; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News: Unicorn Sighting, Indian Witchcraft and Creature Night Attacks

Canadian Man Claims to Have Captured Unicorn on Video

smr.newswire - Amateur video depicting what could be one of the most elusive legendary creatures, the unicorn, has been captured on film by a Toronto resident. The video in question, shot by a local birdwatcher, Peter Hickey-Jones, shows what appears to be a white horse with a single horn on its head emerging from the trees in the Don Valley wetland.

Hickey-Jones brought the footage to the Ontario Science Centre to be analyzed by experts. The Science Centre is reviewing the footage frame-by-frame to determine whether Hickey-Jones’ claim is legitimate. With closer examination, Science Centre staff is hoping to establish whether or not a genuine unicorn sighting has occurred.

In the meantime, the Science Centre is asking the public to use caution if they think they see a unicorn. Do not make any sudden movements or attempt to use flash photography. Although legends of unicorns state that they are peaceful creatures, scientists worry that they may harm themselves or others if they end up on a road or highway. The Ontario Science Centre has set up an emergency unicorn hotline for the public for further information on unicorns or to report any unusual or questionable sightings.

Unicorn Facts

* Unicorns tend to avoid eye contact with humans and prefer to remain unseen
* Unicorns are known in European cultures as being fiercely beautiful creatures whose horns have curative properties
* The Asian unicorn, described as being scaly coated with the body of a deer and a flesh covered horn, was last seen by the Chinese philosopher Confucius
* The 1620 edition of Historiae Animalium, a book describing all the animals living on Earth, included a description of unicorns


“I was trying to film a pileated woodpecker when I saw what looked like a bright white horse in the distance. When I got a little closer, I noticed the horn on its head. I’m not one to jump to conclusions but I’m certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that what I saw was a unicorn. I’m just glad I got it on film.”

Hickey-Jones, eyewitness


Being Called a Witch in India is Not a Good Thing

telegraphindia - For Prabhat Ray, a grade-IV employee of the agriculture department in Kokrajhar, it is a nightmare he will never forget.

Ray and his family members were forced to flee their village in Balagaon Bashpara, 7km from BTC headquarters town of Kokrajhar, after he was branded a daina (wizard) by other villagers, under the patronage of some village youths.

Three women, including Prabhat’s wife, Batasi Bala, were assaulted, their hair chopped off and house vandalised.

The entire family, including Prabhat, his wife, their four sons, his sister, his brother and sister-in-law and their two children, are now on the run.

A case has been registered and the police today arrested one person in this connection.

According to the victims, some youths in the village accused Prabhat of practising black magic, releasing “spirits” in the form of two women and making them throw stones at villagers’ houses.

The villagers held a meeting last Friday and ratified the allegations made by the youths.

Prabhat was in his office and came to know about the allegations when he went home later that evening.

“I was in the office that day and came to know about the incident when I reached home in the evening. How can I be a daina?” he asked, still at a loss in trying to pin a reason behind such absurd allegations.

The villagers again called a meeting on Sunday and asked Prabhat to attend it.

Sensing something was wrong, his family and well-wishers advised him to stay away from the meeting and leave the village.

Not finding Prabhat in the meeting, the youths beat up his family members. They also forced his wife to sign on a blank sheet of paper.

The All Koch Rajbongsi Students Union remained silent on the matter. The All India Democratic Women’s Association, however, is helping the family.


Nashville Teacher Freaks Out In Classroom

newschannel5 - A teacher was removed from McGavock High School after a bizarre incident in a classroom that forced the principal to call parents and explain what happened.

The incident happened in Donald Wood's 11th grade algebra class Friday. Video shot by a student in class showed Wood throwing two tables, a garbage can and a chair.

