Apr 24, 2022


The Instagram Guru 'Fucking' His Female Followers 'To Freedom'

Although his teachings consisted of fairly generic spiritual koans, he looked nothing like a typical ethereal guru: On Instagram, he regularly showed off his fondness for cigars and fine blended whiskeys. He often posted photos of himself with his tanned arm snaked around the waists of one or more waifish, mermaid-haired women. And with his toned biceps, and Zack Morris-esque swoop of sun-kissed hair, he more closely resembled a pampered surfer boy whose dad had paid his way into Stanford than a spiritual leader.

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Yet if you probe beneath the surface, Massaro’s teachings seem to bear the distinct mark of a dark messianic complex. He has openly stated he can “teleport, bilocate, and levitate”; he allegedly prescribes restrictive fasts and diets, which cult experts say helps keep followers malleable (a claim he denies); he has sex with female followers as a way to reward them and to punish them for apparent misdeeds, according to two women I spoke with who’d had relationships with him; and his teachings skew toward open misogyny, instructing followers on the strict dichotomy of traditional gender roles and urging women to resist their more active “masculine” impulses, writing in one 2016 post that femininity is defined by “radiance and surrender.” (It’s worth noting that strict gender dichotomies are common in cults, with the self-improvement organization NXIVM espousing a similar ideology.)

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Massaro’s expanding influence is “very concerning,” says Diane Benscoter, a former Moonie and the founder of Antidote.ngo, an organization that helps those affected by psychological manipulation. According to Benscoter, Massaro’s teachings have “a real appeal for people who feel lost, who feel like they’re missing something, who are looking for love and looking for acceptance and looking for friends and community. They’re going to be really susceptible to this, and the cost could be years of their lives, or it could be worse.”

Carl Lentz allegedly ‘caused’ mental illness in multiple staff, volunteers; opens up about affairs: report

As he wooed celebrities like Justin Bieber to cultivate an image of success and help elevate the global Hillsong Church brand in the United States, Carl Lentz ruled the Hillsong NYC church he started in Manhattan in 2010 with a degree of manipulation so ruthless multiple staff and volunteers allege that he caused them to suffer mental illness, according to depositions in a report obtained by The Christian Post.

The report, titled “Internal Investigation Report Regarding Carl Lentz and Other Matters,” is the result of an internal investigation conducted on behalf of Hillsong Church by the New York City law firm Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman, LLP, after Lentz’s firing in November 2020 over “leadership issues” and moral failures, including being unfaithful to his wife, Laura.

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The details in the 51-page report allege, among other things, a mishandling of the spiritual care of a vulnerable parishioner with an eating disorder who eventually died, and multiple incidents of consensual or non-consensual sexual interaction between church leaders and congregants, staff, volunteers, or non-churchgoers. It presents an unflattering view of Lentz as a lying, massage-loving, adulterer whopresided over a congregation in which he did as he pleased in a hierarchy where he seemingly answered to no one.

A Japanese 'killing stone,' said to contain an evil 9-tailed fox spirit, has split in two

An evil fox spirit is on the loose after breaking free from her rock prison -- that is, if you believe in Japanese mythology.

A Sessho-seki, or "killing stone," was found cracked in half this month in Nikko National Park, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Tokyo.

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Tamamo-no-Mae was known for her shape-shifting abilities, so she transformed herself into a beautiful woman and caught the eye of the emperor, Kapur said.

As she grew closer to the emperor, he fell gravely ill, Kapur said. A court astrologer used divination to determine Tamamo-no-Mae was the culprit, he said.

Once her plan was foiled, she fled into the wilderness, changing shapes to try and stay hidden, he said. However, samurai sent after her eventually caught up to the fox spirit, Kapur said.

Strange new type of solar wave defies physics

Scientists have detected a strange new type of high-frequency wave on the sun's surface, and the waves are moving three times faster than scientists thought was possible.

The acoustic waves, called high-frequency retrograde (HFR) vorticity waves, were spotted rippling backward through the sun's plasma in the opposite direction of its rotation. The previously unknown type of wave was described in a study published March 24 in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Scientists can't see into the sun's fiery depths, so they often measure the acoustic waves that move across its surface and bounce back toward its core to infer what's going on inside. But the unprecedented speed of the HFR waves, spotted in 25 years of data from space and ground-based telescopes, has hinted that scientists might be missing something big.

"The very existence of HFR modes and their origin is a true mystery and may allude to exciting physics at play," co-author Shravan Hanasoge, an astrophysicist at New York University Abu Dhabi's Center for Space Science, said in a statement. "It has the potential to shed insight on the otherwise unobservable interior of the sun."

