; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Daily 2 Cents: Man Spontaneously Combusts...and Lives! -- Centipede Venom For Pain Relief - Eating Crocs In Jamaica

Man Spontaneously Combusts...and Lives!

Frank Baker faced death while earning two Purple Hearts in Vietnam, but the scariest moment of his life came in June 1995.

Baker was in his home in Vermont, when he suddenly burst into flames, an experience he discusses for the first time on "The Unexplained Files," airing Oct. 2 on the Science Channel.

"We were getting ready for fishing and sitting on the couch," Baker said on the episode. "Everything was great. [Friend] Pete [Willey] was sitting next to me [and] we were having a helluva time."

That is, until things started heating up -- literally -- when flames appeared on Baker's body.

"It was the damndest thing I've ever seen," Willey remembered. "Frank was freaking out and making me freak out."

Baker started panicking and tried everything to stop his body from being burned.

"I had no idea what was taking place on my body -- none," he said.

Baker and Willey somehow put out the flames and got to a doctor. But the diagnosis was as shocking as the sudden flames that engulfed his body.

"The doctor called, and said, 'Frank, this burned from the inside out,'" Baker said. - THP

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Jamaican's taste for crocodile worries conservationists

A growing taste for crocodile meat and even eggs in Jamaica has conservationists worried that the reptiles might be wiped from the wild altogether, although they've been protected by law since 1971. Experts believe the reptiles may be reaching a tipping point in economically struggling Jamaica. A recent newsletter from the Crocodile Specialist Group, a global network involved in conservation, said the situation appears dire on the island as the impact of habitat loss deepens with a "new demand for crocodile meat, both for personal consumption and for local market distribution."

The poaching problem has become so bad in Jamaica that a passionate reptile enthusiast, Lawrence Henriques, has set up a crocodile sanctuary and captive rearing program just outside a tiny northern mountain town called Cascade, far from the animals' southern habitat, as insurance against future loss. He also hopes to educate islanders who revile them or want to barbecue them. Crocodile meat appears to be a specialty high-end business in Jamaica, with wealthy private buyers willing to pay as much as $35 per pound.

Some of the meat stays in rural towns along the reptiles' brackish habitat, with secret crocodile-eating parties drawing men who insist it enhances sexual virility. "It's totally underground and people keep it very hush-hush," said Sharlene Rowe, a conservation officer with the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation who has seen two carcasses with tails chopped off floating down the Salt River in southern Clarendon parish.

The animals mostly live among tangled mangrove roots in places such as the Black River, which snakes through a marshland known as the Great Morass. "I went from never hearing about anyone eating crocodile meat, much less crocodile eggs, to hearing about it all the time. There's just so much carnage going on," said Byron Wilson, a reptile specialist at Jamaica's University of the West Indies. Reptile experts say it's far from clear why poaching is now on the rise. Some suggest the demand has grown due to a rising population of Chinese immigrants, who reportedly eat the reptiles. Others say cable TV food shows may be boosting a local demand for exotic meat. Read more at Telegraph


Venom of Chinese Centipede Could Lead to Painkiller as Effective as Morphine

Scientists reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences have discovered a peptide in the venom of the Chinese red-headed centipede, Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans, with the potential to be developed into a pain drug as effective as morphine.

The team studied the venom of the Chinese red-headed centipede in an effort to find better solutions for people who suffer from chronic pain.

They found that a peptide, named Ssm6a, from centipede venom blocks the human Nav1.7 channel in pain-sensing nerves.

“People without a functioning Nav1.7 channel cannot feel pain, so it’s likely molecules that can block this channel will be powerful painkillers,” said study senior author Prof Glenn King University of Queensland from the University of Queensland.

“We recently demonstrated that the venom of the Chinese red-headed centipede was rich in molecules that can alter the function of nerve channels, so we decided to explore this venom to see if there was a molecule that could block Nav1.7.”

“The molecule we found selectively targets this pain channel, which is crucial as closely related channels play critical roles in controlling the heart and muscles.”

It was likely that centipedes had evolved the molecule to block similar nerve channels in insects in order to prey on them.

“Our study suggests that centipede venoms, which to date have been largely unstudied, might provide a new source of potential drugs for treating chronic pain and other conditions,” Prof King said. - Sci-News


Satanic Ritual Killing Trial Continues

A suspect on trial for the murder of Kirsty Theologo told the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court she knew nothing of a murder plot until Theologo was set alight.

Suspect Courtney Daniels, along with Harvey Isha, Robin Harwood and Lindon Wagner are accused of killing Theologo as a sacrifice to the devil. Previous testimonies from two state witnesses have placed Daniels at the centre of the plot to murder Theologo.

Daniels told the court that she thought her friends would be calling on supernatural spirits. Daniels identified her co-accused Lindon Wagner as the main suspect.

She said Wagner attacked Theologo carrying a rock, drenched her in petrol and set her alight.

The trial continues. - ENCA

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