Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hungry Ghost Festival


Hungry Ghost Festival

While in the West they have to celebrate Halloween, the Chinese also have their own version for ghost, namely the “Hungry Ghost Festival”. Unlike the West, Chinese celebrate the Festival for the entire month by offering food and prayers to the ghosts. Most Chinese today may know a bit about the procedures of the festival but very few know the story behind the festival. The following is the legend that is associated with it:

As with many cool events, the origins of Ghost Month remain a mystery. Buddhists believe the legend that a man named Mu Lian, who was a student of Buddha went to see his departed mother by his mystical power. It was said that Mu Lian’s mother was in sin and she was punished to the realm of the hungry ghost when she died. When Mu Lian saw her, she was in hunger and great suffering. Mu Lian was deeply saddened and he tried to feed her with some rice in bowl. However , the rice turned into a charcoal immediately when his mother put the rice into the mouth. Mu Lian was very depressed and left because he could not do anything to help his mother.

Mu Lian went back to seek the help of his master, Buddha to release his mother rom those suffering. Buddha told him that the only way to save her from salvation was to offer fruits and vegetables in yulan bowls to the monks on 15th day of the 7th lunar calendar. The monks would requite to all the Sangha members in ten directions. It is said that the Sangha members were holding pure and complete precepts on that day. Their meritorious power can help the donors’ parents out of the great suffering in hell .

Later on, Mu Lian saved his mother from the suffering and he asked Buddha if his followers could do the same practice. Buddha advised that all the followers should have the practice too. Nowadays, the legend of Mu Lian has become a significant day to remember the filial piety of their ancestors.

Taoists believe that during the month of Hungry Ghost festival, the gate of hell is opened and all the hungry ghosts go roaming to the world. During the whole 7th lunar month, the Chinese celebrate the festival by holding religious ceremonies at home, temples associations and guilds. Sometimes prayers and food are offered at street corners and roadsides for the hungry ghosts. It is a belief that the practice will prevent the wandering souls from entering their homes and stay out of troubles. The Enlightenment Ceremony is held during the period to exempt the souls of ancestors from suffering and pain.

The best places to watch how the traditional rites are practised in Singapore are in the soul of the heartlands, where fellow believers congregate to burn incense sticks and present their offerings in the form of prayer, fruit such as Mandarin oranges, food such as roasted suckling pig, bowls of rice and occasionally a local Chinese cake made especially for the occasion. It is not uncommon to see various forms of tentage set up in open fields during this period, for the Chinese also believe in entertaining the spirits with boisterous live wayang and getai performances not only depicting tales of the divine gods and goddesses, but also bawdy stand-up comedy with a local twang, song and dance numbers in the various Chinese dialects and even sensually acrobatic pole dancing by felinely lithe spandex clad dancers.

Everyone is welcome to watch the show as long as you don’t sit at the front row, which is reserved for the “special guests”. The festival is so widely-practised here that special joss paper bins have been set up for believers to burn their paper money in, believed to translate into great fortune in the afterlife. Small altars can also be seen outside many homes, both on private property and in public housing areas.

From grand feasts costing thousands of dollars to a mélange of puppetry, opera and singing performances, the various ways with which the Chinese appease these roaming spirits is fascinating to watch, these festivities usually take place across the various neighbourhoods like Chinatown, Redhill and Geylang — so check these out if you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to lose yourself in a truly local experience.


Date to start of Hungry Ghost Month: 26 Jul 2014, 23:59hrs, Chinese timing is 2300hrs

Crop Circle Baffles Villagers in Southern Russia

Flickr

The Krasnodar region is no stranger to crop circles and accounts for 40 percent of all of those recorded in Russia.
The appearance of a mysterious crop circle in a southern Russian village has lead some residents to conclude aliens must have paid them a visit.

The unusual marking, about 40 meters in diameter, appeared in a sunflower field on a farm in the Krasnodar region last Thursday, local news site Svet Mayakov reported.

