Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reader Submission: Thunderbird Encounters - Illinois / Wisconsin

I recently received the following email that references 2 separate flying cryptid encounters in two different locations, within a two month period this past Summer and by the same witness! Has anyone else seen something similar recently?

This summer (June 19, 2011) I had two encounters with giant black birds; when I say giant I mean I saw (at two separate times) birds that were all black in color with wing spans as big as a small plane 14 feet or bigger.

My first encounter was early one summer morning when I was returning from the Quad Cities. I was traveling on my motorcycle on Route 30 just past I-88 when I noticed a big black object in the distance sitting in the middle of the road. I slowed my motorcycle down as I got closer to the object. At first I thought it was a black bear sitting in the road but as I drove closer to the object I soon learned it wasn’t a bear at all. The black object was a giant BLACK BIRD which stood at least 4 to 5 feet tall. I was in awe and a little bit scared at the sight of the GIANT BIRD. I stopped my motorcycle immediately hoping that the beast would not attack me. I then looked behind me in hopes of seeing anyone else who might be witnessing this amazing sight, but of course just like in the movies there was no one else on the road. Realizing it was just me and the GIANT BIRD, my heart began to race with thoughts of being attacked; I slowly pulled in the clutch and put the motorcycle in gear just in case I had to make a quick getaway. The GIANT BIRD heard the noise of the gear shifting. It then looked directly at me for a brief moment, swung open its massive wings (which were at least 14 feet long), stood up right, then leaped off the ground and took off in flight. The bird looked like a small black plane and when it flew by the trees the branches were swaying back and forth. I sat on my motorcycle watching the bird fly out of sight.

I still do not know what kind of creature it was that I encountered. I have been looking on line at several different kind of birds but have yet to find the bird that I saw. The only bird that comes even close to what I saw was a condor but the bird I saw did not have a head like a condor nor did it look like that of a turkey buzzard or vulture plus this creature was much larger than a condor. I almost wonder if this was just a freak of nature; or possibly a prehistoric bird. Could it be possible that there are still some type of prehistoric birds still in existence? Trust me I am not crazy. I have recently seen pictures of the legendary Thunder Birds and that is exactly what this bird looked like.

My second encounter with a giant black bird was in August of 2011. My friends and I were traveling on our motorcycles near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on some back road when all of a sudden a giant black bird appeared out of nowhere. The bird was obliviously mad at the noise of all of our motorcycles or something because it took a dive at the couple who were traveling in front of my wife and I. The giant bird actually dove at them causing them to swerve on their motorcycle. The bird then circled around them and tried to poop on them; yes I said poop on them! I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Luckily the poop missed them. I am not exaggerating when I say the stuff that came out of the creature was much larger than that of a humans. It was disgusting! On a positive note there was ten of us who witnessed this giant bird. Once again none of us knew exactly what kind of bird it was that we encountered. Just like I had described before the giant bird was all black with a massive wing span and its head was not like that of a condor.

I couldn’t believe that I was so fortunate to witness this massive bird again and I was so happy that my friends were with me to see it as well. I had told my friends about the bird that I had seen in June but I don’t think that any of them really believed me. Now they know that I am not crazy and are obviously convinced that the Giant Black Bird does exist.

What is really kind of scary is that I do not believe that I saw the same bird twice; I truly believe that I saw two different birds that are of the same species. How I came to this conclusion is simple the first bird was bigger than the second bird.

I only hope that anyone who reads this takes this as a real encounter and just not as another fish story. I have ten witnesses to confirm one of my sightings. I only wish I had a picture too but obviously I can’t take pictures while I am driving a motorcycle.

Oh well, believe it or not that is my story and I am sticking to it.

Please let me know if anyone else has encountered one of these Giant Black Birds.

Thank you, LF

NOTE: any information that can be offered would be appreciated...Lon

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Just the Facts?: Black Magic Fixation -- Spot Nessie...Win A Prize -- Cryptid Found Alive

Indonesia's fixation with black magic

On a Thursday morning last year, Sapari, a cemetery caretaker in Bonasari in East Java, made a disturbing discovery.

Underneath the frangipani trees that stand as sentinels over the graves, he found neatly dug holes. Graves had been robbed.

And on closer examination, the 60-year-old discovered the thieves had a particular target. Fifteen places of burial had been pilfered, all of them for children. Their remains had vanished.

''Everyone was very worried when they found out,'' Sapari said. ''The families were very upset.''

The villagers hatched a plan to stake out the cemetery the following night to catch the perpetrators red-handed if they returned.

But the plot never played out. Word had got around and by afternoon the police had set up a crime scene and TV crews and journalists had descended on Bonasari.

It turned out that Bonasari was not the only victim of the corpse-stealers. Two other burial grounds had been robbed. In all, the graves of 24 children had been exhumed on the same night in a co-ordinated action.

Police have yet to make an arrest and the investigation continues, but few are in doubt about the motivation of the grave robbers.

''It was for black magic,'' Sapari says. ''Maybe for immunity, or strength … or maybe to make yourself disappear.''

Ki Kusumo, anointed by several magazines as Indonesia's most popular paranormal, says: ''There are plenty of cases like this. It's just that they don't always make the media.''

He says deceased virgin teenage girls are particularly sought after and ''families have to guard the tomb for 40 days'' after burial. In Indramayu in West Java, he says he knows of babies born on an auspicious day in the Javanese calendar being kidnapped and beheaded. ''The heads are buried in the front of the person's house. They believe, this way, they will become wealthy.''

To be sure, the case of the missing child corpses in East Java is especially grisly, but it speaks of the enduring fascination of Indonesians for the supernatural. There are regular reports of schoolchildren and factory workers going into mass trances and millions of Indonesians visit tombs of holy men and nationalist heroes on auspicious dates, meditating long into the night, hoping for benevolent guidance.

Across the archipelago, and especially in Java, dukuns, or shamans, still play a central role in many people's lives. Believed to have special abilities to transcend the material world and communicate with spirits, they are consulted on a vast array of matters.

Some are healers, specialising in massage, herbal remedies or acupuncture, tending to ailments that doctors can't seem to fix. Others provide advice on romance, careers, business opportunities, the best times to plant crops or hold a wedding.

Such benign advice is imparted by dukuns who practise white magic, but there are many others - known as dukun santet - who use black magic, and are hired to bring misfortune to rivals in love, business and politics.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono complained during the 2009 election campaign that nefarious mystical forces were being deployed against him and his staff. ''Many are practising black magic. Indeed, I and my family can feel it,'' he was quoted as saying by Antara, the official Indonesian news agency. ''It's extraordinary. Many kinds of methods are used. I have come to the conclusion that only prayers can defeat black magic attacks.''

Yudhoyono's predecessors, Megawati Sukarnoputri and Abdurrahman Wahid were widely known to consult dukuns. Wahid famously rushed off in a helicopter at short notice to meditate at the tomb of one of Indonesia's Islamic saints after being advised his spirit was unhappy. He was said to have abruptly sacked two ministers on his return.

Suharto, Indonesia's former dictator,was also deeply in thrall to the spirit world, famous for his collection of sacred daggers, or kris, and ancient Javanese manuscripts that many believed were the source of his power.

Even so, the relationship between the belief in the supernatural and Islam in Indonesia is complicated. The country's largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, which has about 30 million members, still endorses the old Javanese mystical traditions - Ilmu Jawa - but the increasing influence of a more austere form of Islam imported from the Middle East means that organisations such as the Majelis Ulama Indonesia, the country's peak clerical body, frowns on such practices.

Consultations with mystics by powerful figures are usually discreet, and lengths are taken to keep them from being publicised.

''When they see a dukun or paranormal, it's like they are seeing their mistress. It's always done in secret,'' says Ki Joko Bodo, one of Indonesia's most famous and flamboyant dukuns.

With his long hair and eyes accentuated by kohl, Joko Bodo is a paranormal from central casting. Indeed, he has starred in several Indonesian horror movies. His enormous home in East Jakarta and the Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar parked in the garage are testaments to his success. Complete with an 11-storey Javanese temple, his compound is adorned with huge, garish statues, its walls bedecked in reliefs styled on those of the Borobudur temple.

Many of the reliefs depict Joko Bodo himself, including one where the dukun is leading the rallies that led to Suharto's ousting. Another has him imparting blessings on officials from the tax office, attorney-general's department and ministry of industry.

He says he was seven years old when he realised he had a special gift and began to see jin - supernatural figures - his friends could not. ''Jins are non-physical creatures,'' he explains. ''They are not ghosts, they are not bad. Many are friendly and they can help improve the lives of people.''

He leads me through a labyrinth below his house of faux caves where a young woman is waiting. He sits in front of low black altar, a basket of offerings containing fruit and flowers on one side, a child's doll sitting on the other.

