Beyond Belief: Strange, True Mysteries of the Unknown – Part 4

Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be found via the links. Now for Chapters 6 and 7 in my continued exploration of the book Beyond Belief: Strange, True Mysteries of the Unknown. Or as it seems lately Fiction Presented as Fact: Answerable Questions from an Uninformed Source Implying Mystery.

Chapter 6
This is my favorite story from this chapter, because of its eloquence: An elephant was found on the beaches of Japan. No local zoos reported an elephant missing and certainly an elephant didn’t drift from Africa to Japan (it says “no serious minded person would even suggest”). It was as if it had fallen from the sky.

Is he serious? Why are those the only 3 possible explanations? 1) Elephants are also native to Asia and the story doesn’t specify the species. Certainly an elephant might have drifted and/or swam from here to Japan especially considering that elephants have been reported to swim as far as 50 km. It’s certainly possible that an elephant went swimming, drown, and washed ashore in Japan. 2) Why jump to the conclusion that it fell from the sky? It’s a frakking elephant. Were there signs of compression (as would happen if something that large fell from far enough height to be considered “the sky”), broken bones, etc? Why jump to that extreme conclusion that requires several assumptions – what was carrying the elephant, how did it get in the sky, why did it fall? Might it have come from somewhere else – like a ship?

That’s the second story in the chapter. The rest are, of course, eyewitness reports of events that were never properly examined by experts. No samples were taken, no analyses were performed, etc. Lots and lots of science bashing though. Such as:

Mysterious objects have been falling from the sky for centuries. … When these strange sky falls have been considered by conventional scientists, it has only been to dismiss them as oddities. …a journalist…took it upon himself to bring such well-ignored subjects out of the scientific closet. … The book focused upon a large number of uncomfortable facts that don’t appear to fit into the ordinary scheme of things. Although a growing number of scientists have been forced to accept the reality of bizarre sky falls, they are having a great deal of difficulty explaining them within the existing scientific structure.

Oh my. Where to begin. So because “scientists” (as if it’s a group that has a card and holds meetings) looked at something and couldn’t explain it, something fishy is going on? In reality, science is a tool used to explain phenomena. If there is no way to confirm the  explanation, they can  only responsibly conclude “I don’t know, but here’s what might have happened within known laws and patterns.” When that explanation doesn’t match up to paranormal assumptions, scientists are unfairly accused of being “uncomfortable” accepting and/or ignoring the “truth” and of being stuck inside the box with their boring, ordinary minds incapable of imagining the “reality” of bizarre events. Until of course the overwhelming weirdness forces them to accept that things are falling from the sky.

Bullshit. Yes, things may have fallen from the sky. Who cares? This is only weird if you make the assumption that they are falling from nowhere after materializing out of thin air. What exactly are scientists ignoring here? For example, things fall from planes sometimes. What’s so weird about that? Also it’s possible things were dumped in the middle of nowhere and it looked like they fell from the sky when people stumbled upon those things later. I find it funny that there is so much derogatory talk towards card-carrying “Scientists” when there’s absolutely nothing controversial necessarily going on here – of course unless you make those initial ridiculous assumptions.

This is just about the most misleading alarmist tripe I have ever had the displeasure of reading. Just because he doesn’t have the explanation, and the reader can’t necessarily provide one, is no reason to assume that there are supernatural forces at work. But that is the tone. Stories and then this question – so where did they come from?!

He even talks about the really cool, but totally not supernatural, spreading of Sahara sand over England. The story in the link is from 2008 as reported by the BBC, his story is from 1968. In this context, who cares? But the kicker is when he talks about chunks of ice falling from the sky. Frozen precipitation!? Imagine!

The icefalls almost seem to have deliberate aim.

But if icefalls do not come from planes flying overhead, where do they come from? Outer space? UFOs?

Forget it. I don’t have the strength.

Chapter 7
People Who Walk into the Past (read: People who Need Medication and a Licensed Psychiatrist). I mean really this boils down to people having similar hallucinations or dreams.

Perhaps the observer did not actually step “into” the past.

OMG. OMG! Now we’re talkin’. This is what I wanna hea-

Instead, it seems that a scene from the past is recreated in precise, photographic detail, as if some ethereal movie were being shown for an audience of one.

He just had to keep talking. So close. In a way it’s true, but he neglected the part “in the person’s mind”. I really have nothing more to say on the matter, the previous chapter exhausted me.

Up next: Our second to last installment, Part 5Chapter 8 Spooklights and Fire Devils and Chapter 9 The Terror of Spontaneous Human Combustion.

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2 responses to “Beyond Belief: Strange, True Mysteries of the Unknown – Part 4

  1. “Mysteries” like this will always titillate the un-skeptical. How much more fun it is for them to have a supernatural explanation than a far more prosaic scientific one.

    • That’s the thing, though. The scientific explanation is often way more interesting. Like the Sahara sand thing. That’s way cool on it’s own. I wonder if the part of the problem is that it’s way quicker to make something up that’s all sexy and then science comes along with a cool, but rational, explanation that doesn’t involve something sexy like ghosts. By then it seems like science is “ruining the fun” by being all “well, actually…” Stupid thinking, taking too much time, grumble grumble.