Sunday, December 27, 2009


December 27, 2009

A reader asks: “I’ve been noticing a lot more reports about UFOs recently. Do you think that maybe more and more UFOs are visiting us? Are they a threat to us?”

Dear Reader: In order to respond to your questions logically, we first have to look at the history of UFOs. UFOs appear to have been around the Earth since Biblical times. A careful reading of the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel” can easily be interpreted as a primitive man’s seeing a UFO and possible space visitors.

But man, today, is a lot more sophisticated than was Ezekiel: Man has been flying in heavier-than-air machines for less than 100 years. In fact until approximately 100 years ago, anything seen in the sky was believed to be a bird or a balloon of sorts, so the term “UFO” was not even a consideration. When airplanes started to fly, they were strange sights, and anything seen in the sky was believed to be an airplane.

Aviation began to become sophisticated in WWII, and it was following WWII, in 1946, that a pilot noticed an object “skipping along in the sky like a saucer”. Thus began the idea of identifying UFOs as “flying saucers”. The reports of “flying saucers” were quickly hushed-up by the Air Force into what is now known as “Project Bluebook” and governments, everywhere, fearing some advanced society’s invasion of the Earth sent out reams of publicity trying to make reports of sightings seem to come from people who were just fantasizing or imagining things. It became a popular concept that if you claimed to have seen a UFO, it meant you were some kind of a nut.

This was helped-along by a bunch of publicity-seeking people creating false pictures of UFO’s (all of which resembled saucers), claiming alien abductions, etc.

But, technology has advanced beyond the expectations of WWII thinking. Now, cameras are not heavy objects that need steadying and focusing. Almost everyone carries around a camera and a VCR in their pocket cell. When they see a strange object in the sky, they don’t have to run back to their house and get a bulky camera…they take out their cell and start taking pictures or VCRs right away. The result is that UFO sightings are no longer from people with loose screws in their heads; they are everyday people who photograph what they have seen.

With the fear of being ridiculed by your friends and neighbors vanishing, senior statesmen, scientists and others are no longer afraid to tell the world what they have seen…and to photograph it. Russian and British scientists and their military have not only recognized the existence of UFOs, they currently have teams of researchers trying to determine what they are, why they are and where they’re from. Only the USA still keeps their Project Bluebook files secret.

So the answer to your question is: There are not more UFOs in our skies…there are now more people everywhere who are no longer afraid to report seeing strange things…and having the pictures and videos to back it up. I’m not suggesting that photos and videos can’t be photo-shopped, but these days, most UFO pictures and videos are checked by experts. Less than 10% of them have been found to be retouched or photo-shopped. Clearly UFOs are very real and the world is slowly acknowledging this.

As for who or what is inside these UFOs (or where they are from) is something still being researched. We’re getting closer to answers. I do not believe they are hostile in any way, shape or form or they would have invaded the Earth centuries ago when it would have been much easier to do.

If you’ve got questions about unexplained things, I’ve got answers. Write me at

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cruising Along and Paranormal Games

December 18, 2009

Before writing, about the paranormal, I want to share with all my readers that I was on vacation last week. My wife and I took a cruise on the Norwegian “Dawn” from Miami to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. A few weeks before our scheduled departure, I called and wrote to the executive staff at NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines) and offered to give passengers aboard the “Dawn” a 60-90 minute lecture (based on my book “Explaining the Unexplained”). I offered to exchange this service to NCL for an upgrade to a better cabin than the one we had paid for. It would have been easy for any of the execs at NCL to simply write or e-mail me and say “yes” or “no”. But none…absolutely none of the NCL execs demonstrated the simple courtesy of even acknowledging any of my three telephone calls and two letters. It seems the execs at NCL just don’t care enough about their paying passengers to acknowledge their communications.

The above having been said, the cruise was an excellent one, and in fact, one of the best I’ve ever taken. My wife and I enjoyed it enormously. The ship was beautiful, the crew (especially a Garden CafĂ© maitre de named Fortunato Rebello) was friendly and helpful, the food was worthy of a professional gourmet, and the entertainment was magnificent. It’s unfortunate that the pompous asses in the NCL executive offices don’t learn something from the people they employ.
Last week I wrote about Astrology, Palmistry and Phrenology. I promised to follow this up with a look at Tarot Cards, Crystal Balls and Ouija Boards:

Tarot Cards and Crystal Balls have long been the trademarks of Gypsy Fortune Tellers: The theory behind the crystal ball is that, because of its clarity, the fortune teller can see into the future. In actuality, there has never been one single iota of truth attached to crystal ball fortune telling. Normally, the fortune teller is a good “cold-reader” and plays-off of the person whose fortune they are telling.

Similarly, Tarot cards are used in the same way: A good cold-reader uses the 78-card Tarot deck to build a story around the person whose fortune is being told. The Tarot deck was originally designed as a game-playing deck in the early 1500s much like the 52-card deck now in common usage. The Tarot has four suits corresponding to the suits of conventional playing cards. Each of these suits has pip cards numbering from ace to ten and four face cards for a total of fourteen cards. In addition, the Tarot is distinguished by a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool. Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit. There is nothing paranormal about Tarot Cards.

