Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just the Facts?: 'Dog-Headed Pig Monster!' -- The Gods Are Calling -- Jesus' Real Tomb Found?


'Dog-Headed Pig Monster' Sightings Reported By Namibian Villagers

Some say it's a witch doctor, a warlock, or a work of black magic. Others say it's a hybrid animal somewhere between a dog and a pig. But whatever it is, residents in Namibia are saying the strange creature they've seen wreaking havoc on their villages is nothing they've ever encountered before, according to the website Life's Little Mysteries.

Villagers living near the Kalahari desert in northern Namibia have reported seeing an odd creature with a head like a dog and the shoulders of a pig, mostly white in color and with hairless spots on its back, according to the site.

They say the beast has been attacking dogs, goats and other domestic animals seemingly out of nowhere, as the region's arid landscape is sparse in trees and shrubbery where animals might hide.

"This is an alien animal that the people have not seen before. We don't have a forest here, only bushes. So, this must be black magic at play," Andreas Mundjindi, a Namibian official, told the newspaper Informante.

One resident who spoke with Informante said villagers are taking precautions against the creature by staying in groups, and that many believe it's an intelligent being that came from the house of a grey-haired man.

"Everyone believes it is his beast and even he knows that we think so," the villager told Informante. "When it comes our side in the night, all the dogs are barking, but if it goes back west, then it’s all hush. People must be safe. We don’t want to be mauled by things we don’t know."

The sightings follow a number of reports out of Africa in recent years involving alleged sightings of strange creatures. In 2009, the Namibian newspaper New Era reported that a number of villagers had filed complaints with police stating that a mysterious tiger-like creature had been sucking blood of their livestock.

Police spokeswoman Christina Fonsech told the paper that police tried to track the creature's footprints, which were doglike, though bigger.

"We followed them but they walked until a spot where they just vanished," Fonesch told New Era. "It’s difficult to explain what happened to those footprints because they looked as if they climbed onto something but it was in an open space, so we don’t know what happened."

One elusive creature of legend from the Congo region, known as the "Mokele-mbembe," has intrigued myth hunters for years. Believed by some to be the surviving ancestor of a dinosaur, similar to the rumored Loch Ness Monster, the animal has been reported in sightings as far back as 1776, according to research by cryptozoologist William Gibbons.

Gibbons published a description of the creature, written by a German captain during a colonial expedition of the Congo in 1913:

The animal is said to be of a brownish gray color ... its size approximating that of an elephant. It is said to have a long and very flexible neck. Some spoke of a long muscular tail like that of an alligator. Canoes coming near it are said to be doomed; the animals are said to attack the vessels at once and to kill the crews but without eating the bodies. The creature is said to live in the caves that have been washed out by the river in the clay of its shores at sharp bends. It is said to climb the shore even in daytime in search of its food; its diet is said to be entirely vegetable. - THP

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Asteroid 2011 AG5 May Pose Threat to Earth in 2040

Scientists are keeping a close eye on a big asteroid that may pose an impact threat to Earth in a few decades.

The space rock, which is called 2011 AG5, is about 460 feet (140 meters) wide. It may come close enough to Earth in 2040 that some researchers are calling for a discussion about how to deflect it.

Talk about the asteroid was on the agenda during the 49th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), held earlier this month in Vienna.

A UN Action Team on near-Earth objects (NEOs) noted the asteroid’s repeat approaches to Earth and the possibility — however remote — that 2011 AG5 might smack into our planet 28 years from now.

The object was discovered in January 2011 by Mount Lemmon Survey observers in Tucson, Ariz. While scientists have a good bead on the space rock's size, its mass and compositional makeup are unknown at present. Continue reading at Asteroid 2011 AG5 May Pose Threat to Earth in 2040

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'Divine Jehovah, raise up': Does discovery of this 1st Century coffin lid prove the resting place of Jesus is under Jerusalem tower block?

Archaeologists exploring a 1st century Christian burial chamber have discovered an ancient inscription on a coffin lid which they believe could prove the site is the final resting place of Jesus.

Using a remote-controlled camera connected to a robotic arm to probe below a tower block in Jerusalem, the archaeologists were staggered to discover a set of 1st century 'bone boxes'.

The lid on one of these limestone boxes, also known as ossuaries, carries an inscription in Greek which could be translated as 'Divine Jehovah, raise up, raise up'.

Another carries a drawing of a fish with a stick figure in its mouth which is believed to refer to the story of Jonah and the Whale - one of the very first biblical stories.

