Sunday, June 30, 2013

Esoterica: Vampirism in Eastern Europe -- 'Evil Spirits' Closed Down School -- Case of Mass Hysteria?

Vampirism in Eastern Europe - Disinterment of 'Vampires'

New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 871 - Jan 1849

The notion of a vampire is not, as is imagined by many, a mere romancer’s dream. It is a superstition which to this day survives in the east of Europe, where little more than a century ago it was frightfully prevalent. At that period vampirism spread like a pestilence through Servia and Wallachia, causing numerous deaths, and disturbing all the land with fear of the mysterious visitation, against which no one felt himself secure.

The Polish maiden in Dumas’s story makes allusion to the disinterment of a number of vampires in one single village. As this is probably the most extraordinary case of vampirism on record, we shall transfer an account of it to our pages from Dr. Herbert Mayo’s newly-published work*, previously quoted.

In the spring of 1727 there returned from the Levant to the village of Meduegna, near Belgrade, one Arnod Paole, who, in a few years of military service and varied adventure, had amassed enough to purchase a cottage and an acre or two of land in his native place, where, he gave out, he meant to pass the remainder of his days. He kept his word. Arnod had yet scarcely reached the prime of manhood; and though he must have encountered the rough as well as the smooth of life, and mingled with many a wild and reckless companion, yet his naturally good disposition and honest principles had preserved him unscathed in the scenes he had passed through. At all events, such were the thoughts expressed by his neighbors, as they discussed his return and settlement among them in the Stube of the village Hof. Nor did the frank and open countenance of Arnod, his obliging habit, and steady conduct, argue their judgment incorrect. Nevertheless, there was something occasionally noticeable in his ways, a look and tone, that betrayed inward disquiet. Often would he refuse to join his friends, or on some sudden plea abruptly quit their society. And he still more unaccountably, and as it seemed sytematically, avoided meeting his pretty neighbor Nina, whose father occupied the next tenement to his own. At the age of seventeen, Nina was as charming a picture as you could have seen, of youth, cheerfulness, innocence, and confidence, in all the world. You could not look into her limpid eyes, which sleadily returned your gaze, without peeking to the bottom of the pure and transparent spring of her thoughts. Why, then, did Arnod shrink from meeting her ? He was young, had a little property, had health and industry, and he had told his friends he had formed no ties in other lands. Why, then, did he avoid the fascination of the pretty Nina, who seemed a being made to chase from any brow the clouds of gathering care ? But he did so. Yet less and less resolutely, for he felt the charm of her presence. Who could have done otherwise? And how could he long resist the impulse of his fondness for the innocent girl, who often sought to cheer his fits of depression ?

And they were to be united ; were betrothed; yet still an anxious gloom would fitfully overcast his countenance, even in the sunshine of those hours.

“What is it, dear Arnod, that makes you sad ? It cannot be on my account, I know, for you were sad before you ever noticed me ; and that, I think,” (and you should have seen the deepening rose upon her cheeks), ” surely first made me notice you.”

“Nina,” he answered, ” I have done, I fear, a great wrong, in trying to gain your affections. Nina, I have a fixed, impression that I shall not live ; yet, knowing this, I have selfishly made my existence necessary to your happiness.”

“How strangely you talk, dear Arnod! Who in the village is stronger and healthier than you? You feared no danger when you were a soldier : what danger do you fear as a villager of Meduegna ?

“It haunts me, Nina.”

“But, Arnod, you were sad before you thought of me; did you then fear to die?”

“Ah, Nina, it is something worse than death.” And his vigorous frame shook with agony.

“Arnod, I conjure you, tell me.”

“It was in Cossova this fate befell me here you have hitherto escaped the terrible scourge. But there they died, and the dead visited the living. I experienced the first frightful visitation, and I fled; but not till I had sought his grave, and exacted the dread expiation from the vampire.”

Nina’s blood ran cold. She stood horror stricken. But her young heart soon mastered her first despair. With a touching voice she spoke:

“Fear not, dear Arnod, fear not now. I will be your shield or I will die with you.”

And she encircled his neck with her gentle arms ; and returning hope shone, Iris-like, amid her falling tears. Afterward they found a reasonable ground for banishing or allaying their apprehensions, in the length of time which had elapsed since Arnod left Cossova, during which no fearful visitant had again approached him; and they fondly trusted that gave them security.

It is a strange world. The ills we fear are commonly not those which overwhelm us. The blows that reach us are for the most part unforeseen. One day, about a week after this conversation, Arnod missed his footing when on the top of a loaded hay-wagon, and fell from it to the ground. He was picked up insensible and carried home, where, after lingering a short time, he died; his interment, as usual, followed immediately. His fate was sad and premature; but what pencil could paint Nina’s grief?

Twenty or thirty days after his decease, says the perfectly authenticated report of these transactions, several of the neighborhood complained that they were haunted by the deceased Arnod; and what was more to the purpose, four of them died. The evil looked at skeptically was bad enough; but aggravated by the suggestions of superstition, it spread a panic through the whole district. To allay the popular terror, and if possible to get at the root of the evil, a determination was come to publicly to disinter the body of Arnod, with a view of ascertaining whether he really was a vampire; and in that event of treating him conformably. The day fixed for this proceeding was the fortieth after his burial.

It was on a gray morning in early August that the commission visited the quiet cemetery of Meduegna, which, surrounded with a wall of unhewn stone, lies sheltered by the mountain, that, rising in undulating green slopes irregularly planted with fruit trees, ends in an abrupt craggy ridge feathered with underwood. The graves were for the most part neatly kept, with borders of box or something like it, and flowers between; and at the head of most, a small wooden cross, painted black, bearing the name of the tenant. Here and there a stone had been raised ; one of considerable height, a single narrow slab, ornamented with grotesque gothic carvings, dominated over the rest. Near this lay the grave of Arnod Paole, toward which the party moved. The work of throwing out the earth was begun by the gray crooked old sexton, who lived in the Leichenhouse beyond the great crucifix; he seemed unconcerned enough ; no vampire would think of extracting a supper out of him. Nearest the grave stood two military surgeons, or feldscheerers, from Belgrade, and a drummer-boy, who held their case of instruments. The boy looked on with keen interest; and when the coffin was exposed, and rather roughly drawn out of the grave, his pale face and bright, intent eye showed how the scene moved him. The sexton lifted the lid of the coffin; the body had become inclined to one side; when turning it straight, ” Ha! ha!” said he, pointing to fresh blood upon the lips. ” Ha! ha! what, your mouth not wiped since last night’s work ?” The spectators shuddered, the drummer-boy sank forward fainting, and upset the instrument-case, scattering its contents; the senior surgeon, infected with the horror of the scene, repressed a hasty exclamation, and simply crossed himself. They threw water on the drummerboy and he recovered, but would not leave the spot. Then they inspected the body of Arnod. It looked as if it had not been dead a day. On handling it the scarfskin came off, but below were new skin and new nails! How could they have come there, but from its foul feeding! The case was clear enough; there lay before them the thing they dreaded, the vampire. So without more ado they simply drove a stake through poor Arnod’s chest; whereupon a quantity of blood gushed forth, and the corpse uttered an audible groan. “Murder! oh,murder!” shrieked the drummer boy, as he rushed wildly with convulsed gestures from the cemetery.

The drummer-boy was not far from the mark. But quitting the romancing vein, which had led me to try and restore the original colors of the picture, let me confine myself, in describing the rest of the scene and what followed, to the words of my authority.

