Saturday, October 02, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News: Kidnapped by Genie, Titanic Firsthand Account and Medical Oddity

Father Tells Saudi Police Daughter Kidnapped By Genie

emirates247 - Saudi police backed by a civil defence aircraft and hundreds of town residents have launched an extensive operation in search of a teenage girl whose father says she has been kidnapped by a jinn (genie).

The 16-year-old Saudi girl disappeared from her house in the central town of Alkharj a month ago but was found later in Riyadh, Shams daily reported.

She vanished again three days ago, triggering a massive search campaign by the police, civil defence and residents of the town, the paper said.

“Her father believes she is possessed by a jinn, who threatened to take her to Riyadh last month and carried out his threat,” the daily said.

“He says this jinn speaks out through her and told them that he would take her to Riyadh…and that is what happened as they later found her in Batiha neighourhood in Riyadh…he then threatened that he would take her away and make her disappear forever…he said he would take her outside the country.”

But the paper said the unidentified father’s theory has been refuted by Moslem scholars on the grounds jinns can not transport humans.

It quoted Sheikh Ahmed al Aseeri, preacher at Alkharj state prison, as saying the girl could be suffering from mental problems.

“This story about a jinn taking the girl away can not be believed because jinns are not able to carry humans or make them disappear…they can control minds but not bodies so this theory is not correct,” he said.

According to the newspaper, the girl is short and lean and was wearing a white shirt when she disappeared from her house before dawn three days ago.

“She was in her room at around 2.00 am before she vanished…..her mother said her daughter cheated her when she gave her the wrong key for her room…the next day, they found out that she was not in her room,” the paper said.


Harrowing Firsthand Account of Titanic Disaster Published For First Time
Laura Francatelli (circled right) stands next to her employers Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lady Lucy Christiana (to her right) after they were rescued
dailymail - An astonishing eye-witness account of the sinking of the Titanic has been published for the first time - nearly 100 years after the disaster.

First-class passenger Laura Francatelli wrote of hearing an ‘awful rumbling’ after the world-famous liner hit an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912 - then the 'screams and cries’ of the 1,500 drowning passengers.

Miss Francatelli worked as a secretary for wealthy baronet Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lady Lucy Christiana and travelled with them on the ill-fated ship, which sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

She told how the three of them boarded one of the last lifeboats - containing just five passengers and seven crew - and admitted they didn’t consider going back to try to rescue more survivors.

'I noticed the sea seemed nearer to us than during the day, and I said to Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon: "We are sinking" and he said: "Nonsense"'

The account adds to a lingering controversy among Titanic historians as it describes how Sir Cosmo later paid the crew members £5 each, about £300 in today’s money, a gesture interpreted by some as blood money for giving the aristocrat a place on a lifeboat.

There were rumours that the Duff-Gordons has bribed the crew not to rescue people in the water, but the British Board of Trade's Inquiry into the disaster cleared them of any wrongdoing.

Miss Francatelli wrote her account in a signed affidavit presented to the official British enquiry into the 1912 disaster, which claimed 1,517 lives in total.

The historic document has now been made public for the first time and is being tipped to sell for £15,000.

The secretary, who was aged 31 at the time, told how she woke her employers when water seeped into her cabin after the Titanic hit the iceberg.

She wrote: 'A man came to me and put a life preserver on me, assuring me it was only taking precautions and not to be alarmed.

'When we got on the top deck...I noticed the sea seemed nearer to us than during the day, and I said to Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon: "We are sinking" and he said: "Nonsense".'

The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

The party initially refused to go into a lifeboat because Sir Cosmo was not allowed on as only women and children were permitted, but they were then offered places on a smaller rowing boat.

Miss Francatelli said: 'The officer saw us and ordered us in, and we said we would go if Sir Cosmo could come also.

'The officer said to Sir Cosmo: "I should be pleased if you would go." We were dropped into this boat and lowered into the sea.

'The officers gave orders to us to row away from the ship.

'We kept on rowing and stopping and rowing again. I heard some talk going on about the suction if the ship went down.

'We were a long way off when we saw the Titanic go right up at the back and plunge down. There was an awful rumbling when she went. Then came screams and cries. I do not know how long they lasted.

'When the ship had gone all was darkness. I did not hear any discussion or proposal about going back nor did I say anything about it.

'We had hardly any talk. The men spoke about God and prayers and wives.'

She recalled how Lady Duff-Gordon was 'deadly sick' but was unable to reach the side of the boat due to some oars that were in the way.

She also told how a crewmember kept putting his hand on her knee while he was rowing for her to rub to keep it warm.

She wrote how the survivors huddled in the bottom of the boat to keep warm until they were rescued by the ship Carpathia two hours after the sinking.

Miss Francatelli said: 'Later on I heard the men speaking about losing their kits. Sir C Duff-Gordon said he would make it all right for them...he would give them £5 each.

'A day or two after we had got on board Carpathia Sir Cosmo told me to write out cheques for £5 each for the seven men in the boat.'

Andrew Aldridge, of auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wiltshire, which is selling the document, said: 'So many books and articles have been written about Titanic but this is an original firsthand eye-witness account written shortly after the disaster.

'In hindsight the lifeboat the party boarded was rather controversial.

As she confirms in her own words, there were more crew on board than passengers and room for potentially 40 or 50 more people who could have been saved.

'There was also great controversy surrounding Sir Cosmo because when they arrived in New York he gave the seven crew members £5 each.

'There was one train of thought that he was being very kind and generous and was compensating the men for the items they lost in the sinking. Certainly that is what Miss Francatelli thought.

'But the payment was also interpreted as blood money at the time. Was he paying the men for a place in the lifeboat and his own life?'

Miss Francatelli, from London, died in 1967. The document remained in her family until after her death and has been since been owned by two private collectors.

The auction takes place on October 16.


17-yo Girl Must Process Brain Fluid Inside Her Belly to Survive

gizmodo - 17-yo Melissa Peacock is not a zombie. Or at least she looks like a pretty healthy zombie. To survive, Melissa must process her own brain fluid inside her belly.

A tube connects her brain to her peritoneal cavity, carrying the fluid through her body. Yes, the tube itself is permanently embedded inside her because, she says, a previous external tube left her with huge blisters on her back. Before that, eight operations had failed to find the correct solution. Once in her abdomen, the body processes the liquid, absorbing it through the lymph and vascular systems.

While absorbing your own brain fluid sounds gross, migraines, blurred vision, and sure death sound a lot worse. That's why she doesn't care:
My friends think the fact that I digest fluid from my brain is a bit weird—but my quality of life is so much better since I had the shunt put in place, I don't care. It felt like I was constantly trying to see through a steamed-up window. Sometimes I'd have almost no vision at all.
Melissa has suffered from intracranial hypertension since she was nine. The hypertension is caused when the body can't drain spinal fluid out of the skull, which results in a pressure build up that crushes your own brain. The condition can be fatal if not treated.


Couple Allowed to Sue Morgue for Retaining Son's Brain

The New York City Medical Examiner's Office's failure to inform a Staten Island couple that the office had removed and retained their late son's brain violated the couple's right of sepulcher, Brooklyn's New York Appellate Division, 2nd Department has ruled.

"[W]hile the medical examiner has the statutory authority…to remove and retain bodily organs for further examination and testing in connection therewith, he or she also has the mandated obligation…to turn over the decedent's remains to the next of kin for preservation and proper burial once the legitimate purposes for the retention of those remains have been fulfilled," Justice William F. Mastro wrote for a unanimous panel in Shipley v. City of New York, 2009-03226.

Jesse Shipley, a 17-year-old Port Richmond High School student, was killed on Jan. 9, 2005, when the car in which he was riding collided with another vehicle.

The following day, Jesse's father, Andre, consented to an autopsy. An examiner completed the autopsy, and funeral home personnel picked up the remains that same day. The family held a funeral three days later.

Two months later, classmates of the Shipleys' daughter, Shannon, who was also injured in the accident, took a field trip to the Richmond County Mortuary. Several students noticed a jar holding a human brain suspended in formaldehyde.

"In what can only be described as a surreal coincidence," Mastro wrote, "the label on the jar indicated that the brain was that of Jesse Shipley, a circumstance which evoked strong emotional reactions from some of the students who were present."

News of the macabre discovery soon spread to Shannon Shipley, who told her parents.

