A Paranormal Library – Ancient Aliens

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase.  I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage.  Happy reading Dreamers!

This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.”  My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

Ancient Aliens

The History Channel Wednesdays 9pm/8pm Central

Ok, so while I love reading, I’m a huge TV Junkie to the point that my sister and I are going through the Netflix backlogs of Frasier.  What I do love though is to watch documentaries on the Paranormal.  Ancient Aliens is one such program that I die to see every week.

Before I really go into the show Ancient Aliens, I should discuss the theory behind the show itself.  The theory of Ancient Aliens began with Erich von Däniken and his book Chariots of the Gods?, in which von Däniken hypothesizes that our ancient civilizations (Egyptian, Aztec and Maya for example) were once visited by extraterrestrial beings.  In these visitations, our ancients were given knowledge from these visitors that benefited these fledgling societies with information far advanced than we gave them credit for.  Not only that, but the ancients chronicled the visitations in ways that made sense to them in books such as the Bhagavad Gita, Gilgamesh, and The Bible.

The show Ancient Aliens began as a two-part documentary started by the creators of UFO Hunters after that specific show was canceled.  The regular series begins with the topic of discussion with a panel of experts in various fields of science.  Most of the topics vary from the very original question and that is “Whether or not Aliens were the direct result of some of the Ancients greatest creations?”  While some of the theories are outlandish, some of the real world proof, things humans have tested, are astounding.

For example, in the episode “Ancient Aliens and Deadly Diseases,” the pundits hypothesize that Aliens were responsible for diseases that almost wiped out mankind.  While the idea seems more science fiction than science, there is evidence of NASA testing a hypothesis on what would happen to bacteria in a zero gravity environment. In this test, NASA tested several bacteria samples in space to see if they would die or thrive in the vacuum.  While 3 out of the 4 samples died in space, the samples of Salmonella grew 3 to 7 times more virulent than when it was initially launched. From this evidence, we can conclude a larger hypothesis: have any of the major diseases that almost wiped out humanity have been mutated bacteria from deep space?  While it is a stretch, the evidence with the virulent Salmonella is definitely food for thought.*

Now, again, I really do think that most of their hypotheses are outlandish and stretched way too thin; I do believe that a good chunk of the information that is presented in Ancient Aliens is very fascinating.  I also think more people would take the show more seriously if the “crazy-haired-douche-bag,” to quote the boyfriend and sister, were to be less spastic on the word “proof.”** I do agree with most of the pundits on the show, I personally believe that if this said person stopped saying the word “proof” and combed his hair once in a while with gel or mousse; maybe people would probably see the show with a better light.

You can view Ancient Aliens episodes on History.com (updated every Thursday Morning), or view them on Hulu, Youtube, and Netflix.


* Go to this NASA Site for more information on what may have caused the Salmonella virus to become more virulent in space.

** If you have ever seen this show, you know of whom I am talking about.  Every time there is the faintest of circumstantial evidence given in the show, this man starts popping the word “proof” every ten seconds.  Even for an openly cautious person as I am, that is just way too over the top.

When You Go Vintage Shopping Pt. 2 or how I started to like creepy dolls

The Boyfriend and I went vintage shopping again on Sunday, looking for a jacket that could be described as “Mobster” for our Halloween idea.  While we cannot find the perfect jacket, we were able to find some more amazingly scary dolls.  Behold your eyes to the scary dolls part 2!

To be completely honest, along with clowns, the dark, and other random phobias (or fears for those who want to get technical), I do get the creeps from weird looking dolls, to the point where I would walk away from a creepy doll and take the long way to an item I want to see.  What I have found lately though, is to take pictures of creepy dolls, and see if this would make my fear go away.  So far…this system has been working, and I have found myself LOOKING for creepy dolls to amass a giant collection and post them on my art site.  The joyful wanderings of Antique stores and vintage stores has been a wonderful experience, and if I can remember, the next time I go vintage shopping, I’ll HAVE to bring my DSLR camera and take better quality photos than my 3.1 MP phone camera.  Imagine! Creepy dolls in 12.0 HD MP goodness, think of the fear I’ll bring to the hearts of the three readers that read this blog! MUWHAHAHA!

