; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News - 9/1/2010

Trolls In Sweden

I noticed that Jon Downes of Cryptozoology Online received an interesting email:

Dear Mr Downes,

My name is Camden Xiang, and I've followed the work of CFZ from time to time. I thought I'd draw your attention to the appended document, which contains a transcription of posts on the Swedish Internet forum Flashback, concerning sightings of trolls. I've myself translated the posts from the Swedish, trying not to "improve" on the quality. I've added comments where necessary in brackets. Some people's stories are developed in several different posts, so I've pieced them together. I've italicised English phrases occurring in the Swedish original.



Spjuit: [Note: the author lives in Ångermanland, in Northern Sweden]

I’ve said several times that I’ve seen a strange being running around in the woods. The first feeling I get when I see these is fear. You just want to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Explaining what they look like is very hard. So I’ve made a Godawful silhouette in Paint instead. I’ve never seen them in broad daylight so therefore the picture is black.

I’ve sketched completely from memory as best I could.

I see them in the winters after sunset. The last time I saw one was in the middle of November. Then the bus driver almost hit it.

The first time I saw one was when I was very small. It was then lurking just by the edge of the forest at our farm one summer watching the pigs we had then. I’d forgotten about it but suddenly remembered it this winter.

They’re most often roughly 150 [cm] tall, but I’ve seen one the same size as a full-grown man. It looks like they haven’t got a neck and are regarded as “knobby” by me. Also they run really fast even though they have legs that are half as long as ours. My best friend who used to be my neighbour saw them “first”. In fact I was the one [who saw them] but I’d forgotten about it, so. I got frightened to say the least and she didn’t dare to go out and bring in the horse on her own. The horse was staring in towards the forest and when she looked that way she saw 2 of these beings running back and forth on an old forest path. It was moonlight so she too also saw just black silhouettes.

Me, I thought she was kidding me. Until she refused to go to the stables alone. You could tell a long way off that she was genuinely frightened. I’ve never seen these together with someone unless you count the bus driver who veered away from one. The bus driver didn’t say anything. And there were only 2 of us on the bus. The other girl didn’t notice anything even though he veered sharply. I asked her later. The bus driver I haven’t even seen since so I’ve not been able to bring it up.

It doesn’t leave any footprints. I’ve written this before but one winter I met a big one on the road when I was going to see a friend. We walked on each side. At first I thought it was an old man but then I started to think and realised that no old person goes out late at night. Then I thought it was an illusion, nope, the snow creaked with each step it took. And then I thought that it had to be my friend who was kidding me and walked funnily to frighten me. So I called her name, then it went down into the ditch [by the side of the road] (and when I saw its profile I understood what it was) and laid down. It never went up again and the snow was like untouched.

I don’t know if it lied down or whether it dug itself under the snow. It probably became afraid when I started to shout and quite simply hid.

Skellefteewa: [Note: The author lives in Skellefteå, in Västerbotten, which is also in northern Sweden]

Kommer ihåg i min barndom då jag besökte en gammal man i ett hus långt inne i skogen. Han påstod att han sett troll på berget i skogen flera gånger. Han berättade att en del var rätt så små, men större än vättar och en del var riktigt stora. De var knotiga för att kunna gömma sig i skogen.

Remember in my childhood when I visited an old man in a house deep into the forest. He claimed that he had seen trolls on the hillside in the forest several times. He told me that some of them were quite small, but larger than goblins [Sw. “vättar”] and some were really big. They were knobby in order to hide in the forest.

Krafse: YES GODDAMMIT!! I’ve seen one! Or at least something similar. “Mine” had considerably longer legs though, I believe the legs were marginally longer than the “body ball” itself which looked very funny. This was a very long time ago, 2003 to 2004 I think, a summer night with a full moon so it was an exceptionally bright night. I remember that it looked like a ball with two legs. I don’t remember if I saw arms, though, don’t think so.

