angels forming a sort of disc shape in the sky. Only problem was, they never zoomed in on their blurry art piece.
Looking back on the show, it’s surprising how much they got away with. I remember watching that show as a kid and I thought it was educational, just to see all of their historical points are lies.
Have you ever seen Ancient Aliens yourself? What do you think?

Source: ancientaliensdebunked.com

Monday, July 25, 2016

Do dreams mean something?

There are many different theories on whether or not dreams actually mean something. Some people claim to have dreams that predict the future. For example, people have dreamt that they were pregnant, and then a few weeks later discovered that they were actually pregnant. Some say that these dreams are not psychic, due to the simple fact that the person could have been thinking about trying to conceive, which led to them unconsciously accessing that knowledge while sleeping.

Some people truly believed that they had psychic dreams about the Titanic sinking. Someone even had a date stamped letter which validated that they had that dream before the Titanic sunk. Does this prove that psychic dreams are real? According to Robert Todd Carroll, the answer is no. Carroll is a writer and retired academic, and is best known for his contributions in the field of skepticism. He claims that each person has an average of five dreams per night--multiply that by the amount of people in the world, and there is no way that someone won't coincidentally have a dream about a sinking ship on any given night.
In the beginning of my college career, I took a psychology class with an extremely intelligent and interesting professor, who was also a psychiatrist. One thing that I'll never forget about that class was his lesson about dreams. He claimed that every dream means something, and that he could discover certain things about some of his patients' lives--things that they had never told him-- solely based on their dreams. He truly made me believe that some dreams have a hidden meaning.


Book Report- Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

            Robert Parks book, Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science was published in 2008, in order to place people’s beliefs and superstitions under a microscope scientifically. The reason behind Park’s writing of this book stems from an incident that he had when he was crushed by a tree and should have died, but somehow was able to survive.  Park had to decide whether it was a higher power that saved him because it was his destiny, or the new scientific and technological advances at the time had saved his life.  His near death experience lead him to write Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science, which takes everyday “beliefs” such as healing through prayer, the human soul, the suffering of the innocent, a belief in evil, etc. and debunks them with scientific reasoning. The overarching goal of Park’s book is to solidify that people’s superstitions can be justified through scientific reasoning.
            My favorite section of the book was Chapter 3 titled “Miracle at Columbia”. In this chapter Park discusses the idea of prayer and its theoretical healing powers.  Park does agree that prayer and meditation can have the power to alleviate stress, however; he disagrees with the fact that it can cure illnesses. Park explains how prayer is like a placebo, in life our bodies can heal them selves, bones knit together, antibodies fight viruses’ etc.; however, people whom pray for better health believe that it is the prayer making them better. A study also showed that those who pray regularly are convinced it helps them in the long run.  
            Chapter 3 also goes into a study done by Francis Galton in 1872 titled “Statistical inquiries into the efficiency of prayer” This study was able to prove that there is no evidence that links prayer to healing powers and the longevity of life. The study was conducted through the Anglican Church, whom calls for daily prayer for the longevity of the lives of the bishops, monarchs etc.  Being possibly the most prayed for people in England there would certainly be a significant increase in the life span of these gentlemen, however, the data showed they lived just as long as everyone else.
            With relation to the class lectures, the idea of prayers healing powers falls under the first power point presentation, which is about different ways of thinking. I believe that the healing power of pray likely falls under pseudoscience, or the belief that prayer is being based on scientific method. Prayer truly is based off of the ancient wisdom from the bible. For generations now there has been limited scientific research into prayer and its actual effect if any. Pseudoscience uses fast thinking and heuristics, and that is in my opinion what prayer and religion is. There is no scientific proof that God exists, just as there is now way to prove prayer can scientifically help cure illnesses.

