The top ten paranormal news stories have been selected by myself on heavily guided scientific protocol for selection. Actually, I just put a bunch of stories in a list and graded them on basic criteria. How big was the story? Did the story have a large influence on the media or social networking? How long or how big did this story become in that regard? Did the story have anything to do with furthering any aspect of the paranormal? How wide is the impact on the field? With this basic criteria I weighed the biggest stories and slowly built them into the top ten. 2013 was a hard year to do this, in years past the biggest stories were Sky Noise (2012), UFO's Over Jerusalem (2011), National Press Club Gathering on UFO's (2010), Black Hole over Norway (2009), Montauk Monster (close tie with Georgia Bigfoot Hoax, 2008), and 2013 really had no front-running story that carried it away in social media or made a huge impact in the paranormal. At any rate, the Top Ten Paranormal News Stories for 2013 as selected by myself, Brian Parsons and broadcast during the Paranormal News Insider.
#10. Park Rangers Spot Dread-locked Pygmies.
Park Rangers in an Indonesian National Park claim there are 20 inch dread-locked pygmies running around the park. Rangers actually spotted the pygmies on March 17th and again on March 20th and watched as they ran and hid behind trees. They are now attempting to capture them, at least on film. These pygmies are known in cryptozoology as Orang Pendek. The theory that pygmies live in the area has actually been substantiated by science. In 2003, the bones of a female skull a third the size of a normal human skull was found on the island of Flores in Indonesia. The bones which were dated to be 18,000 years old were not the only remains found, but were only one of nine very small human bodies eventually excavated.
Why it's in the top ten: While there have been no additional findings of this story it does have the possibility of becoming an important discovery if it is in fact true. The basis of historical findings of bones discovered adds relevance to this story and time will tell if this is an ancient human running through the woods or some other new discovery.
#9. Mass UFO Sighting over Detroit.
Dozens of reports flooded in to various television stations surrounding a triangular shaped UFO that was seen back on January 10th. Other recent reports in Indianapolis and Miami showed a similar pattern in the sky. A MUFON representative appeared on the local FOX station and stated the explanation could be military or other as of yet unreported aircraft. So far no explanation has been found about this mass sighting. Similar sightings were also reported miles away in northern Indiana describing the same lights.
Why it's in the top ten: Dozens of people actually saw something in the sky in addition to a few who filmed it, this wasn't grainy iPhone footage by one person put up on YouTube with only one witness. Despite many different people and agencies looking into this sighting nothing has come close to explaining this story. While there were many other mass UFO sightings this one is unique due to the sighting area and lack of an explanation. Why is it only number 9? No further sightings and no evidence to tie it to anything beyond our world.
#8. OBE Experiment.
New research into out of body experiences demonstrates that simply using a video of a person and inserting a fake image of a heartbeat could be enough to trigger an experience. A group of scientists have created the experiment using virtual reality glasses that project an image of the back of a person with a simulation of glowing around the body that synchs with the person's heartbeat. In many of the tests the people actually felt as though they were leaving their physical body and were closer to their virtual ones. This is hopefully just the beginning of this type of experimentation and it might just lead scientists to accept that consciousness may be non-local and not something that is generated in our brains. The results of these initial experiments will soon be published in the Association for Psychological Science's journal Psychological Science.
Why it's in the top ten: Scientists conducting paranormal and metaphysical experimentation isn't very popular in the science world. The fact that they were able to simulate basic out of body experiences is a step toward explaining consciousness as well as how these experiences work without quickly explaining them away in a skeptical manner. Why it's only number 8: Nothing new has come from this experimentation and this work is still a long way away from explaining anything that will cause an upheaval in science. Not to mention the fact that the media pretty much ignored this story.
#7. Cattle Mutilations.