Sorry, got away there for a second.  In retrospect, I started doing the same thing with clowns, and nearly had a panic attack just trying to get near this creepy death stare clown in the same location of these dolls.  My boyfriend was encouraging me the entire way, until I nearly fainted once I got my hand close enough to take the picture.  In the near coma state I put myself in, I had imagined my hand bitten off by the clown and me bleeding from the bloody stump as my shocked boyfriend beat the ceramic clown to smithereens, but the clown kept piecing itself back together showing us that my boyfriend’s efforts were for not, and we should get the hell out of that store.  For those concerned, I have spent years in therapy (4 since it was free at my college) to get over this clown phobia and short of hypnosis, I think I’ll just explain that my fear is based on a past life as one of John Wayne Gacy’s victims.  Interestingly, the numbers in his address keep appearing everywhere in my life…coincidence? I would like to think not, but it is highly possible.

Now, back to the dolls, I got bored on Monday night and spent an hour editing the photo I took of Creepy Doll 1.  My sister was quite unhappy that her new kitten (story to come after Halloween), was sitting in my lap as I happily clicked around Photoshop to create this haunting image.  My sister is another Creepy Doll Phobic, so she promptly grabbed our nine week old kitten and sat her away from my screen and started watching Frasier on Netflix.

Happy Halloween Everyone!!

Filter from night-fate

Regards,

The Doll Obsessed, Oracle of Dreams

A Paranormal Library – Destination Truth

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase.  I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage.  Happy reading Dreamers!

This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.”  My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

Destination Truth

New Episodes on SyFy in 2012

Josh Gates is the host of Destination Truth, born in Massachusetts, Josh gates received archaeology and drama degrees from Tufts University, has been involved in archaeological digs above ground and underwater, and he has been a photographer that has taken him all around the world.  He was recently inducted to The Explorer’s Club.

Now, here’s one show that I just cannot get enough of, and it is not because of Josh Gates, the host, who’s campy, pop-culture references stretching from Lost to Terminator 2, or his golden dreadlocks camera man Gabe (I WILL not go into detail on how sexy I find this man).  Ok, girl lust over, this show has just a great blend of jokes and serious research (for an hour only show) that makes the show highly interesting and entertaining.  Not only that, but aside from Monster Quest, this is the only other show that deals with investigations on Crypto-zoological* sightings.

While the show does leave more questions than answers, the cultural interest the show brings is more entertaining than the actual investigation.  The show allows those of us at home to see a culture we cannot go out and see.  The episode in Bhutan is an amazing example, because not only do you need to be invited to Bhutan by the government, the culture there has not changed much, with TV and internet becoming legal in 1999. The entertaining aspect was Team Truth’s encounter with a field of Marijuana plants (and by field I mean a field reaching far into the mountainside) and everyone laughing and wondering if they could bring the plant back to the United States.  I can’t remember which episode this happened in, or which continent this was on, but Team Truth was invited to a Tribal Initiation ceremony to gain information on the cryptid they were hunting.  In the initiation, they had to drink this concoction that was either psychotropic or just your general feel good, get high drink that one of the cameramen knew about.

In all seriousness, I love crypto-zoological stories and shows regarding such topics.  The reason being, was while I was a young Oracle of Dreams, my friends and then boyfriend, laughed at the fact that I would spend HOURS reading books on Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster, trying to see if there would be a grain of truth within these books as to the real existence of these cryptids.  That is where my love for Destination Truth has come in, I like that Josh Gates and others have not given up the search for these creatures that science has deemed mythological or extinct.  Destination Truth may not find these beasts that they search for, but the cultural lesson you get from these trips are more valuable, personally, than the proof of Bigfoot.  Watch if you love culture, watch if you love to find the unknown, either way Destination Truth is great!!