Anyway, I was out driving my moped in the middle of the night. (No, I wasn’t tired, I’d just turned my day around so I was full of energy!) and then it stood by the side of the road. I didn’t understand what it was at first, thought it was an elk’s ass or something, but the legs were too thick. It was really nothing that looked like an elk, but it was the only thing I could relate to that was not too “far fetched” so to say. Anyhow, it just kept standing there and I’d been waiting for maybe 10 sec for it to move, but it didn’t seem to hear me at all, so I turned on the gas a bit and then it reacted. What I then got to see was very strange, it ran on TWO legs roughly like a human, straight into the woods. Imagine that you take an elk (Or some similar animal.) and cut off the entire back section and make it black and add more fluffy, long-haired fur, then you let this back section run around. That’s sort of the way it looked like.

I drove past and tried to see it again but it had either run too far into the woods or else it was hiding. I didn’t have time to look and at the time I was so chocked that I didn’t even understand how wierd it was. Was only a quarter of an hour later that you really started to think about it and realise what the hell you’d looked upon. I’ve never seen it again after that by the way..

Respons: Haha this is a bit fun actually. I just came home from a vacation trip in Västervik [in Småland, southeastern Sweden] and saw this topic. We were staying just next to the woods so me and my boyfriend decided at night to go up onto a hill just next to us and have a beer. After a while I saw something that looked just like what you describe between the trees. “It” seemed to run on two legs at an enormous speed and was grey/brownish. I was also able to distinguish a forward-leaning build possibly like a hump. Was shocked out of my mind, my boyfriend claimed it was a bear which is totally incomprehensible :S

I’m still stunned since I can’t think of any animal looking like this “being”. I’ve never seen or heard about anything similar. I would rather say that it was a fat old man but the being ran much too fast for that.

Eldaron: I’ve seen something similar too! When I was young I walked a lot in the hills in central Hälsingland [northern Sweden] with my grandmother, and when we were heading to a mountain whose name I can’t remember, we went there in the evening to watch the sunset when I looked out into the woods as we were driving along the old gravel road when I saw something that fits your description precisely. perhaps 10 meters into the woods. I related what I saw to my grandmother who looked serious when I told her. Then she turned her car homewards and started to tell, that she lived here when she was a child and then she stopped and pointed into the forest where you could see an old almost collapsed house from the 19th century. There I lived she said and we moved because of the one you saw. And then she said that she had been playing with her sisters when she had seen it running quickly past her and then she started to scream. Then her dad had come and fetched her and he looked frightened. Later at night her grandfather sat down with her and said that she had seen the trolls.

Since then grandmother has never talked about the place or anything, when I’ve asked about it she’s just said ”I don’t dare, they mustn’t come here”. That frighetened you a bit, but now I’m sure I’ll never get any more info about if, grandma died half a year ago and she was the last person alive in that family. Wonder what the heck those “trolls” really did to make them so afraid.

Imbalidn: I’ve seen something similar. it was dark so I can’t say I’m convinced that I saw what I saw. But.. Anyway.

Last summer me and my girlfriend were out in the woods barbecuing some hot dogs and relaxing (Västergötland, btw) [Western Sweden]. I guess it must have been early September, so night fell a bit earlier. Around dusk the fire went out so we were going to leave. My girlfriend pointed towards some trees where she said she heard something. I looked towards it (she didn’t see a lot since she didn’t wear her glasses) and saw something looking like what everyone’s been describing. A silhouette of a fuzzy ball with two legs, looked insanely weird. I kept looking for a few more seconds until the thing took a step forward. I panicked like hell, asked my girlfriend to run and took her by the hand and tried to lead her out. As I said, she didn’t have any glasses so it was a bit of a panic there with the trees and the rocks. All the way out of the forest it sounded like fast, I mean FAST steps which like... Circulated around us. Having come out, it went quiet like hell. We went in and went to bed and didn’t talk more about it.

I don’t really know if this might be it. I hope we were just being paranoid and seeing illusions. I’ve been in the woods a lot as a small child and certainly you’ve fantasised a lot there but large balls with legs (the best description I’ve got) I don’t think I’ve ever seen as a child.

