Saturday, February 04, 2012

Just the Facts?: Stan Gordon's 2011 Pa. Report - Shipwreck Possibly Worth $1B - Heavy Euro Snowfall



Strange Creatures & UFOs Descend on Pennsylvania During 2011

(Mysterious Events reported from 48 Counties in the Commonwealth)

From Stan Gordon: www.stangordon.info

The year 2011 was another active time period for Pennsylvania residents to report strange observations and encounters with UFOs, Bigfoot and other strange creatures, and various other mysterious events. I have been keeping records of such anomalistic events from Pennsylvania, since 1959 when I was ten years old. In 1969, I set up a UFO Hotline through which the public could contact me to report UFO sightings or anything unusual. I have been receiving such reports ever since that time, and continue to do so by phone (724-838-7768) or by e-mail: paufo@comcast.net. Continue reading at Strange Creatures & UFOs Descend on Pennsylvania During 2011


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Colosseum Shut As Heavy Snowfall Hits Rome

The first major snowfall in Rome for 26 years has led to the closure of the world-famous Colosseum over fears that tourists could slip on the icy ruins.

The cold weather also left buses struggling to drive up the Italian capital's slushy hills, and cars without tyre chains were temporarily ordered off the road.

Scores of vehicles were blocked for hours on the ring road around the city after cars skidded and crashed.

Drivers frustrated at waiting for accidents to be cleared ended up abandoning their cars.

About 6cm (2.5in) of snow fell in many areas of the capital.

Authorities stopped visitors from entering the Colosseum, the adjacent Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome's ancient emperors.

However, those already inside the ruins before heavy snow began coming down were allowed to finish their visits.

The north of Italy was hit far harder than Rome, with a snowstorm dumping about 40cm (3ft) of the white flakes.

Authorities appealed to Italians to avoid unnecessary travel, as the cold spell was forecast to continue well into the next week.

The last substantial snowfall in Rome occurred in 1986, though lighter snowfalls have occasionally and briefly blanketed the city since, including in 2010.

In Bosnia, huge snowfalls trapped people in their homes and cars, and even prevented the presidents of neighboring Serbia and Croatia from getting home from a summit.

More than a metre (3ft) of snow fell on the capital, Sarajevo, trapping most people in their homes, and about 30 people spent the night in their vehicles in a tunnel south of the city.

At least 122 people have died in Ukraine as a result of the bitterly cold weather that has swept the country over the past week, the emergencies ministry said.

Twelve people had died in hospitals and 32 in their homes while 78 had succumbed to the cold on the streets, it said.

More 3,000 shelters have now been set up to provide people with warmth and food. - sky

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Hospital to display selection of objects removed from patients bodies

A hospital in Croatia has framed and mounted a selection of objects removed from patients bodies that have been collected by staff over the last 80 years.

Needles, buttons, coins, animal bones and even a metal communist red star swallowed by patients have been carefully mounted in the collection boxes and are now to be put up on the wall in the main hospital in the southern town of Sibenik.

But doctors decided to limit the collection items that were swallowed. They also have a collection of items that patients had asked to be surgically removed from the other end after in most cases accidentally sitting on them. These include TV controls, salt pots, sex toys and deodorant cans.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "We started collecting things in the 1930s to show medical students the sort of thing to look for in cases like this. And then it became kind of a habit to continue collecting them. Now we've decided to put them on display – or at least part of the collection."

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Why the apology to Kulls by Dyer?

Steve Kulls interview on Conundrums - EP#37 Steve Kulls: BIGFOOT HOAX and Upcoming Book

Rick Dyer's apology to Steve Kulls - Rick Dyers apology to Steve Kulls on the Bigfoot hoax

OK...who knew what when? I kept a ton of references and notes during this debacle. I need to go back and disseminate the old and new information to see what holds water. Personally, I think Steve Kulls would have been better off not publishing a book on the 'Georgia Bigfoot Hoax'...Lon

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Port Nichelson Shipwreck Worth Billions Found Off Cape Cod

A treasure hunter said Wednesday he has located the wreck of a British merchant ship that was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Cape Cod during World War II while carrying what he claims was a load of platinum bars now worth more than $3 billion.

If the claim proves true, it could be one of the richest sunken treasures ever discovered.

But an attorney for the British government expressed doubt the vessel was carrying platinum. And if it was, in fact, laden with precious metals, who owns the hoard could become a matter of international dispute.

Treasure hunter Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research in Gorham, Maine, announced that a wreck found sitting in 700 feet of water 50 miles offshore is that of the S.S. Port Nicholson, sunk in 1942.

He said he and his crew identified it via the hull number using an underwater camera, and he hopes to begin raising the treasure later this month or in early March with the help of a remotely operated underwater vessel.

"I'm going to get it, one way or another, even if I have to lift the ship out of the water," Brooks said.

The claim should be viewed with skepticism, said Robert F. Marx, an underwater archaeologist, maritime historian and owner of Seven Seas Search and Salvage LLC in Florida. Both an American company and an English company previously went after the contents of the ship years ago and surely retrieved at least a portion, Marx said. The question is how much, if any, platinum is left, he said.

"Every wreck that is lost is the richest wreck lost. Every wreck ever found is the biggest ever found. Every recovery is the biggest ever recovery," Marx said.