The body of Arnod was then burnt to ashes, which were returned to the grave. The authorities farther had staked and burnt the bodies of the four others, which were supposed to have been infected by Arnod ; no mention is made of the state in which they were found. The adoption of these decisive measures failed, however, of entirely extinguishing the evil, which continued still to hang about the village. About five years afterward it had again become very rife, and many died through it. Whereupon the authorities determined to make another and a complete clearance of the vampires in the cemetery; and with that object they had again all the graves, to which present suspicion attached, opened, and their contents officially anatomized ; of which procedure the following is the medical report, here and there abridged:

A woman of the name of Stana, twenty years of age, who had died three months before of a three days’ illness following her confinement. She had before her death avowed that she had anointed herself with the blood of a vampire, to liberate herself from his persecution. Nevertheless, she, as well as her infant, whose body, through careless interment, had been half eaten by the dogs, both had died. Her body was entirely free from decomposition. On opening it, the chest was found full of recently-effused blood, and the bowels had exactly the appearances of sound health. The skin and nails of her hands and feet were loose and came off, but underneath lay new skin and nails.

A woman of the name of Miliza, who had died at the end of a three months ‘illness. The body had been buried ninety and odd days. In the chest was liquid blood. The viscera were as in the former instance. The body was declared by a heyduk, who recognized it, to be in better condition and fatter than it had been in the woman’s legitimate lifetime.

The body of a child eight years old, that had likewise been buried ninety days; it was in the vampire condition.

The son of a heyduk named Milloc, sixteen years old. The body had lain in the grave nine weeks. He had died after three days’ indisposition, and was in the condition of a vampire.

Joachim, likewise son of a heyduk, seventeen years old. He had died after three days’ illness; had been buried eight weeks and some days ; was found in the vampire state.

A woman of the name of Rusha, who had died of an illness of ten days’ duration, and had been six weeks buried, in whom likewise fresh blood was found in the chest. (The reader will understand, that to see blood in the chest, it is first necessary to cut the chest open.)

The body of a girl ten years of age, who had died two months before. It was likewise in the vampire state, perfectly undecomposed, with blood in the chest.

The body of the wife of one Hadnuck, buried seven weeks before and that of her infant eight weeks old, buried only twenty-one days. They were both in a state of decomposition, though buried in the same ground, and closely adjoining the others.

A servant, by name Rhade, twenty-three years of age; he had died after an illness of three months’ duration, and the body had been buried five weeks. It was in a state of decomposition.

The body of the heyduk Stanco, sixty years of age, who had died six weeks previously. There was much blood and other fluid in the chest and abdomen, and the body was in the vampire condition.

Millac, a heyduk, twenty-five years old. The body had been in the earth six weeks. It was perfectly in the vampire condition.

Stanjoika, the wife of a heyduk, twenty years old; but died after an illness of three days, and had been buried eighteen. The countenance was florid. There was blood in the chest and in the heart. The viscera were perfectly sound : the skin remarkably fresh.

The document which gives the above particulars is signed by three regimental surgeons, and formally countersigned by a lieutenant colonel, and sub-lieutenant. It bears the date of June 7, 1732, Meduegna, near Belgrade. No doubt can be entertained of its authenticity, or of its general fidelity; the less that it does not stand alone, but is supported by a mass of evidence to the same effect. It appears to establish beyond question, that where the fear of vampirism prevails, and there occur several deaths in the popular belief connected with it, the bodies, when disinterred weeks after burial, present the appearance of corpses from which life has only recently departed.

What inference shall we draw from this fact that vampirism is true in the popular sense; and that these fresh-looking and well-conditioned corpses had some mysterious source of preternatural nourishment ? That would be to adopt, not to solve the superstition. Let us content ourselves with a notion not so monstrous, but still startling enough. That the bodies which were found in the so-called vampire state, instead of being in a new or mystical condition, were simply alive in the common way, or had been for some time subsequently to their interment; that, in short, they were the bodies of persons who had been buried alive, and whose life, where it yet lingered, was finally extinguished through the ignorance and barbarity of those who disinterred them. In the following sketch of a similar scene to that above described, the correctness of this inference comes out with terrific force.

Erasmus Francisci, in his remarks upon the description of the Dukedom of Krain by Valvasor, speaks of a man of the name of Grando, in the district of Kring, who died, was buried, and became a vampire, and as such was exhumed for the purpose of having a stake thrust through him.

” When they opened his grave, after he had been long buried, his face was found with a color, and his features made natural sorts of movements, as if the dead man smiled He even opened his mouth as if he would inhale fresh air. They held the crucifix before him, and called in a loud voice, ‘ See, this is Jesus Christ, who redeemed your soul from hell, and died for you.’ After the sound had acted on his organs of hearing, and he had connected perhaps some ideas with it, tears began to flow from the dead man’s eyes. Finally, when, after a short prayer for his poor soul, they proceeded to hack off his head, the corpse uttered a screech, and turned and rolled just as if it had been alive, and the grave was full of blood.”

But this is not all; there still remains the vampire-visit to be explained. The vampire visit! Well, it is clear the vampire could not have left his grave bodily; or at all events, if he could, he never could have buried himself again. Yet there they always found him. If the body could not have been the visitant, then, in popular language, it was the ghost of the vampire that haunted its victim.

” There are two ways,” Dr. Mayo remarks, ” of dealing with this knot; one is to cut it, the other to untie it.”

It may be cut, by denying the supposed connection between the vampire-visit and the supervention of death-trance in the second party. Nor is the explanation thus obtained devoid of plausibility. There is no reason why death-trance should not in certain seasons and places be epidemic. Then the persons most liable to it would be those of weak and irritable nervous systems. Again, a first effect of the epidemic might be, further, to shake the nerves of weaker subjects. These are exactly the persons who are likely to be infected with imaginary terrors; and to dream, or even to fancy, they have seen Mr. or Mrs. Such-a-one, the last victims of the epidemic. The dream or impression upon the senses might again recur, ana the sickening patient have already talked of it to his neighbors, before he himself was seized with death-trance. On this supposition the vampire-visit would sink into the subordinate rank of a mere premonitory symptom.

To myself, I must confess, this explanation, the best I am yet in a position to offer, appears barren and jejune; and not at all to do justice to the force and frequency, or, as tradition represents the matter, the universality of the vampire-visit as a precursor of the victim’s fate, imagine how strong must have been the conviction of the reality of the apparition, how common a feature it must have been, to have led to the laying down of the unnatural and repulsive process customarily followed at the vampire’s grave, as the regular and proper and only preventive of ulterior consequences. - Letters on the Truths Contained in Popular Superstition


School officials suspend classes over ‘evil spirits’

Julie Esparagoza, a Grade 8 teacher at the public school, said the incident started shortly after 9 a.m. and initially involved two girls from her section.

She said that she and her students were in a classroom when one of the girls suddenly stood up and began acting strangely while the other lost consciousness.

Esparagoza added that the girl who stood up had to be restrained at one point since it looked like she was going to attack her unconscious classmate.

She said she immediately brought the two girls to separate classrooms where their behavior gradually returned to normal.

Esparagoza, however, said she later observed the same behavior among her other students who had stepped out of the classroom for their break.

According to her, she saw five girls and a boy “lying on the floor and shaking while others were crying frantically.”

A male student who refused to be named said he saw one girl “convulsing” on the ground near the stage in the middle of the playground while another was “in tears.” “I helped bring them to the principal’s office,” he said.

