The Paranormal – Fact, Fiction or Unexplained?
Written by Max Barber.
In this world, human beings have such a drive for knowledge, discovery and a chance to progress our civilisation through new breakthroughs in physics, engineering and micro-biology. We as a species discover new things all the time – yet there is so much we can’t explain or account for when it comes to paranormal science or the supernatural in general. Things we’ve yet to understand may still be years ahead in our future, to truly understand it – we must discuss and investigate it to the best of our ability. It was Mahtama Ghandi who once said: “There is an indefinable, mysterious power that pervades everything. I feel it, though I do not see it. It is this unseen power which makes itself felt and yet defies all proof, because it is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses. It transcends the senses.” With that being said, do all paranormal cases have a straight answer? Some do and others are simply beyond comprehension – I present some of those said cases to you.
UFO’s and Nuclear Facilities.
Never in my lifetime, nor any of our lifetimes could we ever imagine we’d reach a point where UFO’s are no longer considered science fiction – but a very accepted reality. In 2020, the United States government acknowledged the existence of UAPS (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena), after the New York Times published leaked footage of some unidentifiable crafts (dubbed “Gimbal” and “Go-Fast”) being monitored by FA-18 fighter jets. They also revealed the Pentagon had a secret program to study and identify these aerial enigmas, the program itself was called A.A.T.I.P (Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program), led by a man called Luis Elizondo, an ex-US Intelligence Officer. Elizondo has been very active in getting intriguing photos and videos declassified – as well as even providing non-classified details from multiple occurrences involving the American military.
Las Vegas investigative reporter George Knapp has been very active in this big investigation, also working with filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, to get certain declassified photos out to the public. The connection between nuclear missile bases and UAP’s has been one such common trend which has happened more than once since the 1960s. One of these government documented experiences occurred in Montana – March 24th, 1967. Malmstrom was a nuclear facility that stored ICBM’s, one of the main locations that held the trigger during an ever-brewing Cold War. Nuclear weapons operator, Robert Salas, was the man who would push the button when given the order, the power life and death in his hands alone – hoping the phone wouldn’t ring. On March 24th, the phone did ring – this time exchanging the fear of nuclear war, for a technology that we have yet to understand. Salas was stationed in the missile bunker, 60 feet below the surface with his commander – in control of ten minuteman missiles. In the early morning hours, the phone rang with Robert hearing a guard shouting down the line to him: “Sir! I’m standing at the front gate watching this glowing red object!”.
The objects movements were said to have defied our known laws of physics, rapidly darting from one part of the sky to another with no extra momentum, “stopping on a dime” Salas said on the Science Channel. He urgently woke his commander, who had been napping in the next room, reporting on the occurrence that was causing mass panic above ground. Next, the impossible takes place – the underground lights switch from green to red which meant that the stored ICMBs were completely offline and un-launchable. This is only possible if someone with the nuclear access codes enters them directly and can only be done one at a time, but in this case – all 10 went off in sync, leaving the US exposed against attack from a foreign adversary. While desperately attempting to get the missiles back online, Salas and his commander learnt that a week before the incident, another crew at Malmstrom also saw the red lights and had the same shutdown occur for all 10 missiles.
From these two identical incidents, one week apart from the other with the exact same lights, we can only assume these objects were taunting the military capabilities of one of the world’s greatest superpowers. It wasn’t just the US however, after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 – information from what was then the Soviet Union, was easier to obtain from behind the dissipated iron curtain. Reporter George Knapp went to Moscow and met Colonel Boris Sokalov during the 1990s, a high-ranking official in the Russian military. Sokalov told Knapp that the Russian’s had also had a huge incident over one of their primary nuclear facilities in Ukraine. A massive object appeared over the base, performing an incredible display by separating into separate pieces before reforming, except instead of turning the missiles off (as experienced by the US) – the object turned on the launch protocols by somehow entering the nuclear codes before vanishing.
These stunning and unexplainable breaches have occurred in multiple nations around the world, including the United Kingdom. Usually, I would class this as unexplained if it wasn’t for the fact that these are government documented cases and part of the reason the investigation into aerial phenomena began by world superpowers. For this reason, UAPS showing interest in our nuclear facilities is an enigmatic fact.
The Falling Body Photo.
A lot of these cases always seem to have a short but sweet story to them, and maybe the ones with the least detail seem the most mysterious to us. The falling body case is one of those stories – but with a relieving twist.