A video uploaded Sunday to the popular Russian social network Vkontakte shows the inside of the crop formation, which consists of a series of squares and rectangles joined together in a seemingly random pattern.
It was not immediately clear what caused the marking, though one resident told Channel Nine television that villagers had seen an unidentified object rising from the field, omitting a beam of light five meters in diameter.

A video camera located on the farm did not pick up any unusual activity, and no one was seen entering the field when the marking is believed to have appeared, news site Svet Mayakov reported.

The Krasnodar region is no stranger to crop circles and accounts for 40 percent of all of those recorded in Russia. A group of amateur enthusiasts convened in the area just last month to collect evidence of the unusual phenomenon.

But there are some who doubt the supernatural aspect of the markings.

"Firstly, I saw a whole swarm of insects and lizards in the fields," alien-hunter Sergei Frolov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

"Secondly, the plants themselves are broken and scattered in different directions, and in real crop circles they bend at the same angle. Furthermore, there are traces of human footprints in several places in the field."

Video Link :
http://vk.com/video180819771_169024073?hash=9e405da85090fa49    

10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting aliens and UFOs found in Chhattisgarh

CHARAMA (Chhattisgarh): Chhattisgarh state department of archaeology and culture plans to seek help from Nasa and Isro for research on 10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting aliens and UFOs in Charama region in Kanker district in tribal Bastar region.

According to archaeologist JR Bhagat, these paintings have depicted aliens like those shown in Hollywood and Bollywood flicks. Located about 130km from Raipur, the caves come under village Chandeli and Gotitola.

"The findings suggest that humans in prehistoric times may have seen or imagined beings from other planets which still create curiosity among people and researchers. Extensive research is needed for further findings. Chhattisgarh presently doesn't have any such expert who could give clarity on the subject," Bhagat told TOI.





One of the ancient rock paintings carved on caves at Charama in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district. (TOI photo by Amit Bhardwaj)
There are several beliefs among locals in these villages. While few worship the paintings, others narrate stories they have heard from ancestors about "rohela people" — the small sized ones — who used to land from sky in a round shaped flying object and take away one or two persons of village who never returned.

"The paintings are done in natural colours that have hardly faded despite the years. The strangely carved figures are seen holding weapon-like objects and do not have clear features. Specially, the nose and mouth are missing. In few pictures, they are even shown wearing space suits. We can't refute possibility of imagination by prehistoric men but humans usually fancy such things," the archaeologist said.




(TOI photo by Amit Bhardwaj)

 He added that it is a co-incidence that such ancient images appear to have sharp resemblance to UFOs shown in alien movies. "The fan-like antenna and three legs of vehicle's stand clearly show a similarity to UFO type craft," he said.

Other archaeologists would also be consulted for further verification.


 
(TOI photo by Amit Bhardwaj)


Source :
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/10000-year-old-rock-paintings-depicting-aliens-and-UFOs-found-in-Chhattisgarh/articleshow/38435091.cms

Vatican recognizes exorcists' association


VATICAN CITY, July 2 (UPI) --The International Association of Exorcists has been formally recognized by the Vatican's Holy See, an indication the Catholic Church approves of the controversial practice of exorcism.The group, restricted to Roman Catholic priests, was founded in 1990 by six priests. They included Father Gabriele Amorth, known as the "Exorcist of Rome," who claims to have performed 160,000 exorcisms -- the ceremonial process of releasing demons from those possessed by them.
The organization now has 250 members in 30 countries.
Roman Catholic exorcism procedure requires a priest's consent from his bishop, and examinations by medical specialists to determine if a victim's medical or psychological issues can be treated by non-religious means. The Church issued a revised guide to exorcism in 1999.
The practice was brought to the attention of the non-Catholic world in 1973 by the film The Exorcist.

"The approval by the Holy See is a joy not only for our association but for the church as a whole. We hope more priests will realize the existence of this dramatic reality, which is often ignored or underestimated. Exorcism benefits people who are suffering, and is doubtless a work of bodily and spiritual mercy," exorcist Father Francesco Bamonte told L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, Wednesday.






