An overview of the most commonly reported and discussed unexplained phenomena
Introducing the world of the supernatural, this little book entertains with numerous anecdotes, snippets of information, and lists of events that are not accepted by science as being genuine. This amusing yet serious volume will leave the reader wondering just why scientists refuse to study this amazing paranormal world. Because the supernatural is a subject of endless public fascination, there is an insatiable appetite for tales of it. This collection whets that appetite and includes topics such as UFOs and aliens, Bigfoot and man-apes, ghosts and hauntings, sea-serpents and lake monsters, predictions and curses, poltergeists, paranormal humans, and "going beyond"near-death experiences and mediumship. This thought-provoking book covers all aspects of the paranormal for the skeptic and believer alike.
About the Author
Rupert Matthews is the author of numerous books on the paranormal, including Alien Encounters, Poltergeists and Other Hauntings, and Sasquatch.
Read an Excerpt
The Little Book of the Paranormal
By Rupert Matthews
The History PressCopyright © 2011 Rupert Matthews
All rights reserved.
UFOS & ALIENS
For many years people have been seeing strange objects flying through the sky. Known today as UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects), these phenomena have gone by various names in the past: flying saucers, flying discs, secret airships, foo fighters, ghost rockets and other names have all been used. As yet there has been no widely accepted explanation for what these objects might be. That has not stopped people from putting ideas forward.
In the 1890s flying objects that flew faster and higher than any balloons or airships known to mankind were sighted over the USA and elsewhere. The newspapers at the time suggested that there was a very rich inventor living somewhere in the USA who had invented a new type of airship. They thought the inventor might be testing his airship in secret and predicted that he would one day reveal it to the world, but he never did.
In 1944 an RAF air crew operating over Europe at night reported seeing mysterious glowing balls that followed their aircraft, swooping and diving around the night sky at amazing speeds. At first it was thought the objects were some kind of German secret weapon. They were dubbed 'foo fighters' by the air crew, who tried to shoot them down or manoeuvre away from them – but always without success. After the war it was discovered that the Germans had also encountered the foo fighters, but had thought they were British secret weapons.
In 1946 a series of unexplained objects flew through the skies over Sweden, Norway and Finland. Those who saw the objects thought that they might be rockets being test fired from Soviet Russia. When it was realised that no trace of the rockets crashing to the ground was ever found, the objects were dubbed ghost rockets because they vanished as soon as they were sighted.
Later, on 24 June 1947, an American businessman named Kenneth Arnold was flying home from a business meeting in Washington State. As he passed close to Mount Rainier, Arnold sighted a group of unusual aircraft. The craft were about the size of normal aircraft, but instead of having a fuselage and wings they were shaped like crescents. The mysterious craft were flying at speeds far in excess of anything a man-made aircraft could achieve and following an odd undulating motion. Arnold worried that the aircraft might be top secret Soviet bombers and reported the sighting to the FBI when he landed. He also spoke to local newspapers, saying that the craft flew 'just as a saucer would do if you skipped it over water'. The reporter called the craft 'flying saucers'.
Over the following months hundreds of sightings of flying saucers were made. In 1950 a retired US Air Force (USAF) officer named Donald Keyhoe published a book based on his researches into the flying saucers. He described many sightings, making estimates of the size and flying abilities of the saucers. From these Keyhoe deduced that the saucers were not aircraft made by humans and suggested that they were spacecraft carrying aliens who were visiting Earth. Keyhoe stated that the USAF knew far more about the alien spaceships than they were saying in public. Keyhoe's book, The Flying Saucers are Real, laid the basis for modern UFO research. His basic ideas are still held by most people who research UFOs, though many new details have been added over the years as more sightings have been made. Most researchers still believe that UFOs are alien spacecraft and that the USAF and other military organisations know far more than they let on.
