Now here's one that has my high octane speculation and suspicion meter in the red zone. It was spotted and shared by E.K., and it raises all sorts of questions, for it seems that ships at sea have been sailing in circles, and no one, apparently, knows why. Here's the story:
As the article notes, ships sailing in circles - often unbeknownst to their crews (we'll get back to that) - has been a growing phenomenon, particularly in Chinese waters, and as the article avers, one immediate suspicion is electronic warfare and the deliberate interference and manipulation of GPS data:
Ships appearing to sail in circles have become an increasingly common and mysterious phenomenon near a number of ports on the coast of China, especially near oil terminals and government facilities - but nothing had been seen where the Willowy was.
Researchers monitoring these bizarre circles near the Chinese coast believe they are probably the result of systematic GPS manipulation designed to undermine a tracking system which all commercial ships are required to use under international law.
The circles spotted near the Chinese coast have been attributed to GPS interference, something which coincided with US sanctions on Iran, according to Phil Diacon, the chief executive of marine intelligence firm Dryad Global.
This immediately made me think of the USS Fitrzgerald and USS John McCain incidents, where two American warships, one in Japanese waters (the Fitzgerald) and the other in the busy waters around Singapore (the McCain), suffered collisions with civilian vessels, in spite of the latest in electronic detection and warfare equipment. I said then, and maintain still (and in spite of friendly efforts from ex-US Navy personnel to dissuade me), that these were not accidents, but perhaps the result of electronic warfare of some sort. I've even gone so far as to entertain the possibility that some sort of mind-manipulation technology may have been used not only on the crews of the American warships, but perhaps also on the crews of the civilian vessels with which they collided.
The problem with that explanation here is that the latest episodes occur far from waters in which China would be interested:
But according to a global analysis of this data by environmental groups SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch, a number of circling incidents have also occurred quite a distance away from Chinese ports, with some impossibly appearing miles inland near San Francisco.
SkyTruth found the real locations of these ships often thousands of miles away from the circular sailing tracks. The ships were again were often actually near oil terminals or in locations where GPS disruption had been reported before.
In this case, a Liberian flagged vessel began to show some unusual behavior:
At approximately 1am on Sunday morning, the Liberian-flagged crude oil tanker, operated by Singaporean business Executive Ship, suddenly swung starboard and began actually sailing in circles.
The ship was unable to steer and the crew reported that four other vessels in its vicinity were caught in a similar spiral, slowly converging on each other for an unknown reason.
There are suggestions that GPS jamming has been used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to dupe commercial vessels into entering Iranian waters, and Chinese electronic warfare capabilities have been proposed as a potential cause for some ships appearing thousands of miles away from where they really were.
The crew aboard the Willowy were aware of these issues but none of these risks could be feasible west of Cape Town - a long way from the Strait of Hormuz or the contested South China Sea.
So what's the explanation here? The article offers the South Atlantic magnetic anomaly and the weakening magnetic field of the Earth as a possible hypothesis:
But the European Space Agency has detected something else there.
Nobody knows why, but the Earth's magnetic field - which has lost almost 10% of its strength over the last two centuries - is growing particularly weak in a large region stretching from Africa to South America, impacting satellites and spacecraft.
Known as the South Atlantic Anomaly, the field strength in this area has rapidly shrunk over the past 50 years just as the area itself has grown and moved westward. And over the past five years a second centre of minimum intensity has developed southwest of Africa, very near to where the Willowy was sailing.
One speculation regarding this weakening is that it is a sign that the Earth is heading for a pole reversal - in which the north and south magnetic poles flip.
This flip won't happen immediately but instead would occur over the course of a couple of centuries during which there would be multiple north and south magnetic poles all around the globe.
The impact would be enormous for seafaring vessels whose navigation was based on magnetic compasses - causing them not only to sail in circles, but perhaps not even realise it.
Fortunately, as the crew and the company's onshore marine superintendents knew, it has been decades since magnetic compasses governed maritime navigation.
Modern ships like the Willowy use something called a gyrocompass instead, which finds true north as determined by gravity and the axis of the Earth's rotation rather than magnetic north.
Now, this is where it gets very interesting, especially if you've been following some discussions in physics for the past few decades where it has been suggested that there is a link - mysterious and unknown - between gravity and magnetism. And it's also where the article begins to raise more questions than it answers, for we're informed that the Willowy's gyrocompass mysteriously malfunctioned, cause unknown:
The crew, alongside the company's shore-based marine superintendents, investigated and identified that the ship's primary gyrocompass was indeed malfunctioning.
The ship resumed its course safely when it switched to using the secondary gyrocompass, along with an old-fashioned magnetic compass for good measure, Executive Ship confirmed to Sky News.
Asked what caused the failure, the company described it as "an incidental breakdown" and added "repair will be done at the next port where the cause will be identified by shore technicians".
But wait a minute, what about those four other ships involved in the incident? Indeed, the article itself asks this question in the very next paragraph:
But what about the other ships in the Willowy's vicinity, circling and seeming as if they would converge?
A spokesperson for Executive Ship explained to Sky News: "The initial presumptive cause of circling for the Willowy was considered to be strong currents which also led the crew to perceive that other ships were circling too."
With so many mysteries on the oceans, it must be easy to panic at sea.
And with that rather lack-luster ending and non-explanation, the whole article ends.
As the reader might have guessed, this has my high octane speculations and suspicions running in all sorts of directions, all of them in "the red zone." For example:
What if the appearance of the South Atlantic anomaly is not entirely natural? What if it is either deliberately engineered, or, is a consequence - an unknown effect - of so many new technologies being introduced around fifty years ago, such as extremely low frequency radio broadcasting using deeply embedded antennae in the Earth, which might interfere with the planetary dynamo and hence with the magnetic field? What if such technologies and there effects were deliberately investigated in the past 50 years, such that utilizing that technology one could literally induce a pole shift, or the creation of several local north or south magnetic poles?
But as the article notes, magnetic compasses and so on should not even be a concern, since ships use gyrocompasses. So the implication is that something might be causing gyrocompasses to malfunction simultaneously and in the same area. If that is the case (and the article does not explicitly say so, I'm merely speculating that it might be), then the question is what is making that happen? Given that the article spends much time indicating that many incidents might be written off to electronic warfare and interference of some sort, I wonder if it is being suggested that interference along the lines of my speculations in the previous paragraph isn't being suggested. But how and why?
My suspicion is that somehow the gyrocompasses are being intereferred with. There might be a variety of methods to do this: introduction of subtle precessional "wobbles" in the compass, which could "move" rotational "north" to a different position. Since gyrocompasses are based on the mass and rotation of the Earth and the compass in relation to them, this would seem to imply an ability to alter local or regional conditions; think of the "masscons" beneath the Moon's surface, anomalous concentrations of mass, which would increase the local gravitational acceleration on the lunar surface. Similar things might be being engineered - deliberately, or as an unintended consequence of other systems engineering.
In any case, I don't know about you, but I have the suspicion, the intuition, that regardless of whether or not we're looking at deliberate intentional (or unintentional) interference, the bottom line is we're looking at interference of major navigation systems.
And that makes this story one to watch.
See you on the flip side...