They were not the only students who were affected. Esparagoza said the same behavior was observed in other Grade 8 students from five different sections.

She added that she tried looking for a priest to help the affected students but the staff of two churches she called up told her that the priest was not available.

A pastor from the nearby Born-Again Jesus First Christian Ministries said he rushed to the school when he learned of the incident from a church member.

“The students were shouting: ‘I don’t want to! I don’t want to!’ Others were shouting ‘Princess!’” Pastor Boyet Sion told the Inquirer, saying that no one knew who Princess was.

He said he prayed for the students and they calmed down a few minutes later.

According to Editha Septimo, the officer in charge of the high school section, some of the affected students were taken to the principal’s office while the others were brought to a classroom where a doctor attended to them.

Septimo said she had no choice but to suspend classes in the Grade 8 level at 10 a.m. after parents started rushing to the school to get their children out of fear that they would also be “possessed.”

“The parents were very frantic, some were hurling insults at us,” she added.

However, as soon as the unaffected Grade 8 students were allowed to go home, at least four Grade 7 students began exhibiting the same behavior, Esparagoza said.

This prompted Nerissa Lozaria, assistant schools division superintendent, to suspend classes in the entire school.

Several of the “possessed” students were allowed to go home after they calmed down while the others were taken to a nearby church where they were blessed, Esparagoza said.

A worker at the church who refused to be named said around 10 students were brought there for exorcism but they later left, some of them to attend Mass at Quiapo Church.

Those who witnessed the incident, meanwhile, were divided about what happened.

Septimo was skeptical and called the incident a case of “mass hysteria” caused by students who just wanted attention.

She cited one “possessed” student whose behavior immediately returned to normal after she was told she would be injected with something to calm her down.

Septimo said that this was the first such incident at the school.

Sion, for his part, said the incident was clearly a case of “evil spirits possessing the students.”

According to him, he heard reports that some of the affected pupils had earlier conducted a seance (spirit of the glass) at a cemetery near the school.

“They might have invited the spirits [to possess them],” he said.

His theory was supported by a church worker who said that two children were taken to the church hours before the incident at the school.

The complaint of those who brought the two children in: They seemed to be possessed by evil spirits.

The church worker said that several balete trees were cut down at the school only recently to give way to the construction of a covered court. This may have angered some spirits, the worker added. - News Info


Wide net cast in hiccups probe

State health officials continue to quietly investigate what may have caused one to two dozen students to exhibit unexplained vocal tics or repetitive hiccups at Essex Agricultural and Technical School in Danvers and, to a lesser extent, North Shore Technical High in Middleton, this past school year.

The state is reaching out to more than 2,600 doctors in the region while investigating environmental factors that may have caused the symptoms, including air testing and visual observations inside school buildings. So far, according to a May 10 status report from the state Department of Public Health, air tests did not turn up anything that would contribute to “significant neurological effects.”

Danvers Health Director Peter Mirandi, in an update to the Board of Health on May 30, said the state is casting a wide net to gather information from doctors and their patients.

“They will be looking for correlations between the symptoms and the students,” Mirandi said. “The effort from the Department of Public Health is very thoughtful, deliberate, and I wouldn’t mind recognizing them for stepping up when we needed assistance.”

The wide net is necessary because Essex Aggie is an independent, state-owned agricultural and technical school of 479 students that provides transportation for students living within a 20-mile radius of its Hathorne campus along Route 62.

North Shore Technical High in Middleton, which has 475 students, reportedly had a handful of cases. It draws students from 16 communities on the North Shore.

A spokesman for the state Department of Public Health had no update on the investigation.

“It’s a very extensive process, and there is no report that I have,” said Ann Roach, media relations manager for the state Department of Public Health.

Joy White, the director/principal for Essex Aggie, referred all comments to the Department of Public Health but did provide two status updates from the department, one from February and one from May, both of which were distributed to parents, she said.

The updates outline efforts of the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Environmental Health to investigate the symptoms at both schools.

In February, state public health officials met with parents of affected students, school officials and Danvers and Middleton health officials to learn more about their concerns.

In March, the Department of Public Health and the Board of Registration of Medicine sent letters to more than 2,600 “attending physicians, encompassing more than a dozen medical specialties” looking to see if any had treated patients with vocal tics or chronic hiccups from the two schools. The doctors were asked to discuss the state investigation with parents to see if they would consent to allow the state to obtain the patients’ medical records.

“To date, MDPH has received signed medical records forms for nine students who have been reported as having these symptoms,” according to the May 10 status report.

The state has also conducted a number of indoor air quality tests and made visual observations in school buildings. As of May 10, the state had investigated five of the 20 buildings that make up Essex Aggie’s campus — the main classroom building, the cafeteria, the gym, the expo center and the horse barn — and had planned to visit the rest of the school and North Shore Tech by the end of last month.

“Based on the observation and air measurements taken during the building investigations conducted at Essex Agricultural and Technical High School to date, no environmental factors that would be most likely attributed to significant neurological effects have been detected,” the update states.

The state is also looking into environmental information for the East Street field in Middleton “where parents who attended the February meeting reported that many of the students experiencing vocal tics and chronic hiccups have played sports.”

In January, some health experts who had not seen any of the local students theorized the incidents appeared to be a case of conversion disorder and mass psychogenic illness, also known as mass hysteria. That was the explanation given for a widely publicized case involving high school girls suffering tics in Le Roy, N.Y. It’s a diagnosis that came under intense scrutiny.

Parents from around the country supported the theory that pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections, or PANDAS, may be to blame. This condition involves rare cases when strep infections cause autoimmune reactions in the brain.

The Essex Aggie case has caught the attention of New Zealand author Robert Bartholomew, a native New Yorker who has a doctorate in medical sociology and who teaches at the Botany Downs Secondary College in South Auckland. The researcher has written extensively on the subject of mass hysteria in schools.

“This is a highly unusual case. After all, it’s not every day that more than a dozen high school students come down with vocal tics and hiccuping,” he said in an email. “It would be almost impossible to fake the symptoms ... being described,” said Bartholomew.

He has been trying, with no luck, to get answers from the state Department of Public Health to learn from these incidents so they could be prevented from reoccurring.

While Bartholomew sympathizes with state health officials for wanting to play down the episode while they investigate, he said enough time has passed to at least give a tentative diagnosis. While the state may be reluctant to say it might be mass hysteria, “fearing a public backlash,” Bartholomew said saying nothing could trigger a national scare, as was the case in Le Roy, N.Y.

“Transparency is the best policy in these cases,” Bartholomew said. - Salem News

NOTE: I found it interesting that this was reported in the Salem, Massachusetts news...since mass hysteria was most likely the cause of the 'Salem Witch Trials.' Lon


The Comte de Gabalis and the Sylphs (*Suggested reading link listed below)

Empire of the Air

Welsh Poltergeist: something to get my mind off "current affairs"

9 Signs of Your Past Life (*Suggested reading link listed below)

The Meta-Mappers: How You’re Being Watched Isn’t How You May Think

China’s Time Travel Tunnel

Parapsychologist Says Successful Exorcists Must Cultivate Psychic Powers (*Suggested reading link listed below)

3 True Tales of Haunted Cruise Ships

Haunted European Tours

Whatever Happened to Parapsychology?

