Bigfoot, phantom pigs and UFO’s in Minnesota
We like to think of ourselves as down-to-earth types, but our region appears to be a hotbed of otherworldly activity.
The northern Minnesota area around Floodwood, Willow River and Deer River is becoming “the bigfoot capital of the United States,” according to one expert. In Wisconsin, three communities have annual UFO Days. “Phantom pigs” have been reported at the State Fair’s Swine Barn. Minnesota had 16 sightings submitted to the National UFO Reporting Center from July 1 through Aug. 21.
These reports of strange phenomena have kept members of the Minnesota branch of the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, busy and will be addressed at the organization’s public conference Saturday. Presentations will include “UFOs in Renaissance Art,” “Close Encounters: Beyond the Basics” and “Mysterious Creatures of Wisconsin and Minnesota.”
Strange Minnesota Monsters
MUFON’s 65 Minnesota members are not wacky conspiracy theorists but earnest enthusiasts, many of them engineers and scientists. There’s a lot more doubt than certitude in their ranks, more open questions than firm answers.
“I don’t know that aliens are visiting,” said Minnesota MUFON director Lorna Hunter, “but I want to know.”
While MUFONians, most of whom are baby boomers and seniors, acknowledge that some outside observers might want to plop tinfoil hats on the heads of those investigating close encounters, crop circles and the occasional cattle mutilation, all they ask from others is an open mind.
“I think the majority of people in MUFON would prefer to be seen as serious-minded investigators,” assistant director Bill McNeff said. “There are a few strong-minded and independent souls who don’t give a hoot what people think of them. But most of us would like to be seen as people doing a scientific investigation.”
Added abduction researcher Craig R. Lang, “I say if you’re skeptical of (reports of close encounters), you should be. I’m skeptical of anyone who has all the answers.”
Lang has investigated numerous abduction reports, just as Chad Lewis, paranormal researcher and author of the website Unexplained Research, has scrutinized scores of creature sightings, from phantom chickens near Green Bay to accounts of the bigfoot/werewolf amalgam Windigo near Ross, Minn.
Hunter looks into agricultural phenomena.
“The last crop circle was 2008 in Boston, Minn., and we believed it to be a hoax,” she said. “And there’s been nothing lately as far as classic cattle mutilation, but we had a couple of reports of decapitated goats up by Fergus Falls.”
Yes, it helps to have a sense of humor in this arena. Hunter, who works at the post office in Long Prairie, Minn., said, “I get those ‘Men in Black’ jokes all the time.”
Meanwhile, Lewis, when asked how he came to be the man behind the website Unexplained Research, said, “I blame Wisconsin (his native state). We have three UFO capitals of the United States, and all of them have UFO Days.”
Think you know everything?
Believing that we have all the answers in any field requires no small amount of hubris. For instance, those who claim that spaceships couldn’t get here because of the travel distance were assuming that nothing could exceed the speed of light, a notion now under question.
“In the 1850s, they were going to close the Patent Office because everything had been invented,” Lang said. “And in the 1890s, they had all the physics wrapped up and were wondering what physicists were going to do. Just when you think you know everything, that’s when everything is probably about to blow up.”
That might help explain why UFO and mysterious-creature sightings are on the rise, while skepticism about them is on the decline.
“Definitely, there are more people who are willing to report UFO sightings to us and not ask for anonymity,” said McNeff, a retired electrical engineer who was 14 when reports about a strange crash near Roswell, N.M., first fueled his interest. “For years, people who reported UFOs tended to be ridiculed. That continues, but it’s less and less so.”
Interest in these phenomena has never been higher. The TNT alien-invasion series “Falling Skies” was cable’s top-rated drama last summer, and TV documentary series such as “UFO Files,” “Paranormal State” and “Ancient Aliens” draw millions of viewers every week.
“Ancient Aliens” raises the kinds of questions - Who built the Easter Island statues? Why are pyramids in different hemispheres so similar? What’s up with Stonehenge? - that took the “nay” out of many a naysayer.
“People in my family who laughed at me for being invested in this have watched ‘Ancient Aliens’ and gone, ‘Hey, maybe there’s something to this,’” Hunter said. “They make people think.”
Adrian Lee started thinking about the topic while earning a Ph.D. in history.
“It was a shock that the more I looked at Renaissance art, the more I saw UFOs,” Lee said. “It was like the emperor with no clothes.”
