; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, May 11, 2012

Just the Facts?: Did English Discover the Americas? -- Pastors Survive the Almighty's Wrath -- Jelly Creature Mystery

Did an English expedition BEAT Columbus to the Americas?

Although Christopher Columbus is widely credited as the 'discoverer' of America, a new loan form to the first sailor to find North America hints that other expeditions might have found the continent BEFORE 1492.

The loan to John Cabot - discovered by historical detective work - makes reference to 'THE new land', hinting that sailors had discovered America BEFORE Cabot or Columbus.

Christopher Columbus famously sailed to the Caribbean islands in 1492 - but with a royal patent from Henry VII of England, John Cabot, a Venetian merchant, sailed from Bristol to North America in 1497.

The new discovery shows that the first European to set foot in North America since the Viking Leif Ericsson in the 11th Century was financed by a loan of 50 nobles (£16, 13s, 4d) from the Bardi banking house.

Just like Columbus, the Engish voyages were financed by the great Italian merchant banks of the era, receiving the loan in 1496.

John Cabot - also known as Zuan Caboto or Giovanni Chabotte due to his Venetian birth - made two voyages, one in the summer of 1496, one in 1497.

On the second journey, he landed in Newfoundland.

The entry itself is also curious in that the reference to ‘the new land’ implies that the money was given so that Cabot could find a land that was already known about.

As such, it may revive claims that Bristol merchants had discovered North America at an earlier time. Dr Guidi-Bruscoli is more cautious on this score, however. ‘While the entry implies that the Bardi believed in a prior discovery, we can't assume this had occurred.

'It is likely the Bardi were referring to the mythical 'Island of Brasil', which Bristol mariners certainly claimed had been found by one of their number in times past. Whether this story can be equated with an actual discovery is much more uncertain, however.’

Dr Jones agrees. ‘It would be wonderful to find that Bristol mariners had first visited North America before the 1480s – if only because it would cast new light on the originality of Columbus' venture of 1492. Right now, however, we can't be sure about that. Although one never knows, that could change.’

Dr Evan Jones, who leads the project in Bristol, describes the new evidence as a ‘fantastic find’. He adds, ‘We have long known that Italy's great merchant banks were key to the success of the ventures launched by Portugal and Spain. But it always seemed that the English ventures were an exception. Now it is clear that they too were part of network of Italian-financed expeditions to explore beyond the limits of the known world.’

The payment of 50 nobles (£16 13s. 4d.) was made so that 'Giovanni Chabotte' of Venice, as he is styled in the document, could undertake expeditions 'to go and find the new land'.

The second of these was to result in the European discovery of North America – Christopher Columbus not having ventured beyond the Caribbean islands.

Dr Guidi-Bruscoli, who is based at the University of Florence and is also a Fellow at Queen Mary in London, found the financial records after being contacted by Jones and his co-researcher, Margaret Condon.

For several years they have been attempting to relocate the research findings of a deceased historian, Dr Alwyn Ruddock.

She had made some extraordinary finds about Cabot's voyages, but had all her notes destroyed following her death in 2005.

One of Ruddock's claims was that Cabot was financed by an Italian bank.

She had, however, refused to reveal the source of her information.

Following an invitation to visit the deceased historian's house in 2010, Jones and Condon discovered the source – in the form of a sticky label on an old shoe cupboard: 'The Bardi firm of London'.

They then contacted Dr Guidi-Bruscoli in Florence, who was able to locate the archive, the financial ledger and the entry concerned.

Finding out about the funding of Cabot's voyages is exciting because, while it has long been known that the explorer received political support from the King, the identity and motivations of those who paid for the expeditions has never been known. - dailymail


Pastor Survives Lightning Strike

As a pastor, Kathy Nolte likes to think she has insight into how quickly the end can come for anyone.

