Monday, July 08, 2013

Just the Facts?: Charlie Sheen: Loch Ness Monster Hunter -- Black Panther Spotted in Louisiana -- Soccer Craziness in Brazil

Charlie Sheen: Loch Ness Monster Hunter

Charlie Sheen is heading to Scotland to hunt for the Loch Ness monster

The actor revealed his plan on Twitter by posing in his “hunting gear” – a bronze battle helmet – with his pal Brian Peck.

Charlie wrote of his plans to head off for “a sortie on the Loch Ness” later this year. And the 47-year-old was flooded with encouraging messages from fans.

Marilyn Halley wrote: “It’s about time Nessie was found!! Thanks Charlie.”

Susie Sunshine added: “U are two great archeologists. let’s get ready for #lochness and take me with u!! :)”

The Anger Management actor, who has battled various addictions, is no stranger to bizarre ideas.

He has claimed to be a “warlock” and a “rock star from Mars” who can cure diseases with his mind.

He was sacked from Two And A Half Men in 2011 for his outrageous behaviour and is currently in a child support battle with ex-wife Brooke Mueller, 35.

Sightings of Nessie go back to the Sixth Century, but geologist Luigi Piccardi warned that Charlie is chasing an illusion.

He said the “monster” was caused by bubbles from a “large and very active” volcanic fault line under the lake. - Daily Star


Family spots possible panther in Louisiana

A family 4th of July get together turned into a late night search for a possible black panther. Thursday night, at around 7:30, Karen Fory said her brother-in-law spotted a large black animal in the field behind her friend's home located on Captain Cade Road.

"You could see it from the fence and it was pretty big. So, I came back to the truck and got the binoculars and we were looking at it through the binoculars," she explained.

Cathy Irwin, who lives in the home, said Fory called her over immediately to see what they considered to be a black panther.

"We were standing about 100 feet away and you could see it. It was very large," Irwin said.

Fory explained that she grabbed her HD camera and put an extended lens on and quickly snapped several pictures.

"We got pictures of it sitting, jumping like it was playing and standing like it was proceeding to take off," Irwin said.

After considering it to be a large dangerous animal, they called the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office. Deputies, Wildlife and Fisheries agents and Zoo of Acadiana officials investigated the scene late Thursday night. However, the mysterious animal was never located. They re-visited the scene early Friday morning, but found nothing but what they believe to be bobcat tracks.

Fory said, "Wildlife and Fisheries aren't saying yes this is or no this isn't until they know for sure."

Officials with Wildlife and Fisheries told KLFY they can't confirm or deny the sighting of a large wild cat from pictures alone. They said leopards, cougars and panthers are not common in the area. However, if it is a wild cat, it could possibly be a pet that escaped. The question still remains. Was it a large domesticated cat or a ferocious panther? Irwin said the idea that it's a house cat just isn't a possibility.

"That was a dangerous animal," she began. "and anything can happen at any given time especially with all the children in the neighborhoods."

Iberia Parish Sheriff Deputies said they will continue to monitor the area throughout the coming days along with Wildlife and Fisheries. They said they are considering the possibility of putting game cameras in the area to catch the four-legged suspect. - KLFY

Forest Cats of North America

Phantoms of the Prairie: The Return of Cougars to the Midwest


'Evil Spirit' Scam Plagues Asian Immigrants In NYC

One woman was told by a fortune teller that her son was possessed by demons. Another was approached on a Chinatown street by a stranger who eerily claimed her daughter would die in two days. A third was informed that her dead husband was communicating from the grave, telling her to hand over thousands in cash.

"Your son will die in a car accident – he is cursed," a 65-year-old was told.

In each instance, the women bundled up cash and jewelry in a bag and gave it to strangers they'd just met – self-proclaimed spiritual healers. They were told the contents would be blessed in an effort to ward off evil spirits, bring good luck to the family or heal a sick child – they just have to wait a period of time to re-open it.

When they do, they find water bottles, cough drops and beans. But no valuables.

Detectives say there has been a rash in New York of what's known as an evil spirit or blessing scam, where older immigrant women, mostly Chinese, are swindled out of their valuables by clever scammers arriving from China who prey on superstition and fear. In the past six months, two dozen victims have reported valuables stolen – in some cases more than $10,000 in cash and $13,000 in jewelry, according to police reports. A total of more than $1.8 million has been stolen.

"They know the culture, they know how to talk to these victims to get them to listen," chief New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said of the grifts. "One person's spirituality is another's superstition, and they prey on that distinction."

The scam itself has many permutations, but the basic principle is the same: A woman, usually in her 50s or older, is approached by a stranger, usually a younger woman, who asks the woman if she knows where to find a particular healer or fortune teller. Another seeming stranger joins the conversation, says she knows where the healer is located, and convinces the older woman to come along. The healer convinces the victim that in order to ward off some evil, she must hand over valuables in a bag to be blessed. And then they switch the bag.

