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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Immortals among us

A seemingly universal human trait is the fear of death. To some extent we all find ways to deal with the reality that one day, the life we live now, will come to an end. Historically, man has created tales of afterlives and heavens/paradises as a means of coming to terms with the inevitability of death. Another interesting wrinkle in the equation is the idea of immortality. That someone can find a way to completely conquer death and therefore live forever. Within the paranormal/fortean realm, the concept of immortality takes on a few forms which I want to spend some time talking about today.

The Comte de Saint Germain


A few months back, Greg Bishop interviewed the enigmatic Red Pill Junkie (of The Daily Grail, Mysterious Universe, and Intrepid Magazine fame) on Radio Misterioso. During their enlightening conversation (part 1, part 2), which I recommend you give a listen, RPJ mentioned a particular book which he found to be worth reading. I didn’t remember hearing about the book before, so I promptly went to amazon and ordered it. The book is The Morning of the Magicians, which I came to learn is considered a classic work on esotericism from the mid-1960’s. Topics within the book include; the works of Charles Fort, the ‘teachings’ of Gurdjieff, Alchemy, Fulcanelli, and possible ancient advanced civilizations.  I haven’t completely finished the book yet as there is a ton of content to digest. However the authors discussion on Alchemy really grabbed my attention and sent me off on a variety of internet web searches. The searches ended with me learning of the bizarre personage known as: The Comte de Saint Germain.

St. Germain is widely believed to have been born in 1690. He claimed to be the son of Francis II Rákóczi, the Prince of Transylvania, although Francis’ will claimed that he only had one heir, a Leopold George who is said to have died at age four. Other more extreme theories hold that Germain was born around the time of Christ and was actually in attendance at the wedding where Jesus is said to have turned water into wine. Regardless, actual historical evidence exists of a person named St. Germain who was often in the company of the aristocracy of 18th century Europe and France. Germain arrived on the scene around 1742 and began courting favor with the rich and famous of the time period. By all accounts Germain was an odd character who seemed to have great deal of knowledge on a variety of topics. Here are some attributed characteristics and facts about St. Germain courtesy of Stephen Wagner from

  • He could play the violin like a virtuoso.
  • He was an accomplished painter.
  • Wherever he traveled, he set up an elaborate laboratory, presumably for his alchemy work.
  • He seemed to be a man of great wealth, but was not known to have any bank accounts. (If it was due to his ability to transmute base metals into gold, he never performed the feat for observers.)
  • He dined often with friends because he enjoyed their company, but was rarely seen to eat food in public. He subsisted, it was said, on a diet of oatmeal.
  • He prescribed recipes for the removal of facial wrinkles and for dyeing hair.
  • He loved jewels, and much of his clothing - including his shoes - were studded with them.
  • He had perfected a technique for painting jewels.
  • He claimed to be able to fuse several small diamonds into one large one. He also said he could make pearls grow to incredible sizes.
  • He has been linked to several secret societies, including the Rosicrucians, Freemasons, Society of Asiatic Brothers, the Knights of Light, the Illuminati and Order of the Templars.

Another interesting story about St. Germain comes from a 1760 meeting between St. Germain and a Countess von Georgy. Wagner relates the following:

An anecdote from 1760 most likely gave rise to the notion that Saint-Germain could be immortal. In Paris that year, Countess von Georgy heard that a Count de Saint-Germain had arrived for a soiree at the home of Madame de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV of France. The elderly countess was curious because she had known a Count de Saint-Germain while in Venice in 1710. Upon meeting the count again, she was astonished to see that he hadn't appeared to age, and asked him if it was his father she knew in Venice.

"No, Madame," he replied, "but I myself was living in Venice at the end of the last and the beginning of this century; I had the honor to pay you court then."

"Forgive me, but that it impossible!" the perplexed countess said. "The Count de Saint-Germain I knew in those days was at least forty-five years old. And you, at the outside, are that age at present."

"Madame, I am very old," he said with a knowing smile.

"But then you must be nearly 100 years old," said the astonished countess.