A rancher in Missouri had discovered three mutilated cows over the last three years and has exhausted most Earthly explanations. She is now accepting that these deaths may have been caused by aliens. In 2011, Lynn Mitchell discovered one of her cows dead and then noticed the tongue missing. She then realized that other vital organs were also missing including the female reproductive organs. While she did not get an expert opinion on the first two cows she quickly turned to a local veterinarian on the third which occurred recently. The vet stated that there was no trauma involved, meaning that this was not an attack of any sort and the cuts seemed to be done with surgical precision. The local County Sheriff's Chief Deputy also agreed that there didn't appear to be a wild animal involved in the kill. He also added that this could be anything from those involved in the occult to potential alien involvement. The oddest thing about this cow death is a burn mark in the grass that follows the outline of the cow. Another cow with a similar burn pattern was also discovered in the United Kingdom. Other strange mutilations including missing body parts turned up recently in Colorado, Nebraska, Idaho, and in Argentina.
Why it's in the top ten: Cattle mutilation stories aren't exactly new, but these two stories seem to defy any type of explanation and add a new dimension to traditional sightings. Why it's only number 7: These were the only two cases that appeared this year and there was virtually no coverage of this story outside of the paranormal news.
#6. Russell Crowe's UFO.
Back in March this was a big news story when a "UFO" video was uploaded to YouTube from movie star Russell Crowe. The video was really a series of photographs taken with time lapse in the Royal Botanical Gardens area of Sydney Australia. The photos, which were taken four years ago, show a bright red light in the sky and a white light lower at mid-tree level. Blurry lines seem to connect the two and it wasn't long until the mystery was solved. The photos really showed the top mast of a passing sailboat. Sailboats are required to have lights at the top of their masts and the lines are a perfect match for the rest of the rigging. Many speculate this release was in response to the lackluster push by twentieth century fox for Crowe's latest film "Broken City", which has been out in the U.S. for over a month just made its debut in Australia. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, and Catherine-Zeta Jones. I saved my movie money for Iron Man three.
Why it's in the top ten: This was a very popular story in the media and despite the explanation it continued to have a life of its own until the explanation was accepted by the general public. Why it was only number 6: it was the mast of a boat.
#5. Magical Car Accident Priest.
This was a story that I did not initially cover when it happened because I felt the truth was not going to be as exciting as the viral story. Yet, this story gained so much attention that I felt it was necessary to talk about it during my show. During a head-on collision in Missouri a young woman became trapped in her vehicle and rescue workers tried feverishly to free her. Suddenly, a priest appeared out of nowhere and brought calm to the entire situation. Miraculously, the tools that had been malfunctioning suddenly worked and the woman was in complete calm. As the workers turned to thank the priest he was nowhere to be found. The roads had been closed off for a half mile in each direction and there was no way the man could have gotten there on foot. Was this a story of divine intervention? A true miracle? Well, not really. Many of the so-called facts that happened during this event were reported incorrectly. Reverend Patrick Dowling parked less than 150 feet away from the accident and was one of many first responders on scene. Not only did he stick around after helping the woman he talked to several personnel in the area and left his name with at least one of them. While this is still a nice story it is strange how it became more about believing in miracles and ghosts than about a real person being a compassionate human being.
Why it's in the top ten: This story was probably the most wide spread paranormal related story in 2013 as it was covered worldwide and took on a life of its own. Why it's only number 5: It had a logical explanation.
#4. Return and Departure of Art Bell.
After over a decade of being away from his own show it was announced that Art Bell would be returning to the airwaves in September. Art Bell left the popular "Coast to Coast A.M." show back in 2002 and was last on the air in 2010. Bell left the show due to family issues, but his new studio would be located in his home. Sirius XM Radio would host his new show on weeknights from 10 P.M. to 1 A.M. eastern which began on September 16th, the show was named "Art Bell's Dark Matter" and appeared on SiriusXM channel 104. But on November 4th rumors began to run rampant that Art Bell had canceled his show on SiriusXM after only a few weeks on the air. This message followed a statement that said “no new show tonight” on Art’s Facebook page for Dark Matter: "Sometimes when you are "all in" you win, sometimes lose. By mutual agreement Dark Matter will no longer air as of tonight." The message was posted just prior to the show being live on SiriusXM's Indie channel at 11 P.M. eastern.
