Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Truth About Salem

Salem, Massachusetts currently has outsized influence in pop culture as the "Witch City," due to the major tourist draw of its annual Halloween festival. These days at least half the paranormal television shows and movies explain characters that can cast witchcraft spells as having "families from Salem" or some other nonsense. What all of that ignores is that the "witches" executed at Salem were not witches or pagans or magical practitioners of any kind. They were for the most part marginalized members of their communities caught up in a moral panic that claimed their lives.

Kate Fox is the director of Salem's marketing organization. According to this article, much of Fox's work consists of drawing distinctions between the cartoon Halloween witches celebrated by the festival and the totally-non-witch victims of the infamous 1692 trials. She's the sort of person I would really like to see advising paranormal television producers to maybe link witchcraft to something or someplace else that makes more sense.

Fox is well-versed in distinguishing holiday from history for tourists. “The Salem Witch Trials do not have a direct relationship to Halloween, and the people who were accused and condemned in 1692 were not witches,” she clarifies, “they were innocent people and they were victims of a social crisis.” Pop culture, including Arthur Miller’s 1953 play “The Crucible,” has fueled misconceptions and Salem’s witch tourism economy.

Fox says many of the attractions, museums and more than two dozen walking tours can open visitors’ eyes. Jeff Page leads one named “Bewitched After Dark” that stops at a bronze statue of Samantha from the iconic TV show “Bewitched.” It briefly filmed in Salem in 1970 for a plot where Samantha, played by Elizabeth Montgomery, attends a witch convocation only to end up being chased around by a seemingly possessed, floating bed warmer.

“Once those episodes aired people come from all over the country to get a look at the Witch City,” Page explains to this day’s group, “About that point we start painting witches on everything in town. You guys seen our police cars yet? There’s a witch on ‘em.” Fox thinks Sam is the most photographed landmark in Salem, but visitors don’t really ask how or if it really fits in with history. “They take pictures, twinkle their nose and off they go.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Stop the Mousemen!

There are only a handful of people who can misread a scientific study more adeptly than 700 Club evangelist and longtime Augoeides punching bag Pat Robertson. I'd probably put nutty creationist Ken Ham in that camp, and the jury is out on potato soup entrepreneur Jim Bakker. Last week Robertson launched into a rant against the scientists attempting to breed a race of half-mouse half-human freaks using cells derived from fetal tissue. You know, a rant against something that totally doesn't exist and never will.

Televangelist Pat Robertson has claimed scientists are attempting to "make a mouse human" using aborted fetal tissue, adding that "Adolf Hitler never did anything as bad as this." The comments were made Tuesday on Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) show, The 700 Club, after the program aired an emotional report concerning fetal tissue being used in scientific experiments.

The segment mentioned a study involving mice and fetal reproductive tract tissue. It did not mention the aim of the research, which appears to be studying the effects of synthetic hormones on female reproductive tracts, rather than creating human-mice hybrids. The segment also contained interviews with anti-abortion activists, including one who mentioned a cancelled study that involved "humanizing mice."

"I'm sure a lot of people will be shocked when they learn of these experiments," said CBN anchor John Jessup, who introduced the segment. "Well, they're no more shocked than I am," replied the 89-year-old Robertson.

To be clear, there are legitimate ethical issues surrounding the use of fetal tissue and the creation of transgenic organisms for research. But framing it as a courageous battle against the mousemen is just ridiculous. What, does Robertson think these non-existent monsters will escape from a lab and proceed to commandeer all the cheese in the world by force?

Also - even if our ethics lead us to conclude that this research is very wrong, and even if the research involves what Robertson claims, can we really compare the creation of a few mousemen to the mass genocide of millions? Sorry, I just don't buy that. Robertson's sense of proportion has always been out of whack, but this is extreme even for him.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Against Day of the Dead

A City Commissioner in Henderson, Kentucky recently came up with a truly novel reason that her community should not host a Day of the Dead celebration. According to this article from local outlet 14News, City Commissioner Patti Bugg is opposed to the celebration because she is worried that somebody might "summon a loved one from the grave." Could she possibly really be worried about an actual zombie attack?