Brooks said the Port Nicholson was headed for New York with 71 tons of platinum valued at the time at about $53 million when it was sunk in an attack that left six people dead. The platinum was a payment from the Soviet Union to the U.S. for war supplies, Brooks said. The vessel was also carrying gold bullion and diamonds, he said.

Brooks said he located the wreck in 2008 using shipboard sonar but held off announcing the find while he and his business partners obtained salvage rights from a federal judge. Salvage rights are not the same as ownership rights, which are still unsettled.

Britain will wait until salvage operations begin before deciding whether to file a claim on the cargo, said Anthony Shusta, an attorney in Tampa, Fla., who represents the British government. He said it is unclear if the ship was even carrying any platinum.

"We're still researching what was on the vessel," he said. "Our initial research indicated it was mostly machinery and military stores."

The U.S. government has not weighed in on the court case yet, and Brooks said he doubts that will happen, since the Soviets eventually reimbursed Washington for the lost payment.

A U.S. Treasury Department ledger shows that the platinum bars were on board, Brooks said, and his underwater video footage shows a platinum bar surrounded by 30 boxes that he believes hold four to five platinum ingots each. But he has yet to bring up any platinum, saying his underwater vessel needs to retrofitted to attach lines to the boxes, which would then be hoisted to the surface by winch.

"Of course there are skeptics," he said. "There's skeptics on everything you do."

Maritime law is complicated, and there could be multiple claims on the ship's contents.

After the sinking of the HMS Edinburgh, an English warship carrying Soviet gold bullion as a payment to the allies during World War II, England, the U.S. and the Soviet Union had claims on the sunken treasure, Marx said. A consortium that owned the salvage vessel was given 10 percent of the prize, while the rest was shared by the other parties, he said.

In other big finds, treasure hunter Mel Fisher made international headlines in 1985 when he discovered a $450 million mother lode of precious metals and gemstones from a Spanish galleon that went down off Florida in 1622.

In another case, a Tampa exploration company has been ordered by the courts to return $500 million worth of treasure from a Spanish warship to Spain. The ship was sunk by the British navy during a battle off Portugal in 1804. - THP

Friday, February 03, 2012

Djinn-mania

"According to legend, the Djinn were the first inhabitants of this world, where they lived for thousands of years before humanity arrived. In order to make room for humans, angels took the Djinn out of this world and placed them in a dimension that parallels our own. There they stay hidden from our view. They have the ability to see and interact with us, but we have difficulty seeing them. They are cloaked in mystery, and it suits their covert purpose.

The goal of most Djinn is to retake this world, which they feel rightfully belongs to them. In order to succeed, they must make humanity give up stewardship of this reality. They are accomplishing this by stealth and disguise. They have great powers and plenty of time, for they live for centuries.

Shape-shifting Djinn may be responsible for many forms of paranormal phenomena and experience, such as UFOs, shadow people, ghosts, poltergeists, and demonic possession. In such ways, they gain access to us that enables them to steal our life force and information about us, and to manipulate and use us without revealing their true form and purpose. These negative experiences are on the rise"
- The Vengeful Djinn: Unveiling the Hidden Agenda of Genies

Are the negative forces of the Djinn on the rise? There are many references to the Djinn in everyday life in the Islamic world but particularly in Saudi Arabia and nearby Arab nations. These Djinn or Genies are supernatural beings in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings that occupy a parallel world to that of mankind. In combination, Djinn, Humans and Angels make up the three sentient creations of Allah. The Qur'an mentions that Jinn are made of smokeless flame or "scorching fire". Like human beings, the Jinn can also be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent. This belief make it easier for Islamic societies to 'explain away' the unexplainable as well as combine it with conventional living. Here are a few recently published reports:

Djinns blamed for 'fires' erupting at Saudi house - Two Saudi brothers who were scared out of their home and moved to another house because of repeated mystery fires were shocked to find that fires had not stopped at the old house. A week after they settled down in the new house, a big blaze erupted and damaged a large part of it.

The two were then convinced that Jinn (ghosts) were behind the blazes and their theory was supported by the police and a Moslem scholar who said he himself witnessed the fire at the house in the southern town of Bisha.

But that was not the opinion of the Saudi civil defence, who believe all the fires were an act of arson.

Quoted by the Saudi Arabic language daily Okaz, the two brothers, Fahd and Bandar Al Gamdi, said they were forced to move to another house nearly three km away from the old house because of persistent fires.

“But fires did not stop at the old house and they then spread to the new house, forcing my brother to move to another house,” Fahd said.

Sheikh Mohammed Al Omari, a well known scholar in that town, said he was called by the two brothers to read Koran and “evict the jinn out of the house.”

“As I started to read in one room, a fire erupted but was put out by the civil defence units who were there at that time,” he said.

“I then moved to another room and started reading Koran when a fire flared…fire erupted in every room I moved to and then I felt the Jinn movements…I was not scared and kept reading Koran.”

The paper quoted police spokesman Major Abdullah Al Shaathan as saying investigation showed there was no act of arson as no one could sneak into that house, adding that forensic experts found no electric or building faults.

“These fires are abnormal or in other words are supernatural…we are still working on the final report which includes statements by neighbours.”

But supernatural causes were dismissed by civil defence spokesman Colonel Mohammed Al Asimi, who said initial evidence points to criminal act.

“We are still investigating these fires and preliminary examination and evidence show criminal activity could be involved in these incidents,” he said.

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Search for young man abducted by Djinns - Omani young man disappears under mysterious circumstances when he was driving his motorbike near Mudar Mountain.