"That is not impossible," the count told her matter-of-factly, then continued to convince the countess that he was indeed the same man she knew with the details of their previous meetings and of life in Venice 50 years earlier.

The official record of The Comte de Saint Germain comes to an end on 1784 with his death. The unofficial record of St. Germain was just beginning. If, as he alluded to Countess von Georgy, Germain was an immortal (or discovered the secret of immortality through alchemy) it should come as no surprise that Germain continued to be sighted long after his death. Although it was often under an assumed name. I suppose continuing to use the same name after you’ve “died’ could prove problematic.  Stephen Wagner tells of a few encounters with Germain, or persons who claimed to be him, after his “death”:

  • In 1785 he was seen in Germany with Anton Mesmer, the pioneer hypnotist. (Some claim that it was Saint-Germain who gave Mesmer the basic ideas for hypnotism and personal magnetism.)
  • Official records of Freemasonry show that they chose Saint-Germain as their representative for a convention in 1785.
  • After the taking of the Bastille in the French Revolution in 1789, the Comtesse d'Adhémar said she had a lengthy conversation with Count de Saint-Germain. He allegedly told her of France's immediate future, as if he knew what was to come. In 1821, she wrote: "I have seen Saint-Germain again, each time to my amazement. I saw him when the queen [Antoinette] was murdered, on the 18th of Brumaire, on the day following the death of the Duke d'Enghien, in January, 1815, and on the eve of the murder of the Duke de Berry." The last time she saw him was in 1820 - and each time he looked to be a man no older than his mid-40s.

Wagner continues:

After 1821, Saint-Germain may have taken on another identity. In his memoirs, Albert Vandam wrote of meeting a man who bore a striking resemblance to Count de Saint-Germain, but who went by the name of Major Fraser. Vandam wrote:

"He called himself Major Fraser, lived alone and never alluded to his family. Moreover he was lavish with money, though the source of his fortune remained a mystery to everyone. He possessed a marvelous knowledge of all the countries in Europe at all periods. His memory was absolutely incredible and, curiously enough, he often gave his hearers to understand that he had acquired his learning elsewhere than from books. Many is the time he has told me, with a strange smile, that he was certain he had known Nero, had spoken with Dante, and so on."

Major Fraser disappeared without a trace.

Coming full circle back to The Morning of the Magicians, the famed occultist Madame Helena Blavatsky and others of her Theosophical Society claimed many contacts with the still living Comte de Saint Germain as late as the early 20th century. Blavatsky stated that Germain was hard at work helping the spiritual development of the West, which just so happens to have been Blavatsky’s stated goal. A sad final note to the tale of St. Germain is related by Stephen Wagner again. He notes:

The most recent appearance of a man claiming to be Saint-Germain was in 1972 in Paris when a man named Richard Chanfray announced he was the legendary count. He appeared on French television, and to prove his claim apparently turned lead into gold on a camp stove before the cameras. Chanfray later committed suicide in 1983

Who or what was/is Comte de Saint Germain? Could he have actually been an immortal? Could it be that he was just an exceptionally bright individual which has had their legend grow overtime? If he was actually an immortal, he should still be out there somewhere right now. If that is the case, surely he would be doing what I know I would do in his position; Google himself. Assuming he is, if you’re reading this and I’ve misspoke about your history, St Germain, please drop me a line I’d be happy to edit as needed!

Immortal Celebrities


Moving on from more likely candidates who may have achieved immortality, we will now take a look at some less than credible speculation courtesy of everyone’s favorite website; Above Top Secret! A thread I stumbled across entitled Celebrity vampires/Time Travel, reminded me about the strange doppelganger effect some folks have noticed between modern day celebrities and photos from antiquity. This thread collates a variety of the many immortal celebrity stories which have been making the rounds on the internet.

As seen in the photo above, the idea that Nicholas Cage may be immortal first came out in 2011. A Civil War era photo popped up on ebay with the seller claiming that the photo was proof that Cage is immortal, although the seller came at it from the Vampire angle. He was asking a substantial amount of money for the photo, which did eventually sell. Cage refuted the claims on the David Letterman show, because why not?

