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NHNE News Brief 39
Friday, December 6, 1996
"A thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."
1,121 days until January 1, 2000
An Overnight Sensation
Ice on the Moon?
NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
Spirit of Sedona: Experience of a Lifetime
NHNE FINANCIAL REPORT:
Online 6, Offline 0, Total List 754
FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK:
Placing a Value on Our Service
THE NHNE TOBY AWARD:
TV Specials, Earth Changes & Hale-Bopp
Hale-Bopp Debate Heats Up
Interview with Prudence Calabrese,
FARSIGHT Web Master
Interview with David Schleicher,
LOWELL OBSERVATORY Astronomer
CROP CIRCLE WATCH:
Crop Circle Experts Denounce Hoaxing Claims
ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US
"It takes about ten years of hard work to become an overnight sensation."
---Saying from the Entertainment Industry
ICE ON THE MOON?
(Source: USA TODAY, 12/3/96)
The DEFENSE DEPARTMENT has reported that the U.S. military spacecraft Clementine has found what appears to be an ice pond near the south pole on the dark side of the Moon. Scientists have long speculated that parts of the Moon may have traces of water, but this is the first hard evidence. This development increases the chances that humans may one day live on the Moon. (JG)
NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
NHNE is sponsoring a 7-day, all-expense-paid trip to Sedona, Arizona, USA, for two people from anywhere in North America. Activities include sacred hikes, tours, vision quests, body and healing work, massages, hot air balloon rides, and a special banquet with some of Sedona's movers and shakers (including David Sunfellow, the founder and publisher of NHNE, and James Gregory the Editor-in-Chief of the NHNE News Brief). All you have to do is write an essay about why you want to come to Sedona and include a donation ($50.00 is suggested). The contest ends March 1, 1997. Winners will be announced March 15, 1997. Seven runners up will also receive prizes.
Via regular mail, send your essays and donations to:
P.O. Box 2242
Sedona, AZ 86339
Via email, send your essays and a credit card number indicating what size of donation you would like to make to NHNE to:
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NHNE FINANCIAL REPORT:
ONLINE 6, OFFLINE 0, TOTAL LIST 754
Here is our financial report for the week of December 6:
New Online Subscribers this week: 6
New Offline Subscribers this week: 0
Total Paid Online Subscriptions: 56
Total Paid Offline Subscriptions: 10
Total Online Mailing List: 754
NHNE Video 1: $20.00
Total Video Orders: 3
Sponsors & Donations: $25.00
Total Income: $227.00
This Week's Expenses: $550.12
This Week's Deficit: $323.12
"Spirit of Sedona" entries: 2
Amount of Money Raised from Contest: $80.00
Money Needed To Upgrade Computer System: $2500.00
Money Received To Upgrade Computer System: $100.00
FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK:
PLACING A VALUE ON OUR SERVICE
Well folks, it has been quite a ride since we started to publish the NHNE News Brief on a weekly basis back in June. In the last six months, we have churned out 25 News Briefs, four Special Reports (Jean Houston, Crop Circles, Earth Changes, and Remote Viewing), three issues of Wing & Wings, seven News Flashes of fast-breaking news, and numerous updates.
It has been an exciting time in the history of the human race: anticipated earth changes have been strangely and ominously quiet while the weather has been unpredictable and often destructive; a fabulous season of crop circles, including video footage of an alleged circle in the making, was followed by allegations that most of the major crop circles of the last 10 years have been hoaxed; as Hale-Bopp Comet became visible to the naked eye there were incredible reports that a huge object larger than the Earth and under intelligent control had been spotted following the comet; and evidence of life on Mars and water on the Moon were discovered. Some events that we are continuing to track are claims that secret chambers, recently discovered under the Sphinx, are about to be opened, the closest approach of Hale-Bopp in April, claims of remote viewers, earth-change predictions, first contact with alien beings, and the next installment of the Star Wars saga. Some items you can expect to see from the NHNE in the near future are: a Special Report featuring an interview with Ted Daniels, President of MILLENNIUM MATTERS; a review of Gordon-Michael Scallion's predictions of 1996, and the first NHNE video, featuring a 15-minute special report on Gordon-Michael Scallion including comments by David Sunfellow, Publisher of NHNE.
