There are a lot of tricks our minds play on us from time to time and I have been dismissive of some tall tales on this basis. Pragmatism is a trait usually claimed by atheists, but sometimes you just have to accept the fact that there is indeed something going on. Over the course of my life I've had many strange experiences I can't explain, it really grates because they are exactly the things I would be sceptical about if I hadn't witnessed them myself.
However, my failure to understand some experiences, doesn't mean I will assume they are caused by anything supernatural. I do have my own hypotheses as no doubt most of you are aware by now, but that's all they are, conjecture. There is a huge void between science and religion, it is a divide that seemingly can never be bridged, yet when they're loosely tied together things make a lot more sense.
There is no doubt in my mind hominids on this planet have undergone a process. Science will deny it and religion will attribute their own ideas on how this was achieved and by whom. The key is the difference between homo sapiens sapiens and homo sapiens neanderthalis. The overlap of the species would be consistent with an evolutionary process but the flaw is the difference in brain size and operation. Archaeologists search fruitlessly for a 'missing link' that simply doesn't exist.
If we look at what can be achieved today with cloning and genetic manipulation, our capabilities are already at a level required to 'adjust' a species. I have covered this topic many times in different posts on different blogs so I won't dwell on it here. Suffice to say, in our primitive past we were genetically modified. In terms of religion, this would indeed suggest a 'creator' of sorts, an outside source. Alien theorists will be doing cartwheels with this 'admission' but sadly, they too stray from my perception of exactly what happened. Science will of course dismiss the theory simply because they cannot explain interstellar travel.
My pragmatism is not quite true to the dictionary definition. I discussed this in Visceral Pragmatism but in effect it brought me back to these weird experiences. Instead of telling you what I think is going on by trying to explain them, I'll just give you the facts - without embellishment - and as I try to encourage on this blog, I'll let you make up your own mind. What you are about to read is the truth just as it happened.
I was out with friends when I came off my bike at speed and hit my head on a wooden post. I was unconscious no more than a few seconds as I remember seeing my friends running towards me. Everything was upside down. The only visible injury I had was a small trickle of blood from my ear and my friends thought I was messing about as I rolled around trying to stand up. I found if I closed my eyes I could stand up but when I opened them I fell over again.
My friends fetched someone from a nearby house and I was taken to hospital. I was conscious all the way and remembered being put in a wheelchair just outside the hospital. As the doors opened a blinding white flash 'exploded' from them, then it all went black.
It was still dark and I was lying down, I heard muffled voices around me and was aware of being touched but couldn't feel it. I felt amused at the people fussing around me and suddenly I was looking down at myself from the ceiling in a corner of the room. Watching with interest the doctors administering CPR, I could 'feel' my chest being depressed even though I was no longer in my body. The amused feeling never left me and in my head I sang softly, mocking the doctors "I'm not there anymore".
The door below my vantage point swung open and I swished down from the ceiling in a fluid motion. I was out the door and sweeping down the corridor just above head height. Two more doors swung open as people passed through and I was out of the hospital. My body was back at the hospital and I felt as though I was just a face. Feeling an urge to go home, the three miles from the hospital took just a matter of seconds but I remembered it all. I was going down the main route a few feet above the street lamps. At my house I hovered outside my bedroom window and was suddenly indecisive.
Instinctively I looked back and was back at the hospital in an instant. I was back up in the corner of the room again then it all went black and I remember no more. Three days later I woke up and sometime after when I told my mother of the dream, she told I had actually died for 37* seconds.
*Both my parents confirmed I had clinically died but it was my mother who said 37 seconds and I only have her word for that, I never spoke of the incident with my father.
Now there are a number of things about this that are strange but inconclusive. Was it a dream? That was my first thought. Unconscious awareness would maybe explain inside the hospital. The fact I died and 'dreamt' about the 'transition' is also inconclusive, as I could have dreamt it whilst in the three day coma.
I never really put much significance on my accident despite the associated problems with Traumatic Brain Injury. In fact I hadn't even heard of TBI until recently. I, like my friends, just thought I was weird. Now I wonder if my weirdness was always there or whether the accident was the catalyst.
It was only a few years later I started having prophetic dreams and seeing weird things. The dreams were strange and still happen infrequently today, the last 'fulfilment' was just 18 months ago.
I didn't see the dreams as anything strange as a kid, I dreamt so much it was easy for the 'prophetic' ones to be overlooked. When I did recognise them in real life events it was like deja vu. Is that what deja vu is? Subconscious memories of prophetic dreams? Of all the weirdness I have been subjected to, these dreams confound me. I like to find a rational or at least plausible explanation for things yet I could think of no way how a visualisation of future events was possible. It remains an enigma. Neither can I dismiss it as a trick of the mind.
