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Red Pills of the Week — February 1st

Greetings, fellow Coppertops! The batch of Red Pills I’ve cooked out for you is pretty varied, covering everything from the robbery of (quasi) sacred blood, to love stories triggered by organ donation; we’ll also examine the physical features of the 1st Europeans & send 5-D positive energy to the Jade Rabbit on the Moon. And as we review the lawsuit filed against NASA for failing to find life on Mars, we’ll end up our mission by studying a perplexing case of multiple possession in the state of Indiana –Satan I have no problem with; Agent Smith, however… he can make me crap my pants!

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pope-john-paul-II-crop

We start our journey with an odd sacrilege –if you happened to be Catholic, that is– reported by several news outlets with regards of a reliquary containing the blood of the late Pope John Paul II, which was stolen from a remote mountain church in Italy last week. The blood in the gold container was from a piece of cloth preserved since the day when Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to murder the pontiff on St. Peter square, and the authorities originally suspected the involvement of some Satanic sect; on Friday the Italian police announced the reliquary had been recovered –sans the piece of cloth, which was found later— after they detained two ‘drug addicts’ in L’Aquila who confessed to the crime –if the name sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because of this.

The reason I find this intriguing is because I’ve always been fascinated with the failed murder against Karol Wojtyla, soon to be a saint by the Catholic church, on that fateful day of May 13th 1981; ’till the day he died he was convinced the Virgin of Fatima interceded to save his life, and that it was his duty to consecrate Russia to her in order to end Communism. As for the material perpetrator (Agca) there is still much debate on who exactly was pulling his strings. Initially he told the authorities the assassination had been ordered by the KGB, but now he’s written a new book in which he claims the Ayatollah Khomeinin indoctrinated him to kill “the devil’s mouthpiece on Earth.”

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blood-2

“The blood is the life,” is what the Old Testament says. “The blood is only tissue,” is what modern Medicine declares. But is it that simple, though? Could it be perhaps that our organs carry some aspect of our personality, even after we die?

The Daily Mail carried a story that seems taken out of a Hollywood script: Connor Rabinowitz, a teen male who was suffering from a cardiac condition, went through a heart transplant when he was 17; after he manged to meet the family of the heart’s donor — a young man named Kellen Roberts, who died during a drunken argument– both he & Kellen’s sister Erin fell in love at first sight.

According to the Star Tribune, whenever Erin really misses her brother, she rests her head on Connor’s chest. ‘It’s a strong beat,’ Erin said.

The couple added that they believe Kellen bonded them together, both through sadness at his departure but also through huge celebration of his life.

‘[Connor] understands on a level other people can’t. We’re aware of the sacrifice that had to be made,’ Erin told the Star Tribune. ‘I feel my brother chose him for me … as a last gift.’

A touching story, with the best possible ending for what was initially a tragedy. Skeptics would dismiss it as a happenstance coincidence, but if the pair chooses to interpret their union as matchmaking from the beyond, who are we to judge?

And maaaybe there’s something else here, hinting to the fact that we still may have a lot to learn about the way our body connects with our emotions.

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esp

Of course, members of Mysterious Universe know better than most that the current Scientific paradigm is adamantly against ANYTHING which could undermine Materialism. And sometimes these rejections can go to ridiculous lengths, as illustrated by such organizations like the (once) prestigious National Geographic, which recently decided to run an article on their website written by Susan Brink & titled ‘ESP Is Put to the Test—Can You Foretell the Results?: It’s just hokum, say researchers, who offer a new experiment as proof.’ 

The main objective of the post was to comment on a paper published on PLOS ONE, which apparently debunked any & all notions of psychic abilities to foretell the future. Problem is, as my colleague Martin Clemens has already pointed out, the paper has NOTHING whatsoever to do with ESP –the word itself is not even mentioned in it!– yet Brink had the gall to use this to condemn ESP research, and many other websites were all–too-happy to jump in the debunking bandwagon –shame on you, io9!

Dean Radin had this to say about the matter:

The majority of science news appearing on blogs today, even on presumably well-regarded sites like National Geographic, is just copy and pasted from other blogs. When one of the blogs gets the story wrong, but the topic seems suitably spicy for a “weird column,” a writer who is under pressure to provide daily blog content assumes that the content of the copied blog is correct, embellishes it a bit to avoid plagiarism filters, and submits it to an editor who doesn’t have the time or interest to check the facts.

This practice quickly perpetuates nonsense, the nonsense morphs into a widely cited source, and that soon becomes gospel on Wikipedia.  Wow.