Dhiab Al Amiri, a resident of the village of the young man pointed out, "The young man went last Wednesday to a mountain near the village by his motorbike but he didn't back yet. The absence of the young man prompted his family to ask neighbors about him and during the search found his motorbike next to the mountain without any other traces for him."

Police was informed immediately and they rushed to the location with search dogs and helicopters but did not find the man.

Local residents believe the mountain is inhabited by the Djinns, reported the Saudi based Arabic newspaper Al Marsad.

They disclosed that many mysterious incidents occur and stories are narrated about the Djinns who live in the mountain.

Residents also confirmed that the young man was kidnapped by a group of Djinns.

They say after such incidents religious scholars need to interfere and release the young man from the clutches of the Djinn.

It is reported that one of the sheikhs had a vision and spoke to the Djinn who kept the young man in grotto in the mountain.

Large number of citizens visited the mountain, where some of them brought sacrifices for the Djinn to release the young man.

Omani army members still surrounded the mountain in preparation to enter.

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Girl snatched by genies comes at night: residents - Saudi police have intensified a campaign to search a Yemeni girl who vanished more than 40 days ago from her village, where her relatives believe she was snatched by genies.

After failing to locate the 23-year-old girl, her family started to distribute leaflets and stick posters on mosques in the hope they will get any information on her whereabouts.

“We are living in tragic conditions because of my sister’s disappearance,” her brother Ahmed Ali said, quoted by the Saudi online Arabic language daily Sabq on Sunday.

“She has been under the spell of jinn (genies) and this may have to do with her disappearance… it’s nearly 41 days now and there is no trace of her despite intensifying police search for her.”

Newspapers last week said the girl left her house in her mountainous village near the western town of Taif and never returned.

“Some people told police they saw her walking on a hill not far from her house then vanished again,” one paper said.

“Her brothers and some residents in the village said she sometimes appears at night and then suddenly disappears… they told police that they believe she has been haunted and taken by jinn.”

Ali said his unmarried sister was carrying a bag and a dress when she left the house six weeks ago.

He said she had run away from home a year ago but was found at another house on the same day.

“On that day, she was with my other sisters washing in the second floor of the house… she then went down to the ground floor… my sisters waited for her but she never came back,” he said.

“Before she vanished, we used to take her to some Koran reciters and scholars… she used to walk into their places but we had to carry her on our way out as she appeared to be in a trance… a red fluid sometimes oozed out of her ears and noses… it was not blood and it had a strange smell… some scholars told us that she is haunted and others said she is under jinn guardianship.”

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'Ghosts' set Kuwaiti house on fire - Like in horror movies, strange fires keep erupting at a home in Kuwait dead on time and its owner was told by Muslim scholars the house is haunted.

Mansour Al Ajami and his family still live in the house in Ahmadi area in Kuwait City although it has suffered from over 40 fire incidents since they moved into it six years ago. But he appears to have had enough as he thinks of leaving.

Ajami, interviewed by Alanba Arabic language daily, said fires erupt exactly at five in the evening and the morning every few weeks and although civil defence units have managed to put them out, they have no idea what caused them.

What adds to these macabre scenes is that the fires began in May, the fifth month in the year, Ajami said.

“After I moved into the house, a fire erupted in May which is number five…eversince, all the fires have occurred at either five in the morning or five in the evening…I had to seek religious help so I invited a well-known Saudi sheikh (Moslem scholar), who told me the house is haunted,” Ajami said.

“The sheikh said the house is haunted by good and harmless jinn (spirits) but that they seem to have been disturbed by the human presence.”

Ajami said he did not know the reasons for the mysterious fires, which target furniture, cooling systems and other household items. “The other day, I bought school bags for my children and the next day they were on fire.”

Ajami joked about the fact that he had become well known to the fire fighters, adding that he only had to mention his name when reporting a fire. “They have memorized my address because they have been here many times.”

He said that two weeks after his family moved into the house, they started to hear children crying and woman groaning at night.

“Some fires did not need our intervention as they just suddenly died down….fires have occurred in most parts of the house except one room, which is located on the ground floor…we now sleep in that room for safety,” he said.

“After all these mysterious incidents, I am now seriously considering moving out….I appeal for the authorities to find me a house that will shelter my family.”

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Jumeirah jinns giving residents a spookfest - Tenants, gardeners and maids report mysterious apparitions, doors slamming and things moving on their own....

Man blames jinn for repeated fires at home - Talismans in the form of bruises and blisters left on his arm...

Genies blamed for girl’s disappearance - After a visit to Koran reciters, she had to be carried out as she appeared to be in a trance...

In many instances, when the public declares that a Djinn is the reason for a fire or other incident officials issue statements criticizing the “abusers” and “rumormongers” for spreading the word about the Djinn. The belief of the Djinn is so ingrained in these societies that the media will denounce the police for issuing these statements. The following article - Djinn Hysteria Strikes the Gaza Strip - details the traditional acceptance of the Djinn.

Are the Djinn simply an excuse for tragedy and fate? Negative energies are identified by many names and descriptions...but basically, all malevolent activity is evil. The effect of negativity in each situation depends on the victim's nature and circumstances...and eventually how they intend to fight it.


