Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Trail

This is going to be the only post for today. I'm a bit 'under the weather' and somewhat miserable. I received the following email today from Danny...its quite interesting:

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this to you in order to add it to your many varied collections of the paranormal and oddity phenomena reported daily.

I am a 29 year old male from Pennsylvania and I have read through several stories on your site.

I thought I would share with you and your readers one of the many strange things I have personally experienced, and like other people I would like to know if they too had this type to experience; in September 2008 my best friend Ciera (pronounced Sierra) and I went to a park named Hocking Hills in Ohio for a day retreat from our busy lives. She and I had decided on this at random when we first got together early in the morning just after sunrise; it was a nice warm late summer day and we'd just decided to make a full day drive and hike out of it. Hocking Hills is well known for it's several walking trails, a cave or two, and several water falls and running water / creek areas. The day was very warm, sunny, hardly a cloud over head, and very nice.

We started a walk at random and found that one of the trails had been washed out so we had to take another path which forced us to cross a road; on the other side was a tall fire look out ranger's station which doubled as a Fire Tower. We had seen a lot of people out walking with us that day and a few hiker/backpackers had passed us by on their treks up until that point. We played with our phones a bit on the way to show each other some pictures we took a few days before on a different outing and noted it was roughly after 12-noon when we came out of the woods and walked across the road; it was then that we noticed there was caution tape all over the fire tower, there was a pungent smell in the air which we could not identify, the windows on top of the tower appeared to be taped up, grimy, and there were flies all over the area. We walked past it, commenting how odd it was, and continued down a seemingly new trail we hadn't seen on a previous walk in the area. The trail took us past the fire tower and then cut into the woodlands; as we walked into the forest we took notice that no one seemed to be around. In fact not only did we feel isolated from others but we felt very chilled without explanation. That day had been very warm as we both wore very cool clothing and when we entered the forest it began to feel very cool, much cooler than we expected and we both were shivering as we felt the temperature drop.

As we continued down the way my friend pointed out that it was getting darker than either of us should have expected or seemed to be - we looked around and there were nothing but trees on all sides, there should have been a forest edge somewhere as the area wasn't really that big but aside from some hills and tall pine trees there wasn't a real 'ending' to the woods like we expected as the area tends to be narrow and normally you can see the edges. She took out her phone to use her GPS because she instinctively felt lost but her battery was nearly gone, I took mine out and it had no signal, the battery was also near dead, and showed "EE:EE" for the time (meaning it couldn't update as it was a older style flip-phone with camera and when set to auto-adjust would contact the mobile phone network every 15 min).

It was only then as the light grew dimmer as we continued on our way that I noticed it was very silent suddenly. Our foot steps echoed, the leaves, grass, twigs, and our breathing just echoed. Ciera got spooked and I did too, she mentioned it was very out of ordinary. I agreed but I couldn't shake this sense of foreboding that something was amiss. I tried to rationalize it but I really, honestly, couldn't figure any of it out at all.

We continued forwards going down a small hill on trail and back up when it got darker. The world seemed to have gone from shadowy to near twilight darkness. My friend grabbed my arm and started freaking out about how weird it got - then the air grew chillier, and had a feeling of something wrong. We both took off running looking for an exit, for some odd reason we never thought to turn around at all as we ran we could hear our steps echo off the area as things just felt like they grew more gloomy.

Then ahead of us down a small hill and back up the other side we could see two large bushes on either side of the trail like a gate. We made a mad dash for the bushes and just as we pushed through the plants something odd happened - we were nearly blinded by light as sound and warmth returned all at once. It was like stepping outside of a cold, empty, and dark building to a warm busy street. We stood at the edge of a place known as Old Mans Cave which has a large water fall and a u-shaped cliff where you can look down into where the water and people gather. We turned around and the bushes were the same but the area was different, brighter, not silent for sure, and warm. In fact our skin was cold to touch which just reinforced the facts. We took out our phones and the time had finally updated, it was now 4pm. The normal trail would only have taken an hour to walk fully so it was a loss of three full hours!

Logic attempted to set in and we decided the trail we came up must have just appeared creepy because there may have been clouds over head or a storm blew by but when we went back between the bushes there was no trail. Nothing looked like it had a few seconds ago. Ciera walked around the bushes twice and it was the same bright sunny day with no darkness and no trail. We waited, it was blue sky over head and we could see the edges of the forest and other people. The trail had simply vanished as it we had never walked it.

On returning past the trail where the fire tower was located, we noticed it was normal looking and there was a blond haired young lady with her hair in a pony tail climbing the steps, the windows were not taped and very clean, and no pungent smell. We don't know what it was, but it certainly was creepy. Of course I jokingly told her later that day over dinner we had entered the faerie realms by mistake and were lucky to get away, she didn't find that funny of course but either way we felt we should share this with you and if anyone out there has had a similar experience perhaps they can provide insight.

Thanks again,

- Danny

Hiding in the Mirror: The Quest for Alternate Realities, from Plato to String Theory (by way of Alicein Wonderland, Einstein, and The Twilight Zone)

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos (Vintage)

Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos


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Friday, May 04, 2012

Monsters Of Our Species 4

There have been horrific murderers throughout human history...many are easily recognized by their name or moniker. In this fourth installment, I have posted information on a few more 'not so famous' human monsters:

John Edward Robinson was born on December 27, 1943 in Cicero, Illinois, a town famous for its connection to Al Capone. As a Boy Scout he performed before Queen Elizabeth II at a concert in London and became an Eagle Scout. As a freshman at Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago, he was a poor student and a discipline problem. He did not return to Quigley for his sophomore year; it is believed that he was denied admission as a sophomore due to either his academic or discipline shortcomings.

He had dreams of becoming very important. He was named "Man Of The Year" once at a Kansas City charity (an award he rigged in his own favor), and was described by acquaintances as very personable and easy to like.

