Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Stanford, Kentucky Abductions

The three women who were abducted near Stanford, Kentucky. Left to right: Louise Smith, Elaine Thomas, Mona Stafford. (credit: Jerome Clark)
Summary: On January 6, 1976, three women were abducted near Stanford, Kentucky. As they were driving together to have dinner, a bright red object appeared in the sky, which Mona Stafford at first thought was an airplane on fire. As the object descended from the right side of the road to a point ahead of them, they could see that it was not an airplane, but a huge object bigger than "two houses."

Original Report: January 6, 1976 was Mona Stafford's 36th birthday. To celebrate, she and her friends Louise Smith and Elaine Thomas decided to drive thirty-five miles from their home in Liberty, Kentucky, to have dinner at the Redwoods Restaurant, between Stanford and Lancaster, Kentucky. Louise Smith was driving them in her '67 Chevy Nova.

The three women had an enjoyable dinner together. None of them drank any alcoholic beverages with their meal. At about 11:15, the trio headed back home, expecting to be home by midnight. At Stanford, Kentucky, nine miles from Lancaster, they turned off Highway 27 and onto Highway 78 towards Hustonville.

Just outside Stanford, a curious thing happened. A bright red object appeared in the sky, which Mona Stafford at first thought was an airplane on fire. As the object descended from the right side of the road to a point ahead of them, they could see that it was not an airplane, but a huge object bigger than "two houses." The object stopped about a hundred yards ahead of them, stretching across the road on both sides. It rocked back and forth for a couple of seconds, and then moved off to the left.

They kept driving, and assumed that whatever it was had kept going. However, after they had been about a quarter of a mile, a blue light appeared through the rear window of the car. At first they thought it was a highway patrol car with its lights flashing, but soon they realized that the flying object had circled around and had come up behind them. Suddenly, something wrested control of the car away from Louise Smith. The car accelerated even though Mrs. Smith took her foot off the accelerator, and the speedometer was soon on 85 mph. Mona Stafford, in the front passenger seat, tried to help Louise regain control of the car, but it was not possible. The women began to feel a burning sensation in their eyes. The ignition lights lit up on the instrument panel, an indication that the car's engine was stalled, but they were still speeding along. They saw a wide, brightly lit road ahead of them, and then, seconds later, the scene became Highway 78 and they recognized they were on the outskirts of Hustonville, a full eight miles from where they had just been. Checking the time, they found that, incredibly, an hour and twenty minutes had passed.

They arrived at Louise Smith's trailer in Liberty at 1:25 am, almost an hour and a half late. They went inside to collect themselves and found that they each had a red mark like a burn on the backs of their necks, and they all had burning, irritated eyes. Louise Smith went into the bathroom and removed her watch to wash her face. She saw that the hands of her watch were spinning at a much higher than normal speed. When she splashed water on her face, she found that contact with water caused pain in her hands and face.

They went next door, to the home of Mr. Lowell Lee, and told him what had happened. He had them separately sketch the object they had seen. The sketches were extremely similar, if not identical. They called the police and the local navy office, but neither showed any interest in their story.

In the days that followed, Mona Stafford had more problems with her eyes than did the other two women, and she sought medical help for severe conjunctivitis. Louise Smith's pet parakeet was now inexplicably terrified of her and the bird died a couple of months later. Smith's car also began to develop mysterious electrical problems.

The navy office reportedly gave information about the story to the news media, and the story was soon in the newspapers. Hearing of the case, Jerry Black of MUFON set up an interview with the three women. J. Allen Hynek of CUFOS and Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO also investigated the case. The investigators found that other individuals had independently reported sightings of a UFO in the Casey and Lincoln counties that same night. Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle of the University of Wyoming heard of the case and flew in, and on March 7, 1976, he performed a preliminary hypnotic regression of the women.

In July of 1976, Lexington Police Department detective James Young separately gave the three women lie detector tests regarding their experience. They all passed with no problems. Later that evening and continuing into the next day, extensive hypnotic regression of the women was performed by R. Leo Sprinkle. These sessions were similar to the story of Betty and Barney Hill in that they revealed that during the period of missing time the three women were taken on board the object they had seen. While there they were medically examined by shadowy beings that they later identified as being similar to depictions of aliens. -

Drawing of the UFO by Mona Stafford

The Kentucky Abduction
- APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 4 (Oct 1976)

The February first issue of the Kentucky Advocate, published at Danville, Kentucky, carried an article pertaining to UFO sightings in that general area, among which was the story told by Ms. Louise Smith, Ms. Mona Stafford and Mrs. Elaine Thomas about their drive home to Liberty from a late dinner at the Redwoods restaurant located five miles north of Stanford. The ladies said that at a point about one mile south of Stanford, they saw a huge disc-shaped object which was metallic gray with a white glowing dome. A row of red lights rotated around the middle and underneath were three or four red and yellow lights that burned steadily. A bluish beam of light issued from the bottom.

The newspaper did not carry a lot of detail but it was mentioned that when the women arrived home in Liberty, it was 1:25 a.m. Having left the restaurant at 11:15 p.m., they should have arrived home by midnight, indicating that there was a time loss of about one hour and 25 minutes.

The Kentucky Advocate article was forwarded to APRO by Field Investigator Bill Terry but meanwhile he put in a telephone call and asked if we felt the case was good enough for him to make the necessary 60 mile trip to talk to the ladies. After he had read the pertinent information, Mrs. Lorenzen said she thought it would be well worth the trip. A few days later he called back and told Headquarters he thought it was a case of abduction, and that the usual hypnosis procedures should be utilized.

A call was put in to Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle, APRO's consultant in psychology and he was asked to travel to Liberty to interview the women and possibly use hypnotic procedures to relieve their anxiety and obtain any repressed information. Headquarters learned that his first free weekend for the trip would be the weekend of the 6th and 7th of March.

We will here relate the information obtained by our investigation and later explain why this report has not been published until now.

It is important to note that although Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Thomas had known each other for many years, and Mrs. Stafford had known Mrs. Thomas for some time, Mrs. Smith had only gotten acquainted with Mona a few weeks previously.

On the evening in question, Mrs. Smith left work at the usual time and went home. She is employed as an extension assistant for the Casey County Extension Office where her duties consist of visiting families in the county, counseling them in food perparation and preservation, nutrition and gardening. She fixed herself a sandwich and soup, which she ate, then got into her 1967 Chevrolet which she had just purchased that day and drove to a service station to get gas in preparation for the next day.

While at the service station, Mona Stafford, who was driving by, spotted Louise's car, pulled her car into the station, whereupon Mrs. Smith asked her if she would come home with her and help her put the collar on a jacket she was making, as she was having trouble fitting it. The two ladies, each in her own car, drove to the Smith trailer home and set about the task. At about 8 p.m., Mrs. Thomas dropped by and the three lapsed into conversation about their favorite subject: art. Mrs. Stafford had planned to go to her sister's home to have her hair done and at about 9 p.m. said she'd better call her sister because it was getting late and besides, it was her (Mona's) birthday.

When Mrs. Smith learned about the birthday, she suggested that they al! go over to the Redwoods for a late dinner and a sort of birthday celebration. Also, there was a painting on the wall of the restaurant which she had wanted to sketch. The restaurant, incidentally, is the only restaurant open at that time of night in that area.

The three drove the 29 miles to the restaurant, had their dinner and then pulled out sketch pads and went to work. A man at the restaurant asked Mrs. Smith to sketch him, which she did, and then she realized it was getting late, so the three paid their checks and left. Mrs. Smith drove, Mona sat in the middle of the front seat, with Mrs. Thomas on her right by the passenger window.

After Mona spotted the object, which was descending from their right to the left, she asked Louise to speed up as she thought it was a plane about to crash and she wanted to help any survivors. Mrs. Smith saw it clearly, but Mrs. Thomas didn't see it until it had stopped at treetop level at what they estimated to be one hundred yards ahead of them. All of the women said the object was huge, Louise describing it as "as big as a football field," while Mrs. Stafford said it was at least as large as two houses.

Mrs. Smith said that the object rocked gently for perhaps two seconds, at which time she estimated its size, for it extended beyond the edges of the road and over the fields on both sides. Then the thing moved across the road to their left, circling behind and above some houses, and then apparently came back to the highway and swung in behind the car.