We have also had to make some hard decisions based upon the harsh economic realities of life. As mentioned in the Letters to the Editor section of last week's News Brief, we were considering a suggestion put forward by one of our readers to start sending out our News Brief only to those people who paid for a subscription. We feel that it is time to place a value on the service we provide, so David Sunfellow and I have decided to adopt that suggestion. Some of you may have already received notice of this decision in a special update from David earlier this week.
As of January 1, 1997 we will be emailing the weekly News Briefs, Special Reports, Wind & Wings, and News Flashes ONLY to those people who have paid for a subscription. The rates remain the same -- $1 a week for an online subscription. If you feel that our service is worth paying for, and have not done so already, then we urge you to take out a subscription (6 months: $26, 1 year: $52). If money is a problem, please get in touch with us and we will work something out. For those on our mailing list who are not prepared to pay for the NHNE service at this time, we will still be posting most of our information on our Web site a week or so after it is emailed to our subscribers. We will notify you by email of any updates to the Web site.
Please don't delay and be disappointed come January 1, 1997. Send us your subscription now.
6 months online subscription: $26 (US)
1 year subscription: $52 (US)
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I close with my best wishes for you and your families for the holiday season, and the reminder that an NHNE subscription makes a great gift.
THE NHNE TOBY AWARD:
The Book of Tobit is one of twelve books called the Apocrypha. Although the Catholic Church had declared at the Council of Trent in 1546 that these books were to be accepted with devotion and reverence equal to the other books of the Bible, Martin Luther did not regard them as Scripture. Nevertheless, he placed them at the end of his version of the Old Testament, with the comment that they were "useful and good for reading." Whatever your viewpoint, the Book of Tobit is a great adventure story, and its main character, Tobias, is a worthy hero. All his life he was honest and tried to do what was right. While still a young lad, at the request of his blind father Tobit, Tobias set out on quest to a far off land to recover the family treasure. On the way, he encountered incredible obstacles, but overcame them all because he heeded the advice of his guide, who was really the Angel Raphael. He was successful in recovering the family fortune and along the way also met and married Sarah, a long-lost cousin. He was gone so long that his mother gave him up for dead. Finally, he returned home triumphant with the treasure and his beautiful wife plus a cure for his father's blindness.
Tobias is a model of virtue who follows the spirit, searches for truth, and persists in the face of adversity. It gives us at NHNE great pleasure to name a new award in his honor. The "Tobys" are presented to individuals and groups who demonstrate exemplary dedication to the pursuit of truth in a spirit-filled way while facing incredible obstacles. NHNE is proud to award our first Toby to CNI NEWS, an organization committed to seriously investigating UFO phenomena, claims of human-alien contact, space exploration and related issues.
This issue of the NHNE News Brief contains information from three stories that appeared in the most recent issue of CNI NEWS. CNI stories have also been frequently mentioned in previous issues of our News Brief. In an earlier issue of CNI NEWS, Michael Lindemann, the Editor, went out on a limb by publishing an article that suggested most crop circles were made by humans. While Lindemann's article ignited a firestorm of controversy, it represented the kind of serious, no-holds-barred reporting that we at NHNE love to see. While many people and organizations interested in UFO-related topics appear to be all too eager to swallow just about every story that comes along, we applaud CNI for being seriously committed to uncovering the truth, regardless of the consequences.
We encourage you to give CNI NEWS the support it deserves. To request delivery of two free issues, send a request to "CNINews1@aol.com" with the message "Try News."
We also encourage you to visit the CNI Web site, which includes an extensive keyword-searchable UFO-related database: www.cninews.com/
TV SPECIALS, EARTH CHANGES & HALE-BOPP
By David Sunfellow
The current issue of Gordon-Michael Scallion's EARTH CHANGES REPORT (ECR) contains information on dreams and intuition, commentaries on the importance of love, an article on Nostradamus, several interesting news stories and a new batch of earth change predictions. While not mentioning BELO BROADCASTING, KHOU-TV, or reporter Jim Moore by name, Scallion also extended a personal welcome to "all our new subscribers who found us through the November CBS regional three-part series on earth changes." Since there is no other mention of the broadcast in Scallion's current issue, we can't tell you how Scallion felt about the BELO Special Report. (NHNE NEWS BRIEFS 31 & 36 contain in-depth summaries of this television special which also featured this reporter. NHNE Video 1, due to ship in the next couple of weeks, contains a complete copy of the news report which first aired in Austin, Texas in late October, early November.)
