Friday, 24 December 2010

A Heroine for the Internet Age


A HPANWO book review

Author’s website:
http://judecalverttoulmin.blogspot.com/
Fleur-de-Lys Publishing: http://www.fleurdelyspublishing.com/

As a writer I often become acquainted with other writers when we are drawn together by our mutual profession. I make an effort to read the books by people I know and if I think they’re up to standard I review them on HPANWO. My Adventures in Cyberspace by Jude Calvert-Toulmin is one such title. Like I did, she's taken the courageous and creative step of self-publishing her literature.

My Adventures in Cyberspace is a very absorbing and poignant saga following about a year in the life of a Sheffield housewife called Dominique Du Bois (Du Bois means “wooden” in French, but she is nothing of the sort!); it is semi-autobiographical, as the author admits in her bio, and very candid and honest. It's thoroughly analytical of the character's own psychological landscape and describes her highs and lows with imaginative and perceptive metaphors and similes (You'll never look at an elastic band in the same way again!). Dominique is in an unfulfilling marriage and generally stuck in a rut with her life until she discovers the fun and frolics of Internet forums. There she quickly makes friends... and enemies; the latter is inevitable because the Net is a paradise for bullies and sadists who can snipe and gripe while cowering behind the impunity of a keyboard and monitor. However one poster comes to her rescue, a rock-climbing Yorkshireman by the username of "Ben J". Slowly and graciously Dominique and he fall in love, without even having met. "Ben J", or Ben Johnson to use his real name, is also unhappily married and both he and Dominique have to disengage themselves from their current situations in order to become a couple. This causes heartrending mayhem as, not just Ben and Dominique's current spouses, but their "friends", relations, acquaintances and hangers-on desperately try to hold them apart with envy, possessiveness and spite. On top of all this Dominique is haunted by memories of her past, her mentally-ill mother, her vindictive stepmother and her estranged adolescent daughters. But despite all of this she and Ben persevere in their relationship, spending romantic and stylishly-pornographic weekends away together, looking forward to the day when they can live as a couple, in peace and happiness. By the end of the book I was yelling out in support for them, highly emotionally-involved in their plight. Dominique is a real heroine for the Internet Age and somebody many readers will identify with, whether you're male or female. This is only the first part in a trilogy and it ends with the main character experiencing a spiritual revelation, just at the brink of her success. They've made it, but have they? I'm looking forward to Part 2!

One of the aspects I liked most about this story is the way the central male character, Ben, is portrayed. We live in a world governed by the Conformist mind-controlling media, of which regular HPANWO-readers will have seen me discuss many times. I’ve spoken of my concerns that the male psyche is being manipulated and engineered by programmes such as EastEnders, Hustle and various Reality TV shows. See: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/07/grimlys.html . My Adventures in Cyberspace challenges this Conformist value because unlike so many other male protagonists, who are very ruthless and acquisitive individuals, “Ben J” is described as being very kind and compassionate; “open-hearted” and sometimes “naïve”. Far from being repelled from him, as a Conformist female character would be, Dominique finds these qualities in Ben very appealing. So there’s a subtle but distinctively seditious streak to Jude’s novel which gave me great satisfaction.

Interestingly, like in the book, I only know Jude and her partner Brian through the medium of the Internet. We were all members of the discussion forum of a well-known mainstream journalist. To begin with it was a wonderful forum, one of the best ones I’ve ever been on. Unlike many celebrities, the host used to contribute to the forum himself and we all became friends. Sadly the host made a rather bad choice of member to administer the forum and pretty soon this administrator began dishing out wildcat bannings based on the flimsiest of excuses or as a result of private disputes. Jude and Brian were part of this purge. I left the forum soon afterwards in protest. I went back to lurk a few times and saw that the place had been totally ruined; its spirit of interest and openness gone forever. A good forum is a very fragile thing and can fail so easily therefore I make a lot of effort to be a fair moderator of the HPANWO Forum. Like Jude and her character Dominique, I’ve been on the receiving end of Internet bullying and stalking; it’s not pleasant. However, as I say in this review, my contempt for Internet bullies adds to my determination not to give in to them. Something else I share in common with Dominique.

Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/12/israeli-roswell.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/12/zecharia-sitchin-1929-2010-official.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/north-korea-is-very-bad-indeed.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/prince-william-gets-engaged.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/12/butts-winter-wonderland.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/illuminati-speaks-william-and-kate.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/evans-land-audio-book.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/illuminati-speaks-william-and-kate.html

Friday, 17 December 2010

Andrew Johnson Newspaper Ad




I was flicking through the Oxford Journal, a free local newspaper, a few days ago and saw something that convinced me I was hallucinating. There was a full-page advertisement for Andrew Johnson’s Checktheevidence.com website, a massive and fascinating collection of information (I was flicking through the Oxford Journal, a free local newspaper, a few days ago and saw something that convinced me I was hallucinating. There was a full-page advertisement for Andrew Johnson’s CheckTheEvidence.com website, a massive and fascinating collection of information (http://www.checktheevidence.com/cms/). The ad showed a photo of Chemtrails and also links to various Chemtrail research and campaigning sites. A few months ago somebody had contacted me on YouTube and asked me about pooling our resources, chipping in and buying a Truth ad in the mainstream press. I was not hallucinating; Andrew Johnson has done just that. The ad came with the disclaimer: “The views expressed in this advertisement are those of the advertiser and not necessarily those of the Oxford Journal.” Well done, Andrew! This is one of many excellent ideas of “spreading the word”. There are others that are just as effective, and less expensive if you can’t afford to do what Andrew has done. You can print flyers; leaflet in the street or put them through people’s doors. Stickers in public toilets are a good way to do things. You don’t have to go out into the streets with a megaphone, so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty if you don’t do that. You'll eventually find your own way.

Activities like this really stick it in the face to Skeptical analysts like Michael Barkun (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Barkun ) In his very patronizing and uninformed book Culture of Conspiracy Barkun stated that “Conspiracy Theorists” like me don’t really want to wake people up or spread the word. We secretly like the fact that we’re in a “cultic milieu” of privileged information. We like being able to look down on “Sheeple” and our information would lose its exclusivity, like a devalued currency, if too many people knew about it. Well I hope this shows Barkun that that is totally untrue. There’s nothing I’d like more if everyone in the world knew what I do! I’d love them all to make films and articles that make my own dissolve into insignificance! Then the world will change and we can have freedom! I don’t enjoy being part of a small community of Truthers. I never use the word “Sheeple” and don’t disparage those around me who do not yet accept what is really going on vis-à-vis 9/11, UFO’s, the spiritual cover-up etc.

I now feel a few regrets that I didn’t get together with that fellow YouTuber and get some of us into a group to produce an ad. I have very few resources, but if we all put in a few pounds it wouldn’t take long until we had enough for the fee for a newspaper ad. The Oxford Journal is published by what used to be the Pergamon Press, Robert Maxwell’s company that gives us The Daily Mirror and The European, not a hotbed of radicalism by any mean! So it goes to show that papers will publish anything so long as the customer pays. Of course the editors and owners would love to censor it, but, as I said in my interview on the Richplanet Starship,(See: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-interview-on-richplanet-starship.html) there’s a limit to what can be covered up by force. So let’s go for it!

Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/12/zecharia-sitchin-1929-2010-official.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/north-korea-is-very-bad-indeed.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/prince-william-gets-engaged.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/slavefare.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/illuminati-speaks-william-and-kate.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/evans-land-audio-book.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/illuminati-speaks-william-and-kate.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/making-dignity-statements.html

Friday, 26 November 2010

Evan's Land Online



As you’ll know if you’re a regular HPANWO-reader, my second novel Rockall is freely-available on Ben’s Bookcase here: http://hpanwo-bb.blogspot.com/2009/02/rockall-chapter-1.html . But I know that some of you are not aware that Rockall is only my second novel and that I published a first novel in 2002 called Evan’s Land. This book was written during a period of my life when I was a very different person to whom I am now. And seeing as Rockall was up on HPANWO maybe I should put Evan’s Land up there too. There are three reasons why I hesitated: Firstly I’d lost the original Word files I'd used to write it. They were on an old floppy disk that had become corrupt over time, as they do. I’d have had to scan the pages in which would have been fairly costly and time-consuming, as well as probably using up a copy of the book that could have been sold. Secondly I consider it an inferior novel to Rockall. Some of it makes me cringe a bit actually. But thirdly, and most importantly, it is something of a personality-fossil; it was the creation of somebody who, although he shares the same soul, memories and personality with me, is a total stranger. In the end though I decided to go ahead and do it, but to avoid the hassle of creating a written copy, and to be a bit original, I decided to publish its online edition as an audio book; see: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/evans-land-audio-book.html . I was a bit concerned that without the right audio recording methods the soundtrack might not be good enough, but as you can see I’ve had some comments that have alleviated those fears.

Evan’s Land is set in a kind of future or parallel world. It follows the path of a young Welshman, Even Hughes as he has his life uprooted and revolutionized when he returns to Wales to find it a changed country to the one he left as a child, a nation torn apart by civil war. He goes through much turmoil and trouble before he eventually finds his true destiny. What I have constantly tried to deny, unsuccessfully, is that Evan is not me. It was dishonest of me to try actually and I apologize. He is very similar to how I was back then and by comparing him to my other alter-ego, Dill from Rockall, you will see how much I’ve changed in the last decade. Evan’s Land was written in 1998 and 1999 when I was still a Delivery Suite Porter and I was revising it at the time I rebelled against what I saw as unacceptable and unjust policies and practices in that department. This led to me being transferred out. It was also at the time when I first began considering the “Conspiracy Theories” that have since become such an important area of my life. This began with the suggestion that the Apollo Moon Landings were faked. In fact when first wrote the book, in the scene where Evan and Connie are at the railway station pub in Cardiff I had Connie tell Evan that “man reached the moon during the Barbarian Age”. In my revision I felt uncomfortable making that assertion in the light of my new revelations and struck that line out. Since then of course I’ve gone on to look into more and more areas of how strange this world is and how badly we who live in it have been lied to; so in reading, or rather listening, to Evan’s Land you’ll notice a distinct lack of Conspiratorial and Spiritual awareness that is present in Rockall, The Obscurati Chronicles and my other more recent pieces of fiction.

The book is essentially about Wales. I consider myself a bit of a mondialist, a “Citizen of the World” (I don’t like that cliché though) and I despise Nationalism of any kind, but if I have any patriotic feelings at all then these rest in Wales. I love Wales, its people, its landscape, its language, its thoughts. Like all cultures, Wales has its own unique wisdom and viewpoint on life and the universe, but like all cultures it also has its own unique stupidity and error. Evan’s Land is intended to be first and foremost a satire of Welsh Nationalism. I emulate Malcolm Pryce’s cultural parodies of Wales, only mine is a political parody; see: http://www.malcolmpryce.com/ . Actually Howard, an old friend of my family, first bought me a Malcolm Pryce book because he said it reminded him of mine. Oddly enough Pryce published his first Aberystwyth book at around the same time I did Evan’s Land; maybe Jane Dorner is right and we picked up on something “morphic” in the air! I hope you enjoy it. When (or if!) I (ever) finish The Obscurati Chronicles you’ll be able to compare it to both my previous works and gain even further insight into my mind and soul. (Sorry if you’re waiting for a new HPANWO article; I’m currently too busy because of my audio book project, but I am planning more articles when this task is done.)

Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/north-korea-is-very-bad-indeed.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/prince-william-gets-engaged.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/slavefare.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/printer-cartridge-bomber.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/evans-land-audio-book.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/illuminati-speaks-william-and-kate.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/making-dignity-statements.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/see-httpwww.html

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Meaning of Life?




Related articles: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/10/in-burning-darkness.html
And: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/01/bhutan-happiest-country-in-world.html
And: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/04/god-delusion-by-richard-dawkins.html

Philosophy is an absolutely huge subject. Those who study it at university have to spend literally years reading. There are many prominent philosophers and almost as many not-so-prominent ones that a dedicated student would have to study. And philosophers love to write! They are some of the most prolific authors you’ll find. My own personal favourite, Ken Wilber (See links), has produced over a dozen book, including some huge doorsteps that I couldn’t cope with like Sex, Ecology and Spirituality (Luckily he went on to produce a condensed edition of S,E and S called A Brief History of Everything! which is slightly more digestible.) Philosophers are a strange bunch, in fact Julian Baggini describes them as “adults who don’t stop asking the questions that small children usually ask". Actually Baggini’s own book What’s it All About? is in fact an excellent introduction to the entire subject of philosophy. Here’s Julian’s blog: http://julianbaggini.blogspot.com/ . Philosophy and philosophers are essentially very comic subjects and I love Douglas Adams’ Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy because it lampoons philosophy with such wit and brilliance.

Living in Oxford I’ve managed to meet a few philosophers and I’ve come to find them interesting people although there is an element that I’ve noticed in their culture that I’ve christened EPM, “Everything’s Pointless and Meaningless”. Many philosophers are very pessimistic; people like Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer etc. They’ve come to the conclusion that the universe is a bleak, cruel and dispassionate creation in which human beings are the helpless playthings of random chance; good and bad fortune striking without intent, forethought or consequence. This outlook may or may not be true; I’ll come to that later, but whether it is or not there seems to be a bulwark of prestige associated with thinking this viewpoint that is very similar to what I have termed MBA, See here for a background to MBA, although if you’re familiar with my work you’ll know what I mean by now!: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/05/butt-wins-mba.html and: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2009/09/prof-chris-french-mba-gold.html . The prestige that’s awarded to you for embracing a very pessimistic philosophy is very like the accolades of MBA and some philosophers really love to wallow in it! Schopenhauer, for instance, advised his readers to swallow a live toad every morning when you get out of bed because that was the only way to ensure nothing worse would happen! This is very similar to the self-indulgent superiority of MBA, although there are slight differences. There are those who are EPM-believers who are not necessarily MBA-ers; however mostly the two overlap. Conversely there are MBA-ers who are not EPM-ers; or those who don’t believe in Life-After-Death, but do think there is a point and meaning to life. To be a true MBA-er it is essential that you think that there is no form of Life-After-Death. There are EPM-ers who actually do believe in a Life-After-Death… and this is a kind of confession time for me, because I think I might be one of them!

I’ve been studying spiritual, mystical and philosophical cosmologies of all kinds for many years now. I’ve heard it said many times that human life on Earth is a purposive experience, that we incarnate here to fulfill some kind of divine plan, to achieve goals and meet targets (sorry if that sounds like a government auditing office!) that we agree to engage in before our incarnation. This is the core notion behind Michael Newton’s hypnotherapy studies, see: http://www.spiritualregression.org/ . In the last couple of years I’ve come to doubt this. How I came to this viewpoint or what reason I have is not something I can put into words right now; nor has it been a “Eureka!” moment. It’s a thought that has been building up slowly over some time. What if the universe we perceive as reality actually has no purpose? What if it’s just here because, to quote a philosophical joke, “where else would it be?” Why did I incarnate here? For a plan or lesson? Or maybe I just incarnated here by random chance; maybe I did it as a whim. What if I did it for a bet!?

