ASSAP: Paranormal Research
ASSAP: Paranormal Education
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Maurice TownsendWelcome to the ASSAP paranormal blog! Though this blog is aimed at anyone interested in the paranormal, it will be of particular interest to the paranormal research community. Updated frequently, but not regularly (don't expect something new every day!), it covers any paranormal topic, as well as highlighting recent changes to the ASSAP website.

Whenever new information becomes available on a subject ASSAP covers, it is added to the relevant pages of the website straight away. So, just because you've read a page, don't assume it will still be exactly the same when you next look. That way the ASSAP website remains an up to date research resource.

The photo (above right, pic by Val Hope) is the ASSAP blogger himself, out looking for anomalies wherever they are to be found, so that you can read about them here. To contact the ASSAP blog, email here.

Important note: If anything in this blog does not make sense, try following the links in text! If it still doesn't make sense, that's probably my fault ...

Previous blog pages ... (including ghosts, UFOs, poltergeists, flying rods, miracles, orbs, hypnotic regression, big cats, vampires, near sleep experiences, premonitions, shadow ghosts, paranormal photos, auras, river monsters and dozens of other subjects)

NB: WDTHDWP = 'what does this have to do with the paranormal'

If you want to know when there is a new post here without having to keep checking, and are a member of Facebook, like or follow the ASSAP Facebook community page at this link.

26 December: What links remote viewing, psychic messages and ghosts?

skyMy acquaintance (MA) who gets microsleep with REM  (MWR – see here) experiences does not get them all the time. They typically arrive in clusters, several times a day for a few days and then none for days, even weeks. Why?  

It could be psychological or physiological – I don’t know. Maybe clues will emerge with time. So far it seems MA’s MWRs divide into two main types: sound-only and sound and vision. The sound-only version, which usually consists of voices, can happen while MA has a normal view of the world or when MA is seeing nothing (eyes closed). With the sound and vision version there are two types: a scene of the real world but with something different (usually just ONE additional thing like a human figure) or a scene of somewhere completely different (frequently unknown) to where MA actually is.

These types suggest two different origins for the MWRs. The sound-only ones could be hypnagogic as could the sound and vision ones which show the real scene MA is looking at. The sound and vision versions which are completely different from where MA actually is appear more like a conventional dream, albeit an incredibly brief one. After having no MWRs for weeks, MA has recently had several. One was striking because, although it was not the scene MA was observing, it was somewhere just metres away. This has never happened before. Also, although MA was sitting during the experience the view was as if MA was walking.

How might someone who gets MWRs, but is unaware of their natural origins, interpret these experiences? They might see the sound-only versions as psychic communications. The versions showing a different place to the witness’s actual location might be seen as remote viewing or even telepathy or a premonition. The versions showing the real scene in front of the witness but with a human figure added could clearly be reported as a ghost. A witness might even find ways to increase the frequency of such experiences, through trial and error, regarding it as psychic development.

14 December: Psychic voices – one possible origin

green lens flareI’ve had an odd experience from time to time that feels somehow like it’s a mind trick. But since there’s nothing exceptional about me I’m pretty sure everyone can do it. It is best illustrated by an example which happened to me recently.

I was approaching a ticket machine at a railway station. A young woman near the machine was talking but I wasn’t paying any attention to what she was saying. In these days of mobile phone head sets it's common to see people apparently addressing no one. But then, as I looked towards her I suddenly realised, to my surprise, she was talking to me. She had just finished talking so I had no idea what she’d said. So I replayed what she’d said in my head! I could hear her voice quite distinctly and the words she said. She told me the ticket machine wasn’t working and I’d have to go to another one behind me. I thanked her (out loud) and did as she said. I then went and checked the ticket machine she said was faulty and indeed it was. This kind of incident has happened a number of times down the years and it has always turned out to be correct.

I’m sure there is an official name for this phenomenon but I call it ‘memory replay’. I can’t find anything about it on the web but I’m probably not using the correct terminology. It only works for a short time after I’ve heard something so it probably involves short term memory or even working memory. I find it remarkable because I am not actively listening before I do the replay. And yet I can replay it like a sound recorder with the sound of the original voice not my ‘inner voice’.

