Saturday, April 09, 2011

Fortean / Alternative News: Wales UFO Disclosure, Extended Cosmic Blast and Forgotten Apparitions

UFOs in Wales: Police Reveal Locations of Sightings From Past 10 Years

walesonline - The truth is still out there as new details emerge of the true extent of UFO reports across Wales.

Police have released details of UFO sightings in North and West Wales over the past decade.

View our map showing UFO sightings in the last 10 years

A total of 33 reports of strange crafts in the sky were made to North Wales and Dyfed-Powys Police services since 2002. A third of these were in 2009.

Only five of these reports were explained as human activity, such as army training exercises or night lanterns.

One man described how his car engine stopped working upon seeing a round unknown craft in the sky above Aberdyfi Estuary along the west coast.

Another witness saw a UFO illuminated by three glowing green, triangular lights hover directly above their Colwyn Bay house last year before flying off.

The sightings show Welsh households are still looking to the skies in search of new forms of life.

But sceptics say people should think twice before claiming they have seen a real-life ET.

Former RAF electrical engineer Bill Bevan said he saw an alien aircraft on a clear night two years ago while in his back garden smoking a cigarette.

The 79-year-old said: "I saw a big, white disk hovering over a tree. It was about two thirds the size of the moon. It was a bright, shining light, and it disappeared in about four or five seconds.

I thought it must have been going up at a fair rate of knots."

Mr Bevan, of Builth Wells, Powys, quickly called his wife to come and see it, but it was gone by the time she got there.

He said: "It left me a bit shaken, but it left me so intrigued that I have been standing outside night after night to try to see it again."

Bill is adamant that he saw some form of UFO.

He said: "It fully convinced me that there is life out there somewhere. I saw it, it was there and it just disappeared, and until my death I will still say I saw what I saw. I hadn't been drinking by the way, because I dont drink."

Bill also said his late father revealed to him that he and his neighbour saw a UFO over two decades ago in the Rhondda Valley.

Bill said: "He was stood with his neighbour and across the other side of the valley they say a cigar-shaped object in the sky. He had never talked about it before because he didn't think people would believe him.

There's something out there there's no two ways about it."

Phil Hoyle, of the UFO Investigation and Research Unit, has carried out numerous investigations into paranormal activity in Wales.

The 54-year-old said he has interviewed many reliable sources, such as army personnel, who have seen unidentified structured crafts landing and taking off.

He said: "I have interviewed people from the military and many reliable people, and quite a number have seen structured crafts leaving the scene. Some people have said they have touched the craft. I could tell you for days about these cases."

There must be other life forms and they could have been visiting us for quite some time.

Mr Hoyle's 12-strong team has also been investigating the new phenomena of animal mutilation through its Animal Pathology Field Unit.

The father-of-one said: "South Americans have come across cattle that have been clinically killed and dissected.

What has happened is that this has moved over towards Britain, but the majority of the incidents that take place over here are sheep.

Mr Hoyle, of Shrewsbury, has been investigating UFO sightings for the past 30 years and is in no doubt that we are not alone. He said: "What people have to remember is that they say there is no evidence. We don't pre-judge anything, and we look at information from the most incredible sources. How can you call all these professionals delusional?"

Martin Griffiths however a senior astronomy lecturer at the University of Glamorgan is a hardened UFO sceptic.

Mr Griffiths says strange objects in the sky can be explained through natural occurrences, such as ball lightning and man-made sky lanterns.

The 49-year-old said: "If people think they see a UFO, be a bit more critical about it. It's probably not somebody visiting from the planet Zog.

Don't think automatically that something in the sky is an alien craft. It is probably something else."

Joe McGonagle, who has researched UFO sightings for 12 years, is also unconvinced by the reports.

He said: "There is no tangible evidence that we have been visited by aliens. There's lots of speculation, but no evidence. For aliens to visit here, they would have to have a very good reason to do so."

Mr McGonagle said police forces in Wales were fuelling the UFO speculation by not making public when an alien encounter has been proved to be something else.

But Mr McGonagle still believes intelligent life exists somewhere in the universe.

He said: "I'm convinced that the probability is very high that there is life on other planets. Whether that life is visiting us here on Earth however, I very much doubt."


- Dyfed-Powys Police reports: (The location, the date and the sighting)

- Caersws, 2002 Bright light in the sky over the mountains towards Caersws. Did not make a sound or have flashing lights.

- Aberdyfi Estuary, 2004 Round craft of 200 to 300m in length. When seen his car engine stopped.

- Whitemill, Carmarthen, 2004 Something strange in the sky, like a streak of light.

- Beguildy, Knighton, 2004 Lights that looked like a lighthouse in the sky, and then later it was round with black spots with a ray of light.

- Penybont, 2005Something with two lights has landed in field. Later discovered to be orange flares from Army exercise.

- Llanyre, Llandrindod Wells, 2005 Oblong shaped bright yellow craft, going horizontally across, about 10 to 15ft off the ground.

- New Quay, 2006@ Spotlight from across the hill thought to be a UFO.

- Meifod, Powys, 2007 Triangular shape in sky with different coloured lights in each corner. A pulsing pink light lit up the vehicle. There was no sound to the object.

- Llanelli, 2008 Four low flying brightly lit objects.

- Newtown, 2008 Flashing balls of light though to be two UFOs.

- Llanidloes, 2009 Three orange lights thought to be UFOs. Object seized and discovered to be a night lantern.

- Beacons Reservoir, Brecon, 2009 Report of a UFO in the sky.

- Llangattock, Crickhowell, 2009 Large, vivid orange object, cylindrical in shape. Later thought to have been a night lantern.

- Ffrwdgrech, Brecon, 2009 Three lights, travelling at 20 knots.

- Glanamman, Ammanford, 2009 Report of large orange sphere in the sky, looks like a hot air balloon. Later clarified to be Chinese lanterns.

- Crickhowell, 2009 Report sighting of a red flare, possible UFO sighting.

- Brecon, 2009 Reporting sight of bright white light, then two orange lights, not high up and no sound coming from them.

- Newcastle Emlyn, Ceredigion, 2009 Three large orange lights in a triangular formation with white light around them.

- Cardigan, 2009 Two waves of UFO with red lights go past, high up in the sky.

- Llanelli, 2010 About 100 red lights in the sky. All very bright, all slow-moving, going from west to east. Moving too quick to be Chinese lanterns and too slow to be an aircraft.

North Wales

- Beaumaris, 2004 Three lights in a triangular pattern, travelling East.

- Denbigh, 2005 UFO in the sky

- Penmaenmawr, 2005 Two sightings of immense white light moving quickly and silently across the sky.

- Penmaenmawr, 2005 Intense bright light moving swiftly in a South-easterly direction.

- Abergele, 2006 Caller was suspected of being drunk, claimed to have seen a UFO.

- Blaenau Ffestiniog, 2007 Bright light witnessed disappearing into the clouds.

- Llangollen, 2007 Family saw a flame shimmering in the sky.

- Pwllheli, 2008 Luminous orange light with a white circle of light around it, making no noise and hovering around the area for 10 minutes.

- Denbigh, 2009 Three large red lights about the size of the moon before flying off. Shortly afterwards a fourth craft appeared in the sky.

- Prestatyn, 2009 Red, yellow and orange lights moving backwards and forwards really quickly, with no noise.

- Wrexham, 2010 Very large, orange in colour, but changed to red, blue and green.

- Bangor, 2010 A large, black triangular shaped craft appeared. It made a noise similar to a lawnmower. It hovered in the sky for just over a minute before vanishing.

- Colwyn Bay, 2010 Glowing green triangles at the back of the craft, which eventually faded


Mysterious Cosmic Blast Keeps on Going

wired - Astronomers have witnessed a cosmic explosion so strange they don’t even know what to call it. Although the blowup, discovered with NASA’s Swift satellite on March 28, emits high-energy radiation like a gamma-ray burst would, the event has now lasted for 11 days. Gamma-ray bursts last for an average of about 30 seconds.

Also unlike a gamma-ray burst, the explosion has faded and brightened, emitting staccato pulses of energetic radiation lasting for hundreds of seconds.

“It’s either a phenomenon we’ve never seen before or a familiar event that we’ve never viewed in this way before,” says Andrew Fruchter of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. The outburst might have been generated by a star torn to shreds when it ventured too close to a black hole in its host galaxy, he suggests. Gas from the star falling into the black hole could have triggered the gravitational monster to emit a jet of X-rays and gamma rays that by chance happens to point directly at Earth.

A radio-wavelength image taken May 29 along with a Hubble Space Telescope image taken in visible light on April 4 supports that model. The images show that the explosion took place 3.8 billion light-years from Earth, at the center of a galaxy where a supermassive black hole would lie. It’s also possible that the star might have been ripped apart by a smaller black hole, Fruchter notes.

“Tidal disruption of a star by a black hole seems very plausible,” says Andrew MacFadyen of New York University. The blast’s duration “is much longer than anything we’d naturally expect from [explosive] collapse of a single star,” which is the traditional model for producing a gamma-ray burst, he says.

But Stan Woosley of the University of California, Santa Cruz says the event might be explained by the gravitational collapse of a giant star into a black hole, a scaled-up version of the process that usually produces a gamma-ray burst. In Woosley’s scenario, the core of the giant star collapses to form a black hole but it takes days for the outer layers to fall in and emit radiation, accounting for the unusually long duration of the observed explosion.


The DAYTIME Jerusalem UFO of March 28th

Rick Phillips analyzes the recent daytime video from Jerusalem at UFO Disclosure Countdown Clock - The DAYTIME Jerusalem UFO of March 28th (Video)


Dark Holiness: Forgotten Apparitions

Another interesting post by Scott Corrales at Inexplicata - The Journal of Hispanic Ufology.

