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20 February 2018


Paranormal News Insider  

Meteor impact in Michigan? End of the world??  

20 Jan 2018, 9:32 pm

NASA, the National Weather Service, and other officials recently confirmed that a meteor was seen (and filmed) over Michigan on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at about 8:08 PM. NASA stated the meteoroid was probably only a yard or two in diameter, but created a very bright flash in the sky that qualifies it pretty much as a bolide or fireball. The event also created loud rumbling and even seismic activity measured as a 2.0 magnitude earthquake. Initially, many thought this was caused by thunder or explosion. It took a little while for the dust to settle and for the meteor sighting to be researched and confirmed.

Seeing such a bright meteor event in the sky is fairly rare and the fact that this was seen from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana made this a trending article on social media as well as the mainstream media. The initial reaction to the story was a little bit of panic that is typical when something unusual happens.

However, it didn't take long for someone to throw a wrench into what was already a scary story to make it confusing and potentially scarier. The Daily Star, based in the United Kingdom, published their story on Wednesday with the headline, "Alien invasion? UFO seen hurtling through sky and EXPLODING in shock footage".

Photographs began circulating online of what appeared to be a large fire caused by the meteorite impact in the center of a city. The city was said to be Taylor, Michigan, and the photographs began to spark fear and confusion as well as speculation of an attack, explosion, alien invasion, or that this meteorite impacted the ground and caused this scene.

In the trio of photographs shared about this story state that these are light pillars, which from what I see is pretty accurate. However, it seems that many took these photographs as a link to the meteor story and put them together with a dose of panic, a heaping of speculation, and a dash of misunderstanding.

The reality is these photographs in Taylor, Michigan, are of a garage fire that occurred around 8:25 PM local time. The photographs were quickly spread via social media, probably not with the intention of misleading people but it happened anyway. Again, many people took this as a correlation with the meteor, but officials reacted to the flying rumors with an article Tuesday night as well as a post on Wednesday afternoon.

The post simply stated, "Social media was ablaze within minutes of a photo being shared from down the street of the fire. People assumed that due to the timelime the meteor, or at least a piece of it was responsible for the fire.Fire Department officials confirmed there was no truth to that rumor. The leaking fuel and oil was the cause of the blaze."

The speculation into the photographs will surely continue to get ridiculous, oh, wait, never mind it's already happening. It seems some are telling others this was a missile attack covered up by a meteor sighting.

Clever, but just a way to create panic out of something simple to explain. This particular post has been shared 50,000 times versus the one of the garage fire that was shared less than 35,000 times when I collected the screen shots. I guess "if it bleeds it leads" is a true sentiment whether it's the news or social media. I'm sure there are other examples of this type of ignorance but hopefully enough people know the truth and will not succumb to the spamming of "fake news" such as this (and yes "ppl" should be blocked for posting things like this).

What started as an interesting story about a particularly nice sized meteor sighting has morphed into an embarrassing example of ignorance and it's lust for social media for survival.  



Top Ten Paranormal News Stories of 2017  

5 Jan 2018, 5:29 pm Why this list? Don’t we have enough countdowns? This list helps us remember the stories from the year and helps us remember some of the issues we encountered that might have fooled us or taught us something along the way. It helps us prepare for next year where we will more than likely see many similar stories. As we look back on these stories years from now we may see similar patterns or how some that were high on the list and so promising turned out to be nothing at all; it’s all about documentation and remembering the past as it happened.

How is this list designed? The Top Ten Paranormal News Stories are put together strictly by my opinion. They are collected from the stories I’ve talked about all year long and are ranked by a few pieces of criteria. First, have they made a positive impact on one area of the paranormal? Many stories I talk about are hoaxes and misinterpretations, but what stories have created an awareness of a paranormal subject or taught the general public something, or better yet has something been learned about our mysterious world? Granted, even hoaxes can teach us something if we know for sure they were a hoax. Some feel all hoaxes harm the paranormal, but I say some educate us on what to look out for as far as a story or types of data that is presented. It’s easy to believe everything, but hard to be skeptical when you want deep down to believe.

Second, how viral was the story? Many stories I talk about are popular on paranormal websites but have not been heard of outside of this arena or where the story took place. A story that is big at a regional level will have more weight than a local story and a global story will be higher than that. Also with this I look at how much it was talked about through social media as well as how long it lasted in the news as a developing story. Lastly, I look at the reality of the story. Meaning, does this story include a real person or it is possibly just a story made up for website hits? I usually do this early on to make sure these are truly newsworthy stories to begin with, but still some stories are a bit questionable in their makeup and are just stories hyped up for the paranormal community.

My first "Top Ten" was back in 2010 when the Paranormal News Insider began to go to a weekly segment in late September of 2010. Prior to that it was a monthly segment that started in September of 2008. It's fun to look back at the stories that seemed so important and how many of these top stories that had much hope turned out to be hoaxes or just no big deal.

10. “Aflockalypse” gets a partial explanation. 

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, announced in February that it launched a thorough study into the idea that solar storms may be the cause of massive beaching of cetacean animals. I have made mention of these events in the past and the “Aflockalypse” story has trended in the paranormal for many years now. Manmade climate change, SONAR operations of the Navy, potential pole reversals, and many other explanations have been thrown at the wall but none of them can seemingly explain more than a handful of these events. A NASA heliophysicist is teaming up with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, or IFAW, to determine whether a link between solar storms and these mass die offs are related. The study will center on existing data of these mass stranding events as well as prior solar storms. Desray Reeb, a marine biologist at BOEM’s headquarters in Sterling, Virginia, said of the study,

“The results of this study will be informative for researchers, stranding network organizers, resource agencies and regulatory agencies. If we understand the relationship between the two, we may be able to use observations of solar storms as an early warning for potential strandings to occur. This would allow stranding responders in global hotspots, and really around the world, to be better prepared to respond, thus having the opportunity to save more animals.” 
 The team of scientists published their work in August of 2017 in the International Journal of Astrobiology. In their paper they described that they,
“…investigated the possible reasons for this phenomenon based on a series of strandings of 29 male sperm whales in the southern North Sea in early 2016. Whales’ magnetic sense may play an important role in orientation and migration, and strandings may thus be triggered by geomagnetic storms. This approach is supported by the following: (1) disruptions of the Earth's magnetic field by Solar storms can last about 1 day and lead to short-term magnetic latitude changes corresponding to shifts of up to 460 km; (2) many of these disruptions are of a similar magnitude to more permanent geomagnetic anomalies; (3) geomagnetic anomalies in the area north of the North Sea are 50–150 km in diameter; and (4) sperm whales swim about 100 km per day, and may thus be unable to distinguish between these phenomena. Sperm whales spend their early, non-breeding years in lower latitudes, where magnetic disruptions by the sun are weak and thus lack experience of this phenomenon. ‘Naïve’ whales may therefore become disoriented in the southern Norwegian Sea as a result of failing to adopt alternative navigation systems in time and becoming stranded in the shallow North Sea.” 
The results might not be completely conclusive, but it certainly points in the right direction and this may also explain other animal’s strange behavior that has led to many of the “Aflockalypse” stories.

Why this story made the top ten: The “Aflockalypse” was the number five story in 2012 and the number two story in 2011. While we know that these mass animal die off stories are most likely natural or caused by disease, these strandings of whales unfortunately did provide scientists with some solid data that might help save them in the future and this work might also lead to others making similar findings in other animals.

Why this story only number ten: This story was neither very viral nor was it really paranormal, but while it did piggyback on the “Aflockalypse” stories of years gone by this was just a lone story. However, scientific research such as this gets strong consideration and its relationship to the strange die-offs thus helps it crack the top ten.

9. Bigfoot stories (as a collection)

North Dakota Bigfoot Sighting (7 mile trail)
The first big Bigfoot story of the year took place in Ellendale, North Dakota in January. Christopher Bauer says that a friend of his contacted him after she saw a hairy creature outside of her window. Of the encounter Bauer said, “She described him as a huge, hairy, ugly monster and I guess that kind of describes it, if a Sasquatch is looking through the window at you, that's how I'd describe him, too.” Bauer then found prints of what the woman saw and he stated he tracked the animal for seven miles. Bauer claims to be an experienced trapper and he photographed numerous prints and studied the stride length and other sign the creature left. He is convinced this was not a person and seems to know a thing or two about Bigfoot as he says in the WDAY NBC News interview, “It's a Bigfoot, Sasquatch, gigantopithecus, whatever you want to call him, he's a real animal, he's here and I want people to know.” The tracks were 18 inches long by 8 inches wide and the creature had a four foot stride. Bauer said the tracks were deep in the snow so it made it very easy to track.
The Ellendale, North Dakota Bigfoot had an update in the February 7th episode after an anonymous letter was sent to WDAY, the ABC network affiliate from Fargo, North Dakota, stating that the Bigfoot tracks were created not as a hoax but of a prank. A photograph of the letter on WDAY’s website shows that the person wrote,
“I had screwed those wooden feet to an old pair of shoes. I then walked on the wheel tracks on the road to the farm knowing full well traffic would erase any sign of how I approached and left. Once at the farmstead I noticed the lights on in the house and tried to see if anyone was up but the shade was pulled. I decided I was there so I just as well finish, lights or not. I walked around the house trying to leave prints in what little snow that was there. As I was crossing in the front of the house I noticed my friends female friend walk past the window. She happened to look out the window and I froze. Busted I thought she looked directly at me it seemed then quickly turned and went back the way she came and I took off.” 
The person also admitted that they were drunk at the time. The person also sent in a photograph of the shoes that they used with a piece of wood placed on the bottom of high top shoes. Bauer finds the inconsistencies in this version points to this letter being the real hoax. He doesn’t feel this person is being truthful and is trying to dispel the notion that Bigfoot could really be in the area. Bauer states that the tracks could not have been faked with a 4 foot stride for over 7 miles, especially for someone who was admittedly drunk. While the person states they started and stopped at the road Bauer was able to follow the tracks beyond the road for another 7 miles. So, who is telling the truth here? Or, is there really any truth to this story at all?

Bigfoot 911!
This next Bigfoot story is just part one of a two part saga of strangeness. First, a group that calls itself Bigfoot 911 was out in the woods of McDowell County in western North Carolina on Friday, August 4th. John E. Bruner of the group posted on their Facebook page that the group had “hit pay dirt” and detailed the sighting of the legendary creature of Bigfoot. The group had put out glow sticks and had heard something approaching the area when Bruner got his sighting. He said, “The angle of the moon was shining straight down on the road and something big stepped into view. I turned my headlamp on and I saw a large bi-pedal animal covered in hair. It took one step into the woods, (then) I took off running toward where it went into the woods.” At this point Bruner was able to get within about 30 yards of the creature and was able to describe it. He said, “its face was solid black, (with) no hair on it. The hair looked shaggy all over (its body.) It turned and took five steps and was at the bottom of the hill, probably 30 yards. I could see the gluteus maximus flexing with each step.” The group says it tried to track it but saw no more signs of the creature, but later on in the night something had been throwing rocks at them.

Bigfoot in disguise?

They say there are always two sides to every story and the previous story might sound interesting or even a bit fishy due to some of the details, but that’s nothing compared with what supposedly happened from the view of the Bigfoot. Gawain MacGregor, age 36, resides in Minnesota and has a goal of connecting with Sasquatch in a spiritual level. MacGregor has essentially combined his Christian beliefs with shamanistic approaches in an effort to connect to Enkidu, a central figure in the Ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, or Sasquatch. MacGregor was recently visiting eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina last week practicing his rituals. A large part of this includes what he states,
“As a practitioner of Enkiduism, the foremost sacrament I practice is the wearing of hair-covered animal skins and wandering in the forest, the same way Gilgamesh honored him thousands of years ago. While this may seem unusual, the practice actually dates back to long before Gilgamesh, as images of shaman dressed as animals appear as far back as the Neolithic paintings in France's Trois-Frères cave. Even today, there are hundreds of shamanistic traditions around the world that involve dressing in a similar way. To join this ancient lineage, and to honor Enkidu, I sewed animal hides together, fabricating my own ritual garments.” 
MacGregor states that it was him who the Sasquatch 911 group came across in the woods in North Carolina and that it was no coincidence. He also states he moved away from the group when he noticed them but never threw rocks at them. It’s interesting that both groups were in search of Bigfoot using vastly different means. Granted, Bigfoot 911 disagrees with this story. This story is also related to the story that was released on the September 19th episode where a woman was selling a Bigfoot attractant she called Bigfoot Juice which the Bigfoot 911 group says led to their success.

Bigfoot, when pigs fly (Sanger’s reprise)
Fox News reported on a Bigfoot sighting that was first reported back on Thursday, October 12th. This amazing story is centered on a purported account about a farmer near Avocado Lake in California that witnessed five or six Bigfoot running through his ranch in the middle of the night. Jeffrey Gonzalez, who is described as a paranormal expert said about the sighting, “One of them, which was extremely tall, had a pig over its shoulder. And the five scattered and the one with the pig was running so fast it didn’t see an irrigation pipe and it tripped, with the pig flying over.” Gonzalez states that five years ago a woman reported that her sons had seen a Bigfoot in her orchard. A few years later a man reported seeing five Bigfoot in an orchard across the street from his home. This was the same orchard from the prior report. Gonzalez says, “What are the odds of three people, three different families, who don’t know each other, within a radius of 2 to 3 miles, come and tell me what they witness, and it matches up?”

Gonzalez is the leader of the Sanger Paranormal Society. Back in 2011 the group took center stage on one of the worst Bigfoot evidence finding press conferences in history. They claimed that they had, “the best evidence of bigfoot since the Patterson film in 1967.” Their evidence? Bigfoot had left smears on their vehicles and they were pretty sure it wasn’t bears or a person. During the conference they stated that they needed better equipment, assistance, as well as to have their evidence tested. In short, they used the press conference for donations. Strangely, they had been approached by two independent parties to test their DNA findings for free.

Discovering Bigfoot
On a do-it-yourself press release website Todd Standing reminded the cryptid world that he has the proof of Bigfoot beyond anyone else that has ever said they have proof of Bigfoot. The title of his press release is, “A Bigfoot Documentary So Significant Experts Believe It Could Prove in a Court of Law That Sasquatch Exists”. The claim here is that there new documentary titled Discovering Bigfoot proves without question that Bigfoot is real, unfortunately, that’s not how things work. From the preview the show looks to be a cross of Survivorman meets Finding Bigfoot and is probably closer to Survivorman than actually finding Bigfoot. The show statement released describes the show as, “The Discovering Bigfoot documentary, combined with additional eyewitness testimony from individuals from all walks of life, including doctors, engineers and biologists, and DNA evidence and fingerprint analysis, present what researchers are calling undeniable proof that this species exists.”
Standing is so confident that his documentary will validate the existence of Bigfoot he’s taking the Province of British Columbia to court so that they will acknowledge the existence of the creature. How will he do this? Well, he plans to, “present physical, forensic and video evidence, eyewitness testimony from wildlife biologists, wilderness experts, and more in a court of law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the Sasquatch resides within the forests of British Columbia – and, eventually, Alberta and the U.S.” Standing will also enter his new documentary as evidence which he says contains “crystal clear video evidence” of the creature. If you ask me, this is just a money grab publicity stunt for something beyond this as he will eventually state that this is just a step toward validation.

Peter Caine’s Bigfoot body parts extravaganza 

The latest claim of "undeniable proof of Bigfoot" comes from the YouTube channel of a dog trainer named Peter Caine. In the latest video Caine shows off the head of what he claims is a Bigfoot. What you might not know is that this is not the first video of Bigfoot parts put out by Caine. Back on January 4th of 2017 he put out a video titled, “Bigfoot Severed Ankle and Right Foot unveiled. Only known Physical proof of Sasquatch”. In the video he discussed how his father, Mike Caine, and his friend Morty Lucas were hunting ducks back in the early morning on September 23, 1953.

In this video Peter goes on to say how heavy the foot is numerous times and how real it is and even goes as far as to say that it is probably alien in origin. He then shows how swamp water is coming off of it since the foot is beginning to thaw.
If an object like this was frozen off and on for over 64 years I seriously doubt it would have that much moisture attached to it. Even sealed in paper like he demonstrated we would expect a lot of moisture loss over time which was not apparent in the demonstration. In another video he claims the DNA came back unknown carbon life form. In another video he shows objects which he claims shows that this creature is also a cyborg, half living animal half machine. His proof of this is a chunk of flesh with robotic parts attached to it that he keeps in what he calls a tiny freezer. During the video he pans around the object and you can clearly see a capacitor, battery, and other basic electronics that are obviously created by humans and certainly not in the 1950s.

Other videos show both feet, stomach contents which included a small two headed pig (which he says proves it was alien or inter-dimensional and that the pig is obviously alien) which was swallowed whole by the way – not sure how, the kidneys, Peter eating a piece of Bigfoot flesh, the side effects of eating pieces of Bigfoot which includes his elimination of his erectile dysfunction and high increase in stamina to where 5,000 pushups or sit-ups is nothing, as well as the bigfoot/alien connection, he has an intact baby Bigfoot, and a bunch of other silly videos. IS this real like he continues to claim? More than likely this is all just entertainment.

Why this story made the top ten: Bigfoot generates a lot of stories every year, most of which are hoaxes and laughable stories. 2017 was no different, but between getting a lot of attention in the paranormal as well as in the media there were also some very bold claims made by Todd Standing that have yet to hold up either in court or the court of public opinion. Will his claims be verified? Probably not, but this and the other stories in 2017 help us hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, the big guy could be real.

Why this story is only number nine: Hoaxes, potential sightings, and bold claims don’t add up to much and the top cryptid in the world was lucky to make the top ten this year due to a smaller number of stories than recent years. There honestly wasn’t very much keeping this story from being beaten out by the Loch Ness Monster let alone the lone “Aflockalpse” story.

8. Eclipse/End of the World 

In mid-August South Carolina officials issued a warning of a potential spike in paranormal activity surrounding the upcoming August 21st total solar eclipse. The message was sent in the form of a Tweet by the South Carolina Emergency Management Division and included a map that showed possible lizard man sightings from 1980 to 2001 within the border of where the path of totality of the upcoming total eclipse would occur in South Carolina. This tongue-in-cheek Tweet was in response to the map of Bigfoot sightings that showed the entire map of purported Bigfoot sightings with the path of totality on it.

A crop circle in England caused a lot of theorizing toward the end of August. The crop circle appeared as a series of circles within each other along with a triangular shape coming out of them which also included odd shapes. Some said the shape appeared like a radio tower or as the Death Star from Star Wars shooting a beam and destroying a planet. As the circle was seen just days prior to the total eclipse seen in the United States many people speculated the circles were meant to figuratively reflect the sun and the moon. A video of the crop circle was uploaded to YouTube by the conspiracy theory website Secure Team 10. This website consistently uploads bogus or hoaxed videos and is not a trusted source of information in my opinion. However, it did spread pretty quickly.

More stories popped up about this crop circle which appeared close to England’s Southend Airport. Further thoughts on this crop circle seemed to point to that this was definitely a sign that the planet Niburu or planet X will soon destroy Earth. Earlier this year, amateur stargazer and Christian numerologist David Meade predicted Niburu would appear in the skies on September 23, 2017. He said that the planet would then crash into Earth or at least get extremely close. All of this speculation is based on numerology and guessing using the number 33. 33 days after August 21st is September 23rd. 

The funny thing is many people were claiming to be able to photograph Niburu when taking pictures of the sun. The purported planet is claimed to look bright just like the sun, or in reality just like a lens flare which is what most of these people are seeing. If the planet were getting closer we would see it much more at night that we would during the day especially away from the sun. Photographs of a purported second sun or the supposed Niburu began to pop up quite a bit on social media although are misinterpretations of said lens flares or hoaxes.

The End* (*maybe, but probably not)   
September 23rd was predicted to be the last day of Earth, but it wasn’t. A YouTube video which has almost 2.9 million views and over a dozen videos that have copied the message spread the message of the impending doom that never took place. The description of the video claimed that the date was merely a sign and the Earth will not end on September 23rd and this might not be the day of the Rapture or it might be. The description says, “NOTE TO ALL SCOFFERS: This is JUST A SIGN.  The rapture might not happen on this exact day.  Could be this week, next week, or months from now, but we are getting CLOSE.  Scoff at your own risk.  And for the record, the world won't end for at least 1,000 years.” What a disappointment. This video essentially states that a combination of stars that occurred over Israel and Jerusalem during the day was a sign that all of this was about to happen. Christian conspiracy theorist David Meade also agreed that September 23rd was an important date for the Earth. He stated that the fictional planet Niburu will arrive and bring the end of days. He also said that astronomical models demonstrated that this sign has never occurred in human history. 

Granted, simple science debunked this notion. This whole thing started back in 2011 by William Tapley who shared a YouTube video on this same subject using Stellarium software, the same software used to prove this was not true.
NASA has predicted that the Earth will plunge into darkness for 15 days starting on November 15th. This latest hoax was a piggyback to the earlier claims going back to at least 2011 when it was suggested that Comet Elenin would block out sunlight to Earth, which was not possible. In 2012 it was also suggested that planetary alignments were said to cause great blackouts all over the world. That obviously never happened. The same claim has been made year after year with the basis for the event changing slightly every year from severe solar storms to cosmic events happening from other solar systems hitting our sun. 

According to the website Earthsky.org NASA has never made such an announcement and there is no cause for concern behind any of the claims made. No, NASA has never made any type of announcement concerning any type of catastrophic event and a few videos show footage of scientists making some claims, but the footage is used from other interviews and are put up in such a way to suggest that they support this claim when they are discussing completely different topics. While it’s alluring to think that there are secrets being held from us to think some YouTube channel full of advertisements and fake stories would be the only source of truth is just out of this world.

The headline said it all; from the Washington Post, “Please stop annoying this NASA scientist with your ridiculous Planet X doomsday theories”. A short video from NASA senior scientist Dr. David Morrison back in 2011 is at the top of the article and it starts out with him taking a deep breath before telling the tale of a 12 year old girl who is frightened because she hears that the planet Niburu is headed toward Earth. Morrison states matter of factly that Niburu does not exist and that even the designation of Planet X is just a generic term to cover a potential planet that has not yet been proven to exist. 

The video was made in reaction to the dozens of concerned emails to NASA and they finally decided they needed to respond to the misinformation. Morrison stated he received very few inquiries into Niburu back in 2008 but lately things have gotten a bit annoying. Morrison stated, “I now receive at least one question per day, ranging from anguished (‘I can’t sleep; I am really scared; I don’t want to die’) to the abusive (‘Why are you lying; you are putting my family at risk; if NASA denies it then it must be true.’).” The whole Niburu discussion and belief began back in 1995 after Nancy Lieder, founder of the website ZetaTalk, claimed that extraterrestrials from the Zeta Reticuli star system had warned her of an impending collision. Since then the Earth was predicted to collide with Niburu in 2003, 2012, then on September of 2017, October 15th of 2017, and again on November 19th, but none of this happened. Why? Because this planet does not exist and if it were on a collision course we wouldn’t need scientists to tell us because we would see it coming in the night sky for months before it even got close.

Why this story made the top ten: While the eclipse wasn’t a major story until a couple of weeks before it happened it fizzled out quickly to all of the political stories that dominated the news yet for just a couple of days it was the biggest story in the world. The Niburu stories and doomsday predictions flowed constantly through all areas of the paranormal despite relying on misinformation and a misunderstanding of actual science. Scary things tend to get people’s attention and these stories, while hopefully obviously not true, got many to wonder whether they might be accurate. NASA’s reaction in mid-November was a great way to close out this story.

Why this story was only number eight: Despite these claims the world is still spinning. Despite the tracking gained by some of those involved in these conspiracy theories the claims have not held up from public speculation and good old common sense. Despite gripping some with fear and concern they obviously never generated results. Even if it were to come true this story would never have a way to be number one since I wouldn’t be able to report it!

7. Flat Earther’s 

Professional basketball player Kyrie Irving has announced that the Earth is flat and he knows it. The Cleveland Cavaliers point guard’s statement came during a radio show in late February where the hosts began asking him about extraterrestrials and conspiracy theories.

During the Road Trippin' with RJ & Channing podcast Kyrie proclaimed, “This is not even a conspiracy theory, the Earth is flat, the Earth is flat.” He blames the fact that we are spoon-fed knowledge and that history is altered at times and how are we supposed to take what we are told as truth? Many claim that photographs of the Earth are altered or even created as hoaxes. Draymond Green of the Cavalier’s rivals Golden State Warriors stated, “But how do you know that picture is telling the truth? I can make a round picture with my iPhone, on a panoramic camera, make it look round. So, I don't know.” Physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says laughingly of this movement, "This is a deep failure of our educational system."
One month later Kyrie Irving made his position clear once again and made another appearance on the Road Trippin’ Podcast with Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye where this whole mess started to proclaim he does indeed think the Earth is flat. Now, former NBA player Shaquille O’Neil came forward on his podcast to declare that he agrees with Kyrie Irving that the Earth is definitely flat! As only Shaq could do he described his thoughts by saying, 
“It’s true. The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. Yes, it is. Listen, there are three ways to manipulate the mind — what you read, what you see and what you hear. In school, first thing they teach us is, ‘Oh, Columbus discovered America,’ but when he got there, there were some fair-skinned people with the long hair smoking on the peace pipes. So, what does that tell you? Columbus didn’t discover America. So, listen, I drive from coast to coast, and this s*** is flat to me. I’m just saying. I drive from Florida to California all the time, and it’s flat to me. I do not go up and down at a 360-degree angle, and all that stuff about gravity, have you looked outside Atlanta lately and seen all these buildings? You mean to tell me that China is under us? China is under us? It’s not. The world is flat.” 
The rapper B.o.B. has started a GoFundMe campaign in September to help prove that the Earth is indeed flat. He plans on purchasing multiple weather balloons and satellites to go into space and take pictures looking for the curve. The project started on September 21st and aims to collect one million dollars. Initially, he was seeking $200,000 but as soon as this began to be covered by the media and he realized his goals would actually take more money the figure suddenly skyrocketed. Interestingly, some seem to support the flat Earth hypothesis while others offer their money because of other reasons. One of the first donations was from Daniel Ferguson who supports the cause by saying, “Here's $5 to prove yourself wrong.” There were mostly people trying to educate poor B.o.B. but some were in his corner. In the end the campaign raised $6,862 of the $1 million goal most of which came from non-believers in the flat Earth.

The 2017 Flat Earth International Conference (FEIC) was held in Raleigh, North Carolina on November 9th and 10th. The conference had topics such as, "NASA and Other Space Lies," "Flat Earth with the Scientific Method," "Waking Up to Mainstream Science Lies" and "Testing the Globe." The event organizer, Kryptoz Media's Robbie Davidson, who is a Christian creationist, stated that over 500 people attended the conference. You might want to put November 15th and 16th, 2018 on your calendar for next year as this is the date for the next annual Flat Earth International Conference which will be held in Denver, Colorado. You might want to bring your own soda because I heard at the first one it was pretty flat.

