Reality Checking

with Brent Raynes

SARS from Space?

Professor Chandra Wichramasinghe, of Cardiff University, recently told the British tabloid The Sun that the deadly SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus may have originated from outer space. A long-time proponent of panspermia, the theory that life on earth originated from an extraterrestrial source (comets are considered likely candidates), Wichramasinghe collaborated for many years with the late Sir Fred Hoyle, a noted astronomer. They both shared this passionate interest and belief in panspermia, and explained their views in detail in a book entitled Lifecloud (1978).

Although panspermia was once ridiculed and dismissed by most scientists, today most give it more thoughtful consideration. Nonetheless, the evidence thus far has not convinced mainstream scientists. In balloon experiments, Wichramasinghe claims that he has found extraterrestrial microbes high up in the atmosphere, though others suspect those microbes were likely of terrestrial origin.

With SARS, which was first detected in China, Wichramasinghe feels it possible that the virus may have arrived inside of a comet. He speculates that it remained in the atmosphere until it filtered down to the high peaks of the Himalayas. Other scientists are skeptical of that explanation and feel Wichramasinghe is really grasping at straws.


Mystery Flashes Being Studied

Going back to the Apollo 11 mission, astronauts have described seeing colorful dots, streaks and flashes of light when their eyes were closed or from inside their darkened spacecraft. On one particular moon mission, astronauts reported seeing a great deal of this activity, describing it as green in color and making them think of a St. Patrick’s Day display. But going way back to 1952, Cornelius Tobias, a noted expert on the biological effects of radiation for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, speculated that cosmic rays might interact with the human visual system in some way. Using a particle accelerator, he tested this theory on himself and colleagues. However, the experiments were discontinued because of concerns over health risks.

“You see visual flashes,” Tobias stated later prior to his death in 2000. “It is an exhilarating sensation. It is as though you are looking into the universe itself.”

“To our knowledge, light flashes are the only way that a human can ‘see’ elementary particles directly, without the use of instruments,” stated Marco Casolino of the University of Rome’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics. Carolino and his collaborators outfitted cosmonauts aboard the Mir Space Station with special helmets with built-in particle detectors. The cosmonauts were instructed to measure particle rates while recording the number of flashes they “saw.” Reportedly, the frequency of flashes viewed from the Mir station didn’t correspond with the number of protons. This has suggested to Casolino and his colleagues that another process is involved. In fact, the researchers tentatively concluded that rarer cosmic ray particles such as the nuclei of helium, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen may be involved. They speculate that the flashes originate through some kind of particle interactions with the retina or the optic nerve.

On the ground, Casolino doubts that anyone would perceive these cosmic rays, although he admits he can’t be absolutely sure. But he feels it doubtful that cosmic rays would survive coming down through the Earth’s atmosphere. Most would be filtered out or decay into other particles, such as muons, which would presumably provide little or no occasion to generate such flashes. But Casolino states that viewing such flashes is a subjective activity as well and varies from person to person, and that our brain’s may often dismiss such things, and that physiological conditions like blood pressure can cause similar perceptions. He states that jet passengers have a better chance of viewing such things. “I try to look for light flashes when I’m on a plane, but up to now I have seen nothing,”Casolino stated recently. “The problem is that it is difficult to know what you are looking for.”


“Hot Gossip” from Iraq’s UFO Community—Saddam in Cahoots with the Aliens!

Here in America, we have all heard all of those wild tales of underground alien bases, saucer crashes, secret government and alien alliances, retro-engineered alien technology, and just when you didn’t think it could get any weirder or wilder, along comes the “hot gossip” from Iraq’s UFO community!

Reportedly, on April 6, 2003, around 1 a.m., five faintly luminous cylindrical objects were reportedly seen hovering over Khulfafa mosque in the Shebab district, east bank of the Tigris River. These objects reportedly were even caught by a “fixed, night-vision camera” and aired live on FOX. Go to Joseph Trainor’s UFO ROUNDUP ( Vol. 8, No. 18, to view a FOX News televison image of one of those “rod”like objects from Baghdad. According to ufologist Jose Escamilla on April 9th, a “rod” type UFO was videotaped in Iraq. “I found a rod (cylindrical UFO) that zipped through anti-aircraft explosions over the city,”Escamilla stated. “And this rod flew effortlessly and was not hit nor affected by the explosions in the air.”

The “hot gossip” part of this story however is this: Either during the 1991 Gulf War, or Operation Desert Fox in 1998 (take your pick), “aliens” were given sanctuary in Iraq in exchange for technological information that would keep Saddam’s armed forces on a par with his enemies. The aliens were staying at an underground base in Zarzi, or was it the ancient citadel of Qalaot-e- Julundi, both located in the az-Zab as-Saghir river valley north of Tikrit?

Ah well, at any rate, the story continues: “...they say the aliens saved the lives of Saddam and his sons,”stated one Mohammed Daud al-Hayyat. “They appeared at the Mansur house while the American bomber was enroute. They shined the mysterious beam at the wall, and once again the circle of light...was created. [Apparently this has happened before...B. Raynes] Saddam, Uday, Qusay, and Abid Hammoud stepped into it, followed by the aliens. And then they vanished.”

“The aliens told Saddam that they could not save his regime. However, because he had protected them from the Americans, they would show their appreciation by helping him and his family escape into space. They would not allow Saddam to fall into the hands of his enemies, the Zionists.”