During a thunderstorm on Sunday afternoon, lightning from the heavens literally drove that point home for her. The 57-year-old was hit by a ricocheting bolt of electricity that struck a tree in the 1000 block of Fair Oaks Avenue in Oak Park.

She had been out with members of her Good Shepherd Lutheran Church congregation, walking to help fight hunger. Storm conditions quickly developed.

“The sky was getting worse and worse looking and we were hearing all this thunder in the distance,” Nolte told CBS 2’s Brad Edwards on Monday.

A group decided to take cover, but she didn’t make it.

“The next thing I know, I can tell I’m in a vehicle with emergency people all around me, and they’ve got electrodes all over me,” Nolte says.

Emergency responders asked her if she knew her name.

“I couldn’t remember,” she says. “What day is it? Not a clue. Every cell in my body aches like crazy.”

The lightning that had struck the tree — leaving a jagged groove in the bark — had hit her and knocked her unconscious. She was taken to Loyola Medical Center with what fire officials said were non-life-threatening injuries.

Pastor Kathy Nolte of Oak Park was injured Sunday when lightning hit this tree. (CBS)
Nolte, however, has more than a dozen staples in her skull. She is suffering from a concussion from the fall and must have her heart monitored from the jolt from above.

Make no mistake, though, she is grateful.

“I’m alive,” she said. “Being a pastor, there’s a part of me that always thinks about someday I won’t be here, and you’re really satisfied with just when that comes I hope I’ll be ready. But I’m really glad that it didn’t happen yesterday.” - cbslocal

AND another pastor struck by lightning....Pastor and son struck by lightning, survive


Has the placental jellyfish mystery been solved?

Solving the Mystery of the Placental Jellyfish

(Original Article)

Did Capt. Nemo ever see anything like this when he was “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”?

A mysterious creature was caught by underwater cameras recently during deep-sea drilling near the United Kingdom.

The camera catches the giant blob – which looks brown in color and appears to have scales — floating around, with organs and appendages sticking out, something rarely ever seen before.

So … should we be afraid of this new sea creature and will it take over the world?

Steven Haddock, a scientist for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif., says that the mysterious creature is a Deepstaria enigmatica jellyfish, much to the chagrin of some Reddit users who thought it was a whale placenta.

“This bag-like jelly is not that rare, but is large, so rarely seen intact,” Haddock said on his “JellyWatch” Facebook page. “In the video, the swirling from the sub makes the medusa appear to undulate and it even turns inside-out.”

This type of jellyfish is usually found in the south Atlantic Ocean, some 5,000 feet below. According to the Marine Species Identification Portal, the jellyfish has “oral arms […] terminating in curious hook-shaped organ[s].” - cbslocal


Boston woman claims she was hypnotized into giving away $160,000

A 57-year-old woman claimed three women used hypnosis to get her to lay out over $160,000 in life savings, police say.

Police say the victim was food shopping in Boston's Chinatown April 15 when the trio of women tapped her on the shoulder and began asking her questions. The victim says one of the suspects spoke and her henchwomen handed her a plastic bag. She was told to go home and meet them several hours later on Boston Common.

The victim filled the bag with a necklace, a jade bracelet, two gold rings, her passport and $160,000 in cash. She then went to the meeting spot and handed over the fortune.

The incident has Chinatown on alert, with two similar shakedowns reported since then. Mark Liu, director of Boston's Chinese Progressive Association, has warned members to remain vigilant when approached by strangers.

"It seems like it's something that's potentially very dangerous," Liu told the Boston Herald. "I think the elderly are particularly vulnerable because they obviously would have a hard time just walking away."

Liu said rumors of hypnotizing thieves have roots in Chinese lore. He said his mother warned him of them when he was a child in Hong Kong.

Clinical hypnotist Harvey Zarren has his doubts.

"Having somebody instantaneously hypnotize you on the street and you turn over huge amounts of valuables, to me, sounds a little unlikely," he said. "I look at this story and I say somebody is going to have to prove this to me."