~The views and opinions expressed here are of the blog author and not necessarily of CCAPSG as a whole~

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bizarre In The News - Another Bigfoot video

Is this Bigfoot caught on video?

The hiker took a walk in Downriver Park in Spokane, Washington, and end up catching Bigfoot on her iPhone


A woman hiker got the fright of her life after she went walking with a friend in Spokane, Washington, and stumbled across what she claims is Bigfoot.
Samantha, who has not revealed her surname, caught the footage in Downriver Park with her iPhone camera and posted the video on YouTube.
After capturing the mysterious creature, also known as a Sasquatch, on film, her YouTube video has become a hit and has already been viewed almost 8,000 times within four days.

In her post, Samantha said she didn’t realise Bigfoot was there until she replayed her video after the hike at home.
She wrote an email to KXLY news website in the US, and said: ‘Someone asked me in the comments section if I believed in Bigfoot before the video.
‘I have never given it much thought, but now I’m not so sure. Seem real enough to me.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1391825/Is-Bigfoot-caught-video-Hiker-swears-really-HAS-caught-time.html#ixzz1Nnpw1b56

Why i doubt this is bigfoot: 

"Bigfoot" wasn't noticed until she watched the video back later. Surely someone in their group would notice Bigfoot walking in front of you?  

I looked up the park and its near a quite populated area. Next to a college, golf course etc. Isn't it a little too populated/busy for a Bigfoot to be walking around in broad daylight?

It seems to me that it is just someone taking a short cut through the park. Admittedly they are walking in quite a hunched/odd way. Could it be a hoax? Someone in costume? What are your thoughts? 

Who am I to say if its been faked, case of mistaken identity or what? I just offer my humble opinion and would love to hear yours.

Dragons in Middle Ages Mythology

Dragons - Where does the myth end and real life begin? 

There are stories from all over the world that involve dragons. This week i'll focus and show you two stories from around the middle ages in the western world and then in a couple of weeks I'll focus on tales of dragons from the East.

The two stories that stick out in regards to medieval times are The Lambton Worm and St George and the Dragon.

Both written off as fiction, the stories themselves are pretty interesting.

The Lambton worm is a strange tale about John Lambton who finds this bizarre creature and is warned its a bad omen. He's told "It bodes no good for you but you must not cast it back into the river, you must keep it and do with it what you will."
Of course as all these stories go, Lambton ignored this advice and through the worm in a well that was on the way home.

Years went by and John was away fighting the crusades.  The worm grew and grew, the well became unstable and released toxic vapours. The villagers said the well was cursed and surmised that something otherwordly had residence in the well. The truth came out one day when they saw the worm "had slipped out of the well and wrapped itself three times around a rocky island in the middle of the river, a trail of black slime outlined its path from the well."
The worm is described as follows: 
"The dragon had no legs or wings, but a thick muscled body that rippled as it moved. Its head was large and its gaping maw bristled with razor sharp teeth, venomous vapours trailed from its nostrils and mouth as it breathed."
The worm eventually went to the Lambton Hall and was abated by warm milk. This went on for a few years, when John Lambton returned from the crusades, heard the plight of teh village and decided he needed to kill the worm.

He went to see a wise woman who advised him "You and you alone can kill the worm, go to the blacksmith, and have a suit of armour wrought with razor sharp spear heads studded throughout its surface. Then go to the worm's rock and await its arrival. But mark my words well, if you slay the beast you must put to death the first thing that crosses your path as you pass the threshold of Lambton Hall. If you do not do this then three times three generations of Lambtons will not die in their beds."

The story goes that he killed the worm and as he was returning to Lambton hall his father rushed out to greet him.  John panics and asks the servants to bring the dog which he kills. But he hasn't fullfilled his oath and for generations the Lambtons didn't die in their beds.

The "worm" described in the story is how dragons are said to look like. The above story according to Wikipedia "is a legend from North East England in the UK. The story takes place around the River Wear, and is one of the area's most famous pieces of folklore, having been adapted from written and oral tradition into pantomime and song formats."

Now, for George and the Dragon, the tale comes from around the same time as the Lambton Worm story. 

