Poltergeists need not apply

A stoush has erupted over whether Poltergeists are included under the study of Cryptozoology. While spokespeople from both sides of the fence agree that ‘noisy-ghosts’ belong under the umbrella of Paranormal, there is debate as to where, under that rather large term, the phenomenon falls.

“It is a phenomenon. There is direct interaction with the physical realm,” says Lead Investigator Herbert Lanigan from the Paranormal Institute of Wyoming (PIW), “As such, it cannot be ruled out that it is not animalistic in nature and therefore cannot be excluded as a cryptid or as an effect of a cryptid. One cannot lump everything unexplained into the ghost realm.”

He goes on to cite various examples where poltergeist activity was linked to psychological states of people, fueling his claim that it is caused by an animal, and therefore that animal can be classified as a cryptid.

“Utter rubbish,” says Head Observer of Utah and Surrounds Spiritual Researchers (USSR), “That would mean that anyone who had an Out Of Body (OOB) Experience, or was telekinetic in any way, should be classified as a cryptid. If that’s the case, then anyone with any psychic ability is open to being labeled as such. Besides, when objects are moved or people are slapped, there is no way to say that it is not a spirit interacting with the physical realm.”

He points to the fact that a poltergeist is, by its definition, a ‘noisy ghost’. If, he says, it is shown not to be a ghost, but the results of a psionic projection or an OOBE or telekenisis, then a new classification would be necessary.

“There’s no reason to hijack an established definition,” he says.

Further rebuttles come from the Colorado Cryptid and Anomalous Animals Association (CCAAA) member, Geraldine Andrews, “The definition of what constitutes a cryptid is very clear cut. It has to be an animal, not what the animal does. I can’t call the teeth marks of a Chupacapra a cryptid, any more than I can call tyre tracks a car. I agree that some cryptids are capable of psycho-kinetic powers, but I can’t agree that the manifestation should be included under the Cryptozoological roof.”

Herbert Lanigan responds to this by saying, “The activity of a poltergeist is caused by a single entity, and that entity is unexplained, can interact with objects and can move about, just as an animal can. Who is to say it is not an invisible animal, or an animal that can project itself?”

The debate is yet to be resolved and is to be reconvened in October.ChesterLogoSmall

Ice to See You

Scientists have been taking core sample of permafrost for some time, so you would be forgiven for thinking that there was nothing that could surprise them. The latest revelations by Professor Todd Smotheby of Dorchester, Analytical Scientist and Project Lead for Rockwell Climate Studies, have opened up a can of worms.

“It’s not something that I would have thought possible, but the evidence is pretty compelling,” he says, taking out his slides, “We performed a photonic fractioning analysis on a sample taken from a location close to Alaska, known to be inhabited quite some time ago by various tribes.”

He says that the analysis is a method of ‘walking back through time, layer by layer’ in order to see what environmental conditions were when the ice was formed. Using an increasing set of electromagentic waves, from radio through to x-rays, the typical analysis reveals different structures of ice, particulates and inclusions.

“But look at this!” he says proudly, holding up a set of photographs, “Using two beams crossed at close to seventy degrees, the resulting diffraction pattern actually forms what appears to be a tribe standing around a fire, might like a negative of a photograph!”

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Unconvinced, he repeated his experiment at various fractions, corresponding to dates in history.

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“On each date, I painstakingly adjusted the angle – sometimes for hours at a time – until I got another image. Here you can see the family, if we can assume that it is a family, perhaps a tribe, has grown in number. Here it is declining. This last slide, here, shows a single figure next to the fire, quite possibly the last of the nomads to remain before the frost settled,” he says, “After this point in time, no layers have any discernible images. I would speculate that no fire meant no intense light, and therefore no image could be formed.”

The ice, when cored, must be kept at sub-zero temperatures to maintain the images. It is a stroke of luck, he stresses, that the core cut happened to include the images within the ice as a few inches one way or the other would have a corrupt or incomplete image.

“And then we would never have found it. I’ll be going over the rest of our samples. We have requested funding to make to process automated, but in the meantime I am more than happy to continue my work manually.”

Todd says that the estimated date of the last image corresponds to 1856, which coincides closely with the last official record of the tribe in the area, a diary from a traveling missionary, which was 1858.

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Quantum Leech

Medicine has been fascinated with leeches for centuries, using them to thin the blood, remove clots and deal with hypertension. Now Potro Dhorma is bringing leeches into the world of Quantum Physics by seeing the world through the eyes of a leech.

“Leeches are incredible creatures. For something so seemingly fluid and unstructured, they’ve been designed very carefully. They are simple in structure, very simple, and it’s this simplicity that gives rise to perfect structures within the animal. The distance between the eyes is exact, correct to within nanometres in some species. This allows for precise measurements time taken between pulses of light reaching the sensors and subsequently the brain,” says Dhorma, “There are fifty receptors per eye, with a rigid, perfect alignment of each receptor, no lens to get in the way, so minimal processing power is required to interpret a signal.”