Reaffirming earlier predictions, Scallion's front page commentary says a magnetic pole shift, caused by a shifting of the Earth's inner core, will unleash a host of catastrophic changes on the planet. These changes will include massive geological earth changes, new plagues (because the electrical fields of our bodies will be weakened), a closer orbit of the Moon to our planet and an abrupt end to the Information Age (because electrical systems all over the planet will fail and magnetically-stored information will be erased). On the positive side, Scallion says a new "Age of Intuition" will arise out of the ashes, complete with new technologies that use the natural forces of the Earth. These new technologies, in turn, "will eventually lead to natural, nontechnical, telepathic communication."
Other earth change predictions include:
"My prediction that significant earth changes would resume in September, increasing significantly in December, now feels certain. The time frame from December 1996 through May 1997 should be watched for significant geophysical activity in the following areas: California, Northeast Coast of U.S., Wyoming, Utah, the Carolinas, Northwest Coast of U.S., Vancouver."
Responding to questions from his readers about the dates on his maps changing, Scallion had this to say:
"There have been some questions from ECR subscribers as to whether or not I believe earth changes have been put off until 2012 as my recent 'Future Map of the World' indicates -- a time frame of 1998 to 2012. I continue to see the time frame of 1998-2001 as the period when great changes will come to North America as shown in my soon-to-be-released 'Future Map of North America' [Scallion is releasing another earth changes map February 1, 1997]. I believe that by the year 2012 most of the global cataclysmic changes that I see will have occurred."
How seriously should we take Scallion's newest timetables for global disaster? If his past proclamations are any indication of how his current predictions will fare, we probably don't have anything to worry about. Here are a few examples:
After watching his December 1, 1991 - December 31, 1992 "window" come and go without producing the catastrophic earth changes he had predicted, Scallion declared in the January 1993 issue of ECR, "The year 1993 shall be known as 'The Year of the Great Quakes'. The Earth's magnetic field shall become erratic as it prepares for its new course. In the United States, the first of these changes will see the beginning of the breaking-up of California starting with Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco -- the Golden Gate Bridge damaged, the Imperial Valley inundated -- a nation in shock... The land's time has come, it prepares for its cleansing and reunion with its mother land -- Mu. Many see the event as a relief and begin to rebuild. Sadly, more is to come. Mass migrations begin into Nevada, Arizona, Colorado. Western U.S. hit with quakes -- many exceed 7.0. Inundations occur in coastal U.S. from Maine to Florida Keys -- Vancouver to the Baja -- Florida's Panhandle to Texas..."
For the record, not only did 1993 NOT become known as "The Year of the Great Quakes," it even fell below the yearly average. (1993 had 16 earthquakes 7.0 and greater -- 2 below the yearly average.)
In the April 1995 issue of ECR, Scallion went even further out on a limb by declaring:
"I see a portion of the Imperial Valley under water this year. I see no turning back now. I believe all my predictions will occur regarding the West Coast. My visions are now in full color with no alternative aspects, or realities, to shift to. In other words, events will now unfold with no possibility of change. I suggest everyone living on the West Coast pay attention to their dreams and intuitive sense. Time is now very short. Earth changes in the year 1995 will create new maps of the West Coast."
Failed predictions like those quoted above are proof that two things remain fairly constant with Scallion:
1. His largest, most dramatic earth change predictions never happen;
2. He continues to predict the same sweeping events again and again.
While some might marvel at why Scallion's predictions haven't come true, a greater mystery might be how Scallion has been able to maintain credibility all these years -- and continue to round up a growing number of believers.
Finally, Scallion declares in his current newsletter that "several visions have shown me that Comet Hale-Bopp is the Blue Star that I have predicted in both my future maps and in ECR."
As reported in previous issues of the NHNE NEWS BRIEF (9, 10), Scallion is walking on very thin ice claiming that the Hale-Bopp Comet is the Blue Star that he has been talking about for over a decade. To begin with, Scallion's Blue Star is supposed to appear from behind our Sun and transform our solar system into "a binary sun system." In addition, Scallion claims it will be visible "for 1,800 years" and then disappear behind the Sun once again. While it is visible, Scallion says, "During the day it will appear as a silvery light 100 times brighter than any morning star... During the evening, it will appear as a moon." While scientists believe that the Hale-Bopp Comet might be large enough to be seen during the day, it is exceedingly unlikely to reach the level of brightness or the size that Scallion is predicting. Nor is it likely to alter its normal flight path and hang around for "1,800 years." Scientists studying the comet say that the comet has been visible from Earth before, and will be visible again -- about every 5,900 years.