Joko Bodo produces a wooden box and places a bottle of water inside it, covering it with a black satin bag. An incantation is made and the box removed from the bag. The water bottle is empty, transformed into energy which has entered the young woman, he says.

He then douses the teenager from a small pool of water covered in petals and money. The young woman, who asked not to be named, is assured she will have a prosperous future. She seems impressed and grateful.

It's all over within 15 minutes, but Joko Bodo insists these rituals can be done quickly if the dukun, like himself, is particularly attuned to the spirit world. No doubt, it helps with turnover too.

Ki Joko Bodo may come off as more charlatan than shaman but he is immensely popular and demand for his services has never been higher. He says senior figures from the government, military and police are among his most loyal clients.

There are thousands of dukuns across Java. Many make a modest living, never demanding payment, although accepting donations. In some villages, Islamic clerics double as dukuns.

Ki Zukud lives in a modest home in Surabaya, where the paint peels off the walls and children run in and out of his living room. He runs an Islamic boarding school but dabbles in paranormal advice. His collection of kris is his pride and joy. He has 10 adorning his wall and each has a special purpose. One generates prosperity, another repels black magic.

''There is so much black magic everywhere,'' he says solemnly.

He carefully consults the old Javanese calendar, with its complex cycles, to pick the right time for rituals and uses a mix of Koranic verses and Javanese mantras to tap into the supernatural.

He insists a belief in the power of jins is completely in tune with Islamic teachings. The nine saints who brought Islam to Indonesia in the 14th and 15th centuries had used Javanese beliefs and stories to spread the religion. Why should things change?

''Around here, I never have any problems with the other clerics,'' he says. ''In Indonesia, the mystical aura is very thick.'' -


Vancouver UFO incident fuels spiritual hypothesis of cosmic contact

Click for video - Vancouver UFO incident fuels spiritual hypothesis of cosmic contact

A UFO incident over Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighborhood in the early evening on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 left an indelible impression in the minds of witnesses. Two observers reported heightened perceptions of psychic contact that occurred later that evening, in dreams and dream-like visions involving what seemed to be telepathic intelligence at work behind the visible operations of non-terrestrial vehicles.

During this recent incident, the UFO emitted a pulsating multi-colored display while peaking in visual intensity directly overhead. Observation and recording took place during a Skywatch event at approximately 6:45pm PST. This was to be a time when no other south-travelling human or celestial phenomena as bright as Jupiter or Venus were anticipated by online satellite tables. The object's relatively slow procession as tracked by night vision video also excludes meteors as a potential source of the phenomena. More at examiner


Spot a prize

The last recorded sighting was in 2002, when a postman captured video footage of something moving deep in the water.

But sightings were thin on the ground until May last year, when she was caught on camera by holidaymakers and spotted again in June and September.

Now one of the three Loch Ness Monster hunters will win the £1,000 Best Nessie Sighting of the Year prize, unclaimed for a decade.

In May, holidaymakers William and Joan Jobes spotted what appeared to be a head bobbing above the water 200 to 300 yards from the shore as they walked along the Abbey footpath in Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire.

Mr Jobes, of Ayrshire, managed to take a single picture before the ‘head’ disappeared beneath the surface.

However, to his delight a dark, hump-like shape broke the waves and he was able to take more photographs.

The following month, Jan and Simon Hargreaves spotted a creature while taking a break from the shop and cafe they run in the village of Foyers, by Loch Ness.

The couple said they saw something black with a long neck disappear underwater and then surface again.

It was around for four to five minutes but they did not manage to take a photograph.

In September, fish farm worker Jon Rowe captured a large, dark shape in the water while photographing a rainbow.

The 31-year-old, of Lewiston, Inverness-shire, then spotted two unexplained ‘Nessie-like’ humps appearing from below the surface of the water.

The Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club has classed 89 sightings as ‘good’ since 1996 but the prize has not been awarded since 2002, when it went to Glasgow postal worker Bobbie Pollock.

He captured video footage of something moving in the water while walking with his family in the hills above Invermoriston Bay.

Mr Pollock described the section out of the water as ‘quite tall and narrow like a pole’ and moving slowly towards Fort Augustus against the wind and waves.

Fan club president Gary Campbell said: ‘In the past seven years there have been very few sightings.

‘Nessie, it seems, has been in the wilderness but there were at least three sightings last year – two have been photographed and the third sounds plausible.’

Bookmaker William Hill will announce the winner of the Best Nessie Sighting prize later this year. - dailymail


Cryptid Found Alive....Myanmar Snub-Nosed Monkey

Cryptids are mythical, legendary creatures that include the likes of unicorns, Bigfoot, Yeti, sea monsters and other beasts not yet proven real.

But now, something that was once classified as a cryptid has come to life, recognized by science.

The first photos of a new primate, the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey -- dubbed Rhinopithecus strykeri -- have been released by researchers.

The unusual animal was first discovered in 2010 by conservationists in the Kachin State of northern Myanmar, also known as Burma, in southeast Asia.

Covered almost entirely in black fur, the monkey has an upturned nose, which causes it to sneeze when rainwater seeps in, making them easy to find in the jungle.

"There are snub-nosed monkeys all over Asia, but they don't quite look like this variety," said Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. "This face has an old-wisdom look to it, like an old, ancient man -- they certainly have a striking face." - THP


Boater finds rare giant sawfish

A Florida boater made a rare discovery in the waters of the Atlantic. He picked up a dead 10-foot sawfish about a mile from the Blackpoint Marina in Homestead.

Also known as a Carpenter Shark, sawfish are actually in the ray family.

Characterized by a long, toothy snout, the animals are endangered in Florida.

The boater says he believes this fish was deliberately killed because it had fishing lines sticking out of its mouth when he found it. - wotv

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This Week on 'Beyond the Edge' Radio: Esoteric Writer / Blogger Rick Phillips

This week Eric and Lon welcome Rick Phillips - "The Anomaly Man" - longtime writer and editor of The Heavy Stuff.

If you have an interest in the `unknown' - such as, life after death, UFOs, dopplegangers, time travel and other mysteries - Rick's websites are the place to go. He explores those unknowns, and much more, and will challenge your mind into thinking about your own positions on these matters.

Rick's most recent sites are the UFO Disclosure Countdown Clock which contains comments and analysis concerning coverage of UFO activity by the media & reports of UFO's by citizens and The Barf Stew, which Rick describes as a blog for internet users craving information designed to trigger the mind or gag reflex. Especially in danger of becoming a 'Barfster' are those internet surfers who like links to paranormal phenomena, political punditry, or slightly perverse pictures.

You can also find Rick's commentary at The 'C' Influence...a discussion blog about the unknown and unusual with some of the best thinkers and esoteric writers on the internet.

Rick also mentored Phantoms and Monsters writer Lon Strickler during his early foray into paranormal blogging.

Join us for what promises to be an very interesting show!


Join Eric Altman and Lon Strickler each Sunday at 8 PM ET as we go
Beyond the Edge!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bipedal Canine Cryptid Reported Near Taylors Falls, Minnesota

I received this email last night. It was forwarded by a witness in Minnesota who describes a bipedal canine cryptid. I have not discussed this incident with the witness so I'm presenting the sighting 'as is':

Hello - I was steered to you by a man I know up north from here. He said that you are interested in these things so I figured I'd send an email.

I live in Taylors Falls, Minnesota and I was driving north on Wild Mountain Rd. around 7 am. on Jan 2nd. I was heading for the ski area when I saw some kind of animal running in the field towards the river. I pulled off the road and grabbed my binoculars. It looked like a large wolf but it was different. By that time some guy in a truck pulled up and was wondering what I was looking at. I told him that I think there is a large wolf in the field. He got out of the truck and asked to use the binoculars. He said he didn't think it was a wolf and that it looked like it was chasing something.

We stood for a few minutes watching. It would run into the woods then pop back into the field for a bit. The light was getting better so I grabbed my parka and started to walk closer to get a better look. The other guy said he had to leave but did say again that he didn't think it was a wolf.

I was about a 1/2 mile from the ski area near one of the trail roads. I started to walk towards the river. I was about 100 ft from where I saw the animal from the road when I heard an owl screech coming from the woods to my right. On the edge of the woods this huge dog came running out of the trees. The best way to describe it was that it looked like a big hyena but it ran on two back legs and bent over. It had wooly black hair all over it's body and a long thick tail. It must have weighed 200 lbs or more. I've been in the woods all my life and have never seen anything like this. It looked over at me but continued to run from right to left in front of me. It also made a steady loud panting sound as it ran.

I turned on a pivot and ran out of there hoping this animal wasn't going to chase me. When I got to the car an old man had pulled off and standing there watching me. He wondered what I was doing. I yelled at him to "get the hell out of there" and said that a monster dog was out there. I think he believed me because the look on his face showed fear like he knew something was really out there.

