; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News - 9/4/2010

Witch's Curse Blamed For Pub Fire

liverpoolecho - The landlords of a Merseyside pub which was almost destroyed by a fire believe a mysterious curse is to blame.

The blaze at the 250-year-old Magazine Hotel in Wallasey caused £200,000 worth of damage and left managers Linda and Les Baxendale living in a caravan for three months.

A small fabric witch figure which hung from the ceiling of the main bar was stolen two nights before the fire.

And with a history of accidents befalling those who dared to touch it, the couple are convinced the two are connected.

The official cause was a power surge which blew up the pub's fuse box, starting a fire.

Linda, 59, said: “Part of the history of the pub is the two witches and a little devil, all made from brown felt, which were hanging by the bar.

“No-one knows exactly how long they were there and we don't know who gave them to the pub but we think they were there for at least 100 years.

“They were covered in cobwebs and dust because we were told that if anyone touched them bad things would happen to them.”

The Baxendales have managed the Magazine Hotel, known locally as the Mags, since 2000 and Linda also ran the pub between 1980 and 1993 with late partner Phil.

When they first moved in they received an anonymous phone call warning them not to touch the witches.

She said: “We found out that a decorator took them down while he was working here in the 1970s and then was involved in a serious car accident at the top of the road.

“Phil once happened to touch the witch by accident and the following day he fell through a trapdoor leading to the cellar and broke his collarbone.

“Someone else fell over the following week and broke both his knees. It's spooky.”

Linda says she was convinced something terrible would happen after she learned about the theft.

She said: “One of my bar staff, Charlie, saw a man take the witch from the ceiling on the Friday night and run out. He wasn't a regular because they all know the story.

“I suppose I am superstitious because I used to say to the witches 'I tell people not to touch you so look after me' but when I found out one had gone I said ‘oh God something bad’s going to happen now.

“We live above the pub and on Sunday we woke up about 7.45am to the sound of smashing downstairs.

“I thought someone had broken in and was using a baseball bat until Les went downstairs and found it was a fire.

“It was terrifying. If it wasn't for the prompt response of the fire service the Mags might have burned to the ground.”

The remaining witch and devil were found in the scorched remains of the bar after the fire on April 18 but Linda says they have since vanished.

A friend bought the couple a replacement witch from Pendle which now hangs in their place.

They are celebrating the pub's re-opening with a beer and cider festival next week which will include a special brew, Witches Revenge.

Linda said: “What happened was so strange that I thought I'd better put the new witch up – just in case.”

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BUTTS Arrested In BOOB Murder Case

wearecentralpaPolice have arrested a third person in connection with the murder of Samuel Boob. Boob was shot and killed at his home in Potter Township, Centre County, on the morning of August 23rd, 2009.

Kermit Butts, 26, of Madisonburg, is accused of driving the suspected killer to and from the crime scene on the morning of the killing. He was charged with aggravated assault and assisting a murder suspect and placed in the Centre County Prison.

Police believe that Butts drove Ronald Heichel to the Boob home and picked him up later in the day on August 23rd, 2009. Police believe Heichel shot Sam Boob twice with a shotgun and killed him. Heichel was charged with 1st degree murder.

The victim's wife, Mirinda Boob, is accused of working with Heichel to have her husband killed. Police say they have text messages that were sent between her and Heichel, proving that the two were working together to kill Samuel. She has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.


In $1.2 Million Fraud Plot, Four Women Invented A Man Then Killed Him Off

tpmmuckraker - Just how low did four California women go to make a quick buck ripping off insurance companies? Six feet under.

Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters today highlighted a recent conviction in a scheme by four individuals in the Los Angeles area to invent a man out of whole cloth, hold his funeral, and then reap in the insurance benefits from his death.

A simple scheme this was not -- they went as far as to stage a funeral with paid actors, claim expenses for an extravagant funeral package and buy a burial plot for "Jim Davis." The fake funeral they actually held, however, was a simple affair featuring only a handful of fake family members, and the defendants allegedly pocketed the difference.

Jean Crump, a former mortuary employee, was found guilty last month, joining three other women who together defrauded insurance companies by filing $1.2 million in false claims.

The scheme began to fall apart once two insurance companies started looking at the claims and assigned an investigator to look more closely at rip-off.