At a point in their journey about a quarter of a mile beyond the houses, the inside of the car was lit up with a bluish light which came from behind. Mrs. Smith said that at first she thought it was a state trooper approaching from behind, but realized almost immediately that it wasn't. At this point Louise and Mona were near panic. The car began to pull to the left and Louise screamed at Mona to help her control it. The speedometer was registering 85 miles per hour and both Mona and Mrs. Thomas shouted at Mrs. Smith to slow down. Louise held her foot in the air to show them and said,"I don't have my foot on the accelerator and I can't stop it!" Mona reached over and grabbed the wheel and they fought the force together. Then, quite suddenly, the women experienced a burning sensation in their eyes and Louise later described an additional pain which seemed to "go right through the top of my head! It was almost unbearable!"

The next sensation was that of some force pulling the car backward. Also, they got the feeling that the car was going over a series of "speed bumps" (raised ridges in a road which are meant to keep the speed of automobiles to a minimum). Mrs. Thomas began urging Louise to stop so that she could get a good look at the object, but Mona and Louise were too terrified. Elaine had only had a glimpse of the object as it had circled to their left and around behind him and was later to comment about the object's beauty. "I can't describe it," she said, "I've never seen red that beautiful. 1 wanted to get out and look at it."

Then, the women said, they saw a strange, wide, lighted road stretching as far as they could see ahead of them. At the same moment Mona noted a red light come on on the instrument panel which indicated that the engine had stalled, despite the sensation that they were moving very fast.

At what seemed to be a split second later the women saw a street light ahead and realized that they were coming into HustonviHe, a full eight miles beyond where they had encountered the strange aircraft. They wondered among themselves how they had gotten there so fast, then became quiet while they proceeded on into Liberty.

When they arrived at Mrs. Smith's trailer, they ail went inside. Mrs. Smith went into the bathroom, took off her glasses and splashed water on her face, whereupon her hands and face began to burn with searing pain. All three had a red mark on the backs of their necks, measuring about three inches long and one inch wide, with clearly defined edges, giving the appearance of a new burn before it blisters. Louise and Elaine's marks were centrally located between the bases of their skulls and the top of the back, whereas Mona's was located to the ieft, behind her ear. They could not account for the marks, which disappeared two days later. All three were experiencing burning and tearing of their eyes, but Mona Stafford had a much more severe case of conjunctiveitis (an inflammation of the conjunctiva membrane of the eyes).

Prior to washing her hands, Louise had taken off her watch and was startled to see that the hands of her watch were moving at an accelerated rate of speed, the minute hand moving at the speed of a second hand, and the hour hand was moving also. Upon experiencing the pain of the water on her hands and face she forgot about the phenomena of the watch and does not recall when it returned to normal or when she reset it.

Concluding that something was wrong, the three ladies went next door to the home of Mr. Lowell Lee, and told him what they had seen. He asked them to go into separate rooms and sketch the object and when finished, he found the resulting sketches to be almost identical.

Although all the women had trouble with their eyes, only Mona Stafford sought medical help, as her problem was so severe. The doctor who examined her found no explanation for the pain and tearing but gave her some eye drops which helped very little.

Bill Terry found out that all three of the women enjoy good reputations. Mrs. Smith, 44, is a tall, thin woman of 44 years who was widowed when a young woman and brought up her son and daughter by herself. She has two grandchildren and busies herself in her spare time with painting and sketching and gospel singing. She performs around Casey county with the Jubilee Echoes, consisting of herself, a 14-year-old boy singer and a bassist who is a police lieutenant in Danville. She is a lifelong member of the Baptist church and attends services regularly at the Poplar Springs Baptist Church in Liberty. Inquiries to such people as police personnel, her minister and employer, elicited only good comments. Several weeks after her experience she had lost 28Vi of her normal weight of 125Vi pounds.

Mona Stafford is 35, the former owner of an arts and crafts shop in Liberty and currently unumployed except for secretarial work which she does for her father, who owns a mobile trailer park. She was once married but has been divorced since 1970 and lives in a trailer home parked near her parents' home. She is a devout Christian, a member of the Hilltop Church of Christ near Liberty. She also lost weight amounting to 17 pounds but at this writing had regained 7.

Elaine Thomas is a 48 year-old-housewife who has lived in Casey County, Kentucky all of her life. She and her husband Otis live several miles out of Liberty. They have a grown daughter and three grandchildren. Mrs. Thomas is also a lifelong churchgoer and is a member of the Contown Church of Christ.

The foregoing information indicated to APRO's staff that the women were of good reputation, sincere, honest, and had no motivation to concoct a story so we proceeded with the investigation. It is at this juncture that we will explain the tardiness of the publication of this case. Bill Terry met Dr. Sprinkle upon his arrival and the two proceeded to Mrs. Smith's home. They were met with a conglommeration of investigators from CUFOS and MUFON, who felt that they were "first" on the case and that APRO should not be allowed to enter. (They had preceded Mr. Terry to the Liberty site by only one day). Sprinkle, being a gentleman and a scholar did not want to intrude, and it was finally decided to call APRO Headquarters for an opinion. Mr. Lorenzen talked to Len Stringfield of CUFOS and MUFON who wanted to use the services of Dr. Sprinkle but did not want the report to be sent to APRO. Mrs. Lorenzen pointed out that she had written a book (Encounters with UFO Occupants) specifically so that the proceeds would furnish APRO with the wherewithal to conduct such investigations, and that not only was APRO's money (air fare and expenses for Dr. Sprinkle) wasted, but Dr. Sprinkle's time away from his family was wasted as well.

It was finally decided that Dr. Sprinkle would conduct the hypnotic sessions but that there would have to be a mutual agreement concerning the release of the story. Also, during meetings before Sprinkle's arrival, some representative of MUFON or CUFOS had told Mrs. Smith (she doesn't recall who) that the ladies should be careful about having anything to do with APRO because "they would call in the National Enquirer" and they would receive much unwanted publicity. Later, in a letter from Jerry Black, a MUFON investigator and, consequently, a CUFOS investigator, suggested that the ladies contact the National Enquirer about their experience, which was a surprise considering their reluctance to have anything to do with that paper if APRO was on the case.


At any rate, it was for this reason, after the waste of several huhdred dollars, APRO was unable to complete the case. Then, after the National Enquirer contacted the ladies, Dr. Sprinkle, because of his participation in the "Blue Ribbon Panel" of National Enquirer experts, was called upon to go back to Liberty and regress the women.

His report of the weekend of March 6 and 7 is quite sketchy except for his characterization of the three women as reliable, sincere, etc., because Saturday was largely wasted in quibbling about who should have "control of the case." Incidentally, the MUFON people wanted to make use of Sprinkle's expertise, "as long as he was there." But they admitted they neither had the consultants nor the funds to send in someone expert in hypnotic techniques to carry out the trance sessions.

On the 23rd of July, under the National Enquirer's aegis, a polygraph test was conducted on the three ladies, and James C. Young reported, in each case, that it was his opinion, based upon the polygraph examinations, thai: the ladies believed they were telling the truth to the listed questions.

In his report, Mr. Young made the following pertinent observation: "Prior to the examination of these three persons it was determined by the polygraphist that these persons had been previously interviewed by Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle and the above-mentioned members of the Mutual UFO Network. How much or how little these previous interviews played a part upon what these persons now believe about this alleged encounter cannot be determined by the polygraphist. I cannot discount the fact that previous interviews with these persons could influence their personal beliefs as to whether or not this alleged encounter did or did not occur."

Mr. Young makes a very good point, that being that interviewers showing sketches of UFO types to a witness before they make their own renderings of what they saw, is highly suggestive, as is the display of any drawings of occupants. This apparently was done by MUFON representatives prior to the polygraph test or the trance hypnosis carried out by Dr. Sprinkle on the next day, the 24th of July. APRO has a complete transcript of the trance sessions which have been examined by the staff. While Robert Pratt of the Enquirer, and Dr. Sprinkle, who has had extensive experience in this phase of UFO research, were careful not to lead the subjects, some very suggestive or leading questions were asked by Mr. Stringfield and Mr. Black of MUFON. It is just such errors that the skeptics will leap upon in attempts to discredit the investigative procedures or reliability of witness testimony in such cases.

We would like very much to quote in polygraph tests and the hypnotic trance sessions, but space will not allow us to do so. Therefore, we summarize Dr. Sprinkle's findings from the hypnotic sessions.

". . .Mrs. Smith suffered much as she relived the experience. The behaviors, e.g., weeping, moaning, tossing her head, shuddering, and shaking, etc., were evident to those of us who observed her. especially as she seemed to "relive" an experience of a fluid material covering her face. Her smile, and evident relief in "seeing the street light" at the end of her hour and one-half loss-of-time experience was dramatic and indicated that she was "safe" in the car, once again, and returning home with her friends." Sprinkle then goes on to recount Louise's claim that her pet parakeet, who, according to her claims and the claims of others who observed the bird, refused to have anything to do with her after the UFO experience. Others could approach the bird and it would not react wildly; however, whenever Louise came close to the bird, the bird would flutter and move away from her. The bird died within weeks after the UFO experience.

