I hope everyone is actually reading this. If you are, thanks for the support! Really though. I'm saying that because I totally don't open email newsletters all the time so if anyone actually reads this through, it's exciting! Anyway, I want to keep this up and build it and feeling like it's not going into the void, which would be great. Tell me anything! Tweet at me! You may notice that this one is a little longer than previous weeks. I decided to go a little more in depth on each story. Assuming my condensed version is all you read, then I need to provide stronger context and highlights. Is that working? Tell me? In other news, I'm excited to announce there are five new people this week. I hope you like it new peeps! And now, here are the stories:
Brazilian alien enthusiast disappears, leaving cryptic message.
Last Monday, psychology student Bruno Borges, 24, vanished from his family home. He left behind a room full of occult symbols and explicit references to extraterrestrials, including a self portrait with a grey alien.
A few weeks before his disappearance, Borges bought a large statue of Giordano Bruno, one of the first European thinkers to predict extraterrestrial life. Borges had been working on a secretive book project which he said would "change humanity in a good way."
A leaked video shows thick binders with red roman numerals laid out on a table. The manuscripts are in code, but passages have apparently been decrypted by a computer expert. "It is difficult, as an adult, to understand that you were wrongly taught what you suspected was correct since you were a child," the manuscript reads. "In other words, if you fit into the system, your behaviour will be determined, making you at the mercy of beliefs already provided and well established in dogmas and rituals, with the masses."
Step into the world of real time machines and their inventors.
Time travel has been a fixture of science fiction for decades, but along with the entertainment, and of course the many speculating physicists, there are a significant number of individuals claiming to have really done it, or at least be able to do it with the right technology. Others say they have peeked into the past.
Brent Swancer digs into the evidence and tells the story of the Vatican's alleged "Chronovisor," a device built in the 1950s by a team of scientists led by Father Pellegrino Maria Ernetti with help from Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi and rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. The device lets the user "tune into" any event from the past, and Ernetti claimed to have witnessed events like Napoleon's conquest and the founding of Rome.
In another case, theoretical physicist Ronald Mallett has struggled to create a time travel device since 1955 when his father died of a heart attack. Mallett became obsessed with reuniting with his dead relative, but so far it's still theoretical, though he's currently seeking $250,000 to built a prototype.
And if you want your own, you can order a "Hyper Dimensional Resonator." It will only set you back $400, but it will require purity of spirit.
Annie Jacobson's new book explores US-funded ESP research.
In an interview on CBS This Morning, the Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestselling author talked through how in the aftermath of the second World War, the United States and Russia split up a huge cache of Nazi documents on extrasensory perception and psychokinesis, leading to what is now known as the "psychic arms race."
Her book, Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis (Hachette, 2017), traces the decades of the "remote viewing" program and the battles within the intelligence community over whether the phenomena were legitimate, with the CIA and the DoD each taking differing stances. While the program was widely disparaged in the 1990s and officially retired, Jacobson suggests that the research simply went underground. "We’re back in the same place we were in the ‘70s except for we have advanced technology brought into the mix now," Jacobson said. "You have the Defense Department working on programs, but bringing in computer technologists, neurobiologists."
Phenomena came out March 28th and follows Jacobson's previous book The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency (Hatchette, 2015).
From costume parties to Witches Against Fascist Totalitarianism (WAFT)
Inspired during the her trip to the Women's March in Washington, D.C., Ana Matronic, a member of the band Scissor Sisters, founded WAFT as a way to merge the magical and the political. Matronic's occult life involved Tarot, meditation and mystical costume parties, but since Trump's election it has transformed. Amanda Yates Garcia, a Los Angeles-based artist and witch, leads monthly Magical Praxis workshops which have taken up the widely-publicized binding spell on Donald Trump that took place on February 24th, and will occur every month until he is out of office.
"I genuinely do think binding spells are helpful for people," she said. "They help people feel that they are not just being operated on, they can respond." Both Matronic and Yates Garcia see witchcraft as coexisting with activism, not as a replacement for it. After each ritual, participants commit to non-magical actions like learning more about local government. They recommend aromatic baths along with attending town halls.
While political action is still vital for them, the spiritual dimension offers healing and a way to maintain well-being. "There is an emboldened sense of uncaring and hate right now,” said Matronic. “I think the equal and opposite reaction to that would be spells of love and protection.”
Marie Claire UK tries out Ayahuasca and likes it.
As psychedelic therapy has grown in popularity, so too has the trend of sending journalists to the Amazon for the mythical "Ayahuasca experience." Health journalist Charlotte Haigh traveled into the depths of Peru to take the "medicine" along with 20 or so European professions in their late twenties to mid-forties.
Haigh describes a vision of three children, who she realizes are babies she lost in successive miscarriages. First she's distraught, then there's a sense of peace. And half a year later, Haigh writes, the feeling has stayed with her. "Your brain is like a snow globe capable of being shaken up," explains Dr. James Rucker, a British psychiatrist well-known for his work on psychedelic therapy. "Psychedelics may help get you out of an entrenched perspective."
She also interviews other seekers. Sarah, 32, went for a two week retreat to deal with her sister's death. "On my journey, I saw a coffin and the lid started to open. I was terrified, but when I looked inside I saw galaxies of moons and stars," she told Haigh. "I’ve never been religious, however I had a new understanding that nothing is truly final, and that life can be beautiful again."
Marianne Williamson (b. 1962) is a spiritual teacher, author and activist. Known as the public face for A Course in Miracles, seven of her twelve books are New York Times Best Sellers, and four have been number one. Born to a middle-class Jewish family in Houston, Williamson was a 60s drifter, lived in a commune, worked as a cabaret singer and owned a metaphysical bookstore.
In her mid-20s, as a self-described "total mess," she picked up A Course in Miracles, but was turned-off by its explicit Christian context. A year later, she found her way back and became a student of what Williamson calls a "self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy." A Course in Miracles was written by psychologist Helen Schucman between 1965 and 1972, and according to Schucman, the books were dictated by Jesus.
Nevertheless, Williamson became deeply attracted to the course and wrote A Return to Love (HarperCollins, 1992) about her experiences as a teacher and lecturer on the course. The quote, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure," comes from this book and became anthemic in the 90s.
The book's popularity led to an appearance on Oprah and in 1994, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton invited Williamson and other "spiritual types" to Camp David for a weekend retreat. All this celebrity attention, and her being identified with the "New Age" movement brought some critics. By 1997, Williamson managed to deeply antagonize a Boston Globe journalist who published an article in Mother Jones which one commenter called an "obviously bitter and editorialized hypothesis." In short, because Williamson eschews a more comprehensive religious framework, she is peddling a la carte spirituality and is therefore narcissistic.
In 2014, Williamson made an unsuccessful bid for a congressional seat. She also organizes an annual event in Washington, D.C., called Sister Giant with brings together the spiritual and the political and included speakers like Bernie Sanders and Zephyr Teachout.
You can hear Williamson every Tuesday at 7:30pm at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City where she lectures on A Course in Miracles.
THE QUOTE BOX
"This cultural bias toward the waking state as “real” and any other state as “unreal”—and therefore unworthy of attention or study—exists as a mental block for many. Yet if we presume that little can be learned from any state other than waking, we largely ignore any state other than waking and thus perpetuate the bias."
That's all for this week. Look out next Monday morning!