That is not to say that UFOs really are alien spacecraft. Another suggestion is that they are time machines from Earth's far future, or past. Others think that they may be vehicles used by an advanced Earth-based civilisation, while others link UFOs and the creatures that emerge from them to older accounts of fairies, goblins and elves. Sceptics prefer to explain UFO sightings as hallucinations, misperceived stars, meteors or other ordinary objects – sometimes even as outright lies.
UFO INVESTIGATION ORGANISATIONS
The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) was founded in 1969 and is based in Colorado. It places great emphasis on scientific study and sends investigators to question witnesses to UFO activity. MUFON produces a monthly newsletter and has about 4,000 members in many countries. Its website can be found at www.mufon.com.
The Aerial Phenomena Enquiry Network (APEN) is a mysterious body run by unknown people. It makes threats against other investigators to try to stop them researching certain sightings, but not others. Some researchers blamed APEN for breaking into offices and for other nefarious activities. APEN began operations in 1974, but by 1990 had apparently ceased their activities.
The Center for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) is still often called by its former name of Center for Scientific Inquiry of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). It is based in Amherst, New York State, and as its name suggests is composed of people who are highly sceptical of the UFO phenomena. It investigates UFO sightings and other paranormal events and seeks to find natural explanations for the happenings.
The Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) was founded in 1973 by Dr J. Allen Hynek, a professor of astronomy who had an interest in UFOs. It is based in Chicago and is an international group of scientists, academics, investigators and volunteers dedicated to the continuing examination and analysis of the UFO phenomenon. It aims to promote serious scientific interest in UFOs and to serve as an archive for reports, documents, and publications about the UFO phenomenon. The website can be found atwww.cufos.org.
The United States Air Force (USAF) has launched a series of investigations into the UFO phenomenon. The most famous of these was Project Blue Book which ran from 1952 to 1969. Officially these studies concluded that UFOs were not a threat to the security of the USA and so were not the business of the USAF. However, it is known that some details of the studies have been kept secret. Some researchers believe the USAF knows the truth behind the UFOs, but is refusing to make this truth public.
The most famous person to have claimed to have spoken to aliens who came to Earth on UFOs was American hamburger salesman George Adamski. He said that he met an alien from Venus on 20 November 1952. Adamski claimed to have travelled to Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and other planets. He said that the aliens were worried for humanity because of the misuse of nuclear power for bombs instead of power stations.
Orfeo Angelucci claimed that on 24 May 1952 he was stopped on his way home from work in California by a UFO. A screen emerged on which were shown a beautiful woman and handsome man, claiming to be aliens. The aliens told Angelucci that they were worried about the future of the Earth and that they would be in touch. Since then Angelucci claimed to have met the aliens several times and to have flown to another planet on a UFO. He died in 1993.
London taxi driver George King claimed that in 1954 he was contacted by an alien from Venus named Aetherius who instructed him to become the representative on Earth of the Interplanetary Parliament. King founded the Aetherius Society to recruit followers and to pass on the messages he received from Aetherius and other aliens. King claimed to have travelled into space several times. On one trip he battled a malevolent dwarf on Mars and on another trip helped to destroy an intelligent meteorite from outside the solar system. King died in 1997, but the Aetherius Society is still going and has a website atwww.aetherius.org.
English housewife Cynthia Appleton claimed to have been visited by tall, good looking aliens from the planet Venus three times in 1957/8. She said the aliens told her that UFOs were visiting Earth to extract a mineral from seawater and that the aliens were not hostile. Appleton said that she never saw a UFO, but that the aliens materialised inside her house.
TYPES OF ALIENS
The most regularly sighted type of alien is termed a 'Grey' by researchers. Greys are about 4ft tall with spindly arms and legs and over-large heads. Their eyes are large, black and almond-shaped, but their ears and noses are very small or missing. They have smooth almost shiny skins that are a uniform grey colour. They are sometimes reported to be wearing tight overalls, but are sometimes said to be naked. Greys are said to be able to communicate with humans by way of telepathy. The Greys are the aliens which most often abduct humans, forcing them on board UFOs to undergo medical tests and studies. These tests are sometimes very painful, but the Greys remain indifferent to human suffering. Some witnesses say the Greys are commanded by taller aliens (about 7ft tall) but which are otherwise similar to the Greys.
