Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Electronic Magnetic Witchcraft?

I really do try to stay away from political posts these days. It's not like there aren't extremists at both ends of the political spectrum, but when assertions this ridiculous comes along I have to say something. It's courtesy of two right-wing evangelical kooks named Sheila Zilinsky and Pat Holliday, who I hadn't previously heard of. They apparently believe in every single fundie bugaboo out there, and on a recent "Miracle Internet Church Radio" podcast they put them all together into one big glob of "what the fuck are you two talking about?" But don't take my word for it - read it for yourself.

“The government had a plan called Blue Beam back in the ’80s where they were going to fake a rapture of the church through blue beams and being able to shoot holographs up into the sky,” Holliday said, insisting that this was evidence of the “electronic magnetic witchcraft” that controls the world through everything from satanism and astrology to holistic medicine and sports. “Did you know that the witchcraft powers in America had total control under the NFL over Obama?” Holliday asserted. “What Trump is doing and has done is he has disconnected the NFL from the powers of the former government.”

First off, why would the government "fake a rapture?" In the 1980's, evangelicals like Jerry Falwell had unprecedented power in the Reagan White House. Maybe they could have suggested it in order to somehow shill for more donations to their ministries, but that's about the only moderately plausible explanation I can think of - and it's not a very good one. People would never be fooled by holographs in the sky, even credulous evangelicals in the 1980's. To this day they still look transparent and really can't be mistaken for people or even solid objects.

Second, if somebody has worked out how "electronic magnetic witchcraft" could possibly work, I'm all ears. I'm familiar with techniques like radionics, but it's not like they're that widespread or popular. Charles Cosimano has some designs that might qualify, but I suspect if he really were supplying his devices to the oligarchy he would be a lot better off. And anyway, you can build one of his radionic devices by learning a little about electronics and modifying an old radio or stereo. It's not like it's technology that's unavailable to most people.

Third, "witchcraft powers" in America barely have enough money to buy more than a few hundred copies of my books in a year. I find it laughably hard to believe that they have any influence whatsoever over big-money organizations like the NFL. Minnesota got conned into spending more than four hundred million dollars on the new NFL stadium in Minneapolis, and that's enough money to buy thirteen million copies of Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy and Mastering the Great Table. In the real world, my sales are A LOT lower than that.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Practical Magick Versus Mysticism

This article is a response to this post over on Talking About Ritual Magick, and is essentially an expanded version of my comment which you can read over there. Frater Barrabbas begins with what I think is a completely reasonable denunciation of hucksters in the occult community peddling magick as an end-all, be-all, instant panacea - to anyone who is willing to pay up. The New Age community went through that whole thing back in the 1970's, and what emerged was a culture of ten thousand dollar "become an instant shaman" weekend retreats. As serious magicians and occultists, we would be wise not to repeat that nonsense.

At the same time, though, I think the post goes a little too far in the opposite direction. Maybe it's something that I'm reading into it, but parts of it come off as a little dismissive of practical magick in general. I'll freely admit to having a bit of a chip on my shoulder regarding that perspective - I have heard it many times over the years from people who start out doing magick and get heavily into mysticism and/or meditation. Now I don't think there's anything wrong with either of those approaches, and there's also nothing wrong with deciding that practical work is not really your thing. But it is mine, and I never have understood why for some, the result of mystical work seems to be that they feel a need to denigrate the practices of others.

To be clear, I do not think that this is what Frater Barrabbas is doing. He's saying that from a non-dual perspective, practical magick is essentially pointless - and to be fair, this is entirely true. However, this is also true of striving for anything in your life, not just magick. Through meditation and mysticism it is true that you can train the mind to accept almost anything. Former OTO head Karl Germer famously relied on his mystical training to help him survive a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. And sometimes it's easier to train yourself to accept your place in the world than it is to transform your situation.

But should you? I'm convinced that the answer there is not "always," but it also is not "never." It's somewhere in between, and I have run into too many folks over the course of my life who at some point in their magical career have decided that "always" really is the best answer. I agree with the general principle that the eventual goal of magick is self-transformation and mystical attainment, but why not make your life circumstances better along the way? It also seems to me that practical work can sometimes reveal the nature of your will more simply and elegantly than meditation can. It gives you a benchmark for your practice that is objectively measurable, which is generally not the case with more subjective mystical work.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Secret Masonic Ritual?