I mean, I suppose Bugg has every right to be worried about brain-eating monsters clawing their way out of cemeteries and running amok. But seeing as that has nothing to do with Day of the Dead, or for that matter anything that ever happens in real life, I would hope that nobody out there is taking her seriously.

Officials with the planning committee tell us it is a good opportunity for people to learn about Hispanic culture. But, a City Commissioner is speaking out against the event. Judge-Executive Brad Schneider says there has been a big increase in the Latino population in recent years.

City Commissioner Patti Bugg says there are other ways to educate the community. “I’d say 99 percent of the day of the dead is probably innocent. I think that’s fine," says Commissioner Bugg. "I think if you want to honor your loved ones. I think the only challenge is if they actually try to summons somebody else, you know, a loved one from the grave, then I think they’re asking for some serious stuff. As a Christian, I don’t think they can do that.”

Organizer Abraham Brown says the event is less about religion and more about educating the community about Latino culture. “It’s meant to be a celebration to remember our loved ones," explains Brown. "As I was saying before, whenever someone passes away, we wouldn’t hide their pictures. We honor them and we make sure we remember them. It’s just a remembrance celebration.”

So is it too obvious to suggest that this is exactly why people like Bugg need to be educated? As Brown explained, there's nothing about the Day of the Dead celebration that has anything to do with calling up zombies from the grave, or whatever it is she thinks she's talking about. The films of George Romero are fictional, in case Bugg is unclear on that point. Brain-eating fiends will not rise up to attack the living just because her community hosts a celebration where people remember their ancestors and deceased loved ones.

In fact, this idea is so dumb that it's hard to believe that even Bugg could be so stupid as to think that anybody animates zombies for the Day of the Dead. I suspect it's more likely that she just doesn't want a Latino celebration in her community for no good reason, so she concocted this idiotic objection.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Via Solis Scorpio Elixir Rite - Year Three

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Scorpio Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday October 29th, at Leaping Laughter Lodge, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will be continuing to perform 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 Scorpio. The sign Scorpio is attributed to the power of “Necromancy." Note that this refers to work with the spirits of the dead, including ancestors, rather than magick involving dead things such as body parts and so forth. 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. The Via Solis Elixir Rites were written by Michele Montserrat in 2010 for the Comselh Ananael magical working group.

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

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Occult Bitch Interview

Last night I chatted with Jaime over at The Occult Bitch about my Enochian books, Enochian magick, stuff I blog about here at Augoeides, and my take on magical practice in general. It was a fun conversation and you can have a listen here.

If you have questions after listening to the interview, feel free to post them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them. Also, remember that comments are moderated here because of the ongoing spam infestation at So if your comment doesn't show up right away you don't need to post it again. I will get to it as soon as I can.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Templar Tunnels

Secret tunnels believed to have belonged to the Knights Templar were recently discovered beneath the city of Acre in Israel. A team of archeologists found the tunnels using LiDAR imaging, a laser-based scanning technique that allowed them to probe the ground below the city without digging the place up. The tunnels appear to have run from the harbor to the Templar's "treasure tower," allowing them to restock their supplies of gold without being attacked on the way there.

Archaeologists in the Israeli coastal city of Acre have discovered a network of hidden underground tunnels they believe belonged to the famed Catholic warrior monks. During the Crusades in the 11th, 12th and 13th century the Knights Templar fought on behalf of the Catholic church to try and claim the Holy Land from the Muslims. It is believed they may have used these tunnels to move gold around during the campaign.

Ever since the demise of the order in the 1300s, treasure hunters have looked for the mythical gold they may have left behind. A National Geographic documentary followed a team of archaeologists led by American explorer Dr Albert Lin as they used cutting edge technology to unearth the tunnels beneath Acre – one of the last known headquarters of the order.

‘I’m in Israel in search of the Knights Templar. These warrior monks are the stuff of legend, and so is their gold,’ Dr Lin said during the programme’s broadcast on Sunday. ‘During the Crusades the Knights Templar battle for God, gold and glory. Somewhere in the modern city of Acre lies their command centre, and possibly their treasure.’

