; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just the Facts?: Nessie Sighting Wins Prize -- A Mammoth Hoax -- Connecticut Cougar

Nessie 'sighting' wins £1000 prize 

A sonar image of a large mystery object deep below the surface of Loch Ness has netted boat skipper Marcus Atkinson the Best Nessie Sighting of The Year Award — the first time in several years it has been presented by bookmaker William Hill.

The photograph, claimed by at least one seasoned Nessie spotter to the conclusive evidence of a creature, was a late contender in the contest which has been dormant following several lean years of close encounters with the loch’s most famous resident.

However, 2011 proved to be a bumper year with three “good” sightings reported to the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club which first launched the competition in conjunction with the bookmaker in the 1990s.

Although Mr Atkinson’s encounter in Urquhart Bay was not registered at the time with the fan club, it was reported to full-time Nessie hunter Steve Feltham, based at Dores beach. The image depicts something about 1.5 metres wide and 23 metres below the surface.

The entry has now been judged to be the winner by Inverness Courier readers in an online poll along with the views of an expert panel.

Mr Atkinson receives a £1000 cash prize and a free £500 bet while William Hill will also place a £100 bet on the Natural History Museum confirming the existence of Nessie by the end of the year — odds are currently 100/1.

“I am absolutely delighted. It’s fantastic especially as the competition has been revived,” said Mr Atkinson who captured the image on 24th August while on his boat, Ness Express, waiting to pick some customers up from Urquhart Castle.

The quick-thinking skipper grabbed his mobile phone after a long solid echo appeared on the boat’s fish finder screen.

Mr Atkinson, who has spent about 18 years working on the loch, both on pleasure boats and teaching people to sail, remains baffled by the image.

“I think for a lot of ‘sightings’, there is often a logical explanation,” said the 43-year-old who believes some are seals, or stags swimming in the loch.

“Some sightings could have been a freak wave which people have caught in the periphery of their vision, or a dark shape.

“But I have never seen anything returned like this on the fish finder.

“It is a bizarre shape to me. I have shown it to other experienced skippers and none of us know what it was.

“Undoubtedly, there is something in the loch. I think there is truth behind every myth.”

Gary Campbell, president of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, described the image as quite exciting.

“From our perspective, it is conclusive proof there is something in the loch unlike some of the other ‘evidence’ which has been produced over the years,” he said. 

Rupert Adams, of William Hill, paid tribute to the winning image.

“Having something which is more specific in showing an object is very exciting for people who have an open mind to the existence of a Loch Ness monster,” he said.

Mr Adams also hopes it will encourage Nessie spotters to take part in an even “bigger and better” competition, the details of which will be announced soon.

Other entries were:

* Runner-up Lewiston fish farm worker Jon Rowe who photographed a large, dark shape in the water while working at Dores fish farm.

* Ayshire holidaymakers William and Joan Jobes who spotted what appeared to be a head bobbing above the water 200 to 300 yards from the shore at Fort Augustus.

* Foyers shop and cafe owner Jan Hargreaves and her husband, Simon, who saw a creature while taking a break from the store.

*Gary Campbell’s verdict on the sonar image which shows something about 1.5 metres wide and 23 metres below his boat:

“This is as good as any sonar image found in the loch. The important thing is that someone else went over the same patch and what was there, had gone.

“When you look at the size of the contact, it rules out any fish or other creatures which would be in the loch. Because of the depth, it rules out seals, deer etc which leaves us with only one conclusion.

“From our perspective, it is conclusive proof there is something in the loch unlike some of the other ‘evidence’ which has been produced over the years.

“This shows something moving and also by the nature of the sonar, it was certainly something alive underneath the boat. It is quite exciting.” - inverness-courier


Michael Cohen created / copyrighted Woolly Mammoth hoax from stolen video

As they watched a giant beast lurching through the water in outer Siberia, experts thought they had found evidence that the extinct woolly mammoth was alive and well.But the dramatic footage is a hoax the documentary maker who made the recording has revealed. Lou Petho filmed the video himself - minus the woolly mammoth - and said someone had doctored his footage.

It was claimed the clip was caught by a government engineer in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Siberia. The video appeared to show an elephant-shaped animal with reddish-brown fur - which would match the colour of mammoth hair dug up from the perma-frost in frozen Russia - and a trunk dragging in the river.

In reality the animal was nothing more than a computer creation and the footage was recorded as part of a documentary and captured by Mr Petho during a five-day trek. Leo Petho said in a video he published on YouTube: 'I was alerted to the fact that a character by the name of Michael Cohen took hold of some of my footage without knowing it and created an elaborate hoax on the public.'

He added: 'They took this video and, through CGI I imagine, created a woolly mammoth crossing a river. I did not give them permission to do this.' He accused them of 'stealing' people's footage and 'creating a lie with it' and profiting from it.

Click for video - Michael Cohen claims copyright of footage I took in the Sayan Mountains, Siberia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Qsdxye6Yc where it was used as a backdrop to stage an elaborate hoax of a sighting of a Woolly Mammoth. I was not asked permission and he, as the copyright owner, went about profiting from this stolen footage. I spoke to Barcroft Media who are just as angry at being fooled by Mr. Cohen.