Witches, zombies and ghosts reported to police


Zombie, witch, and ghosts

Source :  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28415527

Two zombies, 15 ghosts and 55 witches were reported to West Midlands Police between 2011 and 2013

Related Stories

More than 70 reports of zombies, witches and ghosts have been made to West Midlands Police over the past three years.
Figures revealed by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request show the force was contacted about 15 ghosts, 55 witches, and a pair of zombies.

Birmingham East had the most reported paranormal activity, with the least in Birmingham South.

Location and number of reports

A ghost and a man
  • Birmingham East: 11
  • Birmingham North: 9
  • Birmingham South: 1
  • Birmingham West: 8
  • Coventry : 9
  • Dudley: 3
  • Solihull: 5
  • Sandwell : 7
  • Walsall: 8
  • Wolverhampton: 10
The figures show a year-on-year increase in reported incidents.

There were 17 in 2011, 24 in 2012 and 30 in 2013.

Although all other categories were reported every year, zombies only made an appearance in 2013.
'Deeply-troubled individual'
 
Force spokesman Billy Corrigan said: "The reports include ghost, zombie and witch sightings; hearing and communicating with the aforementioned; the use of witchcraft; claims to be a witch; and witch-hunters.
"I have not included items such as 'she called me a witch', or 'he was in a zombie-like state.'"

He said that while the figures could seem amusing, behind some of the calls may be "a deeply-troubled individual".

Six of the reports were categorised as "malicious" and Mr Corrigan said West Midlands Police always took action against people who knowingly made nuisance calls to the emergency services.

Over the same period there were 19 calls to the force about sightings of UFOs.

The FOI request was submitted anonymously.

Witches In In the past three years West Midlands Police received 55 calls about witches
 
 

 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Urban "ghosts"





Bigfoot' Cases Solved?

'Bigfoot' Cases Solved, But a New Mystery Surfaces

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Close-up of bear tracks.
Danita Delimont/Getty Images
Genetic analysis of hair attributed to Bigfoot found no support for that claim, but hairs linked to the Yeti were determined to belong to a mysterious bear species that may not yet be known to science. 

A group is claiming they've found Bigfoot! Sound familiar? Well this time they come with DNA evidence
DCI
The research, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, marks a rare intersection of peer-reviewed science and cryptozoology, which is the search for, and study of, animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated.

The study solely focused on hair samples, and did not address the footprints, photographs, recorded sounds and other “evidence” purportedly linked to Bigfoot, the Yeti and similar supposedly human-like creatures.

PHOTOS: 10 Reasons Why Bigfoot’s a Bust

“The whole thrust of the project and this paper is that the ‘other evidence’ may convince believers, but has not convinced anyone else,” lead author Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford, told Discovery News. “It is evidence of a sort, but very poor.”
A total of 57 hair samples obtained from museum and individual collections underwent examination, with 36 of the samples selected for genetic analysis based on their provenance or historic interest.
The supposed Bigfoot hairs were found to belong to the following: a raccoon, sheep, American black bear, North American porcupine, wolf, coyote, dog, white-tailed deer, mule deer, horse, cow and human.
Hairs attributed to Russian Almas (aka “wild men”) belonged to a brown bear, horse, cow, American black bear, brown bear and a raccoon.

NEWS: ‘Bigfoot DNA’ Study Seeks Yeti Rights

Hairs attributed to an Orang Pendek (aka “short person”) belonged to a Malaysian tapir.
Hairs linked to the Yeti belonged to a serow, (a goat antelope), and to the mysterious bear.
“The paper refers to two Himalayan samples attributed to yetis and which turned out to be related to an ancient polar bear,” Sykes explained. “This may be the source of the legend in the Himalayas.”

Source :
http://news.discovery.com/animals/bigfoot-cases-solved-but-a-new-mystery-surfaces-140701.htm

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