; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News: Monster Croc Photo, Welsh Big Cats and Portal / UFO Over Ohio

Photo of Monster Crocodile Surfaces

couriermail - Could this be Normanton's own "Loch Ness Monster", an elusive 8m giant that has residents in the Gulf thinking twice before taking out the tinnie?

Rumours of a massive croc lurking near the township of Normanton have revived memories of the famed 8.6m monster shot in the Norman River in 1957, and claimed as a world record.

Local pastor Elton Thompson sparked a frenzy last week when he produced photographs of a croc slide about 1km from town, which indicate the presence of a huge animal with a girth of up to 2m.

Now fisherman Clint Spry has revealed photos he took of a huge croc in the Norman River with a tail "as long as my boat".

"It had locked jaws with an albino crocodile and was just throwing it around like a rag doll," Mr Spry told The Sunday Mail.

"The tail on it alone was as long as my whole boat . . . 3.8 metres."

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Pastor Thompson started a sensation when he put his photos of huge slide marks and claw prints on his Facebook page and relayed a story of a crocodile recently spotted at the same location that was "at least as big, if not bigger" than the legendary 8.6m Savannah King, that has a life-size replica in Normanton.

As national media outlets picked up the story, locals debated whether the croc really was that big or, well, just a crock.

One publican insists: "It's a wives' tale. There are no crocs that big near Normanton."

Others are adamant an oversize croc has been in the area for some time, growing bigger every year since Queensland banned commercial hunting in the '70s.

Long-time local Terry Cummings didn't hesitate when asked if he thought an 8m croc could be lurking in the area.

"I was here in the '50s and saw them that big," he said.

Herbie Harold, 52, who found the original slide marks and alerted his pastor, said he had seen a massive croc in the same spot once before.

The Sunday Mail enlisted Mr Harold's expertise last week in a bid to find the monster.


Farmers in West Wales Terrified of Big Cat Attacks

walesonline - Farmers in rural West Wales say they are terrified of a suspected big cat on the loose following a spate of attacks.

At least nine confirmed sightings of the beast, described as a huge jet-black cat, have been made in Pembrokeshire in the past few days.

Livestock has also been reported missing.

Members of the local community have been put on high alert after the savage killing of a pedigree sheep in Princes Gate which experts say could not have been caused by a large dog or similar predator.

The mysterious animal has even been spotted leaving a farmyard carrying a lamb in its mouth.

Others say that a cub has been spotted with the beast, suggesting there may be at least two adult predators prowling the Pembrokeshire countryside.

Farmer Malcolm MacPhee, of Great Redford Farm, said he was convinced the most recent attack, which took place on his land last Wednesday night, was the work of the panther-like creature.

The Suffolk sheep was found by its owner torn to shreds.

Mr MacPhee said: “What we didn’t realise at first is that the sheep’s neck was broken.

“Experts have now pointed out to us it was a clean kill, not something synonymous with a fox, dog badger or any other predator.

“The sheep had its shoulder ripped off, with the flesh stripped off to expose its ribcage, while claw marks could be seen along its carcass.”

He said his neighbours had spotted big cats at least six times in recent years in the area south of Narberth.

“There have been two seen on different occasions – the larger one is about four feet long with a long, thick tail curved at the end,” he said.

In recent weeks, the killings of two calves, a heifer and two sheep have taken place in Princes Gate.

Now farmers are adamant that the attacks are linked with the sightings of a big cat.

Farmer John Mathias, of Parcsaison, Princes Gate, said he had seen the beast twice.

“A couple of years ago, I saw it carrying a big lamb in its mouth across my yard. It left a paw print in the slurry, and it was the width across of my glasses,” he said.

“I’ve seen it a couple of times recently as well.

“About 100 yards away from me, I could see its green eyes, there was no mistaking it for another animal. It looked like pictures I’ve seen of panthers in the wild.

“There was one morning as well when the fields were covered in snow, and it ran across – it stood out a mile on the white backdrop.”

The latest incident has been reported to police, the Farmers’ Union of Wales and Pembrokeshire Council.

A senior animal health inspector from the council visited Mr MacPhee’s farm last week.

Council spokesman Len Mullins said: “He examined the carcass and took photographs which have been sent to a unit of the Welsh Assembly in Aberystwyth for further investigation.”