Using a type of pulsed laser known as a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) device, the team were able to scan beneath the ground without disturbing anything. The Nat Geo group’s work revealed not just tunnels, but also a guard house hidden beneath the modern city. They scanned the fortress footprint and recreated the Templar HQ with impressive 3D models. It showed how the Knights Templar moved the gold from the port to a ‘treasure tower’ without risking an attack.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Solar Uncrossing and Protection Ritual

I have had a few questions about uncrossing rituals lately, and my usual practice is to refer folks to Andreih Vitimus' St. Michael Uncrossing / Wall of Protection. This article includes two separate approaches which have been found effective by many practitioners. It's a really good ritual.

However, Andrieh's use of the ceremonial forms in "variant two" is a little bit different from the way I use ceremonial forms, so I rewrote it a bit into the version that I am presenting here for students interested in employing my ceremonial methods. It still calls on Michael, but also Nakhiel, the Intelligence of the Sun from Agrippa. I've added some of the standard Comselh Ananael forms as well, such as our refuge in the opening and dedication in the closing, and of course the operant field.

The other bit I've added is calling on Michael and Nakhiel to empower a talisman that will continue to work over time - in effect an "always on" uncrossing linked to the person targeted by the operation. The talisman should be of a solar nature - gold (or brass or copper as a substitute), topaz, chrysolith, sunstone, or something similar. So far I only have used this version of the ritual a few times, but as far as I can tell it works well.

The ritual should ideally be performed in the day and hour of the Sun for a single operation. Any day and time with a Sun chart victor is ideal as well, though keep in mind that Sun and Moon as chart victors are rarer than the other five ancient planets. It can be done as a seven-day or longer sequence as well, in which case it should be done during the hour of the Sun on each day. For the first rite in the sequence or a single operation, observe simple electional timing. The first rite starts the sequence and sets the tone for subsequent operations.

Now all that being said, sometimes you just need to get something like this done and you can't wait for the perfect time. Under situations like that, try to hit the hour of the Sun and go from there. There are several Sun hours every day, so one of them should work.

The altar should be set up as follows: Cover a small plate with salt. Sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon onto the salt. Table salt and regular cinnamon spice will work fine. Place the character of the Sun with the sigils of Michael and Nakhiel, drawn on paper, on top of that. You can use properly colored inks as per Liber 777 (orange, golden yellow, rich amber, amber rayed red) but orange marker or something similar will suffice.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Curse on Watchmen?

Famed graphic novelist Alan Moore is one of the few celebrities who is all the way "out" as a magical practitioner, and he's been publicly known as such for a long time. Moore is also famous for hating television and film adaptations of his work. He has his name taken off of all of them, as he believes television and film as mediums are so different from graphic novels that they can't possibly render the story even remotely accurately.

HBO is now coming out with a new series based on Moore's graphic novel Watchmen, and showrunner Damon Lindelof said in a recent interview that he is convinced Moore has gone so far as to curse the production.

HBO's adaptation of Watchmen has garnered its fair share of controversy, not least of all for the ongoing, decades-long feud between original writer Alan Moore and Warner Bros., parent company of DC Comics, over the rights to the characters and series. Showrunner and creator Damon Lindelof has now revealed that he fears Moore -- who is an outspoken practitioner of ritual magic -- has cursed him.

In an interview with Vulture, Lindelof said, [I]n all sincerity, I was absolutely convinced that there was a magical curse placed upon me by Alan [Moore]. I’m actually feeling the psychological effects of a curse, and I’m okay with it. It’s fair that he has placed a curse on me. The basis for this, my twisted logic, was that I heard that he had placed a curse on Zack [Snyder]’s [Watchmen] movie. There is some fundamental degree of hubris and narcissism in saying he even took the time to curse me. But I became increasingly convinced that it had, in fact, happened. So I was like, 'Well, at least I’m completely and totally miserable the entire time.' I should be!"