Why this story made the top ten: This subject received a lot of attention this year for no good reason. The viral nature and subsequent debate in the media and social media made this an entertaining story that popped up more times than it should have during the year with a variety of people hopping on board the flat Earth train.

Why this story only made number seven: I think it’s safe to say that the Earth is not flat and unless this movement had some serious data to back up their opinions and beliefs this story might take a step forward, but this one for lack of more exciting and valuable stories to the paranormal was almost pushed off the edge of the Earth.

6. Chicago Phantom
It all started on the night of April 7th when a man encountered a large 7 foot tall man with giant wings and glowing red eyes while walking his dog near Oz Park in Chicago. A second incident occurred on April 15th at 2 AM near the Chicago International Produce Market which is about 5 and a half miles south west of Oz Park, as the owl flies. This story actually began back in 2011 with a sighting on August 22nd with two more sightings happening that year. There were no more reports to anyone’s knowledge until these in April. Subsequent reports during the year provided sightings that dated back to as early as February in 2017 of sightings and while the total reached 56 sightings, including the three in 2011, this was trimmed back from at least 57 total sightings and all of this was closely covered by Lon Strickler of Phantoms and Monsters.

Was this the return of the Mothman? Were these a bunch of misidentifications of bats and owls? Was this all a giant and extremely elaborate hoax? I’d say none on the above or more appropriately more than likely a combination of the latter two possibilities. While I doubt Lon Strickler or Manuel Navarrette of UFO Clearninghouse was a part of a hoax it’s possible that a few people started this and others jumped in while a few sightings may have been made by mistaken identity or fear. Either way, there are still no answers to what may truly have been seen over the skies in 2017 over Chicago. The toughest part about there being so many witnesses and so many case files is that there is a startling and complete lack of evidence in any of these sightings.

A purported police report supposedly filed by a witness did not exist and despite happening in areas with potentially high concentrations of people relatively few came forward. No photographs turned up with street cameras or any other reports by aircraft. The local media didn’t seem to take the story very seriously and reacted to the story as it was covered by Phantoms and Monsters.com instead of it bubbling as a local ongoing story. This could have easily been the biggest story of the year, but without anything solid and the witness statements being too perfect and many very outlandish with details that were many times incorrect such as weather we are left with a mystery within a mystery. We should not view these as fifty plus cases that together prove there was a Mothman-like creature flying over Chicago. I’m not trying to discredit the hard work done by Lon or Manuel, but there are so many other forces at work here and having a pretty much live paranormal blog with heavy publicity can backfire at times. Will we ever know for sure what happened in the skies of 2017? Probably not. The good thing about these sightings is that it helped spawn at least two books, one being from Lon Strickler titled, “MothmanDynasty: Chicago’s Winged Humanoids”, there is also one from Loren Coleman titled, “Mothman Evil Incarnate: The Unauthorized Companion to the MothmanProphecies” which comes out on December 15th and the 50thanniversary of the collapse of the Silver Bridge.  Again, read more about this at Phantom and Monsters.com and check out Lon Strickler's map of the sightings.
Why this story made the top ten: This was one of the most captivating and frustrating stories of the year and was definitely the one that I talked about the most as it was mentioned in at least 20 episodes. This story had so many elements that deemed this worthwhile of potentially the greatest story I have covered since 2008.

Why this story was only number six: A complete lack of verifiable evidence despite a large number of purported witnesses. A police report that was nonexistent and some other information from my own work based on my limited view of the case information led me to cast some serious doubt on this story despite the hope that this could be true. While I seriously doubt Lon or anyone else involved in this story were behind a hoax or creation of this story I’m not entirely sure that many of these reports were fueled by deception no matter how genuine they might seem. Sadly, we’ll probably never know the reality behind the story as a whole.

5. Thylacine 
The thylacine was a fairly popular news story last year although the stories and accounts of sightings failed to crack the Top Ten Paranormal News Stories of 2016 and the thylacine has never made the top ten ever. This year a mix of stories finally helped push the most famous Australian cryptid (sorry, Yowie) deep into the countdown.

It started back in mid-January when a woman came forward with video she took back in September of 2015 of what she feels is definitive proof that the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, is not extinct. She filmed the video at 8:45 AM on that September morning as she sat and watched kangaroos on her property when the strange animal captured her attention. Many people feel that the shaky video is just a fox or other explainable animal. The woman stated on her YouTube video, “No it was not a dog, cat, fox or whatever, it was something else. It had a large head with pointy ears, it sort of had an arched back, a bum like a kangaroo's and a long skinny stiff tail and it had bright orangey brown fur.” As for the shaky video she admitted it wasn’t that great and that is was done on her cell phone. She said, “I was shaken and excited and filled with all kinds of feelings when I was doing this because I just wanted get it on camera no matter what.” The video was filmed in Burpengary, Queensland, Australia, just north of Brisbane on the eastern coast of the continent. 

The Thylacine Awareness Group made a comeback in 2017. Last year we covered a couple of stories about the group that has been trying to bring awareness to the fact that many people in Australia are seeing thylacines, or the Tasmanian tiger, on the loose. The Thylacine Awareness Group set up cameras in a remote area near Perth, Australia in Western Australia. Neil Waters, the founder of the Thylacine Awareness Group, feels that these sightings are due to a potential sub-species of thylacines that have managed to survive the centuries and now thrive in the outback. Waters said, “We are saying that there quite possibly is due to the plethora of sightings in many key areas of the mainland and similarities of what people are reporting.” Waters also feels a painting by Robert Dale in 1834 titled Panoramic View of King George's Sound is proof since it shows a number of thylacine which state that this means the creature might have been around back then. 

Scientists who scanned preserved brains of thylacines with imaging techniques have come to the conclusion that the Tasmanian tiger or thylacine was a predator and not a scavenger. The Tasmanian devil is a known scavenger although it is a skilled hunter it is opportunistic, but it appears that through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) it is now known that the thylacine were once top predators. In order to conduct the study, scientists were granted access to two of the four remaining brains of the thylacine. The 3 dimensional brain scans of the thylacine and Tasmanian devil have become part of a new project called Brain Ark, which is a digital archive of 3 dimensional brain structures of the Earth’s megafauna. The Brain Ark project will help create digital reconstructions of brains to help solve many riddles about animals and their brain structures. The thylacine was once the largest carnivorous marsupials’ native to Tasmania, but this designation has since been passed on to the Tasmanian devil. However, the Tasmanian devil has been severely reduced in numbers since the 1990s due to Devil facial tumor disease, which is an aggressive non-viral transmissible parasitic cancer. 70% of the population has been lost since 1996 and is not showing any signs of slowing. The Tasmanian devil was declared endangered in 2008.

In March there was another sighting from a former tourism operator who recently stepped forward to share his story. Unfortunately, his story comes from 1983 where he was camping on Cape York in Queensland, Australia. It’s an area of remote forest and while camping Brian Hobbs witnessed two adults and two pups in which he described, “They were dog-shaped — I had a shepherd with me so I certainly know what dogs are about — and in the spotlight I could see they were tan in colour and they had stripes on their sides. These animals, I've never seen anything like them before in my life.” He was able to get quite close to the animals and he stated that they paid another visit to their camp before he left the area. 

Dr. Sandra Abell from James Cook University will be leading a field survey in the Cape York Peninsula area of Far North Queensland in Australia. Dr. Abell very recently found only the second surviving population of northern bettongs, a small marsupial, through the use of over a hundred sensor cameras. These cameras took over 100,000 pictures when analyzed showed signs of the northern bettongs. The team is only bringing 50 cameras that will be near bait stations in their search for a thylacine. This is probably because the thylacine is much larger than the northern bettong and it will also cut down on the amount of data the team will have to sift through. This attempt is based on a couple of case reports including the one from 1983 that occurred in that area.

So, what are the odds that the thylacine is still alive? Would you believe one in 1.6 trillion? That’s the number that Colin Carlson of the University of California has come up with using mathematical modelling. Using a variety of variables Carlson calculates that the thylacine might have been able to have survived until the 1950s, but that is an optimistic prediction. Using an alternative model with viewing the thylacine as nocturnal and only living in remote locations as well as a lot of other data the latest possible extinction date is 1983. Good thing mathematicians are not the ones out there in the wild looking for these creatures. 

Chris Rehberg, a photographer and amateur naturalist with a deep interest in the Tasmanian tiger from Sydney, Australia stumbled upon something that might help in the search for the thylacine. Apparently, samples of thylacine hairs were placed into an envelope in the 1850s and placed into a cabinet with microscope slides. Possibly, there hairs were meant to be processed into slides. The collection of the entire cabinet was recently purchased by an antique dealer who discovered the thylacine hairs who then decided to sell those separately. This is where Chris stepped in and bought the hairs. Chris was very careful to research the dealer to be sure that this was not a hoax and was convinced by the dealer’s background and knowledge that this was a genuine find. 

Chris intends to add to the dated research on thylacine hairs that includes drawings that were made in the 1950s as well as grainy black and white photos from research in 1985 to study these hairs and provide detailed high resolution photographs of them. Taking a comprehensive look at the hair structure and documenting it through these high resolution photographs he intends to make this work available to professionals and amateurs alike in the effort to provide solid samples of thylacine hair to compare potential new finds to. I wasn’t aware that hair samples were lacking for the thylacine, but from Rehberg’s research shows there isn’t much to go on so this find will provide a resource sample which could potentially help identify or prove false any hair samples found during any research findings of sightings of the thylacine. With this work under way this can eventually thwart a potential would-be hoaxer from doing so, but also it could provide a positive identification in case someone actually does produce the real deal. 

I am very happy to announce that when the deadline hit on Saturday the project was fully funded and raised just over $1,800. I received the email on Saturday and made the announcement during my presentation at the PA Bigfoot Camping Adventure on Sunday, May 7th. There were just 26 people that donated money to this project and I am proud to say I was one of them.

A farmer purported caught a thylacine on a game camera and a video was uploaded to YouTube in early June. However, sharp eyed people noted that the image matched that of a known thylacine photograph. Despite a second photograph surfacing that no one could match the account was labeled as a hoaxer. As discovered by the website Where Light Meets Dark.com the cover photo used for the channel could be saved by right clicking it. When the file popped up to be saved the preexisting file name was “thyla hoax channel pic”. Whoops.

A big story in the cryptozoology field in early July centered on a video uploaded to YouTube on July 5th. The video was shot by school teacher and author Paul Day of an Australian sunrise when a four legged creature ran across the view. In the video Paul poses the question of if viewers think this was the long lost thylacine as it is titled, “Could This be a Tasmanian Tiger”, but he stated that initially he thought it was a fox or a dog and despite this feeling that he is leaning toward the thylacince explanation he states he’s not sure either way. He had been shooting the sunrise near a farm near the city of Moonta on Yorke Peninsula in South Australia with time lapse photography. However, when he saw the creature moving toward the scene he put the camera in regular video mode and zoomed in slightly hoping to get a silhouette of the animal as it went by the sunrise. There are essentially two sides of the fence on this video. On one side people are absolutely convinced this is genuine footage of a thylacine. On the other side of the fence people are claiming this is more than likely a dog or dingo with an injured pelvis or rear leg that makes it appear to hop or move its hindquarters in an odd way that some feel suggest it is the long lost marsupial. There are even some that are speculating that this is CGI and thus a hoax. To this accusation Paul said on his YouTube comments, “Oh it's real alright. A few people have claimed it's fake, but I stake my reputation for producing original content on it being absolutely legit footage.” Sadly, we do not have footage of a galloping thylacine to compare this footage to. 

Why this story made the top ten: A lot of attention and discussion into the possibility of the thylacine still being alive somewhere in Australia or Tasmania hit the paranormal news this year. Despite plenty of news in year’s past 2017 showed more than hoaxed photographs and videos (although there were enough of them) as there was also some scientific attention placed on these purportedly extinct carnivorous marsupials. The Brain Ark project, photographic survey, and Chris Rehberg’s microscopic hair baseline sampling brought some advancement of this lost creature as well as the hope that one day it will be rediscovered.  

Why this story is only number five: Despite a trio of stories that moved the thylacine into a potential find a majority of the focus this year on the thylacine focused on the hoaxed and misidentification filled photographs and videos that still fail to prove the creature still exists.

4. Amelia Earhart 

The search is underway once again for Amelia Earhart. Well, not for her exactly as she would be 119 years old with a birthday on July 24th. Earhart disappeared on the morning of July 2, 1937 at age 39, and despite a search of over 150,000 square miles over 17 days neither her, her navigator Fred Noonan, nor their Lockheed Electra 10E that they were attempting to circumnavigate the world in was ever found. Earhart was declared dead in absentia on January 9, 1939. Search efforts were continued by her husband George Putnam and numerous theories including conspiracy theories have popped up about the disappearance of the two aviators. 

At nearly the 80th anniversary of the disappearance of the airplane an expedition organized by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) set sail on Saturday for one more search for Earhart with some special detectives onboard. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery has already made 12 expeditions in search of Earhart, but this one includes four border collies named Berkeley, Piper, Marcy, and Kayle, who are human remains detection dogs. 
According to the article on National Geographic, which is sponsoring the expedition, these types of dogs have nosed out burial sites as deep as nine feet and as old as 1,500 years. Although the dogs will have a tremendous journey as well as have to deal with huge coconut crabs on Nikumaroro Island where Earhart is rumored to have ended up, it’s thought that this is the best chance to ever find proof of Earhart and Noonan. Back in 1940 it is purported that 13 bones were discovered and shipped to Fiji, however, those bones are now lost. Tom King, the senior archeologist for the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery stated about those bones, “There’s real potential for there to be more bones there. There are 193 bones unaccounted for.” 193 plus 13 equal 206 which is the number of bones in a human body, problem is that Earhart was not alone so that would actually be another 399 bones unaccounted for, right? Yes and no, as Earhart has living ancestors to use as a potential DNA match if her bones are discovered, Noonan does not -so his bones are not going to help much. 
The dogs did discover an area near a tree that indicated they found the presence of bone materials. Archaeologists dug up the site, but were unable to find bone fragments. They are still collecting soil samples for analysis in hopes of not only validating this hypothesis, but finally bringing a conclusion on one of the most mysterious disappearances of the 20th century. 

Another hypothesis that was discussed in detail on Sunday, July 9th on the History Channel during a special called “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” is that Earhart and Noonan died in Japanese custody after crash landing in the Marshall Islands. During the week a photograph began circulating essentially as a teaser for the episode that purportedly showed Earhart sitting near a dock looking toward a ship that appears to be towing a plane on a barge with Noonan purportedly standing nearby. In this theory it is thought that they landed in the Marshall Islands and were subsequently arrested as spies and ultimately died in custody. Many people think that this last scenario would be the least likely despite this photograph and those who say it appears to be the real deal. The photograph is the center piece of the History Channel episode stating that it is the most significant piece of evidence ever discovered about the Earhart disappearance. They initially paint the picture that the photograph and story of Earhart being captured by the Japanese was a governmental cover-up due to the fact that they were able to crack the codes being used in communication and they did not want this information to get out. 

Other things they used were that Caucasians were not allowed in the Marshall Islands just prior to World War II and that the Marshall Islands natives know the story of Earhart crashing and even have a stamp to commemorate the occurrence. In actuality, the stamps were created in 1987 for the 50th anniversary of the flight based on information from a 1983 book by Vincent V. Loomis titled, “Amelia Earhart: The Final Story.” From there they state that she was taken to Saipan and imprisoned before being executed. This information has also been disputed even by those who support the Japanese capture hypothesis.

The History Channel show painted a pretty convincing feeling of an investigation that found piece after piece of evidence, but in reality all of the pieces were there already and they just put everything together with a story and being on location in the areas to make it more convincing. Was there really a cover-up and conspiracy over Earhart’s capture and ultimate death? We should also remember that there are similar stories that people saw airplane wreckage on Nikumaroro Island as well and there are also pieces of purported evidence that people feel strongly that this is the answer to Earhart and Noonan’s fate. We should also remember that alien abduction, vanishing into the Pacific Island’s version of the Bermuda Triangle, Earhart and Noonan being spies for the U.S. where the crash was their cover-up to go into hiding, one hypothesis that gained a lot of attention in the early 1980s was that Earhart was alive and living in New Jersey, and a variety of other hypotheses have been presented over the years by various “experts”. In reality, the most probably conclusion is that Earhart ditched the airplane in the Pacific Ocean and the two more than likely drown especially since no tangible evidence has been found that suggests that any hypothesis is better than another. It’s romantic to think that they might have survived, but with way more ocean than land it is a rational scenario that has the most probability of being the answer.
But what about that great piece of evidence? Well, a Japanese military history buff named Kota Yamano quickly researched the photograph that was at the center of the History Channel documentary and found that it was, in fact, misleading.  The blogger discovered that the photo that is purportedly of Earhart and Fred Noonan was actually published in 1935 in a Japanese travel book. Yes, two years prior to the disappearance of Earhart and her navigator. Spokesperson Kirby Dixon said on behalf of the History Channel, “Ultimately historical accuracy is most important to us and our viewers.” Well, you might have done a little more research on the photograph before saying in a matter of fact way that it was Earhart and Noonan. The History Channel says that it is aware of this new information and is investigating this new claim. Replays of the highly touted episode have suddenly been pulled from the channel.

Why this story made the top ten: The 80th anniversary of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart did not disappoint. Bone sniffing dogs and a History Channel search for the truth which ended in a big letdown actually continued to keep this mystery even more mysterious. 

Why this story is number four:  The mystery is still a mystery. Despite the attempts to uncover new evidence the search for Earhart is still the same as it ever was. Despite a few stories carrying this topic into the news it fizzled out as quickly as it had become a hot topic and we’re once again left for the next “big find” in this case.

3. WOW! Signal study findings reveal
Notes on the margin of a copy of the Wow! Signal
paper by Jerry Ehman at the Perkins Observatory
On February 2nd, 2017, Professor Antonio Paris announced that the Wow! Signal experiment was officially concluded and that the 16 page paper was submitted to the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences for peer-review. The Wow! Signal experiment was the number two story of 2016 only being beaten out by a famous snake in Maine that no one is sure they even saw. This experiment might seem like a footnote to some, but it marked the end of what was long considered the greatest potential piece of evidence of intelligent life in outer space.

When Antonio Paris proposed his hypothesis that the Wow! signal of 1977 was caused by a comet there were quite a few people that laughed at the thought. The Wow signal was very controversial because many felt this was contact from intelligent extraterrestrials although beyond the confusing signal we were left with nothing else, no repeated signal, and no logical solution to what the source might have been. Now that the dust has settled on Paris claiming he has solved the near 40 year mystery the controversy is again in full swing.  There are a few issues with the study that Paris conducted, according to other researchers. Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer at Queens University Belfast whose specialty is comets, stated that comet 266/P Christensen is a quiet comet even when it’s closest to the sun yet when Paris took his readings it was twice as far away or over 4 astronomical units away from the sun. An astronomical unit, for those who are unaware, is 93 million miles or roughly the distance from the Earth to the sun. It’s just a better way to defined the greater distances encountered in space as compared to using the same units we use on Earth. Fitzsimmons also points out that a 1420MHz emission has never been detected from a comet before and therefore concludes that Paris’ conclusions are “rubbish”. Other astronomers and researchers agree that these measurements are questionable. Paris has answered these claims by saying, “Astronomers have not detected hydrogen emission from comets because there has not been much research specifically on this subject.” He says, “While there have been a handful of studies, I suspect we are the first to build a ten-metre telescope to specifically look at this type of Solar System body.” 

Another issue with comet 266/P Christensen is that it would have only been visible to the Big Ear Radio Observatory that captured the Wow signal back in 1977 55 minutes before the Wow signal was detected. There is another issue with the feed horns that collected the data from the Big Ear Radio Observatory. The Wow signal was only detected by one of the two horns used to collect the sound and there would have been a 70 second gap between the horns as the sky rotated overhead. The only thing that could have happened is that the signal turned itself on or off or there was a malfunction of some sort that was never detected. Paris admits that he has no answer for the feed horn issue but thinks it was a technical fault of the telescope. However, Bob Dixon, who was the director of the SETI program, told the magazine Astronomy Now, “Our telescope was working perfectly normally at the time and other radio astronomical objects on the same day were observed in both beams [into both horns].” Despite these three issues working against him Paris feels confident that his work will stick. He plans on continuing his work with providing an explanation of why we would detect such strong neutral hydrogen emissions from a comet like one as inactive as 266/P Christensen hopefully in 2018. No one ever said science was perfect or easy. 

There is also a Google Document that was sent to Paris via Twitter which was started by Chris Lintott who is a Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics at Oxford University and this Google doc also includes questions from other Twitter astronomers. There are some really thorough questions about radio astronomy, comets, the experiment, as well as the paper that Paris has vowed to answer which will put things in a nice perspective.

Why this story made the top ten: The Wow! Signal was the greatest potential piece of evidence of a potential signal from a distant intelligent civilization. Through a scientific experiment it’s now thought that the 40 year old signal might have a natural explanation. Despite the controversy many feel this finally closes the door on one of the greatest astronomical mysteries of all time although many feel this experiment does not explain the signal at all.

Why the story is number three: While the lead up to this experiment landed this story at number two last year many had a feeling this would be the result. Either way, explaining the signal away has not put a dampener on believing that life exists elsewhere intelligent or not and putting this argument out to pasture is a great way for the search to move forward. 

2. Scientists state that ghosts do not exist

A story that was sure to generate some heavy feelings comes to us from the already controversial Large Hadron Collider. In addition to people thinking that CERN can create black holes, will blow up the Earth, and countless other conspiracy theories we also have the strange video of the purported human sacrifice from last year to question just what is really going on there. 

Brian Cox, an Advanced Fellow of particle physics at the University of Manchester, made an appearance on a radio show called The Infinite Monkey Cage to discuss the paranormal and science. Before even starting Cox stirred the pot by saying, “Before we ask the first question, I want to make a statement: We are not here to debate the existence of ghosts because they don't exist.” To clarify his statement he added, “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made. We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That's almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.” 

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was also on the show and he asked Cox if what he heard was what he heard as he said, “If I understand what you just declared, you just asserted that CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, disproved the existence of ghosts.” Cox clarified by saying, “I would say if there's some kind of substance that's driving our bodies, making my arms move and legs move, then it must interact with the particles out of which our bodies are made. And seeing as we've made high precision measurements of the ways that particles interact, then my assertion is there can be no such thing as an energy source that's driving our bodies.” 

So, essentially the Large Hadron Collider has not been able to detect any type of energy that would even come close to explaining how consciousness can survive the body so therefore ghosts do not exist. One could easily say absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but CERN does make a pretty solid argument in regards to evaluating particles and energy. If ghosts do in fact exist they exist outside of the known laws of physics. Wait, we already knew that which is why it is called paranormal in the first place, right? While I marvel at the achievements of the Large Hadron Collider I don’t think they have quite explained everything there is to know at this present time. I’ve often said that ghost researchers should pay attention to the Large Hadron Collider as it will be one of the sources of knowledge and information for this field in the future, but this isn’t exactly what I thought would come out of this.

Ghost groups and enthusiasts all over the world have long been speculating what they think ghosts are and many use the laws of physics to validate their points. Some say the Law of Thermodynamics which states energy cannot be created nor destroyed validates their opinions. However, in this case I must point out that this is just the first law and the second law of thermodynamics states that energy goes from useful forms to less useful forms. For us to go from essentially walking meat sacks to a free floating undetectable sentient being would not be going from useful to less useful at all and its essentially similar to the example you can’t unscramble an egg. 

Dr. Sean Carroll, a cosmologist and physics professor at the California Institute of Technology, has taken the physics debate to the extreme and has pronounced that life after death cannot exist because physics says so. He says, “Claims that some form of consciousness persists after our bodies die and decay into their constituent atoms face one huge, insuperable obstacle: the laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood, and there's no way within those laws to allow for the information stored in our brains to persist after we die.” 

Dr. Carroll looks at the Quantum Field Theory which basically states that there is one field for each type of particle. He says that if life were to continue after the death of the body these forces would have been discovered. He says, “If it's really nothing but atoms and the known forces, there is clearly no way for the soul to survive death. Once we get over any reluctance to face reality on this issue, we can get down to the much more interesting questions of how human beings and consciousness really work.” This is essentially the same claim made earlier this year by physicist Brian Cox after he stated there's no room in the Standard Model of Physics for a substance or medium that can carry on our information after death, and yet go undetected in the Large Hadron Collider.

So, does Dr. Carroll see after death studies as a distraction to the search for consciousness? Funny thing is not even physics can explain what is happening with consciousness and despite our ability to reason and come up with theories and hypotheses we still cannot define consciousness other than our ability to be aware or to understand and reason or to be ignorant. We cannot explain consciousness nor can we explain what might happen after death since we do not yet understand how this higher functioning works outside of electrical impulses and reactions to our environment. Despite his claims science does not have all the answers to the world as we know it and physics is a series of theories that are just the best guess until new evidence presents itself. It’s easy to believe without question just as easily as it is to dismiss without introspection. Quote me on that one.

A TED Talk circulated the Internet in late June as ghost investigators thought a video had scientists looking closer to the search for ghosts. TED, which stands for technology, education, and design, is an ongoing series of talks geared toward educating people for various fields. This particular TED talk featured Carrie Poppy, who is the co-host of the skeptical podcast Oh No, Ross and Carrie! Her topic was, “Can Science Reveal The Truth Behind Ghost Stories?” 

In her speech Carrie described how she felt as though she was being watched, had tightness in her chest, and felt other odd things that lead her to believe she had a ghost in her home. She ultimately discovered her experiences mirrored symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Her hunch was correct as her call to the gas company revealed that she could have been dead within days if not hours had she not contacted them. She goes on to explain our beliefs about ghosts as more of an inner belief as she says, “Because as soon as we have the scientific explanations we know to give up the ghost. We use these things as stopgaps for things we can’t explain. We don’t believe them because of evidence; we believe them because of a lack of evidence.”

Why this story made the top ten: Three really big punches to the belief in ghosts. A couple of jaw shots by scientists point out that science currently has no room for ghosts and that they just do not feel that they exist in the way we popularly think of them. A gut check with the last story demonstrates that we need to be aware of many of the other things that exist out there if we are to truly approach ghost research with a scientific mind.

Why this story was number two: While these might not have been front page news on every paranormal news site they should have been. Belief in ghosts does not make them real and despite those who feel they have interacted with them we are still faced with the fact that science says they do not exist. Two of these stories provide some sound backup to these feelings, but if nothing else this opens the door for others to challenge these ideas. My only hope is that physicists and scientists will always keep the door of possibility of ghosts being a reality slightly ajar so that if advancements or something is ever detected we have not already abandoned the possibility.

1. Exoplanets and the search for life in space

NASA’s teased a big announcement in late February and had headlines that we might have found planets with water or life. The big news of the discovery was that they found 7 planets of Earth’s size and three of them lie in the so-called “goldilocks” zone which means they’re not too hot, not too cold, but just right as far as potential temperature to be able to hold liquid water as determined from the distance from their sun. This does not mean there is life there, but just the potential for liquid water to stay on the surface. 

