Fortean Mysteries SIG      recent history        issue 55        Newsletter of the Fortean Mysteries SIG of American Mensa          
  only 200,000 millicents per 3 issues     Published irregularly since Undecember 1658 AC

  The return of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series to PBS presents us with an opportunity to share an old work of ours, a simulated debate between Sagan and Thomas Aquinas, based upon their quotable philosophies.
CS: "What do you means by God? An outsized, lightskinned, male with a long white beard? The sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe?"
TA: "By 'God' I mean the most beautiful, most perfect, unknowable Governor of All That Exists."
CS: "Evil exists. Does that mean every evil is the doing of this unknowable governor?"
TA: "Yes, evil does exist, but is not caused by God, but by separation from God."
CS: "To probe the deep mysteries of 'All That Exists', it seems to me, requires the application of Human intellect and rational inquiry to which you theists appear remarkably resistant."
TA: "We are not contemptuous of scientific inquiry, but merely regard metaphysics, rather than physics, the higher science. We regard some things as unprovable, yet demonstratable in personal experience."
CS: "But such irreproducible, untestable and subjective data is meaningless! It cannot be used to meet universal human needs, to control the Cosmos."
TA: "Understanding the 'cosmos' is more than a technical, practical application of knowledge. It includes speculation -- theoretical science, not only experimental."
CS: "I think it's a pretention to imply theological doctrine can be demonstrated by rational argument in the same way theoretical astrophysics has been! There's no more to talk about!"
TA: "For there are also many disobedient, vain talkers and seducers ... who must be reproved, who subvert whole houses, teaching things they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake." (Titus 1:10-11)

   Back in August near the anniversary of Elvis Presley's supposed death we saw "The Elvis Presley File". It told the story of the famous singer's becoming a secret agent for the DEA under Nixon and his connection with Operation Fountain Pen 1976-82.
   Such things as the 50 pounds difference in the weight of the corpse buried and that of the living Elvis, the misspelled tombstone and the voiceprintoidentified telephone tape from 1981 point to a mystery of some sort.
   Perhaps the 600 pages of classified information on him will be declassified or leaked before his daughter Lisa inherits in 1998. Some are identifying Elvis as the prophesied premillennial spiritual leader, others the Antichrist, even as described in the recently released Dead Sea Scrolls.

  "Eerie, Indiana" looked as if it would be our kind of place -- with Bigfoot raiding garbage cans, Elvis hiding out, but so far it hasn't quite lived up to our expectations. It's had a dog catcher named Dithers and a boy in braces named Steve disappear, a couple ghosts,zombie-students and a sapient teller machine, but not the more familiar forteana reported from Indiana:
Belle Gunness disappearance, LaPorte, 1908;
poltergeist manifestations, Indianapolis, 1963; S. Bend and Oscecla, 1968;
fishfall, S. Bend, 1937
bigfoot sightings nr. Blue Lake Springs, 1962; nr. Rising Sun, 1969;
    These represent only our hasty compilation of Indiana forteana. Do you have others? [Data! Data! Must have data!]
    We are, in fact, organizing our collection -- well, attempting toward a more organized state -- in order to produce a Fortean calendar for 1992, if that is there is enough interest shown by your writing in, specifically if any interest is shown.
   We are especially interested in the dates which seem mysteriously unmysterious:
Feb. 26, Mar. 25, May9, 30, June 5, July 23, Nov. 5, Dec. 29

   Has anyone out there seen "Beyond Reality", the new show on the USA Network? From the advertisements it sounds interesting -- doppelgangers, ghosts, adbuctees. Plaease write if you know more.

