Greetings, fellow Coppertops! In celebration that the mighty Kukulcán has apparently spared us of his wrath –hence, we’re all still here!– for my last column of the year I decided to make something special: a top ten list of the most interesting things we unraveled through our explorations of the Fortean Matrix during 2012.
(10) HOORAY FOR SCIENCE: 2012 will quite likely go in the annals of Physics as a very significant year, comparable perhaps to Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis in 1905. After the disappointment of finding out the ‘FTL Neutrinos’ controversy was nothing but the result of a loose cable, the folks at the LHC managed to capture the attention of the entire world, when on July 4th they announced the discovery of the legendary Higgs Boson. After being properly confirmed, this signals the end of a decades-long search and the completion of what is known in physics as the Standard Model, thus making the discovery of the Higgs the most important Science-related news of the year –one that forced many laypeople and journalist to try to make sense of what exactly the so-called God particle *IS*!
To be fair, trying to grapple with the reality of the Higgs boson is still nonsensical for the common citizens of the XIXth century, but that was the same with electricity for the citizens of the XVIIIth century. As Dr. Dean Radin points out in this wonderful interview, thanks to the perfection of our instruments is that our common sense manages to grow & encompass those parts of Reality that were the exclusive provenance of Superstition in past ages –will our common sense be able to include things like psychokinesis & precognition in the decades to come? I suspect the answer to that is a resounding YES.
(9) NOTABLE LOSES: They say the first step toward maturity is taken when a child starts to learn about the reality of death. As with every year of our lives, 2012 was filled with personal gains and loses. Here at the Pills the deaths we specially mourn were of both adventurers and visionaries –who perhaps are one & the same, if we think about it:
- Sally Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012).- Astronaut & first American woman to enter into low-Earth orbit in 1983. A fine role model for an entire generation of young women, who thanks to her could dream of making a career in space.
- Neil Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012).- Astronaut & first human being to walk on the surface of the Moon. What can one write about a man whose name will survive as long as Humanity itself? How many books, movies and forms of cultural praise will be bestowed upon his memory in the years to come? Countless, but only if we decide to keep on with his example of fearless exploration, and embrace our destiny as children of the stars.
- James Moseley (August 4, 1931 – November 16, 2012).- The Voltaire of UFOlogy, a title given by his many friends and colleagues to celebrate Jim’s iconoclastic nature & caustic humor; the editor of Saucer Smear was direct witness to the golden age of flying saucers, and met in person many of the celebrities & individuals who crafted –for better or for worse– those bygone years of Venusian craft & Space Brothers. No doubt many will eventually follow his example, but no one will manage to replace him.
- Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012).- The poet of the Space Age and the dreamer of Martian cities of glass, Bradbury’s worlds are perhaps not as rigorously grounded on scientific facts as his peers Asimov or Clarke, but the craft of his prose & the richness of his sentences manages to reveal something deep within ourselves, and why we are so hopelessly drawn to quench our thirst for knowledge & adventure.
Thanks to Mr. Bradbury is that I realized attending the Paradigm Symposium had been written by some unseen hand in the pages of my life’s book, long before I was even born.
(8) BALTIC SEA
UFO ANOMALY: From antediluvian Millennium Falcon, to secret Nazi weapon, to finally something lying at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, the Ocean X team and their controversial finding was amply discussed throughout the year here at the Pills. Alas, despite claims that the object somehow interfered with the electrical equipment of the diving team when they were directly above it, we still don’t seem to be closer to learning the truth about this sub-aquatic mystery, which lets the skeptics dismiss it as just a bunch of rocks –even though new footage clearly reveals holes or apertures in its structure:
Even though my first reaction toward this story was of great skepticism, right now I’m willing to withhold judgement hoping whatever the hell these guys discovered might end up having, if not UFOlogical relevance, at least some archeological importance. Stay tuned…
(7) END OF UFOLOGY? (YEAH RIGHT!): In what undoubtedly be regarded as one of the stupidest remarks of the year, the UFO organization ASSAP made big news when they declared the death of UFOlogy. To support this outrageous claim they cited the dwindling numbers in ‘flying saucers’ sightings, and the fact that after 60 years we haven’t been able to proof aliens are visiting Earth from other planets. Dave Wood, chairman of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (Assap) said this in an interview:
“It is certainly a possibility that in ten years time, it will be a dead subject.”
“We look at these things on the balance of probabilities and this area of study has been ongoing for many decades.
