; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Just the Facts?: Scottish Airfield / Ostrich Leg Mystery -- Gabriel's Trumpet? -- Siberia Cannibal Confession

How did huge ostrich-like bird's leg end up lying in a Scottish airfield?

Experts have been left scratching their heads after the remains of large bird leg were discovered in an abandoned airfield in northern Scotland.

Nearly three feet long and with three sharp claws the size of a man's hand, the leg was found by a dog walker near Tealing, six miles north of Dundee.

Experts believe the remains may belong to a rhea, a flightless bird native to South America, but there are no known keepers in the area.

The claw was found by a dog walker in an abandoned airfield near Tealing, six miles from Dundee

Experts believe the leg belongs to a rhea, a flightless bird native to South America
As yet, no one has been able to come up with an explanation for the bizarre find.

Sean Donaldson, who lives in a nearby cottage, said he made the discovery while walking his two-year-old black Labrador Oscar.

He said: 'We were down at the Tealing Airfield firing range just beside my house when he started jumping around and going nuts.

'I went to see what he'd found and he was standing over this huge leg, surrounded by lots of scattered feathers.

'The leg was almost three feet long and the claws are the size of my hand.

'The feathers were large and white with bits of black through them.

'I picked the leg up with a bag and took it home.'

Mr Donaldson, 39, a janitor at Dundee University, said he believes the mystery bird was killed on the spot by a bigger animal.

He said: 'I'm baffled by what this bird was.

'Some people have speculated it might have been an ostrich but it doesn't look exactly like an ostrich to me.

'And even if that's what it was, what was it doing running about an abandoned airfield?

'I can think of no logical explanation.

'The bird has clearly been killed here, by what I don't know. It looks like it's been moved around by whatever was eating it.

'But it was still fresh, and it stank a bit.'

Pictures of the bird's remains were sent to experts at the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: 'We understand a large bird leg has been found in the Angus area and, having looked at a photograph, we think it may have belonged to a rhea, a flightless bird native to South America.

'However, in order to confirm this, the remains would have to be taken to a museum for identification.

'It is likely this bird has been eaten by another animal but, as we are not aware of anyone in the area who keeps rheas, it is unclear how it came to be there.' - Daily Mail


Tremendous blast of resonating sound...like a massive trumpet

East Bridgewater, MA - unedited: At approximately 2am on sunday, december 16th 2012, i was sitting down watching t.v. when i heard and felt a highly percussive, what can only be described as, horn blast, it had such resonance that i could feel my chest vibrating. It continued to sound in short blasts of first one, and then three "trumpets." Each blast lasted from 3-6 seconds and could be physicaly felt as well as heard, it also caused both of my cats to run and hide under my bed for the next half hour or so. It was kind of scary, i didnt see anything, i just stood there, transfixed by this unearthly booming. After about 3 minutes of these intermitent blasts it simply stopped. - MUFON CMS


Cannibal confession: Taiga ordeal survivors ate dead friend

One of two men who survived four months of wandering in Siberian Taiga has confessed that the pair ate an unlucky friend who died from the cold. Earlier, rescuers had discovered a frozen butchered human carcass in the woods.

Aleksandr Abdulaev is one of two people discovered by an emergency service helicopter patrol on November 28 in Russia’s Yakutia Republic. Abdulaev, Aleksey Gorulenko, and two other men drove to a remote Siberian river in August, during the warm season, but had to return on foot across the now-snow-covered forests. The two survivors had marched some 100 kilometers by the time they were rescued.

The exhausted duo initially claimed that they left the two other members of their group in a hunter's hut, because one of them injured his leg and could not walk. But later, rescuers in Taiga sweeping their path stumbled upon human remains that had the marks of being cut into pieces with an axe. Most of the soft tissue was missing, and there were no claw or tooth marks, which would have indicated an attack by animal predators.