It would be an interesting exercise to sit down and compile all a list of all major events which occurred during a given period in history but were later forgotten, despite their impact at the moment. Almost assuredly better minds have attempted such an effort, categorizing incidents which caused a stir in their time yet totally overlooked by subsequent generations.

One such event--of gargantuan proportions, but tamped down by the triple factors of time, space and language barrier--occurred during the 1930's in Spain. The mention of those two coordinates will prompt thoughts of Ernest Hemingway and the international effort to participate in that country's bloody civil war, yet the event in question is by no means political. It specifically took place in the Basque Country, the industrial backbone of the Iberian Peninsula, with its coal mines and factories; Euskadi, in the mystifying Basque language, unrelated to any other on the continent and fancifully assumed by some to be the parlance of lost Atlantis.

A Forgotten Apparition

In a small, nigh well unreachable town in the Cantabrian mountains known as Ezkioga, there occurred a religious phenomenon far greater than Fátima and Garabandal, and perhaps more troubling. The agitation and the civil strife that marked those times aided religious authorities in stifling the situation ; the Second World War would succeed in obliterating any memory of it.

Ezkioga was rescued from oblivion recently through the diligent efforts of two journalists--Carmen Porter and Iker Jiménez--the first of whom published a book entitled Misterios de la Iglesia in 2002 and included her research in the text. Porter had the incredible luck to find, against all odds, one of the only copies of a limited print book regarding the mystery of Ezkioga...a book which church authorities had condemned to the flames in a tradition that dated back to the Inquisition.

On June 30, 1931, a brother and sister from Ezkioga -- Antonia, 11, and Andrés, 7 -- engaged in their daily routine of walking to a nearby dairy for milk and returning over the slopes of Mount Anduaga. On this particular day, the children noticed a bright light hovering above the treetops; forgetting their errand, they approached the light in awe and quickly dropped to their knees and prayed fervently, after seeing an image within the light source which they identified with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The youngsters ran home to tell their elders of their religious experience; as in other Marian apparitions, they were scolded and warned not to lie about "things having to do with heaven." But such was their nervous excitement that they were later taken to see the parish priest, who was unable to detect any guile in their eyes and advised their father to be patient with the children. The priest apparently had reason for such a gentle approach: only days before, one of the communities most important landowners had had a much more dramatic encounter.

The landowner and his son had been dragging a fallen tree trunk across the steep terrain using a team of oxen when the tree unexpectedly rolled, dragging the beasts and his son with it over the edge of a precipice. Fearing his son dead, the landowner ran toward the edge of the defile and proceeded to descend. To his great surprise, he saw "a lady" holding one of the oxen by its horn; the son stood to one side, in shock but otherwise alive. The "lady" was covered by a long black veil and had a five starred crown which "glowed like a sun". The landowner "knew her to be the Blessed Mother". His friends, however, ridiculed him when the story was told.
But their clumsy jests would soon come to an end when reports of "a very beautiful lady in black" who would appear and cause children to kneel and pray with their arms outstretched began to surface. The children were none other than Antonia and Andrés, who continued to visit the location on Mount Anduaga where the initial contact had taken place.

Unlike Fátima, the miraculous visitations would not be restricted to the young. Less than a week later, a man known as Patxi, a carpenter who scoffed at the notion of apparitions and decried the foolishness of his fellow townsmen, claimed to have seen the woman in black himself: she had appeared to him wielding a bloody sword, addressing him in his native Euskera instead of Spanish. Her warnings were dire--there would be a civil war between Catholics and Non-Catholics in the Basque Country, but the Catholics would prevail in the end despite the death toll. A married woman named Maria Recalde had visited Mount Anduaga to pray the Rosary and was engulfed by a brightness she described as being "greater than that of the sun." She too saw a beautiful young woman, clad in black and holding a rosary, with her heart pierced by swords. María was shown horrific visions of desolation, rains of fire and poisonous gases killing thousands.

The sword motif would appear in a vision experienced by nine year old Benita Aguirre. She would tell clergyman Juan Bautista Altisent that she "could see the Holy Virgin...with two swords, on piercing her heart and another in her left hand, its point bloodied." The girl asked the apparition if she was bleeding for mortal sins, and the reply was affirmative.

So far we have a list of elements that are common to any Marian apparition, but there are details to Ezkioga, according to Carmen Porter, which suggest phenomena other than divine: some of the worshippers present at the Basque peak thought to have seen "a witch" rather than a beautiful woman; others saw a headless figure of the type reported in paranormal chronicles worldwide. Still another claimed to have seen the devil himself, describing the fearsome apparition as tall, red-headed and black, with fangs like those of a wolf. The man wanted to scream out of sheer terror, but managed to make the sign of the Cross and the apparition vanished.

Salvador Freixedo has the following to say about this part of the his native country: "There are in Spain two regions which have distinguished themselves throughout history for being the centers of witchcraft of the entire Peninsula. One of them is the region of the Basque Country and Navarre (Zugarramurdi, Berroscoberro)..." Church authorities in the 16th century believed that at least thirty thousand witches existed in the Basque country. Could there have been other forces at play here?

Summer had turned into harsh fall over Ezkioga, but the inner fire that inspired the believers did not waver. On October 15, another visionary named Ramona Olazábal informed the congregation that they should bring handkerchiefs with them, because the Virgin was about to induce stigmata in her. At five o'clock, Ramona raised her hands, standing at the site of the apparitions, and blood began to stream from the backs of her hands. The cry of "Blood!" rent the air as the faithful swooned and others hurried forward to dip their napkins in the seeress's vital fluid. A church hearing soon followed and Ramona's stigmata were questioned, especially when witnesses claimed having seen a razor blade on the ground beside her.

Even though this new aspect of the Marian phenomenon was called into question, the number of visionaries now soared past one hundred and fifty and up to eighty thousand people had visited Ezkioga to partake of the holy event. Church authorities were beginning to look into the event to ascertain that the events occurring in the remote Cantabrian mountains were other than natural, such as the healing of a stomach cancer patient whose recovery amazed physicians, or a paraplegic woman who felt better after praying the Rosary at site of the apparitions, and walked downhill to the echoed cries of "Milagro!" ringing in her ears. Even as eminent a physician as Gregorio Marañón visited Ezkioga and unequivocally stated that the phenomena were beyond the realm of the pathological sciences. "They belong to other disciplines that are beyond my competence."

The Church was not quite so sanguine. Religious authorities like Jose Antonio Laburu, a fiery preacher of the times, stood foursquare against the miracles, saying that the predictions had been false, that fraud was prevalent throughout the sightings, and that gift-giving had stimulated many of the seers "to keep having visions". Other religious, like Amado Bruguera, struggled to separate the wheat from the chaff (the true visionaries from the impostors, in this case) and to ferret out the impostors with inquisitorial zeal, firmly believing that Satan had also played a role on Mount Anduaga, deceiving the unworthy with false visions. His misplaced zeal would later win him a jail sentence and ecclesiastical censure.

By 1933, even as the political situation within Spain grew more precarious, Bishop Múgica of city of Vitoria wrote the Vatican, denying the presence of any paranormal phenomena and forbidding Catholics from keeping "any photographs, images, hymns" or other material regarding the apparitions. This decision was approved by Rome in a letter by Cardinal Sbarreti in which the "alleged apparitions and revelations of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Ezkioga are shorn of any supernatural character." The ruling also banned three books discussing the events.

The government was also finding the events in the village of Ezkioga tiresome. Pedro del Pozo, governor of Guipúzcoa, was given the order to put an end to the commotion over the Marian apparition. The governor ordered that the image of the Virgin be removed along with the souvenir stands which had cropped up at the site; if this was not done voluntarily, he cautioned, he would order workmen to demolish the chapel with dynamite. Although workmen had refused to manhandle the statue--being cautioned by the visionaries that to do so would mean their deaths--the image was removed to a cluster of houses for safekeeping. The authorities cut down the large cross which had been erected at the site, and the premises were fenced off to keep any further multitudes from congregating. Even more medieval-sounding was the decree issued by the mayor of Ezkioga under pressure from his superiors: the punishment prescribed for anyone having visions in public would range from heavy fines to prison, internment in an insane asylum, or deportation. Many of the visionaries indeed wound up institutionalized while others served jail time.

Was Father Laburu right about all of the prophecies being fraudulent? Apparently not. Most of the revelations concerning "a war in which much blood would be spilled within Spain" would come true, and which would begin with the closing of churches in Catalonia -- the event which would unleash the Spanish Civil War.

In 2001, Spanish film filmmaker Gutiérrez Aragón directed Visionarios: La Virgen de Ezkioga, starring Ingrid Rubio as one of the visionaries involved in the actual events. Although the production was not well received by contemporary audiences despite having been shot on location, it nonetheless served to rekindle interest in this all but forgotten paranormal event.

Headless at the Holy Sites

Strange creatures, some of them far from having a divine or holy aspect to them, are often reported at the sites of Marian apparitions. In the early 1990s, for instance, a "Bigfoot"-like creature was reported at the Marian shrine of Montaña Santa on the island of Puerto Rico. Believers like Ezkioga's Amado Bruguera shared the conviction that the devil's minions were at work at some of these locales, trying to frighten the faithful away from holy ground.

Most prevalent among these apparitions are the "headless" ones: the headless woman at Ezkioga had been preceded by a similarly decapitated figure--also female--which sent Lucía, Francisco and Jacinta, the young shepherds of Fátima, running for cover in 1915. The girl returned to her house and told her mother that she had seen "a white thing hovering over the trees which looked like a headless woman, having neither hands nor eyes." This presence was seen on two more occasions during the Fátima apparitions and became known as the "angel".

Journalist J.J. Benítez, writing in his landmark La Quinta Columna (Plaza y Janés, 1985), makes the curious note that strange headless entities form part of the lore of Spain's Las Hurdes region -- at one time so inaccessible and poor that it became the source of countless legends -- which is scarcely one hundred kilometers away from Fátima and Leira, across the Portuguese border. A mere coincidence or a fact filled with hidden significance?