There are a few different ways this story is told. The basis of the story is of a dragon in a lake that required sacrifices in order to be appeased. First of all it was cattle, then when that wasn't enough it was children (picked by a lottery),  One day in the lottery the kings daughter was picked out and the King begged the kingdom by saying he'd give them all the gold and silver but the people of his kingdom refused the bribe. So the daughter decked out in a bridal gown went out to the lake.
At this point Saint George happened to be riding passed and spoke to the scared princess. She tried to make him go away but Saint George was having none of it and refused to leave her. Whilst they were talking the dragon appeared.  Saint George did the sign of the cross and thrust his lance into the dragon, wounding it.  He then put a girdle around the dragon and the dragon meakly followed the girl by a leash.
As they neared the kingdom, the people became terrified.  Saint George then said "Convert to Christianity and then I will slay the dragon".  They converted and Saint George killed the dragon.

According to some, this tale is an adaptation of Perseus and Andromeda due to similiarity in events and location.   Others say the dragon was controlled by Satan "The creature blocked the city's water supply and would only move if given a virgin sacrifice. Over time, all of the virgins were sacrificed except for the noble's daughter, and even she was sent to quench the castle's thirst. However, Saint George arrived at the last moment on his white horse, striking down the dragon with a spear between its eyes".

Like St Patrick and the snakes, many think that these stories about dragons/snakes etc represent paganism and the saints that went around and converted people to Christianity.

What do you think? Are dragons mythical representations of satan? Are dragon stories just ways of telling stories about the conversion of pagans to Christianity? Real life animals that are now extinct? Or a case of mistaken identity? 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bizarre In The News - Maori activists slam Ghost Hunters International as 'gauche'.

Hawkes Bay Today

The international crew of ghost hunters secretly filming at Napier Prison have been condemned as "gauche" by local Maori activists.

The prison is the site of several hangings, including that of famed Maori warrior Kereopa Te Rau, who hanged the missionary Reverend Carl Volkner outside his Opotiki church, and ate his eyeballs.

Denis O'Reilly, a close observer of iwi affairs in Napier, said the television series ghost-hunting at the Napier Prison, a Government-owner property landbanked for possible use in treaty claim settlement, was inappropriate. "Maori history and Kereopa should be treated with respect and that's not what's being done with the ghost busters here, there's no need for cheap thrills. It's the lowest common denominator of a reality TV show, it's gauche in the extreme, and not where we should be positioning Hawke's Bay tourism."

However, Mr O'Reilly said Peter Wells' new book, Sparrow on a Rooftop, which was this week awarded the $100,000 Michael King Writers' Fellowship, had a strong following and was exactly how the situation should be treated. "It's great that someone is doing some research into the story of Kereopa Te Rau, it's an important story."

The group of about 20 Ghost Hunters International staff were reportedly attracted to the prison, which was open between 1862 and 1993, after reports of "strange sights and sounds", said co-manager of the prison, Marion Waaka.

She said the decision to let ghost hunters film was not taken lightly.

"We have to be respectful and we take our guardianship very seriously...

Read the rest here

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dragons: Part 1 - The ancient near and middle east.

From wikipedia - "Destruction of Leviathan". 1865 engraving by Gustave Doré 

Dragons - a large subject to be sure. Firstly, I'd encourage everyone to go and visit the Wikipedia "Dragons" page because its a great article with lots of information and we don't want to simply re write it here. That will give you lots of insight into the subject. But don't go there just yet because this is a research community and there are a number of points of discussion first...........

We'll start with the word Chaos. It's a word we are probably more used to being associated with household disorder, the series 'Get Smart' or a comedy club chain. In ancient Greek it refers to a state lacking order or predictability. In Cosmogony (see expansion of term below) it refers to the ancient abyss or chasm, the primeval world.

But in the world of mythology - chaos - the state of the earth and the universe prior to creation, is also the place where we find the dragon. The oceans were a fearful place as the world was created. Leviathan, the primordial sea-monster lived there. Most ancient near and middle eastern people could not swim, and saw the ocean as a fearful and foreboding place. What was on the periphery of the ocean? What existed at it's edge? What monstrous beasts from out of the primeval chaos would we encounter - that's the view of the ancient world.

In the Chaoskampf, the ancient battle or struggle in the creation myths or the formless and void state of the earth often involve gods and Dragons or the "Mighty Men of Old, the Men of Renown" the Nephilim or similar heroes of mythology from Genesis vs dragon type figures. We see this ancient struggle also used in stories and devices such as Michael the Archangel vs the Dragon in the book of Revelation and in more recent stories such as St George and the Dragon and the Lambton worm story (which we will look at in greater detail in weeks to come).

