DNA Testing Does NOT Prove Who Was Jack the Ripper

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DNA Testing Does NOT Prove Who Was Jack the Ripper

Here we go again. A new peer reviewed article published in Journal of Forensic Sciences claims that the DNA testing conducted by Drs. Jari Louhelainen and David Miller have finally discovered who was Jack the Ripper. The problem remains: The DNA testing merely shows who the blood and semen on a shawl was. Nothing more.

In 2007, Jack the Ripper aficionado Russell Edwards bought a shawl. He hired Louhelainen, an expert in molecular biology, to conduct DNA analysis. Samples of semen and blood were tested. Louhelainen found 99.2% and 100% matches to Aaron Kosminski, a Polish barber who was 23 at the time of the murders.

The “Whitechapel Murders” consisted of 11 murdered women in the Whitechapel area of London from April 3, 1888-February 13, 1891. Of the 11, 5 victims’ murders showed similarities. These 5 are considered the “Canonical Five” whereby the murderer was nicknamed “Jack the Ripper.” These murders occurred from August 31, 1888-November 9, 1888. The fourth woman killed was Catherine “Kate” Eddowes. She was killed shortly after the third victim, Elizabeth Stride, on September 30, 1888 in Whitechapel’s Mitre Square. Supposedly, Edwards purchased Eddowes’ shawl. However, there are a lot of questions surrounding the shawl and the DNA analysis.

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Testing was completed in 2014 with Edwards publishing his book Naming Jack the Ripper claiming that he has proven who Jack the Ripper was by naming Aaron Kosminski. Here is a short list of problems with the newly published article co-authored by Louhelainen and Miller:

  1. Provenance (ownership) of the shawl has not been proven;
  2. It’s not clear the shawl was actually at the crime scene;
  3. The shawl was handled quite a bit between 1888 until 2007 when it was purchased;
  4. Early police reports and memoirs of investigators identify a “Kosminski” as a possible suspect; however, his first name was never written down. Further, at least one notation stated this man died shortly after the last victim was murdered. Aaron Kosminski lived until 1919.
  5. There isn’t any evidence from the other 4 crime scenes which can be compared to the DNA evidence on the shawl. This is huge.
  6. But most problematic is that Edwards hired Louhelainen. He commissioned the testing.

Don’t fall for the hype related to this story. The DNA evidence merely shows that a man named Aaron Kosminski had sex with Catherine Eddowes. It does not show he killed her.

What We Do in the Shadows (2019) Debuts March 27th

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What We Do in the Shadows (2019) Debuts March 27th

Cult favorite What We Do in the Shadows (2014) gets a TV show. The 10-episode series debuts on FX on March 27th. Jemaine Clement (Legions) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) co-wrote and co-directed the New Zealand mockumentary on a tight $1.6 million-dollar budget. The film generated nearly $7 million in the U.S. alone. Talk of a spin-off TV series has circulated for a couple of years. The U.S.-based mockumentary series follows 5 new vampire roommates navigating a modern New York world. Early critic reviews are positive. Tune in! In the meantime, enjoy this official trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyZi3rJPENs.

 

Hales Bar Dam Haunted Tours Closed

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Hales Bar Dam Haunted Tours Closed

News travelled quickly through the paranormal community Sunday night. All it took was one image and the questions started coming in. Seems the operators of the haunted tours at Tennessee’s Hales Bar Dam have shut down. Unfortunately, they may have left some people out in the cold by taking deposits on events that are now cancelled.

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Hales Bar Dam was featured in last week’s Kindred Spirits season 3, episode 5 titled “Blood in the Water.” Reviews were mixed as to whether or not Amy and Adam uncovered anything.

The announcement seems legit considering their website is empty and their FaceBook page has been deleted. Hopefully, the tour operators will refund all deposits. We don’t need another addition in the “ParaScammers” folder.

Note: The Hales Bar Marina & Resort does not operate the haunted tours.

 

Dumbing it Down – New Paranormal TV Show

Exactly! We must demand better programming–or we switch the channel.

Cal-Para Paranormal Research Organization

We think we’ve reached our saturation point. There is a new paranormal TV show on the Travel Channel. The premise is that the general public submits clips of paranormal things caught on camera to the studio. While the viewers watch these clips, alleged ‘professionals of the field’ are edited in giving their opinion of what they think they’re seeing. Sprinkled in are explanations to help the viewers understand each scenario in which the film was captured, as well as some scientific theories or suggestions of possible natural cause comparisons. Our issue is that the show is edited in a fashion where we viewers at home could see a tomato on the screen, and then suddenly there are authorities – who have never seen, eaten, or cared about tomatoes – paid to give us their viewpoint.

When one covers the range of ‘paranormal’, it is recognized to include ghosts, Sasquatch, UFOs…

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Do Better, Travel Channel: The Orb that Didn’t Transform into a Ghost

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Orbs

Do Better, Travel Channel: The Orb that Didn’t Transform into a Ghost

Travel Channel is undermining the paranormal community. The new series Paranormal Caught on Camera is a prime example how. The series debuted last week. There were serious errors and omissions in the researching for that episode. This week the misrepresentations continue in Episode 3. Travel Channel televises some truly compelling paranormal shows. Unfortunately, Paranormal Caught on Camera in not one of them.

