Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News - 8/28/2010

'Ghost Train' Hunter Killed By Train In North Carolina

CNN - The facts: On August 27, 1891, a passenger train jumped the tracks on a tall bridge near Statesville, North Carolina, sending seven rail cars below and about 30 people to their deaths.

The legend: On the wreck's anniversary, the sounds of screeching wheels, screaming passengers and a horrific crash might still be heard. You might also see a uniformed man with a gold watch.

Shortly before 3 a.m. Friday, on the 119th anniversary of the Bostian Bridge train tragedy and at about the same time, between 10 and 12 ghost hunters were on that approximately 300-foot long span.

They were hoping to hear the sounds of the crash, and perhaps see something.

Instead, a real Norfolk-Southern train -- three engines and one car -- turned the corner as it headed east to Statesville, about 35 miles north of Charlotte, authorities said.

The terrified "amateur ghost watchers" ran away, back toward Statesville, trying to cover the nearly 150 feet to safety, said Iredell County Sheriff's Office Capt. Darren Campbell.

All but two made it.

Christopher Kaiser, 29, of Charlotte, was struck and killed, said Campbell.

A woman who witnesses say Kaiser pushed to safety fell about 30 to 40 feet from the trestle and was injured. Her name and condition were not known Friday night. She was being treated at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

"There was no way out, said Campbell. "They almost made it."

The engineer of the train, which was traveling at its customary 35 to 40 mph, hit the horn and "stopped as fast as he could," Campbell said.

Campbell, 38, is from the area and has heard all the stories, although he said he knows of no one who has ever seen or heard the "ghost train."

On the 50th anniversary of the Bostian Bridge incident, a woman said she witnessed it all again. In 1991, hawkers sold T-shirts and other memorabilia, and there were an estimated 150 people waiting for the train, according to the Charlotte Observer.

There are occasional reports of railroad crossing arms dropping without cause, Campbell said.

The ghost trip on the anniversary has become an annual tradition of sorts.

A woman who did not want to be identified, but who was part of the group of onlookers, told CNN affiliate WCNC, "We were there looking for what people say happened. You hear the train wreck or hear people screaming. We were just watching."

Kaiser's mother said the family was too distraught to talk about the incident, WCNC said.

Campbell said most of the ghost hunters, who were from out of town, have been interviewed. Many fled because they were trespassing on railroad property, he said. Campbell said there were no patrols near the bridge early Friday.

Although the investigation is continuing, Campbell said the incident appears to be an accident.

At least two blogs that cover the phenomena, N.C. Ghost Guide and, detail the 1891 wreck's legend. While accounts vary somewhat, the man with the gold watch reportedly was first seen on the first anniversary.

According to, Hugh K. Linster was a baggage master for the Asheville-bound train that crashed into Third Creek that August of 1891.

"Hugh Linster never made it to retirement," the blog reads. "His body was found in the wreck having been killed immediately upon impact with a broken neck."

One year later, a group of people at the bridge said they saw a man in a railroad uniform, holding a watch.

He vanished before their eyes, legend has it.


Numerous Great White Sharks Seen Lurking Off Southern California Beaches

underwatertimes - There have been 8 confirmed and 5 suspected white shark sightings and breaches reported from Sunset Beach, Los Angeles, in less than two weeks. Observations have occurred from early morning to late afternoon. Reports of juvenile and adult white sharks from this location are not new or unique.

Last October 3rd several photographs of a breaching white Shark were posted on the Pacific Coast Shark News page. Many more have been posted since that date. Daily reconnaissance by helicopter of this location has yielded some intriguing results over the past 13 days.

According to the helicopter pilot Lance O: "White sharks have been active at Sunset Beach every day with no less than 5 sharks present. The sharks range in length from 7 – 18+ feet."

The sightings are not limited to just Sunset Beach, but have also been reported with some regularity from San Onofre State Beach as well. Other locations have included; Point Mugu, Pismo Beach, Carpenteria, Venice Breakwater, La Jolla, Point Dume, Gaviota, Huntington State Beach and Topanga State Beach to name but a few. Year to date there have been 4 authenticated, unprovoked shark attacks on humans. The date, location, and victim activity are listed below.