            This book is highly relatable to the world around us. From the debate on science vs. religion and the topics of prayer, plan b, natural disasters, and the soul, Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science reaches out to all readers and shows them that not everything is a “miracle” that happens by chance. Readers can use the knowledge-learned form this book to look into everyday scenarios and be able to justify a true scientific reason behind a situation rather than believing in an unrealistic power. After all, just as the last line of the books states “Science is the only way of knowing everything else is just superstition”.
Video below shows why some doctors believe prayer can truly heal illnesses.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Ghosts of Ringwood Manor
 After reading the posts of other students enrolled in this course, I realized that I do not know a lot of the folklore that is in New Jersey. As I searched the internet for the states myths and legends, I came across Ringwood Manor. The Northeastern New Jersey Manor was built in 1740. It is a Victorian style mansion with 51 rooms. Outside the house is a cemetery as well as gardens. The house was bought, sold, and remodeled by many different owners including Robert Erskine, George Washington’s geographer. When Erskine died of pneumonia, he was buried in the cemetery at the mansion.

 It is said that this manor is haunted by many ghosts. The ghost of a house maid is said to haunt a small bedroom on the second floor where she was beaten to death. Jackson White, who worked as a servant for a family, can be heard walking around the manor. At dusk, General Erskine can be seen sitting on his grave gazing across the pond or walking around with a lantern. At night near the pond, it is said that you can hear the sad voices of French Soldiers who are buried in an unmarked grave. There is a small pond that was created to honor an occupant named Sally. Sally can be found as a full body apparition in the music room of the house sitting by a harpsichord. The superintendent of the Manor has heard 2 different sets of footsteps. He also has found that when he locks doors at night, when he comes in for the morning the doors have been opened without anyone doing it. Psychics and medians have also said they sense presences in the manor.

UFO in space

Recently in the news, NASA caught on camera some unidentified object floating towards Earth. Slowly, when it got closer the video cut out quickly. The occurrence happened on July 9th, and the video was uploaded the same day. One enthusiast said it could of been a meteor of some sort, but what made it interesting is the live video simply cut out which sparked peoples curiosity as to why. NASA's spoke person did speak on his behalf saying that the NASA video never shuts down live, to hide anything. It usually only shuts down because of loss of signal. Also, this is not the first time that UFO hunters and enthusiast have accused NASA of cutting out video on their live ISS stream. 

The End of the World: Nostradamus vs. Harold Camping

Harold Camping, the late conservative Christian president of Family Radio, exclaimed a few years ago that “…the Bible has given us absolute proof that the year 2011 is the end of the world during the Day of Judgment… Amazingly, May 21, 2011 is the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Biblical calendar of our day…”  I remember personally driving around and seeing some of the billboards funded by his organization as well as hearing about it from a religious friend of mine.   

As it turns out, he was wrong.  Not only was he wrong that time, but also twelve times prior.  While many religions have wrongly predicted the end of the world time and time again, why do we still wonder in the back of our minds that there may be a grain of truth behind every prediction?  In the lecture titled “End of the World,” Dr. Berg explains that there are reasons for some falling prey to these otherwise ridiculous claims.  Nostradamus, he explains was a master in ambiguously describing these “end of the world scenarios” to the point that his predictions could reference almost any possible event.  There is a stark difference, however, between Nostradamus’ vague predictions and Camping’s easily-debunked ones.  Whether Camping legitimately believed that what he taught was true, or that he had ulterior motives (as most religions do) may never be known.  However, there is still a significant number of people that sadly still fall for these claims.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Kiongozi Lumumba

My first blog.....Still undecided on book of interest, but because it is  getting late in the day I will make selection today...I am leaning towards the scientific persuasion because I do like some degree of proof

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Burke Road

In Freehold, NJ there is a road with no street sign, but people say it is called Burke Road. The road is near Iron Bridge Road and Elton Adelphia Road. If you drive about 10 feet onto the road, you will see a "Do Not Enter" sign. Locals say the road is haunted, and that executions took place at the end of this street. Apparently, if you drive down this road at night, you will see the ghosts of the people that were killed at an old church on the side of the road. I attempted to drive down this road once with some friends. We stopped in front of the church, and there were animal (we think) bones hanging from trees. After we passed the church, we saw bloody mattresses lining the street. We got scared and turned around. There was smoke in the distance. I don't think i'll be going down this road again. We didn't see any ghosts, though.