The Vengeful Djinn: Unveiling the Hidden Agenda of Genies

Just the Facts?: 'Psychic Sally' Witch Hunt -- Deer Hunters Shoot UFO -- Mass Hysteria is a 'Girl Thing'


The 'Psychic Sally' witch hunt

Once upon a time, the great and the good, usually men of the cloth, hunted and persecuted women who were believed to have mystical powers. Today, the great and the good, usually men of science, go after women who don’t have mystical powers but who claim to. Decent society once hounded witches; now it hounds pseudo-witches.

So it is with Sally Morgan, otherwise known as “Psychic Sally”, former adviser on supernatural matters to Princess Diana, self-styled communicator with the dead, and now hate-figure-in-chief to the rationalist, sceptical set. Judging from the slurry of ridicule dumped on Morgan by certain writers and activists over the past year, you could be forgiven for thinking she was single-handedly responsible for the spread of stupidity in modern Britain. She “preys” on her “vulnerable audiences”, we are told, talking “a load of crystal balls”, making the “gullible” and “lonely” believe in stuff that isn’t true. Some serious science writers even want to institute annual Sally-bashing get-togethers for clever, scientifically minded people, to which Morgan will be invited, so that she can perform her tricks, but obviously she won’t turn up and then she can be mocked even more! What larks!

Morgan has now responded to all this haranguing by taking the very foolish decision to sue Associated Newspapers over an article published in The Daily Mail last September, in which she was accused of being a fraud. This will not end well – either for her (God knows what will come out in the libel trial) or for press freedom (England’s libel laws are a pox on liberty) or possibly for both. However, it is worth asking of the fashion for mauling Morgan: why? Why bother? Why are ostensibly intellectual people devoting so much time and energy to having a pop at a woman who claims to be psychic? What’s the point? Aren’t there more important things to worry about and greater threats to rational thinking to tackle?

The anti-Morgan lobby is motivated by the same impulses as those pointy-hatted witch-hunters of old: first, by a desire to look big and impressive by shouting down an allegedly wicked woman; and second, by a desire to save the little people, who are daft and easily led, from having their minds warped and their lives wrecked by people who believe in things the rest of us don’t believe in. Today, the fashionable secular set seems incapable of asserting itself in any positive way, through explaining what is good about the rationalist outlook, so instead it advertises its virtues in an entirely negative fashion, by posturing against caricatured opponents or cartoon “snake oil salesmen”. And in its patronising depiction of Morgan’s audiences as weak, vulnerable and pathetic, we can glimpse the return of that old idea that it falls to enlightened men and women, those whose brains and souls remain intact, to save the dumb from being led astray by alleged cranks. Only today, the enlightened ones come to save us are scientists rather than priests.

I don’t believe anyone can talk to the dead. I wouldn’t see a psychic if you paid me. But people like Sally Morgan have existed for centuries and they do not cause great harm to society or warp morality. We should be far more worried about the current fashion for trying to hound out of existence any eccentric way of thinking or believing that decent folk don’t like. - telegraph

NOTE: of course this is the writer's opinion. IMO, skepticism has it's place for those qualified to be skeptical...not those who have an axe to grind. Lon

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Deer Hunters Shoot at UFO - Aliens Escape Unharmed

Two Minnesota men, presumably deer hunters, reported firing several shots at what they thought was a UFO, but the unidentified flying object flew away, apparently unscathed.

The eyewitness account of the UFO sighting details what happened when the two men spotted what they at first thought was an X-47B military drone hovering in the air over the woods at night.

"We were in fear," one of the unnamed men stated, "and trained a scoped Winchester Sportsman .30-06 deer rifle on the object, and fired three successive shots center mass at the object, with no obvious effect, or ricochet sound. Man with me fired two slugs from a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun center mass, also with no effect."

The OVNI, apparently not damaged, then floated away as the men ran through the woods to escape.

This is a weird report, posted on the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) which is a privately owned and operated website used by witnesses to report unidentifiable aircraft sightings. If they thought it might be a military plane, why did they shoot at it? Weren't they worried they might hurt someone?

In this time of Doomsday 2012 fear it may be that people who were once willing to just observe a UFO in awe are starting to fight back. Apparently, though, UFOs are bulletproof! - gather

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Weeeeeee....it's too damn cold!

The Manneken-Pis, a bronze statue of a young boy urinating that is a symbol of Brussels and a major tourist attraction, has had to stop peeing because of sub-zero temperatures.

Officials turned off the flow of water through the statue, which has stood on a Brussels corner since the 1600s, out of concern the cold might damage its internal mechanism.

Temperatures in the Belgian capital were set to fall to minus 10 Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) Wednesday night, far below the average minimum for February. "It all depends on the weather, if the temperatures go up again it will work again," a tourist office spokeswoman said.

The statue, which is on the site of a 15th Century drinking fountain, has more than 800 specially made outfits which city officials use to dress it up during the year. It is one of Brussels' most popular attractions.

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Mass hysteria is a 'Girl Thing'

Fifteen teenage girls report a mysterious outbreak of spasms, tics and seizures in upstate New York. But tests find nothing physically wrong.

Scores of adults in Northern California report crawling skin sensations and other bizarre symptoms. Government doctors find no physical cause after an extensive study.

The conclusion by experts is that these are just the latest examples of what used to be called mass hysteria. Now known as conversion disorder, sufferers experience real, but psychologically triggered symptoms.

It’s rare, but scores or even hundreds of outbreaks have been recorded through the decades around the world.