Beneath his outward charm, however, he was a con artist and thief who served time in jail in 1987 on charges of felony theft. He was supposed to serve five years, but he was released after only four years for good behavior. He was then handed to Missouri authorities, who arrested him because his conviction in Kansas violated one of the conditions imposed when Robinson was released on probation from a Missouri jail after being convicted of forging signatures on some documents. But he started complaining of chest pains and was released with a doctor's recommendation letter.

In 1995, Robinson bought a computer and started looking for females to unleash his sexual fantasies on. He would lure them by calling himself the "Slave Master", and telling them what they wanted to hear.

According to the police, he would later meet some of those women in person and have sex with them. Then, the women he met disappeared. In the summer of 2000, some of their bodies appeared at Robinson's farm near La Cygne, Kansas and in a rented storage space in Raymore, Missouri.

In 1984, 18-year-old Paula Godfrey left home to take up a job with one of Robinson's many non-existent companies. After being told she was being sent away to take a few seminar classes to get her trained, her parents contacted the police and filed a missing person's report. A few days after questioning Robinson on Godfrey's whereabouts they received a type-written letter from Godfrey. The letter assured them that everything was fine, and that she simply did not want to contact her family. Her signature was at the bottom of the letter The case was dropped as Godfrey was an adult and had the right to disappear.

In 1985, Lisa Stasi, a 19-year-old single mother, met a man calling himself "John Osborne" at a shelter. The man promised her an apartment, job training, a monthly stipend, and even daycare for her 4-month-old daughter, Tiffany. Eager to become independent Stasi agreed, signing a few blank sheets of paper. She was never heard from again. A few days after meeting Stasi, Robinson contacted his brother and informed him he had a baby he could adopt. The baby's mother had committed suicide in a hotel room, and his connections with local charity would allow him to get the child for him if he paid the legal fees. The baby was Tiffany Stasi, and the papers Robinson brought were all forgeries. The money went straight into Robinson's account.

In 1993, Robinson was released from a stint in jail for violating his parole by running an underground prostitution ring specializing in domination and submission. He had met 49-year-old Beverly Bonner in prison. A librarian, she had been charmed by the eloquent man, and upon his release divorced her husband to follow Robinson. Shortly after having all of her alimony checks forwarded to a PO box, Bonner was killed and her body was placed inside of a barrel that was later put into a storage unit in Raymore, Missouri. Robinson continued to collect her alimony checks and cash them in his account for years.

Robinson was arrested and accused of murdering three women. He was convicted at the Johnson County Court House in Olathe, Kansas in 2002 and sentenced to death. He then pleaded guilty in Harrisonville, Missouri and did not receive a second death sentence from a Missouri court. Robinson could be the first person executed by lethal injection in the state of Kansas. However, in 2005 the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the current capital punishment laws in Kansas unconstitutional. It could be years before new capital punishment laws are written by the legislator and approved by the courts, if they are written at all.

Internet Slave Master


Genene Anne Jones (born July 13, 1950) was a paediatric nurse who worked in several medical clinics around San Antonio, Texas, and is thought to have killed somewhere between 11 and 46 infants and children who were in her care (around 1980-1982). She used injections of heparin and later of succinylcholine to kill the babies. Novel succinylcholine detection methods were used to prove her guilt.

While working at the Bexar County Hospital (now The University Hospital of San Antonio) in the Pediatric Intensive care unit, it was determined that a statistically inordinate number of children Jones worked with were dying. Rather than pursue further investigation the hospital simply asked Jones to resign, which she did.

She then took a position at a pediatric physician's clinic in Kerrville, Texas, near San Antonio. It was here that she was charged with poisoning six children. The doctor in the office discovered puncture marks in a bottle of succinylcholine in the drug storage, where only she and Jones had access. Contents of the apparently full bottle were later found to be diluted. Jones claimed to have been acting in the best interests of her patients, as she was trying to justify the need for a pediatric intensive-care unit in Kerrville. This act was not a successful means of achieving her goal.

An accurate number may never be known, in part because after her conviction on one count of murder and one count of attempted murder, hospital officials throughout Texas shredded records of her employment and activities, preventing further trials and embarrassment.

In 1985 Jones was charged with two crimes and sentenced to 99 years in prison. Jones will serve only one-third of her sentence because of a law in place at the time to deal with prison overcrowding. Jones will receive automatic parole in 2017, much to the protest of the family of Chelsea McClellan, the child Jones was convicted of murdering.

Jones is eligible for parole every two to three years, having been denied six times so far.

The Death Shift: The True Story of Nurse Genene Jones and the Texas Baby Murders.: An article from: Washington Monthly

Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters


Mary Ann Robson was born in the small English village of Low Moorsley in what is now Sunderland in October 1832. Her childhood was an unhappy one. Her parents were both younger than 20 when they married. Her father Michael, a miner, barely managed to keep his family fed; he was ardently religious, a fierce disciplinarian with Mary Ann and her younger brother Robert, and active in the Methodist church’s choir.

When Mary Ann was eight, her parents moved the family to the town of Murton, where she went to a new school and found it difficult to make friends. Soon after the move her father fell 150ft to his death down a mine shaft at Murton Colliery.

When Mary was 14, her mother remarried. Mary did not like her new stepfather, Robert Stott, but she liked the things his better wages could buy. At the age of 16 she could stand the discipline of her stepfather no more, so she moved out to become a nurse at Edward Potter's home in the nearby village of South Hetton. She served there for three years and then returned to her mother's home and trained as a dressmaker. About this time she met a colliery labourer called William Mowbray.

Mary Ann, aged 20, married William Mowbray in Newcastle upon Tyne, and soon they moved to Plymouth, Devon. The couple had five children, four of whom died from gastric fever or stomach pains. William and Mary moved back to the North East and she had another three children, all of whom died. William became a foreman at South Hetton Colliery and then a fireman aboard a steam vessel. He died of an intestinal disorder in January 1865. William's life was insured by the British and Prudential Insurance office and Mary Ann collected a payout of £35 on his death. It was to become a familiar theme.