Not to belabor the point about disturbing, seemingly non-angelic entities seen at Marian apparitions, but it is curious to note that the rituals of the ancient Coptic church (one of the oldest branches of the Christian faith) contain explicit prayers against the presence of "headless demons", such as the one appearing in the Zereteli-Tiflis collection, described as "a text containing a spell to provide protection against headless demons and powers that are bothering the person invoking angels and archangels". To make the link between Marian apparitions even more confusing, another such amulet invokes the virgin Mary's protection against a headless dog: "because I am having a clash with a headless dog, seize him when he comes and release me..." (Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power, Princeton: 1999). One wonders if this orison would have worked against the bat-winged, headless "Mothman" of West Virginia or a similar entity seen landing on a field in Britain in 1965.

Beatings from Beyond?

Salvador Freixedo has also made note of another strange negative feature that seems to afflict many of these Marian apparitions--the appearance of "persons unknown" who inflict bodily harm upon the seers or other involved with the miraculous phenomenon taking place at the site.

In October 1980, Amparo Cuevas, a fifty year-old mother of seven, became known as la vidente de El Escorial (the seeress of El Escorial) for her part in the Marian apparitions which occurred in said location. Cuevas was first visited by undescribable pain and voices which told her the suffering "was that of Christ on the Cross." From that moment on, Cuevas displayed the full range of manifestations that accompany the phenomenon: stigmata--including a curious image of a heart pierced by a sword on her chest--bilocation, levitation,speaking in tongues. She was able to take on the maladies of others, exhibiting the symptoms in her own body. Upon the onset of the pain, Cuevas supposedly "saw a beam of light heading straight toward her" which signalled the start of the mystical communion: during these ecstatic periods she would see the Virgin as a figure swathed from head to toe in a black mantle (with the detail of a white, gauzy veil included) as well as the crucified Christ.

While looking into the controversial El Escorial apparitions, Salvador Freixedo discovered that a gang of unidentified men--their faces conveniently covered by hoods--had inflicted a severe beating on Cuevas. The authorities considered the culprits to be members of some right-wing clique heavily opposed to any deviation of the Catholic doctrine, but the paranormalist drew an interesting conclusion of his own--based on his research into another, little-known Marian phenomenon of the 1970s.

Ladeira do Pinheiro, a small farming community not far from Fátima, became the focus of miraculous activity centered around visionary Maria da Conceicao Mendes. Mendes had startled members of the community and visitors with sixteen separate levitations, being transported--on one occasion--high into the air and losing herself among the clouds; three thousand communion wafers rained out of the heavens during one of the outdoor manifestations (their provenance was later determined to be the churches in the immediate vicinity) while other manifested in her very hands; the UFO phenomenon was also partial to Ladeira and its surroundings during the events, and some of these unknown lights outshone the full moon in their brilliance.

But one particular evening, while Maria da Conceicao Mendes held a nocturnal vigil with other worshippers, a group of men with clubs showed up out of nowhere to kick and batter the congregation. One of the worshippers died of a savage kick to the chest; Mendes lost her front teeth to another. The official explanation was that local roughs from Fátima -- incensed at the thought that Ladeira was "muscling in on the sweet deal" of the miracle business -- took matters into their own hands, possibly abetted by the clergy, who had declared the Ladeira incidents "demonic" from the onset.

"The resemblance between these incidents," writes Freixedo in Las Apariciones del Escorial (Quintá, 1991) "and what occurred at El Escorial is undeniable. Forces, whether human or non-human, appear to be always alert and active. These were not right-wing fanatics [...] but rather entities created by the apparition itself. In other words, they belong to the non-human montage behind the phenomenon. Absurd though it may seem, I suspect that the very entity that appears is the one responsible for the beatings."

The Devil at Garabandal?

So much has been written about the utterly inexplicable events at Garabandal--another town lost in the mountains of the Basque country-- that nothing can be added to it that will either make matters clearer or keep devotees of these apparitions, which ran from 1961 to 1970, from becoming enraged. For readers interested in delving fully into the matter, number of books and journals on the miracle are available in English and Conchita González, the principal seer, lives in the USA. Black and white footage of the girls walking backward and enduring some brutal testing by skeptics has been shown countless times on television.

But the bare bones of the event are as follows: four girls from the small town of Garabandal, near Santander, had repeated visions of both the Virgin and St. Michael and were given prophecies to disclose to the rest of the faithful. On June 18, 1961, while picking apples at a local orchard, the girls heard a "thunderclap" and saw a beautiful figure enveloped in light which they thought was an angel sent to punish them for stealing fruit. Over the course of the following twelve days, the girls would have visions of the same angel, dressed in blue and with pinkish wings, whom they took to be St. Michael the Archangel. The angel told them that they would soon be seeing the Virgin, and they did so after the eight visitation. The Blessed Mother appeared in garb that would be immediately recognizable to any school-age child in a Catholic country: a white dress with a blue mantle, a starry crown, and a scapular at her waist. The heavenly patroness told the girls to inform their elders that sacrifice and penance were in order to avert imminent punishment.

The thousands gathered in Garabandal to see the miracle were hoping for something more substantial, however, and in the wee hours of October 19, 1961 those present saw the famous miracle of the communion wafers manifesting itself on Conchita's opened mouth (and of which photographs have been reproduced in countless journals and religious tracts).

Garabandal's "dark side" -- if it can indeed be said to have one -- came about a few months earlier when theologian Luis Andreu lost his life in a car crash. Andreu had seen the four girls in their ecstatic trances and had been forced to proclaim aloud the miraculous nature of what he was seeing. When asked exactly what the miracle was, he told his friends that he was overwhelmed with joy at what the Virgin had shown him and that it was the happiest day in his life. Shortly after, he fell silent, much to the concern of those around him. The priest had died.

When news of Father Andreu's death reached the young visionaries, they claimed that they had seen the Virgin looking at him at one point, as though saying: "you shall soon be with me".

The death of this respected religious caused the bishopric of Santander to forbid members of the clergy from visiting Garabandal without permission from Church authorities. Worshippers were advised that they too must cease their visits, and the tide of pilgrims to the mountain village was stemmed for a while. But there was another death in the works...

In 1965, Monsignor Puchol assumed the bishop's crook at Santander and was even more stringent in his prohibitions against any veneration of Garabandal, issuing a terse pronouncement: "there has never been any apparition of the Blessed Virgin, nor of the Archangel Michael, nor of any other heavenly personage. There has been no message, and all of the events which have transpired at said location have a natural explanation."

It was this rejection of the miracle of Garabandal that many believed cost the bishop his life: he died while driving his car, allegedly screaming "God, what's wrong with me?!" before the collision. The car crash occurred on the same day as the feast of St. Michael the Archangel.

Another Jesuit father, José Warzawski, wrote a comprehensive study on the phenomenon entitled El Mito de Garabandal (Madrid: Ed. Studium) accepting the reality of the events which occurred at the site but ascribing them all to demonic forces. Does the Church know something else it isn't sharing?

Thanks to Scott Corrales for the great article! Check out his fascinating blog at Inexplicata - The Journal of Hispanic Ufology


 A stick in the ass?

Strange PSA Video
I don't know what to think about this one. I applaud the fact that they're getting the word out to kids and parents but the video is a bit weird. Here's the video link Click for video and website Yellow Dyno

Friday, April 08, 2011

This Week on 'Beyond the Edge' Radio - John and Bobbi Robinson: Unity, A Journey of Hope

Join Eric and Lon this week for a very special show as we welcome back to the program Bobbi and John Robinson of the organization Unity, A Journey of Hope! 'The Forkchop' Sean Forker will make a rare appearance on the program along with James Baker with the latest episode of the 'Bake Shop'.

About Unity, A Journey of Hope:

Unity, A Journey of Hope is a 503c Non Profit Organization that grants wishes for individuals 18 years and older with life limiting illnesses. In 2001 an old schoolhouse built in circa 1854, known to neighbors as "The Unity School" was purchased by the co-founders of Unity, A Journey of Hope. Following a lifetime dream they remodeled this school house, reusing existing material from the school house into a home. The majority of work was done by themselves with friends and family help.

September 2005, they opened "Unity, A Journey Home LLC" Southwestern PA's first residential hospice house. Upon caring for hospice residents, they decided that these people each deserved some joy in their struggle for life. Each resident was granted wishes as part of the care & therapy they received. During the operation of hospice granting wishes as Unity does now, was never a thought until much later.

August 2007, it was decided to create an accredited non-profit organization that grants wishes not only to their residents, but extending their hands to the surrounding community in order to grant wishes.

This endeavor has proven to be a true blessings to the co-founders. The hospice house is no longer in operation however, it was a stepping stone to what is now named "Unity, A Journey of Hope." Granting wishes to adults with a life-limiting illness.

Unity from its humble beginnings has now grown into a national wish granting organization. Within the past year their wishes have stretched far beyond their local community granting wishes in Houston Texas, Denver Colorado, New Jersey, Chicago Illinois as well as the greater Pittsburgh Area.

This past year has proven to be a great year, not only for wish granting but recognition and an awareness of Unity's mission and passion beyond the Pittsburgh Area.

Unity is partaking on what they call the "Wish Warrior Program." This is the start of national push to establish local offices throughout the USA. There is already a pilot program in the South Hills of Pittsburgh & interest in Atlanta Georgia.

So Join us this week for a heartwarming show with the founders of Unity John and Bobbi Robinson as we welcome Unity, A Journey of Hope back to the program and find out what they've been up to, some of the wishes granted and where Unity is headed in the future!