The office had retained the brain to perform further "neuropathologic examination and reporting." The tests took place two months after the accident -- a day or two after the field trip -- because, as the acting deputy chief medical examiner later testified, "I wait months, until I have six brains, and then it's kind of worth [the examiner's] while to make the trip to Staten Island to examine six brains. It doesn't make sense for him to come and do one."

The Shipleys obtained a temporary restraining order barring any further testing of the brain, which was returned to the family. The Shipleys then conducted a second funeral for their son.

In March 2006, the Shipleys sued the city and its Medical Examiner's Office, seeking to recover damages for the mishandling of and interference with the proper disposition of Jesse's remains.

The defendants moved for summary judgment, citing the expansive discretion afforded to the Medical Examiner's Office under the state's Public Health Law.

In March 2009, Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Thomas P. Aliotta denied the defendants' motion.

Aliotta ruled that questions of fact existed regarding whether the brain had been lawfully retained for scientific purposes, as well as whether the defendants violated the Shipleys' right of sepulcher by failing to advise them when the body was released that the brain had been removed.

The 2nd Department agreed with the latter conclusion -- that questions remained regarding whether the defendants violated the Shipley's right of sepulcher by failing to inform them regarding the brain's removal -- and allowed the action to proceed.

Mastro wrote that the medical examiner's duty to turn over the remains may have been "satisfied in the present context by the simple act of notifying the next of kin that, while the body is available for burial, one or more organs have been removed for further examination."

The judge added, "This requirement, hardly onerous in nature, strikes an appropriate balance between the fulfillment of the legitimate scientific and investigative duties of the Medical Examiner's Office and the recognition of the long-established rights of next of kin to receive and provide final repose to the remains of their loved ones."

Justices Anita R. Florio, Ariel E. Belen and Sheri S. Roman joined the opinion.

Marvin Ben-Aron of Ameduri, Galante & Friscia in Staten Island represented the Shipleys.

Ben-Aron said he agreed with the panel's conclusion, though not all of its findings,

"I disagree with the [finding] that in a situation in which it is obvious that the cause of death can be [and has been] determined that [the medical examiners] have the unfettered right to retain the organ," Ben-Aron said.

Although Aliotta dismissed Jesse's sister Shannon as a plaintiff because she did not qualify as "next of kin" under the city's Health Code, Shannon has settled a separate personal injury case against the drivers, according to Ben-Aron.

In that case, Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Joseph J. Maltese ruled that a sister constitutes an 'immediate family' member who may pursue a claim for psychological injuries suffered when in the "zone of danger" of a relative's death.

Ronald E. Sternberg and Leonard Koerner appeared on behalf of the Corporation Counsel.

"We are evaluating our legal options in light of the decision. We note that the court correctly recognized that it was within the medical examiner's discretion to perform the autopsy," said Sternberg, a senior counsel in the office's appeals division.

Fortean / Oddball News: Kidnapped by Genie, Titanic Firsthand Account and Medical Oddity

Friday, October 01, 2010

Inexplicata: Chupacabras Attacks in Argentina

Scott Corrales of Inexplicata:The Journal of the Institute of Hispanic Ufology has presented another interesting cryptid case:

Chupacabras Attacks in Argentina
By Silvia Pérez Simondini - VISION OVNI

On few occasions in this investigation have we had all of the elements on hand to finally reach some conclusions on this phenomenon. First, to bring our readers up to speed, we shall provide you with backup information on the story.

News Item From the Misiones Media:

Ten sheep were mortally attacked in recent weeks in a livestock farmer’s field in this locality, according to eyewitness information presented to the Sheriff’s office, the body that has been investigating the strange event that has shaken the residents of this rural area.

Since the attacks occurred on two occasions and always at night, the caretakers, farm employees and Police officers have set up a rotating watch against the possibility that the strange animal may reappear again. It left sufficiently clear prints to increase suspicions that the police prefers not to encourage for the time being.

Jose Fraga, owner of the field and the animals, decided to report the happenings to the Police, and while he wanted to file a complaint, the authorities made him desist for the time being, saying “against who would the complaint be filed?” according to clarifications issued by the police department.

Fraga explained that near one of the pens in his field, he found a large, deep footprint with three long toes.” Like that of a bird, but somewhat larger,” he said, and with regard to the injuries to the animals’ bodies, he added: “The all had bite marks on their necks.”

Andres Gonzalez, Sheriff of Campo Viera, confirmed that the attacks occurred twice and that “it is truly remarkable that the animal did not devour any of the sheep. It merely killed them by biting their necks, and blood was only found in that area of the body. There was nothing found in the rest of their bodies.”

The sheriff noted that he had gone to Fraga’s field in person with others to see the event for himself. “Sheep carcass samples were removed, because there were traces of mucus and its possible to determine what attacked these creatures, and we will know in a few days,” he explained. “Many people are saying other things, but we have to wait and avoid jumping to conclusions. We really don’t know what it may be, because a puma or a yaguareté would’ve devoured one of the animals. But in this case there are 10 dead sheep and none of them were touched, only to slay them...” said González.

The figure of the Chupacabras began to acquire shape in the locality, and cows exhibiting strange bite-marks were found en in Campo Grande, attributed by connection to the strange animal that has kept the owner of dozens of sheep and top-quality cows in a state of restlessness.

In the Ninth Section

Fraga’s field is located in the Ninth Section of Campo Viera, some four kilometers away from the town center of the locality at the province’s heart, practically attached to Oberá. Yesterday, Miguel Figueredo – caretaker of the 175 hectare spread – was startled by the events and for the time being cares for the two sheep and one cow that survived the attack. “The sheep have injuries to their necks, they’re clinging to life...they don’t drink or eat, they’re in poor shape. The cow has bites on its teats and I heard over the radio that other cows had been injured in the same area over in Campo Grande...” he explained, somewhat frightened.

“It’s as though all of the blood had been sucked out. The vet that came here, cut one of them (the sheep) and not even water came out,” he added without hesitation.

In Fraga’s field, featuring a ranch up high, there are currently 18 sheep and 50 cows, some of them nursing young. “That’s why we’re keeping a night watch with the police, because there are many animals and we have to look out for them.”

Most of the sheep chosen by the so-called Chupacabras were pregnant, increasing uncertainty about the creature that is loose in the area.

[Next is the report by Silvia Perez Simondini and members of the VISION OVNI group]

Veterinarian: Arno Stockmanns
Animal Owner: José Fraga
Number of Deceased Animals: Ten (10)
Animals Surviving the Attack: Three (3) Sheep
Carcass Description: Ten (10) Sheep were mortally attacked, with exact incisions in their necks, bodies exsanguinated. The attacker injured two more specimens and a cow’s udders. The strange animal’s attacks were exact in jugular area. In a matter of minutes, it drained the blood from each slain animal.
Crows and caranchos (vultures) fly over the carcasses without coming near the injured parts, as if repelled by something. Other parts of the carcass, however, have been eaten.
A three fingered print was found.
Ants advanced over the sheep carcasses, but turned back upon reaching the neck area.

Antibiotics have been unsuccessfully administered to one of the surviving animals in an effort to halt the infection process: Irondel every 48 hours. Veterinarian Penz from the City of Oberá tested other antibiotics which have hitherto yielded no results.

Based on the photographic material received from the animals’ owner, the following patterns have been identified:
1) Acknowledged bovine cattle mutilations – incision with exposure of the jawbone, removal of tissue, tendons, ligaments and hide. Incision made to the larynx without hyoid bone extirpation.
2) Incision to the animal’s nose area.
3) Marks on the animal’s back with wool removal.
4) Deep incision to the neck area with apparent exsanguination.
5) Lacerations on one specimen’s face.
6) Circular cut with nasal injury in another specimen.
7) Incised cut on the outer ear.


1) Well-defined, three-clawed marks were found near the carcasses (similar to those of a very large bird, approximate length of 18 centimeters) which were well-marked due to terrain conditions.
2) Another element observed is the strange behavior of the ants, which invaded the body but died upon reaching the level of the injuries.
3) A deep incised cut on the animal’s hide was found. There is the possibility that the animal was “impaled” to hold it down when producing this cut.


This case was consulted with Dr. Alberto Pariani of the National University of La Pampa, not only with regard to the injuries, but as how best to work with the surviving animal, which now displays a process of infection that has not been controlled, despite the veterinarian’s efforts. New antibiotics were suggested, and we are awaiting reports on their effect.