Case in point: The video of an orb transforming into a face in a 2016 video. Elaine Hamer, mid-fifties, sought to capture a meteor shower around October 2016 at her Blackwood, South Wales, UK home. She was testing her camera phone at 1 AM on a Saturday morning. Her sister was assisting in the recording. Elaine noticed an orb floating in her dining room. She continued filming as the orb moved throughout the room. The orb transformed into a blurry mist and then appeared to rush the two women. The women scream; the video stopped shortly thereafter.

Elaine’s son-in-law, Jason Hughes, and self-professed Spiritualist uploaded the video to his YouTube channel. (Watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxJjfh4FgTU) The story was picked up by a local newspaper and was covered for a hot minute. Some 90,000 views (and 91 thumbs up versus 41 thumbs down) later, the video is now the property of a licensing company.

The video clip was briefly profiled in Episode 3. Afterwards certain people in the paranormal field attested to its authenticity and proclaimed it real and undisputable proof of a ghost. Jason was interviewed via video link to corroborate the proclamations. Sadly, it’s not undisputable.

First, at least one expert based her assessment on the erroneous fact that the video was shot in the daytime, stating that capturing orbs in the daytime is so difficult, thus it must be proof. The video was shot at 1 AM in the morning. At night. In a house. The orb could have easily been a flying bug or dust. Without a proper investigation, no one will know for certain.

Next, the segment fails to specify that the video was shot on a camera phone. Instead, the producers lead the audience to believe it was a digital camera by using the word “camera” instead of “camera phone.” Arguably, this is an important distinction. For one reason, it casts doubt on the story that the then 56-year old woman needed help using the video function on her phone. (Yes, it’s plausible, yet somehow not really)

Finally, the producers and Jason don’t disclose that Jason is a Spiritualist. He’s a believer. There’s nothing wrong with that. The issue is that everything he says will be biased toward his belief that the video is real and that the video captured a ghost. At no point is the video debunked. It is taken at face value, which is not criticism or assessment. It’s going along with the script in order to be on a T.V. show.

I’ve no doubt that the video is real. Yes, a real person videoed on her camera phone what appears to be a white circle moving across a room. That’s not the point. The point is whether or not the orb was an orb (meaning spiritual being taking the form of a ball of light) which transformed into a ghost. After watching the video online a few more times, I’m more convinced that the “ghost” was a reflection. At one point, it looks like a reflection from car lights entering through a window. Without knowing all the circumstances pertaining to the video and conducting subsequent investigations, no one will know for sure. Therefore, it is extremely premature for the experts and the producers to claim this is absolute proof of a ghost. It’s not. Not even close.

Shutterstock’s Trending Colors of 2019

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UFO Green

Shutterstock’s Trending Colors of 2019

Ever since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute selects a “Color of the Year.” This year’s color is Living Coral. Owned by Pantone, LLC, which implemented the Pantone Matching System (PMS)—an industry-standardized color matching system used for reproduction services, the institute hosts two secret color selection meetings where industry representatives pitch their color choice. Although the color selection is not freely available, the color choice inspires other reproduction and printing companies. Somewhere around 2006, the American stock digital photography and film company has hosted their version. Move over Pantone, Shutterstock appeals to an eclectic audience.  This year’s selections will fill every paranormal enthusiast with pride.

Shutterstock began in 2003. The company’s database is immense. Currently, it holds more than 200 million royalty-free images and 10 million videos. Around 2006, the company realized they could analyze color trend search data and accumulate a trending list for the following year. Let me say, 2019 is the year of the paranormal!

The website states: “There’s an excited energy driving this movement, so it’s no wonder that 2019’s Color Trends pack a digital punch.” And they sure do!

  1. UFO Green, #7FFF00

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  1. Plastic Pink #FF1493

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  1. Proton Purple #8A2BE2

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In addition to these three colors, Shutterstock assembles a color palette for countries from around the world. Much research and money go into color selections. It is overwhelming, but oh what fun! Reminds me of the 80s. And that’s a good thing.

Another Segment from Paranormal Caught on Camera Called Out

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Screen capture of the “poltergeist.”

Another Segment from Paranormal Caught on Camera Called Out

Travel Channel debuted the overhyped series Paranormal Caught on Camera this week. The series profiles numerous “paranormal” incidents occurring around the world. “Experts” are interviewed proclaiming the incidents legitimate with very, very little debunking. That’s a pity. The other day I cast suspicion upon the “Russian Bigfoot” segment. Now I’m calling out the Deerpark CBS School “poltergeist.”

First, I would like to express my deep dismay that no one at the popular cable channel did any Internet searches on these locations. Granted, I hold a M.A. degree in Library Science; however, I’m merely rooting through various credible websites—something someone at Travel Channel should have done.