Unfortunately, the effect does not work to order. I can’t walk down a street and suddenly think, the last person I just passed looked interesting, what were they saying. Instead, it happens once in a blue moon and it is always something that is important to me that I missed. So even though I’m not actively listening, some unconscious process IS and it’s looking out for important information.

I think this phenomenon is related to the unknown voices heard by my acquaintance (MA) who experiences microsleep with REM (MWR – see here). MA hears what sound like snatches of casually overheard conversation by unknown voices (see here). My feeling is that is exactly what they are. I think we hear things and remember them without really listening to them, unless they are relevant. I’m sure if the woman at the ticket machine had addressed my by name, I’d have paid attention instantly. The fact that I heard the replay in her voice supports the idea that the MWR voices have a similar origin.

So how come MA can recall such things much later whereas I can only do it for a few seconds after the event. Well. I do it consciously whereas MA is using MWRs which use the unconscious. So do we all store all these overheard conversations indefinitely while not able to consciously access them? I doubt it very much. I suspect MA’s ‘messages’ are all recent memories. With luck MA might be able to trace a future ‘message’ to its likely recent source.

Anyway, what has all this to do with anomalous phenomena? In the case of MWRs I think these could easily be taken as psychic messages by some people. The replaying memories phenomenon adds supporting evidence to the idea that we passively remember things we paid no attention to at the time. These memories can be either replayed instantly or recalled later through things like MWRs.

I think memory replay could itself be interpreted as paranormal too, in the right circumstances. Supposing, in my experience, I never noticed the young woman. I might nevertheless have replayed the memory and thought it a psychic message giving me useful verifiable information.

Out of interest, has anyone reading this ever replayed recent speech without listening to it first time round? And does anyone know what this phenomenon is really called?

11 December: The mysterious red box

lens flareThe other day I went out in the hope of seeing a ghost. No, I wan’t going on a ghost vigil (in my experience they are the least likely places to see a ghost). It was a bright sunny day. At present, here in the UK, the sun is very low in the sky all day. My glasses quickly darkened in the winter sunshine. Combined with getting the sun in my eyes, I could barely see where I was going and people looked like shadow ghosts. It was all I could do to avoid colliding with them. I was nearly run over by someone in a wheelchair – I only saw them at the last second.

Then I saw a human-like figure standing still on the path ahead of me. As I approached the figure vanished. Then I saw a large red box also on the path up ahead.  It looked indistinct but then so did the fence and road that I knew for a fact were present.  My suspicion of the red box was confirmed when it, too, vanished as I approached.

These two ghostly sightings are examples of misperception. Misperception normally requires a physical object to be present which is misperceived. But not always. In this case the ghostly figure was a shadow, I have often misperceived shadows, particularly where they are large and particularly dark as this one was. What about the ghostly red box? I do occasionally see patches of colour with my glasses, not associated with an object, caused by bright light sources in my vision. It is lens flare, with the sun providing the light source on this occasion. I never had it in previous glasses I think it may be because it’s a high prescription or the lenses are thin or both. It is possible to see the effect without wearing the glasses just by pointing them at a bright light source.  It’s not normally a problem except when, like this time, I can’t see much. In this incident I misperceived the red light patch as a box. The illustration (right) is not of this actual incident but it shows red lens flare caused by the low sun.

It is important when considering anomalous reports to try to reconstruct exactly how the sighting took place. And that includes the viewing conditions which can sometimes have a profound impact on what was seen. In this case my glasses where mainly responsible for what I saw because they darken in light conditions and this particular lens type can cause lens flare. Another witness standing right next to me at the same time would have seen nothing odd. I often wonder, when I read a report of an anomalous event, just what I’d have seen if I’d been there. In some cases I suspect the answer is nothing out of the ordinary.

3 December: Shadow ghost

figure in avenueSo, recently I was walking up a gently sloping path (lit by streetlights) in the evening. I saw a very dark figure of small stature, probably a young person, some 30m ahead of me. The figure was on one side of the path right up against a fence. I could distinctly see a head and more vaguely a body below. The figure seemed to be moving towards me. I could see no features in the figure, even the face. Nevertheless I had no reason to think it was anything other than a real person until, after a couple of seconds, it vanished.  So, a shadow ghost!