It should be highlighted that local authorities have behaved hesitantly in this case. We believe this is due to an inability to find a satisfactory conclusion to the events.

It is important that they intervene in the case, since the possibility of catching this creature alive makes it a very important item of research in finding a satisfactory answer through scientific means.

We are trying to find a way of getting the surviving specimen to the University of La Pampa, which is difficult due to the lack of financial resources to convey it.

The case remains open, awaiting the conclusions of the forensic authorities of Oberá, which we shall consult if the animals’ owner does not provide us with a reply.

Our thanks to the Community Leader of Campo Viera, Mr. Juan Carlos Rios, and the animals’ owner, Mr. Jose Fraga, for their help and for reporting the case.

(Translation (c) 2010, Scott Corrales, IHU)

Thanks again to Scott!

Playing Children Haunt Historic Missouri House

joplinglobe - The pink ball looked out of place at the Kendrick House.

The oldest standing building in Jasper County is a Victorian, two-story home with a history that dates back to before the Civil War. Inside are all sorts of Victorian furnishings, from old portraits on the wall to period furniture.

In the parlor of the house, placed near an old piano and opposite a wall with original built-in cabinets, the pink ball rested within a square of blue tape fastened to the striped carpet covering the uneven floor. Someone had written “Carol” across the ball.

“We had asked various questions,” said Lisa Martin, one of the leaders of Paranormal Science Lab. “We asked about things she liked and didn’t like. She responded that she liked balls, so we brought one and set it up in front of a camera, to see if she could move it.”

Carol is, allegedly, Carol Sue Janney, the daughter of Carl Jr. and Lucy Janney. She died of polio in the house in 1936, at the age of 2.

However, some paranormal researchers and some family members believe that her spirit can be detected in the house. Martin and other members of the group say they think they have had conversations with her through the use of flashlights.

Kelly Harris, president of the house’s board of directors, said the house was used as a headquarters during the Civil War by both Union and Confederate soldiers, she said. It is one of the few buildings that survived massive fires, and has housed several families since its construction in 1849.

Over the years, several of those residents reported strange occurrences, from hearing voices to seeing strange figures outside, Harris said.

"We had several groups investigate, and some of them were out in left field,” Harris said. “But we hit it off with this group. They are really scientific, and don’t go crazy with reports.”

Part of the Kendrick House ghost hunts is a review of collected evidence. One of the recordings taken earlier this year features what sounds like a child’s voice saying, well, something.

"A majority of us thought that it said ‘Carol,’” Crinnian said. “But one member of our group swore that it said ‘carrot.’ There was some dispute over it.”

The dispute was presented as part of a revelation of evidence to members of the house’s board of directors. Crinnian said that at the mention of the word “carrot,” a few of the board members gasped.

Apparently, Carol’s nickname was “Carrot.” It was heard in response to members asking who was present.

Carol also enjoys playing with the group’s “magic candles.” Group members prepare flashlights by turning them on, then adjusting the battery casing to the point where there is barely an electrical connection. After a test to make sure bumps or vibrations won’t turn the flashlights on, spirits are allegedly able to light them in response to yes or no questions.

“We’ve had some of our best responses through the flashlights,” Crinnian said. “We go through and ask questions, and we get responses. There’s also internal validity. We can ask the same questions, and get the same responses.”

Martin said data collected from the Sept. 18 ghost hunt has yet to be reviewed. But data from other hunts at the site reveal more EVP, Martin said.

“We caught the voices of a little child, a woman and a man,” Martin said.



The Kendrick House in Carthage is a fairly not interesting building to look at. It's a big rectangle. But it was part of the Battle of Carthage. It was outside the City of Carthage. And the confederates used it as -- used it as a base. They kept horses inside the house so union soldiers wouldn't know they were keeping it as a base. And there is still hoof prints in the wood that was still soft whenever they took over the house.

From the balcony when Carthage was set on fire, the family before they fled and the Confederates took over the house, stood there and watched the entire city burn -- the entire city didn't go down, but a nice chunk of it did.

The house -- the main ghosts that seem to haunt the house are children who play in the backyard. Okay. I'm not sure whose children they were because the children who lived there didn't die but there is a trucking company that is now very close to this and they will often call and complain to the Friends of the Kendrick House that there are kids playing outside at ten o'clock at night. They're playing ball, they're wearing knickers. So probably not neighborhood kids.

Strange lights have been seen in the house. From the Missouri State University down in Springfield people have come up and spent the night in the house and have recorded strange glowing lights floating around the room -- rooms upstairs and strange noises. The kitchen that's set up downstairs to -- it's for show, people will come in the next morning after having set up the kitchen one morning and glasses will be turned upside down, silverware will be on the floor and strange things -- strange things like, like, that. I wouldn't recommend sleeping there, there are no beds. - Missouri State Archives

Here is a link to detailed history of the Kendrick House

Fortean / Oddball News: Cumbria UFO, Space Hotel and Aroused Ghost

Australian Woman Claims Assault By Aroused Ghost

ntnews - A Northern Territory woman is convinced a horny ghost is haunting her home.

Jennifer Mills-Young claims the ghost, named Kevin, once tried to drag her out of bed in the middle of the night.

"I was asleep," she said. "I woke up when someone grabbed my wrist.

"I though, 'Hmmm, hubby wants a bit of romance', when I suddenly remembered he wasn't even at home."

Mrs Mills-Young said she could feel the hand around her wrist trying to pull her up and out of bed.

"The moment I opened my eyes, the grip was gone and the room was empty.

"I yelled at Kevin that he was not welcome in my bedroom and that he couldn't come into bed with me.

"I told him to f*** off and to close the door behind him. A moment later I saw how the bedroom door slowly was closed.

"I jumped up and locked it - not that it makes much of a difference when you're dealing with a ghost."

Ms Mills-Young, her husband Geoff and two children, now aged 19 and 20, are convinced the ghost is lurking in their home in Durack, Palmerston.

She said the family felt "something wasn't right" as soon as they moved into the house two years ago.

"My daughter suddenly felt uncomfortable - she said someone was in her room," Mrs Mills- Young said.

"My daughter believed she had seen my son Aaron sneak out of the back door in the middle of the night.

"She said she saw this tall black shadow standing at the door - but at the time Aaron was hiding behind the computer desk."

Mr Mills-Young said he had been haunted by the shadow of the ghost.

"I saw someone walking past our back door inside our yard which I had locked," he said.

"I jumped up and ran to the door to see what this guy was doing in our yard - and he just vanished."

Mrs Mills-Young said she was the "worst sceptic" when it came to ghosts.


Video: Cumbria Man Capture UFO While Walking Dog

newsandstar - Bob Atkins was using his mobile phone to video his dog as it played in a pool of water at Roanhead on the south Cumbrian coast.

When he later studied the footage he was staggered by what he saw.

The strange event he captured on film lasted barely a second – a second in which a solid looking dark object flashed across the sky at immense speed.

It was only when Bob slowed down the film that he first saw the object clearly. Was it a strange bird?

Perhaps a fault with the camera? Could it even have been some sort a military prototype secretly tested?

Whatever the answer, the images enthralled author Pat Regan, 53, who has written a book about UFO sightings. It includes an account of the Cumbrian incident.

Mr Atkins said: “The object appears in this video for about one second and you have to go into freeze frame to actually see what it is as in normal play it just appears as four black flashes on the screen.

“This was captured on July 23, 2009 at 3.49pm.

“In that one second the last few frames are the few that I think are most significant.

“While filming this at the point where the phenomenon appeared I was facing approximately north.”

Mr Regan said he carefully checked the footage and concluded the unidentified object was a “solid entity” with a shiny, light upper surface and darker underside.

He said: “The speed is impressive too and I would estimate the altitude of the object to be something around less than 100ft,” he said.

“I believe that we can discount popular sceptical claims for things like camera error, mainly because the UFO takes on a solid obese, saucer-shaped outline and appears to bank over when travelling from right to left in Bob’s film.

“The glossy top surface on the UFO shows as it goes out of sight towards the left of the screen.

“It also seems to be flying much too fast and low to be any type of recognised aircraft.

“Some may suggest that the unknown object was perhaps a large insect or bird.

“But on closer inspection of the footage this seems highly improbable. This may leave two distinct possibilities.