The footage is actually part a planned documentary following my grandfather's epic escape from a Siberian POW camp in 1915 and his 3 year trek through Siberia to reach home in Budapest http://russianpromenade.com/

NOTE: I am directing this at Michael Cohen as he clearly sees himself as the copyright owner of this footage. I acknowledge that he may not personally have pressed the buttons to create this hoax.


Electric cigarette explodes in man's mouth

A Florida man is recovering at a local burn centre after suffering severe injuries from an electric cigarette that exploded in his mouth. Tom Holloway, 57, of Niceville was smoking the e-cigarette on Monday night when his wife heard an explosion from their study. She reportedly said it sounded like a firecracker had exploded in the house and she heard him scream.

Chief Butch Parker of the North Bay Fire District responded to the call. He said a faulty battery inside the electric cigarette likely caused the accident. Parker described the explosion as if Holloway was holding a "bottle rocket in his mouth."

"I have never heard of or seen anything like this before," he said. Parker said there was no way to recognize the brand of e-cigarette Holloway was smoking, but the battery appeared to be rechargeable lithium because there was a recharging station in the study.

Holloway, a Vietnam veteran, photographer and father of three, reportedly stopped smoking two years ago and turned to e-cigarettes to kick his smoking habit. Parker said the explosion knocked out all Holloway's teeth and part of his tongue. The event also set fire to the room.


Mysterious creatures kill chickens

Villagers in Ongwediva Constituency, Namibia are living with their hearts in their mouths following the arrival of as yet unidentified creatures that are killing their chickens and sucking blood out of the birds.

The mysterious creatures are tormenting villagers in Eenghala village where at least three villagers lost all of their chickens and ducks.

The latest incident took place at Moses Cairo Hamukonda's homestead on Tuesday afternoon.

At least 18 chicken and three ducks were found dead in the fowl run at Hamukonda's homestead. It is believed that the birds were killed in broad daylight, reportedly an unusual trend. Only three chickens survived and a number of domesticated guinea fowls that are kept in a closed cage. Chickens had their heads bitten off, while some simply had their throats cut. It is believed that blood was sucked out of the birds, as there was barely blood drops at the fowl run.

Usually livestock in these villages are killed at night. "When we left for school in the morning the chickens were fine. However, when we returned, I looked up at the fowl run and realised that all the chickens were on the ground. At first, I thought that they were sleeping but then I decided to move closer, only to realise that they were all dead," said Tressia Hamutenya, Hamukonda's niece.

Hamukonda, a teacher at a local school and his wife were both not at home when the incident took place.

Neighbours that came to witness the incident suspect the mysterious animals are leopards that are kept by some people as part of witchcraft.

A neighbour claims that such animals are from Okadila village, which is over 10km from Eenghala village.

Apart from Hamukonda's chickens, two other neighbour's fowl runs were wiped out. One of the residents lost over 30 chickens. - newera

Thanks to Billy Green for the story!


Mountain Lion Sighted Near UConn Health Center - Or Not

Rumor has it there’s a mountain lion roaming the area around the UConn Health Center in Farmington. Employees in an office building there snapped a picture of a large animal that was said to be just outside. The picture was circulated in the office and on Facebook and conjecture ensued.

“It’s not a mountain lion. It’s a bobcat,” said Farmington animal control officer Charlene Rogers, who had seen the picture.

“Bobcats live in our area, especially in the UConn area and there has been a family denning there for at least 20 years,” Rogers said.

The sighting was reported to UConn Health Center police as well.

Officially, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection maintains that there are no mountain lions living in Connecticut.

In June and July of 2011, mountain lion sightings were confirmed in Greenwich and in Milford, where a mountain lion was ultimately hit by a car and killed. DEEP reports say that the rash of sightings in southern Connecticut was of the same animal, which had traveled more than 1,500 miles from South Dakota.

“The confirmation of a wild mountain lion in our state was the first recorded in more than 100 years,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty at the time. “This is the first evidence of a mountain lion making its way to Connecticut from western states and there is still no evidence indicating that there is a native population of mountain lions in Connecticut.”

According to Rogers, there are clear differences between a bobcat and a mountain lion that make it easy to distinguish the two species. A mountain lion is of greater size, a distinct color, has a wider head shape and a long tail.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service describes the animal as one color, either reddish brown or grey-brown, "with very long tails and broad, round heads with erect, rounded ears" and weighing between 100 and 140 pounds.

Bobcats, according to the DEEP description, are about twice the size of a house cat, with yellow-brown or reddish brown fur and faint black spots. Bobcats are also stout, with a short tail, prominent face ruff and tufts of black hair sprouting from pointed ears.

Native populations of mountain lions once lived in Connecticut but as settlers cleared land and forests diminished, the animals disappeared from the state. Scientists believe mountain lions were eliminated in Connecticut more than 100 years ago.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service even concluded in 2011 that the eastern cougar is extinct and may have been since the 1930s. - manchester.patch