Soon after Mowbray's death, Mary Ann moved to Seaham Harbour, County Durham, where she struck up a relationship with a Joseph Nattrass. He, however, was engaged to another woman and she left Seaham after Nattrass’s wedding. During this time, one of her two surviving children, a girl of 3½, died. That left her with one child out of the nine she had borne. Nattrass would reappear in Mary Ann's life later.

Mary Ann returned to Sunderland and and took up employment at the Sunderland Infirmary, House of Recovery for the Cure of Contagious Fever, Dispensary and Humane Society. Her remaining child, Isabella, was sent to live with Mary Ann's mother.

At the infirmary, one of her patients was an engineer, George Ward. After an affair, they married in Monkwearmouth in August, 1865. However, George continued to suffer ill health, and died in October 1866, after a long illness characterised by paralysis and intestinal problems. The attending doctor later gave evidence that Ward was an ailing man but was surprised he had died so suddenly. Once again Mary Ann collected insurance money from the death of her husband.

James Robinson was a shipwright at Pallion, Sunderland, whose wife, Hannah, had recently died. James hired Mary Ann as a housekeeper in November 1866. One month later, when James's baby died of gastric fever, he turned to his housekeeper for comfort and she became pregnant. Then Mary Ann's mother, living in Seaham Harbour, County Durham, became ill so she immediately went to her. Her mother started getting better but began complaining of stomach pains soon after her daughter arrived. She died, aged 54, on 9 June, nine days after Mary Ann's appearance.

Mary Ann's daughter Isabella — from the marriage to William Mowbray — was brought back to the Robson household and soon developed bad stomach pains and died; so did another two of James's children. All three children were buried within two weeks of each other at the end of April 1867.

Four months later, the grieving father and widower married Mary Ann. Their baby — a daughter called Mary Isabella — was born in November. But she became ill with familiar symptoms and died in March 1868.

James, meanhile, had became suspicious of his wife's insistence that he insure his life and discovered that she had run up debts of £60 behind his back and had stolen more than £50 that she was supposed to have banked. The last straw was when he found she had been forcing his children to pawn household valuables for her. He threw her out.

Mary Ann was desperate and living on the streets. Then her friend Margaret Cotton introduced her to her brother Frederick, a pitman and recent widower living in Walbottle, Northumberland, who had lost two of his four children. Margaret had acted as substitute mother for the children, Frederick Jr and Charles, although in late March 1870 she died from an undetermined stomach ailment — leaving Mary Ann to console the grieving Frederick Sr. Soon she was pregnant again with her eleventh child.

Frederick and Mary Ann were bigamously married in September 1870 and their son Robert was born early in 1871. Soon after, Mary Ann learnt that her former lover, Joseph Nattrass, was no longer married and was living in the nearby village of West Auckland. She rekindled the romance and persuaded her new family to move near him. Frederick followed his predecessors to the grave in December of that year, from “gastric fever”. Insurance had been taken out on his and his son’s lives.

After Frederick’s death, Nattrass soon became Mary Ann’s lodger. She gained employment as nurse to an excise officer recovering from smallpox, John Quick-Manning. Soon she became pregnant by him with her twelfth child.

This time, the traditional speedy marriage could not follow: what about the Cotton children and Nattrass? Frederick Jr died in March of 1872 and the infant Robert soon after. Then Nattrass became ill with gastric fever, and died — just after revising his will in Mary Ann’s favour.

The insurance policy Mary Ann had taken out on Charles's life still awaited collection. And so it would have been, but for a careless conversation.

Mary Ann's downfall came when she was asked by a parish official, Thomas Riley, to help nurse a woman who was ill with smallpox. She complained that the last surviving Cotton boy, Charles Edward, was in the way and asked Riley if he could be committed to the workhouse.

Riley, who also served as West Auckland's assistant coroner, said she would have to accompany him. She told Riley that the boy was sickly and added: “I won’t be troubled long. He’ll go like all the rest of the Cottons.”

Riley replied: "No, nothing of the kind — he is a fine, healthy boy", and so he was shocked five days later when Mary Ann told him that the lad had died. Riley went to the village police and convinced the doctor to delay writing a death certificate until the circumstances could be investigated.

Mary Ann’s first port of call after Charles’s death was not the doctor’s but the insurance office. There, she learnt that no money would be paid out until a death certificate was issued. An inquest was held and the jury returned a verdict of natural causes. Mary Ann claimed to have used arrowroot to relieve his illness and said Riley had made the accusations because she had rejected his advances.

Then the local newspapers latched on to the story and discovered Mary Ann had moved around northern England and lost three husbands, a lover, a friend, her mother and a dozen children, all of whom had died of stomach fevers.

Rumour turned to suspicion and forensic inquiry. The doctor who tended to Charles had kept samples and they tested positive for arsenic. He went to the police who arrested Mary Ann and ordered the exhumation of Charles’s body. She was charged with his murder — although the trial was delayed until after the delivery of the child by Quick-Manning.

The defence at Mary Ann’s trial claimed that Charles died from inhaling arsenic used as a dye in the green wallpaper of the Cotton home. The jury retired for 90 minutes before finding Mary Ann guilty.

The Times correspondent reported on 20 May: "After conviction the wretched woman exhibited strong emotion but this gave place in a few hours to her habitual cold, reserved demeanour and while she harbours a strong conviction that the royal clemency will be extended towards her, she staunchly asserts her innocence of the crime that she has been convicted of."

Several petitions were presented to the home secretary, but to no avail. She was hanged at Durham County Jail on 24 March, 1873. She died slowly, the hangman having misjudged the drop required for a “clean” execution.

The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison

British Serial Killers


Juan Vallejo Corona was born in Mexico in 1934, and moved to Yuba City, California in the 1950s, to work on a farm. He soon became married and raised four daughters. Corona had reportedly suffered from schizophrenic episodes, but he was otherwise regarded as a hard worker. Corona eventually became a labor contractor in Yuba City,and he was in charge of hiring migrant workers to staff local farms. Most of the workers hired by Corona were from Mexico.