At first the dreams were insignificant or I might have picked up on them sooner. I'd dream I was somewhere with someone then months, or in some cases years later, I would find myself in that place with that person whom I may never have met before. I could describe what was in the next room or say what was about to happen. Until a few years ago I did actually dismiss the dreams as tricks of the mind. The feeling of deja vu was strong but recollections of the dreams hazy and uncertain.
Over the years the number of dreams grew in total and some were becoming more noticeable. I was really starting to consider the possibilities when the strangest of these dreams occurred. Not exactly the strangest except in the fact I remembered the dream in great detail from almost three years earlier. It came to be some 18 months ago and I really freaked two people out (as well as myself).
I was being ahown around a large warehouse by a prospective client, it looked oddly familiar even though I had never been in the building before. When we entered another area where people were working I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I had definitely been there before, in my mind at least. A worker whose face looked familiar asked us to wait a moment whilst something was being moved and I suddenly remembered my dream. Off to one side about 20 yards away a forklift truck carrying a pallet of loose boxes was approaching. He was moving slowly and steadily so there was no reason to think anything would happen.
"That forklift is going to stop suddenly and the whole front line of boxes will fall off" I said
We looked towards the forklift and for some reason (I couldn't see the cause) at that very moment the driver hit the brakes hard. Even though he wasn't moving fast the sudden stop caused the whole front stack of boxes to spill onto the floor just as I said and had seen in the dream. Maybe if someone else had said it I might have explained it away as a lucky guess, but I knew it wasn't guesswork.
The 'client' looked almost scared, as if I had somehow caused the accident to happen. We went into the next area which I could have described before entering but the guy was already nervous. Needless to say I didn't get the contract but received the most complimentary rejection ever.
Since then I am taking careful note of any dreams I have, just in case. I believe we can get indicators or clues to future events and many see dreams as prophetic. In those cases though the dreams are symbolic and in need of interpretation, what I see is the actual event. I believe I have found the answers to many puzzles that are plausible and science friendly, but I am at a loss to explain how this is possible
When explaining about my dreams, the thing I didn't mention was the nightmares. I'm not even sure when they started but remember them as being frequent in my early teens. Some bad stuff happened around the time so I suppose the nightmares were to be expected, but there was one that always came back. It was a shadowy figure in fog, stalking me. No more than a silhouette similar to the picture. I felt uncomfortable more than scared though, a cold clammy foreboding. It wasn't just in my sleep either. In my peripheral vision I frequently saw shapes, like shadows when a small fast moving cloud passes in front of the sun. The hairs on the back of my neck always stood on end and I'd get goose-pimples. Soon after the nightmares eased off, I started seeing things a little more definitively.
At this point it would be easy to find some link between the two but it would be tenuous at best. Despite all this I was still a kid and maybe unusually sceptical for the age group. I needed clarity before I could seriously entertain the prospect that there was indeed phenomena of a supernatural nature.
The Grey Lady
The first time I saw an apparition was perhaps also the strangest. The good thing was I had a witness so I know it wasn't some kind of hallucination. I had been at a friend's house and left with another friend as it started getting late. We were 16 years old at the time and hadn't been drinking or smoking illicit substances, nothing. Stone cold sober.
Walking home we took a short cut through the town's main graveyard, as we often did during the daytime. This time it was night though and the gates are locked at dusk. Undeterred we climbed over them, it was nearly a full moon and there was ample light to see us through the dark cemetery.
About halfway through I saw an old woman moving between grave stones. An overwhelming sense of calm came over me and I felt the urge to talk to the lady. She was slightly hunched over and looked old yet seemed to move as though on a conveyor, it was a smooth glide rather than a jerky walking motion. It didn't strike me as odd at the time. As I veered off the path I heard my friend say "Don't go" or "Don't", I can't remember exactly I just remember there being panic in his voice.
I looked at him and he looked scared. His unease gave me doubts and I looked back at the woman, she was still there and seemingly oblivious to us. We walked away faster and faster until we were running full tilt to get away. When we were safely out of the graveyard I asked my friend to describe what he saw, I wanted to be sure I wasn't going mad. He described the woman and her motions exactly as I had seen her.
The two things about this incident that were particularly 'convincing' were the motion of the old woman which was unnatural in its fluidity, and the fact we had to scale gates to get into the locked graveyard. An old woman simply couldn't have done so. There was no way my friend could have described what I saw if it hadn't been there and I was careful not to give him any clues.