Watch on SyFy.com, Hulu, YouTube and Netflix on watch instantly.


* Crypto-zoology is the study of mythical beasts that are said to still exist in this world.  Cryptids (as these beasts are called) range from the ever known Bigfoot to Elves in Norway.

When You Go Vintage Shopping…

My sis, the Boyfriend and I went vintage shopping in the Heights down here in Houston on Wednesday.  And while I usually am able to go into a vintage store and find things that interest me, I always seem to get distracted by the very unusual things these stores sell.  See, I tend to gravitate towards creepy things when I go Vintage Shopping, and I go into every antique store and Vintage dress shop I can find.  What I found on Wednesday was beyond creepy, I had to take a picture of them.

Watch Instantly on Netflix

Before I start, the boyfriend and I recently started our “Horror Movie Month” with this really strange flick called The Dolls on Netflix. The storyline starts with a recently married Divorcee, his new wife, and daughter from a previous marriage, were all caught in a storm and had to take shelter in a creepy old victorian (like every movie that starts like this), where an old doll maker and his wife were preparing for dinner.  After giving the daughter, who happens to have an overactive imagination (probably from the fact that the father is an asshole to her), a doll, the Dollmaker then allows a Gentleman and two girls (80’s punk rockers) to stay the night along with the troubled family. Well, it turns out that the dolls that are everywhere in the Dollmaker’s house are alive and only the girl and the gentelman are the ones who are not effected by the creepy dolls.

What does this have to do with my vintage shopping on Wednesday?  Well, I came across some really creepy dolls at this one place that I just HAD to take a picture.

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All the images were taken on my crappy camera phone, but as you can see, that doesn’t even begin to describe the weirdness that are these images!

Dreamers, have you ever gone Vintage Shopping and found something so creepy, you just had to take a picture?  If so, want to share them?

Regards,

The Halloween obsessed, Oracle of Dreams

A Paranormal Library – The Serial Killer Files

Ballantine Books, 2003

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain

to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How and Why of the World’s Most Terrifying Monsters by Harold Schechter

SAW 3.14 - Cereal Killer

Via Flickr Scytis

While this is not your average “Paranormal” topic, I personally find the subject of Serial Killers very fascinating.  Also, with the upcoming Halloween celebrations, the subject of Serial Killers will be on everyone’s mind.  Such as kids dressing up in bloody clothes, carrying a cereal box with knives protruding from the mutilated box.  At least we know that the Cereal Killers are not pawns of a large candy company who are harassing said Cereal Killer’s nieces.

Aside from that, Serial Killer movies are on during the month of October, such as Halloween with Michael Meyers, House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects get more play time on cable TV, even if you watch the first movie of Friday the 13th, you could classify Mrs. Voorhees as a Spree Killer if anything.  The thing is, Serial Killers are deeply engrained into our American Halloween Culture, and if people do not find Serial Killers Paranormal, than you really do not know The Son of Sam.

Harold Smith, Power Puff Girls

Aside from our cultural standings, Serial Killers also come with the supposed fact that they are a modern creation, with humans being bored and finding ways to entertain their time, kind of like the bored husband with the catty wife in The Power Puff Girls who decided to become a Super Villain. Schechter and others agree that “Serial Killing” has been around since the beginning of human history. If we look back at history, we can see that killing was sociably acceptable only if the occupation fit and the rich were not the ones being killed.

Emperor Nero

For example, there has been evidence of knights performingmurderous, sexual acts on unsuspecting peasants, but we remember them as romantic, chivalrous do good-ers whosearched for the Holy Grail.  Nero was a famous sociopath who committed horrible acts on Christians (turning them intohuman torches for a garden party), and supposedly ripped out his mother’s womb to see where he came from.