The Tibetan Oracles (*Suggested reading link listed below)

Cutting Off One’s Head: Self-Decapitations of the Past

Talking to the Dead

Witchcraft suspected in mysterious pony attack

More pet owners turn to psychics for hard answers

The Phoenix Lights: Testing the Waters for Disclosure? (*Suggested reading link listed below)

The Sound and the Fury

Ghosts in the Night

Chris Halton's Haunted Earth TV

The Gray Man of Pawleys Island

Spells to Drive Away Ghosts and Prevent Hauntings (*Suggested reading link listed below)

Dreams of Murder

Student’s “Psychic Attack” at Japanese All-Girls School Sends 18 to Hospital

Romantic Rivers Bring Scary Shivers

When Conferences Get Weird

Ghost of little girl heard giggling at museum

Modern Porn mimics Aleister Crowley’s Sex Magick Philosophies (*Suggested reading link listed below)

Why Haven't We Outgrown Fairy Tales?

Do Twins Have a Mysterious Connection?

An intriguing consciousness theory, but skeptics want evidence



Aleister Crowley And the Practice of the Magical Diary

Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells

The Phoenix Lights: A Skeptics Discovery that We Are Not Alone

The Transformation: Healing Your Past Lives to Realize Your Soul's Potential

Among the Spirits

Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds

The Tibetan Oracle: Ancient Wisdom for Everyday Guidance

Saturday, June 29, 2013

New Sighting: Flying Ray-Shaped Cryptid - Virginia (Not Specific)

This was posted on Friday 6/28 by someone in Virginia (no specific location):

I like to take my dog out on late night walks around 10 or 11, sometimes even later. It's nice for me because I love the night, and nice for my dog because it's not too hot for him. (He has thick black fur.)

We sometimes see creepy stuff at night, like road kill or strange animals, but usually the neighborhood is very peaceful. One night, however was a bit different. I was walking the dog up a hill and I notice that he'd perked up quite a bit, and was quietly woofing and panting in the direction of a house about 40 feet up the street. I looked up and saw this strange, large, hazy white thing rapidly circling around the house. It was white, and was flapping? I think, but not in a way that a bird would. The creepy thing about this is how hazy the memory has become, I know it wasn't a dream because I clearly remember the rest of the walk and coming back home very confused and scared.

Anyway, my dog is pulling me towards whatever it is, as it circles the house about 10 or 15 times and disappears behind the house, somehow I don't remember, I'm not sure. When I say this thing was big, I mean it. It was definitely about a meter tall vertically, and maybe less than a foot wide. It seemed to be flapping but with its "wing" facing the ground so it's on its side. It definitely wasn't a bag, because it repeatedly circled the house in these wide swoops. The best answer I can give is a disabled albino mega-bat that decided it would cruise around a random suburban house and then disappear.

What gets me is how hazy it looked, like it didn't have a definite form. (As if it was blurred at the edges.) An off, grainy white it was, swooping around and around in the dark.

What could it have been?

EDIT: I made a shitty animation, enjoy. It's not perfectly accurate, it was lever with the house as it circled around it.

EDIT 2: So it's looking like it might be a white ray (the sea dwelling kind) cryptid, which is really weird but it definitely fits the bill. Or a kite, like my brother kept repeating. Who knows, I'm going to walk the dog now so I'll be on the lookout. A bit more information, I'm in the general area where the cryptid has been sited. -

NOTE: the witness noted one of my previous posts and, in particular, the image of the flying ray sketch - New 'Flying White Sting Ray' Sighting - Hebron, Kentucky - 1/25/2012. The most recent sightings reported to me were in Texas - Witness: Flying Ray-Shaped Cryptid - Atascocita, Texas and Witness: Flying Ray-Shaped Cryptid Sighted - Laredo, Texas. If you witness a similar anomaly, please contact me at Lon

Phantoms & Monsters: Cryptid Encounters

Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids

Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter

Just the Facts?: Smoky Mountains Light Anomaly -- Hollis, NH Photo Update -- Severed Spinal Cords Regrown In Rats

Smoky Mountains light anomaly

While on a walk in the Smoky Mountains near Townsend, TN, I took this photograph, no editing has been done other than to compress it a bit for uploading. Subsequent photographs do not have this bright light source at the tree where it appeared. Opinions welcome. -


The Battle of Gettysburg 150th Anniversary

If I can make a suggestion for those who plan to visit Gettysburg in the next week or so and who want to experience paranormal anomalies...try to find (at night) someplace quiet very near the battlefield park and just take in the activity. Areas near Culp's Hill, the Lutheran Seminary and along Herr's Ridge Road (where the CSA encampments were) offer some of the best night investigations from my experience. The well-known spots are going to be inundated with paranormal groups...ex. Sachs Covered Bridge, touring locations in the town, etc. You are allowed on the battlefield until 10 PM...but the curfew is strictly enforced. So if you plan an 'all-nighter' I suggest using the previously mentioned areas. As respectful. Don't be surprised if you run into a rebel soldier or two trying to make their way back to safety. Lon


Update: What Is It? - Hollis, NH

Click image for larger version

UPDATE: The consensus is that it's a young black bear with a foreign object over it's head. Several people have mentioned that 'bear baiting' is common in this area (actually legal, with a permit, from my understanding...but not during this time of year). I contacted New Hampshire Fish & Game and forwarded the photo to them. They concur that it is a young bear with an object over it's head. They were going to dispatch someone to the area to investigate...hopefully find the bear to make sure it wasn't in distress. Lon


I received the following email with the photo attached. I zoomed in and cleaned up some of the blurriness:

I haven't found any ideas on what this animal is, so I'm still looking. Please email with your take on it.
Thanks! R.

This was in Hollis NH - at about 1pm -- (I was driving on my lunch hour). I was toying with the idea of going into this old, cool-looking graveyard but I thought maybe not - because I didn't want to chance picking up any 'attachments' :) So I turned down a dirt road near it instead -- I began to drive down the road to turn around - and the animal walked left to right across my path- I took the pics and then turned the car around to leave - it walked again left to right in front of my car - then it slipped behind some trees - there was a house off of the dirt road - I was thinking - Gee, I wonder if they know this kind of animal is hanging around during the day- :)

It was taken on a cell phone - It was the size of a large dog - ( I thought it might be a coyote hybrid) has that fox color - I thought if it had any 'weirdness' to it - it might be because I decided against going into that little old cemetery - (it looked totally physical). The face is totally white - no features == when I looked at it I got the butterflies because I couldn't see a face where one should be! :D And I sensed that it was looking at me - because it was turned my way waiting...You can see the white in the pic.

I had heard a description matching the animal on two different shows about Skinwalkers - eek... ;)

Weird New England: Your Travel Guide to New England's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

Strange New Hampshire

The Wildlife of New England: A Viewer's Guide



A woman from Dunedin, New Zealand, was tightlipped when she rang 111, after mistakenly gluing her lips together. The call, at about midnight on Thursday, sparked fears that the 64-year-old was being held captive.

"Ambulance received a call, but due to the muffled speech ... they were unsure whether it was a medical event or whether someone had been gagged,'' Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken said. ''Basically, she could only grunt.''

Ambulance staff called the police, who went to the woman's home and found that she had mistakenly applied super-glue to her lips instead of her normal medication. ''She got up in the middle of the night, in the dark, and grabbed what she thought was the tube of medication,'' Aitken said.

''It was an extremely frightening event for her because her breathing was impeded. I've heard of a few other things super-glued, but never lips. You wouldn't have wanted to have had a blocked nose.'' The woman was taken to hospital and has since been released.