The segment on the Deerpark CBS School in Cork, Ireland was too contrived. Simply stated: It was too staged. The first video clip showed a rear door slamming closed. Then a set a lockers rocked violently. Papers fell out of another locker adjacent to the rocking set. Finally, a “wet floor” sign aggressively flipped over. In the second video, a chair levitated in the background. A student backpack flew from the top of another set of lockers. Next, a poster flung from the wall. Finally, a chair slid across the floor. All of these are elaborate hoaxes.

Watch the video clips here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tUwg2Q1fKE and https://youtu.be/vh99uSI22BU.

It’s nearly embarrassing to go through the obvious. The dramatic slamming of the door catches the viewer’s attention. The aggressiveness of the rocking lockers is absurd. The papers in the other locker did not come from within the locker. Instead, they appeared to be perched ready to fly out. None of the other items inside were disturbed. The sign was not kicked, as one would expect, but flipped as if connected to wiring. The second video is worse. Most notably are 1) the poster being pulled from the wall (as if the upper corners are connected to wires), and 2) the chair dragged by one leg to the other side of the hallway (again, orchestrated by wires). Wouldn’t a ghost push the chair?

Even without viewing the videos (posted in early October 2017), one should consider the timing of the postings. The school hosted a Halloween event, where tickets were sold, to tour the “haunted” school shortly thereafter. Aaron Wolfe, one of the deputy principals, claimed that administrators just found out that the school was built on the former Green Gallows, a popular historic location where people were hung. In public. In the 19th century when nearly everyone attended public hangings.

The Facts

A school was built on the former grounds of the Green Gallows—just not Deerpark CBS. In 1852, construction began on the Old Greenmount School. In 1855, the school opened as St. Finbarr’s. The street name of Gallows Green Lane was changed to Green Street. (Admittedly, looking online at the old map, the Green Gallows was situated on Bandon Road—still a healthy walk from Deerpark) Deerpark sits on St. Patrick’s Road, a 10-minute walk away.

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Historic Map of Green Gallows area.

Incredulously, Mr. Wolfe attempted to link Deerpark’s building to that of an historic school. Maybe he presumed no one in America would Google it.

This is another example highlighting the egregious errors and misrepresentation of paranormal events to lure viewers to watch mediocre shows. Do better, Travel Channel!

 

Russian Bigfoot?

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Screen capture of the infamous Russian dash camera footage of mysterious creature.

Russian Bigfoot?

Travel Channel’s new show Paranormal Caught on Camera debuted this week. The show highlights various international paranormal stories accompanied with expert “analysis” of the events. Unfortunately, the experts don’t debunk. Instead, they casually deem the individual event credible. Producers cram as many paranormal events into each episode. The first episode is mediocre and downright disappointing—specifically the “Russian Bigfoot” segment.

A dashboard camera in the car of two Russian co-workers captured a bipedal creature crossing the single lane snow covered road ahead of them. The creature appeared to glide across the road. The driver slowed the car to a stop, restarted the stalled vehicle, and then slowly drove past where the creature crossed. Then the driver placed the vehicle in reverse, crossed back over the tracks, and then (presumably) continued driving on. It’s presumable since all the video postings of this event end shortly thereafter. This is a shame. Viewers could glean so much more had the video continued to play. Possibly, that’s what the witnesses wanted.

The video was posted on November 17, 2016. Predictably, it went viral. Several news media outlets covered the event in brief, often copied, articles. One of the witnesses, Vadim Gilmanov, postulated that it may be a hoax; however, who would go to the trouble?

Many people go to the trouble of filming hoax videos. Their intentions vary. In this case, the sighting occurred in the Ural Mountain region in the Republic of Bashkortostan, an area notorious for Bigfoot sightings but short on actual evidence. The two men are speaking Russian. None of the videos translated the conversation. A few articles claimed that the men were talking about Yetis. The Travel Channel episode claims the men say “Moose.” I heard both; however, I don’t speak Russian.

Travel Channel should have spent more time perusing the various articles to see what the public’s consensus was about this event. Had they, they would have found that no one could conclusively proclaim this as a Bigfoot sighting. In fact, quite a few people leaned toward hoax.

Here are my observations: The road was not isolated. There are at least one additional sets on tracks before the creature crossed. The bipedal creature maneuvered the terrain quite well. He seemed to glide, or possible ski, across the road. The film footage does not capture close-up images of the tracks, even though the car slowed down, crossed, and then re-crossed them. The men don’t seem excited about the sighting. A translation or transcript would bolster the claim. And finally, the video footage stops too soon. In an area ripe with Bigfoot sightings yet no evidence, surely these two men would have filmed the tracks. I’m not asking that they get out of the vehicle and give chase. Just, film the tracks. Take the time to look down. Had they, we may not be analyzing a paranormal show’s presumption that we’re all suckers.

Verdict: Unsubstantiated.

Travel Channel should have down this much analysis…at the very least.