A few years ago I read a book called The Lucifer Code (It was originally just called Lucifer, but in the slipstream of Dan Brown every publisher was adding the suffix “Code” to their titles!) by Michael Cordy, see: http://michaelcordy.com/MIchael_Cordy_-_Welcome.html . It’s a fascinating read because it follows a religious sect that uses psychic powers, enhanced by high-tech computers, to contact spirits on the dead. One of these spirits, a leader of their sect, comes back on international television to explain that there is no Heaven or Hell or God or Devil and that life is just a chaotic and uncontrolled cycle of birth, death, reincarnation and further reincarnation for eternity. The results are electrifying and people riot on the streets in fear and outrage, driven to madness by this sudden revelation of indisputable EPM. I actually think that the EPM view might well be true. The universe is beginning to look increasingly bitty and nonsensical to me. But I’d like to emphasize two provisos: Firstly just because the universe is fundamentally meaningless in itself doesn’t mean that we have to live meaningless lives. We have active minds with Free Will and can give meaning to things that have none in themselves. This is the basis of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism and I rather endorse that! I’d also like to make it clear that I have no intention of becoming an EPM-poser! I don’t feel in any way superior for thinking what I do; I don’t look down on others who do not uphold EPM-Theory. I actually dislike the rather childish back-slapping self-congratulation of the EPM-posers as much as I dislike that of the MBA-laureates. I don’t feel my life is in any way diminished in quality or value because I’m an EPM-er. It changes nothing about my life’s ambitions and goals as far as I’m concerned. I’m still determined that we must stop the New World Order and create a better and happier world for everyone. The Earth and this Universe and glorious and beautiful objects; I love and revere them and I will do anything to defend and nurture them. So here’s to Pointlessness and Meaniglessness! May they have a great point and meaning!

Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/prince-william-gets-engaged.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/slavefare.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/printer-cartridge-bomber.html

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Is it Cool to be Anti-Icke?



There is something I've noticed on the conference scene. Among conspiracy researchers it's become very trendy and prestigious to dislike David Icke and his work. It's almost become a kind of badge of one’s own self-perceived sophistication! They say things like "Yeah I started reading his kids' stuff but I've evolved beyond that now". I often get ridiculed by other researchers; when I say that I like David and am still very interested in his discoveries. Take a look at the HPANWO Forum on the links column. In fact at a live show in Brighton I went to, the speaker made a joke on stage about David being my "hero"; and on the HPANWO Forum they even say that I “adulate” and “worship” him as my “guru”. I don't mind people making jokes about me, but what's wrong with admiring someone and appreciating the wonderful gift they've given me?

This cool and trendy anti-Icke tendency in conspiracy research comes across as a bit childish.
It may well be that David has got it wrong, seriously, in some areas. It's also likely that he's under psychic attack and that dark forces are taking advantage of him. This kind of trendy "anti-Icke" culture rears its ugly head among serious and otherwise clued-up researchers whom I thought better of.

It doesn't bother me so much when a person who's been exposed only to Conformist media comes up and ridicules David, in a way that's to be expected and I'd have done the same once, but it does bother me when somebody who understands the conspiracy sits around with his mates back-slapping over how much more "in there, man" they are than David’s fans. I thought the whole idea of conferences was to get above all that childish, egotistical sniping and griping. Sure I don't agree with everything David says, but that doesn't mean he's not someone to listen to and admire for his contribution to our awareness.

Marmite-Lover, a friend of mine (See links) has come up with a wonderful term to describe conspiracy researchers who are too far up their own arses "synchro-mystical”. There's too much ego-driven "criticism" and competition. I don't get into that. I do my own thing. I don't see myself as having to live up to any standards that other researchers set. But I learn from all. If I think somebody is talking 99% nonsense then I'll learn from their 1% and appreciate it rather than put them down for their 99%.


Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/slavefare.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/printer-cartridge-bomber.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/thank-goodness-for-wikileaks.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-first-ageless-birthday.html


Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/see-httpwww.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/nottingham-grafitti.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/uk-probe-conference-2010.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/who-fuck-is-ed-miliband.html

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Resurrection- Kevin Annett is Back on the Air


It’s been some years now since I first woke up and realized that the world we think is real is a fraud, a façade propped up in front of our eyes to stop us seeing the truth. But of all the conspiracies I’ve encountered the most shocking and upsetting has to be what has been termed The War Against Children. Nobody has had more experience with and done more to oppose this war than Kevin Annett. The first time I saw his film Unrepentant is something I will never forget. See here for background: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/10/unrepentant-kevin-annett-and-canadas.html

Here’s the video I made about one of Kevin’s very unfair and ignorant critics: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/truth-posers.html

This is the latest episode of Kevin’s new radio show Resurrection: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hiddenfromhistory/2010/11/06/resurrection-kevin-annett-is-back-on-the-air

I’m one of the guests on this show and I come on the air about 55 minutes into the programme. The reason I’m there is because I’ve no doubt that the Canadian Residential Schools Scandal is just one part of a global conspiracy of horror. As I explain in the interview, it’s the most important piece of activism we can do and when the whole story comes out it is going to blow our minds! It will be a scandal beyond scandal! There is no precedent! Hollie Greig might be one of the lucky ones, in that her story has been told. How many small voices are crying out with nobody to hear them?

Why do the Illuminati this evil obsession with children? It could be because they represent the next generation. The reason they tried to take my daughter's fingerprints at school (http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2007/08/biometrics-in-schools.html ) was not just to enter her onto an ID database, but to condition her into accepting big Brother procedures as normal. As Lenin said: "He who has the youth has the future." It could be more than that though; like many conspiracies this has a spiritual dimension. There are a rising number of children being born into the world who have become known as "Indigo". I'm not quite sure what this entails, but it's clear that Indigoes have a highly-devloped psychic and intuitive mind and could do a lot of good in the future when they grow up, as some of them have done like Jason Andrews; see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2007/11/my-trip-to-haunted-house.html . The Powers-that-Be have always hated spiritual knowledge and evolution which is why they've exterminated indigenous cultures and gnostic sects like the Cathars. This was the true motive for the Inquisition and witch-burnings of the Middle Ages.

However I'm happy to say that I think their efforts will be in vain. Thanks to people like Kevin, this dark secret is being exposed. People will weep in the streets all over the world when it does, but then we will be able to come to terms with it and the years hence will be happier and safer for our youngsters.

Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/slavefare.html

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The BEZERK! Thread




Internet Conspiracy forums are seldom good places to obtain useful information. However there are exceptions to that rule (And I’m not just referring to my own HPANWO Forum on the links column). On the 26th of June an unregistered poster from France “Anonymous Coward” (A soubriquet incidentally that would be an apt description of many Conspiracy Forum users!) started a new thread called Something just went BEZERK in the Gulf of Mexico- The US Navy just sunk a French Submarine! This title is usually shortened to simply BEZERK! ; here’s a link: http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1113586/pg1 The site this was posted on is Godlike Productions, one of the Internet’s busiest conspiracy and paranormal forums. Sadly it doesn’t reach the same level of quality as it does quantity and I’m not a member. As you can see the second post in the thread was simply “Atheist” flagging the post as “Bullshit”, without even asking the opening-poster for an explanation! This is typical GLP conduct I’m afraid. If I’d been there I’d have asked a few questions. Unfortunately it takes a while for the conversation to progress from the ritual GLP drivel and settle down into actual exchanges of information. There are also several other members called “Anonymous Coward”. GLP allows people to post there without official membership and that name always appears in the post next to a user ID to tell them apart. The one we're interested in here is the opening poster with a flag of France in his profile box and the ID: 1011531. “Anonymous Coward-1011531” says he has a girlfriend who works at the French Embassy in America. She has a secure laptop connection to the US Department of Defence and has been telling “AC” what has been happening there. As you’ll no doubt be aware, on April the 20th, a couple of months before this thread began, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and caused the worst oil spill in history. The effects of the pollution are still being assessed and prognoses range from the inconvenient to the Apocalyptic. However, the information posted on the BEZERK! thread stir the pot even more. “AC” says that dozens of submarines from several different navies have converged on the Gulf of Mexico as a result of this incident. “AC” gives us live blow-by-blow coverage of the unfolding events, relayed from his girlfriend in America. The French submarine attacked was an SSN, nuclear-powered hunter-killer boat, called Amethyste; see: http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/rubis/ . It turns out a few hours later that the sub was not sunk, but just badly damaged. Many of her crew were injured. The attacker was a US Navy ASW helicopter, like a Sikorsky Seahawk. I expect it used some kind of depth-charge rather than a torpedo to force the boat to the surface. This worked and the Amethyste later surfaced in the Gulf. “AC” continues to post information despite torrents of ridicule and abuse from the GLP membership and other unregistered posters. The captain sent a message to his command stating that radiation levels on the surface were above normal. This could be a misunderstanding and “AC” means that the radiation in the submarine was above normal because of some damage to the nuclear powerplant, a very hazardous situation on a submarine. The submarine is then approached by a pair of patrol boats which radio the sub asking for permission to come aboard. The captain refuses and it quickly becomes clear that the boats are manned by a boarding party of US Special forces and they will not take no for an answer. The situation becomes ugly when two German submarines surface between the boats and the Amethyste and try to ram the two boats while another French assault ship heads towards the area with all dispatch. Later an Israeli submarine tried to intervene too. “AC” keeps the members posted through the following hours and days as the situation unfolds. It soon becomes clear why the Amethyste was attacked in this way; the submarine is carrying some kind of “cargo” that has been stolen from American territorial waters and the government wants it back. By now some of the more sensible members of GLP have started looking for solid evidence to back up “AC’s” story. They’ve been tracing ship movements; not the naval craft obviously, whose locations are always classified, but the merchant vessels that “AC” mentions. They also find reports of fishermen and leisure boat-users in the area who report strange activity going on. People living near local US Air Force bases and naval air stations report jets scrambling. The thread blossoms and is currently at almost a thousand pages. At just after 5 o’clock in the afternoon of the 26th of June the Amethyste’s captain reports that his sub has been boarded by US Special Forces and there’s a shoot-out. Eventually Nexus magazine (See links) gets hold of the story. Here’s an interview with the magazine’s editor, Duncan Roads, talking about the subject: http://radiooutthere.com/blog/2010/10/06/program-302/ . He would not have given this story this much publicity if he wasn’t convinced that there was something substantial in it. The following day “AC” reports that the entire embassy staff is at work even though it’s Sunday and security is as tight as it’s ever been before. Eventually he finds out a bit more about what this most coveted and sought-after cargo is. It’s some kind of extraterrestrial artifact, and it’s artificial! The captain also reports peculiar changes in local environmental conditions; weird sounds coming from the seabed, the quality of the water deteriorating. What happens next is a bit indistinct. “AC” relates that the Israeli sub opens fire on an American aircraft with her missiles; then it appears that the US aircraft fired first. The boarding attempt seems to fail and the Amethyste manages to make enough repairs to get underway and dive. They first transfer the mysterious cargo to another vessel, possibly one of the German submarines. What happens next is that most or all of the foreign assets manage to escape the clutches of the US Navy and eventually the American assets withdraw from the area. Then the next day the captain of the French assault ship relays a message from whichever unnamed vessel has the cargo that the cargo has “gone live” and the ship’s captain is asking from French task force command to jettison it. What does that mean?

Who is this “Anonymous Coward- 1011531” and is he telling the truth? Well there is hard evidence to back up some of his story. Duncan also claims to have made contact with other people in the know about this. It’s obvious and understandable that “AC” doesn’t want to be identified. His girlfriend is passing highly classified information to him from secure French government channels. If they were caught they’d both face many years in prison… if they were lucky! Many people will dismiss “AC” as a fantasist and a liar, despite the corroborating evidence, but I think to do this would be hasty. When you take a look at the world media today then it’s easy to see that if somebody did want to blow the whistle on secret activities and knowledge like this then the internet is probably the place where it would happen. This is why I always check out the “secret government film” of aliens and monsters on YouTube. If I had a secret film like that and wanted to get it out to the public YouTube is where I’d put it! I’d also contact internet researchers, like Jack did to me. See: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/07/jack-of-antarctic.html .

The latest information on this story is a theory that the “cargo” is some kind of alien sludge containing a hostile extraterrestrial life form and it’s spreading. It’s apparently leaking out of the Gulf of Mexico and trying to infect the entire Ocean. There has been no word at all from the mainstream media. This is a worrying and frightening story; it’s important not to accept every theory tabled about it just because the basics of the case pass scrutiny. This is an active and current affair and it’s still unfolding. If more stable and believable information comes out of it I’ll post it on HPANWO immediately.

Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/11/printer-cartridge-bomber.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/thank-goodness-for-wikileaks.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-first-ageless-birthday.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/norman-wisdom-dies.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/11/see-httpwww.html

Monday, 25 October 2010

River Ghost




I’ve always promised you, my HPANWO-readers, that I’d let you know if I spotted anything or experienced anything that was in any way strange or inexplicable. Here are a few examples of my past encounters with the outlandish and otherworldly: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2008/10/real-ghost-train.html and: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-ufo-sighting-281208.html and: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2007/11/my-trip-to-haunted-house.html .

This new experience is perhaps not as significant as previous ones. To be honest I can’t be sure that it wasn’t just my eyes playing tricks on me; however I promised I’d report it and report it I shall. Despite the tenuous nature of the event it does bear a striking resemblance to phenomena reported by other researchers which I will detail in due course. It took place last Friday at about 11.30 PM next to the River Isis (Thames) in Oxford. I was walking along the towpath downstream from Folly Bridge in the city centre to Donnington Bridge which is near my home in South Oxford. It happened as I was just passing the University boat sheds which lie on an island at the confluence between the Rivers Cherwell and Isis. During the day this area is a hive of activity; boat crews are constantly launching, mooring and rowing back and forth in their fast racing boats, but at this time of night the place was still and deserted. I was the only person in the area. It was also very dark; I’d even covered one of my eyes for a few minutes before leaving the well-lit street for the riverbank to get my sight adjusted to the darkness. I then saw a strange thing ahead of me on the towpath that made me pull up short. It was a flat blank and homogenous shape without detail, pretty indistinguishable from the blackness of the night around it. It was the shape and size of a man, but it was just an outline of white light, like a chalk sketch in the air. I was thinking of trying to draw it on black paper, but there’s not much point because I’m not a good enough artist and can’t afford to commission Neil Hague! The white outline glinted and rippled slightly like a ribbon or bunting. It actually resembled the outline of The Saint in the TV series, except this was not a stick-figure, but solid. It was about 50 yards ahead of me standing totally still on the towpath. I blinked a couple of times, but it was still there. Unlike my previous encounters with spectral figures I felt a bit frightened and “spooked”. I was suddenly aware that I was in quite vulnerable position, alone and far built-up areas, and I wasn’t sure what this entity was. Was it friendly or hostile? Could it harm me? For a few seconds I stared at this object; unlike with my previous encounters on the train and my bedroom I didn’t get the sense that this entity was aware of me. Then suddenly it began to move. It ran off away from me downstream along the towpath. It accelerated and moved far faster than any human can run. In a few seconds it was out of sight. I stood still for a few minutes gathering my senses; my heart was pounding and I was panting with shock. I almost turned round and ran back to Folly Bridge which was still just in sight. Then I decided to carry on towards my destination. It was in the same direction that the figure had travelled, but I was still had enough curiosity mixed with my fear to kind-of hope that I’d see it again. When I got to Donnington Bridge I called Ustane and told her what had happened.

