The following narratives and articles are a few odds & ends from the holiday season:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - December 1, 2000 - 10:00 am
Several days after witnessing two low flying objects over the area, on two separate night (One of the objects was described as huge, making a rumbling like noise; it had a V-shaped tail with two rows of round and oblong windows and was black, gray, and silver in color.) and after receiving a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be a General from the Canadian armed forces, two strange men appeared at the door of the witness' residence. They produced wallets, one black, one brown, containing photo ID that stated they were from the Canadian Air Defense. They asked to come inside. The witness extended his hand, but was ignored.
Moving into the house took them through the kitchen area, but they stopped upon seeing the microwave. After some questioning, the witness lowered a portion of a counter and they carefully slid through the extra space. Sitting down they produced a small silver colored tape recorder and inserted a small disc, between a nickel and a quarter in size. On entering the house one of the men had noticed an unusual walking stick in the hallway, to which he remarked that the head of the stick's carving, painted red, reminded him of primates back home.
The two men were olive skinned and appeared to have slanted eyes. Each wore glasses with thick rims. They wore gray suits with black shirts, one had a white tie, and the other was buttoned up to the neck. The one with the tie had a clip that contained a red "stone" that flickered. The other had a ruby ring surrounded with diamonds. His watch was square but without apparent hands, instead being encircled with buttons that periodically illuminated from white to green to mauve. The strap appeared to be molded into the skin and was a solid steel band. The belt on his pants was of metallic strips with a square buckle. Both had very large feet, estimated to be 14". Each carried a brief case that was heavy and cold.
When sitting down they never relaxed into their chairs but retained a stiff back the whole time. Not once during their stay in the house did they speak to each other. The witness' two cats were extremely agitated the whole time during the visitors stay. Also the owner's dog that lived upstairs barked during the whole episode. The men noticed that the witness was wearing a very unusual watch and one of them touched his arm. The touch felt very cold and clammy. They questioned the witness about his sightings, and one of them appeared to be taken short hand notes. When they questioned him they looked into his eyes and seemed to "pierce his brain".
As they were leaving they again carefully avoided the microwave. Outside in the yard they spent about 30 minutes scouring the ground with a Geiger counter. As they rounded the corner of the house the witness went from the kitchen to the bedroom, which gave him a clearer view of the driveway and the road. Despite the very short period of time it took him to achieve this, the two men were not in sight, nor was a car leaving, or no car door could be heard slamming, they had vanished. Later they witness discovered that on the windowsill, only six inches behind where one of the men had been sitting, was a Windex bottle and was partially melted as if heat had been applied to it. Alongside was a cassette warped in a similar manner. The witness suffered from a severe migraine type headache after the two men left, his eyes also felt gritty and teary, and his face now appeared sunburned. He also suffered from strange dreams, one that was of lying prone on a table in a round room with a bright light above him then sensing being touched.
Two days later, while going outside his house the witness saw the same two men he had seen before in the driveway. Both were dressed in white coveralls. One was carrying a Geiger counter, the other a 12 to 16 inch parabolic dish in his hand, pointing to the sky, plus earphones and a microphone that was attached. He appeared to be searching the sky. The wires all led into a black box at his waist. At one point he had what looked like a camera, although not video, aimed at a tree over which the UFO had been originally seen. During the time they were together neither was seen speaking to each other. Nor was any car seen which they might have arrived in.
In December, a few days after Christmas, A man appeared at the door of the witness. He stated that he had come to see his unusual watch. He stated that his name was Mr. Smith and showed some ID. He wore a dark charcoal suit, white shirt, and black tie. He also wore a black fedora. His feet were very large, "size 13, or 14", like the witness previous visitors. His shoes were black and shiny, with no signs of dirt on them at all. He was about 4-feet 8 inches to 5-feet tall, very thin, and very pale skinned with very long fingers. He also wore black wrap around glasses with silver frames. The witness extended his hand but was ignored (again).
