Wednesday, January 11, 2012

10 Unexplained Phenomena That You (Probably) Never Heard Of

1. Toads in the Coal

According to official and reputable sources there have been over 90 recorded unexplained cases of amphibians being found alive but fully encased in coal pockets or stone geodes. Of these cases, 40 involved frogs or toads. The most well respected case is documented in the Reader’s Digest book – “Mysteries of the Unexplained”. There is a pattern to the various discoveries. In most cases the frog is discovered in a chamber full of mucous and is usually very pale or white in colour. After a few minutes exposed to air it comes-to-life and is usually quite active for a short while before turning grey and apparently developing respiratory difficulties. In most cases the animal dies within 24 to 72 hours but there are some references that when these poor creatures were quickly allowed into fresh pond water they seem to have survived indefinitely.

Logically, these accounts of entombed amphibians seem impossible but it is worth noting that certain frogs do seem to have some ability to enter a state of suspended animation. Also, the most credible accounts of these incidents suggest that the “rocks” may have formed within the past thousands of years rather than millions. Finally, frogs and toads do burrow into soft “muds” that can appear to fossilise quite quickly and, in the correct environment, appear to turn to stone particularly if they are exposed to high levels of mineralised water such as the Petrifying Well of Knaresborough, England.

2. Flimmern-Geists

The words “Flimmern” and “Geist” are Germanic in origin and translate as Flicker-Spirits or Flicker-Guides. This unexplained phenomenon was first described by the alchemist Jakob Bohme in the 16th Century as the ability to see shadowy figures out of the corner of your eye. Generally, these beings flicker in-and-out of a person’s peripheral vision and appear to be humanoid, dark and agile. The truth is that almost every person alive has at some time seen a fast moving shadow just at the edge of their vision and turned to look but seen nothing more. These observations are most often accompanied by shivers, chills and a sensation that something odd has happened. Scientists are quick to suggest that this phenomenon is just a “trick of the eyes” but fail to explain both how and why.

It is possible that these unexplained apparitions are just the hallucinations of the brain as it tries to decipher the edge of visual perception but others believe that it is in this marginal zone that the eye and the mind is able to perceive another more paranormal dimension. These Flickering Spirits are often described as being cloaked but those that have trained themselves to observe this phenomenon simply describe a blurred outline that can easily be mistaken for dark clothing. In late 16th century culture and superstition these Flimmern-Geists were largely associated with death and may well have given rise to the popular image of the “Grim Reaper” the personification of Death – a dark hooded figure that flickered in-and-out of a person’s vision shortly before they died. There is a current school of occult thought that proposes that these “Flicker-Ghosts” are somehow the guides that lead a person’s soul to the afterlife. The reality is that nobody really knows why or how individuals see these things but there is no doubt that many millions do. In fact, so many humans see them that they treat them as just-one-of those-things that, you know, just happen.

3. Impossible Footprints

Is it possible to find fossil-trace foot prints of dinosaurs and humans in the same rock? Some people believe that they have evidence for just such an impossible occurrence. Archaeologists and palaeontologists as well as other interested amateurs have been discovering dinosaur footprints in various types of sedimentary rock. These footprints are created when a creature leaves an imprint in soft material such as mud, clay or sand. If the conditions are right then the imprint is filled-in with more material while retaining its shape. Over time the soft material is covered by new layers which preserves the prints and hardens into stone. Millions of years later these tracks may be revealed by natural erosion or excavation.

There is nothing strange or inexplicable about this process. However, there have been many reported accounts of human footprints being found together with dinosaurs - or in rocks that date from many millions of years ago and long before humans are believed to have evolved. Naturally, this has created a significant controversy between scientists, creationists and other interested parties. The most famous site, and the one featured in the image, is the Paluxy site near Glen Rose in Texas, USA. Still, claims persist that some of the tracks were modified to look more like human footprints after the locals realised the potential tourism value. Some additional ancient footprint-examples include the Burdick Print also from Glen Rose, the Meister Print from Antelope Springs, Utah, the Nevada Shoe Print and the Coffee Print from Stinnet, Texas. Most reputable palaeontologists dismiss these claims as hoaxes or misinterpretations but advocates of the fossil-trace footprints argue that in many cases the finds are dismissed unfairly simple because mainstream science declares them impossible and refuses to carry out the correct study. In this case we at Aquiziam tend to side with the mainstream science that there is a better explanation that human-dinosaur coexistence. Still, who knows for sure?

4. Vanishing People

Worldwide there are literally hundreds of thousands of missing persons and many more disappear every day. One only has to search Google Images for “Missing People” to appreciate the scale of the problem. Many of these missing people are found but a significant proportion disappears forever. Where they went or what happened to them is a mystery in its own right but still not as strange as Vanishing People. These are individuals that for no apparent reason simply vanish in front of witnesses who are at a complete loss to explain what happened. It is worth noting, as with many other mysteries, that some of these cases have turned out to be hoaxes. In general, there are a couple consistencies in the most well known cases that are worth mentioning.