He added, "When Zack was making Watchmen — and I only know this because I watched the DVDs — I was like, “This guy is having the time of his life!” And I did not enjoy any of this. That’s the price that I paid. Psychological professionals would probably suggest that I emotionally created the curse as a way of creating balance for the immorality."

Saturday, October 19, 2019

But Isn't He Fighting the Illuminati?

In the dark depths of the Internet long-discredited conspiracy theories about President Donald Trump live on. According to the so-called QAnon conspiracy, also dubbed "The Storm," Trump is engaged in a battle against "Satanic Illuminati pedophiles" who populate the "deep state" - oh, and of course, the entire Democratic Party. QAnon predicted that the Mueller Investigation was a "false flag" that was only pretending to investigate the president, and that when the report was released basically every prominent Democratic Party member (and especially the Clintons) would be named in it and arrested en masse.

Then the report was released. Nothing that "QAnon" predicted happened. It's almost as if the whole thing were entirely made up - which in fact a couple of folks on Reddit actually copped to doing awhile back. And anybody who still believes in any aspect of this nonsense should take note that Trump recently appointed a self-proclaimed "Illuminati" who writes under the pen name "Magus Incognito" to a federal education board. Appointing Illuminati to prominent federal positions is a pretty funny way to fight them, don't you think?

President Donald Trump has appointed an author of self-styled “Illuminati” self-help and financial advice books to a position on a federal education board. The appointment of George Mentz ― who also writes under the pen name “Magus Incognito” ― to the Commission on Presidential Scholars was announced last Wednesday in a White House press release.

The group is tasked with selecting “presidential scholars” from across the country, an honorific reserved for 161 high school seniors who “demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in academics, the arts, career and technical education and an outstanding commitment to public service.”

Federal Election Commission filings show Mentz has given substantial sums to Republican causes and candidates, including more than $10,000 to Trump’s campaign and an associated political action committee.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Probably a Bad Idea

To be fair, I will grant that this promotional campaign is weird enough that it got me to post about it here on Augoeides. So maybe it's not a bad idea for all possible definitions of "bad." However, I do run into people from time to time who do magick even though they expect it not to work, and then are surprised or even shocked when it does. Spells are real and they can have real effects, and dismissing anything magical as an automatic joke can be problematic.

If your brand is called Liquid Death, why not hire a real-life Louisiana witch doctor to put a curse on your entire beverage inventory leading up to Halloween? That’s exactly what the Austrian spring water startup is doing with a campaign titled “Certified Cursed Liquid Death.”

In the campaign video, “practicing witch” Mystic Dylan is seen in a smoky warehouse preparing to cast an evil spell on cases of Liquid Death. “I call on the waters of Liquid Death and curse it with a witch’s breath,” he intones. “Curse this place, invade this product, invade those who would consume.”

Disclaimers at the end of the video warn that “Liquid Death is not responsible for what the demons do to you if you decide to consume it.” The video is running on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

According to company co-founder and CEO Mike Cessario, if you’re going up against the beverage Goliaths of the real world, weirdness helps. “As crazy as the name is, it just also made so much sense for what the product mission is: to kill your thirst and help bring death to plastic bottles,” Cessario tells Marketing Daily.

He believes there’s a “false assumption” the wellness demographic isn’t interested in weird, tongue-in-cheek entertainment.

And that's all fine and good for a laugh - if they're not working with a real magical practitioner casting a real curse. According to the article this is being billed as a real magical operation, and if it really is cursed I don't recommend drinking the stuff. Meanwhile, Cessario sounds like he either doesn't know the difference between a real magical operation and a joke or just doesn't care.

Now hopefully any magician hired to do a stunt like this would just show off for the cameras without actually casting a real curse, so odds are this is basically a big joke. Still, with the way the campaign is structured it's hard to tell - and I'll freely admit that's probably the point.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Osama Bin Laden Seashell

People who encounter pareidolia normally perceive religious images like Jesus or the Virgin Mary in patterns that crop up randomly on pieces of toast, sides of buildings, or really pretty much anywhere. But according to this article from the British tabloid Metro, a seashell collector in East Sussex came across a far more sinister image - the face of former al-Qaida leader and world-renowned terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

Debra Oliver, 60, was on Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex with husband Martin, 62, to celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary. After discovering the shell on the floor she said that they ‘fell apart laughing’ and have kept it as a little memento. Debra, from Brentford, west London, also pointed out the irony of the situation. She said: ‘funny that – he was buried at sea too.'

She said: 'It’s not that often you find a seashell that looks like anyone at all, so finding Osama bin Laden was amazing. We’d all gone for a walk on the beach, which is covered in millions and millions of shells and pebbles. I was drawn to this curious-looking shell, and went to pick it up. When I looked at it properly up close, I thought it looked like Jesus. I then saw a turban on the top, and realised who was staring up at me in the palm of my hand – Osama bin Laden.’

In the image above Deborah shows off her find. I have to admit, the shell does a lot look like the face of a man with a beard wearing a turban. It's probably a random coincidence, given the sheer number of shell configurations that exist in the world at any one time. Still, at the very least it's good for a laugh, and after all, you never quite know for sure. Could the famed terrorist leader have some paranormal connection to the shell?

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What Passes for Prophecy

This article is about a year old, but I somehow missed it back then. It recently circulated in my social media feed and... wow. Just wow. Kat Kerr is a self-proclaimed evangelical prophet who took it upon herself to tell her followers what Heaven is really like. And... I think I just have to let the article detailing Kerr's claims speak for itself. They're pretty bizarre.

•Heaven has different seasons.
•Heaven has a surf park with 80-foot waves (but don’t worry; you’ll be safe).
•Heaven has horses to ride.
•Each floor of Heaven has a different aroma.
•In Spring, the “trees sing, the flowers will dance with you, even the rocks cry out and worship Him.”
•Heaven has “flowercopters” to carry people into the air.
•Heaven has cows that drive tractors.
•In Heaven, kids take art classes taught by rabbits. Giant rabbits. Giant multi-colored rabbits. Who help the kids paint the eggs with “liquid light” so they can draw Minions on them. And inside the eggs are baby chicks or rabbits. Somehow.
•The kids sit on mushrooms that rise up into the air.
•The Easter traditions were invented in Heaven.
•There’s a city in Heaven made out of Jell-O where you can “eat the mailboxes.” Kids love it.
•Heaven has a roller coaster where you leap through the air and go under the sea.

More than anything else, this sounds like Kerr is smoking something that most evangelical Christians disapprove of. If Kerr is right - well, I'll put it this way. I went to Disney World once as a child and once as a teenager. When I was older, I thought some of the technology at Epcot was cool but the kiddie stuff was mostly boring. If Heaven is a giant Disney World with amusement park rides, teaching rabbits, driving cows, and Jell-O cities, I have to say that I have no desire to go there, in the afterlife or at any other time.

If Hell is the opposite of this - you know, cows that don't drive tractors, rabbits that don't teach art, and buildings that you're not expected to eat - it sounds a lot better to me than the messed-up acid trip Kerr describes. If Hell is eternal torment and Heaven is basically the above, I would suggest that we have to face the possibility that God might very well be more like the Gnostic demiurge than most of us would like to admit. Kerr's Heaven and the traditional notion of Hell pretty much consist of different qualities of awfulness, and as I see it only an evil God would force us to choose one or the other.

Or maybe Kerr's lifelong dream is been to reside at a messed-up amusement park where hallucinogens are widely available. Maybe that really is her own personal Heaven. But if so, I find it hard to take her judgement on anything else very seriously.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Losing the Mandate of Heaven

The last of couple of weeks have been extremely busy for me, and one of the things that surprises me is how quickly the issues surrounding the impending impeachment resolution vote against Donald Trump have been proceeding. This after what felt like a slow-walk of epic proportions over the summer. It's no secret that I'm a political lefty and personally can't stand Trump, so I'll leave the politics to others to debate. What I'm finding remarkable at this point is that some of the president's allies that I never expected to turn on him are, well, starting to turn on him - folks like evangelical heavyweight Pat Robertson.