There's a lot of talk on the Internet about Masons and supposed "secret rituals" carried out by "high degree members" that the rank and file don't learn about until they progress far into the depths of the organization. As one of those rank and file Blue Lodge masons, it's possible that stuff like this might be going on behind closed doors without my knowledge - but I have to say, I highly doubt it has anything to do with Masonic ritual.

The story sounds like something out of a bad movie, one of those "comedy of errors" films that asks how embarrassing things can possibly get. A former Australian mason apparently set out to distribute cheeseburgers to the homeless, but wound up naked inside a giant pipe organ with a toy gun and a remote controlled police car. Naturally, alcohol was involved.

A former freemason found drunk and naked inside a huge pipe organ has appeared in court accused of damaging the historic instrument - insured for more than $1 million. Glenn Langford was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly flooding the Brisbane Masonic Memorial Centre and setting off the fire alarms.

The 51-year-old faced charges at the Brisbane Arrest Court on Thursday and was granted bail. But he said his intentions were initially well-meaning and the night had got out of hand after downing a bottle of Johnny Walker whisky, 7 News reports.

The court was told he had been meaning to hand out cheeseburgers to the homeless. Food was left scattered on the floor of the grand hall of the heritage-listed temple in Brisbane's CBD, which features one of the biggest organs in Queensland.

It is feared the organ, installed in the 1930s, may be too damaged to be repaired despite it being insured for $1 million. Mr Langford is charged with allegedly damaging a number of organ pipes and destroying part of a decorative wall.

He was also discovered naked along with clothes, a remote controlled police car and toy gun. The magistrate heard from Mr Langford's lawyer who explained he had last week lost his job and was getting over the breakdown of a 16-year relationship. He was granted bail on the condition that he stayed more than 100 metres away from the centre in Ann Street.

'Things just got a little loose, I was out of it,' Mr Langford told 7 News. He apologised to 'all the righteous Freemasons everywhere'. 'I did have a lot of cheeseburgers to give to the homeless. I'm going to see a shrink and don't drink,' he added.

Maybe he's not drinking now, but if he really was a non-drinker and downed an entire bottle of whiskey - well, I suppose it actually makes sense that he took off all his clothes and climbed inside a giant pipe organ. Can you imagine waking up from that blackout? "Hey, where the hell am I, and what's going on? What am I supposed to do with this remote controlled police car? And where are my cheeseburgers?"

I suppose we'll just have to chalk it up as a cautionary tale of how Masonic charity can go bad. Maybe this is why American masons don't drink at lodge events.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hacking the Elemental Hexagrams

Most Augoeides readers are familiar with my operant field system for using the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. To briefly recap, as I see it the "Lesser" rituals are general rituals that you use to set up your magical working space or "field," whereas the "Greater" rituals are used to conjure specific magical forces. I am not fond at all of the "Lesser" versus "Greater" nomenclature, because there should be no implied hierarchy between the types. You do want to learn the "Lesser" rituals first, but that's only because they are the first rituals you use when doing magical operations. They are in no way inferior or less important - they are foundational to the work.

But one of the things that some of the Golden Dawn groups teach these days does not fit very well with this concept of the forms, and to my way of thinking just confuses things. This is the idea of "Lesser Rituals of the Hexagram" for specific planets. From a technical standpoint, what you do is pretty straightforward. You trace the four elemental hexagrams from the point attributed to the planet, according to where the two triangles that represent each elemental hexagram map onto the Tree of Life when placed in the "standard" or star configuration. But if the Lesser rituals are general rituals, how should that even work?

To be clear, my operant field model is developed from Aleister Crowley's versions of these rituals published in Liber O, which in turn is Crowley's adaptation of the Golden Dawn rituals he learned from S. L. MacGregor Mathers during his time in the order. Thus, my system is based on material that effectively diverged from the Golden Dawn tradition over a hundred years ago. So what I am not trying to say here is that the modern Golden Dawn teachings are wrong in some objective sense. I have no idea where the idea of specific "Lesser Hexagrams" came from, or what experimental testing was done to verify that the method works.

So going forward, keep in mind that I am talking about my own operant system and offering no comment one way or the other on how other traditions such as the modern Golden Dawn orders teach these ritual forms. I naturally believe that my methods work better based on my own experimental testing and that of a number other magicians who have tried it out and compared it to more traditional methods. But my suggestion is, as always, if it works it works. If you learned these forms from a Golden Dawn group and they work for you as you learned them, that's great. But I also invite anyone to give the operant system a try and see if it works for them as well as it does for me.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Not "Mass Hysteria"

Well, that was quick. Just as I predicted, researchers examining the Cuban "sonic weapon" brain injuries have concluded that what is going on is absolutely not a case of mass psychogenic illness, or if you will, "mass hysteria." To be clear, there's no evidence that any sonic weapon was employed to cause these injuries, but it is also clear that they have some sort of physical cause. That should have been obvious from the start, but skeptics just love to muddy the waters by insisting that anything they don't understand is "psychological."

