Saturday, July 21, 2012

Archive: The 'Stick Breakers'

I posted the following account in July 2009. It received several responses and comments from readers in the Hampstead, New Hampshire and surrounding area. I decided to post again to see if others have been experiencing similar phenomena:

In the spring of 2003 I was visiting my sister who lives in Hampstead, New Hampshire. She lives in a somewhat wooded subdivision. It was early spring in New England and the weather had been a fairly rainy. I would frequently go outside by myself to smoke cigarettes late at night, on the porch after midnight. While I was outside I would hear larger sticks crack and break on the forest floor near where I was sitting but no leaves rustling. At first I didn't think much of it. I am a seasoned camper and just didn't think it was a big deal, I figured it was just an animal of some kind. This happened night after night. Then I noticed the sounds of something dropping out of the trees and an animal or being of some kind scraping on the bark a bit as it descended. I tried looking for movement but saw nothing, like an animal or anything. The flood lights were on every time I was out there and were brightly shining, there was a street light at the end of the long paved driveway off in the distance. On subsequent nights to took a flashlight and tried to shine whatever animal it might be with a but that was to no avail. Even though everything was brightly lit I saw nothing at all.

I tried this night after night. The sounds were there every single evening without fail. I could hear them moving closer and closer to me the longer I was out there. During the day I looked for tracks and marks on trees or other evidence but didn't turn up a thing. I picked up sticks and broke a few to see what size stick I was hearing. I ascertained that the stick diameter was about an inch. I had my 11 yr old nephew go out in the woods to jump on sticks and see if he could break some of them, so I could check the way it sounds from where I was sitting. Trying to judge the distance. He jumped on some but because they were kind of moist he could only break the smaller ones. He weighed only about 75 to 80 pounds. This told me that whatever it is, weighs more than that. I could break the bigger ones by jumping on them, but I weigh 150 pounds. There are no animals in that area that are really large and could break that size stick based on the tests I did. Whatever it was would move in close to me, so I used the nephew to run around and make similar noises to gauge the distance in the daylight when they were at their closest. They were about 20-30 feet from me at best. I know there was more than one of them because I could hear one back beside the house and another one was in the front at the end of the driveway. They moved in very close to where I was and I could hear them coming from two different directions. They were not visible with the naked eye at all. I tried to take some digital photos but saw nothing discernible in the pictures.

Another thing that happened, my sister didn't have any window coverings downstairs, she loved the view of the trees, and I would sit at night on her computer surfing the web and chatting online near those windows. I frequently would get the feeling that someone was watching me. I wrote it off as just my imagination. Then there was the issue of the dogs barking and howling every night real late like they were hearing something. They were kept in crates in the basement at night. They would start their howling and wouldn't stop unless someone would go down there and make them stop. They also would look out the windows late in the evening and start barking out behind the house as tough something was there. We all thought it was just another animal or whatever, and wrote it off. My brother in law decided to keep the dogs upstairs with him at night to keep them quiet.

I was outside one night very late after midnight alone. I was up on her porch near the door. I heard them coming again. The flood lights were on and I could see well into the trees because there weren't too many smaller bushes in the way. I saw nothing but still heard them. No rustling only sticks breaking. My sis had a few planters with flowers in them on a lower landing from where I was standing. It was in the really bright light from the flood lights and was only about 8 to 10 feet from me. Some of the flowers in the planter draped over the side and hung out away from the planters. As I stood there I watched the plants move to one side and then flop back as though something had brushed past them, only nothing was there that I could see at all. There were no other sounds, like footsteps or grinding pebbles or grit. No wind at all. When the flowers swung, and they moved a lot not just a little. Whatever it was had to come up the stairs to get to me. I stood there shocked, sort of and running over what I had just seen in my mind briefly, and got freaked out completely, went inside quickly and locked the door. Everyone else was asleep in the house. I looked out the side window and saw nothing.

Another late evening I was on the computer and I got that feeling of being watched again I looked into the living room from where I was sitting and I thought I saw shadows on the ceiling as though someone had walked past the lamps in there. I thought I must be just really tired and told myself it was my imagination. I decided to take a hot shower to relax before bed. The bathroom door is right across from the basement door. The basement door was closed when I went in to shower and everyone was in bed asleep upstairs with the lights off. When I came out of the shower the basement door was open and I just closed it thinking it was a bit strange but no big deal. Then I went to go upstairs and I saw my 11 year old nephew's bedroom light was on and I got scared. I went up the stairs and he was in bed dead asleep but the light was on real bright. I became afraid for the kids and went and woke my brother-in-law up. He blew me off and went back to sleep. Just then my niece woke up to let her dog out to potty so I asked her to sit up with me for a while. Thank God she was there to sit and keep me company for a little while.

What I am saying here is I believe these things were coming in the house somehow and that's why the dogs barked and howled like they did. I am not sure how they got in, maybe through the walls, maybe the basement outside door, I don't know, but I feel they were coming in. What are these things? Aliens? Dimentional entities? Were they just watching us? Were they abducting? Testing? Or even hunting? I have no idea and it's frightening! If you think about it you realize that on the grass there are no sticks to break, so they are quiet or silent, and there they were right up next to the house! How many other houses did they go into too?!

Then the story goes a bit sister later divorced and started dating again. Her new boyfriend and I were talking on the phone one evening recently, and the subject turned to the paranormal. I knew he is an avid New Hampshire hunter. So, I asked him if he had ever heard of anything like this. He said yes!!! He said that once, in November of 2003, he and five of his friends were out hunting on White Mountain one year and all of them were of course armed. They had set up camp for the night and made a fire. As they all were sitting around (after midnight) getting settled for the evening they started hearing "the stick breakers", breaking sticks all around them but not rustling leaves at all. The didn't see anything at all, and couldn't figure out what it was. They did try to shine their flashlights and see what it was but they couldn't see anything at all. All five got spooked and decided to turn in for the night and when morning came they decided to move their camp farther up the mountain closer to where they knew a larger group was set up. They all decided to not talk about the event after that day and they decided to never go back again either!!! I was so glad to hear that someone else had experienced the "stick breakers"! Now at least I know I am not nuts. I know there are others out there who have had similar experiences, so, please step up and let's hear your story!

I feel that this needs to be brought to the public's attention and put on record.

I will be trying to establish whether these things are still out there or not. In case that they are, I would like someone to go there and use thermal photography, or IR to see if these things can be seen somehow, filmed or photographed or recorded. I have no funds to buy the equipment necessary to do it myself, though I'd love to! I need to find some one who might be willing to go there and shoot some film in that area. Bring their equipment and check it out. If you have any input please feel free to contact me.

