Posts Tagged ‘LOWFI’
Phenomenologist Charles Fort (1874-1932) spent 27 years of his life humorously shredding orthodox science by collating thousands of accounts of unexplained phenomena which orthodox science couldn’t—and still can’t—explain away. Fort sought interconnectedness between his phantasmagoria, (“our whole ‘existence’ is an attempt by the relative to be the absolute, or by the local to be the universal”) and philosophized about it in four groundbreaking works: The Book of the Damned (1919), New Lands (1923), Lo! (1931) and Wild Talents (1932). “We are not realists. We are not idealists. We are intermediatists—that nothing is real, but that nothing is unreal: that all phenomena are approximations one way or the other between realness and unrealness… our whole quasi-existence is an intermediate stage… like purgatory, I think.”
Fort first identified the fireball, the teleportation effect, and the UFO. He examined falls of blood, birds, “unctuous” and “phosphorescent” substances, flesh and coins from the world’s skies. He presented the luminous bodies encircling Mars and Venus; gave poltergeists the benefit of the doubt, and wrote that his ‘damned’ data would be proven as well as Moses or Darwin ever “proved anything.”
The world has only gotten more phenomenal since Fort’s time, and the League of Western Fortean Intermediatists (L.O.W.F.I.) ensures that his spirit lives on: neither cranks nor skeptics, Forteans are characterized by their objectivity, sense of wonder, good humor and lust for supernormal adventure. Based in Los Angeles, the League of Western Fortean Intermediatists’ focus is on the long, strange life of the American southwest, gathering to discuss its enigmas, peculiarities and unexplainable events. Operating as a “wire service of the weird” online, L.O.W.F.I. Boasts bloggers state by state from Oregon to Texas.
L.O.W.F.I. is a research-based, journal-publishing band of urbane explorers with interests in all shades of the paranormal, UFOs and unexplained aerial phenomena, cryptozoology and unknown animals, synchronicity and coincidence, religious cults, mass hysteria, giants and the ‘little people,’ inter/extra-dimensional visitors, oddball philosophies, evidence of pre-Columbian visitations to the southwest and other archaeological ‘anomalies,’ lost continents and vanished civilizations, spontaneous human combustion, sky falls, scientific hoaxes, earth energy/ley lines, conspiracies and enigmas, kooks and prophets, the people, places and events which make our corner of the world weird.
L.O.W.F.I. seeks to provide a clearinghouse for reports of such phenomena which will be archived and made available to the public, via a website http://www.forteanswest.com. In Los Angeles, we hold informal meetings, go on field trips and host visiting lecturers in an attempt to open lines of communication and create a sense of camaraderie amongst modern-day phenomenologists. You may already be a member!
L.O.W.F.I. founder Skylaire Alfvegren has spent a lifetime researching the weird, wacky and unexplainable history of her hometown of Los Angeles. Join her as she explains Fort’s importance and the objectives of L.O.W.F.I., while detailing some of her favorite local cases of unexplainable phenomena, for the Los Angeles Visionary Association (LAVA), Sunday, May 30, from noon onwards, at Clifton’s Cafeteria (upstairs).
648 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014
213 627 1673
Skylaire at gmail.com
By Jeremy Rosenberg
December 11, 2009 1:30 AM
Tongues planted firmly in cheek, Ashley Powers and DeeDee Correll wrote about how a Denver ballot initiative next year will attempt to create an “Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission.” From the article:
This week, Denver officials announced that Peckman had gathered about 4,000 valid signatures needed to place the issue before the 350,000 registered voters of the Colorado state capital.If approved, the city panel would promote “harmonious, peaceful, mutually respectful and beneficial coexistence” between earthlings and extraterrestrials, in part by developing protocols for “diplomatic contact.”
For more Mile High reaction, TTLA checked in with our Denver Bureau Chief, Michael Gunstanson. His reply runs below.
Also, TTLA wondered, shouldn’t Los Angeles be doing something about this Denver gap? Should we start gathering signatures? Form our own space alien welcoming committee?
“That’s really funny,” says TTLA Paranormal Activities Bureau Chief, Skylaire Alfvegren (motto: “Yellow journalism, elfin magic.”). “I don’t think it’s necessary. I think this guy’s initiative in Denver is more of a gesture than anything else.”
Alfvegren is, among much more, the founder of the League of Western Fortean Intermediatists (L.O.W.F.I.), which she describes in part as a “wire service for the weird,” studying “the mysteries and peculiarities of the American West, including paranormal phenomena, UFOs, cryptozoology, and unexplained phenomena of every type.”