During the mid-1950s, the Cooper Family had purchased an old house in Texas. The father, Mr. Cooper, took a photo of the family sat at one of the tables to remember their first day of moving in. The photo includes the two Cooper children, the wife Mrs. Cooper and Mr. Coopers mother. An ideal photo which personifies the nuclear family, until Mr. Cooper had the photos developed of course. Picking up the photos a week later, he browsed the polaroid snapshots he’d taken – only to reveal a black figure in a raggedy white shirt dangling upside-down from the ceiling. The horrified family had no explanation, not seeing anything while the photo was being taken.
Does this photo seem too good to be true? Yes, it’s exactly that. I did some research on this occurrence and as it turns out – this has been investigated by multiple YouTube accounts dedicated to breaking down creepy photographs and odd footage. In each investigation, they pointed out the shadows in this photo do not match the direction of the main light source, meaning the figure has been pasted over the original photo. Furthermore, this image was found to have been shared online as early as 2009 on a forum, alongside other creepy photos. Seemingly, this has been deemed to most likely be a piece of internet “Horror-Art”, an innocent picture of the idealistic 1950s nuclear family made into a genuine-looking paranormal polaroid with an imaginative backstory of “The Coopers” provided with it. It seems the only mystery left is, who are the family in the original photo and what is their story? Safe to say they’d be happy to know the image is strongly classed as fiction.
Our Lady Of Akita.
Statues are part of every city, every architectural aesthetic and place of prayer. One thing you wouldn’t expect them to do is perspire, bleed or cry. Well in 1973, this phenomenon occurred at the Yuzadawai convent in Akita, Japan.
The incident began when Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa reportedly began witnessing visions of angels and the Virgin Mary. Sister Sasagawa claimed she had received three messages from Mother Mary on three separate occasions – the first asking Katsuko to recite through prayer: the Handmaids of the Eucharist, the Rosary and Acts of Reparation. Secondly, warning of heresy within the catholic church, saying: “Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates.” The third and final message only doubled down on the warning, speaking of fire falling from the sky to cleanse the earth of sinners – but before vanishing, Mary reportedly told Sister Agnes: “The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness.”
Now anyone could claim these sorts of events could have happened to them, but it’s what happened next that separates this case from just being a write-off, it is one of the most famous religious supernatural events, officially being acknowledged by the Roman Catholic Church as a miracle. Inside the Chapel of the Yuzadawai convent stands a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, which miraculously began to show signs of Stigmata (the holy wounds of Christ during crucifixion) on the palms which bled and disappeared.
It was reported on one occasion, Sister Agnes was in the chapel praying when she suddenly felt sharp pains in the palm of her hands, upon closer inspection it seemed she had received two cuts on each palm in the shape of the holy cross, the same stigmata that appeared on Mary’s figure. After this encounter, in 1975 the eyes of the statue began to exude and flow ‘rose-scented tears’. The statue wept a total of 101 times over a period of 6 years, starting in 1975 and ending in 1981. This equates to approximately 16 times per year.
A sample of the mysterious liquid was taken and examined at a leading Japanese University by Bishop Ito to see if a natural cause could be to blame. The results concluded that the substance which had streamed down the face of the statue were in fact, human tears. The Virgin Mary also bled and sweat with some bleeding caused by two small lines on the hands, described as “a blackish mark” by one nun. To make things even stranger, the blood was also tested and turned out to be types B and AB. Some of the activity was caught on tape by the ‘TV Tokyo Channel 12’ news crew.
For those who are not particularly religious, it may be tough to believe such an account – although having evidence and eyewitness accounts of such an event, there is still no explanation for how the hand-carved wooden figure of the Virgin Mary was able to bleed, cry and sweat out of thin air. After 11 years of investigation, Bishop Ito officially declared ‘Our Lady Of Akita’ as a “supernatural event”, or maybe a warning performed by Mother Mary herself perhaps? But who is to know? The incident of the Akita statue can only be deemed as unexplained.
Based in Cochise County, Arizona – Tombstone is a historic time capsule frozen in the Old West, which originally thrived from the local silver mines. Founded in 1877 by a prospector called Ed Schiefflin, Tombstone was the site of one of the most notorious and legendary gunfights of the Wild West by lawmen Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp with their friend, the famous Doc Holliday – known as one of the fastest pistols in the Wild West. The conflict had been influenced politically and personally by a family feud with Billy Clanton, Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne as well as Tom and Frank McLaury – all being killed by the Earp group near the legendary O.K Corral on 26th October 1881. Outside of the iconic shootout, Tombstone has a record of many other cowboy gunfights and especially murders; with all this history it remains to be said that people throughout the decades have reported seeing, hearing, and capturing strange phenomena which is believed to be associated with the violent history of Tombstone.
