Wednesday, July 17, 2019

When Planets Attack

When Planets Attack

By Scott Corrales
© 2019

Five years ago, astronomers in Hawaii made an impressive discovery - their scans of the firmament had located the existence of a planet wandering through space without the benefit of a star to orbit. A rogue planet, in other words.

Only eighty light years from Earth - a stone's throw by astronomical distances - the wanderer received the unromantic designation PSO J318.5-22 and was determined to have been formed a little over eleven million years ago, making it a young orphan.

Dr. Michael Liu, in charge of the Pan-STARRS-1 wide-field telescope, remarked that such free-floating objects in space, the stuff of science fiction, had never been seen before. "It has all the characteristics of young planets found around stars, but it is drifting out there all alone. I had often wondered if such solitary objects exist, and now we know they do."

Scientists, however, had not been wasting precious telescope time looking for such worlds. They had been looking for brown dwarfs, dense stars with cool temperatures. The rogue planet’s existence was confirmed by two other astronomical instruments – the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility and the Gemini North Telescope, also in Hawaii.

My personal interest in these subjects comes from a deep-rooted interest in science fiction since very early childhood. Classic space opera gives us the notion of dark planets employed as lairs by galactic villains, or entire worlds hurled against the enemy as weapons of war. Even Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Empire offers us an orphan planet used as a forward base by his heroic general, Bel Riose. How this dark world kept sufficient atmosphere for characters to engage in lengthy dialogue is the subject of a completely different article.

But pride of place in the displacement of celestial orbs goes to the Gerry Anderson TV series “Space:1999”, set on our very own and familiar Moon, only this time ripped away from Earth by explosions in nuclear waste dumps on the satellite’s dark side. This wandering moon encounters other itinerant worlds (the giant planet “Erra” among them) as part of its highly fanciful but no less entertaining interstellar adventures.

Arthur C. Clarke’s wonderful books gave us the mysterious asteroid Rama, entering our solar system only as a refueling point before continuing its journey to parts unknown; others authors have speculated about “neutron stars” entering our solar system and causing planetary mayhem. H.G. wells had a comet strike our world and snatch entire segments of our population into space, giving them a tour of the outer planets.

Rogue planets – the easiest “handle” to give these worlds – were best articulated to science fiction opus “When Worlds Collide” (1951), presenting an Earth destroyed by not one, but two wandering planets – Bronson Alpha and Bronson Beta -- luckily for our species, a group of humans manage to escape the second of these aboard a classic, needle-nosed rocket ship. The actual blasting off to the new world occupies only a few minutes of screen time – the rest of the film concentrates on the more pressing question of who would be allowed to be among the lucky few to leave our dying world. Fritz Leiber delighted science fiction readers with “The Wanderer” (1964) a complex, multiple point-of-view space opera about a rogue planet that materializes in our solar system and pulverizes our moon for fuel, just as a larger world appears out of nowhere: a “law enforcement” planet chasing the miscreant denizens of the “Wanderer” across the galaxy.In more recent years, big-screen thrill-fests like “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact” delighted and terrified thousands of viewers all over the world.

Thrilling stuff for sure, to be enjoyed in book form or on the silver screen, but is it really possible that planet-sized intruders could disrupt our solar system? What are we to make of the psychics and paranormalists who have forecast spatial events that are every bit as chilling as those featured in works of fiction?

Wanderers in Cosmic Darkness

An interesting factbook compiled by David Wallace and David Wallechinsky (“The People’s Almanac”, 1975) included a prophecy by the notorious T.V. psychic Criswell that proved less-than-accurate: in the year 1982, according to the seer, a dying rogue planet known as Bullanon would enter our solar system and come so close to our planet that it would “affect Earth’s gravity, shifting the poles.” This would in turn result in the rising of a lost continent that would serve as a bridge between the hump of Africa and southeastern South America. The price to be paid for this sudden acquisition of real estate would be earthquakes that would level cities on hemisphere, volcanic eruptions galore and tidal waves. “It will also cause a 40-day snowstorm with ice, resulting in a ‘white death’,” said Criswell. Humanity, brought to its knees by the unexpected cosmic phenomenon, would find no respite from cosmic peril, for on October 18, 1988, a meteor would slam into London, nearly leveling the city.

The temptation to sneer Criswell’s predictions is overpowering (after all, this is the same man who played the Voice of Doom in “Plan 9 From Outer Space”) but his prediction of planetary chaos is hardly the only one. The predictions of others have also featured rogue planets – especially those issued by the discarnate entity known only as “Ramatis”.

South American psychic Hermilio Maes channeled Ramatis extensively during the 1950s. Maes and his discarnate source managed to pen a number of books – chronicling the channeled sessions on a variety of subjects, mostly religion, morality and metaphysics – that garnered a considerable following in Latin America and Brazilian contactee and spiritualist circles (one of these works, O Sublime Peregrinho, concerning the life of Jesus, is still in print). After Maes died, “Ramatis” continued to appear in other trance-medium sessions.