Here at the Red Pills we often mention news articles referring to cutting-edge research, and extrapolate from them in order to provide what some would call ‘a Fortean spin’. Yet I trust my readers to recognize when yours truly is entering in speculative mode, which is different from confusing unconfirmed ideas with established facts.

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alien-intelligence

Speculation is after all, one of the pillars of Science –along with observation of the Natural world. That’s why it’s OK for scientists to discuss the subject of alien intelligence, even though we haven’t actually found any… officially, anyway.

You see, the problem with alien intelligence is that many people are expecting ET’s will be like us. Sure, they may have tentacles instead of arms, but still their civilization would have gone through the same stages ours have; and even if we don’t understand their language we’d still have things like Mathematics in common, right?

WRONG! says biologist Denise Herzing, who in a recent paper warns aliens might be truly alien in their way of thinking, and that humans should pay attention to the other intelligent species co-existing in our planet, in order to study different models of non-human cognition. We know for example that octopi are pretty savvy solving puzzles, and bees are capable of amazing accomplishments when tested as a group rather than single individuals.

I like this approach because it shows how biased Seth Shostak & all the celebrity scientists who deny the reality of UFOs are. They expect aliens to behave according to their quaint expectations & follow B-movie-ish ‘take me to your leader’ protocols. Yet I’ve always thought an alien intelligence is, by definition, CRAZY –in other words, their way of thinking would be so incompatible to ours, their actions & intentions would seem like nonsense to us. So instead of landing on the White House lawn maybe the aliens would prefer to buzz airline jets, and abduct truck drivers rather than chatting with Stephen Hawking.

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elain

Speaking of alien abduction, this week there was a sad announcement for the UFOlogy field: former MUFON state director Elaine Douglass, who later co-founded The Journal of Abduction-Encounter Research (JAR), passed away on January 27. Opinionated & of strong character, Elaine was never afraid to raise their voice in order to point out the problems she saw in the way UFO research was conducted; yet at the same time she was always willing to reach out & offer assistance or support to people who felt marginalized because of their experiences with non-human entities. Even if they didn’t agree with her, her peers always respected her tenacity & courage.

Descanse en Paz.

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Woops!

Woops!

The topic of alien-human hybrids is a subject of great contention amongst UFO researchers, yet through the use of modern genetic technology we already know our species has suffered previous hybridizations in the past, when the first humans interbred with Neanderthals, Denisovans and… well, pretty much everything on two legs — our ancestors sure showed a great deal of egalitarianism in their sex habits!

So what was the aftermath of all those hot, steamy cave nights? Turns out several diseases we modern humans suffer today were passed on by our Neanderthal cousins’ genes —including smoking addiction! Gee thanks a lot, Alley Oop

But that’s not all! A new study published on Nature paints a radical picture of the early European hunter-gatherers who lived 10-7,000 years ago. By studying fossil remains of a Mesolithic male discovered in Northern Spain, researchers found he once had blue eyes & dark skin –better not show that to all the fundies who still think Jesus had white skin & blonde hair!

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google

The color of our eyes will probably be of no consequence in the future, since we’ll have them replaced for super-enhanced cybernetic lenses –the question would still remain: Apple or Android?

It really does seem as if the search giant is looking to become the Weyland corporation: BBC reported Google acquired the AI startup DeepMind –and the previous owners are now DeepPocketed. And before that they acquired Boston Dynamics, the company who builds such terrorizing robots as Big Dog, so whatever it is they’re planning, it’s not just about software.

We should also keep in mind that Sergey Brin, one of Google’s co-founders, is a big believer in the Transhumanist movement; which is one of the reasons Ray Kurzweil himself works for the Mountain View giant. Are you ready for the coming of the Googlebots? Me neither.

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nihai

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against the idea of robots per se. After all, I’m a Star Wars fan! Who wouldn’t want their own R2-D2? Plus, robots have proven to be of great use in space exploration –when they don’t break down, that is.

The Chinese space agency is starting the year of the Wooden Horse with the wrong foot –um, hoof?– after it announced its lunar rover Jade Rabbit, which has captured the attention of the entire world, suffered a troubling malfunction caused by “the complicated lunar surface environment.” Regolith: it is a bitch.

Since the malfunction won’t allow the roving rabbit to completely shit down its systems & hibernate during the cold lunar night, which lasts 14 days, it seems as if its mission will end prematurely. Still, it was a great technical achievement for China &  it probably won’t dissuade them from continuing its aggressive push into becoming a space superpower.