Scientists Regrow Severed Spinal Cords In Rats

Scientists have found a way to reconnect severed spinal cords in rats, allowing them to regain bladder control--a major accomplishment that could one day help humans with similar nervous system injuries recover lost abilities.

The spinal cord is the root of all bodily nerves, with an intimate, direct connection to the brain; together, they comprise the central nervous system. Severe injuries to the spinal cord are drastic and were long presumed to be irreparable. In many cases they result in a loss of bodily functions and permanent paralysis.

The intriguing thing is that the spinal cord actually attempts to repair itself. Yet due to several factors which are still not entirely understood, natural regeneration stops shortly after it begins. Over the last 30 years, scientists have worked to chemically encourage regrowth. Two chemicals, chondroitinase and FGF, show strong signs of doing exactly that--in rats, at least. Independently, over the past three decades, each chemical has shown some promise in restoring simple but crucial rat motor processes, like breathing, even with entirely severed spinal cords.

Two surgeons in the field figured that a combination of the chemicals might enhance the regrowth even more. The surgeons, from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, began by entirely severing the spinal cords of 15 rats to ensure no independent, natural regrowth. That shut off the rats' bladder control (a nervous system process that is especially important in rats, since they urinate often and to mark their territory). The researchers then injected the two growth-stimulating chemicals into both sides of the severance, and reinforced the gap in the cord with steel wiring and surgical thread.

After six months of growth, the rats demonstrated near-normal bladder control--it seems that the nerves had recuperated enough for brain-spinal cord-bladder communication to work once more. The rats did not regain the ability to walk, but that was not the experiment’s intention. “It's clear that some primitive functions may be able to come back. We've shown for the very first time that we can promote long-distance regeneration in the adult spinal cord, across a complete spinal cord lesion. It's a step in the right direction,” project director Jerry Silver explained.

The scientists intend to continue their research, next trying their method on older spinal cord injuries. After enough testing, they might be able to use the technique on humans. But, that is a long ways off, and the scientists seem humble enough to recognize that fact. - Popsci

Friday, June 28, 2013

Update: The Curious Case of Alfred Burtoo

I originally posted this narrative in June 2010...but, I have since gathered a few more interesting bits of information to add:

On August 12, 1983, 77-year-old Alfred Burtoo was enjoying some fishing in the Basingstoke Canal in Aldershot, Hampshire, United Kingdom. He was a keen and experienced fisherman, and since the weather report predicted a warm, fine night, he set off from his home in North Town, Aldershot, at 12:15 a.m., accompanied by his dog Tiny. On reaching Government Road he headed toward his fishing site, about 120 yards north of the Gasworks Bridge.

Because of its many military establishments Aldershot is known as "The Home of the British Army," and Alfred Burtoo himself had an Army background, having served in the Queen's Royal Regiment in 1924 and the Hampshire Regiment during World War II. Well known as a historian, he had in his time worked as a farmer and gardener, and while living in the Canadian outback hunted bear and fought wolves. Prior to his experience he had read no books or magazines on the subject of UFOs, which held no interest for him, yet much of what he claimed has been corroborated by other witnesses.

After getting comfortable, his concentration on the water was interrupted by a bright light descending from the sky. Whatever this was, it landed not too far away from Burtoo. There was a Mod base in the vicinity, and he thought maybe he had seen a helicopter land. Burtoo had just poured himself a cup of tea, when his dog Tiny became very nervous. Two beings suddenly appeared out of the darkness. "They were about four foot high, dressed in pale green coveralls from head to foot," Burtoo told reporters. "and they had helmets of the same color with a visor that was blacked out." The two beings beckoned for him to follow them. He obliged. Burtoo would later say that he was afraid of nothing, and regarding his encounter, which would have terrified most people, said: "What did I have to fear? I'm seventy-eight now and haven't got much to lose."

Burtoo followed the two strange beings until they arrived at a flying saucer that had set on the ground. He ascended the stairs leading up to the craft until he could go no further. The ceiling was too short and he had to bend over to continue. He was now inside of a black, metallic chamber. The room had a foul smell, like decaying meat.

"I did not see any signs of nuts or bolts, nor did I see any seams where the object had been put together," he recalled. "What did interest me most of all was a shaft that rose up from the floor to the ceiling. The shaft was about four feet in circumference, and on the right-hand side stood two forms similar to those that walked along the towpath with me."

The curious old fisherman was then instructed to stand underneath an orange light. This light seemed to scan his body for several minutes. "What is your age?" asked one of the beings, in a voice which sounded like "a mixture of Chinese and Russian". When he told them his age, he was told that he could go. He was told he was too old and sick for their purposes. Burtoo then walked out of the ship, down the stairs and back to this fishing spot.

"The first thing I did was to pick up my cold cup of tea and drink it," he recalled. "...then I heard this whining noise, just as if an electric generator was starting up, and this thing lifted up then took off at a very high speed. I got into what I had come out for...the fishing!" He would later tell newsmen that it was one of the greatest experiences of his life.

There was no physical evidence of the crafts landing, and no marks of any kind on Burtoo. He did experience some loss of appetite and weight loss as well as some difficulty sleeping, but that passed after a short time. Burtoo was the only witness, and we may have to take his word, as he was not given to making up stories, and had no reason to perpetuate a hoax. He gained nothing from his experience except being in the local papers. Despite Mr Burtoo having passed away on August 31st, 1986, with almost religious regularity the local news papers write an abbreviated story about Mr.Burtoo’s encounter each year to coincide with the anniversary of this now famous encounter, and always they trivialize the case, running him down and generally making this witness a laughing stock.

His wife, Majorie, was asked if he had every confessed to her that the encounter was a hoax. She vehemently denied that Burtoo lied..."what Alf told you was the absolute truth. My friend who was with me when Alf came home can verify what he said. He looked absolutely shaken and he told both of us about his experience that he had with the UFO...."


Top UFO Expert Confirms Man’s Astounding Claim

A 77-year-old man says he was taken aboard a spacecraft by four-foot-tall aliens wearing green suits and helmets - and a top UFO expert who has lectured to British government leaders says his astounding story is true.

Recalling his terrifying abduction, Alfred Burtoo of Aldershot, England, revealed that the strange squat creatures examined him under an amber spotlight, then told him: "You can go. You are too old and infirm for our purposes."

Burtoo said the phenomenal encounter with otherworldly beings occurred early in the morning last August 12, as he was fishing in a canal.

"I spotted a light in the sky coming toward me," he recalled. "I thought: 'It can't be an airplane, because it's only 300 feet off the ground. I wonder if it's a helicopter?'

"It landed behind some bushes, which blocked my view. Then I saw two shapes emerge from the bushes.

"They were about four feet high and dressed from head to foot in pale green coveralls. They had helmets of the same color, with their visors blacked out. I stood frozen to the spot in terror.

“It must be a terrible dream, I told … (The rest of the text in this sentence and the next is not readable. JW)

Timothy Good, who has also lectured on UFOs before a top British government commission probing UFO reports, told THE ENQUIRER:

"I am convinced this man is telling the truth."

Good, who has also lectured on UFOs at universities throughout England, said he interviewed Burtoo more than 12 times over several months and subjected him to a battery of questions. Burtoo always told the same story, exact in every detail. Good also investigated Burtoo’s background.

“There is no doubt in my mind that he was taken aboard an alien craft," concluded Good, who’s also an author and consultant to the British Broadcasting Corp.