Significantly, information presented in earlier issues of ECR establish the appearance of the Blue Star as one of Scallion's most central prophecies.
"During Tribulation [the "Tribulation" is a seven-year cycle which Scallion used to say would end in 1998] this Blue Star will be seen in the heavens for all who have eyes to see. From a scientific point of view, it will seem that a new star crossed the heavens and reached the outer fringes of this system in a moment of time. This star, the domain of angelic beings, shall reach out to all the Earth -- physical and non-physical. The hearts and minds of all who are ready to accept their divinity shall transform as if in a flash. At first, many will reject this phenomenon, but as the Light bathes all in this realm of existence, more shall awaken. Before 1998, all will have seen the Light and many will experience higher spiritual vibrations. This shall fulfill the prophecies of old: 'His Light shall be seen in the clouds.'"
According to the Blue Star prophecy quoted above, which was first published by Scallion on February 18, 1993, "new animals, never before seen on Earth, shall emerge after the changes, as will new plants" and "all children born after 1998 shall be telepathic at birth." In addition, Scallion's Blue Star is not really a star at all, nor does the cycle he ascribes to it look anything like the cycle that astronomers are presently tagging the Hale-Bopp Comet with. Indeed, Scallion's Blue Star doesn't act like any known star, comet, moon, or any other celestial object:
"This celestial object is pure spiritual energy, a star made manifest by spiritual forces -- a star composed of light beings. These angels -- souls of the highest level -- who by their own spiritual evolution, joined together in a singular Host to serve. "
"This star has moved through the heavens at various cycles, passing slowly sometimes, pausing other times, and appearing to remain still at other times. It has visited the Earth many times, most recently 2,000 years ago, when it appeared briefly, moving across great expanses of time in just moments. At that time to fulfill the prophecies of old and to announce the birth of His messenger whose task was to remind man of his divine nature. This same star also visited Earth 12,000 years ago, to warn the world of the coming flood -- the sinking of Atlantis. 26,000 years ago the Blue Star manifested physical members from its Host to teach the universal laws of Oneness. This brought forth a society known as the Order of Oneness, or the Law of One. The Blue Star was visible for longer periods at other time frames, such as 54,000 years ago, when the turning of the poles occurred. Each time the Star came because it was called and its assistance was needed during the transitions."
So Scallion's Blue Star is an "all things to all people, places and events" kind of star. It defies all known laws of astronomy, crossing vast distances in a flash, slowing down, speeding up and, occasionally, even standing still. Rather than following some kind of regular and predictable orbit, it simply shows up whenever it is needed -- usually during humanity's most critical historical events. It heralded the birth of Jesus, the sinking of Atlantis, the shifting of ancient poles and is presently on its way to usher in the next new age. And how can it accomplish all these spectacular feats? Because it is composed of angelic beings, not ice, dust, dirt, gases or other cosmic matter. And these angelic beings don't simply gather together in a heavenly sphere and light up our skies during special events. When the need arises, they also take on earthly form and teach mankind all about God and the laws of the universe.
It will be interesting to see how Hale-Bopp measures up to these extraordinary expectations.
One last thing. While we have been tracking Scallion we have repeatedly noted his ongoing tendency to issue new predictions without seriously coming to terms with his past failed ones. To salvage his credibility and make a truly admirable contribution to the subject of psychics and psychic predictions, we would like to see Scallion publish a comprehensive list of his most dramatic failed predictions, explaining why he feels they did not come to pass as he predicted. Is it a matter of timing? Have prayers changed things? Has he tapped into some kind of bogus earth-change thought form? Has he misunderstood and misinterpreted his visions? Has he made the whole thing up?
While this reporter thinks that Scallion may, indeed, be seeing visions of some kind, the fact that he has never fully owned up to his most dramatic failures calls everything into question. We know that Scallion has the ability to market his predictions -- regardless of how true, valid or credible they are. If he would turn more of his attention to critically evaluating his track record, he would not only establish himself as a serious seeker of truth, but he would also silence organizations like NHNE that are ethically obligated to hound him until he does. Such a move would also give his newsletter more credibility. Instead of simply being a thinly-veiled vehicle to disseminate Scallion's predictions, it could become a discerning source of serious prophetic news and information.