Sue O'Day

NOTE: What do you think it was? Could it be the New Hampshire Wood Devils? New Hampshire has a long history of unusual phenomena, including UFOs, humanoids, hominids and other non-human beings. Lon

Footsteps in the Attic: More First-Hand Accounts of the Paranormal in New England

Passing Strange: True Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors

Strange New Hampshire

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just the Facts?: Wild Man of the Blue Mountains -- Mona Lisa's Remains Found? -- The Elusive 'Goatman'

The wild hairy man of the Blue Mountains

Encounters with the “hairy man” of the rugged Blue Mountains just west of Australia’s largest metropolis, Sydney, have been recorded from the time colonial settlers first appeared in the area. While long before the settlers’ arrival, the original inhabitants always feared and respected the elusive, hairy hominid, often referred to as the yowie or yahoo.

Here we look at some of those early reported encounters, but first some personal experiences with what might just be the legendary hairy man of the Blue Mountains.

Near my home in the Blue Mountains is a fire trail that winds down towards a creek flowing through a steep gully thick with rainforest-like vegetation. While close to civilisation, it is rugged bushland. I half-jokingly refer to this as the “Yowie track”. Why? Because I’ve had a number of unnerving encounters while walking my dog along that track.

At one point during that first trek along the Yowie track, I suddenly heard a loud snapping sound. I stopped walking. It sounded all too close. Seconds later, I heard three or four heavy (make that very heavy) footsteps in the nearby scrub. I’ve heard many kangaroos and wallabies hop through the bush in my time, but this was different. These sounded distinctly bipedal with a huge gait. Although only a short distance away, the bush was thick and I couldn’t see what had taken those steps. I didn’t want to. But I knew something was there, and that after taking only a few steps it had stopped. I suddenly felt an eerie sensation of being watched. My dog, a young pup at the time, was oblivious. I quietly made an about face and we quickly got out of there. Continue reading at weirdaustralia

The Yowie: In Search of Australia's Bigfoot


Mona Lisa's Remains Found?

Archaeologists say they have found a complete skeleton buried beneath the floor of an abandoned nunnery in Florence, Italy, which might belong to Lisa Gherardini, the woman believed to have inspired Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

The bones were found beneath the remains of an altar in the church of the now derelict Convent of St. Orsola.

"That altar was certainly in use at Lisa Gherardini's time," said Valeria D'Aquino, an archaeologist at the Tuscan Superintendency.

D'Aquino and colleagues had to dig through a foot of concrete before they unearthed a brick crypt containing the bones.

The bone hunt, which began last year, aims to possibly reconstruct Lisa's face in order to see if her facial features match that of the iconic painting hanging at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Indeed, most scholars believe that the Mona Lisa, known as La Gioconda in Italian or La Joconde in French, is the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, a member of a minor noble family of rural origins who married the wealthy merchant Francesco del Giocondo.

The ambitious project is led by Silvano Vinceti, president of a private organization known as the National Committee for the Promotion of Historic and Cultural Heritage.

Known for controversial claims, like that letters and numbers are hidden inside the Mona Lisa painting, Vinceti has based his search in the convent on documents found by historian Giuseppe Pallanti some years ago.

"Lisa Gheradini did exist and lived a rather ordinary life," Pallanti, who is not involved in the project, told Discovery News.

The historian traced back Lisa's life from her birth on June 15, 1479, to her death at the age of 63.

In his research, Pallanti found several important documents, such as Francesco del Giocondo's will. There, the merchant asked his younger daughter, Marietta, to take care of his "beloved wife," Lisa.

At that time, Marietta, one of Lisa and Francesco's five children, had become a nun, thus she brought her mother to the nearby convent of Sant'Orsola.

Lisa remained there until her death, according to a document known as a "Book of the Dead," found by Pallanti in a church archive.

"Lisa di Francesco Del Giocondo died on July 15, 1542 and was buried in Sant'Orsola," the document stated.

The record noted that the whole parish turned out for her funeral, showing that Lisa was rather famous among Florentine society.

Vinceti said that the newly discovered bones will undergo radiocarbon dating, hystological analysis and DNA testing.

"If the bones turn to be those of a female skeleton there will be two possibilities: Either they belong to the noblewoman Maria del Riccio or they belong to Lisa Gherardini. According to historic records, only these two women, who were not nuns, were given special burials in the convent," Vinceti told the local daily La Nazione.

Eventually, comparisons will be made with the DNA of Bartolomeo and Piero, Lisa's children who are buried in the church of Santissima Annunziata in Florence. - discovery

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa

Stealing Mona Lisa: A Mystery


The Elusive 'Goatman'

What's weirder than finding a man dressed as a goat in the middle of nowhere? Absolutely nothing. What started as an innocent hike up Ben Lomond Peak to look for some mountain goats resulted in one Ogden man stumbling across what appeared to be either a hard-working scientist or a guy who lives with goats, as a goat, in a shitty goat costume. The surprised hiker is Ogden resident Coty Creighton, who posted his hilarious tale of "goatman discovery" a couple of days ago on the social-sharing site Reddit. Though humorous, the original story is somewhat skimpy on details, so I messaged Creighton for a full breakdown.

"This happened Sunday morning, July 15, at precisely 10:21a.m.," Creighton said to me via e-mail, "I know this because I was texting a friend from atop the mountain, telling him he was missing out on the find of a lifetime. I was heading to Ben Lomond Peak, but this technically happened on the slopes of Willard Peak, just to the North of Ben Lomond. At first, I was just watching the goats, but there was the one odd shape that just stood out. It was bigger and a brighter white than the other goats. I tried getting a better view with my camera but I didn't have a telephoto lens with me, so I still couldn't quite make it out. I could see it wasn't walking the same, and it seemed clumsy in comparison to the other goats. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what other type of animal it could be. An albino bear? Honky Sasquatch?"

I assumed it had to be some sort of deformed goat. I stopped on the trail, pulled my pack off and rummaged for my binoculars. Once I pulled them out, I could make it out very clearly. It was a dude, hanging on to the side of the mountain, in a homemade goat suit!"

He didn't have binoculars or a camera, so he couldn't have seen me too well, but he just stayed there, propped up on all fours, staring right back at me. After a few minutes I was sufficiently freaked out so I grabbed my pack and hiked off around a bend behind some trees. I then pulled my camera back out to take some more photos of him. I think he knew I was still there so he got off his hands and knees and instead just sat on the hill. To me, it appeared as though he was pouting. I almost felt bad."

After a few more minutes, he went back to work, slowly crawling on hands and knees down the hill. Occasionally, he would stop, pull the mask up to reveal his face and would hold what appeared to be a mobile phone. Maybe he was snapping photos? He definitely didn't have any real photo equipment with him, and there was no pack in sight, either."

There are three ways up that mountain: an eight-mile hike from North Ogden divide, a six-mile hike from Liberty, or a three-mile hike from Inspiration Point if you drive all the way up the canyon. I was coming from Inspiration point myself, and my vehicle was the only one in the lot, so he wasn't coming from there. That means this guy either hiked six to eight miles in a goat suit, had a family member willingly drop him off at the canyon in a goat suit or he lived up there. Any of those situations was pretty disturbing to me. I really wanted to talk to the guy, but I also didn't want to be alone with him, miles from another sane person. I figured my best bet was to stay clear and let him go about his business."