Mona Stafford. . ."responded well to the hypnotic suggestions and she was able to describe impressions which led her to believe that she had been taken out of the car, and that she was alone on a white table or bed. she saw a large "eye" which seemed to be observing her. She felt as if a bright white light was shining on her and that there was "power" or energy which transfixed her and held her to the table or bed. She experienced a variety of physiological reactions, including the impressions that her right arm was pinned or fastened; her left leg forced back under her, with pain to the ankle and foot; pressure on the fingers of the left hand, as if they were forced or squeezed in some way; a feeling of being examined by four or five short humanoids who sat around in "surgical masks" and "surgical garments" while observing her. At one point, she sensed that she was either experiencing out-of-the body travel, or else she was waiting outside of a large room in which she could view another person, probably a woman, lying on a white bed or observation table. She perceived a long tunnel, or a view of the sky, as if she had been transported to an area inside a large mountain or volcano. Although, she wept and moaned and experienced a great deal of fatigue as a result of the "reliving" of the experience, she felt better the next day; she expressed the belief to me that she now had a better understanding of what happened during the loss-of-time experience.

. . . "Mrs. Thomas had been rather quiet during the initial interview in March, 1976, although it was obvious that she is perceptive and aware of other people's attitudes and feelings. Like the

others, she has lost weight, but she has also experienced some personality changes. She dresses a bit more colorfully now, and she is more willing to talk and to share her ideas with others. She, too, experienced a similar reaction during the hypnotic techniques: she apparently was responding well to suggestions to go deeper; when she "relived" the UFO experience, she experienced a great deal of emotional reaction. Her main impression was that she was taken away from her two friends, and that she was placed in a "chamber" with a window on the side. She seemed to recall figures which moved back and forth in front of the window of the chamber as if she were being observed. Her impression was that the observers were four-foot-tall humanoids, with dark eyes, and grey skin. One disturbing aspect of the experience was the memory that she had some kind of contraption or "covering" that was placed around her neck; whenever she tried to speak, or think, the contraption or "covering" was tightened, and she experienced a choking sensation during these moments. At first, Mrs. Thomas interpreted the memories as indication that she was being choked by hands or that she was being prevented from calling out to her friends; later, however, she came to the tentative conclusion that an experiment was being conducted, and the experiment was to learn more about her intellectual and emotional processes. She recalled a "bullet-shaped" object, about an inch and one haif in diameter, being placed on her left chest; she previously had experienced pain and a red spot at that location.

". . .During the polygraph examination, and during the initial hypnotic sessions, each UFO witness was interviewed separately from the other witnesses. After the initial description of impressions, the women were invited to attend the additional hypnosis sessions, so thai each woman could observe the reaction of the other two women. During these sessions, there was much emotional reaction, which seemed to arise from two conditions: the compassion of the witnesses for their friend, who was "reliving" the experience and releasing emotional reactions to the experience; also, it seems as if the description by one witness would "trigger" a memory on the part of another witness, even if the experiences seemed to be "similar" or "different."

"Certain similarities were observed: a feeling of anxiety on the part of each witness regarding a specific aspect of the experience. For Ms. Smith, it was the "wall" and the "gate" beyond which she was afraid to "move psychologically"; for

Ms. Stafford it was the "eye" which she observed and the impression that something evil or bad would be learned if she allowed the eye to "control" her; for Ms. Thomas, it was the "blackness" which seemed to be the feared condition or cause for anxiety. Each woman seemed to experience the impression that she had been taken out of the car and placed elsewhere without her friends and without verbal communication. For Ms. Smith, the lack of verbal communication was most distressing; although she had the feeling of "mental communication" that she would be returned after the "experiment."

"Differences were noted in that each woman seemed to have a somewhat different kind of "examination," and in a different "location." Ms. Smith did not have a clear impression of the location, although she did recall a feeling of lying down and being examined; Ms. Stafford had the impression of being in a "volcano or mountainside," with a room in which a bright Sight was shining on a white table with white clothed persons or humanoids sitting around and observing her; Mrs. Thomas recalled impressions of being in the dark chamber with grey light permitting a view of the humanoids who were apparently observing her."

In his conclusive paragraphs Dr. Sprinkle reports:

"In my opinion, each woman is describing a "real" experience, and they are using their intelligence and perceptivity as accurately as possible in order to describe the impressions which they obtained during the hypnotic regressions session. Although there is uncertainty about their impressions, especially in regard to how each person could be transported out of the car and relocated in the car, the im pressions during the "loss of time" experience are similar to those of other UFO witnesses who apparently have experienced an abduction and examination during their UFO sighting.

"Although it is not possible to claim absolutely that a physical examination and abduction has taken place, I believe that the tentative hypothesis of abduction and examination is the best hypothesis to explain the apparent loss-of-time experience, the apparent physical and emotional reactions of the witnesses to the UFO sighting: the anxiety and the reactions of the witnesses to their experiences which have occurred after their UFO sighting. An interesting subsequent event is the concern of the women that they were "re-experiencing" the physical symptoms which had been experienced for several days following the January 1976 sightings. . . .When I called them on July 26th, the women said that they were re-experiencing some of the same kinds of symptoms, e.g., fatigue, listlessness, sensitivity to skin, burning feeling on the face and eyes, fluid discharge, etc.

"I tried to reassure the ladies that it is not an uncommon experience in hypnotic regression that persons — after "reliving" earlier emotional experiences — may re-experience some of the symptoms which accompany those emotional reactions.

"In my opinion, the UFO experiences of these women are a good example of the type of apparent abduction and examination which seems to be occurring to more UFO witnesses. I believe that the investigation could be continued with the hopes of obtaining further information about their experiences. However, the present evidence suggests to me that the women have cooperated sincerely and openly in describing their reactions to their UFO sighting and loss-of-time experience, and the polygraph examination and hypnotic regression sessions have been useful in uncovering their impressions of the UFO sighting and subsequent events.

"I believe the case is a good example of UFO experiences, because of the number and character of the witnesses. . . and because of the results of further investigation through polygraph examinations and hypnotic regression sessions."

Dr. Sprinkle alludes to "subsequent events." Conversations with Mrs. Smith since the regressive hypnotic sessions took place yielded two very interesting bits of information: Mrs. Stafford had been having trouble sleeping, would not stay home, and would go to her parents' home or that of a friend, and curl up on the floor to sleep. She also has said repeatedly that she would not live "to see another birthday." Hopefully this is only a fear and not a portent of things to come.

Also, in the fall of 1976, Mrs. Smith was overcome by an inexplicable urge to go back to the scene of the original sighting. On August 1 she did return to, got out of her tar, and "heard" the words: "feel of your hands."When she did so, she realized that three rings, which she habitually wore, a small gold ring, a pearl ring, and a gold ring with onyx and a small diamond, were gone. On the 26th of September, Mrs. Smith walked out onto the stoop of her trailer home and found the onyx and diamond ring lying there. For some inexplicable reason, she scooped up the ring, walked to the creek which runs by her home, and threw it into the water.

This, then, is the entire story of the Kentucky abduction. At last contact with Mrs. Lorenzen by telephone, Mrs. Smith intimated that she was beginning to have recall of the whole experience, and asked that Mrs. Lorenzen not divulge the details as she was writing a book about the experience. We appreciate Mrs. Smith's desires, and will not comment on further information learned from her until such time as the book is published.

However, we laud these ladies for their bravery; theirs is a very interesting and hair-raising experience and we feel sympathy for them in that their greatest ordeal may well still lie ahead: the attacks of the skeptics. - APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 4 - October 1976

"The Kentucky Abduction." International UFO Reporter - March 1977
APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 4 - October 1976

Fortean / Oddball News: Ancient UFOs, Horse Mutilation and 2060 Diamonds in Man's Stomach

Tracing Ancient UFO Reports

msnbc - Alan Boyle writes: One of the best-known scientific sleuths of UFO sightings is focusing his search not on today's flying saucers, but on the sky wonders of antiquity.

Jacques Vallee, the French-born computer whiz and venture capitalist who also served as the model for Francois Truffaut's UFO-hunting character in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," says such sightings show that the UFO phenomenon did not start in 1947. He's a co-author of a newly published book, "Wonders in the Sky," that lists 500 unexplained aerial observations dating back as far as 1460 B.C. and going up to the dawn of the industrial age in 1879. (That 500th case involved an unknown "airship" that was sighted over eastern Iowa, where I grew up. Coincidence? I think not.)