‘The Bird Cage Theatre.
Arguably, the most popular location in Tombstone was the Bird Cage Theatre. The theatre was a saloon, gambling hall and den of sin, making it the elite nightspot of the red-light district. The building itself remains intact, with a total of 120 original bullet holes made by drunken and rowdy cowboys. The current co-owner of the Birdcage is Billy Hunley who’s great, great grandfather purchased the property and has passed it down through generations with words of chilling encounters from staff, visitors, and owners.
People have reported seeing full-bodied-apparitions inside the theatre along with sudden smells of cigar smoke and knocking on the walls. Hunley recalled experiences with a mannequin of Wyatt Earp when entering the building some mornings, as the cowboy hat worn by the dummy would somehow appear on the table – on one occasion it even went further with the hat, bowtie and shirt safety pin all being neatly placed beside the figure. Another experience was caught on a recorder that was left in the theatre overnight, staff listened back to hear a woman screaming for a man to ‘let her out’ to which the male voice chillingly replied: “Sit back down, it’s happening”. The man and woman were nowhere to be found.
The Birdcage Theatre has also been investigated by many popular investigative TV shows, such as Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files. The crew were doing a night-time investigation at the Birdcage, with many cameras placed throughout the halls and rooms, picking up many odd noises along the way. One of their camera’s was placed with a light inside the room of Sadie Jo, a lady of the night who is said to appear in photographs after 11 snaps – except the light placed inside the room suddenly went dark and was strangely found outside in the corridor with the door to her room still closed. It goes without saying, whether you believe in the great beyond or not – something isn’t right at the Birdcage Theatre.
Big Nose Kates.
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon was originally known as ‘The Grand Hotel’, allegedly hosting the McLaury brothers as guests the night before the shootout at the O.K Corral. Today, the site is re-named ‘Big Nose Kate’s’ after Kate Elder, also known as Kate Holliday, who described herself as “Doc Holliday’s one and only wife”.
This bar has played host to seemingly incredible experiences reported by customers and staff alike – some of whom have felt the sensation of being pushed and shoved, choked, or even pinched by an invisible force. Cutlery and other silverware have been flung from the tables without explanation as well as objects falling by themselves.
Staff have also testified to witnessing drinks they were meant to be serving, rise from their trays and levitate before hitting them in the face or torso. One bartender even quit his job at Big Nose Kate’s after an experience he had locking up the building for the evening, momentarily witnessing a cowboy sat at the end of the bar dressed in a duster coat – he asked the man to leave before turning to face him again and realised he was the only person in the room. The bartender quit the saloon shortly after his experience.
The Tombstone Thunderbird.
The Tombstone Thunderbird lives under the tag of a certified cold case but it’s a worthy feature as part of the town’s alluring culture and lore. 11 years after the O.K Corral shootout, on April 26th 1890, a newspaper called the Tombstone Epitaph published a story about two ranchers who apparently stumbled across a winged creature, described as ‘a huge alligator with a long tail and massive wings and eyes the size of dinner plates’, near the Huachuca and Whetstone mountains. It was visibly exhausted but managed to fly short distances after being discovered by the men, as they pursued it on horseback, armed with Winchester rifles.
The chase went on for several miles before they managed to close the gap and be within firing range, applying damage to the flying anomaly after a few rounds; killing it as it attempted to lunge at the ranchers. The creature, as we’d know it today – could be seen to be an extinct species of Pterodactyl, which was assumed to have lived (at the earliest) 136.4 million years ago.
The two men measured the span of the ‘bird’, lengthwise it was 92 feet and one of the wings measured up to 160 feet. The article published by the Epitaph, despite all the rumours, never included a photo which was said to have existed of the creature – mere fake recreations is all we have, and the supposed original has never been found nor has anyone come forward with knowledge of the photo being taken. Though this wasn’t the first time an alleged Thunderbird had been seen either, as reports of an amphibious creature had also been claimed from 1881 – 86 near Lake Elizabeth, California.
However, it is important to remember with this story – in 1890, Tombstone wasn’t the thriving town of silver mines that it had been 10+ years prior, with a dwindling population. The Thunderbird story is part of ancient-Indian folklore, a massive, winged bird that roamed the desert. A ploy by the Tombstone Epitaph could have been used to play upon the reports and legends of the Thunderbird to attract attention back to Tombstone for economic purposes.