I finished my hike to Ben Lomond Peak and made my way back several hours later. I kept my knife handy as I trekked through the area I first saw him, but he wasn't to be found. I stopped, pulled out the binoculars again and scanned the hillside. The entire herd of goats had vanished. I can only assume the goat man and his surrogate family had headed off back to their cave for an afternoon nap. I've thought about this encounter every day since. At the time, I was kind of freaked out -- it was obvious this wasn't a teenage prank or someone being funny, this was serious and odd; now I wish I would have stayed and watched longer. I need to know more. I need to go back to that peak and find answers."

So far, no one knows who this guy is or what he was doing dressed as a goat in the middle of nowhere, but usually the simplest explanation is often the best explanation. Dedicated naturalist? Goatman? Elaborate hoax? If anyone has any information on this guy, please let us know. - cityweekly


JonBenet Ramsey Case: James Kolar, Former Leading Investigator Rejects Intruder Theory In New Book

A former lead investigator in the still-unsolved JonBenet Ramsey murder case has come out with a book explaining his theory that there never was an intruder.

James Kolar claims in his book, Foreign Faction - Who Really Kidnapped JonBenet?that the evidence raised questions about the intruder theory that eventually led to JonBenet's family being cleared.

"I was kind of discouraged they didn't want to pursue things I thought should be looked at," Kolar said. "I was kind of discouraged the work I had done was not being received well," Kolar told the Daily Camera.

The title of Kolar's book correlates with the ransom note found in the Ramsey's home which claimed to be written by a "small foreign faction."

Kolar says he'd been hoping the case would have been solved by now and that his book could have been written from that vantage point. The former detective had access to 60,000 pages of evidence, including crime-scene video and photos, interviews with individuals related to the case and forensic reports.

Among the contradicting evidence Kolar points out in his book are fully intact cobwebs stretching over the window the intruder allegedly entered, more DNA evidence found at the crime scene including DNA on the garrote cord used to strangle the young girl.

In his book, Kolar also writes about a child's toy that was found that may have been responsible for some of the abrasions on JonBenet's body, rather than a stun gun which had been considered a possible source of the injuries to her back, according to The Daily Beast.

"By the time I parted company with the D.A.'s office, I was convinced that there was no significant possibility that an intruder had been involved in the death of JonBenet," Kolar writes in his book.

On Dec. 26, 1996, 6-year-old JonBenet was found bludgeoned and strangled to death in the basement of her family home. A ransom note from an anonymous group of individuals "that represent a foreign faction" asking for $118,000 in exchange for the safe return of JonBenet was found just hours before, but no call ever came from a kidnapper and it was never linked to a murderer. See the full text of the ransom note originally published by Vanity Fair magazine and republished by The Daily Camera, here.

John and Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's parents were prime suspects for years and repeatedly appeared on news channels defending their innocence and demanding justice for the murder of their young daughter. The entire Ramsey family was cleared of any involvement in the murder of JonBenet back in 2008, thanks to then newly discovered DNA evidence, according to 9News. Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother, died 2 years earlier in 2006 of ovarian cancer, tragically, she was still considered a possible suspect when she died.

Beginning in 2010, investigators reopened the case and launched a fresh round of interviews with witnesses that could provide more insight into the murder, according to ABC News, but nothing fruitful came of those interviews.

The DNA evidence still points to an "unexplained third party" that serves as a vague lead for authorities still pursuing the case, TIME magazine reported.

According to 7News, Boulder police have tested more than 150 DNA samples and investigated nearly the same amount of potential suspects in their ongoing investigation, but none have ever been linked to the crime.

After all these years, Boulder police have received thousands of tips about her murder and still receive several monthly. Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett said in 2010 that he personally gets five or more tips each month, according to Fox31. The ones that have potential are passed along to Boulder police's Major Case Unit. There have been plenty of false leads as well, including most famously Mark Karr -- who bizarrely admitted to being with JonBenet the night of her death, but DNA evidence later cleared him of any wrongdoing in this case, MSNBC reported. Craig Silverman, talk radio legal analyst on 630 KHOW that has covered the unsolved murder since it first broke, spoke to KDVR about the public's interest in the case back in 2010:

It's an enduring, epic mystery. Everybody would like to know who killed little JonBenet.
Silverman went on to say on his Huffington Post blog, "This JonBenet murder mystery has never been lacking for clues. There are too many clues. It is putting all the puzzle pieces together that matters."

It remains one of the most notorious murders in U.S. history and a decade and a half later there is still no justice for JonBenet who would be nearing her 22nd birthday if she were alive today. - THP

Foreign Faction - Who Really Kidnapped JonBenet?

Perfect Murder, Perfect Town : The Uncensored Story of the JonBenet Murder and the Grand Jury's Search for the Final Truth

In My Opinion: JonBenet Ramsey, the Travesty of Innocence Revisited

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reader Submissions: Large Long-Face Bird -- Huge Lynx-Like Creature -- The Pentagon Underground

I received a few interesting reader submissions and responses this week:


Large Long-Face Bird Encounter - Levelland, Texas

Hi my names Amanda I'm 23 years old. It's been 8yrs since we've seen this but it has always been at the back of my mind. I'm sending this email in hopes of finding out any information on this!

My mother was driving me and my 3 siblings to school. As we just turned off our block, I realize she is slowing down the vehicle. To our left is an empty lot where we then see something that looks to be a bird. It was grey in color and about 4 to 5 feet tall. As we're stopped in the road this thing looks at us. It's face was long and looked very old and wrinkled. It turned away while opening it's wings, they where about as wide as the front end of our truck (8-10) feet. It then sort of flew a few yard's to our right passing in front of us. The odd things is, that as it seemed to be flying it never really flapped it's wings. Just as soon as it crossed the road we drove off.

After requesting more information, I received the following:

Hi again. This was September of 2004. A small town called Levelland, in Texas. It was early morning between 7:30 - 7:45 a.m. I remember asking my mom "are u seeing this" she answers yes then my little brother and sister in the back seat asking "what is that" What we seen was something completely outta the ordinary....


Huge Lynx-Like Cryptid - Jane, Missouri

The date is 7/19/2012. Three weeks ago my mother saw this creature - she had never heard of it until today we watched a program on sci-fi channel where a team traveled to Jasper, Arkansas, which is about an hour away from me here in Jane, Mo. She spotted the creature at the intersection of Raines Road and White Bluff Road. It ran across the road - she said it was as tall as her hips, about 3 feet tall. Hideous looking she said with huge tufts on its ears. It looked at her. She said it had a hideous face. There was a motorcycle behind her which abruptly stopped. She said her hair stood on end and the guy behind her was obviously distraught as well. She said it had the lynx chops on the sides of it's face, which was squashed looking like a human she says..not a regular cats face. Had a short tail not a long tail; but was all grey, not black. She says no stripes or spots. This can't be more than 5 miles from where Dsmith73 heard it in Jane in 2008 as highway 90 has only a few mile stretch thru this tiny town. Surprised yet not surprised to see another report from Jane. Also, my dad claims to have heard a howl one night that he could not place as a dog, mountain lion, or wolf. My question to Dsmith73 is have you heard the scream of a panther before and was it different than that?