Scientists prepare CERN collider restart in hunt for "dark matter"

Scientists at Europe's physics research centre will this week fire up the 27 kilometer-long Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the machine that found the Higgs boson particle, after a shutdown for maintenance and upgrades was prolonged by COVID-19 delays.

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The batch of LHC collisions observed at CERN between 2010-2013 brought proof of the existence of the long-sought Higgs boson particle which, along with its linked energy field, is thought to be vital to the formation of the universe after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.

But plenty remains to be discovered.

Physicists hope the resumption of collisions will help in their quest for so-called "dark matter" that lies beyond the visible universe. Dark matter is thought to be five times more prevalent than ordinary matter but does not absorb, reflect or emit light. Searches have so-far come up empty-handed.

Remains of Female Clergy Found in Mysterious Byzantine Basilica in Israel

The ruins of a spectacular Byzantine-era basilica with intricate mosaics, unearthed in the Mediterranean city of Ashdod, Israel, have also proven to be the the site of a mass grave, according to recent research.

The enormous basilica not only has the spectacular mosaics that were so characteristic of the time – it also has a great number of graves of prominent female clergy members who served the church alongside the male clergy and an intriguing connection to one of the apostles of Christ.

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With well-constructed graves that were the resting places of deaconesses, including Sophronia, with elaborate Greek inscriptions with their names and titles, researchers were shocked this Summer to find mass graves, in which bodies had been dumped together and lime thrown over them, sometime in the sixth century.

Now, the bones of the unfortunate victims are being studied in an attempt to find exactly what they may have succumbed to.

Can the Clever Use of Old Legal Strategies Thwart Psychedelic Monopolies?

Despite wariness around the steep rise in psychedelic patents over the last year, patents continue to be applied for and granted on everything from LSD for food allergies to DMT vape pens. Patents have been hotly debated in open letters and blog posts and on panels, yet there have been relatively few actual challenges to patents—in part because it’s a complex and expensive process to push back against a patent once it’s been granted.

The most high-profile challenge so far happened at the end of last year, when the non-profit Freedom to Operate filed two petitions for post-grant review (PGR) against patents for a synthetic form of psilocybin held by mental health company Compass Pathways. But these petitions took around a million dollars and months of work from a team of hired scientists and lawyers. As the psychedelic field becomes saturated with more patents, not many organizations or individuals have the resources to do the same.

The concern around psychedelic patents is more than a philosophical one about whether a corporation can own nature. Who legally owns what can impact the cost of psychedelic products and services later on, as well as drive investor decisions, determining which companies thrive and which do not. Having tools and resources to navigate the patent landscape can help create more equitable access. Recent actions taken by Freedom to Operate highlight some alternatives to filing exorbitantly expensive petitions.

Psychedelic frees up depressed brain, study shows

With depression, the brain can get stuck in a rut and locked into a particular negative way of thinking, he said.

But when given psilocybin, people's brains opened up and became "more flexible and fluid" up to three weeks later.

This could be seen in increased connections between regions of the brain when patients were scanned. These patients were more likely to experience an improvement in mood months later.

Similar changes were not seen in the brains of people treated with a standard antidepressant.

"This supports our initial predictions, and confirms psilocybin could be a real alternative approach to depression treatments," [Prof David Nutt, study author and head of the Imperial College London's Centre for Psychedelic Research] said.

“Near-Death Experiences” Are Not Hallucinations, Says First-Ever Study Of Its Kind

[S]cientists from a wide range of disciplines have published a new consensus statement regarding the study of death. Published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, the paper is the first-ever peer-reviewed statement on the scientific study of death, and is designed to “provide insights into potential mechanisms, ethical implications, and methodologic considerations for systematic investigation” and “identify issues and controversies” in the research area.

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In fact, the researchers point out, evidence suggests that neither physiological nor cognitive processes end at the “point of death” – and while scientific studies have so far not been able to prove the reality of near-death experiences, neither can they disprove them.

What is notable is that these experiences – of which there are hundreds of millions recorded from cultures around the world – consistently follow the same themes and narrative arcs. Generally speaking, your average near-death experience involves first feeling separated from your body and having a heightened sense of consciousness and recognition of death; next, a sense of travel to some destination followed by a meaningful and purposeful analysis of your actions, intentions and thoughts towards others throughout your life; then, you’ll feel like you’re in a place that feels like “home”, before finally returning to the real world (and, probably, a lot of very relieved paramedics.)

While that may sound pretty psychedelic, we also know that near-death experiences don’t have a lot in common with hallucinations, illusions, or psychedelic drug induced experiences – though they do often result in the same sort of positive long-term psychological transformation that recent studies have associated with the use of substances like psilocybin.

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