The thread brings to light some other examples that I wasn’t familiar with previously. Writing for Examiner, Tom Rose discussed the possibility that funnyman Zach Galifianakis too was an immortal, or had time traveled. Rose writes:

On Jan. 22, 2013, another man, Steven Canfield Crowley, posed the same question about the actor Zach Galifianakis after unearthing a tintype photograph from the 1880s which bears a striking resemblance to the comedian.

In a YouTube video, Crowley makes the same claim. What's going on here?

Again, the resemblance is startling. The unidentified man in the tintype is somewhat older, but the two men could literally be brothers. Does time travel work in reverse as well?


Other examples from the thread include; Jay-Z, Keanu Reeves, and Queen Latifah. I highly recommend you take the opportunity to check out the thread and follow the various links you’ll find there to examine the “evidence” for this phenomena yourself. How do we explain the resemblances between the celebrities and their historical doppelgangers? Coincidence? Over-active imagination? Immortality? While it’s fun to look at these photos and imagine “What if?”, I have to say that, at least for the moment, I’m going to say it’s unlikely that these photos show proof of immortality. But like everything else, who knows?

Immortality: Nature vs Science

Our journey through the world of immortality ends with an examination of the possible future scientific breakthroughs in immortality. Could it be that one day, and maybe not that far off, science could effectively “cure” death? Some scientists seem to be hard at work doing just that. A quick Google search for “science of immortality” reveals a plethora of recent scientific articles which deal with this very idea.

A somewhat related idea to this is the “promise” of immortality which is sought by the Transhumanist movement. Believing that they can potentially achieve immortality by transcending the human body by way of technology.  This is thought to be achievable by perhaps reconstructing human consciousness in a computer or digital construct. Interesting stuff to be sure, but I’m not quite as optimistic about this technologies arrival as one of it’s main proponents, Ray Kurzweil is.

Along these same lines, I have to wonder if it’s not possible that someone has already discovered the key to immortality. There seems to be a lot about some ancient civilizations which was lost to us. Could it be that they knew this secret and passed it down only to the initiated, many of whom would still be alive today? Alchemical traditions speak of the concept of the Philosopher’s Stone which could, along with transmuting lead into gold, grant eternal life.  It’s entirely likely that modern science/medicine is simply retreading well-worn ground.


Where do we go from here? It’s hard to settle this issue with any finality.  It’s likely that as long as we age and die, we will probably always entertain the ideas of immortality. As is often the case our fantasies of living forever don’t deal with the day-to-day issues which might come along with immortality.,We would watching family and friends age and die, dealing with advances in knowledge and technology, etc. So long as we continue to fear death, I imagine we will continue to invent ways to deal with it. Whether this takes the form of building up legends of already extraordinary people, “seeing” modern celebrities in images from the past, or literally making advances to wipe out death, it will go on and on.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Abominable Chicken Man

My daily commute takes me straight through downtown Bishopville, SC. If that name sounds familiar to you don’t be surprised. The town was made famous, more or less, back in 1988 with the alleged sightings of the Lizard Man at the Scape Ore Swamp. I’ve written about the Lizard Man in the past here, if you need a refresher. Last week on my way to work, I had to stop my car as a chicken crossed the road. 

Recognizing a golden opportunity for a joke, I quickly went to twitter to announce this. I suppose that’s a commentary on our current social media obsessed society, but I digress. Because of my extremely witty joke, Theo Paijmans, linked me to an interesting newspaper report which I had not heard of before. It’s the strange tale of the “Abominable Chicken Man”. A primate of unknown origin which apparently had a craving for chickens and was roaming around the Oklahoma country side in the late 60’s early 70’s. 

Probably not what was seen
The story was reported in The Spokesman-Review by Dennis Montgomery on March 1st of 1971. This encounter had occurred the previous December. Montgomery relates how a local farmer located in El Reno, Oklahoma suffered some loss and damaged property at the hands of this “Chicken Man”. Montgomery writes:

An El Reno farmer walked out to his chicken coop one day in December and found its door on the ground, apparently thrown there after being ripped off the wall.