Meanwhile, as Jade Rabbit’s fans anxiously awaits to learn its ultimate fate, the rover sent a last farewell worthy of an Ang Lee movie. *Sniff* We here at the Pills salute you, lil guy! Zhàogù.

2

Some rovers are hardier than others, it seems. Opportunity has just celebrated its tenth Marsiversary & despite a few ailments it’s still going strong, making its mission one of the most cost-efficient in NASA’s history. And almost as if to commemorate the occasion, the rover has been the cause of a curious controversy, which eventually ended up in a lawsuit.

It all started with a strange-looking donut-shaped rock that seemingly appeared out of nowhere, on a spot previously photographed by Opportunity’s camera. I originally decided the story wasn’t worthy of the Pills because, hey –it’s just an effing rock, right?

WRONG! says Rhawn Joseph, an author of many books ranging from UFOlogy, Neuroscience, Quantum physics & 9/11, who is convinced the ‘rock’ is actually proof of life on Mars, and is actively suing NASA for failing to investigate it with more scrutiny. If there’s one thing worse than Science by Proclamation, is Science by Jurisprudence…

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in a California court, is aimed at NASA and its Administrator, Charles Bolden, requesting that the agency “perform a public, scientific, and statutory duty which is to closely photograph and thoroughly scientifically examine and investigate a putative biological organism.” Joseph is disputing the rock theory, since, “when examined by Petitioner the same structure in miniature was clearly visible upon magnification and appears to have just germinated from spores.” (Joseph is the Petitioner.) The “rock,” according to the lawsuit, was there the whole time, it just grew until it became visible. “The refusal to take close up photos from various angles, the refusal to take microscopicimages of the specimen, the refusal to release high resolution photos, is inexplicable, recklessly negligent, and bizarre,” according to the suit.

Due to the legal procedure, the agency is not discussing much about the suit; but it’s clear they’ll stand by their position that what Opportunity found is nothing but a rock. And even though I have nothing in particular against Joseph, I fear he’ll join the infamous ranks of those who thought bringing lawyers to settle scientific matters was a good idea –e.g. those guys who sued the LHC because they feared it would destroy the world… in 2008.

1

lionel-hutz

What’s worse than a lawyer? A lawyer who works for a firm run by Lucifer himself. Devil’s Advocate is one hell of a movie!

Do I believe The Prince of Darkness actually exists? Not really, yet I’m still fascinated by cases of demonic possession; and right now the hottest paranormal story of the week involved a small family of Indiana –A woman named Latoya Ammons, her 3 children & her mother– who were besieged by strange & frightening circumstances of an apparent preternatural nature: Freaky swarms of flies in the middle of winter, shadow figures, levitation of the oldest daughter while she was unconscious, the children showing bulging eyes & evil expressions while talking with a lower voice tone, and the announcement by 2 clairvoyant that their rented home was being assailed by more than 200 demons!

Putting aside the ludicrous number, what strengthens the case of true paranormal activity was the testimony offered by members of the medical staff & agents of the Department of Child Services who examined the children, who also observed truly bizarre phenomena for which there isn’t a conventional explanation:

According to Washington’s original DCS report — an account corroborated by Walker, the nurse — the 9-year-old had a “weird grin” and walked backward up a wall to the ceiling. He then flipped over Campbell, landing on his feet. He never let go of his grandmother’s hand.

“He walked up the wall, flipped over her and stood there,” Walker told The Star. “There’s no way he could’ve done that.”

Later, police asked Washington whether the boy had run up the wall, as though performing an acrobatic trick.

No, Washington told them. She said the boy “glided backward on the floor, wall and ceiling,” according to a police report.

Washington did not respond to The Star’s requests for comment.

Ben & Aaron spent a great deal of the last free episode’s length going into this case, so I won’t delve into the particulars of it. Suffice it to say I really think something truly anomalous was happening to Ammons & her family; whether the events were colored & ‘co-created’ by the religious faith of those involved is hard to say, but it should be taken into account nevertheless.

As for the house where the events happened, after the family left it was eventually acquired by paranormal TV ‘celebrity’ Zak Baggans –if he’s into demon-collecting, then it was a real bargain.

Until next time this is RPJ jacking out, advising you to always keep in close a vial of holy water & a copy of the Roman rite –if anything, it would at least strike up for an interesting bar chat… double bonus if you’re wearing a black shirt.

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