“Did Bob inadvertently capture footage of an undisclosed military prototype aircraft, or aerial vehicle or are we witnessing a mysterious craft of an extraterrestrial nature?”

Click for video


'Iron Man' Design Suits For U.S. Troops

telegraph - The XOS2 suit - pronounced "exos" - produced by US defence technology firm Raytheon Sarcos allows the user to carry 70kg with apparently little or no effort and punch through four planks of wood at once.

The exoskeleton has been designed with two applications in mind: firstly, the combat variant, which is a waist-down suit intended for use supporting heavy backpacks; and, secondly, the logistics version, which is a full suit intended to be used by personnel carrying water, supplies and ammunition boxes or tank shells.

Raytheon test engineer Rex Jameson said: "If you push at the boards (planks), you are, like, "I'm never going to be able to do that" but then you walk up and do it and away they go."

Iron Man actor Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Phil Coulson in the films, was given the opportunity to try the suit at the firm's research lab in Salt Lake City, Utah, last week.

He said: "It's the closest thing we have at the moment to the Iron Man suit. That it's becoming real so quickly is remarkable."

The XOS2 is the second prototype of the model, which has been made more fuel efficient. The firm expect to release a version of the suit which is "tethered" first, which means it is attached to its power source permanently, before improvements are made to allow the wearer full independence of movement.

Dr Fraser Smith, the firm's vice-president of operations, said: "We would expect them to appear in theatre [war zones] probably in about five years for the tethered version and perhaps three to five after that for the untethered version."

In the Iron Man films, with Robert Downey Jr in the eponymous role based on the Marvel Comics character, a power suit allows the wearer virtually unlimited strength and the ability to fly.


Russian Company Unveils 'Space Hotel' Plans

BBC - Orbital Technologies says its "comfortable" four-room guest house could be in orbit by 2016, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reports.

Guests would be ferried to the hotel on a Soyuz shuttle of the type used to transport cosmonauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Moscow-based firm did not reveal how the hotel would be built or funded.

Up until now space tourists, such as American businessman Dennis Tito, have squeezed into the cramped ISS, alongside astronauts and their experiments.

The new hotel would offer greater comforts, according to Sergei Kostenko, chief executive of Orbital Technologies.

"Our planned module inside will not remind you of the ISS. A hotel should be comfortable inside, and it will be possible to look at the Earth through large portholes," he told RIA Novosti.

The hotel would be aimed at wealthy individuals and people working for private companies who want to do research in space, Mr Kostenko said.

It would follow the same orbit as the International Space Station.

The first module would have four cabins, designed for up to seven passengers, who would be packed into a space of 20 cubic metres (706 cubic feet).

Mr Kostenko did not reveal the price of staying in the hotel.

However he did say that food would be suited to individual preferences, and that organisers were thinking of employing celebrity chefs to cook the meals before they were sent into space.

It is not clear how the "cosmic hotel" would be built, but the company's website names Energia, Russia's state-controlled spacecraft manufacturer, as the project's general contractor.

Energia builds the Soyuz capsules and Progress cargo ships which deliver crew and supplies to the ISS.

Mr Kostenko said that "a number of agreements on partnership have already been signed" with Energia and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

The project has Russian and American investors willing to inject hundreds of millions of dollars, he added.

Alexey Krasnov, head of manned space missions at Roscosmos, told the Associated Press news agency the proposed hotel could provide a temporary haven for the crew of the ISS, in case of an emergency.

However, doubts about the project were raised by Jim Oberg, a Houston-based space consultant and expert on the Russian space program.

"Why Russia would spend the required funds is a compelling question that has significant implications for its future commitment to the ISS," he told AP.

This latest plan is not the first time a space hotel has been mooted.

In 2009 the Barcelona-based architects of The Galactic Suite Space Resort said their orbiting hotel was on target to accept its first paying guests by 2012.

In 2007, Genesis II, an experimental spacecraft designed to test the viability of a space hotel, was successfully sent into orbit by Bigelow Aerospace, a private company founded by an American hotel tycoon.

Fortean / Oddball News: Cumbria UFO, Space Hotel and Aroused Ghost

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Origins of 13 Superstitions

The following is an interesting piece on the origin of several odd and well-known superstitions. British author Harry Oliver has just released in the U.S. "Black Cats & Four-Leaf Clovers", a book that explores the origins of superstitions and old wives' tales from around the world.

1. Don't Walk Under a Ladder: After researching this superstition for a year at the British Library in London, Oliver says the belief's most-cited origin points to "a ladder forming a triangle with the wall and the ground, suggesting the Holy Trinity." Apparently, walking through that triangle would show disrespect to the Trinity and therefore bring bad luck. Another possible (and much simpler) origin: Where there's a ladder, there's usually someone working on top and walking underneath could lead to all sorts of cartoonish accidents, like a hammer falling on someone's head.

2. Black Cats Bring Bad Luck:
Oliver says black cats are notoriously linked to witchcraft, which is why some people think they're unlucky. However, there are two sides to this one. Allegedly, if a cat crosses your path it's considered unlucky, but if a cat walks toward you, it's a good omen. Should the first scenario happen, though, Oliver says the "only way to avert the back luck is to spit."

3. Never Light Three Cigarettes With the Same Match: This superstition originated in military circles and dates back to those long nights in the trenches during World War I. "If three soldiers smoked at once, enemy snipers would easily detect them," says Oliver. "If they used the same match to light all three cigarettes, snipers would notice the match burning after the first one and would have enough time to load guns, aim and fire at the unlucky third smoker."

4. Carrots Are Good for Your Eyesight: Though some studies have shown that the vitamin A in carrots is good for the eyes, the vegetable alone isn't enough to spark 20/20 vision. Oliver says this old wives' tale -- or smart attempt by parents to get their children to eat their veggies -- originated as a myth during World War II. "That's when British pilots where rumored to be eating enormous amounts of carrots to see from high altitudes and in the dark. The rumor was widely spread to throw the public off from the fact that radar had been invented and was being used against the enemy," he says.

5. Cross Your Fingers: If you look hard enough, you can see this superstition has religious roots. Oliver says that crossing your fingers is a type of holy protection because the two overlapping fingers form a "slanted cross." This "good luck" ritual varies around the globe -- in Switzerland, people fold their thumbs in and wrap their other fingers around them instead of the standard index-and-middle-finger combination.

6. Don't Open an Umbrella in The House:
The origins of this belief are simple -- what's designed for the outdoors should remain outside. While today's version of the old umbrella superstition is said to simply bring "bad luck," Oliver says there used to be a much darker cloud hanging over the belief in ancient times. "In earlier versions, opening an umbrella inside was an omen of death," he explains.

7. Always Have Something in the Oven:
This old Jewish superstition could be considered "family friendly." Supposedly, leaving an oven empty will cause one's family to go hungry in the future. To avoid famine, it's enough to leave a baking sheet or a pan in the oven at all times as a precaution. "This belief is linked to ancient rituals in which food was left for household gods in order to ensure protection of the family," Oliver explains.

8. Wear Underwear Inside Out:
When having a bad day, superstition suggests that turning your underwear inside out can make it all better. Oliver isn't quite sure where this odd belief came from, but we wouldn't be surprised if originated on a wild college campus somewhere, perhaps during a post-party "walk of shame."

9. Kiss a Mustachioed Man, End Up a Spinster:
There are more superstitions revolving around marriage than we can count, and that includes "kissing a dark-skinned man at a wedding." If a woman does this, she'll supposedly get a marriage proposal shortly thereafter. But watch who you're smooching, ladies. If a woman kisses a man with a mustache and finds a stray hair on her lip after, she's destined to be a spinster.

10. Don't Praise Babies in China: If you're in China and you come across an adorable newborn baby, do not under any circumstances compliment the little one. In China, it's considered "unlucky" to praise babies because it "attracts the attention of ghosts and demons." Instead, Oliver says it's customary to "talk badly about babies" to keep evil entities away. Rather than getting upset, parents are told to convert those insults into praise quietly in their heads.

11. Don't Chew Gum at Night in Turkey: Even if your breath stinks, popping in a stick of gum after dinner in Turkey is a bad idea. "It's thought that if you're chewing gum at night in Turkey, you're actually chewing the flesh of the dead," says Oliver. Gross.