I went to sea soon after the first incident and for the next three years nothing unusual happened - or at least nothing I remember as being significant. The next incident is less certain and I always dismissed such until they became too frequent to ignore. I was working on a Cruise Liner and as night-gang I was one of those that had to take the dead passengers down to the freezers.
Obviously they weren't dead at the start of the voyage but we were doing a world cruise and many of the 1500 passengers were elderly. They may have saved up for a world cruise in their twilight years, I don't know. One lady died three days out and never even saw foreign soil. It wasn't her I saw though. An old gentleman also died en route from Vancouver to Hawaii.
Looking out as we approached Hawaii I felt I was not alone and with my peripheral vision I saw someone standing behind me. The person was about three feet behind me and to the right, I couldn't make out who it was because I didn't pay much attention. Although the funnel deck was usually empty, one or two crew members occasionally had the same desire to get away from the others. I was captivated by the lights of Hawaii.
"Amazing isn't it?" I said with a sense of wonder, I was always like a little kid when I saw somewhere new.
"Yes" came the reply but there was something strange about it and I turned to see who the person was.
There was nobody there of course. They couldn't have gone without me knowing because it was open deck. I looked all around and had that eerie feeling again. Later we were told a passenger had died and had to take him to the fridges. This experience was particularly strange in the respect it was the only time I ever spoke to an apparition. Another odd thing was I didn't think I actually heard the reply 'Yes', it was as though a thought had implanted itself in my head. Despite the coincidental timing of the death of the passenger, I put this one down as inconclusive. Maybe if I had turned around when I first felt the presence behind me I might have seen a face and recognised the deceased man. Maybe it was someone else and I just didn't notice them leave due to my distraction. I don't think so but can't rule it out.
One other thing struck a chord with me. The person in my peripheral vision reminded me of the shadowy figure in my nightmares. I don't know if it was just because he was silhouetted and I hadn't had that dream for years. The problem there though is I didn't feel intimidated.
People generally associate apparitions with night time and darkness, or at least I did. I was invited back to a friend of a friend's house. We had been introduced and knew each other a few months but it was the first time I had been to his house. It was afternoon time and we sat in the kitchen talking. There was a door leading to the front room which was left wide open. My friend's wife was busying herself around the house as we talked. Then something caught my eye, again in my peripheral vision. I looked up in time to see an elderly lady in a floral dressing gown cross in front of the doorway. I hadn't realised there was someone else in the house.
In a whisper, as I didn't want the woman to hear in case she thought me nosey, I asked my friend who she was. He was mystified thinking I'd lost my marbles. I was describing her when my friend's wife came into the kitchen and heard. She went deathly white as I described the floral dressing gown the woman wore. My friend's wife asked if I could draw the lady. They gave me a pencil and paper and I drew what I saw the best I could. My friend's wife went upstairs and fetched a shoe-box full of photos. She pulled out one and I saw it was the lady I had seen, and wearing the same dressing gown I had just drawn. I was told the lady was the mother of my friend's wife and had died almost a year ago to the day. Ghost? Residual energy forming an 'echo' from the past? I've no idea, but I saw what I saw and drew it as proof.
There have been many other less conclusive incidents which I cannot dismiss out of hand, simply because of those I have described here. What you must understand is, I never had any idea these were apparitions at the time. I imagined 'ghosts' to be wraith-like and almost transparent. This wasn't the case with what I saw. They were all solid figures - or at least appeared to be. Consequently I believed them to be actual people.
Another anomaly is the fact I would have believed myself to be fearful of ghosts if I ever saw one, yet in every case I felt a sense of calm and well-being. It was like my brain had switched off any danger receptors I possessed. Also I am dismissive of these occurrences as thus far inconsequential. They appear to serve no purpose. I don't go looking to have these type of experiences, they just happen. Night time, daytime, inside, outside, they are completely random and unexpected. I am more aware than I used to be but still perhaps not as switched on as I should be.
My grandmother was ill and not very mobile. One night for no apparent reason I felt the need to visit her. I turned to my wife and told her I was going to see my grandmother.
"It's 10 o'clock she will be in bed, why go now?"
I couldn't answer, I just had a feeling. When I got to my grandmother she was hanging on to the sink having stumbled and knocked over her walking-frame.
"I've been praying for someone to come" she said when I helped her up.
Some kind of telepathy? I lived just over a mile away so it would have been some feat. I couldn't say why I had to go see her only that the urge was strong, and it was a time of night I would never normally visit.