More down below from Alfvegren. First, though, here’s what Gunstanson, formerly with the L.A. Times and the Rocky Mountain News, wrote us:
“So you think that the city of Angels might want to follow Denver’s lead and get in on the act of communing with them, or at least their 21st century brethren, huh?
“Not surprising. For whatever reason, UFOs, extraterrestrials, grays, men from mars or whatever you want to call them, have been in the news a great deal of late. From their high-profile, if albeit tumbling ratings, return to network television in “V” to a veiled nod of their existence in the new SyFy channel spinoff: “Stargate Universe,” aliens seem to be everywhere at once.
“Why, no less an, ahem, authority on the subject, his Holiness, the Pope, recently convened a conference to discuss the matter:
“Though it may seem an unlikely location to happen upon a conference on astrobiology, the Vatican recently held a “study week” of over 30 astronomers, biologists, geologists and religious leaders to discuss the question of the existence of extraterrestrials. – Universe Today
“The Vatican’s chief astronomer says there is no conflict between believing in God and in the possibility of extraterrestrial “brothers” perhaps more evolved than humans.
“In my opinion this possibility exists,” said the Reverend José Gabriel Funes, head of the Vatican Observatory and a scientific adviser to Pope Benedict XVI, referring to life on other planets. – NY TImes
“Meanwhile, Monsignor Corrado Balducci, a theologian member of the Vatican Curia (governing body), and an insider close to the Pope, has gone on Italian national television five times to proclaim that extraterrestrial contact is a real phenomenon, according to UFO Digest. Balducci provided an analysis of extraterrestrials that he feels is consistent with the Catholic Church’s understanding of theology. Monsignor Balducci emphasizes that extraterrestrial encounters “are NOT demonic, they are NOT due to psychological impairment, they are NOT a case of entity attachment, but these encounters deserve to be studied carefully.”
“So you can see why Denver, having missed out on the spaceport race – mostly because there isn’t a piece of land big enough and flat enough to work – would want to be at the forefront of the UFO greeting race.
“Add in these facts: most UFOlogists — yes, I’m told that’s a word — believe Eisenhower only added “In God We Trust” to the money and pushed for “under God” to be added to the pledge in 1954 after meeting with aliens; Denver is a scant 9 hours from Roswell, where aliens reportedly crashed; Cheyenne Mountain was where the military stored the Stargate (if you can believe the writers/producers of Stargate: SG1) and you can see that Denver, and the state of Colorado has had a rich “brush with UFO fame” history in this regard.
“All that said, my guess is this measure will not pass.”
Back, now, to Los Angeles and Alfvegren. A veteran of the Cacophony Society (adults only) she’s also a freelancer for the LA Weekly and other pubs. Her L.O.W.F.I. puts on events in town once a month or so — a drive through Phillip K. Dick’s Fullerton; taking a psychic medium to the Richard Nixon Museum.
Saturday, December 12, L.O.W.F.I. is involved with L.A. Santacon, a Cacophony tradition. (Adults only — for more information, follow the links from the L.O.W.F.I. events page.)
To TTLA’s surprise, Alfvegren says L.A. has no business following Denver’s ballot initiative lead.
“We have so much to worry about in this state, in this economy,” Alfvegren says. “As interesting and life-changing as it would be to have someone make contact, well, I heard on the radio the other night that something like 70% percent of single mothers in Los Angeles County can’t meet their basic financial needs in terms of child care, health care, and food. You’ve got to put things in perspective.”
Okay, if a ballot initiative is out, then what if local politicians got directly involved?
“If a measure like Denver’s slipped in somehow,” Alfvegren says, “I don’t think anybody on our City Council has enough of a sense of humor to say, “Oh look, it’s promoting peace and harmony among everybody. Let’s okay this.’”
The L.O.W.F.I. leader also says she’s seen civic proposals she regards as stranger than the Denver idea: “Pot dispensaries having to be 1,000 feet from residential areas is a far crazier ballot initiative than one that’s promoting diplomacy and harmony and peace between us and whoever else may be out there.”
LOWFI founder Skylaire Alfvegren will be appearing Sunday, December 13th from 8-10pm PST on killradio.org, on the show Radio Misterioso w/ Space Brother.
UFOs, conspiracies, psychedelia, parapsychology, black budgets, disinformation and suppressed information. Interviews with mind mavericks, and music from people who will never get a record deal and just don’t care.
Archive and podcast at radio4all.net.
Actually, there’s an even greater problem. We don’t feel at home anywhere we go.” – Philip K. Dick
Come discover Philip K. Dick’s Fullerton, with our gracious host and tour guide, the venerable Robert Larson, this Monday, September 21st. Convene at 3pm at the corner of Chapman and State College, or contact me as soon as possible to iron out carpooling options from Lost Angles. (Feel free to forward this invite to any PKD enthusiast you may know in town.)
