Jul 01, 2013 I Miguel Romero

Red Pills of the Week — June 29th

Greetings, fellow Coppertops! On our latest monitoring of the Fortean Matrix we'll uncover antigravity research & ancient graves, cloning revolutions --which sounds was cooler than revolutions in cloning-- & intergalactic banks. And as we play that old Egyptian game of 'spin the statue,' we'll witness the re-emergence of a classic case in the annals of Cryptozoology. So sit back, relax, & let me do all the driving --and don't you dare asking me to pull over for a bathroom break!

10Before embarking to explore new mysteries we need to make a quick stop on the last edition of the Red Pills, in which we discussed the final batch of UFO files released by the MoD. On that week the media was all too happy to quote Dr. David Clarke's skeptic explanations on why it was a good thing for the British government to stop wasting quids investigating silly sightings of saucers. But now former head of the MoD's UFO desk is giving something of a counter-attack: not only was the closing of the UFO program a deception tactic to deceive both the public & the media, he says, but he also takes the gloves off when referring to Clarke:

Pope's startling statement was in response to the MoD's release last week of what it says is its final batch of UFO documents. Official MoD spokesmen and one self-styled UFO expert, David Clarke, claim that the MoD found no evidence of a UFO threat to the UK and, therefore, closed its UFO Desk. The subsequent, widely-publicized declassification of its UFO documents—the implication being that nothing remained hidden—was intended to demonstrate the MoD's public transparency on the UFO issue.

In reality, Pope says, "the UK's Freedom of Information Act contains wide-ranging exemptions covering areas such as defense, security and intelligence" and the newly-available documents had already been "judged to be unclassified" before their release.

Regarding David Clarke, Pope says, "Some people would probably use the term 'useful idiot' to describe his parroting the MoD 'no defense significance' sound bite."

game of shadows 570x320
"Your move, old boy"

Finally, one of the most tantalizing things Pope has pointed out re. these new files during a radio interview with Alejandro Rojas, is how the MoD was very interested in 'anti-gravity' technology, including the so-called 'lifter' technology pursued by many private enthusiasts.

Although the MoD is aware of anti-gravity and gravity modification research, the Department does not currently have any research programmes into this field. The MoD does continue [to] monitor these types of development through our Horizon Scanning activities to assess whether such technologies could be of any benefit to defence in the future.

Notice how they don't necessarily endorse that kind of 'wacky' research, but they never flat out dismiss its potential validity.
9So maybe the MoD is not the only agency keeping an eye out for alternative sources of energy that could help us colonize space. And in that regard scientists are being very prolific in spotting potential real estate opportunities: On June 25 it was announced that 3 exo-planets were orbiting their home-star, Gliese 667C, in what is known as the 'habitable zone,' which makes them prime candidates for the harboring of extraterrestrial life.

"We knew that the star had three planets from previous studies, so we wanted to see whether there were any more," co-leader of the study Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire, U.K. said in a statement. "By adding some new observations and revisiting existing data we were able to confirm these three and confidently reveal several more. Finding three low-mass planets in the star's habitable zone is very exciting!"

Indeed. Confirmation that life on our planet is not unique will be one of the most significant game-changers humanity will ever experience. And ours is the generation that's going to experience it.
8But previous generations were starting to get used to the idea of exotic new worlds & revolutionary discoveries, thanks to visionaries like Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov & Arthur C. Clarke. Another less famous but equally influential writer has just passed away: Richard Matheson (1926-2013), author of I Am Legend, What Dreams May Come, along with a plethora of scripts for TV programs like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Star Trek & Twilight Zone --including one of the most horrifying moments in TV history, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.

6 Nightmare
"Oh $#!t, I forgot my line!"

Recalling the genesis of that episode, Mr. Matheson said: “I was on an airplane and I looked out and there were all these fluffy clouds and I thought, ‘Gee, what if I saw a guy skiing across that like it was snow?,’ because it looked like snow. But when I thought it over, that’s not very scary, so I turned it into a gremlin out on the wing.”

To me the most important thing about that episode, is that it perfectly portrays the lonely struggle of convincing the rest of the world about a reality, that they are either unable or unwilling to confront. Something I'm sure many of us have gone through once we chose the thorny path of Forteana.

And if you still have doubts that Matheson's work had a deep undercurrent of hidden meaning, I invite you to read this fantastic essay written by my pal Mike Clelland, who analyzed the movie The Stranger Within.

Descanse en Paz, Mr. Matheson. And thank you for keep pushing the boundaries.

7Speaking of pushing the boundaries, NASA is looking to expand our knowledge of that big yellow object in our skies --and just to be clear, I'm talking about the sun here, not the Pokemon floater in the Macy's parade-- with the recent launch of the IRIS satellite (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph), designed to study a very poorly understood transition region in the sun,  located between the  photosphere and the corona. With the help of this new spectograph, scientists hope to understand why for example, the outer atmosphere of the sun is a thousand times hotter than its actual surface. Because of this, the probe will narrow its view to regions as little as 240 km across --no bigger than the size of Denmark by comparison.