.  We came across the classic The Door into Summer by Robert Heinlein (1956) recently in which Daniel B. Davis, the narrator, writes that time travel must exist because too many things are unexplainable otherwise. There's room in the Builder's design, he says, for free will, predestination and time travel.
   Davis being an electronics expert puts his theoryinto terms of "linkages", "feedback loops", and "guard circuits", which make paradoxes impossible.
   For example Jordain and Morberly saw but could not affect 1789 Versailles from 1901. Psychometry, crosstime telepathy, eternity harmonics, the Einstein-Rosen effect -- all touch on it,
   In the Builder's Handbook (the Bible) are some more hints: saints cannot change, but can hasten or hinter the Plan (2 Pet. 3:11-12), travel is not limited to out-of-body (2 Cor. 12:2), other, now forgotten, lords once ruled mankind (Isa. 26:13-14), but have been cut off (Jn. 15:6), divided (Lk. 11:18), devoured (Ez. 19:14).
   Ecclesiates especially has many: "What has bee, that will be." (1:9), "there is no remembrance of men of old." (1:11), "What is crooked cannot be made straight, what is missing cannot be supplied." (1:15), [God] "has made everything appropriate to its time and has put the timeless into their hearts." (3:11)

   In the 1992 Old Farmer's Almanac we read the artcle, "In Search of Animals That Don't Exist" in which Tim Berra writes of the sighting of a ri 300 miles from New Guinea, signs of mokele-mbembe in Lake Tele and a yeti sighting in the Himalayas -- all unprovable eyewitness accounts.
   A sceptic, Berra wonders why cameras break down, samples get lost. We wonder if Berra would have believed in the Herill or the Kombessa?
   The Herill or scweynwal seen off the Orkneys in the 16th century and the Kombessa known to S. African fishermen was not "proved" until Courtenay Latimer saved one of the ugly,inedible fish and Dr. J. L.B. Smith identified it as a nonextinct crossopterygius -- the coelacanth, "Old Fourlegs".
 The legged fish existed even not believed in by the "experts", so too could the mermaid-like ri, the dinosaur-like mikele-mbembe or the apish yeti. Search on!

  In Parallel Universes by Roz Chast (Harper and Row, NY, 1984) we fould alternatives such as:
the normal-sized Smiths and the miniture Smitherines,
Louis XXIV style furnature from the reign of the mad king of Passaic,
a chart of silliness variation measured in sill units per 100.
  The most apropros feature was a guide to the "Philosophy District" with Ed's House of Theories, the Idea Barn, L & J's ConceptWarehouse and Logic Land.
  We can undercut Logic Land any week of the year, outdoing their


Dear Michael,
  Last night, it rained tadpoles in my bedroom. This morning, I woke to three-toed footprints burned across my carpet, up the wall and disappearing into the ceiling. I realize, of course, there is a natural explanation for all this. Until I find it, please send me three issues of Fortean Mysteries for which I am remitting $2. --Thanks, Robert Shoaf
  [We note that since the introduction of Martian money into our economy last year 2 has gone from 20,000,000 zylarks to only 8,163,265. The Martian invasion was, you will remember, originally reported by Dr. Emma Nemms. Since the Hardee's
chain is now accepting zylarks for cookies and not only for candy, we presume the Martians' tastes are also changing.
  At this rate of deflation (40.8%/15 mon. = 32.7%/yr.) it'd take just 5 years to get down to 10,000 zylarks]

  The US Naval Academy has come up with an alternative to the familiar scientific notation for large numbers. Instead of indicating the power of ten (or even the power of e) they now note how many times a number must be naturally logrithmed to be reduced to a term below one.
  In the versatile Akermann Generalized Exponential it would be (level).(index) = g(2, z, g(3, 1, e)), so 1 = 0.0, 2 = 0.7, 3 = 1.1, 4 = 1.33, 5 = 1.48, ..., 1,000,000 = 3.96538253, googol = 5.52687562, googolplex = 6.5272655.
   As you can see it's quite economical with huge number representations. For small numbers it's quite inefficient. At least there's now an alternative.

  Science News reported last June 15 that a new computer-processed comparison of stars and star groups in the Virgo cluster (NGC 4571) has been made based on the data from the Can-Fran-Hawaii 'scope. Their comparison says the Milky Way galaxy is 15 billion years old -- as expected -- but that the rest of the universe is 10 billion! Who said we're not the center of All-That-Is?

   "A Current Affair" reported on the so-called field rings which were then being found at the rate of 500 in the previous ten weeks in England. Theories ranged from animal tracks to wind patterns to alien communication.
   "UFO REport" in October added that trilling sounds were also heard from these fields. As the figures grew more complex and seemingly associated with UFO sightings they became "pictographs".
   Anyone out there able to translate?