Vlad Tepes

Vlad Tepes, or better known as Vlad the Impaler, was another such “celebrity” having been honored by the Pope for protecting the Christian World from the Ottomans and subsequently started impaling his captured victims on long pikes for the vultures to eat. Elizabeth Bathory is another, who tortured peasant girls in her torture chamber, killed them, dangled the mutilated bodies above a bath tub and bathed in the girl’s blood to keep her young and beautiful.  Even in the more recent century, during the Vietnam War, there were accounts of Soldiers, both the Vietcong and

Elizabeth Bathory

U.S. Soldiers, committing murderous acts on unsuspecting peasants. We can even account for Desperadoes in the Wild West of being serial murders while they rustled cattle, and were wanted dead or alive. The book is set up in a fashion where Schechter describes “what” a Serial Killer is, the history of Serial Killing, and its definition with case studies to prove his point.  He categorizes the Serial Killer into three specific categories “Serial, Mass and Spree Killers” with different categories under the first three with more examples through case study.  It is a very well-organized book, with easy to access chapters and great case study examples.  This book was way too hard to put down because of how informative the book was.

John Norman Collins

The case studies are fascinating and he discusses the more popular Serial Killers and those I never had heard of before.  He even briefly discusses the Michigan Murders and John Norman Collins.  JNC was an Eastern Michigan University student who killed seven women, each with long brown hair, petite with pierced ears.  All seven were raped, tortured, slashed, mutilated, garroted and bludgeoned to death.  The only reason why he wasn’t caught during his two-year killing period, was due to the influx of “Psychics” coming into “help” the investigators on the case, and inevitably sent the investigators on a wild goose chase.  He was eventually caught by an eye-witness who noticed that one of her employees was given a ride by JNC, and went missing a day later. What makes this case especially significant was that I am a graduate of EMU and went on a night investigation with some friends to a silo where JNC is said to have “dumped” one of his victims, and is haunted by JNC and his seven victims. In the investigation, we got an orb that night (even though it looks to me like a glare), a scary deer with red eyes, and me having to pee in the middle of the woods next to the scary silo.  Will I ever go on another night investigation again? Only if Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, or any of the other Ghost Investigators out there will ask me to tag along.  Just a little bit of information about me though, I am TERRIFIED of the dark, and to be more specific, I’m terrified of what is IN the dark, i.e. ghosts, demons, aliens, weirdos, what-have-you that we haven’t even thought about looking for in the dark.  A Weirdo I am!

Take this book as an encyclopedia of Serial Killer behavior, with wide-ranging information on the psychology, mechanics and the different cannibals of Serial Killer History.

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Harold Schechter

A Paranormal Library – Ghosts of War

New Page Books, 2006

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase.  I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage.  Happy reading Dreamers!

This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.”  My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

Ghosts of War: Restless Spirits of Soldiers, Spies, and Saboteurs by Jeff Belanger

Jeff Belanger is a lecturer on the paranormal, with features all over the United States.  He has also been a guest on numerous radio and TV shows, including Coast to Coast AM and The History Channel’s Haunted History.  He has several lectures this month located in Chicago, Austin, and several cities in Massachusetts.  He currently resides in Massachusetts.

I didn’t disappoint, here’s another book by the extraordinary Jeff Belanger!  I really do enjoy his books, and there are more that I have purchased recently because of his writing style and his attention to research.  As a History Major in college, this book really hits close to home with great information and really great storytelling.  I sure hope you all are excited about this book as I am!