It’s a diagnosis that’s often reached after other causes are ruled out, and is usually traced to a stress-causing trigger. Individual cases are common, even the kind involving tics and other movement-related symptoms. On average, the National Institutes of Health gets reports of two such cases each week, said Dr. Mark Hallett, who heads the branch that fields those calls.

Outbreaks, however, are unusual. Most involve females, often teenagers. Why is not clear. Some think it has to do with the way girls are socialized to deal with stress. Others say that females are just more likely to seek medical help – and thus appear in medical reports.

Symptoms seen in outbreaks vary, and cases have included blindness, headaches, nausea, paralysis and inability to speak. As in infectious disease outbreaks, they often seem to begin with one person who gets the symptoms and then it spreads to people she knows. Experts believe that these first “index” cases often are people who have symptoms caused by a physical illness, but subsequent cases are subconscious mimicry.

Recent examples include:

-In the fall of 2007, at least eight girls at a Roanoke, Va., high school developed strange twitching symptoms similar to those in upstate New York. The school district spent $30,000 to check the school, but investigators found no environmental cause.

-Earlier in 2007, a mysterious illness swept through a Catholic boarding school in Chalco, Mexico, causing 600 girls to suffer fever, nausea and buckling knees that left many unable to walk. Batteries of tests found no physical cause.

-In 2002, 10 teenage girls at a small, rural North Carolina high school had epileptic-like seizures and fainting. The school buildings were inspected, but nothing was found to explain the outbreak.

Allegations of fakery sometimes surface, but most experts believe these patients have real symptoms that they can’t consciously control.

One thing they often have in common, is some kind of precipitating stress in their lives.

That was the case in Le Roy, N.Y., the site of the latest example of this disorder. Dr. Jennifer McVige, a pediatric neurologist based in nearby Batavia, has seen 10 of the teens. “All of the kids had something big that happened,” like divorcing parents or some other upsetting situation, McVige said, declining to go into detail.

The Le Roy Central School District paid for an inspection of the school, checking for formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, molds, solvents and other volatile organic compounds and even lighting levels. No environmental cause for the cases was found.

But the belief that there must be a physical cause drew national news attention, and finally, California environmental activist Erin Brockovich. She wanted to investigate whether a 1970 derailed train carrying chemicals may have contaminated groundwater with trichloroethene, or TCE. State health officials say no TCE was found at the school, and on Wednesday they reported no sign of that chemical or other threatening contaminants in the school or village water supply.

The idea that it’s a stress-induced psychological disorder has been hard for some of the girls and their parents to swallow. Some have appeared on national and international TV voicing that view.

On NBC’s Today Show last month, senior Thera Sanchez told how her Tourette-like tics worsened to the point where she couldn’t even attend class. She had some psychological counseling, which she says didn’t resolve her condition. “I want an answer. A straight answer,” she said on the show.

Doctors familiar with the girls’ treatment say the continuing news coverage has slowed progress they were making. They have recommended that all the girls see therapists. But that’s easier said than done. There’s a shortage of pediatric psychologists in that part of the state, McVige said.

Experts elsewhere have looked on curiously at the Le Roy story. One piece of footage prompted laughter this week among a group of physicians. They were watching a BBC report on the cases, which showed one girl with a jerking arm that suddenly became very controlled as she applied eyeliner and then jerked around again when she was done.

“It’s almost impossible to conceive of a true neurological disorder that can allow for that complexity of switching back and forth,” said Dr. Jose Maldonado, chief of psychosomatic medicine at Stanford University, who mentioned the group’s reaction. “It also looks very purposeful. I’m not saying she’s making it up. I’m just saying that it doesn’t look neurological.”

The AP was unable to reach the girl or her mother.

McVige acknowledged the other doctors’ reaction. She recalled one examination in which the tic in one girl’s arm stopped when a doctor forcefully held it, but then the other arm started moving. That also is not something generally seen in neurological disorders.

She said the Le Roy outbreak, at its core, is no hoax. But “now I think there’s an overlay of some of the girls trying to prove `there’s something wrong with me,’” she added.

Calls from the AP to three of the girls were not returned. Brockovich did not respond to an email request for an interview, either.

Last week, while those cases were in the news, government doctors coincidentally released a long-awaited report on their investigation into an illness known as Morgellons (mor-GELL-uns).

The condition is marked by some bizarre symptoms, including sores, crawling sensations on the skin and – perhaps worst of all – mysterious fibers that the patients believe sprout from their skin. Anecdotal and media reports about cases six years ago led to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency found no environmental or physical cause for the cases; tests showed the fibers came from fabric, like clothing or blankets. Psychological evaluations suggested conversion disorder, said a neurologist who worked on the study.

Some specialists argue it doesn’t fit in that category. Some believe Morgellons is a form of psychosis. Others insist these patients are not psychotic, but suffer from a less severe kind of psychological disorder which isn’t well understood yet.

Also, at least some of the Morgellons patients probably don’t have a psychological problem at all, said Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic who has studied delusions of infestation.

It turned out one woman had itchy skin that was caused by high calcium levels that developed from parathyroid tumors.

In past outbreaks, the symptoms of conversion disorder have tended to disappear in a matter of weeks or a few months. In Le Roy, many of the cases appeared around the beginning of the school year and were improving, but about half of the girls got worse after the wave of media attention and disputes about the cause of the illness.

Indeed, McVige said she has stopped forwarding media requests to her patients.

Anxiety and suspicion are continuing, fueled by YouTube, Facebook and other social media that weren’t prevalent in earlier outbreaks, observed Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist who has studied mass hysteria for many years.