Building robots to accurately measure light pulsations is expensive and more complicated that one might think, he says, and operating on such a small scale means that often tolerances are exceeded.

“The experiments we are performing require very, very precise measurements. These can only come from very finely crafted sensors. It turns out those sensors are already being grown on our little friend here,” he says, holding up a leech for observation, “And we are not blessed with only one pair, but five.”

Asked whether there was a particular species of leech in use, Dhorma was quick to say that he could not identify it, given the secretive nature of his research. He did say, however, that he and his team are growing leeches in vats to genetically engineer a strain of perfect specimens.

“These critters will not be released into the wild. They are laboratory leeches only. Once we have perfected the strain, which, by our estimations based on convergence, should be within another fifteen generations, then we will be looking to patenting the creatures and selling them to the scientific community.”

When asked about how to use the leech, Dhorma demonstrated by dissecting one in front of us, attaching electrodes to the optic nerves, and hooking it up to a computer. He then showed how he can measure the time taken for photon interaction between the two sensors, and how they measure up against standard laboratory equipment.

“See, this sensor array here costs around two hundred dollars, it’s cumbersome to calibrate and it’s fragile. This leech would cost – including growing, harvesting, distributing and connecting – about five dollars when you add it all up. The results, even at this early stage, are almost identical,” he says proudly.

He says the working time of the eyes is around twenty four to forty eight hours after ‘harvest’, after which the results decline rapidly. The rate of decline is predictable and scientists could work around the shortfall.

“Of course, we could look at a solution whereby the leech is kept alive but immobile, perhaps with a kind of paralysis toxin. This would be ideal and an even more cost effective option.”ChesterLogoSmall

I <3 TV

Eating endorphin inspiring foods – such as chocolate – while performing similarly stimulating activities – such as watching television – leads to a ‘confused relationship with one’s environment’, says Doctor Christine Richwell of Montmorency Social Research Institute.

Monitoring the brain and hormone activity of subjects, Doctor Richwell demonstrated that those who consumed chocolate while watching television, playing on a game console or interacting with a mobile device exhibited signs of ‘falling in love’. The patterns observed by those participants in the study who did consume the food closely correlated to the state of being in love, even when the chocolate was later removed.

“It seems that the chocolate encourages false feelings to emerge. What’s not clear is whether the ‘love’ is directed toward the device or what is being presented upon the device,” she says, “Or if it is not directed at anything in particular. What is clear is that the consumption of food in conjunction with leisure activities creates an artificial world in which the participant experiences unreasonable feelings toward inanimate objects and greatly increases the chance that they will demonstrate unreasonable emotions in relation to that device.”

The study rose from an observation regarding divorcees, that in a proportionally significant number of cases, one or both of the divorcees had trouble relating to the real world as determined by an online psychological test.

“We’re not talking huge percentages, but they are significant. Ten to fifteen percent based upon a study done in Amsterdam. Marriages are only one victim of this kind of dissonance between reality and one’s emotions,” she goes on to say, “If I can demonstrate that humans are ‘loving’ their devices more than other humans, or objectophilia, then we’ve got a real problem on our hands. The normal human emotions of love, compassion and empathy should be applied to other humans, not electronic devices.”

When asked whether she recommends people stop eating chocolate while watching television, Doctor Richwell is cautious, “No, I don’t think that’s the answer. That would be a simplistic solution to what is really a complex problem. I believe the real problem is understanding and controlling one’s emotions, putting more effort into researching whether particular content is what is evoking such a response and what the long term effects of such disorders may be on the person, their families and the greater community. Whether or not there should be legislation to prevent such interactions, that is not for me to say.”

Doctor Richwell avoided answering questions about whether providers were deliberately altering their content to take advantage of the amorous response. She says that while it is entirely possible, and even plausible, that such companies could have found a formula to produce such sensations and keep their audiences ‘hooked’, her scientific research does not hold enough data to draw any conclusions.

“I’m a scientist, not an activist,” she says, “I can only show you what I have found, nothing more.”

The Sweet Smell of Silence

Sufferers of parcopresis, the inability to defecate for fear of privacy, can now budge their issues easier. Hotoa Industries of Quebec have released a new design of toilet bowl that will muffle the sound of falling faeces and the resulting sonics of the splash.

The bowl uses a patented design involving a sophisticated set of baffles designed to disperse, muffle and reflect the sound of all goings-on within the bowl, resulting in a more private poop.

“This is ground-breaking,” says Marius Ferrare, Senior Engineer and designer of the Shhpoop Toilet Bowl, “This invention will reduce the rates of constipation and subsequently save industry many millions of dollars in time off and time wasted waiting for others to vacate a shared toilet area.”