The dragon represented the powers behind evil and chaos in the ancient world. The Caananite myths also reflect this dragon-behind-the-chaos mythology and I would encourage you to read the Catholic Version of the Bible to see the stories in the book of Daniel and Bel and the Dragon to see an expansion on this topic straight from an ancient source (I recommend that we don't do big quotes from literature because you should do your own research, that's why we tend to ask more questions than we answer - the community does the research together). Read Job 7:12; 41:1-11 and Psalm 74:13-14. What insights does this give us on the ancient view of dragons and serpent type creatures? What does it tell us about God? Does it literally refer to dragons or is God meeting culture where they are at in their own mythology? Is the inspired author using this as a device to show people how God ultimately intervenes and deals with fear and chaos by bringing victory and hope? It's really, really important to do your own research on ancient near eastern cosmology (The science of the origin and development of the universe) and cosmogony (The evolution of the universe) to understand the literary devices used in relation to this subject. When you realise how ancient people viewed the universe, you will understand the stories in a way much more richly and more importantly......accurately.

The dragon is also used later on to derscribe Egypt and Babylon as corruptand idolatrous powers opposing God - and much further on in the bible in the book of Revelation we see that the dragon is the evil spiritual and political power behind the beast (Who is in Rome - whether practically or metaphorically).

So in part 1, we establish the middle/near eastern motiffs, symbols and stories from the ancient world of the dragon representing the dark powers lurking behind the shadows of creation, doing battle against God or the other near eastern deities and representing the adversarial power that opposes the good works of God and men.

But what of the reality of dragons as a real physical being. Are there any truths to the stories of St George and the Lambton Worm. Next week Bryony will take a look at Dragons in the medieval world and how they became so prevalent in story and heraldry - which are still part of our mythology in movies and books today.

God bless you - Pastor Baz.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Witch of Endor - Part 2 by Pastor Robin Swope (The Paranormal Pastor)

   Saul was a deeply disturbed King. God had chosen him as the first King of the united kingdom of Israel. He was God’s man. And his prideful disobedience led him down a dark path, a path of demon possession, paranormal encounters and suicide.

   King Saul’s story is told in the biblical book of 1st Samuel, a historical book that describes the transition of the ruling authority of Israel from anointed judges to a monarchy. 1st Samuel is one of my favorite books in scripture, it reads like a Conan novel: swords and sorcery abound. It also contains the only scripture that describes a ghostly entity that is directly called the spirit of a deceased human being.

  Saul was a vain and proud king. His disobedience to God cost him his kingdom. He disobeyed God’s prophet Samuel and offered a sacrifice in preparation for battle (1 Samuel 13:3-14). Only a priest was to offer such a sacrifice, and what he did was tantamount to sacrilege. So God decided to remove him from the throne and chose David instead. After David is anointed as King by Samuel, Saul still retains the throne, and he is possessed by an evil spirit. David has to play his harp to settle the spirit within him (1 Samuel 16:14-23; 18:8-16; 19:8-10).

   Perhaps it was this possession that motivated Saul to put the mediums and spiritists out of the land of Israel after Samuel’s death in 1 Samuel 28. Even though he was a rebellious king, Saul relied on Samuel as a prophet of God to help direct him in battle. When another battle arose, and Saul had nowhere to go, God would not answer him by dreams or consulting the Urim. So strangely he turns to a medium, the same kind of person who had had just tried to throw out of Israel. The Scripture tells us:

“Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.”
And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor.”
So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.”
Then the woman said to him, “Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?”
And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, “As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.”
Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”
And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”
When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!”
And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?”
And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.”  So he said to her, “What is his form?”
And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down.
Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.”
Then Samuel said: “So why do you ask me, seeing the LORD has departed from you and has become your enemy? And the LORD has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”
 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night.” I Samuel 28:7-20 NKJV