Join us this Sunday night, April 10th at 10:00 PM ET for what is sure to be an informative and inspirational show you do not want to miss! Live on Beyond the Edge Radio

Join Eric Altman, Lon Strickler and the crew LIVE each Sunday at 10 PM ET as we go
Beyond the Edge!

Has 'The Nightcrawler' Returned?

In 2008, a CCTV video of a 'stick person-like' creature walking through a San Diego, CA residential yard was recorded and went viral on YouTube. It was dubbed 'The Nightcrawler' and was investigated by at least 2 parties (each with an opposite opinion as to authenticity). Now a recent sighting in Fresno, CA has raised more questions, including...has 'The Nightcrawler' returned?

Click for video - Strange Alien Stick-like creatures caught on security camera above Fresno in Yosemite National Park

Statement with video: A retired couple was having trouble with break-ins in their Yosemite private property and aimed their security camera at the driveway to video visitors. They caught these things on their security camera and called me over to see because they know I am interested in the paranormal. They gave me this digital copy but I can't figure out what the crap they are! They remind me of the Fresno Stick-like creatures but they seem to transfer weight and there are two here. Is one a baby? What are these!? Nightcrawlers? Stickmen? Something new? What?

The most recent version:

Click for video 2 - Strange Alien Stick-like creatures caught on security camera above Fresno in Yosemite National Park

Click for video - Fresno Alien, Nightcrawler, Stick Figure Stickman Surveilence Analysis - Higher Quality

Fortean / Alternative News: FBI UFO Files, Elf Ears For Sci-Fi Fans and Mona Lisa Exhumed

FBI releases UFO files online - The Vault is our new electronic reading room, containing more than 2,000 documents that have been scanned from paper into digital copies so you can read them in the comfort of your home or office.

Included here are more than 25 new files that have been released to the public but never added to this website; dozens of records previously posted on our site but removed as requests diminished; and files from our previous electronic reading room.

The Vault includes several new tools and resources for your convenience:

* Searching for Topics: You can browse or search for specific topics or persons (like Al Capone or Marilyn Monroe) by viewing our alphabetical listing, by using the search tool in the upper right of this site, or by checking the different category lists that can be found in the menu on the right side of this page. In the search results, click on the folder to see all of the files for that particular topic.
* Searching for Key Words: Thanks to new technology we have developed, you can now search for key words or phrases within some individual files. You can search across all of our electronic files by using the search tool in the upper right of this site, or you can search for key words within a specific document by typing in terms in the search box in the upper right hand of the file after it has been opened and loaded. Note: since many of the files include handwritten notes or are not always in optimal condition due to age, this search feature does not always work perfectly.
* Viewing the Files: We are now using an open source web document viewer, so you no longer need your own file software to view our records. When you click on a file, it loads in a reader that enables you to view one or two pages at a time, search for key words, shrink or enlarge the size of the text, use different scroll features, and more. In many cases, the quality and clarity of the individual files has also been improved.
* Requesting a Status Update: Use our new Check the Status of Your FOI/PA Request tool to determine where your request stands in our process. Status information is updated weekly. Note: You need your FOI/PA request number to use this feature.


China: "No more time-travel drama", authority says it disrespects history

chinahush - Now there’s an interesting trend in China’s film and television industry: more and more time-travel themed dramas are made and aired. In these time-travel based TV plays, usually the protagonist is from the modern time and for some reasons and via some means, travels through time and all the way back to the ancient China where he/she will constantly experience the "culture shock" but gradually get used to it and eventually develop a romance in that era. Though obviously the Chinese audience is found of this genre of shows, the country’s authority -General Bureau of Radio, Film and Television, to be exact, is not happy about this trend and calls a halt to the making of this type of drama.

From the end of last year, the time-travel themed drama is becoming more and more popular. Most of these time-travel dramas are based on real historical stories but with many newly added, and usually exaggerated elements to make it funny and more attractive. Nothing is off limits in this television genre. While some find it hilarious, others think the exaggeration and even ridiculous elements added into the story is a real source of annoyance and is a disrespectful for history.

The authority’s decision was made on the Television Director Committee Meeting on April 1st. – but obviously it’s not a prank to fans of the drama genre. The authority has a good reason to go against the genre. "The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore."

Shen Hua (Myth) is the country’s first time-travel TV play and a successful one. The play depicts how a young adolescent travels through time to the China of 2000 years ago and becomes sworn brother with Xiang Yu and Liu Bang, (both are prominent military leaders and political figures during the late Qin Dynasty period of Chinese history) and eventually ends up being an army general leading troops of thousands of soldiers. On the same time, his twin brother and families in the modern days is fighting with a mystery man to find him.


Italian archaeologists to dig up remains of 'Mona Lisa model'

telegraph - A team of researchers announced on Tuesday that they will carry out excavations beneath a convent in Florence, believed to be the burial place of Lisa Gherardini.

She was the wife of a rich Florentine silk merchant and is believed by most scholars to have been the model for Leonardo da Vinci’s famously enigmatic portrait.

The archaeologists' ultimate aim is to find enough skull fragments to be able to reconstruct her face, enabling a direct comparison to be made with the Mona Lisa.

It could solve a mystery which has intrigued art historians for centuries – the identity of the subject of the world's best known painting, which hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

In addition to the suggestion that the Mona Lisa was based on Gherardini, it has also been proposed that the painting was inspired by Florentine noblewomen, courtesans, street prostitutes, the artist's gay lover and even da Vinci himself.

The team will be led by Silvano Vinceti, an art historian who last year announced that he had found the remains of the Renaissance genius Caravaggio, although his claim was disputed by other scholars.

Digging will take place beneath the former Convent of St Ursula in central Florence, where Gherardini is believed to have died in her sixties in 1542.

The team will use ground-penetration radar to search for forgotten tombs inside the building.

If they discover human remains, they will sift through the bones to identify any that are compatible with a woman of Gherardini's age.

They then plan to conduct carbon dating and extract DNA, which will be compared to that extracted from the bones of Gherardini's children, some of whom are buried in a basilica in Florence.

But there is doubt over the project before it has even started.

Giuseppe Pallanti, an authority on da Vinci, claimed last year that Gherardini's remains were most likely dug up 30 years ago, when work was carried out to convert the former convent into a police barracks, and dumped in a municipal rubbish site on the edge of Florence.

The work was carried out long before the discovery of Gherardini's death certificate, which suggested that she was buried in the convent.


Sci-fi fans undergo operations to get ears like fantasy film characters

dailymail - There are certainly some big Lord of the Rings fans out there, but most wouldn't go this far to look like their favourite characters.

Some fantasy film buffs in Arizona are taking their obsessions to new levels by actually having their ears cut open and sculpted to look like elves.

The elf ears craze has many health risks but that isn’t stopping sci-fi fans having the top of their cartilage sliced and sewed back together in a point.

Jordan Houtz, who went under the knife to get elf ears, said she thought about having the operation for around 18 months because she knew they would change forever.

'It was just something I thought would be fascinating,’ she told ABC’S Good Morning America show. ‘I wouldn't go as far as saying I’m a “trekkie”.

‘But definitely Lord of the Rings - all the sci-fi stuff. It just fit my personality. It's something that once you have it, it's there forever'.

The elf ears craze is believed to have been brought on by films such as Lord of the Rings and Avatar, as well as HBO’s comedy television series Bored to Death.

Body modification artist Steve Haworth, of Phoenix, Arizona, is world-renowned and has won the Guinness World Record for ‘most advanced body modification artist’.

He said: 'There are a lot of people out there who have an inner vision of themselves and want to express that to the world around them.

‘I'm very happy to be an artist that can provide that kind of work,’ he told ABC.
Operations: Guinness World Record winner Steve Haworth is a body modification artist and said elf ear clients often want to 'express an inner vision of themselves'

Operations: Guinness World Record winner Steve Haworth is a body modification artist and said elf ear clients often want to 'express an inner vision of themselves'

But Dr Arthur W. Perry, author of Straight Talk About Cosmetic Surgery, warned that sculpting cartilage is dangerous and applicants should be aware of the risks.

'The real risks are major deformity of the ear, which is very easy to have happen, and infection of the ear,’ he said. ‘If infection occurs it can destroy the ear within days.

'It's very difficult and often it's not possible to fully reconstruct a nice looking ear.'

Mr Haworth’s operation costs $600 for both ears and takes about 20 minutes, but he is not allowed to use any anaesthetic because he is not a doctor, reported ABC.


Strange Object Washed Up On Japan's Shore

EMBED-Strange Object Washed Up On Japan's Shore - Watch more free videos

Thursday, April 07, 2011

David Eckhart Alien Intruder - Sneak Peek - 'Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files': Episode 204

Playground Poltergeist/Alien Intruder - Sneak Peek - Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files : Episode 204

The episode will air on Wednesday, April 13th at 10 ET/9 CT - SyFy 'Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files' website

These videos are edited versions of four of the original videos....this includes the bathroom door entity video which has been available for several months. The videos were produced by David Eckhart....I am presenting these to you as I received. Please refer to the case history at Links to Eckhart Encounters Information...Lon

Click for video - Original Video - Alien Encounter - David M. Eckhart ©

The encounters have continued for almost 10 years and have been experienced by David and his family at both of their residences in the Pensacola, Florida area. The video was produced from 2 full frames and parts of the preceding and latter frames...then looped in slow motion. These beings can move in and out at remarkable speeds. No CGI or reconstruction techniques were used...just splicing of the frames to make this slow motion bit of video.

The next three videos are being presented to the public for the first time. Each was produced in David Eckhart's bedroom. Please refer to the case links for information on these videos.

Click for video - Alien Entity Activity - David M. Eckhart ©

Click for video - Alien Entity Activity 2 - David M. Eckhart ©

The next video was forwarded to me in raw form and includes an anomaly that is detailed in the clip.

