Friday, 24 August 2007

Virtual Out of Body Experience

From the BBC website, scientists recreate out of body experience using VR...

Out of Body Experience Recreated

Friday, 3 August 2007

Oscar the Cat of Death

Well it's summer and two of the Internet's preoccupations have collided: Forteana and photos of cats with humorous captions. Today is also Friday, the traditional day for cat blogging.

The story concerns Oscar the grim reaper. I first came across the story in this Guardian article along with the photo of Oscar. According to the Guardian
Oscar the rescue cat is not simply a welcome feline companion at the Steere nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island. According to a new report in a medical journal he has a remarkable, though morbid talent - predicting when patients will die.

Perhaps rather ironically, the story was titled "Oscar the rescue cat." It was soon to collide with the Internet juggernaut known as the "lolcat". A lolcat is a "laugh out loud cat photo" which is to say it is a photo of cat with a humorous caption. Naturally, humour is a matter of opinion. The original lolcat seems to be "I can has cheezburger?"

These days its rare website that doesn't feature a lolcat or two somewhere.
The next day I was reading one of my favourite debunking blogs (yes, I know, I find both Forteana and debunking interesting) and who should show up but Oscar the lolcat.
Unsurprisingly, Oscar the lolcat has spread across the net like wildfire. I suspect as well that like the psychic parrot and the cat the chased a bear up a tree, Oscar's due for a long stint on the net. There is of course a long tradition of Forteana about animals with extraordinary perceptions and lolcat has, in a short period of time, become an extremely widely used tag. I suspect that skeptical cat is going to have his work cut out.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Ghost for Sale

Found on, a ghost for sale on Ebay.

My Mother the Ghost

If you are the high bidder, in addition to purchasing my mother’s ghost, this is what you will receive:
– A small scrapbook with my mom’s story in it. It will include photos of my mom as a child; in her 20’s; at her wedding; a photo taken on her last birthday in 2001 (four generations: my grandmother, my mom, me and my daughter); photos of the TVs and light fixture that she haunts; and a photo of her cemetery headstone. (She is buried at the cemetery surrounding a world-famous wedding chapel, Duncan Memorial Chapel in Floydsburg, Kentucky.) The chapel is clearly visible behind her grave.
– Her eternity band that she wore with her engagement ring and wedding band. It is 18K white gold and has an intricate floral pattern, no stones. We believe Mom’s ghost will go with the ring.
– A that this story is true, signed by me, my husband and my children.
Please help! Thank you in advance for taking good care of Mom's ghost.

The ideal gift for the fortean in your life.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Facebook of the Dead

I have been bitten by a Zombie. And a vampire. All from the comfort of Facebook.

Among the 'rate my mates' and 'Simpsons quote of the day' applications on Facebook lurks a darker purpose, an endless battle being fought between Vampires and Werewolves, and Zombie mobs roaming the network 'biting chumps', until we all fall under the brain munching spell.

It's funny, but I also think it's interesting in tracking the path of a viral idea through a social network. I think Romero would love it, the idea of Zombie infection through the internet, thousands of us clicking away, adding friends, poking friends, biting chumps until there's no-one left...

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Many Dead things

I just came across an interesting blog - many dead things. The author is a self-confessed steampunk fan and says that he is into "illustrating, concocting and generally fabricating your darkest and deepest desires, be those four headed foetus's or artwork for your various needs.My current projects include various pseudo historical and scientific collections, "history that never was" type affairs..."

What drew my attention was a post about Lovecraftian horrors in specimen jars. Lovecraft's work has tended to take on a life of its own - especially his fictional book, The Necronomicon. Although the book is a fictional creation, some readers have come to believe that it is real, some people have playfully or maliciously produced hoaxes and some "anti-occult" activists appear to believe that the book is real. Wikipedia gives a reasonable account of this "blurring of fact and fiction".

Lovecraftiana appears to be to a prime candidate for Forteana 2.0 in that there is enough interest out there for people to play with the notion (e.g. try this delicious tag for necronomicon - check out the Necronomicon plush pillow) and there is enough information out there that an incautious observer might assume the simple truth. There are already plenty of 'real' Necronomicons out there and I suspect that there are no lack of virtual ones too. It would be good to determine if there is a name for this deliberate recreation of fiction as the real.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Michael Pennington (Deceased)

I recently came across a forum post about a 'ghost' called Michael Pennington who appeared to haunt the local forums of, which was then adapted into a book.

Find out more here - Michael Pennington at There is a caution on the site that, whatever we believe, we should treat this story as fiction - I don't know if that's meant to stop us getting scared or to stop them getting sued!

I think most of the original forum posts have now disappeared (I did a search on the Birminghamuk forums), but it there is still some discussion of it on there...

Check out the Amazon link on there too for one of the worst book reviews you'll ever read.

More Electronic Ghosts...

I just discovered this on YouTube...

I think it's related to Epic 2014, or seems to be, as there's a link to it on the YouTube page (although under a different name). The idea that we might eventually evolve to a post-human electronic avatar is obviously one which crops up often in fiction, but I like here that it relates directly to the search engines, softwares and MMORPG's we use today.

I thought there was something interesting and Forteana 2.0 in there relating to the evolution of online 'souls', and I noticed in the comments that someone had made reference to an Anime called 'Serial Experiments Lain', as Brett did in the recent comment on Electronic Ghosts.

In Channel 4's Second Lives series last year, Steve Millar spoke about the idea that after his death, his 'data' may one day be able to be uploaded to Second Life to continue living - Steve Millar on Channel 4

Here's a link to Serial Experiments Lain on Wikipedia. It looks really interesting and I'm going to check it out more.