I didn't go to the ski area, instead I went back home all shook up and asking myself what I saw.

I read the stories about the Michigan dogman and something you had about one being seen in Wisconsin. What do you think this was? It was no wolf or any other animal native to the area.

Please don't use my name if you pass this along. This is my work email, I can send you another later.

The guy who sent me your email address told me that there was a sighting last year just west of Duluth. He said it was a hunter that came across it while tracking a deer he had shot. I don't know the details but if it looked like the animal I saw I'm sure he got the hell out of there. Thanks - J

The Michigan Dogman: Werewolves and Other Unknown Canines Across the U.S.A. (Unexplained Presents)

Year of the Dogman

Just the Facts?: Iran Claims Flying Saucer Downed Drone -- Real Haitian Zombies -- Britain Big Cat DNA

Iranian Engineer Claims Flying Saucer Downed U.S. Drone

Late last month, Iran put on display what it insisted was a captured American stealth drone. At the time, Tehran claimed it brought down the RQ-170 with a sophisticated electronic attack. Nonsense, says one Iranian engineer who claims to have inside knowledge of the drone-nab. The Islamic Republic used force fields and flying saucers to subdue and capture the unmanned aircraft.

Meet Mehran Tavakoli Keshe, who purports to be the father of the RQ-170 abduction. In a recent post to his eponymous foundation’s online forums, Keshe claims the Iranians used “advanced space technology” that he pioneered. “The craft has been air-picked-up and been put down on its belly through the use of field forces,” Keshe writes — by which he means force fields. It’s feeling a lot like Tinfoil Tuesday, our weekly round-up of the planet’s most insane conspiracy theories.
‘The Defense Secretary would like his lightsaber back.’

The U.S. has yet to confirm that the drone Iran claims to have is actually the stealthy “Beast of Kandahar,” and the yellow model that Iran has peddled out looks like it’s made out of fondant, like a drone-shaped cake constructed for an episode of Food Network Challenge. Keshe claims that the drone looks as smooth and clean as it does in Iran’s propaganda photos because his force fields intercepted the RQ-170, like a tractor beam would, and deposited it gently to Iranian soil. As summarized by Pure Energy Systems News, Keshe’s technology, part of an “Iranian [flying] saucer program,” harnesses “a fusion reaction that manipulates dark matter, regular matter, and antimatter.”

“We have no comment on this individual’s claims,” George Little, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, tells Danger Room, “but tell him the Secretary would like his lightsaber back.”

Keshe himself suggests that Iran’s advanced space program has yielded flying saucers and used them to down the drone. “The Iran spaceship program has the capability of jamming and blocking any incoming radar,” he writes, “as we have explained month ago on this forum, and now we see the practical use of the technology.”

Ironies abound. Iran allegedly has alien technology, but can’t seem to put together a decent nuclear bomb. And the Beast of Kandahar — well, it’s got an alien connection, too. In a sense. As you can learn from this fascinating documentary, flying-wing technology of the sort displayed by the RQ-170 was first developed by the, um, Nazis. (You can see a mock-up of a Nazi proto-stealth fighter here.) After the war, the U.S. imported Nazi weapons scientists — like the missile specialist Werner von Braun — under a program called Operation Paperclip. Among them were flying-wing gurus the Horton Brothers. One theory holds that the subsequent American UFO sightings were actually people seeing U.S. flights of the Hortons’ unfamiliar bat-shaped aircraft.

In other words, the RQ-170 may have been born from flying saucers — sort of — and flying saucers may have brought it low.

Not to be That Guy and burst Keshe’s bubble, but Danger Room explained last month that Iran could have captured the drone by spoofing the RQ-170′s GPS-based navigational backup systems. No force fields or saucers necessary.

Keshe isn’t interested in any of that. Even though his saucers and tractor beams allegedly captured the RQ-170, majorly cheesing off Washington, Keshe hopes his space tech will bring about a new era of international peace — and intergalactic exploration.

“We invite the US government and other nations to enter into negotiation with the Foundation and The Iranian government,” he posted, “for disclosure of the full space technology to all nations simultaneously that there shall be no more war race, but a pace race [sic] to join and conquer the space and not each others little peace of lands so called nations, this offer stands and is extended to all nations irrespective of their colour, race and religion.” - wired

The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West

Iran's Nuclear Future: Critical U.S. Policy Choices


Hey...we didn't kill your nuclear scientist

The United States on Wednesday denied that it was to blame for the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist by a car bomb, after Tehran said Washington and Israel were responsible for the attack.

“I want to categorically deny any United States involvement in any kind of act of violence inside Iran,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters when asked about Iranian allegations over the attack.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor added: “The United States had absolutely nothing to do with this. We strongly condemn all acts of violence, including acts of violence like this.”

Clinton spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the State Department condemned “any assassination or attack on an innocent person and we express our sympathies to the family.”

The death of the scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, deputy director at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility, deepened a war of words between Washington and Tehran already raging over a nuclear showdown and maritime tensions.

Iranian officials noted the assassination method — two men on a motorbike attaching a magnetic bomb to the target’s vehicle — was similar to that used in the killings of three other scientists over the past two years.

Roshan, 32, died immediately in the blast outside a university campus in east Tehran. His driver and bodyguard also later died of his wounds, the Fars and ILNA news agencies reported. A third occupant of the Peugeot 405 was wounded and in hospital.

The scientist specialized in making polymeric membranes to separate gas. Iran uses a gas separation method to enrich its uranium.

In Israel, a senior official said he was unaware who carried out what he called an act of “revenge.”

“I don’t know who took revenge on the Iranian scientist, but I am definitely not shedding a tear,” military spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai wrote on his official Facebook page.

Three other Iranian scientists were killed in 2010 and 2011 when their cars blew up in similar circumstances. At least two of the scientists had also been working on nuclear activities.

Those attacks were viewed by Iranian officials as assassination operations carried out by Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, possibly with help from US counterparts.

Western nations, the United States at the fore, are steadily ratcheting up sanctions on Iran with the aim of fracturing its oil-dependent economy in a bid to halt its nuclear program.

Iran has responded by saying it could easily close the Strait of Hormuz — a chokepoint for 20 percent of the world’s oil at the entrance to the Gulf — if it is attacked or if sanctions halt its petroleum exports.

“I think it’s important to recognize very clearly that the provocative rhetoric coming out of Iran in the last week has been quite concerning,” Clinton added during a press conference.

“It has caused us and many of our partners in the region and around the world to reach out to the Iranians, to impress upon them the provocative and dangerous nature of the threats to close the Straits of Hormuz,” she said.

“This is an international waterway. The United States and others are committed to keeping it open. It’s part of the lifeline that keeps oil and gas moving around the world,” the chief US diplomat said.

“And it’s also important to speak as clearly as we can to the Iranians about the dangers of this kind of provocation,” she said.

US-Iranian tensions have also worsened following an Iranian court’s death sentence this week on an American-Iranian former Marine it found guilty of spying for the CIA, and Iran’s capture last month of what it said was a CIA drone. - rawstory


Doomed Russian Mars Probe Scheduled to Crash in Indian Ocean on Sunday

A doomed Russian Mars probe that's been stuck in Earth orbit for two months may finally come crashing down Sunday (Jan. 15) over the Indian Ocean, Russian space officials say.

The 14.5-ton Phobos-Grunt spacecraft should fall back to Earth sometime between Saturday and Monday (Jan. 14 to Jan. 16), Russia's Federal Space Agency, known as Roscosmos, announced in a statement today (Jan. 11).

If Phobos-Grunt comes down at the "central point" in that window — 4:18 a.m. EST (0918 GMT) on Sunday — it will fall over a stretch of empty ocean west of the Indonesian island of Java, according to a re-entry projection map Roscosmos published with the update.

But these projections are far from set in stone. The predicted time and place of re-entry may change as engineers continue to track the spacecraft's decaying orbit, officials said. All that's known for sure is that Phobos-Grunt will come down somewhere between 51 degrees north latitude and 51 degrees south latitude. - space


Real-life medical report on three cases of Haitian zombies

Zombies may seem like the purview of AMC dramas nowadays, but in 1997, English medical journal The Lancet published an intriguing set of case studies detailing three reports of zombification in Haiti. What caused the dead to walk in these instances? Well, let's just say reality is far less lurid than George Romero flicks.