Well well, that’s that.

Plaguetongue: I’ve actually seen something similar a couple of years ago, when I was out hunting. I live in northern Dalarna [west-central Sweden] it was a September morning just before sun rose in the morning when I saw a strange being walking across the road in front of my car. it wasn’t quite as fat as on your picture, and didn’t looke like having any fur at all I’m not sure since it was still dark outside, it might have been dark green to black in its colour. we were 3 of us in the car me, my dad and another one in the hunting party and all of us saw it. as a hunter I can say directly that it was not a wild boar elk or bear, it had a broad neck or no neck at all, like a “head-and-foot creature” with legs. I guess it was 1 meter-1.20 meters tall. no one could explain what it was. I’ve never seen anything like it before. if I see one again I’ll shoot one I’ll be damned let’s see what it is.

I saw it in the light from the car ca. 30-40 meters ahead of me. if you manage to get a picture of it send it and I can see what it looks like.

I talked to the guy who is the “team elder”, the oldest in the team, he told me about something similar he’d seen a long time ago when he walked the woods in the area as a forester.

he told me a story about an experience from some time in the past, when he had been a forester. he had seen something that he didn’t know what it was, was some time in late autumn an early morning as light started to dawn, which looked like a small human without a neck. he came out onto a mire and it stood on the other side looking at him for a few seconds before it disappeared out into the woods. I don’t quite remember what he said then but I think he’d seen it more than once. I’ll have to ask him when I see him the next time, should be at the hunt in September.

Iregom: This is sick. I’ve also seen something like this like twice in my life. It was winter and dark, walking on a road with forest on both sides. See osmething black and around 50 cm tall running straight across the road at a hell of a speed and disappear.

The other time I can’t remember because I thought it was just an illusion but then it happened again so it’s something funny moving out there!

Fattygoblin: I had an acquaintance who saw something incomprehensible a winter night. Him and his friends had been out skiing slalom on a suspended slope [ie. a slope where skiing is not permitted] – in the middle of nowhere. After a run or two, when they were at the bottom of the slope, they glance up towards the top...then they see a colossally huge person walking right across the slope. Not a giant, like twenty meters tall. But according to him the figure was at least four meters. The proportions didn’t quite agree with what looks human. It was a starry night outside, so he saw the silhouette clearly. His friends too. It bears mentioning that people in all times have said that the mountain where the slope was is haunted. And that that giant man has been seen. I think it’s somewhere in Dalarna.

Know that I questioned this a bit, but he was dead serious. And that was a guy who didn’t believe in spirites and ghosts and stuff...

WarPig: My mother recently told me that she’d seen what she thought was a running troll on the forests of Jämtland [northwestern Sweden], late at night outside her campervan window. She brought her camera outside and started to snap blindly in the dark. When she then comes home and puts the images on her computer she sees on one of the images (which was just black on the camera) a what she thinks is troll face of “smoke/mist” big all over the picture.

Rodolfus: ’om jag inte missminner mig (det kan vara något annat landskap i närheten).

I can tell you that I have at least two female relatives, one younger and one older, who’ve told me that they’ve experienced something similar to [Spjuit]’s story. The “thing” is said to have run in front of the car when the younger of them was out driving one night and is also said to have been observed sneaking around the house and the barn on the farm. The older one claims to have seen one of them peeking in through the window and to have seen the “thing” running on a meadow. It/they are said to have been seen both at night and day a number of times at least.

This is said to have taken place at a farm in Dalarna if I’m not mistaken (it might be some other province nearby).


The Search For The Bonhomme Richard

theday - The Ocean Technology Foundation will launch its fifth expedition later this summer to search for the wreck of John Paul Jones' Revolutionary War ship the Bonhomme Richard in the North Sea.

The two-week expedition may provide the best chance yet to find the famed ship off the northeast coast of England as the U.S. and French navies are providing state-of-the-art sonar systems, an oceanographic survey ship, a mine hunter, underwater vehicles and divers.