Vallee and fellow researcher Chris Aubeck also delve into longstanding UFO legends that they've excluded from their list for various reasons. For example, take the story about Alexander the Great seeing a flying object that shot out a blaster ray. "We traced the story and discovered it was about the use of gunpowder, not an unexplained flying object," Aubeck and Vallee write.

About 90 percent of UFO reports turn out to have perfectly natural explanations, but Vallee says the reports that remain unexplained are provocative enough that they deserve more thoroughgoing study. He stated his case this week during a telephone conversation. By the way, when he points out that the modern flying-saucer era began in my "neck of the woods," he's not talking about eastern Iowa, but about western Washington, where is headquartered. (Coincidence? I think not.)

Here's an edited transcript: Continue reading at Tracing Ancient UFO Reports


Sri Lankan Arrested in India With 2060 Diamonds in Stomach

BBC - Police in India have arrested a Sri Lankan man with 2,060 diamonds and other precious stones in his stomach.

The man was arrested on arrival at the airport in the southern city of Madras (Chennai) on Tuesday, police said.

The stones - estimated to be worth between $337,000 (£211,747) and $674,000 (£423,485) - have been recovered, police said.

Once doctors confirmed the presence of stones in his body, the man was fed laxatives and bananas to eject them.

Senior police officer in Madras SR Jangid told a press conference he received a call about the man on Tuesday morning from a "reliable informant".

The man had successfully cleared the customs and immigration and a search of his bags did not yield anything, police said.

"Even during questioning, he could not sit comfortably and when questioned, he told the police that he was suffering from piles," the Times of India newspaper quoted Mr Jangid as saying.

"The police grew suspicious and took him to Chromepet Government Hospital. When doctors examined him, they found the stones lodged in his gut."

Mr Jangid said the stones were stored in 42 condoms and it took the police six hours to retrieve them.


Argentina: A Horse Mutilation in Pueblo Esther

Date: October 28, 2010

Argentina: Horse Mutilation in Pueblo Esther
By Andrea Simondini, Vision OVNI

Scott Corrales - Inexplicata - Pueblo Esther is a small community to the south of Rosario in the Province of Santa Fe, which has accustomed us to news stories concerning the UFO phenomenon.

Several persons claim having seen lights in the fields, ad the locality indeed boasts a significant case history.

On this occasion, the news involves the appearance of a mutilated animal, specifically a young horse, found with the typical inscision to its jaw, total extraction of the eyeball and excision of the ear canal and the tongue, leaving the hyoid bones expones.

The case was reported by Fernando Schienke, who found the horse in a field near his home. Astonished by the injuries to the specimen, he tried to find information about them.

The animal was found on October 17, 2010 and we are still waiting for more details from the witness. In the meantime, we are disclosing a series of details on the investigation. A series of photos will show the aspects to be kept in mind when investigating mutilation cases.

We can quickly observe that the wound presents a net incision with tissue dehydration and in some parts, removal of hair down to the skin along the cut. The type of incision can be clearly made out in a magnified photo. There is neither tearing nor remnants of tissue on the bone, which turns out to be one of the differentiating factors.

The presence of flies: this factor is very interesting, since many pathologists argue that the loss of soft tissue is due to phagocytosis by fly larvae. These photos show how flies begin to work on the animal’s carcass. No colonies of bacteria are visible, no fly larvae. This indicates the insects’ first contact with the carcass. However, the wounds are as latent as the incisions.

Over years of investigation we have been able to establish some basic patterns, the start of action by flies, the carrion animals that appear first, such as the wild boar, as well as some birds. However, all of them appear some 72 hours after an animal presenting these injuries has been found.

Birds tend to make their mark through feces on the back of the animal. We are expecting more details on the case with a follow-up of the area. This incident is a test case for Vision Ovni, as the town of Pueblo Esther is an area of multiple sightings, and a very important item of information for research as a whole.


Newly Discovered Gene Enables Fish To 'Disappear'

underwatertimes - Researchers led by Vanderbilt's Roger Cone, Ph.D., have discovered a new member of a gene family that has powerful influences on pigmentation and the regulation of body weight.

The gene is the third member of the agouti family. Two agouti genes have been identified previously in humans. One helps determine skin and hair color, and the other may play an important role in obesity and diabetes.

The new gene, called agrp2, has been found exclusively in bony fish, including zebrafish, trout and salmon. The protein it encodes enables fish to change color dramatically to match their surroundings, the researchers report this week in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"When my graduate student, Youngsup Song, discovered a third agouti protein in the fish pineal gland, an organ that regulates daily rhythms in response to light, we initially thought we had found the pathway that regulates hunger diurnally," said Cone, chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity and Metabolism.

"That is the mechanism that makes you hungry during the day, but not at night," he continued. "However, Chao Zhang, a graduate student who followed up the study, ultimately discovered that this agouti protein … is involved in the rapid pigment changes that allow fish to adapt to their environment."

This phenomenon, called background adaptation, also has been observed in mammals. The coat of the arctic hare, for example, turns from brown in summer to white camouflage against the winter snow.

In contrast to mammals that have to grow a new coat to adapt to a changing environment, fish, amphibians and reptiles can change their skin color in a matter of minutes.

The first agouti gene, which produces the striped "agouti" pattern in many mammals, was discovered in 1993. The same year, Cone and his colleagues at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland reported the discovery of the gene that encoded the melanocortin-1 receptor, a key player in the pigmentation story.

They demonstrated that the agouti protein prevented the melanocortin-1 receptor in melanocytes (pigment cells) in the skin from switching on production of black-brown pigment, and instead shifted the pigment to yellow-red hues.

The second agouti gene encodes agouti-related protein (AgRP), which blocks a melanocortin receptor in the brain. It prevents the melanocortin-4 receptor from inhibiting food intake, and thus stimulates eating.

In the current paper, Cone's group reports that the newly discovered protein, AgRP2, regulates expression of the prohormone genes pmch and pmchl, precursors to melanin-concentrating hormone, which has a pigment-lightening effect.

"Together, the versatile agouti proteins and melanocortin receptors are responsible for regulation of body weight, the banded patterns of mammalian coats, and even red hair in most people," Cone said. The current work shows that agouti proteins are also involved in the camouflage mechanisms used in thousands of fish species.

Cone, who came to Vanderbilt in 2008, has spent most of his career studying how the melanocortin receptors in the brain regulate body weight. He and his colleagues have published more than three dozen papers elucidating elements of this complex signaling system.

Zhang is the first author of the PNAS paper, a collaborative effort of scientists from the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Oregon, as well as Vanderbilt.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News: Trick or Treat, Witchfinder's Journal and Pub Ghost

BOO! Trick-or-Treaters Find Suicide Victim...Now That'll Scare the Hell Out of the Kids

yorkdispatch - Children trick-or-treating Thursday at a Newberry Township mobile-home park got a terrible fright when they discovered a man who had committed suicide on his front stoop, police said.

"I'm sure it was very upsetting to the children who saw him -- and to their families," Newberry Township Police Chief John Snyder said. "To me, it's something they're probably going to remember for the rest of their lives. I wish an adult would have found him before the kids did."

Police were called to Lot 113 of the Conewago Valley Mobile Home Park, at 800 York Road, about 6:20 p.m. after the trick-or-treating children found the man and reported it to a neighbor, Snyder said.

The man used a handgun to fatally shoot himself, the chief said; it appeared it was a head wound.

"We don't know when he committed suicide," Snyder said, or how long the man was lying on his stoop.

"I'm confused as to why no one during the day saw it," he said. "I assume people thought he was a (Halloween) decoration. The way he was lying there, you wouldn't have known if he was just taking a nap or if he was a decoration."

Quickly covered: Responding officers covered the man with a sheet as soon as they could and blocked off the area of his home from other trick-or-treaters, Snyder said.

The man was 68 years old, according to the York County Coroner's Office; no autopsy is planned.

"He was very ill ... and he didn't want to go to a hospital or a (nursing) home," Snyder said. "I just wish he'd have done it somewhere else. When people commit suicide, they don't think about the people around them -- they only think about themselves. It's one of the most selfish things you can do."

There was only a small amount of blood visible at the scene, the chief said; the man wasn't really visible from the street so it's likely not too many children saw him.

"Don't get me wrong -- it's still not a good thing for children to see," he said.

Gun: The handgun was still on the stoop, half hidden between the man's legs, according to Snyder.