Here are the three case studies the researchers observed in southern Haiti between 1996-1997:

FI was around 30 years old when she died after a short febrile illness and was buried by her family the same day in the family tomb next to her house. 3 years later she was recognised by a friend wandering near the village; her mother confirmed her identity by a facial mark, as did her 7-year-old daughter, her siblings, other villagers, her husband, and the local priest. She appeared mute and unable to feed herself. Her parents accused her husband of zombifying her (he was jealous of her after she had had an affair). After a local court authorised the opening of her tomb, which was full of stones, her parents were undecided whether to take her home and she was admitted to the psychiatric hospital in Port-au Prince [...]

WD, 26 years old, was the eldest son of an alleged former tonton macoute (secret policeman) under the Duvaliers' regime. The father was our principal informant together with WD's mother and other villagers. When he was 18, he suddenly became ill with a fever, "his eyes turned yellow," he "smelled bad like death," and "his body swelled up". Suspecting sorcery, his father asked his older brother to obtain advice from a boko [or sorcerer], but WD died after 3 days and was buried in a tomb on family land next to the house of a female cousin. The tomb was not, as was customary, watched that night. 19 months later, WD reappeared at a nearby cock fight, recognised his father, and accused his uncle of zombifying him [...]

MM, aged 31, was the younger sister of our principal informant who described her as formerly a friendly but quiet and shy girl, not very bright. At the age of 18, MM had joined some friends in prayers for a neighbour who had been zombified; she herself then became ill with diarrhoea and fever, her body swelled up and she died in a few days. The family suspected revenge sorcery. After 13 years, MM had reappeared in the town market 2 months before we met her, with an account of having been kept as a zombi in a village 100 miles to the north, and having borne a child to another zombi (or perhaps to the boko). On the death of the boko, his son had released her and she travelled home on foot.

The researchers diagnosed the first patient with catatonic schizophrenia, the second with epilepsy and brain damage (presumably from oxygen deprivation), and the third with potential fetal alcohol syndrome.

To makes matters even curiouser, DNA testing revealed that the second and third patients were cases of mistaken identity. The researchers posit that reported cases of zombification have less to do with mind-controlling neurotoxins and more to do with untreated or undiagnosed mental illness and brain disorders. - io9

NOTE: the full report - Clinical findings in three cases of zombification

Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie


DNA tests to solve mystery of big cat sightings in Britain

There have been thousands of reports of big cats across the UK but most are a fleeting glimpse caught by a member of the public.

The most definitive evidence that has been gathered so far are images on mobile phone cameras or blurry video.

Now experts are carrying out DNA tests on the carcass of a roe deer found at the National Trust’s Woodchester Park, near Stroud, amid speculation that it could have been brought down by a big cat after reports of large felines in the area.

A local walker sent photographs of the carcass to experts last week after noticing particular features on the deer which could suggest it had been killed by a large predator.

The injuries to the neck of the deer and the way the carcass had been consumed are thought to be highly indicative of big cat activity.

Dr Robin Allaby, Associate Professor at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick has visited the kill site to examine the evidence and take DNA samples from the wounds of the roe deer to be tested. Theses samples are now being tested with the results due by the end of the month.

Rick Minter, author of a new book on the mystery of the UK’s feral big cats, said the results could solve the mystery of big cats in Britain once and for all.

“It is very helpful to have this forensic study of the deer carcass. The consistent feedback I receive from people about possible big cats is that the animals should be studied, so we can learn about the subject.

Previous evidence of ‘big cats’ in Britain include thermal images taken by the Forestry Commission in 2009 of two animals in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

QUIZ: How well do you know your wild cats?

A series of photos taken in Cornwall purport to show the ‘Beast of Bodmin Moor’, that is also blamed for mauled sheep in the area.

A film of what looks like a big cat was taken by a military policeman on his mobile phone in 2009 after spotting the creature in Dunbartonshire near the home of Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines.

Other sightings are mostly anecdotal or seen after attacks on domestic animals.

Mark Fraser, founder of Big Cats in Britain, said officials are afraid of admitting big cats are roaming the country for fear of farmers claiming compensation for livestock that is taken.

He said wildcats are “definitely out there” with up to 1,000 sightings a year. Most sightings are attributed to panthers, with a handful of reports put down to their smaller cousins the lynx, once native in this country, or leopards.

It is thought the cats were released into the wild in the 1970s following a crackdown in the law in keeping wild animals.

David Armstrong, National Trust Head Ranger for the Gloucestershire Countryside, said the Trust were taking a scientific view.

"With only one footpath, although it is popular with dog walkers, there is plenty of space for wildlife to live relatively undisturbed. There are 120 hectares of woodland nearby at Woodchester and both areas provide a good habitat for large numbers of deer, both roe and muntjac.

“There are some very occasional sightings of big cats in the Cotswolds but they have wide territories, so are rarely present in one particular spot for long. We’d be interested to hear of any more sightings at Woodchester.”

Officially Natural England claim that there are no big cats in Britain

But Mr Minter said you can never be too careful.

“Although people occasionally report a possible big cat from a distance, close up encounters with such cats are rare. Their hearing and movement are exceptional, which helps them avoid close contact with people. In the event of a close-up encounter you should stay calm and face towards the animal as you back off, but not threaten or aggravate it. The chances are it will have backed off very quickly first.”

Have you seen a big cat recently? - telegraph

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just the Facts?: Hong Kong's 'Haunted Home' Buyers -- Catholic Exorcist Speaks Out -- 1977 UFO Crash

Buyers target Hong Kong's 'haunted homes'

It may not be everyone's idea of a dream home, but for bargain hunters in Hong Kong's turbocharged property market apartments that belonged to the recently deceased are proving irresistible -- and the more gruesome the occupant's demise the better.

Popular belief in a city awash with superstition runs that the ghost of a person who dies in unnatural circumstances -- a suicide, murder or bad accident -- inhabits their home, passing misfortune onto the new occupants.

The threat carries weight in a city where feng shui consultants do brisk business; families placate the "hungry ghosts" of their ancestors with offerings and people even refrain from whistling in the street in fear of disturbing lurking spooks.

By law, buyers are entitled to details on so-called "haunted houses" -- or hongza in Cantonese -- and many rigorously check the backstory to their potential purchase.

But not everyone is afraid of ghosts, and in the cut and thrust of Hong Kong's runaway property market some investors are actively following the tragedies, aware that dark incidents push the price down.

Discounts of between 20-40 percent are the standard for haunted houses with a knock-on for the rental yield, says Eric Wong of the property website, which has a channel dedicated to the phenomenon.

"Hong Kong people are sensitive to ghosts and bad luck," he says.

"They believe in feng shui -- if something bad has happened in a home people won't take it... but Hong Kong is small and very expensive, so if a good discount comes there are others ready to make the investment."

And for the savvy buyer there are plenty to choose from.

Among the hundreds of macabre listings on the website is the home of a local football player who, crushed by the weight of debt and relationship problems, jumped from his 36th floor flat.

Then there is the divorcee whose body was discovered a month after she poisoned herself with the fumes of burning charcoal, or the woman hacked to death and mutilated by her domestic helper in an exclusive apartment block.

Such morbid tales are a boon to investors who would not live in a haunted house themselves, but will gladly put it up for rent.

"There's a group of investors who bid for these places specifically and then rent it to people who don't mind its bad history," Wong adds.

More often than not those are foreign expatriates -- widely known in local slang as gweilos -- who are not overly concerned about the history of their apartment.

"Gweilos don't have the same beliefs as Hong Kong people and just want a cheaper price in a nice area," says Winnie Ng of Rich Harvest property agency.

Haunted houses may be sold for 40 percent below market price depending on what has happened there and how recently it took place, Ng says, equalling the impact of the 2003 SARS outbreak that had investors fleeing the city.

Also, while the market is slowing, properties remain expensive, narrowing the pool available to prospective buyers.

A deposit on an entry-level unit is more than three times a typical first-time buyer's gross household income, Barclays Capital Research said in a recent report.

Home prices have leapt more than 70 percent since 2009, while banks have increased mortgage rates five times since March, pricing all but the wealthiest out of the market.

With many young Hong Kongers forced to live at home deep into their 20s or 30s, haunted houses are providing an unlikely route onto the housing ladder.

Abby Lau, 26, who lives with her family and is saving to move, says many among her age group are looking at haunted houses as a realistic first-time purchase or cheap rent.

"Everyone knows they are cheaper and in four or five years people will forget what's happened there so it can bring a big return later," she says, laughing off the idea she herself would move into a hongza home.

But soon Lau and tens of thousands like her may find they have to live with the city's ghosts whether they like it or not.

As Ng of Rich Harvest explains, Hong Kong's seven million people cram into a small area where many buildings are old, raising the likelihood someone has died in "bad circumstances" in every block.

"Someone has to live in them... really there is no choice," she says. - AFP


New snake: 'Fierce, probably venomous'

The world's newest snake has menacing-looking yellow and black scales, dull green eyes and two spiky horns. And it's named after a 7-year-old girl.