The find is 200ft away from an earlier discovery known as the Jesus Family Tomb, which caused a huge amount of controversy after it was uncovered in the 1980s.

Archaeologists then claimed it contained ossuaries inscribed with names associated with Jesus's family.

That discovery sprouted amazing theories including one that maintained Jesus had been buried there alongside Mary Magdalene who he had married and raised a family with.

However many leading theologians and archaeologists rubbished such claims as being completely unfounded.

The Jesus Family Tomb was only examined briefly before protests by Orthodox Jews, concerned about the disturbance of a grave site, ended the excavation.

It was then sealed up, and a tower block built over it.

However James Tabor, a scriptural scholar at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici were determined to continue the research.

The pair obtained permission from the Israeli government in 2010 to use the robotic arm to drill holes allowing them to explore the surrounding area.

This led to the discovery of a separate chamber which they named the 'Patio Tomb', as it sits almost directly below the patio of the building.

It was inside the Patio Tomb that they found the inscriptions.

The pair claim the inscriptions discovered inside the patio tomb greatly increase the likelihood that the 'Jesus Family Tomb' is indeed, the resting place of Jesus.

They argue believe both tombs are part of the same complex which may have been the property of Joseph of Arimathea, who, according to the gospels, buried Jesus.

One of the limestone ossuaries carries a Greek inscription calling on God to 'rise up' or 'raise up' someone.

Another shows the image of a fish with a stick figure in its mouth which Tabor has suggested could represent the prophet Jonah.

Mr Tabor said: 'This inscription has something to do with resurrection of the dead, either of the deceased in the ossuary, or perhaps, given the Jonah image nearby, an expression of faith in Jesus' resurrection.

In the earliest gospel materials the 'sign of Jonah,' as mentioned by Jesus, has been interpreted as a symbol of his resurrection.

Jonah images in later 'early' Christian art, such as images found in the Roman catacombs, are the most common motif found on tombs as a symbol of Christian resurrection hope.

In contrast, the story of Jonah is not depicted in any first century Jewish art and iconographic images on ossuaries are extremely rare, given the prohibition within Judaism of making images of people or animals.

The tomb in question is dated prior to 70 CE, when ossuary use in Jerusalem ceased due to the Roman destruction of the city.

If the markings are Christian, the engravings represent the earliest archaeological record of Christians ever found.

So the engravings were most likely made by some of Jesus' earliest followers, within decades of his death, predating the writing of the gospels.

'If anyone had claimed to find either a statement about resurrection or a Jonah image in a Jewish tomb of this period I would have said impossible -- until now,' Tabor said. 'Our team was in a kind of ecstatic disbelief, but the evidence was clearly before our eyes, causing us to revise our prior assumptions.'

The publication of the academic article is concurrent with the publication of a book by Simon & Schuster entitled 'The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find That Reveals the Birth of Christianity.' A documentary on the discovery will be aired by the Discovery Channel in spring 2012.

The findings and their interpretation are likely to be controversial, since most scholars are skeptical of any Christian archaeological remains from so early a period.

Adding to the controversy is the tomb's close proximity to a second tomb, discovered in 1980. This tomb, dubbed by some 'The Jesus Family Tomb,' contained inscribed ossuaries that some scholars associate with Jesus and his family, including one that reads 'Jesus, son of Joseph.'

'Context is everything in archaeology,' Tabor pointed out. 'These two tombs, less than 200 feet apart, were part of an ancient estate, likely related to a rich family of the time.

'We chose to investigate this tomb because of its proximity to the so-called 'Jesus tomb,' not knowing if it would yield anything unusual.'

Among the approximately 2000 ossuaries that have been recovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority, only 650 have any inscriptions on them, and none have inscriptions comparable to the team's finds.

Less than a dozen ossuaries from the period have epitaphs but, according to Tabor, these inscribed messages usually have to do with warnings not to disturb the bones of the dead. In contrast, the four-line Greek inscription contains some kind of statement of resurrection faith.

Tabor noted that the epitaph's complete and final translation is uncertain. The first three lines are clear, but the last line, consisting of three Greek letters, is less sure, yielding several possible translations: 'O Divine Jehovah, raise up, raise up,' or 'The Divine Jehovah raises up to the Holy Place,' or 'The Divine Jehovah raises up from.'