Concluding on Tombstone as a reported hotbed of unexplained events, some stories have credibility thanks to the investigations provided by television and social media shows – who’ve captured some frankly odd and remarkable things. As reasonable as it may be to settle the Thunderbird encounter as nothing more than a legend, the supposedly inhabited locations by long-gone gunslingers remains to be discussed, as something unseen is most definitely active in Tombstone, Arizona. The phenomena is simply unexplainable but has evidence to suggest that strange occurrences are frequent, meaning part of history in Tombstone is alive and well – I’m deeming this side of the case as fact.
The London Underground.
Founded in 1863, the London Underground is a system used by around 3 million people every day to get to work or travel around the capital, but what most people don’t see or hear about are the chilling stories from workers of many different roles in the Underground and even some passengers.
As tunnels have been built and excavated over the years, many odd encounters have reportedly taken place after closing time, when the last trains have left. There could be many reasons as to why staff members have these experiences, many of which are connected to the darker side of London’s history. Honest, hard-working people who’ve never given a second thought about the paranormal until they encountered such beings or played witness to what seems like time replaying itself.
The Face of Hyde Park Corner.
Barry Oakley was a station supervisor working at Hyde Park Corner underground station in 1978. His responsibility was to close and empty the station, as well as shutting down the escalators for the night. The underground escalators are prevented from moving by taking out a device called a ‘breaker’ that cuts the power once it’s removed. Barry and his colleague had returned to their office once all their duties had been completed, ready for the night shift.
At around 2:30am, there was a strange “commotion” coming from the Booking Hall outside, naturally investigating to check nothing serious was taking place, Barry and the other staff member on shift discovered that one of the escalators was switched on again. Barry made an appearance in the 2005 documentary ‘Ghosts On The Underground’, he explained that “once the breaker was out, there is no current to that escalator” which was bizarre as the breaker was not in place.
After having reset the breaker, Mr. Oakley returned to the supervisor’s office around 3:20am with his co-worker – as he was making tea for the pair, Barry received what he described as a “terrible sensation in the back of my neck that someone was watching me and was there”. The room had apparently turned extremely cold to the point where Barry could see his own breath, and as he looked up at his colleague – the man was up against the wall with a pale colour in his face. It took 10 minutes before the staff member was able to snap out of his shock, before he told Barry: “Did you see the face?”. His co-worker explained that he’d allegedly seen a head come through the solid wall and stare at the pair before vanishing. Barry Oakley’s colleague would shortly go home after the encounter and never returned to Hyde Park Corner station.
The Man In The Electric Chair.
In 1983, one of the most famous and incredible British ghost photos was caught on the Bakerloo Line of the London Underground, one that science struggled to provide an answer for. Karen Collett was showing her family around London and decided to take a photo of her nephew sitting next to the brown framework of the train carriage. The photo’s she took were not developed until a few months after her familys visit to London, and upon first inspection of the shots by her father and sister’s boyfriend – they told her one of the photos “wasn’t very nice”. As Karen inspected the photo that had disturbed them, she saw the regular shot of her young nephew as before – however in the window of the train carriage was an image of a man sat in an electric chair with blue sparks coming from his hands. No one on the carriage saw the image before or after the photo was taken and would require the train to be stationary in order to capture such a clear shot of whoever (or whatever) this is.
Maurice Grosse was a famous paranormal researcher and had studied many photos of seemingly incredible things, Karen’s photo being one of them. He did some research into who the figure in the photo could be and actually found a certified answer – a man named Bruno Hauptmann. Hauptmann was sentenced to the electric chair in 1935 after the apparent kidnapping and murder of 20 month-old Charles Lindbergh, or ‘the Lindbergh Baby’, by it’s case name. The most chilling part about this case was that during the time the photo was taken, the Madame Tussauds waxwork museum in London had a ‘Chamber of Horrors’ attraction – which included Bruno Hauptmann sat in an electric chair with straps and hands clenched in the exact position the apparition appeared in, the only difference being the blue sparks emanating from the hands.