While the exact cause of these concussion-like symptoms remains unknown, these individuals appeared to have sustained injury to "widespread brain networks without an associated history of blunt head trauma," report clinicians from the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Brain Injury and Repair in Philadelphia, which was selected to coordinate evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of affected patients.

Importantly, note Randel L. Swanson II, DO, PhD, and colleagues, there is no evidence that the symptoms reported by US embassy personnel in Cuba can be attributed to mass psychogenic illness, as some skeptics have suggested. Mass psychogenic illness typically involves uniform symptoms that are of short duration and are often benign in nature, with no consistent physical exam findings. This is completely opposite of what is seen in the Cuba cohort, they note. Although not systematically excluded, viruses or chemical exposures are unlikely, they say.

"While there are many open questions that remain, we are collectively convinced that these individuals, as a group, sustained a neurological injury. So, the constellation of signs and symptoms and their response to rehabilitation mirrors what we see in patients with mild traumatic brain injury, both in the civilian population and in our military population," Swanson said in a JAMA podcast.

As a point, there are equally misguided folks in the magical community who do the same thing. There's no clear consensus on the nature of spirits, for example, so some practitioners dismiss them as "psychological projections." But my point is that what's going on with both spirits and the Cuba case is that we just don't know for sure. If you automatically dismiss everything you don't understand as "psychological," you are going to make a lot of mistakes evaluating any paranormal phenomenon - or even unusual ones.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Calm Before the Stupid

Donald Trump may be a bad president for many people, but the one group that he has consistently delivered for is conspiracy theorists. I don't mean the garden-variety "big business is colluding with the government to make money" kind of conspiracy theorists (those sorts of conspiracies happen all the time), but rather the complete and utterly batshit insane variety. More and more implausible allegations come to light every day. Is it fake news, or is it just flat-out stupidity? I expect that you already know my answer to that question. I recently came across an article about a conspiracy theory floated last year called "The Storm." It was a sort of meta-conspiracy that set the bar quite high for future efforts.

Part “Pizzagate,” part New World Order, and part hyper-partisan wishful thinking by defenders of Donald Trump, “the Storm” is a sprawling meta-conspiracy, with actors ranging from Hillary Clinton to model Chrissy Teigen, in which everything you know about the current investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign is upside down.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, in this alternative universe, is in fact preparing to indict hundreds of Democrats (including Clinton, Barack Obama, and financier George Soros) and Hollywood celebrities for their roles in a massive worldwide pedophilia ring, operated by “globalists” who are conspiring to destroy Trump — and that the president himself is himself masterminding this “countercoup.”

“What we have come up with is a possible coup,” explained conspiracy theorist David Zublick in a late-November video, “not against Donald Trump, but by Donald Trump, working with Robert Mueller to bring down the Clintons, the Democrat Party, and the entire U.S. government involved in pedophilia and child sex trafficking.”

In just a few short weeks, the theory has grown from a handful of posts on fringe Internet chat forums to become the overwhelming obsession of nearly every conspiracy theorist in the business, notably Alex Jones and his Infowars operation, as well as social-media figures such as Liz Crokin. In addition to being a constant focus of discussion on Infowars, dozens of YouTube videos and thousands of Twitter posts exploring various facets of the conspiracy, and presenting the usual dubious “evidence” to “prove” it, have shown up on the Internet.

The origins of “The Storm” lie in Trump’s cryptic remarks on October 6, saying that a gathering of military leaders represented “the calm before the storm.” When asked what he meant, Trump responded: “You’ll see.”

Monday, February 12, 2018

Via Solis Aquarius Elixir Rite

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Aquarius Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday February 13th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will be performing one of these per month, once for each of the twelve signs, in a ritual series called Via Solis (the way or path of the Sun). I will be posting the full scripts here on the preceding Mondays so people can take a look at them if they want to attend. Also, if you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) and would like to attend, let me or someone at the lodge know. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

0. The Temple

The ritual space is set up with an altar table in the center. The bell chime, banishing dagger, and invoking wand are placed on the altar. In the center of the altar is placed a cup of wine for creating the elixir, within the Table of Art corresponding to Aquarius.