"I started the show with the expectation that my listener's would be able to stream the show since most were coming from AM. They started the thirty day trial and found that it was dropping out on them every few minutes. After the 30 day trial most did not renew, why would they? Faced with paying about $180 bucks a year for something that was not working right, what would you do? So I lost my base. My show is based on call in, if all I’m left with is truck drivers with cell phones going down the road at 70 mph, well you get the idea. So I asked Sirius to allow free streaming free streaming for a year until they could fix their problems and they said no. The show was simply not viable under these conditions. Signed Art."
This basic proposal was announced during his last live show, but came as a quick shock to listeners as the live show was replaced with a rerun.
Why it's in the top ten: It's Art Bell coming out of retirement! Art Bell has been the mold for the hundreds of paranormal podcasts that flood the internet and was a beacon for those who believe in strange things before believing in strange things was cool. Why it was only number 4: Nothing major came out of this and the show was not as popular as both Bell and SiriusXM had hoped no matter what the claims were.
#3. Dr. Melba Ketchum's Effort.
The ongoing saga starring Melba Ketchum and Adrian Erickson, along with his project, has been entertaining us for quite a while and this story really began to unfold this year. The intense debate rages on over the publication of DNA information of a potential Bigfoot species by Dr. Melba Ketchum. She created a front for a Journal, DeNovo Science Journal, and has self-published the information and is charging $30 to read the full article. She denies internet rumors that she utilized sources that were fraudulent including one used as an April Fool's joke.This evidence has further verified that the information is more than likely faulty in one or more ways and does not help with the argument of whether Bigfoot actually exists.
And back at the Erickson Project camp their end of reality is unwinding just as quick as their cohort; reports continue to surface that the female Sasquatch, named Matilda, is nothing more than a modified mask of the Star Wars wookie, Chewbacca. Photos of video shot of the famed Erickson project star were quickly dissected by Bill Munns who has challenged anyone who has seen the video of the reality behind what was shown. OF course Finding Bigfoot star Matt Moneymaker has thrown himself in the middle of everything proclaiming that Matilda is in fact a real Squatch.
A press conference was called in Dallas, Texas in October by Adrian Erickson and Melba Ketchum to announce to the world that Bigfoot is indeed real once and for all. This claim was supported by high definition video of the creature in action including a closeup of a Bigfoot sleeping as well as the face of the famed Matilda, who is purportedly an older Bigfoot. Yes, this is the same information that was presented last year. The Sasquatch Genome Project, as Melba Ketchum calls her completely ridiculous pseudo-scientific effort to validate Bigfoot DNA, has set out to validate the existence of these creatures through their DNA. The biggest problem is that nothing has been peer reviewed. The so-called evidence was published by a journal that she purchased and those scientists who were willing to pay to read it have been able to tear it apart without even sampling the DNA.
What about the high definition video footage? First of the all, the footage was grainy and not very high def at all. One clip included a Bigfoot sleeping. The obvious thing here is if you are that close why was only part of the creature revealed and why is there no other evidence of this creature. Did it wake up? The Matilda close-up footage has been said to resemble Chewbacca from Star Wars fame. Are these people really trying to convince people that Bigfoot is real? Do they really believe what they are doing? Actually, the whole thing seems to stem from a movie that will soon be released by the Erickson Project.
Later in the year Ketchum and her team registered their findings with ZooBank and have attempted to register Bigfoot as an existing animal based on her DNA results. Bigfoot now has a name; homo sapiens cognatus. While ZooBank states that Ketchum's application is legitimate it does not probe into the methods that claim to have validated Bigfoot as an existing animal. This process is why she created her own scientific journal. The information behind the finding must be published in a paper describing the new species. This registration does not mean Bigfoot is real, just that Ketchum has been able to take a hoax to a whole new level. While I do believe it is possible Bigfoot is out there somewhere I truly feel this is not a scientific validation of the species and is merely another way to gain fame and attention through fraud.