On May 19, 1971, the corpse of an adult male was found in a shallow grave on a Yuba City farm. This prompted the property owner to call the Sutter County Sheriff's Department. Homicide detectives ordered the area surrounding the grave be excavated, which unearthed a total of 24 additional male corpses, all of whom had been farm laborers. The coroner established that each of the victims had been hacked to death with a machete-like weapon.

Corona came under suspicion for the murders because he was supplying workers to the farm where the victims were found. Several bodies had documents on them showing that Corona's firm had retained their services, providing a concrete link between Corona and the victims. Corona was arrested by authorities and indicted for the murders. The victims had all been killed in a period of six weeks, Corona had been killing an average of one victim every 40 hours.

Corona denied culpability for the crimes, but was found guilty and sentenced to 25 life sentences. Corona eventually won a retrial following his exhaustive appeal processes. In his second trial, the defense posited that Corona's brother, who was deceased by then, was the real killer. Corona was convicted again and returned to prison after the strategy failed to persuade the court that he was innocent. Juan Corona is currently incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison.

It is theorized that Corona's murders were sexually motivated. Corona was known to have a very effeminate affect, and was believed to be a closet homosexual. Homosexuality was a major taboo in the Mexican-American community at the time of the murders, and many people believe that he had committed the murders to prevent his victims from revealing alleged homosexual trysts with Corona.

The Road to Yuba City: A Journey into the Juan Corona Murders

Murders In The United States: Crimes, Killers And Victims Of The Twentieth Century

Serial Killers: The Insatiable Passion

Just the Facts?: Lost Colony of Roanoke Found? -- Dog-Headed Humanoids -- Alaska's Iliamna Lake Monster

Lost Colony of Roanoke Found?

Perhaps the best clue in more than 420 years to North Carolina's most famous mystery has just been revealed.

The remains of the Lost Colony, it turns out, could sit under an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course in Bertie County.

Researchers at the British Museum in London, acting at the request of a group of historians and archaeologists in North Carolina, have found a symbol hidden on an ancient map that could show where members of the English colony established on Roanoke Island in 1587 moved.

Representatives of the First Colony Foundation and scholars at the British Museum who appeared via video webcast announced the discovery Thursday in a news conference at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill's Wilson Library.

The elaborate "Virginea Pars" map was created by members of Sir Walter Raleigh's Roanoke Colony expeditions of 1584-1590, the first attempt to establish an English Colony in the New World.

The map, which is unusually accurate for its time, shows the coastal area from the Chesapeake Bay to Cape Lookout, and pinpoints the locations of several native American villages.

Brent Lane, an adjunct professor of Heritage Education at the University of North Carolina Kenan Institute and a scholar with the First Colony Foundation, was studying a map made by the leader of the 1587 colony expedition, John White, when he became intrigued with two patches of paper pasted over small parts of it.

One of the patches was in an area that the settlers had explored, and where some historians had theorized was a likely spot for them to have moved.

The patching technique was normal for the time. When artists wanted to make alterations, they would paste on a patch and draw or paint over it. Still, Lane asked British Museum officials whether they had ever tried to determine what was under the patches.

They hadn't.

When they put the map on a simple light table, which shined through the paper, they saw something startling. Under one patch was a large symbol that appeared show the location of a fort.

The site appears to be at or near what is now the Scotch Hall Preserve, a golf course and residential community just across the Albemarle Sound from Edenton.

Raleigh planned a capital, the "Cittie of Raleigh," and Lane said that the symbol may show both the planned location of that and the most likely place for the colonists to have moved.

Lost Colony Foundation members said Thursday that they were planning new scholarly and archaeological research to explore the new clue about the Bertie site. Early efforts to match pottery recovered from the area to the correct period have already produced some positive results, researchers said. - chicagotribune

Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony

A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke

Roanoke: The Lost Colony--An Unsolved Mystery from History


Dog-Headed Humanoids

Crewe, England - 1969 - night

9-year old Mark was walking along the wide pavement street when he saw some strange characters coming toward him. He saw three of them and they were somewhat taller than normal humans. As they approached, he was stunned to see that they were dressed as men in suits, but had very large dog-like heads. These heads swayed widely from side to side as the creatures walked. Mark was absolutely terrified as they approached, but they seemed not to notice him and he passed by them safely. Terrified he ran all the way home.

Source: Fortean Times / Albert Rosales


Alaska's Iliamna Lake monster may be a huge sleeper shark

For years, legendary tales from Scotland and Western Alaska described large animals or monsters thought to live in Loch Ness and Lake Iliamna. But evidence has been mounting that the Loch Ness and Lake Iliamna monsters may, in fact, be sleeper sharks.

Two exceptionally large Arctic sharks ply northern waters -- Greenland sharks and the Pacific sleeper sharks. During the last few years, scientists have documented Greenland sharks using the St. Lawrence Seaway, lending further credence to the hypothesis that some sharks can survive in freshwater. Bull sharks are also known to swim in fresh water, but this species needs warmer waters.

The idea of sharks possibly using Loch Ness is not new; that's long been one of the hypotheses explaining the Loch Ness Monster. But until now, nobody has suggested sleeper sharks, perhaps because they're secretive and so rarely seen. Continue reading at Alaska's Iliamna Lake monster may be a huge sleeper shark

Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature

Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizensof the Deep


Saudi police raid 'Smurf' concert

Police raided a theatre performance in Saudi Arabia where schoolkids had dressed up as the Smurf's because the music was un-Islamic.

The raid happened in the city of Taif after complaints about the religious music that was being played to accompany the performance by the kids aged between five and nine.

The Saudi Arabian newspaper "El Sharq" said that the anti-Smurf action by the police took place in front of a performance in front of around 2000 primary school children.

It said that the police raid had not gone down well with the audience who had protested loudly.

Although not illegal to play music in public many Saudis regard it as un-Islamic. - austriantimes


Secret files missing at National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration has lost track of dozens of boxes of confidential and secret government files at its records center just outside of Washington, the latest in a series of such incidents spanning more than a decade.

The missing classified materials include four boxes of top-secret restricted files from the Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as records from several U.S. Navy offices, documents obtained by The Washington Times show.