12. Lucky Four-Leaf Clovers: Because of how scarce four-leaf clovers really are, just finding one in a field is lucky in and of itself. Oliver says the rare leaf represents everything one could possibly desire in life: "wealth, fame, love and health."

Unlucky 13: The number 13 -- and Friday the 13th -- are considered unfortunate in many places, and the reasons go back to the Bible. Remember, Jesus had 13 disciples until one of them -- Judas -- betrayed him. - AOLNews

NOTE: I don't consider myself superstitious, per se....though I do carry a talisman and would never intentionally piss off a witch...Lon


Rick Phillips asks Would NOW Be A `Good Time' For The MSM To Ask Robert Bigelow About UFO's? - "To many folks even remotely interested in the UFO phenomena this week - the mainstream media (MSM) BLEW IT twice - in the same day..."

Witness Reports / Email: Sasquatch, Reptilians and Skinwalkers

I believe your theory is correct concerning Sasquatch being an inter-dimensional being. One year ago, my daughter and I had a series of terrifying encounters with aliens and something that I came to believe was Sasquatch. Its rather a long story and we are hoping to talk with someone about our experiences, but the last thing we want is publicity. Nothing says "nutcase" like saying you've seen a UFO, then toss in aliens and a bigfoot too. We recorded and photographed everything we could. We have a recording of a 'Bigfoot" calling out whoops to my daughter, then we heard a terrifying scratching sound like large claws on pavement as it ran out of a field towards us. The photo enclosed is the tracks in our yard the next morning. I don't want to write out the whole story, only to have no answer come back or to be treated like we are crazy. So if you want to hear the whole thing, let me know. We live right up against the Bitterroot Mountains on the Idaho/Washington border in a very small town with fields all around us. It started with Black Hawk helicopters chasing a huge UFO, multiple weird sightings, then a ship that came out of the sky at us, aliens in our yard and ended with the sounds of the Bigfoot and finally my daughter experiencing strange visions of a very frightening future time. I believe the aliens and the Bigfoot were connected and you can't just go out looking for them, they have to be "here" in our dimension in order to experience them. My daughter believes our world is meshing with another dimension and the strange sightings people are reporting are all part of something coming down the turnpike at us. We are both professional women and especially my daughter would suffer if our names were connected to anything so crazy sounding as what we experienced. Let me know if you want to hear the whole story, it’s a long one.

NOTE: I responded to Christine but have yet to receive a followup...Lon


I was surprised to see the skinwalker article in your Phantoms and Monsters email. I try to read about skinwalkers and/or Navajo witches whenever I hear of any articles or books about them. When I was a little girl traveling with my family on vacation, we came across something strange that had to have been a skinwalker or Navajo witch. It was 1967 or 1968 and we were driving from Ca to Ark to visit family. On the way to Ark we were on Route 66 outside of Albuquerque, NM and we had stopped at a rest area so my Dad could sleep. It doesn't happen often now, but back then alot of people used to stop and sleep in the rest areas. It was the middle of the night and something startled my father awake. He woke up and was extremely scared and nervous. He was trying to figure out why he woke up and why he felt scared when he saw a man walking across the desert. He said that he almost couldn't take his eyes off the guy because even though the man was kind of far out there, something was wrong. The man was walking towards the rest area from out in the desert, as he got closer, my father saw what was different about him. The man had a fur skin thrown across his shoulders and as he walked his feet were not touching the ground. He passed right beside our car and looked my Dad in the eye. My Dad said that all of the hair on his body stood up and he turned on our car and drove away as fast as he could. It was later that we found out that some crazy guy came into the same rest area, the very same night that we were there, and shot a bunch of people. From what I was told, some of the people were killed. I was a little girl 3 or 4 years old, I was asleep when it all happened, but we never stopped in NM after that. Every year we went to Ark to visit family and we never stopped in NM again, we always drove straight through.


Overhead view of Uravan, Colorado
MUFON CMS - Uravan, CO - June 1969 - (unedited): I was between for four and five years of age when I had my encounter. My family and I were living in small town west end of Montrose County called Uravan Colorado. In the early morning June of 69 I was waken by the barking of family dog name tippi outside by bedroom window. Tippi never really barked unless someone or something was in a yard that wasn't supposed to be. I remember wakening up out dead sleep and hearing tippi consent barking and wondering why older brother whose sleeping bunk above and my parents sleeping in the bedroom joining ours weren't get tell Tippi to be quit. Finally I had enough it and decided turn over in my bed and look out the window myself. When I did I couldn't believe what saw. There it was a small circle ship with its landed gear down and hatch with stairs fold down to the ground.Next to ship where green kinda lizard looking aliens. Their eyes were bright yellow,and the some tanks on there backs and another bag.They didn't have fingers but kinda web hands that look like to a bow and arrow.Their body were thin,and scaly,and legs also then,their feet had v shaped toes I remember thinking to myself this was some kinda hunting party, because my dad was bow hunter himself and that kinda gave the idea. I could tell the wear searching for something, then all the sudden another alien came of the ship. He was much bigger then the others and seemed to give the others orders. Tippi again began her barking and the alien closes to our house seemed to be upset with her barking. I could see it looking over at tippi, finally it appear "it" to had a problem with tippi barking and started walking over her. I then jump of my bed and headed into my parents room to wake my mother up. I remember how hard it was to wake my mother up and she acted like she was heavy drug or something.I couldn't get her wake up. Finally was able to get her up and told something was going on outside that it was going hurt tippi, she still not wake and sluggish my mother followed me to bed. Once there I showed what I was seeing outside. I don't what they did to my mom but she couldn't see them. All she wanted to do is sleep. Finally my mother got up from my bed and told me crawl to other side my bed away from the window. I did what I told. The last thing remember before going to sleep,was looking over in closet where window casted light on my close and saw to dark figure trying to look in window. No other sound came from Tippi. My mother wasn't drinking or taking anything that would make sedation. I firm believe they did something to family make sleep. It just didn't work on me. The morning the first I did was to run out check on Tippi in pj all. Sure enough she was lying in front yard waiting for kids to come play with her. She acted like nothing happen the night before.

Witness Reports / Email: Sasquatch, Reptilians and Skinwalkers

Fortean / Oddball News: Bizarre Surgeon Records, Exoplanet Discovered and JonBenet Ramsey

Catalogue of Bizarre Naval Doctors' Records Disclosed by the National Archives
telegraph - In the calm lines of the notebooks' closely spaced copperplate are records of lightning strikes, gun fights and mutinous crews.

There are courts martial, shipwrecks and even murder during the long ocean journeys undertaken by the doctors' ships between 1793 and 1880.

The patients were the ratings, officers, emigrants and convicts being taken - often permanently - to other parts of the Empire and the records of their treatment provide a detailed glimpse into the past.

More than 1,000 Royal Navy Medical Officer Journals have been made accessible to the public following a two-year cataloguing project at the National Archives in Kew.

One passenger was 12-year-old Ellen McCarthy, who was on board the Elizabeth sailing from Cork, Ireland, to Quebec, Canada, in June 1825 when she fell ill and coughed up three intestinal worms which her mother took to the ship's surgeon.

The doctor, identified only as one P Power, wrote: "Complained yesterday evening of pain in the bottom of the belly increased on pressure, abdomen hard and swollen, picks her nose, starts in her sleep, bowels constipated, pyrexia [fever], tongue foul, pulse quick, skin hot, great thirst.

"Her mother brought me a lumbricus [worm] this morning 87 inches long which the patient vomited. The medicine operated well."

The naval surgeon treated the girl with a range of syrups and injections including barley water, calomel [mercury chloride - a laxative now known to be toxic], jalap [a tuber with laxative effects] and brandy punch to ease the symptoms and restore her digestive system to normality."

However, he said the most effective treatment was "oil of terebouth" - or turpentine.

Cures were required for scorpion, tarantula and shark bites, scurvy and many different forms of sexually transmitted diseases, while some of the doctors collected poisonous sea snakes for further study.

Other incidents recorded include offerings of disinterred skulls to Inuits, the 55-year-old sail maker who served in the Navy at Trafalgar and the Army at Waterloo, and the second mate who was lost overboard with the ship's keys in his hand.

Another surgeon was asked to observe Samuel Tapper, an 18-year-old sailor in 1802, and noted: “Tapper’s breasts so perfectly resemble those of a young woman of 18 or 19 that even the male genitals which are also perfect, do not fully remove the imporession that the spectateor is not lookin on a female.”

