Thursday, October 20, 2016

Face of God in a da Vinci painting?

So I hadn't heard of this conspiracy theory, even if it is about ten years old at this point.

Sure, of course I knew Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest artists and thinkers in human history. Thanks to Dan Brown, I'm also aware of all the alleged conspiracies da Vinci was involved with and the supposed codes within the paintings, all hiding messages from the prying eyes of the religious authorities. Or failing that, he was just quite adept at mirror effect and optical illusions. That's what I thought, but then I came across this.

In 2007 it seems, a group called The Mirror of Sacred Scriptures and Paintings World Foundation (they really need a shorter name) posited that da Vinci used the mirror writing technique to disguise mysterious faces in his art. This group claims that when viewed in mirror image, the da Vinci sketch, "The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist" reveals "the Old Testament god Jahveh who 'protects the soul of the body's vices.'"

The face of God?

Well, the mirror image at the link looks something like Darth Vader. I don't know what kind of religious statement that makes. I'm sure as heck not going to comment.

Then again, much of this reminds me of seeing faces in rocks or clouds or on Mars (yeah, I'm admittedly still mulling that one over) or in tortillas (Google it). I do not for one minute deny that that Leonardo da Vinci was a genius, both scientifically and artistically. That said, I just think these interpretations are much ado about nothing. The mind can creatively see a lot of things. 

Or in his visions, did da Vinci see God or another entity and wish to reveal its visage only to the craftiest among us? Or was it the mushrooms?

It all sounds so Terence McKenna.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Blade Runner artfully rendered in Microsoft Paint

Blade Runner is already a work of art in my opinion.

It will only be more so now thanks to MS Paint and an inspired man named David MacGowan. On his Tumblr page, MSP Blade Runner, MacGowan is reproducing one of my favorite films shot-for-shot in MS Paint. Yes, it looks crude. It reminds me of something a first grader might finger paint and then bring home for mom to pin up somewhere. That is by no means derogatory towards MacGowan. In fact I mean it in the opposite.

There is a wonderful charm in this. It reminds me of when I first attempted such artwork in a similar software program, far more years ago than I care to admit. What MacGowan is doing is weird and wonderful and I'm really rather in awe of it. I certainly would never attempt something so herculean. I would also be most apprehensive about how I handled the source material, so the man's got guts I'd say. Even with my reverence for the film, I don't know if I could hold back from going all harum-scarum into the shots and adding little extras like the Vertipod or other forms of proposed future transportation.

No I wouldn't. Just look at the rendition of the police "Spinner." It's perfect as it is.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dulce on Ancient Aliens

So I was watching Ancient Aliens.

Don't judge.

Lo and behold, Dulce was featured. It was pretty much what you might expect. Bill Birnes was on, giving his hyperbolic best with accounts of former vents in the Archuleta Mesa area. From these vents you could hear the moans and groans of human subjects being altered and vivisected. More interesting to me were the sightings of craft as rendered by the Jicarilla Apache. As I've always said, base or no base, strange things are definitely going on and the people of the reservation deserve an answer. Not that anyone is going to give them one anytime soon, but they still deserve it.

What I liked most about the episode was how it connected Dulce to larger goings on in the whole Southwest area. As I've said before, Dulce seems like a sort of "paranormal nexus" where everything weird that could go on goes on, forming a sort of apotheosis of the strange. This is somewhat reminiscent of Point Pleasant, West Virginia in John Keel's The Mothman Prophecies. There are UFOs, cryptids, psychic phenomena, and underground worlds. Well, that last point is more pertinent to the Southwest as opposed to Keel's book, but you get the idea.

The creation mythos of the Jicarilla Apache states that their people originated in a land deep beneath the ground and then climbed to the surface. The Hopi of Arizona believe that they escaped a "storm of falling stars" with the help of "the snake people" and went to live underground. There are of course those who see that as a direct connection to the "Reptoids" said to dwell beneath the Earth's surface. The Hopi also speak of "ant people" on which I've already posted. This sort of high strangeness is ingrained in the entire Southwest area. In terms of Native American lore, Norio Hayakawa once put it to me this way: "The weird is just a part of their culture."

I've always loved the idea of underground worlds, cryptoterrestrials, and break away civilizations existing just beneath our general notice. No, the science just isn't there for any of it but I find it all fun to think about.

Sort of a bay leaf for the kooky stew that is Dulce.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Monday, October 17, 2016

No, a UFO did not hit an airliner

I saw a UFO headline last month and I got excited.

Then I found out what The Santa Monica Observer was.

The free tabloid published a story proclaiming "Paranormal Experts Say Rare 737 Engine Blowout Due to UFO Encounter." As with most of these things, it begins with the element of truth.