NOTE: I don't know who Dsmith73 is or anything about an incident in Jane, Missouri. Nonetheless...the email came to me so I decided to post the report. Anybody have information on this? Lon


The Pentagon Underground


When I was a kid my father was in the military, and we lived in the Washington, D.C. area for a year. (He was stationed at Fort Belvoire.) At that time, I met a man who worked at the Pentagon who also attended my parents' Baptist church. He was a regular church member and was well-respected. But what I noticed, whenever I saw him, was that he was a troubled man and a real jerk to his wife. He constantly verbally abused her. Anyway, one Sunday I found myself alone with this guy. Sunday school had just finished, and we were waiting for the main service to start. (His wife would sometimes teach Sunday school for my class.) We were sitting there waiting inside one of the classrooms, and he started to tell me about the underground areas of the Pentagon. That he, himself, worked in one of the underground areas, but not "too far" underground. He said things "get worse" the farther down one goes. I remember that he looked haunted as he spoke, and he hinted that criminal/borderline-criminal activities took place there often.

Now, I was just a 14 year old girl at the only thought was how to get away from this guy and rejoin my family. He made me very uncomfortable. Plus, it seemed so random. I didn't tell my parents, though, because they were typically unsupportive whenever I found myself in odd situations. Since nothing disastrous happened, they wouldn't have believed me. (If something disastrous did happen, I would have been blamed.) - J.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Beyond the X-Files

Too Many Secrets: Humanity's Fight To Expose The Secret Underground Worlds

Keep Out!: Top Secret Places Governments Don't Want You to Know About

Just the Facts?: O'ahu Invaded by Purple Creatures -- New 'Starchild' Bone Test -- UFOs Over Oldham, UK

O'ahu's south shores invaded by mysterious purple creatures

The south shore of O'ahu is being invaded by something strange from sea, that even has sand crabs running for cover.

"It's the first time I've seen this, I've never seen it before," says beach goer Bruce Kuwana.

"It's really weird, it looks like you want to eat it like a little berry," says beach goer Sonya Lake.

"There are probably millions I'd say," says beach goer Scott Paddock.

If you look closely the entire shoreline is dotted with tiny, purple creatures all curled up.

"Looks like it has about it 6 legs on each side," says Lake. "Yeah it's like an avatar crab."

"When something washes up like this you don't know what to expect, maybe Tsunami stuff," says Kuwana.

It's something many have never seen before. And no one we found knew what they were.

"I definitely want to know where they came from and what they are all about," says Paddock.

Even the biologists at the Waikiki Aquarium are scratching their heads. They've been getting reports of the pea-sized crabs from Kahala to Ala Moana, all this week.

"The lifeguard called and asked what these things were because she had reports of surfers were actually have these things crawl up on their boards and onto them," says Norton Chan, Waikiki Aquarium Biologist.

He can't find a specific name for the animal - all he knows is they are some type of crab still in the larvae stage.

"What you are seeing is a swimming stage probably a few more molts before they settle into their actual crab stage itself," says Chan.

Likely the ones we spotted on the sand were dead or will be soon. He estimates there could have been millions that came up onto our beaches in the past few days.

"I don't think it's that common but ever so often when conditions are right these animals really start coming in," says Chan.

Waikiki Aquarium officials are saving some, hoping to keep them alive long enough to see how they grow.

"There's a lot of things we don't know about the ocean so any opportunity like this is a great learning experience," says Chan.

At this point it's still unknown where these crabs came from, how big they'll get and what they eat. - khon2


Woman discovers her mother's skull above gravesite

Claudia Schmitt held a funeral for her mother just three weeks ago, but now has to go through it again: the cemetery forgot to bury her mom's skull.

Schmitt, 48, of Cologne, Germany, noticed the grave error a few days ago when she went to tend her mother’s resting place.

When she bent down to check the flowers, she noticed a hard round object that she initially thought was a coconut.

It wasn't.

“There were also many worms and maggots," she told the German-language news site "And then when I saw a jawbone complete with teeth, I flipped out. Of course one had the terrible feeling that one had found the remains of one’s own mother.“

Schmitt and her brother, Harald, immediately reported the skull sighting to cemetery officials who were, as might be expected, embarrassed to death by the morbid mistake.

“Things like this can happen, but we can only apologise. The remains will be buried tomorrow in a separate funeral,” a cemetery spokesman told

Amazingly, there is a bright side to the grave situation: Schmitt had intended to take her 82-year-old father with her to his wife's headstone, but he stayed home because it was raining.

This isn't the only example of cemetery shenanigans that have happened in recent months.

Around July 4, officials at a cemetery in Hudson, New York noticed that American flags were disappearing from the graves of Civil War veterans.

The flag nappings weren't caused by anti-war protesters, but by groundhogs who enjoyed chewing the wooden flagpoles.

And in May, a family in Los Angeles sued a mortuary over a body switch that resulted in a grandmother being buried in another woman's clothes in a California. The body was supposed to be buried at an above-ground crypt in Nicaragua. - THP


Lloyd Pye: New Starchild bone test that is NOT DNA!!!

This one will be going after isotopes. What are isotopes? you might ask:

Any of two or more forms of a chemical element, having the same number of protons in the nucleus, or the same atomic number, but having different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus, or different atomic weights. There are 275 isotopes of the 81 stable elements,in addition to over 800 radioactive isotopes, and every element has known isotopic forms. Isotopes of a single element possess almost identical properties.

Recovering isotopes can reveal what an animal ate, including fossilized animals. Isotopes have shown, for example, that Neandertals were mainly carnivores. Currently, isotopes can tell if oysters on the coast have part of their nutrients coming from tree leaves, in addition to the normal phytoplankton. These are two among countless other examples.

In the case of the Starchild, recovering and analyzing its isotopes can tell us if it ate differently from humans around it. Or, if we're correct about it being from another world, that suggests its isotope proportions of Carbon, Nitrogen, Sulphur, and other elements, would be totally different from anything seen on Earth at present.

This is what we'll be trying to accomplish over the next few weeks, and we expect these results to provide more fuel to the fire we have lit with the recent partial DNA results. Sooner or later we will reach a tipping point, and mainstream media will no longer be able to ignore us, as they're doing now. - Lloyd Pye

The Starchild Skull -- Genetic Enigma or Human-Alien Hybrid?