Click for video - Entity - David Eckhart Bedroom - David M. Eckhart ©

NOTE: At this time, I have curtailed my investigation of this case. There is still a considerable amount of unreleased evidence...much has yet to be thoroughly examined. If additional evidence comes forth I will surely examine it and include it as part of the record. I remain 'in touch' with David...his encounters have given me a new insight to the extraterrestrial / ultraterrestrial phenomena and have also given me a great friend...Lon

Tracking The Mokele-Mbembe Legend

Reports of dinosaur-like creatures in Central Africa go back for more than 200 years, according to William "Bill" Gibbons. In 1776, French missionaries passing through the forests reported finding huge footprints in the ground. The clawed prints were three feet in circumference and were spaced about seven feet apart. This would have made the animal as big as an elephant, but it was common knowledge to the locals that the tracks were not from an elephant, since elephants do not posses claws. One of the priests, amazingly, even gave claim to have seen several specimens chewing on vegetation while wading in the rivers. Regardless, it was certain that these were an entirely new group of animals. At that time, however, they were neither "dinosaurs" nor "prehistoric," the words waiting to be invented nearly one hundred years later.

In 1913, a German explorer reported stories of, what the natives called, "Mokele-mbembe," which he had heard while in the Congo. Hearing the reports, a few scientists noticed that the descriptions of the creatures made them sound much like sauropod dinosaurs. Sauropods were the giants of the dinosaurs world, averaging about 70 feet (21 meters) long and standing 12-15 feet (3.7 to 4.8 m) tall at the hips.

In 1932, a British scientist, exploring near the Likouala region where the creatures are said to live, came across some abnormally huge footprints. Later, when he went down one of the rivers in a canoe, he heard strange sounds, but did not see anything.

Coincidentally, that same year the world famous zoologist and biologist, Ivan T. Sanderson, along with animal-trader Gerald Russel, were paddling up the Mainyu River in the heart of western Africa when, according to Sanderson's report:

"The most terrifying sound I have ever heard, which sounded like an on-coming earthquake or an exploding, nearby robot, suddenly greeted us from a large underwater cave."

While the water of the river was boiling and foaming directly in front of their canoe, a darkish, shining lizard-like head suddenly rose from the dark water. They described the head as nearly the size of the head of a fully grown hippo, which sat on a thick, swan-like neck. The enormous neck was turned towards the two men, and for just a few seconds, although it seemed like an eternity, the monster simply stared at Sanderson and Russel. Mr. Sanderson summed up his thoughts with these emphatic words:

"I don't know what we saw, but the animal, the monster, burned itself into my retinas. It looked like something that ought to have been dead millions of years ago. As a scientist, I should have been happy, of course, but this encounter was so frightening, so nasty that I never want to see it again."

Is this a Mokele-mbembe footprint? (Republic of the Congo 1966)

A Dinosaur In Africa?

It was 1986, Rory Nugent and his expedition party were out in the world's largest unexplored swamp on earth, the Likouala Swamp of Africa. While near Lake Tele he saw a long, thin neck come up out of the water, like that of a dinosaur. Rory immediately took two photographs and quickly got in his canoe, but his native guides stopped him at gunpoint and said, "He (the creature) would have killed us all..."

Over the last 100 years, evidence has accumulated that sauropod dinosaurs may still be roaming the vast, unexplored regions of the African swamp and jungle. Places like Nigeria, Congo, Angola, Gabon, and Cameroon have similar reports of huge, long-necked monsters, some with a length of 75 feet! Native sightings have been confirmed by reports from missionaries, explorers, and even army personnel. The natives in the Congo region call this creature “Mokele-mbembe” (the one who stops the flow of rivers). This creature is said to possess a long neck and tail, small head, large body, and four legs. They say the animal is very aggressive when disturbed and will bite and lash its tail at you when it is tipping over canoes, killing elephants or hippos. It is herbivorous (plant-eater) and enjoys eating very large amounts of the Malombo fruit that grows on vines at the edge of the rivers. Tracks from this creature range from 1 to 3 feet wide and are spaced 7 to 8 feet apart. It has no hair and it’s skin is very smooth. Dr. Bill Gibbons and Dr. Roy Mackal have done much research on Mokele-mbembe and without their work, little would be known about it.

At Lake Tele in 1983, Marcellin Agnaga was on an expedition when he said he saw Mokele-mbembe swimming in the lake. The creature was half-way out of the water and he could see it’s head, neck, and part of its body. His sketch resembles a sauropod dinosaur. He got his camera and began filming, but left the lens cap on and lost all proof of his encounter.

In a nearby part of Africa called Cameroon, there is another creature called Le’Kela-mbembe. It is said to grow around 70 feet in length and will eat the leaves from the Esem Tree. Dr. Bill Gibbons has done over twenty years of research on Mokele-mbembes and has discovered that Le’Kela-mbembes are actually mature Mokele-mbembes that migrate into Cameroon to mate (in September) and later return to the Congo to give birth to live young. Bill Gibbons discovered also that it will dig tunnels or caves on the shores of rivers. It mostly eats between 3:00 to 5:00 P.M. and is active at night. An expedition in 2003, confirmed that the Le’Kela-mbembe has a height of up to 18 feet by finding trees with all their branches eaten off up to a height of 18 feet. They also found tracks and a cave that had been sealed partly from the inside with mud. One biologist named Peter Beach could hear scratching sounds inside the cave. As the noises became louder it was evident that what ever was inside the cave was digging it’s way out towards them. One member of the expedition named Pierre feared for their lives and they quickly left, since an adult Mokele-mbembe can be very dangerous if disturbed at close range.

S. Arrey was housing some British soldiers in 1948 near Lake Barombi in Northern Cameroon. While he and some others were swimming in the lake, something broke through the surface of the water. In a very short time everyone was out of the water. They observed two giant reptiles coming out of the water. The larger one had a longer neck (about 15 feet long) and a spike or horn on it’s head that the smaller one did not have. Their skin was not smooth, but rather scaly.

Please note that the natives who see these creatures are not afraid to tell others what they have seen because they haven’t been taught about evolution, and do not know that dinosaurs were suppose to have been extinct millions of years ago. I feel the theory of evolution actually hinders the discovery of animals thought to be extinct. When the school text-books teach about the history of dinosaurs, why don’t they mention there is a strong possibility they might still be living? Because of this unproven theory, people are hesitant to tell anyone when they see dinosaurs like the Loch Ness Monster or Mokele-mbembe for fear of what people might think.

Here is some recently contributed information by David Woetzel (who has been on expeditions in search of Mokele-mbembe):

1.) The older 20-45 ft long creatures live and mate in the Dja and maybe the Sangha rivers. These mature MM's (Mokele-mbembe) have very tough scales, like the back of a crocodile. Also like a croc, their underbelly is much softer. Their coloration is a dulled brownish gray.

2.) The younger creatures live in the Likouala swamp region. Their scales are softer and their colors are a more vivid reddish-brown. They're probably more skittish then their older counterparts.

3.) This sharp contrast in areas by age suggests a migration that only happens once in their lives (although the mother likely goes with its offspring to take them to the swamp).

4.) Their birth instincts are peculiar and vague. The native people say the MM gives birth to live young every 20 years. This is not a trait likely in reptiles, maybe the people their have it wrong because they are not able to find a nest site (some nests have been found) for how territorial these animals are they likely guard their nests very aggressively. They would likely kill anyone that gets close enough to see the eggs.

5.) No matter what, the mother's birth migration probably happens 1 of 2 ways. They either migrate to the swamp and lay eggs (or give birth) there, or they lay their eggs along the river and the mother and offspring go to the swamp together. I'm in favor of that idea because the nests are found along the rivers and the only time more than one MM is seen is when it is with its mother (according to the natives).

6.) The mother remains with her offspring for about a year (it may use this time to take the baby to the swamp and prepare it for life on its own)

7.) The adult male has a shorter neck but it also has a spiky back, and the female has a longer neck without the spikes.

8.) The young all have dermal ridges. -


Japanese team filmed this image over Lake Tele, Republic of the Congo, 1987


Expeditions primarily began in the 1880s, shortly after the region was taken over by Belgium. For many years, therefore, it was called the Belgium Congo. Beginning from 1909, here is a brief list of over a dozen of them.


Naturalist Carl Hagenbeck recounted in his autobiography how two separate individuals - a German named Hans Schomburgh and an English hunter - told him about a "huge monster, half elephant, half dragon," which lived in the Congo swamps. Later, another naturalist, Joseph Menges, related to Hagenbeck that "some kind of dinosaur, seemingly akin to the brontosaurs," inhabited the swamps. Hagenbeck soon sent an expedition to the Congo to search for the monster, but the effort was quickly aborted due to disease and hostile natives.


In 1913, Capt. Freiherr von Stein zu Lausnitz was sent by the German government to explore the Cameroon. Von Stein wrote of a unique animal called, in the local tongue, Mokele-mbembe, said to inhabit the areas near the Ubangi, Sangha, and Ikelemba Rivers. Von Stein described the creature thus:

"The animal is said to be of a brownish-gray color with a smooth skin, its size approximately that of an elephant; at least that of a hippopotamus. It is said to have a long and very flexible neck and only one tooth, but a very long one; some say it is a horn. A few spoke about a long muscular tail like that of an alligator. It is said to climb the shore even at daytime in search of food; its diet is said to be entirely vegetable. At the Ssombo River I was shown a path said to have been made by this animal in order to get at its food. The path was fresh and there were plants of the described type [a liana] nearby"


A 32-men-strong expedition was sent out from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. After six days, African guides found large, unexplained tracks along the bank of a river and later the team heard mysterious "roars, which had no resemblance with any known animal," coming from an unexplored swamp. However, the Smithsonian's hunt for Moklele-Mbembe was to end in tragedy. During a train-ride through a flooded area where an entire tribe was said to have seen the dinosaur, the locomotive suddenly derailed and turned over. Four team members were crushed to death under the cars and another half dozen seriously injured.