And now a crucial fact – I was wearing glasses and a face mask, as many people do these days. My glasses were partly steamed up and I think the apparition was  caused by the changing misty shapes on my glasses. The only definite part of the ‘figure’ I saw was the ‘face’ was effectively just a dark circle. The rest of the figure was vague. I think it was the position and size of the circle which suggested a head - it was in the right place for a person of small stature walking along the path. Had the circle been seen elsewhere I probably would have dismissed it as a patch of mist. I have noticed this important point before. A non-human object is much more likely to be seen as a human figure if it is in a position where a person is expected to be.

Interestingly, further up the path I saw a real young person coming towards me. They looked uncannily similar to my shadow ghost. However as they approached I could start to see features. Note that the illustration is not the actual path!

© Maurice Townsend 2021


Previous blog pages ...

  • Nov 2021 (including ghost ship to time slip, ghosts walking on a different level)
  • Oct 2021 (including partial ghosts, ghosts from a train, some odd happenings)
  • Sep 2021 (including skittering black thing, the 'ghosts in the breaks' effect)
  • Aug 2021 (including when ghosts break, ghost crossing, pigeons that aren't pigeons)
  • Jul 2021 (including strange rules, spatial distortion and mini-OBEs, did a wish come true)
  • Jun 2021 (including 40th anniversary of ASSAP, ghosts in circles)
  • May 2021 (including glimpsing a parallel universe, white blob ghost)
  • Apr 2021 (including capturing a fragment in time, a ghost crow, the ghost in the avenue)
  • Mar 2021 (including remote viewing, ghostly hand photo, voice from no one)
  • Feb 2021 (including paranormal object movement, being psychic or having a poor memory)
  • Jan 2021 (including ghostly footsteps approaching, seeing and photographing a ghost)
  • Dec 2020 (including shadow ghost, haunting noises, disappearing figure)
  • Nov 2020 (including doppelganger, distorted voice from nowhere, a psychic hit)
  • Oct 2020 (including a psychic near miss, what connects most paranormal photos, UFO sizes)
  • Sep 2020 (including experiencing time loss and coincidences in paranormal reports)
  • Aug 2020 (including the 'thing', moaning ghost, not seeing what is right in front of you)
  • Jul 2020 (including unidentified aerial phenomenon, paranormal apparition, false memories)
  • Jun 2020 (including glitch in time, black bag animal phenomenon, stationary ghosts)
  • May 2020 (including a different kind of OBE, haunting smells, voice over the water, shadow ghost)
  • Apr 2020 (including likely increase in paranormal reports during virus crisis)
  • Mar 2020 (including empty streets with voices, crisis apparition, talking ghost)
  • Feb 2020 (including bloody footprint, ghostly voices, child that wasn't there)
  • Jan 2020 (including are distracted people more likely to see see ghosts, on seeing disembodied legs)
  • Dec 2019 (including a couple disappear, talking fox, ghost without presence)
  • Nov 2019 (including multiple witness sightings, recording ghosts, reproducing a mini-OBE)
  • Oct 2019 (including how you know you've seen a ghost, ghost in an alley and a hi-vis jacket)
  • Sep 2019 (including instrumenting ghost vigils, are OBEs paranormal, day to night instantly)
  • Aug 2019 (including how do you recognise an OBE, ghost people, the unnoticed witness - a type of ghost experience)
  • Jul 2019 (including old style ghost vigils, fairy-like photos, tiny shadowt on roof)
  • Jun 2019 (including same ghost seen twice, am I a ghost, why so many ghosts)
  • May 2019 (including hidden ghosts, phantom building work, what should a ghost look like)
  • Apr 2019 (including witness testimony versus photos, can ghosts be photographed, the Vardoger connection)
  • Mar 2019 (including ghostly music, touched by a ghost, ghosts in hi-vis clothing)
  • Feb 2019 (including ghost appearing out of nowhere, hearing music when ghosts appear)
  • Jan 2019 (including staring ghost, are ghosts common, sense of presence, recognizing ghosts)
  • Dec. 2018 (including strange sound from sky, mocked by fate, comparing eye witness report and photo)