Loch Ness

I was in Scotland last month, and I took a cruise around Loch Ness. Many people take the 2 hour cruise in search of the infamous loch ness monster. The loch had a very eerie atmosphere. There was a lot of fog and mist even though it was a pretty nice day. I did not see any signs of the loch ness monster, and I was in the cabin watching the radar; however, the captain showed me a picture on his phone from the previous week of a huge mass in the lake that appeared on the radar, and then disappeared a few seconds after the picture was taken. The people of Inverness, Scotland wholeheartedly believe in the monster.

The Ghosts of Union county

It always sparked my interest about the 13 bumps for 13 witches on Johnston Drive, a long road that runs up the hills of Watchung Nj to Scotch Plains. This local legend in New Jersey said that 13 sisters who were to be killing children in that area that is known as Deserted Village. Throughout the time there, these witches who killed the children were tried, then hung and supposedly buried on the this road, and were left as bumps. Any time they pave the road, the bumps seem to pop back up every time, and there is no explanation for it. A city clerk in Watching said that recently they completed a paving in June, and they popped up again. Also, if you drive over the bumps and count them and say thirteen witches and turn around, you can see the witches behind you. This legend story, always made me wonder why the bumps simply pop back up? And if this is true about the witches being buried on the road.


A doppelgänger is essentially an individuals "exact double." Theres are conspiracies saying that every single person in the world has a doppelgänger. Some even say that after you see your doppleganger in real life, you die.
Using the term doppelgänger in the paranormal sense, it would be a ghostly double of an individual who is still alive. There is belief that this is a ghost taking the appearance of an individual to cause mischief. Also, some believe that seeing the ghostly figure themselves can cause harm, illness, or death of the person.
It is said that President Abraham Lincoln saw his doppelgänger in the mirror next to his own reflection. The being looked sickly. Shortly after, the president was assassinated. Queen Elizabeth I was another famous person to have seen their doppelgänger. As she entered her bedroom, she saw herself laying in her own bed. The figure looked sickly. Shortly after, the Queen became ill and died in the very same bed.
 The photos above are real life, alive doppelgängers. Below are ghostly computer generated doppelgängers. The bottom right is a portrayal of Abraham Lincoln.

Mystery of Dyatlov Pass

In 1959, a group of 10 Russian hikers went on a trek through the dangerous Ural mountain range. One hiker fell ill and returned home, but the other 9 decided to continue on their trip and set up a camp along the snowy slopes. But after the nearby village noticed they never returned, a search party stumbled across all 9 of these graduate students dead, some with huge internal injuries, one even missing a tongue. And to this day, the evidence is so unclear that numerous bizarre theories have tried to explain what really happened.

Two of the more “vanilla” explanations are the avalanche and the paradoxical undressing theory. The 9 hikers cut their tent open, and fled without putting on any clothes which ultimately led to most of the students dying of hypothermia in the middle of the night. If they heard the loud roar of avalanche, it’s likely they could have fled without grabbing much clothing. And paradoxical undressing is common in cases of hypothermia. But both of these theories fall short. The campsite didn’t show any evidence of avalanche activity and tracks appeared to show them walking, not running, away from camp. And the paradoxical undressing theory is unlikely as some of the hikers appeared to cut clothing off their other dead colleagues to keep themselves warm.
As most conventional explanations don’t seem to solve the mystery, paranormal/conspiracy theories emerged to fill in the gaps. The popular yeti theory tells of some sort of huge arctic creature that frightened the hikers out of their tent, and then caused various injuries to the students. Some claim that the Soviet Union was using the Ural mountains as a secret weapons testing ground, scaring the hikers and exposing them to dangerous radiation. Some even believe aliens visited the mountains and attacked the hikers, as locals claimed to see floating balls of light over the mountains.
We won’t ever know exactly what happened that cold night, but when science and evidence don’t seem to cleanly line up, people create their own wild explanations. I personally think the hikers could’ve been startled out of the tent by a strange noise, but even then I can’t think of any scientifically sound idea to explain their odd injuries. This unsolved mystery inspires a sort of wonder of the unknown, making the paranormal seem briefly possible.