What has struck me most about this incident was its similarity to the CFZ’s encounter at Bolam Lake, Northumbria in 2003. See: http://www.cfz.org.uk/expeditions/03bolam/index.htm . Here I quote: “Jon again heard the raucous noise of the rooks that he had reported, just before dawn. Suddenly, once again, they fell silent and one of the Twilight Worlds (A TV film crew) members shouted that she could hear something large moving around amongst the undergrowth. Jon ordered all of the car drivers present to switch on their headlights and to put them on to full beam. He did not here any noise in the undergrowth although other people present did. Eight people were watching the woods and five of them, including Jon saw an enormous man shaped object run from right to left, disappear, and then a few moments later run back again.” (“Jon” is the CFZ director Jonathan Downes. see links column). It’s interesting how some of the members of the investigation team also felt “a sensation of intense fear” like I did. Could these two phenomena be related? What was it? Not a Bigfoot-type “Big-Hairy Man” creature. These BHM’s are not only seen in remote places like the Himalayas or Rocky Mountains and are often reported from built-up area where a physical flesh-and-blood creature could not possibly hide. In his autobiography Monster Hunter, Downes describes the Bolam Lake apparition in more detail; he says that it was not a solid object at all, but a flat shape, like a cut-out in the air and it moved with a speed and agility that no living creature could. The fact that they’re related to spectral apparitions means that they, some of them at least, are probably more like what Downes calls “Zooform phenomena” than true cryptids. Another interesting idea is whether the location was important. In indigenous mythology river confluences are very powerful energetic points which thin the veil between our reality and others.

Unfortunately, unlike the Bolam Lake expedition, I didn’t have a TV crew and lots of independent witnesses with me confirm what I saw. In future I might walk along the roads to get home from town at night!

Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/thank-goodness-for-wikileaks.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-first-ageless-birthday.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/norman-wisdom-dies.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/wild-things-they-dont-tell-us.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/nottingham-grafitti.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/uk-probe-conference-2010.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/who-fuck-is-ed-miliband.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/hpanwo-does-satanley-holloway.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/boudica-my-queen.html

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Sunday, 17 October 2010

TAM London 2010




In the end the Storm movie didn’t portray the psychic with Devil’s horns which I thought they were going to do, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/09/bathing-into-history-part-5.html . But they portrayed him as a dark-eyed blackguard with sinister, angular features. I know because yesterday I saw the film. It was a stylish and creative illustration to the poem and I admire its wit... if not all its sentiments.

I went to TAM London yesterday (See: http://www.tamlondon.org/ ).I know what you’re going to ask: “Ben, what are you doing going to a Skeptic conference!?” This is a question I’m not sure I can completely answer yet, except with a contrived platitude like “Well, it’s always wise to hear both sides of the story.” This is actually true, and I wasn’t lying when I met Trystan of Righteous Indignation there (See: http://parafort.com/ri/ ) and answered him that way. He recognized me from the Weird Conference (See: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/08/weird-10-conference.html ) and said: “Hi, Ben. I didn’t expect to see you here.” I think my curiosity with Skeptics might mostly come from my dealings with "Droike" on the HPANWO Forum, see Links column. Trystan’s surprise is fair enough because very few “Woo’s” have anything to do with the Skeptic Movement and only ever regard it with repulsion and hostility. They’ll accuse significant figures within it of being “shills” and “government agents”; in some cases they’re absolutely correct, but not always. It’s far too simplistic to denounce all prominent Skeptics as disinformers and government moles. It’s also a mistake to label them all as “closed-minded”. Some definitely are of course, but by no means every one. So what exactly is a Skeptic? What motivates them? What makes them tick? To answer the first question in their own words: “A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion.” (Source: http://oxford.skepticsinthepub.org/Default.aspx/19/What-is-a-Skeptic) But many non-Skeptics say the same thing about themselves. Plenty of established scientists are opponents of the prevailing views of the Skeptic mainstream; people I’ve written about before like Peter Fenwick, John Mack and many others. So really the above quote is more of a slogan than a description. It’s an ideal that many people aspire to both within and without the Skeptic Movement. A more accurate description of the World of Skep, one which they will probably dislike, could be: A mode of thought, cognitive suite or cultural meme that has an affinity with normality or the prevailing paradigm on all subjects… But then again even this definition doesn’t sound right to me. It’s frustrating! I need to actually get inside their heads to find out. I wish I could become a Skeptic for a day!

The TAM London conference was very sophisticated and up-market; imagine a Skeptic AV! (See: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/03/alternative-view-4-part-1.html). It was located at the London Hilton Metropole Hotel, by far the grandest hotel I’ve ever been in. Even under Paris’ management the Hiltons are still the poshest places anyone can stay in London. Security there is very tight and when I tried to take a photo of the gargantuan lobby I was told not to by a security guard; I’d like to be able to tell you that I came out with an assertive and penetrating David Icke rejoinder, but unfortunately I was caught on the back foot and just said: “OK”. Londoners are still traumatized by the 7/7 bombing and are in a frame of mind where safety comes before liberty. Even one of the Skeptical speakers at the conference, as much as he and I both sympathize, warned of the dangers of this attitude. “As if you need to take photos of a public place before you walk in there with bombs strapped to your belt.”

The first session of the conference began at 9AM. The seats were very small and I felt a bit boxed in; or if I’m honest I’ll have to dabble with the possibility that my arse was simply just too big for them! I had to hold my arms and legs in to avoid impinging on the space-ration of the people on either side of me. Luckily the luxurious air-conditioning took the edge of the heat, but it was still arduous. Also the first four speakers, taking up the entire morning, delivered their lectures without a break. James Randi, founder of TAM, came up onto stage to a standing ovation; although I sufficed with a more moderate round of applause for basic courtesy’s sake. He is now in his late 80’s and looking a bit frail. He’s also in remission from cancer. However he’s still as talkative and ever and has lost none of his showmanship. I managed to get closer to him later and was surprised at how short he is. I always assumed he was quite tall, but that’s what comes from only seeing somebody on TV. He was followed onto stage by Susan Blackmore (MBA Gold). See: http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/ . Blackmore used to be, by her own definition, a “rent-a-Sketpic” who was always invited onto TV shows whenever the Paranormal was discussed to present the materialistic side of the argument. She basically did the job that Chris French (MBA Gold) does now. It was a remarkable lecture, the first one of hers I’ve seen live. I’ve seen her other works of course; one could hardly call oneself a Skepticologist otherwise! She opened her address by showing a photo of a smiling young woman standing outside St Hilda’s College in Oxford wearing a colourful silk cardigan. Then we noticed that she was wearing that same cardigan on stage. The girl in the photo was indeed Susan herself in 1970 when she began her studies into the paranormal. "A completely different person" Susan said. (However the cardigan was unchanged after 40 years. She definitely takes better care of her clothes than I do! Most of mine end up in the duster-bag after less than 10 years!) She had an OBE, Out-of-Body Experience, soon after beginning her Oxford scholarship. It was so powerful that she was convinced that it was real. She claims that it contained all the elements that other OBE-ers report in their own experiences: the tunnel with a light at the end, astral travelling, a feeling of communion with God, ineffable and indescribable emotions and perceptions etc etc. Seeing as she was being trained as a scientist, this set her on a path to scientifically proving that the Paranormal is real and she concentrated on what she believed was the most promising domain of research, ESP and telepathy. The title of her thesis was Extrasensory Perception as a Cognitive Process. Unfortunately, despite her best efforts, she got nowhere. Again and again her experiments drew a blank and she was unable to conclude that real ESP had been present. However her memories of that amazing OBE and the desire to prove it scientifically drove her on. As the years went by and the pile of negative results built up she became more and more frustrated. Then, one day, she got word from a Dr Carl Sargent in Cambridge about some very promising results with his Ganzfeld Psi-tests. Susan was elated; “This is it! At last!” she thought and hot-tailed it up to “The Other Place” to join him in his work. At first the results looked positive and Susan for a while believed that her persistence had been rewarded and she had reached the Promised Land, but then she discovered some suspicious practices going on in Sargent’s laboratory and suspected him of cheating. When she came out and said this openly she was pulled up by the Psychical research group she worked for and got a bollocking. But all she did was try and expose what she thought was a cheat. Today Carl Sargent has left science altogether and is a designer of role-playing novel-games. This is where she made me see her in a new light. She told us that we must understand how devastating this experience was for her. She was very emotionally attached to this area of research; she was a “true beliver” who was into Witchcraft, Tarot, Astrology etc “You name it, I believed in it”. One day she was lying in the bath and the thought ran through her head: “What if all this is all just bunkum?... What if none of it is true and I’ve been chasing a scientific mirage?” These kinds of sudden new perspectives often arrive at us just like that; they’ve happened to me too. Don Cupitt, a famous TV religious broadcaster has himself described how one day he just woke up and said: “That God is dead”. It’s as if a certain uncomfortable viewpoint has been simmering away in the subconscious being suppressed by the ego until it reaches a critical mass and then breaks out into the conscious mind with a revelatory force and we go: “Ah, that’s it!” So Susan became a Skepper. “And I found out that it’s fun being a Skeptic” she says. Then she became very emotional, on the verge of weeping when she said (jokingly to her current audience): “Please don’t bring me your tails of ghosts and spirits because I just can’t take it anymore! I was rolling on the floor screaming about this whole issue just the other day!” It’s obvious that she is actually rather traumatized by, what she sees, as her futile attempts to scientifically prove the Supernatural. This is a very very interesting factor when you analyze her subsequent public activities.

