[CNI News thanks John Pflughoft for alerting us to this story.]
LONDON (Reuter) - Despite an increase in miracles, an upward trend in cults and conspiracies and the discovery of new species of animals, 1994 was not as strange as the previous year, a magazine said Thursday [Feb 16, 1995].
The Fortean Times, an international bi-monthly journal of odd phenomena, claimed: "1994 was officially two percent less strange than 1993."
According to the glossy journal's annual strangeness index compiled from world media coverage of 34 categories of weird events, fewer paranormal experiences, apparitions, crop circles, mass deaths and water monsters were reported in 1994.
"We divide our range of interest and make an assessment on whether there has been more reporting on each of these subjects and we try to assess the public interest," said Bob Rickard, the 50-year-old founder of the London-based magazine.
"The range of interest goes from the hard scientific fact which is still an anomaly all the way through to quite subjective accounts," added Rickard, a former graphic artist.
Among the strangest events in 1994 was the birth in Wisconsin in August of a white buffalo, hailed by native Americans as a major religious event.
Thousands of small fish were found flapping about on parking lots and roads in the Australian outback after a rain storm in February and astronomers were baffled when the Hubble telescope recorded three bright rings in outer space measuring about three-and-a-half light years.
Rickard's personal favorites for 1994 were reports of a Loch Ness-like monster in a remote lake in Argentina and the discovery of two new species of animals -- the giant Muntjac deer and the Vu Quang ox -- in Vietnam.
"It's surprising because most zoologists have given up on large species being discovered. It is thought that the animals of the world are pretty much known but we're still having surprises," he said.
Rickard is particularly interested in spontaneous human combustion in which people burst into flames for no immediately apparent reason. No cases of the extremely rare occurrence were reported last year.
"This is still a very mysterious world," he said. "We've been documenting it for 21 years and after all this time every week is a surprise for us. Every post bag [we receive] is proof that the world has not been explained yet."
People are interested in unexplained events, he added, and are realizing that maybe science does not have the answer for everything.
Rickard and his editors assessed the index on the number of news reports, received from their 3,000 stringers around the world, in categories of unexplained phenomena such as apparitions, close encounters, poltergeists and prophecies.
The baseline for 1992, the first year of the index, was 3,400. Subsequent indices are judged against the previous year.
Original file name: .CNI - Strange Enough?
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