“There is a good chance that symptoms could spread to other students and last for several more months – even years,” Bartholomew said in an email from New Zealand, where he teaches at a university. - longislandpress

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Farmer attacked by rabid cow

As it was happening, Raymond Parks didn't think he'd be around later to tell the story. He was rushed and attacked by a 900 pound animal three weeks ago. The cow put a gash on his head and threw him into a barbed wire fence.

"I thought she would kill me before she'd leave me alone," Parks said.

As the cow head-butted him and broke some of his ribs, Parks went for his shotgun. He landed three blasts on the animal, but it didn't die. Instead, it slowly walked away and laid down, where a vet arrived several days later to put it down.

Tests have now proved the animal had rabies, a rarity in cattle. Most rabies cases are seen in meat-eaters, or smaller animals like raccoons. Parks' Maysville farm is just down the road from where a rabid bobcat was discovered a few days ago. Jackson County has now seen three cases of rabies in January, a month that didn't see one case in 2011.

This week Parks was told 19 animals in his cattle herd will have to be quarantined for six months. If they don't show any signs of rabies after that time, they're clear. If they do, they'll have to be killed. It's a tough judgment for Parks, who was hoping to sell some of the cattle while prices were high. Now he's not sure he wants to continue.

"It's probably about time for me to retire, since I almost got killed," said Parks, who's in his early seventies.

But Pauline, his wife of more than 50 years, said he isn't likely to stop working.

"He'll never quit," she said. "He'll never retire."

Georgia Health Department officials say it's vitally important for animal lovers to vaccinate their pets. The shots are inexpensive, and can save pets from death and their owners from contact with the disease. - 11alive

NOTE: I have been around cattle and livestock most of my life...1st I've heard of bovine rabies. Lon

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Just the Facts?: Minding Reading Reality -- Super Giant Crustacean -- Everglades Mammal Genocide


Mind Reading May Be A Reality Soon

By looking only at maps of electrical activity in the human brain, scientists were able to tell which words a person was listening to. The discovery is a major step toward being able to “hear” the thoughts of people who can’t speak.

"If someone was completely paralyzed, or if a patient had locked-in syndrome with no movement, but the brain was still active and we could understand it well enough, we could develop devices to take advantage of that and restore communication," said Brian Pasley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley.

"It's still very early," he added. "And a lot of work still needs to be done."

For decades, scientists have been trying to understand how our brains manage to process audible sounds and extract abstract meaning from words and sentences. As part of that effort, lots of work on animals has helped narrow in on the brain regions involved in hearing and responding to sounds.

To see how those findings might be applicable in people, Pasley and colleagues enlisted the help of 15 patients with epilepsy or brain tumors who had electrodes attached to the surface of their brains in order to map out the source of their seizures. With electrodes in place, participants listened to about 50 different speech sounds in the form of sentences and words, both real and fake, such as "jazz," "peace," "Waldo," "fook' and "nim."

After mapping out the brain's electrical responses to each sound, the research team found that they could predict which of two sounds from the study set the brain was responding to, and they could do it with about 90 percent accuracy.

Decoding the brain's perception of sound in this way, Pasley said, is sort of like learning how a piano works.

"If you understand the relationship between the keys and their sounds, you could turn on the TV and watch someone perform with the sound off," he said. "And just by looking at what keys were being pressed, you could understand what sounds were being played."

The new work represents a substantial step forward both in what we know about how the brain processes sound and in potential applications for people with disabilities, said Jonathan Wolpaw, chief of the Laboratory of Neural Injury and Repair at the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center.

Like devices that allow people to use their thoughts to move robotic arms, there might some day be brain-machine interfaces that give speech to people who have lost it.

"This work could be extremely relevant if you had someone who could no longer talk and you wanted to use the brain signals produced while the person was thinking about what he wanted to say to provide artificial speech," Wolpaw said. "The techniques they have developed are definitely relevant to how you'd go about doing that."

Still, many hurdles remain before applications become practical. The new study looked at just a limited number of sounds that make up the English language, for example, and many words are likely to produce identical electric signatures in the brain. The study also focused only on how the brain hears sounds. Further testing needs to explore whether electrical patterns are the same when people also try to say or imagine those sounds.

For now, the new work represents an important and incremental advance that will likely lead to many more.

"The results are quite encouraging," Wolpaw said. "They've gone farther than others have gone. There's obviously a long way to go, but this is a big step." - discovery

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Time in Space May Alter Astronauts’ Genes

Spending long periods at low gravity may alter genes, suggests a new experiment involving a magnet-powered trick used on Earth to simulate weightlessness in space.

Subjected to magnetic levitation that generated an effect similar to microgravity experienced by astronauts orbiting Earth, fruit flies experienced changes in crucial genes.

Humans won’t necessarily respond like fruit flies, but the system is considered an useful model for probing the effects of permanent free-fall on biology. However, it’s also possible that the gene disruption was caused by magnetism, not low gravity.

“We have tried to separate the effects of microgravity and magnetism, but we’ve learned it’s not so easy,” said molecular biologist Raul Herranz of Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas in Spain, leader of the upcoming study in BMC Genomics. “We don’t know yet what is causing what — the magnetism or the microgravity?”

Sending anything into space is expensive. The cost to launch an experiment into low-Earth orbit can exceed as $10,000 per pound. Yet as the United States, Russia, China and other nations eye a human future off-Earth, understanding what will happen to our bodies is crucial.