The Trappist 1 system is 39 light years away, or the Star Wars sounding 12 parsecs away, and contains a star that is barely bigger than our Jupiter. A parsec is a measurement of distance, roughly 3.26 light years of distance. This dwarf star means that the planets are actually much closer to it than we are to the Sun. This presents many issues for the perceived formation of water and subsequent life that everyone is focused on. First, my main observation was the discovery of these planets was made from the observation of shadows created from in front of the star at the Trappist 1 system. This by no means demonstrates that the planets are in a circular rotation around the star, if the orbit is too elliptical it would bring any one of these three too close to the star at a given point in their rotation or even too far away and bring them out of the much smaller goldilocks zone that exists around it. The second major issue is the development of the star itself. Being a cooled star it would have had a much more turbulent youth which more than likely baked these planets and removed any liquid that might have been possible and erased any atmosphere and any life on them. 

We have to remember that these planets are very close to this main star and only take about a week to orbit it unlike our 365 days. Then, of course, we have the whole distance problem. Yes, 39 light years doesn’t sound too far away to travel to but again this is traveling at the speed of light. 39 light years is about 235 trillion miles, that’s 235 followed by 12 zeros! Voyager 1, launched in 1977, is traveling about 10.6 miles per second, which sounds extremely fast but even at this speed it will take over 17,500 years for it to travel one light year. This means to travel to Trappist-1 it would take around 700,000 years – one way. Granted, I have a pretty large list of people I would love to volunteer for that journey. Despite Trappist-1 being a galactic neighbor we’re just not as evolved as we need to be to make a journey there worthwhile.

Back in February scientists announced that they had found 7 exoplanets around a star known as Trappist-1 and three of the four were in the habitable zone. There were a lot of unanswered questions that day and unfortunately more data has come in that suggests that Trappist-1 is not a great star to help the planets harbor life. Trappist-1 is a red dwarf which means the planets around it are far closer than the Earth is to the Sun. The Kepler Space Telescope carried out tests conducted by the Konkoly Observatory that suggests that Trappist-1 flares too frequently and is far too unstable to have a planet within its system that could have life as the atmospheres of the planets would more than likely never recover from the constant bombardment and high intensity solar flares. At least we didn’t pack our bags.

NASA announced to the world yesterday from the Ames Research Center that they have discovered more new exoplanets, 219 of them to be exact, and of these ten are rocky like Earth and are in the goldilocks zone or habitable zone of their particular solar system. This means that they are in a zone where liquid water could form and are neither too hot nor too cold for water for form and stay on the planet. NASA now states that there have been 4,034 planet candidates discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope. Of these candidates 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of these 2,335 roughly 50 have been identified as near Earth size candidates that exist in their system’s habitable zone and of these 50 more than 30 have been verified. So, the addition of ten more planets that are Earth like in the habitable zone is pretty significant, but we will have to wait to see the conditions of these systems as we were excited about the Trappist one announcement only to learn that these planets were in fact too close to their host star.

Back on May 19th researchers for SETI picked up an unusual signal coming from a star known as Ross 128, a red dwarf star located about 11 light-years from Earth. The signal was discovered by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico and on July 14th the telescope was again pointed at Ross 128 where the sound was heard once again. The ten minute signal was observed and seemed to be sporadic. Researchers were doubtful this was alien an alien signal, but they decided to try again to see what this signal might be which is now dubbed the Weird! Signal similar to the Wow signal. On July 16th researchers once again heard the signal coming from Ross 128 and analyzed the data once again.  Abel Méndez, an astrobiologist at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, was one of the researchers and spokesperson for the released information to the public where it was stated that, “The best explanation is that the signals are transmissions from one or more geostationary satellites. This explains why the signals were within the satellite frequencies and only appeared and persisted in Ross 128; the star is close to the celestial equator where many geostationary satellites are placed.” So, a geostationary satellite just over 22,000 miles above the surface of the Earth is the likely culprit. These high orbit satellites are able to stay over a specific spot over the Earth which explains why the signal was detected consistently only in that area of the sky.

Another new exoplanet has been discovered and is just 11 light years from Earth. The exoplanet, dubbed Ross 128 b, orbits around a red dwarf star about every 9.9 days but potentially has a surface temperature close to that of Earth’s which makes it a high candidate for being able to support life. However, astronomers are not yet sure whether Ross 128 b is within the so-called Goldilocks’ zone. The planet Proxima b is the closest planet to Earth that is within this zone and is 4.2 light years away. Ross 128 b is essentially a great backup if Proxima b is discovered to not harbor life on its surface or could potentially provide safe harbor for humans in the distant future.

Another NASA announcement in mid-December focused on the Google artificial intelligence program which sifted through thousands of signals and determined that the solar system known as Kepler 90 has eight potential planets. The announcement was big because it now ties Kepler 90 and our own solar system for having the most known planets orbiting a star.

Why this story is in the top ten: The story may not seem paranormal, but we’re talking about the lead up to potentially finding life on other planets. There was a lot of speculation prior to the Trappist 1 announcement that NASA was going to reveal finding life in outer space, but most of us knew better. Still, while these new exoplanet findings began to balloon back in 2014 this year was a huge year for discovery and while we’re very far from being able to ever reach and research these locations close up these announcements and findings are changing the way people are looking at the potential for life beyond Earth.

Why this story is number one: Of all of the big three topics of the basic paranormal stories (cryptids, ghosts, UFOs/life on other planets) life beyond Earth has been getting some serious consideration by mainstream scientists lately. While UFOs being piloted by aliens around Earth might be laughed at, the topic of the discovery of life outside of Earth is one that seems to be getting closer and closer to actually being a reality. These stories this year were a giant leap towards this possibility although the realization of this possibility is still extremely far away. 2017 was a relatively calm year for paranormal stories as nothing really jumped off the pages, but these exoplanet topics received a lot of attention and speculation and have been the largest scientific conversation all year long.




Cougar and Cubs Spotted in Tennessee!(?)  

7 Sep 2017, 1:22 pm WGNS Radio out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, posted a story on their webpage on September 4, 2017, that stated a man caught video of a cougar and cubs in Tennessee. While this might not sound like a big deal it would actually be something that has not been documented east of the Mississippi River in almost 100 years.

Mountain lions, known as cougar, catamount, puma, panthers, and nearly 300 other local and regional names in North and South America, have been officially listed as extinct since March 2, 2011, after a four year review among 21 eastern states. The last known cougar in the eastern United States is thought to have been shot in Maine in 1938 (taxidermied and show at left years later with Bruce Wright). Granted, this cougar was categorized as a separate species from the number of other groups of cougar including that of the Florida Panther and western cougar. Technically, according to some who dispute the eastern cougar as a distinct species, the cougar was extirpated from the eastern states and regulated to the mountains of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia in North America while still having a large roaming area of South America.

In the 1990s there began to be rumors and reports of cougar sightings although rumors had persisted since the 1940s despite the cougar never being officially documented. Eastern states laughed at these reports and declared that no mountain lions existed east of the Mississippi River. If ones were sighted they were either escaped exotic pets, ones that were let loose on purpose, or were just misidentification of a house cat.

Over the years the evidence became clear. On June 11, 2011, just three months after the eastern cougar was declared extinct, a mountain lion was struck and killed by an SUV on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford, Connecticut. This was less than 80 miles northeast of New York City. Granted, this was not an eastern cougar but a wandering male from the Black Hills region of South Dakota. This is the largest eastern concentration of cougars other than the small number that exist in south Florida. Numerous other states have reluctantly provided photograph, video, and physical evidence that mountain lions are wandering through states east of the Mississippi River.

The main point here is that despite a seemingly slow and triumphant comeback the cougars discovered in the east are wandering males from the west, again primarily from the Black Hills region. If this latest report from Tennessee were true it would be a huge victory for big cat lovers and huge headache for state wildlife management teams that do not seem to want to deal with having these ambush predators in their states.

This sighting was in the form of a video that was shot by Jim Kutz who lives in a KOA Campground in Lebanon, Tennessee. Mr. Kutz claims to have found evidence of mountain lions and set up a trail cam to hopefully capture evidence of them. He also states that he has been a trapper of game for quite a while and has trapped bobcat, coyote, fox, and other animals and these cats seem much larger than bobcat.

However, when watching the video it is apparent to me (and many others it seems) that these are in fact NOT cougars but are definitely bobcat despite the claims of Mr. Kutz. The cats in the video have ears that have a white stripe in the center. Mountain lions, including cubs, have solid colored backs of their ears which is generally dark brown. Another telltale sign is that bobcats have very short tails especially to that of a cougar. In the video it is clear that the tails of the cubs is far less than the size of its leg and bobcats (named for their short tail) have a tail that only grows about six inches long. A cougar on the other hand will have a tail that is about three feet long and will generally measure 2/3 the length of its head and body. The image in this paragraph shows two black and white photos taken directly from the video and shows the ears and body structure of a bobcat and cougar for comparison.

It is also apparent to me that despite Jim's background with trapping he's not very good at identifying these creatures on film. It's also apparent that Scott Walker, the person from WGNS who interviewed Mr. Kutz is not as knowledgeable about animals as he tries to be during the interview. Cougars do not grow to 800 pounds (try 220 pounds with males), they are not constantly traveling (especially with cubs), and they are not exclusively "night animals" as they are not just nocturnal but also crepuscular (active at dawn/dusk) and can also be observed during the day.



The Rise and Fall of the Loveland Frog  

25 Aug 2017, 7:53 pm This article originally appeared in the November 2016 edition of Cryptid Culture Magazine.

Every area has their local legends or folkloric stories from crybaby bridges to purported water monsters or sightings of monkeys or monstrous snakes. In the world of cryptozoology there are animals that are reported that were thought to be extinct, animals that are found in areas that they are not supposed to exist, and cryptids that defy logic and biology.  These seemingly impossible creatures have given life to cryptozoology by partnering with the paranormal with tales of creatures that are mysterious and outright bizarre.

Loveland is a small bedroom community with less than 13,000 residents that occupies five square miles of land in southwest Ohio. The city sits about 15 miles to the northeast of the city limits of Cincinnati and has always struggled to form its own identity. The Little Miami River, a tributary that empties into the Ohio River, has always been a large part of the community and sets the scene for the Loveland Frog story that spawned from purported events in 1955.

The original Loveland Frog, or Loveland Lizard, story starts off as a “Legend has it” type of story where there are many popular variations that have been passed down over the last 60 years by those in the area. The common elements of the story include a business man who was driving home late one night who saw a few creatures he estimated to be about three to four feet tall. He purportedly described the creatures as having a head like a frog’s and deep wrinkles instead of hair. The man also described seeing one of the creatures holding a wand-like device that purportedly shot sparks from the end of it. The biggest problem with the story is no one is sure of the root of this tale. The man has no name and there is no physical record of any physical report along with no other facts such as just which road this occurred on.

For many this story is just an extension of the folklore surrounding the Shawnahooc, a bipedal reptilian creature described by the Twightwees of the Miami People that occupied this region of the mid-west in the 1840s. The Shawnahooc is also described by the Shawnee yet is folklore and is not described as a real flesh and blood creature but more than likely a metaphor for the fighting spirit of Native Americans. This story could easily be dismissed if it were not for the events that occurred 17 years later.

Friday, March 3, 1972, police officer Ray Shockey was heading back toward Loveland in his patrol car being careful due to icy conditions on the roadway. As his vehicle moved along Riverside Drive near the Little Miami River he saw a creature moving along the side of the road. As his car approached the animal it began to scurry across the roads and became illuminated in the headlights. As the creature reached the guardrail it then stood up on two feet, looked at him, and then crawled over the guardrail toward the river. Shockey described the creature as being three to four feet tall, about 50 to 75 pounds, and being covered by leathery skin. Officers were said to have investigated the area and purportedly noted scratch marks on the guardrail where creature went over, but there is no evidence to substantiate those claims.

Just when things seemed weird enough, fellow Loveland police officer Mark Matthews had his own encounter with a similar creature just two weeks after Shockey’s sighting. Matthews came upon a creature he thought was injured or dead and he intended to move it to the side of the road.  He got out of his car to move it when he said it stood up on its hind legs and hobbled over the guardrail and into the river. Matthews also stated that he fired a shot at it but was unsure if he injured it. Matthews would later change his story in 1999 to local media and in 2001 he was quoted as stating, “It was and is no 'monster'. It was not leathery or had wet matted fur. It was not 3-5 feet tall. It did not stand erect. The animal I saw was obviously some type of lizard that someone had as a pet that either got too large for its aquarium, escaped by accident or they simply got tired of it. It was less than 3 feet in length, ran across the road and was probably blinded by my headlights. It presented no aggressive action.”

Matthews’ admission that his side of the story was a hoax was probably made as an attempt to further separate him from the story. This odd and conflicting admission would help keep the Loveland Frog story alive as this created more mystery behind the modern stories.  The legend lived on happily until 2016 when another sighting opened a few doors and the legend took another dose of reality that may have eliminated what little credibility it had.

Sam Jacobs and his girlfriend were walking along Madeira Road near Lake Isabella in Loveland, Ohio, on August 3, 2016 when they purportedly saw the legendary Loveland Frog.  Sam was doing what just about every teen was doing in early August; playing Pokémon Go. Jacobs captured a quick video as well as some photographs during his evening encounter before leaving the area quickly. His story, video, and photos were in the media the following afternoon. Jacobs was quoted by a few local television stations he sent the story to including WLWT, the local NBC affiliate, “We saw a huge frog near the water," Jacobs wrote in an email to the station. "Not in the game, this was an actual giant frog.” Jacobs and his girlfriend went back to her house immediately after their sighting where his girlfriend’s parents informed them about the legend of the Loveland Frog –or so the story goes.

This new story, and its not so convincing evidence, prompted news services to suddenly take an interest in this story that seemingly had croaked a long time ago. Matthews, who now resides in Florida, gave a telling explanation of what really occurred during 1972 that attempts to tie the story up in a nice bow. He states that Shockey seemed convinced he saw something near the Totes boot factory (now known as Totes Isotoner).
Matthews did see a creature the night he was on patrol, but it didn’t go over the guardrail like reported it went under it. While Matthews had no idea what it was initially he decided to shoot it since he felt no one would believe him. He states that the creature was missing its tail and was half dead. Matthews put the creature, which turned out to be a three foot long iguana, into his trunk to show others what had been seen.

He guessed that the creature was living near the factory’s water pipes that released warm water that was used to cool ovens to stay warm. Being a cold-blooded creature it would have no other way of surviving the cold conditions of an Ohio winter. It was also pretty obvious that this was either an escaped or released pet which went unreported. Matthews told WCPO, "It's a big hoax," and, "There's a logical explanation for everything."

For some the story that Mark Matthews has been pushing since 1999 is total fiction. Some feel that it’s his way of moving away from the ridicule, stories, and the constant contact of people wanting to hear the same story told over and over.  James Renner, author of “It Came from Ohio” interviewed Ray Shockey for his 2012 book at his Loveland home. Shockey, despite telling the author he swore he decided years ago he wouldn’t talk about it anymore, is quoted in the book as saying that it definitely wasn’t an iguana and it was in fact much bigger.

So, which story is true? Did a pair of police officers independently see a three to four foot tall upright walking frog along a river in Ohio? Or did one officer misinterpret an iguana and another provided evidence for a logical conclusion despite the story never being revealed until 1999? When looking at both stories neither one makes much logical sense. The idea of a large upright walking frog is ridiculous. However, it was witnessed by two independent police officers and made a public story. If it was just an iguana why wasn’t this story squashed back in 1972?

What about this latest sighting? My interpretation of the latest Loveland Frog sighting rests squarely between an intentional hoax and a misinterpretation. Granted, if I had to pick one I would say a hoax since the witness went right to the media within 24 hours and pushed his story to the public. There was seemingly no follow-up or any type of investigation into the location of the sighting and the story disappeared as quickly as it jumped into the news. Personally, like many hoaxers, I feel he might have wanted the attention but was shocked by how much this story actually generated and did not pursue it any further. If I had seen this creature I would have returned that night with an array of flashlights, cameras, witnesses, baseball bats, or whatever else I needed to prove that this actually happened. If anything, a daytime trip to the location to look for a logical solution should have occurred before writing a blanket email to the media.

Ohio researcher and author James A. Willis offered his own theory on the latest Loveland Frog sighting. In his blog he states that he wasn’t impressed with the video and images when he first saw them stating that the creature appeared much smaller than three to four feet tall and that the eyes looked like “high beams”. While shopping at a local Big Lots retail store his wife showed him a Wilson & Fisher solar frog which has bright lights for eyes and matches the images closely. Not surprisingly, there is a Big Lots store about 4 miles outside of Loveland. Willis states that he’s not saying this is exactly the explanation, but from what I see he’s done a great job of providing similar photographs that help legitimize a hoax/misinterpretation.

So, while this latest chapter doesn’t look too promising for the Loveland Frog it did put a giant shadow of doubt on the story overall with the Matthews explanation. But, the conflicting information is just enough to keep this story afloat for just a little while longer.

Brian D. Parsons


  • WLWT.com.   "Are the Legends True? Man Claims he Spotted Fabled Loveland Frogman."  August 4, 2016.
  • WCPO.com. “Officer who shot 'Loveland Frogman' in 1972 says story is a hoax.” August 5, 2016.
  • Snopes.com. “’Loveland Frogman’ Spotted Again?” August, 5, 2016.
  • WeirdUS.com. Loveland’s Frogman.
  • Strangeandspookyworld.com. The Strange and Spooky World of James A. Willis, “Create Your Very Own Loveland Frog Hoax For Under $20.00!”
  • Renner, James. (2012). It Came from Ohio: True Tales of the Weird, Wild, and Unexplained. Cleveland, Ohio. Gray & Company, Publishers.
  • Image of Loveland Frog created by Tim Bertelink and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. The original file, and subsequent variations, can be found on the Wikipedia entry for the Loveland Frog. By Tim Bertelink - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47617140 




New Book Release- "Handbook for the Amateur UFO Investigator"  

17 Jul 2017, 10:34 pm Brian D. Parsons, PhD, celebrates his sixth book release with his take on how to research and investigate UFOs. This book brings his "Handbook" collection of anomalous research guidebooks full circle with a closer look at this controversial and conspiracy laden topic.

His latest effort is a balanced look at the UFO phenomenon through the culture and history of sightings and related phenomenon. Brian looks at a number of historical UFO sightings and brings you the truth behind these events that have shaped our thoughts on the reality of alien crafts visiting Earth. From there he identifies other phenomenon typically related to UFOs and puts them into perspective. Following this is an explanation into how UFOs have been shaped by culture with books, radio, television, and movies.

The book then describes a number of logical solutions to UFOs before landing into methods of research and investigation. From here the reader will learn thorough methods of interviewing clients based on science as well as his own methods crafted from over 20 years of anomalous research. Onsite investigation methods as well as offsite research techniques are also discussed and the book is then topped off with a list of resources that will help point anyone of any background of investigation in the right direction of becoming a well rounded UFO investigator.

Brian is the author of Handbook for the Amateur Ghost Hunter or Paranormal Investigator: How to Become a Successful Paranormal Group in 2008, Betty's Ghost: A Guide to Paranormal Investigation also in 2008, Handbook for the Amateur Paranormal Investigator: Part II: The Art and Science of Paranormal Investigation in 2011, The "E4" Method: Breaking the Mold of Paranormal Investigation in 2013, and Handbook for the Amateur Cryptozoologist in 2014 with a second edition in 2015 which includes a foreword by Loren Coleman.  



UFOs over Santiago, Chile: SOLVED  

8 Jun 2017, 3:02 pm

It was utter chaos in Santiago, Chile on December 22nd, 2015 as a pair of videos demonstrates. The two videos showed up on YouTube and the speculation in the UFO world went wild. The first one, seen at right, created a big buzz throughout the media and UFO and paranormal bloggers alike as everyone weighed in on what they thought was going on.Was this an invasion of several alien craft? No. The simple fact is this event happens every year. Similar videos have also popped up ever since 2003. The reason for this yearly occurrence is these lights in the sky are actually T-35 pillar propeller driven  aircraft used by the Chilean Air Force. What we are seeing is the end of the graduation ceremony where the two-seater craft are flown over the skies of Santiago.

 Despite this simple explanation many still argue that the planes don't seem to look or fly normal and they are not buying it. Granted, there are others who have picked up on posts from others who have seen this story in the past and have provided the answer. Just with a quick search of YouTube you can find plenty of videos that document these sighting year-to-year. Many of the titles will even have "T-35" in the title, for obvious reasons. The big giveaway is the fact that you can easily see strobe lights on every single one of the crafts.

The T-35 is a trainer aircraft used by Chile and is a two-seater turboprop driven plane. The videos would not pick up the sounds of the aircraft due to the distance between the witness and the craft. Even then, these are small planes with propellers so they are not really that loud (see the video of the parade from 2010). It's hard to believe that the locals would not be used to seeing these aircraft flying over city, but certainly a tight formation would not occur that often especially in the evening.

Video from 2013: https://www.youtube....h?v=XeyOdgKKq8E
Video from 2012: https://www.youtube....h?v=iumaKgWc5wQ
Video from 2012 of the parade: https://www.youtube....h?v=DPLND5uEChw
Video from 2011: https://www.youtube....h?v=t9Pm9bsFixA
Video from 2010 (with the explanation at the end in Spanish):https://www.youtube....h?v=TZO-PHJ4Jlw
Video of the parade in 2010: https://www.youtube....h?v=YAlUlUUKTpY
Video from 2008: https://www.youtube....h?v=QAkx9yJRqv0
Video from 2004: https://www.youtube....h?v=7rj18ORX5i8
Video from 2003: https://www.youtube....h?v=f0zwg-FNPrA  



Kitwe "Man in the Sky" busted  

5 Mar 2017, 6:23 pm We all knew this was fake, but the news story has been quickly sweeping its way across social media. A giant human-like "thing" was seen over the skies of the Makuba Mall in Kitwe, Zambia, in south central Africa recently. It purportedly panicked many and made some flee and others pray, according to the story.

Oddly, the major source for this story, which has been copied and pasted in many languages in many websites, blogs, and fake news sites all over the world, is the Daily Mail. Tracing back this story I was able to find the Facebook page called "Zambian Watch" that posted the story back on March 1, 2017 with the exact information stated in the Daily Mail article. I read through the comments and found very little of value except for the mention of the Dineo cyclone which lead me to a story where a purported mermaid washed ashore. The image of the mermaid was actually from the set of the 2011 film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and was created by makeup and special effects artist Joel Harlow. The series of images of this mermaid have been all over the Internet since. Next to the mermaid was the photograph of the "flying man" that was supposed to represent Dineo as some sort of monster.

The image used of the "flying man" used along with the mermaid was a bit clearer than that of what was seen in the image of the Kitwe "creature". Using this as a guide I simply Google image searched and found the exact image on Pinterest of a “Spirit Man” kite manufactured by Martin Lester out of the United Kingdom.

Another hoax busted.




The Basics of Researching Online Media  

3 Feb 2017, 2:18 pm

“If you throw something up without fact-checking it and you’re the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it’s proved false, you still got those views." 
- Ryan Grim, the bureau chief in Washington for The Huffington Post

Credit: lculig/Shutterstock
We’ve all read a story that is shocking, unbelievable, or just too good to be true. Some people may take the time to actually read the story before forming an opinion, others may judge on the headline either for or against the validity of the story based on their beliefs or perspective, and others may simply share or recirculate the story without reading it with the hopes that someone else can get to the bottom of it. Then there are those that merely believe anything and everything they read without thought. I mention this last group apart from the others since this gullible group is generally the target to those who intend to fool based on their agenda, beliefs, or just for the thrill of creating viral confusion or gaining their fifteen minutes of fame through a hoax. Gullibility does not imply someone is stupid, it merely means some people do not take or have the time to dig into certain headlines and others may just not know how to do it. To many these stories really are not worth the time to dig into and passing it along and looking back later for the solution is much easier. In some cases I just don’t think people care whether a story is valid or not anyway, it’s just getting “mind blown” that is the experience; the truth is boring to some. For others many stories support their beliefs or agenda and they will pass it off as fact since they have little reason or desire to verify it. Others may be quick to dismiss stories based on the same beliefs, again without verification. Technology is the carrier of these memes and it also the method in which to provide the antidote on a case by case basis. I come from a time before the World Wide Web of endless information when one had to search through books to find answers and in the case of the Internet you had to know what door to look through to find answers without a web browser, Google, or any way to simply enter a search cue into the system. Even before web browsers and the World Wide Web there were many emails circulated as hoaxes so this is not a new sensation although the large use of social media and the Internet has made this a growing problem. The leading social media platform, Facebook, has attempted to hinder the spread of hoaxes, but to little avail. 

There are many ways to look for the truth in a story, but the easiest way is to spot the misinformation. To spot the things that the story relies on as fact and expose it as a lie is the best method of dismantling a story quickly. However, there are some cases in which facts must merely be looked for elsewhere from more reliable means. An example would be in the case of a famous person dying, do not rely on fan sites for the information instead look toward an official channel of a band’s website or their agent for an official release.

I deal with identifying the validity of stories each and every day as I gather information for my weekly show, the Paranormal News Insider. I pride myself on searching for answers instead of merely regurgitating what appears in print on other sites. While I use many methods to search for the truth within information I have a fairly reliable method that has become a habit of use that I use when reading any type of story. This is what I call my basic “outside in” approach. With this approach I look at the top and bottom and move my way in to the core of the story to look for details of a hoax or misinformation. Once key details are established I can begin searching other resources outside of this page for more details to either confirm or deny this story, yet this also comes with pitfalls. Some stories have aspects of these that need to be researched to get a better feel of whether the story was created or shared by a credible source. Establishing the source is critical in determining the validity of a story.

With any story a headline can be deceiving. Many of us have become reliant upon a headline to provide us as much information as possible to understand a story without actually having to read it. If you have an interest in a story or intend to share the information it would behoove you to actually take time to read the entire story for content. There are many clues within the body of a story that can help you decide whether there is enough credibility in the story to pass it on. Again, headlines can be deceiving and the content of the story may have a different version of what you might actually think is there based on the deception.

Researching general stories found online:

The first step in determining the validity of any story is to first take the time to read it. A simple way of getting to the truth is to see if there is already someone who has done research on a story is to merely search for it. Use the keywords of a story and then enter “hoax” or other words that you think of that your gut is telling you about the story. Websites like Snopes.com, Hoax-slayer.com, urbanlegends.about.com, truthorfiction.com, and many others provide a resource of sanity about many of the hoaxes on the Internet.  Granted, one rule I always live by; NEVER RELY ON ONE RESOURCE FOR THE TRUTH!