The sign Aquarius is attributed to the power of "Astrology." Since astrological divination is a fairly mechanical process, it seems to me that in addition to being the proper spirit to call on in order to learn astrology or understand it better, the angel of Aquarius should also have a more active aspect. So what I am going to experiment with when we perform this ritual is to see if Aquarius has some degree of influence over astrological forces in general. That would have practically unlimited applications - if it works.

As just one example, there has been a lot of discussion back and forth here about magical strategies to neutralize and/or mediate negative aspects and debilities in natal charts, and I'm going to see if I can just use the power of Aquarius to accomplish something along those lines. It would be very convenient if, say, you could just call up Aquarius and say "neutralize/mediate XYZ in my natal chart" instead of working out a remedy involving a particular planet or element. Of course, I don't know how well this will work, but that's the whole point of experimentation.

This ritual may be performed with one, two, or three officers, who may alternate taking the Officiant role and divide up the reading from Liber 963.

I. Opening

All stand surrounding the altar. Officiant inhales fully, placing the banishing dagger at his or her lips. The air is then expelled as the dagger is swept backwards.

Officiant: Bahlasti! Ompehda!

Officiant then performs the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. All rotate accordingly.

Officiant: We take refuge in Nuit, the blue-lidded daughter of sunset, the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky, as we issue the call to the awakened nature of all beings, for every man and every woman is a star.


Officiant: We take refuge in Hadit, the secret flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star, as we issue the call to our own awakened natures, arousing the coiled serpent about to spring.


Officiant: We take refuge in Heru-Ra-Ha, who wields the wand of double power, the wand of the force of Coph Nia, but whose left hand is empty for he has crushed an universe and naught remains, as we unite our awakened natures with those of all beings everywhere and everywhen, dissolving all obstacles and healing all suffering.


Officiant: For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.

All: All is pure and present are and has always been so, for existence is pure joy; all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass and done; but there is that which remains. To this realization we commit ourselves – pure and total presence. So mote it be.

Bell chime.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

More Fun With Yoga Demons

I've written a number of times here on Augoeides about the hatred for yoga among some fundamentalist Christians. They tend to be the kind of Christians who insist on living in their own little bubbles consisting of Christian television, Christian movies, Christian music, and so forth. So according to their sad ideology, anything that's not explicitly Christian is depraved and evil. Yoga does not fit that bill, even though I have come across so-called "Christian Yoga" practitioners who rename the postures and open with Christian prayers. Recently a Christian blogger warned that yoga - apparently, no matter how you do it - creates a "demonic trance" and is just like playing with a Ouija board.

A Christian blogger is warning those who follow his faith that practicing yoga is like playing with a Ouija board.

“You may perform the moves without consciously seeking the demonic trance they were designed to help you attain, but it would seem you are playing, quite literally, with fire,” Matt Walsh wrote for the Daily Wire.

He repeatedly called yoga a pagan practice. “I don’t think all yoga practitioners go to Hell,” he wrote. “But neither do I see how a pagan ritual could ever help someone get to Heaven, and maybe that’s reason enough to leave it alone.”

I'm going to say this again, because I keep saying it and nobody seems to listen - there is such a thing as non-sectarian yoga. A lot of people practice it. While some yoga classes do include elements like simple Hindu prayers that a strict Christian could reasonably object to participating in, without any of that yoga is just stretching. There's nothing "demonic" or even Hindu about the postures themselves. As I also have mentioned in previous posts, modern "exercise yoga" is not even entirely Indian. It is a mixture of Hatha Yoga, which simply consists of holding the postures for sustained periods of time, and European calisthenic exercises. The Europeans who practiced the latter were almost certainly Christian.

Sadly for those of you looking forward to getting your demonic trance on at the local Ashtanga studio, Walsh is full of it. Even for those of us who like working with spirits, there's nothing about yoga that's going to help us connect with them. It's good exercise, but that's about it.

Friday, February 9, 2018

That's Really Too Bad

It sounds like the African nation of Zambia won't be conducting cutting-edge paranormal research any time soon. In response to rumors that the government was considering investigating witchcraft - that is, magick - as a science, its chief spokesperson issued a strong denial on the grounds that Zambia is officially defined as a "Christian nation" in its 1996 constitution. As I see it, this is one more case where having a state religion is just a terrible idea. Western academic institutions are highly biased against paranormal research on entirely different grounds, so little of it goes on here. But in Africa, it could be a more plausible area for study if not for all the religious prejudice.