As her health deteriorated, my wife and I moved in with her. We basically looked after her but lived almost separately upstairs so she maintained a little independence. Our room was previously my old Irish uncle's room (my deceased grandfather's brother) who had died some years earlier. Every night during my grandmother's illness the door used to rattle non-stop. There were no draughts or any reason for it to do so. yet every night as soon as we closed the door it would begin to rattle. After a few sleepless nights we had the idea to put a sock in the door which worked. Several times we forgot and on those occasions the door would rattle as usual.
I was at work one day and my wife was dozing upstairs. She told me she felt a hand on her shoulder and woke up with a start. A little disturbed she went downstairs and found my grandmother collapsed on the floor and helped her to her bed. Eventually my grandmother passed on and I remember going to bed the first night after. My wife went to put the sock in the door.
"Don't bother, you don't need that anymore" I told her without knowing why I said it.
The door never rattled again. Another fact was within days of my grandmother dying the house started falling to pieces. The boiler burst, the fusebox shorted, shelves fell down, all manner of things just seemed to 'give up'. It seemed like they had just held on for my grandmother and now felt justified in going wrong.
Maybe the bang on the head damaged areas of my brain but allowed others to kick in, lose one sense and others become heightened. Could it be my brief passing made me more sensitive to such 'energies'. I really don't know the answers but I have enough about me to know there is a hell of a lot science has yet to discover.
I believe the problem is there to be solved but like a jigsaw puzzle all the pieces need to be put together. This cannot happen currently because science and religion are dismissive of each other. When they finally admit they are both wrong and work together with an open mind not clouded by logic or blind belief, we may find the answers to life, the universe, and everything.
Friday, 17 February 2017
Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Not much apparently.....
There were a few Saints named Valentine, two of whom have February 14th as their designated day. As with most Saints, stories of their martyrdoms are embellished and often contradictory.
Although taking place about the time of the persecutions by Aurelius, the first literary reference didn't appear until the 14th century, even then the link is tenuous. Chaucer wrote in 'Parlement of Foules' (1382) to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia
'for this was on seynt volantynys day,whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make' (......there to choose his mate)
It was assumed Chaucer was speaking of one of the February Valentines but the treaty of marriage was signed on May 2nd 1381, they married eight months later both aged fifteen. That would make Chaucer's Valentine (the first ever to be associated with love), Valentine of Genoa whose day is May 3rd and died around 307 AD.
So there it is, not only is everybody associating this love thing with the wrong Valentine, it was never about him anyway.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Just thought I'd share my thoughts on the Middle Eastern conflict. Most people have an agenda when looking at what is happening and it colours their thoughts. I have no such agenda, no bias, just pragmatism - the visceral kind. Although I am no expert in the politics of the region, I am not totally oblivious to what is going on. I've also visited many of the countries whilst in the merchant navy, so I know a little about the culture. This is how I see it........
It would be easy to blame the current crisis on oil and in effect it would be true..... currently. Blaming the troubles on religion is absurd, if anything it's due to racism and the subsequent attempts at 'ethnic cleansing', not a fight over who God loves best. The problems in the Middle East began with agriculture, long before oil or religion. Agriculture took humans out of their comfort zone. The need to migrate as nomadic hunter-gatherers became a thing of the past, and city states sprang up.
Of course the downside to the huge growth in population of these city states was crop failure and famine. It is easy to see what followed, one state would then try and take away what another state had and war was invented. At first it may have been 'justifiable' in that it was a choice between fight or die if help was refused. Later it became all about greed. I'm not going to give you a complete history of the Middle East but let's just say the conflict between modern day Iran and Iraq has ALWAYS been a problem.
The problem wasn't just confined to Iraq/Iran. Nomadic tribes were claiming land as their own and forbidding access of others, others who had used the land for generations. It began the bitter dispute in Israel / Palestine, yet again BEFORE oil and monotheist religion. We see these ancient disputes today on a global basis. Native Americans, Aborigines, Maoris, Irish, Kurds, etc. etc. There is no doubt empire building and control of resources / strategic positions has resulted in many foreign invaders claiming land they had no right to but where do you draw the line?
Take for instance the Maoris. They claim the Brits cheated them out of land. The Maori culture had no concept of owning land so when the Brits offered them cash they took it not realising the implications. Today they say they were cheated out of their land and in effect they were. The Brits have been there for nearly 200 years though and the Maori people consisted of a number of different tribes similar to the Native Americans. These tribes warred with each other and territory was taken by conquest. So who does own the land?
The same applies to the Middle East, how far back do you go to settle a dispute over territory. It is impossible to answer and there are only two solutions. More attempts at conquest, or cooperation and redistribution of resources on a non-competitive basis. Unfortunately the latter cannot happen due to the way governments operate.