"This is the latest and greatest equipment," Jack Ringelberg, president of the foundation, said Monday.

Previous expeditions have eliminated a 400-square-mile area where the ship was thought to be while additional historic data and information about how it may have drifted before it sank have refined the search area.

And unlike past expeditions, which either surveyed possible wreck sites or explored targets, this venture will have the capacity to do both. The exact dates of the trip were not released.

Project Manager Melissa Ryan said Monday this is the best attempt to locate the wreck since 2008, when on its last voyage the Groton-based U.S. Navy nuclear research submarine NR-1 explored many of the wrecks that sonar had previously located. The NR-1 found that they were more modern vessels.

This has led researchers to conclude that the wreck will likely not be in one piece but possibly spread across the ocean bottom - and maybe underneath it. Special sonar equipment on the upcoming expedition can penetrate the ocean bottom.

"The Bonhomme Richard is like a proverbial needle in a haystack," Ryan said. "But the good news is that the haystack is considerably smaller than it was five years ago when our surveying began."

Ringelberg said the ship was thought to be carrying a large load of iron ballast that could help in locating and identifying the wreck. The foundation also knows the foundry markings of the ship's cannons.

Accompanying the searchers this time will be four midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy who took an online course Ryan taught about searching for historic shipwrecks using the Bonhomme Richard as an example.

The four will now be able to work as part of the team looking for the ship of one of the country's greatest naval heroes, whose remains are contained in a sarcophagus in the Naval Academy chapel in Annapolis, Md.

The Bonhomme Richard sank in September 1779 after a battle with the HMS Serapis. It was during the battle that Jones is said to have uttered one of the most famous lines in U.S. history: "I have not yet begun to fight!" he shouted to the captain of the British vessel.

The crew of the Bonhomme Richard eventually captured the Serapis after a bloody, three-hour battle, but the Bonhomme Richard sank off Flamborough Head, where people on land witnessed the battle.

The foundation has analyzed eyewitness accounts of the battle, ships' logs, information on tides, winds and weather, battle damage and computer models of how the ship would have drifted before it sank to locate possible sites of its final resting place, which is thought to be in 150 to 180 feet of water and within site of the coast.

If the team finds evidence of the wreck, Ryan said, it will perform a detailed archaeological study. A decision about what artifacts to recover and preserve would be up to the U.S. Navy. Ringelberg said he would like to see a traveling exhibit of artifacts if the ship can be found. Of note is that the converted merchant ship was owned at the time by the French government, which was letting Jones use it.

At first, Ryan said, failure to find the famed ship was frustrating. But she said she has learned the effort has a much broader scope in serving not only an educational purpose but in helping the foundation forge partnerships among groups that have never worked together.

"Do I want to find it?" Ryan asked. "Of course I do. But if it was easy to find, someone would have already found it."

Because no money, jewels or other treasure is thought to be aboard the Bonhomme Richard, Ringelberg said its primary value lies in its historic significance.

"The value," Ryan said, "is recovering a piece of history and sharing it with the American people."


Terrible Dragon Dinosaur Once Roamed Romania

guardian - There's no evidence of wings or fire-breathing capability. But the powerfully built, meat-eating predator that terrorised Romania some 80m years ago is close to the mythological dragon.

Fossils found near the city of Sebes in central Romania have revealed a dinosaur with scythe-like claws for ripping apart prey which scientists have named balaur bondoc – "stocky dragon" in ancient Romanian.

Related to the velociraptor, which was brought to terrifying life in the film Jurassic Park, the dinosaur roamed the area when it was an island during the late Cretaceous period. At just 2.1 metres (7ft) long, it might have made a disappointing opponent for St George but would have preyed on small animals.

A partial skeleton of balaur bondoc, including leg, hip, vertebrae, arms, ribs and tail bones, has been unearthed from a former flood plain near Sebes.

Balaur had a stockier build than the velociraptor, its short legs and powerful muscles suggesting it was built for strength rather than speed. Its most unusual feature was having two oversized toe claws to the velociraptor's one.