The Zambian government on Tuesday denied media reports that it intends to consider research on witchcraft as a science. Witchcraft or witchery broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities exercised by solitary practitioners and groups. Witchcraft often occupies a religious divinatory or medicinal role, and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view.

Chief Government Spokesperson, Kampamba Mulenga, said such reports were blatant falsehoods. Mulenga said: "We are aware that there is a group of people that is spreading malicious statements through various media platforms, bent on destroying government’s image." According to her, the government could not start advocating for witchcraft practices as the country was a declared Christian nation. She added: "Christianity and witchcraft are poles apart and cannot co-exist."

In other words, as long as Zambia is a "Christian Nation," no paranormal research will ever be conducted. That's too bad, because paranormal research touches on all sorts of areas that I remain convinced will become important areas for study in the future. At the very least, consciousness studies has taken off as a discipline over the last decade or so, and one wonders if that would fall under "witchcraft" as well according to the Zambian government. After all, consciousness is the key to working with every magical system I've ever come across, and I highly doubt that the African form of witchcraft is any different.

It should also be pointed out that this is exactly the kind of nation that the Poor Oppressed Christians are fighting for here in the United States. As they are "oppressed" by the mere existence of people who don't share their beliefs, any paranormal research in a "Christian America" would be right out. I might not even be allowed to discuss it publicly in a forum like this blog. And as I see it, that simply is unacceptable.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Flat Earther Fails to Launch

Is there anything more ridiculous these days than a flat-earther? I'm not sure, but I think the answer might very well be "no." People have known since ancient times that the Earth is round. It simply is not true that we've only known the Earth was round since the Middle Ages. If you live on any coast, anywhere, you can easily observe this for yourself just like the ancient Greeks did. Just watch a ship as it disappears over the horizon. You'll see that the bottom of the ship disappears first, because the Earth is curved.

Given that, I'm still not sure whether Mike Hughes is a serious flat-earther or just taking advantage of stupid people. For a while now, Hughes has been raising money online from flat-earthers to launch his own rocket. The rocket is powered by steam, which has limited effectiveness as a propellant, and can reach about five hundred miles per hour and sustain that speed for a short period of time. Hughes claims that this is part of a plan to eventually reach outer space, but given the technology he's using it's hard to see how that's going to happen. Especially since, after many delays, his attempted launch completely failed.

In fairness to Mike Hughes, he knows how to build a rocket. He built them for many years under the precepts of classical physics, when he was still a relatively conventional daredevil, which is to say, one who believed the Earth is round. But Saturday marked Hughes’ third aborted launch since he declared himself a flat Earther last year and announced a multipart plan to fly to space by the end of 2018 so he could prove astronauts have been lying about the shape of the planet.

The Washington Post, like many news outlets, covered Hughes’ plan. In retrospect, there was never any chance he’d pull it off. Hughes blamed technical difficulties – possibly a bad O-ring – for his steam-powered rocket’s failure to ignite this weekend in the Mojave Desert. But even if it had, and even if he managed to subsequently rocket-pack himself into space by the end of the year, his mission would have ended at worst in death, and at best in disappointment as he realized what ancient Greeks and schoolchildren already know: The world is round; it has always been round; Mike Hughes will never see its edges.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Custom Spirit Boxes!

If you are interested in claiming perks for backing the upcoming Enochian and Goetic Online Master Classes, you only have a couple of days left. And now, a last minute perk has been added to the campaign - a custom spirit box by occult artist Mani C. Price! Here's what she has to say about these remarkable talismanic boxes:

"There are a variety of spirit boxes I do. They are a type of high-end talisman. They are created to house spirits and have a physical anchor on this plane. When you want to contact someone or resolve an issue immediately, a spirit box will do just that. When you go to open it, you are 'putting the spirit to work for you.' You make a request and send the spirit to work. Communication becomes smoother and faster. These spirit boxes can be treated as traveling miniature altars. I have one client who is a performer and she takes her box everywhere."

"...These are solid pieces of wood made to be heirlooms. They will last a lifetime. I’ve done mahogany, purpleheart, maple, ash, cherry and birch thus far. I start with a simple wood burning ritual around the main sigil. Then I start painting on the sides of the boxes.These images are usually related to aspects of the spirit the box is meant to work with. For example, a box for Venus may be covered with depictions of sex and lust, while a box for Jupiter has more images of money and kingship. In the end you have a masterpiece in its own right that you can do with as you please."

"...Clients are given instructions on offerings, prayers, rites and general upkeep to maintain that connection. Items pertaining to the spirit can also put inside the box such as oils, herbs, stones, or dirt (like from a bank to attract money). Animal products such a teeth, claws, feathers, or bones can also be incorporated."