The last cluster of big cat sightings reported in Pembrokeshire was in 2006, with reports coming in from as far afield as Johnston, Clynderwen, Newgale, St Florence and Steynton.

Big cats are known to have a hunting range of 50 miles in one night.

Big cat consultant and expert tracker Danny Nineham said: “It’s impossible to say whether a black cat has taken these animals in Pembrokeshire without investigating the land, carcass, environment, looking for faeces, etc.

“But I can say that there are a lot of big cats in West Wales, I’ve seen them myself, and investigated a number of sightings in Pembrokeshire.

“We’ve got leopards, black leopards or panthers, pumas, American bobcats, you name it.”

Another Princes Gate farmer, Alan Williams, was adamant that Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire were rife with big cats.

“The last time I saw one was probably a fortnight ago,” he said. “I’ve seen big black panther-like cats and brown ones.

“We’ve lost seven ewes – we just find them with broken necks and sometimes all we find left of them is a skeleton and a rug-like carpet of skin.

“I know farmers who have found carcasses up trees where the animal has dragged it up to eat.

“We even had one in one of our sheds once, although we didn’t hang around to check.

“If you see one of those, you get out of there.”

Cats such as leopards and pumas were popular fashion accessories in the 1960s and 1970s and could be purchased legally in Harrods.

In 1976 the Dangerous Animals Act made keeping big cats illegal without an expensive licence, driving some exotic cat owners to dump their prized pets in the wild.

Due to a loophole in the law, it was not illegal until 1981 to release a big cat into the UK countryside.

According to Mr Nineham, it is a combination of those factors which has led to the recent sightings.

“These animals are not indigenous to this country, but the reason why they’re so elusive is because they are adaptable, they’re survivors,” he said.

“In the Victorian age, these animals became common pets with the rich and elite.

“Travelling circuses would use them and of course many would have escaped.

“But in my opinion, the Dangerous Animals Act, which was introduced in 1976, has been a huge factor.

“One thing is for sure about these cats, they are very good at finding each other.

“And although they don’t officially exist according to the police or wildlife records, I can tell you they are certainly around.”


Portal Over Austintown, Ohio?

MUFON CMS - Austintown, Ohio - November 23, 2010 - Unedited:

I was driving doing some shopping and saw this object in the sky. I thought it was strange so I filmed it from a shopping plaza in Austintown, Ohio. The video title is the same as the short description on here.It appeared to be an oval shaped fiery object hovering in the Southern skies. This happened at around 5:oopm EST. I looked at my cell phone time to confirm it. I really didn't know what to make of the object.

I tried to find a closer location to the object but it appeared (can't be positive) to be moving slowly away once I was at the 2nd location of filming. The second location was just a little further down the road at a bigger shopping plaza.

At this point I lost sight of the object in the trees. I again tried to find a 3rd location but the object was no where to be found and there were many trees obstructing the skyline.

I then went back to the original location to see if it was still there, it was not. I do not know what this was. I have gotten several emails already by folks swearing this is a portal to another dimension. Not sure what I believe.

Click for video


Russian Scientist Recreating Ice Age

Yahoo - Wild horses have returned to northern Siberia. So have musk oxen, hairy beasts that once shared this icy land with woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats. Moose and reindeer are here, and may one day be joined by Canadian bison and deer.

Later, the predators will come — Siberian tigers, wolves and maybe leopards.

Russian scientist Sergey Zimov is reintroducing these animals to the land where they once roamed in millions to demonstrate his theory that filling the vast emptiness of Siberia with grass-eating animals can slow global warming.

"Some people have a small garden. I have an ice age park. It's my hobby," says Zimov, smiling through his graying beard. His true profession is quantum physics.

Climate change is felt most sharply in the Arctic, where temperatures are warming faster than anywhere else on the planet. Most climate scientists say human activity, especially industrial pollution and the byproducts of everyday living like home heating and driving cars, is triggering an unnatural warming of the Earth. On Monday, negotiators representing 194 countries open a two-week conference in Cancun, Mexico, on reducing greenhouse gases to slow the pace of climate change.

Zimov is trying to recreate an ecosystem that disappeared 10,000 years ago with the end of the ice age, which closed the 1.8 million-year Pleistocene era and ushered in the global climate roughly as we know it.

He believes herds of grazers will turn the tundra, which today supports only spindly larch trees and shrubs, into luxurious grasslands. Tall grasses with complex root systems will stabilize the frozen soil, which is now thawing at an ever-increasing rate, he says.