Many people question the reliability of the leader of these sites; Snopes. This website is edited by a husband and wife team and while there may be mistakes all of the information gathered for a story is given out so the research behind every claim is there for the world to see. They have been judged by a number of other sites to be as accurate as you will find onthe subjects and the accuracy outweighs the minimal mistakes. The same holds true for another valued, yet many times questioned, resource; Wikipedia. This resource of information has received a bad rap from many people since it is an open-source where anyone can edit and update information. However, Wikipedia is watched closely for updates and requires legitimate resources for major changes or additions. Many have never questioned the validity of Encyclopedia Britannica, but Wikipedia has been found to be just as reliable mostly due to the diligent eyes on its content.

My “outside in” approach to validating online media:    

1. Consider the source
  •  Is this a legitimate website? Is the URL spelled correctly? No? It may be a mirror site (or spoof site) and is created to fool you into thinking it is a credible source. Is this a parody website? (onion.com type).  Is this from a website where regular people contribute in blog style? This is by far the most common type of website hoax where stories are spread via misinformation and will take the longest to unravel at times since the story is written by the author’s opinion and web of lies and misinformation. A list of these sites would be in the hundreds (see a small list below before the resources) and includes sites like beforeitsnews.com, many government, conspiracy, and UFO sites that are merely fronts for people’s thoughts, ideas, opinions, fears, and agendas.

2. Consider the resource
  •  The single most important thing after determining the validity of the website that the story appears on is finding the original source of the story. Any good media story that is merely copied and pasted will provide a link to the original source of the story at the bottom or sometimes the top of their posting. If there is a link open this one in a new tab and begin to evaluate it to determine the time/date is actually earlier than the one you originally opened. If this source appears to be an earlier version this is where you continue your research on the story beginning with determining if this is a legitimate source as well as if this story has a resource listed at the top or bottom of the story. The caveat with this is that there are some sites that back dates stories (such as celebrity death hoaxes) to confuse people. Continue to chase these sources until you reach the bottom of the rabbit hole. Unfortunately, many online media outlets do not take the time to fact check and are merely concerned with website traffic. Getting you to click on their website puts money in their pockets based on advertisers, so they honestly care little about the facts up front.
  • Go local. You can also search for and look at other sources local to where the story purportedly took place. During the Jerusalem UFO sightings that seemed extremely credible I was not able to find any mention of the sightings in any local or regional online sources in the area and have found the same in many other hoaxes. However, during recent unexplained noises in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, the best updates were available from the local newspapers which printed updates which were then copied by the regional news channel websites. Go to Google and search for the city where the story takes place and use words like “newspaper” or “news” and you should be able to find local sources. Granted, searching for phrases of meaning with the story can help speed up the process by bringing up the multitude of copies of the story and will allow you to see where they are coming from to aid in the search for the original source.
  • If the story does not list a source for the story then the content must be put into question as well as the person behind the post.  This is a positive indication that the person may have made this story up or has copied other information and created a version of a story about something else. Don’t be afraid to email someone associated with the site to find the source of their content; their answer or lack thereof will guide you to your answer. In some cases, such as a UFO, ghost, or cryptid news site the story may have been submitted to them. The question is then; did they evaluate, research, or investigate this story or merely put it up on the website as quickly as possible? Hoaxers and attention seekers will find sites like these to get their “stories” out in public quickly.

3. Consider the content
  • Is the story filled with frequent misspellings, run on sentences, or is the structure of the story all over the place? Granted, punctuation is not something many in the media worry about these days as they rely on spell check and many times the comments section will point out issues which they will silently correct.
  • Does the content seem to merely support and idea, opinion, or agenda more than actually reporting an event or story about something or someone? If so, this website is obviously peddling an agenda and not a legitimate story. I recommend using key terms in the article to be highlighted, right clicked, and searched for current information beyond this story and those that have copied that information until an actual source can be found if you have not done so already.

4. Consider the evidence
  • They say a picture is worth a thousand words and articles can live and die with them. While sadly it has become common practice for many news agencies to alter photographs in order to focus on certain things others will immediately fire you for such an act. Photographs have been edited long before digital methods such as Photoshop came along and most of us take edited photographs for granted as they appear on nearly every single magazine on the newsstands.
  • Many images are altered to provide visual evidence to support the story. If a story is reliant upon an image you can take simple steps to search for an original unaltered image if one exists. There are two methods; Google image search and TinEye that search the Internet for photographs that have been placed on the web and have been crawled and recorded on search engines. Both of these resources have plugins that will allow you to right click on the image and search from the prompt (see resources below). You will have to scroll through examples of these photographs and see if you can find other versions of this photograph that indicate that the one in the story has been tampered with.
  • There are limitations to mere image searching. For starters, if the person is using a photograph that has not been crawled and is not preexisting on the Internet you will obviously not find the original. Also, if an image is altered significantly it may not show up in simple image searches. You can combat this by cropping the image or altering the image eliminating an area you feel is put in digitally using simple methods such as using paint on Windows-based computers. After retouching you can upload it to TinEye to see if the alterations helped the search. Another reason for images not being found is if they are screen captures of videos. On more than one occasion I have traced an altered photograph to a video. In Google you can search for topics by category and if I hit a dead end with pictures I may try to search for relevant videos on the specific topic of the photograph to see if there is a video with the image.
  • Be mindful that just because you are unable to find an altered image does not mean the photograph in the story is legitimate. There are many other ways to determine the validity of photographs such as using InfranView and other software to find image inconsistencies created from digital manipulation to looking at the metadata, but I’ll save that for a more in-depth look at uncovering the truth.

5. Consider the comments
  • One highly overlooked method of finding the truth is based on those commenting on the story. Granted, reading through comments on stories that rely on belief tend to be full of opinions and arguments, but occasionally there will be a crusader of research (such as myself) that will jump in and provide useful information that can dispel these stories. I usually will peruse the comments section of the viral post as well as the original source to seek out clues or information that can help me unravel as hoax.

I will cover YouTube and other videos in a separate blog post in the future.

Sites to question or avoid based on who is able to publish on these sites, their agenda, or other questionable reasons:

  • Beforeitsnews.com, NaturalNews.com, InfoWars.com, DailyCurrant.com, NationalReport.net, WorldNewsDailyReport.com, AmericanNews.com, Celebtricity.com, Huzlers.com, DoctorOz.com, TheNewsNerd.com, News-hound.org, NewsWatch33.com, TheRacketReport.com, WeeklyWorldNews.com, Demyx.com, Empirenews.net, MediaFletcher.com, EmpireSports.co, Disclose.tv, FoodBabe.com, Chopra.com, ChristianAnswers.net, Heartland.org, TheLapine.ca, MediaMass.net, Newslo.com, NewsBuzzDaily.com, EmpireNews.net, TheOnion.com, The DailyMash.co.uk, Rumormillnews.com, Whatreallyhappened.com, Drudgereport.com, blacklistednews.com, rense.com, inquisitor.com, examiner.com, even huffingtonpost.com. This is by no means a complete list!

Resources and further reading:




Top Ten Paranormal News Stories of 2016  

6 Jan 2017, 7:30 pm Why this list? Don’t we have enough countdowns? This list helps us remember the stories from the year and helps us remember some of the issues we encountered that might have fooled us or taught us something along the way. It helps us prepare for next year where we will more than likely see many similar stories. As we look back on these stories years from now we may see similar patterns or how some that were high on the list and so promising turned out to be nothing at all; it’s all about documentation and remembering the past as it happened.

How is this list designed? The Top Ten Paranormal News Stories are put together strictly by my opinion. They are collected from the stories I’ve talked about all year long and are ranked by a few pieces of criteria. First, have they made a positive impact on one area of the paranormal? Many stories I talk about are hoaxes and misinterpretations, but what stories have created an awareness of a paranormal subject or taught the general public something, or better yet has something been learned about our mysterious world? Granted, even hoaxes can teach us something if we know for sure they were a hoax. Some feel all hoaxes harm the paranormal, but I say some educate us on what to look out for as far as a story or types of data that is presented. It’s easy to believe everything, but hard to be skeptical when you want deep down to believe.

Second, how viral was the story? Many stories I talk about are popular on paranormal websites but have not been heard of outside of this arena or where the story took place. A story that is big at a regional level will have more weight than a local story and a global story will be higher than that. Also with this I look at how much it was talked about through social media as well as how long it lasted in the news as a developing story. Lastly, I look at the reality of the story. Meaning, does this story include a real person or it is possibly just a story made up for website hits? I usually do this early on to make sure these are truly newsworthy stories to begin with, but still some stories are a bit questionable in their makeup and are just stories hyped up for the paranormal community.

My first "Top Ten" was back in 2010 when the Paranormal News Insider began to go to a weekly segment in late September of 2010. Prior to that it was a monthly segment that started in September of 2008. It's fun to look back at the stories that seemed so important and how many of these top stories that had much hope turned out to be hoaxes or just no big deal.

CERN Sacrifice

Just what happened at the CERN particle accelerator facility? A strange video surfaced in late August of what appears to be a human sacrifice. The two minute video shows the Geneva facility near the Shiva statue that has been the source of controversy since its donation to the facility in 2004 by India. Shiva is a Hindu deity portrayed as a dancer who performs a dance that is said can destroy the universe. Many have focused on this aspect of Shiva and have thought that CERN is no doubt up to evil and will ultimately destroy Earth. Others have also expressed concern about what CERN is up to including physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking. However, the monument’s plaque is meant to show the symbolism between Shiva and what CERN is doing with science by stating, “Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”

But what about this video? In the video you see a bunch of people wearing long black robes walking into a courtyard between buildings near the Shiva monument. In a matter of seconds a woman has her robe taken off and seconds later she lays on her back as others kneel. A robed person then displays what appears to be a knife then seemingly stabs the woman as the cameraman who is filming through a window begins to run away swearing. A couple of obvious things here before we get too far. First, it seems a bit odd that this person would be filming out the window just as the people make their way to the courtyard. He also seems to be wearing a black cloak just like those in the video by looking at the reflection. Officials at CERN, known as European Organization for Nuclear Research,

immediately launched an internal investigation into the video which appeared on YouTube uploaded by a username of Ron Johnson who then told username RichieFromBoston to post it. Ron Johnson states the video was on a Facebook occult site and was not supposed to go main stream. All those who enter the CERN facility do so with a badge, so determining a few facts has or will lead them to uncover who was responsible. They determined this was a hoaxed video that was used to make fun of those who feel that CERN is decidedly evil and plans on blowing up the world if not the universe. It appears that some scientists have a sense of humor, but this attempt has only helped fan the flames of those who believe that CERN is helping the devil. Some people think that the person who filmed the video might have been a whistleblower to the group and the investigation by CERN, which has excluded the police, is nothing more than a cover-up.

Why it’s on the list: A sacrifice on film involving CERN? What’s not to love about this story? The Large Hadron Collider has been the center of many top stories over the years here on the Paranormal News Insider and is a closely followed subject by many in the paranormal as well as conspiracy theorists. I doubt anyone saw a human sacrifice being filmed at the facility coming and it certainly garnered a lot of attention.

Why it’s only number 10: While the story is still creating thoughts of cover-up it has essentially been recognized as a prank and was dealt with quietly by the folks at CERN. While it remains probably the most outlandish paranormal and viral story of the year it really did not stay in the media very long and seemed to disappear without a whimper.
Story link

The Conjuring 2

The movie, “The Conjuring 2”, came out in theaters on June 10th and was the obvious sequel to the 2013 movie, “The Conjuring”. The first movie was the 19th highest grossing movie of 2013 and was based on a case from 1971 involving a farmhouse in Rhode Island. The sequel is based on a bit more famous case, that of the Enfield Haunting or also known as the Enfield Poltergeist. There seemed to be a lot of heat coming ahead of this movie and there were seemingly two camps. On one side we have the Warren followers who feel this movie is going to be fairly accurate in its interpretation of the case as well as ghost activity just like the first. Many feel this way partially due to their respect of Lorraine and the now deceased Ed Warren and also partially due to their mere belief in the paranormal. On the other side of the fence are those that are highly skeptical of the purported facts behind the actual case of the Enfield Poltergeist itself and even go so far as to say the Warrens were frauds and were not even a part of the Enfield case and should not be highlighted in a film dealing with this case.

The entire Enfield Poltergeist case is look upon as a hoax by many, but a lot of true believers stick to the belief that this is the best proof of poltergeist or possession – depending on which side of the paranormal coin you prefer- in history. Personally, I’m willing to believe that there was a little truth to some of the initial activity, but overall the case was mostly a hoax. I believe that Margaret or Janet may have been the agent for the poltergeist activity which is brought on by unreleased stress. But, as far as a possession it really did not hold much in the way of evidence for this claim. As for the movie, there was a lot of dramatization within it and many things it the movie did not actually happen during the case.

One June 21st I reported that People were losing their minds over the new movie, “The Conjuring 2”. Many people are freaking out about how scary the movie is as well as a purported curse associated with it. Strange events from a woman claiming to be possessed in a theater to a man who purportedly found a cross drawn on his bathroom mirror at a hotel he was staying at after watching the movie. It was also reported that a 65 year old man in India complained of chest pains during the movie and was rushed to the hospital. The man later died, but that’s not the weird part. When his body was sent to another hospital for a post mortem examination the driver and the body never made it to the hospital and disappeared without a trace. Obviously these stories are not directly related to the movie, but it certainly continues to add to the mystery and hysteria surrounding this movie.

In early July it was reported that “The Conjuring 2” had been removed from almost 300 theaters in France. Apparently, not only is the movie too scary but it also promotes violent reactions from viewers. The successful sequel has been pulled from 262 French theaters following loud laughter and hysterical yelling. Purportedly, the frequent screaming has also lead to physical altercations in at least one theater. The movie was reportedly removed on June 29th, the opening day for the movie in France, due to disruptive conduct. Is this movie just too scary to be seen in France?  Well, Paranormal Activity 4, Annabelle, and Sinister have also been partially banned in French theaters.

Why it’s on the list: “The Conjuring 2” was one of the most discussed paranormal based movies in many years and had many people lining two different sides of the fence. The fact that this movie continued to play in the paranormal news with certain strange circumstances behind it helped push it into the top 10.
Why it’s only number 9: While the movie generated a lot of ongoing discussion through the summer, the hype was seemingly there just to help the movie. While the movie was fairly successful it is just the 24th top grossing movie of 2016 and has grossed less than a third of the original film. As for the rest of the stories related to the movie none really seemed to be based in anything other than to just how scary people interpreted the film to be.


The upright walking bear was seen once again in June of 2016 in Oak Park, New Jersey. The bear now famously known as Pedals was last seen in December of 2015, and locals wondered if he would ever be seen again. The bear sustained injuries to both of its front paws, and is missing one completely, and has since relied on walking upright to get around. This is a perfectly natural thing for bears to do; however, they usually do it just for short distances. There was public outcry to have the bear moved to a sanctuary, namely the Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York. Even a GoFundMe page was started that generated $28,000. However, officials stated that the bear would do better in its natural environment and if its health deteriorated they would step in. On episode number 187 of the Paranormal News Insider back on August 12, 2014, I reported on the upright walking bear in Oak Park that was walking upright near the same neighborhood. This original video has generated 2.7 million views and this was a big story back then. While there hasn’t been an unusual amount of Bigfoot sightings reported in New Jersey these videos do tend to make us think of Bigfoot and upright walking bears are probably responsible for quite a few reports.

The folks at the Washington Post decided to take on the task of deciding whether or not upright walking bears represent the many sightings of Bigfoot over the years. The Washington Post brought in what they referred to as two experts to comment on the bear misinterpretation angle.
The first was Matt Moneymaker from the Finding Bigfoot television show fame. Moneymaker is also the leader of the Bigfoot Field Researcher’s Organization, which is one of the most popular of the Bigfoot-themed investigation groups. Matt Moneymaker feels that upright walking bears do not explain Bigfoot sightings not even a little bit. He said, “The BFRO has collected thousands of bigfoot-related observations over the years. In not one of those observations was it noted that the witness spotted a figure they thought was a Bigfoot but it turned out to be a bear walking on hind legs for an extended period. That would happen quite a bit if it explained even a fraction of Bigfoot sightings. On the other hand, it is quite common for witnesses to initially think an upright furry figure is a bear on hind legs until the car gets closer and they realize it is an ape-like figure —  a bigfoot (a type of ape).” While I think those comments are a bit closed minded and obviously none of BFRO’s cases have turned out to be a bear walking upright since every sound in the woods is "definitely a Squatch!" I do agree with another point he brought up and that is there is not a single report of a Bigfoot in the Oak Ridge, New Jersey area where Pedals lives. If there had been even a handful then it would lead me to believe that upright walking bears may in fact explain many Bigfoot sightings. However, Pedals is a known upright walking bear and has become quite famous in the last three years. It is possible that the expectation of seeing an upright walking bear may have misreported some Bigfoot sightings or has merely lowered the potential for misreporting a Bigfoot. The second expert called upon for the article is a Bigfoot researcher and co-editor for the Bigfoot Evidence website Matt Knapp. Knapp’s logic is that people describe Bigfoot like Bigfoot not like bears. His thoughts are further mapped out by his view that since we are conditioned since birth to know what a bear looks like that they are easily identified versus seeing a Bigfoot which tends to confuse a witness. I think this is kind of a straw man theory here. Regardless, this argument is meaningless since the Patterson Gimlin film, Harry and the Hendersons, and countless television commercials have cemented the idea of what a Bigfoot should look like into everyone’s heads. Who hasn’t heard of Messin’ with Sasquatch?

October 10th through the 15th was New Jersey’s black bear hunting season for bow and muzzle-loaders. A total of 549 bears taken were reported by the New Jersey division of fish and wildlife and sadly among them was an icon of an ongoing story covered here. Well, a hunter who had waited for three years to kill pedals apparently got his wish. According to the Facebook page that covers pedals, two biologists were on hand to examine the bear and upon inspection of the paws determined that this was a bear that spent considerable time walking upright. While this is sad it does provide some closure for the bear that was more than likely suffering through this condition and we should set our emotions aside when it comes to things like this. I do think it’s a bit unnerving that someone would purposely go after this bear and a little unmanly to stalk an injured animal, but pedals was more than likely suffering and would quite possibly not survive another winter.

Why it’s on the list: A story I’ve followed closely since it broke in 2014, Pedals has become a beloved figure of the paranormal even though many seemingly forgot about him for a little while. Sadly, while his story began to generate more interest it was heartbreaking to hear of his death. Although it does put closure to an animal that tore the public and private minds of wild animal protection and did bring an end to any misery Pedals might have been dealt with through injuries, strain, and malnutrition.

Why it’s only number 8: The story of pedals, sadly, did not generate worldwide outrage like the story of Harambe did obviously due to not having a human connection. While it was a popular story in the paranormal it still did not seem to gain a tremendous amount of traction. For me, I wanted this on the list since it was a story that has lingered for a couple of years and has now met an ending.

Urban Legend Claims a Victim

Roquel Bain, 26, of Dayton, Ohio, was in Louisville, Kentucky, with her boyfriend to take a tour of Waverly Hills Sanatorium over the weekend of April 23rd. While in the area Bain decided to investigate a local urban legend of the Pope Lick Monster. The Pope Lick Monster, named for the Pope Lick Creek, is purportedly a part man, part goat, and part sheep that is said to live under a train trestle that passes over the Pope Lick Creek. Of the many purported urban legends about this creature is one that states that it lures people out on to the train trestle using hypnosis or voice mimicry to lead them to meet their death.Crypto news.com many investigators are under the impression that the trestle is abandoned based on the urban legend. A bit of research would have revealed that the tracks were not only used, but very active. A bit of common sense could have kept them off of the tracks, but all we can do is use this as a lesson to not trespass and to be aware of any danger associated with investigating any type of claim. Again, thanks to Crypto News.com and Loren Coleman for the information for this story.
Sadly, Bain and her boyfriend were out on the 772 foot long trestle when a Norfolk Southern train surprised the couple. They were unable to escape to the end of the trestle although Bain’s boyfriend was able to hang on to the side, she was unable to do so and was struck and fell 80 to 100 feet. She was pronounced dead at the scene. As tragic as this is it could have been avoided. A chained fence and warning signs are up at the location to keep people away from the active trestle. According to Crypto news.com many investigators are under the impression that the trestle is abandoned based on the urban legend. A bit of research would have revealed that the tracks were not only used, but very active. A bit of common sense could have kept them off of the tracks, but all we can do is use this as a lesson to not trespass and to be aware of any danger associated with investigating any type of claim. Again, thanks to Crypto News.com and Loren Coleman for the information for this story.

Why it’s on the list: For someone to be killed by an urban legend seemingly just as the legend describes it a bit creepy. This story should also serve as a warning and lesson to those that trespassing is never a good idea.

Why it’s only number 7: While it was a powerful story it seemed to only flutter in the paranormal news for a brief bit of time. Sadly, the lesson that Roquel Bain lost her life for is just the latest in a long line of illegal activities perpetrated by paranormal investigators. The story’s inclusion on this list is solidified, if for nothing else, to serve as an ongoing beacon to others who will certainly be faced with decisions like this in the future.

Is There Life Out There? (NASA, SETI, and FAST)

In early May, NASA held a press conference outlining some of the recent developments of the Kepler Space Telescope and its search for planets. Just prior to this announcement many people went into the typical hyperdrive conspiracy solar storms that usually precede any announcement by NASA. One such article was published in the United Kingdom’s Express which was titled “'World on brink of being told aliens EXIST' after NASA 'hints at announcement'”. This article goes a long way just to say that NASA has stated in the past that they feel that life may be found within the next 20 to 30 years or possibly even within the next decade. Although the best candidate would be microbial life many on the conspiracy train have jumped the tracks to say that alien life must mean aliens, those big-eyed and big brained grays that are coming to take over our planet and convert us to slaves or just turn us into mulch. The announcement at 1 PM eastern on May 10th by NASA essentially outlined the fact that they have discovered many more new exoplanets- the most discovered to date which more than doubles what was previously known. The announcement was 1,284 to be exact, which now raises the total to 2,325 total potential planets.

SETI, known as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, made the news in late August with an announcement that they have found a signal from a potential intelligent civilization. The word hit the street on August 27th when Paul Glister published a post on the Centauri Dreams website titled, “An Interesting SETI Candidate in Hercules”. In the post Glister cautioned that no one claims that this is the work of an intelligent civilization, but that this signal warrants further study and continuous documentation. This new signal was detected by the RATAN-600 radio telescope located in Russia and the signal was detected back on May 15, 2015. The signal originated from a star known as HD 164595 which is roughly 95 light years away in the constellation Hercules from our perspective here on Earth. There is already one known planet in that sun’s system which is Neptune-like and probably not capable of harboring intelligent life, but there could be other planets not yet known.

However, I wouldn’t get too excited about it, yes, here comes the bad news. The signal was first documented back in May of last year it has not been repeated. This does point toward a logical scenario of basic space noise and nothing intelligent, but hopefully they keep listening in that particular area.

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope known as the acronym (FAST) went online on Sunday, September 25th.
The Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope is now the largest single dish radio telescope in the world surpassing the dish at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The dish on Arecibo’s telescope is 1,000 feet across while China’s dish is over 1,600 feet across. China’s FAST telescope also boasts twice as much power as Arecibo’s as well. The new dish cost China 1.2 billion Yuan or approximately $180 million U.S. Over 10,000 villagers who lived within a 3 mile radius, who are relatively poor, were forced to leave their land, but were built apartments and given financial compensation by the government.  The large area is needed to keep false positives from disturbing the dish and cell phones are not even allowed to be used in the area due to limit electronic interference.

The Breakthrough Initiatives is a SETI, or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, focused plan that, “are a program of scientific and technological exploration, probing the big questions of life in the Universe: Are we alone? Are there habitable worlds in our galactic neighborhood? Can we make the great leap to the stars? And can we think and act together – as one world in the cosmos?” The Breakthrough Initiatives focuses on three distinct aspects; listen, message, and starshot. Listen is using various radio telescopes to listen for distant messages, message is to send messages into space, and starshot is to journey to other planets or areas initially by unmanned craft. SETI recently conducted a survey in the area of Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star only 4.25 light years from the Sun. Spinning around Proxima Centauri is a recently discovered planet that lies in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri. Despite just being discovered on August 24th of this year Proxima B has created a lot of excitement from the SETI camp as they focused the Parkes Radio Telescope in New South Wales, Australia toward Proxima Centauri with the hope that Proxima B would be sending out some radio signals that would indicate intelligent life. The Breakthrough initiatives has also discussed sending out small probes the size of computer chips with little cameras attached toward Proxima B just to scope it out.

Why it’s on the list: NASA’s announcement, SETI’s research, or the FAST telescope going online was not enough for any of these stories to individually make this list. By bundling them together they do provide a pretty powerful future potential for discovery of intelligent alien life unless it presents itself on Earth first – then these stories will be a bit embarrassing.

Why it’s only number 6: The fact that these three individual sources were needed to crack the top ten is one reason. The other is the fact that despite the hype nothing has really been accomplished this year by any of these organizations with the exception of NASA.

Young Discovers

A 16 year old may have proof of an elusive beast stalking the eastern area of Australia. Jack Tessier was riding a 4 wheeler in the town of Wyee in New South Wales about 70 miles north of Sydney, Australia along the eastern coast of the continent when he spotted large cat-like footprints. He was able to make casts of the prints and posted them on his Facebook page. He feels the prints belong to the elusive black panther that is said to roam various parts of Australia. 

Many ongoing reports of large cats prompted the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries to conduct an official investigation into the existence of purported 'large free-ranging felines' in 2013. Their report concluded no conclusive evidence for the existence of a large cat despite an unusual amount of kangaroo carcass found in various parts of the state along with the sighting reports.  It is interesting to note that in 2001, a freedom-of-information request revealed the state government had been keeping a panther file. Hopefully this young cryptozoologist can validate his claims and prove to the Australian government that these creatures are in fact loose. Jack celebrated his 17th birthday on February 1, 2016.

William Gadoury of Quebec, Canada became fascinated by Maya culture during the 2012 panic over the supposed end of the Mayan calendar. Instead of blogging about misplaced fears or writing a book highlighting the fear of the unknown, he instead theorized that the locations of Maya cities might correspond to stars in Maya constellations. He stated, "I did not understand why the Maya built their cities away from rivers, on marginal lands and in the mountains. They had to have another reason, and as they worshipped the stars, the idea came to me to verify my hypothesis." William studied 22 Maya star maps from ancient books which are known as the Madrid Codex.
He then put these star positions over a Google Earth image of the Yucatan Peninsula and lined it up with the existing 117 known Maya cities. Amazingly, the images matched up with the brighter stars actually lining up with larger cities. Yes, a 15 year old kid. He then used a 23rd constellation map and found a discrepancy. In the image he had three stars, but only two cities showing on the map. The third star was on the Mexico-Guatemala border (not Belize as reported in some stories) and was thick with vegetation. So, what’s a boy to do at this point? William had won an award for his initial findings where he estimated the star and city correlation sat at an astounding 95% accuracy. With winning the award from his work he merely asked a favor of the Canadian Space Agency, what 15 year old kid wouldn’t? They provided him with updated ground maps from their RADARSAT-2 satellite. He also found maps from 2005 where a fire had gone through the area and removed vegetation leaving the man made structures more visible. He then took these images to Remote Sensing expert Dr. Armand Larocque from the University of New Brunswick who determined that William had found a major city with 30 buildings and a large pyramid. While receiving an award for his work he’s not resting yet. 