Yours in Fort,
Nixon Ghost Tour 2009
The Nixon Channel
By Jeffrey Vallance
Back in 1994, I wrote the first account of the haunting of the Nixon Library, noting poltergeist-like phenomena in three areas of the facility: the Nixon Birthplace house, at Nixon’s grave, and the Watergate display. At the Birthplace, a night watchman reported seeing a ghostly figure enter the house through a locked door. Over Nixon’s grave, a hovering green mist had been observed. And in the original Watergate display area (which has since been renovated), tapping sounds were heard and the tape machines were in frequent disrepair. (According to psychic medium Dorothy Maksym, quoted in the book The Haunting of the Presidents, the tapping sound was Nixon’s way of distracting visitors, to keep them from concentrating on the Watergate materials.) Years later, according to Maksym, the channeled ghost of Nixon described, in detail, someone who could only be me as the original witness to the grave’s green mist. Through Maksym, Nixon went on to state that his “spirit is working” through me — which came as quite a disturbing surprise!
On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon, I conducted a ghost tour through the Nixon Library & Birthplace along with famed psychic medium Joseph Ross, known for his many radio and television appearances since the 1960s. The tour was sponsored by the League of Western Fortean Intermediatists, a loosely knit Southern California paranormal organization recently founded by Skylaire Alfvegren. Our group of 14 arrived at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, about 30 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Dressed all in black and wearing a necklace with a large crystal pendant, Joseph Ross looked like a cross between a priest and a 19th-century magician. As the group toured the massive facility, Ross continually channeled Nixon, who would comment on various aspects of the displays. Just beyond the museum entrance are cases of artifacts from Nixon’s early life, prior to his entering politics — grade school essays, early photographs, love letters to Pat and Naval service documents. Here, the spirit of Nixon told the group that this was the only part of the library that he still enjoyed visiting.
We moved on to the Hall of World Leaders, which features life-size statues of Chairman Mao, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Sadat, Churchill and others. Here, two members of our group reported strange buzzing sounds in their ears, as if caused by insects, but none were found. At various locations, many in our group reported a nauseating smell whose origin could not be determined. It seemed to follow us throughout the day.
We arrived at the Watergate display area, which was renovated in 2007, some believe in the hope of exorcizing whatever force was causing the tape machines to malfunction. Many in the group immediately felt an unearthly chill. We searched for an air conditioning duct, but found nothing. For the library’s first 17 years, the original Watergate display was a really creepy, dimly lit corridor that exhibited photographs of the Watergate burglars and their tools. It also had a row of tape players with headphones where visitors could listen to copies of the Watergate tapes. Unfortunately, the newly remodeled Watergate display is lackluster and feels almost like a shameful afterthought. The wall is painted an institutional olive drab color, with the bank of large, interactive monitors all out of order. Perhaps Nixon’s troubled spirit hasn’t left the area.
Next, we went outside to the birthplace house. The tour guide said that although he had heard reports of the haunting of the house, he had not witnessed any phenomena. He posited if perhaps it was not Nixon haunting the house, but the spirit of a later inhabitant. Inside the house, Joseph Ross said that this is where he feels Nixon’s spirit most strongly, and that Nixon visits his birthplace every night.
It was getting late. One of the security guards informed us that the library was about to close for the day, so we gathered beside Nixon’s grave, formed a circle and all joined hands as Ross did his final channeling. The sun was low in the sky, casting our shadows dramatically across Nixon’s grave. Ross said that after many years of turmoil, Nixon’s spirit was now considerably more at peace. With several security guards observing, I was trying to imagine who they thought we were. We must have looked like either some kind of fundamentalist prayer group, or some weird cult. As we released hands, everyone in the group was surprised to be overcome by a warm, peaceful sensation.
Before departing, I reached down and scooped up soil from Nixon’s grave, which I have since preserved in several small glass vials, one of which I preserved in a reliquary which I keep close at all times.
SUNDAY, MARCH 1st: our next southern California excursion will be to the haunted Richard Nixon library in Yorba Linda. On deck will be a psychic medium to pick up the vibrations, Nixon’s “ethereal conduit” Jeffrey Vallance and L.O.W.F.I.’s NorCal Bureau Chief, Adam Gorightly.
$13, with an optional outing to a secret, undisclosed location in Whittier, a scant 22 minute drive from the Nixon library. The birthplace of Discordianism, a trip to this facility is as close to a religious pilgrimage as a Fortean can get. All hail Eris! (The birthplace of Kerry Thornley himself, Whittier also gave us Nixon and Tom Waits.)