"Balaur is a new breed of predatory dinosaur, very different from anything we have ever known," said Stephen Brusatte of Columbia University in New York, co-author of the research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Its anatomy shows it probably hunted in a different way than its less stocky relatives. Compared to the velociraptor, balaur was probably more of a kickboxer than a sprinter, and it might have been able to take down larger animals than itself, as many carnivores do today."

Scientists believe the lower limbs were used to grasp and disembowel prey.

Unlike the vampire, which entered the mythology of eastern Europe in the early 18th century, the dragon has been part of Romanian legend for many centuries. Its ubiquity in fairytales worldwide has been interpreted as evidence that it could have existed. Balaur the evil hydra, a popular creature in Romanian mythology, is similar to a dragon but differs from its newly discovered namesake in that it was large and had fins, feet and multiple serpent heads.

The Romanian link with dragons was perpetuated in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. The character Ron Weasley's brother Charlie worked at the world's largest dragon reservation in Romania.

As to the comparatively modest balaur bondoc, Josh Chamot of the National Science Foundation in Virginia said: "It's as large as anything you'd expect to find on one of the larger continents. Animals which were isolated from others on these islands were usually a lot smaller than their continental counterparts. This dino's size advantage, combined with the two claws it had on each foot to slice prey with, would have made it a very successful hunter."

Mark Norell, co-author of the study, called the discovery "thrilling". He said: "While we would expect that there were carnivorous animals in these faunas, finding one as unusual as balaur is thrilling and is testament to the unusual animals found on islands today and in the past.

"The finding indicates that this area of the world, despite its archipelago geography, had at least intermittent connections with the mainland up to the end of the cretaceous."

NOTE: See...I knew Rubeus Hagrid was correct when he said his older brother Charlie was in Romania working with dragons! Lon


British Man Nearly Killed By Mystery Spider

camdennewjournal - While living in Australia he survived both the venomous bite of a redback spider and the deadly sting of a box ­jelly­fish.

But the last thing Don Forrester expected when he returned to England was to be left close to death by a poisonous ­spider in Kentish Town.

After being bitten by a hungry, hairy-legged creature last week, the former Sunday Times journalist has warned residents to beware of a colony of tropical spiders that could be on the loose in Camden.

Mr Forrester, of Grafton Road, was laying decking for a friend in Islip Street last Wednesday when he felt a sudden pain in his hand, which he put down to a wood splinter.

Seconds later he saw two unusual-looking brown hairy spiders with yellow stripes on their backs scurrying across the garden.

But it was only when his hand swelled to five times its normal size that he realised he had become the creatures’ prey.

Mr Forrester said: “Within an hour my hand went from what I thought was a little splinter to looking like a balloon. It continued to get bigger for three days and the pain got so intense I thought I’d better do something about this.”

Mr Forrester sought the advice of a chemist who told him he needed antibiotics, but before the 62-year-old could see a doctor he took a turn for the worse while having a drink with friends in the Sir Robert Peel pub in Malden Road.

“I’d just got my pint when I just started to shake all over, my heart started to race and I started to come over all white,” said Mr Forrester. “The boys took one look at me and said they were going to get an ambulance. Without them I’d probably be dead.”

He was rushed to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead with dangerously low blood pressure and was later taken into theatre where doctors worked to remove the poison, which had already begun travelling up his arm. Mr Forrester’s condition was so serious he was kept in overnight and given antibiotics intravenously. He is now taking a cocktail of 11 tablets a day and has been advised to have physiotherapy to restore the movement in his arm.

But the ex-Fleet Street reporter is only too aware of how lucky he was to survive his ordeal.

“I’m a fit man – that’s the reason I was able to fight it off,” he said. “But if it had been an elderly or sick person without that level of resistance they might not have made it.”

Mr Forrester now plans to research the ­spider’s identity so he can warn other people what to look out for.

Fortean / Oddball News - 9/1/2010