He is looking to present his findings to the International Science Fair in Brazil next year and while is hopeful for an archaeological expedition he understands the cost involved and how difficult it may be to ever get anyone out there to excavate. As amazing as this story sounds other experts have torn into William’s work. Dr. David Stuart, an anthropologist from The Mesoamerica Center, University of Texas posted a response on Facebook claiming “ancient Maya didn't plot their ancient cities according to constellations”. Stuart also stated that the area in question is actually “old fallow cornfield”. Another Mayanist, Geoffrey Braswell of the University of California, stated that he too felt this was not a Maya pyramid, but was instead an old milpa (a crop growing system where multiple crops are planted at once) or an active marijuana field. 

A 16 year old girl caught footage of a bird that was thought to have been extinct in the wild. The video is only a few seconds long and shows a bird with a long tail flying from a tree behind another tree. The video was published on YouTube by Birdlife International. The subject of the video is the Spix Macaw which is listed as critically endangered and thought to be extinct in the wild as the last one was seen in the year 2000, yet there are 130 Spix Macaws held in a captive breeding program to help attempt to keep them from becoming extinct. If you see a picture of this blue macaw it might look a bit familiar as it shared the main characters of the animated movie Rio which came out in 2011. The Spix macaw is an important bird to the Brazilian people and this sighting lead to a search using a Whatsapp group to ensure that no dealers could enter and trap the bird for illegal sale. A farmer saw the bird on June 18th and Lourdes Oliveira and her 16 year old daughter Damilys woke up before dawn and searched for the bird in a local forest. She found the bird and filmed it at 6:20 AM. The Spix macaw has been hunted and trapped mainly for sale for pet birds as well as had their habitat eliminated by the removal of specific trees as well as the building of a dam, not to mention the northerly movement of Africanized bees that competed for nesting sites all of which lead to the demise of the bird from its home range. Birdlife International does think, however, that the bird sighted might have been one that was a released captive bird. The captive breeding program still continues and hopes that the birds can be reintroduced when the ecosystem and number of birds will be able to sustain themselves in the wild.

Why it’s on the list: Again, any of these three amazing stories alone was not enough to get them into the top ten in my opinion. But, since they all three deal with amazing young researchers I’ve tied them together for this great number 5 story. It’s great to see young researchers and investigators challenge the known world and looking at things through fresh eyes. I would also like to throw in Colin Schneider, who I met earlier this year at the Butler Paranormal Convention and was able to speak to his class in June, who has become a well-known researcher and writer this year in the cryptozoology field.

Why it’s only number 5: Whereas these great young minds have challenged science, their stories have not yet changed anything we know of in the paranormal. However, the fact that this story is in the top five should say a lot about these great young minds as well as the future of paranormal and other research that challenges conventional wisdom.

Loch Ness Monster

1.4 million British Pounds. That’s how much it will cost to build a new catamaran that will join in the hunt for the elusive Loch Ness Monster. At 1.4 million British Pounds this translates into roughly just over $2 million U.S.! Cruise Loch Ness, a family run tourism business is currently having the ship built which will be the largest and fastest tourist craft on the Loch. Currently the largest capacity ship holds 120 passengers; this new one will hold 220 and will travel at 20 knots which is about 23 miles per hour. That’s pretty fast for a tour ship on Loch Ness. This new boat will appear in April of 2017 and will help meet the demand for the increase in tourism that the area is feeling for the search for the Loch Ness Monster.

"Operation Groundtruth" involves mapping the floor of Loch Ness by Kongsberg Maritime a Norwegian offshore oil company. While using a missile shaped drone robot to draw up the deep lake a disturbing object was found. Yes, the robot found the remains of the Loch Ness Monster. In the imagery a 30 foot long neck once belonging to Nessie was discovered, but it turned out to not be flesh and bone but of a model used in the movie “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” which was shot in 1969 and directed by Billy Wilder. According to the story, the 30 foot long model had humps which Wilder did not want to be used in the film. The humps, however, provided buoyancy and once they were removed the model sank and had to be replaced by a different one which ultimately made it into the movie. The drone has also found the remains of a 27 foot shipwreck which has yet to be identified and has also put to rest the rumor that there was a trench in the Loch for Nessie to hide.

Tony Bligh of Dublin, Ireland, was at Loch Ness when he got the sight of a lifetime. He saw five humps moving in the water and he quickly pulled out his cell phone to shoot video. Bligh, an engineer, believed that what he captured was more than likely the movement of the famous Loch Ness Monster. However, Loch Ness Project Expert Adrian Shrine checked out the video and came to his own conclusion. He said, “It is a particularly good example of the effect that a reasonably high boat wake can make. It shows how powerful this illusion could be. It produces a line of very solid looking humps.” Apparently, Bligh reluctantly agreed that what he saw was more than likely a wake as he stated there had been a boat in the area that was about 400 yards away that was not included in his 19 second video.

Ian Bremmer, a 58 year old, caught what he thinks could be the Loch Ness Monster in a photograph while driving around the loch.Sun and Cryptomundo who posted about this story both suggest that this could be three seals that are merely swimming in succession.
The photograph shows a creature in the water with three humps and a definitive head sticking out of the water. Bremmer said he was looking for red deer and taking pictures of the loch, but he never saw the creature until he was looking through his photographs while at home. Both the

Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster are at their highest in 2016 since the year 2000. So far this year there have been seven sightings according to the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register kept by Gary Campbell. He attributes this rise to the use of smart phones and webcams (or maybe Pokémon Go).

Why it’s on the list: The Loch Ness Monster is arguably among the top five cryptids in the world. The Loch Ness Monster appeared on the list in 2015 as it was thought to have originated from hotel owners for a money making effort. While the Loch Ness Monster was absent from the list in 2014 it has made a resurgence this year and despite the negative press last year it has not put a dent on the belief of the creature or the purported sightings behind it.

Why it’s only number 4: Despite a resurgence and these stories being tied together to keep the legend afloat the Loch Ness Monster legend seems to be more of just that; a legend yet the scant pieces of evidence is just enough to make people turn their heads, if only for a second, when something happens near the loch.

Clown Pandemic

I did not report on this until October 4th as I had ignored this story due to it not really being paranormal and the fact that the nonsense going on appeared to be driven by the media and social media. However, as October rolled around it was just too much to ignore. The story gained a lot of momentum in the media and had plenty of people genuinely scared.

The clown pandemic of 2016 is arguably one of the biggest media stories of the year outside of the election let alone paranormal stories. The panic seemed to start around the August 20th story from the Fleetwood Manor Apartments in Greenville, South Carolina where children claimed to have seen clowns in the woods behind the apartment complex – no clowns were ever found. legitimate clowns who have suffered through this story. In all, I personally chronicled 55 separate incidents of false claims, threats to schools, or stories involving clown sightings during the two plus months of the clown pandemic.
From there it spread to North Carolina about a week later, Georgia just days after, and then Alabama, Maryland, and Florida where school closures were beginning to be announced due to threats to students and were all discovered to be by students. The clown stories swept many other U.S. states within days of each other and then spread to Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Australia. The clown pandemic also affected the Clown Lives Matter peace march on October 15th in Tuscon, Arizona over threats. The march was organized to bring attention to those who make a living as

Why it’s on the list: The clown pandemic was one that started out small and ended up becoming one of the most viral stories of the year before disappearing right before Halloween despite everyone’s fears it might ruin the holiday.

Why it’s only number 3: Despite have paranormal ties with people writing about this such as Loren Coleman and Benjamin Radford there was very little to truly attach this to the paranormal beyond urban legend and folklore. If it wasn’t for the fact that many paranormal news outlets covered this I would have considered it merely a mainstream media story. I reluctantly began covering the story in early October after the story had already become out of control with the sheer number of reports pouring in.

The WOW! Signal Follow-up

On August 15, 1977 at 11:16 PM eastern daylight savings time the Big Ear Radio Telescope in Delaware, Ohio recorded what is now known as the Wow signal. Jerry R. Ehman was working on the SETI project, short for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence which uses various satellites to search for signals in space, when he saw a surprising vertical column with the alphanumerical sequence “6EQUJ5” that represents 72 seconds worth of information gathered from the radio telescope.
Copy of Wow! Signal print out located at Perkins Observatory
with update by Jerry Ehman.
The alphanumeric code essentially describes the intensity variation of the signal and it has been given two different values for its frequency within the 1420 Megahertz range which puts it in the hydrogen line frequency. What does this mean for searching for extraterrestrials? SETI believed that since hydrogen is the most common element in the universe extraterrestrials might use that frequency to transmit a strong signal. The problem is researchers have been unable to find the signal from the original source of the constellation Sagittarius, near the Chi Sagittarii star group.

Antonio Paris, a professor of astronomy at St Petersburg College in Florida, feels that it is likely that the signal actually originated from one of two comets that were flying by at the time. Many researchers feel that since the signal has not been observed again from the same origin that it must have been something passing through the area. James Bauer of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is skeptical of this hypothesis since the comet would have to release a significant amount of hydrogen to produce such a signal. Paris states that in order to rule out the comets his hypothesis needs to be tested. Comet 266P/Christensen will be back in that region on January 25, 2017, and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) on January 7, 2018. By studying their radio emission and how quickly they move in the sky, astronomers should be able to tell if it really was this that produced the Wow! Signal. Some may think that Antonio Paris is just here to ruin the longstanding belief that this is a piece of leading evidence in the support of life outside of the Earth. Paris is not here to pee in the pool just to get to the bottom of the mystery. Paris is the founder and director of the Aerial Phenomena Investigation team that is a worldwide effort to actively research and investigate UFO claims.

Why it’s on the list: This is a scientific effort to help explain one of the potential largest pieces of alien communication data ever recorded. The “Wow” signal of 1977 has been a mystery since it was collected and while Professor Antonio Paris believes in UFOs he also has a solid understanding of astronomy and science and seeing this idea come to fruition is very exciting.

Why it’s number 2: Simply put, the experiment has not yet been completed. While this story might not be #2 is other’s eyes this is the type of story that can help change the paranormal stories for the good or bad; it’s essentially about discovery. I did originally have this story as number 4, but as it deals with potential alien communication (a popular theme this year) as well as science I felt this story deserved a higher ranking even if it did not receive much in the way of media attention as other stories in the top 5 did. I look forward to how this story will develop after the January, 2017 and 2018 data is interpreted.


Locals began to report a large snake in Westbrook, Maine, which is just west of Portland, in the middle of June. Police then searched the area, but came up empty handed until June 29th when an officer encountered the snake feeding on a mammal which he guessed was a beaver, around 3:30 in the morning. Another officer arrived on scene and both watched the snake swim across the Presumpscot River where it disappeared into thick brush. The police officers estimated the snake to be about ten feet long. Locals have dubbed the purported snake “Wessie” for the town of Westbrook as well as the “Presumpscot Python” and this purported python even has a Twitter handle @WessieThon for Wessie P. Thon.
Even the new local craft brewery in Westbrook created a few batches of beer it called “Wessie” just for the occasion and it generally holds parties at its tasting room, but now they have been able to expand it and had a “Catch and release” party for the release of the beer. After getting a lot of time in the media locally as well as regionally through July the story began to slowly die down.  It was a big deal in Westbrook where shirts were sold everywhere, business were using “Wessie” to get business and the town certainly felt a bump with tourism at the end of the season prior to kids going back to school. 

Just when it all seemed to be over a photograph of a snakeskin was reportedly taken near a carry in boat launch (kayaks/canoes) at Riverbank Park along the Presumpscot River around 3 PM on August 20th. The snakeskin was collected and measured in at 12 feet in length and about 4 inches in diameter. A sample and photographs of the skin was sent to herpetologists to discover what type of snake this is. It was later identified to belonging to an anaconda, according to John Placyk, a herpetologist from the University of Texas, who identified the skin through genetic testing. Westbrook, Maine police still do not know if the skin is from "Wessie" or if it was planted. Experts determined that the skin is from a 8 to 9 foot long anaconda, which makes it a juvenile. 

Despite no further sightings of "Wessie" the city of Westbrook, Maine, pushed forward to celebrate their time in the national spotlight with Wessie Fest that took place on October 22, 2016. Events included a “Wessie Pie-Thon” pie baking contest, “Wessie Toss” corn hole, a sidewalk parade, photos with a live snake, crafts and vendors that include the International Cryptozoology Museum headed by Loren Coleman. Bill Brock of the television show “Monsters Underground” will have a presentation at 2 PM followed by a Wessie Hunt at 3 PM. Even though it rained on the event it still capped off a wild summer in Maine as well as an interesting year in the paranormal. 

Why it’s on the list: “Wessie” captivated many with the thought of a wild and dangerous snake living in a small town in Maine. While this story probably happens weekly in Florida it just seemed to flourish from the local media reports that seemed to find it completely fascinating. Strange tales of snakes living outside of their normal habitats are not rare in the paranormal, but this latest one kept many of us on the hook for news updates even during the crazy clown craze. 

Why it’s number one: This year was a difficult year to determine the top three let alone the ranking of many of the other stories that either made or missed this list. At one point I felt the clown pandemic was the top choice for #1, but I felt that “Wessie” was more of a true paranormal story despite not being as close to viral. Even though “Wessie” may not have even existed, the story has created a new chapter in snake lore and “Wessie” was the number one cryptid of 2016 for sure.

Hear a recap of the countdown as well as a recap of 2010 through 2015 Top Paranormal News Stories from the Paranormal News Insider.




Ten questions every ghost investigator should ponder  

13 Dec 2016, 11:04 am

  1. Why am I doing this? Or, why do I want to do this? No, not the generic “solving the mysteries of mankind” answer, but why do you personally spend your time, effort, and money pursuing this? Is it a personal quest for answers? Search for spiritualism? You may not have a definitive answer or you might just be doing it for the thrill, but the further down this list you truly go the truth may rise to the top.
  2. What do I want to get out of this? This question rides on the back of the why question. Once you know why you are doing it you may realize it is a personal pursuit or desire for subjective stimulation or even a quick way to fame. If this is the case you should stay away from client-based cases. If your answer to question 1 is to prove ghosts exist with cameras and EVP you'll need to do more than merely be a ghost hunter as subjective hunts will only create more questions than actually providing answers. Many do this from the allure of those on television, but ask yourself if an ego-driven motive is worth all of the hassle for just 15 minutes of fame.
  3. What am I willing to invest? A follow up would be, “And is it worth it?” A financial stake is more than some people can do let alone giving up weekends and many evenings pursuing this. The costs of a serious team can weigh down on anyone and the more you go down that path the more of an investment of time and money it will become.
    The bad side of this is that for many the investment in tools means an investment in evidence. In other words, if they spend a lot of money on gear they will ultimately get "evidence" no matter what the cost. You will also have to learn many new skills if you wish to become proficient at seeking the unknown. -These first three are just to get to gauge the basics, but the next one digs into the heart of your beliefs.
  4. What are my beliefs about the paranormal? This is an important one. This one question will define what type of an investigator you are as well as how you approach cases as well as whom you surround yourself with. This includes, but is not limited to; belief in ghosts, demons/angels, camera orbs, use of various equipment, full moons creating better ghost atmosphere, solar storms creating better ghost atmosphere, investigating in the dark, investigating during "dead time", lockdowns being a good method of investigating, what ghosts are defined as (parapsychology definitions versus spiritual), and so on.
  5. Am I willing to challenge my own beliefs about the paranormal?
    Are you willing to review the work that challenges your beliefs with an open mind? If you are not willing to even think about challenging your beliefs than you’re not really an investigator you’re merely a believer that is looking to support your views through subjective experiences as well as taking evidence and skewing it to fit your beliefs. I've met far too many people who are merely in this to find things that they can quickly state are ghosts merely to support how they feel. This is not objective or scientific and is merely a form of thrill-seeking. This is fine if you merely want to go to haunted prisons/hospitals, etc., but don't claim to be "scientific" and certainly don't act like you're doing anything constructive.
  6. Am I willing to continue to learn? Certification courses cause anger with some individuals, but where else can one become educated in this field? Books offer a good start, but eventually everyone needs to ask others who have come before them in order to make true sense of things. It's one thing to regurgitate facts, but it's completely different to put theories to work. This is why many teams merely walk around in the dark asking silly questions. Many certification courses are garbage since those that created them are merely passing on beliefs and opinions or only know book definitions and have never applied much of it in the field. However, there are some courses that provide some great information and education (IMHS and TFU). Are you willing to look to others to continue to make yourself a better researcher and investigator? (Interviewing skills, electronics, critical thinking, science, parapsychology, etc.)
  7. What are my goals with doing this? This question creates a focus of the first and second question now that you have pondering the above questions. This goes beyond getting a television show or writing a book and is an evolved look at what you want out of the field and what you are willing to do in your life to make it happen. Think of how you would want to be remembered as a person after you are gone. Imagine, as grim as it sounds, standing at your own funeral –
    how do you want to be remembered? What will your friends say, how will those who knew you in the paranormal field remember you? This question takes a deep look at your character and if all you want to do is visit haunted locations and meet celebrities that's fine, but don't assume this sets you apart from everyone else - people see this and are judging you on your actions!  
  8. What path will I take to get to these goals? This heavily relies on pondering the above questions. If you are not willing to evolve with your beliefs as well as your knowledge your path will be a short one, guaranteed. This is true with any type of goals in life and shortcuts and laziness will lead you nowhere. Wishing and hoping just don't cut it and while timing and luck may come into play nothing is better than working hard, making sacrifices, and pushing yourself to new limits.
  9. What have I learned so far? Occasionally stepping back and looking at where you came from can help give your perspective on what you have learned and experienced along the way. This can aid you in identifying weaknesses or potential flaws in your methods or beliefs and may serve to help guide you on a better path. Taking stock every once in a while can help you reorganize your direction and help you obtain new goals and set new personal expectations for accomplishments such as writing books, being a vendor at a paranormal convention or even getting up and speaking at one.
  10. What can I do better / and how do I get there? Creating a personal business plan around goals or self-improvement needs is a good way to motivate as well as compartmentalize obtaining goals. If you break things into small chunks within a timetable and provide a pathway to getting to each goal you will be able to become better in all aspects of life. Once you have reviewed and pondered the first 9 questions the tenth will be much easier than thinking about it right now.

            These questions will also work with cryptid and UFO investigators as well and you may even be able to use these questions for any other aspect of your life.  



            Are there really small hairless creatures killing people in India or is the truth too much to bear?  

            11 Dec 2016, 9:58 pm A viral story was let loose on December 1, 2016 by a Facebook user from India. Along with an accompanying photograph and video it was suggested that a creature was eating animals as well as people along the state borders of Kerala and Karnataka in India. Not only that, but this creature in the the cage was just one of four that have been seen. The post to date has been shared over 260,000 times and has spread virally just as designed.

            However, is it true that there is some scary monster or even an alien on the loose? Wait, who said anything about an alien? The truth is the photo and video are based on a real animal that made a scary entrance in January of 2015. The creature was seen by workers at a Malaysian Palm oil plantation. The workers filmed the creature making a very slow getaway and it obviously didn't look very nimble or capable of killing a person. It was initially described as potentially being an alien, but those in the area were quick to realize that it was a hairless, and obviously sick, sun bear. It took a team from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation a couple of months to track down the animal and capture it and their hope was to help this obviously sick animal.

            The sun bear initially responded to food and fluids, but within a few days began to withdraw from food and water. Every effort was made to save this animal from intravenously administering fluids to placing a feeding tube into its stomach, but in reality the bear was beyond sick. Sadly, the creature died on May 18th of 2015. An autopsy revealed that the sun bear was very old and was in the late stages of cancer.

            Sun bears live in the tropical rain forests of mainland southeast Asia as well as the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia. Their habitat has been slowly destroyed and the numbers have dwindled in reaction to this as well as with commercial poaching.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the sun bear as a threatened species as it is considered vulnerable which is one step away from endangered.





            Conference season in full swing!  

            24 May 2016, 9:40 pm
            My table at the Butler Paranormal Convention
            I have been a part of paranormal conferences and conventions for years, but have made little effort trying to get into many of them in the last few years. This year, however, I was very fortunate to have been a speaker at the Butler Paranormal Convention in Butler, Pennsylvania as well as the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure within the past month. The Butler Paranormal Convention is in its 9th year and is presented by Brian and Terri Seech of the Center for Unexplained Events. The event took place back on April 16, 2016.

            Fred Saluga receives a Lifetime Achievement award during the
            Butler Paranormal Conference from Terrie Seech of BORU.
            The event had Stan Gordon, Brett McGinnis, Ronald Murphy (Dogman), Thomas White (haunted roads of Western PA), as well as the host of the Paranormal News Insider Brian D. Parsons (balanced look at cryptozoology). Karyn Dolan was scheduled to speak, but she was unavailable due to sickness and Thomas White stepped in and did a fantastic job. This event is always well attended and beyond the speakers there were numerous paranormal and cryptid groups represented many years of investigation and research. This event is definitely one you don't want to miss in the future if you enjoy learning from very seasoned investigators/researchers while just mingling at the tables.

            My tent (left) and the pavilion.
            The Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure (May 6-8, 2016) was an idea created by Eric Altman. Eric is an excellent researcher and investigator of Bigfoot phenomenon who has branched out into other areas and is also the long time host of the Beyond the Edge radio show. His idea was to bring people together in a campground to hear speakers, experience workshops, and then take part in various expeditions being lead by experienced researchers. While it seems simple it has never been done on the east coast nor anywhere else that I am aware of. The event took place at Benner's Meadow Run Campgrounds in Farmington, Pennsylvania. This area is near Chestnut Ridge which is synonymous with Bigfoot and UFO sightings over the course of decades.

            The event was wet from rain during Friday, but a night hike turned into an interesting sighting by researcher and speaker Steve Kulls the "Squatch Detective" as he got an interesting find on his thermal camera (his team later determined it to be a bear). I stayed at the camp ground to take a group out that included a few kids. I let them do "howls" and "woops", answered their questions as well as
            During my presentation
            Photo by Kenny Biddle
            gave them some advice on tracking and other things.

            The event on Saturday was held under a warm sun that helped curbed the cold morning and wet grounds. After an introduction to the program I was the first speaker doing a variation of my "Balanced Look at Cryptozoology" program. Steve Kulls was up next with a very deep look at Bigfoot with quite a bit of science and a level head. Also up was Dave Dragosin and then Stan Gordon. The speaker's lineup was mysteriously perfect, there was my presentation that discussed what cryptozoology was about with the others filling in the gaps and Stan Gordon finishing it off with his never ending research of cases that were peppered all around the area we were in. The event also had workshops that discussed some necessary tenets of field work. Of course the big hit of the weekend was having "Trapper" John R. Tice from the television show "Mountain Monsters". Tice was a HUGE draw for the kids and while I'm not a fan of the show John is a very down to Earth guy and really brought a nice dynamic to the event.
            "Trapper" John R. Tice talks with fans during the event. He was
            next to the booth of Steve Kulls who was next to me and to my
            right was Stan Gordon.

            Saturday night we headed out again for another expedition. There was still a large group heading out to a location near state game lands as well as a group staying behind at the camp grounds. The group at the camp grounds turned out to be a lot larger than we had anticipated, but we did the best we could leading them out on a trail that was just too small to support the 60 plus people that wanted to be involved. We hung out until around 11 PM when a storm began rolling in. It was a fantastic time and despite the muddy conditions I heard nothing but positive raves about the weekend. The event also had singer Walter Shrum who's song "Searching for Bigfoot" (watch highlight video below) had everyone singing the words "Bigfoot, Sasquatch, back in the woods, Bigfoot, Yeti, in your neighborhood!" It was also great to meet a lot of new people, those I only knew through social media, those I don't normally get to see or have not seen in a while. It was great catching up with Butch Witkowski as well as meeting ParaNexus member Anthony Holmes, meeting Kenny Biddle and hanging out with Jay Bachochin (who drove all the way from Wisconsin to attend) on Sunday afternoon just prior to leaving and of course the many other people I forgot to mention.

            For me, I had one more event which I just concluded Thursday night at the Westerville Public Library just northeast of Columbus, Ohio. I did yet another variation of my "Balanced Look at Cryptozoology" program with the subtitle "Rumor or Reality" which explored legends in Ohio in addition to the basics program. This marks my eighth consecutive year at the library and I will return again in the fall for a ghost program.

            Check out this awesome YouTube video created by Jay Bachocin from Chum Bucket Studios about the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure (and check out Walter Shrum's music!).  



            “Wow!” Signal: A new potential explanation and my journey through history before the mystery is (possibly) lifted  

            25 Jan 2016, 3:06 pm
            Photo BigEar.org

            On August 15, 1977 at 11:16 PM eastern daylight savings time the Ohio State University Radio Observatory (OSURO), or affectionately called the “Big Ear” radio telescope in Delaware, Ohio, recorded what is now known as the “Wow!” signal. At the time the signal came in no one was at the facility. A few days later (possibly August 19th) Jerry R. Ehman was reviewing printouts that were delivered to him at his home from Gene Mikesell, a technician who was in charge of taking care of the IBM computer that was doing all the work at the site. Every 3 to 4 days Gene would stop, reset, and then restart the computer due to its limited amount of room for data and then bring the stack of printouts to Ehman to look through. The men were part of a volunteer effort to detect narrow band signals that could possibly be sent from an extraterrestrial source known as the SETI project, short for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, which uses various satellites to search for signals in space. Ehman and others involved in the project had formerly worked at the radio telescope until the National Science Foundation suddenly shut off funding in August of 1972. In December of 1973 until 1995 the radio telescope was used for the volunteer effort of the SETI project after it had completed a radio survey of the Andromeda Galaxy in 1963 and the Ohio Sky Survey between 1965 and 1971.

            Color copy of the signal with a note from Jerry Ehman on December 18, 1999
            on display at Perkins Observatory in Delaware, Ohio. (click to enlarge)
            As Jerry sat and reviewed the printouts he suddenly saw the data from a few days prior. In a vertical column with the alphanumerical sequence “6EQUJ5”, that represents 72 seconds worth of information gathered from the radio telescope, he circled the data and wrote “Wow!” in the margin. The alphanumeric code essentially describes the intensity variation of the signal and it has been given two different values for its frequency within the 1420 Megahertz range which puts it in the hydrogen line frequency. What does this mean for searching for extraterrestrials? SETI believed that since hydrogen is the most common element in the universe extraterrestrials might use that frequency to transmit a strong signal. The problem is researchers have been unable to find the signal from the original source of the constellation Sagittarius, near the Chi Sagittarii star group.

            John Kraus, Bob Dixon, Ehman, and others poured over the data and attempted to find a cause. All terrestrial causes were ruled out, in the words of Ehman ruled out means “to assign a very low probability to.” The researchers also considered other celestial explanations, but nothing could satisfactorily explain the data. Unfortunately, the data was limited due to the technology and software used, and since it was never repeated does not offer any additional help to ever be solved.

            In 2016 a new hypothesis was presented after nearly 40 years of a lack of a definitive answer. Antonio Paris, a professor of astronomy at St Petersburg College in Florida, and Evan Davies proposed that the signal actually originated from one of two comets that were flying by at the time. Many researchers feel that since the signal has not been observed again from the same origin that it must have been something passing through the area between the observation point and the intended target of the Sagittarius constellation. James Bauer of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is skeptical of this hypothesis since the comet would have to release a significant amount of hydrogen to produce such a signal. Paris states that in order to rule out the comets his hypothesis needs to be tested. Comet 266P/Christensen will be back in that region on January 25, 2017, and P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) on January 7, 2018. By studying their radio emission and how quickly they move in the sky, astronomers should be able to tell if it really was this that produced the “Wow!” signal.

            Some may think that Antonio Paris is just here to ruin the longstanding belief that this is a piece of leading evidence in the support of life outside of the Earth. Paris is the founder and director of the Aerial Phenomena Investigation team that is a worldwide effort to actively research and investigate UFO claims. His goal is not to discredit Ehman, but to hopefully provide answers that have plagued this code for so long.
            The computer that captured the "Wow!" signal in 1977
            on display at Perkins Observatory in Delaware, Ohio

            Ehman wrote a follow-up article to the “Wow!” signal in 1997and again in 2007 where he discussed many details surrounding how the signal was obtained and what work was done to determine its origin. While Ehman was working with SETI to find evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence he was not so quick to assume the signal was from an extraterrestrial race. While many terrestrial explanations were essentially ruled out he still does not hold a strong opinion on what could have caused the signal. He also warns against anyone making assumptions about the work by those who do not fully understand the equipment and software that was used to obtain the data. In his article Ehman states, “There is simply too little data to draw many conclusions. In other words, as I stated above, I choose not to ‘draw vast conclusions from 'half-vast' data’.”

            The “Big Ear” observatory was built from 1956 to 1961 and was first turned on in 1963. The concrete structure was built on the grounds near the Perkins Observatory that was built starting in 1923 and was not completed until 1931 when the 69 inch mirror was finally installed for the telescope. The “Big Ear” was last used in 1997. While the Perkins Observatory still stands the Ohio State University Radio Observatory was demolished in 1998 due to a variety of circumstances as the land was sold to developers. The area where this historic signal was detected is now part of a golf course. An Ohio historical marker stands near the entrance to the golf course on highway 23 known as Columbus Pike just south of downtown Delaware, Ohio.

            Pieces of the reflector screen of the "Big Ear" radio telescope
            on display at Perkins Observatory
            After reading about the new information potentially writing off the “Wow!” signal I became more interested than ever to visit this site before the mystery may potentially be erased. I had learned of the “Wow!” signal early in my study of UFO material and was excited that this took place in my home state of Ohio. I also knew the facility had been removed, but I had no idea if anything about the find still existed. On a January 22, 2016, I visited the Perkins Observatory for a “cloudy night” presentation. Through the old telescopes and other antiques, the displays of meteor fragments, the explanations of various astronomical events and heavenly bodies, the outdated computers, and dusty pictures of rockets and manned vehicles going to space in a forgotten generation I stumbled upon a room that made my eyes light up. I walked into a room with a sign above it called “E.T. Radio” which is located next to the gift shop in the north wing (to the left) just off the center of the Perkins Observatory. Hidden in the corner are the only remaining pieces of the “Big Ear” observatory that look like scrap metal. The big thing that immediately attracted me was the original computer system that took the data for the “Wow!” signal. There is a whole wall explaining the basics of the signal. There is also a color copy on the wall of the original printout that contains the signal data which has a short explanation from Jerry Ehman written in cursive in pen in the margin on December 18, 1999, “After more than 22 years we still do not have a definitive explanation of this signal. Although we are able to rule out many suggested explanations, the possibility of this signal coming from an extraterrestrial intelligent civilization cannot be ruled out.” The original printout is preserved by the Ohio History Connection (formerly Ohio Historical Society) based at the Ohio History Center in Columbus, Ohio.
            Exterior of the Perkins Observatory on the night of my visit




            #UFOSA #BUSTED Cape Town Green UFO Hoax  

            20 Jan 2016, 5:55 pm Finishing up the Paranormal News Insider report for December 1, 2015, I was concluding some research on the Cape Town UFO that was sending Twitter into a tizzy. I looked at each of the four purported photographs of the green UFO that was seen in the skies on Saturday night November 28, 2015 and felt something was off. Looking closely at each photograph I noticed the UFO was almost exactly identical only varied in size and angle.

            I began to research each supposed site where the UFOs were seen and figured out one was taken at the Long Street Cafe in Cape Town, South Africa. Using my first search operation, I found stock footage that matched exactly that of the supposed green UFO. While this does not necessarily spell the end of the Cape Town UFO saga it certainly puts a major damper on the other photographs taken in the area since the green UFO is pretty much the same thing.

            The big question about this UFO sighting is why? Why did this story become so viral so fast? Was this a legitimate UFO sighting seen by thousands and only photographed by four people? Of the four purported photographs, one photograph was taken at the Moses Mahbida Stadium which is in Durban, South Africa, which is about 900 miles as the UFO flies. Was this part of a viral story that people were just submitting photographs just to fit in? More than likely. While many speculate that this is a wormhole, alien visitation, the lights may have had a terrestrial ignition which set the Twitterverse on fire.

            News 24 in Cape Town reports:

            "The South African Astronomical Observatory told its understanding was the lights were part of a test for light show equipment at the Cape Town Stadium, based on information it heard mentioned on radio in the morning."

            Source: News24.com

            So, the UFO may have started out as something real and tangible, but once it got in the hands of social media it began to morph into the viral monster people are now giving wings to fly further on. For me, I consider this case closed.

            Update, December 1, 6 PM:

            The story didn't end there, in fact, new video surfaced of a green streaking UFO crashing in the city. Moments later a crash site was shown complete with a UFO! Did this continue the panic? No, people were now seeing through all of of this and News 24 has now revealed that the culprit was merely a drink company called Smart Drink that was behind the entire viral campaign. Now it's cased closed!




            Top Ten Paranormal News Stories of 2015  

            30 Dec 2015, 3:49 pm I bring you my annual list of the top stories of the paranormal world. There is no way for me to say this is the definitive way these stories should be listed and arguments for the arrangement could be made to put any one of the top ten at number 1, but this list is essentially my opinion on the matter based on a year with few groundbreaking or long lasting viral stories. I have been doing this list since the end of the 2009 season of the Paranormal News Insider.

            How is this list assembled?

            Stories make the top ten for two basic reasons. The first reason is the story must be viral. A viral story may only be popular on social media (YouTube, Facebook Twitter, etc.) through one or multiple platforms. These stories may also become viral through news media either locally, regionally, or globally. How big a story becomes is one thing, but how long the story lasts in the media is another. A story that is a flash in the pan that is a global story may not be ranked as high as a story that was a big story only regionally yet lasted weeks. The second reason stories make this list is based on the impact they have on the particular aspect of the paranormal field they have to do with. Stories that offer a glimmer of hope in a particular field will usually be ranked higher than a story that is based on a hoax. Using these two scales as a guide I rank each story against each other with both aspects and eventually whittle down a list of stories into a top ten.

            Some years are fantastic and other years are duds when it comes to paranormal stories. I will be doing a top three from 2008 through 2015 sometime in 2016, but 2015 was a dud when compared to 2008 (Stephenville, Texas UFO, Georgia Bigfoot Hoax, Montauk Monster) and other years that had standout stories. Here is this years list:

            10. A video surfaced in early September that was being called "Real Pterosaur Spotted over Idaho, USA". A few others splattered this over social media and have claimed that it took place in Ohio.

            A small amount of detective work links the YouTube video back to the original source of o7tv YouTube channel. While the video itself looks realistic there are a few strange things about it. The flying creature looked stiff, rather like an electronic flying toy. Many posted this as a likely explanation along with a cheesy version of a radio controlled pterodactyl, but the comparison was not close. Many said this was CGI, but there seemed to be no evidence of it being a digital manipulation. In all likelihood the video is a fake of some sort. This YouTube user is also responsible for a number of other releases of videos that are admitted CGI hoaxes, such as the video from 2013 titled “Real UFO with aliens caught on camera” where a skinny alien seems to wave while it stands by a UFO sitting on a hill. The UFO suddenly darts into the sky and the camera drops as the person filming apparently runs away. Later, the UFO is seen hovering again only to shoot off after hovering for a moment. “Car Disappears on Highway”, “Dragon Flying over England” are also examples of viral hits from this user that have generated millions of views. These videos demonstrate some similar effects of those seen in the pterosaur video. So, was the video a real 65 million year old creature flying around Idaho? Probably not, but it's likely that we will never know and the amount of speculation surrounding this video landed it in the countdown this year.

            Why it’s in the top ten: It was a viral hit and while many people figured it was the work of a hoax there were just as many that believed this could be real. There were very little details that pegged this as CGI, despite many people claiming it, and it pointed toward a mechanical version of the extinct reptile. However, no one could find a source for this being a remote controlled replica of this extinct creature. Why it’s number 10: While it was very viral it disappeared just as quickly as the creature in the video did. No further evidence could keep this story in the news despite it being one of the most shared videos dealing with the paranormal this year.

            9. One story that evolved slowly at first before gaining a snowball momentum was the image of the purported Jersey Devil that was sent in to NJ.com and was shared with the world on October 12th. The story goes that a man named Dave Black was driving home in Galloway, New Jersey, when he spotted what he thought was a llama near the road. Suddenly, this llama-like creature spread its leathery wings and took flight over a golf course. Black was able to snap a few pictures, but only one came out. Then, the story began to develop. A day later a video was sent in to NJ.com

            by a reader named Emily who was traveling through Leeds Point. She tries to add credibility to the video by stating she is a middle school teacher who moonlights as an algebra tutor for high school students. The video shows the dreaded Jersey Devil quickly flying across the screen as the person filming it lets out a quiet gasp. Even though most people realized this was not a legitimate story things quickly escalated for Kelly Roncace who wrote the piece. She was quoted as saying that once the video was added that "...all hell broke loose." She was getting calls from Good Morning America and news outlets all over the United States and beyond. It also got the attention of many skeptics and paranormal bloggers who were quick to dismiss both the photograph and video. Kelly was attacked by many, but she stated that her section is a features column and was not supposed to be taken as actual news. 

            Why it’s in the top ten: This story contained different bits of sightings of a unique and well known cryptid and the story went viral beyond simple social media. The fact that Good Morning America and other news stations showed interest, although not serious about the creature’s existence, also added to this story being included on the list. Why it’s only number 9; the story did not have enough traction or validity or even follow up to consider it being any higher than number 9. If there were other viral stories similar to this with even a bit better evidence, the term used loosely here, this story would have been pushed to number ten or out of the top ten easily.

            8. There exists some good evidence that the Loch Ness Monster was a story created for tourism in the 1930s. I mentioned on the September 29th episode of the Paranormal News Insider how Crop Circles may have been born in English Pubs, now it seems that the Loch Ness Monster may have been created not at the bottom of Loch Ness, but at the bottom of a nice ale. The monster was supposedly created by a man named DG Gerahty, who was hired by several Scottish hotel owners to help drum up business through tourism. The group was supposedly inspired by Lake Ogopogo’s folkloric monster in Canada. They were also purportedly inspired by a book.
             Professor Gareth Williams suggested these claims in a new book that the Loch Ness Monster was created to help spur sagging tourism after the Great Depression. He also pointed out in his research that the answer to the story behind the monster may lie in a short extract from a semi-autobiographical novel called Marise. In the novel, the narrator described how the story of the monster in the Scottish loch was invented in a pub near Trafalgar square. Professor Williams said that the lack of sightings of the monster before 1930 strengthens the argument that the monster was made up in the early 1930s. Once a sighting took place the flood gates were opened and remain open to this day despite many photographs being disproved as hoaxes or misinterpretations. Many new photographs and evidence continue to pop up only to be discovered as hoaxes or again; misinterpretations. Is the Loch Ness Monster real? Not likely and this story might sound like a nail in the coffin, but the story of Nessie has survived this long and is doubtful to disappear due to facts just as it has all these years.

            Why it’s in the top ten; this is a telling story about the potential origin of one of the most popular creatures in cryptozoology. While it seems to legitimately discount the creature as being real it will not take away from it being a popular cryptid. Why it’s number 8 in the countdown: this release of information did very little to disperse the legend of the Loch Ness Monster nor did it really gain much traction as a viral story outside of the United Kingdom or have any impact on tourism to the Loch Ness area, at least negatively.

            7. The floating city in China. Thousands of people reported seeing a strange city floating in the sky complete with skyscrapers in the city of Foshan in the Guangdong province in China on October 9th. Numerous photographs and videos documented the strange event that left some wondering if a parallel universe opened up in the skies. If that wasn’t enough, just a few days later a similar event happened over the skies of Jiangxi (GEE-ONg-SHE) China. Conspiracy theorists were quick to make several accusations about the event in an attempt to explain what was happening.
            Was it a Project Blue Beam test? Could this be a temporal vortex, a possible parallel universe materializing briefly into our own reality? Some also felt considering China's technological achievements that a top secret holographic technology was tested over a heavily populated area in an effort to gauge the public reaction. These are all nice guesses, but unfortunately the reality is a little less exciting. This event, while rare, actually happens often in China for some reason, but is known to occur most often in polar regions and is known as Fata Morgana. No, this isn’t some French socialite, but it is the name for a natural mirage caused by weather and the infamous temperature inversion. Fata Morgana is the Italian name for Morgan Le Fay, and other names, as the enchantress from the King Arthur legends. Fata Morgana can be seen on land or sea and involves the optical distortion and inversion of distant objects such as boats, which can appears as skyscrapers because the images become stacked, when rays of light bend as they pass through air of different temperatures such as in a heat haze. The real thing here is that while it’s quite a sight and does not happen often, it has been noted every few years especially here in the paranormal news arena. These sightings are also confused with UFO sightings as the mirage comes from below the horizon and makes an object appear in the sky and a Fata Morgana can also trick RADAR signals into perceiving objects floating as well.

            Why it’s in the top ten: this story scared the living daylights out of a lot of people, and not just in China. It lead to an enormous amount of speculation, of which only a handful was discussed here, that made conspiracy theorists crowd around the warm glow of their computer monitor in their parent’s basements. Many websites stated that this was a sign of the end times. Other sites thought that the video was just digital manipulation. This speculation was no match for the amount of science that poured in from news and educational resources such as Discovery News, National Geographic, Science Alert.com, Accuweather, CNN, and others that properly described this as Fata Morgana and even listed a number of very similar incidents that had piled up long before these two in China. However, Snopes declared this story as unproven and that many pieces of this story do not add up. Why it’s number 7: this was a very viral story that nearly everyone involved with the paranormal or science weighed in on. It was interesting to see the diversity of beliefs between the paranormal, UFO, and conspiracy websites and it brought to light their emotional reactions to stories like these. It also highlighted how many bloggers and news organizations continue to peddle stories like these without doing simple research and finding the reality behind them, this is why I do the Paranormal News Insider. While the story had a logical outcome and was nothing short of explainable it did highlight the beliefs of many of the world in the strange, anomalous, and just downright scary things that happen every day.

            6. On March 10th a strange video has surfaced from the jungles of Costa Rica, no, not of a dinosaur, but of an extinct bird.
            The video, uploaded only to YouTube, shows an iguana in the foreground and then a strange bird poking around a fallen piece of tree in the background. The bird looks slightly familiar and as the 48 second video comes to an end the edited clip shows the bird walking directly in front of the green tinted scene; a bird that closely resembles that of the once living dodo. The video was purportedly taken by a photographer who had set up video to record animals at night, when I first debuted the story I stated it would be wise to doubt the video until further information shows up. Dodos were first mentioned in 1598 and were slowly hunted to extinction in the mid-1600s and ultimately became a mythological bird. Dodos were only found on the island of Mauritius (MAR-RISH-ISS) which is east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. So, how would one end up in Costa Rica? The dodo was used as food, similarly to pigs which were released on the island of Mauritius. The Dutch who controlled the island in that time most certainly took the bird for trade and may have released them on other islands, such as Costa Rica, as a food source. The dodo bird video made many people, including myself, hopeful that this video was real and that we could rediscover an animal thought extinct. The video was a bit fishy from the way it was shot to how most of it was in focus except for what we were hoping to see. However, on the morning of March 16th I found part two of the video that showed the dodo bird move its beak off camera and return with a cue card with “I wish I was real” written in Portuguese. 

            The video was created for a conservation team, a non-governmental organization known as Civil Association Alternative Terrazul, that was looking for some attention by using the extinct dodo to draw in the general public and then educate them on living species that are closing in on extinction such as jaguars, African elephant, golden lion tamarin, Amazon River dolphin, panda bear, black rhino, hawksbill sea turtle, blue whale, and others. The project was known as almost a dodo.

            Why it’s in the top ten: nearly everyone involved with cryptozoology, zoology, and the paranormal was weighing in on this video. Many were confident this video was the real deal despite some of the shortcomings described about the blurry nature of it as well as the uncommon camera type and placement. This was an extremely viral video that the conclusion of which was not broadcast very much. Sadly, the message of this organization seemed to miss its mark even after drawing a much larger audience than they anticipated. Why it’s number 6: this was an extremely viral video that had many people believing this could be the biggest animal finding since the coelacanth. Despite the cheesy nature of the video as well as the reveal it has gone down as one of the most believable cryptozoological hoaxes in recent history.

            5. The Charlie Charlie Challenge. Gravity will hurt you, but not with falling pencils.  What started out as a Spanish-speaking schoolyard game has morphed into the poor man’s, or lazy man’s, Ouija Board and a silly little game that seemingly can only work if you put it on your Vine.
            A 17 year old girl in central Georgia apparently instagrammed her game using the hashtag  #CharlieCharlieChallenge and from there it gained a lot of momentum. As of May 26th the phrase had been tweeted over 2 million times and is getting more social media attention than any news event anywhere in the world. The trend started late on May 23rd and built up on the 24th and went strong for a couple of days. A Priest in Philadelphia wrote an open letter to those involved with the cult-like practice where he taught in a Catholic High School saying that "there is no such thing as innocently playing with demons." Little did he know, these demons actually work in Hollywood. The whole Charlie Charlie Challenge may have started out from trends in South America where this new version of a couple of older Spanish games were merged, but it ended up seeming like nothing more than a viral campaign for the movie “The Gallows” in which the main character of the movie, which whom it is bad luck to utter his name, is named Charlie. During the movie, and as highlighted in the preview at the previous link, they attempt to contact Charlie by using the same exact method in a short Spanish preview "La Horca" or "The Gallows." However, Snopes.com disagrees saying that this video was uploaded a day prior to the breakout of the Charlie Charlie Challenge and that the date discrepancy is enough to discredit this theory. 

            Why it’s in the top ten: the Charlie Charlie Challenge was one of the most viral stories of 2015 on social media let alone one of the top stories in the paranormal. Many people were afraid of this while many others laughed this off as a child’s game despite the similarities to the Ouija Board yet this story got the attention of worldwide media well beyond social media. Why it was only number 5: it really did little to bring the paranormal out of the dark ages of belief and superstition. While the fear behind the Charlie Charlie Challenge finally subsided it was just another scar on the face of the paranormal belief engine and did little to create acceptance or discovery in the paranormal. It’s mere presence on this list is due completely to the viral nature of the story.

            4. Harvey Robertson, a Scottish tourist, was on vacation with his family off the coast of Parga off the northwest coast of Greece. He was taking photographs with his iPhone of the color of the water while sailing through sea caves when he took a photograph of a strange creature. The photograph was making the rounds as expert after expert were stumped as to what the creature was.
            Some felt this was a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale; some thought it looked like a manatee, a cuttlefish, or even some sort of hippo-dolphin morph. Then, the bubble was burst.  Zoologist Dr. Darren Naish of the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton was the first to identify what he felt was truly in the picture. The strange creature was identified as nothing more than a half-sunken low freeboard boat fender. While so many people were contemplating what type of animal it was it seemed no one was willing to question whether it was even a real animal. I admit I was stumped and did my best to find a living creature to match, lesson learned. So did Mr. Robertson attempt to fool the general public? More than likely not. His photograph seemed to genuinely confuse him and if he did not see the fender when he took the photograph or view the picture to see the object he would have little reason to look for it afterward.  Still, there are many people who deny this logical explanation and feel that the animal is still out there. I’m sure it is and I hope someone finds that boat fender. 

            Why it's in the top ten: This story went very viral and carried itself for nearly a week until the boat fender theory seemed to wash away the hope of finding a new mysterious creature in the waters off of Greece. Numerous experts weighed in on this story as it built momentum all over the world. Why it was only number four: despite being one of the top viral stories of the year the purported creature is more than likely just a boat fender. While this explanation is still being argued it is the most plausible. With it having no real impact on cryptozoology this story was only carried so far on the waves of popularity.

            3. Misidentified Rocket Launches: Probably the biggest UFO story of the year, and definitely September, was actually very explainable. Dozens of videos and photos flooded the Internet on Wednesday, September 2nd, especially in Florida where the Atlas 5
            spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket had a $7.6 billion Navy satellite system that was launched into orbit. The launch took place just after 6 AM and seemed to take a lot of people off guard as the rocket and its exhaust trail became illuminated by the pre-dawn sun as it gained altitude. Even people who were told what it was didn’t believe it since the rising sun lit up the trail and made it very colorful. Twitter was going crazy from the tweets of people thinking there was an alien invasion or that the world was coming to an end.

            On Saturday, November 7th the west coast lost their minds this time as a rocket was launched from out in the ocean catching many off guard. Earlier in the week the military had flights that normally travel over water to avoid noise over southern California to be diverted back over land on that evening. The Orange County Sheriff’s office tweeted that the large fireball in the sky was in fact a missile launched from the USS Kentucky, an Ohio class ballistic missile submarine. Speculation and rumors were and still are flying that the missile was some top secret thing or perhaps it was a test flight of a UFO being covered up or maybe even some other unknown technology. Why these thoughts? Well, Government. Not to mention the fact that people were taken off guard by the launch as well as saw the ignition of the missile that puzzled many. The missile was actually a Trident 2 missile that was not armed. Despite much speculation it has been cleared up that this is nothing more than a routine shakedown of the recently refurbished submarine. 

            On December 22nd another rocket was seen over the western skies that also went viral. This one turned out to be a Russian SL-4 rocket body that was reentering the atmosphere and was visible for around ten minutes.

            Why it's in the top ten: these rocket launches got a lot of publicity, both for the mere sighting and some for their scientific merit, but also a lot of speculation and fear generated by those who didn't know what was going on. The September Florida launch generated a lot of UFO and end-of-the-world type of speculation while the Trident California launch generated that and also some Government conspiracy talk. Even the recent sighting was thought to potentially be an alien invasion, I wonder where that thought came from? Why it was only number four: despite being extremely viral and some tense moments generated by fear and misunderstanding, these were obviously explainable examples of man made objects.

            2. Bigfoot captured on photo/video (again, and again...). 2015 has been the year that Bigfoot has made numerous headlines of being captured clearly on photos and videos for the first time, well, a number of times. The year started out with photos from Florida of a fisherman who fooled a few people with a horrible Photoshop attempt as well as from the Arizona Department of Transportation that submitted a photo they jokingly thought resembled a family of Bigfoot.
            While some so-called investigators claimed to have witness testimony and tracks, those of us who did some simple research found out these were just trees that never moved from their position. We then had the Turner,Maine video that was peddled by Bill Brock since 2014. The entire case turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by a kid that fooled many experts who claimed the video was the best since the Patterson Gimlin Film. Bigfoot’s Russian cousin then made his appearance in the Adygeya Republic area of southwestern Russia in what is now called the snowy woods video. A team of scientists were in the area following up on sightings when they captured the video. Some say that this was merely a stunt to drum up tourism. The Bigfoot Field Researcher’s Organization then debunked the first video of the year shot at Lettuce Lake Park near Tampa, Florida. While many felt this was just a Photoshop attempt gone awry, it turned out to be a hoax to get attention and ultimately make it on Finding Bigfoot. Then, a very viral story; the sighting of a purported Bigfoot family stalking bison near the Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park that turned out to just be a group of people

            Why it’s in the top ten: while Bigfoot hoaxes are nothing new, this series of hoaxes all gained momentum within the first few weeks of 2015 making it feel like everyone was getting in on the action. A few of these stories remained in the circle of Bigfootery while others generated a lot of public speculation and were viral stories. While most of these were obvious hoaxes some did bring to question whether these represented the proof that the world needed in order to validate the existence of Bigfoot once and for all. Why it’s number two: it didn’t prove anything other than Bigfoot investigators can either be gullible or very clever in discovering hoaxes. Despite these stories owning the paranormal headlines for the first few weeks of the year one story trumped all others in being viral and stirring belief in the paranormal.
            1. The number one Paranormal News Story of 2015 was also one of the most viral paranormal stories of the year. The story took place Friday, March 6th in Spanish Fork, Utah.
            A woman was driving home from her parent’s house in Salem, Utah to her home in Springville only 10 miles away. Sadly, around halfway to her destination 25 year old Lynn Groesbeck lost control of her vehicle, struck a cement barrier, and ended up in the Spanish Fork River with her 18 month old baby strapped into her car seat in the back of the vehicle. Nearly 14 hours later fishermen discovered the overturned car in the river and called police. As police and firefighters arrived they made their way to the vehicle unsure if anyone were alive. All five of the three policemen and two firefighters at the scene of the car purportedly heard the words, "Help me, help me now," from inside of the vehicle accompanied with screaming. This fueled the men’s efforts in getting into the car quickly and discovering the baby and bringing her to safety. Unfortunately, Lynn had died in the crash and the 18 month old girl named Lily was unconscious yet alive despite being only inches from the freezing water wearing no gloves or hat. 

            Despite many people claiming this is a feel good story this is a very sad story that the young mother perished and that her daughter will not be able to grow up with her. Was this ghostly voice an example of a crisis apparition? A crisis apparition is described as someone who is about to, going through, or just went through the dying process is able to communicate to someone through unknown means. Granted, this could also be pareidolia, the sound of rushing water or other ambient noise in the background that made the men feel as though they heard someone in the car. One question I had was that if these officers were wearing body cameras with sound, why couldn’t we at least hear that few moments of audio? Obviously, the discovery of the driver, Lynn Groesbeck, who can be partially seen in previously released video, would be a bit gruesome and insensitive to show. Days after the accident part of the video on the body cam was released, but on March 14th a full 11 minutes and 45 seconds including the moment where the voice was supposedly heard around the 1:58 mark was put on YouTube.  There was a lot of yelling, talking including female voices, radio chatter, sirens, cars, rushing water, and more going on during the rescue. The female who worked on the infant inside the ambulance was seen standing only a few feet away. This information might be enough to discredit the men’s claims. Lynn Groesbeck's autopsy revealed that she had been using heroin and was under the influence of Clonazepam, THC, morphine, codeine and hydromorphone. A small bag of marijuana and tramadol were also found in the vehicle. 

