Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Psychics of Ape Canyon

     Every good bigfooter knows the story of Ape Canyon, close to Mount St Helens, Washington: how it acquired its name in 1924 when a group of prospectors were harassed in their cabin by a party of giant apes. Well, in 1967 ie 43 years after the event, one of the prospectors, Fred Beck decided to set the record straight, and his story was written down by his son, Ronald A. Beck. I don't know where it was originally published, but you can read it all on the excellent Bigfoot Encounters website.
    Parts 1 and 2 deal with the events themselves, and you should read them. It is Part 3 that is of interest here. Although, in my opinion, he does not establish his case that bigfoot is not a flesh and blood animal, he does recount in detail his own psychical experiences in the Canyon. He then branches off into speculations about the nature of reality which need not concern us.
     Normally, I would be reluctant to copy large sections of another's website, but I fear that, in this case, the remarkable story will be lost in the voluminous amount of information present on the Bigfoot Encounters site. (I really would suggest you read it, if you are interested in the subject.) Also, fair's fair. I haven't complained that the site includes a copy of a paper of mine from 1989, even though it represents an opinion I know longer hold. With this in mind, let us see what Mr Beck had to say.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Séance at Endor, 1000 BC

     1,000 BC, give or take a few years: a strange, nocturnal rendezvous is taking place. One of the participants is one of the last spirit mediums left in Israel. The other is the man most responsible for removing them: King Saul. But on the morrow he must meet the Philistines in battle, and God has forsaken him; he can gain no message by dream, priest, or prophet. Therefore, he is about to do something completely illegal: he will inquire of the dead.
     1848 AD: the Fox family home in New York state is the focus of very mild poltergeist phenomena - mostly rappings. Two of the sisters, Margaretta, 14 and Catherine, 12, decide to rap back and ask the presumed spirit questions, and in so doing, inadvertently start a brand new religion, Spiritualism. What could be the connection between the two widely separated events?

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Mysterious Big Birds

     I'm in a quandary. I don't know whether to include this essay in my Cryptozoology or my Anomalies blog. Aficionados of both will be aware that occasionally they overlap. An obvious example is the appearance of bigfoot-like creatures in the vicinity of flying saucers. Similarly, back in the UK, black panthers are usually assumed to be flesh and blood, and placed in the cryptozoology pigeon hole, while black dogs seem to possess spectral qualities, and thus are classified along with ghosts and goblins.
     Thus, although I have problems with the idea of thunderbirds with wingspans of six or seven metres, I would not rule them out, and so would classify them as a cryptozoological mystery. However, the accounts you are about to read contain additional elements of weirdness which lead me to record them in the current blog. You be the judge.

Monday, 13 April 2015

It Came Out of the Basement

     Up to a couple of months ago, I always regarded imaginary childhood friends in the same light as pickpockets: I'd heard about them, but never had any direct or indirect experience of them. I never had an imaginary friend as a child. None of my friends had, that I know of. I never met any adult who told me he had had one as a child, or that his children had one. Indeed, the only references to imaginary friends I had ever read were in fiction. Then, I came across the Fortean Times publication,  It Happened to Me!, volume 3, in which ordinary people told of their extraordinary experiences. (I reviewed volume 2 previously.) Here, several people described their own, or their children's imaginary friends. Significantly, they all recognized them as imaginary, and invisible. (One did say that she saw her "friend" briefly, but I suspect that was with the mind's eye. Then, squirreled in among them, on page 36, was a story of something quite different, and quite weird.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Walk on Your Hands!

     A major purpose of this blog is to rescue strange - preferably very strange - stories which are in danger of being "lost" ie they can be found only in some obscure magazine or book, which is likely to be overlooked, so that when the second example occurs, nobody knows that there ever was a first example. The evidence would not accumulate. Therefore, I was a bit reticent about repeating something which was recorded in one of the all time great publications on poltergeistery. But what the heck! How many people read that publication anyway? Besides, I had forgotten about it myself until I reread the book after an absence of forty years.
     It concerns a flat (apartment) with a very peculiar effect on people. I might add that, although the author - who was a very prominent psychic researcher of his day - described the phenomenon as a "poltergeist", there is not the slightest evidence to that effect, and no other poltergeist manifestations were present. Any reasonable explanation will be welcome.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

What Sort of People See Fairies?

Belief in fairies, in one form or another, is found all over the world, but is strongest among primitive peoples. It is presumably as old as mankind itself, and in Christian communities is one of the surviving relics of paganism.
     That was a passage I remember well from the 1144-page tome pretentiously entitled, The Great Encyclopædia of Universal Knowledge, apparently published in 1938, and the constant literary companion of my boyhood. Indeed several of the front and rear pages have been seriously damaged from the caresses provided by my childish fingers.
     I was only a little boy at the time. That was the first time I had heard that there were people who genuinely believed in fairies. As I grew older, I discovered that a detailed and complex mythology exists regarding fairies, and that during both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries folklorists recorded people who not only believed in fairies, but claimed to have seen them. Of course, it is assumed that they were making it up. Just the same, the folklorist Katherine Briggs included in her 1967 book, The Fairies in Tradition and Literature a chapter 16 entitled, "Fairy encounters and odd experiences". Interestingly, some of them were by people who did not share the tradition and did not expect it. Then there was Fairies, real encounters with little people (1997), in which Janet Bord culled the literature for exactly that. In this blog I myself have published two posts of such odd encounters from different parts of the world. (See here and here.) And at the back of all this, there were rumours of a mysterious organisation called the Fairy Investigation Society, which I could never discover for itself. Well, at last it has made its appearance. I am, of course, referring to Seeing Fairies by Marjorie T. Johnson (Anomalist Books, 2014)

Friday, 2 January 2015

The Light on the Jungle Trail

     As I have said in the heading, if you keep your eyes and your mind open, you will find that the paranormal, the miraculous, the simply inexplicable, not only happen, but are not even uncommon. Anomalies turn up everywhere, even in bestsellers read by thousands of people.
     For example, many of us in southeast Queensland will have had pleasant memories of O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, set deep in the subtropical rainforest in the rugged mountainous terrain of the Lamington National Park. Back in 1937, the youngest of the O'Reilly brothers, Bernard O'Reilly became an instant celebrity due to an astonishing feat of bushcraft. A Stinson passenger aircraft had disappeared on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney. It was generally assumed that it had gone down somewhere near Sydney, but O'Reilly was convinced it had crashed in the Macpherson Ranges. Navigating by dead reckoning through dense, trackless, unmarked rainforest and over four mountain ridges, he discovered the crash and was able to lead a rescue party to the survivors. Repeatedly asked for his own version of the story, he wrote it down and appended a long account of his childhood in the Blue Mountains and the establishment, first of the dairy farms, and then of the guest house, by himself and his siblings. The result was Green Mountains, written in late 1940, before he went off to war. As I said, it has probably been read by thousands of people. I can hardly hope that this post will be so successful, but perhaps my readers will be more likely to take notice of the following instances.