Confronted with the evidence, Abtulaev said he and Gorulenko had to resort to cannibalism, but insisted their friend died from exposure to cold, local news site Sakhapress reported, citing a police source. The man said the gruesome act allowed the pair to survive another week.

Forensic experts have yet to confirm the alleged case of cannibalism and the natural cause of death of the dead individual. The fate of the last missing member of the doomed expedition remains unclear, as the search continues.

The story remains a murky one, with much speculation about the original goal of the trip and the chain of events that lead to its downfall. The four men went to the Sutam River near the town of Dipkun for what was meant to be a fishing trip for several weeks, their relatives told the media.

In late September, their car was lost in a river, along with all their supplies, the survivors said. In mid-October, the concerned families tried to organize a search with the help of their friends, but were reluctant to involve official agencies. It was not until mid-November that Abdulaev’s sister called the local emergency services, Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported. It took a week of aerial reconnaissance to find the two survivors.

Rescue squad head Leonid Livandovsky told the newspaper that the men had acted strangely for people who faced a lethal threat. In early October, daytime temperatures fell below freezing, making survival in the forest much more difficult. Yet the men lingered around their river camp for three more weeks, taking supplies from several nearby hunter huts and apparently searching for something.

The newspaper suggests that the fishing trip was a cover for illegal gold panning. One of the men is a professional prospector, and the company for which he used to work eyed the Sutama River area for potential placer gold prospecting. - RT

An Intellectual History of Cannibalism

Eat Thy Neighbour: A History of Cannibalism



The 10 Weirdest Animal Discoveries of 2012

As the year comes to an end, it's time to look back at the grossest, oddest and simply most fascinating animals to make the headlines in 2012. There were zombie worms and penis fish, not to mention turtles with a strange way of getting rid of urine. Read on for 2012's most bizarre.

1. A 'tulip' with a digestive system

An ancient fossil found in Canada looks like a field of tulips frozen in stone. In fact, these plantlike creatures are animals unlike any seen before.

Siphusauctum gregarium, a 500-million-year-old filter feeder, was the length of a dinner knife with a bulbous "head" containing a feeding system and a bizarre gut. Instead of filtering water past its feeders externally, S. gregarium appears to have pumped water through its tuliplike head, capturing any food particles that passed through, study researcher Lorna O'Brien of the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada told LiveScience. Scientists aren't sure where this unusual creature fits into the evolutionary tree.

2. A sea predator that makes T. rex look weak

Moving on to other ancient marine wildlife, here's a sea creature much scarier than an animal that looks like a flower. "Predator X," a giant marine reptile that was the top predator of the seas 150 million years ago, finally got its scientific name this year.

Pliosaurus funkei, as it is now properly known, was 40 feet (12 meters) long with a 6.5-foot (2 m)-long skull.

"They had teeth that would have made a T. rex whimper," study researcher Patrick Druckenmiller, a paleontologist at the University of Alaska Museum, told LiveScience.

3. Cannibal lemurs roam the night

You don't have to be 40-feet long to be scary. This year, researchers studying the adorable gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) in Madagascar came across a grisly scene: a male of the species feasting on the flesh of a dead female.

Although other primates (including humans) have been known to practice cannibalism, scientists had never before seen a gray mouse lemur so much as eat another mammal, according to ScienceNow, which reported the creepy meal. Scientists documented the case in the American Journal of Primatology.

4. A millipede with far too many legs

File this under "Things You Don't Want to Step on With Bare Feet:" A white millipede that manages to cram 750 wiggly legs onto its 0.4- to 1.2-inch (1- to 3-centimeter)-long body.

Illacme plenipes is the world-record holder for "leggiest creature." It's found, bizarrely, in only a 1.7 square mile (4.5 square kilometer) area in northern California — doubly odd, because the creature's closest living relative calls South Africa home. The millipedes may have spread out across the globe when most of the land on Earth was part of one supercontinent, Pangaea. When the supercontinent broke apart 200 million years ago, the relatives could have been separated, explaining the long-lost connection.