Most Christians believe that all ghosts are really demonic spirits. They deceive people to believe that they are the spirits of the dead and with their cunning skills they draw away Christians to follow false teachings. However the scripture here tells us different. The Bible implicitly tells us that it is the ghost of Samuel. When he talks to Saul, it does not say “The spirit said to Saul”, no. It says “Samuel said to Saul”.  Some look at this passage and they feel it is an evil spirit telling Saul of his defeat in battle which leads to Saul committing suicide. But the word of God does not tell us that, it says it is Samuel’s ghost. The Bible is pretty explicit when it comes to details. Not paying attention to the details of obedience is why Saul lost his throne. Why would the Bible tell us it is Samuel when it is an evil spirit? That would make the scripture and God Himself deceiving us, and that is heretical at the least. This was actually Samuel being brought by God from the grave to pronounce His judgment upon Saul. Notice the medium seems to be unnerved that this bringing up of Samuel from Sheol actually happens. Than as now, many psychics are in it only for the money. This woman was a huckster who suddenly actually became a medium between the dead and the living by the power of God.

   So what are ghosts? In Christian Systematic Theology we have two main divergent views of the make up of humans. Some people believe man’s essence is physical and immaterial, body and soul/spirit. They make no distinction between soul and spirit, it is the same thing. Those who believe in this view are called Dicotomists. The alternative view is that of the Tricotomists. The tricotomist believes that man is body, soul and spirit. The soul is the rational part of man, responsible for self awareness and the spirit is the part of man that interacts with God. The word ghost and spirit are interchangeable in scripture, they are both translations of the ancient Greek word PNUEMATOS, which literally means wind. That is why we call the third person of the trinity the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit; they both describe the same person of the trinity. A spirit/ghost is an invisible force like the wind, you can sense it but it is immaterial. Some tricotomists assert that while the soul is with God, the spirit may be able to roam.
   The main problem Christians have with ghosts is the belief that when we die we immediately go to heaven. Actually, the bible is very vague as to what happens right after we die. There are hints, but nothing directly spelled out. However according to scripture we do have access to heaven after we are transformed into our resurrected bodies. When Jesus died, he did not immediately go to heaven. He went to hell. For three days Jesus was in the grave, Sheol in the Old Testament language, delivering the Old Testament saints and raising them from dead along with Him. Matthew 27:50-53 says,

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”

We see these saints in heaven in the book of Revelations:

“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.”
Revelation 4:1-4

Who are these 24 elders? Many say they represent the wholeness of the Old and New Testament in heavenly form; 12 tribes and 12 prophets. But John was one of the prophets. Instead might these be some of those who were resurrected with Christ, the Old Testament saints who waited in Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22-23, where the righteous dead await resurrection) for the victory of the cross?

Jesus Himself only entered heaven after He was resurrected. We celebrate His ascension into heaven in the church calendar every year, it occurred 40 days after the resurrection.

A problem does arise with Jesus’ statements to the thief on the cross. He told him that “Today you will be with me in paradise”.  Did the thief go straight to heaven when he died? It stands to reason that he did die before Jesus’ resurrection. He would have gone to Abraham’s bosom in Sheol. Therefore he also would have been raised with the righteous dead as Matthew reports in 27:50-53.

Another problem is Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8,

“So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

   Many read into this scripture that we go to heaven when we die, but that is not what the scripture says. It says we are with the Lord in some capacity. What exactly does that mean? Scripture does not elaborate. God is not limited to heaven, and the only time humans are seen in heaven in scripture is after their resurrection. So it would seem this means something…else.

   Christian Theology tells us after our mortal life we can expect a glorious new body in the resurrection. Theologians call the space in between death and resurrection the intermediate state. Some adhere to a theory that the soul or spirit is asleep in this state because of scriptural references to the dead being asleep (Luke 8:52; 1 Corinthians 15:6). Some early protestant theologians believed in this, a good site to detail the history of this theological idea in historical theology is http://www.counterbalance.org/neuro/christ-frame.html. However, it is more likely that the sleep described in Scripture is not an actual sleep of the dead, but a metaphor because the dead do look as if they are asleep.

   The current theological view that a person goes straight to heaven when they die lies in an interpretation of Christian beliefs that became popular in the revival movement of the early to mid 19th century. The basis of this belief does not rely upon Scripture itself, rather a re-interpretation of the theory of “Particular Judgment” espoused by many early Christian theologians such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and Hippolytus of Rome. Their original theory was that after death the person foretastes their eternal destiny in either Hades or a special place that is either darkness or light. American Evangelical theologians of the 19th century morphed these realms into heaven by mixing it with unsriptural popular beliefs.