All well & good, but after looking at the IRIS official website there's still one mystery left to solve: why are government institutions OBSESSED with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon??


6I'll tell you something I'm obsessed with: Archeology. I guess I was one of those kids who were deeply impressed by the cinematographic escapades of Indiana Jones, and the inescapable allure of deep mysteries buried by the sands of time --also because fedoras, b#$%hes!

So you can understand why the announcement by an international team of archeologists, describing the first unlooted Wari imperial tomb discovered in Peru, has me jumping on my seat like there was a snake sitting on my lap. The Wari culture reigned over the Peruvian territory 300 years before the rise of the Inca empire; and the newly found tomb, which contains the rest of 63 individuals --including 3 queens-- clearly show the level of opulence & sophistication these early predecessors enjoyed.

Alas, no crystal skulls.

5Although not evident in the images recently released, I'm sure the level of preservation in these Peruvian mummies will be remarkable, so I hope that eventually a full genetic sequence of the 3 royal women is performed. Although not as proficient as the Egyptians, the Andean cultures who practiced the art of mummification intended to conserve the material remains of the deceased for all time, perhaps with the hope that one day they would return back to life.

With our continual advances in the field of cloning, is hard not to resist the though that such a day may eventually come: One of the top stories this past week was a landmark achievement by a team at the Riken BioResource center in Japan, who managed to clone a mouse out of a single drop of blood. 

Mice have been cloned from several different sources of donor cells, including white blood cells found in the lymph nodes, bone marrow and liver.

The Japanese research group investigated whether circulating blood cells could also be used for cloning.

Their aim was to find an easily available source of donor cells to clone scientifically valuable strains of laboratory mice.

From The Boys from Brazil to The Boys from Disneyland.

4I suppose Dr. Melba Ketchum would be pleased with this new breakthrough. It's been a while since we last heard of her & her controversial sequencing of Bigfoot DNA, but I'm sure that I'm not the only one who has fantasized with the possibility of one day cloning us a Sasquatch out of a strand of hair or maybe even a few drops of blood.

Ok, so maybe I am the only one thinking about this.

Hey, let's face it: Bigfooting should have entered the XXIst century a looooong time ago. Yeah, the trail cams are cute & the IR goggles have an infinite pranking potential, but there's no denying that the current state of affairs have not brought us any closer to solving the Sasquatch enigma. If anything, it has become an even riskier line of hobby, as it will be seen in this Red Pill: The National Post in Canada publishes that Tim Marczensko was accused of illegally growing marijuana when he claimed to be looking for our favorite hairy cryptid.

“He asked me, ‘What are you doing out here?’ I told him I was investigating a Bigfoot report and he said, ‘Wow, you’re a terrible liar,’ ” said Mr. Marczenko. ” ‘I know it sounds crazy but I’m not lying about it,’ I said. He kept telling me I was lying about the situation.”

Tsk tsk tsk. Oh Tim... didn't you  learn anything from Richard Matheson? You need to have a convincing alibi when searching for the Truth that's out there. As for the overzealous police officer, I think he had the wrong kind of drug in mind...


3Ok, so anyone who believes in Bigfoot is a dope fiend, and Paypal wants to branch out into space.

Wait, what??

Yep, you read that right young Mouseketeer: The online paying service system has announced the world it has plans to go where no cash has gone before. Imperial credits be damned!

"It's easy to perceive this as kind of gee-whiz, even silly, if you just read the headline," he said. "But these are real, difficult, important problems that need to be sorted out."

Those solutions need to come quickly, as casual space travel is much closer than the average consumer might think, said SETI Institute chairwoman Jill Tarter.

"When you talk to the space community -- the people who are actually making this happen -- it doesn't feel pie-in-the-sky to them at all," Tarter said. "Within a few years we are going to have more people off the surface of this planet more often, and we'll have to determine value in that new environment."

On their launch of what they now call Paypal Galactic,  the company featured none other than  Buzz Aldrin. But is this merely a publicity stunt, or an actual business plan?

"It’s not unrealistic to predict we’re only a generation away from a permanent human presence on Mars,” said Aldrin, who became the second man on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. He added, “Whether it’s paying a bill or even helping a family member on Earth, we’ll need access to money.”

PayPal’s Marcus said the program, launched in partnership with the SETI Institute, would “increase public awareness of the important questions that need to be addressed” as commercial space travel increases. “We may not answer these questions today or even this year, but one thing is clear: We won’t be using cash in space.” John Spencer of the Space Tourism Society predicted that the first “space hotels” will open up shop within the next decade, and will need a payments system.