NASA already knows that astronauts in space lose as much bone each month as they would in a year on Earth, where resisting gravity keeps muscles strong. But rigorously studying the molecular mechanisms behind those changes in humans — a large, highly complex creature — isn’t easy or ethical. As a result, researchers look to animal models in an Earth-based weightless environment.

'Everything works differently in space, including genetics.'
Machines called clinostats can simulate the effects of zero-gravity over time in plants by constantly and randomly turning them over days and weeks. But animals usually can’t survive such conditions.

Magnetic levitation of animals, discovered in the late 1990s, uses magnetic fields that are up to 350,000 stronger than Earth’s natural magnetism. The fields push on water molecules in an animal and lift it off the ground. Animals readily survive the intense magnetic fields and even display behaviors seen in space-based experiments.

“The quality you get is not same as it is in orbit, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and more convenient,” said physicist and study co-author Richard Hill of the University of Nottingham. “You can use [magnetic] levitation to try out experiments before you launch them.”

To preview what happens in space at the molecular level, Herranz and his team followed the development of fruit flies over 22-day periods in a variety of magnetically tweaked gravitational experiments.

As a rule, flies raised in low gravity developed slowly and had difficulty reproducing. When the researchers examined the flies’ genetic expression, they discovered significant increases and decreases in the activities of some 500 genes. Many regulated immune response, temperature and even stress response.

“Magnetic fields can cause things like proteins in the cell to align with the field lines, so these fields could be triggering responses we don’t yet understand,” Hill said.

However, flies exposed to powerful but non-levitating magnetism also displayed similar changes, albeit not so powerfully.

Herranz said it’s too soon to precisely separate the effects of magnetism from weightless on genetics, but that weightlessness seems to be having at least a “small effect” on gene expression. (Correcting for magnetism, weightlessness alone seemed to modulate nearly 200 genes.)

In the context of an astronaut on a multiple-year mission in zero gravity to Mars, such small effects could build up to significant risks over time.

“Everything works differently in space, including genetics,” Herranz said. “Because of this, you may need to do something to adjust, for example, things like food and nutrients and oxygen to make sure everything lasts and works for astronauts.” - wired

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'Supergiant' crustacean found in deepest ocean

A huge crustacean has been found lurking 7km down in the waters off the coast of New Zealand.

The creature - called a supergiant - is a type of amphipod, which are normally around 2-3cm long.

But these beasts, discovered in the Kermadec Trench, were more than 10 times bigger: the largest found measured in at 34cm.

Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab, said: "It's a bit like finding a foot-long cockroach."

"I stopped and thought: 'What on Earth was that?' This amphipod was far bigger than I ever thought possible."

The strange animals were found using a large metal trap, which had been equipped with a camera, housed in sapphire glass to keep it safe from the high pressures of the deep sea.

Seven specimens were caught in the trap and nine were captured on film by the team from the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), in New Zealand.

The largest specimen brought back up to the ship measured 28cm in length, while the biggest spotted on camera was 34cm-long.

Amphipods have been found living in large numbers at the very bottom of ocean trenches, deep, narrow valleys in the sea floor that can plunge down to nearly 11km.

The creatures are small, but extremely active, and seem to thrive in this place where the pressure is one thousand times greater than at sea level.

The name "supergiant" was first coined after large specimens were caught in the 1980s off the coast of Hawaii.

They have been since being seen in the Antarctic, where they grew up to 10cm, but these are now dwarfed by this latest find.

Dr Ashley Rowden, from Niwa, said: "It just goes to show that the more you look, the more you find.

"For such a large and conspicuous animal to go unnoticed for so long is just testament to how little we know about life in New Zealand's most deep and unique habitat."

Over the last few years, scientists have been surprised by the life that is found in ocean trenches.

These deep-sea spots were once thought to be barren; too dark, cold and with too much pressure for anything to survive.

But researchers have found a wealth of life in the deepest of the deep.

As well as swarms of amphipods, they have uncovered shrimp-like creatures called isopods and snailfish that live 7,700m down.

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Pythons Are Wiping Out Mammals in the Everglades

According to a new study, the introduction of non-native snakes into southern Florida swamps has devastated the population of small mammals, almost completely wiping out some vulnerable species. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the number raccoon and possums spotted in the Everglades has dropped more than 98%, bobcat sightings are down 87%, and rabbits and foxes have not been seen at all in years.

Large snakes, like boa constrictors, anacondas, and pythons, are not native to North America, but are popular among reptile collectors and traders who — inadvertently or not — re-introduced them to the Florida swamps about a decade ago. Since that time they caused a huge disruption to the already fragile ecosystem, threatening wildlife and even some humans. They grow fast, breed rapidly, adapt well to their environments, and prey on small animals that don't recognize them as a threat. They're also great at hiding, which makes them both deadly hunters and difficult to catch.

They will also eat just about anything, even birds, deer, and alligators. (The 162-pound Burmese python pictured above had recently swallowed a gator.) That's why the government banned the import of Burmese and other pythons last year, although (thanks to lobbying by the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers) the reticulated python and the boa constrictor are still allowed to be traded.