Matilda's Horned Viper was discovered in a small patch of southwest Tanzania about two years ago and was introduced last month as the world's newest known snake species in an issue of Zootaxa.

Tim Davenport, the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Tanzania, was on the three-person team that discovered the viper. Thanks to his daughter, the snake will always carry a family namesake.

"My daughter, who was 5 at the time, became fascinated by it and used to love spending time watching it and helping us look after it," Davenport told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "We called it Matilda's Viper at that stage ... and then the name stuck."

Only three new vipers have been discovered across Africa the last three decades, making the find rare and important. The Wildlife Conservation Society is not revealing exactly where the snake lives so that trophy hunters can't hunt it.

Davenport said he is not sure how many live in the wild because snake counts are hard to do. Twelve live in captivity and a breeding plan is being carried out.

Davenport, a Briton who has lived in Tanzania for 12 years, said that while many people fear snakes, most are harmless and help keep rodent numbers down. Matilda's horned viper can grow to 2 feet (65 centimeters) or bigger, he said.

"This particular animal looks fierce and probably is venomous (though bush viper bites are not fatal)," Davenport told AP via an Internet chat. "However, it is actually very calm animal and not at all aggressive. I have handled one on a number of occasions."

The Wildlife Conservation Society runs the Bronx Zoo and the Central Park Zoo in New York, and Davenport said it would be a "great option" to showcase the new horned viper at one of those locations, but that nothing has yet been decided. - kasa


Catholic Exorcist Speaks Out

Father José Antonio Fortea is a Catholic exorcist who is ok with Harry Potter, has an aversion to blaming the devil for people’s wrongs, and wants people to understand the difference between exorcisms in the movies and real life.

A priest of the Diocese of Alcala de Henares in Spain, and an exorcist, Father Fortea is the author of several books including Interview With an Exorcist. He is currently based in Rome studying for his doctorate in theology.

He was at Assumption Catholic Church in Jacksonville, Florida, on January 4, to talk about exorcism and pastoral care, and sought to dispel what he described as popular misconceptions about demonic possessions.

Catholic priests and lay ministers attended the discussion. Father Fortea took questions from the audience, which ranged from children’s entertainment to addiction.

Father Fortea’s opinions differ in many areas from the well-known Father Gabriele Amorth, who has a tendency to see the devil under every rock, so to speak. The “Vatican exorcist” recently had some press attention when he repeated his opinion that Harry Potter was something children shouldn’t be permitted to watch.

In Father Fortea’s view, simply banning things can do more harm than good. A healthier approach might be to simply teach children the difference between fact and fiction, right and wrong.

“Prohibition has to be used carefully. People think we are more protected by forbidding things,” Father Fortea said. “If you forbid Harry Potter, why not Tolkien?”

Father Fortea specifically addressed worries about letting children anywhere near ‘Harry Potter’ books and movies. He said he thinks ‘Harry Potter’ is great fun as long as it is regarded as entertainment.

“I looked a lot like Harry Potter when I was a boy,” said Father Fortea, who has seen one of the films. “When Harry went to Hogwarts, it made me remember when I went to seminary.” noted that Father Fortea didn’t discuss how to perform exorcisms. Rather, he “discussed how to gently care for those who believe they or a loved one are possessed.”


Questions from the audience focused mainly on how much of the world’s and society’s problems can be attributed to satanic influence.

Participants asked if the breakdown of the family, addictions and emotions like anger are the result of demonic forces.

“We tend to exaggerate the actions of the devil in the world,” said Fortea, author of “Interview with an Exorcist: An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession and the Path to Deliverance.”

He used his own chocolate compulsion as an example. Fortea said he usually can never stop at just one piece, especially when listening to classical music or playing chess.

“I do not blame that on demons,” he deadpanned, getting several laughs.

He said 90 percent of evil results from human actions. “It is time we learned again the meaning of free will.”

But Fortea said possession is a real phenomenon that is wrongly dismissed by some, even priests, as superstition. Such persons sometimes dismiss biblical accounts of possession as little more than “a poetic way of speaking of evil.”

Fortea said he always requires multiple witnesses to testify to a person’s possession and usually can tell right away if the account is credible. If during the rite the person begins acting like the possessed do in films, he knows it isn’t demonic.

Rather, people who are actually possessed, while sometimes displaying great rage and strength, usually just tremble lightly and utter gibberish when confronted, he said.

Many possessed suffer in silence and loneliness because many of their family and friends, and sometimes their own pastors, don’t believe them. It’s important that medical and psychological factors be ruled out before calling in an exorcist, he said.

A spokeswoman for the Jacksonville diocese said it has no documented cases of possession in Northeast Florida and the diocese does not have an exorcist, a job that can be performed only by specially designated priests.

Fortea said possessions are part of God’s plan because they are usually occasions for conversions and deeper faith by those who witness the exorcisms.

“Every exorcism is a gift that helps us believe,” he said.

That last bit grabbed Lilla Ross at Catholic News Service. The National Catholic Reporter published her article, titled “Spanish priest: Exorcism is God’s ‘gift to help us believe’”

Every culture has an understanding of demonic possession, Fortea said. “But they don’t have a solution for it. Jesus brought the solution. Jesus taught us to do exorcisms.

“Exorcism is a sign of the power of Jesus that the power of the kingdom of heaven is here on earth,” he added. “Every exorcism is a gift that helps us believe.”

The need to expel demonic spirits from a person’s body is neither common nor rare, Fortea said.

When his bishop first called on him to study exorcism in the late 1990s, Fortea said he thought exorcism was a rare event that might occur once or twice in a century.

But when more and more people came to him for help, he realized demonic influences were much more active, especially in those who associated with witchcraft, magic, Santeria and some New Age practices.

Unlike the movies, most possessed people seem perfectly normal, he said. The signs are usually subtle — trembling or spitting.

The church has specific prayers and rituals for conducting an exorcism, he said. But when he is training priests, he tells them not to worry about technique. “I tell them to surround the demoniac with the glory of God,” he said. “Center on God.”

Demonic spirits take over the body, not the soul, he said, which is why the sacrament of confession is more important for the average Catholic than exorcism.

But he said anyone can be approached by evil spirits, even Jesus.

He urged people to use moderation and common sense and to build up their faith with the sacraments and devotional practices of the church.

“A lot of temptation isn’t from the devil. It’s from the individual,” he said. “In fact, 98 percent of temptation comes from our heart or the world. You can avoid sin because God is willing to give us grace.”

And if they feel the need to consult an exorcist, they should call their bishop. Only certain priests have the training and the permission to conduct exorcisms and the list is not made public.

Fortea, a priest and theologian specializing in demonology, studied and graduated from the University of Navarre with a degree in history. In 1998, he wrote his thesis on “The Exorcism in Modern Times” and defended it before the secretary of the Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Spanish bishops’ conference.
- jacksonville

Interview With an Exorcist



1977 UFO crash - west of Yeehaw Junction, Florida

Case Number: 34781
Log Number: US-01112012-0002
Submitted Date: 2012-01-11 11:15 GMT
Event Date: 1977-06-01 00:00 GMT
Status: Assigned
Region: Florida
Country: US
Longitude: -81.5157535
Latitude: 27.6648274
Shape: Disc
Distance: 100 feet or less

1977 Afternoon sometime. While traveling West on Hwy 60 just west of Yeehaw Junction with my family (mom and 2 brothers) when we noticed the ground was on fire. The fire was stretched from the south side to the north side of the road. The fire ended next to a shinny dark disc shaped object (dome top) that was laying at a slight angle on the ground. It looked like it had crashed landed or made an abrupt landing. There was no landing gear seen. As far as we could tell the UFO must have let off some kind of energy that sparked the dry ground on fire as the ufo was going down. Approx. size of the object 50 ft diameter and 10 ft tall. Approx 100 ft away. It was an medium cloudy day, dry. We stood there for a minute or so looking at it - when we got really scared and decided we all should leave. I was just about 10 yrs old so my date and exact details like size/distance may not be accurate. But the incident is factual. - MUFON CMS


The Man Behind the Jerusalem Orbs

Rick Phillips, who is going to be our guest this week on 'Beyond the Edge' Radio writes about the man behind the Jerusalem Orbs footage at The Return Of Eligael Gedalyovich


Natalie Wood Death Was An Accident, Says LASD

No new evidence has been uncovered in the death of Natalie Wood that would point to foul play, authorities said Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's chief of detectives William McSweeney told the Los Angeles Times that several weeks of interviews and other investigative work have not uncovered any evidence the death was a homicide. It had been ruled as an accident.

Cold cases like Wood's are never really closed and detectives are still looking at some aspects of the case, said McSweeney. The investigation was reopened in November, when detectives said several sources came forward with new information.