Omar Fowler, chairman of the Surrey Investigation Group on Aerial Phenomena, which includes pilots and scientists among its members, added: "This is really an exciting case. I believe it to be genuine." - The National Enquirer, July 17, 1983


Man goes fishing – is caught by flying saucer

ANGLER ALFRED BURTOO has quite a different tale to tell after his fishing trip to a remote canal.

It was he who got caught - by little green men who took him aboard their flying saucer.

The astonishing incident occurred at Aldershot, England, where experts are convinced of the validity of his story. Comments Omar Fowler of the Surrey Investigation Group on Aerial Phenomena: "I've been investigating UFO sightings for 16 years, and this is the most sensational thing that's ever happened."

Burtoo, 77, accompanied by his dog. Tiny, was fishing in the canal when, he says, the flying saucer landed.

"I saw a bright light coming towards me and it hovered just over the railway line" he recalls.

"It then settled on the bank, I went to have a look, and two figures dressed in pale green suits came towards me.

"They were about four feet tall and had dark visors covering their faces.

"One of them beckoned me and I followed them to the steps.

"I wasn't afraid - I was more curious than anything."

Burtoo then describes going aboard the UFO.

"It was made of a kind of burnished aluminum, and I climbed some steps and went inside” he says.

"I walked across the room and one of the aliens spoke to me in a kind of sing­song voice, with an accent something between Russian and Chinese.

"He asked me to stand under the amber light. I couldn't see it at first, because there was a kind of black tube blocking my view.

"Then I saw it and went and did as I was told.

"After a few moments, they then asked me to turn around, which I did. They asked me how old I was, and I told them the truth.

"Then they said I could go because was I too old and infirm for their purpose."

Burtoo left the spaceship and was halfway along the towpath when it took off.

Burtoo says: "I didn't believe in flying saucers until this happened to me.”


Although Burton told his wife, son and a neighbor about his close encounter, he didn't report it officially because he didn't think he'd be believed.

There have been dozens of unexplained reports of unidentified flying objects in the area during the past 15 years.

Says, Fowler: "I was very skeptical about his story when I went to interview him.

"But he came out with things he couldn't possibly have known about unless he'd been studying UFOs for years.

"I'm convinced his story is absolutely true and this actually happened." - Examiner, Jan 24, 1984



Over 500 Americans claim to have been abducted by strange beings piloting flying saucers. Their stories usually include a description of the interior of the vehicle. Often they are given a physical examination, and usually they carry psychological scars for several years. Similar incidents occur in other countries around the globe.

According to the ALDERSHOT NEWS, a small British newspaper, 77-year old Alfred Burtoo had a close encounter while fishing on August 12, 1983. Mr. Burtoo was alone except for his small dog. He was fishing in the Basingstoke Canal about 1:15 a. m. when he saw a light approaching in the sky. Quickly, the light grew in size and became a large saucer-shaped thing with a dome on top and a row of ports around the center.

The saucer landed nearby and two small humanoids dressed in pale green coveralls, with dark visor covering their faces, came out and beckoned Burtoo to come to them. As he followed them up some steps and through a doorway he noted that the object appeared to be made of burnished aluminum.

One of the critters told him to cross the room and stand under an amber light. He said it spoke in a sing-song voice with a strange accent. Next, he was told to turn around and finally was asked to state his age. When he said he would soon be 78 years old he was told he was too old and sickly to be of value.

He walked out of the saucer and down the steps. When he was only a short distance away the craft rose, flew over the military ceme­tery, and turned towards Tongham.

Mr. Burtoo told his family and neighbor about his experience, but made no official report until an American Air Force officer acknowledged a sighting in the same general area. Now that his experience is public knowledge maybe his fears will subside and he will be able to sleep again.

A British expert said: "I am convinced his story is absolutely true and this actually happened." If so who is next? - UFO’s Confidential, Jan, 1984, Vol 1 No.5

NOTE: I've always been a bit wary of this case, though, a few people I have talked to who were knowledgeable of this encounter find it significant that Burtoo had no prior interest in UFOs and technology. Still, this story does leave a lot of questions that will never be answered...Lon

Walking Through Walls and Other Impossibilities: The Hybrid Agenda
Ufos In Reality: Programmed Aerospace Monitors Of Our Species
Nightmare Alley: Fearsome Accounts of Alien Abduction: New Evidence You Could Become Their Next Victim!

Just the Facts?: Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary -- Taken by Small People -- Arthur C Clarke's DNA Going Into Deep Space

Gettysburg anniversary provides booming season for battlefield ghosts

Eric Wittnebel was more of a Scooby-Doo type when it came to ghosts.

The California native pointed the infrared thermometer into the darkness and watched the temperature surrounding the group of 10 slowly drop, admittedly a peculiar occurrence for such a warm June.

A tour with Gettysburg's After Dark Investigations led Wittnebel and his expedition to 'the Grove,' a small wood south of the Gettysburg square in search of the paranormal. With only so much ghost lore to go around, some tours have extended beyond usual haunts, to such locations as the Grove. Others stick to town and regale visitors with tales of strange phenomenon surrounding the Jenny Wade House or the Farnsworth Inn.

In a town where even the land beneath McDonald's is believed by more than one ghost tour guide to be tinged with spiritual energy, Gettysburg has managed to build a booming paranormal industry. Over the past few years, paranormal tours have become increasingly popular, with as many as 11 popping up recently.

Ashley Brennan, a tour guide for After Dark Investigations, said a person needs to see for themselves to truly believe.

"We didn't want to tell stories, we want people to get their own," Brennan said. "Once you have a paranormal experience, you don't forget it."

After Dark equips their investigators with ghost-hunting gadgets like electromagnetic field detectors - along with old-fashioned dowsing rods.

This year, for the first time, After Dark's bravest of visitors can even pay to spend the night in a 200-year-old church the guides insist is haunted. Still, each tour guide has a different philosophy for the best way to catch a glimpse of the supernatural near America's bloodiest battlefield.

Gettysburg Ghost Tours' guide Johlene "Spooky" Riley dons the garb of Civil War widow each night to give her tours an authentic edge.

Riley led her tour group to the creek behind Steinwehr Avenue the other night to show them the spot where the waterway once became clogged with the bodies of dead soldiers. Her black-gloved hand swung her silver candle lantern as she walked, exaggerating the shadows across her face.

Riley told the cluster of families on her tour she believed strongly in the dying art of storytelling, describing Gettysburg as the ghost mecca of the world.
Still, as the group huddled closer to her in the alley behind Steinwehr to make room for a passing rival ghost tour, Riley tipped her veiled bonnet to the passing Confederate soldier leading them.

"You might think that's a Confederate re-enactor, with no shoes, who's just hardcore," Riley said. "Chances are he's not hardcore - he's a ghost."
For the past decade, the number of tourists traversing Gettysburg's

Investigator Ashley Brennan with After Dark Investigations shines a flashlight on a set of dowsing rods being used by Tracey Wittnebel of California as the group attempts to contact spirits Wed., June 19, 2013 in the Grove. (THE EVENING SUN -- SHANE DUNLAP)
streets and alleys, ghost hunting equipment in hand and cameras at the ready, has steadily increased. So each must find something new to offer sightseers eager for a glimpse of Gettysburg's more-permanent residents - the ghosts.

Ghostly Images of Gettysburg promises their customers will see phantom historical figures - civilian Jenny Wade, killed by a stray sniper's bullet during the battle, for example - during theatrical performances in some of their haunted locations.

Alexis Gasparovich, of Ghostly Images, spends part of her time playing Jenny Wade's mother Mary and the other part as a tour guide.