Reader Submission: UFOs over Oldham, UK

I have over the last 50 years spotted around 10 UFOs in the Oldham area. Usually they have been bright, very fast and manoeuvrable orbs. Two of the UFOs were slow and saucer shaped. The first around 1962) was hovering above me at night while I watched fire crews putting out a blaze at a remote garden allotment on what is locally known as Oldham Edge. This craft appeared to be held together by steel riveted girders. The light from the fire gave us, my young friends and I (we were around 10 years old at the time), a decent view of the craft. This encounter lasted for around 2-3 minutes. The craft then moved of very slowly in an East direction and it made no noise at all. Another encounter came around 1982 (not sure of year but it was in late summer) I was working at the Blue Coat School and at around 4:30 pm I saw a bright object approaching Oldham from the south east. As it got closer I noticed that the brightness was being caused by the sun which was set low in the west. This craft was saucer shaped and was moving in a wobbly sort of way. I would describe this craft as appearing to be made of highly burnished aluminium and appeared to have sections of square plating held together by pot rivet’s. The craft hovered for about 30 seconds just about 50m from where I was stood and parallel to me and then moved off slowly and due east before disappearing from my sight over a quarry on a hill about 1 mile distant. I was stood about 850 foot above sea level and the quarry is about the same. The craft was travelling at about 1,00 foot above sea level and thousands of people leaving work to go home must have seen it too.

All of the other of my sightings were bright orbs. The first of these I sighted at about 4:30 am. As I was preparing to go to work at Oldham Post Office I and my wife saw a large bright orb rise up from an area known as Chew Valley reservoir about 4 miles east away from our home. This orb was huge, probably around 100m across. and glowing in the dark. I think this was in or around 1978 around autumn time. It rose up from the valley in strait vertical motion,slowly, and then halted at around 2,000 feet. It hovered for about a minute and the shot off in the diction of Manchester airport which lies aound 10 miles south west of Oldham. It disappeared completely within 2-3 seconds of moving off beyond our vision passing the airport area and city lights in the far distance. Manchester is a very large conurbation of many millions of people and the surrounding towns give off a lot of street lights. Our home sits high on a hill in Oldham and many English Counties and North Wales can be seen from our home. I have calculated that this object would have had to have travelled about 42 miles before disappearing over the horizon. That is 42 miles in 2-3 seconds. One other notable sighting was a small, bright orb manoeuvring in zig zag fashion along the hull of a jumbo jet which was travelling from an east direction (in the southern sky) towards Manchester Airport. I see aircraft doing this every day from my home in Oldham. The orb then started to manoeuvre around the hull mid section disappearing and reappearing as it went around the hull. This was around summer at about 5:00pm 2011. This sighting lasted for about 3 minutes as both craft descended toward the airport and gradually out of my sight. Other sightings of bright orbs have been brief and not much else to describe about them as they have been at night. The one sighting of the highly burnished aluminium craft was in fact reported in the Oldham Evening Chronicle. a chap called, I think, John Beezer asked local people to contact him about this sighting as he was doing research in to UFO sightings at the time. A good number of people saw this craft and reported it at the time. I told my work mates just after the sightings and they all laughed at me until they read about it in the Chronicle the following evening. - David Winterbottom

Shadows in the Sky: The Haunted Airways of Britain

The UFO Files: The Inside Story of Real-Life Sightings

Unidentified Flying Curiosities in Great Britain: The Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident, Crop and Lakenheath-Bentwaters

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just the Facts?: Singularity Only 20 Years Away -- Orb Above My Bed! -- Earth's Magnetic Field Reversal

Scientist Says Immortality Only 20 Years Away

Ray Kurzweil, a world-renowned scientist and author of The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology thinks the world as we know it will be unrecognizable in 20 years.

One of the changes he thinks are possible: Scientists may finally crack immortality.

"I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogramme our bodies' stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, aging," he writes in The Sun. "Then nanotechnology will let us live for ever. Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively."

Kurzweil, whose fans include Bill Gates adn Bill Clinton, makes a number of other substantial claims, such as humans being able to replace all failing organs with artificial ones. He says we'll be able to scuba dive for hours without oxygen, and write entire books within minutes thanks to advanced nanotechnology.

Oh, virtual sex will also be commonplace in the not-so-distant future.

Kurzweil's absurd-sounding proclamations stem from the fact that technological progress is growing at an exponential rate.

"Computer technology and our understanding of genes — our body’s software programs — are accelerating at an incredible rate," he writes. His theory of the Law of Accelerating Returns, suggests there will be another "billion-fold" increase in technology over the next quarter century.

"In reality, the time needed for technology to double is constantly decreasing," Inc's Kevin Bailey explains. "The next thing to realize with an exponential curve, is that at a certain point progress relative to time skyrockets up. The increase in technology that once took 20 years now takes 10, and then 5, and then 2.5, and then 1.25, and then .75 years, and then on and on. Kurzweil claims that we are right at the beginning of the sharp upturn that's characteristic of exponential curves."

Kurzweil thinks we're just beginning to tap into the possibilities artificial intelligence can bring, and the advancements will only get more wild. We're already using it in small ways to help us land airplanes and conduct searches on Google.

"These technologies should not seem at all fanciful," says Kurzweil. "Our phones now perform tasks we wouldn’t have dreamed possible 20 years ago. When I was a student in 1965, my university’s only computer cost £7million and was huge."

Kurzweil concludes, "We can look forward to a world where humans become cyborgs, with artificial limbs and organs." - sfgate

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology


Orb Above My Bed!

Temple Terrace, FL - 11/17/1991 - unedited: My husband and I were asleep in our second story condo in Temple Terrace. It was either in the fall or spring about 1991,as our north facing window was open.

I was asleep on my back,my husband on his left side facing the wall. He snores.

I awoke to see an orb, about the size of a basketball , hovering just above my shins. It was an oily swirrling of teal blue and salmon pink inside the orb.

I said to my husband," Do you see that?" He said, "Uhuh."

He had not moved.

I said "Good", and slowly raised my right arm to touch it. It slowly moved to my right...perhaps through the wall.

I went straight back to bed. This is odd since when I am awake I can not get back to sleep. Another odd thing is that I am really nearsighted, but saw the beautiful colors swirrling clearly.

The next morning, I asked my husband what he saw. He became angry and did not want to talk about it. I wanted to know, I was excited. Everytime I brought it up, he was angry. I never saw this side of him.

After abouty a week, he relented. This is what he saw: an orb, green like the old IBM computer screens, longitude and latitude lines.

Wow! I ask what numbers he saw,he could not tell me. He told me not to tell anyone about this.

At this time, I was taking a gifted course in which they taught us about right brained and left brained people. I am right brained, my husband left. Whatever this was, was speaking to our dominant brain side.

It took a little over a month for him to be comfortable with me telling anyone.

My husband and I are college graduates, pretty scientific. This was not explainable.

Since then, I have shared this with family and friends. He remains uncomfortable speaking about it to this day. - MUFON CMS


Oxford scientist suggests alien encounter will occur this century...sorry, you're several millennia too late!

A leading UK astrophysicist asserts that intelligent extraterrestrials might be discovered this century.

