Tuesday, 26 November 2013

For the Love of Truth - Weed Out Untruth

From time to time - quite often - we get requests to do a write-up on specific stories. Some of them are quite famous and oft-quoted on other similarly themed websites and blogs as "evidence" for dimensional anomalies- and their absence makes appear this blog woefully inadequate in terms of coverage of such material.

Of course we haven't covered yet all - or even most - of the reasonably well-documented stories of the kind (this blog is only a little hobby, not a life mission). But many famous stories of "time slips" haven't been covered here for the simple reason that, upon closer inspection, their sources appear to be dubious at best.

(We here have the great advantage of being able to read - and therefore, search in - quite a few Indo-European languages, so we do not rely on English-language material alone.)

Nevertheless, one of the original purposes of this blog was precisely to "unmask" urban legends or stories of the kind that are simply not factual, being fiction, or their facts have been misrepresented. 
In fact, we have discussed some of these stories in the past. Two notable examples are the stories of David Lang, Oliver Lurch & Co. and the famous story of Benjamin Bathurst's disappearance. (You can find more of these stories by searching the blog for the tag "possibly explained".)

But, in light of certain requests for "famous cases", we thought it might be a good time to collect a few of the stories that have been making the rounds, bouncing from website to website, with no shred of evidence that they were ever anything more than a figment of someone's overheated imagination.
We won't be discussing them; it's just a simple roll-call.

The Lincoln Tunnel (Jackson Wright) disappearance

The Stonehenge Hippies' disappearance

The Man from Taured  
(Featuring a mysterious man in Tokyo's airport, in 1954 or thereabouts.
Apparently it started as an anecdote in Paul Begg's Into Thin Air: People Who Disappeared, and then, by virtue of the mighty internet, it just took off.
We conducted a totally informal "research" with the help of a few Japanese friends, and apparently none of them could find any mention of the incident in the Japanese media... with the exception of a few forum posts that had been translated from the English versions. In other words, copy & paste strikes again. Even in Japanese.)
For other versions of basically the same story, see this forum post. 
They are also discussed in The Directory of possibilities

The French Hotel time-slip
(In truth, we cannot ascertain - nobody can - that this beloved story IS a hoax; however, there is simply no evidence of it being the truth, except the word of those who claim that it happened to them. For all we know, it could have been a joke that got out of hand. It happens more often than you might think.)

Here's a very, very simple rule of thumb to discern the veracity of a story. Search for it on the internet, then compare the wording of the results. If you see a story repeated in basically the same (often identical) wording over and over again, that's a big red flag. Copy & paste material is usually highly suspect. 
(Some cases, predating the internet, are found in very differently worded versions, simply because they first appeared in books and/or TV programmes. That alone does not necessarily signal authenticity; it simply signals better narrative skills in those who read books.
One such case is the famous French hotel story mentioned above.)

If you're truly interested in any given story, find it in reasonably respectable books about the subject - searching them (online) one by one, if necessary.
When you find a mention, look for the source referenced by the author. 
(A book with no reference notes - making it clear where exactly the material discussed came from, citing the publication and the page number  - is a book unworthy of your time and attention.)

After you have identified the source, try to verify the accuracy of the source itself. Often you will find that reference notes take you to ever earlier sources, because authors, naturally, borrow material from earlier authors. You have to find the original source - and then verify its credibility, if possible.

It takes time, yes - and considerable critical thinking.
That's research.

The benefits of such an approach should be self-evident, but weeding out falsehoods that obscure the beauty of real mysteries and smear the credibility of unorthodox lines of thought in general is not the least among them.

If you want to report a perceived dimensional anomaly, please do, but read this first.

No comments: