; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fortean / Alternative News: Congo Impact Crater, Aquatic Humanoids and UFO Over Brooklyn?

A computer model of the Luizi crater based on satellite data.
Diagram courtesy Ludovic Ferriere and SRTM/NASA

Huge Impact Crater Found in Remote Congo

NatGeo - A circular depression deep in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been confirmed as the first known impact crater in central Africa, a new study says. The find brings the number of known meteor craters on Earth to 182.

The so-called Luizi structure was first described in a German geological report from 1919. But without further fieldwork, it was impossible to say for sure that the 10.5-mile-wide (17-kilometer-wide) feature had been made by a meteor impact.

On other planets, such as Mercury and Mars, it's easier to identify impact craters based only on their shapes, since these worlds no longer have geologic forces making major changes to their surfaces.

But on Earth, many older craters have likely been erased by tectonic activity or erosion, while others are so covered with dense vegetation or sediments, like Luizi, that they're almost impossible to spot without satellites.

What's more, the crater-like structures we do see may have been made by volcanoes, collapsed underground chambers, and other forces that have nothing to do with impacts, said study leader Ludovic Ferrière, curator of the rock collection at the Natural History Museum of Vienna in Austria.

"On Earth, to confirm it's an impact, you have to go in the field because you need evidence of high pressures and temperatures," Ferrière said.

Crater Expedition Had Brushes With Snakes, Poachers

The researcher first became interested in the Luizi structure after seeing satellite pictures published in the 1990s.

By studying the available satellite data, Ferrière and colleagues estimated that the structure has an elevated rim about 1,148 feet (350 meters) high, as well as an interior ring and a central depression.

But to truly confirm Luizi as an impact crater, the researchers had to mount an expedition to the politically tumultuous DRC. (Related: "Rare Gorillas at Risk as Rebels Seize Congo Park.")

"I was working for a year just to find a contact there, because you need a local person to help you find your way around," Ferrière said.

With funding from the National Geographic Society/Waitt Foundation program, Ferrière—then a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario in Canada—visited the crater site in June 2010 with colleagues from the University of Lubumbashi. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)

"I flew direct to Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the DRC. From there we had to drive from the city to the crater," he said.

"I had looked at maps and planned a route before I left. But when I got there, my contact told me there is no bridge across part of my intended path. We had to take some crazy gravel roads with big potholes inside. These are not good roads to drive on, even with a four-wheel-drive car."

The team set up camp in a small village about 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the crater rim, recruiting two local guides/porters and a soldier to help them safely navigate the wild terrain.

"The crater is in a national park, and I thought it would be like the jungles of South America," Ferrière said. "Instead it was a tree savanna—a big plataeu with dry grass. The grass was sometimes more than a meter [3.2 feet] high."

Standing on the rim of the Luizi structure, Ferrière could see skinny trees that seemed to fill the depression, with the crater's distant edge rising like small hills.

Despite the remote, wooded terrain, "we saw no large animals, only snakes. But we did see a lot of remnants of poachers. Sometimes we'd come to a site and the doused fires were still hot."

Ferrière's team spent about a week at the crater collecting samples, which were sent back to the lab in Canada for analysis.

"I found so-called shatter cones, which are features in the rock only found in impact structures," he said. The nested, conical shapes in such features are evidence that the bedrock has been exposed to extreme pressure from a shock wave.

The crater rocks also contained an abundance of shocked quartz, a version of the mineral known to form only from impacts or nuclear blasts, Ferrière said.

"Everybody will believe me now, I think, that this is an impact site."

The scientists think the Luizi crater was made by a meteor more than 0.6 mile (a kilometer) wide that slammed into what is now the DRC at about 45,000 miles (72,000 kilometers) an hour.

For now it's unclear how old the crater is—the scientists can say only that the affected rocks are about 575 million years old, "but we know it's younger than that, because the rocks have been excavated," Ferrière said.

"It would be nice to do more fieldwork, because the shape of the structure with this inner ring can tell us about the exact formation process involved," he added. In the meantime, the researcher will continue to study the rock samples, now housed at the Vienna museum.

"There is still a lot to discover" about Luizi, he said.


Aquatic Humanoids: Progeny of the Black Lagoon or Alternate Evolution?

Since the dawn of time legends have sprung up across the globe regarding strange, fish-tailed, half-human hybrids which were said to dwell in the briny depths of the world’s oceans, but there is a lesser known phenomenon regarding a unique breed of bizarre, bipedal beasts, which eyewitnesses claim to have encountered near the freshwater lakes and rivers of North America. Creatures which some insist owe more to fertile imaginations of Hollywood effects artists than to Darwin’s Natural Selection.