Ramatis has a more colorful backstory than the traditional “space commanders” that populate contactee lore, and occultists hasten to explain that Ramatis is no run-of-the-mill spirit: he was born in Indochina in the 10th century B.C. and, through a series of reincarnations, played a critical role at key moments for humanity, serving as an instructor in many centers of esoteric learning in India, despite having died (or “become disembodied”, in esoteric parlance) at an early age. Centuries earlier, this teacher and healer had played a role in the events portrayed in the Ramayana, the great Indian epic, and serving the tradition put forth by the hero Rama.

Later--claim his chroniclers--he joined a team of spiritual workers in outer space whose duty is to remain in the Western World as disembodied instructors to transmit the “knowledge of the East” to those willing to hear. His full name in the “spiritual hierarchy” is Swami Sri Rama-Tis, but we can call him Ramatis for short.

Spirits and Wandering Planets

Armed with this pedigree and centuries of teachings behind him, the spirit dictated the message about the rogue planet through Hermilio Maes in the 1950’s, stating the following:

“More or less between 1960 and 1962, Earth scientists shall detect certain alterations of the sidereal routes (sic) which shall represent the first external signs of the approach of the “intruder star” as well as the end times. The star in question shall not be visible; it shall be only the perception of signs of a conjectural nature, since this manifestation shall become more notable toward the end of the century.

“The function of this “intruder star” shall be to choose in space, under the discipline of “judging the quick and dead”. In other words, those who are in the Beyond and here on Earth, identified by the effervescence of their negative magnetism [and therefore] attuned to the intruder star. This star, as we have already told you, is the barometer […]. Its purpose is to attract all discarnate spirits from the lower astral planes using its low vibration, as occurs with iron filings when attracted by a magnet.

“Be mindful that all prophecies present two revelations – one which can be described literally and understood at the time that predictions are made, and other – cabalistic – which demands the familiar knowledge of the Initiates to be properly understood, because it only adjusts to unknown forms yet to come […].

The spirit was not averse to providing a fuller description of the “intruder star”, either:

Verily, the intruder star is greater than Earth in its rigid nucleus or cooled mass, but there is no arithmetical correspondence between the nuclei and auras of both. The etheric volume of the first is more extensive or expansive because it is more radioactive […].

As to why the “intruder star” could not be seen by earthly telescopes, Ramatis explained:

“Countless times has your astronomical science been mistaken with its appreciations of what goes on in the heavens. How many times, after having identified very near stars, such as the case of Alpha, found in the vicinity of the Southern Cross, did you discover even closer bodies, such as the ones found in the constellation of the Centaur and the Virgin? Is it not strange that in the same space you should discover nearer stars, after having discovered the farther ones first?

Ramatis shows off his knowledge of Biblical prophecy as well as the writings of Michel de Notre Dame (Nostradamus), suggesting that Isaiah 34:20 indicates that the earth’s axis shall be sharpened by the passage of this rogue star – a change that cannot be corrected. Nostradamus, claims the disembodied instructor, allegedly wrote a letter to Henry II of France, stating that “a great transformation” would occur at the “appointed time” and that many would believe “that the earth was out of its orbit.” The 16th century visionary’s forty-first quatrain, says Ramatis, manifests the appearance of the intruder star when it says that “a great star” shall appear for a week, scorching the Earth, and that “two suns shall be visible in the sky, a great comet to the North.”

Hercolubus – The Hammer of the Gods?

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the fountains of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the water, because it was made bitter. “
-- John of Pathmos, The Book of Revelation

In later years, mystical authors like Rodolfo Benavides made mention of Ramatis and his “intruder star” in their works. Benavides’ landmark “Dramáticas Profecías de la Gran Pirámide” (Shocking Prophecies of the Great Pyramid) sought to establish a link between his theory of pyramidal measurements and their correspondence to key dates in human history, suggesting that a period of 6,666 years appearing in the Piramid of Gizeh’s so-called “Queen’s Chamber” corresponded to the 6,666-year orbit of the “intruder star”, now mentioned under the ominous name of Hercolubus, as it orbited a distant star named Tyla or Tylar – an orbit that brought it in periodic contact with Earth, resulting in cataclysms. Benavides stressed the fact that Hercolubus was a “cold star” or otherwise frozen heavenly body and that its last transit through our solar system, cutting through the plane of the ecliptic, had caused the disasters leading to the sinking of legendary Atlantis.