If you are interested in claiming this or any of the other perks associated with the campaign, click right here to check it out. Remember, the campaign is ending in a couple of days, so act now if you've been putting it off. You'll be supporting a great series of classes with some truly outstanding magical teachers - you know, like me!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Magical Powers are Descriptive, Not Prescriptive

I talk a lot about the magical powers and visions from Liber 777 as the basis for the magical operations posted here for the elemental, planetary, and zodiacal work. Reading over the powers, you can see pretty clearly that they are derived from the attributions of the corresponding Tarot trumps. For example, the power for Leo is given as "the power of training wild beasts," which is a pretty good description of the Strength card in the Rider-Waite Tarot. I went a little metaphoric there in my description of the Leo operation, and surmised that this was a power that could be used to alter conditioned responses in general - and I will say that my first experiment along those lines worked quite well.

So as far as I can tell, the powers given are descriptive rather than prescriptive. In other words, they are examples of what can be done rather than lists of what has to be done. Leo is the fixed sign of Fire and is ruled by the Sun. Neither of those is particularly related to "training wild beasts," but they are valid attributions for the sign. If you find yourself with a really strong election for a Leo operation, that means you could call on the angel of the sign to do both fiery things and solar things in addition to Leo things. An example would be a case where you have a good Leo election, but the Sun is afflicted in the operation's chart. In such a case, the angel of Leo would be a better choice than the angel of the Sun for a solar operation.

The key here is that as long as you keep your attributions straight, you can call on all of the angels of the elements, planets, and signs to do far more than what is given for their specified powers. It goes both ways, too. In the Leo example, you could call on the angel of Fire or the angel of the Sun (both of whom happen to be Michael for practical operations) to do Leo things, such as working with conditioning. The angel of Taurus, "the secret of physical strength," can also be called on for things related to Venus and Earth, and both the angel of Earth and the angel of Venus can do things related to Taurus. And so forth. Keeping all that in mind helps when you are trying to get the best possible election for your operation.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Mass Hysteria is Paranormal

"Mass hysteria" is the skeptic's go-to explanation for anything they don't understand. According to its proponents, mass hysteria arises unexpectedly, is poorly understood, and is a relatively rare phenomenon. It is supposedly "mental" or "psychological," and yet it can apparently produce significant physical changes within the human body. In short, it is pretty much the same thing as "mind over matter" or "faith healing" in reverse - as generally speaking, it tends to cause illness rather than cure it.

The cause of mass hysteria is said to be "the mind," but to be clear, the same exact thing can be said about psychic phenomena. So I contend that mass hysteria is essentially a paranormal explanation. It's just a paranormal explanation that skeptics happen to like. Slate has an article up today arguing that the alleged "sonic attacks" that affected U.S. embassy workers in Cuba back in 2016 were the result of this phenomena. But I think the author of it has failed to consider all of the ramifications of his conclusion.

A few weeks after the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump, several people working for the U.S. Embassy in Cuba fell mysteriously ill. Some lost their hearing. Some had headaches and a pain in one ear. Others reported feeling dizzy or nauseous, having trouble focusing, or feeling fatigued. Later, some would have a hard time concentrating, remembering things, sleeping, and even walking. These symptoms were “medically confirmed,” as the State Department’s medical director Charles Rosenfarb put it, and brain scans were said to show abnormalities in the victims’ white matter, which transfers information between brain regions. The illnesses were believed by the government to be “health attacks,” carried out by a foreign power, though as Todd Brown, assistant director at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “investigative attempts and expert analysis failed to identify the cause or perpetrator.”

Nonetheless, investigators concluded the illnesses, which ultimately affected 24 people, were likely the result of a “sonic device.” This conclusion seems to be primarily due to the fact that some diplomats reported hearing a high-pitched noise in their homes and hotel rooms. Despite a lack evidence for such a weapon, or any known way it could affect white matter, the sonic weapon theory proved irresistible for both media outlets and for Cuba hawks like Sens. Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez, both of whom immediately transformed the sonic weapon into a handy political weapon. In the months following the “attacks,” new diplomats arriving in the country were warned of this sonic danger. Embassy employees were played a recording of what was thought to be the sound so they knew what to listen for. Soon, people at the Canadian Embassy in Cuba began reporting symptoms similar to what the Americans had experienced, as did a few tourists there. A husband and wife at the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan became ill as well. Whatever it was, it seemed to be spreading.