  • Nov 2018 (including another bolt from the blue, why aren't ghosts more common, seal in car)
  • Oct 2018 (including unseen in plain sight, street light interference, ghostly sounds - a purpose?)
  • Sep 2018 (including ghost crow, ghostliy sounds and attention overload, ghostly noises and day dreaming)
  • Aug 2018 (including how do you know when you're looking at a ghost, have ghostly voices stopped)
  • July 2018 (including new mini-OBE, 'sounds behind music' factors, followed by a ghost)
  • June 2018 (including hearing someone who isn't there, a bolt from the blue, when nothing happened)
  • May 2018 (including whether strange phenomena can evolve over time and the sleeping commuter phenomenon)
  • Apr 2018 (including should ghosts be commoner at night, book turns over instantly, 'garden poltergeist' returns)
  • Mar 2018 (including are rare events paranormal, like a time slip, strange leaning man, mystery flashing light)
  • Feb 2018 (including explanation for apparent precognition, ghostly figures, a huge invisible presence)
  • Jan 2018 (including ghostly conversation, ghost selfie, person vanishes, more stuff 'behind' music)
  • Dec 2017 (including a connection between reading and phantom sounds and investigating coincidences)
  • Nov 2017 (including man moving instantly, unexpected fall of night, ghosts rarely turning up on vigils)
  • Oct 2017 (including sounds 'behind' music, non-blurry ghost, ghost with a paunch, small human ghost)
  • Sep 2017 (including seeing ghosts to order, paper defies gravity, precognition, moving aerial mystery)
  • Aug 2017 (including identifiable ghosts, psychic message, like time standing still, on not seeing foxes)
  • Jul 2017 (including invisible ghosts, sense of presence in rain, precognition, haunting sounds)
  • Jun 2017 (including more real that reality, white flying object, pale figure at a window)
  • May 2017 (including ghosts: in a crowd, in a hi vis vest, object movement and sounds)
  • Apr 2017 (including no glasses no ghost, odd ghost, embarrassing ghost, fame month works again)
  • Mar 2017 (including white glowing shape or ghost, another source of 'presence', a ghost returns)
  • Feb 2017 (including fish in sky, best ghost in months, strange transparent object, recounting experiences often)
  • Jan 2017 (including ghostly face, phantom snow boarder, unexpected return of fame month)
  • Dec 2016 (including vanishing mouse. grey fuzzy thing, yellow dots, doppelganger)
  • Nov 2016 (including ghost fox, strange small figure in photo, haunting noises)
  • Oct 2016 (including strange voice, disintegrating ghost, ghostly leaf in focus to short-sighted witness)
  • Sep 2016 (including ghost on demand, shadow ghost, amplified hearing, anniversary ghosts)
  • Aug 2016 (including figure vanishes, strange music, phantom squirrel, fame month again)
  • Jul 2016 (including robot on wall, ghostly hooded figure, new house effect, transparent figures in photos)
  • Jun 2016 (including odd UFO, amplified hearing, alternate realities, strange stick figure on roof)
  • May 2016 (including farewell to the door ghost, restaurant ghost, invisible book, shrinking object)
  • Apr 2016 (including double UFO photo, strange animal, amplified hearing, fame month)
  • Mar 2016 (including time slip, strange brown blob, pig becomes horse, ghosts out or in focus)
  • Feb 2016 (including identifiable ghost, ghost in odd pose, leaning ghost, door ghost returns, ideal witness)
  • Jan 2016 (including too strange to be noticed, vanishing man, giant glowing pig, UFO reports)
  • Dec 2015 (including strange object with a tail, crouching ghost, scurrying ghost, sea serpents, false stepping)
  • Nov 2015 (including paranormal object movement, premonitions., distance of sighted ghosts, soundproof barrier)
  • Oct. 2015 (including monk and nun ghosts, white ghosts, red ghosts, touching ghosts, life going fast forward)
  • Sep 2015 (including glowing transparent ghost, unsettling ghost, insect ghost, UFO in clouds, linear photo anomalies)
  • Aug 2015 (including alien robot, white UFO, unlikely prediction comes true, animal ghosts. streaks in photos)
  • July 2015 (including coincidence versus precognition, paranormal smells, music and ghosts)