"Unless you looked for it, you wouldn't have seen it," he said.

Snyder said the man lived alone and, based on the inside of his home, was a very clean, tidy person. That might have contributed to the man's decision not to kill himself inside his trailer, the chief said.

Snyder said because the man was found shortly after trick-or-treat started, it limited the number of children exposed to the scene.

"That's some consolation," he said, adding that officers spoke with the children who did witness the suicide scene.

"We did our best to talk to them," Snyder said. "It was bad timing all around."


Pub Ghost Scares Staff

timesandstar - A ghost at a Workington pub is spooking bar staff, its landlord has said.

Just in time for Hallowe’en, staff at the recently taken-over Brewery House, on Main Road, in High Harrington, claim to have reported sightings of a ghost which inhabits the cellar and front bar.

They say they think it is the ghost of a man who died in the pub several years ago.

Regular drinkers – no strangers to spirits – say he sits in the same seat, under the TV in the front bar.

But, the pub says, he is spooking barmaid Natalie Taylor, 21, who is so terrified of his presence in the cellar that she refuses to go there alone.

She started working at the pub in August, but said she had known about the ghost for a number of years.

Natalie said: “Years ago a friend of mine lived in this pub and she warned me.

“Stuff would move from one place to another or go missing without any explanation.

“The cellar gives me the creeps. It’s damp, cold and has a weird atmosphere, a definite presence. There’s something not right down there.”

Landlord Shaun Gardner wants to find a medium to bring into the pub to find out if there is a spirit – of the other world – hanging around in the cellar.


17th-Century Book Details Gruesome Exploits of the Witchfinder General

metro - The journal chronicles some of the often dubious witchcraft trials brought by Matthew Hopkins during the Civil War.

One includes the case of a young woman who apparently confessed to having sex with the Devil and others with females said to be ‘suckling imps’.

Hopkins, who was the subject of the 1968 film Witchfinder General, starring Vincent Price, appointed himself to the role and brought terror to eastern England between 1645 and 1647.

The journal, put together by Puritan writer Nehemiah Wallington, includes details of some of the 112 women hanged for witchcraft – often after confessing following torture.

A passage on suspect Rebecca West states: ‘When she was going to bed the Devil appeared unto her again in the shape of a handsome young man, saying that he came to marry her.’

The book is now being put into digital form by a team from Manchester University.

Staff at Tatton Park in Cheshire, where the original has been kept, hope to put the new version on display to the public.


Lesson Learned: Don't Get Hitched When You Don't Understand the Language - GRAPHIC TEXT / SUBTITLES

For many couples looking to tie the knot somewhere more exotic than the local register office, the turquoise seas and golden sands of the Maldives hold a particular allure. But an important lesson can be gleaned from the experience of one unfortunate pair who renewed their vows there recently: always make sure you know exactly what you're saying "I do" to.

A luxury hotel in the island nation was forced to apologise today after a couple who thought they were being blessed at an idyllic beach ceremony were in fact being roundly abused in the local tongue. The Vilu Reef hotel said police were investigating after a staff member conducting the renewal of marriage vows instead read out a series of extreme sexual and religious slurs in the Dhivehi language spoken in the Maldives. A public relations disaster unfolded after a video surfaced showing the ceremony supervisor mocking and insulting the hapless couple, calling them "swine" and "infidels" amid a string of bizarre insults.

"Before buggering a chicken, check if the hole is clean. That is because the people of the countries that you are from are familiar with the taste of the arseholes of chicken," he chants. He later says: "You are swine. The children that you bear from this marriage will all be bastard swine. Your marriage is not a valid one. You are not the kind of people who can have a valid marriage. One of you is an infidel. The other, too, is an infidel – and we have reason to believe – an atheist, who does not even believe in an infidel religion."

According to the Maldives News Service Minivan News, the video of the ceremony was uploaded on YouTube on Sunday by a member of staff. Vilu Reef's manager, Mohamed Rasheed, said that the staff member who uploaded the video did it as "a joke", without "realising the seriousness of the potential consequences". Sun Investments PVT, which operates the resort, issued a statement saying: "The corporate management of the resort is deeply saddened by this humiliating event and expresses its serious concerns over the incident, including the content shown in the video and the unforgivable conduct displayed by the staff involved in the incident."

Click for video

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thylacine: Making a Comeback?

donnybrookmail - A local man believes the fabled “Nannup tiger” lurks in the South West forests of the night— and true big cats too.

THYLACINES and big cats still lurk in the South West forests, according to Alan Troode of Nannup.

He collects and collates stories of both big cat and “Nannup tiger” (thylacine) sightings, concentrating on reports from around Nannup .

Alan first became interested in the thylacine when reading newspaper articles published in the early 1980s.

He was intrigued by the thought that the South West forests might harbour such fabulous animals and his interest was reignited when he moved to Nannup in the late 1990s.

Work and family commitments allowed him limited time to pursue the stories but conversations with locals fortified his interest.

He quickly came to the conclusion that he was not only looking at stories and descriptions of the Thylacine but also large predatory cats, not wild feral domestic cats but an animal the size of the mountain lion, cougar or puma , Felis Concolor .

He reckons he has an unbiased point of view when taking down thylacine stories and he soon realised that anything that moved in the bush that was not easily identified was claimed to be the Nannup tiger.

Some incidents contributing to the Nannup tiger legend showed traits and characteristics that Alan can only describe as speculative. Still he came to the conclusion that both the thylacine and Felis Concolor — two distinct predatory animals — roam the South West.

Two distinct animals give rise to two distinct animal hunters, he said. Information about both animals has been diverse, controversial and stories have been at odds with each other at times.

There is very little information about the thylacine and some reported characteristics cloud the issue further.

Reports have the tiger ranging in colour from light yellow to fawn, light brown to dark biscuit and all black — and with or without stripes.

Vocalisations have been described as hissing, coughing, snarling, growling and snapping.

During mating the mysterious beast is said to have a blood-curdling scream.

Often caught in car headlights at night, the blue eyes are believed to be the black tiger and the amber eyes belonging to the yellow chocolate tiger, he said.

Habits such as scratching sticks and dirt over carcases, multiple kills and the size of some animals killed brings into question the weight to kill ratio.

On some occasions the animal is described as being rather inquisitive and in no hurry to move and other reports have the animal taking flight and gone in a flash.

All this conflicting information has led Alan to believe that both the thylacine and Felis Concolor are still at large in the South West.

“I am only starting to scratch the tip of the iceberg so to speak and have a lot of further work to do on correlating both types of sightings,” he said.

“There are sightings of both animals in many areas claiming both tiger and cat occurrences.

“It is my hope to be able to engage believers of both animals in a more comprehensive look at the predatory animals that roam the forests with an open unbiased approach — to give validity and authenticity, to clear up some of the speculation and misinformation.”

Alan believes this can only help to strengthen belief in the presence of both the big cat and the Nannup tiger.

Over the years Alan has logged many reports on sightings of both animals.

He not only records an audio report but he then makes a hard copy which he gets authenticated by having the person reporting the sighting, sign and date.

Alan is a true believer in the existence of both animals in our South West forests.

The following video is a bit hokie because of the dramatics....but it's not a bad production overall:

Click for video


Chasing the Thylacine

independent - On a bright summer morning in the back end of Tasmania's north-west, I wandered into an office of Forestry Tasmania for advice about a forest dirt road. The sketch map the official offered was expected; not so his story. On that same track a decade or so ago, he had seen a creature that was not supposed to exist. And not just him; loggers and surveyors, an old-timer shacked up in the bush, all had glimpsed the animal before it slipped away into one of the most ancient rainforests on Earth.

Foresters are generally a practical bunch who measure life by certainties such as sawlogs and stray limbs lost to heavy machinery. When they swear to a sighting, you begin to wonder if there's truth after all to the Tasmanian tiger.

There are really only two things you need to know about the world's largest carnivorous marsupial. The first is that it looks nothing like its namesake except for the sandy orange coat and stripes that extend down to a stiff tail. The tiger – or thylacine as it is usually known because of its scientific name, Thylacinus cynocephalus, which means "pouched dog with a wolf's head" – is an evolutionary concept-creature that bolts the back half of a kangaroo on to a rangy dog the size of an Alsatian. The second is that it has been extinct for seven decades. Or it has unless you ask around. Then it turns out they're everywhere.

The first one I saw was in Hobart, the state capital. In the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, a small crowd gathered around footage of a restless creature in the city zoo with a slender snout that opened to a snake's gape and a stiff gait that another believer later compared to a dairy cow. When "Benjamin" became history one chilly September night in 1936, he is thought to have taken the species with him.

