There is something that I must confess: I've never seen the television show, "The X-Files". Some may cry, "blasphemer", or "heretic," as they read this, but allow me to explain, especially because I have not made this shocking proclamation smugly. It is important to understand that there are other sources available to a public who seemingly can't get enough of the "secret truth" or "hidden agenda" plot lines. The answer to any conspiracy theorist's questions can be found, not through the nearest television set, but through the nearest computer. When searching for information concerning conspiracies and/or the paranormal, the Web is the place to go. Numerous mystery-filled sites await those intrepid enough to venture to them. Whether hitting these sites for the fun of it, or for taking the contents seriously, boredom and predictability should be of no concern. One of the better sites for finding alternative information is that of Leading Edge International Group from Washington state. This site suggests a policy of total open- mindedness. As a news-based Web site, Leading Edge offers articles and links to a variety of subjects outside the mainstream. Some of the topics addressed are pretty basic, such as nutrient and dietary research, organic foods, and alternative housing.OUTSIDE THE NORMAL REALMBut then there are areas that delve into what many would consider outside the realm of "normal" everyday experience. Viewers at Leading Edge's site can cast their eyes on information regarding reptilian (and many other kinds of) aliens, u.f.o.'s, extra-terrestrial encounters on earth, alien architecture on the moon and Mars, and so much more. Also listed are more earthly subjects, such as the Jesuit/Mason conspiracy for world domination, conspiracies involving corporate America and the government, and an unauthorized biography of George Bush, which claims to link the former president with various covert operations, including the alleged C.I.A./drug running operations, just to name a few. Some of the articles at Leading Edge's site also consist of interview sessions. These interviews are with persons who claim to have information regarding various conspiracy plots or contacts with the unusual. Many of these sessions can be quite entertaining because of the straight-forward manner with which controversial topics are addressed. The following topics were discussed in one such interview: government sponsored time travel, weather control, mind control, extra-terrestrials, Nazis, and an underground military base on the east coast of the United States. Here is a brief excerpt from an interview between a Mr. Valdamar Valerian and someone called Mr. Nichols. N: "Where do you want to start?" V: "Let's start with the Phoenix Project." N: "It was a project that evolved out of the Philadelphia Project, which was a project that the Navy did during the 1930's and 1940's in an attempt to make ships invisible (The Philadelphia Project was an alleged Navy experiment to render a ship invisible to radar and to the human eye by having it enter another dimension. The Phoenix project supposedly grew out of this, involving experiments in such things as time travel. The Navy threw the switch one eventful day and the ship went into hyperspace, or time travel. But there were all sorts of problems with the people aboard. Upon returning to the time of origin, the ship and some of its crew were physically fused together. An explanation for this can be found in the entire interview.) "It was a huge success as well as a huge failure [because of the people killed]- then they shelved it. Around 1947, it was decided to re-activate the project and it was moved to Brookhaven National Laboratories with Dr. John Von Neumann and his associates. Out of Phoenix I came Stealth technology, which I cannot talk about because of my job. It also produced all sorts of energetic little toys..." Pique your interest? At times, it seems like people have put these things on-line as a joke. Undoubtedly some have, who knows? But while surfing, there is the feeling that some of the people involved really do believe in all this."THE 60 GREATEST CONSPIRACIES"Authors Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen set up a Web site to push their book The 50 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time. I guess weird things are happening all the time, because the site is now known as "The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time" . The CNN program "CrossFire" recently featured Vankin as a guest during a discussion about conspiracy theories. Both authors have made careers out of satisfying America's fascination with conspiracies. But don't let the sales pitch-styled title throw you. This site is probably the source for invaluable links when seeking information on conspiracies and the unusual. The links are divided into topic areas that appear straight forward enough, such as UFOria, Assassinology, Secret Stuff, Paranoia, The Man, Madness, Subversion, and The X-Files. But even those of us with spare imagination might be challenged to think up some of the subjects found under these headings. Here is a brief sample of the sites accessible from "60 Greatest Conspiracies", whose titles