On the surface of the door, and inside the coop on the walls, were a number of strange hand prints - like none he’d ever seen before. They were about seven inches long and five inches wide.

The farmer initially contacted a local game warden/ranger who was also at a loss to explain the origins of the hand prints. So the local zoo was contacted to see if they could offer any insight on what may have attacked the farmer’s chickens. Montgomery tells us:

Zoo Director Lawrence Curtis says the prints appear to be like those of a primate. A primate is an animal like a gorilla or a man that can stand erect. The thumber of the print is unusual. Curtis says it crooks inside, as if it were deformed or had been injured.

‘It resembles a gorilla,’ he said, ‘but it’s more like a man.’

‘It appears that whatever made the prints was walking on all fours. There were some footprints on the ground outside,’ he said. Whatever it was was barefoot. Barefoot in December.

This farmer was not the only one person to have come across similar prints. Montgomery notes several other individuals across Oklahoma who were said to have discovered the same, or similar, hand prints as the original farmer did. As to what this creature could have been, Montgermery relates:

Oklahoma has only for native animals big enough to leave such prints: the black bear, the mountain lion, the wolf and man. Curtis has ruled out all but the last.

‘We’ve shown it to several mammalogists and several wildlife experts in Oklahoma and some passing through. All agree it is a primate,’ he said. ‘These prints were made by some sort of a man, perhaps looking for chickens,’

Check this link in order to read the full article. Montgomery goes on to draw parallels between this “Chicken Man” and other Bigfoot creatures seen throughout North America. The chicken farmer never claimed to have seen the creature, only the devastation it left in it’s wake. There are a number of sightings of bigfoot-like creatures reported in the area in and around El Reno, Oklahoma. Did this famer have an encounter with the Bigfoot? It’s possible. Those hand prints certainly do sound quite large and the fact that the creature got around on all fours could possibly rule out a human culprit. Unless they were up to trickery, a possibility which I can’t deny.

The ‘Abominable Chicken Man’ never seemed to show back up. Maybe he had enough chicken? Maybe he went on a diet? Who knows? Either way, it makes for yet another interesting wrinkle in the Bigfoot story.

Further reading:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Slips in Time

In August of 1901, two Englishwomen, Annie Moberly and her colleague Dr. Eleanor Frances Jourdain, were on a trip visiting Paris. The first stop on their tour was the capital. After a short visit there, the two then went to Versailles. At Versailles, the women would have a remarkable experience which has become a timeless tale. The two women would later recount the following story. Blogger Naomi tells us the story:

The two Englishwomen visited the palace at Versailles, where after touring the building itself they descended the steps into the gardens, walking toward the Petit Trianon. There they turned off along a track and passed by some deserted farm buildings, in front of which there was an old plough. On the path stood two men in long green coats wearing three-cornered hats. Eleanor Jourdain asked them the way and they replied with dignified gestures, from which the two Englishwomen gathered that they should go straight on. They went on their way without giving another thought to the strangers' period costume, assuming it to be intended as a tourist attraction. They strolled up to an isolated cottage where a woman and a 12- or 13-year-old girl were standing at the doorway, both wearing white kerchiefs fastened under their bodices. As Eleanor Jourdain described the scene, the woman was standing at the top of the steps, holding a jug and leaning slightly forwards, while the girl stood beneath her, looking up at her and stretching out her empty hands.

"She might have been just going to take the jug or have just given it up. I remember that both seemed to pause for an instant, as in a motion picture," wrote Dr. Jourdain.

The two Oxford ladies went on their way and soon reached a pavilion that stood in the middle of an enclosure. The place had a god-forsaken air about it and the atmosphere was depressing and unpleasant.

A man was sitting outside the pavilion, his face repulsively disfigured by smallpox, wearing a coat and a straw hat. He seemed not to notice the two women; at any rate, he paid no attention to them.