Richard Dawkins was on next. I’ve reviewed Dawkins’ book The God Delusion here: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/04/god-delusion-by-richard-dawkins.html . As you can see none other than David Colquhoun has commented on it (See: http://www.dcscience.net/ ) If Colquhoun has read my review then probably the author himself has, but Dawkins didn’t recognize me. Dawkins made a very good speech about how Evolution should be compared to the Classics. And now the Classics is no longer taught in most schools could Evolution replace it? It could because Evolution acts as a link-paradigm to so many other sciences, humanities, arts and other fields of study, in the same way that the Classics does. Dawkins has taken a new tack in the last couple of years. In a way he’s gone back to his noble roots: as a communicator of science to the general non-scientific public. This is what he excels at: explaining the wonders of Biology to laymen like me. I recently watched a lecture by him where he describes how humans evolved nose-hair and it fascinated me! I’m glad he’s cooled off with the inverted Bible-bashing; he was wasted on it.

I got to talk to the other delegates, and even a couple of the speakers, in the bar and rest-rooms and had some good conversations, but I was constantly holding back my true feelings and this was difficult; it’s contrary to my nature. I didn’t spout any outright hypocrisy. If they’d asked me what I thought of ghosts, UFO’s, Conspiracy Theories etc I’d have told them honestly, but nobody did. They all assumed I was a fellow-Skeptic. I spoke very animatedly about the subjects on which I am agreed with the Skeptic Movement like the evils of organized religion, Simon Singh, the legal rights of Skeptics to free speech and the wonders of science. It’s a total myth that Woo-Woo’s are all “science-haters” as much as it’s a myth that Skeppies are all government agents or closed-minded; I ain't gonna be nobody's Storm! Another thing which made it difficult was my health. I’ve been feeling a bit under-the-weather for the last few days; nothing major, just lots of minor niggles like a runny nose and aching joints. The stress and discomfort of the conference made me feel distantly flu-ey. I don’t know if I have flu or not, I suspect it's just a 24-hour virus; however, being male, I became fairly incapacitated. I’m at home now; the conference is a weekend-long affair, but I’ve had to miss the second day.

After my visit to TAM London I’m not really any the wiser as to what a Skeptic is, but I have a few theories on what motivates some of them. I’ve wondered about this for a while, but now I’m convinced. A clue is in the definition I found above with the words: "...comforting or convenient”. What could be comforting and convenient about being a non-Skeptic? Well the most obvious is the idea that when we die there is an Afterlife. Several of the speakers and delegates have said this in as many words, especially Susan Blackmore; the Afterlife, they claim, is simply wishful-thinking. People who believe in it do so as a psychological safety-net to protect them from the unwelcome truth that when they die they’ll cease to exist. But let’s read between the lines here for a minute!: “Once you die you die. You’re dead forever and no longer exist. The reason people believe in Life-After-Death is simply because the prospect of ceasing to exist is unbearable and so humanity has concocted a mental safety-net to survive psychologically … BUT… I can face it! I know I’m going to cease to exist when I die and I can face up to it! You quivering, pathetic, inferior jellies need this comfort-blanket myth of an Afterlife, but I have the strength, the courage, the manliness and general superiority to get through my day without that crutch!” So one could argue, and I do, that not to believe in Life-After-Death is a form of wishful thinking, for the prestige you get from it. I call this MBA, Materialist Bravery Award and here I lampoon Professor Chris French (MBA Gold) for it: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2009/09/prof-chris-french-mba-gold.html (Luckily he sees the funny side of it!). What’s more when Skeptics get together there’s a lot of celebration of the exclusivity that MBA brings them, either openly or unspoken. There’s a culture of back-slapping and self-congratulation at every Skepper event I’ve attended so far, and TAM was no exception. However this can’t account for every individual within the Skeptical community and my studies will have to continue.

(Addendum 22/10/10) An interesting thing about James Randi that was not discussed at the conference was a riposte to his "Million Dollar Challenge" by a good friend of mine, and fellow researcher, Ross Hemsworth. He has posted a comment, but unfortunately he got the wrong article: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/10/uk-probe-conference-2010.html . He offered Randi a challenge of his own. In his own words:
I once challenged James Randi to come to the UK and spend 6 weeks with my research team. At the time (when I had money lol!) I said if I convinced him that some paranormal events could not be rationally and logically explained, he should donate his $1 Million "prize" to a charity of my choice. If however he COULD provide a rational and logical explanation for everything that happens, then I would donate £100,000 to a charity of his choice (Presumably the JREF- Ben). He refused to take up the challenge.

Ross Hemsworth
The Phantom or Fraud Team


Latest HPANWO Voice articles:
http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-first-ageless-birthday.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/norman-wisdom-dies.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/wild-things-they-dont-tell-us.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/worlds-first-recorded-sounds.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/uk-probe-conference-2010.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/who-fuck-is-ed-miliband.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/hpanwo-does-satanley-holloway.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/boudica-my-queen.html

Friday, 8 October 2010

In the Burning Darkness



I’ve been reading an interesting play called In the Burning Darkness by Antonio Buero Vallejo. It’s a three-act play written in 1950 that is set in a special college for the blind. It was written in Spanish, as you can probably guess from the author’s name (In fact the author is one of Spain’s most prominent and respected writers). It was originally titled En la Ardiente Oscuridad, and I can’t speak Spanish so wouldn’t have been able to read it if it wasn’t for my lovely Ustane. As you’ll see if you look at her blogs on the Links column, Ustane is a Spanish translator. She made a translation of the play especially for me (This does not breach Copyright because it's only a single copy not for sale; it's the only English translation of the play as far as I know- Writers and Artist Yearbook 2002). The reason she wanted me to read it, and that I wanted to as well, was that the play features an interesting philosophical dilemma, one that we deliberated at length between ourselves. For some reason philosophy and philosophers are not thought much of in Britain. How many of my British HPANWO-readers have heard of David Hume, Bertrand Russell or Julian Baggini? Few of you I bet! However in France philosophers are revered as heroes. Everybody beyond France, let alone within it, has heard of Rene Descartes, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. I wonder why that is…

The story begins with a group of happy and easy-going students enjoying their life at their college. They are intellectually aware of the fact that they are all blind, but don’t understand the implications of their disability. They were all born blind and their conditions are all incurable, so they have trouble understanding exactly what it means to be able to see. Many of the early lines are their discussion where they speculate what the sense of vision must be like. Like most blind people, the students have excellent hearing and spacial awareness. They walk around their colleges as easily as non-blind people. They recognize each other’s footsteps and breathing sounds and even play sports together. They live in a kind of Utopian idyll; since they have no concept of sight they don’t miss it. They don’t see sighted people as any better off than they themselves are. But then a snake appears in the garden! A new student called Ignacio is enrolled and immediately begins to sow discord and resentment among the incumbent residents. It’s not clear why; maybe he used to be able to see and lost his sight (like my late mother did), but Ignacio understands what vision means and explains to his new companions exactly how deprived they are. This news is devastating to the students, and the harmony and contentment of the college begins to break down. The poor students, aware that they are blind for the first time in their lives, lose their dexterity and manoeuverability. They stumble and trip as they walk the college’s corridors and bump into each other. Their almost psychic ability to sense each other’s presence becomes dulled and their sporting activities turn into a shambles. The play ends with Ignacio’s dying as he falls from a high slide in the college grounds and the audience is left guessing whether another student, Carlos, murdered him.