The video starts with Wood telling a group of laughing students to "shut up."
Watch the video posted on YouTube. (Warning: some graphic language)

After standing quietly for about 20 seconds while students laughed, Wood waved his arms and said, "If you can be absolutely quiet… if you can shut your mouth… you can shut your mouth and you can listen in absolute silence… do you know why? Cause I have the absolute…"

"Power!" shouted one of the students.

"I've got it, and I know it," said Wood. "And guess who else knows it?"

Wood shouted something else that could not be understood before knocking a table to the ground. He then walked to the other side of the classroom and knocked over another table.

He shouted, "Do you know who started the fire? Do you know who started the fire in this school?"

A student said something inaudible, and Wood continued, "No… me!"

Wood picked up a metal trash can and slammed it to the ground. Students then began to leave the classroom. Witnesses said Wood then picked up a chair and threw it at the window - breaking the glass.

"He picked a chair and threw it on the ground – not at a student, but towards a student, but it was close – and that's when I got up and started walking away," said junior Joshua Jenkins. "Once everybody started running out he picked up a chair and threw it out the window and it shattered."

Several students could be heard laughing at the beginning of the 2 minute video, but then they realized it was escalating into a serious situation.

The disturbance was so loud students in nearby classrooms could hear the commotion. When the school resource officers got to the room, they handcuffed Wood and removed him from the school.

Witnesses said Wood shouted profanities and resource officers and students in the hall as he was escorted out. School officials said Wood suffered from an apparent nervous breakdown.

"[He was] very agitated, very scattered and he didn't make any sense," said Principal Robbin Wall.

Officials said Wood was removed from the school on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Wall said he had never experienced anything like it in his 32 years in education.

"A chair had been thrown through the window, broke the glass and everything – and being honest, we are very fortunate that none of our students were injured or hurt," said Wall.

Wall sent out an automated message to parents to inform that about the bizarre situation that unfolded at the school. Part of the phone call said, "We had an incident in the school this morning, a teacher had a nervous breakdown in class."

Some parents took their students out of class for the day. Shannon Jenkins said her son was too shook up to go back to school.

"The reason I wanted to pick him up one just being anxious he is not going to learn anything else for the rest of the day," she said.

Joshua Jenkins said it would be tough to return to his algebra class on Monday.

"I expect to learn and get my education, [but] it was scary. It was definitely scary," he said.

Metro Schools officials said Wood was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.

Wood has taught in Nashville schools for 17 years.

Click for video


Creatures Continue Nocturnal Attacks in Namibia

allafrica - Stories of unidentified creatures that attack animals at night continue to do the rounds in the north. On the early morning hours of last Friday, a puppy that belonged to Lukas Fotolela, a resident of Ongwediva, died after it was savagely mauled by an unknown creature.

The creature allegedly entered the house through a small gate that was not properly closed.

"I was sleeping with an open window, when I saw a big white animal, with a black or brownish head forcing its way underneath the corrugated iron sheets where the puppies were sleeping. I tried to scare it away by hitting on the window but instead, it jumped towards me, wanting to attack me, but I quickly closed the door," explained Monica Simon.

According to Simon, the creature looked like a dog, but was bigger than a dog. She explained that the animal exuded a strong bad odour.

"After I closed the window, the creature went back to the puppies and killed my favourite puppy. I heard it making sounds as if it was chewing something. I thought it was eating up the puppy but when we woke up, the dead dog only had a bit of blood coming from its mouth. I guess it sucked its blood," said Simon.

The owner of the house, Lukas Fotolela, who worked until late that night came home to find his dog dead.

"When I came home, the incident had just happened. The small gate was open and the dog was already dead. The other puppy survived as it hid on the far corner of the corrugated iron sheets," said Fotolela.

Fotolela said he searched his yard but could not find the animal or its footprints.

For years now stories of unknown creatures that kill animals in the north, especially Oshana Region have been reported. Livestock especially goats and chickens have reportedly fallen prey to these creatures. Accusing fingers are pointed at individuals who are accused of being the owners of these animals in what is believed to be witchcraft cases. They only suck their victims' blood and eat the foetus from expecting goats.