In 1932, American cryptozoologist Ivan Sanderson was traveling in Africa and came across large hippo-like tracks in a region with no hippos. He was told by the natives that they were made by a creature named the "mgbulu-eM'bembe." Later, Sanderson saw something in the water that seemed too large to be a hippo, but it disappeared before he could investigate further.


In 1960, herpetologist James H. Powell, Jr. took interest in the African dragons and organized an expedition to the Congo in 1972. Powell's expedition, unfortunately, was fraught with problems (the United States and the Congo had poor relations at the time). Many months of hardships such as snake-bites, near-drownings and tropical diseases only led to more witness testimonies about Mokele-Membe and another lizard-like creature which locally was called "n'yamala."


In 1976, James Powell decided to go to Gabon instead, inspired by a book called "Trader Horn." (In 1927, the book, a memoir of the author's time in Gabon, specifically along the Ogooue River, was written by Englishman Alfred Aloysius Smith. He recorded hearing of a creature called the "jago-nini" and identified it with the "amali," a creature whose tracks he had seen). He was quick to realize they were probably identical to the Mokele-mbembe. Furthermore, Powell heard local legends of the n'yamala, and locals identified pictures of a sauropod dinosaur as bearing the most resemblance to the animal.


An expedition mounted by engineer Herman Regusters and his wife Kia managed to make its way to Lake Tele, where they heard the growls and roars of an unknown creature. They also claimed to have photographed Mokele-Mbembe in the lake, as well as watching it walk on land through the brush. According to Regusters, the creature they saw was 30-35 feet long.


Powell launched another expedition in 1980, but this time cryptozoologist Roy P. Mackal came along. Powell and Mackal found that a large number of reports came from the banks of the Likouala-aux-herbes River near Lake Tele. They said that most witnesses maintained that the animal was between 15-30 feet long (a long neck accounted for much of the length). The creature was also said to be a rust color, and that some had been seen to possess a frill or crest.


Yet another expedition was organized in 1981 - this time composed of Mackal, J. Richard Greenwell, M. Justin Wilkinson, and Congolese zoologist Marcellin Agnagna. The expedition encountered what they believed was a Congo "dinosaur" along the Likouala River, when they heard a large animal leaping into the water near Epena. They also discovered a path of broken branches supposedly made by the animal, as well as a number of footprints.


In April, 1983, a Congolese expedition led by Marcellin Agnagna, a zoologist from the Brazzaville Zoo, arrived to Lake Tele. Agnagna claimed to have seen the beast some 275 meters out in the lake. The animal held its thin, reddish head - which had crocodile-looking, oval eyes and a thin nose - on a height of 90 cm and looked from side to side, almost as if it was watching him. According to Agnagna, the animal was a reptile, though not a crocodile, nor a python or a freshwater turtle.


Englishman William J. Gibbons (presently living in Canada) talked to several eye-witnesses who gave him valuable information about the Mokele-Mbembe. He is currently convinced that the dinosaur exists, but at the time was unable to prove it. However, upon his return to the UK he brought with him the remains of a monkey which he could not identify. This was later classified as a new sub-species of crestless mangabey monkey (cerocebus galeritus). Fish and insect specimens also found in the Congos remain unclassified to date.


A piece of blurry video footage filmed by a Japanese film crew supposedly showing the creature in Lake Tele remains disputable evidence of the animal's existence. The film is indistinct and grainy, possibly just showing two men in a boat with one of them standing upright in the front of the vessel, as is common in Africa. This has been interpreted as a head and neck, but this interpretation of the videotape is purely speculative at best.


Author and explorer Redmond O'Hanlon returned from his failed expedition convinced that witnesses must have mistaken wild elephants, crossing rivers with their trunk in the air, for a prehistoric Mokele-Mbembe.


William Gibbons tried again six years later, this time together with American explorer Rory Nugent. Together they searched almost two thirds of the unexplored Bai River while also examining two small lakes North West of Lake Tele. These are Lake Fouloukuo and Lake Tibeke, which are surprisingly absent from most maps. Both are said to be haunts of Mokele-Mbembe. Rory Nugent also took two interesting photographs of something most unusual in Lake Tele. One may actually show the head of a Mokele Mbembe.

WINTER 2006 - 1/12/2006 -

The Milt Marcy Expedition is the fourth such trek to Africa, with the three before this one being lead by William Gibbons. Marcy is an insurance broker (Milt Marcy Insurance) in Portland, Oregon, who has funded the last three expeditions, and will be participating in this one himself as Gibbons cannot go.

The four expeditions have been greatly assisted by the cryptozoology-friendly government of Cameroon (they received all their official documents quickly). Furthermore, Pierre Sima has collected several new reports of Mokele-mbembe activity in the river system which borders the Congo Republic. Ed Holdroyd, an atmospheric scientist, has also helped the expedition by providing some superb high resolution satellite photographs of an undisclosed area of the river system where Gibbons, Marcy, and all believe the animals are currently active.

Through a combination of field expeditions, recons by Pierre Sima, native reports and the satellite images, the Milt Marcy Expedition feel that they can now track the migration patterns of mokele-mbembe much more effectively.

Update - 2/3/2006:

Milt Marcy is in good shape given all the travel time and tough conditions (the insect problem was awful and his feet are swollen up from all the bites). But he sounded encouraged and in good spirits.

He took a boat with him (11ft with 24 hp outboard) that performed flawlessly and took them far up the Dja for 110 miles. They interviewed three fishermen and acquired three independent eyewitness accounts of Mokele-mbembe observed merely days before they got there.

Missionary Paul Ohlin saw a Mokele-mbembe on the Sangha River on January 10, 2006!

This incident reportedly occurred on the Congo side, as Ohlin works there among the Aka pygmies. This is the area also bordered by the Ngoko River, which in west-central Africa forms part of the Cameroon-Congo (Brazzaville) boundary. The Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon) lies along its upper course.

Peter Beach did a great job with the satellite maps and has marked a number of places (including caves) in the general target area. According to Pierre Sima, new information on the animals confirms that they were in the Forbidden Zone from 1984 to 2003/4, so the Mokele-mbembe sometimes stay in one area long-term if the conditions are right. This explains why the villagers in Langoue saw them with such frequency in that area throughout the 1980s and 1990s.


One fantastic tale, not bearing much difference from a legend, tells how the locals, or pygmies, built a barrier of stakes to keep the Mokele-mbembe from entering Lake Tele. That way, the pygmies could fish in a safe haven. This particular story is actually quite recent, somewhere around the 1930s to be precise. As the story goes, two of the creatures, obviously displeased with the course of action taken by the natives, attacked the wall of stakes. The pygmies attacked and speared one of the creatures to death. To memorialize this achievement, the pygmies cooked the animal and feasted over its flesh. It is said that all who tasted the meat died. This, of course, might just be an exaggeration, an effect evident on all stories that travel through time. The pygmies believe that the magical and mystical properties of the Mokele-mbembe were released after this event....

Local's sketch of the Mokele-mbembe

Was a Mokele-mbembe Killed at Lake Tele? - by Bill Gibbons

I can confirm that at least two of the pygmies who were directly involved in the killing of a Mokele-mbembe at Lake Tele about three decades ago were acquainted on a personal level with missionary pastor Eugene P. Thomas. I have discussed this incident with Pastor Thomas, and he was able to confirm most of the details of the story which follows.

Around 1960, the forest dwelling pygmies of the Lake Tele region (the Bangombe tribe), fished daily in the lake near the Molibos, or water channels situated at the north end of the lake. These channels merge with the swamps, and were used by Mokele-mbembes to enter the lake where they would browse on the vegetation. This daily excursion into the lake by the animals disrupted the pygmies fishing activities. Eventually, the pygmies decided to erect a stake barrier across the molibo in order to prevent the animals from entering the lake.

When two of the animals were observed attempting to break through the barrier, the pygmies speared one of the animals to death and later cut it into pieces. This task apparently took several days due to the size of the animal, which was described as being bigger than a forest elephant with a long neck, a small snake-like or lizard-like head, which was decorated with a comb-like frill. The pygmy spearmen also described a long, flexible tail, a smooth, reddish-brown skin and four stubby, but powerful legs with clawed toes. Pastor Thomas also mentioned that the two pygmies mimicked the cry of the animal as it was being attacked and speared.

Later, a victory feast was held, during which parts of the animal were cooked and eaten. However, those who participated in the feast eventually died, either from food poisoning or from natural causes. It should be noted that pygmies rarely live beyond 35, and pygmy women give birth from aged 12. I also believe that the mythification (magical powers, etc) surrounding Mokele-mbembes began with this incident.

During my first expedition in 1985, we met with several eyewitnesses who have observed Mokele-mbembes in the Sangha and Likouala aux Herbes Rivers. Our pygmy informants also mentioned that there was at least two Mokele-mbembes still living in the Lake Tele vicinity, but they were simply too afraid to take us to a precise location where we could actually film and observe a specimen of Mokele-mbembe, due to their superstitious beliefs surrounding the animals and fear of reprisals from the Boha villagers who are regarded as the owners of the lake. The Boha villagers are also familiar with areas in the river and swamps where we can observe these animals for ourselves. However, the general belief that speaking of Mokele-membes to white outsiders will result in great misfortune or death is fairly prevalent throughout the Likouala region. This presents huge problems in obtaining accurate and up-to-date information on Mokele-mbembes and other cryptids.

I should add that I am not convinced that Marcellin Agnagna, Rory Nugent, or Herman Regusters have observed Mokele-mbembes. During our two visits to the Congo, my colleagues and I were unable to locate a single one of the "dozens" of witnesses that allegedly observed Mokele-mbembes with the aforementioned explorers. Marcellin Agagna changed his story several times, and is now thought (by Roy Mackal) to have observed the giant African freshwater turtle, Trionyx triunguis. Herman Regusters and his wife Kia are the only individuals on his expedition to have observed a "long-necked member" travelling across Lake Tele, in spite of the fact that 28 other people were with them from the village of Boha. Rory Nugent's alleged Mokele-mbembe photos could be anything, although he may have seen "something" in the distance.