Start to look, however, and a tiger will be there staring back at you. It gazed coolly from the label on my bottle of Cascade beer. It slinked into grass on the number plate of every car in front. And tigers rampant flanked the heraldic crest on state buildings – who needs unicorns when you have a home-grown fabulous beast?

No wonder tiger-hunters become obsessed. To the newcomer, Tasmania is the surprise of Australia. It is an island of hidden secrets in a nation of infinite space; a place where real-life devils utter banshee wails and moss-bearded giants stand silently in forests that predate mankind. In this Middle Earth of lost myths, a legendary tiger is just part of the scenery, and there's a lot of that to cover in a state that's one-quarter wilderness.

Many otherwise eminent people have suffered ridicule and nights cooped up in a chicken shed with a camera in their pursuit. The government's Parks and Wildlife Service mounted its own two-year hunt in 1984 before it pronounced the species extinct and devoted its energies to finding feral foxes instead. That only upped the ante.

"Parks don't want to say anything publicly to attract attention," Ned Terry confided. We were drinking coffee in Deloraine in the state's north, where farming villages were scattered over my map like seed and the landscapes are so vivid that the first pioneers christened their settlements Eden, Paradise and Promised Land. Hard to believe that the Alpine wilderness of Cradle Mountain lay an hour's drive south. "The bush was full of tourists after a national park fellow reported a thylacine on the central east coast a few years ago. But those blokes got a lot of cameras out there to look for foxes. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some skulduggery going on."

In this zoological X-Files, the 80-year-old bushman plays Mulder. Every couple of months he listens patiently to an excited witness, asks a few questions to weed out the fakers, then follows up whoever is left. His latest credible lead in half a lifetime's tiger-chasing came from Lake Peddar in the south-west wilderness.

"Fellow camped out there says he heard one for three weekends in a row; that yapping noise they make when hunting. Says it ran so close he could smell it."

Many witnesses mention the smell – a sharp, hot, animal stink that electrifies the air. "Smelled it myself once," Terry said. "Makes the hairs on your neck stand on end, I can tell you."

The truth is out there, somewhere. Probably (I dragged out of Terry) in the remote northern corners of the state. So, in the late afternoon I rolled east over swells of grass bound for Scottsdale. Every so often a timber farmhouse heaved aloft on a crest then vanished into the rear-view mirror. Beyond lay the high country of the north-east.

Around seven thylacine sightings a year, more than anywhere else in Tasmania, were made up there in the half-century after Hobart Zoo lost its star attraction. A few tiger-hunters still came to shoot blurry images, stalking the edge of old-growth rainforest that had barely changed since Tasmania ripped away from the global supercontinent of Gondwanaland.

In the pub I met a farmer who yarned about a wolfish head that had poked through the bracken fern. "When he comes out he sits up like a kangaroo, then starts sniffing the air like one. I thought: 'What the hell's that?'" A stray dog, perhaps, I suggested. "No dogs up there," he bristled.

It turned out the area was swarming with rumours. Craig Williams, Tasmania's premier wildlife guide and a fourth-generation bushman, kept up a rumble of anecdote and oath as we skirted the forest, stopping occasionally to practise an arcane element of bushcraft or stare after a furry backside that disappeared into the scrub. He indicated a farmstead as we swerved around one corner. "You know the last thylacine died in 1936? An old bloke shot one there in 1946. Said it was killing his chooks [chickens]."

Later, after a meal that belonged to a Sydney restaurant rather than a remote mountain shack, Craig told tiger tales around the campfire. There was the thylacine witnessed by four people on a logging road just over that ridge, and the waxy scat found late last year by the manager of a wilderness lodge. Or there was his mate whose car had broken down up here one night: "He said he heard these high-pitched yaps following him as he walked."

Apparently Craig's grandfather and great-grandfather used to trap thylacine on the mountain behind us. I tried and failed to reconcile the mysterious thylacine with the plantation forest that now striated its flanks. Could it really survive here?

As the sky deepened to a velvety black, Craig strobed the treeline with a torch. There were secrets as well as possum eyes in the dark spaces between eucalyptus trunks. Suddenly, at the edge of our clearing, something twitched. A stoat-like animal froze in the torch's beam then skittered into the bush – a spotted-tailed quoll.

"Amazing killing machines; the ultimate predators," Craig said with admiration. "They're only a few kilos, but they can pull down a wallaby." With jaws that opened to 90 degrees and overlapping teeth, it was a distant relation of the thylacine colloquially known as a tiger quoll. "Been quite a few tiger sightings by quite a few people made around here."

I'd lost my bearings way back on the unmarked dirt roads. "Good," said Craig. "I don't want loads of people running around with traps and cameras. If the tiger's up here, let him be. That's what I reckon." Another Tasmanian secret was safe.
Originally posted 7/4/07

Tasmanian Tiger: Not Extinct!

Australian wildlife scientists have re-opened the cryptic case of the Tasmanian tiger, a marsupial carnivore that resembled a striped coyote and which was last seen alive more than 70 years ago.

Scientists think chances are slim that Thylacinus cynocephalus still roams remote areas of Tasmania, the large island just south of Australia, but they can't help but turn over every possible leaf for evidence.

The last wild Tasmanian tiger was killed by a farmer around 1930, and the last captive died in 1936 at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania's capital. Fifty years later, the species was declared extinct.

The extinction marked the end of the family Thylacinidae, and of the world's largest marsupial carnivore. The Tasmanian tiger weighed about 65 pounds, had a nose-to-tail length of six feet and had several vertical stripes running across its lower back and tail.

Despite the official extinction, rumored sightings of the creature have continued to emerge from Tasmania's temperate forests.

Zoologist Jeremy Austin of the Australian Center for Ancient DNA and his colleagues are examining DNA from animal droppings, or scats, found in Tasmania in the late 1950s and 1960s, which have been preserved in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Eric Guiler, a thylacine expert who found the scats, told Austin the droppings probably came from a Tasmanian tiger rather than a dog or two common related marsupial carnivores — the well-known wolverine-like Tasmanian devil and the cat-like spotted quoll.

"If we find thylacine DNA from the 1950s scats it will be significant," Austin said. "This would prove that either the thylacine produced the scat or a [Tasmanian] devil ate a thylacine and dropped the scat. Either way, that is proof that the thylacine was there at the time."

If they were to find evidence the Tasmanian tiger was still extant in the 1950s, that would mean the beast was able to stay hidden from humans for at least 20 or 30 years.

"If they could survive this long with no real physical proof, then it does add a little more hope to the possibility that they could survive another 50 years without ever being caught, killed [or] hit by a car," Austin told LiveScience. "This chance is of course not great, but the glimmer of hope is ever so slightly brighter."

NOTE: Here are a few links to other postings...Lon

On the Hunt for the Elusive Tasmanian Tiger

Are There Thylacines In Victoria?

Nick Mooney: We Still Receive at Least Two Credible Thylacine Sightings a Year

Thylacine DNA Restored To Life

New High-Tech Search For Thylacine, Large Cats After Recent Sheep Maulings

Resurrecting the Thylacine: Does it Exist or Will Science Help?

New Tasmanian Tiger Sighting Reported

Fortean / Oddball News: Supernatural Abduction, Woman Picks Up Her Head and Corpse Poaching Bears

Malaysian Family Claims Girl Abducted by Supernatural Beings

thestar - The strange tale of 22-year-old Siti Balqis Mohd Nor, who was said to sleepwalk and go missing for hours only to reappear on treetops and cemeteries, has taken an intriguing turn.

She is missing again and family members are claiming she is being held captive by a group of orang bunian (supernatural beings) at Gunung Jerai, 300km from her home here.

Her family said she went missing from the family home at Kampung Gong Nangka in Apal, near here, on Sunday.

They lodged a missing persons report at the Jerteh police station yesterday after attempts to find her failed.

An uncle, Derawai Said, 43, said he received an SMS from his niece on Tuesday informing him that she was now atop the mountain in Kedah, guarded by two orang bunian princesses named Maisrah and Mastura.

The mountain, now a holiday destination, was considered sacred by ancient Malays and was used as a navigational point by South Indian seafarers 1,500 years ago.

The mountain, also called Kedah Peak, is visible from Penang island.

Siti Balqis had “disappeared” previously and re-emerged at the house within a day or two but this was the first time she had gone missing for several days.

“Previously, when she disappeared, we found her in tree tops or at cemeteries.

“This is really making us jittery. Even experienced bomohs cannot solve this mystery,” he said.