Why it's in the top ten: This has been an ongoing soap opera that despite being an obvious fraudulent attempt to validate Bigfoot the story is still evolving. It has gained some attention in the general media, but it has not helped the mainstream cryptozoologists or bigfooters who are trying to uncover the reality of what is happening. Why it's only number 3: Well, it's number three since there was a lack of huge stories this year that made any true change in the paranormal or gained worldwide media attention. This story is an embarrassment similar to the Georgia Bigfoot hoax.
#2. Sky Noise.
The number one paranormal news story of 2012 continued early in January of 2013: Evansville, Indiana residents heard several booms on January seventh and eighth and authorities have no idea what the sounds are. Experts from meteorology, geology, police, homeland security, and other agencies are stumped at what the source of the noises is. Even earlier in January there were mystery booms reported in Utah, California. After a few days the Air Force stated they were doing ordinance testing and that weather conditions may have carried the sound far enough to explain the sounds. Mysterious booms have been reported for months near Guthrie, Oklahoma. No source has been determined and the noise is said to be gaining strength and heard over a larger area.
Jeffery Bruan, a Physicist based at the University of Evansville in Indiana has commented on his states ongoing investigation and said: "At this point, nobody seems to know. The geologists say it's not in the ground. The Air Force says it's not in the air. The astronomers say it's not from space. So we're running out of options."
Salem, Massachusetts has also been encountering odd booms since November of last year. A recent boom was accompanied by a bright flash. A resident checked his surveillance camera to find evidence of the flash and surprisingly had sound as well. The flash seemed to be low in the sky from the long angles of the shadows and the boom happened after a very brief pause. My conclusion is that it was caused by a meteorite entering the atmosphere and creating a sonic boom. This, however, does not explain the other noises heard in the area.
Another report from January from the Salt Lake City area of Utah where hundreds of citizens reported a series of loud booms. Also earlier this month residents in Alaska reported similar sounds near Anchorage just prior to an earthquake that registered 7.5 on the Richter scale. On January 25 strange booms were reported in Tennessee in the Morristown area about 50 miles northeast of Knoxville. No geological data was reported and the leading guess is on a potential cave collapse in the area.
Morristown, Tennessee and San Manuel Arizona reported a series of earth shaking booms a few days prior to the February 15th meteor events. Similar reports in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico, California, Florida, and even New Zealand have reported light flashes and booms in the last couple of weeks and another dozen or more in the last few months.
A strange set of tremors across the state of New Jersey are defying any explanation. The tremors were not earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and they were not the result of military aircraft creating sonic booms. Military aircraft were apparently grounded at the time of the tremors and a sonic boom would not explain the widespread tremors. The tremors were strong enough to knock pictures off the wall and get the attention of many people who experienced it.
Meanwhile, a single loud boom was heard in southern Illinois last week. The boom was not weather related, not an earthquake, and is not thought to be a sonic boom. The boom was heard over four counties and was enough to knock pictures off the wall and was described as ground shaking by many who experienced it. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin; the source of loud booms heard in the city of Clintonville that were heard over the course of three days has been explained. The source, experts say, is a magnitude 1.5 earthquake followed by smaller quakes in the area. While such a small quake is usually not felt, experts state that the rock in this area is old and well consolidated and allows for the sound waves to travel easily.
The last two weeks of March included multiple reports in Louisville and Fort Knox Kentucky, Idaho, Rhode Island, Illinois, New Jersey, and multiple counties in Florida of strange booms have been documented. In all of these cases there were no rational or geological explanations.
The first week of April there were over 30 reports that flooded in to Branch County, Michigan authorities. The multiple booms were thought to be someone breaking into homes of some people who contacted 911, others thought the local Air Force base might have something to do with them. So far no logical conclusion has been found for this latest in the series of strange booms.
Meanwhile, north of Branch County in Flint Michigan; strange booms have been reported for years in this area. Theirs now have an explanation; it seems the police have had a secret bombing range where the bomb squad practices and where ordinance that is recovered is exploded. Hopefully the training the bomb squad does is OK and the booms are not signs of someone cutting the wrong wire.
And reported in mid-May, strange booms were heard in the city of Onaway, Michigan. The booms, felt over the course of a couple of days, were felt within a 15 mile area. So far no explanation has been found although the local news blamed the booms on local iron works. Onaway residents as well as employees of the iron works state that there was no way it was responsible for the booms. A second boom was felt nearly 190 miles away in Columbiaville, Michigan which was reportedly followed by military jets flying through the sky. Not sure what that connection might be or if there would be one at all, but these mystery booms are being reported all over the world at an alarming rate. While many of them are explainable there are a sizable chunk that are not.
Residents in Terrace, British Columbia have been hearing some eerie sky noise over a few days in early September. Residents called local radio and television stations, police, and other authorities to report the strange sounds. Many felt as if this was the end of the world. A professor of physics states that these sounds are nothing more than electromagnetic noise emitted from radiation belts and auroras. Well, never mind that these noises have never been documented by any scientist to date. One woman, Kimberly Wookey has uploaded several videos to YouTube and many locals reported hearing the same thing. Some skeptics are saying this is just a hoax or that there is a simple mechanical explanation for all of this.
And on November 29th, a few mysterious booms were heard in Connecticut which felt like an earthquake to many. This is not a complete list...
Why it's in the top ten: Sky Noise has been gaining momentum as one of the most widely reported unexplained phenomena. It's not as popular in the media as it was last year and is seemingly cooling with paranormal news outlets, but localized reports buzz with heavy interest. While many of these events have explanations there are many more that remain a mystery. Sky noise was the number one story from 2012 and is showing no signs of slowing down. Why it's only number two: There is a story that's just a little bit better.
#1. Bryan Sykes DNA Study.
Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics at Harvard University, conducted DNA analysis on several samples said to be of Bigfoot origin. Sykes has a good reputation in the science and genetics world so all bigfooters anxiously awaited his announcement and publication of the evidence. Sykes appeared on television on November 17 on the National Geographic Channel with a show called, "Bigfoot the New Evidence" to publicly display his findings of some famous Bigfoot cases. The biggest of which was Sykes and his team have determined that Yeti hair collections point toward a brown bear and polar bear hybrid. The samples were compared to an ancient bear and found similarities, Sykes feels these hairs may be part of a new species of bear that are descendants of these ancient bears and are not related to the current Himalayan bears. Loren Coleman, who also appeared in the show, states that Sykes' findings may explain one of the three types of Yeti claimed to be seen in the Himalayan mountains. Sykes also validated the Justin Smeja hair as a bear despite the earlier claims of Melba Ketchum. Sykes also used real science to determine the reality of many other Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti claims.
Why it's number one: This is a story of not only Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti, it's also about real science. This wasn't an attempt to debunk Bigfoot claims but an attempt to bring true science to the world of cryptozoology to get to the bottom of many claims of Bigfoot findings. While Melba Ketchum and Jeff Meldrum are the biggest scientific names in the world of Bigfoot it's good to see someone a bit more objective come in and look at the evidence.
While many have their opinions as to what the top ten are I set my personal feelings aside for these stories and looked at them as objectively as possible. I did my best to sort these stories not just by popularity, but also with impact on the field and their usefulness going forward. The Paranormal News Insider has been broadcast since August of 2008 as a show-within-a-show during the Grand Dark Conspiracy Podcast and has survived a few moves of networks. The show went from a monthly format to a weekly format in 2010 and has remained until now (185 shows). In November, 2013, it was announced that the Grand Dark Conspiracy would take a short hiatus, but as of now in January there are no plans to bring the show back. I have been contemplating several potential moves to keep the Paranormal News Insider alive and well...