The philosophical conundrum is this: Did Ignacio do the right thing? Was it right to inform the blind students of their predicament? Actually Ignacio was quite an antagonistic character who was riven with bitterness and envy. He was something of a Dog-in-the-Manger who hated the students because their peace and joy accentuated his own mental squalor. His motive was not to enlighten them, but to drag them down to his level. However, suppose somebody did what he did with benevolent motives; what would those motives be? Could there be any justification for this revelation, which would be very painful for the students no matter how gently you let them down. Wouldn’t it be kinder simply to leave them to their happy delusion? What benefit could telling them the truth possibly do? Their blindness was incurable so they’d be left in despair. This is what is known as a Platonic Noble Myth, the idea that it is sometimes good to tell or maintain a falsehood. There are many other examples in literature, like in the film Casablanca where Rick insists that his lover Ilsa leaves him at the airport, hiding from her his own heartbreak so that she will be flown to safety. The situation in The Burning Darkness could be seen as similar. Then again: are there really circumstances in which a lie can ever be held morally superior to the truth? Isn’t there something sacred about truth and reality? Surely it is better to live with what is true and real, however painful, than with a delusion, however pleasurable and comforting? Who knows what might have happened when those blind students were told the truth. After the initial trauma they may find a way to integrate the experience and mature as a result. In a while they may even find a new lease of life from learning what their existence is really like. A good example of the promotion of this moral can be found in the film The Matrix. It is exemplified by what Morpheus says to Neo when Neo asks: “I can’t go back can I? (into the fake simulated world)” and Morpheus says: “No. But if you could, would you want to?” In this film one of the characters, Cypher, betrays this moral and turns coat in order to reenter the false world which he misses because the truth is so distasteful. In one scene he tucks into a holographic meal at an illusory restaurant and exclaims: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned... it’s that ignorance is bliss!” Another classic line is: "If we'd known we would have told Morpheus to shove that Red Pill up his arse!"

So what’s the right thing to do and what’s the wrong? What’s good and bad here? How can we know unless we ask what we ourselves would do?: What if I were actually in that position? What would I do? Think it over…



Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/norman-wisdom-dies.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/wild-things-they-dont-tell-us.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/worlds-first-recorded-sounds.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/gurka-beheads-taliban.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/uk-probe-conference-2010.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/who-fuck-is-ed-miliband.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/hpanwo-does-satanley-holloway.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/boudica-my-queen.html

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

UK Probe Conference 2010



It’s been a whole year since I last attended the UK Probe Conference and I’ve missed it. Probe will always have a special place in my heart. Last time in March Probe fell on the very same weekend as AV4 by misfortune (See: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/03/alternative-view-4-part-1.html ). Ustane and I had to decide which one to attend. It was a difficult decision, but AV4 won out. This time we were in no doubt of where we wanted to go. It was a wonderful conference as always. Unfortunately I don’t have time to write a full written report so instead I’ve done a detailed HPANWO TV reportage. See: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/uk-probe-conference-2010.html

Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/10/norman-wisdom-dies.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/wild-things-they-dont-tell-us.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/worlds-first-recorded-sounds.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/gurka-beheads-taliban.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/uk-probe-conference-2010.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/who-fuck-is-ed-miliband.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/10/hpanwo-does-satanley-holloway.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/boudica-my-queen.html

Sunday, 26 September 2010

My Interview with Smaller Fish Films


Smaller Fish films have released a great new documentary called The Tyrant Within about the dangers of microchip implants, psychotronics and Transhumanism, concerning how this technology could be abused by Orwellian authorities. It contains an interview with me in Part 2 at 10.43. The presenter says that I am an Atheist, a term I do not use to describe myself, but I can understand how what I said could be interpreted that way. They actually shot over 30 minutes of film with me and whittled away nearly all of it; editing must be a tough job! It's well worth watching, and even if I'd ended up on the cutting room floor I'd still say that.

Here it is:

The Tyrant Within: Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N9evYEnBDo&feature=channel

The Tyrant Within: Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa6gTVxnpnM&feature=channel

The Tyrant Within: Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPkXrAaI8Vc&feature=channel

(Latest HPANWO Voice stories: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/wild-things-they-dont-tell-us.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/worlds-first-recorded-sounds.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/burn-koran-day.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/oxford-skeptics-in-pub-7910.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/boudica-my-queen.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/truth-posers.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/protest-pope.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/microchip-muslim-day.html

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Bathing into History- Part 5