“In the Bible, there are all these references to flaming wheels in the sky,” he said, “or a dragon-like machine that comes down and opens its mouth and small folks come out of it.”
While Lee will be talking art history Saturday, Dean DeHarpporte will be delving into paranormal connections to UFOs.
“It’s hard to separate them after a certain amount of time,” said DeHarpporte, who as a retired meteorologist will never mistake a weather balloon for a UFO. “There is some evidence that UFOs may be in a different realm, an alternative reality, whatever you want to call it, and able to manifest in our dimension when they want to.
“I’m the first to admit that it gets murky ... but we’re just starting to be able to understand the human consciousness.”
So it makes sense that, when asked if he has had a close encounter, Lang said “no” - and then added after a pause, “not that I know of.”
Craig Lang, left, of Brooklyn Center and Bill McNeff of Burnsville, both members of the Mutual UFO Network Minnesota, hold some of the group's investigative tools, including the Geiger counter Lang is holding. - grandforksherald
The M-Files: True Reports of Minnesota's Unexplained Phenomena (Tales of the Supernatural)Unexplained Mystery Books)
Is Llanelli, Wales' Most Haunted Town?
Who better to talk to than Llanelli's own Spirit rescuer Irene Allen-Block, who was quoted by The Wales on Sunday as saying that Llanelli is a "hotbed of ghostly activity."
My name is Irene Allen-Block. I'm a spirit rescuer with over 40 years experience and Llanelli has more than its fair share of haunting and negative energy.
When did you first become aware of the paranormal?
I have had the ability to see spirits for as long as I can remember. This was just very normal to me, so there was never any single occurrence which I can call a turning point.
I never even realised that I was any different than other children until I was about ten years old.
It was at that time that I became aware that such a thing existed called the paranormal and realised that I could sense and see things others couldn't.
Can you tell us some of your early experiences?
The earliest experience I can remember was around the age of 4 or 5. In those days it was relatively safe to play outside as long as I didn't stray further then my mum could see.
A group of us village children all about the same age, would congregate to play outside of my house. Often as we played I would see a small boy of about the same age standing watching us.
He had wavy hair and short trousers, and he looked so sad and lonely.
Many times during these weeks of seeing him I would call out and try to get him to come and play with us but he never answered me.
I even asked the other kids to ask him, but they just looked at me strange and said 'ask who?'
One day I was playing by myself on my brothers homemade stilts and I saw the boy there again watching me.
I was trying to walk on them, but kept falling off more than staying on. I fell off and went down on my bottom. Feeling silly, I lost my temper at him and shouted for him to go away.
He just stood there and after a few more shouts, I yelled out that his mum and dad was looking for him. I could hear them calling.
With that, he took his gaze off of me, looked to the side, and disappeared right there and then!
I never saw him again and now often wonder if that was my first clearing of a spirit, I am sure it was.
Did you have any other experiences?
Looking back at those days there were lots of them. I saw spirits where ever I went, whether I was out shopping with my mum, or playing in the house.
One that stands out happened when I was about 7 years old. I then lived in a small English village in Sussex. I was allowed to go to play with my friend who lived down by the church. As I walked past the Vicarage, I saw a young girl in old clothing about my age playing in the garden.
I called out to her as I climbed up on to the gate to get a better look. She seemed to notice me, but never answered. This carried on all through the summer holidays.
Every time I went past the Vicarage garden she was there. Each time, I would stop and try to get her to talk to me with no success.
Time went on and eventually, as a family, we moved to London. I never gave the little girl another thought.
Years later, I went back to the village as an adult and whilst there, I decided to visit the church and the graves of my grandparents.
I had forgotten the little girl now, and went straight past the Vicarage garden and into the church. On the side there was a pile of small books that had been written on the history of the village.
Whilst flicking through the pages of one, I noticed my family name so I decided to buy a copy.
While I was returning home to London on the train I started to read it. There was a piece in there that talked about the time that renovations had been done on the Vicarage about 10 years previous.
The builders had discovered the skeleton of a young girl. It was thought that she was aged
between 7 or 8 years, and dated to about 250 to 300 years ago. She had been taken and given a proper burial in the churchyard. Somehow I know this was my little girl I used to watch playing.
Were any of them evil or bad spirits?
As a child I never saw anything malevolent and although sometimes I did see spirits that were in the form of adults, they just seemed to pass me by.