Derawai said that on Sunday, when the family gathered in the kitchen, a sudden sound of a falling object made them rush to the living room.

They allegedly saw a crystal marble, the size of a 20 sen coin, rolling past Siti Balqis, who suddenly bolted from the house.

A neighbour claimed the girl was driven away in her mother’s Perodua Kancil, with Siti Balqis in the passenger seat.

Derawai claimed the car had been locked and the keys were still held by the girl’s mother, Norisan Said, 47, who later received an SMS from her daughter that the car had been left at the Jerteh bus station.

Siti Balqis also sent other SMSes, where she talked about her encounter with the orang bunian, how she struggled to free herself from them and how she was being treated for her wounds by the two princesses.

Last week, the Malay media reported that seven precious stones, including a ruby, had fallen from the ceiling of her house.


Woman Literally Picks Up Own Head After Horse-Riding Accident!

watoday - A British woman had to pick her own head up off the ground after badly breaking her neck in a horrific fall from a horse, according to reports.

The Daily Express newspaper reports that 26-year-old Thea Maxfield suffered a horrific "hangman's fracture" - a clean break of her upper cervical vertebra - after she was bucked six metres into the air in the accident.

After she fell off the horse Ms Maxfield tried to get out of the animal's way, but found that when she moved her head stayed where it was.
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She was forced to cup her hands around her head and lift it back into place to avoid damaging her spinal cord after her vertebrae shattered.

"I had to literally pick my head up and carry it in my hands. I didn't have much hope of a recovery," she told the newspaper.

Doctors initially warned she would be paralysed and have to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

But seven months after the fall she is back in the saddle, thanks to revolutionary technology developed for Formula 1 racing.

Ms Maxfield was fitted with a special head brace connected to a computer, which used sensors to assess the strength and weakness of her neck.

The same technology is used to monitor elite racing cars to assess steering, suspension and air-flow factors affecting performance.


Hungry Russian Bears Poaching Human Graves

guardian - From a distance it resembled a rather large man in a fur coat, leaning tenderly over the grave of a loved one. But when the two women in the Russian village of Vezhnya Tchova came closer they realised there was a bear in the cemetery eating a body.

Russian bears have grown so desperate after a scorching summer they have started digging up and eating corpses in municipal cemetries, alarmed officials said today. Bears' traditional food – mushrooms, berries and the odd frog – has disappeared, they added.

The Vezhnya Tchova incident took place on Saturday in the northern republic of Komi, near the Arctic Circle. The shocked women cried in panic, frightening the bear back into the woods, before they discovered a ghoulish scene with the clothes of the bear's already-dead victim chucked over adjacent tombstones, the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomelets reported.

Local people said that bears had resorted to scavenging in towns and villages - rummaging through bins, stealing garden carrots and raiding tips. A young man had been mauled in the centre of Syktyvkar, Komi's capital. "They are really hungry this year. It's a big problem. Many of them are not going to survive," said Simion Razmislov, the vice-president of Komi's hunting and fishing society.

World Wildlife Fund Russia said there had been a similar case two years ago in the town of Kandalaksha, in the northern Karelia republic. "You have to remember that bears are natural scavengers. In the US and Canada you can't leave any food in tents in national parks," said Masha Vorontsova, Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in Russia.

"In Karelia one bear learned how to do it [open a coffin]. He then taught the others," she added, suggesting: "They are pretty quick learners."

The only way to get rid of the bears would be to frighten them with something noisy like a firework or shoot them, she said.

According to Vorontsova, the omnivorous bears had "plenty to eat" this autumn, with foods such as fish and ants at normal levels. The bears raided graveyards because they offered a supply of easy food, she said, a bit like a giant refrigerator. "The story is horrible. Nobody wants to think about having a much loved member of their family eaten by a bear."

The bear population in Russia is relatively stable with numbers between 120,000 and 140,000. The biggest threat isn't starvation but hunting - with VIP sportsmen and wealthy gun enthusiasts wiping out most of the large male bears in Kamchatka, in Russia's Far East. Chinese poachers have killed many black bears near the border, selling their claws and other parts in markets.

The Russian government is drafting legislation to ban the killing of bears during the winter breeding season.


New Species of Monkey Sneezes When it Rains

A new species of snub-nosed monkey that sneezes when it rains has been discovered in the remote Himalayan forests of Burma. The monkey, measuring almost two feet high with a tail even longer than its body size, has an extraordinary upturned nose and full lips. It is the largest snub-nosed monkey species in the world.

Little is known about the habits of the black monkey with a white beard, but locals say it is easy to find the animals because it sneezes when it rains. To avoid getting rainwater in their noses they spend rainy days sitting with their heads tucked between their knees, according to locals.

Rhinopithecus Strykeri, that is known in the local dialect as monkey with an upturned face, was found by scientists from Flora and Fauna International investigating gibbons populations in forests up to 10,000ft above sea level. Villagers talked about a monkey that was well known for making a lot of noise when it rained and showed the researchers bodies hunted for meat.

Further investigation revealed an estimated population of 260-330 individuals, meaning that it is classified as critically endangered by the United Nations. The area where the monkeys were found has been closed to the world for decades, which is why the monkey has not been discovered. It is under threat from illegal logging, as well as hunting for food and Chinese medicines.


Mom Kills Baby For Interrupting Her Game of 'Farmville'

jacksonville - A Jacksonville mother charged with shaking her baby to death has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Alexandra V. Tobias, 22, was arrested after the January death of 3-month-old Dylan Lee Edmondson. She told investigators she became angry because the baby was crying while she was playing a computer game called FarmVille on the Facebook social-networking website.

Tobias entered her plea Wednesday before Circuit Judge Adrian G. Soud. A second-degree murder charge is punishable by up to life in prison.

Prosecutor Richard Mantei said Tobias' sentence could be less because of state guidelines that call for 25 to 50 years. Soud offered no promises on what he'll order during a sentencing hearing scheduled for December.

Outside the courtroom, Mantei said Tobias' plea will help avoid the family reliving the tragedy during a jury trial.

Tobias told investigators that she shook the baby, smoked a cigarette to compose herself and then shook him again. She said the baby may have hit his head during the shaking.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

UFO / OVNI Worldwide Sighting Reports - 10/27/2010

MUFON CMS - Illinois - 10/26/2010 - unedited: Witnessed 4 different objects, making short quick movements in all directions the first one was red in color and glimmering, would make movements in all directions, noticed multiple aircraft flying in same are, all towards the object and all followed same flight pattern, weird!!

Other objects were bright white and blue in color, all making the same short movements in all directions. I will include pics.

We are still observing these objects as of 11:15 pm, central time


MUFON CMS - Austell, Georgia - 10/23/2010 - unedited: Around 9:00pm on Sat, 10/23/10, my husband and his friend were driving home from work down I-20W through Austell, Ga, just outside of ATL. They both spotted a low-flying, slow-moving, cigar-shaped object with four lights, no wings, and no sound. Since it was moving so slowly and at such a low altitude, he was able to fumble for his phone and snap a picture. Neither of them had any clue to what it was, but it was apparent what it was NOT - NOT a helicopter, balloon, airplane, power-glider, etc. (To get some perspective, you can see the interstate sign and tail lights from other cars at the bottom of the pic.) He went to take another pic, and then boom! It just disappeared! Any familiar aircraft takes a few minutes to fade off into the distance, and this was very slow-moving, so should have been visible for longer. Nope, it just vanished! This was very confusing and they kept looking for it, but it never reappeared. They were able to compare it to airplanes which were also in the sky at a much greater altitude. The airplanes had blinking red, blue and white lights, which this did not. May not have been extraterrestrial, but sure was unexplainable.


MUFON CMS - Ontario, Canada - 6/13/2010 - unedited: Took this at June 13, 2010 around 10:00pm when noticed light outside my window.I though at first was lamp but the shape was to weird to ignore,and i couldn't see it clearly(bad eye sight)

so i took out the camera and zoomed in at it,and thought what the heck and pressed record to see if anything odd would happen..really i thought was new lamp neighbours got..but then at around 30 secs into recording it,thing would fade out and in but i could see it still shiny from distense with my eyes and it wasent fading like it was on camera view.

also after checking the other video's i took,beside this one.what ever it was has put itself between the neighbours garage brick wall right side and my backyard its between.

also later the Neighbours came outside and started pointing to the sky and talking excited about what i prasume was the beams of lights that shot down as you see in the video,I stoped recording when they came out.

Also I dont think they where aware of the the other entity.I took pictures of it change shape from small ball of light to tall person, I saw it glow like sparkles while i was snapping the picture and saw it burts into light and shoot off some of its body? in the sky.