   However, since the dawn of civilization there has been a belief that the dead can somehow either dwell or visit the physical realm in spirit. In Catholic and Orthodox tradditions this view has been transformed into the idea that the dead saints of the past can see and interact with living believers as intermediaries to God. Other popular Christian ideas are that the saintly dead or children take the form or ministry of angels in the afterlife. What do we make of these ideas in light of evidence from many stalwart bible believing Christians that they have been in contact with the dead spirits of their loved ones? Are they demonic entities trying to decieve them? Why would demonic entities give hope to the grieving by supposed proof of life after death? Most who have these encounters have an incredible boost of faith. They did not seek it out in some form of necromancy, it just happened. Perhaps it is an act of God’s special grace to ease their grief. We do not know, and it is foolish to jump to judgement to these claims.  Demonic spirits can imitate the dead, but usually this happens when one attempts to contact the dead in a direct purposeful action or ritual. 1 John 4:1 tells us,
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God
A good way to test is by whether these encounters give hope and inspires faith in Christ and how it affects the individual who has had them. We can test by observing the fruits of the encounter, as Christ Himself said,
“every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:17b-20 NKJV
   When approaching unexplained phenomenon as a Christian I like to use one axiom that has proven true over and over. “Do not put God in a box; for if you do, you will find that you are the one in the box.”

Job 14:10 “But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last and where is he?”

To check out Robins blog go to www.theparanormalpastor.blogspot.com

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dragons: Myth, legend or cryptozoological reality?‏

A pickled baby dragon?

I was having to chat to Bryony and I mentioned the subject of Dragons. Maybe we should do a blog on them.
And what an interesting subject it is.
From the Biblical imagery of satan as a great dragon and the mentions of Babylonian dragon worship, to Chinese New Year, to Tolkien and Harry Potter, to Celtic Heraldry, to movies by Dreamworks (ie How to train one) to real life stories of strange beasts in the past and in our own time, dragons are a huge part of our mythology.
All I have to do where I live is look up as I walk to streets to see an image of a Dragon everywhere - the St George Dragons Rugby League team. The imagery of dragons is all pervasive in many cultures.
Where did that imagery come from? Did the bones of Dinosaurs inspire the stories? Did humans ever actually see creatures that were similar to those representations? Like the Bombadier beetle, have there been other animals that through a chemical process can shoot flames. Were stories like the Lambton worm, that terrorised England in the period of the Crusades legend or based on some evidence.
What about the stories today - the Raptors spotted in Utah, strange dragon or dinosaur like creatures spotted in the forests of Papua New Guinea and the swamps of Africa. Could that be possible.
And why is satan represented as a dragon in the bible - what is the meaning behind the symbology.
After we take a look at Robin Swopes blog on "The Witch of En Dor" next week please join us on an investigation into the realm of dragons, past, present and....in a biblical sense.....the future.
God bless you - Pastor Baz.

Weird Skulls

Below I have compiled a VERY brief overview of three strange skulls:

The Starchild Skull

The Starchild Skull according to starchild project is a "genuine 900year old bone skull found in Mexico in the 1930's.  The Starchild Project is an informal organization which began in 1999 when Ray and Melanie Young, the owners of the Starchild Skull, asked Lloyd Pye to head research efforts to determine what caused the unusual shape and properties of the bone.

The results uncovered by the research team ruled out all known deformities and presented the scientific community with a genetic and physical profile never before seen on Earth.
Now new DNA findings indicate that the Starchild Skull may well be “alien”! Now all that remains is to determine whether alien means  “foreign to normal human genetics within the framework of that subject as it is currently understood,” or “definitely not from planet Earth”…. or something in between. "

On their website there are reports that you can read.

According to the website "At this time, no known medical condition or cultural practice has been identified that can explain the Starchild Skull."

There is a TONNE of information to read on the website... http://www.starchildproject.com/index.htm 

Elongated skull

According to paranormal.about.com "Researcher Robert Connolly photographed this strange elongated skull in 1995. It was found in South America and is estimated to be tens of thousands of years old. Apart from its obvious abnormalities, it also exhibits characteristics of both Neanderthal and human skulls – impossible in itself, according to anthropology texts, since Neanderthals did not exist in South America. Some believe that the unusual shape of the skulls might be the result of a primitive practice known as "skull binding" in which a person's head is tightly bound with cloth or leather straps throughout his lifetime, causing the skull to grow in this dramatic way."