While speaking at the Euroscience Open Forum conference in Dublin, Ireland, Jocelyn Bell Burnell announced, “I do suspect we are going to get signs of life elsewhere, maybe even intelligent life, within the next century.” The Daily Mail jokes that this is “a scientific prediction that will get dollar signs pinging in Steven Spielberg’s eyes.” But Burnell, a professor and astrophysicist at the University of Oxford, proposes that governments, rather than Hollywood filmmakers, should prepare for contact. She poses questions for governments to consider, such as, “How well prepared are we? Have we thought of how we approach them? Should we put them in a zoo, eat them, send in GIs to bring them democracy?”

According to the Daily Mail, Burnell believes “we are most likely to find alien life where we find rocky planets with carbon dioxide and ozone in the atmospheres.” But as the Times of India points out, “Even if we do find signs of alien life, it is likely to take decades to talk to them from Earth through radio or lasers.” Burnell commented on this point, stating, “Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. So you are probably talking of conversations that could take 50 or 100 years, just one way.”

In conjunction with this story, the Daily Mail referenced a poll conducted by the Royal Society that determined forty-four percent of Britons believe extraterrestrial life exists, and more than a third feel we should be actively searching and trying to make contact with extraterrestrials. - openminds

The Ancient Alien Question: A New Inquiry Into the Existence, Evidence, and Influence of Ancient Visitors

Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens

Alien Contact


Earth's magnetic field just might be gearing up for a reversal

Our planet's magnetic field periodically flips its direction, with the magnetic North and South Poles switching places. Such a reversal could wreak havoc on human society — and there's now reason to think one could happen soon... in geological terms, at least.

If nothing else, it's been an unusually long period since the last reversal — the geological evidence suggests the field flips about once every 450,000 years, and it's been about 780,000 years since the last reversal. That in itself doesn't necessarily mean a reversal is imminent, as there have been past instances where a million years passed from one reversal to the next. Just over 200,000 years may not be much time as far as the planet is concerned, but it would mean the chances of humanity having to deal with a magnetic field reversal in even the long-term future remain extremely low.

To have any idea of when a reversal might occur, we first need to know more about the mechanism that causes it, and that's where new research by Peter Olson and Renaud Deguen of Johns Hopkins enters the picture. Their seismic imaging of Earth's core revealed lopsided growth — in other words, the core wasn't spherical or even all that close to it, with one hemisphere slowly melting into something noticeably smaller than the other half. Currently, the eastern hemisphere of the core is bigger than its western counterpart.

This lines up neatly with the current location of the axis of Earth's magnetic field. The line linking the two magnetic poles doesn't pass right through the center of the Earth, but is in fact offset about 300 miles eastward. Their data suggests this is a change from recent history, as until about 200 years ago the magnetic axis was solidly in the western hemisphere for at least 10,000 years. In what is likely not a coincidence, it was about two centuries ago that the inner core's eastern hemisphere started growing bigger.

All this indicates some fairly rapid movement from west to east, and Olson and Deguen's research indicates a link between these sorts of quick shifts and magnetic field reversals in the past. This might be enough to suggest that a magnetic reversal is already underway, although the researchers are quick to point out that the core is simply too chaotic to say anything with certainty at this stage. It's only a possibility, perhaps a very remote one, but this new model at least suggests that it is a possibility.

Besides, reversals take anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 years — even if you do want to grant that we're two centuries into one, that doesn't necessarily mean its more serious effects on human technology will be felt in the next few centuries, let alone in our lifetimes. This is the problem with being in the middle of a geological event — they're so damn slow it's hard to tell if anything is actually happening at all. - io9

Our Magnetic Earth: The Science of Geomagnetism

Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer's Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves

Earth Magnetism: A Guided Tour through Magnetic Fields (Complementary Science)

Haunted Highway: The Original 'Ozark Howler' Reports

Many of you may have watched the 'Haunted Highway' episode on Tuesday night...namely, the 'Ozark Howler' segment. The information for the investigation was gleaned from two posts on 'Phantoms and Monsters' by BASE Productions. I have provided the original reports below:

Lon - I don't have any idea what I witnessed Saturday evening (5/28) but it was the most frightening experience of my life. My wife and I were camping at an RV park near Jasper, Arkansas and planned to be there for several days. We arrived early Saturday and got situated soon after.

My wife wanted to look around the area since she had never been in the Ozarks. I was born and raised in the mountains and was familiar with the terrain and wildlife. After we tinkered around the campsite we decided to take a short hike through a nearby valley. There were a few caves and caverns along the way but nothing where I would have guessed any large predator would be living. After walking for an hour we started to head back towards the RV park.

Not long after we started walking back down the trail something caught my eye on the right in a sassafras thicket. My wife sensed it as well and stopped to look in the same direction. I could see this dark four-legged creature moving back and forth slowly through the brush. We immediately started to walk at a fast pace back towards the park. This creature was moving along as well, keeping it's distance, but tracking us. This continued for what seemed like 10 minutes until we reached the clearing.

We got back to the campsite very shaken and nervous. All my years growing up in these mountains and I had never seen anything comparable to it. From what I could gather it was very large, almost the size of a black bear but moved close to the ground like a cat. It was also very dark in color. We didn't say anything to others camping nearby.

The rest of the evening was very quiet and peaceful until around 2:15 am, we heard what sounded like a high pitched howl coming from a distance. It was loud enough to wake both of us and I noticed several campers were looking outside, milling around and talking as well. Someone said it was just a coyote - but that was not a coyote or anything else I had ever heard before.

The next morning we woke around 9 am. When I stepped out of the RV a woman walked up to me and asked if I had heard the howling. I said that I did and had no idea what it was. The woman, who was camping nearby, said that she believed it to be the 'Ozark Howler' and that there had been a few sightings recently. I knew the stories about the 'Ozark Howler' but never believed any of it.

Well, my wife wanted to leave ASAP. Now I'm not sure what to think. We came home today and I looked up the 'Ozark Howler'. There isn't much to go on. I read your blog and thought you may want to get the word out. Is it possible this creature may live?
- Was It The Ozark Howler? - 5/30/2011


I have seen this creature very close to Jasper, Arkansas. I have lived in the Arkansas Ozarks for over 20 years. I never knew what it was until recently doing research. And I do believe I know where they are. I first had visual sight of one was off HWY 65 on HWY 256, heading towards Welcome Home. When I saw it I couldn't believe my eyes, I had never seen anything like it, what shocked me the most and what was most memorable was the horns coming out of it's forehead, very much cat like, but it was it's face with it's horns that really shocked me. I drove as if in shock from a car crash not believing what I saw, until I started doing research on the subject. For over 10 years, in a remote region close to Mountain View, Arkansas, you can hear the howl every single night, usually after midnight. I never knew it was until I did the research, it is very elk like, almost like a horn, but definitely a howl. If anyone is brave enough I can show you where exactly to go to hear this, and where I made visual contact. - Reader Response - Ozark Howler - 8/15/2011

NOTE: I sure hope they start doing a better job with some of these segments. The 'Utah Skinwaker' segment was a joke...THOSE WERE COYOTES, JACK! I've provided information for several of these cryptid / paranormal shows and, for the most part, I haven't been too pleased with the final production. The 'Ozark Howler' segment was interesting though the dramatics could have been scaled back a bit. Sending the print cast to Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum added credibility to the findings (indiscernible/cryptid)...Lon

Haunted Ozarks (MO) (Haunted America)

Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth

Ghosts, Spirits, and Monsters of the Ozarks

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Are There Secret Underground Bases In The Eastern U.S.?

