Ghost in tree is scaring children away from school
After six students fell unconscious within a short time one day, triggering rumours of a ghost taking up residence in a tree next to a school building in south-western Bangladesh, children stopped attending classes, prompting the villagers of Hazipur in modern-day Patuakhali to decide to call in a witch doctor to chase the evil spirit away and set things right. The six say they have been visited by the demon, or “Ramayan” as is its name, who wants the 25-year-old hog plum tree to be chopped down and each to sacrifice a goat and distribute the meat among the locals to appease it. Doctors at Kalapara Upazila Health Complex who treated the six on the day of the fainting outbreak, term it a case of “mass hysteria”, that is manifestations of anxiety and hyperventilation.
News of one student becoming unconscious sparked off the outbreak, prompting others to feel malaise but for only a few hours. The phenomenon has nothing to do with the children's nutrition intake, they added, for they were healthy. “They need counselling and guardians and teachers can play a vital role in this matter,” stated Medical Officer Md Aminul Islam. This seems all too apparent for Laboni Baiddhya, the only Hindu of the group's five girls and single boy and the first to have gone unconscious. She and the others, all of whom are classmates except for two who are two years junior to her and studying in class six, were treated for six days at Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital. But like the others she did not return to school.
Her father Hebol Baiddhya says she has been “acting weird”, scolding and sometimes becoming aggressive when approached. On September 15 she had, though for a short period, lost consciousness again. The situation is worse for Rojina, one of the two younger ones. Lying in bed most of the time, she has a blank look in her eyes, cries out in sudden fits and attacks people at random, said her mother Amena Begum. She stopped talking some days ago. Using a pen and paper, Rojina explained to this correspondent what “Ramayan” wanted. Students, in this case all of the school's 303, abstaining from classes is not what the 60-year-old Hazipur High School ever experienced, said 80-year-old shopkeeper Md Nur Islam.
The issue prompted a meeting to be called at the school on September 17, the day no students turned up, where some 500 villagers and the school authorities were present. A three-member committee comprising headmasters of the high school and an adjoining primary school and the high school managing committee's chairman has been formed to bring in Babul Huzur, the “spiritual healer” to use charms and chant incantations to exorcise the ghost. “We are trying our best to overcome the situation,” said the high school's headmaster Shah Jalal Munshi, apparently not convinced that it is the works of an evil spirit. He is worried over the Junior School Certificate and annual exams coming up in less than two months' time. Though puzzled, he has his suspicions and so waits till new evidence comes to light and unravels this mystery. - The Daily Star
UK Releasing More MoD UFO Files
The UK government is set to release another set of declassified documents relating to the topic of UFOs.
The news follows previous assurances by the Ministry of Defence that all files pertaining to the phenomenon had already been released to the public following Freedom of Information requests.
This latest archive is set to be released by the end of the year and will be publically accessible by September 2015.
Former MoD UFO investigator Nick Pope has spoken out about the blunder and about what secrets the new documents might reveal.
"This is a huge embarrassment for the MoD and will have UFO enthusiasts up in arms," he said. "When the government said that all its UFO files had been released, conspiracy theorists didn't believe everything had been made public and it turns out they were right."
"The 18 files include ones from RAF radar specialists and from the ultra-secretive Defence Intelligence Staff, so there may be some fascinating revelations still to come." Read more at Daily Star
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Portsmouth UFO Hoaxers Revealed
The creators of a UFO hoax who set social media buzzing have come clean.
Several images of an unidentified object hovering over Portsmouth did the rounds last week, sparking speculation that the city could be the landing site of an invasion of green-skinned aliens.
But the explanation for the flying saucer has turned out to be not quite so dramatic.
The photos were faked in a publicity stunt to draw attention to an upcoming science fiction and fantasy festival.
Event organiser Joshua Hibberd, 26, North End, said: ‘We got eight or 10 people from around Portsmouth to take a picture at the same time on the same evening.
‘I e-mailed them to another organiser, Dan Cook, who is a whizz with Photoshop.
‘He added the UFO, and we had help from others to get people talking about it on social media.’
Mr Hibberd said he was bowled over by the international stir the stunt had created after The News reported the UFO sighting.
He said: ‘It’s amazing how people’s imaginations have been taken by this.
‘We really didn’t expect it go as big as it has.
‘We’ve found websites with people talking about it in Canada, India, Singapore, all over.’
‘We wanted it to be Portsmouth-wide, but we didn’t expect it to be worldwide.’
Mr Hibberd dreamt up the hoax as a cheap way of spreading the word about the SciFi and Fantasy Weekend, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday at Action Stations in the Historic Dockyard.
He said: ‘As we’re on a fairly low budget, this was the best way I could think of getting the event put on the map without spending lots of money.’
Mr Hibberd, who studied television and film at university, said science fiction and fantasy had such broad appeal he expected the festival to draw a lot of visitors.
He said: ‘It’s been kind of a geek’s paradise organising an event like this.’
The festival will include an exhibition of replica props from the Back to the Future films including the famous DeLorean time machine.
There will also be a Tardis, themed laser quest, stalls selling comic books and film merchandise and a screening of Guardians of the Galaxy. - Portmouth
Here’s the First Look at the New Satanic Monument Being Built for Oklahoma’s Statehouse
In January the Satanic Temple announced plans to erect a monument glorifying the Dark Lord on the front lawn of the Oklahoma Statehouse. An Indiegogo campaign was launched with what seemed like a somewhat lofty goal of $20,000, but by the time donations ended almost $30,000 had been raised. Now an artist trained in classical sculpture is toiling away in New York, crafting a Baphomet figure sitting beneath an inverted pentagram and flanked by two children gazing upward in loyalty. When it is finished, it will be cast in bronze and, the Satanists hope, eventually displayed in Oklahoma.
The statue is a direct response to the state's installation of a Ten Commandments monument outside the Capitol in 2012. State Representative Mike Ritze paid for the controversial statue with his own money, and therefore it was considered a donation and OK to place on government property. Following that line of reasoning, the Satanic Temple submitted a formal application for their monument.
As Trait Thompson of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission told CNN last December, “Individuals and groups are free to apply to place a monument or statue or artwork.” The applications are then approved or rejected by the Commission. Unfortunately, the state has placed a halt on issuing permits for any other monuments until a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Ritze’s Commandments monument is settled. Read more at Vice
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