Palau skeletons

According to The National Geographic "The remains are between 900 and 2,900 years old and align with Homo sapiens, according to a paper on the discovery. However, the older bones are tiny and exhibit several traits considered primitive, or archaic, for the human lineage.
"They weren't very typical, very small in fact," said Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Berger was on vacation in 2006, kayaking around rocky islands about 370 miles (600 kilometers) east of the Philippines, when he found the bones in a pair of caves.
The caves were littered with bones that had been dislodged by waves and piled like driftwood. Others had remained buried deep in the sandy floor, and more, including several skulls, were cemented to the cave walls.
Two sets of human bones were found in the Palauan caves. The most recent remains were found near the entrance to one of the caves and appear normal in size. Older bones found deeper in the caves are stranger and much smaller.
The smaller, older bones represent people who were 3 to 4 feet (94 to 120 centimeters) tall and weighed between 70 and 90 pounds (32 and 41 kilograms), according to the paper."

What do you think of these skulls? Comment below.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The weight of evidence: Is it found wanting in the Paranormal world?

One of the most interesting things about the supernatural realm is that it is so intangible.
Some of the experiences are purely individual experiences, some are group experiences, but none of it seems to be able to be captured and analysed deeply enough to have absolute proof.
Some first hand conversations include:
"I saw my deceased son and he reassured me he was ok".
"I saw my deceased husband and he told me to go back to Church".
"I saw an angelic being"
"I saw a ghost like figure.."
"I hear a voice say to me.."
"I felt something touch me..."
"There was a presence in the room.."
Then occasionally, two or more witnesses see something tangible:
"We both saw the can move across the table..."
"My husband and I both had the same experience but were unaware of it until one day we discussed this strange phenomenon.."
"Everyone who worked in the back of the factory has seen the creature..."
"The whole group saw this blue ball moving back and forth above the graveyard..."
And then you have cryptozoology.
"...everyone on this street has seen the black panther.."
"..there was Yowie sign everywhere..broken branches, tree bites, stick formations.."
"..the whole group saw this large creature in the water that defied description and it was in an inland lake.."
But never any tangible proof for the scientific community. In a country where we have shot, skinned and stuffed every animal, why can't we catch a black panther (and I don't count the tail from the deer hunter that came back as domestic cat DNA as sufficient for the general community). Why no Yowie body? Why no anything.
I am not for one second discounting the experiences that people are having. But the weight of evidence suggests the encounters are less tangible than the paranormal community would like them to be. Which leads to all kinds of other theories - eg are these animals completely real or otherworldy by nature?
This week we celebrated a 2,000 year old story that a man was killed and then came back to life. That is very hard to prove scientifically. And I'm not going to try to.
Imagine if you were witness to that, and then had to tell people who didn't have the same experience. What would they think? Loony? Agenda? Easily influenced? Not rational enough?
Without a doubt, the weight of evidence of the supernatural/paranormal realm is found wanting. Yet even skeptics run blogs on it. Y'know why? Because the amount of experience far outweighs the amount of evidence and even without evidence, that is something that we all have to deal with.
Every week, someone tells me about a haunting but I can't prove it..
I saw a can move across a table and spin in a way that was controlled and sentient, but I can't prove it.
When I was a kid a saw a huge hairy thing on two legs in the bush, but I can't prove it.
I believe that Jesus is real, but in reality if you don't believe it, I can't scientifically prove it upon request.
And that's why, I believe that in sharing what we do believe, be it believer or skeptic, that we do it in "gentleness and respect".
Because the only reality is that we don't know everything and if you think you do understand a subject and refuse to move on it, your learning experience has ended and you are now in the realm of dogma.
My online friend who is known as Nightwalker has caused heaps of grief for people who are dogmatic in their thinking, simply because he challenges people to present their evidence. And they react angrily when they can't do it in the minimum way required by science. Yet he also respects my religious beliefs, even though he is agnostic and has insisted "there is a place for folklore, mythology and good old fashioned yarns" in cryptozoology. He's not saying it's harmful but is saying "lets not call it evidence, lets call it experiences" that take into account the whole physical, mental, emotional and spiritual range of human community.
So, in light of that, lets stay humble because whether you are skeptic, believer or something in between, we still have much to learn.
God bless you,
Pastor Baz.