HALE-BOPP DEBATE HEATS UP
(Source: CNI NEWS, 12/1/96)
On November 14, Houston-based amateur astronomer Chuck Shramek took photos through his telescope of what he claimed was an object four times the size of Earth near the Hale-Bopp Comet. The object, which seemed to be surrounded by a ring, came to be dubbed the "Saturn-like object" (SLO). It also appeared to be moving under its own power. That same night Art Bell interviewed Shramek on his show and the news of the discovery quickly flashed around the world. As could be imagined, this ignited a firestorm of excitement and controversy on the Internet.
Having heard of Shramek's discovery, Professor Courtney Brown of EMORY UNIVERSITY, founder of the FARSIGHT INSTITUTE and author of "Cosmic Voyage," assigned a team of FARSIGHT's remote viewers to examine "the anomalous object near Hale-Bopp." On the basis of their findings, Brown appeared on Art Bell's show the next night and asserted with a high degree of confidence that there was a huge object near the comet and it was under intelligent control.
Alan Hale, co-discoverer of the Hale-Bopp Comet, subsequently stated that Shramek had made an error in reading his astronomical charts and what he had in fact seen was a 9th magnitude star with diffraction spikes from his telescope giving the appearance of a ring. This news and the ensuing controversy did nothing to dampen Brown's insistence that the anomalous object did indeed exist -- on November 29, he once again appeared on the Art Bell Show with Prudence Calabrese, FARSIGHT INSTITUTE's Web Master, to announce that an astronomer associated with a "top-10 university" had confirmed that a huge object was trailing Comet Hale-Bopp behaving as if it were a "ship" under intelligent control and he (Brown) had copies of the photographs to prove his claims. Brown also stated that a radio astronomer colleague of the first astronomer had discovered intelligent radio signals coming from the Hale-Bopp object.
Brown refused to name the astronomer or the university, stating that this man was still deliberating his next move in consultation with his family and professional colleagues. Brown believed that the astronomer would call a press conference within one week to announce his findings. Brown also said that the exact frequency on which the signals could be heard would soon be announced, so that others could verify them. Brown admitted that there were bound to be very serious repercussions to such steps.
Professed-abductee Whitley Strieber appeared later on the same radio program to assert his conviction that the photos, along with the astronomer's testimony, did indeed represent evidence of a huge, intelligently-guided object. Strieber spent most of the rest of his two hours on the program talking about his own experiences of contact with aliens and how humans might respond to the imminent arrival of extraterrestrial visitors.
Brown, Strieber and Bell have all admitted that going on the record with their beliefs about this anomalous object places them all at risk of grave ridicule, or worse.
For additional details, visit the following Web sights:
FARSIGHT INSTITUTE: www.farsight.org
Whitley Strieber's Home Page: www.strieber.com
Hale-Bopp Comet Home Page: http://www.halebopp.com/ (JG)
INTERVIEW WITH PRUDENCE CALABRESE,
FARSIGHT WEB MASTER
(Source: Michael Lindemann, CNI NEWS, 12/1/96)
Prudence Calabrese is a remote viewer taking advanced training at the FARSIGHT INSTITUTE. She will soon receive her Ph.D. in Physics. Since July 1996, she has worked as the FARSIGHT Web Master. The following are excerpts of a interview with Calabrese (PC) by CNI NEWS Editor Michael Lindemann (ML), the day after she appeared with Courtney Brown on the Art Bell Radio Show to describe FARSIGHT's latest evidence concerning the alleged anomalous object near Comet Hale-Bopp:
ML: How would you summarize FARSIGHT's current view of Hale-Bopp, based on the institute's remote viewers and/or other evidence?
PC: There appears to be a companion object. It is spherical, rounded, larger than the Earth, and hollow. It seems to be both natural and artificial -- a combination of planet and spaceship. It is emitting energy of some sort and signals. The astronomer confirmed that they have received transmissions on two occasions from this object.
ML: Have FARSIGHT's remote viewers sensed a sentient presence?
PC: The object itself seems to be sentient in some way. There is some group of beings involved with this object that apparently have a mission that is directed toward Earth, involving some kind of awareness raising.