“The lack of compelling evidence beyond the pure anecdotal suggests that on the balance of probabilities that nothing is out there.”
After they had their little 15 minutes of fame, I really hope those British ‘researchers’ followed my advice and pulled their heads out of their Assap, to take notice of the fact that 2012 was in fact a very prolific year in UFO sightings. Just to name a few of the most interesting cases we had this year:
- Sightings of mysterious lights & ‘robots’ over the Tibet-India border.
- Multiple sightings of red lights on Michigan.
- UFOs over Denver, which are still dismissed by some as insects, yet they keep buzzing around.
- UFOs near the Malmstrom’s AFB –significant, because this military installation stores nuclear weapons, and resemble the cases investigated by UFO researchers Robert Hastings & Robert Salas.
Perhaps Assap’s sorry remarks merely show the end of traditional UFOlogy, as embodied by the big annual conferences organized by big organizations like MUFON, which seems to be in a steady state of decline. In fact, after listening to this audio interview with Chase Kloetzke (a former MUFON Star Team field investigator), it’s rather clear to me that currently MUFON is experiencing the same type of erosion from within that was orchestrated by the CIA against NICAP decades ago. And it seems that in the beheading of MUFON Robert Bigelow has played an instrumental part.
But, without big organizations, would that mean the end of UFOlogy? Hardly. Now thanks to the Internet and social networks people interested in the topic are more connected than ever, and can learn about interesting cases in a matter of minutes. And with Richard Dolan’s plans for an online course in UFOlogy, I daresay the field’s brightest days are ahead of us, and not behind us.
Remember: UFOs are anything if not agents of instability. Are instability is the downfall of stagnant institutions.
(6) HOLLYWOOD & DISCLOSURE: Giorgio & co. had certainly a lot to celebrate this year –thanks to films like Prometheus & Avengers, and even videogames like Halo 4 & Mass Effect 3, the Ancient Aliens Theory is more popular than ever. Because of this is no wonder how some researchers feel the easiest way to condition the populace to paradigm-shifting ideas, is through the medium of entertainment.
And we certainly had a lot of Holly-weird convergences between Filmography & UFOlogy in 2012: Beginning with Will Smith’s revelation that president Obama made a ‘joke’ to his son about aliens during a private dinner at the White House —“I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of extraterrestrials”— to Russian PM Medvedev’s off-camera remarks that the movie MIB might hold a lot of hidden secrets regarding the presence of extraterrestrials in our planet –maybe the Earth is the interdimensional version of a galactic gulag?
Whether these men in high offices know more about UFOs than they care to admit for the record or not, one thing that seems to be clear is that Hollywood will continue to play an instrumental part in how we culturally address & rationalize the phenomenon –and that this perhaps is the intention of the people who are privy to whatever knowledge has been gathered about these entities throughout the years.
Proof of this might be found in Chase Brandon’s controversial claims. A former liaison between the CIA & Hollywood studios, Brandon became an over-night celebrity when he said he had observed material evidence in possession of the CIA which confirmed without a doubt –at least to him– that Roswell happened, and that whatever crashed in the New Mexico desert was not of this world. Disinformation or pure fabrication? According to researchers like Robbie Graham, the fact that Brandon is going on the record with these stories means someone up the chain in command is allowing him to.
Will Brandon continue to make ripples with more fantastic claims, or will he disappear & return to operate behind the curtains? As always, we’ll keep you posted on future updates.
(5) SQUATCHIN’ ASS-BACKWARDS: Despite a couple of above-average Blobsquatch videos posted on Youtube (Provo Utah video) (video taken inside tent) 2012 was not such a good year for Cryptozoology. Not only did we report the death of Randy Lee Tenley while he was trying to perpetrate a Bigfoot hoax wearing a camouflage ghillie suit, but we also reported some hirsute hypotheses concerning strands of hair which allegedly belonged to a Russian yeti –claims that were quickly rebutted by more conservative Russian scientists.
Yet(i) the cryptozoology cake was certainly won by Dr. Melba Ketchum’s DNA study, with all the hype gathered thanks to Igor Burtzev’s indiscretion & her own official press release, which ended when her paper failed to attain peer-review in a scientific journal. “No data, no discovery” as anthropologist John Hawks simply put.
