Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Himamaylan Aswang Sighting

Back in 2008, I described in detail how misinterpretation of certain phenomena can give rise to perceptions of Aswang/Manananggal sightings:

It would be easy to say that the Himamaylan aswang video runs along the same lines. The video was blurry and you can barely make out the wings of the 'aswang' which would most likely be an innocent Kabog or Flying Fox / Fruit Bat.

I don't think the people of Himamaylan are crazy or ignorant though. It's just that they connected the dots and the sight of the poor animal coincided with the alleged sighting of the aswang itself which was witnessed by several people of Aguisan. The urge to believe in the existence of the aswang is so strong and compelling that people would readily associate any seemingly out of place object or animal with the alleged 'Aswang' terrorizing the sleepy village.

Which brings us to the strongest reason why most people there believe it's legit: they allegedly SAW it in human form and man, it scared the shit out of them.

And then there was the blood inside and outside people's houses.

Finally, the roof/tree video.

If these events were taken alone and did not occur in clusters, it would be fairly easy to dismiss each phenomenon in perfectly logical terms:

Blood - big rat or injured cat

Aswang on the roof video - Fruit bat / Flying Fox

Aswang in Human form - Over Active imagination/mass hysteria.

But the fact that they occurred almost in sync with each other makes it difficult for some people to say that these events are NOT connected.

Was there a common cause:  e.g. Aswang.
Or was it mere coincidence?

The place is Kabog territory. Big Rats and Cats are almost everywhere in this country. People with fertile imaginations can see things that aren't there.

Eyewitness accounts are fun bot not always reliable. That leaves us with the other two factors: which have a high probability of occurring, both involving animals as well.

Plausibility wise, I'd give this a 3/10.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Where is all the EVIDENCE?

It took me several years just to write this post. Between then and now, several intriguing stories came and went. Some were genuinely creepy, others were downright laughable but they all beg the question: is there a truth to all of this?

The Ed Caluag debacle on national tv via the Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho show highlights what could happen when logic and common sense stands up and challenges superstition and mass hysteria. With the aid of modern technology, we gain valuable insights that would help explain seemingly 'paranormal' phenomena.

In our day and age, smartphones are everywhere and even people in far flung rural areas have them. You'd think it would be a lot easier to obtain irrefutable proof of the existence of Kapres, Aswangs or the like. In fact, the opposite is true. Yes, the web is swimming in a sea of strange, 'unexplained'  videos (that weird part of Youtube) but if you remove the chaff of Adobe edited vids, blurry resolution, Pareidolia and misrepresented, out of context vids  from the grain, you'll end up with precious few material that will stand to informed scrutiny.

People like magician James Randi have made it their life's work to research, debunk and expose charlatans, frauds and illusionists who make a living making people believe they have paranormal capabilities. He has even put up a 1 million dollar prize from 1964 to 2015 for anyone who can prove to him that paranormal phenomenon can happen under strict test conditions that all parties agreed upon. No one came close to claiming that prize.

How about those who claim to have a personal experience with the 'unknown' or with 'paranormal entities'? Are they all frauds? Of course not. Their truth is based on their own 'empirical' evidence that cannot be re-created in a lab setting but can be scrutinized only on a limited but informed basis through research.

Unlike magicians and charlatans or self proclaimed psychics. Most paranormal witnesses of aswang, ghost or even demon encounters would rather stay quiet than be subjected to scrutiny and eventual ridicule like Ed Caluag and his myriad tools.

What's more, if I put myself in the shoes of an Aswang, wouldn't it be better if everyone believes I do NOT exist? What good would it do me to convince anyone of my existence? Of course I'd rather stay in the shadows than be caught in the glare of the ubiquitous phone cameras and cctvs out there. The greatest favor I can get from anyone is their complete disbelief in my existence.

So if you have any weird paranormal story to tell, send them over to me. We'll investigate and rate its plausibility on a scale of 1-10. 10 being perfect, irrefutable proof of a thing's existence. Just like in the case of the Giant Squid or the Okapi.

1 of course is plausibility in the level of Pikachu or Barney. Personally, I'd prefer a pink, boring cephalopod over a creepy purple dinosaur that likes to be around kids anytime.

If we arrive at a viable conclusion, we've done humanity a favor. If not, at least we've added to our compendium of fascinating folktales and campfire stories our children's children will enjoy for generations to come. Truth be damned.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Aswang Phenomenon - A documentary

In my opinion, this is by far the most incisive and cerebral approach to the question of the Aswang's origin. Unlike other Aswang documentaries or movies before that propagate the myth by obscuring it, this feature offers a 21st century view that represents the most rational approach sans judgements and bias characteristic of some filmmakers nowadays. Far from coming up with an anthology of spook tales, Film Maker Jordan Clark placed the concept of the aswang inside a multi-faceted prism to be viewed from all possible angles - from the downright ridiculous to the utterly scientific. I'm glad to have contributed a small part in the making of this one-of-a-kind film.

So where do I stand in all these? In the middle of course :)