ML: Ed Dames [former Army remote viewer who trained Courtney Brown and heads a remote viewing organization called PSI-TECH] recently announced on the Art Bell Show that PSI-TECH remote viewers have perceived a coming event "of cosmic proportions" that will radically alter the course of human history before the end of this century. To my knowledge, Dames has not associated this event with Hale-Bopp, but he has said that PSI-TECH is so convinced of this coming catastrophe that they have pretty much dropped all other concerns to focus on this alone. On the other hand, in "Cosmic Voyage," Courtney Brown claimed to foresee a gradual decline of conditions on Earth, but not a sudden catastrophe. With this new information coming from Hale-Bopp, what do Brown and FARSIGHT now think about the prospect of a sudden catastrophe?
PC: We're convinced that some kind of major event will happen within the next four years [and possibly] much sooner than that. We don't know exactly what this event is going to entail, or whether it will involve some kind of catastrophe. We're feeling that any catastrophe that happens will most likely be of social origin (riots and such) and that it is unnecessary -- there [are] ways that [such] a catastrophe could be averted. We have a strong sense that whatever this alien presence is, it is being extremely careful not to do harm.
ML: What would you say are the immediate needed steps to prepare the public, especially in the absence of appropriate leadership from the government?
PC: At this stage it is important for everyone to be aware that there are groups of beings out there other than us. We also need to start looking at raising our general awareness level, because that's the only way that contact will be effective. We know from our remote-viewing data that these beings don't think linearly like we do -- they seem to think in "thought balls" all at once. We feel it's important for the human race to become more concerned with meditation, looking inward, [and] not so much reaching out in fear. We think the human race will get through this event just fine. There may be some initial problems, but things will settle down and people will become accustomed, because humans in general adapt very quickly.
ML: How soon do you think we'll have undeniable evidence concerning Hale-Bopp?
PC: This astronomer gave the indication that he would come forward this week, but rumors in the astronomical community have it that if he doesn't, there will be others who will. Apparently there are so many different telescopes and radio telescopes focused on Hale-Bopp right now, everyone is trying to corroborate this evidence. I'm sure something will happen soon. We at the FARSIGHT INSTITUTE are following up many leads, and any information we get we are posting immediately on our Web site: <www.farsight.org>. (JG)
INTERVIEW WITH DAVID SCHLEICHER,
LOWELL OBSERVATORY ASTRONOMER
By James Gregory
The following is a interview held on December 4, 1996 with David G. Schleicher (DGS), an astronomer specializing in comet studies with the LOWELL OBSERVATORY in Flagstaff, Arizona. LOWELL OBSERVATORY is a private, non-profit observatory which recently celebrated its centennial. The observatory has always has had planetary studies as a research emphasis.
NHNE: NHNE has been tracking the Hale-Bopp Comet since September 1995. Recently there has been a lot of controversy over claims that there is another object up there larger than the planet Earth.
DGS: I have several comments, but first a little background. We have been observing Comet Hale-Bopp since shortly after it was discovered in July 1995. This year we have been measuring the comet's brightness and taking images of it on a monthly basis; in fact, I was looking at it just last night (12/3/96).
NHNE: How does it look?
DGS: About the same as it has been for several months. It is just bright enough to see by eye, but only if you know where to look. It is now setting within an hour of the Sun and will soon be obscured by the Sun until later next month. It is very asymmetric in appearance, meaning that it is brighter on one side than the other, but that is not surprising for comets. You can also see several very narrow dust jets coming out from it. From week to week those show very little change, implying that the nucleus is rotating very slowly, taking presumably several weeks or longer to rotate once.
NHNE: Would you have expected Hale-Bopp to be brighter considering how promising it looked when it was first discovered?
DGS: It is a little disappointing. There has been a lot of talk in the last three months that it has not been brightening as fast as would be expected. Part of that is because up until early August it was approaching the planet Earth as it approached the Sun. Since August, our planet's orbit has been pulling us out ahead of it, so that even though it is still approaching the Sun it is getting further from Earth. The net result is that while the comet has been intrinsically getting brighter, from our point of view its brightness has stayed fairly constant. Right about now, the Earth has effectively rounded the corner and we are starting to approach again, so in the next couple of months it should brighten quite a bit.