            Why it's in the top ten: this was the largest viral story dealing with ghostly phenomena all year and despite the evidence of a bystander potentially being the source of the voice there still exists a strong possibility this was in fact a voice from beyond death. Why it's number one: Despite the tragic end to Lynn's life the focus has always been on the luck of the survival of Lily. This story will always be remembered as a miraculous effort for a mother to save her baby from death from beyond the grave and has inspired many people to believe in the possibility of life after death.

            Honorable mentions: I am still mesmerized by the "Merman in Poland" video that popped up in late September. Even though it was one of the strangest things to appear in the paranormal news the story disappeared a week after it came out despite no one really finding out what truly was going on. The #UFOSA story of a series of green UFO sightings in South Africa on November 28th was an extremely viral story that turned out to be a viral hoax. I had a soft spot for this since I discovered one of the photographs was fake prior to it being released that it was a gimmick for an energy drink. Despite their viral strength neither of these stories made it in the top ten in a year where the stories were all fairly weak compared to past years. I'll explore the top three stories since 2008 when I began doing the Paranormal News Insider in a future blog post.



            2016 Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure  

            10 Dec 2015, 2:22 pm  The 2016 Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure takes place May 6-8, 2016, in Farmington, Pennsylvania at Benner's Meadow Run campground. The weekend will include workshops, speakers, day and night hikes in known hot spots for Bigfoot activity, a group cookout and campfire, and more. The event is being put on by well known Pennsylvania researcher and investigator Eric Altman.

            Speakers for the event include well known long time researcher and investigator Stan Gordon, Dr. Brian D. Parsons author, anomalous researcher and investigator and host of the Paranormal News Insider, and just announced Steve Kulls host of Squatchdetective Radio and long time Bigfoot investigator will also be a speaker. Workshops will be conducted on a variety of topics and will include information from Tom Ferrence, Dwayne Pintoff, "Ranger" Tim Cassidy, and Eric Altman.

            For more information on how you can secure your spot at the campground (or find a local motel/hotel), get a ticket for the event, as well as more information please visit the home of the event: 2016 Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure or visit the official Facebook site for updates.

            2013 Public Bigfoot Expedition
            "I am honored to be a part of this event. I took part in a similar event like this, without speakers or workshops, with Eric Altman in 2013 and it was a blast. Not only for me being a researcher and investigator, but being an outdoorsman, hiker, and being surrounded by like-minded people.While I had a blast at that event this one promises to be even better and it will be the chance of a lifetime to meet some of these people and learn from them. I am beyond honored to be speaking next to Stan Gordon and Steve Kulls and I am even more excited to learn more from them. I finally met Stan at the Butler Paranormal Conference in early 2015 after following his work for years and got to talk for quite a while with him. He's a class act and will certainly have plenty of stories to tell. Steve Kulls is a guy I have yet to meet, but I have a lot of respect for especially the way he does not quit until he finds the truth. This is going to be something you don't want to miss if you have an interest in Bigfoot."

            - Dr. Brian D. Parsons, speaker at the event, your host of the Paranormal News Insider, and author of "Handbook for the Amateur Cryptozoologist"
            During the event  there will also be a Charity Fundraiser Auction at the event to raise money and awareness for two local charities.   The first is Unity A Journey of Hope. Unity is a certified 501C3 non profit organization founded by John and Bobbi Robinson.  Unity grants wishes to adults with life limiting illnesses. The other is Fayette Friends of Animals Animal Shelter in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

            From the host of the event, Eric Altman:
             We will be raising funds and dividing them between the two organizations.  I have invited representatives of both organizations to attend the event and have a table to display organizational and promotional items during Saturdays event.    I am reaching out to my friends, colleagues, associates, researchers and enthusiasts to ask for your help. What I am seeking is donations of items relating to Bigfoot, Cryptozoology, Paranormal, and UFOlogy to auction off raising funds for the charities.  These donations may be in the form of autographed books, DVD documentary films, movies, artwork, T-shirts, collectibles or similar items. Proceeds from the funds raised at the auction will be donated between the two charities. 
            If you know of someone who would like to participate by donating, or you yourself would like to donate, here is how to do it:   
            Please send your donated item to care of Eric Altman 181 Cardinal Drive, Jeannette Pennsylvania 15644 before May 1, 2016. Anyone donating will be listed on the sponsors/donors page on the website. If you donate an item to the auction, please send me your contact information, any logo/banner or website links so that I may list you as a sponsor.  



            Paranormal News Insider Xpress  

            18 Nov 2015, 8:31 pm In September of 2008 the Paranormal News Insider made its debut with a 6:29 segment heard during the (then monthly) Grand Dark Conspiracy. I had been the first guest earlier that spring and had been invited back to help steer the show away from the ghost guests that had started the show for the first few months. Dan Bautz, the host, and I had talked about a paranormal news segment and it didn't take long until it was born. Dan gave me full autonomy to create the show as I saw fit and I wanted to keep it ten or less minutes.

            As the show went weekly in September of 2010 I was nervous that I wasn't sure if I could even get enough content to do a ten minute segment, but everything turned out fine and I did over a year's worth of shows without missing a week. There came a break in the show every now and again and ultimately in May of 2015 the Darkest Hours Late Night (the Grand Dark Conspiracy's Friday night show name that took main billing for the show as a whole starting in early 2015) turned off its mic for the last time as of this writing.

            I had contemplated doing my own stand alone show since a break in the show the year before, but knowing we were close to getting on terrestrial radio on an AM channel in Marysville, Ohio kept me glued to that show. After the hiatus in May the show was supposed to start back up in mid-July, but never did. After a few weeks of weighing my options I prepared to go live. My beloved dog, Sasha, passed away in late August and I really did not feel much like doing paranormal radio let alone much else. At the same time I felt like I needed a distraction from things and I did not want to wait too long to get a show started. I had picked a great network and was forced to get an early time slot due to a new shift I was working at my job. I have enjoyed the first nine weeks of the hour long live show and there are only a few things I wish I could do different, but I highly enjoy what I do.

            In talking with a few other show hosts I have heard that paranormal radio shows are slowly dying out. I think part of the problem is there are too many out there that share the same format. When this happens in regular radio the stations always struggle. The good news is the Paranormal News Insider is a rather unique format especially for what I bring to the table. I am not concerned about ratings, hits, or even sponsorship (but it would be great to have some paying sponsors!). But I have thought about how I miss producing my own shows with musical intros and backgrounds along with sound effects which the live show currently can not allow me to do. I had also thought about how some listeners state they do not like the longer two hour shows which is why I went after an hour format (I felt like 30 minutes might not be enough time).

            On November 17, 2015 the WCJV Digital Broadcasting network had some computer issues which prevented me from having a live show that night. I was bummed and also worried that I would not be able to provide a show for the second time in a month (I did put on a Halloween special since the network had a scheduled down week for upgrades). I had quickly agreed to come on the following Tuesday to do two hours in which I will do back-to-back episodes. I had also thought about just recording an episode from my material for the 17th no matter the length of time. It dawned on me then that maybe it was time to test the new format I had thought of. A stand alone segment that was five minutes or less and essentially a summary of the hour long live show; a condensed version missing a lot of the detail and insight. Let's face it, many people don't have an hour to hear about five or six paranormal news stories no matter what valuable information is there. Others who work in the field may not need or want to hear all of those details so a quick and condensed version of the show might just take off. The other idea I had with the show would be to license the Xpress segment to other paranormal (or even non-paranormal) shows with the idea that it could help my show grow.

            Like I said before, I don't care much about ratings. But, it would behoove of me to try and make my show the best it can be in content and in being as widespread as I can possibly make it. This latest segment idea is just one way I feel I might be able to help make the show grow.

            Check out the first Paranormal News Insider Xpress episode: The episode, like all the new ones, is available through Podbean. With Podbean you can download their app for Apple or Google products and listen to the show on the go. If you do like the short format, please let me know!  

            Paranormal News Insider growing to one hour  

            14 Sep 2015, 2:41 pm The Paranormal News Insider has been on hiatus since July 11, 2015, when a mid-season review was made. At the time a question was lingering about the return of the host show, Darkest Hours Late Night, which had been on hiatus since May when it departed from WQTT AM in Marysville, Ohio. The show was slated to return on July 11, but did not. It was then that I revisited my thoughts on going out on my own with the show to see if I could successfully take the show from a prerecorded ten minute segment to a full one hour standalone program.

            After some deep thinking and a few personal issues I have decided to pursue the dream of taking the Paranormal News Insider into second gear after seven years and 230 episodes. I have opted to join forces with CJMARS radio network which operates WCJV digital broadcasting based in Youngstown, New York. One big reason is that it is a successful network with a nice variety of programming, yet it allows the show to blossom on their own. I have heard a few horror stories of networks demanding things from their programs from reading sponsors to the content of their shows, for me that would not be worth the time. I have also been a guest on one of the networks shows "Paranormalities and Ponderings" with host Frank Lee. Frank's style reminded me a lot of how Daniel Bautz, host of the Grand Dark Conspiracy and later renamed Darkest Hours Late Night operated his show. I have also had the pleasure of talking with one of the owners of the network on a couple of occasions and I felt this would be a great fit.

            How will the show change? Well, I will have an extra 50 minutes for starters. I plan on expanding the stories a little bit and hopefully having more than four or five stories a week. With that in mind I still want to concentrate on the stories that truly matter, not just to fill time. Of course, there will be a lot of education behind the stories which is the reason for the "insider" aspect of the show and the extra time will allow to bring on a guest that has something to do with the stories. I will also expand the conferences and conventions aspect and will seek out guests from some of these events or the owners to come on and speak about them. I have received a lot of input about the conferences and conventions so this will definitely be an aspect I expand on and continue to track on my list of events.

            The show will be from 7-8 PM eastern every Tuesday night. Listeners will be able to communicate directly in chat while listening to the show at the CJMARS radio home.


            New Website Enhancements  

            14 Sep 2015, 2:41 pm Following the switch to a standalone one hour show on the CJMARS Radio Network I have decided to add some new things to the Paranormal News Insider website.

            When I first started the Paranormal News Insider in August of 2008, I created the website to be a running blog of stories that I was personally researching to any degree. I split the site up into cryptozoology, UFOs, ghosts, and strange Earth stories. Granted, at the time the PNI was a monthly show broadcast during the Grand Dark Conspiracy podcast. When the show went weekly in September of 2010 I knew I could not keep up with the website and I got rid of the blog format.

            The biggest change is the addition of an rss feed of the Anomalist and Unexplained Mysteries paranormal news. I consider these two sites to be the leaders in reporting interesting and relevant stories that are seen by the masses. While these sites are affected by outside submissions they are not run by them. While these two sites essentially do the same thing the Anomalist tends to stick to traditional paranormal stories involving cryptids, UFOs, ghosts, and strange Earth mysteries. Unexplained Mysteries is a little more general in its approach, but also offers quality and noteworthy stories. The addition of this "News" page provides a one stop shop for anyone wanting to know what is going on in the world of the paranormal.

            The second change involves a contact form on the "About" page. While this doesn't seem like much of a big deal I want to make a better effort to be able to provide simple and effective communication other than giving out my email address during the show. I have received a lot of emails this way and I hope the form makes things easier for people who want to communicate information quickly and efficiently.

            I have also added Soundcloud and Mixcloud links to the new one hour shows for the latest episodes. I still allow the play of the file directly from the Paranormal News Insider webpage, but giving these other alternatives should help those who want to listen via phone or other device as well as provide alternative locations for the podcast to be available.

            As always I am continuing to provide as many links to conferences and conventions as possible. I am also going back to accepting classes and tours in addition to smaller events. I have been told by many that my list is consistently one of the best.

            Be sure to tune in every Tuesday night from 7-8 pm eastern and feel free to jump into live chat while you listen! Listening to the show on the go is easy as well with Tunein app as well as Live365.

            As always, if you have any information about any event and would like to hear it on the show (or see it on the website) feel free to let me know at Insider @ Paranewsinsider.com.


            Second Edition for "Handbook for the Amateur Cryptozoologist"  

            19 Apr 2015, 2:07 am My fifth book, "Handbook for the Amateur Cryptozoologist", was published in February of 2014. Since then, the book has been recognized in the July/August 2014 edition of "Skeptical Inquirer Magazine" in the New and Notable Section as a positive book review. At the end of the year it was again recognized as one of the The Best Cryptozoology Books of 2014 by renown cryptozoologist Loren Coleman. He labeled the book as "The Best Guidebook for The Cryptozoologist-In-Training of 2014." It was a huge honor to be recognized by a living legend of the field of cryptozoology for my work. It was also a huge honor to be reviewed by a skeptical organization and given a virtual "thumbs up" for a book that offered a balanced view on a controversial subject.

            After Loren Coleman contacted me for a review copy, a few weeks later he let me in on the fact that the book would make his year end list. Loren also wanted to sell this book at his International Cryptozoology Museum that is located in Portland, Maine. He was also curious to know if I was interested in including a preface to the book supplied by him. Earlier in the year I had made some revisions to the book in order for it to be included in an online school (name withheld due to not being completed at this time) and knew of a few other changes I wanted to make. I had never considered having someone write a preface, or rather a foreword by definition, for one of my books, but if I was for this book it would be no one other than Loren. So, in March of 2015 I re-released the book as a second edition. It is still only available at my personal online bookstore at Lulu Press and will be available at Amazon and other online retailers soon as the first edition is still available.

            Interestingly, this book was a lot of work but I really did it for fun as it was a "diversion" of sorts away from my ghost handbooks and my work on the "E4" Method that included several on-site client investigations and months of research prior to that. This book was a lot of fun to write and I felt like it connected to me more of a person as I used my past to talk about concepts of the book. My other books were successful in their own right and I enjoyed my "tour" with the "E4" Method book that included conferences in Maryland, Virginia, and several appearances in Ohio and Pennsylvania not to mention numerous podcast interviews which was still a lot of work. Offers to review the "Handbook for the Amateur Cryptozoologist" seemed to come to me with little effort (there are more to come) and I had never thought of this book as one that would generate as much interest as it has so far. Every project I work on I attempt to expand my knowledge or experience with something, and while this book is still "self published" I am still proud of what it provides and I feel this is my best writing and overall book to date.
            The “Handbook for the Amateur Cryptozoologist” explores the history and mystery behind some of the most elusive creatures found - and some that are still hidden. The handbook provides a well-balanced look at many concepts necessary to conduct proper client-based investigations. Cryptozoology has been shadowed under the umbrella of pseudoscience due to a myriad of problems. This book takes a skeptical, yet balanced, stance to help the newcomer or seasoned veteran gain solid footing into using a more scientific approach to the field. It will also arm you with the basic abilities necessary to become a successful researcher and field investigator in the field of cryptozoology. It explores the use of technology in the field as well as the methodologies behind investigations and expeditions that go beyond the television style of thrill-seeking. This handbook will be your basic guide to becoming a responsible and rational investigator in a field wrought with hoaxes and misinterpretations.
            This book is available now at my personal bookstore at Lulu Press.




            Top Ten Paranormal News Stories of 2013  

            11 Jan 2014, 6:58 pm The top ten paranormal news stories have been selected by myself on heavily guided scientific protocol for selection. Actually, I just put a bunch of stories in a list and graded them on basic criteria. How big was the story? Did the story have a large influence on the media or social networking? How long or how big did this story become in that regard? Did the story have anything to do with furthering any aspect of the paranormal? How wide is the impact on the field? With this basic criteria I weighed the biggest stories and slowly built them into the top ten. 2013 was a hard year to do this, in years past the biggest stories were Sky Noise (2012), UFO's Over Jerusalem (2011), National Press Club Gathering on UFO's (2010), Black Hole over Norway (2009), Montauk Monster (close tie with Georgia Bigfoot Hoax, 2008), and 2013 really had no front-running story that carried it away in social media or made a huge impact in the paranormal. At any rate, the Top Ten Paranormal News Stories for 2013!

            #10. Park Rangers Spot Dread-locked Pygmies.

            Park Rangers in an Indonesian National Park claim there are 20 inch dread-locked pygmies running around the park. Rangers actually spotted the pygmies on March 17th and again on March 20th and watched as they ran and hid behind trees. They are now attempting to capture them, at least on film. These pygmies are known in cryptozoology as Orang Pendek. The theory that pygmies live in the area has actually been substantiated by science. In 2003, the bones of a female skull a third the size of a normal human skull was found on the island of Flores in Indonesia. The bones which were dated to be 18,000 years old were not the only remains found, but were only one of nine very small human bodies eventually excavated.

            Why it’s in the top ten: While there have been no additional findings of this story it does have the possibility of becoming an important discovery if it is in fact true. The basis of historical findings of bones discovered adds relevance to this story and time will tell if this is an ancient human running through the woods or some other new discovery.

            #9. Mass UFO Sighting over Detroit.

            Dozens of reports flooded in to various television stations surrounding a triangular shaped UFO that was seen back on January 10th. Other recent reports in Indianapolis and Miami showed a similar pattern in the sky. A MUFON representative appeared on the local FOX station and stated the explanation could be military or other as of yet unreported aircraft. So far no explanation has been found about this mass sighting. Similar sightings were also reported miles away in northern Indiana describing the same lights.

            Why it’s in the top ten: Dozens of people actually saw something in the sky in addition to a few who filmed it, this wasn't grainy iPhone footage by one person put up on YouTube with only one witness. Despite many different people and agencies looking into this sighting nothing has come close to explaining this story. While there were many other mass UFO sightings this one is unique due to the sighting area and lack of an explanation. Why is it only number 9? No further sightings and no evidence to tie it to anything beyond our world.

            #8. OBE Experiment.

            New research into out of body experiences demonstrates that simply using a video of a person and inserting a fake image of a heartbeat could be enough to trigger an experience. A group of scientists have created the experiment using virtual reality glasses that project an image of the back of a person with a simulation of glowing around the body that synchs with the person’s heartbeat. In many of the tests the people actually felt as though they were leaving their physical body and were closer to their virtual ones. This is hopefully just the beginning of this type of experimentation and it might just lead scientists to accept that consciousness may be non-local and not something that is generated in our brains. The results of these initial experiments will soon be published in the Association for Psychological Science’s journal Psychological Science.

            Why it’s in the top ten: Scientists conducting paranormal and metaphysical experimentation isn't very popular in the science world. The fact that they were able to simulate basic out of body experiences is a step toward explaining consciousness as well as how these experiences work without quickly explaining them away in a skeptical manner. Why it’s only number 8: Nothing new has come from this experimentation and this work is still a long way away from explaining anything that will cause an upheaval in science. Not to mention the fact that the media pretty much ignored this story.

            #7. Cattle Mutilations.

            A rancher in Missouri had discovered three mutilated cows over the last three years and has exhausted most Earthly explanations. She is now accepting that these deaths may have been caused by aliens. In 2011, Lynn Mitchell discovered one of her cows dead and then noticed the tongue missing. She then realized that other vital organs were also missing including the female reproductive organs. While she did not get an expert opinion on the first two cows she quickly turned to a local veterinarian on the third which occurred recently. The vet stated that there was no trauma involved, meaning that this was not an attack of any sort and the cuts seemed to be done with surgical precision. The local County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy also agreed that there didn't appear to be a wild animal involved in the kill. He also added that this could be anything from those involved in the occult to potential alien involvement. The oddest thing about this cow death is a burn mark in the grass that follows the outline of the cow. Another cow with a similar burn pattern was also discovered in the United Kingdom. Other strange mutilations including missing body parts turned up recently in Colorado, Nebraska, Idaho, and in Argentina.

            Why it’s in the top ten: Cattle mutilation stories aren't exactly new, but these two stories seem to defy any type of explanation and add a new dimension to traditional sightings. Why it’s only number 7: These were the only two cases that appeared this year and there was virtually no coverage of this story outside of the paranormal news.

            #6. Russell Crowe's UFO.

            Back in March this was a big news story when a "UFO" video was uploaded to YouTube from movie star Russell Crowe. The video was really a series of photographs taken with time lapse in the Royal Botanical Gardens area of Sydney Australia. The photos, which were taken four years ago, show a bright red light in the sky and a white light lower at mid-tree level. Blurry lines seem to connect the two and it wasn't long until the mystery was solved. The photos really showed the top mast of a passing sailboat. Sailboats are required to have lights at the top of their masts and the lines are a perfect match for the rest of the rigging. Many speculate this release was in response to the lackluster push by twentieth century fox for Crowe's latest film “Broken City”, which has been out in the U.S. for over a month just made its debut in Australia. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, and Catherine-Zeta Jones. I saved my movie money for Iron Man three.

            Why it’s in the top ten: This was a very popular story in the media and despite the explanation it continued to have a life of its own until the explanation was accepted by the general public. Why it was only number 6: it was the mast of a boat.

            #5. Magical Car Accident Priest.

            This was a story that I did not initially cover when it happened because I felt the truth was not going to be as exciting as the viral story. Yet, this story gained so much attention that I felt it was necessary to talk about it during my show. During a head-on collision in Missouri a young woman became trapped in her vehicle and rescue workers tried feverishly to free her. Suddenly, a priest appeared out of nowhere and brought calm to the entire situation. Miraculously, the tools that had been malfunctioning suddenly worked and the woman was in complete calm. As the workers turned to thank the priest he was nowhere to be found. The roads had been closed off for a half mile in each direction and there was no way the man could have gotten there on foot. Was this a story of divine intervention? A true miracle? Well, not really. Many of the so-called facts that happened during this event were reported incorrectly. Reverend Patrick Dowling parked less than 150 feet away from the accident and was one of many first responders on scene. Not only did he stick around after helping the woman he talked to several personnel in the area and left his name with at least one of them. While this is still a nice story it is strange how it became more about believing in miracles and ghosts than about a real person being a compassionate human being.

            Why it’s in the top ten: This story was probably the most wide spread paranormal related story in 2013 as it was covered worldwide and took on a life of its own. Why it’s only number 5: It had a logical explanation.

            #4. Return and Departure of Art Bell.

            After over a decade of being away from his own show it was announced that Art Bell would be returning to the airwaves in September. Art Bell left the popular “Coast to Coast A.M.” show back in 2002 and was last on the air in 2010. Bell left the show due to family issues, but his new studio would be located in his home. Sirius XM Radio would host his new show on weeknights from 10 P.M. to 1 A.M. eastern which began on September 16th, the show was named “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” and appeared on SiriusXM channel 104. But on November 4th rumors began to run rampant that Art Bell had canceled his show on SiriusXM after only a few weeks on the air. This message followed a statement that said “no new show tonight” on Art’s Facebook page for Dark Matter: "Sometimes when you are "all in" you win, sometimes lose. By mutual agreement Dark Matter will no longer air as of tonight." The message was posted just prior to the show being live on SiriusXM’s Indie channel at 11 P.M. eastern.

            "I started the show with the expectation that my listener's would be able to stream the show since most were coming from AM. They started the thirty day trial and found that it was dropping out on them every few minutes. After the 30 day trial most did not renew, why would they? Faced with paying about $180 bucks a year for something that was not working right, what would you do? So I lost my base. My show is based on call in, if all I’m left with is truck drivers with cell phones going down the road at 70 mph, well you get the idea. So I asked Sirius to allow free streaming free streaming for a year until they could fix their problems and they said no. The show was simply not viable under these conditions. Signed Art.”

            This basic proposal was announced during his last live show, but came as a quick shock to listeners as the live show was replaced with a rerun.

            Why it’s in the top ten: It’s Art Bell coming out of retirement! Art Bell has been the mold for the hundreds of paranormal podcasts that flood the internet and was a beacon for those who believe in strange things before believing in strange things was cool. Why it was only number 4: Nothing major came out of this and the show was not as popular as both Bell and SiriusXM had hoped no matter what the claims were.

            #3. Dr. Melba Ketchum's Effort.

            The ongoing saga starring Melba Ketchum and Adrian Erickson, along with his project, has been entertaining us for quite a while and this story really began to unfold this year. The intense debate rages on over the publication of DNA information of a potential Bigfoot species by Dr. Melba Ketchum. She created a front for a Journal, DeNovo Science Journal, and has self-published the information and is charging $30 to read the full article. She denies internet rumors that she utilized sources that were fraudulent including one used as an April Fool’s joke.This evidence has further verified that the information is more than likely faulty in one or more ways and does not help with the argument of whether Bigfoot actually exists.

            (photo: bigfootevidence.com)

            And back at the Erickson Project camp their end of reality is unwinding just as quick as their cohort; reports continue to surface that the female Sasquatch, named Matilda, is nothing more than a modified mask of the Star Wars wookie, Chewbacca. Photos of video shot of the famed Erickson project star were quickly dissected by Bill Munns who has challenged anyone who has seen the video of the reality behind what was shown. OF course Finding Bigfoot star Matt Moneymaker has thrown himself in the middle of everything proclaiming that Matilda is in fact a real Squatch.

            A press conference was called in Dallas, Texas in October by Adrian Erickson and Melba Ketchum to announce to the world that Bigfoot is indeed real once and for all. This claim was supported by high definition video of the creature in action including a closeup of a Bigfoot sleeping as well as the face of the famed Matilda, who is purportedly an older Bigfoot. Yes, this is the same information that was presented last year. The Sasquatch Genome Project, as Melba Ketchum calls her completely ridiculous pseudo-scientific effort to validate Bigfoot DNA, has set out to validate the existence of these creatures through their DNA. The biggest problem is that nothing has been peer reviewed. The so-called evidence was published by a journal that she purchased and those scientists who were willing to pay to read it have been able to tear it apart without even sampling the DNA.

            What about the high definition video footage? First of the all, the footage was grainy and not very high def at all. One clip included a Bigfoot sleeping. The obvious thing here is if you are that close why was only part of the creature revealed and why is there no other evidence of this creature. Did it wake up? The Matilda close-up footage has been said to resemble Chewbacca from Star Wars fame. Are these people really trying to convince people that Bigfoot is real? Do they really believe what they are doing? Actually, the whole thing seems to stem from a movie that will soon be released by the Erickson Project.

            Later in the year Ketchum and her team registered their findings with ZooBank and have attempted to register Bigfoot as an existing animal based on her DNA results. Bigfoot now has a name; homo sapiens cognatus. While ZooBank states that Ketchum’s application is legitimate it does not probe into the methods that claim to have validated Bigfoot as an existing animal. This process is why she created her own scientific journal. The information behind the finding must be published in a paper describing the new species. This registration does not mean Bigfoot is real, just that Ketchum has been able to take a hoax to a whole new level. While I do believe it is possible Bigfoot is out there somewhere I truly feel this is not a scientific validation of the species and is merely another way to gain fame and attention through fraud.

