; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, February 17, 2012

Just the Facts?: 100's Dead Birds in Maryland -- Cook / Eat Neighborhood Cats -- That's a 'Longhorn'!

Hundreds of dead birds on I-95 in Laurel, Maryland

Hundreds of birds just dropped from the sky and landed onto I-95 Wednesday, bringing afternoon rush hour traffic to a crawl.

They were common Starlings, and while there were a few in the grass and on the shoulders of the highway, the vast majority landed right on the northbound travel lanes in Laurel.

“We were just kind of curious about running them over and getting them stuck in your tires and all that nastiness,” says Tammy Johnson.

“I travel this all the time and have never seen anything like that before,” says Ray Wheltle.

Traffic backed up as drivers slowed down out of concern for the birds and their cars.

A highway crew swept and shoveled what they could while the drivers crept by scratching their heads. State biologists say they've also seen Starlings, which tend to fly in large tight flocks, crash into the sides of tractor trailers.

Some suspect something sinister.

"Environmental hazards, toxins in the air and in the environment maybe," a person said.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologist Peter Bedel believes the Starlings flew into a truck. He does not suspect any disease and is sending samples to a lab just in case.

Laurel resident Dan Kennedy said something weird happened nearby a week or two ago.

"A bunch of birds flying into a parking lot and diving in thinking its water," Kennedy said. "A bunch of birds died."

Some are linking the deaths to similar incidents elsewhere.

"Down in Alabama or Mississippi something like that where a whole bunch of birds just died and fell out of the sky," said Richmond resident Doug Morris.

One possible culprit is nearby power lines. The birds could have encountered something deadly simultaneously. But with no definitive cause named for killing the birds, some continue to worry about a hidden danger to themselves.

"We're next, they're the canaries," a person said. - wjla


Pastor, wife accused of killing 'possessed' children

A pastor and his wife are in custody accused of killing three of their children by starving them to ward off evil spirits, police in South Korea said Wednesday.

The couple told police the children -- aged nine, seven and three -- had been ill, which they believed was a sign they were invaded by evil spirits after eating too much on Lunar New Year.

They then cut the children's hair to chase the spirits out and starved them from January 24 until February 2, only allowing them to drink water. Local media reports said the parents had beaten the children with a belt and a fly swatter numerous times.

The pastor, named only by his surname Park, and his wife, Cho, told police they tied the children's arms and legs with stockings. All three died on February 2, the first around 2am, the second at 5am and the third at 7am, according to police in the town of Boseong, more than 186 miles (300 kilometers) south of Seoul.

The bodies were found nine days later by Park's brother-in-law. Police said the couple was praying in the hope of resurrecting the children. Their eight-month-old daughter who survived has been taken into care, police said.

Park, 43, and Cho, 34, told police they opened a church in Boseong in March 2009 with a congregation of 10, but were accused of being a cult.

The police plan to forward the case to the prosecutor's office on February 17. - CNN


Now that's a 'Longhorn'!

A Texas Longhorn bull that more than lives up to its name has smashed the record for the world's longest horns.

Seven-year-old JR has horns that measure an incredible 9ft 1ins - and they are likely to grow even bigger.

But even though he has a name derived from a character in Dallas, the ultimate Texas television show, JR does not reside in the U.S.

Instead, he is part of the largest herd of Texas Longhorns in Australia, roaming around the 1,100acre Leahton Park estate in Queensland.

He has claimed the Guinness World Record from a bull in Ohio called Shadow Jubilee.

But whereas that animal had horns that are 88ins long, JR's measure a staggering 109ins from tip-to-tip.

JR is descended from pure Texas Longhorn stock.

His owner Michael Bethel, 50, who runs Leahton Park with his wife Lynda, 39, began breeding Longhorns 14 years ago.

He said: 'I don't think JR realises how much attention he's getting now he's a record breaker.

'He's just happy and healthy, we don't give him any special treatment, we just let him graze around with the kangaroos like the rest of the heard.

'He's only seven so he still has a bit of growing to do yet - they can live until their early 20s - his horns could still get bigger.'

The park opened as a tourist attraction three years ago to allow visitors to take horse-drawn wagon tours to see the Longhorns. - dailymail


Another 'big cat' spotted in Gloucestershire

Yet another big cat sighting has been reported in the county.

Helen Stratford, of Teddington Gardens, Upton St Leonards, said she spotted a large cat in fields by her house on Saturday evening around 5.40pm.

She said she was "shocked" by the sighting, which happened as she walked her dog.

She said: "It was walking down the field about 20 metres in front of me and my dog chased it and barked and growled.

"It disappeared through the fence into a copse towards the bridle path.

"My dog was sniffing the fence where it went through and was shaking.

"The way it bound across the frozen earth was very different to how a dog runs.

"It made no sound or attempt to do anything to my dog.

"I was quite shaken up and shocked to see it.

"It had obviously made its way over from Nut Hill."

The news comes after the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI), based at the University of Gloucestershire, announced it was planning a survey to find out more about the phenomenon.

The institute wants to determine the beliefs of people in the community and beyond with regard to creatures such as the Gloucestershire cat.

Senior Research Fellow Dr Matt Reed said: "As a team of researchers who work a lot in rural communities over the years we have heard lots of accounts of big beasts spotted in the countryside, carcasses of wild animals or sheep killed in unusual ways and sometimes strange animal calls.

"Now it seems that these accounts have become focused near our base and we have decided to take a closer look."

Meanwhile, big cat expert Frank Tunbridge, from Gloucester, appeared on the Gabby Logan show on Channel Five yesterday to talk about the sightings in the county.

He said: "These animals have bred amongst themselves and produced a hybrid through the generations.

"We now have a population living wild in the county." - thisisgloustershire


California man jailed for cooking and eating neighborhood cats

An Oildale, California man is behind bars, accused of killing cats and eating them. A case of alleged animal abuse led investigators to a home on Wilson Avenue in Oildale. "It was shocking. I was just blown away. I mean how often do you hear that," said neighbour Steve Poe. Poe lives next door Jason Wilmert, 36, who is accused of killing cats and eating them.

"I heard he was using his house pets as snacks which is kind of disturbing. You would have never guessed anything like that. I saw him buy a case of beer. So if he can afford a case of Natural Ice, you can get some Top Ramen," continued Poe. Neighbours say Wilmert kept to himself and acted strangely. "He would just stare at my dog, like just stare at it, and he makes me nervous, you know what I mean? I told him to stop and he said I'm not doing nothing. I'm just looking," said Steven Smith.

One neighbour said she saw him in action. "My roommate recently told me about two days ago that our neighbour was crazy and she caught him cutting up a dead cat in his backyard," said Crystal Gates. Neighbours had their suspicions about how Wilmert may have prepared the cats. "He spent, I want to say, three straight days burning stuff in his backyard. It smelled like leaves and everything like that. I don't know if the guy was having a BBQ or what not, but it was three to four days solid burning stuff in his yard," said Poe.

Wilmert faces two misdemeanour charges, one count of cruelty to animals and one count of using a pet as food. "I've been involved in these types of cases for well over almost 20 years now. I've never seen this charge before," explained Michael Yraceburn, Supervising Deputy District Attorney. If convicted, Wilmert faces up to six months in jail. Investigators say they don't know where the cats came from, but they believe the killings happened on more than one occasion.