The problems came to light after a three-year investigation by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Office of Inspector General. While the investigation ended last year, officials recently provided a copy of the report on their findings in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

It’s not the first time the inspector general's office has raised concerns about missing files at the Washington National Records Center. According to the report, the office conducted previous inventories of classified materials in 1998 and 2004, concluding that boxes were missing during both of those searches.

“According to those staffers that can recall, minimal corrective actions were taken,” the inspector general's office noted in the report on its most recent investigation.

NARA officials say they cooperated with investigators and insist there is no indication that any of the boxes were stolen. Instead, they blame the problems on “bad data” for a tiny fraction of the millions of boxes stored in the Washington National Records Center, where 250,000 boxes enter the Suitland facility each year.

Joe Newman, a spokesman for the nonpartisan watchdog group Project on Government Oversight (POGO), said the inspector general’s report raised troubling but not unexpected questions.

“While it’s troubling that there are boxes of top-secret and confidential materials missing, it’s not entirely unexpected considering the sheer volume of data the National Archives and Records Center is responsible for storing and protecting,” he said.

“The report raises some issues of careless handling and filing of materials that certainly deserve the attention of the administration. However, these problems also raise bigger questions of how recent budget cuts and staffing reductions have affected the ability of the National Archives to do its job effectively.”

NARA, the nation’s official record keeper, does not own the facility where the records are stored, instead leasing the property from the General Services Administration. Likewise, the boxes, which are stored in row after row of high shelves in rooms twice the size of football fields at the facility, do not belong to NARA, either. The agency acts as the custodian and stores the boxes temporarily until they’re either destroyed or turned over for permanent placement in the National Archives.

William J. Bosanko, appointed last year as NARA’s Executive For Agency Services, said officials are continuing what he called a “very aggressive search” for boxes reported missing in the inspector general’s investigation.

Mr. Bosanko said one measure officials think will result in better tracking is the bar coding of boxes as they come in and out of the records center. Previously, he said, paper tracking slips, which could detach from boxes and fall off shelves, could result in a box reported as missing when it is still in the records center.

Another problem he cited is the fact that agencies sometimes have asked for boxes to be returned, only to later send them back to NARA in different boxes with different so-called “accession numbers,” which are used to track the materials.

In addition, Mr. Bosanko said, tracking information can be lost as boxes age or sustain damage. He said the records center is an aging building that’s had troubles with leaks over the years, as well as sustaining damage from an earthquake last year. Officials are working to replace the building, he said.

In an interview, Paul Brachfeld, NARA’s inspector general, said the problems span years and highlight more than just record-keeping issues.

After years of what he called “chronic disregard” about the situation at NARA, Mr. Brachfeld said, “I do believe finally they are taking my recommendations to heart.”

He said it’s too early to say whether problems will surface in future audits and investigations. Records show that a similar investigation had been under way reviewing unclassified materials held at the Suitland facility.

“It’s a process that’s going to have to be played out,” he said.

Congress was on notice about the missing records months ago. In a semiannual report to Congress last year, the inspector general's office told lawmakers that 80 boxes of top-secret and restricted materials were missing.

“This investigation was closed subject to continuing updates regarding the recovery of remaining material,” the inspector general told Congress.

The agencies listed in the report were the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Export Administration, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of Energy, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency as well as four components of the U.S. Navy. Each of the agencies was notified. The report did not say when the records were compiled. - WashTimes

Records of Our National Life: American History from the National Archives

Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives

National Geographic Image Collection

Thursday, May 03, 2012

What Descended Into Bantam Lake?

At approximately 2:00am on Tuesday April 10, 2012, there was a report of a green, glowing object the size of a whale fell from the sky and crashed into Bantam Lake. At the same time, a state trooper 10 miles away in Warren, CT called dispatchers to report that something fell out of the sky and landed near Bantam, CT. The first media report follows:

Trooper, Motorist: Mysterious Object Fell From Sky

Authorities in northwestern Connecticut say they didn't find anything after a state trooper and another person reported a large object falling out of the sky in Litchfield.

The Republican-American of Waterbury reports that a person driving in Litchfield at about 2 a.m. Tuesday reported that a green, glowing object the size of a whale fell from the sky and crashed into Bantam Lake. Officials say that at about the same time, a state trooper 10 miles away in Warren called dispatchers to report that something fell out of the sky and landed near Bantam or Morris.

Morris firefighters made several passes up and down the lake in a boat looking for a possible plane crash, but didn't find any debris.

Authorities called off the search, leaving the mystery unsolved.


One week after the incident, the following article was posted - Bantam Lake UFO (or meteorite): reports of dead fish unrelated, 'Smoking Gun' investigating

Nine days later, a subsequent article was published - Bantam Lake "UFO" mystery may never be solved


On May 1st, the follwoing was published in the New Haven Register:

Orange-based 'Smoking Gun Group' posts update about its Bantam Lake UFO (or meteorite) investigation

The investigation into what reportedly fell into Bantam Lake early last month continues for the Smoking Gun Research Agency (SGRA) of Orange, a group that studies the paranormal, metaphysical and unexplained.

The group has posted a progress report on its Web site, saying that on the morning of April 13 it received approximately 12 reports that seemed related to the incident that had folks in Litchfield, Morris and beyond buzzing about a UFO—or at least about a meteorite that may fallen into the lake.

Though none of those who offered input to the Smoking Gun group saw an object, several said they felt vibrations or shaking, or heard a boom or what was described as “single clap of thunder,” and/or saw a momentary flash outside their windows.

Of these witnesses, the majority were located within a five-mile radius of the lake.

The reports came in the wake of an incident that reportedly occurred about around 2 a.m. April 10, when an unidentified motorist who was near Bantam Lake called State Police at the Troop L barracks in Litchfield to report seeing the green, whale-sized object fall into the lake.

That motorist didn’t stick around and apparently didn’t call back—but an on-duty State Police trooper some 10 miles away in Warren also called the barracks to report seeing a large object fall from the sky over Bantam or Morris.