5. A teeny-tiny creature trapped in an ancient cocoon

Bad luck for a trapped ancient animal, good luck for modern scientists: Some 200 million years ago, a leech secreted a slimy cocoon under water or on a wet leaf, and a tiny animal the width of just a few human hairs attached itself to the new cocoon.

This bizarre little creature clung on with its springlike tail, becoming rapidly trapped and engulfed by the cocoon. The unusual circumstances resulted in something almost unheard of: the complete preservation of a soft-bodied animal with no hard bones to fossilize.

Scientists say the microscopic creature looks like it might come from the genus Vorticella. Its secret talent is coiling and uncoiling its springy stalk at a speed of 3.1 inches (8 centimeters) per second, the equivalent of a human getting across three football fields in that amount of time.

6. 8 tentacled snakes born

How's this for a bundle of joy? This October, eight snakes with tentacles were born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

It was not a Halloween prank. Zoo staff had been trying to breed the rare aquatic snake Erpeton tentaculatus for four years before success. These bizarre Southeast Asian serpents are the only snakes with two little tentacles on their snouts. These tentacles act like whiskers to help the snakes sense vibrations from swimming fish.

7. A new fish with a penis on its head

Speaking of fish, this one has an … odd anatomy. Researchers in Vietnam's Mekong Delta reported the discovery of a fish with a penis on its head this August.

Yep, a penis. And it's not just any penis — the organ includes a jagged hook for grabbing females during sex. (The female fish's genitals are located on her throat.)
The species is named Phallostethus cuulong and is one of few fish that fertilizes eggs inside the female's body rather than outside. The nasty-looking hook appendage seems to have evolved to ensure the male's sperm get to the right place.

8. A beautiful, meat-eating sponge

It looks like a harp or a delicate candelabra, but beware to any crustacean that gets too close: The so-called "harp sponge" will snare and slowly digest you before you know it.

This truly bizarre creature had never been observed by human eyes before 2000, when a team from the Monterey Bay Research Aquarium Institute in California took a remotely operated submersible into 2-mile (3.5-km)-deep waters off the central California coast. They later captured two specimens of the animal, which is scientifically called Chondrocladia lyra, and took 10 more video observations, reporting their analysis of the new species in October in the journal Invertebrate Biology.

The sponges feed by clinging to muddy sediment on the ocean floor and letting ocean currents wash hapless tiny crustaceans into their harplike limbs. The candelabralike branches of the limbs may help maximize how many shrimplike critters these carnivorous sponges catch.

9. Zombie worms use acid to eat bones, have weird sex life

If you need even more proof of the horrors of the deep, consider the zombie worm, which feeds off the bones of whales and other scavenged sea creatures … despite not having a mouth. This July, researchers at the Society for Experimental Biology's annual meeting announced that they'd figured out how this mouthless creature eats bone. It excretes acid.

The acids allow the worms to break down and absorb the bone, the researchers explained. But that's just the tip of the weirdness iceberg for these amazingly adapted worms. The females grow about an inch (3 cm) long, but males never grow larger than 1/20th of an inch (1 millimeter). They seem to live in the gelatinous tubes covering the females, serving no purpose but to fertilize her eggs.

10. Turtles pee from their mouths

A sharp-snouted turtle found in China often submerges its head in puddles on dry land, a mystery given that these animals breathe air. Now, scientists say they've figured out why: The Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) can essentially pee from its mouth.

The turtles excrete urea, the main component of urine, through the gills in their mouths, a talent previously seen only in fish, the scientists reported in October in the Journal of Experimental Biology. This may be an adaption to the turtles' salty environment. Because they can't get enough freshwater to wash urea out through their urine, they transport it through their gills and then rinse their urea-filled mouths out with saltwater. And you thought flossing was bad. - Yahoo

Wild Discoveries: Wacky New Animals

National Geographic Tales of the Weird: Unbelievable True Stories