Parapsychologists have devised 2 generic classes of object for study that seem to express the presence of psi effects, namely extra-sensory perception (ESP), and psychokinesis (PK). In both cases, they describe phenomena that are observable. In the case of parasociology, a proper research object would be something combining a socially observable event that is considered as defying conventional explanations. I propose, as a heuristic conceptual tool, the notion of Socially Ostentatious Anomalies (SOA) for the main object of study for parasociology, or for those who are found of methodological terminology SOA as the main unit of analysis. Under the concept of SOA, many phenomena can be studied, such as UFO waves, Marian apparitions, sea and lake monsters, etc. Right now, the concept of SOA does not include phenomena that are much more localized such as haunting, poltergeists, and various “private” apparitions. This last set of phenomena should still be studied by parasociology (especially by investigating the hypothesis that such phenomena are psi effects requiring a “community of believers”), but their more localized social dynamics require developing analytical tools akin to micro-sociology, which is left for now to future research.
In the third post on the Canadian 1966-67 UFO wave case study, I noted that UFO waves seem to be following a pattern based on solar cycles, namely that they tend to occur during the ascending phase of solar activity, near the maxima period, and this was happening at every other solar cycle, based on 3 data points. I extended the hypothesis by introducing other SOAs, namely Marian apparitions, and found something intriguing.
One of the most famous Marian apparitions investigated by the Catholic Church was the one in Lourdes, France, that occurred between February and July 1858. This occurred during the ascending phase of the solar cycle 10, relatively near to the maxima.
Another very famous Marian apparition, also investigated by the Church, occurred in Fatima, Portugal, between May and October 1917. This event also happened during the ascending phase of the solar cycle, in this case no. 15, near the maxima.
A further look shows that there are time periods where SOA seem more likely to occur, which brings more parallels between UFO waves and Marian apparitions, although not linked to a particular period of solar cycles. The ghost planes wave of late 1933 over Sweden occurred less than a year after two sets of Marian apparitions in Belgium, in Beauraing and in Banneux in early 1933. Both were investigated by the Church. The UFO wave of 1966-1967 was followed by the apparitions at Zeitoun, Egypt, in early 1968, and was investigated by the Coptic Church.Finally, the October 1973 UFO wave was preceded by the Marian apparitions at Akita, Japan, starting in June of the same year. It was investigated by then Monsignor Ratzinger, who is now the present Pope Benedict.
As discussed in the Canadian case study, the UFO waves of 1947, 1967, and the one in Belgium in 1989-90, also occurred during the ascending phase of the solar cycles near the maxima, for cycle 18, 20, and 22, respectively. By looking at SOA, and not only UFO waves, we have now 5 data points.
Given that SOA are relatively rare events, this brings a number of interesting questions about the possibility that SOA are enabled by similar conditions, which still remain unknown for the time being. If this is a correct assumption, then it is further indications that SOA are indeed of a similar nature, even if they “express” themselves through a wide variety of shapes and forms.
One possible commonality between UFO events and Marian apparitions seems to be the electro-magnetic impact of solar cycles, which is in line with some findings about the nexus between UFO events and electro-magnetism, as discussed in the Materiality of UFOs.
At this time, to be fair, I cannot find other SOA that could be related to the Airship wave of 1897-98 (middle of declining phase of cycle 13 (1890-1901)); the British Airship wave of 1909 (declining phase of cycle 14 (1902-1913), but still in maxima plateau); the Foo Fighters era (late phase of cycle 17, and early phase of cycle 18 (1944-1954)); the 1952 UFO wave (middle of declining phase of cycle 18), and the 1958 UFO wave (maxima of cycle 19 (1954-1964)). So, it is obvious that although there might be a pattern emerging, not all the variables are known at this time.
What to expect for 2012?
As discussed in the Canadian case study, the near maxima ascending phase of the present solar cycle (no. 24) will happen towards the end of 2012. Yes, at the same as the presumed “end of the world”, based on a seriously ignorant understanding of the Mayan archaeology. What is more interesting is that I can make a parasociological testable hypothesis that the end of 2012 will be propitious for SOA to occur. However, as the parapsychologist Walter von Lucadou noted about psi effects, a phenomenon can only act “as it pleases” as long as it is not observed too attentively. In other words, observation removes indeterminacy in a system, and thus creative quantum entanglements are less likely to occur. Given that a lot of people will expect something “big” to happen in December 2012, then it will be difficult for SOA to occur, as a variety of systems will be observed attentively. So, here is my modified parasociological hypothesis: in the second half of 2012, should a SOA occurs, it will be completely unrelated to any “end of the world” symbolism. UFOs and Marian apparitions have both a history of being associated with millenaries views, and I do not think they are good candidates for SOA in 2012. In fact, we may see a new and creative form of SOA, or may be a low key one like Nessie reporting back to duty may emerged.
In any event, this testable hypothesis has been laid openly and justified based on the parasociological approach, and no one can say that parasociology is not falsifiable.
Eric Ouellet (c) 2011