He was returned to active duty while in January 1802 one James Calloway, a seaman aged 40, fell overboard and was only revived when tobacco smoke was blown into his lungs.

The remedies prescribed seem harsh to modern eyes but the doctors of the time were often pioneering treatments which would later be refined, according to Dan Gilfoyle, the National Archives' diplomatic and colonial records specialist.

Bruno Pappalardo, the project manager, said: "The journals are the most significant source for the study of the history of health at sea for the 19th century."


Habitable Exoplanet Discovered

wired - After years of saying habitable exoplanets are just around the corner, planet hunters have finally found one. Gliese 581g is the first planet found to lie squarely in its star’s habitable zone, where the conditions are right for liquid water.

“The threshold has now been crossed,” said astronomer R. Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, one of the planet’s discoverers, in a press briefing Sept. 29. “The data says this planet is at the right distance for liquid water, and the right mass to hold on to a substantial atmosphere.”

The discovery is both “incremental and monumental,” comments exoplanet expert Sara Seager of MIT, who was not involved in the new study. When a recent study predicted the first habitable world should show up by next May, Seager rightly said the real answer was more like “any day now.”

“We’ve found smaller and smaller planets that got closer and closer to the habitable zone,” she said. “But this is the first that’s in the habitable zone.”

The new planet is one of six orbiting the star Gliese 581, a red dwarf 20 light-years from Earth. Two of the planet’s siblings, dubbed planets C and D, have also been hailed as potentially habitable worlds. The two planets straddle the region around the star where liquid water could exist — 581c is too hot, and 581d is too cold. But 581g is just right. The discovery will be published in the Astrophysical Journal and online at

The new planet is about three times the mass of Earth, which indicates it is probably rocky and has enough surface gravity to sustain a stable atmosphere. It orbits its star once every 36.6 Earth days at a distance of just 13 million miles.

The surface of a planet that close to our sun would be scorching hot. But because the star Gliese 581 is only about 1 percent as bright as the sun, temperatures on the new planet should be much more comfortable. Taking into account the presence of an atmosphere and how much starlight the planet probably reflects, astronomers calculated the average temperature ranges from minus 24 degrees to 10 degrees above zero Fahrenheit.

But the actual temperature range is even wider, says astronomer Steven Vogt of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who designed some of the instruments that helped find the planet. Gravity dictates that such a close-in planet would keep the same side facing the star at all times, the same way the moon always shows the same face to Earth.

That means the planet has a blazing-hot daytime side, a frigid nighttime side, and a band of eternal sunrise or sunset where water — and perhaps life — could subsist comfortably. Any life on this exotic world would be confined to this perpetual twilight zone, Vogt says, but there’s room for a lot of diversity.

“You can get any temperature you want on this planet, you just have to move around on its surface,” Vogt said. “There’s a great range of eco-longitudes that will create a lot of different niches for different kinds of life to evolve stably.”

Another advantage for potential life on Gliese 581g is that its star is “effectively immortal,” Butler said. “Our sun will go 10 billion years before it goes nova, and life here ceases to exist. But M dwarfs live for tens, hundreds of billions of years, many times the current age of the universe. So life has a long time to get a toehold.”

The discovery is based on 11 years of observations using the HIRES spectrometer at the Keck Telescope in Hawaii, combined with data from the HARPS (High-Accuracy Radial-velocity Planet Searcher) instrument at the European Southern Observatory in La Silla, Chile.

Both instruments looks for the small wobbles stars make as their planets’ gravity tugs them back and forth. The HIRES project started looking for planets 25 years ago, back “when looking for planets made you look like a nut,” Butler said. At first the instruments could detect changes in a star’s velocity that were 300 meters per second or larger. That’s why the first extrasolar planets discovered were almost exclusively hot Jupiters: These monstrous planets that sit roastingly close to their stars will exert a bigger gravitational pull.

Since then, techniques have improved so that changes as small as 3 meters per second can be seen. That wouldn’t be enough to see Earth from 20 light-years away, Butler says. Because red dwarfs are so small and their habitable zones so close, though, Earth-sized planets have enough gravitational oomph to make a difference.

“The excitement here is that by looking at stars that are small it’s much easier to find small planets,” said exoplanet expert David Charbonneau of Harvard, who is hunting for small planets that cross in front of dwarf stars. “I think it’s great news for those of us looking for this kind of thing around this kind of star.”

But finding them takes a long time. In all, 238 measurements of the star’s wobbles, went into the discovery, and each measurement took a full night of observing.

For Butler and Vogt, though, 11 years wasn’t so long to wait. He’s actually surprised that a potentially habitable planet showed up so quickly and so nearby.

“The fact that we found one so close and so early on in the search suggests there’s a lot of these things,” Butler says. Only about 100 other stars are as close to Earth as Gliese 581, and only 9 of them have been closely examined for planets. Odds are good that 10 to 20 percent of stars in the Milky Way have habitable planets, Vogt says.

Finding them won’t take a huge advance in technology, he adds. It will just take more telescope time.

“I have suggested that we build a dedicated automated planet finder to do this kind of work 365 nights a year,” he said. “If we had something equivalent to Keck that we could use every night, these things would be pouring out of the sky.”


Drug-Filled Mice Airdropped Over Guam to Kill Snakes

NatGeo - Dead mice packed with drugs were recently airdropped into Guam's dense jungle canopy—part of a new effort to kill an invasive species of snake on the U.S. Pacific island territory.

In the U.S. government-funded project, tablets of concentrated acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, are placed in dead thumb-size mice, which are then used as bait for brown tree snakes.

In humans, acetaminophen helps soothe aches, pains, and fevers. But when ingested by brown tree snakes, the drug disrupts the oxygen-carrying ability of the snakes' hemoglobin blood proteins.

"They go into a coma, and then death," said Peter Savarie, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services, which has been developing the technique since 1995 through grants from the U.S. Departments of Defense and Interior.

Only about 80 milligrams of acetaminophen—equal to a child's dose of Tylenol—are needed to kill an adult brown tree snake. Once ingested via a dead mouse, it typically takes about 60 hours for the drug to kill a snake.

"There are very few snakes that will consume something that they haven't killed themselves," added Dan Vice, assistant state director of USDA Wildlife Services in Hawaii, Guam, and the Pacific Islands.

But brown tree snakes will scavenge as well as hunt, he said, and that's the "chink in the brown tree snake's armor."

Snakes Pests Decimated "Naïve" Wildlife

The brown tree snake is an arboreal species native to Australia, Papua New Guinea, and several Pacific islands. The snake preys on birds, lizards, bats, and small mammals.

Inadvertently introduced to Guam from the Solomon Islands after World War II, brown tree snakes are responsible for the extinction or severe reduction of several of the island's native species.

The brown tree snake "is a nocturnal, arboreal predator. There's just nothing like it here. It arrived here and found an island full of very naïve native wildlife," Vice said.

Over the years, scientists have developed several strategies to fight the reptile pest, including traps, snake-detecting dogs, and nighttime spotlight searches along airport and seaport fence lines.

Most of these strategies have focused on keeping the snake species from leaving Guam and sneaking onto ships headed for other islands, such as Hawaii, where scientists fear the predators could wreak similar havoc.

By contrast, this latest approach aims to take the fight into Guam's jungles, where most of the invasive snakes reside.

A popular misconception about Guam, Vice said, is that the entire island is overrun by brown tree snakes. In reality, most of the snakes are concentrated in the island's jungles, where it is difficult for humans to reach.

"You don't walk out the front door and bump into a snake every morning," Vice said.

Before the laced mice are airdropped, they are attached to "flotation devices" that each consist of two pieces of cardboard joined by a 4-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) paper streamer.

The flotation device was designed to get the bait stuck in upper tree branches, where the brown tree snakes reside, instead of falling to the jungle floor, where the drug-laden mice might inadvertently get eaten by nontarget species, such as monitor lizards.

There are few other species on Guam that could be tempted by the mouse bait, USDA's Savarie said, because the brown tree snakes have eaten most of them.

On September 1 USDA researchers performed a small-scale airdrop of about 200 baited mice onto 20 acres (8 hectares) of jungle around the U.S. Naval Base in Guam. USDA personnel flying low over Guam's jungles in helicopters dropped the baited devices one at a time, to ensure even coverage.

