Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for the 'Fortean' Category

The Jedi Logic

jedi_squirrelslogic3254hjkda

Star Wars is specially interesting because a magical (or “paranormal”) universe was adapted to a futuristic context which still depends on technology, and one assumes, science. The saga is not actually science fiction, it’s just a nice fantasy, but there’s a notable effort to give some logic to this universe where one can predict the future, use telekinesis and hope the “Force is with them” at the same time that they travel through hyperspace to get to Death Stars powered by giant nuclear reactors.

The most visible and curious incoherence in Star Wars is that in this high-tech world, a warrior elite represented by the Jedi use swords instead of weapons like pistols or machine guns. Granted their “swords” are über cool lightsabers, a more “civilized” weapon, but as that infamous scene in Indiana Jones taught, Indiana may not be that civilized but he ended up alive. And maybe just as cool looking.

In the end, everything is explained simply because George Lucas was largely inspired by Kurosawa’s Jidai-geki samurais for his Jedi, but delving into the Star Wars fantasy, we may find a very interesting and far reaching Jedi logic for the lightsaber preference.

It’s all because the Jedis can predict the future. Just ask yourself how would you kill someone who could predict the future. Shooting at him? He does not even need to be a skilled warrior to deflect your shot, he can just easily avoid being your target by not being in the place to start with. Or he may even shoot you first – poor Greedo obviously didn’t have precognition, maybe Han Solo did.

Think of any way to kill someone who can predict the future, it’s impossible. He would always predict his own assassination and avoid it. You can try elaborate plans and dilemmas alike involving his loved ones, ideals and so on, but the fact remains that unless the future-predicting bastard lets you kill him, you wouldn’t ever be able to do it. That’s technically suicide.

That danger avoiding bastard would be pretty boring, we could have some drama at most. But things get more interesting when these future-predicting bastards are not cowards, and if their future-predicting is not equivalent to knowing with certainty everything that will ever happen (which may well be logically impossible if he plans to interfere with that). Just like the Jedi.

In such a Star Wars Universe, where some people can predict the future with progressively less certainty, it would still be very difficult to kill one of them, but not impossible. At the same time, if they were not cowards, they could train themselves to be able to foil assassination attempts without having to be always running away from them.

For instance, if you shot at one of them, even multiple times, they may predict where the shots would be (with reasonable certainty as the moment approaches) and actually train themselves to be able to either deflect or dodge them. They would be able to do that even if the shots were quicker than their “normal” reflexes. As they are predicting in some advance where the shots will be, they can plan a sequence of possible movements that will save them.

But there’s one way to kill them in which their precognition will be almost useless. And that’s close combat. If your first attack — either by hand, sword, whatever — can be predicted, your second one will depend on his reaction. Reaction that was based on his first prediction of your attack, which has just been altered when he interfered with it. And so on.

Which is, in close combat, because the predictions are being used and interfered with many times and their consequences are being felt almost instantaneously, precognition is not worth much more than plain old martial skills. That’s even more true if both fighters are capable of predicting the near future.

And that’s the wonderful reason why the warrior elite of this universe chooses lightsabers, the ultimate martial arts weapon, over more predictable weapons like guns or even bazookas. That’s the Jedi logic.

Reality would be very different if there were indeed people capable of predicting the near future like the Jedi. The whole logic of how everything works would be different. As it is, in real life we have just plain boring so-called “psychics” who can’t even win the lottery. That’s our real world logic. May the Reason be with you.

Popularity: 2% [?]

4 comments

Poor Brazilian, a "Horned Bipedal Beast"

bahiabeastmanguezal3425w

Click on the image for the original post on Loren Coleman’s Criptomundo. The photo was sent to him with this report:

Loren, hopefully you can shed some light on this thing. The thing has many human qualities I can see under a scope. [It] appears to have clothing, however the burnished bronze color throws me off. [It was] photo[graph]ed by a 15 year old American girl. She was on tour with a group from Michigan. Supposedly the temp. is 100+.

Loren, the photo was taken in July 2007. The story behind it is this little 15 year old girl was attacked by this [thing]. How it happened is unclear. I met personally with the girl and her parents; I felt imposing since I had just met these people for the first time. It was a large family gathering and I was an outside guest invited. Still not sure why I was invited other than they had motorcycles and needed answers to questions. I was their answer guy.

Her father plainly said she’d not be going on anymore trips out of his sight. Supposedly this thing grabbed her and attempted to hold her and put mud in her face and hair. She said she couldn’t get away from it by pulling so she got a firm hold and tackled it causing it to lose balance thus allowing her escape.

Supposedly there are other witnesses; I am still trying to get more info.

The area is: Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil.

Surely, someone there knows of this incident.Two-Cam McLaren, August 9, 2007.

Coleman thinks it’s “intriguing, if not curiously prosaic”, and remarks that “anything is possible as an origin of any new photo”. It turns out that though anything is possible, the most prosaic explanation indeed must be the answer to this. And it’s so prosaic any Brazilian, like me, would find it not only obvious but slightly revolting.

manguezalbeasts325qhkjldsa

That mud area we can see in the photos is what is called “manguezal“, and it’s a very  important ecosystem in Northeastern Brazil, not only for the environment but also for the locals. The image at left of very happy people are some tourists bathing in mud, but the  second and third one are from locals earning their life. They mostly catch crabs in the mud, and end up almost completely covered in mud.