But Jose Bourges, the Congolese wildlife official who accompanied the 1988 Japanese expedition to the lake, reported that the entire expedition observed a large humped back of an animal, slowly moving along, as if foraging on the bottom of the lake, which is three meters deep at most. So the animals are still there, and I still want to find one! - Bill Gibbons has conducted two major expeditions to the Congo, in 1985-6, and 1992, in search of the Mokele-mbembe

Destination Truth

In March 2008 an episode of the SyFy (formerly the SciFi Channel) series Destination Truth involved investigator Joshua Gates and crew searching for the elusive dinosaur. They did not visit the Likouala Region, which includes Lake Tele, but they visited Lake Bangweulu in Zambia instead, which had reports of a similar creature in the early 20th century, called the "'nsanga". The crew of Destination Truth kept calling the animal "Mokèlé-mbèmbé" to the locals, when that name is only used in the Republic of the Congo. The name used in that particular spot is "chipekwe". Their episode featured a videotaped close encounter, but filmed from a great distance. On applying digital video enhancement techniques, the encounter proved to be nothing more than two submerged hippopotami.


In March 2009 an episode of the History Channel series MonsterQuest involved Bill Gibbons, Rob Mullin, local guide Pierre Sima and a two-man film crew from White Wolf Productions. It took place in Cameroon, in the region of Dja, Boumba, and Nkogo Rivers, near the border with the Republic of the Congo. The episode aired in the summer of 2009, and also featured an interview with Roy P. Mackal and Peter Beach of the Milt Marcy Expedition, 2006.[24][self-published source?] While no sightings were reported on the expedition, the team found evidence of a large underground cave with air vents. The team also received sonar readings of very long, serpentine shapes underwater.

Beast Hunter

A March 2011 episode of Beast Hunter on the National Geographic Channel is planned to feature a search for Mokele-mbembe in Congo Basin.

NOTE: You can read other information at Mokele-Mbembe: Mystery Beast of the Congo Basin


Fortean / Alternative News: An-Tiki Crosses Atlantic, Meteorite Black Market and Colonial Era Ghosts

An-Tiki Crosses Atlantic Successfully

BBC - A grandfather from London and his three-man crew have successfully crossed the Atlantic on a raft made of pipes after 66 days at sea.

Anthony Smith, 85, wanted to complete the 2,800-mile (4,596km) voyage to highlight the fact a billion people worldwide live without clean water.

The former BBC Tomorrow's World presenter hopes to have raised £50,000 for the charity WaterAid.

They set sail from the Canary Islands and reached the Caribbean on Wednesday.

Mr Smith recruited the team of "mature and intrepid gentlemen" - aged between 56 and 61 - by placing an advert in the Daily Telegraph.

It read: "Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew.

The 85-year-old was a science correspondent and presenter on the BBC programme, which was axed in 2003 after 40 years.

Speaking ahead of the trip Mr Smith said: "Water strikes at the very heart of need.

"To voyage almost 3,000 miles upon the salty kind will make us intensely aware of places in the world that are without adequate supplies."

Their vessel, named the An-Tiki, was constructed out of 12m (39ft) lengths of pipe.

It was powered by a 400-square-foot sail and steered using twin rudders and oars, travelling at an average speed of four knots.

The crew had intended to end their voyage in the Bahamas, but strong winds and currents forced them to the Dutch Caribbean island of St Maarten.

Crew member John Russell, 61, from Stroud, said he was looking forward to having "a nice shower and washing the salt off me".

"And having a nice steak to eat. We haven't had fresh food for a long time. We've been living out of tins. Our fresh fruit and vegetables ran out a long time ago," he said.


Phantasmagoria: Colonial Era Ghosts
By Scott Corrales - Inexplicata-The Journal of Hispanic Ufology

Mexico City’s history of phantasmagoria is known all over the world, going as far back as the terror inspired by the manifestations of Ciuhcoatl (“La Llorona”) during the fading years of the Aztec Empire to the seductive manifestations of Xtabay among the gum trees of the Yucatan Peninsula. But no period was more active – or better remembered – south of the border than the ghostly activity of the Colonial Era. This period, spanning three centuries, centered around the young capital of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, its palaces and monasteries, great lords and ladies, built on the ashes and bones of fallen Tenochtitlan. Shades of the conquest still haunted the streets and alleyways, and the spirits summoned by the Aztec emperor’s sorcerers in their temples of dark tezontle stone were now on the loose.

Some of the stories were romanticized beyond recognition, many of them are spurious and best left to the historias de aparecidos category, which even included some ghastly comic-book format offerings in sepia ink. But a few of them, such as the ones collected by Artemio del Valle Arizpe in his historical works, have stood the test of time.

It is interesting to note that many of these ghost stories occurred in convents, which played a considerable role in Viceregal Mexico’s cultural and economic structure, aside from the obvious spiritual one. Monasteries such as San Francisco and Santo Domigo were impressive structures with their own churches and chapels. Much as they had in Medieval Spain, convents played the additional role of being a place where conquistadors could leave their wives and daughters before setting off on their exploits. Any tourist can visit the place where the events we are about to describe occurred: the Convento de la Concepción, a baroque nunnery built in the 16th century which today houses one of the Mexican government’s ministries.

The records of this institution, carefully preserved over the centuries, state that the cloistered nuns had been tormented for decades by a white figure – wearing the garb of a novice – that would appear dangling from one of the trees on the convent’s premises. The descriptions offered by terrified novices was always the same: a figure with bulging eyes and protruding tongue, twisting slowly in the breeze blowing down from the encircling mountains. In true horror story tradition, by the time the lady abbess and her assistants reported to site, there was nothing to be seen.

Neither masses nor collective penance appeared to make the apparition fade away. It is not known, however, if the Archbishop of Mexico offered any prescriptions or if the Inquisition stepped in to investigate the affair. These grim ecclesiastical figures would have been surprised to learn of the near-Shakespearean tragedy that was at the core of these events.

A young noblewoman – María de Avila – had fallen in love with a mestizo whose surname, Arrutia, is all that is left for posterity. The iron-clad caste system of Colonial Mexico frowned on such a relationship, and María’s brothers – Gil and Alfonso – confronted Arrutia, who scorned them and challenged them to a duel. The brothers, however, felt that accepting such a challenge was beneath them, and decided instead to buy off the upstart half-breed. A considerable sum of money was presented to Arrutia, asking him to leave the city immediately and never return. He did exactly that.

A disconsolate María de Avila was urged to enter the novitiate to seek pardon for her improper relationship and sublimate her feelings in prayer. But the rigors of the convent did not sit well with her. But, as the chronicles tell, what drove her to suicide was learning that her lover had returned to Mexico City to demand more silver from her brothers.

Aside from becoming a terrifying vision to the cloistered nuns, her death caused the downfall of her family: the Avila brothers were implicated in a conspiracy to oust the viceroy and were beheaded; the stately family home was demolished.

From Convents to Libraries

In 1984, a group of high-school students who had embarked upon a photographic tour of the Morelia's colonial past made a startling discovery: a photo taken in the City Library's stacks revealed--upon developing--an eerie silhouette projected on the neat rows of books. At first the students thought it was a trick of the light, or a prank played by a member of their group. But when Library employees were shown the image, they were able to identify it all too well as the outline of a "nun in blue" which has haunted the repository of knowledge for untold generations. Many of the City Library's holdings, it is said, once belonged to one of Morelia's convents.

Nor is identifying the deceased religious woman an easy task: Morelia's library is housed in an ancient stone building that dates back to the 16th century. Burials took place in the structure's floors and walls, and even the librarian's desk is located on top a slab covering an early 20th century burial.

"When I leave the building," stated library director Rigoberto Cornejo in an interview to the El Norte newspaper, "I feel the sensation of someone following me. In fact, I can even hear the footsteps." Although this sober-minded professional refuses to believe in the supernatural, he is hard pressed to find logical explanations for his experiences, or for those of his subordinates.

In 1996, library worker Socorro Ledezma requested a transfer from her work area in the colonial structure after an uncanny experience. "The time must have been seven o'clock in the evening," she told reporters from El Norte, "and it was getting dark outside...that's when I suddenly felt the presence of someone standing behind me, blowing in my ear. I was unable to turn around, and my body was gripped by a chill."

Spain: Trade Unions and Ghosts

The haunted Mexican convent has a counterpart across the Atlantic: the ancient convent of the Arrecogidas in Madrid, located at 86-88 Calle Hortaleza, has steadily gained the reputation of being a haunted location ever since the labor union known as U.G.T. (Union General de Trabajadores) established its headquarters at said location. A number of union leaders who remained into the wee hours of the night hammering out collective bargaining agreements claim felt cold chills upon hearing strange voices, murmurs and the sounds of doors opening and closing all by themselves.

One of the more remarkable agreements involved the office of Antón Saracibar, one of the labor union's former directors. Every morning, his staff would arrive at work to find hand prints on the leather sofas and sunken areas suggesting someone had been sitting in them overnight--despite the fact that the executive office was carefully locked every evening. The incidents caused no-nonsense labor officials to request the aid of prominent parapsychologists.

Historical background checks soon attested to the building's tormented past. Centuries ago, the nuns had turned their fortress-like building into a home for "wayward girls and fallen women," toward whom they behaved more like jailers than helpers. The building's popularity as a place of torment was such that the renown filmmaker Pedro Almodovar used it as the scene for one of his projects, Entre Sombras ("Among Shadows").