All the people involved were (or appeared to be) content with their lives. All of them were engaged in a normal activity such as running a race or walking through a field when they simply vanished. There are hundreds of well documented cases of people disappearing in mysterious circumstances but actually very few where they simply vanished in full view of other people. We’ve listed this as a phenomenon because of its pervasive theme in stories, films and cultural beliefs. As an example, the films Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Illusionist and the X-files all refer to this occurrence. The belief in the possibility of this as a phenomena has been reinforced by the acts of stage magicians that really do appear to be able to make others disappear.

5. Mystery Scratches

Have you ever woken up in the morning to find strange and unexplained scratches or bruises on your body and in places you couldn’t have reached yourself. Well ... even if you haven’t millions of others have. In fact, there are internet forums where people describe the phenomenon and desperately appeal for explanations and help. (Just google: “strange cuts and scratches” or “mysterious scratches on body”) In most cases the scratches are mild and disappear in a day or two and the vast majority of these cases never get medically reported as the sufferers usually convince themselves that they are somehow self inflicted. Others attribute the injuries to bug bites, allergic reactions or even something that happened during the day that they failed to notice at the time.

Usually the incident is forgotten as soon as the bruises vanish or the scratches fade. However, persistent sufferers go to great lengths to rule out these possibilities. There have been cases of sufferers wearing gloves to bed, fumigating their houses and even taking full medical allergy tests all to no avail. In one case a woman went to the extreme length of having a friend watch her while she slept and still woke up with new bruises and scratches. According to her friend nothing strange happened except for a period when the victim tossed and turned restlessly for about 15 minutes. Doctors try to put forward rational explanations for this condition such as the skin disease Pityriasis Rosea but most of these thoroughly fail to convince those that have actually experienced it happening to them. The phenomenon has persisted through the centuries and in the past has been explained by demons, having-a-devil-on-your-back, goblin fury, divine punishments and even encounters with incubi or succubae. In some cases the victims report that in addition to the scratches and bruises they have other more disturbing injuries.

6. Natural Infrasound

Infrasound is described as any audio wave frequency that is lower than the 20Hz that can be detected by the human ear. There is no doubt that Infrasound exists and it can be both detected and created by audio technology. It can travel long distances and is often associated with natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. It may be the reason that animals can anticipate such events before humans can and researchers are now using infrasound detection equipment as part of civil defense early warning systems. Studies have shown that when humans are exposed to infrasound they develop feelings of supernatural awe, fear, depression and anxiety that can lead to complete panic attacks.

Some researchers have even claimed that the 19Hz cycle is particularly associated with paranormal events and may be a stimulus for disruption of human vision creating the illusion of ghostly perceptions. If the source of the infrasound is powerful enough it can create vibrations in objects that make them appear to move of their own accord and even cause glass to break. Infrasound has been used at political rallies to stimulate the crowd, as a psychological weapon to demoralise the enemy and as special effects amplifiers in films. The effect of Infrasound on the human body is being explored in various studies but, as yet, it is not illegal to expose humans to such low frequencies even though the long-term health effects are unknown.

7.  The Hessdalen Lights

Strange and still-unexplained lights in the sky are a fairly common occurrence and most can be explained as either man-made objects or natural phenomena such as the Aurora Borealis or even shooting stars. However, there are occasions when the phenomena persist and the mysterious lights that still materialize over Hessdalen in central-eastern Norway are one such case in point. According to various sources they started to appear in 1940 but it was in 1981 that the intensity of these phenomena increased dramatically and started to be recorded by everyday people. Records show that at certain times there have been 20 reported sightings in just one week.

Although the intensity of this mysterious phenomenon has declined over the years there are still regular sightings and various scientific and quasi-scientific study projects have been established to monitor these lights. Visually they look like small pockets of burning gas (blue or orange) but maintain their luminosity for far longer than just a simple flaming of combustible methane or hydrogen. The lights also move in a way that is similar (but slower) to reports of ball lightning but otherwise have no similarities. The Hessdalen Automatic Measurement Station was established in August 1998 and has regularly recorded inexplicable lights from 1983 until now. Everyone has a theory as to what might be casing these phenomena. Some of the claims include UFO portals, spontaneous combustion of natural gasses, Will-o'-the-wisps, ball lightning, Scandium effects and localized Ionic charges. At times it seems as if the Hessdalen lights are used as proof of everything from divine apparitions to alien invasion. There have been several claims in the media that the mystery of the Hessdalen lights has been solved usually accompanied with a statement that these results will be released sometime in the future. We’re still waiting.

8. Time Slips

According to great scientists such as Albert Einstein, time is not as stable as most of us think. As humans we’re adjusted to time and our evolution has established tricks to allow our conscious minds to deal with it but in reality it’s a slippery concept. Time slips occur when a current time (now) interlaces with a previous time (then) and can be experienced by the person from the more recent time. However, the event is usually unnoticed by the people from the earlier time.

What is the evidence for this phenomenon? Well ... plenty if you know where to look. In fact it is so common that we’ve even built it into the English language. We’ll explain. When a time slip occurs people in both realities are able to experience the alternative reality.

Still, according to most accounts, this usually lasts for only a few seconds and the human brain does its best to filter out these anomalies. This has given rise to expressions such as “I could have sworn that I’ve just seen” or “my eyes must be playing tricks on me” or even “you won’t believe what I just saw”. Over the years people have claimed that they’ve seen old airplanes parked in fields that were once airports or roman soldiers marching down their road. In almost all cases the person experiencing the time slip blinks, looks again and is startled to find that whatever they saw has now vanished. However, photography has captured these anomalies from the time that the camera was first invented. In fact, the longer exposure times of early cameras have revealed more than the modern “instant” versions do but there are still oddities such as the image captured on Google Earth that clearly shows a World War Two bomber flying over Britain. Is this a time slip or just the folks at Google having a laugh? Perhaps it’s a reconstruction from an air show?

Not all time slips are brief and there have been occasions when people have entered a room and been startled to find that they are in a completely different time. One case was recorded by Mr Archie “Racer” Carmichael who was driving from Birmingham to London in 1953 when he stopped for a drink in a Cotswold village near Borton-on-the-Water. He parked his Austin-Healy 100/4 outside the local pub and entered for a drink. He was shocked when the he found the people inside the bar looked as if they were from an earlier century. His attempts to communicate were ignored and after a few minutes the scene dissolved and Archie found himself being asked if he was alright by a worried looking barman. It seems that he thought he had seen ghosts but was probably experiencing a time slip.

9. The Plain of Jars

Located in the Lao Highlands the Xieng Khouang area is at the centre of a remarkable archaeological site known as the Plain of Jars. Scattered across this region are thousands of stone jars that scientists have estimated date from approximately 2000 years ago. They range in size from quite small to enormous with the largest weighing up to 14 tonnes. Very little is known about the makers and scientific attempts visit the site and conduct excavations are severely hampered by the vast number of unexploded bombs that litter the sites. These munitions are the remnants of the Secret War when the USA carried out one of the most intensive bombing campaigns in all history.

It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 unexploded devices in the immediate region making this one of the most hazardous archaeological sites in the world. Unraveling the true history and origin of the jars is further complicated by the fact that the 1969 bombing campaign effectively wiped the place off the map and scattered the original inhabitants far and wide. There are many theories as to why the Jars were created. Some believe that they were funerary urns for human ashes while others believe they were designed to store rainwater from the monsoons. This does make a certain amount of sense as they are located exactly on one of the ancient trade routes from Northern India. At times they have certainly had a religious significance as limited excavations have revealed that some contained statues of Buddha as well as other offerings such as beads and bronze tools. What is often overlooked is that these jars would have required vast human effort to create, perhaps even on the same scale as Stonehenge, and would have been done for a reason of great significance. For now, their existence is just another ancient mystery that defies immediate explanation.

10.  Hyper Perceptions

Most people will experience Hyper Perception at least once or twice in their lifetime. This phenomenon usually occurs when a person visits a place they’ve never been before and yet experiences a very strong sense of familiarity. This should not be confused with déjà vu which is often fleeting and is really just a brief feeling of having seen or done something before. Hyper Perception is extended when the same person may perceive things about the place that they couldn’t possibly know. Unlike time slips or déjà vu, the feeling grows stronger the longer they stay and in some cases people have reported suddenly being aware of very clear memories of the place from other times often decades or even centuries in the past.

Tour guides in stately homes or other historic sites have become quite used to people coming up to them and say things like “wasn’t there a statue by that tree” or “didn’t this floor used to wood?” In many cases the guides will admit that this used to be the case many years ago but they were moved or renovated. The guides then usually ask how the visitor knew this to which the answer is almost always: “I don’t know I just seem to remember it being that way”. In certain cases people who have experienced very strong hyper perceptions find the experience quite disturbing. The picture to the right and above is of Warwick Castle in England. Some years ago a member of the team visited it to take photographs and was so overwhelmed with a sense of having actually lived there before that he later spent months researching both the history of the Castle and his own family tree to see if there was any connection. He didn’t find one but still keeps looking. To test his own perceptions he visited the Castle again several years later and felt the identical sensation which he states he has never experienced anywhere else. Strangely, very little has been written about hyper perception as it is usually and unfairly bundled together with claims of clairvoyance, ESP and fortune telling.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

#8 proof here