Encountered less often than Greys are the Insectoids. These aliens have six or eight legs and are dressed in a tight-fitting overall of a black or dark blue colour. They have large eyes and move about with an odd, jerky motion. They often emit clicking noises.
Nordics were met by many witnesses during the 1950s and 1960s, but are now rarely met. They are said to look like humans, but that they are always tall, good looking and perfectly formed. They are often blond and blue-eyed, like stereotypical Swedes or Norwegians, which is how they got their name. Nordics are friendly toward humans, often beckoning witnesses into the UFO for a guided tour of the spacecraft.
Reptoids were first seen in the 1980s and became more common in reports after the year 2000. They are said to be covered in scales, to have reptile-like eyes and sometimes to have webbed feet. They seem to be interested in animals and have been seen abducting cattle, sheep and wildlife.
In 1961 Betty and Barney Hill were driving home late at night through New Hampshire. They sighted a UFO and their car engine died. They restarted the engine when the UFO left and drove home, but noticed that they were much later than they should have been. Under hypnosis they recalled that a group of 5ft-tall aliens dressed in black uniforms had emerged from the UFO and forced them on board. Once on the UFO, the Hills were subjected to a series of medical tests. The aliens were fascinated by Barney's false teeth. Betty asked the aliens where they were from and was shown a star map. The Hills were then led back to their car and had their memories wiped by the aliens. Betty drew a copy of the star map, which was identified by an astronomer as being of the system Zeta Reticuli. The Hills were the first people to report having been abducted in this way, but since then hundreds of people have claimed a similar experience.
The Allagash Abductions of 26 August 1976 involved four students: Charlie Foltz, Chuck Rak and Jim and Jack Weiner. While fishing at East Lake, Massachusetts, the four men saw a UFO, but later could not remember what had happened. Under hypnosis the men later recalled a broadly similar series of events to the Hills. They were transported into the UFO along a beam of light, forced to undress and subjected to a series of medical tests that involved probes collecting samples of blood, saliva, skin and urine. The men were then ordered to dress and were transported back to their camp where their memories were wiped. The four men later passed a lie detector test when questioned about the abduction.
On 16 October 1957 Argentinian farmer Antonio Boas found a UFO in a field on his farm. He was pounced on by short, hairy aliens who hauled him on board the UFO and conducted a series of medical tests on him. The encounter took a turn for the bizarre when the aliens introduced him to a beautiful and apparently human woman with whom Boas had sex. Boas was then given his clothes and thrown off the UFO. He later suffered attacks of severe nausea.
In December 1967 Danish UFO researcher Hans Lauritzen sighted a pair of yellow UFOs near his home. He fell into a trance for an hour, and when he awoke found that he had been cured of a liver infection that had been making him very ill. He recalled communicating via telepathy with aliens in the UFOs. They had told him that he was very important to mankind, but did not specify how.
Venezuelan farm workers Gustavo Gonzalez and Jose Ponce set off before dawn on 28 November 1954 to walk to market near Caracas. They saw a UFO and were then attacked by three hairy creatures that looked like upright walking apes about 4ft tall. Ponce fled to a nearby police station while Gonzalez fought back with his knife. Gonzalez was suddenly paralysed by a beam of light shot at him from a tube-like object held by one of the creatures. The hairy beings then climbed into the UFO and flew off before police could arrive.
On 21 August 1955 the farm belonging to the Sutton family near Hopkinsville, Kentucky, was attacked by a group of aliens who are presumed to have emerged from a UFO sighted earlier that day. The aliens were described as being 3ft tall with large heads, pointed ears and enormous eyes, but tiny noses and mouths. Their long, thin arms ended with three fingers each equipped with a savage claw. When the first creature appeared it ran towards the house with its claws raised over its head. Bill Sutton shot it with his rifle. Although the creature fled it did not seem to have been injured. For the next hour the creatures tried several times to get into the house, each time being driven off by gunfire. When the aliens left, the Suttons raced into town in their car to alert the police.