One thing is clear though: The private industry is signaling the official world they're no longer calling all the shots when it comes to the planning of human propagation on space. Having said that, it kinda makes me sad no one is willing to take into consideration Gene Roddenberry's vision of a future in which any sense of a monetary system is pointless:


2Even pointless still is to try to pay your way into the after life, no matter how many people have foolishly tried to attempt it. What was grown here stays here, and there's no way around it, yo.

Even still, there's no denying that most of what we admire of ancient art was created our of a desire to reach into eternity. Our friends the Egyptians, whom we've previously mentioned above are arguably the best example of this human obsession. And now thanks to this, we get to commune with their way of thinking through theirs remnants preserved on our museums.

One of those remnants has just managed to capture the attention of the entire net: a Middle-Kingdom statuette kept at the Manchester museum seems to have rotated on its axis all on its own inside its enclosed glass showcase, as was seemingly captured thanks to a surveillance camera:


Logical attempts to explain the statues movement centre on the subtle vibrations caused by outside traffic, causing imperceptible movement. Lill, a colleague on the visitor services staff, suggested that perhaps the man [whose name was inscribed on the statue] wanted us to say the prayer for him – yet when this text is visible his name is impossible to read. What is very strange is that the statue has spun in a perfect circle – it hasn’t wobbled off in any particular direction. The intriguing suggestion that the statuette was carved of steatite and then fired may imply that it it now vulnerable to magnetic forces. But is so, why did it not move on its glass shelf in pretty much the same position in the old Egyptian Afterlife gallery?

Everybody commenting on this story seemed determined to find a logical, sensible explanation to this baffling mystery, because we all know we can't live in a world in which 3000 year-old statues start moving without permission, dammit!

I could solve the riddle for you, you know; but I happen to be out of Scooby snacks at the moment.

1As a kid I enjoyed Scooby Doo, but not for the reasons many contemporary skeptics did. I didn't need a Saturday morning cartoon to reassure me that ALL mysteries had a simple explanation & prosaic explanation. The biggest irony in that Hanna-Barbera creation, was the fact that all those cases were solved through the help of a talking dog.

Y'all owe Rupert Sheldrake an apology, Randi fanboys.

Along with my weekly fix of TV shows, I further kept rotting my brain reading the Mysteries of the Unknown Time/Life book series my dad was kindly enough to buy for me, along with any weird book I could get my hands on. I remember this road trip my family & some cousins took to Texcoco, when my dear uncle Fernando bought for me a book I still keep on my library titled Sasquatch: Anthropological Enigma, written by this Italian dude named Renzo Cantagalli. The book cover showed a weird humanoid figure with its left hand raised above the head; as I read the text, I learned this figure was the legendary Minnesota Iceman, which was exhibited on state fairs & stock shows throughout the Mid-west United States in the late 1960s & early 1970s. The story behind this strange body encased in a coffin of ice became the stuff of legends in the annals of Cryptozoology, partly because the (in)famous attraction's whereabouts was lost as the years went by.

Early this year news got around that the fabled Iceman --or at least, one of its iterations-- was being offered on eBay, and purchased by an anonymous buyer. This week we learned this buyer was Steve Busti, who purchased the legendary piece for his Museum of the Weird located in Austin, Texas. All this managed to see the light of day thanks to the A&E's TV program Shipping Wars. Furthermore, we also know that our good friend Loren Coleman has cut a deal with Busti, and the Iceman will be temporarily exhibited on the International Cryptozoological museum on Portland Maine, during the summer of 2014:

The Museum of the Weird is an homage to dime museums made popular by the likes of P.T. Barnum, and features everything from real mummies, shrunken heads and oddities, to wax figures of classic movie monsters, to live giant lizards.  They even boast a live sideshow on stage every day, where one can see magicians, sword-swallowers, human blockheads, and even an “electricity-proof” man.
The International Cryptozoology Museum is the world’s only cryptozoology, and contains rare one-of-a-kind exhibits of expedition evidence of Yeti, Bigfoot, and Orang Pendek hair samples, footprint casts, a 8 ft tall Bigfoot replica, a full-sized juvenile Sea Serpent carcass, various television/movie props, such as Laura Linney’s police uniform from The Mothman Prophecies, and faux cryptid taxidermy items, including a 4 ft tall FeeJee Mermaid used in the movie P.T. Barnum.
Future developments in the incredible adventure that is the Minnesota Iceman can be followed at the CryptoZooNews, Loren Coleman’s new thoughtful cryptozoology blog, created in 2013 after his departure from his eight-year tenure at another’s cryptozoology blog.

Loren has remained rather um, cryptic with the details, yet I'm sure that eventually more information will see the light of day. In the meantime, looks like a road trip is in order, vatos!}

Until next time this is RPJ jacking out, advising you never to let go of your childhood obsessions.

Miguel Romero

Miguel Romero a.k.a. Red Pill Junkie is a cartoonist and fortean blogger who writes at Mysterious Universe

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