Suddenly, a young man in a dark coat and buckle shoes appeared and ran past shouting something like, "You can't go through there." He pointed toward the right and added, "You'll find the house over there."

Although the Englishwomen spoke French they could only partly understand the man's speech. He bowed with a curious smile and disappeared. The sound of his hurrying footsteps hung in the air for a long time.

The Englishwomen walked on in silence and after a while reached a narrow, rustic bridge, which led over a ravine. A small waterfall made its way between stones and fern leaves, down a slope covered in vegetation. On the other side of the bridge, the path wound along the edge of a meadow surrounded by trees. Some way away stood a small country house with shuttered windows and with terraces on either side. A lady was sitting on the lawn with her back to the house. She held a large sheet of paper or cardboard in her hand and seemed to be working at or looking at a drawing. She was no longer in the bloom of youth but looked most attractive. She wore a summer dress with a long bodice and a very full, apparently short skirt, which was extremely unusual. She had a pale green fichu or kerchief draped around her shoulders, and a large white hat covered her fair hair.

At the end of the terraces was a second house. As the two women drew near, a door suddenly flew open and slammed shut again. A young man with the demeanor of a servant, but not wearing livery, came out. As the two Englishwomen thought they had trespassed on private property, they followed the man toward the Petit Trianon. Quite unexpectedly, from one moment to the next, they found themselves in the middle of a crowd--apparently a wedding party--all dressed in the fashions of 1901.

This account is a classic example of what is known as the time slip phenomenon. Simply defined, a time slip is an event where a persona is momentarily, and involuntarily, outside of the normal flow of time. They appear to have traveled either forward, or backwards, in time. Time slips stories have interested me for years. Although, I haven’t quite made up my mind as to what might be causing these events to occur. There seems to be some evidence that time may not be as linear as we perceive it. Is it possible that we can accidently travel through time? The following cases seem to make that suggestion.

Sir Victor Goddard’s Flight


On the Uk Paranormal Events forum page, member Sir JGP relates the following tale involving RAF Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard:

in 1935 Sir Victor Goddard who at the time was a Wing Commander in the British Air Force was flying back to Andover, England from Edinburgh, Scotland, he decided to fly over an abandoned airfield at Drem which is not to far from Edinburgh.  The old disused airfield looked battered, its runways were overgrown with foliage, the hangers were all falling down and once where planes stood ready for action was now a grazing area for cows.

Having flown over the old airbase Goddard continued on his way back to Andover, however not long into the continued flight he encountered a strange storm, he reported later that there were high winds and that the storm had strange brown-yellow clouds, the storm took him by surprise and he was unable avoid flying into the storm, he lost control of his plane which started to spiral towards the ground.

Goddard managed to get the plane under control narrowly avoiding a crash, Once he got his bearings again he realised that they were heading back the way they had come and towards the Drem airfield again, as he approached the old airfield the storm suddenly vanished and Goddard's plane emerged into brilliant sunshine.  

This time as they flew over the airfield, he noticed how different it looked, the hangers that moments before had been falling down now looked brand new, there were four planes parked on the ground, three of which he recognised as biplanes but the fourth was a monoplane, in 1935 the RAF had not yet acquired a monoplane, the planes were all painted in an unfamiliar yellow, the runways were clear of foliage and he noticed mechanics dressed in blue overalls walking around, He thought it strange that none of the people on the ground appeared to notice him flying over.

Conscious of his fuel level he set course back to Andover, but once again encountered the strange storm this time though he was aware he was approaching it and was ready for it, he made it through the storm
without losing control of the aircraft and made his way safely back to Andover.

The intriguing epilogue to this tale is that it wasn’t until 1939, some 4 yrs after the incident, that the RAF painted their planes yellow, started using the monoplane of the type that Goddard had seen, and the mechanics had their uniforms switched to blue.