It was nearly always the spirits of children that I saw, and was interested in. Maybe because that was where my attention lay.
Children don't have fear until they have knowledge, and a lot of that is put into children by their parents. Much of it is for safety, for example look both ways crossing the street and don't talk to strangers etc.
I was always trying to touch things to learn about them. Smoke, mists, ugly things, etc.
I had no fear. I felt we were connected. That all was connected, all part of life.
This is why I say don't dismiss a child when they talk about friends unseen; it could be imagination or not.
Just keep an eye on the situation. As long as the character of the child does not change then most times, as the child gets older, the child seems to grow out of their friend.
I was lucky here, I had a father who understood and explained things in a way that wasn't frightening.
To be continued in Part 2 when Irene talks about a very frightening experience for one family.
Click the logo to find out more about Irene and Spirit Rescue International.
Tourists trips to heaven offered
A private space tour with Virgin Galactic will set you back by US$200,000 (S$260,480) but for a tiny fraction of the price, you can instead make a trip to "heaven".
A spiritual master, who conducted a tour to hell during the recent Hungry Ghosts Festival, is organising the celestial tour where he claimed participants could bump into deities, angels and their relatives.
Tze Bei Guan Yin Centre leader Master Kek Eng Seng said participants would be charged RM150 (S$61) each for the three-hour tour on Oct 23.
However, both tours have been criticised by Buddhist groups as well as religious and cultural proponents.
World Fellowship of Buddhists (Penang Regional Centre) chairman Datuk Dr Loh Hock Hun said such tours were not part of Buddhism.
"There is no such thing as visiting hell or heaven. Do good and chant prayers so that you can earn merit and lessen your suffering," he said.
Geocosmic Centre of Yijing Metascience Research Malaysia academic consultant Dr Chuah Chong Cheng said such opportunistic tours were akin to "soul laundering".
"If you cannot excel in this earthly life, don't bother about the netherworld or the celestial heavens because these utopias cannot be reached," he said.
Kek, meanwhile, defended the tour, saying it was not something superstitious.
"We do not promote superstition. This is a long-lost tradition which was only brought to light in Malaysia recently." - asiaone
'Forest Boy' was hoax
A Swiss couple have said a boy who emerged from woodland in Germany claiming he had lived wild for the past five years is their grandson.
Now the pair are due to give a DNA test which will be matched with the teenager, Ray, who was dubbed "forest boy" after his story became public.
Berlin's BZ newspaper reported on Friday that Ray's photo was seen by the couple in Switzerland and that they then contacted police.
There was no official comment from authorities in the German capital and no further details in the newspaper report.
Police and social workers began suspecting two weeks ago that Ray's story was bogus and that his motives were suspect.
He is only 17 and now in the care of social workers after a legal guardian to represent his interests was appointed.
If it is found that he comes from Switzerland he will be deported back there.
The blond, blue-eyed boy claimed to remember few details about his life and where he had been when he pitched up on the steps of a town hall in the east of Berlin on September 5.
He spun a tale - in accented English - that gripped the imagination of the world: that he had been living in a tent in a forest for five years with his father, called Ryan, and that his mother Doreen had perished in a car crash five years previously.
He said he began walking towards Berlin after his father died suddenly in the woods a fortnight before his arrival. He said he had buried him among the trees.
"I'm all alone, please help me," he said.
He was taken into care at a cost to the German taxpayer of around £2,500 per month.
But the tale he wove began to appear to have more holes than a Swiss cheese.
A check of police computers in all 16 states of Germany showed up that no woman called Doreen had died in a car crash in Germany in the past decade.
No sign of a grave has been found in cursory searches of forests in the Harz Mountains, along the Bavarian-Czech border or in Thuringia.
He was unable to pinpoint the forest where he said he lived, he was also unable to say what nationality he was, although police soon suspected he was not British despite the words he spoke.
The tent he carried did not look like it had sustained five years of treatment in a German forest and he was well dressed and clean.
As Interpol was alerted to check with police forces for missing people in other European lands, Ray triggered more suspicion when he said he did not want to pose for photographs or make an appeal to try to find any of his family members.
"They're all dead," he said. "I just want to get on and make a new life for myself."
"Unfortunately it seems that the boy told his guardian that he wasn't interested in discovering who he was," said a police spokesman.
But now the Swiss link is the most promising development so far.
If true, Germany would be in a position to make a claim from Switzerland for money paid towards his upkeep. - yahoo