This has led many to suggest that Karen Collett captured an advertisement for this section of Madame Tussauds, except the famous museum came out and officially said they have no record of any campaign or poster which featured Bruno Hauptmann on the front. Further down the timeline, a friend of Karen’s had sadly lost her mother and wanted to try and contact her through a medium (someone who is said to be able to contact those on the other side). Karen sat outside to wait while her friend was speaking with the medium privately, before the session soon finished. As the pair were about to leave, the medium suddenly came outside and said to Miss Collett: “I have a message for you. It’s about your photo – the man said, ‘I am accused of something that I did not do, but I did something else’”. This would be the closure for Karen’s experiences in relation to the photo, but the mystery of how this enigma found its way into, what was meant to be, an innocent holiday snapshot will forever be unexplainable.
The Screams of Bethnal Green.
It is best to introduce this strange, and quite frankly chilling incident with the tragic backstory of Bethnal Green Underground station. On 3rd March 1943, the worst English civilian disaster of the Second World War occurred at the Bethnal Green tube station. The British RAF had started a raid on Berlin that evening, which was reported by the media – sounding an air-raid Civil Defence Siren, alerting the public to find the nearest bomb shelter, Bethnal Green being one of many underground stations that provided refuge for the public during bombing raids (which by this time had stopped in 1941). On this particular night in 1943, 1500 people had gone to the shelter – the panic being started by new anti-aircraft guns in Victoria Park being mistaken for German bombs. The rush down the stairs caused one young woman, clutching her child, to lose her footing and grab on to an elderly man who went down with her. As a result, there was a mass pile up of people causing a fatal crush – 173 men, women and children sadly lost their lives due to asphyxiation. There is a special plaque outside the station commemorating the 173 who passed away in the disaster.
The tragic incident has left a mark – not only in history, but as a haunting relic of the tube station in Bethnal Green. It seems to be common amongst staff to have heard children or women crying at the station, but none more chilling than the experience of John Graham in Spring 1981. John had locked the station after the rest of the staff and last commuters had left, returning to his office to complete paperwork. After a while, the sudden sound of children crying began to occur, which didn’t faze Mr. Graham at first – until it got louder and louder, then cries of women started ringing through the halls as well as people screaming with a mixture of background noises. He described it as “a combination of everything that built up to be quite a frightening situation”, the invisible panic went on for around 10-15 minutes before John left and took his own refuge in the booking hall, too shaken up to go back down. It is not something he has ever forgotten but bravely continued to work in the London Underground for many years after.
Overall, the London Underground seems to be teeming with activity once the stations fall silent, and these aren’t even half the cases that have occurred. I recommend watching the 2005 documentary ‘Ghosts on the London Underground’ if you would like to hear more of them – the link is included in credits. Hearing and seeing the evidence on display from regular working people and unsuspecting members of the public provides credibility for me, maybe not every story under the sun but of those who are adamant about what they experienced. The haunting of London’s tube tunnels and stations is a mystery – however with the scale of historical phenomena, it is surely a fact.
These events that take place all over the world are inexplicable, some backed by physical and recorded evidence, whereas others are kept documented on government records. However, certain cases can be pinned down to nothing more than the inventive minds of humanity. New cases occur all the time in the modern era – even as I was writing this article, more has been revealed from government documents regarding physical bodily effects caused by close-range encounters with supposed ‘UFOs’. It was released that some people had experienced odd changes on a cellular level, brain damage and facial burns from supposed radiation. It goes to show new things happen all the time and get more mysterious when studied by the science we know today, providing us with more questions than answers. Certain areas of the paranormal have officially gone from being mocked and kept in the realm of science fiction – to a strange reality, now being studied by governments across the globe to identify any kind of threat that it may pose or (more terrifyingly) could even offer an advantage to those who harness it first.
-ABC News / US Navy – ‘Gimbal UFO’ video.
-The Science Channel on YouTube – UFO Missile Base video.
-Falling Body Photo – Unknown (Please email email@example.com for credit, if yours)
-The Akita Statue – Unknown (Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for credit, if yours)
-Our Lady of Akita video – 1990 Documentary / Complicit Clergy on YouTube.
-Bird Cage Theatre – Smith Collection / Gado on Getty Images.
-Big Nose Kates Saloon – Robert Alexander on Getty Images.
-Tombstone Epitaph – Smith Collection / Gado on Getty Images.
-London Underground Tunnel – Martin Pope.
-Underground Escalators – Richard Baker.
-Electric Chair Ghost – Karen Collett.
-Second World War Underground – Popperfoto on Getty Images.
-Bethnal Green Underground Station – Dan Kitwood on Getty Images.
-Nick Pope Interview – Newsnation.
-Candle Lead Photo – Pixabay on Pexels.