Statistics show that more than one in ten people suffer from “toilet shyness”, a condition that can be exacerbated by echoing cubicles and toilets located close to high foot-traffic areas. As a result, Marius explains, people who have parcopresis often take a long time to finish their business, or hold on until they can return to the privacy of their own home.

“It’s a real concern. We toyed with introducing a sound reduction system inside the cubicle but this was both ineffective and hard to standardise. Since most cubicles are open at the top and bottom, there was no way to ensure the sound would not propagate. The bowl, however, presents an almost entirely closed and much more predictable system,” he says, “Based on this, we focused our attentions on redesigning the bowl.”

The resulting product, looking similar to a toilet with turbo-chargers attached, costs only a tenth more than a standard ceramic issue and can reduce the overall noise by thirteen decibels on average, depending on the posture of the patron.

“This is a significant reduction. It’s like the difference between someone talking and someone mumbling. Combined with ambient background noise, this device would eliminate the need to cough to cover up tell-tale signs,” he says, “We shall see that the Shpoop will become the new normal for offices and shopping malls.”

The company is expected to release the bowl to the market later this year and is already making plans to design a similar device that would retrofit existing bowls.

Sweet Dreams

The quality of chocolate one consumes before bedtime is linked to the quality of one’s dreams, according to new research by Doctor Fiusse Moore, Director of Nocturnal Studies at Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Wellbeing.

It has been known for quite some time that chocolate induces endorphin, a chemical messenger that acts to calm and instill state of happiness. Now Doctor Moore’s research reveals that this translates into better dreams.

“We engaged a batch of subjects over the course of two months, one on a cheaper chocolate, one on an expensive brand and one on a chocolate scented placebo. The results were consistent that those who consumed chocolate had more positive dreams than those who did not, and those who consumed the higher grade chocolate had a a higher number and quality of dream overall,” he says, “We’re looking at an overall rate, on our scale, of 34% better dreams for those who eat chocolate, with a 12% difference between high quality and low quality chocolate.”

The determination of ‘quality’ is broken down into points for satisfaction, persistence, emotional response, relevance, vividness and excitement. Each category was assessed individually, along with combining the weighted scores into an overall ranking.

“Yes, it is subjective, which is why we took such a large testing sample. I would not call (the results) conclusive, not without further analysis on variables like the subject’s occupation and family situation, but overall I think there is merit in prescribing chocolate, even in pill form, for those suffering from chronic sleep ailments,” he explains, “We have a lot of information regarding quality of sleep, but not so much in terms of quality of dreams. Considering REM makes up about 25%, or one quarter, of our normal sleep activity, I contest that the quality of dreams will affect the quality of sleep.”

Subjects were given a diary to record their dreams, and encouraged to rate them as soon as possible. While the quality of dreams was shown, overall, to rise for chocolate consumers, the rate of actually remembering dreams (persistence) along with the vividness remained constant.

His next studies will focus on how the quality of dreams affects daily activity, and also to investigate foods that have the opposite affect in a bid to see exactly how one’s diet affects their dreams.ChesterLogoSmall

Hats off to your brain

Wearing a close fitting hat is a way to decrease one’s intelligence, according to Manfred Toule and his team of scientists. In a study involving more than five hundred candidates, the figures show that wearing and not wearing a hat creates a noticeable change in the apparent IQ.

“We had our candidates perform a set of tests over several days. Some wore hats first, others wore hats second, some wore none at all,” he says, “Those who wore no head-wear deomnstrated a relatively constant IQ. Those who wore hats, however, had an almost consistent 13% decrease in their apparent IQ on the days when their heads were covered.”

The teams first embarked on the research after they noticed that, in a separate study involving hair and intelligence, those with less on top tended to have more up top.

“The theory is that the brain, being so large in the human body, requires a very temperature regulated environment. One of the reasons we perspire so much, for example, and have such a large surface area on our head, is to shed the excess heat. Our cooling ability works quite well, so the ambient temperature normally doesn’t play a significant role in our ability to think.”

Tight or insulated head-wear, though, changes the way the body regulates its temperature and, as a result, the cranial temperature increases and this, he says, appears to be the main reason for the drop in intelligence.

“We have also experimented with the type of hat. Large, open space hats, like top-hats or stove-pipe hats, don’t exhibit as severe a drop, whereas woolen beanies, caps and ushankas all push the IQ down.”

Manfred has enlisted a design engineer to create a head cooling apparatus to see if a drop in cranial temperature results in a change in IQ, also.

“If it turns out that there is an optimal temperature for thinking, we may soon see a market for devices like this in offices, laboratories, anywhere that requires brain power. And why not? Athletes have specialised clothes to ensure their body runs efficiently, why not intellectuals?”

Manfred’s research is expected to be completed next year.

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