On Monday, the Christian Broadcasting Network founder and “700 Club” host delivered an uncharacteristically strong rebuke of the White House’s announcement that it will stand by as Turkey prepares to invade northern Syria, leaving the American-allied Kurdish forces vulnerable to attack.

Slamming the decision, Robertson said he is “absolutely appalled that the United States is going to betray” the fighters, who have partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the battle against the self-described Islamic State. Continuing, Robertson invoked the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in Turkey allegedly at the behest of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The President, who allowed Khashoggi to be cut in pieces without any repercussions whatsoever, is now allowing the Christians and the Kurds to be massacred by the Turks,” Robertson said. “And I believe ― and I want to say this with great solemnity ― the president of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen.”

As I see it, the whole idea that Trump held "the mandate of heaven" in the first place is pretty silly. What's basically being alluded to here might as well be "the mandate of Pat Robertson." I will say, though, that it feels like something around Trump has shifted, as if the "rare Pepes" and 4chan sigils have finally worn off. Maybe the "binding spells" got through at last. Maybe somebody out there cooked up something a lot nastier and cast it in secret. Or maybe there's nothing paranormal to it at all, and Republicans are just getting the point where a significant number of them have had enough.

Whatever the case, I personally am entirely in favor of Trump's "mandate of heaven," whatever it really is, falling by the wayside. It never made sense to me anyway that up to this point Trump somehow has had more support among evangelical Christians than George W. Bush did - when Bush was basically one of them and Trump is, well, Trump. That means for once in my life, believe it or not, I actually hope Pat Robertson is right.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A Nearby Black Hole?

About a week ago Salon put up an article suggesting the possibility that the hypothetical "planet nine" might be a small black hole. Small is relative here - planet nine is estimated to be between 5 and 15 times the mass of Earth based on gravitational anomalies measured by astronomers. But the size is also such that scientists believe said black hole would not be large enough to have formed from the usual process of stellar collapse. It must instead be a "primordial black hole" formed during the early days of our universe, an object that so far is only theoretical.

Now, a new scientific paper explores a very different theory: what if Planet 9 were not a planet at all, but rather a primordial black hole — a hypothetical type of small black hole that formed soon after the Big Bang, in the early Universe, as a result of density fluctuations. Such a novel idea might explain why powerful telescopes have never detected so much as a flicker from the theoretical distant, massive planet. Likewise, black holes do not emit visible light at all; rather, they absorb all photons that pass their event horizon, while occasionally emitting energy in the form of (theorized but never directly observed) Hawking Radiation.

In the paper, astronomers Jakub Scholtz of Durham University and James Unwin of University of Illinois at Chicago theorize that the elusive Planet 9 could be an old, very small black hole. "Capture of a free-floating planet is a leading explanation for the origin of Planet Nine, and we show that the probability of capturing a PBH [Primordial Black Hole] instead is comparable," the astronomers write in the paper. The two scientists reached this hypothesis in a novel way, by observing that two different phenomena could be related: first, the observation of peculiar orbits of trans-Neptunian objects (meaning bodies orbiting our sun beyond Neptune), which might be explained by the presence of a distant planet with 5 to 15 times Earth's mass; and second, the number of "microlensing events," meaning telescope images that had been distorted by gravitational lensing of the kind caused by black holes or other massive, compact objects.

"There is a growing body of observational anomalies connected to the orbits of trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs)," the paper states. "These observations have been taken as evidence of a new ninth planet in our solar system, called Planet 9, with mass of [about] 5 − 15 [Earth masses] and orbiting around the Sun at a distance of 300−1000" times the Earth to Sun distance. Second, there is set of gravitational anomalies recently observed by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE)," they continue. "The lensing objects are located towards the galactic bulge, roughly 8 [kiloparsecs] away. These events correspond to lensing by objects of mass [of about] 0.5 [Earth masses] to 20 [Earth masses] and could be interpreted as an unexpected population of free floating planets or Primordial Black Holes."