Now let’s look at Ouija Boards: On the surface, there is no more to Ouija Boards than there is to Crystal Balls or Tarot Cards. Yet, I have spoken to and corresponded with numerous people who tell me of life-saving feats and terrible accidents that have been avoided resulting from the use of a Ouija Board.

The theory behind Ouija Boards is that two or three people, by combining their energy and concentrating on the spirit of a deceased friend or family member and placing their fingertips on a wooden marker, the spirit will guide the marker from letter to letter on the board and spell out an important message.

Virtually all ghost-hunting societies agree that spirits rarely talk or make discernable vocal sounds (except immediately after death), so there may be some substance to the concept that spirits try to communicate by guiding the lightly touched marker. Yet, I wonder if those using the Ouija aren’t unconsciously guiding the marker to where they want it to go, and sending themselves messages they want to hear.

People, whose status or reputation is too high to impugn, have told me that Ouija Boards have informed them of a child’s undiagnosed illness and that Ouija has forewarned of planned actions which, if taken, would have proven disastrous.

It’s difficult for me to accept that a marker and a game-board with letters on it can communicate with the spirit world, but those who use them swear by them with the kind of fervor that only comes from having seen the proof. Is it just coincidence? I’d like to hear from you about any experiences you may have had. If you’ve ever had some Ouija Board messages that proved meaningful, please share them with me at

Stephen Ellis

Monday, December 7, 2009

Paranormal Games

December 6, 2009

There has been an increasing amount of mail asking about what I call paranormal “games”. Things like Astrology, Palmistry, Phrenology, Tarot Cards, Ouija Boards, Crystal Balls, etc. I think it’s time to take a moment and look at these things with an objective eye.

Astrology: (“What’s your sign?)

In its simplest terms, “Astrology” refers to the influence of the stars and the cosmos on your life. The date of your birth determines your astrological sign, and there are twelve astrological signs which make up what is called the Zodiac. Over the years, the Zodiac has changed. Originally, there were thirteen (not twelve) signs of the Zodiac. The Zodiac was, originally, based on a lunar month: the time it takes for the Moon to revolve around the Earth. However, it was confusing as to what your astrological sign was because the Moon’s rotation about the Earth was actually slightly different than a calendar month and two people, born on the same day and month, in diffderent years, could actually be under two different astrological signs. So, to keep things organized, the Zodiac was reduced to twelve astrological signs.

People who dedicate themselves to “reading the Zodiac” (and there are many) create a plan for each sign of the Zodiac called a Horoscope. Many people who read the Zodiac try to determine the influence of the Sun the Stars and the Moon at the exact hour and location of a person’s birth.

There are millions and millions of people who believe in Astrology and follow their Horoscope. As long as I have been alive, Horoscope Magazines have sold very well and just about every daily newspaper carries a Horoscope column in which they indicate the good and the bad things associated with your astrological sign for that day.

In the dating scene, one of the most common questions asked in order to start a conversation with someone new is “What’s your sign?”

I have often been asked as to whether I believe in Astrology. Plainly, I do not believe in the magazine or newspaper horoscopes. How can one single set of predictions be good for millions of people? However, I do yield to the possibility of an influence of the cosmos at the time and place of your birth: Simply put, I do not know enough about astrology to know whether the position of the Sun the Stars and the Moon has any material effect on your life.

Palmistry: (Palm Reading)

Probably the oldest form of fortune telling is what is called Palmistry. We often associate Palmistry with Gypsy fortune tellers, but even in the Old Testament, there are references to your hands revealing your life.

The concept is that God (or a Supreme Being) controls the first making of a fist on a newborn’s hand and the creases that result from this are a window into the future life that newborn will have. Palmistry is the art of being able to read those creases on the hand and foretell that person’s future. A life-line; a success-line, etc.

One of the problems facing Palmists is that the creases on the hand change during a person’s lifetime. If you are right-handed, the Palmist will usually want to look at your left hand because it is used less than your right and, logically, will have fewer changes to the creases on the palm.

People who believe in fortune telling (and there are millions) will swear by the accuracy of the Palmist’s statements. I look at Palmistry more pragmatically: If there was even a fair degree of accuracy to a life line, every insurance company would want to see your hand before they sold you a life insurance policy. If there was a fair degree of accuracy to your success line, every College and every employer would want to look at your palm before working with you.

Phrenology: (Bumps and lumps on your head)

Phrenology, very popular in the 19th century, is the pseudo-science of reading the bumps on your head and is based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind: that certain brain areas have localized, specific functions or modules. Phrenologists believed that the mind has a set of different mental faculties, with each particular faculty represented in a different area of the brain. These areas were believed to be proportional to a person's personality. It was believed that the cranial bone conformed in order to accommodate the different sizes of these particular areas of the brain in different individuals, so that a person's capacity for a given personality trait could be determined simply by measuring the area of the skull that overlies the corresponding area of the brain.

No one, anywhere, has a perfectly smooth head, but today Phrenology is looked upon in most of the world as pure quackery.

Next week I’ll discuss Tarot Cards, Ouija Boards and Crystal Balls. If you have questions, please e-mail me at