MEN IN BLACK
Some people who have seen UFOs report that they are later visited by sinister men dressed in black who try to threaten them into keeping quiet about what they have seen. On 11 September 1976 UFO researcher Herbert Hopkins was visited by a bald man dressed in a black suit and black hat. The man told Hopkins to stop investigating a recent UFO sighting and threatened to kill him if he did not comply. The stranger then began slur his words and announced, 'My energy is running low. I must leave.' The man in black walked out of the house, leaving a mystified and worried Hopkins.
In 1952 Italian fisherman Carlo Rossi saw a UFO near his home in San Pietro a Vico. A few days later he was approached by a tall man in a dark blue suit who spoke in a strong Germanic accent. The man looked menacing in a strange way. He asked Rossi if he had seen any unusual flying objects recently. Rossi said that he had not. The stranger then left.
In 1954 UFO researcher Albert Bender woke up to find three men standing in his bedroom. They were dressed in black suits and black hats. The three men spoke to Bender in foreign accents instructing him to stop investigating UFOs. Something about the men terrified Bender, who promptly ceased his work.
In July 1967 Robert Richardson of Toledo, Ohio, saw a UFO on his way home from work. Three days later two men in dark suits arrived in an old-fashioned black car. They questioned Richardson about his sighting, then left. A week later two different men arrived, again in dark suits but this time speaking in foreign accents. They told Richardson to forget everything he had seen, 'If you want your wife to stay as pretty as she is.' Then they left.
In 1976 Mexican Carlos de los Santos was walking home after giving a radio interview about a UFO he had seen a few weeks earlier when two large black cars pulled up beside him. Two men got out of one of the cars and approached him. They were dressed in dark suits and hats. One of the men blocked the pavement and jabbed his finger at Santos.
'If you value your life,' the man said in a foreign accent, 'don't talk any more about your sighting.' The two men then got back in their car and both vehicles roared off.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FIRST KIND
A close encounter of the first kind is when a person sees a UFO at such close quarters that there is no possibility that they could be mistaken in what they are seeing. The UFO could not, for instance, be a normal aircraft or a star seen under unusual atmospheric conditions.
At Parshall, North Dakota, on 27 October 1967 at 3 a.m. a policeman was patrolling in his car when he saw a brightly lit object hovering about 100ft above the ground. It was almost spherical and bobbed slightly. The object then began moving, gathering speed as it did so but maintaining its undulating motion. After a final bounce the object accelerated sharply and shot upwards out of sight at tremendous speed.
Four nurses were driving to work at 7.40 p.m. on 11 January 1966 outside Myerstown, Pennsylvania, when they saw a flying object. It was about 100yds away and was shaped like two saucers placed rim to rim. It was glowing as if it was made of frosted glass and had a bright light within it. It hovered, wobbling slightly for about five minutes, then abruptly flew off at tremendous speed.
Just outside the village of Snopousov in Czechoslovakia on 1 July 1966 Mrs Vlasta Rosenauerova and her two children saw two red objects flying towards her house at 9 p.m. As the objects approached she saw that they were round with domes on top. The objects began to descend in a spiralling motion, then stopped. They hovered for about five minutes, then moved off to the east, flying low over a nearby wood.
Excerpted from The Little Book of the Paranormal by Rupert Matthews. Copyright © 2011 Rupert Matthews. Excerpted by permission of The History Press.
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Table of Contents
1. UFOs & Aliens,
2. Bigfoot & Man-Apes,
3. Ghosts & Hauntings,
4. Sea Serpents & Lake Monsters,
5. Predictions & Curses,
7. Paranormal Humans,
8. Going Beyond,