In the two weeks following the incident, the Smoking Gun organization received a total of 37 additional observations, most of which were similar in nature to the initial ones.

According to the report posted online, one interesting fact that presented itself during the investigation was that it appeared there was another similar sighting of a “green-glowing” object on the evening of Monday, April 9, at approximately 10:45 p.m.

“This object was observed in the area of Farmington, Southington and Bristol, Conn., located in Hartford County, approximately 25 miles to the east of Bantam Lake,” according to the Smoking Gun report.

These observations seem to lend support to the leading theory that the Bantam Lake object was a meteorite. While the Smoking Gun group says meteor shower closest to the date of the incident was the Lyrid Meteor Shower, which was expected to peak around April 21 or 22, WTNH reported that the National Weather Service had confirmed a meteor shower in the region on the night of the incident.

The Smoking Gun organization noted that for several weeks prior to the event, it had received similar reports of green objects being sighted in Connecticut, though none as large as described at Bantam Lake.

On April 11, according to the report, a green fireball was observed as it passed through the skies of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa, and the object reportedly was caught on security videotape.

Smoking Gun continues to seek additional information, and has asked for transcripts or audio copies of State Police communications from the event, in order to hear the conversation and descriptions that were given.

“At this time we are not expecting any further witness data to be provided, and based on the information collected believe we have enough information to effectively presume this object was a meteor,” according to the report.

If an object had impacted the lake, there are no known plans to attempt to locate or retrieve it—despite a call from Robert LaBonne, the former head of the Bantam Lake Protective Association, for the state to investigate.

Go to Update: Bantam Lake Object Investigation - Smoking Gun Research Agency (SGRA) for the full report.

Click for video - Bantam Lake UFO

NOTE: If this was indeed a green-glowing object then I'd have to guess that it was a meteorite...but if it was 'whale size' there would have been obvious clues. An object that large would have created a large wake that would have been detected by shore damage. There is a possibility that a meteorite would have broken up enough to scatter. There were reports of a 'single clap of thunder', a single flash of light and vibrations. There are some suggestions of a USO or Unidentified Submerged Object. I suppose its possible, but why would something intelligently controlled be so obvious to witnesses during descent? There are many questions that need to be answered...Lon

Strange Secrets: Real Government Files on the Unknown


On the Trail of the Saucer Spies: UFOs and Government Surveillance

Give A Gift They'll Never Forget!

Just the Facts?: Osama Bin Laden's Body Found? -- IKEA's East German / Cuba Connection -- MI6 Codebreaker Murdered

Treasure hunter claims he found Osama Bin Laden's body

That smiling guy is Bill Warren, the Californian treasure hunter who claimed he was searching for Osama Bin Laden's dead body back in June 2011. He didn't find him then, but now he claims he has located the cadaver.

Talking to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Warren says he has no doubt about where Osama is:

I've located where they threw him away. I'm the only one with this information. He's 200 miles to the west of the Indian city of Surat.

Warren—who claims he has discovered more than 200 shipwrecks during his career as a treasure-hunter—says that bin Laden's body is still at that same location, deep under water. His thought is that, since the Navy weighted down the bag, the body hasn't moved from where it was dropped. He is now trying to rent Russian deep diving equipment to locate his payload, and to conduct DNA tests once he finds him.

At least, that's what he believes. He says he pinpointed the drop point from photos recently released by the US Navy.

Warren is now in Azerbaijan, apparently working for their government in a contract to locate some old ships. But he is ready to start the diving for Osama's body bag: he says he's aiming at starting the mission on June 1, and that he may be able to find the body in "under a week." He also claims that the search would last a maximum of three months. He declares that his only fear is that the US Government would kill him or sink his boat.

Warren is now searching for $200,000 to finance the whole operation (Bill, I suggest Kickstarter). He wouldn't have needed that money had he located the Trinidad, the famous Spanish ship loaded with Aztec gold that sunk in the coast of California in 1540. Warren has repeatedly tried to locate that treasure, once in 1976 and then again in 1987. Back then he claimed he had located the Trinidad, but obviously he didn't.

Conspiracy theories

The same could probably be true with Bin Laden's body. It's highly unlikely that, even if he were right about the location—and again, there's very little chance he is—he would be able to find a body bag in the bottom of the deep sea.

Warren says he is doing this because he doesn't "believe the Obama administration" and he wants to have proof that it is really his body. But, if he doesn't believe President Obama and the United States Navy, why would the body be down there at all? If he thinks that they are lying, the most logical thing is to believe that they never buried the body at sea.

But who knows, maybe Bill will prove himself right this time. Or maybe the body will not be there because Osama bin Laden is alive and well, playing cards and drinking mai tais with Elvis and Marilyn, in that secret government paradise island in the middle of the Pacific. - gizmodo

SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden

Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad

KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events


IKEA faces allegations that it used Cuban political prisoners to make its products

Deal to make Ikea furniture in Cuban prisons was hatched using East German trading connections, according to reports

Ikea is facing allegations that it used Cuban prisoners to make its products in the 1980s.

The claims follow allegations this week that East German political prisoners were forced to make furniture for the Swedish retailer from the 1970s.

According to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a deal to make Ikea furniture in Cuban prisons was hatched using East German trading connections.

The agreement was signed in September 1987, according to files held in the Stasi archivesfiles, after a delegation of East German business representatives went to Havana for talks with the Cuban Interior Ministry.

Talks were held with several government officials, including Enrique Sanchez, the head of the state company Emiat which was responsible for furnishing the homes of the Cuban political elite. According to the files, the production sites discussed were "incorporated in the Interior Ministry's prison facilities".

The contract signed required Cuba to produce 35,000 dining tables, 10,000 children's tables, and 4,000 three-piece suites.

Ikea reacted to the reports, which emerged following an investigation by Swedish television, by saying it had begun its own inquiry and was keen to see the Stasi files to check for evidence and compare them with the company's own records.

A spokeswoman said Ikea "condemned the use of political prisoners" in its production "in the strongest possible terms". She added the company took the claims very seriously, though denied that Ikea knew it had been using prison labour.