Herbivores keep wild grass short and healthy, sending up fresh shoots through the summer and autumn. Their manure gives crucial nourishment. In winter, the animals trample and flatten the snow that otherwise would insulate the ground from the cold air. That helps prevent the frozen ground, or permafrost, from thawing and releasing powerful greenhouse gases. Grass also reflects more sunlight than forests, a further damper to global warming.

It would take millions of animals to change the landscape of Siberia and effectively seal the permafrost. But left alone, Zimov argues, the likes of caribou, buffalo and musk oxen multiply quickly. Wherever they graze "new pastures will appear ... beautiful grassland."

The project is being watched not only by climate scientists but by paleontologists and environmentalists who have an interest in "rewilding."

"This is a very interesting experiment," said Adrian Lister, of the Natural History Museum in London. "I think it's valid from an ecological point of view to put back animals that did formerly live there," he told AP Television News. He disapproved of suggestions to rewild nonnative species — for example, relocating elephants and rhinos to the American plains.

Zimov began the project in 1989, fencing off 160 square kilometers (40,000 acres) of forest, meadows, shrub land and lakes. It is surrounded by another 600 square kilometers (150,000 acres) of wilderness.

It is an offshoot of the Northeast Science Station, which he founded and where he has lived for 30 years. Already icebound by October, the park is 40 kilometers (25 miles) inland from the station, accessible only by boat in summer and by snow vehicles after the rivers freeze.

A 32-meter (105-foot) tower inside the park gives constant readings of methane, carbon dioxide and water vapor. The data feeds into a global monitoring system overseen by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Zimov's research on permafrost, greenhouse gas emissions and mammoth archaeology has attracted world scientists to his laboratories, a small cluster of cabins and a tiny chapel on a rocky bluff above a channel of the Kolyma River. A 20-bed barge is used for field trips in summer, and a $100,000 hovercraft is on order. Zimov sometimes uses an old Russian tank to bring supplies from the Chinese border, 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) away.

Part of the station's attraction — and deterrence — is its remoteness. It is 6,600 kilometers (4,000 miles) and eight time zones east of Moscow. The nearby town of Chersky, with some 5,000 people, has few amenities, and the nearest city, Yakutsk, is a 4-1/2 flight. Many researchers, particularly Americans, prefer to work in Alaska or northern Canada, which are more accessible.

"Most of the Arctic is in Russia, and yet most of the Arctic research isn't," said Max Holmes, of Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, director of the Polaris Project, which has sent undergraduates to the station for the last three summers.

Zimov started the park with a herd of 40 Yakutian horses, a semi-wild breed with a handsomely long mane that is raised by Yakuts and other native people for their meat. Short, sturdy and broad-backed, they survive harsh Siberian winters with the help of a furry hide, thick layers of fat and the ability to paw through a meter (3 feet) of snow to forage.

Of his first herd, Zimov said 15 were killed by wolves and bears, 12 died from eating wild hemlock that grows in the park, and two slipped through the perimeter and made their way back some 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) to their original pastures.

But he bought more. Now the horses have learned to avoid poisonous plants and to resist predators. Over the last three years, more colts were born and survived than horses lost.

The challenge is to find the right balance between grazers and predators, and how to help his animals get through their first winters.

His workers still give occasional buckets of grain to the horses to supplement their diet with salt. About half the horses come regularly to the cabin where a caretaker stays year-round. The other half are rarely seen except for their tracks.

Zimov also has had problems with the moose that he brought inside his enclosure. Moose still live in small numbers in surrounding forests, and the males jump back and forth over the 6-foot-high fence.

In September he traveled to a nature reserve on Wrangel Island, about five hours by boat across the East Siberia Sea, and brought back six 4-month-old musk oxen. One died a few weeks later. The others are kept in a small enclosure and fed hay until they can fend for themselves.

His objective is to see whether a thriving population of grazing animals will regenerate grasslands that disappeared long ago, which would slow and even halt the accelerating pace of permafrost thaw. So far, he says, the results are encouraging.

Today he has 70 animals in the park. He wants thousands to restock Siberia. To bring 1,000 bison from North America would cost $1 million, Zimov says, a small price to pay.

"If permafrost melts, 100 gigatons of carbon will be released this century," he said. "What's $1 million? One regular grant."