Nov 05, 2013 I Miguel Romero

Red Pills of the Week — November 2nd

Greetings, fellow Coppertops! In this week's sojourn through the secret chambers of the Fortean Matrix, we shall encounter morbid magic items, hypersonic craft & anniversaries of alien invasions. And as we try to peer into the secrets of Dark Matter, we'll take a look into one of the most famous cases in the Cryptozoological annals. I hope you all had a fun Halloween, but please take your hands off the food & drinks laid out at the Nebuchadnezzar's bridge --that's my Día de Muertos altar, you heathens!

10 The Day of the Dead is the Mexican tradition intended to keep our dearly departed alive in our memories. But after I read this news published by The Daily Mail, i realized we Mexicans ain't got nothing on 17th century Icelandic sorcerers! Ladies & gentlemen, I give you... the necropants.

necropants 570x783
Taking "try walking in my shoes" a liiiiitle too far...

This garment, so radical not even Lady Gaga would wear it --YET-- is housed in the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraftin Holmavik, Iceland. It was meant to be used night & day --Yikes!-- in order to bring prosperity & wealth to the owner, who would keep a coin stolen from a poor widow in the scrotum sack --Double Yikes!-- but ownership of the pants would have to be passed on before his death, otherwise his body would be infected with lice as soon as he passed away --Mega Yikes!!

Who would've thunk Buffalo Bill was of Icelandic descent. And yet I wonder: if the pants brought you wealth and the inevitable attention of interested women, just how would you be able to... Um, you know...

Ugh, never mind. What happens in Iceland should STAY in Iceland!! Moving on...

9 So the necropants isn't the best choice for a costume, but still Halloween is a pretty cool festivity. As a kid I used to watch the TV Disney specials with Ichabod Crane & one of my favorite animated scenes: Night on Bald Mountain, which was part of the 1940's Fantasia movie, followed by Schubert's Ave Maria.


The reason I bring this up is because of our next Red Pill: A very intriguing image captured by Google Earth on a highway near Walensee in Switzerland, showing what to the religiously-inclined would look as Jesus & the Holy Mary, looking down upon the road perched on a wispy cloud.

Pareidolia? Most likely. Still, it's a pretty evocative image. And thanks to it, I managed to learn that the Walensee lake was Franz Liszt's inspiration for the composition of Au lac de Wallenstadt, which is a heavenly piece of music if you ask me.

8 Our myths are changing at a faster pace. if religious portents in the sky were seen in the old ages, now these are being supplanted by icons of pop culture & the comic book pantheon --if you don't believe me, wait until David Weatherly's upcoming book on Tulpas gets published.

Speaking of comic books, the US Army is looking into ways of making Marvel's Iron Man suit into a reality, and they are asking consultants to come up with ideas for their advanced combat exo-skeleton program, codenamed TALOS (Tactical Light Operator Suit).

[...] Among other things, they want a suit that will protect soldiers from bullets, download live feeds of video and data from other soldiers or even drones, help them become faster and stronger with small motors in the exoskeleton, provide their own oxygen supply and use sensors to transmit their vital signs back to headquarters.

The U.S. Special Operations Command has issued a deadline of 12 months for the submission of ideas. But how long until we get a working Mjölnir?

7 You stay long enough in the Fortean arena, and inevitably the lines between fact & fiction become blurry. For years conspiracy theorists & UFO buffs have been talking about a secret hypersonic aircraft codenamed Aurora, allegedly capable of reaching speeds of Mach 6. Unfortunately no evidence has ever surfaced  to support the existence of such a plane.

...Until perhaps now: Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works division has unveiled the plans for the successor of their famous SR-71 Blackbird, which still (officially) maintains the speed record of Mach 3.3. This new airplane --simply called SR-72 by Lockheed-- would be capable of doubling the speed of the old 60's era spy plane, using a combination of traditional turbine engines & scramjet propulsion once it reached appropriate velocity. But while the Blackbird was only used for covert surveillance operations, its successor would be equipped with striking capabilities according to Aviation Weekly.

Is this news the official admittance of a black-ops program being developed since the 1990's & responsible for the 'sky-quakes' heard in Nevada & California, or is Aurora a modern myth fueled by the paranoia of the UFO community? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

6 Even if you take into account the possible existence of advanced propulsion platforms, developed covertly by the US Military using technology that is decades ahead from the rest of the world, you're still left with a great deal of UFO reports defying the conventions of our current science.

Choose for yourself whether the next Red Pill falls into that category: As reported by The Examiner, someone using the account Research4Truth12 in Youtube uploaded a video allegedly taken on Oct 27th in Michigan, showing a strange self-illuminating object painting a parked car with a green 'laser' light.