On March 5, 1954, filmmaker Jack Arnold unleashed what would become the last of the great Universal monsters onto the world with the release of the seminal “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” This scaly, fish lipped atrocity exploded across American screens in glorious 3-Dimensions and would soon after carve itself a niche not only in pop culture, but the psyches of theatergoers worldwide as the image of the archetypal “gill man.” Continue reading at Aquatic Humanoids: Progeny of the Black Lagoon or Alternate Evolution?


UFO Incident Over Okinawa, Japan

jazmaonline - One night in late 1986 or early 1987 in Okinawa Japan, I had a UFO in my backyard. I lived in a small house, off base, which sat at the left corner at the end of a cul-de-sac. The house had a back yard the size of a small volleyball court, enclosed by a 4’ high brick wall with a small side gate. Behind the house was a large park with a sloping hillside leading down to the ocean. My bedroom had a window that faced the street of the cul-de-sac and my daughter had the bedroom that looked out on the backyard. Her room had a large window that was long and set low, with the bottom ledge being about 2½’ above the floor. The window was dressed with a thin stick bamboo shade that let light through and provided some visibility to the outside, but did not cover the bottom of the window, providing full visibility to a two year old.

My daughter woke me up complaining of bright light in bedroom. It took me a few minutes to wake out of a deep sleep. My daughter was frightened and persistent, so I walked with her down the short hall to her room to see what she was afraid of. As I entered her room I could see a very bright white light coming through the window and filling the room. At first I thought that it was a large spotlight. We crept to the window, and on my knees with my daughter standing next to me, we peered outside.

I saw a saucer shaped object with a tall top not sitting on the ground but was floating above the ground at least two feet. The craft filled up most of the backyard. There were large lights in a single row along the widest edge of the craft giving off pastel colors of pink, blue, and yellow. The whole craft was enveloped with fog, but I could still see a few stars in the sky behind it. As we were peering out the window the fog became thicker and the light brighter, however the bright light was not coming from the colored lights but seemed to be coming from the fog itself. As the light shone brighter through the glass, it reminded me of sun shining through a window, catching all the tiny dust particles in its light. But, then I realized the particles were actually not dust particles, but the fog. The fog was rolling through the window, which was a solid pane of glass, and spilling on to the floor. At that moment, as I watched the floor filling with fog, spilling on us, I was afraid. I grabbed my daughter and we hid behind her rocking chair against all my common sense and instinct. I still remember thinking that we really weren’t hid at all, as we were only across the room from the window and in full view of it. I thought that it was a dumb hiding place but it seemed like we were frozen in awe and fear of what was happening and had to witness it.

The next morning I woke up in my own bed, and my daughter in hers. I did not know what happened after we hid, how I got to bed, or how my daughter got in her bed. To this day I still don’t have any knowledge of what happened. As frightened as we were, I would have taken her to bed with me and would not have left her in her room to sleep. Two weeks after the incident, my daughter pointed out a white scar in the shape of a half moon, on her ankle. She had not had any prior injuries to cause the scar and I did not have an explanation for the mark. Eventually the scar faded.

The scariest part of the whole incident was the fog because it was so invasive and that I cannot explain what events happened after we “hid”.


UFO Over Brooklyn?

myfoxny - A strange light or UFO in the sky over Williamsburg, Brooklyn was caught on camera Sunday night.

Phil DePaolo was walking his dog about 11 p.m. when he saw the mysterious object. He wanted to get a better look at the UFO so he went home and grabbed his video camera because he doesn't own binoculars.

He eventually started recording. His video shows the bright, flashing light changing colors high up in the sky. DePaolo says the lights were also strobing.

He said a second object came into the shot at one point.

"It was quite beautiful," DePaolo said. "That's why I was fascinated by it."

DePaolo says he has lived in the neighborhood since 1979 and has never seen anything like it before.

"There were a lot of stars out. It was a very clear night," DePaolo said. He added that he didn't hear any noise from the object.

DePaolo says he went inside to upload some of the video, went outside 15 minutes later to videotape more footage, but the object was gone.

"I don't believe it was a flying saucer, but it was something," DePaolo says.

DePaolo runs the New York Community Council, a civic organization that does advocacy work across New York City.


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Former United States Senator Alan Simpson has condemned the younger generation for listening to too much "Enema Man" and "Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dog" in an interview. If I had an 'Asshole of the Week' he'd sure get the nod...Lon