It is difficult to ascertain where the names Hercolubus and Tylar came from, but it is almost a sure thing that they were channeled during a séance whether with Ramatis or another entity. Like a snowball gathering mass as it rolls downhill, the “Hercolubus Mythos”, for lack of a better term, grew and added new information from occult sources: the Tylar star system, for example, acquired a number of planets with faux Latin names; other sources indicated that it would take 25,000 years for the souls taken away by the super giant rogue planet to “evolve”; an attempt was made to link the intruder star with celestial bodies known to modern astronomy, stating that Tylar was in fact Barnard’s Star (5.92 light years from Earth) and that its large companion, a gas giant, was Hercolubus. However, when this gas giant has shown no inclination to break away from its primary and hurtle toward Earth, believers in the channeled wisdom of the discarnate entities argued that Barnard’s Star was in fact heading straight toward our solar system.

While it is tempting to simply dismiss this as uninformed mystical twaddle, an interesting point of fact emerges here: Astronomers in the 1970’s considered the possibility that there could be “stray” planets not orbiting stars. These worldlets would have condensed from the very same cloud of interstellar dust that allowed the formation of the inner solar system. The smallness of their mass would have kept some of them from blazing into stars, so they remained orphan planets, not dependent on a larger star. The same astronomers speculated that the orphans would be comparable to the planetary gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus) in size and the nearest of them would be some three parsecs away, orbiting Sol at that tremendous distance. Could any of these worlds be the Tylar or the Hercolubus of Benavides and the elusive Ramatis?

Further adding to the mystery of celestial bodies moving through interstellar space, the astronomer A.T. Lawton, F.R.A.S., suggested that “the possible widely varying masses of stray planets, coupled with their long lifetimes, could be conducted to the appearance and development of living matter.” Not even the distinguished scientist speculated on what kind of life would emerge on these lightless worlds.

But in 1990, Scientific American magazine (October 1990) published the work of the astronomer Richard Muller and his team regarding the possibility that our sun had a “dark companion” named Nemesis, orbiting Sol every thirty-two million years, Hercolubus believers suddenly felt vindicated. Nemesis, according to the astronomers who postulated its existence, would move through the interstellar void periodically disturbing the comets in the Oort Cloud, the outer cometary nebula surrounding our solar system. One such comet could have been the celestial dart that caused the annihilation of the dinosaurs.

Like a movie set being hastily redressed for another scene, the champions of the “intruder star” hastily transferred Tylar from Barnard’s Star and turned it into Nemesis; Hercolubus, they argued, was not the comet the astronomical community had theorized, but the predicted massive, single planet that would fulfill the predictions of Ramatis.

Giant Planet-Comets?

Chilean UFO researcher Liliana Núñez mentions the curious fact that an astronomer with an international reputation actually threw his hat into the Hercolubus ring in a statement appearing in the August 22 1993 issue of Santiago de Chile’s “La Tercera” newspaper.

From his observatory in Villa Alemana, Chile, Carlos Muñoz Ferrada unequivocally told journalists that “a gigantic planet-comet approaching Earth is the source of climatic alterations, abnormal geological activity and volcanic explosions” which were taking place at the time. No believer in the mystical, Muñoz’s calculations indicated that the rogue “planet-comet” was approaching our solar system from “above” the plane of the ecliptic, heading toward the North Pole from the vicinity of the Ursa Minor constellation. The intruder’s size was predicted at 35 times greater than Earth and it “was charged with cosmic energy and a vast electromagnetic field. Its presence causes geophysical anomalies in all other heavenly bodies.” Some of the anomalies, according to Muñoz, were the strange flashes of light seen on the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn and – allegedly – the greater luminosity of Halley’s Comet when it transited through our solar system in 1986.

Most astronomers would have challenged Muñoz on an elementary point – was his predicted intruder a planet or a comet? To this, the scientist said that he chose to define the object as a planet-comet because “it has the mass of the former and the orbital path of the latter,” adding that the intruder took 13,333.3 years to orbit our sun, implying that its last visit to the inner solar system had occurred in the days of Atlantis.

But Muñoz’s calculations were completely off when it came to predicting the rogue planet’s arrival: August 11, 1999 had been predicted as the date on which a spectacular conjunction between the Sun, the new Moon, Earth and the planet-comet would occur, with cataclysmic effects on our world. When nothing occurred on the date predicted, the astronomer made himself scarce.

Would current instruments easily detect a rogue planet so massive? What about Nemesis? It would appear that Richard Muller and his colleagues continued their search for Sol’s “dark companion”, developing the software required to scan over three thousand star fields which they believe would contain “possible red dwarf candidates” in the northern hemisphere. ("New Developments Regarding the KT Event and Other Catastrophes in Earth History", Houston Univ., p19-20). Their success will surely add not only a milestone to astronomy, but also a further chapter in the story of Hercolubus, which – if the mystics are correct – is inexorably approaching our planet for a rendezvous from which there is no escape.