She encouraged those on her Haunted Orphanage Tour on Baltimore Street to take photos inside the building, in hopes someone might capture a rogue orb or ethereal mist. The orphanage dining room was lined with portraits whose eyes light up on cue. Ersatz cobwebs and the occasional skull could be seen inside.

However, lest they forget it was once a place where orphans were chained to the walls by their guardian in the late 19th century, the group was taken to the deep part of the basement. Pieces of metal, remnants of the shackles, could still be seen embedded in the stone wall.

As the group of 15 filed down to the basement, eerie dolls, suspended from the ceiling by their necks, swayed gently. At first glance, Ghostly Images may seem lacking in realistic touches.

Still, the experience proved too much for one child, who asked to be excused before the lights were turned out. This year Gasparovich said her tours have been lucky with their cameras when the rooms go dark.

"We've been getting phenomenal images this year," Gasparovich said. "People have captured lots of full-blown, full-bodied apparitions."

Despite the variation between each organization's services, the question that all of the tour guides seem to be getting is whether or not there will be more ghostly activity this year because of the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg.

For a spirit spending eternity in the town of Gettysburg, time might not mean a whole lot. Still, others argue this is a big year for sightings.

"There are more eyes and ears out there," Riley said. "So who's to say if it's going to actually be more active or if we're just looking closer." - YDR

Battle of Gettysburg 150th Anniversary - Calender of Events

NOTE: If I can make a suggestion for those who plan to visit Gettysburg in the next week or so and who want to experience paranormal anomalies...try to find (at night) someplace quiet very near the battlefield park and just take in the activity. Areas near Culp's Hill, the Lutheran Seminary and along Herr's Ridge Road (where the CSA encampments were) offer some of the best night investigations from my experience. The well-known spots are going to be inundated with paranormal groups...ex. Sachs Covered Bridge, touring locations in the town, etc. You are allowed on the battlefield until 10 PM...but the curfew is strictly enforced. So if you plan an 'all-nighter' I suggest using the previously mentioned areas. As respectful. Don't be surprised if you run into a rebel soldier or two trying to make their way back to safety. Lon

Gettysburg Unearthed:: The Excavation Of A Haunted History

Gettysburg Heroes: Perfect Soldiers, Hallowed Ground

Haunted Gettysburg Campfire Ghost Stories


Taken by Small People

Kanab, Utah - 6/1/2013 - unedited: I had awaken I thought there was something in the bedroom, but I said to myself that it was all right. I would take care of it later. and noticed the time was 3:05 am (a habit I have of noticing the time, so I can calculate how much time I have before I have to wake up).
I started to go back to sleep and then I said, wait a minute, what was in the room. And I lifted my head off my pillow and I thought I was dreaming. But I realized that I was not really awake and not really sleeping and I looked at the foot of my bed and noticed small people. Two or three at the base of the bed. One right next to me, just looking. They had control of my mind. I was not afraid, I felt like I had experienced this before. I at first wondered how they got into the house. And when I wondered that, They communicated telepathically that opening doors was nothing. And almost simultaniously I was elevated and going with them. I could not cry out and wondered why my wife was sleeping through all this. She is a light sleeper. Then it occurred to me that they were doing everything telepathically anyway and not making a sound. This is where my memory stops. I dont know if I physically went on a ship with them, or not. I do remember the wind in my face. And being put back into the bed. I looked at the clock and it was 4:22. Went to sleep. End of story. Not quiet. I felt like I had done this before, well several years ago, 1997. I drive truck and a manager of Kanab custom meats at the time. I was on my way back from a small town in southern Utah when I remember coming over a null in the road and there was a bright light. And no more recollection. But I got home an hour later than normal. And I wondered what the hell happened. I remember just glimpses, like being lifted up and such. And once again wind in my face. And also I have a red blemish on my right hand back side just below the knuckle. It has been there every since 1997. Its tender to touch.
Now I dont know if the two experiences are connected. But I feel like this has happened several times since 1997. - MUFON CMS

The Alien Abduction Files: The Most Startling Cases of Human Alien Contact Ever Reported

Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind

The Rise and Fall of the Nephilim: The Untold Story of Fallen Angels, Giants on the Earth, and Their Extraterrestrial Origins


Arthur C Clarke's DNA to join mission into deep space

A "few strands" of the late Arthur C Clarke's hair are due to travel on Nasa's "first ever solar sail mission into deep space".

The craft will be named the Sunjammer, after the story written by Clarke in 1964 about a race in space using solar sails. "The enormous disc of sail strained at its rigging, already filled with the wind that blew between the worlds," wrote the novelist almost 50 years ago. "The immense sail was taut, its mirror surface sparkling and glittering gloriously in the Sun … Something so huge, yet so frail, was hard for the mind to grasp. And it was harder still to realise that this fragile mirror could tow him free of Earth merely by the power of the sunlight it would trap."

The voyage, scheduled to launch at the end of 2014, is being organised by Celestis, which runs "memorial spaceflights" offering families the chance to send cremated remains into space (joining Clarke on board the Sunjammer would cost upwards of £8,000). Development of the solar sail has been led by Nasa, along with aerospace companies including Celestis's parent company Space Services Holdings.

Charles Chafer, chief executive of Space Services Holdings, said he first met Clarke in 1982 at the UN conference in Vienna on outer space. "I was/am a lifelong fan and attribute much of my interest in space to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey," said Chafer. "In 2000, when we were first planning a solar sail mission to deep space we approached him about donating a hair sample containing his DNA for launch. A partner at the time journeyed to Sri Lanka to his home where he obtained the sample."

In a note accompanying the sample, said Chafer, Clarke wrote: "Here are a few strands, I would give you more but I don't have any to spare." The author died in 2008 at the age of 90, leaving behind more than 100 books ranging from 2001: A Space Odyssey to Rendezvous with Rama.

Clarke's deep space voyage next year follows the last journey of Hunter S Thompson, whose ashes were fired from a rocket across his Colorado farm. The late Iain Banks has also expressed a wish for some of his ashes to be fired from a rocket over the Forth. So Clarke is not the first author to go beyond the bounds of Earth – although, with the Sunjammer set to journey three million kilometres towards the sun, he is likely to travel the furthest. - Guardian

2001: A Space Odyssey

The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke

Rendezvous with Rama


Surrounded by ley lines, alien abductions and UFO crackpots

My own community is a UFO hotspot. It’s all to do with ley lines, a nearby stone monument created by Druids, an ancient curse – and the fact that we have the most serious alcohol and crack cocaine problem, per capita, in the UK.

My Uncle Norman’s wife was abducted by an alien in the summer of 1993. It carried out ghastly experiments, had sex with her, then dumped the middle-aged woman on her driveway in the early hours.

“He left me with love bites and kept my knickers,” she told Take A Digestive And Dunk It magazine.

She drew a picture of said alien for the coffee table publication. It was green, had large, lozenge eyes and a pointed head.

It was grinning and clutching a pint.

Aunt Rita was, let’s say, visually challenging. Perhaps that explains paragraph 13 of her ‘exclusive’ story: “I asked their leader, Zoren, if he was going to probe me. ‘Not tonight,’ said the giant lizard, ‘I have a bit of a headache’.”

She later left Norman for the alien, who has now taken human form, is called Trevor and drives a milk float in Brighton.

I do not believe her preposterous story. Uncle Norman does.