Natalie Wood died sometime after the evening of Nov. 28, 1981, when the 43-year-old actress was boating off Catalina Island with her husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken. The evening before the drowning, Wood, Wagner and Walken, who was Wood's co-star in the film "Brainstorm," had dinner at a restaurant on the island.

Authorities said they returned to the yacht and had drinks and that Wagner and Walken got into an argument.

Walken went to bed, according to Wagner, who, after staying up with boat captain Dennis Davern, went looking for his wife and couldn't find her on board. He then noticed that a dinghy attached to the boat – and his wife – were gone.

Lifeguard captain Roger Smith told the Times in November that the actress could have been saved if officials had been called sooner to search for her. Smith said he was alerted that Woods was missing at 5:11 a.m. the next day.

Based on the condition of her body when she was pulled from the water, Smith said he believes she survived for some time in the water and was washed out to sea. - THP

Natalie Wood Collection (Splendor in the Grass / Sex and the Single Girl / Inside Daisy Clover / Gypsy / Bombers B-52 / Cash McCall)

Brainstorm (Remastered Edition)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Beast of Gévaudan

The Beast of Gévaudan is a name given to man-eating wolf-like animals alleged to have terrorized the former province of Gévaudan, in the Margeride Mountains in south-central France from 1764 to 1767 over an area stretching 90 by 80 kilometres. The beasts were consistently described by eyewitnesses as having formidable teeth and immense tails. Their fur had a reddish tinge, and was said to have emitted an unbearable odor.

They killed their victims by tearing at their throats with their teeth. The number of victims differs according to source. De Beaufort (1987) estimated 210 attacks, resulting in 113 deaths and 49 injuries; 98 of the victims killed were partly eaten. An enormous amount of manpower and resources was used in the hunting of the animals, including the army, conscripted civilians, several nobles, and a number of royal huntsmen.

Many explanations, either mutant, prehistoric beast etc., were put forward at the time and during the two centuries since but none has ever been generally accepted. The important firm fact is that sufficient evidence remains to prove La Bête really did exist and was not just a myth. Locals believed it was a werewolf, or, more specifically, a sorcerer who shape-shifted into a monstrous predator in order to feed on human flesh. It was supposed to be bulletproof as well, until the day that someone tried a silver bullet.

Descriptions of the Beast varied so much that most researchers believe there had to be at least two of the creatures, if indeed the panic wasn't causing the populace to incorporate almost any large animal into these sightings. The color of the Beast's fur was especially variable. Sometimes it was red, red with a large gray patch, or red with faint stripes along the back. Other times, it had black and white patches spotted over its body, with no trace of red. Rarely, it had colors or patterns that didn't incorporate red, black, or white. If you add up all the differing descriptions and then create a composite description out of those characteristics that are mentioned with consistency and by the most witnesses, then the Beast would look something like this:

"The Beast is a quadruped about the size of a horse. It reminds witnesses of a bear, hyena, wolf and panther all at once. It has a long wolf-like or pig-like snout, lined with large teeth. The ears are small and round, lying close to the head. The neck is long and strong. The tail somewhat resembles the long tail of a panther, but it is so thick and strong that the Beast uses it as a weapon, knocking men and animals down with it. Anyone struck by the tail reports that it hits with considerable force. The feet of the Beast are the hardest to describe. Some say that it has cloven hooves, or that each digit is tipped with a hoof. Others say that the claws are so heavy, thick and formidable that they merely resemble hooves."

The first known attack that provided a description of one of the creatures took place on June 1 1764. A woman from Langogne saw a large, lupine animal emerge from the trees and charge directly toward her, but it was driven away by the farm's bulls.

On June 30th, the first official victim of the beast was Jeanne Boulet, 14, killed near the village of Les Hubacs, not far from Langogne. The beast seemed to target people over farm animals; many times it would attack someone while cattle were in the same field.

On January 12th 1765, Jacques Portefaix and seven friends, including two girls, were attacked by the Beast; they drove it away by staying grouped together. Their fight caught the attention of King Louis XV, who awarded 300 livres to Portefaix, and another 350 livres to be shared among the others. He also directed that Portefaix be educated at the state's expense. The King had taken a personal interest in the attacks, and sent professional wolf-hunters, Jean Charles Marc Antoine Vaumesle d'Enneval and his son Jean-François, to kill the beast. They arrived in Clermont-Ferrand on February 17th 1765, bringing with them eight bloodhounds which had been trained in wolf-hunting. They spent several months hunting wolves, believing them to be the beast. However the attacks continued, and by June 1765 they were replaced by François Antoine, the king's harquebus bearer and Lieutenant of the Hunt. He arrived in Le Malzieu on June 22nd.

On September 21st 1765, Antoine killed a large grey wolf measuring 80 centimetres (31 in) high, 1.7 metres (5.6 ft) long, and weighing 60 kilograms (130 lb). The wolf was called Le Loup de Chazes, after the nearby Abbaye des Chazes. It was agreed locally that this was quite large for a wolf. Antoine officially stated: "We declare by the present report signed from our hand, we never saw a big wolf that could be compared to this one. Which is why we estimate this could be the fearsome beast that caused so much damage."

The animal was further identified as the culprit by attack survivors, who recognized the scars on the creature's body, inflicted by victims defending themselves. The wolf was stuffed and sent to Versailles where Antoine was received as a hero, receiving a large sum of money as well as titles and awards.

However, on December 2nd 1765, another beast emerged in la Besseyre Saint Mary, severely injuring two children. Dozens more deaths are reported to have followed.

The killing of the creature that eventually marked the end of the attacks is credited to a local hunter, Jean Chastel, at the Sogne d'Auvers on June 19th 1767. Later novelists introduced the idea that Chastel shot it with a blessed silver bullet of his own manufacture. Upon being opened, the animal's stomach was shown to contain human remains.

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren - "Cryptozoology A-Z" - Simon & Schuster - 1999
Steiger, Brad - "Out of the Dark: The Complete Guide to Beings from Beyond" - Kensington Books - 2001

Out Of The Dark: The Complete Guide to Beings from Beyond

Monsters of the Gévaudan: The Making of a Beast

The Beast of Gevaudan: La Bête du Gévaudan

Werewolves, including: Lycanthropy, Werewolf, Warg, Aconitum, Wepwawet, Clinical Lycanthropy, Cynocephaly, Beast Of Gévaudan, Rougarou, Peter Stumpp, ... Boy And The Wolves, Lycaon (arcadia), Lykaia

Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature

Just the Facts?: Looking For Feedback -- Argentina 'Sea Monster' -- Doomsday Clock


From time to time I ask the readers to give me their opinion of the 'Phantoms and Monsters' format. Currently I'm posting 3 blogs/segments per day which includes 'Just the Facts?' which is a compilation of various stories. Each Sunday I post 'Esoterica' which covers spiritual and paranormal stories and links.

Please feel free to offer your suggestions at


Argentina 'Sea Monster'

The following photograph came from the area of Tafí in Tucumán province, NW Argentina. I would have assumed it was a writhing anaconda being swept along by the flood but the area is fairly high altitude and fairly cool, averaging about 70 degrees Farenheit year-round (summer average temperature about 25 degrees Centigrade, winter temperatures about 15 degrees). And so it is not really the kind of climate you'd expect anacondas in. - Frontiers of Zoology

Witness states - "I hiked along the river in Tafi and kept seeing this very strange current that looked like the humps of a serpentine sea monster!!! I don't know what it was...definitely something unnatural, maybe supernatural?"


'Doomsday Clock' may be nudged forward

Humanity will soon be getting an update on how close we are to catastrophic destruction, as scientists and security experts decide whether to nudge the hands of the famous "Doomsday Clock" forward toward midnight — and doom — or back toward security and safety.

The clock, in use as a symbol of imminent apocalypse since 1947, now stands at six minutes to midnight. On Tuesday (Jan. 10), the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) will announce whether they will nudge the minute hand forward or backward to reflect current trends in world security. The last time the clock hand moved was in 2010, when the group moved the hand from five minutes to midnight back to six.

In making the decision, the Bulletin considers the current state of nuclear weapons, climate change and biosecurity, along with other issues that could influence humanity's survival. The closest the clock has been to midnight has been 11:57 p.m., set in 1984 when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were in a diplomatic stand-off and tensions were high. The farthest humanity has ever been from destruction, according to the clock, was in 1991, when the Doomsday Clock stood at 17 minutes to midnight. That year, the Cold War over, the U.S. and Russia began cutting their arsenals.

The clock ticked back toward midnight at the next update in 1995, however, when hopes of total nuclear disarmament began to fade. That update set the hands at 14 minutes until midnight. In recent years, the clock has ticked closer to destruction as the Bulletin has focused on concerns about nuclear terrorism and climate change.