Some ufologists and investigators believe unknown underground facilities exist in the eastern corridor of the United States...possibly short distances from large population centers. My question is: if these bases do exist, are any used for non-human and/or human experimentation and research? Is there another Dulce Base or Manzano Mountain hidden away in the Appalachians? I've listed the known underground facilities in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region including those around the Nation's Capital for reference:

The White House has a very large, deeply buried facility underneath elevator in the White House gives you access straight down into the recesses. It is believed that 17 levels exist. Washington, D.C. has a expansive labyrinth of tunnels beneath it. Some of the tunnels are publicly known, such as the Metro tunnels and the underground train tunnels that members of Congress use to travel from their office buildings to the Capitol building.

Fort George G. Meade, near Laurel, Maryland, midway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland there is a huge underground system. Fort Meade is operated by the U.S. Army, but the National Security Agency (NSA) has its largest, publicly known operations center there. The NSA has literally acres upon acres of super computers underground at Fort Meade, stacked level upon level...a gargantuan subterranean stack of hi-tech digital pancakes.

The FEMA Alternate Underground Command Center is located off of Riggs Road, near Olney, Maryland, to the north of Washington, D.C. It has been described as a multi-level base stuffed full of sophisticated electronic gear. It is rumored that there are at least 8 levels at this facility.

Near Blue Ridge Summit, PA is the location of the so-called "underground Pentagon" maintained by nearby Ft. Ritchie, MD, and used as a major electronic nerve center for the U.S. military. A massive installation that is also known as "Raven Rock" or "Site R" that was blasted out of greenstone granite 650 feet below. A 260,000 sq. ft. facility sprawling beneath 716 acres composed of five different "buildings" in specially excavated separate caverns, literally forming an underground "pentagon". Also contains fluorescent lights, convenience store, barbershop, medical and dining facilities, an underground reservoir containing millions of gallons of water, a chapel, 35 miles of telephone lines, and six 1,000-watt generators. It is a supercomputing and electronic command post linked with several military communications networks around the globe, and is reportedly connected via tunnel to Camp David several miles to the south near the town of Thurmont. - UFO Magazine, Vol.7, No.6; Richard Sauder (NOTE: the original source noted that Camp David was north of Raven is actually south in the Catoctin Mts. Raven Rock has been the subject of speculation since it was built, but I can assure you that the facility does exist and is heavily secured. Deadly force warnings are posted well before you reach the 1st checkpoint...Lon)

The reason I bring up Raven Rock is because of several sightings and sudden 'vanishing' of odd entities in the general area. In light of the government presence, one has to wonder if there is any connection. I have personally investigated witness reports of reptilian and small hominids in nearby locations including Michaux State Park, Gettysburg, Cunningham Falls State Park, Waynesboro, PA Watershed and the South Mountain area.

There have been a number of small incidents and sightings of small strange entities throughout the Appalachian Mountains...from Georgia to Maine. But most seem to be concentrated in coal-bearing areas with deep mines or limestone quarries where caves are revealed. Food for thought...Underground Bases, Missing Children and Extra-Terrestrials: What You Need to Know for Your Future

Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, near Bluemont, Virginia on Rte. 601, is the main underground command center for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA has a 400 acre complex on the surface of the mountain. The underground base is very large, and actually qualifies as a high-tech, subterranean town. The base began construction in the 1950s.

The Pentagon, in northern Virginia, the national military command center, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. There are multiple underground levels beneath the Pentagon...though the extent of the underground facility is not public knowledge. There were plans in the 1960s to build a very deep base at the 3,500 foot level.

U.S. Army Warrenton Training Stations A and B, near Warrenton, Virginia are classified as U.S. Army facilities. In reality, the CIA has a strong presence there and uses the U.S. Army as cover. There are also Stations C and D elsewhere in the region, but very little is know about these areas.

Camp Peary or 'The Farm' is located just a few miles from Colonial Williamsburg. It is a low profile facility used by the CIA as the main training and operations base in the USA. As with the Warrenton Training Stations, the CIA uses a thin U.S. military cover at Camp Peary...indicate as a U.S. Navy Reservation.

According to Richard Sauder of " the early 1950s, the U.S. Navy was building a facility deep below the water line. The Navy’s Cheatham Annex lies immediately adjacent to the CIA’s secretive Camp Peary base, nominally administered by the U.S. Navy. Considering the Navy’s construction activities 60 years ago, and recalling that the Camp David Presidential retreat in Maryland is also administered by the U.S. Navy and lies above a major underground base hidden beneath it, I conclude that there is a high probability that the Camp Peary/Cheatham Annex area along the York River is underlain by an underground complex, too."

NOTE: Is it possible that secret underground bases could exist in the Appalachians or deep below population centers and known military bases? What do you think? Lon

Hidden in Plain Sight: Beyond the X-Files

Too Many Secrets: Humanity's Fight To Expose The Secret Underground Worlds

Keep Out!: Top Secret Places Governments Don't Want You to Know About

Just the Facts?: Another Illinois/Missouri January 2000 Triangular UFO Report -- Wanna Hear a Nuclear Blast?

Triangular Craft - January 2000 - may be part of mass sightings in Illinois

The witness, who was an Assistant Fire Chief at the time, was prompted to contact MUFON after seeing a TV program on the Illinois sightings in the year 2000. He stated that he was returning from a house fire in St. Clair, Missouri at approximately 3:00 AM and was on I-44 Highway approaching Union, Missouri when he heard law enforcement on the county police band radio discussing an unidentified object. The dispatcher said “Oh its this Roswell stuff again.” and that police were chasing the object.

As the witness approached 50 hwy and 47 hwy he saw a large triangular craft with lights pointing down over the Wal-Mart that was traveling at approximately 25-30 MPH. The witness said that the very bright lights on the object pointed downward, but did not light up the ground, seeming to stop approximately 100 feet up. The craft was approximately 500 above the ground.

The witness joined up with an officer from Union, Missouri and an officer from the County, and the three of them followed the object in their separate cars for approximately one hour as the object headed towards Washington, Missouri, north of the original position. The object was always in front of them or above them. At one point, the county officer attempted to tilt his dash cam up in order to get pictures, but it would not move into the needed position.

None of the men had a camera with them. The object stopped and hovered several times and moved very slowly. They were unable to use the radio for communication while the craft was above them. After an hour, the officers needed to turn back to get back to other calls, so this witness left as well. By this time, the object had moved into an area SE of Washington, MO over farmland where there were no roads, and it was impossible to follow.