Have any of your own theories? Feel free to share!

Source: http://dyatlovincident.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pig Lady Road.

Legend has that there is a lady that was born as a pig in Hillsborough NJ and she ended up marrying this guy to later chop his head off. If you drive into this road, which is actually a driveway, and turn your lights off and get out of your car walking down the road you will hear a squeal and have an axe chase you with a loud squeal. The other legend has it that when you turn off your car lights and drive down the road you will see a glowing pigs head out of the shadows.
Above is a photo from weird nj of the road that is claimed to be haunted by the soul of this pig lady. It is a very difficult road to find. Myself and four friends once went down three separate nights down to Hillsborough to look for it and finally after looking for about 4 hours the last night we were able to find it. There is a "no trespassing" sign that is posted so it is obviously private property.

Loch ness Monster

Just like big foot, I am sure we have all at one time or another heard about the legend of the loch ness monster. The loch ness monster is an ungodly large sea creature that supposedly inhabits Loch Ness in the Scottish highlands. It was brought to the media's attention in 1934 due to a photograph shot by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London gynecologist , but only very few blurry photos since than have been shown to the public eye. Some believe the monster to be a surviving type of dinosaur, others think of it to be no more than a simple urban legend and a hoax. It's up for you to decide! 

Ringing in the ears; health concern or an ET communication?

Have you ever experienced an annoying and consistent ringing inside of your eyes? Ringing in the ears is known to be a symptom of many health issues such as tinnitus and even occurs when you are lacking Vitamin D. However, some people believe that ringing in the ears has a more spiritual connection to it. Those who believe in this phenomenon say that when ringing in the ears occur for an individual, a change is expected to happen, or what some experts will call a “DNA upgrade.”  It is said that this experience has to do with a shift in dimensions in order for a spirit guide to reach different information to you that otherwise cannot be transferred because the ears is said to be the most convenient place to do it. People believe that our ears are unable to hear certain things because they may function on a higher or lower octave based on our ear ranges. The belief is that an entity is attempting to broadcast a frequency so high pitched that us humans are not able to hear it, but the ringing has the ability to influence our decisions. They believe that an onset regular occurrence of ringing in the ears is a sign of a higher intelligence attempting to communicate with you. However, this is a tough phenomenon to believe considering that there are so many other health related possibilities that could be the reason for a simple ringing in the ears.  

I personally experience frequent ringing in my left or right ear, but I do not believe that I am being contacted. I know that my ears rings often because I listen to loud music daily and this will have a negative effect on my ears; ergo causing the ringing to occur.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Heartbeat Road

   One of my favorite haunted places in New Jersey is Heartbeat Road, or better known as Annie's Road. This is one of my favorites because my old apartment was about a quarter mile away from the entrance to the road; which is located in Totowa, New Jersey. The legend behind the road is that back in the 1960's a girl named Annie was killed on that road on her prom night. Legend has it if you go at night and turn off your car lights you will see Annie standing there in a white dress. They also say that you can hear heartbeats, although we have concluded that its just water pipes running through. It's still a very terrifying road, and would never fail to be scared to drive down it when I lived there.