This is  a brief description of the video, provided in the 'about' section of the Youtube page:

I live in a rural part of Michigan and the closest major city is Port Huron. I saw a very strange object up in the sky near my home. So, I jumped in my vehicle and followed it down a public dirt road. Then it suddenly turned so I ended up turning onto a private unmarked road which is probably used for farm equipment to tend to the adjacent field crop.

At that point, I was running out of road to go any further. So, I got out of vehicle to take a better view of it. Then, suddenly, the object started moving towards me. It startled me so I ran like hell for a little bit. It was making a very strange low swirling, please try and turn up your speaker volume to hear it better.

Once I moved a distance back, I zoomed out the camera a bit more and noticed the object was hovering directly over my vehicle. Then it started to lower itself as it slowly rotated directly over my roof! At that point, it appeared to be shining a very bright green beam over it. Then suddenly, it shot straight up into the sky and the swirling sound disappeared at the exact time it vanished. This was a very eerie experience and even my hair was standing on end through the entire time and felt as if there was highly dense static electricity in the air!

What the heck do you think this is people?? This thing scared the bejesus out of me!


You gotta admit, even if you use a healthy level of skepticism when viewing this clip, that at least it does stand out from the usual clear hoaxes polluting the Youtube channels. Personally I find it intriguing, and I hope we'll be able to learn more about 'Bob' & his alleged encounter.

5 The 'laser' fired by the bright unknown object --if the video is real-- seems to be scanning the parked car & not the typical 'space opera' blaster we've grown used to thanks to Sci Fi movies. And if those movies portray advanced alien races using deadly beam weapons is because of H.G. Wells's classic novel War of the Worlds. This week saw the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles's radiophonic dramatization of War of the Worlds, which was said to have caused massive panic among the unsuspecting audience; but the legend of the infamous broadcast has been recently put into question, and now it looks like the mass hysteria provoked by Welles was as fictitious as the evil Martians destroying the streets of New Jersey. Ironic, considering how we UFO buffs have continuously seen the 1938 program invoked, as proof of how ill-prepared the general populace would be in case the powers at be were to disclose the reality of the UFO phenomenon.

One final thing, before moving on to the next Pill: It's curious to notice that 1938 was also the year Superman made his 1st appearance in the comic book pages. Here we have another modern myth about alien life, but where H.G. Wells saw fear & malevolence, Siegel & Shuster saw hope & salvation.

4 Granted, any modern astronomer would reject the idea of advanced alien lifeforms looking like a more athletic & handsome version of ourselves --even without red shorts-- but physicist Don Lincoln also doubts intelligent extraterrestrials would have anything in common with dolphins, instantly unleashing the ire of a legion of New Age tattooed hippie chicks across the globe. Lincoln's argument, which he explains in his book Alien Universe: Extraterrestrial Life in Our Minds and in the Cosmos, is based on current scientific thinking:

"There could be alien cavemen underwater," Lincoln, a physicist at Fermilab in Illinois, told NBC News. "But truly, you can't smelt metal." And that means it's unlikely that intelligent dolphins will ever develop the technology for spaceflight.

Ecco cover
Clearly NOT a fan of Sega...

The problem I have with Lincoln's logic is that it's too anthropocentric. Smelting metal is very handy, but is it absolutely indispensable to build an advanced civilization? The Mayas & the Aztecs never managed to forge iron, and yet in many other respects their culture equaled --or even surpassed- the achievements of the Spanish conquistadores.

Also, call me crazy, but I keep suspecting space travel might not require a 'technology' in the modern definition of the word. Perhaps those space dolphins found some sponge filled with DMT that lets them trip balls under the ocean, & they caper & cavort with the machine elves from time to time.

3 Lincoln's POV reflects the prevailing materialistic stance of Western Science --Intelligence=gadgets-- and yet perhaps we should pay more attention to non-material phenomena which could prove to be incredibly valuable.

Take psychics & healers who claim to perceive the 'aura' of their patients: Some scientists have speculated whether this ability could be explained as a form of synesthesia --how some individuals are able to 'see' colors associated with letters, words, numbers, etc-- and so a study was conducted by researchers of the University of Granada using several synesthetes, including a healer called "Esteban Sánchez Casas," a.k.a. "El Santón de Baza" (a more comprehensive article on this study was published last year by Science Daily):

Many local people attribute "paranormal powers" to El Santón, because of his supposed ability to see the aura of people "but, in fact, it is a clear case of synesthesia," the researchers explained. According to the researchers, El Santón has face-color synesthesia (the brain region responsible for face recognition is associated with the color-processing region); touch-mirror synesthesia (when the synesthete observes a person who is being touched or is experiencing pain, s/he experiences the same); high empathy (the ability to feel what other person is feeling), and schizotypy (certain personality traits in healthy people involving slight paranoia and delusions). "These capacities make synesthetes have the ability to make people feel understood, and provide them with special emotion and pain reading skills," the researchers explain.