NHNE: Is the comet still outside the orbit of Mars?
DGS: Yes, in fact right now it is about twice the distance from the Sun as we are, whereas Mars is about 60 percent further away from the Sun than the Earth. When the comet is visible again in late January, it will be about the same distance from the Sun as Mars. So that is some background about the comet itself.
Now when we first heard about this business about a mysterious object near Hale-Bopp Comet as reported by an astronomer named Shramek in Houston, what we did was run a star chart for the appropriate location in the sky where the comet and the object were supposed to be, to see what was there. It was very easy to match up all the other stars, and, sure enough, the brightest star in the area was exactly where that mystery object was supposed to be located. That's all there was. The Digital Sky Survey Star Atlas not only shows the location of the star, but the image has a lovely diffraction pattern. Normally you get diffraction spikes from the four supports of the secondary reflecting mirror. If you have a bad alignment of your optics, some of those will show up in the images more strongly than the others, thus giving the appearance of an edge-on ring around the object.
NHNE: Does it appear that Shramek has made an error in the reading of his star charts?
NHNE: What about developments since then?
DGS: I've heard some of the controversy, and in fact I was part of it. Early on when this explanation went out, Shramek actually concurred that, yes, the star was there and he had messed up. Later he said, "That doesn't make sense. The star is supposed to be an eighth magnitude star, the comet is supposed to be fourth magnitude [the brighter the celestial object, the lower its magnitude], and yet the object I saw was brighter than the comet, therefore, it couldn't just be the star." He took that as meaning that the star explanation ccouldn't be right. There must be another explanation. It has gone from there.
The catch is that he is mixing up the brightness of a point source versus an extended source. The comet is indeed fourth magnitude spread out over half a degree of sky [the Moon is about half a degree wide], but the core of the comet that you see in his image is no brighter than 10th or 11th magnitude, making it even fainter than the star in question. In our opinion, everything is right where it is supposed to be.
The other argument is, if there really was something strange there, then why is it that not one of the other amateurs who are looking at this comet has seen anything unusual? Around the time that this was happening, there had to be literally hundreds of amateurs around the world looking at it each night.
NHNE: What size is your telescope?
DGS: We have been using a 31-inch telescope. [The size refers to the diameter of the main reflecting mirror. Shramek was using a 10-inch telescope.]
NHNE: And you haven't seen anything anomalous?
DGS: We haven't seen anything unusual at all.
NHNE: If there was something out there the size of the planet Earth or larger, would you see it with your telescope?
DGS: We would expect to. If something were the size of the planet Earth at that distance, that means it would be several times brighter than the planet Mars. Mars can be easily seen with the naked eye, and it is only about one third the size of Earth.
NHNE: That should clear up this controversy.
DGS: Unfortunately it doesn't, because a lot of people still believe that there is a big conspiracy to hide something. I am just sorry that it became a controversy. The comet itself is interesting enough and that's the thing people should be focusing on.
NHNE: What do you think of the anonymous astronomers who claim to have taken pictures in the last few days of a huge object near Hale-Bopp and received radio signals from it?
DGS: I won't comment on unpublished photos or radio signals.
NHNE: Any closing comments?
DGS: A good comet Web site is maintained NASA's JET PROPULSION LABORATORY at JPL: <http:/encke.jpl.nasa.gov/> which includes a star chart and a recent image of Hale-Bopp. It also has links to many other images of various comets and other information.
And if there really is an object coming in with the Hale-Bopp Comet towards the Earth, in a couple of months it will be up there for everyone to see. So I say, "Let's wait and see."
CROP CIRCLE WATCH:
CROP CIRCLE EXPERTS DENOUNCE HOAXING CLAIMS
(Source: CNI NEWS, 12/1/96)
In their November 16 edition, CNI NEWS published an interview of alleged crop-circle "artist" Rod Dickinson by Editor, Michael Lindemann. In the article, Dickinson claimed that most of the large crop circles in England in the last 10 years have been hoaxed, including this year's fabulous Julia Set and Triple Julia Set. To no one's surprise, the article aroused more vehement feedback than any other story ever published by CNI NEWS.
The main complaints against Dickinson's story can be summarized as follows:
-- The stated construction time of two and three-quarters hours was not long enough for three people to create the Stonehenge Julia Set.
-- The claim that it was made during the night and went unnoticed for the entire following day, even by a pilot flying overhead, is unreasonable.