Early this year, two dogs were killed by police officials and environment and tourism officers at Ehafo Village after the community there informed the officials that these dogs were responsible of the deaths of their animals.

The two dogs that belonged to an Oshakati businessman were killed after "mistaken" identity.


Artist uses kids to re-enact World Trade Centre attacks, Abu Ghraib torture, murder of Jon-Benet Ramsay, etc.

leaderpost - A photographer's image shows a boy with olive skin pretending to crash a toy plane into twin towers of blocks while another plays fireman in a rendering that has fuelled debate on parenting in an age of media saturation.

This and other provocative images in Jonathan Hobin's photography exhibit In the Playroom depict as child's play the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, child beauty queen Jon-Benet Ramsey's murder and other real life horrors ripped from the headlines.

Alternately decried as irresponsibly risking children's innocence to make a political statement and praised for inspiring new ways to speak to kids about life's ghastly moments, the 12 photographs - three years in the making - are on display at Ottawa's Dale Smith Gallery until Sunday.

"Kids have always taken what they see in life and incorporated it into their play. Play is a tool that kids use to process and understand the world around them," Hobin told AFP.

"All I've done is exaggerate those reflections of our world that kids see."

Critics accused the Ottawa artist of being a pervert, a racist, of being insensitive toward 9/11 victims' families and even a hater of twins for his staged photograph of the razing of New York's Twin Towers, "The Twins."

Most remarks, however, were directed at parents of the models - some of them professional child models, others children of Hobin's cousins and friends - for allowing them to participate in, for example, a torture scene in "A Boo Grave."

In it, a boy in his underwear and handcuffs is being attacked by a stuffed dog while a girl in green khakis points to a hooded child standing on a box with electrodes wired to his fingers.

"If you have teenage children who want to 'express themselves' in art, that is one thing. But volunteering your young (some in diapers) child to be photographed in a scene depicting blood or graves or people jumping out of the Twin Towers is wrong," said the popular Bad Moms Club blog.

"They don't know what political statement they are making (on someone else's behalf) and it's just wrong," said the parenting website.

"Maybe this is art, but creating art while risking your kids' innocence is irresponsible."

Amanda Etherington told local media she agreed to let her 5- and 7-year-old sons appear in a photo depicting the unsolved disappearance of U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway from Aruba because she felt it had artistic merit.

Another parent told the Toronto Star her son "had a good time and got to eat a few lollipops."

The most severe criticisms involved a Jon-Benet Ramsey photo with the model's panties around her ankles.

"Nobody likes to acknowledge sexuality in childhood, especially sexual exploitation," Hobin said.

Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography assistant curator Andrea Kunard notes that photographs of children often provoke "a great deal of anxiety."

"But by putting issues out there perhaps we can develop an awareness of what is at stake in certain subjects, and find ways of speaking about what we are seeing," she said.

A 2007 portrait by Montreal's Carlos and Jason Sanchez of John Mark Karr, who falsely confessed to the murder of 6-year-old Ramsey, provoked equal outrage.

"I agree that kids shouldn't see this stuff, but they are, and I'm trying to start a dialogue about that fact," Hobin said.

People often view childhood as "innocent and carefree," ignoring that many kids are dealing with death, illness, depression and other grim realities, he explained.

"There are lots of children out there who experience things that wake them up to the darker sides of life and they become very aware that not everything is going to be all right."

By presenting how a child might interpret Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Princess Diana's death and the Jonestown massacre, he said he hopes to debunk the myth that kids can be shielded from what is in the news.

"For a child who does not (yet) have problem-solving skills or life experiences" to deal with these issues, he said, "it must be incredibly terrifying, or maybe it's not, I don't know. All I know is that kids do see the images that we see and it has cultural implications."

"For someone who is young and growing in a post-9/11 world, their lives are shaped by those experiences."