This may seem as an undermining of psychic abilities, but I don't see it that way. After all, what we call 'paranormal' is simply phenomena that are yet to be explained by our current scientific models, not that the phenomena lie outside the field of Nature.

A few centuries ago synesthesia was either dismissed by science or clouded in superstition, but now it's a perfectly accepted condition. Perhaps the same will occur with the 'aura'.



Since modern Science keeps dabbling in the things that used to be the provenance of Mysticism --that which cannot be perceived by the human senses-- one could say scientists have become the modern mystics of our age. Problems arise when scientific theories are regarded as dogmas & the scientists start behaving like priests.

Dark Matter is one of the current scientific dogmas: the mysterious particles said to be permeating our Universe & responsible for keeping the galaxies glued together. Dark Matter has to exist, otherwise it's back to the drawing board with our model of how things work.

There are several giant experiments aimed to detect dark matter, and the most sensitive so far is the Large Underground Xenon dark matter experiment (LUX), carried out in an abandoned mine in South Dakota. The experiment has run for 3 months, and on Wednesday an international team of scientists came out with the big news: they've found nothing so far.

For the scientists this is not as bad a news as you'd think. LUX is programmed to run for all of next year and it will gain even more sensitivity in its readings. But by now researchers can start discounting potential candidates of what dark matter could be, like exotic subatomic particles called WIMPs.

But the question needs to be asked: What if LUX doesn't find a trace of dark matter?

Perhaps we should then start paying closer attention to the theories of Thomas Fusco, who in his book Behind the Cosmic Veil denies the existence of dark matter & dark energy, and solves the issue of the strange geometry of our universe as a result of the influence of a Super Geometry existing on a higher plane.


Dark matter & exotic particles sound interesting, but not nearly as interesting as Bigfoot & his cryptozoological kin populating the planet. From the Caucasus region comes the tale of the Almas or Almasti, red-haired hominds of average stature said to be more human-like than Sasquatch or the Yeti.

But the Yeti is now believed to be a hybrid bear, thanks to the work of professor Bryan Sykes, whose on-going TV series Bigfoot files is now going to look into the legend of Zana, a female Almasti who was kept in captivity in a remote Russian village in the XIXth century, and ended up giving birth to a few hybrid babies, of which only her son Khvit survived into adult age --what can I say? Those Russian villagers knew how to party.

Zanas daughter or Granddaughter Natalia
Zana’s supposed daughter or granddaughter

Until now the story of Zana & Khvit had only been researched by Russian anthropologists, but now Sykes used modern scanning technology to analyze the DNA of Zana's living descendants, and he came to an astonishing conclusion: Zana's DNA came from Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The most obvious solution that springs to mind is that Zana or her ancestors were brought from Africa to Abkhazia as slaves, when it was part of the slave trading Ottoman Empire, to work as servants or labourers,” says Professor Sykes. “While the Russians ended slavery when they took over the region in the late 1850s, some Africans remained behind. Was Zana one of them, who was living wild in the forest when she was captured?“

But that theory would not explain her extraordinary features, described by reliable eyewitnesses. There is an even more intriguing alternative theory. Having carefully studied the skull of Zana's son, Khwit, Professor Sykes believes there are some unusual morphological skull features – such as very wide eye sockets, an elevated brow ridge and what appears to be an additional bone at the back of the skull – that could suggest ancient, as opposed to modern, human origins.

And Sykes has raised the bold theoretical possibility that Zana could be a remnant of an earlier human migration out of Africa, perhaps tens of thousands, of years ago. If correct, Zana could be evidence of a hitherto unknown human 'tribe', dating from a distant time when the human species was still evolving and whose ancestors were forced into remote regions, like the Caucasus mountains, by later waves of modern humans coming out of Africa.

Remember last week's Red Pills, in which we discussed the fossil finds of Dmanisi? I feel it's important to bring them back to the discussion, because if the 1.8 million-year-old skulls of H. Erectus found in Dmanisi, show that cranial dimorphism is no longer a valid factor to determine whether a specimen belongs to a different species or not, perhaps it wouldn’t be surprising to find the same kind of diversity in Homo Sapiens.

So yes, perhaps Zana was not a surviving Neanderthal or H. Erectus, but maybe she was part of a very ancient branch of the human family tree.

If you manage to see the 3rd episode of Bigfoot files, please share your opinion with the rest of us in the comments section.

Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out. Remember to always respect your elders --especially if they are hairy & capable of beating the crap out of you with a single hand!

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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