It’s obvious the original photo sent to Coleman is of a local covered in mud, probably a man. You can see that he’s wearing a T-shirt and pants. The “horns” are the same as we can see in the tourists above: it’s just something you can do with your hair when it’s covered in mud.

The “Manguezal” culture was even promoted in the 1990s in Brazil as a nice cultural movement, the “Mangue Beat“, leaded by band “Chico Science”.

Now, Coleman may not be blamed for sharing this pic, warning about it possibly being fake and asking for input. People outside Brazil may not be used to see homo sapiens covered in mud — though even Americans my have watched somewhat similar “Give it Away“.

But those who sent the photo and called that guy, very probably a poor local earning his life, a “Beast”… I don’t know which is worse: that they were indeed “attacked” by “it”, and did not realize it was a human being; or if they knowingly called a local a horned Beast.

Update: Coleman quickly and kindly posted our explanation on Criptomundo.

Popularity: 3% [?]

1 comment

That Italian Air Force UFO video

 

Shortly before those amazing Haitian/Dominican videos, one of the biggest Youtube UFO sensations of 2007 was this one, allegedly from a source within the Italian Air Force. That was quickly dismissed by the actual publicizer, Paola Harris, on UfoUpdates:

This old Film Footage I have been showing for 3 years and It was given to Us Italian Researchers… not By the Air force. It is our Technology.

I had a cassette examined in Hollywood by my friends Rob and Rebecca Gordon who had the connections and money to do it. It was a 7th generation – copied 7 times – cassette. It was given to us with no explanation. It is a real object in the film. It has been shown in my MUFON and Laughlin Presentations and someone put it on U-TUBE [sic] and Google!

This all takes place in the Veneto region of Italy at a place called Ponte di Giulio. Near Aviano NATO Base. It is a dry river bed where the military does maneuvers and the photographer was on a tripod waiting for the object to come out of the woods. I doubt aliens appeared there!

Though the claims about it being real and “our technology” couldn’t be verified to this day, the ones about its origin could. Italians Antonio Pischiutti and Stefano Saccavino visited the location, near Ponte de Giulio, in Pordenone, and took this photo from roughly the same spot:

pontegiulio3215hjka

Many Italian ufologists received the video from the anonymous source some years ago (more on this below), but apparently only Harris started to promote and sell it abroad on a DVD. Somehow, that resulted in two versions of the video (one converted directly from the DVD, at the beggining of the post, and the other filmed from a projection/screening of it) being recently uploaded to Youtube, and the rest is history. That we will tell here.

Given the anonymous source and the poor quality of the Youtube versions, it was expected that no definite proof of “authenticity” or of the probable hoax would be found, but people worked on it anyway and endless debate ensued. One of the most interesting evidence of hoaxing was pointed out by “onthefence” on the OpenMindsForum:

italianriverairforceufo345hjk

The alleged UFO has a very different blur from the background. Though it has been reasonably suggested that that was the result of poor rendering of the 3D model on a computer, I think it has more to do with the simple difference in contrast between the flying saucer and the background in the original footage. Because the video versions initially on Youtube have such poor quality, I don’t think this “pulsed” blur artifact from a quick rendering of the 3D model would show up. One can barely discern details in the craft. Either way, it’s clear evidence that the flying saucer and the background are two very different things. One is real, the other is not.

Further evidence of hoax include the so convenient and extremely lucky cameraman (who according to Harris was using a tripod (!!!)). He had the saucer hovering near that chimney that turns out to be from the nearby power plant and which makes a nice detail. But do not make much sense because in the real geography of the place, the saucer at that point was actually hundreds of meters away from it. Only the cameraman at that point had the illusion that the saucer was near the power plant — and only if he had no depth perception.

But if things remained at this point, only skeptics would be satisfied to consider such soft evidence on such bad quality, anonymous video, a case closed for hoax. Fortunately, another Italian ufologist who received the original footage years ago decided to step up.

 

Antonio Chiumento, contrary to Paola Harris, allegedly chose not to publicize the video he received because of the anonymous, unknown origin. Wise decision. It remained archived for years, but after the international Youtube sensation and subsequent echoes in his very own country about it, he finally spoke about it. And we are glad that he did.

In the videoclip above you can watch the best version of the infamous video yet available on the internet. That’s probably because they are showing the original video that Chiumento received directly from the anonymous source. You can see clearly that the flying saucer is fake, as it clearly stands out against the background many times. As it was made three or four years ago, the CGI is not near as good as the Haitian/Dominican videos — in which, we must note, the UFOs blended well with the scenery because everything was computer generated.

Not only that, but the local TV station received a phone call from the alleged authors of the video, who confessed it was created with Adobe’s After Effects post production software. Though this confession cannot be confirmed (as the original source was anonymous), we don’t have so many reasons to doubt it since there’s such clear evidence already that allows us to conclude this one is indeed a hoax.