The cafe that wasn’t there


Blogger Naomi at the Time Slips Account blog recounts another interesting, almost classic, time slip tale of a woman who visited an antique looking coffee shop. Wishing to bring her husband to this coffee shop on their next trip into town, she discovered it had been closed for years. From the blog:

On the morning of 18th June 1968, and elderly lady, Mrs Charlotte Warburton, went shopping with her husband in the town. They decided to go their separate ways for a while and to meet up later. That morning, unable for find a particular brand of coffee from her usual grocer she went into a supermarket in Calverley Road. As she entered the shop she saw a small café through an entrance in the left-hand wall. She had never before realised that there was a café there. It was rather old-fashioned with wood panelled walls. There were no windows and the room was lit by a number of electric bulbs with frosted shades

There was at the time, she thought, nothing especially odd about the scene. 'Two woman in rather long dresses were sitting at one table and about half a dozen men, all in dark lounge suits, were sitting at the other tables further back in the room,' she said. 'All the people seemed to be drinking coffee and chatting ... a normal sight for a country town at eleven o'clock in the morning.'

When they came to Tunbridge Wells on their next shopping expedition Mrs Warburton decided to take her husband to the café. Or rather, she hoped to take his [sic] there. But, of course, they never did find the place though they searched the street up and down. No, they were told in the supermarket, there was no café there. She must be in the wrong building. It was then that they learned about the Kosmos Kinema which had stood on the site of the supermarket.

They were directed to the Tunbridge Wells Constitutional Club, where the steward told them that at one time the Constitutional Club had owned the premises adjoining the Kosmos, which was now incorporated into the supermarket.

The club had had an assembly room in those days and to the rear a small bar with tables for refreshments. Mrs Warburton's description tallied exactly with the club's old refreshment room.

The bar, the cinema and the assembly room had all vanished years ago, Mrs Warburton was told.

This kind of scenario is a classic example of a time slip. It even has the return visit to the location which is no longer there. It’s possible that the woman had simply gone back to the wrong cafe, that perhaps the one she visited still existed on another street. Still, her description did seem to match exactly with the refreshment room which had not existed for years.

Highway to the Past


The following story comes by way of Stephen Wagner at He relates an account of two gentlemen who were making their way on Highway 167. Here is their story:

In October, 1969, a man identified only as L.C. and his business associate, Charlie, were driving north from Abbeville, Louisiana toward Lafayette on Highway 167. As they were driving along the nearly empty road, they began to overtake what appeared to be an antique car traveling very slowly. The two men were impressed by the mint condition of the nearly 30-year-old car - it looked virtually new - and puzzled by its bright orange license plate on which was stamped only "1940."

They figured, however, that the car had been part of some antique auto show. As they passed the slow-moving vehicle, they slowed their car to get a good look at the old model. The driver of the old car was a young woman dressed in vintage 1940s clothing, and her passenger was a small child likewise dressed. The woman seemed panicked and confused. L.C. asked if she needed help and, through her rolled up window, indicated "yes."

L.C. motioned for her to pull off to the side of the road. The businessmen pulled ahead of the old car and turned onto the shoulder of the road. When they got out... the old car had vanished without a trace. There were no turnoffs or anywhere else the vehicle could have gone. Moments later, another car pulled up to the businessmen and, quite puzzled, said he had seen their car pull off to the side... and the old car simply vanish into thin air.

In this case it sounds more like the driver from the 1940’s had the time slip and had found herself temporarily in the future.


Time slips are fascinating pieces of paranormal literature. They seem to suggest that time may not exist in quite the way we perceive it.  By what mechanism are these people slipping through time? In Goddard’s case, there is mention of a “strange storm”, but the others make no mention of anything out of the ordinary. Except for the experience itself. I’m left with so many questions after reading accounts like those listed above.

But there’s one which sticks out in my mind the most. Are their reciprocal time slip accounts? For instance in the case of the woman driving with the young child on Highway 167, did she later go home and tell her husband about the two men in a strange looking vehicle she saw? Or with the Englishwomen at Versailles. Are there reports from the time they were supposed to have visited of people seeing strange-garbed women speaking english?

I’m interested to hear what you readers have to say. Be sure to comment below and tell me your thoughts!

Sources and additional readings:

If you wish to read more accounts of time slips, I recommend you check out the following sites.