Also i would prefer it with no music, But the orginal audio has to much backround sound from my family in other rooms.And i dont want there voices to be herd.


MUFON CMS - Tombstone, Arizona - 10/26/2010 - unedited: My husband and I were on vacation visiting Tombstone, Arizona. We were staying at a hotel on the north side of town. Late that afternoon, from 8:00 P. M. Central Standard Time (? Arizonia time) we were sitting behind the hotel facing west toward a mountain. He pointed out to me an object in the sky over the mountain. The mountain was probably two to three miles away and the object several hundred feet above the mountain. At first he thought it was possibly a blimp. I made three photographs. We continued to watch it until sunset. It appeared to be black and continued to hover in the exact same location. He is definitely a UFO skeptic; however he did said that he knew of no plane, helicopter, or blimp that could hover like that. He is a former army paratrooper. The next morning he went outside before I did and spotted it again. I went with him to look. It was in the same spot twelve to fifteen hours later. This time to me it appeared white. He thought it was silver. I made several photos. The sun was bright during the second AM sighting and I could not focus. The photos are not great. I copied and enhanced one. Enlarged it appeared to me to be shaped like a fish. We observed it for a few minutes that morning. As we had many things to do we left the hotel. I did look for it later that morning while visiting Boothill Cemetery and it was not visible. I was anxious when I saw it and continued to be that night and the next day. My husband did not express any anxiety. His interest in looking for it again and the fact that he did not tell me it wasn't anything says he did think it was unusual. The photos are attached. I was reluctant to report it. I have checked this site to see if anyone else did. Someone else reported a similar sighting and I decided to report ours. The photos in which the object appear black were made later afternoon. The one with a white object in the far right corner were made mid morning the next day.


This was posted on the ATS forum today. Tell me what you think...Lon

I have no explanation for this one. It looks just like "Eva" from the movie Wall-E. Have at it people, tell me what you think. There are turkey's in the area but the object is colored different. Also to stop debunkers as to the legitimacy of this picture, I have not altered in any form or fashion this image. It was copied from the sim card to my desktop and then uploaded to here. Also I have the original unaltered SD card with the all of the pictures taken since last sunday. It is very odd. I have never seen anything like it and I have looked at 10's of thousands of pictures off of these game cameras for the last couple of years. I also never post in this forum so take it easy on me.

Keep in mind this has not been altered in ANY way, shape or form.

The Aokigahara Forest: Death Be Not Proud or Honorable

“The thought of suicide is a powerful solace: by means of it one gets through many a bad night”
- Friedrich Nietzsche

mentalfloss - It’s perhaps the most obvious setting for a horror movie imaginable — and it’s real. And incredibly grim. There is a thick, in places nearly impenetrable forest around Mt. Fuji, and it’s the most popular place for suicide in Japan. It’s the second most popular spot in the world behind the Golden Gate Bridge. From Vice, who sent a video crew there:

The Aokigahara Forest is the most popular site for suicides in Japan. After the novel Kuroi Jukai [The Black Forest, written by Seichō Matsumoto in 1960] was published, in which a young lover commits suicide in the forest, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year. The site holds so many bodies that the Yakuza pays homeless people to sneak into the forest and rob the corpses. The authorities sweep for bodies only on an annual basis, as the forest sits at the base of Mt. Fuji and is too dense to patrol more frequently.

If you’re sensitive, you might want to skip this fascinating but hugely morbid video.’s crew follows a geologist through the forest, and they find a number of grisly surprises.

From October 2008:

The most haunted location in Japan is believed to be a dark, dense forest which lies at the base of Mt. Fuji called Aokigahara. Aokigahara is an infamous place for suicides and many feel that it is a sinister place. "The perfect place to die." That's how Aokigahara was described in Wataru Tsurumui's bestselling book The Complete Manual of Suicide. In 2002, 78 bodies were found within it, replacing the previous record of 73 in 1998. More than a few of them were even carrying copies of Tsurumui's book. No one knows how many bodies go undiscovered."

Locals and scavengers occasionally look for the bodies of those who have commited suicide. When they search, they tie some tape to a tree near the path and then let it out as they go into the forest so they won't get lost. This tape is all over the forest around the path.


CNN - Aokigahara Forest is known for two things in Japan: breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and suicides. Also called the Sea of Trees, this destination for the desperate is a place where the suicidal disappear, often never to be found in the dense forest.

Taro, a 46-year-old man fired from his job at an iron manufacturing company, hoped to fade into the blackness. "My will to live disappeared," said Taro. "I'd lost my identity, so I didn't want to live on this earth. That's why I went there."

Taro, who did not want to be identified fully, was swimming in debt and had been evicted from his company apartment.

He lost financial control, which he believes to be the foundation of any stable life, he said. "You need money to survive. If you have a girlfriend, you need money. If you want to get married, you need it for your life. Money is always necessary for your life."

Taro bought a one-way ticket to the forest, west of Tokyo, Japan. When he got there, he slashed his wrists, though the cut wasn't enough to kill him quickly.

He started to wander, he said. He collapsed after days and lay in the bushes, nearly dead from dehydration, starvation and frostbite. He would lose his toes on his right foot from the frostbite. But he didn't lose his life, because a hiker stumbled upon his nearly dead body and raised the alarm.

Taro's story is just one of hundreds logged at Aokigahara Forest every year, a place known throughout Japan as the "suicide forest." The area is home to the highest number of suicides in the entire country.

Japan's suicide rate, already one of the world's highest, has increased with the recent economic downturn.

There were 2,645 suicides recorded in January 2009, a 15 percent increase from the 2,305 for January 2008, according to the Japanese government.

The Japanese government said suicide rates are a priority and pledged to cut the number of suicides by more than 20 percent by 2016. It plans to improve suicide awareness in schools and workplaces. But officials fear the toll will rise with unemployment and bankruptcies, matching suicide spikes in earlier tough economic times.

"Unemployment is leading to this," said Toyoki Yoshida, a suicide and credit counselor.

"Society and the government need to establish immediate countermeasures to prevent suicides. There should be more places where they can come and seek help."

Yoshida and his fellow volunteer, Norio Sawaguchi, posted signs in Aokigahara Forest urging suicidal visitors to call their organization, a credit counseling service. Both men say Japanese society too often turns a cold shoulder to the unemployed and bankrupt, and breeds a culture where suicide is still seen as an honorable option.

Local authorities, saying they are the last resort to stop people from killing themselves in the forest, have posted security cameras at the entrances of the forest.

The goal, said Imasa Watanabe of the Yamanashi Prefectural Government is to track the people who walk into the forest. Watanabe fears more suicidal visitors will arrive in the coming weeks.

"Especially in March, the end of the fiscal year, more suicidal people will come here because of the bad economy," he said. "It's my dream to stop suicides in this forest, but to be honest, it would be difficult to prevent all the cases here."

One year after his suicide attempt, Taro is volunteering with the credit counseling agency that helped him get back on his feet. He's still living in a shelter and looking for a job. He's ashamed, he said, that he still thinks about suicide.

"I try not to think about it, but I can't say never. For now, the will to live is stronger."


"To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill." - Aristotle

Suicides Cost Japan Economy $32BN

BBC - The government in Japan says suicides and depression cost its economy almost 2.7tn yen ($32bn; £21bn) last year.

The figures refer to lost incomes and the cost of treatment. It is the first time Japan has released such figures.

Japan has one of the world's highest suicide rates, with more than 32,000 people killing themselves last year. PM Naoto Kan sees it as proof of an economic and emotional downturn.

The government is setting up a task force to try to reduce the rate.

"Given that the number of suicides in Japan has been over 30,000 for 12 straight years, this is a problem that needs to be addressed by the entire nation," a health, labour and welfare ministry official said.

"We hope this study triggers stronger prevention measures."

The study showed that those who took their lives last year - 26,500 people in 2009 - when they were aged 15 to 69 would have earned 1.9tn yen had they worked until retirement.

Mr Kan has pointed to the suicide numbers as proof of what he believes is wrong with the country, with too many people suffering economically and emotionally.

"There are many causes of suicides. Decreasing them would be one way to build a society with a minimum level of unhappiness," he said.

But attitudes to depression in Japan arguably demand equally urgent scrutiny, correspondents say.

In a country in which stoicism and consensus are highly valued, many older people in particular view mental illness as a stigma that can be overcome simply by trying harder, they say.

The use of psychotherapy to treat depression has lagged behind North America and Europe, with Japanese doctors often viewing medication as the sole answer, they add.
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