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In the first half of Friday's program, Buck Wolf , senior correspondent and weird news editor for AOL News, shared tales and adventures from his investigations into the strange and unusual. He noted that the genre of "weird news" can encompass a wide variety of stories, such as bizarre finds and fringe art as well as paranormal events. Reflecting on how he ended up covering strange stories, Wolf recalled working for ABC in the 1990's and reporting on lurid murder trials like those of the Menendez brothers and OJ Simpson. Offered the choice of either covering yet another murder case or traveling to a Spam festival featuring a Stonehenge replica made out of the faux meat, he declared, "I want to see Spamhenge" and thus began his journey into the bizarre.
While there has always been huge interest in these odd stories, he said, it is the explosion of the Internet which has changed the way they are covered. He explained that not only are there now a bevy of outlets that can report previously marginalized weird stories, but media companies can also see how truly popular these tales are to their readers, which leads to even greater coverage of the strange and unusual. Wolf also cited the proliferation of social media as a wholly unique new way that people receive news, since it has a communal quality where articles are shared and suggested amongst family and friends. Ultimately, he suggested that, as the level of interaction between the media and their audience continues to grow, broadcasters and journalists will have to adapt and become better reporters as feedback becomes instantly and easily available.
During Open Lines, Sid in Texas recounted a strange encounter he had on the 4th of July in 2007. At a family event, he and his father-in-law were cooking in the front yard when Sid noticed something strange running down the middle of the road. As it got closer to the house, he saw that it was an entity wearing a "space helmet" and seemingly covered with a protective layer of cobalt glass. As this odd visitor passed the house, he appeared to stop at the driveway. Encouraged by his father-in-law, Sid ventured over to the vehicles and looked underneath for the creature but saw no sign of it. A subsequent search of the area also yielded no clues as to what became of the 'space man,' leading Sid to theorize that it had somehow cloaked itself.
Other callers during the evening included Randy in Wisconsin, who wanted to raise awareness about how the population of fireflies seems to be diminishing in a manner similar to what is happening with honeybees. Thankfully, Randy pointed out, Clemson University is currently studying the phenomenon as part of a program known as the Vanishing Firefly Project . Greg in Oregon recalled his strange ghostly experience while staying at his sister's house. While resting on the couch on Christmas Eve, something slapped him in the back of the head, but there was no one else in the room. Following that, bad luck seemed to follow him, including a near fatal car accident.
Today in Strangeness:
Happy 4th of July! Oddly the U.S.' 2nd & 3rd presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on America's birthday in 1826. On this day in 1054, Japanese and Chinese astronomers began seeing the brightest known supernova (Crab Nebula), which shone for 23 days. More recently, another celestial object-- the Pizza Hut blimp, became deflated in flight, but landed safely on W. 56th St. in NYC (1993).
Tonight's Show, Saturday, July 4th:
Host Connie Willis (email) will be joined by Joseph McMoneagle , known as the best Operational Remote Viewer in the history of the U.S. Army's Special Project-- Stargate. He'll describe how he achieves his results using scientifically designed and double-blind protocols, and how he's continued to demonstrate these abilities on camera, and in the lab at the famed Monroe Institute. First hour guest, Philadelphia author, Thom Nickels (Amazon page), shares weird stories of the founding fathers of the US, including the secret life of Ben Franklin.
6-10pm PT: Art Bell - Somewhere in Time returns to 9/30/96 for an evening of Open Lines covering such varied topics as the presidential race, Neanderthals, New Orleans, ValueJet airlines, and the inside of the Sphinx.