'This inscription has something to do with resurrection of the dead, either of the deceased in the ossuary, or perhaps, given the Jonah image nearby, an expression of faith in Jesus' resurrection,' Tabor said.

The ossuary with the image that Tabor and his team understand to be representing Jonah also has other interesting engravings. These also may be connected to resurrection, Tabor notes. On one side is the tail of a fish disappearing off the edge of the box, as if it is diving into the water.

There are small fish images around its border on the front facing, and on the other side is the image of a cross-like gate or entrance—which Tabor interprets as the notion of entering the 'bars' of death, which are mentioned in the Jonah story in the Bible. - dailymail

The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave

Buried Hope or Risen Savior: The Search for the Jesus Tomb


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Medieval medallion found in baby shark in Malaysia

A baby shark being prepared for lunch gave a Malaysian family a big surprise - an ancient artifact believed to be dated long before the Portuguese conquest of Malacca. Housewife Suseela Menon, from Klebang, made the priceless discovery while filleting the fish for lunch.

It is believed to be a medallion worn by the Portuguese soldiers, presumably as a divine protection, during their conquests in this part of the world in the 16th century. One side of the medallion is a profile of a woman's head with a crown and encircled by a halo and an inscription that is unclear. The other side is a crucifix with an engraved inscription that reads ANTONII.

Checks with a local historian revealed the head engraving could be that of Queen Elizabeth, the consort of King Denis I of Portugal during his reign from 1271 to 1336. Suseela said she immediately cleaned the medallion and preserved it in a box. “I bought two sharks from the wet market and was taken aback upon discovering the object inside the stomach of one of the fishes,” said the 47-year-old mother-of-two.

Suseela had wanted to prepare shark curry for her husband. “Finally, my husband decided not to eat the fish as the object seems to be a religious item,” she said. The medallion is 7.4cm long, 6cm wide and weighs 10g. “My husband feels it is a blessing for the family to have the medallion coming to our home from beneath the sea. We will always cherish it,” said Suseela.

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The Gods are calling at El Castillo

When Hector Siliezar visited the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza with his wife and kids in 2009, he snapped three iPhone photos of El Castillo, a pyramid that once served as a sacred temple to the Mayan god Kukulkan. A thunderstorm was brewing near the temple, and Siliezar was trying to capture lightning crackling dramatically over the ruins.

In the first two images, dark clouds loom above the pyramid, but nothing is amiss. However, in the third photo, a powerful beam of light appears to shoot up from the pyramid toward the heavens, and a thunderbolt flashes in the background.

Siliezar, who recently shared his photographs with occult investigators, told Earthfiles.com that he and his family didn't see the light beam in person; it appeared only on camera. "It was amazing!" he said. He showed the iPhone photo to his fellow tourists. "No one, not even the tour guide, had ever seen anything like it before."

The photo has surfaced on several Mayan doomsday discussion forums. But was the light beam a sign from the gods — a warning about Dec. 21, 2012, the date that marks the end of the Mayan calendar cycle, and when some people fear the world will end? Or is it simply the result of an iPhone glitch?

According to Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, which operates many of the cameras used during NASA's Mars missions, it is almost definitely the latter. Hill works with images of the Martian surface taken by rovers and satellites, as well as data from Earth-orbiting NASA instruments, and is fully versed in the wide range of potential image artifacts and equipment errors.

He says the "light beam" in the Mayan temple photo is a classic case of such an artifact — a distortion in an image that arises from the way cameras bounce around incoming light.

It is no mere coincidence, Hill said, that "of the three images, the 'light beam' only occurs in the image with a lightning bolt in the background. The intensity of the lightning flash likely caused the camera's CCD sensor to behave in an unusual way, either causing an entire column of pixels to offset their values or causing an internal reflection [off the] camera lens that was recorded by the sensor." In either case, extra brightness would have been added to the pixels in that column in addition to the light hitting them directly from the scene.

Evidence in favor of this explanation is the fact that the beam, when isolated in Photoshop or other image analysis software, runs perfectly vertical in the image. "That's a little suspicious since it's very unlikely that the gentleman who took this picture would have his handheld iPhone camera positioned exactly parallel to the 'light beam' down to the pixel level," Hill told Life's Little Mysteries.

It's more likely that the "light beam" corresponds to a set of columns of pixels in the camera sensor that are electronically connected to each other, but not to other columns in the sensor, and that this set of connected pixels became oversaturated in the manner described above.

"That being said," Hill said, "it really is an awesome image!"

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