Back in August, Southwest Airlines Flight 3472 was en route from New Orleans to Orlando, Florida when one of the aircraft's two engines blew out. You can see the rather harrowing photograph of it at the link. The flight was diverted to Pensacola, Florida and the passengers arrived shaken but unharmed.

The Observer reported that at least one passenger tweeted about seeing unexplained lights moving in the distance just before the incident. Other tweets reported in the Observer claimed to speak of "missing time" as passenger watches were off by four minutes. Missing time is a common attribute of abduction claims. I checked Twitter for these alleged tweets and for anything in general regarding Flight 3472, but only one tweet had anything UFO-related. It was just a YouTube video reporting missing time claims with no new information. Interestingly enough, the Observer article adds an ominous note, quoting Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz as saying there was no explosion, even though the engine had blown apart.

So did a UFO hit the plane?

Well, the quote in the Observer runs contrary to accounts in CNN of a definite explosion. Might be a minor thing, but it counts. More to the point, the NTSB has already announced its findings on the matter and you may review them at leisure. Spoiler: it wasn't a UFO that caused the blowout.

I know, I know. Conspiracy "researchers" will no doubt rant and rave, "The NTSB is gubmint! You can't trust the gubmint!" Well, in this case I'm going to. I'm tired of these junk claims mucking up the signal-to-noise ratio. Why give attention to it then? Well, I don't mean to self-aggrandize myself as an "ace researcher" by any means, but just look what I did. Mere Internet access and a spin through Google are enough to bust this claim. Then again, facts and Occam's Razor will never be enough for the conspiracy theorist.

Sadly, this all distracts from actual claims from professional pilots.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

UFO artwork

By that headline, I don't mean paintings of someone's spiritualized conception of aliens coming out of saucers.

I mean the sketches and drawings of UFO witnesses. Over at UFO Evidence, you can find a directory of such depictions. I'm currently taking a break from the monotony of grading papers and sifting through said collection.

While I am fully sympathetic to the fact that not all UFO witnesses are artists and the purpose of the gallery is not meant as a showcase or one-upmanship of artistic ability, a few of these depictions are better than others, even if for sheer entertainment value. For example, I find this sketch of a sighting in Astoria, Oregon to have a rather whimsical quality. It harks back to the days of the classic flying saucer, an era I might find deceptively simpler. Others carry a more modern sensibility, being all computer generated. Clearer depictions and I'm sure they are more helpful for investigators, but the renditions themselves are left soulless. And I don't often say that about tech art.

Of course the entries that really grab my attention carry the tag "humanoid/occupant." For example, this case from Singapore. At two-feet tall, the little guy seems kinda fun. Of course they all look cute until they whip out a probe.

Hey look. There's a section for famous, major cases. In terms of art, I especially like this depiction of the Socorro case. If UFOs are your bailiwick, you no doubt know of what I write. Pretty close to what Zammora described seeing, too. That case will actually figure in tangentially to my Dulce book.

Check out this one from Poland! It likewise has depictions of humanoid occupants, but they are far from the typical "Grays." These are space-suited with Darth Vader-like control panels over their chests. Oh and just look at the accompanying colored sketch of the craft. It's like something I would have done in grade school...only far crisper and more defined. I by no means intend that remark as an insult. What I mean is that it takes me back to happier times.

For this is not simply UFO can be art as well.


Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Monday, October 10, 2016

An appreciation: "Roam" by The B-52s

A part of me has always wanted to be a music journalist.

Seems that the only way I will be able to live that out at this stage of the game is right here on the pages of ESE. So tonight I present to you, "Roam" by The B-52s.

Not only is this a fun, well-produced song by Nile Rodgers, the video is a great work of montage. Remember when videos used to be art? Sort of, anyway? At least more than they are now? Well, this video is a fine example. Just look at all the overlaid images and the blending of stock footage. It looks like Banana Republic and Pier One Imports threw up all over the screen, but the band and the director play it up for comedic effect. Speaking of the director, I was unable to find his or her name. There are earmarks of Tarsem and Gus Van Sant, but this video did not appear on either artist's CV.

Speaking of overlaid images, I remember when my friends and I saw it the first time. We had an audible and excitable gasp at the occult image that floated by in the beginning, which really isn't any big deal and likely has multiple meanings. Now, the images that would likely cause the most stir are the ancient idols and statuary pieces. I can see Giorgio barging the set right now, shouting "Aliens!"

Note the symbolism of the banana going through the bagel. Hard to miss. Also, the song's title in conjunction with the lyric "around the world" are said to have a certain sexual connotation. I'll let you Google that.

More than anything, the video is worth it for the facial expressions of Fred Schneider. As he isn't singing on this song, he is free to simply "roam" and be a goof. Of particular note is the spot at almost exactly one minute in where Fred jumps down amidst all these guys and joins them in a dance.

Gotta love that guy.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets