; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News: Dr. Who UFO, Poached Egg Jellyfish and Missing Unicorn

Claim: UFO Incident Result of Poison Berries...and Dr. Who

STV - There are claims in a new edition of a UFO magazine that one of Scotland's most famous UFO sightings could have been the result of the man who reported the incident having eaten poisonous berries that resulted in him hallucinating.

This, combined with a memory of a recent edition of TV series Dr Who could have triggered the report.

In November 1979, forestry worker Bob Taylor parked his truck at Livingston's Dechmont Law and left to walk his dog.

He claimed that he then came across saw a large, spherical object, around 20 feet wide in a clearing.

Two smaller spheres, each about three feet in diameter, then dropped from the craft, rolled towards him and attached themselves to his trousers.

He was dragged towards the larger vehicle, and passed out.

The next thing Mr Taylor said he remembered was waking up with a pounding head, a sore throat and a bitter taste in his mouth. He said he calculated later that he had been unconscious for 20 minutes.

UFO Matrix magazine reports that the experience that Mr Taylor reported could have been the result of accidentally eating the berries of the deadly nightshade plant, also known as belladonna.

While it is one of the most poisonous plants that grows in the UK and can kill, symptoms of deadly nightshade poisoning include loss of balance, dry mouth, hallucinations and confusion.

The magazine adds that the description of a spherical object corresponds to that of a spacecraft that had been featured in an episode of Dr Who a few weeks earlier. The opening sequence of the episode City of Death featured a spherical ship with a rim around the centre. It did, however, differ from Mr Taylor's description by having three distinctive legs and did not feature propellor-type protrusions above the ring.

At the time the series was broadcast, ITV was on strike and the four episodes of City of Death were amongst the most widely seen episodes of Dr Who ever. Some fans of the long-running series also regard it as one of the best ever, featuring Tom Baker as the Doctor and having been mainly written by Douglas Adams, who also wrote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

At the time, police treated the incident involving Mr Tayor as an assault, and investigations at the scene revealed marks on the ground corresponding to Mr Taylor's description of events. A forensic investigation of his clothes also revealed that his trousers had been ripped in such a way that suggested implements had been used that had been attempting to lift Mr Taylor up by the legs.

Mr Taylor died in 2007 at the age of 88. He was regarded as a reliable witness, and never sought payment for his story.

There have been other theories about the cause of the sighting, with suggestions that it could have been ball lightning or an episode of epilepsy, although Mr Taylor never suffered from epilepsy before or after the incident.

While many will maintain that the evidence still suggests an extra-terrestrial explanation, the new theory adds another possible explanation for one of Scotland's strangest incidents.


The Case of the Missing Unicorn

latimes - Typically, missing-animal posters encourage one to wonder: Have I ever seen that creature?

In the case of one "missing" poster seen on the Upper West Side in New York earlier this month, the lost animal was not a puppy or someone’s cat. It was a unicorn.

Described as a female with a friendly disposition, the missing unicorn in question and the poster belonged to Camomile Hixon, a New York-based painter.

The missing unicorn, in fact, was part of a larger vision for New York City.

“I was travelling back and forth in the subways, and I just noticed the dejection. I’m a pop artist, and I thought –- if I could just make one person smile. I was thinking about ways to do that," she said.

“A unicorn is beyond race, beyond religion. I wanted something that could reach anyone at any age. I thought, if I could just make a handful of businessmen on Wall Street think about unicorns, I will be successful.”

So on Oct. 29, she and a team of friends hung 2,000 posters all around the city. By the next day, she’d received 350 phone calls.

She started a missing-unicorn hotline and a corresponding website www.missingunicorn.com. On the website those who had seen the poster could upload photos of unicorns if they had seen one, or upload their thoughts about unicorns to a chat section.

Perhaps the most telling part of the website, in terms of the public reaction, are the voice recordings -- transcribed from her voicemail onto the site.

The messages reveal those who are frustrated, excited, or want to joke around.

“How would you have a unicorn in New York City? Your apartment is that big for you to have a unicorn?” asks one skeptical caller.

New Yorkers have played along with Hixon, as have interested parties worldwide. She’s received 3,200 phone calls and heard from people in 46 states and 43 countries.

Someone even sent in a picture of George Clooney in bed with a unicorn.

“I would put up a poster and then wait out and hide and see the joy on people’s faces. I thought of it as a philanthropic gift to the city,” she said.

An interactive art project in the city of Manhattan had a larger purpose for Hixon: She wanted people to notice the gaps in their own lives.

“I wanted some childlike play. I wanted people to go on a quest to find what they were missing.”

Hixon was recently shut down by the City of New York for hanging the posters. Though no new posters have been hung since, on her website anyone can download a free missing-unicorn poster.

The history of the unicorn and man’s search for one dates back over 2,500 years.

According to Chris Lavers, author of “The Natural History of Unicorns” (Granta, 2009), for most of history, people believed that unicorns actually existed.

As early as 398 BCE, the unicorn made it into European literature, when Greek physician Ctesias travelled through Persia and wrote a book called “Indica,” in which he first described a unicorn.

Writers after him kept this idea alive. Among them were Aristotle, Pliny the Elder and Claudius Aelilanus, who detailed a one-horned horse that roamed the wilds of India.

The creatures were thought to have magical powers. Some believed the horn had healing capabilities; others believed the horn could absorb the emotions of other creatures if placed on their heads. For the unicorn itself, some said the horn held extra stores of solar energy that the beast could draw upon in times of need.

More curious, the unicorn, for many years, was hunted as a real animal.

The last great unicorn hunt took place in 1900 in Uganda and the Congo, when British colonial explorer Sir Henry “Harry” Hamilton Johnson went looking for the creatures. Instead he found okapi -- a mammal that resembles a small zebra and is closely related to the giraffe.

Unicorns also became imprinted on world culture. Images of the one-horned creatures can be seen in 15th century tapestries. Perhaps among the most famous is “The Lady and Unicorn,” a series of six wool and silk tapestries, considered one of the great works of the Middle Ages. Unicorns can be found imprinted on the coat-of-arms of various countries and depicted in antique metalwork.

Beyond high art, today we have Robot Unicorn Attack -- the AdultSwim free online video game (also an iPhone application) in which unicorns with rainbow manes dash from level to level to rack up points.

And there’s the wacky YouTube video sensation “Charlie the Unicorn” -- named one of YouTube’s 50 Best Videos by Time Magazine in 2010 -- in which a cartoon unicorn named Charlie is lured to Candy Mountain. The video has been viewed over 50 million times.

In over 2,000 years, global fascination has not waned.

Whether ancient text or amusing app, we can’t seem to get enough of the mythological creatures. Perhaps it’s because we want them to be real. Perhaps it’s because we want something to believe in. Whatever the reason, Hixon will not stop her search.

“It’s been a journey beyond my wildest dreams. I’d like to continue to spread this joy. I want to take it to other cities that would be more mellow about posting. If we can all think about unicorns in this world, then anything is possible.”

It’s not likely the rest of the world will stop the quest either.


A New Sea Species Discovered in Indonesia

U.S scientists have discovered a new sea species in the ashore of Indonesia.

Scientists who are working in the the California Scripps Oceanography Institute and Massachusetts Woods Hole Oceanography Institute discovered 9 centimeters long sea creature in the deep waters of the Sulawesi Sea.

American scientists said that, they had never seen this kind of creature before. They also named the creature as Teuthidodrilus Samae.

Theuthidodrilus Samae belongs to family of Squid worm and it can be able to dive nearly 6200 meters in the deep sea. Divers also managed to shoot its picture. It has nearly 10 arms and this specialty gives it very distinctive appearance. New discovery also published in Biology Letters Magazine.


Poached Egg Jellyfish?

dailymail - They might look tasty but you probably wouldn't want one of these on your toast in the morning.

For these bizarre fried eggs are actually a peculiar type of jellyfish that has just been successfully born in captivity.

The photos were taken by keen photographer Torben Webber, who scrambled for his camera after hearing the unusual creatures had been born.

The odd jellyfish are found naturally in the Mediterranean, because they require a huge amount of sunlight to survive.

When captive they are incredibly difficult to breed - but staff at Basel Zoo, Switzerland, have managed to imitate their natural conditions and a new batch of tiny jellyfish have been born.

A staff member said: 'Breeding is a real challenge because they're only found in far-off ocean fisheries and transportation is so difficult.

'So we have to mimic the natural environment with special daylight lamps to illuminate the aquarium as well as making sure there are lots of meals a day.

'The young jellyfish are tiny, just a few centimetres but they take the egg shape right away - we have to keep them away from the lights at first in case they toast.'

The fried egg jellyfish, also known as medusa, produce eggs that are fertilised in sea water, which then develop into a tiny larva fixed to sea bed organisms.

They can measure up to 35cm in diameter when fully grown, and in contrast to most jellyfish they move on their own by moving the 'white' of the egg in a waving motion.

Torben took his amazing pictures on November 4 with his Nikon d3s camera.

He said: 'They're beautiful creatures - but they are very unusual looking.'