The records show the collaboration with Cuba did not initially go very smoothly. In early 1988 the first delivery of three-piece suites was delayed due to poor quality. Changes to the production process led to shipments of the products resuming several months later. - guardian

The IKEA Edge: Building Global Growth and Social Good at the World's Most Iconic Home Store

The Truth about Ikea: The Secret Behind the World's Fifth Richest Man and the Success of the Flatpack Giant


Mark your calendars...another Doomsday prediction

It's going to be a busy year for end-of-the-world aficionados, now that Jose De Jesus Miranda has weighed in.

The U.S.-based religious leader is penciling in June 30 for the end of days, nudging out Mayan Doomsday enthusiasts who have have earmarked December 21, 2012 for humanity's last gasp.

"An earthquake is coming," Miranda proclaimed in an April 25 ministry broadcast.

"It is getting closer and we will see the catastrophes. What you have seen is nothing. What is coming is cities falling."

But Miranda is bringing his own unique twist to the Apocalypse-faithful. While promising the "complete destruction of the bad seed," the minister promises that he will emerge as a sort of superhero -- with the power to fly and even walk through walls.

Mr. Doomsday, if you will. Or, as his followers call him, 'Dad'.

What we do know of Miranda is that he was, in fact, born mortal -- in Puerto Rico in 1946. By his own account, Miranda was visited by Jesus in 1973 -- apparently the Messiah walked up to him and entered his body.

Hence, De Jesus.

From there, his pronouncements have only gotten more interesting.

In 1988, Miranda disclosed that he was actually the Apostle Paul. Not long after that, Miranda took it to the next level, calling himself both Jesus Christ and the Anti-Christ -- a one-stop shop for all your Reckoning needs.

And that Reckoning is at the world's doorstep.

Miranda marshals a plethora of 'scientific' evidence to back his claim, much of it revolving around the reversal of Earth's poles causing "tectonic plates to heat up."

"For 2012, we are expecting a change on the face of the earth and the destruction of the world will come."

There's also some economic oblivion thrown in for good measure -- essentially a toppling of world governments prompted by financial meltdowns.

It all makes perfect sense to the ministry's followers -- legions of a not entirely disclosed number in some 130 countries.

"He's in their heads, he's inside the heads of those people," U.S. religion expert Prof. Daniel Alvarez told CNN News in 2007. "De Jesus speaks with a kind of conviction that makes me consider him more like David Koresh or Jim Jones."

He's also in downtown Toronto these days. Sort of. Miranda offers a smiling salute from a billboard on Bloor Street West.

The Growing Grace ministry boasts 200 members in Toronto, Calgary, St. Catharines, Montreal and Vancouver.

Alex Poessy, the group’s bishop in Canada, told the National Post, “That day, the body of Jose de Luis de Jesus, who is a human like you and me, his flesh is going to be immortal…. He’s going to be living forever. And that will happen to him, but also his followers.”

Many of those followers get some unlikely ink to show their support for 'Dad' -- the number 666 prominently emblazoned on their skin.

Don't worry, Miranda explains, it's actually a positive symbol.

In fact, Miranda's followers crunch what might loosely be described as numbers in this statement to Miami New Times:

"Thousands worldwide are marked with the number of His name, 666. The Earth's rotation has accelerated to a speed of 66,666 mph. All prophecies are fulfilling, even scientific, astronomical and numerological formulae are aligning - all pointing to the year 2012, where the Puerto Rican-born Jose Luis De Jesus (Latitude 66.6°) curiously turns 66."

But not everyone is sold on this Doomsday prophet. Other religious groups seem more than a little chafed by Miranda's prognosticaions.

"To put it bluntly," writes Christian website "Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a heretic. He is a false messiah who claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ." - THP


MI6 Codebreaker Found Dead in Bag Was Likely Killed, Coroner Says

A top British codebreaker whose naked body was found in a sports bag in his bathtub in 2010 was likely killed by suffocation or poisoning in a “premeditated criminal act,” according to a coroner who delivered her verdict at the end of a seven-day inquest.

Coroner Fiona Wilcox said that Gareth Williams’ death will likely never be fully explained, but that murder by an intelligence agency or intelligence colleague could not be ruled out. She said that there was no evidence to support claims that Williams’ death was linked to his interest in bondage and speculated that such assertions might be an attempt by some to influence and manipulate the investigation.

Wilcox also criticized the police and MI6 for their handling of the death and investigation, noting that MI6 was late in submitting evidence to police and prevented them from speaking with Williams’ colleagues directly.

Testimony presented at the inquest showed that MI6, the spy agency with which Williams was contracted at the time of his death, failed to adequately check up on him despite his failure to show up for work for several days, and that by the time Williams was finally reported missing after seven days, his body had badly decomposed, thwarting efforts to determine a cause of death. Testimony also revealed that it was only this week that the spy agencies gave investigators nine thumb drives that had been found at Williams’ workplace.

Wilcox told the court that the testimony of Williams’ MI6 manager about why Williams’ absence from work raised little concern stretched the “bounds of credibility.” She also said that while it appeared unlikely that British spy agencies played a role in the coder’s death, it was still a “legitimate line of inquiry” for the investigation.

Family and friends testified that Williams was unhappy with his work environment at MI6 and felt he didn’t fit in with his colleagues. He was on contract with MI6 for three years, but had requested to be released from it after a year to return to Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

During the inquest, testimony revealed that the coder had conducted unauthorized searches on an MI6 database that could have put him at risk if he was discovered. Investigators said, however, that MI6, Britain’s top spy agency, was unaware that Williams had conducted the searches.

Williams, who was 31 at the time he died, was found inside a North Face nylon sports bag in the bathtub of his apartment in August 2010. His nude body was in the fetal position with his arms folded across his chest. The bag was closed with a padlock, and two keys to the padlock were found underneath Williams’ body inside the bag.

Investigating the possibility that Williams had placed himself in the bag, an expert witness testified that he attempted 300 times to lock himself inside a similar sports bag in a bathtub, and was unable to do so.