The 2010 shift away from doomsday was due to nuclear agreements between the U.S. and Russia and productive climate talks at Copenhagen.

The announcement of the new "doomsday time" will come at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday. The Bulletin is expected to consider factors ranging from Iran's nuclear program to the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster to the state of policy on climate change. - space

Mayan Doomsday 2012 Wall Clock with Aztec Numerals


Japan to open robot farm in tsunami disaster zone

The project, masterminded by the Ministry of Agriculture, will involve unmanned tractors working the fields of the farm on a disaster zone site spanning 600 acres.

Robots will then box produce grown on the farm, including rice, wheat, soybeans, fruit and vegetables as part of the “Dream Project” scheme, according to the Nikkei.

The growth of crops will also be boosted by recycled carbon dioxide generated by the operation of the machinery in a bid to reduce reliance on chemical fertilisers.

An expanse of farmland in Miyagi prefecture, northeast Japan, which was flooded in last year’s tsunami, has been earmarked by the government for the project.

On-site research is expected to begin later this year, with a forecast government investment of £33 million (four billion yen) over the next six years, according to ministry officials.

Miyagi was one of Japan’s three worst hit prefectures in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which left more than 19,000 dead or missing and triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in decades.

Farming was hit particularly hard by the disaster, with tsunami water leaving soil laden with salt and oil deposits, as well as radiation contamination as a result of the leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

More than 59,000 acres of once fertile farmland were damaged as a result of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout, with the agricultural industry still struggling to recover.

The government is hoping to bolster the new robot farm project by inviting leading Japanese technology companies, including Panasonic, Fujitsu and Hitachi, to become involved.

"We hope the project will help not only support farmers in the disaster-hit regions but also revive the entire nation's agriculture," said a spokesman for the agriculture ministry. - telegraph


Church charges for calls to mobile phone-carrying angel

An angel with a mobile phone at the St Jan cathedral in Den Bosch can still be reached by her 06 number, even though the church authorities have introduced a premium rate line, the Telegraaf reports on Monday.

A 06 number and a Twitter account in the name of ut Engelke (the little angel) were put up by an unknown woman as a joke last year, although the initiative is now attracting some thirty callers a day.

Now the church board has reacted by opening a 0900 number for the angel. ‘Success knows many church fathers’, the woman commented. She thinks the church is ripping people off by making them pay 80 cents a minute to listen to a tape. Her own service doesn’t charge for calls.

The church, which is going to use the money for the maintenance of the cathedral, says the founder of the mobile phone line had not asked for permission to set up the mobile service, but that the St Jan belongs to everybody.


The mobile phone number has a number of regular users, like the girl who rings in every Friday to report on her week, the paper says. And many people rang in seeking comfort during the Christmas holidays.

The angel is one of 25 made by sculptor Ton Mooy for the cathedral, which is being renovated.

The mobile-using angel first had to be approved by the cathedral fathers. They rejected suggestions that she should be given jet engines rather than wings. - dutchnews

Monday, January 09, 2012

Reader Submissions: Flash of Light -- Indiana Big Cat -- Alabama Bigfoot -- 'Dyer' Warning!


Hi Lon - I had an odd thing happen yesterday and am hoping you or your readers can help. I would like to stay anonymous if you print this please.

My husband and I live in Northern Florida on the East coast. We have bought and are renovating a home here.

We bought this home from friends, who came over yesterday to remove the last of their belongings. This was the family home of our friend, and the last of her family, her father, died in this home after a long illness last year.

There were 4 of us in the home at the time, standing in a room adjacent to the kitchen. I was the only person who was facing out the door and towards the kitchen, the rest were facing me, with their backs to the kitchen, which was only about 6 feet behind them. The kitchen itself is about 14x14 feet.

The day was sunny and still, about 70 degrees, low humidity, no clouds and it was about 3pm. The kitchen window faces the back of the house, which has a large open space and then backed by state protected woods which can be swampy in places.

All of a sudden I saw a huge flash of light illuminate the entire kitchen. Since I was the only one facing that way I was the only one to see it. The best way to describe it would be that it looked like 3 camera flashes going off at the same time. It was that fast, super bright, and had a blue hue to it. There was also a very faint sound, but it is hard to identify since it was so faint, almost a "pop" but not quite. Like I said, it was barely there and I am unfamiliar with it.

I immediately pushed past everyone and went to the kitchen, my first thought being this must have been something electrical in this old house. My companions saw and heard nothing, but they were facing away from it so I can see why they didn't. They all helped me figure out what happened, and it helped that the woman with me had lived in the house and helped build on to it for over 25 years.

Nothing was found. All lights, appliances, even the power box for the home was in working order. No bulbs were out. All electrical outlets and lights worked outside as well. There was no evidence in the kitchen or in the entire back yard that anything happened, yet I am certain this was not my imagination.

It could not have been a reflection either. There is nothing but woods behind the modest clearing and reflections do not light up a whole room with a bluish tint light and a faint noise.

The only explanation I can think of is some kind of ball lightening outside the window? I do not know much about this phenomenon so I don't know. I have not heard of this in a haunting so I don't see how that is an explanation.

If you or anyone has any ideas about this I would love to hear them, whether they are natural or supernatural explanations.

Thanks! D



Today I saw a large cat at the edge of our property in Milton, IN Wayne Co. I first thought it was my 100 lb pit-bull which is a over weight and fat light brown in color dog. I then see Truman (the dog) off to the left of the property about 200 ft towards house and what I was seeing was about 500-600 feet out towards the small hedge of woods (our land is two acres, which goes to the back of State Road 1).

Has anyone ever sighted a mountain lion in this area??

I got the binoculars and it was as big thru them as what I had thought. Did not get my camera, I was sure my zoom would not pick it up and I was so involved watching it I did not want to put binoculars down!

The picture you have on your web page is exactly what I seem, in size and color. Would really appreciate some feed back, my son-in-law is a Wayne Co. Police Officer and he kind of laughed at me on this one!

Thank You,



Hi Lon

Saw today's issue on Bigfoot in Alabama. In the late 90s there were a slew of sightings by hunters. So many that the state version of Game & Fish, a hunting and fishing magazine featured an article on hunters being stalked by BF.

Here is the link to the publication, although it that issue from 1998 isn't on it. However an Alabama bigfoot website preserved it.

Take care, Bill

Article from the January 1998 issue of Alabama Game and Fish magazine

Stalked in Dallas County

By Zack Glover - A flurry of recent reports from deer hunters in Dallas County have sportsmen wondering if they are the hunters or the hunted. Here’s the story behind these strange events. The story of the strange encounters first made headlines a couple of years ago, but the first man to lay eyes on the eerie creature, which has members of his hunting club scared of the dark, saw the monster well before he decided to share his story. Even today, he would rather not reveal his name -- so sure is he that skeptics will poke fun. But Greg is serious, and he's not one to stretch the truth. Or at least that's how his hunting mates describe him. By the time he came forward with the story, others would have tales of similar scares.

This modern-day legend began in 1993.

Greg first noticed the smell, which was sort of musky and strong. Then he saw something moving. By the time the shadowy figure ambled to within 15 yards of his tree stand, he'd heard it as well.

The Montgomery man wasn't at all sure of what he was seeing, but he knew he didn’t want a closer look. The deer hunter even dismissed the idea of pulling out his flashlight because he didn't want the thing to know where he was. Greg was scared, as frightened as he'd ever been. He'd climbed into his stand that afternoon three years ago, hoping to get a shot at a deer with his bow. He knew he would probably not see anything until the day's last hour. He'd sat in the same area earlier in the season, and the deer didn't start moving until right before dark. What he eventually saw, however, was no deer. "I started smelling something first," he remembers. "It was definitely different, sort of musky. It really stank. Then I saw something come walking down the trail real slow. He was walking upright." The hunter could not see well enough in the approaching dusk to determine what was walking below him, but he can definitely recall its shape, how it smelled and the peculiar sounds it made. It was dark-colored, about 6 feet tall or more, walked upright and had legs longer than any bear he'd seen in captivity. Greg also had the sense that the thing was eating something. "It was making these little noises," he continued. "I couldn't hear it until he came within 15 yards -kind of a popping sound, but kind of nasal and muffled." The hunter wanted very much to get down out of the tree and back to his truck, but he dared not move until the thing had moved out of sight. Eventually, it did meander away -three hours after all traces of daylight had vanished. "I was scared. I didn't know what it was," he explained. "I wanted to get out of there. I didn't want .to come down with him still there."