“Somehow,” he said, “believing she left me for a infinitely more intelligent being from another cosmos is easier to take than believing she dumped me for a tattooed milkman from East Sussex.”

That is the tangled, unsavoury background that drew me to the final slew of extra-terrestrial reports, dating back to 2009 and made public for the first time last Friday.

After that, the Ministry of Defence’s dedicated UFO Desk disbanded, amid claims from strange coves wearing Bacofoil hats that the Whitehall department had tripped on something so terrifying that its research had to be continued many miles from the public eye, such as a hidden corner of the Nevada Desert.

The truth is less sexy. In half a century, the desk was no closer to proving life on other planets.

Frankly, civil servants were also fed up with receiving Freedom of Information requests from inner city fruitcakes demanding to know if the RAF had been scrambled following reports of an “arcing ball of flame across the night sky”.

For “arcing ball of flame” read “petrol bomb”.

The reports did make me ponder one thing, though. When we catch a fish and put it back, does it think it’s been abducted by aliens?

I’ll admit the rash of reports from America have a ring of truth. Even Martians have to stop off for a toilet break.

The only remarkable thing about the reports – their ‘D Notices’ now deleted– is the diplomatic courtesy from government bods swamped by a plethora of ludicrous demands. Not once did their thorough responses sink into sarcasm.

They may have sniggered when one Coventry housewife, confronted by dancing orbs in her garden, asked: “What do they want? Am I and my springer spaniel contaminated?”

The resisted the urge to reply: “Yes, you’re contaminated. PS: they want your dog.”

I felt for the Cardiff camper who endured a Close Encounter of the Third Kind. Martians ignored him, but took his car, tent and dog. Rejection like that is hard to get over.

Thumbing through the dossiers only underlined fundamental flaws in the long-running flying saucer saga.

If there are beings out there bestowed with the intelligence to breach seemingly insurmountable barriers of time, light and sound why do they avoid making contact with world leaders, preferring the company of peasant farmers, neurotic housewives and dreamy teenagers.

“I am a Throll from Planet Zarg and I come with a warning of the perils facing your planet.”

“Sorry, Sir, this is the drive-thru at McDonald’s, Erdington. Would you like to see the manager?”

Studying the blurred images, I was struck by a further truth: Aliens only visit people with naff camcorders and shaky hands.

I would like to congratulate one Black Country wind-up merchant who wrote to the MoD, claiming: “Last night I was abducted by beings from another planet. They made me blow my nose and eat all my greens.

“I think I was on the mothership.”

What would aliens make of us, I wonder?

“Earth beings follow many religions.

“Almost every home has a book dedicated to a man performing miracles to ensure good triumphs over evil.

“This man has many names. Some call him Jesus, some call him Buddha.

“But most call him...Harry Potter.” - Birmingham Mail


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Photo Submission: What Is It? - Hollis, NH

Click image for larger version

I received the following email with the photo attached. I zoomed in and cleaned up some of the blurriness:

I haven't found any ideas on what this animal is, so I'm still looking. Please email with your take on it.
Thanks! R.

This was in Hollis NH - at about 1pm -- (I was driving on my lunch hour). I was toying with the idea of going into this old, cool-looking graveyard but I thought maybe not - because I didn't want to chance picking up any 'attachments' :) So I turned down a dirt road near it instead -- I began to drive down the road to turn around - and the animal walked left to right across my path- I took the pics and then turned the car around to leave - it walked again left to right in front of my car - then it slipped behind some trees - there was a house off of the dirt road - I was thinking - Gee, I wonder if they know this kind of animal is hanging around during the day- :)

It was taken on a cell phone - It was the size of a large dog - ( I thought it might be a coyote hybrid) has that fox color - I thought if it had any 'weirdness' to it - it might be because I decided against going into that little old cemetery - (it looked totally physical). The face is totally white - no features == when I looked at it I got the butterflies because I couldn't see a face where one should be! :D And I sensed that it was looking at me - because it was turned my way waiting...You can see the white in the pic.

I had heard a description matching the animal on two different shows about Skinwalkers - eek... ;)

NOTE: I told the witness that I thought it may be a black bear that had been overexposed (making it's color lighter with the white face). Doesn't seem to be canine IMO. What do you think? Lon

Weird New England: Your Travel Guide to New England's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

Strange New Hampshire

The Wildlife of New England: A Viewer's Guide

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Vanishing Airman

I received the following narrative a few days ago:

I was stationed at U-Tapao Air Base in Thailand in '69-'70. I was 19 years old at the time.

We lived in an open bay barracks about 150 feet long, 3 stories high, higher ranking NCO's lived on the first floor lesser ranks on the second and third - I was on the second floor. The bay was open but we used lockers and partitions about head-high for some privacy. We made cubicles 4 men per, we each had a locker, a bed, and a common desk, sometimes small shelves as well. There were rows of lights all along the ceiling so if someone turned on the lights it woke the whole floor up. If you stood a little tall you could see down the barracks.

The barracks was in an east-west line with double doors on each end and the latrines were on the west end. All floors were the same, my cubicle was on the westerly end.

With about 200-300 people in each barracks (and my squadron alone had three barracks, the officers had quarters elsewhere) coming and going at all times of the day and night. You can imagine the mayhem, noise and lack of privacy. Also we had "hootch" girls cleaning up and washing clothes, making beds, ironing uniforms, etc. all day in and around the barracks.

There was a man who lived in our barracks, an airman, who I had seen around at work and at the barracks - quiet, kind of strange, just a little off.

I had heard that this man, something was wrong and he was being flown back to the states, what the problem was nobody knew. Rumors suggested that there was a personality issue, maybe mental health, I don't know. I heard that he just didn't fit in somehow.

Here's the part that has spooked me for 44 years now.

One day I had a routine medical appointment. After I was done I went back to the barracks. I had a little break before the shuttle bus was coming by so I could get on to work. when I walked in the barracks I noticed that I was the only one in the barracks - no noise, no house girls, completely deserted and quiet. This was unusual, and very strange. I walked to my cubicle, opened my locker, got a paperback book and took a break, still not realizing the implications. Where was everyone? Usually there were guys going to work, getting off work, sleeping, hootch girls chattering away, guys drinking - but not now.

After a few minutes, I got up and walked to the east end of the barracks to go out to the bus stop. As I got close to the door, and on a cubicle to my right I noticed thia guy sitting in his cubicle dressed in his uniform (the khaki 1505's) a uniform not worn for the type of work we did. He had a full duffel next to him and was smoking a cigarette, I said "looks like your leaving" and he nodded "yeah", I said, "well good luck', "thanks " he replied.

I took about four steps, suddenly remembered that I had forgot my secure area badge. I turned around to go back to my cubicle to get my badge and as I passed the cubicle where the guy was sitting...HE WAS GONE, vanished, him and his bag. The only thing left was a cigarette still burning in the ashtray, I remember very distinctly the smoke curling up and the complete silence, and stillness.

There was no way he was in the hallway. If he would have been I would have seen him, and if he was going to the latrine he wouldn't have taken his duffel - they are awkward and hard to move around if they're full. He wasn't in any other cubicle because on my way back to the opposite end of the barracks, I would have seen him.

Nobody ever knew what happened - everyone assumed that he got on a plane as scheduled. But one thing I know for sure is that one minute he was sitting there and within 10 seconds he was gone. Just as soon as I turned my back he disappeared.

I can remember the incident vividly, I know it happened but I can't explain it. To this day, I'm stymied. TommyTwoTone - Utah

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