*2 Jul 2010, Surfing, Silver Shoals at Shell Beach (Pismo Beach), CA
*2 Jul 2010, Paddleboard, Dog Patch, San Onofre State Beach, CA
*2 Aug 2010, Kayaking, 5 Nautical Miles off Gaviota State Beach, CA
*14 Aug 2010, Kayaking, Bean Hollow Beach, Pigeon Point, CA

Photographs and narratives for these recent encounters are posted on the Shark Research Committee's Pacific Coast Shark News page.

Shark encounters are not unusual this time of year in the Southern California area, which is believed to be a birthing location and nursery for white sharks. Juvenile sharks are frequently observed close inshore during those times of the month when the California Grunion spawn.


Venezuelan Politician Offers Breast Implants As Raffle Prize To Raise Election Funds

telegraph - "There are critics but also some people think it's a nice idea," said Gustavo Rojas, an opposition candidate for a National Assembly position.

Cosmetic surgery, especially breast enlargement, is widespread in image-conscious Venezuela, whose beauty queens have won numerous international pageant titles.

Even a recession has not diminished Venezuelans' appetite for cosmetic surgery with many people taking out loans for the surgery.

Mr Rojas, of the opposition First Justice party, told El Universal newspaper that he was not too worried about the medical details of his offer.

"The raffle is a financing mechanism, nothing else," he told the newspaper. "It's the doctor who will do the operation, not me."

Venezuelans vote on Sept 26 for a new parliament.

The country's president, Hugo Chavez, on Friday denied rumours that he was suffering from cancer.

Local media reports had claimed that the 56-year-old was suffering from cancer in the nasal cavity.

His failure to appear on Wednesday's first day of campaigning for the parliamentary elections fuelled the speculation, although it later transpired that Mr Chavez had been holding a lengthy meeting with his mentor, Fidel Castro, in Cuba.

Mr Chavez, who has inherited Castro's mantle as Latin America's leading critic of the United States, took power in 1999 and plans to run again for the presidency in 2012.


NC Woman Convicted of Resisting Arrest After Recording Traffic Stop from Her Porch

alternet - The resisting-arrest conviction last week of Felicia Gibson has left a lot of people wondering. Can a person be charged with resisting arrest while observing a traffic stop from his or her own front porch?

Salisbury Police Officer Mark Hunter thought so, and last week District Court Judge Beth Dixon agreed. Because Gibson did not at first comply when the officer told her and others to go inside, the judge found Gibson guilty of resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer.

Salisbury Police Chief Rorie Collins wouldn’t comment on the case specifically, but did discuss the charge in general terms with the Salisbury Post:

Post: What is “resisting arrest” or “resist, delay, obstruct an officer” in the performance of his/her duties?

Collins: “These are basically the same charge. Some call the charge simply “resisting arrest,” and some call it by its longer and more official title.

Post: If the police stop someone in a car in front of my house, do I have the right to stand in my yard or on my porch and watch?

Collins: “The answer to this question is not quite as clear cut as the first. The short and quick answer is, ‘yes,’ in general, you do have that right!

“However, just as with many other scenarios, it is important to remember that every situation is based upon its own merits/circumstances. There are some circumstances in which the police who have stopped the vehicle in front of your house may determine that it is in the interest of safety (the officer’s, yours or the individual stopped) to require that folks move. As with other circumstances, it is best advised that an individual merely obey by the officer’s commands.”

Fair enough. So, is that what happened here? No.

Gibson was not the only bystander watching the action on the street. She was the only one holding up a cell-phone video camera. But court testimony never indicated that Hunter told her to stop the camera; he just told her to go inside.

The police arrested this woman for recording their traffic stop. From her own private property. Cops don’t like video.

Seems to me that the judge should’ve thrown this case out. If the bystanders without cellphone cameras weren’t ‘resisting, delaying or obstructing’ the officers, how is it that she was?

NOTE: similar incident below:

Click for video

I was arrested with felony charges for expressing protest against acts of injustice against a neighbor.

After cops felt her up during the traffic stop and illegally began to search her vehicle against her will, I expressed myself and got arrested. After the video, they illegally trespassed and searched my vehicle, finding one of my many legal firearms and held me 24 hours on a felony charge that was dropped the next day.



Rick Phillips at UFO Disclosure Countdown Clock has posted an interesting post at Contrails in TV Advertisements that includes several videos. Take a moment and check it out.

Fortean / Oddball News - 8/28/2010
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