The drop was only the second in the project's history, and was done to help refine the technique before a larger field test is conducted in late 2010 or early 2011.

A small subset of mice in the latest drop was equipped with radio transmitters, which the team will use to determine the baits' efficiency.

"If we go out tomorrow and the radio signal from the bait has moved, it's very likely that [it was eaten by] a snake," Savarie said.

Wildlife Services collects the bodies of only the snakes that eat the mice that have radiocollars.

"We would not find other snakes that would eat the bait," said Kathy Fagerstone, Technology Transfer Program Manager for USDA Wildlife Services.

"However, the amount of acetaminophen in each mouse is small and would not present environmental hazards."

The baited mice could prove to be an effective tool against Guam's brown tree snakes, especially medium- and large-size adults, said Haldre Rogers, a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who researches the effects of bird loss on Guam's native forests.

"The development of more tools like this is very important for restoring Guam's forests in the long run," said Rogers, who was not involved in the USDA project.

But all the tools currently at scientists' disposal, including the drug-filled mice, will at best simply control the island's snake population, not eradicate it entirely, she said.

"It's another arrow in our quiver," she said. "Unfortunately, we don't have the silver bullet for brown tree snakes yet."

USDA's Vice agreed: "There are a lot of things out there to control brown tree snakes. They all work, but they don't work completely," he said. "The idea of this aerial delivery of oral toxicants is that we now have a control tool that we can apply across a larger landscape."

Longer term, USDA researchers hope to create a nonbiological substitute for dead mice in the bait, something that the snakes will eat but that won't rot or attract flies, ants, and maggots in the jungle.


JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case Heating Up Again

aol - The author of a book about the slaying of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey says police want to reinterview her brother, who was 9 when the young beauty queen was killed in 1996.

Burke Ramsey, now 23, graduated from Purdue University in Indiana last year and lives in Atlanta, according to his Facebook page.

Boulder, Colo., police refuse to confirm a report that they want to question the brother of JonBenet Ramsey, shown here at a pageant in July 1996, regarding her death.

He was exonerated by DNA testing after JonBenet was strangled in the Ramsey family home in Boulder, Colo., but authorities are reportedly hoping that he may remember additional details.

Lawrence Schiller, author of a book about the Ramsey case titled "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town," told CBS's "The Early Show" on Tuesday that his sources had told him police were hoping to question the young man.

"They said the police had sent on their business cards and asked Burke, if his time permitted, if he could get in touch with them," Schiller said.

Boulder police refused today to confirm the report.

"We are not going to publicly reveal details about the investigation unless doing so would further the needs of the investigation," Police Chief Mark Beckner said in a statement.

After a seven-year hiatus, Boulder police became involved in the case again last year, creating a task force to review details and make recommendations. Beckner said at that time that advances in DNA testing and linguistics technology might help solve the case. He said agencies participating in the task force were the FBI, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Colorado attorney general's office, the Denver district attorney's office, and the Boulder County and Jefferson County sheriff's departments.

FBI spokesman Dave Joly told AOL News today that he had not heard of any developments in the case. Ramsey could not be reached for comment. His phone number is unlisted.

Last year, Beckner said authorities had investigated 140 people as potential suspects. He said in his statement today that based on recommendations from the task force, there has been additional contact with those who may have information pertaining to the case. Authorities refused to elaborate.

JonBenet was found bludgeoned and strangled in the basement of her family's house on Dec. 26, 1996. A ransom note seeking $118,000 was also found in the 7,000-square-foot home.

Boulder, an affluent community 35 miles northwest of Denver, was shaken by the crime, the only murder in 1996. Initially, prosecutors said JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy, were under "an umbrella of suspicion." A grand jury refused to indict them, but they weren't officially cleared until 2008.

Patsy Ramsey died in June 2006 of ovarian cancer. Less than two months later, John Mark Karr, a 41-year-old teacher in Thailand obsessed with JonBenet's killing, was arrested after making bizarre, detailed confessions in her death. He was brought back to the United States, but he was released after authorities said his DNA did not match evidence in the case. No one has ever been tried for the crime.

John Ramsey, who now lives in Michigan, ran unsuccessfully for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2004.


Sarah Palin Obtains Order Against 'Evil' Stalker

Sarah Palin has obtained a protective order against an 18-year-old Pennsylvania man who began stalking the former Alaska Governor last year, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman in Wasilla, Alaska reported Wednesday.

A 20-day protective order was issued in Anchorage District Court against Shawn R. Christy who Palin, 46, said sent her receipts from a gun purchase, along with a letter which read "he tried to follow the Bible but had evil and wickedness in him."

Palin's friend Kristan Cole, 48, also received a protective order against Christy for stalking her and her family.

Christy is prohibited from following, approaching, confronting, watching or otherwise staking or threatening to stalk or assault Palin or Cole and their families.

Christy claimed he had a sexual relationship with Palin but the former Republican vice-presidential candidate has disputed the allegation.

Attorney Thomas Van Flein provided evidence from the Secret Service that alleged Christy wanted to sexually assault Palin.

Cole and Palin requested a long-term order which will be heard in court on October 13 at Anchorage District Court.

NOTE: Nut vs. Nuttier

Fortean / Oddball News: Bizarre Surgeon Records, Exoplanet Discovered and JonBenet Ramsey

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Additional Ray-Shaped Cryptid Sightings in WV Ohio River Valley Revealed

The Mothman Prophecies: Mothman witness artwork
I received the following email in reference to the Winged Manta Ray Shaped Cryptid post on August 16, 2010 (reposted below). I had heard that there was buzz in reference to this phenomenon recently....a few attendees at the 9th Annual Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, WV apparently mentioned new sightings. If anyone has witnessed anything unusual, please contact me at

This is a very interesting report. I've been researching ghost, monster and cryptid reports in West Virginia for a few years now. Wrote a wee slim book on the topic. We now have a growing body of reports and stories about an odd "ray-shaped" cryptid in the area. For my book, I collected a story (which at the time I thought was an excellent story but very unlikely--just too weird to credit much beyond its campfire value) about a man who encountered a huge ray-shaped thing straddling the road ahead of him. Initially it was visible only as two reddish-orange spots that he mistook for bicycle reflectors in the fog. When he honked his horn, the "reflectors" blinked at him, then the whole body lifted up off the road and sort of glided down over the hill to disappear into the fog-filled valley below.

There is a sighting reported in Bob Tweet's excellent "West Virginia UFO's: Close Encounters in the Mountain State" in which a boy in a car spots a white "furry" shape gliding along beside the car. It was described as being four feet across with no discernible limbs or separate head.

More recently, a woman and her daughter reported the "Horton Horror" near Horton WV. This was also a manta-shaped Something that glided along over or near their car.

There's an old story about something in the fog at Foggy Bottom (I believe this particular "Foggy Bottom" is an area near Wheeling, WV--since developed) in which a dog is lifted up above the fog and is whisked off--sitting on the top of something that glides away. Dog is never seen again. That story is presented as a sort of UFO encounter, but I think it fits the pattern forming for these other stories.

There are now at least three stories/sightings from near Point Pleasant and others up the Ohio Valley. Strange.

I have no idea what is going on, what people may or may not be seeing, but I think there are enough reports now to say that this represents SOME kind of phenomenon. Folks, we have an emerging Monster tradition! All fresh and relatively new! Something that is most definitely not another manifestation of "Mothman", but a phenomenon in its own right!

Hey! I'm excited! It's not everyday you get to watch a paranormal or cryptozoological pattern form almost right in front of your eyes!

Kurt McCoy
(author "White Things: West Virginia's Weird White Monsters" and self-confessed monster aficionado)


Winged Manta Ray Shaped Cryptid - Near Ashton, WV - 12/3/2004

I received the following email in reference to my post The Mothman Cometh: John Keel's Reports on August 13th. Much of this was included in a piece written by Chris Holly, but there have been a few changes. images for larger version:

Hi Lon, thanks for responding so quickly. Here are my drawings and report. Chris Holly reported my story pretty much verbatim, so I will repeat it here for you in a slightly different form.