tell it all: Nazi UFO's in Antarctica (can penguins goose-step?), the Kansas Bigfoot Center, a slew of JFK assassination sites, the Ebola Page, how to build an atomic bomb, Bill Clinton links (China calling?), the Oklahoma City bombing, Kurt Cobain was murdered, the Paranoid Conspiracy Cosmic Rapture 2000 Page (I just love the name), and...well, just go there yourself. The "60 Conspiracies" site differs from that of Leading Edge in that "60 Conspiracies" doesn't take itself as seriously. Take for example "The Skeleton Key to the Gemstone File: Aristotle Onassis IS Ernst Stavro Blofeld!" link. Ernst Blofeld is the fictional, super-rich villain from the James Bond films, who is the head of a criminal Web spanning the globe. The theory is that Aristotle Onassis, the late Greek shipping tycoon, was a real life version of this shadowy character. The link provides an outline of a more extensive file, which helps anyone new to this particular theory understand the big picture. "1932: Onassis, a Greek drug pusher and ship owner who made his first million selling "Turkish tobacco" (Opium) in Argentina, worked out a profitable deal with Joseph Kennedy, Eugene Meyer, and Meyer Lansky. Onassis was to ship booze directly into Boston for Joseph Kennedy. Also involved was a heroin deal with Franklin and Elliott Roosevelt." From here, it is either all downhill or a lot of fun, depending on one's point of view and especially one's understanding of the historical figures involved. That's precisely what makes some of these sites so fun; just take some history, add a little grain of conspiracy, and mix well with imagination. The results may be hard to believe...or maybe not.Visit http://www.Webcom.com/conspire and go to UFOology for a glimpse of the notorious Roswell "autopsy" film, which purports to depict the 1947 postmortem of an actual, albeit dead, space alien. For several months, Internauts have had access to grainy frame captures (pictured, right) of the black and white film. Ray Santilli, the British impresario who claims to have discovered the long-lost films while scouring America for vintage Elvis footage (you knew Elvis would figure into this story), continues to defend the films as authentic. Santilli, a documentary film producer, purchased 91 minutes of 16mm (for an undisclosed price) from the former army cameraman assigned to record the monumental event of an alien autopsy. 50 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time--the book--details the famous Roswell story: In 1947 something weird crashed outside of Roswell, New Mexico. Declassified Documents Are UsAnother site well worth exploring is Parascope . Parascope is an on-line magazine based in California, whose motto is the paranoid anthem, "Something Strange is Happening". Actually, Parascope offers its information in a format similar to other e-zines. The main topics at Parascope also involve conspiracies, u.f.o.'s & aliens, the paranormal, and what they call "hard evidence." The last topic, "Hard Evidence", is what separates this site from similar destinations on the Web. Parascope posts declassified government documents which, if authentic, make one stop and wonder exactly what the powers that be were thinking at the time. For example, Parascope posted a group of documents that could be part of a way out Halloween version of "Jeopardy". The contestant might say, "I'll take Supernatural Counterinsurgency in the Congo for $500, Alex." The introduction to the declassified Army file explains, "This unusual document, 'Witchcraft, Sorcery, Magic, and Other Psychological Phenomena, and Their Implications on Military and Paramilitary Operations in the Congo,' was prepared for the U.S. Army in 1964. The report is a treatise on paranormal combat, discussing "counter-magic" tactics to suppress rebels who are backed by witch-doctors, charms, and magic potions." Well, you probably get the idea. I wonder if George Bush had a Sadaam voodoo doll? Maybe I'll add my own link. Parascope is also the place for those who can't get enough of the allegations surrounding our current president. Bill Clinton has an entire section devoted to his antics. The sites mentioned here are filled with scads of information and links. The few examples given here are just the tip of the iceberg. The number of conspiracy/unusual sites and links that can be found on the Web really is amazing. From the believable to the, well, Mormon-UFO connection, it's all there. Even eternal skeptics (which includes this writer) can have fun because of the very point and click nature of the Web. It's like being able to arrange a personalized book or television script. There is an interesting effect that the Web has on the credibility factor. Unlike television, there are no commercial breaks. The Web site is mostly text and images, which lends it validity not unlike that of a book or newspaper. All it takes is a little imagination...or a lot.Other Sites:Nexus Magazine: http://www2.peg.apc.org/~nexus/welcome.htmlDisinformation: http://www.disinfo.comBeyond Weird: http://www.beyondweird.com/index.htmlConspiracy Theory Land: http://ccwf.cc.utexas.edu/~panicbuy/HaTeMaiL/conspiracy.html

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