This book was highly entertaining and very informative on different wars and their ghosts.  Jeff did AMAZING research regarding the information in this book, and set the wars chronologically, starting from 1180 CE.  He even included wars I never even knew existed, such as the Gompei War in Japan and the Black Hills War in Montana. Which I found out, was the war that contained The Battle of Little Bighorn.  I also was surprised that Jeff included more recent wars, such as the Bosnian War in the early 1990’s.  Each war is separated into a specific time period, and the battles are set in chronological order.  Like usual, the Civil War had more entries than World War II, and the book was a more US-centric than I was hoping for. I was half way expecting to see obscure wars that not very many people have heard of with scary ghost stories, but I do understand that in order to sell this book; you would have to include the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

As a History Teacher, I look for information that would be “entertaining” to the students in my class.  Sometimes using ghost stories keeps their attention, although, I usually phrase the ghost story as “Some believe,” “Legend has it,” or “Supposedly,” while giving the history lesson.  Surprisingly this system works, and I appreciate Jeff for giving such great ideas for a history lesson.  My students really do enjoy the occasional ghost story added in to the usual lecture, and I really only use these stories in times of great boredom. You know, when all the eyes staring at me are blank, glossed over and you could tell their minds have left their head, the stories usually pick them right back up, and they find interest in history again. I use this sparingly, and I add more useless information, tidbits of funny factoids, more than the ghost stories, but Jeff Belanger really does help me keep interest with my students.

Again, this is a very well researched book, separating the information on the War/Battle into what day(s) fought, participants, and casualty count.  Before Jeff ever gets to writing about ghosts, you hear about how different structures were built, how the war started (not too in-depth), and the outcome of the specific battle in which the ghost stories were said to have happened.  Then he gets into the nitty-gritty of the ghost stories which are about 20% of the overall passage.  But that is what a good storyteller and historian does, use the interest of ghosts to give an overall history lesson, which is why I really do love Jeff Belanger.  He disguises learning into a great story.

Akama-jingu shrine, Shimonoseki, Japan, 2006

via flickr asiabytes

For example, the story of Dan-no-Ura was told historically through lute-playing bards, like wandering minstrels in Medieval Europe.  The location is said to be haunted by the ghost of the last emperor of the Taira clan, who happened to be a child, his family and the samurai who tried to protect the child-emperor.  The war started as a result of revenge between the Taira clan and the Minamoto clan after the clan leader of the Taira clan had executed the leader of the Minamoto clan and sent the Minamoto sons home.  Those sons began this Hatfield and McCoy feud that escalated to the death of Taira Antoku, the boy-emperor of the clan.  The stranger part of this war is the fact that all those people who died in the Taira clan were all drowned in a naval battle at the site of Dan-no-Ura.  Also at the site is a cemetery and Temple, Akama-jingu Temple, a site that is revered by the Japanese people.  I won’t divulge much about what happens at Dan-no-Ura, but just the history itself was fascinating and far stranger than the ghosts.  You can visit the temple in Japan as we speak, but I am not sure of the state of the temple after the Earthquake and Tsunami in March.

If you need a book for Spooky stories, this is not one of them, but they are highly educational and entertaining.  I really do love Jeff Belanger, and I hope you Dreamers will soon appreciate his writing style as I do.

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Jeff Belanger’s Site

Just a little fyi…

Halloween 2008

Via Flickr, PierluigiCo

In the spirit of the season, I have decided to increase my reviews on ghost books, and others such interesting tid bits for your reading a viewing pleasure (I have a collection of hauntingly awesome videos I like watching repeatedly).  This is just my way of spreading the fun of the season since my life has been a constant spiral of

Subbing>Lunch>Home>2nd Job>Home>possible shower if feet are in good condition>Repeat.

So when I actually do write, it’s during my times at home, when I’m not sleeping, and spending time with the boyfriend at Starbucks, sipping on Passion Tea Lemonade and listening to our music.  We are practically married.

So expect a couple week’s worth of ghost stories, and other juicy goodness that I can provide.  So please enjoy my 11 days of Hallowe’en!

Regards,

The Oracle of Dreams

P.S. I’ll update on Wedding 2012:

Venue: Check!

Church: Check!

Registry: Check!

Save the Dates: Check!

Dresses (Bride and Bridesmaid): Check! Check!