Date: Dec. 3, 2004

Time:6:00 - 7:00pm

Weather Conditions: clear and already dark. Moon hadn't risen yet

Location: Traveling south on Rt.2 in WV from Point Pleasant to Huntington WV. Near Ashton WV (see map)

A friend and I were traveling on Rt. 2 towards Huntington WV. I was on my way to set up my booth for an art show and my mind was occupied with the booth set up and show logistics. We had just gone over the railroad tracks outside of Ashton WV and were on a long straight stretch of road. There was distant oncoming traffic and the headlights were on. There were no cars behind us in sight. I was in the passenger seat and my friend was driving. I noticed a sudden movement in the sky over the Ohio River to my right in front of the car. It was a greyish, smooth, winged shape. the shape swooped in a figure 8 in front of the windshield and then was suddenly gone to the left of us. It didn't fly out of sight, it was just gone. This happened very quickly, but as I am a visual artist, it was impressed into my memory banks!

Size: Bigger than the car. The wingspread was wider than the 2 lane road we were on. The wings seemed to stretch wider somehow as it did the figure 8 swoop. It was never more than 25 feet away from us as it flew towards the windshield. We thought it was going to crash into the windshield! At one point during the swoop it was only about 5 feet off of the pavement.

Color: Grey, translucent like a jellyfish. As it banked and swooped I could see many angles of it and somehow it looked more transparent as it turned some parts to us. I immediately thought it was like a manta ray. The body was flattish like a manta ray or a bat. The wings were long and smooth and sort of pointed at the tip. I saw no texture or roughness on it, only smooth surface.

Characteristics: Only body and wings- no head, eyes, tail, or feet. It did not look humanoid in any way. On the other hand, it wasn't a bird either. It moved more like something in the ocean would move - Did not flap the wings like a bird, or flutter them like a bat, but stretched them instead. My friend (who alas passed away a year ago) said to him the wings looked ragged like there were pieces coming off of them.

He also said he got a good look at the underneath and it looked grey and smooth. This absolutely was not a machine! It was articulated like a living creature and seemed like something organic.

As I look back on this sighting, I wonder if it was something playing with us - It happened so quickly that the only scary part was when we thought it was going to crash into the windshield. It was so beautiful and strange! It reminded me of a sea creature more than anything else, maybe our air is like water to them.

The only other time in my life I have ever seen anything remotely similar was in 2000 in Clay Co. WV, driving along a one lane road along the Elk River (a river was present in both instance -I just realized) In that case, I was alone and for about a mile as I drove, I kept noticing a shimmer in front of the car about 15 feet ahead of the car. This was late morning in the summer. It preceeded the car at the same distance for several minutes, then I noticed a shadow on the road too, large and shaped sort of like a bird. I looked up out of the windshield and there was a large crow flying above me. But what I first saw in front of the car was not a shadow, it was a disturbance in the air in front of my car that looked like a heat mirage sort of but was very close. This was a curvy country road right by the river. I had never seen heat mirages on that road before or since. At the time I thought that it was just sort of weird, then very close to that time I had a very lucid dream that I was in my car flying over the river right near the place where I saw the shadow.

As an artist, my mind is open to many possibilities and explanations - I think the unseen world is just a small vibrational frequency away. As a child I was fascinated by fairies and nature spirits and spent a lot of time alone outdoors.

NOTE: though there have been several variations in describing the 'Mothman', this particular description is unique and most likely represents another cryptid or non-terrestrial entity. As well as the Mothman sightings, the area along the Ohio River (southern Ohio and southwest West Virginia) has had a large number of other paranormal events including UFOs, large apparitions and hauntings, native and folklore based creatures, etc...Lon

Additional Ray-Shaped Cryptid Sightings in WV Ohio River Valley Revealed

Recent UFO Sightings / Reports / Updates - 9/29/2010

MUFON CMS - Illinois - 9/13/2010 - (unedited): I was cleaning the sensor of my digital camera (Nikon D300, 18-135mm Lens) and was shooting a frame of clear blue sky to confirm that dirt had been removed. Repeated this cleaning action 3 times, after the 3rd time I stepped outside and pointed the camera at clear blue sky and clicked 1 shot off. When I looked at the frame on the camera display I noticed objects in the image that I did not see when I took the photo. I did not see the objects with my sight - did not notice any objects in the sky when I shot the frame. Image submitted below.

Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: Nikon DX 18-135mm
Exposure: 1/160 sec @ f16 ISO 200


MUFON CMS - St.Clair Shores, MI - 1978 or 1979 - (unedited): I saw a streak of light in the sky while turning south onto Little Mack Ave. in St. Clair Shores, MI 48081 in 1978 or 1979 (I never could remember the year). I was traveling from east to west as I turned onto Little Mack Ave. It was a Friday. I thought that it was a reflection off the wing of a plain or something, and remember it was just dusk at the time and there was still a sunset to the west. Just ahead, at Martin Rd., I saw it coming closer, so I turned west onto Martin Rd. at the intersection (I could never remember if I had to stop at the traffic light there at all, but I know there is one at that intersection), and then I turned directly left into a church parking lot. The disk like craft came down directly over the church/rectory and hovered about 20 ft. above it. I just couldn't believe it. It was silently rotating with bright lights coming off the bottom to it. It was disk-like with a very wide band of windows around the middle of the thing. Thinking back now, the wide band of windows must not have been rotating with the rest of the craft. It was very early spring time, and I had some young children in the back set of the car. I sat parked and looking up at it right straight out of my front windshield. There were people/beings (?) looking down at me. It looked like some sort of open spaced mess hall inside with them sitting around squarish tables. Two of them then were standing up and came up to the windows, and they just started down at me and the car. Others at the tables then turned their heads as if to notice my car. They had shoulder length light hair. Their hair styles reminded me of the old page-boy style from years ago. They seemed to have on some sort of jump-suit. I remember thinking that one of them must have been female. I knew they could see me, and it felt really weird to me that they could see me and knew I was there. I can't remember if I'd turned my car engine off or if my car was still running (I've always wondered about that). I could see right into their craft. It was very brightly lit up inside. I don't remember seeing/hearing any other traffic lights/car noises or anything. It just seemed totally dark out, and there was no noise at all. I remember I had my hands on the steering wheel. Then all of a sudden the craft went right up about approx. 100 ft. (maybe less), and it veered off to the south-west slowly at first, then it went at lighting speed till it was just a pin prick of light in the sky. I thought that someone else must have seen the thing (no other cars were around at all, no traffic nothing), and I wanted to see where it went. So, I left the parking lot by it's exit onto a side street, which I took till I got to 11 Mile Rd. But, by then it wasn't visible at all. I turned left (east) onto 11 Mile Rd., and I considered going to the police station there at Jefferson Ave., but thought they'd think I was crazy. I noticed some traffic then. So, I didn't stop at the station, but just turned and continued on. I don't know why I just went home, and I didn't think/talk about it at all that night, nor all weekend. Also, I didn't phone or tell anyone about it that night either. The children in the back seat were to young to remember what happened. It's possible it may have taken place early in the spring of 1978. I could never remember the date/year at all, but have tried to often. For some reason I can't, but my best guess is that it was in 1979. I know (I'm positive) it was a Friday near dusk when I saw this. I didn't feel afraid, but there was some mild fear when the two figures were at the window of their craft looking down at my car. I think I felt this way because I had young children in the back seat of my car with me. I was also in awe that this thing was hovering so close by me over a church/rectory. I didn't have to stretch my neck up or back to see it out of my front car windshield at all. It was just like watching something on screen right out of my car windshield. I remember it was totally black out as I watched this thing from the driver's seat of my car. I've wondered about it being totally dark out then, since I could see the sunset when I was turning south onto Little Mack Ave. just a little bit before. I also never took noticed of the time when I got home. The next Tuesday, on the car radio I heard that there were sightings of UFO's over northern MI. I've never talked about this with anyone. I'm an educated person with advanced degrees, and I want to remain totally anonymous and not be contacted by anyone. I felt I had to tell MUFON about what I saw and I hope that it may be of some help to you and also others. The above phone # and email address are not mine, but bogus I'm sorry to say. I had to put somethng in those areas so I could submit this to you.




ATTENTION: I am very pleased at the attention the blog receives and I realize that many of the readers also have blogs and websites. I just asked one favor...if you're going to use any of the material from 'Phantoms and Monsters' blog and/or wiki, please link back to the post. Thanks for reading...Lon

Recent UFO Sightings / Reports / Updates - 9/29/2010
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