            Why it’s in the top ten: This has been an ongoing soap opera that despite being an obvious fraudulent attempt to validate Bigfoot the story is still evolving. It has gained some attention in the general media, but it has not helped the mainstream cryptozoologists or bigfooters who are trying to uncover the reality of what is happening. Why it’s only number 3: Well, it’s number three since there was a lack of huge stories this year that made any true change in the paranormal or gained worldwide media attention. This story is an embarrassment similar to the Georgia Bigfoot hoax.

            #2. Sky Noise.

            The number one paranormal news story of 2012 continued early in January of 2013: Evansville, Indiana residents heard several booms on January seventh and eighth and authorities have no idea what the sounds are. Experts from meteorology, geology, police, homeland security, and other agencies are stumped at what the source of the noises is. Even earlier in January there were mystery booms reported in Utah, California. After a few days the Air Force stated they were doing ordinance testing and that weather conditions may have carried the sound far enough to explain the sounds. Mysterious booms have been reported for months near Guthrie, Oklahoma. No source has been determined and the noise is said to be gaining strength and heard over a larger area.

            Jeffery Bruan, a Physicist based at the University of Evansville in Indiana has commented on his states ongoing investigation and said: “At this point, nobody seems to know. The geologists say it's not in the ground. The Air Force says it's not in the air. The astronomers say it's not from space. So we're running out of options.”

            Salem, Massachusetts has also been encountering odd booms since November of last year. A recent boom was accompanied by a bright flash. A resident checked his surveillance camera to find evidence of the flash and surprisingly had sound as well. The flash seemed to be low in the sky from the long angles of the shadows and the boom happened after a very brief pause. My conclusion is that it was caused by a meteorite entering the atmosphere and creating a sonic boom. This, however, does not explain the other noises heard in the area.

            Another report from January from the Salt Lake City area of Utah where hundreds of citizens reported a series of loud booms. Also earlier this month residents in Alaska reported similar sounds near Anchorage just prior to an earthquake that registered 7.5 on the Richter scale. On January 25 strange booms were reported in Tennessee in the Morristown area about 50 miles northeast of Knoxville. No geological data was reported and the leading guess is on a potential cave collapse in the area.

            Morristown, Tennessee and San Manuel Arizona reported a series of earth shaking booms a few days prior to the February 15th meteor events. Similar reports in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico, California, Florida, and even New Zealand have reported light flashes and booms in the last couple of weeks and another dozen or more in the last few months.

            A strange set of tremors across the state of New Jersey are defying any explanation. The tremors were not earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and they were not the result of military aircraft creating sonic booms. Military aircraft were apparently grounded at the time of the tremors and a sonic boom would not explain the widespread tremors. The tremors were strong enough to knock pictures off the wall and get the attention of many people who experienced it.

            Meanwhile, a single loud boom was heard in southern Illinois last week. The boom was not weather related, not an earthquake, and is not thought to be a sonic boom. The boom was heard over four counties and was enough to knock pictures off the wall and was described as ground shaking by many who experienced it. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin; the source of loud booms heard in the city of Clintonville that were heard over the course of three days has been explained. The source, experts say, is a magnitude 1.5 earthquake followed by smaller quakes in the area. While such a small quake is usually not felt, experts state that the rock in this area is old and well consolidated and allows for the sound waves to travel easily.

            The last two weeks of March included multiple reports in Louisville and Fort Knox Kentucky, Idaho, Rhode Island, Illinois, New Jersey, and multiple counties in Florida of strange booms have been documented. In all of these cases there were no rational or geological explanations.

            The first week of April there were over 30 reports that flooded in to Branch County, Michigan authorities. The multiple booms were thought to be someone breaking into homes of some people who contacted 911, others thought the local Air Force base might have something to do with them. So far no logical conclusion has been found for this latest in the series of strange booms.

            Meanwhile, north of Branch County in Flint Michigan; strange booms have been reported for years in this area. Theirs now have an explanation; it seems the police have had a secret bombing range where the bomb squad practices and where ordinance that is recovered is exploded. Hopefully the training the bomb squad does is OK and the booms are not signs of someone cutting the wrong wire.

            And reported in mid-May, strange booms were heard in the city of Onaway, Michigan. The booms, felt over the course of a couple of days, were felt within a 15 mile area. So far no explanation has been found although the local news blamed the booms on local iron works. Onaway residents as well as employees of the iron works state that there was no way it was responsible for the booms. A second boom was felt nearly 190 miles away in Columbiaville, Michigan which was reportedly followed by military jets flying through the sky. Not sure what that connection might be or if there would be one at all, but these mystery booms are being reported all over the world at an alarming rate. While many of them are explainable there are a sizable chunk that are not.

            Residents in Terrace, British Columbia have been hearing some eerie sky noise over a few days in early September. Residents called local radio and television stations, police, and other authorities to report the strange sounds. Many felt as if this was the end of the world. A professor of physics states that these sounds are nothing more than electromagnetic noise emitted from radiation belts and auroras. Well, never mind that these noises have never been documented by any scientist to date. One woman, Kimberly Wookey has uploaded several videos to YouTube and many locals reported hearing the same thing. Some skeptics are saying this is just a hoax or that there is a simple mechanical explanation for all of this.

            And on November 29th, a few mysterious booms were heard in Connecticut which felt like an earthquake to many. This is not a complete list...

            Why it’s in the top ten: Sky Noise has been gaining momentum as one of the most widely reported unexplained phenomena. It’s not as popular in the media as it was last year and is seemingly cooling with paranormal news outlets, but localized reports buzz with heavy interest. While many of these events have explanations there are many more that remain a mystery. Sky noise was the number one story from 2012 and is showing no signs of slowing down. Why it’s only number two: There is a story that’s just a little bit better.

            #1. Bryan Sykes DNA Study.

            Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics at Harvard University, conducted DNA analysis on several samples said to be of Bigfoot origin. Sykes has a good reputation in the science and genetics world so all bigfooters anxiously awaited his announcement and publication of the evidence. Sykes appeared on television on November 17 on the National Geographic Channel with a show called, "Bigfoot the New Evidence" to publicly display his findings of some famous Bigfoot cases. The biggest of which was Sykes and his team have determined that Yeti hair collections point toward a brown bear and polar bear hybrid. The samples were compared to an ancient bear and found similarities, Sykes feels these hairs may be part of a new species of bear that are descendants of these ancient bears and are not related to the current Himalayan bears. Loren Coleman, who also appeared in the show, states that Sykes’ findings may explain one of the three types of Yeti claimed to be seen in the Himalayan mountains. Sykes also validated the Justin Smeja hair as a bear despite the earlier claims of Melba Ketchum. Sykes also used real science to determine the reality of many other Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti claims.

            Why it’s number one: This is a story of not only Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti, it’s also about real science. This wasn’t an attempt to debunk Bigfoot claims but an attempt to bring true science to the world of cryptozoology to get to the bottom of many claims of Bigfoot findings. While Melba Ketchum and Jeff Meldrum are the biggest scientific names in the world of Bigfoot it’s good to see someone a bit more objective come in and look at the evidence.

            While many have their opinions as to what the top ten are I set my personal feelings aside for these stories and looked at them as objectively as possible. I did my best to sort these stories not just by popularity, but also with impact on the field and their usefulness going forward. The Paranormal News Insider has been broadcast since August of 2008 as a show-within-a-show during the Grand Dark Conspiracy Podcast and has survived a few moves of networks. The show went from a monthly format to a weekly format in 2010 and has remained until now (185 shows). In November, 2013, it was announced that the Grand Dark Conspiracy would take a short hiatus, but as of now in January there are no plans to bring the show back. I have been contemplating several potential moves to keep the Paranormal News Insider alive and well...  



            Spring Research Outing with the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society  

            29 May 2013, 12:15 pm

            I was invited along as a guest to the spring outing of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society lead by Eric Altman. The expedition would include around 30 extra participants (free event, but we paid our own expenses) who served as observers, researchers, trackers, and witnesses during the two day search for signs of Bigfoot and puma. The core of the PBS was there to facilitate the event and make sure that we all got what we came for.


            I arrived at the Keystone State Park area on Friday, May 17 at around 2 P.M. in the warm spring sun. I pulled into site #73 at the hillside campground area that was about ¼ mile from the lake. I chose this site as it was only two sites away from the site of Eric Altman which served as the main base for the weekend. I quickly set up my small 6’X6’ tent, set up my day pack, checked my recording devices one last time and grabbed a quick snack before heading over to start the excursion. We were briefed as to what to expect, what we were doing, where we were going, and introduced ourselves to the rest of the group. We were then free to explore Keystone State Park and grab dinner before heading out on the first night excursion.

            Keystone State Park is a 1,200 acre park in Westmoreland County near Derry Township in southwest Pennsylvania, about 40 minutes east of Pittsburgh. The centerpiece of the park is the 78 acre manmade lake (Keystone Lake) that was built in the early 1900’s for use in the production of Coke (not the drink) which is partially burned coal used to produce steel. The land was purchased by the state of Pennsylvania in 1945, but a mine close to the property lasted until 1953. The campground I was sleeping in was resting just above a catacomb of mines that were dug underneath it from the nearby hillside where an old cave entrance was sealed off. The area itself is chocked full of Bigfoot and UFO sightings and is only 16 miles from Kecksburg where a famous potential UFO crash incident took place in 1965.

            Keystone Lake

            Our first part of the expedition would take us out of the park into the surrounding area just west of the Allegheny Mountains. I joined up with group of guys that drove up a mountainous area to meet up with another group along a dirt road about a mile from the closest home. The two teams decided to split up and our team headed up a dirt road to a high point in the area where we would spend the next few hours. The guys I was with had never done any type of investigation and I quickly found myself as the one that was looked up to as the “lead” of sorts. ScatThe PBS member that came with the other group decided to stay behind along the road with the other group, but we were tethered together with a walkie talkie. I set up digital recorders along the road (which was along private property, so we could only use the road) to the southwest, northeast, as well as one a hundred feet out along a hillside away from where we stationed ourselves.

            A Bigfoot “hunt”, “Squatch Watch”, or whatever you want to call it, is very similar to a ghost hunt where there is a lot of sitting, waiting, and a bit of interaction with the environment. We heard plenty of owls, saw some deer, but never heard anything else that night. At around 12:30 A.M. we were asked by the other group to come back down and I retrieved my recorders, packed up my chair and the four of us made our way back to the road full of disappointment, but still excited about that we had staked out the area and would have two more chances.

            One thing about camping in a tent is that you really come to realize just how early the sun comes up and how even earlier it becomes really light outside. For me, I was out in the open and I was exposed to the light. Luckily, I had brought a sleep mask which gave me about an extra hour and a half of rest before the birds and the campground began to make enough noise. We met at 10:30 A.M. at the main camp and were given our direction to conduct hikes in various areas. I joined a different group of people, including Ghost Hunter’s International’s Rosalyn Bown. The six of us went to the same location I had been at the night before, but drove about 1/8 of a mile west and hiked down the opposite side of the road. We saw plenty of scat, more than likely from coyote, but nothing else out of the ordinary. It turned out to be a two mile hike through the woods culminating with another mile walking up the dirt road in a tiring finish; literally walking up the dirt road toward the top of the hill the entire way. We stopped at a small local bar on the way back to the campground, but not being a big drinker as well as knowing I was probably already dehydrated from hiking all day, I sat and had water. Rosalyn and I talked some shop and sipped our waters; it was a great end to the first part of Saturday.


            Saturday night brought on an interesting excursion; Eric had all 30 plus attendees in addition to his team going to the same location. We drove in a convoy for the majority of the way before stopping along a dirt road. The road back to the investigation site was rocky and flooded in many spots. The only way in was either to hike or bus us in via 4X4s. We chose the latter and took two pickup trucks back about a half mile and then walked back another ¼ mile to a central meeting point. One group would stay at that spot while other groups would fan out to general areas in specific directions. I went with a guy named Joe who had not worked with PBS in a while, but certainly knew his stuff. We walked back about another ½ mile or so and set up our own minicamp with our chairs.

            I decided to continue to hike down one of the paths to see what was south of us. The sun was set and it was beginning to get dark out, but I had yet to bust out any of my flashlights. As had been the habit I scanned the ground as I walked while glancing into the surrounding area for movement. My eye noticed a dark patch of dirt surrounded by old leaves which I scanned for tracks but found none. A few feet further I noticed another smaller spot of dirt that resembled the shape of a foot. I laughed to myself for thinking it was a footprint, but I as I knelt down and felt around I noticed a slight heel impression as well as potential toes. I was a little excited, but I fought to control any excitement as I figured it was merely Pareidolia or wishful thinking. I rushed back to the site to get Joe and the group to come down and take a look. We searched for prints ahead of and behind it, but found none. He was optimistic that it could have been a track, but was obviously old. We both concluded that it was inconclusive, but it was still a thrilling moment to find something that just might have been.

            Potential imprint

            As the night settled in each group took turns call blasting. Joe demonstrated the various yells and whoops he used and we listened for responses. Other groups used recorded baby sounds, wood knocking as well as various calls. At one point we heard a quick succession of knocks from behind us just as Joe gave off a whoop. We all knew it was not a woodpecker and another group had heard it as well. It was again inconclusive evidence, but again it was an exciting moment. Overall I was impressed with how the groups communicated with each other and how the weekend was run. While it was just a random search for Bigfoot and big cat evidence we all had a fantastic time. Even though cryptozoology offers tangible evidence I realize just how elusive physical evidence can be as nature has a way of hiding its secrets. The Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society will conduct a fall expedition October 4-6, 2013 in a location to be determined.


            Top Paranormal News stories revealed LIVE  

            27 Dec 2012, 10:44 am The remaining top ten paranormal news stories of 2012 will make their debut LIVE on the air during the Grand Dark Conspiracy podcast on Tuesday, January 1, 2013, at 10 P.M. eastern on Shark Radio Network. Join in and jump into the chat room.  

            The Science of Ghost Hunting and Paranormal Investigation IV: Science and technology  

            2 Dec 2012, 1:46 pm

            "…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth". –Sherlock Holmes “The Sign of Four” (and variations in several other books)

            Sir Arthur Conan DoyleSir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes was definitely ahead of his time when it came to science. His methods predated those used in real forensic science and his way of solving crimes was based on simple logic and observation. Ironically, this quote is typically used to qualify a paranormal group as "scientific" as well as to “verify” a photo, video, or personal event as “paranormal” since no definitive explanation was immediately found, however this search may not include all possibilities since it is limited to those present and may even be the intended result without searching for the reality. If this “evidence” is provided to the public and when an avenue is mentioned by a third party there is typically a defensive posture – so no logical explanation is usually accepted once the person has stamped “paranormal” on the purported evidence. Many paranormal teams use this quote as a basis for their scientific approach toward the paranormal despite not being able to realize all of the possibilities at hand (a logical fallacy) before coming to a conclusion (can we ever anyway?). Typing the term “scientific based paranormal team” into any search engine will create millions of results, but what constitutes a scientific based team?

            For some teams the answer is simply the technology. These groups claim that since the technology they are using are scientific tools they are using science or are at least scientific-based. Parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach once said you can teach a monkey how to use an EMF detector, but that doesn't make it a scientist. To other teams it is simply avoiding Ouija Boards, séances, and psychics during investigations, avoiding “feelings” and instead using “observations” and “readings” (all of which can be subjective or objective depending upon how you approach it and many of these teams simply use the same subjective ghost-hunt-in-the-dark approach. I say tomato, you say to-mah-to), and using methods of debunking rather than trying to “prove” a ghost exists. This last explanation is always the most interesting. How hard can it be to prove a ghost doesn’t exist? Then again, how does a ghost group prove a ghost exists in the first place since science still does not accept that ghosts actually exist?

            Trying to find data that goes against one’s theory is a basic tenet of science, but is it enough to be able to call oneself a science-based team?

            "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." – Sherlock Holmes “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia”

            The act of “hunting” ghosts itself is the first big red flag. A true scientist would never put oneself in the middle of an experiment as this creates a subjective environment and this would be frowned upon by fellow scientists. While there are many teams that do go about things skeptically most teams are already armed with the belief and hope that they will encounter something paranormal and this alone creates an unscientific foundation.Sherlock Holmes An observation by a friend of mine was that if a group claims to be skeptical and looking to “disprove” first, why are they a ghost investigation group? Shouldn’t they be a skeptical organization? I have already written a blog entry on “The Skeptical Reality of Ghost Hunting” based on Benjamin Radford’s skeptical, yet accurate, view on how ghost hunting is full of flaws and science is barely used. So how do we fix these problems?

            "You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear." – Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia”

            The honest answer is to throw out what doesn’t work, keep what does, and fill in the rest with a scientific based approach to doing things. So, what has to go? The biggest issue is the use of tools and technology. These tools are used to gather evidence of ghosts, but what about the people who experienced them and the environment in which they encountered it in? How can we validate with tools that are meant for other uses and gather data about something we have no scientific proof even exists? The technology use is further clouded by the use of tools that are simply created for entertainment use that are used as the foundation for communication and evidene (Ovilus, radio sweepers, ghost box, Frank's Box, etc.). The approach of looking for ghosts was for the most part abandoned by Psychical Research back in the early 1900s. People like Joseph Banks Rhine realized that the pursuit of ghosts only created more questions and the collection of case studies would only carry the field so far. They decided to look for the cause to the effect and began studying the living person’s connection to the environment and attempted to measure their ability to receive information or express control over the environment (ESP and PK).Handcuffs Granted, this move was also made to satisfy the scientific world which has since handcuffed Parapsychology since it is obvious that paranormal events exist outside known laws of science and needs to be approached a bit differently than standard scientific models (not by investigating like Scooby Doo). Many people view Parapsychologists as professionals who study ghosts and while this may be true it should be understood that a majority of Parapsychologists don’t study ghosts at all. Parapsychologists have realized it is next to impossible to validate what ghosts are through observational and case study methods alone. Should ghost hunters just quit?

            (to continue click the link below)

            To get the answer and a whole lot more visit the home of my ParaNexus blog to read the rest of the article.  

            EVP Experiments: Upping the ante for evidence  

            28 Mar 2012, 3:44 pm

            Audio recording technology has come a long way since I started out in 1996. My first recorder was a small radio sized recorder (sometimes called a shoebox recorder) shoebox recorderthat used regular cassette tapes. One tape could record 30 or 45 minutes per side with two sides, but the rule was to not record on both sides as “bleeding” of voices or noises could potentially occur. The tapes produced their own white noise in the form of a mild hiss along with any mechanical sounds of the recorder which were usually recorded unless a separate microphone was used and the recorder hidden.    One learned quickly how to lubricate the device to keep these noises to a minimum or buy an external microphone. Working a case would usually mean buying a handful of tapes, although I usually bought a ten pack box of TDK 90 tapes and had plenty of those boxes stacked up, my how times have changed.

            Digital audio voice recorders were available in the mid-1990s, but most of them were very expensive and there was a large internal debate in the ghost field as to whether they might capture evidence as good as regular analog recorders could. The upside to these digital recorders were plentiful; you didn’t have to rely on tapes, you didn’t have to forward wind or rewind the tapes, and they had the capability of being hooked up to a computer or other recording device to transfer the audio footage for better interpretation.

            As the technology became more commonplace (and prices dropped) the old technology was slowly replaced and those who argued that the new technology was inferior became the minority.  As digital audio recorders are now the majority we must be aware of the shortcomings of this technology.digital recorder Many of the same issues with the old technology are still a part of the new. Along with the technology itself the greatest issue with this machinery is how it’s misused by many in the paranormal field.

            Many are tempted to turn up the microphone sensitivity to high in order to capture any sounds that may be too low to hear with the human ear. The big issue with turning up sensitivity is that you are making the microphone hyper sensitive to everything. This amplification can make sounds seem different than how you hear them and can create audible pareidolia, which are noises that are interpreted as words. A creaky board may make little sound when you hear it, but it will sound different on the recorder and can be mistakenly interpreted as a voice.

            Another common mistake I see a lot of is investigators walking around with a digital recorder in their hand.fail There are two issues with this; first, walking around a location will expose the recorder to a variety of noises. These noises can be interpreted later on in a number of different ways, especially if not they are not recorded in a notebook or dictated into the microphone. Even standing still can create creaks under your feet that you may forget about later or may barely hear while you are onsite. Even an external microphone can be prone to sounds of movement. I typically wear one at all times and come to expect noises from time to time. Holding the recorder creates a whole other issue. The act of holding the recording can create an array of sounds that can easily fool someone into thinking an EVP has been captured. The muffled movement of the recorder in the hand will not be heard but can create some interesting noises. Another piece of technology close by or a ring on the hand can produce feedback on the recorder that might produce strange noises as well. Even placing a recorder on a table or the floor will amplify sounds that are unheard by the ear and can be later interpreted as paranormal although a logical explanation exists (try using an external microphone with a stand). Many still think that the act of using this piece of technology is scientific although science is a process not a tool or event.

            Prior to using any piece of technology it should be thoroughly tested in a variety of conditions and determined if it will be a good fit for specific types of research. With a digital recorder, it should be used with a variety of settings in various types of rooms and be tested with varying noises at different distances to establish some sort of baseline for the recorder (if you don’t know what normal sounds like, how can you determine what paranormal sounds like?). While this can be done after an experiment, it helps if you are already acclimated to what the recorder sounds like before conducting research with it.

            So, what’s the best way to use these things?

            The key to investigating using a digital recorder should not just be centered on recording a paranormal voice, but finding out where the voice came from. This cannot be done with a lone recorder and in order to triangulate a noise you would need a minimum of three recorders. The more recorders you use the more likely you will be able to find the source of a noise. I recommend using more than three, but not necessarily all in the same room. Finding the source of the noise will help you eliminate contamination as a possible cause and will support your claim as long as you are documenting the scene and have even more audio to back this up. Getting a really cool voice on the recorder might be your goal, but without anything to back up your claim it’s nothing more than a subjective experience despite being recorded.

            When conducting an EVP vigil it would be wise to place a recorder in every corner of the room, and again do not lay them flat or leave an external microphone close to a surface. By placing the recorder microphones in a specific direction (or using omnidirectional external microphones) you will have a higher chance of recording something anomalous, but it doesn’t stop there. The microphones should overlap in coverage by pointing up and toward the center of the room, not necessarily directly to the middle, but in that general direction. There should also be recorders running just outside of the room as well and just outside the window of a room as well. The Zoom H2 eliminates the need for multiple recorders to some extent. This recorder has the ability to record in stereo in two separate tracks at the same time.H2Zoom The Zoom H2 has a front and rear speaker that records with left and right channels. I have conducted a lot of experiments with this recorder in various parts of various types of rooms and while it’s amazing I still recommend using a various recorders separately versus one that records in multiple tracks.

            There should be someone listening and physically recording sounds as they hear them on a piece of paper including time, location, and duration. This person should be close enough to the room that they can hear what is happening, but not necessarily being right in the middle of the room itself. As human beings we tend to make a lot of noises from our basic bodily functions to the movement of our joints and bones. There should be at least one other investigator outside of this area that is in direct observation of this investigator. The job of this person is merely to keep on eye on the person closest to the investigation target area. This isn’t to thwart a fraud, but it provides another step in supporting claims of the paranormal.  Another investigator should be set up with a similar array in a different room to serve as a control area in case outside noises (airplanes, cars, voices outside, etc.) are recorded. Why have anyone there at all? First, while many groups conduct great research in sealed rooms the concept surrounding ghosts is based on interaction with the living. Second, this living person also serves as a backup to the documentation being conducted by the recorder and the person watching the investigator closest to the room serves as an objective witness.

            This point of documentation brings up an important issue to investigating which is using lights. It has become the culture of ghost groups to turn off the lights during investigations, but this practice has been imitated from television shows that do this for the thrill factor of the viewing audience and despite many varying claims it does not heighten ghost interaction or your senses. By being able to see what is in the room will you be able to quickly identify noises (oh, and EVP sessions need not be done solely at night either).

            When I conduct an investigation I usually take a digital recorder and record everything I do using a lapel microphone. This comes in handy when you are in the dark (again, not recommended but sometimes necessary) or are concentrating on something and do not have the time to take written notes. I also carry some sort of set of notes and document the time, what people are doing, where they are, what noises I hear from where and more throughout the investigation. Just sitting in a room asking questions into a recorder is not enough to confirm that something that was recorded was paranormal.

            The more documentation and attempt to isolate the noises within the room the better chance your evidence will stick or at least you will be able to quickly find a logical solution for. Another aspect of using digital recorders is reviewing as soon as possible. Real time recording and listening is still a new thing, but the technology isn’t where it needs to be yet. As many know there is typically a long pause between a question and answer. A device that can record and then play back audio around a minute or longer (while continuing to record) would be a significant tool. One method I use to hear what the recorder hears is to simply plug in a set of headphones on a recorder that is running. Doing so will allow you to hear what the recorder hears, but not what it is recording (paranormal noises are thought to be “imprinted” and not actually heard). This allows you to get a better sense of how noises are being “interpreted” by the recorder versus what you hear with your ears; many times I am amazed at how certain sounds can become deceiving.

            Recorder layoutBy having a stock pile of recorders you can easily replace one recorder in the room with another and begin to review one that was originally in the room. Whenever placing recorders into a location be sure to audibly note the time, date, location, and area within the location on the recorder and write down what recorder and folder within the recorder is being used. Documenting where the recorder will be used along with what folder beforehand can save you time (creating an investigation plan will as well) and during this time you should also verify the batteries are fresh and the recorders are working properly (all equipment should have a pre-operational checklist). When using a lot of recorders it is necessary to label the recorders for easier documentation.

            Most groups live and die with their evidence review. For many, the rule of thumb is to start reviewing evidence as soon as possible after the investigation and have it gone through within 72 hours. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work for all groups and even those with an army of people may have a hard time getting everything processed within a couple of weeks. This is one thing that has never made sense to me; why do we bother trying to communicate with something only to wait days or weeks to listen for a response and especially when we are no longer at the location? There is nothing wrong with pulling recorders to review as EVP sessions should be kept to under a half hour anyway, although I do suggest keeping a few random recorders running throughout the investigation site for longer durations. These recorders should be mainly be used to document the investigation process to confirm or deny the presence of contamination or false positive sounds, but can also be reviewed for evidence as long as the site is being documented for contamination. Just be sure to periodically state the time into these recorders and verify the batteries are still alive.

            When should you pull a recorder? Whenever you are conducting an investigation and you get a response (knock, moving object, etc.) or are able to get multiple sources (subjective experience, EMF spike, etc.) that get abnormal signals it may be a sign that something unexplainable is happening. An EVP could have been recorded and this information can be the difference between an “Oh man!” moment days later or genuine connection to life after death. Of course, using a dozen recorders can amount to a lot of additional evidence review time!

            No one ever said science was easy.

            (Note: the photo above right is a rough diagram of how I might lay out a room with recorders and investigators. Obviously there may be more or less recorders in different spots.)


            Want a better way to classify EVPs? Check out this classification system by Doug Kelley and Jari Mikkola.



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