Once those in on the scheme got word the feds were snooping around, they unearthed the coffin with the supposed remains of "Jim Davis" and re-filled the casket with a mannequin and cow parts. Then they sent it off to the crematory, and filed false documents stating "Davis" had been cremated and his ashes released into the Pacific Ocean.

The 67-year-old Crump was found guilty last month on two counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The other defendants included 61-year-old Faye Shilling, who pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud; 64-year-old Barbara Ann Lynn, who previously pleaded guilty in relation to the scheme; and 35-year-old Lydia Eileen Pearce, the mortuary owner who pleaded guilty as well.

Fake funerals aren't a tool used exclusively by the bad guys, however. The FBI itself staged a fake funeral to lure members of the Hutaree militia into federal custody back in March.


British Residents Phoned 999 Dozens Of Times Over 'Ghost and UFO Worries'

Officers say one emergency call came from a man who rang police claiming to have seen the ghosts of ''two old ladies in a white Fiesta'' on a dual carriageway.

Other worried calls came from people who spotted ghosts or poltergeists on CCTV cameras and another who said he'd seen a ghost which could ''make me a million quid''.

Dozens more calls were also made claiming to have seen aliens including one man reporting that his wife and dog were being abducted by Martians.

More than 150 calls, details of which were released under the Freedom of Information Act, claimed to have seen spooks or UFOs were made to Devon and Cornwall Police over the past 15 years.

One caller claimed a spectre gave him a ''horrible hairstyle and some dodgy photos. Ghost is Paul Newman.''

In one case in October 2003, the force recorded: ''Caller states he has got a ghost on CCTV. Caller wanted advice on who he could contact as the footage was going to make him a million. Advised to go to the press.''

In July 2004 someone from Newton Abbot in Devon reported seeing a ''ghost driver'' on the A38.

The police log recorded: ''Two old ladies in white Fiesta - come onto the A38B carriageway on the off slip facing the wrong way. Stopped on the hard shoulder, trying to reverse back up the off slip.''

A man in Callington, Cornwall, reported his wife and dog being abducted by aliens, while another said he'd seen UFO over a pie factory in Okehampton, Devon.

Other 999 calls were made to report ''a long, white cylinder thing like a train in the sky'' and ''orange balls moving slowly upwards and in all different directions''.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said most of the incidents were logged as ''non attendance'' or ''routine'' although in some cases officers were forced to respond.

''Our call centre operators take many types of calls and the vast majority are for emergencies or relate to non urgent inquiries of one type or another," he said.

''There are occasions though when a more unusual call is received.

"These are all dealt with professionally by our highly trained staff who access and process them in an appropriate way.''

NOTE: 999 is the British equivalent to 911 in the U.S.


Early Man 'butchered and ate the brains of children as part of everyday diet'

dailymail - Early cavemen in Europe ate human meat as part of their everyday diet, new research suggests.

A new study of fossil bones in Spain shows that cannibalism was a normal part of daily life around 800,000 years ago among Europe’s first humans.

Bones from the cave, called Gran Dolina, show signs of cuts and other marks which will have been made by early stone tools.

Among the bones of bison, deer, wild sheep and other animals, scientists discovered the butchered remains of at least 11 human children and adolescents.

The bones also displayed signs of having been smashed to get the nutritious marrow inside and there was evidence that the victims’ brains may also have been eaten.

Striek marks on the bone at the base of the skull also indicated that the humans had been decapitated according to the study’s co-author José Maria Bermúdez de Castro.

Bermudez de Castro, of the National Research Center on Human Evolution in Burgos, Spain, told National Geographic: ‘Probably then they cut the skull for extracting the brain. The brain is good for food.’

Scientists believe that early man ate fellow humans both to fulfill his nutritional needs and to kill off neighbouring enemy tribes.

Bones of humans that had been eaten spanned a period of around hundred thousand years, indicating that the practice was not just confined to times when food was scarce.

Because human and animal remains were tossed away together, the researchers speculate that cannibalism had no special ritual role linked to religious beliefs.

Bermudez de Castro said that the area surrounding the caves would have been a rich source of food so there would have been little need to turn to cannibalism as a last resort.

Instead the practice was probably more widely used as a way of dealing with competition from neighbouring tribes.

Children will have been targeted as they would have been less capable of defending themselves, the study suggests.

Fortean / Oddball News - 9/4/2010