[This post is heavily based on the original dossier at ufofu]

UPDATE: I became aware that in the interview, Italian researcher Chiumiento actually tells much more than what I described above, at times incorrectly. He received the video from an anonymous source and after seeing it immediately considered it a hoax, given the evident difference in sharpness between the UFO and the background. He then received an email confession from the author, at the time, who made the video as part of a Computer Graphics class. He repeatedly emphasizes that no video, photographic evidence, no matter how good, is valid without a good supporting testimonial evidence. In this case it was also anonymous, so that’s another reason that he ignored the video.

This was all allegedly clarified long before the video became famous on Youtube recently, and Paola Harris claimed it was declared authentic by Hollywood experts.

Popularity: 3% [?]

12 comments

Aquatic "alien" video

Turn down the volume (unless you are into loud Arabic music) and check the video above. A few months ago, infamous paper Pravda reported that “Russian fishermen catch squeaking alien and ate it“. The video clearly shows the same “alien”. As Mexican weblog MarcianitosVerdes wrote at the time, it’s another Garadiavolo case.

As you can read on our entry about those abominable creatures, they are just common rays, skates and species alike. What look like evil eyes are actually nostrils. The real eyes are on the other side of the fish.

Popularity: 3% [?]

1 comment

El Garadiavolo (or Devil Alien Fish)

xchupacabra1It’s not a very nice image, and the strange creature has such a horrible face that it was called “Garadiávolo” — the devil’s face.

The story associated with it is no less bizarre. Alfredo Garcia Garamendi was exploring the Laguna Negra on Puerto Rico when he was attacked by it. In spite of its small size — less  than three feet — it had a supernatural strength.

I shot at it“, Garamendi told later, “but even being hit the animal quickly started attacking me again on the neck, and I felt that it was starting to choke me with its tail. Then I managed to reach my knife, and kept stabbing the animal until I felt it was motionless around my neck, because it was dead.”

The horrifying fight in 1974 wasn’t actually the first. Garamendi had already managed to capture one animal from this bizarre species four years before, but that time things did not end very well. Not so much for his physical integrity, but for his scientific interestes.

He had sent it for analysis in the Central University of San Juan. Afterwards, when he got his creature back, he was visited by men from the CIA, who demanded to take it away. He never saw it again.

More careful this time, Alfredo Garamendi decided to preserve and study the specimen in his own house. He wrote a book about it, drawing the creatures along with flying saucers, though he didn’t believe they “came from another planet“, but rather from “another dimension“. What for? “Maybe for the same reasons we have for sending monkeys and other animals to other worlds, to see if they survive on an alien environment“.

The strange events didn’t stop there. Garamendi’s wife didn’t like the mere creature’s presence, even if it was dead, in her own house. Not only because her husband spent many hours studying it, or even because of the many visits by journalists and curious people alike, but because of a series of unfortunate events that happened on her family since they hosted the Garadiávolo.

Eventually, there was an explosion on their house and the second preserved specimen was also lost, this time reduced to ashes.

So, what the hell are the Garadiávolos?

They could be just crude plastic or rubber models, along with unbelievable and very bad stories — including CIA agents and ever-vanishing evidence. But the case is more interesting than that because the animals are real.

It’s only that they are not actually “Garadiávolos”, aliens or dimensional beings, or freaks of the nature.

Mexican researcher Luis Ruiz Noguez points out that Garadiávolos are just common flat fishes, like skates, rays, batfishes, etc., which are cut and dried to end up with this bizarre humanoid appearance.

The thing is that the lower part of those fishes do look like a face, but what we think are the evil eyes are actually the nostrils. The real eyes are on the other side.

raiagaradiavolo
A common Ray. The nostrils look like eyes, and this one has a sympathetic face.

They can be huge, funny thing that I never saw any giant Garadiávolo. Lucky for the fishes those hoaxers do not feel like creating such a huge monster.

Ray

Cut some parts of the fish to create arms and legs, add some chemicals to preserve it, and you have a nice Garadiávolo.
news011
From the display “Skates, Rays and Jenny Hanivers” (link)

This cottage industry was not created by Alfredo Garamendi. In fact, it’s probable he didn’t create the ones he showed: many fishers create these Garadiávolos to sell them to tourists.

They are periodically promoted as unexplained alien beings, as people soon forget the last timie they were promoted and then explained. The Pravda recently promoted it again as something extraterrestrial, along with a video.

Too bad the internet also has a video of a skate:

There is an ancient name for creatures like the “Garadiávolo”. It’s not known exactly where it came from, thogh it may be related to the French name for Antwerp — Anvers — where these chimera were sold centuries ago. Known as Jenny Hanivers, dragons and basilisks were very popular items on the 16th and 17th centuries, created on Eastern countries just like the Garadiávolos are created today: from flat fishes.

Around 1580, French Ambroise Paré wrote on Des Monstres about a flying fish or sea eagle, considered today as a Jenny Haniver, curiously very similar to Garamendi’s Garadiávolo.

jenny
Jenny Haniver drawn by Ambroise Paré on the 16th century (link)

– – –

Popularity: 4% [?]

23 comments