Emily; The Lady in White

Perhaps one of my favorite ghost stories is one that's close to home. When I was younger my family would vacation in Ocean City NJ. One year we heard about the Ocean City Ghost Tours and we decided to go on it. From the ghost tour, I learned about the Flanders Hotel and the ghost Emily who supposedly lurks within. I enjoyed the tour so much I bought the book Cape May Ghost Stories (book III) which features Emily's story and much more, as well as was able to go inside of the flanders hotel and see the painting of Emily myself.
Painting of Emily by Tony Troy 
The story goes that Emily wanders the hotel barefoot in her white gown. She roams the halls playing with the door locks, swinging doors open and shut, and even humming and singing. Most of the guests and employees report seeing her in the mirrors around the hotel. Emily's identity is a mystery, with some believing that she is a soldiers wife wandering the halls waiting for her husbands return, while others believe she was an employee whom took her own life in the hotel. Yet another story believes that she was an employee whom was engaged and lost her ring in the hotel and has been searching ever since. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Area 51

The Nevada Test and Training Range or Area 51 as its better know, has been under speculation of the American people for years now. Located a few hundred miles away from Las Vegas, Area 51 is a top secret military base used for testing government weapons and vehicles since the Cold War. The American people however, believe that the flying objects that they see flying across the sky are not of this world, but where does this belief come from?
Google Maps Image of Area 51

Back in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico there was a rancher Mac Brazel found strange metal debris on his land. When brought to the police the authorities first said it was from a flying disk, but then later stated it was a weather balloon. Conspirators believe that the government found the UFO and have debris from other flying objects in Area 51. Others believe that they have aliens and are dissecting them for science. What do you believe is happening at Area 51? 

My Experience With Orbs

   When people hear the word "orb" they automatically think of those little circular dust particles that you sometimes see in photographs. That's what I use to think of; until 6 months ago. It was an early brisk January morning, my alarm was set for 6 a.m. in order to wake up for orientation for my internship. I normally wake up though out the night, so nothing was out of the ordinary when I awoke before my alarm went off; until I noticed something floating in the corner of my bedroom. 
   My smoke alarm gives off a blinking green light, so when I saw this floating mass I thought it was just my smoke alarm, until I noticed my smoke alarm was about 2 feet away from this object. I was fully awake at this point; I rubbed my eyes and sat upright in my bed. That's when I noticed this thing had to be an orb of some sort. I carefully got out of my bed trying my absolute hardest not to bring to much attention to my dog sleeping at the end of my bed, and walked up to this floating thing. When I came what seemed face to face with it, I noticed some type of design in the center. When I realized what I was staring at I became slightly frightened and turned my light switch on; and it was gone. I tested it one more time, so I turned off my lights and there was nothing but my smoke alarm there. My alarm then went off and I was up for the day.
   Before I left for orientation, I googled color of orbs and their meanings. According to the internet, a green orb represents a loved one that has passed away. Right off the bat I figured it was my grandpa who lived with me up until his passing in 2009. Once I came to this conclusion I was no longer frightened but enlightened by this experience and felt lucky to have been visited by my grandpa. Maybe if we all open our eyes a little more often, we could see things like this a little more often. Attached will be a picture of what an orb looks like to give you an idea; and no it was not the orb I personally saw that morning. 

China essentially has a "no ghost" rule

China's official censorship guidelines technically prohibit movies that "promote superstition." The conservative country's regulators have, int he past, used this reasoning to ban films that feature ghosts or supernatural beings in a semi-realistic way. Last year, the gothic horror-romance Crimson Peak was not released in China due to the movie taking place in a haunted house filled with ghosts. A more popular incident that a lot of people were aware of was in 2006; Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's chest was banned from the country, due to its depictions of ghosts as well as other supernatural things. 

As of July 14th, 2016, Sony says no decision has been made yet on whether Ghostbusters will be allowed to be released in China. Sony pictures has been made aware of China's outlook on movies involving superstitious beliefs, which led them to attempt to change the Chinese translation of the film's name from "Ghost Catcher Dare Die Team" to "Super Power Dare Die Team" in order to downplay the paranormal feel that the word "ghost" gives off.

I personally believe that the reason ghosts are a cultural taboo in China is because of their own fear of the paranormal. I feel that with the necessary critical thinking and research, they will feel comfortable lifting the ban and letting the people of China enjoy movies of all kinds.