The event starts at NOON, convene at Philippe’s for carpooling and French-dipped tomfoolery pre-event.
Philippe The Original
1001 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles CA, 90012
We are located 1 block north of Union Station, Olvera St. and the Hollywood Freeway at Alameda and Ord St.
Phone: (213) 628-3781
WHAT OF THE WEIRD, WAY OUT WEST?
It’s not that the phenomena that Charles Fort so diligently catalogued is rarer these days–quite the opposite! Living in the schizoid 21st century, we have galaxies of information at our fingertips-and to me, it’s a wonder that few have taken up Fort’s gauntlet in modern times.
Who am I, you ask?
I would say I was a Fortean in the womb, but truth is, I didn’t see my first UFO until I was six. I could say I was a Fortean in a previous life, but too many people have debated whether I am a very young soul, or very old, so much so that I quit the debate team. (No, I wasn’t Cleopatra in a previous life, but I have an inkling I once leapt to my death.)
Starting L.O.W.F.I.-I call it a wire service of the weird, serving the great western states of our sometimes-great nation-has been a long-standing wish of mine. It wasn’t a dream, because I knew it would happen.
The western states, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, number lucky 13, and are California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Hawaii, Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.
That’s quite a mouthful. Presently, L.O.W.F.I. has seven of those states represented by a “Bureau Chief”-a regional Grand Poobah of weird phenomena. My stars are blessed, because I’m surrounded by some of the sharpest minds in Forteana. I envision L.O.W.F.I. as a network of urbane explorers comparing data, collecting anomalous reports, going on Fortean expeditions-and having a damn good time while they’re doing it.
Literally and figuratively, the byways of our great western states reek, stink, and verily, almost ooze-the weird, the inexplicable and the unexplained. The east coast has boasted the Fortean Society since 1931, and the International Fortean Organization (INFO) has been around in Maryland since 1965. But they’ve largely neglected our wild and wooly west!
Our states boast Thunderbirds and Tesla and cemeteries for vampires; everyone knows Sasquatch makes his home in the Pacific Northwest. Ancient Egyptian tunnels fan out from the Grand Canyon. The ancient lizard race known as the Lemurians built their own network under the west coast. Skinwalkers shape-shift over our desert sands, and redheaded Native giants have roamed Nevada and the Utah basin. Haunted old west saloons dot the landscape; illuminated by the glare of a thousand UFO crashes.
While there are a handful of UFO organizations, and lots of ghost-hunting gangs out here-a tip of the hat to all of them-what exists for the lone crypto hunter? The conspiracy theorist with an interest in the paranormal? The UFO buff with a cracked, black sense of humor?
Or those of us who know that reality is like the contents of a rearview mirror-things in it are often distorted, much bigger than they appear, or can only be glimpsed out of the corner of your eye?
We are greater than the sum of our parts.
In Los Angeles, I’ve already had L.O.W.F.I. up and running for the better part of a year. One of the best things about it have been the wacky expeditions I’ve gotten to take people on. It’s been a gas to share a weird, musty Bible museum with pagans, hunt for the ghost of Richard Nixon with a posse of true independents, and explore the origins of tiki with people who listen to punk rock and Scarlatti. Forteans, I think share a particular mental aesthetic.
I’m shy. Actually, I’m a misanthrope with a heart of gold. But I’ve never been a joiner, and we’ve got something of an anti-club going on here. But it’s not all fun and games. L.O.W.F.I. is specifically interested in collecting and disseminating damned data, and for too long have we been deprived of a connecting force.
MY HOME, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
David Bowie left Los Angeles after becoming convinced that his swimming pool was possessed by demons. In the documentary, Cracked Actor, he commented on the city: “Fancy building a bleeding wax museum in the middle of the desert. You’d think it would melt! Ha, ha, ha ha!”
It is my contention that, although an ever-shifting mirage, Los Angeles has an old soul, that the asphalt here is wise beyond its years.
Southern California is so central to the planet’s existence, that not one–but TWO-locations here have been christened the absolute apex of everything. Guru Krishnamurti proclaimed the “Center of the Universe” could be found in Ojai. But “The Center of the World” was drawn from the novel, Coe the Good Dragon, and is set at Latitude 32º 45′ 01″, Longitude 114º 45′ 55″, and is marked–for all to see–just off the I-8, with a bronze star and granite pyramid.
As a native Angeleno, I have spent my entire elfin life exploring southern California, its oddities and daemon-haunted spots. I track down eccentrics, or more often they find me in a crowd. I love my town, even though it has multiple personalities, and I vow to you, dear reader, to do the best possible job of bringing you all that’s weird, cosmic, and phenomenal about southern California.