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It is getting interesting out there, and it is not just the clashes in Egypt and an historic storm lashing at Australia (with winds stronger than Katrina) and the fall of two Mideast governments and the large storms that seem to cross the U.S. weekly and reports of comets jetting toward the sun and unusual clouds and disappearing animals but also what many refer to as even "paranormal" phenomena.

With this, we have to be especially careful. 

There is a lot of strangeness in our time, and caution is in order. Bizarre claims must be treated as bizarre claims -- subject to careful (but not atheistic) evaluation.

In fact, in recent months, major governmental agencies in countries like England, Japan, France, and Russia have expressed puzzlement over aerial phenomena.

Three strange cloud formations recently appeared over South Carolina, sparking online discussions linking the features to everything from the Second Coming to recent mass bird deaths to secret military experiments. Is it all wild blog material?

Let's start with clouds, since the weather has been so (predictably) intense. As National Geographic reports: "Three nearly identical, UFO-like cloud formations recently appeared over Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, sparking online discussions linking the features to everything from the Second Coming to recent mass bird deaths to secret military experiments. At least one scientist believes the so-called hole-punch clouds have a military explanation, though it may not be quite what conspiracy theorists expect. On January 7, IT technician Wesley Tyler was running out to his car for a computer part when he noticed the saucer-like formations. (See other cloud pictures.) 'At first we thought they were tornado clouds, but the air was so still—like mausoleum still,' Tyler said. 'You just knew it was unusual. I've lived on the beach for years and never seen anything like that.' "


In Greenland, the sun appeared two days earlier than normal, and as a viewer informs us, Eskimos in Alaska "say  the same thing about the sun not completely disappearing at the winter solstice. "Is the incline-decline being shortened on the north-south axis or is the polar shift increasing?" we are asked.


Meanwhile, atmospheric scientists are reporting a significant increase -- perhaps unprecedented, at least in the annals of modern observation -- of clouds that are bright enough to see even at night [see here]. Matthew DeLand, an atmospheric scientist with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland., was recently quoted as saying he has found that night-shining clouds — technically known as polar mesospheric or noctilucent clouds — are forming more frequently and becoming brighter. He has been observing the clouds in data from instruments that have been flown on satellites since 1978.


Where it gets spooky -- and where caution is in order -- is when theorists become overly conspiratorial -- positing beliefs that it may be something like the electromagnetic project in Alaska called HAARP (for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, which beams intense energy skyward) -- although, with open mind, we consider that also.

But something else is afoot. There is a general spiritual unease and it is attended by phenomena, as one can also find virtually identical phenomena in the Middle Ages (during hyper-mercantilism, lascivious behavior, and a crisis in the Church, which was followed by plague). Most engaging, at least on YouTube, are the lights in the sky and particularly the "viral" videos of a large wavering "orb" over the Temple Dome in Jerusalem [see here too]. The bright light descended from a high altitude, hovered over the dome, like a luminous amoeba, then shot back up like a streak. It is hard to explain. They were recorded by cellphone cameras both at short and long range, in various stages, causing a stir.

Those who recall our admonitions to be careful about "extraterrestrial" explanations will remember that we have cited many cases in which such phenomena seemed to be not "UFOs" (in the sense of flying saucers) but hoaxes, misinterpreted natural phenomena, or spirit lights as were reported by the Amerindians and in current times by those who claim to see them in relation to haunted locales. Are they legitimate -- and if so, are they another manifestation of enhanced spiritual manifestations around us (for which we seek Church guidance, especially in the Catechism)?

The Dome of the Rock is at Temple Mount and as Wikipedia informs us, "The Temple Mount (Hebrew: Har haBáyith), also known in the Bible as Mount Zion or Mount Moriah and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary (Bait-ul-Muqaddas)(Arabic: al-haram al-qudsī ash-sharīf), is a religious site in the Old City of Jerusalem. Judaism regards the Temple Mount as the place where God chose the Divine Presence to rest (Isaiah 8:18); it was from here the world expanded into its present form and where God gathered the dust used to create the first man, Adam (according to the sages of the Talmud)." It is certainly curious that such a happening would occur directly over such a spiritual site. Many are those who claim luminous orbs in places like graveyards.

But what exactly were the luminosities? This case is admittedly difficult to explain. There also are recent reports of unidentified lights over Cairo. At least, one report states: "Confirmed UFO sightings over Cairo and the port city of Suez in Egypt early Saturday morning comes at a time when the United Nations is reviewing the French government produced COMETA Report that states 'about five percent of UFO sightings defy conventional explanation' and often occur at a time of world crisis; while, also stating that UFOs 'constitute a real phenomenon warranting immediate international attention.' " Egypt has a long history of phenomena.

Occult watch? Deception? A spiritual intensification?

In the Middle Ages, there was at least one case in which a bishop exorcised a strange aerial light (emphasis on the verb "exorcised") during the great plague.

What about those who claim that events to come will involve what appears to be two "suns"?

We note that astronomers have long been concerned with the possibility of a "long-term" comet with which they are totally unfamiliar (there are millions, we were told years ago, by experts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, when we visited there) suddenly appearing from behind the solar orb. Just this week, NASA scientists announced they have found thirty new comets and at least 33,000 space rocks in our solar system.

"In your lead article today, you spoke of two suns," wrote  James H. Dobbins, a lawyer in Virginia. "If you look into the origin of the Pieta Prayer Book, you will see it began with an Italian visionary. The characteristic sign of her apparitions was the appearance of the double sun. When we went to Conyers (Georgia) in the mid-90's, right before the (alleged) apparition began, my wife and I both saw the double sun.  Two disks, close together, one slightly less bright than the other, both about the same size. And no, it was not the moon. The phenomenon lasted for several minutes. We also both saw the spinning sun."

"I am fascinated by your stories of the two suns," writes Rory Page of Clinton, Montana. "Back in 1995/96 (can't remember exactly) I laid down for a nap and had a very vivid dream that I have to this day not forgotten. I was standing in our yard facing east and watching the sun come up. It was an immense sun and I was looking at it in disbelief when I was told that this was the 'Son of God' (the Eucharist). Then behind that 'Son' was the other sun coming up and I remember being very confused by the two suns but I had a great feeling of peace and wonder. That was it but I find it very interesting to now see discussion of two suns."

See photo above. Just digital effects?

The real phenomena? When, for one, the priest elevates the Eucharist. 

[see also: Easter Sunday asteroid? and  UFO hover above shrine]

[resources: spiritual warfare books]

[resources: Spirit Daily pilgrimage to Medjugorje; Announcing a retreat in Dallas, March 26: prophecy, spiritual warfare, healing family tree; Retreat in New Orleans: Mass, blessings, deep prayers, new report on prophetic trends; and Retreat in New Mexico]

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