-- The claim that the alleged "artists" do not want publicity is absurd. They delight in notoriety -- they just don't want to get caught.
-- In this instance, as in many others, the hoax is claimed but no real evidence is offered.
Here are excerpts of letters to CNI NEWS from three well-known crop circle researchers:
"What Dickinson said about the pilot flying over Stonehenge without seeing the Julia Set is ludicrous. I've flown over Stonehenge numerous times and unless you are drunk or unconscious, you could not help but see it. The formation is bigger than Stonehenge! [From the air] you can spot even a small formation from miles away, never mind one as large as the Julia Set. We interviewed all the guards at Stonehenge who were there during that day and not one of them saw the Julia Set all day long. On average, 6,000 tourists visit Stonehenge every day of the summer. None of them saw a thing either. When we visited Stonehenge we didn't have much trouble seeing it from there.
"The fact that there are what appear to be construction lines in many formations is nothing new. We've seen these since at least 1989. What Dickinson didn't tell you is that these lines do not make sense. They vary in width from a few inches to as much as a foot or more. They do not usually follow a smooth curve but instead, meander quite a bit. But most strange of all, they lie not only under the fallen crop as you would expect but also on top at times. Back in 1991, Michael Chorost wrote a lengthy article on these lines. He concluded, as have many others since, that these lines could not have been laid out first but rather appear to be part of the step-by-step construction process.
"In 1992, a number of the more vocal hoaxers put their money where their mouths were and participated in a public hoaxing contest. All teams were given 4 1/2 hours to make an identical pattern which measured a whopping 56 feet by 21 feet! The results were impressive, but keep in mind that the Julia Formation is in the neighbourhood of 300 feet by 500 feet and the Windmill Hill formation is 1000 feet in diameter!
"I could go on and on but defending the facts over and over is very tiring. We have put in thousands of hours and spent tens of thousands of dollars of our own money on this research. There are over a hundred people involved in these investigations, including several Ph.D. scientists, and we have compiled volumes of facts to support our contention that we are dealing with a mystery. It's really discouraging when all one person like Dickinson has to do is say, 'I know who did it,' and everyone goes oogly-eyed."
[Deetken is one of Canada's leading crop circle researchers.]
"I was one the of the first people into the Stonehenge 'Julia Set' formation. I visited it several times through the season and surveyed certain specific parts. I have done geometric and numerological studies on it, as well as studies of its interior architecture and construction sequence. Think about the claim that the hoaxers made the Julia Set in 2 hours and 45 minutes. There were 151 circles. The simplest arithmetic will show that this spectral team allowed a little over 65 seconds per circle, with no time for setting out. Nobody who has been inside a crop circle could believe that. This claim is made even more outrageous when the quality and variety of the individual circles is considered. This was an exemplar of crop circle lay. The swirling, coiling, twisting of the crop was different in almost every one of the circles. The centres were marked by nests, coils, doughnuts and tufts. I doubt that a team, even in daylight, could reproduce the complexity and precision of a single circle in eight hours. They would never use a three-foot board to achieve these effects."
[Glickman is a well-known full-time Crop Circle researcher and lecturer.]
"Hoaxers need naive croppies. They sit back, say a few convincing-sounding things, (but give truly lousy explanations for layered stems, etc.) and let fools and the easily-impressed get suckered in. I have made some circles [as an experiment, and] I can tell you that to do a clean, crisp, well-designed set of circles, lines, and bars is damned hard. Crescents, multiple grape-shot, etc. are so hard that I doubt a team of surveyors using radios and helicopters could do them well. At night, using no light, not being seen, in short time -- totally impossible."
[Beckjord has researched crop circles for many years.]
For the record, even after being bombarded by letters like the ones quoted above, Lindemann held his ground and refused to retract his original article. In his words, "For the record, let us state that if we had not believed Dickinson's claims MIGHT be true, we would not have printed the story; and nothing we have heard since would dissuade us from running it again." (JG, DS)
David Sunfellow (DS)
James Gregory (JG)
Gail Rossi (GR)
Lea Harwood (LH)
Sandy Ezrine (SE)
Cynthia Stringer (CS)
Kathleen-Blake Frankel (KBF)
Karol Ann Barnett (KAB)
Deb Jamerson (DJ)
Mary Koch (MK)
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