Postscript 1- The Roman Baths
Here’s the official site of the Roman Baths in Bath: http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/
The Roman Baths are the very thing after which the city is named and its principle tourist attraction, but we never intended to visit them until the very end of our trip. Ustane and I had left the hotel and were actually on the station waiting for a train when the strange magnetic attraction that would lead us to them began. I’ve spoken several times before about “Post-Probe Blues”, and actually I always feel a little melancholy as a conference draws to a close. The intensity of the experience dissipates very quickly and my imminent return to the so-called “real” world looms ahead like a dark stormcloud; it can feel very intimidating and gloomy after the ambiance and delights of the conferences, and the intimacy and companionship of their delegates. Ustane was very down too, although she was a bit hard to fathom that day, remaining very quiet and unresponsive. Possibly she was hit by the same dejection that I was. I was actually talking to the woman behind the counter of the station shop when I happened to glance at the map printed on the counter and asked her where the Roman ruins were. “Here.” She pointed to a spot in the heart of the city. It was when we realized that we’d have to wait almost a whole hour for our train that we made the decision to return into the city and visit the site; Ustane wanted to buy a present for her daughter too. I think we both subconsciously longed to do something that would prolong our holiday and delay the inevitable return to our normal lives. The Roman Baths are not visible from the street and couldn’t be seen until we were almost upon them. The site was not properly excavated until the 1950’s and that work is still ongoing today with new digs stretching under the modern buildings nearby. Hot springs are common in some countries, like Iceland, but there are only a few locations in Britain where geothermally-heated water reaches the surface and Bath is the most productive. Bathing was an important part of Roman culture and the remains of their huge pubic baths, the size of modern swimming pools, can be found all over their former empire. Even the forts of Hadrian’s Wall have a bath, which is amazing when you consider that this was the edge of a war-zone for several centuries. Even when dodging the arrows and swords of the Picts the Legionaries still took time-out for a dip. The difference is that most of the baths were warmed by fires in a central heating system called a “hypercaust”, but the one at Bath is geothermal. This is why it was considered holy by them and the central spring, the only part that survived intact, was never bathed in and has a pedestal in it for a statue of Minerva, the Roman Goddess of water. However the Romans weren’t the first people to sanctify the spring. The exhibition shows how the pre-Roman Celts also venerated it as a place of their Goddess Sulis. This is why the Romans merged the two deities together; it was also no doubt a scam to win heart-and-minds in the chaos of the period after the invasion and conquest. The site displays a stylish blend of Celtic and Roman art, especially the “Gorgon head” that was placed on the temple facade. There is an important difference between the pre-Roman and Roman forms in which this veneration was practiced. The Romans were the first people to actually put buildings on the site. Before they arrived in the area, the spring was a natural pool of water which was drained by a stream which led to the River Avon. The pool would have been surrounded by trees and not altered from its natural state except maybe just by putting a wooden alter where supplicants could place gifts to the Goddess: ornaments, weapons, jewelry, food and drink. The placing of artificial structures to alter the natural pond has always aroused nods of admiration and approval from modern Western historians; it’s a sign of the Roman’s ingenuity and superiority over their primitive, savage and barbarous subjects. But should we really see it that way? The way the Celts worshiped their Goddess in natural surroundings is, for me, a sign of wisdom and understanding. In my view, the need to ruin it by cutting down the trees, lining the banks with stone and raising closed artificial structures over the top of it is savage and barbarous. I’ve recently become very interested in the Roman Conquest and how it relates to the rest of my research. The way it is more often presented to us is as something glorious and liberating, a damn good move! I’m a huge fan of the Carry On films, but the way the pre-Roman Britons are portrayed as cavemen in Carry on Cleo is symptomatic of this attitude. This fawning Romanophillia reaches its perigee with the documentary What the Romans Did for Us, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDU5zBYQprc (The opening scene is from the Baths). But there is another side to the story that paints a very different picture, one that is explored by authors of historical fiction more than historians, like Manda Scott in her brilliant Boudica quartet: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/01/boudica-and-perennial-holocaust.html . This portrays the Romans, more accurately I’d say, as brutal fascists and destroyers with an atrophied spirit. Yes, one can’t deny that they were very very clever people, but their cleverness exceled in the world of science, engineering, architecture, materialistic riches and military power. I’m interested that the British Celtic people, who lived in Britain for about a thousand years before the Roman Conquest and whose modern descendents are the Scots, Irish and Welsh (like me), always built more natural-looking round or oval houses that were usually purely functional. The Romans were the first to put up very synthetic-looking square buildings with corners and straight walls; their buildings also were clearly more than functional, they were built to impress: for the sake of prestige and aggrandizement. The Romans effectively invented British architecture. There’s a scene in one of the Boudica books where a character feels bemused at the Roman obsession with straight lines and angles. Celtic art is famous for having no straight lines. It’s worth bearing in mind, the next time you see Adam Hart-Davis enthusing over our new straight roads, vineyards and central heating, the price we had to pay for these material luxuries: It was effectively cultural genocide; the disarming of our warriors, the burning of our forests, the seizure of our land, the felling of our sacred groves and the outlawing of our indigenous Druid-based Shamanic spirituality. Do you think that was a good deal?... Me neither. And at the end of the day, like most other historical events, the Illuminati were behind it because the Roman Empire was owned and occupied by their agents. I actually shot a short HPANWO TV movie at the Baths, see: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/08/bath-roman-bath-house.html . One of the most remarkable things I discovered was, when I looked at the geological exhibition at the Baths museum, that there are not just one but three spots in the area where the heated water upwells from the depths of our Mother Earth; the site of the Roman Baths is the main one but there are two others and one of them emerges right next to the Chapel Arts Centre, the venue of the ARC Convention. You can’t see it today, it just flows straight into the modern drainage system; but its spirit will remain and I’m sure Sulis was watching over us all weekend.

Postscript 2- Skeptics in the Pub
Ustane and I spent several hours at the Baths and then drank our glass of foul-tasting spa water and headed for the station and our journey home. The Baths had done us good and we were both in higher spirits. We parted company at Didcot. After a tender farewell Ustane caught the train for Nottingham while stayed on board. I was heading on to London and Skeptics in the Pub. See here for reports on my previous visits to SiTP: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/09/skeptic-in-pub-15908.html and: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/07/skeptic-in-pub-21808.html . The event has moved to a new pub called The Monarch Bar in Camden Town, but its format is the same. I was pleased to meet up with my favorite Skeppy Jack-of-Kent there (See links column). The guest that day was a Skeptress called Tracy King who is a film producer. Her current project is a film based on a 9-minute beat-poem by Tim Minchin called Storm, see: http://www.stormmovie.net/blog/ . Tim Minchin is a famous Australian comedian, pianist and Skeptic. The poem is about an argument he had at a dinner party with a non-Skeptic girl and I must admit it is witty and amusing, although I don’t share all Minchin’s sentiments about it. It’s on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0W7Jbc_Vhw . Tracy the Skeptress (or is the correct term “Skeptrix”?) wants to make an animated movie to accompany the poem. She described how the project is being put together and introduced the various artists involved. She showed a few trial clips and animator’s sketches on the screen, and in doing so revealed something important about the way the Skeptic Movement has developed during the time I’ve been studying it. One of the clips the Skeptress displayed was the part at 4.49 in the vid where Tim lays into psychics. It was only a penciled storyboard sketch, but I could see that they intend to portray a psychic with Devil’s horns. The Skeptic Movement is definitely becoming more militant and doctrinaire. I don’t object to Skeptical people organizing themselves and getting together like we “Woo’s” do, in fact I’m attending TAM London, a Skeptics’ conference next month, see: http://www.tamlondon.org/ . I’m very anti-censorship; I even supported Simon Singh in his libel case against chiropractors. As Voltaire said, we will never be free until we are willing to fight for the rights to Free Speech of those we disagree with. The concern I have is that with increasing politicization can come the inevitable pathologies that afflicts politics. (The non-Skeptical world is not immune from this, it’s got to be said). One of those that I saw that night at the London SiTP is polarization, that Skeptics are increasingly believing that they are engaged in a battle of Good against Evil… Pure Good vs Pure Evil. History has shown us many times where this leads. The warning signs can also be found in the closing statement of James Randi’s address to the World Skeptics’ Convention: It begins at about 1.25.00: “You can walk the path of real science, or it’s back to the caves!” This is the same kind of simplistic binary logic that George W Bush used when he infamously told the world: “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists”. What Randi is saying, and some factions of the Skeptic world are endorsing, is that if a person buys a 50p crystal or watches one episode of Most Haunted on TV, then they are science-haters who think Richard Dawkins should be guillotined, all universities should teach only Creationism and everybody should go live in treehouses and die at 35. This kind of distortion worries me greatly... Still it was a good evening. I wonder if "Storm" will ever come forward. She might write her own poem about her barney with Tim!
…………….
The man walked up the dark street, plodding wearily. An owl hooted in a nearby tree and the ducks on the river murmured quietly in their sleep. He switched on his mobile phone and a text appeared. He pressed the “open” button before the alert tone could disturb the slumbering houses. “IM HOME. THANX 4 A GR8 WEEKEND. NITE NITE X” The man sighed with relief knowing that the woman was safe in her bed. He responded with a similar message of electronic tenderness and then turned up his driveway to his front door. He had to put down his rucksack to fish the keys out of his pocket; they had sunk to the depths from lack of use. The door creaked. “Anybody awake?” he called.
“Who’s that?” came a sleep-ridden voice from upstairs.
“Me!... I guess you’re awake then.”
“I am now!... Night night.”
“Night.” The man went into the kitchen and the cats came up and greeted him with friendly whines. The man opened his rucksack and started unpacking. A brochure for the ARC Convention fell into his hands as he removed his washbag. On the back cover was a close-up photo of the face of a cheerful, smiling woman. He stared at the photo and said fervently: “You did a good job. Thanks, Karen; thanks for everything.

The End

(Ustane has produced her own report of the ARC Convention. Here it is: http://ustane-backtoeden.blogspot.com/2010/09/experiencing-great-bath.html)

Go back to Part 4: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/09/bathing-into-history-part-4.html

(Latest HPANWO Voice stories: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/gurka-beheads-taliban.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/burn-koran-day.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/oxford-skeptics-in-pub-7910.html
And: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2010/09/piranhas-are-not-dangerous.html

Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/microchip-muslim-day.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/long-lost-ufo-photo.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/long-lost-ufo-photo.html
And: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/09/see-yesterday-was-september-11th-2010.html)