Biologists say that with anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 snakes now on the loose, it's impossible to wipe out the pythons entirely, though they may still be able to contain their damage — and keep them out of other states, provided the cold weather cooperates. The weather and careless pet owners, who have established 56 non-indigenous reptile and amphibian species in the state of Florida alone. In other words, when you get bored with your exotic pets, don't just throw them out. - theatlanticwire

Invasive Pythons in the United States: Ecology of an Introduced Predator (Wormsloe Foundation Nature Book)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Documented Close Encounters 2


VIOLENT BEDROOM VISITATION

Location: Kremenchung, Ukraine - February 23, 1991 - night

After coming back from work at a local bakery, the witness A. S. Tkachuk was trying to fall sleep when suddenly she felt a pair of strong hands gripping her around the throat. Opening her eyes she is terrified to see only at about 30cms from her a strange humanoid with a face similar to humans but completely covered with hair. Around its black eyes the hair was somewhat shorter and humanoid appeared to have two short horns on top of its head. The witness attempted to struggle and grabbed the creature’s hands with her hands. The creature’s fingers were short and the hand’s were more human than animal according to the witness, covered with fur and warm to the touch. The creature’s fur was dark-chestnut in color; it seemed to be short in stature its arms corresponding to that of a 5-6 year old child. The witness attempted to push the creature’s hands away from her throat but the creature was incredibly strong. She somehow “understood” that the creature was male but did not see any genitalia. The witness then realized that she would not be able to escape from creature’s grip and ceased to resist, immediately thereafter the creature let her go and disappeared. The witness remained paralyzed with fear and unable to speak in bed for a long time.

Source: UFODOS Archives, Ukraine Type: E - When an entity or humanoid is seen alone, without related UFO activity (Example: bedroom visitation).

Comments from Albert Rosales: What sort of creature was this? Why did it attack the witness and more importantly why did it suddenly let go and vanished?

NOTE: a humanoid / hominid that small and generating that much force was most likely not terrestrial in my opinion...Lon

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REPTOID ENCOUNTER?

Location: Near Murmansk, Siberia, Russia - Summer 1995 - 8:30 PM

Two men were riding a car on a local road outside of Murmansk, despite being evening it was still light out. The road was about 4 meters wide and was asphalt and surrounded by fields of tall canes on both sides. The road was straight and there was excellent visibility. Suddenly at approximately 15-20 meters in front of the car a strange creature was seen running across the road. The creature looked bird-like and it was visibly huge. The entity had long legs, about 2 meters long, dark feathers along the back and an odd shaped body. Unfortunately the witnesses were unable to see any additional details, but discerned that the strange ‘bird’ was similar to a ‘running reptile’. They stopped the car but realized that it was useless to look for the strange entity amid the dense cane fields. Later one of the witnesses while reading a book on dinosaurs, found a picture that depicted almost exactly what he and his friend had seen. The image was later identified as a dinosaur from the order of Ornithischia Local naturalists stated that no species of ‘animal’ fitting the description lived in the region.

Source: Denis Kashin, St Petersburg Russia
Type: E? - When an entity or humanoid is seen alone, without related UFO activity (Example: bedroom visitation).

Comments from Albert Rosales: Did the men drive through a time warp?

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ON-SITE ANIMAL MUTILATIONS

Location: Naryan-Mar, Nenets Autonomous Region, Russia - 1994 - afternoon

Several deer herders watched a large metallic disc-shaped object descend and land among a herd of deer. Immediately from the craft emerged several short humanoid figures, while ignoring the stunned herders, began to conduct on the seemingly paralyzed animals what appeared to be ‘surgical operations’. One of the shepherds approached the group of aliens, intending to drive them away. However the other men watched as the herder apparently came under the same hypnotic control that had affected the herd. Without trying to escape he approached the aliens and ‘voluntarily gave himself to them’. His body was found the next day, completely drained of blood, his genitalia removed along with the prostrate and pancreas; also several pieces of skin were removed in other parts of the body.

Source: Igor Voloznev Anomaly news 2010
Type: X

NOTES: if this report is accurate it is one of a very few first hand accounts of an alien mutilation on an animal...Lon

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TALL PALE STRANGER

Location: Carranza, Maule Region, Chile - February 1994 - morning

Local laborer Florencio Arellano was performing his morning chores and was sitting on his tractor preparing to go into the fields when he suddenly looked to the nearby trees and noticed a strange figure with its arms outstretched and staring at Arellano. The figure was at least 3 meters and a half in height and wore a white tunic. It stood without moving staring at Arellano. The figure’s clothing was very white and the entity seemed to have pale features. The witness sat stunned on his tractor and stared back at the figure for about 3 minutes when it suddenly just vanished in plain sight. He took the encounter as a “sign from God”.

Source: Revista Revelacion Año 3 - #23
Type: E - When an entity or humanoid is seen alone, without related UFO activity (Example: bedroom visitation).

Thanks to researcher, ufologist and experiencer Albert S. Rosales for forwarding these newly documented reports...Lon

Lifetime of encounters: A recollection of anomalous events by Albert S. Rosales

The Cryptoterrestrials: A Meditation on Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us

Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials

Monday, January 30, 2012

Note to 'Phantoms and Monsters' Readers...

Hi folks...I just wanted to let you know that I will need to scale things back during the next few days. I had a medical scare on Sunday that I'm taking as a warning. Though I feel OK for the most part I'm also experiencing bouts of severe weakness. I may try to post something here or there but it's going to be inconsistent until I get myself straightened out. I thank you for the well wishes and donations received...you are like family to me and very much appreciated. Take care...Lon
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