Similar scams occur in other places in the U.S. with large Asian communities, such as Boston, Seattle, Chicago and in Hawaii. In San Francisco late last year, thieves stole about $2 million in nearly 60 cases. Police there called the scams an organized crime ring. The district attorney's office, police and politicians waged a public safety awareness campaign, including community meetings and a video depicting a reenactment of a scam and tips on how to spot one.

The grift may be prevalent right now in Asian neighborhoods, but it's also rampant in Haitian and Latino communities where there is also distrust of Western culture and banks, and plenty of cash and valuables kept at home, said Dr. Alan Hilfer, director of psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York.

"It has to do with the idea of not necessarily adopting Western belief systems about magic and incantation systems, but staying with some of their traditional spiritual beliefs," he said. "And, in many cases they're so lost and desperate in a foreign culture they will turn to anyone who offers them something in a language they can understand."

A similar public awareness campaign has been underway in New York. Detectives in Chinatowns in Brooklyn and Manhattan have canvassed the streets warning of the scams and put up posters in Mandarin and English warning women.

"The power of belief is serious," Hilfer said. "And faced with an idea of a very expensive, absolutely incomprehensible, say, MRI machine versus someone putting grains or coins into a bag with incantations, it's just less frightening and unfamiliar to them."

New York City detectives say there is no larger criminal organization at work here, most scammers operate in groups of three or five and then disappear after, mostly fleeing back to China. Some arrests have been made, but recovery of the valuables is difficult.

The awareness campaign helped one 67-year-old woman, who turned the tables on the scammers, police and prosecutors said. She was approached June 3 in Manhattan's Chinatown. A younger Chinese girl on the street asked where to find a particular doctor. The accomplice joined and said she knew the doctor, and a third woman turned up saying she was a relative. They persuaded the woman that she was cursed. But rather than go home and bundle up her valuables, she called the cops, who set up a sting and nabbed five suspects after they'd stolen the 67-year-old's bag of fake jewelry.

Manhattan prosecutors charged the five with grand larceny. They are all from China. Lawyers for three didn't return calls seeking comment. But a lawyer for Jun Liang, 44, and Jingchang Quan, 44 said his clients were innocent.

"The prosecution so far seems to be creating guilt by association by pointing out similar cases that have happened around the country," attorney Jae Lee said. "But to really make out a case they're going to have to prove that it was these particular individuals that had the intent to defraud people."

Browne said it looked like the sting broke the scammers' spell: There have been no new reported thefts since. - YHP


Phantom sex noises in Phuket, voodoo suspected

An inconclusive police investigation has prompted a Phuket woman to publicly appeal for help in unravelling the mysterious “sex noises” she keeps hearing at her Chalong home.

Onanong Waltham, 46, accompanied by her housemate Sujittraporn Tephabutra, made her public appeal at the Phuket Press Club yesterday afternoon.

“I keep hearing moaning sounds in my house. It sounds like people making love,” said Ms Onanong, a resident at the Land & Houses Park Preuksachart Lake View housing estate, located behind Wat Chalong (map here).

“Also, late at night, my phone rings and I answer it, but all I hear is a man’s voice saying he wants to make love to me. When I call back the number, I get some guy in Rayong province,” she said.

In the belief she was being stalked, Ms Onanong filed a complaint with the Chalong Police.

“They came to my house and even heard the same noises, but they couldn’t find where the sounds were coming from,” she said.

Ms Onanong now fears her claims are not being taken seriously.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said.

The incessant moaning has forced Ms Onanong to seek advice from more traditional members of the community.

“I have even seen a mor doo [local soothsayer] and a spirit medium for advice, but nothing seems to have helped. I now think that someone is using black magic on me,” she said.

Ms Onanong invited anyone to help establish the true cause of the moaning and the source of the phone calls.

“If anyone thinks they can make the noises stop, please contact the Press Club at 076-244 047 or email,” she urged. - ThaiVisa

Vodou Love Magic: A Practical Guide to Love, Sex, and Relationships

Voodoo and Hoodoo: The Craft as Revealed by Traditional Practitioners


Soccer Referee Killed And Quartered By Fans In Brazil After Fatally Stabbing Player

SAO PAULO -- Police say enraged spectators invaded a football field, stoned the referee to death and quartered his body after he stabbed a player to death.

The Public Safety Department of the state of Maranhao says in a statement that it all started when referee Otavio da Silva expelled player Josenir Abreu from a game last weekend. The two got into a fist fight, then Silva took out a knife and stabbed Abreu, who died on his way to the hospital.

The statement issued this week says Abreu's friends and relatives immediately "rushed into the field, stoned the referee to death and quartered his body."

Local news media say the spectators also decapitated Silva and stuck his head on a stake in the middle of the field.

Police have arrested one suspect. - THP