  • June 2015 (including interactive ghost, presence on train, orbs, spade wings)
  • May 2015 (including ghosts seen during vigils, mystery flash, sense of presence, transparent ghost, daytime UFO)
  • Apr 2015 (including UFO behind trees, orbs behind anything, possible cause of road ghost sightings, white-hatted ghost)
  • Mar 2015 (including moving object looking motionless, retreating ghost, IFO turning into a UFO)
  • Feb 2015 (including best ghost yet, how things vanish, purple thing, ghost in inappropriate attire)
  • Jan 2015 (including winter insect orbs, ghost from a train, strangeness threshold, flashes in the sky)
  • Dec 2014 (including lumpy horizon, green blob, strange lights, orbs, white floating thing)
  • Nov 2014 (including doors opening by themselves, haunting flashes, sense of presence, formant noise)
  • Oct 2014 (including animal ghosts, tricorn-hatted figure, seeing 0.23 celebrities monthly, dancing ghost)
  • Sep 2014 (including paper defying gravity, low flying UFOs, photographing ghosts, moving still photos)
  • Aug 2014 (including figure on a pillar, orbs still worth studying, ghost objects, shadow ghost)
  • July 2014 (including yellow orb, teleportation, ghostly whispers, owl, strange announcement)
  • June 2014 (including hand in a tree, blurry flying object, white alien, strange pattern on a dragonfly)
  • May 2014 (including single witness UFOs, ghosts vanishing, anomalies seen through gaps, rock face, creeping doppelgangers)
  • Apr 2014 (including unrecognized ghosts, odd UFO photo, do short-sighted people see ghosts, man with no face)
  • Mar 2014 (including unusual shaped UFO, ghost on a train, ghost presence, vampires, ghost calling)
  • Feb 2014 (including confusion, daylight orbs, haunted milk bottle, ghost on a bridge, too obvious explantations)
  • Jan 2014 (including colliding orbs, ball lightning, de-orbing, ghost mouse, mysterious flashes, ghost misidentification)
  • Dec 2013 (including popping orbs, new shadow ghost, ignoring a ghostly hand, dust turning into orbs videoed)
  • Nov 2013 (including hearing voices, blurry ghosts, mirrors and ghosts, coincidences, UFOs near airports)
  • Oct 2013 (including fairy photo, mist ghost, yeti, premonitions, orbs are NOT dust, how hauntings start)
  • Sep 2013 (including moving sticks, targets affecting odds in psi tests, shape shifting, not photographing ghosts)
  • Aug 2013 (including ghosts in plain view, mystery photo, seeing faces, ear pointing, shadow presence, time distortion)
  • July 2013 (including floating ghosts, on being a ghost, ghost ducks, follow that ghost - yes, ghosts galore)
  • June 2013 (including transparent ghosts, distance of UFOs, other stuff going on while witnessing anomalous phenomena)
  • May 2013 (including ghost seen AND photographed, time distortion, reproducing anomalous phenomena)
  • Apr 2013 (including door ghost moving, UFOs from a train, missing time, reality glitches, EVP without E, weird photos)
  • Mar 2013 (including witness credibility, distraction to see ghosts, movie in real life, photo or witness)
  • Feb 2013 (including possible orb comeback, OBEs go mainstream, walking ghost, feelings without touch, object movement)
  • Jan 2013 (including a big problem with ghost vigils, time distortions, cryptids, snow ghosts and rods, causes of hauntings)
  • Dec 2012 (including mysterious injuries, ghosts versus people, voice from nowhere, experimenting with a ghost)
  • Nov 2012 (including reflected ghost, isolated EVPs, ghosts talking to each other, invisible presences)
  • Oct 2012 (including ghostly presence, shadow ghost, strange pigeons, window ghosts, hallucinations)
  • Sep 2012 (including yellow grass, weird waterfalls, vanishing buzzard, ghost vigils, slowing down time)
  • Aug 2012 (including seeing unknown animals, glowing lampposts, EMF meters as an accident of history)
  • July 2012 (including turning rods into orbs, psychic insight, making insects spell, glowing eyes, haunting hot spots)
  • June 2012 (including doppelganger mystery, not expecting ghosts, anecdotal evidence, credible witnesses)
  • May 2012 (including lenticular cloud, ghost encounter, ghost train, weird stuff in a tree, van Gogh, resolution)