“I couldn’t say it’s impossible, but I think even Houdini would have struggled with this one,” expert Peter Faulding told the court.

It’s believed that Williams was alive, and likely unconscious, when he was placed in the bag or was placed in it shortly after death before rigor mortis had set in. His mobile phone and a number of SIM cards were laid out on a table near the body, according to news reports. The phone had been restored to its factory settings. There were no signs of forced entry to the apartment and no signs of a struggle.

The coroner said she was sure that a third party had moved the bag containing Williams’ body into the bathtub, noting that it was “significant” that no hand or footprints were found in the bathroom.

Williams was described by those who knew him as a “math genius” and worked for GCHQ in the United Kingdom, helping to break coded Taliban communications, among other things. He was just completing a year-long stint with MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service, and was looking forward to returning to GCHQ when his body was found.

Williams had worked with the NSA and British intelligence to intercept e-mail messages that helped convict would-be bombers in the U.K. He had made repeated visits to the U.S. to meet with the National Security Agency and worked closely with British and U.S. spy agencies to intercept and examine communications that passed between an al Qaeda official in Pakistan and three men who were convicted in 2009 of plotting to bomb transcontinental flights, according to British news reports.

Williams flew up to four times a year to the U.S. to the NSA’s headquarters at Fort Meade HQ. His uncle, Michael Hughes, told the British paper the Mirror that Williams would mysteriously disappear for three or four weeks.

“The trips were very hush-hush,” Hughes said. “They were so secret that I only recently found out about them – and we’re a very close family. It had become part of his job in the past few years. His last trip out there was a few weeks ago, but he was regularly back and forth.”

He is believed to have returned from a trip abroad on August 11, 2010. He was last seen alive on August 15, eight days before his body was found.

Investigators, however, said they have ruled out that Williams’ death was related to his work, although they have not revealed how they arrived at this conclusion.

There were rumors leaked to the press that the coder’s death had to do with sexual play. The browser history on Williams’ computer and one of his phones showed that he had visited bondage sites, and former landlords testified that they once found the coder tied to his bed wearing only boxing shorts. He told them he had just been “messing around” and had tied the bindings too tightly. Investigators also found more than $30,000 worth of women’s designer clothes and accessories in his apartment, as well as a woman’s brightly colored orange wig.

But the coroner said it was “highly unlikely” that sadomasochism or other sexual play had a role in Williams’ death, and investigators said there was no indication that he had anything more than a passing interest in bondage. Friends also said that the women’s clothes found in his apartment were likely gifts for a fashion designer friend and others, although they were in sizes that would have fit Williams. There was also indication that the wig and some of the clothes may have been for a costume party. - wired


Scientist: egg-shaped object is the final proof of life on Mars

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe said the globule from the rock named Tissint is rich in carbon and oxygen and insisted they could only have been produced by living organisms.

He added that they could not have been caused by contamination when they fell to Earth.

Prof Wickramasinghe, 72 — famous for controversial ideas such as that the flu virus and even life itself was brought to our planet by comets — said: "It is impossible to understand how carbon-rich particles of such uniform sizes and shapes got inside a rocky matrix if they are not relics of some algal species.

"Tissint was collected weeks after it fell, and terrestrial contamination seems unlikely. In any case the structures we found were on newly fractured surfaces, from the interior of the meteorite."

The meteorite was named after the village where it came down in the Sahara desert in Morocco last July.

It was probably blasted from Mars when it was hit by an asteroid millions of years ago.

A piece of it was examined at the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology and Cardiff University.

PhD student Jamie Wallis, who was working with Dr Wickramasinghe, said: "All the indications are that structures such as we have found are evidence of life on Mars.

“The spheres are probably remnants of polysaccharide shells surrounding algal type cells."

In 2009, a NASA team claimed they had photographed Martian organisms inside another meteorite that is kept in London's Natural History Museum.

Their electron microscope showed a bumpy surface resembling a fossilised colony of microbacteria in a rock that fell from the sky in Nakhla, Egypt, in 1911.

The team from NASA's Johnson Space Centre examined the space rock to support their claims in 1996 that Martian bugs had been found in a meteorite, ALH84001, found in Antarctica where it had been lying for thousands of years.

That discovery, which NASA later officially backtracked from, was considered so important that President Clinton addressed the nation on TV.

Earlier this month, another group of scientists claimed that the first two Viking probes that NASA landed on Mars in 1976 discovered life but failed to recognise it. - thesun

Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier

Water and the Search for Life on Mars (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration)


The next time someone tells you to kiss a monkey's butt....

Yesterday, Wuhan Zoo Monkey caretaker Zhang Bangsheng unbelievably used his tongue to lick a small monkey’s butt!

50-year-old Zhang Bangsheng used warm water to clean a small Francois’ Leaf Monkey’s buttocks, then began using his mouth to lick it, not stopping for over an hour, until the little monkey defecated a single peanut. Only after the peanut was defecated did Zhang Bangsheng laugh with satisfaction.

As it is understood, this small Francois’ langur is only 3 months old, and is the first Francois’ Leaf Monkey to be born in nearly 10 years at this animal park. The Francois’ langur is a rare primate from Guangxi and Guizhou and is amongst the nation’s most protected animals. Because it is so precious, the zoo gave it to model worker and high-level expert Zhang Bangsheng to care for and raise.

On the first day of the “May 1st” short holiday, Zhang Bangsheng let the small Francois langur enter the monkey exhibit for the first time to meet visitors so it can see more of the world. The next day, Old Zhang discovered that the little monkey had indigestion and difficulty defecating, and immediately became worried. Seeing peanut shells on the ground, Old Zhang immediately understood that visitors had definitely tossed peanuts to the small monkey, and the toothless monkey swallowed the peanut whole. If it does not quickly defecate it, it would endanger the little monkey’s life.

Because the monkey is too small, it wasn’t suitable to use medicine to let it defecate. The only way was to lick its butt, to prompt it to defecate the peanut, and so the scene at the start of this article occurred. - chinasmack