The witness surmises that the object from Illinois continued into Missouri and officers picked up its trail after it crossed the state line. - MUFON CMS


UFOs in Missouri: True Tales of Extraterrestrial and Related Phenomena

Missouri UFO's & Extraterrestrials!: A Look at the Sightings & Science in Our State! (Carole Marsh Missouri Books)


Online Course: An Introduction to Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

The truth is out there – and now budding alien hunters are being given the chance to sign up for a crash course in close encounters.

Edinburgh University is to offer a new course exploring how to detect alien life on Earth-like planets, and the implications if contact is made.

An Introduction to Astrobiology and the Search for Extra-terrestrial Life will begin this autumn and is expected to be widely subscribed to.

The lectures, part of a major new drive in online teaching, will be free and run for five weeks with students from across the globe expected to be attracted to the subject.

Today, Edinburgh was announced as the first university in the UK to join the Coursera consortium, an organisation set up by senior academics at Stanford University to provide free online undergraduate level courses to anyone who wants to access them.

The institution will use the network to deliver its own tailored 
Massive Open Online Courses, with the five-week courses starting this autumn.

The Search for Extra-
terrestrial Life – which is “fully academic” with students being awarded a certificate for passing – is among six courses initially being offered.

It will be led by Professor Charles Cockell, a former research associate at the NASA Ames Research Centre in California and now professor of Astrobiology at University of Edinburgh.

The first two weeks of the course explore the origins of life and how beings survive in extreme environments, with the focus in the third week moving to the possibility of life being discovered on other planets.

The final week includes asking how contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence would be dealt with and what would be the impact on society. It concludes with the question “who would represent Earth?” in the event of first contact.

The six courses, which also include Artificial Intelligence Planning and another titled Equine Nutrition, have no entry requirements or fees but university dons said students will have to work hard to complete the assessments and receive a pass certificate.

Professor Jeff Haywood, vice principal of University of Edinburgh, told the Evening News: “This course is based on Professor Charles Cockell’s research with NASA and covers what is a seriously interesting and important area of study.

“While you might have 100 students on campus, or 1000 on a distance learning course, here we’re talking about potentially 100,000 students.” - scotsman

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

If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life

Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: SETI Past, Present, and Future (The Frontiers Collection)


Wanna hear a nuclear blast?

They are surely the most horrifying offshoot of modern technology - nuclear warheads which can smite hundreds of thousands of people dead within seconds, and leave lasting scars on a landscape for generations.

And while most of us will have seen archive footage of nuclear explosions before, one thing we are unlikely to have heard is their sound.

For, according to one expert, most films we see of a nuclear blast use stock 'explosion' sound effects for the bang - and audio footage is few and far between.

But Alex Wellerstein, an historian of science at the American Institute of Physics, has shared a unigue video of a blast during America's testing of nukes in the Yucca Mountain area of Nevada during the 1950s.

The historian was sent the video below from a Russian colleague, and has now shared it on his blog.

Wellerstein wrote: 'Most films of nuclear explosions are dubbed. If they do contain an actual audio recording of the test blast itself (something I’m often suspicious of - I suspect many were filmed silently and have a stock blast sound effect), it’s almost always shifted in time so that the explosion and the sound of the blast wave are simultaneous.

'This is, of course, quite false: the speed of light is much faster than the speed of sound, and the cameras are kept a very healthy distance from the test itself, so in reality the blast wave comes half a minute or so after the explosion. Basic physics that even a non-technical guy like me can understand.

'It’s rare to find footage where the sound has not been monkeyed with in post-processing. So I was pleased when a Russian correspondent sent me a link to footage digitized by the National Archives of a 1953 nuclear test. The footage is very raw: it hasn’t been edited much, and is a bit washed out, but the audio is still in “correct,” original sync.'

Hear the blast here - Video and sound of a nuclear explosion

Civilians were allowed to watch this blast from 11 miles away, partly an attempt by the government to allay public fears about the dangers of nuclear fallout.

Wellerstein adds: 'The audio is what makes this great. Put on some headphones and listen to it all the way through - it’s much more intimate than any other test film I’ve seen. Troops were also on hand, and they can be heard shouting ''Whoa' and 'Jeez!' at the end of the video.

'You get a much better sense of what these things must have been like, on the ground, as an observer, than from your standard montage of blasts.

'Murmurs in anticipation; the slow countdown over a megaphone; the reaction at the flash of the bomb; and finally - a sharp bang, followed by a long, thundering growl. That’s the sound of the bomb.

'There were U.S. troops there as well, as part of Operation Desert Rock V. They provide a huge amount of ambient noise.' - dailymail

Under the Cloud: The Decades of Nuclear Testing

Fallout: An American Nuclear Tragedy

Idaho Falls: The Untold Story of America's First Nuclear Accident


FDA approves first drug to prevent HIV Infection

For the first time ever, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug proven to reduce the risk of HIV infection. Called Truvada, the drug's approval marks a watershed in the fight to stem the continued spread of AIDS.

"It really marks a new era in HIV prevention because in adding Truvada as a prevention strategy, what comes with it is expanded access to HIV testing, condoms and prevention counseling and support," said James Deluca, vice president of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, in an interview with the Associated Press.

It's worth pointing out that Truvada is not a new drug. First approved in 2004, it's been used for years to treat people already infected with HIV, and is actually a combination of two other drugs commonly prescribed to slow the replication of the virus.

It wasn't until clinical trials, beginning in 2010, that scientists had the evidence they needed to show the treatment could work as a prevention tool, as well. In one study, daily doses of Truvada were shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 42 percent among HIV-negative individuals who regularly engaged in unprotected sex with more than one partner. A second trial involving heterosexual couples with one infected parter showed that daily treatment reduced risk of HIV infection by 75 percent when combined with condom use.

Not surprisingly, the FDA has made it clear that Truvada will be prescribed as part of a prevention plan that includes risk reduction counseling, HIV testing every three months, and regular condom use.

"It is exciting to consider the potential impact of this new HIV prevention tool, which could contribute to significantly reducing new HIV infections as part of a combination HIV prevention strategy," said Dr. Connie Celum, who led the trial involving heterosexual couples, in a statement.

But HIV prevention doesn't come cheap. At its current price, a year's worth of pills will set you back at least $13,900 — that's close to 40 dollars a pill. At that price, it's no wonder Truvada has become a blockbuster drug for pharmaceutical company Gilead, which markets the treatment.

Experts say 40 bucks a pill may be steep — but it's still likely cheaper than the alternative, especially for people whose regular sexual partners are HIV-positive:

"It is expensive," notes John's Hopkins University's Joel Gallant, "but on the other hand it's far cheaper than a lifetime of HIV treatment."

"If there are people who will not use condoms but are willing to use this, then for those people it's cost effective." - io9

Johns Hopkins HIV Guide 2012


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Chicago & Regional Winged Humanoid / Flying Entity Sightings & Encounters - Witness Sightings Map

NOTE: Any use of witness information, which includes any attempt to contact a witness or persons involved in an event, is strictly prohibited without the written consent of Lon Strickler.


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