Putting to one side the dispute over Palestine, there is also the territorial dispute between Israel and Syria. This involves an area around the sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. If the strategic value was not enough there has now been oil found in the Golan Heights. Syria is backed by Russia and Israel by America. Add this to the fact that Russia also backed Iran and America backed Iraq in a series of conflicts. Iran is also a supporter of Syria. The Saudis would appear to support the predominantly Sunni Iraq but Daesh have complicated matters for them.
Iraq: The situation in Iraq is a bigger problem for the USA than it is for Russia. Putin must be rubbing his hands gleefully. It started with Saddam blowing the wealth of the nation on the war with neighbours Iran. From what I understand he demanded fellow Sunnis Kuwait and Saudi Arabia help finance the war with predominantly Shia Iran. When they refused he invaded Kuwait. What followed has divided opinions. Personally I believe all this weapons of 'mass destruction' nonsense was a Tory plot to discredit Blair, the most successful Labour PM for decades even though I objected to the 'New Labour' tag. Odd how Thatcher won an election by starting a war (Falklands) but Blair lost for the same reason.
To my mind the potential weapons of mass destruction 'excuse' was immaterial. Saddam was attempting genocide and that was justification enough. Anyway, the tinpot dictator was ousted and a great void was left behind. I didn't really follow too closely after Saddam but it appears with much interference from America a Shia government was put in place. What could possibly go wrong. In fairness any government would have failed as the war was won by toppling a dictator but not defeating his army. It was a powder keg waiting for a spark and there were plenty of those flying.
Iran: There is a strange mix of democracy and fundamentalism in Iran. Is it a sham, a respectable 'front'? It is suspicious the Ayatollah calls all the shots and that is a worry. When Daesh is finally defeated what happens to Iraq then. It would certainly be a good time for Iran to settle a 5000 year old dispute. Should Iran start leaning towards extremism would they use nuclear weapons? Probably not against Iraq, there would be no need. Would America support Iraq and risk a nuclear war. It wouldn't hurt the fundamentalists, they're going to heaven anyway.
Syria: Assad seems to be another Saddam type regime, hell bent of ethnic cleansing. Assad is another to gain from Daesh. They justify attacks on 'terror groups' which gives him the perfect platform to get rid of his own people who oppose him. The biggest danger however comes from Assad's designs on the disputed territory around Galilee and the Golan Heights. To me, it appears Syria is in danger of becoming a patsy for Russia in starting a war with Israel.
Israel: The problems with the West Bank and Gaza strip have always been simmering but if a conflict with Syria ignites, it will no doubt boil over. Megiddo could easily fulfil Revelations. Again the question is who will support Israel. America? Nato? I can't see it. I think Israel will be sold down the river. There will of course be much fuss and ado, the question is how Israel will react to ultimately losing the disputed territories. Only with Putin's continued assistance could it happen, but I suspect Russia wouldn't appear to sanction such a move by Syria. Iran on the other hand....
USA & Russia: The big two are key. They both have strategic and economical interest in the region.. They both have dangerous men in charge. I wonder if they might start seeing common ground in the need to defeat extremists. It wouldn't be the first time America and Russia came together to defeat such a foe. Russia has always been distrusted, mostly due to Stalin, but as they gradually repair some of the damage America goes the other way. America a friend, an ally (at a price) in two world wars have regressed. Trump is not a politician and as a figurehead reminds me of an extremely obnoxious cheap copy of Boris Johnson.
Russia hold all the aces, they just have to sit and watch, occasionally antagonising America in Syria. Russia are there with permission and are merely trying to stop terrorists from overthrowing a legitimate government. Yeah, crock of shit but such are judicial systems, Putin is innocent of all charges. America are up the proverbial creek without a paddle. They need the Iraqi government to be seen to defeat Daesh because foreign victors would put into question its legitimacy. Another consequence is that defeated jihadis that don't come to Europe will probably join Al-Qaeda.
The outlook is grim and a solution, though obvious, simply will not happen. As a species we are at a crossroads. This 21st century will be known as the century that killed or cured mankind. Our understanding will be taken to a higher level, or we will destroy each other. The biggest problem is false democracy. Many countries are guilty of it, some blatantly so. With most European countries it is more surreptitious, reliant on the stupidity of the masses. The elected governments are supposed to be representative of the majority of the people, this is rarely the case. For example, I don't believe the majority of the British people wanted to sell off our industries.
Every country is striving to increase profits and get out of debt. How can the whole world be in debt? How can a country be home to 2000+ billionaires yet be 18 trillion in debt? I don't need to spell it out. Government needs to evolve, globally. At the minute almost every country is behaving like those morons on Black Fridays. This is just a personal view, I would be interested to hear where I've misconstrued things.