Regardless, the world of Bigfootery is incredibly forgiving, and I’m certain we haven’t heard the last of Dr. Ketchum –after all, Tom Biscardi is still around!– In the mean time, we might take comfort in the fact that the University of Oxford’s plan to analyze any organic samples volunteers are willing to submit for their study is still ongoing. May they succeed where others have failed.
(4) THE RED DAWN STORM: Unfortunately, 2012 was a year marked by several tragedies, which seemed to have been connected by an arcane tapestry. As movie fans were eagerly waiting the conclusion of the Dark Knight film trilogy, the presidential election & the world of comic book superheroes converged thanks to the Bain/Bane capital scandal, which allowed many Internet pundits & trolls to take potshots at Mitt Romney’s campaign. But Fortean researcher Loren Coleman realized this was but the beginning of something much bigger, which eventually manifested in the form of several massacres across the United States joined together by a synchronistic (and cinematic) thread: the Red Dawn.
After the Colorado (red) Aurora (dawn) shooting of July 20, 2012, during one of the first showings of The Dark Knight Rises, involving the character Bane, the floodgates of synchromystically significant incidents were released. Here are but a few. The suspected Aurora shooter is named James Eagan Holmes; he took on a Bane-like appearance; then revealed underneath his true costume, as he shouted “I am the Joker”; the next major shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Michigan, was by an individual living on Holmes Avenue; in the movie TDKR was an area of Gotham City named Sandy Hook. One of the frequently heard expressions of TDKR was a “storm is coming.” Months later, the hurricane Sandy hit NJ and NYC with a surprising amount of violence. The shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut put a horrific symbolic cap on a half year of red dawn events – bloody, terrible, and deadly.
Regardless on your personal take on synchromysticism –of which I personally am a strong supporter— or whether you choose to evaluate these events in NWO ‘revelation of the method’ terms, after the Newtown massacre there’s at the very least one pressing lesson we should all learn: that the way popular media chooses to report these unsavory events needs to be re-evaluated in order NOT to inspire further copycats.
(3) YEAR OF THE DRAGON: 2012 will surely be remembered as the year commercial space exploration truly began. With his company SpaceX, Elon Musk has started to supplant Steve Jobs as the new role model for a whole generation of geeks who dream of bringing their Star Treks dreams to reality. The successful docking of the Dragon capsule on the ISS has given Musk enough leverage to be taken seriously on his utopic plans to colonize Mars –although he’s not the only one willing to start sending humans to the Red Planet, even if that means a one-way ticket, as envisioned by the Mars One project.
On this year we also witnessed some fantastic accomplishments performed by private ventures, from Felix Baumgartner’s daredevil stunt to James Cameron’s one-man trip to the Mariana trench, yet again confirming how incredible engineering feats don’t need the deep pockets of government funding. Perhaps because of this is that Cameron feels confidence in his future plans to exploit the mineral resources of asteroids, even though at this point such a project still has the Na’vi hue of pure Sci-Fi.
Last but not least, before the year ended we were promised the chance to be flown to the Moon and back —if we have a couple billion dollars to spare that is. Will the Golden Spike company pierce through the lethargic heart of manned space exploration? Only time will tell, but even if they fail the lessons learned will help other ventures to advance forward & pave our road to the heavens.
(2) ROVING THE RED PLANET: Even though discovering the Higgs boson might end up being a more important scientific accomplishment, no one can deny that what managed to capture the public’s imagination was the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars –thus propelling Mohawk dude to viral meme status.
With Curiosity just starting to conduct experiments on the rocks of ‘Yellowknife Bay’, great things are expected of this rover –perhaps more things than NASA’s PR department can handle, given the Thanksgiving SNAFU provoked by the misinterpretation of one excited JPL spokesman’s excitement regarding the overall mission –an opportunity for making some fun at the expense of the space agency few netizens (including yours truly) could pass up.
Still, we should all cut the NASA folks some slack & let them do some science in peace –although it’s good they’re aware that the stakes on their success are clearly defined: it’s aliens or bust, baby!
(1) BACKLASH OF DOOMSDAY HYPE: If you’ve managed to read this far then it’s safe to assume you didn’t decide to sell all your belongings and head out to some remote uninhabited location, in preparation for whatever horrendous apocalyptic scenario you chose to imagine the Mayas had in store for us. From volcanic eruptions & earthquakes, to violent storms like Hurricane Sandy causing major damages to the the northern east coast of the United States, momma Nature gave us many reasons to think the proverbial fecal matter was about to hit the turbine. Also, the fact that all around the world mysterious sky sounds were being reported seemed to signal the final call for Armageddon.