The hauntings appear to be circumscribed to the former convent's lower floor, where the cemetery used to bury deceased nuns was located. When the U.G.T took over the building as its main office, the convent's chapel was turned into the main room in which press conferences were to be held, and the choir area became the office of another union executive. Serious consideration was given to the removal of mortal remains from niches in the crypt to make way for computer servers, but wiser heads prevailed and a door was built to bar access to the old convent's lower levels.

Have efforts been made to contact the deceased occupants of these old structures, ridden with memories? The answer to this question is apparently affirmative. In 1995, Father José María Pilón of the Society of Jesus delivered "The Ata Report" on the subject to the board of governors of the Reina Sofía Museum of Art in Madrid, which had formerly been the San Carlos Hospital. The controversial aspect of Father Pilón's effort was that contact had allegedly been made through a Ouija board.

According to Sebastián Rodríguez Galindo's report on the subject in April 1996 issue of Mundo Paranormal, a team of paranormal experts composed of Sol Blanco Soler, Paloma Navarrete, Jose Luis Ramos, Piedad Acevedo, Lorenzo Plaza an Jaime de Alvear, looked into the "psychic presences" in the former hospital, which were allegedly responsible for activating elevators that had been shut down, opening locked doors, and perhaps more chillingly, "processions of entities wearing religious garb moving down the hallways." The majority of the witnesses in these cases were members of the buildings custodial and security staff.

Among the entities contacted by means of the Ouija board were "Malé", a Jewish woman who had lived at the site in 1594; "Aldonza de los Angeles", who claimed having been the prioress of the building's religious community in 1750, and last but not least "Ataulfo" or "Ata" (who gave the report its name): a dangerous, psychopathic patient of the hospital who confessed to having committed five murders while alive.

Bogota’s Liévano Palace

On July 24, 2004, Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper ran a feature on a ghost in an unlikely place: the city of Bogota’s busy town hall, hardly the Gothic structure one would associate with ghostly apparitions. Yet bureaucrats and watchmen have reported strange goings-on during the late hours as “something” makes its way at a quickened pace across the deserted second and third floors of Palacio Liévano, an 18th century structure that survived the devastating 1827 earthquake and was remodeled in 1902. Speculation about the unearthly intruder’s identity has range from a former workaholic employee to a disgruntled citizen tired of bureaucratic wrangling, but no one knows for sure.

The fact remains that the Palacio Liévano “haunt” has a fondness for turning light switches on and off, for closing and opening doors, and an absolute delight over typewriters, whether electric or manual (nothing has been said about its computer proficiency, however). On occasions it has been heard to flush the employee toilet on the first floor of the building. Whenever office workers or the building’s night watchmen – always alert in security-conscious Bogotá – report to check on the source of the disturbance, they are greeted by an empty stillness.

The Liévano phantom appears to have intensified its activity this year with the election of a new mayor. Augusto Cubides, press secretary to Mayor Luis Garzón, reported to work on January 1st at 9:00 a.m. when he had his first run-in with the phantom. “I left the office for a moment,” he told reporters from El Tiempo, “and upon my return, I found the lights in my office were on. So I turned them off. I had to leave my office again about an hour later, and I found my lights on again and a boom box playing at full volume. I asked around to see if some journalist had come in to see me, but there was no one. Little did I know that town hall was haunted.”

Press secretary Cubides would have benefited, perhaps, from a long chat with a former watchman who actually saw the ghost years earlier: Libardo Bravo was making his rounds of the colonial building around 11:00 p.m. one night during Easter Week. When he reached the offices of the Secretary General on the second floor, he saw something moving around—a white bundle with an estimated height of 1.60 meters, floating above the ground. “I couldn’t see its feet or head,” relates the security guard, “and the bundle suddenly vanished into those offices and I heard it typing rapidly on one of the machines. Tell you the truth, I was really scared. I ran down to the first floor.”

During his twelve years of service at town hall, Libardo says that he finally got used to living with the phantom.

The odd comings and goings of the typing-obsessed entity are now being picked up by the motion sensors on the first and second floors of the building. Police officers responding to the scene say that the movement detected by the sensitive equipment is similar to that of footsteps.

Even weirder things have been going on: workers have reported a strange “bird” in the vicinity. One woman, Marcela Cadena, told El Tiempo that she has seen an “enormous owl” flying over the town hall parking between 10:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.. “I’ve seen it. It is truly immense.”

The logical counterpoint to these claims is that there are no ghosts in Palacio Liévano and that there are perfectly reasonable explanations for the incidents. Former mayor Paul Bromberg blames it all on “strong mountain winds” blowing off the Andean heights and which cause similar effects “in all old buildings.”

Thanks to Scott Corrales at Inexplicata-The Journal of Hispanic Ufology


In Pain? Try Meditation - You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to experience the health benefits of meditation. According to a new study, even a brief crash course in meditative techniques can sharply reduce a person's sensitivity to pain.

In the study, researchers mildly burned 15 men and women in a lab on two separate occasions, before and after the volunteers attended four 20-minute meditation training sessions over the course of four days. During the second go-round, when the participants were instructed to meditate, they rated the exact same pain stimulus -- a 120-degree heat on their calves -- as being 57 percent less unpleasant and 40 percent less intense, on average.

"That's pretty dramatic," says Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The reduction in pain ratings was substantially greater than those seen in similar studies involving placebo pills, hypnosis, and even morphine and other painkilling drugs, he adds.

The findings, which appear in the April 6 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, aren't entirely surprising. Past research has found that Buddhist-style meditation -- also known as mindfulness meditation -- can help people cope with pain, anxiety, and a number of other physical and mental health problems. But in most cases the training takes weeks, not days.

The fact that Zeidan and his colleagues achieved these results after just 80 minutes of training is "spectacular," says Robert Bonakdar, M.D., the director of pain management at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, in San Diego.

"Although the full benefits of meditation can be realized after long-term training, our study suggests that some of the effects can be realized just for your average Joe," Zeidan says.

The type of meditation used in the study is known as Shamatha, or "focused attention." Like other forms of mindfulness meditation, it entails learning how to observe what's going on in one's mind and body without judging, and while maintaining focus on one's breathing or a chanted mantra.

Brain scans conducted during the pain experiments showed that this technique appeared to cause a number of changes in how the participants' brains responded to pain.

The researchers looked, for instance, at a part of the brain called the somatosensory cortex, which contains a kind of map of the body. Before meditation training, the area corresponding to the right calf was quite active when the heat was applied to the volunteers. But there was little activity in this region when they were meditating, which suggests that "meditation reduces pain by reducing the actual sensation," Zeidan says.

Areas of the brain responsible for maintaining focus and processing emotions were also more active during meditation, and the activity was highest in the volunteers who reported the greatest reductions in pain. "There's not just one thing happening," Zeidan says. "Mindfulness meditation incorporates multiple mechanisms, multiple avenues for pain relief."

The conventional wisdom has been that meditation relieves pain not by diminishing sensation but by helping people consciously control their perception of pain, says Katharine MacLean, Ph.D., a meditation researcher and postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore.

However, she says, the brain scans make it clear that both processes take place: Mediation changes the nature of pain before it's perceived and also allows people to better handle it. "Meditation is really kind of retuning your brain," MacLean says.

An important question raised by the study is whether meditation might have the same effect on "real-life pain," Bonakdar says. Pain -- especially chronic pain -- is much more complex in the real world than in a laboratory, he points out, and it can involve trauma, depression, and other physical and mental processes.

"Sometimes pain is more about suffering than it is about pain," he says. "Sometimes that's the hardest part of pain to treat. Maybe mindfulness meditation is just the right medicine for that problem."


Black-Market Trinkets From Space

Ebay and other Web sites pulse with hundreds of sales pitches. “The pieces below have an exceptional patina,” a site called said of 10 pictured fragments.

The ads are for chunks of meteorites, bits of asteroids that have fallen from the sky and are as prized by scientists as they are by collectors. As more meteorites have been discovered in recent years, interest in them has flourished and an illegal sales market has boomed — much to the dismay of the people who want to study them and the countries that consider them national treasures.

“It’s a black market,” said Ralph P. Harvey, a geologist at Case Western Reserve University who directs the federal search for meteorites in Antarctica. “It’s as organized as any drug trade and just as illegal.”

The discovery of a rich and historically significant meteorite crater in southern Egypt, just north of the Sudanese border, has shown the voracious appetite for new fragments. Just as scientists appeared to be on the cusp of decrypting the evidence to solve an ancient puzzle, looters plundered the desolate site, and the political chaos in Egypt seems to ensure that the scientists will not be going back anytime soon. Continue reading at Black-Market Trinkets From Space


UFO...Unidentified Floating Object

telegraph - Hundreds of locals flocked to Bridgwater after news spread that an “unidentified floating object” was found in the River Parrett.

The market town, which has a population of almost 34,000, was brought to a standstill after crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the object.

Police were then called amid claims the object, which had washed up close to the town centre’s main thoroughfare bridge, was a dead body.

Within hours of the news being reported on the local newspaper’s website, the topic become one of the most discussed – or trended - issues on Twitter, the micro-blogging website.

The issue was ranked alongside Wayne Rooney facing a two match ban over his foul mouthed outburst at the weekend.

Debate raged about whether the mystery object was something out of paranormal or something as simple as a dead turtle, pig or a dolphin.

Coral Pople told the town's local paper: “I’ve been here for 45 minutes. Everyone was saying it was a turtle – but it looks more like a pig to me.”

Andrew Coles added: “I think it was a pig or cow’s head. But I heard people saying ‘look, you can see a hand.’

"But I think it was just the animal’s ears flopping around.” The object has since disappeared without being identified.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police confirmed officers attended the scene but dismissed suggestions of foul play.

"We were made aware of a large number of people looking into the river," he said, declining to comment further.

In 2009 a similar number of onlookers gathered at Town Bridge after a dead cow was spotted floating near the banks of the river.



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