At the base of the tree, knee-high reeds covered the ground like quills from a giant porcupine. He knew he was going to make a lot of noise leaving, but he yearned for the security of his truck's cab. So he climbed down as quietly as possible. As he neared the edge of some open woods, separated from the reeds by a small creek, he heard something approaching slowly from the rear. The footfalls were also in the patch of reeds somewhere behind him. He wasted no time in crossing the creek into the open woods, where he could move quickly and even more quietly. That's when he heard the thing almost directly behind, practically covering the same ground he'd just crossed. Greg then broke into a run.

For three years, he told only one person about that encounter, his father-in-law, and only because his wife's daddy required some kind of explanation of why he'd been forced to wait almost four hours past nightfall for his son-in-law to return to their truck. Otherwise, he says, he would have kept the story to himself. Until 1996, that is, when another member of the same hunting club returned to camp white-faced and trembling. When Greg's friend explained what he'd just been through, the silence was broken. Brian had been hunting with his bow very close to the same area where Greg had seen "the creature." The land is close to where Lowndes and Dallas counties meet, south of U.S. Highway 80. It was an afternoon hunt and he was watching two small bucks feed under his stand. "All of a sudden, deer started snorting and blowing all around me. And the two bucks started running around in circles," said Brian, also from Montgomery. "All the deer were just going crazy, Then they ran off,"

Brian was left second-guessing his decision not to shoot one of the bucks, a 6-pointer, when he heard something walking down a ridge toward him. He could not smell anything, as his friend had three years earlier, but whatever it was, the thing was making a popping sound-like teeth clamping shut, over and over again. "I wish I could describe it better, but what I can say is it was like a popping sound, only more nasal," he said, trying unsatisfactorily to imitate it. "I've never heard anything like it." Brian frequently travels to Florida to hunt wild hogs, and he is familiar with the popping sounds a toothy boar often makes when it's cornered and mad. He's also hunted bears in Canada and in the western United States. Still the sound he heard that day in Alabama was nothing like he's encountered during his other travels. It scared him so much that he grabbed his only weapon, an arrow, with his free hand. In the other, he was holding his small flashlight. It was smaller than he'd ever before realized. The creature kept coming closer, but stayed just out of sight. Finally, well after dark, it had passed far enough away for the man to feel comfortable coming down the tree. By the time Brian reached the ground, however, the thing began coming again, following him through the woods. He ran, pointing his too-small flashlight in front of him and clutching the arrow with his other fist. But, he never saw the creature.

When he reached the camp house that night, he told of his encounter solemnly, then packed his bags and left -- abandoning his plans for a weekend hunt. The next time he returned, a couple of weeks later, he had a new flashlight. The new one was the size of a horse's leg. "Be careful when you ask him about it," a friend warned, later in the season. "If he thinks you're not serious, he may not tell about it." A month later, a third hunter was almost ready to hang up his gun following a close encounter with "a creature" within a half-mile of the previous incidents. According to Jim Mason, one of the owners of Southern Sportsman Hunting Lodge, a former guest was frightened while hunting a tract adjacent to Brian's and Greg's property, a section now known by other members of their hunting club as "booger bottom."

Mason said the man got out of his stand after dusk and started walking to his rendezvous point to wait for his guide. The road itself was overgrown, and the land flanking it was choked with high grass and young pines. "Something in the bushes growled a real deep, low growl. Three times," Mason said. "That boy from Mississippi was really scared. He said it was too deep-sounding to be a coyote or a dog. And although he pointed his flashlight at it, he couldn't see anything. The brush was too thick."

The man's guide heard the story first.

"Whatever it was, it scared the heck out of him," remembers Troy Anderson of Selma, who served as the man's guide that day. "He said it was too deep a growl to be a dog, more guttural sounding. "He was so scared, he scared me," continued Anderson, adding that the man was pale and shaking when the guide arrived to pick him up that night. The guest declined the opportunity to revisit the site the next morning; despite the fact that he saw several does and bucks while hunting there. "I've been guiding for five years, and I've never had anybody refuse to go back there. That's a real hotspot," Anderson said. "But he was through with iL I had to drive him all the way to his stand (on a different parcel) the next morning." Mason said the man took some ribbing at the lodge that night, but he never departed from his story. "He was dead serious. He didn't cut a smile all night, and he wasn't talking very much either.

These are the tales of just three close encounters, all between 1993 and 1996. Other club members, including Greg's father-in-law, have also heard or smelled the creature. Guin, Greg’s father-in-law, was sitting over a green field one evening when a handsome 8-pointer strolled into rifle range. He wasted little time in squeezing the trigger. But what happened next caused him to abandon the deer, at least temporarily. After the shot, Guin heard something roar and begin popping its teeth - no more than 50 or 60 yards in the trees behind the fallen buck. The ruckus was so close that, at first, he thought the deer had somehow uttered the sound. About the time he realized the unlikelihood, the invisible jaws slammed shut again, sending shivers up and down Guin's sweaty spine. He was so shaken by the sounds that he tried, to slither down the ladder to the shooting house without making a sound -with the thought of reaching his parked truck as quickly as he could manage it -- but a bottle of cover scent fell out of his pocket. The bottle, of course, hit every rung on the ladder, revealing his escape. Then the creature sounded again, and Guin almost ran to his truck. He didn't drive up to the field; he went back to camp. Only later, after all the other hunters had returned, they went as a group to collect Guin's deer. The buck was there, but there was no sign of the monster.

Rumors are circulating to the effect that the strange happenings are not limited to that corner of Dallas County. Some hunters even claim to have the answers. At least one explanation has been offered, but Alabama's game officials say it isn't true. A Dallas County venison processor has been credited with saying he's heard that the state released 150 black bears in the vicinity sometime within the past few years. However, according to David Hayden, assistant chief of the Game and Fish Division's wildlife section, that's a popular rumor that simply isn't true. "We don't do that," Hayden said flatly.

While Game and Fish officials will respond to rare reports of bear sightings, and occasionally capture one that has been declared a nuisance or endangered, the animal is usually released within the remote Mobile-Tensaw Delta. That's the only area where bears are known to exist in Alabama, he said. Hayden says his division has received no reports of bears or unidentifiable creatures in Dallas or Lowndes counties in recent years. But he is not surprised to hear of them.

The biologist says people from across Alabama have been reporting strange sightings for several years. They have ranged from wolves and cougars to kangaroos. Even an African lion, once the pet of a Mobile woman, was found wandering the state's lower reaches. Hayden, however, says there are no known populations of wild wolves or kangaroos. And the last confirmed sighting of a cougar came in 1965, although the cats can be found in parts of Florida. But there are a few black bears in the Heart of Dixie, not that he's ready to say they're roaming parts of Dallas and Lowndes counties. He's not saying they aren't either. "We do have some bears, but most reports outside the Mobile-Tensaw Delta are not true. Or at least we haven't been able to substantiate them." he said. While bears are considered a protected species in Alabama, one that cannot be harvested legally, the Game and Fish Division is not interested in repopulating the state, he added. Hayden, one of the top biologists on the state's payroll, says it is possible for a black bear to pop its teeth, but it is not common for them to pursue or attack anything larger than a deer's fawn. They avoid humans. Moreover, bears don't make a habit of walking upright. "She'll eat whatever is available: mice, shrews, moles, grubs and carrion. But they're mostly vegetarians," he said.

As for the musky stench? Hayden says that bears normally don't stink. But he remembers the smell of a particular large male when he was a graduate student that djd have a strong odor. Still, based on the above descriptions of events, Hayden isn't sure about anything. It might be a bear, but the antics are unusual. "It might be possible. Not much surprises me anymore. It's the most likely explanation," he offered. "But I haven't heard reports of a black bear following somebody .If it was, it could've been rabid."

Jack O'Connor, an accomplished outdoor writer for more than three decades, often wrote about bears. He'd hunted them in every corner of the continent. "The average black bear is a shy, timid " (and) eternally wary fellow who seldom weighs much over 200 pounds," O'Connor once penned. "In most areas, he's so shy that he is almost as difficult to see unassisted by dogs as is a mountain lion." O'Connor's description of the mostly nocturnal animal mirrors Hayden's observations. "One whiff of human scent will generally send the black bear off like a scared rabbit, and he'd always rather run than fight," the wizened rifleman once wrote. "But if (a hunter) thinks he is afield in the haunts of a dangerous and mysterious monster, those woods will hold an excitement and magic for him.

No truer statement has ever been issued as far as the members of one Dallas County hunting club are concerned.

The size of their flashlights offers proof. -


NOTE: I had to chuckle at the following message I received last evening:

Hi Lon - I've been reading with interest about the claims by Georgia hoaxer Rick Dyer going into Canada and killing a Sasquatch. Guaranteed if he drives into any province with a gun and starts stalking a Sasquatch, he'll never be coming back to the USA. All I'll say to his friends and family....sorry for your loss. Patrick

BTW...Dyer mentioned in his last video that he was receiving email threats from Canadians.

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