And let’s not also forget all the creepy zombie scares highlighted by the media!
Reactions to the Mayan prophecy’s expectations were varied: In Russia the panic reached such levels as to force the government to reassure citizens that the end was not nigh. In China several entrepreneurs managed to make a yuan or two by selling ‘escape pods’ designed to resist the most Emmerichian of tsunamis. In France the government sealed off mount Bugarach in preparation for the horde of New Agers expecting to hitch a ride aboard an alien mothership. In Argentina some Applewhite-wannabe called for a collective suicide on top of mount Uritorco, a very active UFO hotspot. And in Mexico thousands of national & foreign tourists gathered around the ancient Maya monuments to witness the end of the Bak’tún & signal the start of a new era –this, much to the amusement of the local Mayas, and the delight of the hotel owners.
And so December 21st came and went, with the arrival of the Winter solstice –interestingly enough, at precisely 11:11 am. No polar shift was experienced, no interdimensional portal was opened, no Pleiadian mothership landed, no collective ascension was posted on Youtube, and (thankfully) no mass suicide has been reported.
Also, the rumors of a supposed documentary that would reveal ground-breaking information regarding contact between the Mayas & Extraterrestrials never materialized –likely, because the documentary was nothing but a hoax perpetrated by an impostor, who might have managed to bamboozle a few witless Mexican officials & flee with the money. Oh well…
So, does that mean we’re ‘off the hook’ as it were? Last time I looked we’re still plagued by the same problems of overpopulation, energy crisis & war-mongering we were experiencing since before the global media began to abuse of the Aztec calendar to mention the 2012 prophecy.
At the same time, we’re still facing some serious environmental problems, with the continuous degradation of vital ecosystems & the accelerated melting of polar ice. And, despite NASA’s reassurances, I’m still concerned at the possibility of a CME knocking down some sensitive part of our electric & telecommunications infrastructure –granted, it might not be a Hollywoodesque Doomsday scenario as imagined by J.J. Abrams in Revolution, but if there’s something the economic crisis of 2008 should have taught us, is that in a globalized economy like ours small regional problems can still cause a devastating domino effect on a bigger scale, when left unchecked.
So what are the lessons to be learned of 2012 & the Notpocalypse? I guess the first one is acknowledging the all-too-human natural tendency to wish for an easy cop-out, that circumstances beyond our control will rise so we may not take responsibility for our lives & actions; why should I try to fix the mistakes in my life if the world is gonna end anyway, right? that’s why deep down we’re all anxiously waiting the arrival of the barbarians.
Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home lost in thought?
Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven’t come.
And some of our men just in from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.
Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution.
On the other hand, the result of living in a Microwave-oven age is a yearning for an instant spiritual fix, the attaining of a higher level of consciousness without all the fuzz & real hard work it should imply. So when drugs & Deepak Chopra books fail, what is there left? why the fast-track Ascension of course! Blessed those feathered Mayas for dealing with the boring details, so we can all relax & wait for the galactic alignment while we keep hearing Buddhist chants on our iPods.
So No, I don’t think we should believe we can go back to business as usual, nor do I think we should wait for the excuse of impending doom in order to do the things we always wanted to, and become the person we always wanted to be –or do we really need a gun pointed at our heads to make that change?
Let’s also talk about the way most of us react toward uncertainty in harsh times. When some folks considered the scenario of major social collapse, their response was keep reinforcing a culture of Fear, instead of seeking a solution in a culture of Hope. Don’t you wish that the prevalent notion of ‘prepping’ would change from this:
Instead of worrying that your neighbor is going to steal your family’s food, wouldn’t it be better to ensure that your whole community would have plenty of food & water to overcome any natural or social catastrophe? Doing so would shift us from a ‘me me’ mentality to one of cooperation & trust –something that would cause greater repercussions on ways we can scarcely imagine right now.
So let’s stop waiting for fast enlightenment or easy ascensions. The fact that you’re a fan of Mysterious Universe, and are honoring me by reading these lines, clearly show you’re taking an active part in your spiritual growth. And even if the answers to the mysteries we enjoy studying never come, that should never stop us from raising questions –which in the end are more important than the answers.
The journey IS the destination.
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out, awaiting your return at the Nebuchadnezzar so we may continue with our journey in 2013.