  • Apr 2012 (including naturalists and ghosts, odd feelings during OBE, wrong kind of sound, voice from nowhere)
  • Mar 2012 (including jogging and ghosts, misty ghosts, image noise, full spectrum photography, EVP of machines)
  • Feb 2012 (including ghost car, analyzing anomalous photos, ghost at rock concert, OBEs and motion sickness)
  • Jan 2012 (including stopping flying rods, photographing fairies, time warp, a ghost tie, ghostly fingers, New Year UFOs)
  • Dec 2011 (including missing time, improving ghost vigils, anomalous photos, ghostly faces, seeing fiction)
  • Nov 2011 (including OBE video games, EVP and VLF, whatshisname, paranormal misconceptions, invisible ghosts)
  • Oct 2011 (including smartphone ghosts, similacrum, smell of ghosts, morphing UFOs, slowing time)
  • Sep 2011 (including tidy ghost, MADS, transparent ghost, big announcement, ghost fox, not alone)
  • Aug 2011 (including cold spots, spectral hound, triangular UFO, ghost photos, rushing air and being dragged)
  • July 2011 (including Hilary Evans, Harry Potter, witness investment, bias in paranormal research, TV detectives)
  • June 2011 (including ASSAP @ 30, detecting lies, hyper-vigilence, strange thunder)
  • May 2011 (including ASSAP @ 30, lone shoes, flying rods, bias, early memories, strange floating object)
  • Apr 2011 (including royal wedding, mirror touch synaesthesia, sleep disorders, new ghost sighting)
  • Mar 2011 (including roof heron, Atlantis, first time witnesses, comparing film to digital paranormal photos)
  • Feb 2011 (including predicting the future, ghost bird, time slip, weird floor, what do we really know about paranormal)
  • Jan 2011 (including the ghost hunting boom, orange UFO, EVP experiment, extreme normality)
  • Dec 2010 (including microsleeps and road ghosts, shadow ghost in snow, lack of ghosts in photos, anthropomorphism)
  • Nov 2010 (including EMF meters, auras, evidence for precognition, sensitisation, the ghost hunting boom)
  • Oct 2010 (including black orbs, UnConvention, mirror visions, levitation, flying rods and orbs)
  • Sep 2010 (including a ring tone from the roof, shadow ghost video, time slip explanation, daylight orb video)
  • Aug 2010 (including Parisian UFO, sense of presence, SLI, consulting experts, misperception)
  • Jul 2010 (including Sherlock Holmes as a paranormal investigator, haunting sounds, what ARE hallucinations)
  • Jun 2010 (including the Loch Ness Monster, gorilla video, getting ghost stories the wrong way round)
  • May 2010 (including ball lightning, Wem ghost photo, waking up twice, eyewitnesses, Robin Hood)
  • Apr 2010 (including causes of road ghosts, new orb evidence, bird UFOs, UFO photo, not quite seeing is believing)
  • Mar 2010 (including experiencing hypnagogia, consciousness, belief, prolonged misperception, doppelganger)
  • Feb 2010 (including visual continuity errors - AKA ghosts, near sleep experiences on trains, spontaneous OOBEs)
  • Jan 2010 (including intelligent oil, SLI, inducing OOBEs, orange UFOs, the bleak midwinter)
  • Dec 2009 (including review of research in the noughties, pretty orbs, imperceptions, river monster)
  • Nov 2009 (including EVP without a recorder, demons and entities, why only some people see ghosts)
  • Oct 2009 (including grey ghost, near sleep experiences, a triangular UFO and seeing David Beckham)
  • Sep 2009 (including latent memory, Tufted Puffin, Bermuda Triangle and garden poltergeist)
  • Aug 2009 (including official UFO files, partial ghosts, flying rods and miracles)
  • Jul 2009 (including garden poltergeist, big cat video, orbs and hypnotic regression)
  • Jun 2009 (including thoughts from nowhere, shadow ghosts, premonitions and metallic UFO)
  • May 2009 (including analysing paranormal photos, making ghosts and ghost lore)
  • Apr 2009 (including phantom bird, choice blindness and grass that gets up and walks away)
  • Mar 2009 (including deja vu, ghostly mists, weird UFO photo, white ghosts)
  • Feb 2009 (including hidden memories, coincidences, auras and window UFOs)
  • Jan 2009 (including animals sensing ghosts, vampires, flying rod season and a haunted path)
  • Dec 2008
  • Nov 2008
  • Oct 2008
  • Sep 2008
  • Aug 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
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