Upon entering the house the visitor commented upon the carved walking stick in the hallway. He also asked the witness to turn the microwave off before he walked in front of it. Sitting down at the kitchen table he produced a small silver tape recorder, claiming it could record up to 80 hours or more. Using a pick like tool from his breast pocket he examined the witness watch. He opened a black briefcase, removed some paper, a silver pencil with a red top, and a pen like flash light that emitted a mauve, pencil thin beam, which scanned the interior of the watch with. He took a small digital type camera and with it he took several pictures of the watch. During the whole of his visit he spoke very little, and his speech seemed slurred.
Again the cats were agitated during the stranger's visit. He again expressed interest in the watch and the witness asked 500$ for it, but he replied that he had to check with his colleagues. The stranger also expressed interest in a computer saying that it had very minimal power. The stranger departed without saying good-bye. The witness went immediately to the window but could not see any sign of the visitor or any car in the vicinity, he had simply vanished. A plastic hair blower nozzle was found melted and a ruler in a drawer close to where the visitor had been sitting was bent into a slight 'S' curve. Again the witness suffered from a severe headache and an eruptive nosebleed.
In early January 2001, two peculiar strangers again visited the witness to a previous UFO encounter. These two were different from the others. They were at least six-feet tall, very bony, with head, hands and feet out of proportion to the rest of the body. They wore gray suits that seemed to be "oily", had black ties and hats plus wrap around sunglasses that they never took off. When questioned about the glasses they remarked that they could see perfectly well. Their ears stood out from their heads and their skin was pale white, whereas their fingernails were gray in color. They never removed the hats during their visit. And throughout the whole time only one of them spoke. When asked for ID's they displayed "silver" cases that contained a photo an unusual symbol, plus their names in small print.
Upon entering the kitchen they asked the witness to please unplug the microwave, they also told him to turn the computer off. The two Persian cats were going crazy dashing around the room, and trying to get out of the window, which was closed. Each man carried a briefcase with an inverted 'L' shaped handle. The man that did all the talking asked to see the witness unusual watch, he then removed from his briefcase four small containers, each had a different colored top. Opening two he proceeded to pour the contents over the watch. He told the concerned witness that no harm would come to the watch. He was given $250 for the watch and told that they would give him the rest later. He told them that he was moving soon, to this they replied "We know, don't worry, we can find you if we want to."
They soon departed without the common courtesies, staring blankly at the witness as he extended his hand. Once again the witness hurried to the bedroom window only to find, as before, no sign of either man departing, nor cold any vehicle be heard leaving. After the visit the witness felt drained, had a severe headache that lasted for two days and a rash on his arms, face and chest.
Source: Graham Conway, UFO BC
Thanks to Albert Rosales
Star of Bethlehem Probably Jupiter-Regulus Conjunction
phenomenica - The appearance of the Star of Bethlehem, which in the Bible guides the three wise men to Jesus' birthplace, can be backed up by science, according to an astronomer.
Mark Thompson of the Royal Astronomical Society and Astronomy Presenter on BBC's "The One Show" has conducted research that can explain the story, told in the Gospel of Matthew, about the star leading the travellers to Bethlehem.
Using historical records and computer simulations that allow the position of the stars and planets to be charted back to around the time when Jesus is believed to have been born, Thompson claims there was an unusual astronomical event, reports the Telegraph.
He said that between September 3BC and May 2BC there were three "conjunctions" where the planet Jupiter and a star called Regulus passed close to each other in the night sky.
Thompson, who is due to present the BBC's new astronomy programme "Stargazing Live" with Brian Cox, said: "The three wise men were believed by some to be Zoroastrianist priests, who were renowned astrologers at the time, so the king of planets passing so close to the king of stars on three occasions would have been hugely significant and could have been interpreted as the birth of a new king."
"Interestingly, in the world of astrology Jupiter is considered to be the king of planets and Regulus, which is the brightest star in the constellation Leo, is considered to be the king of stars."
Thompson said he looked at "all the possibilities" before coming to his conclusion.
The three conjunctions, which took place 14 September 3BC, 17 February 2BC and 8 May 2BC, were caused by an astronomical phenomenon called retrograde motion, in which a planet will appear to stop its normal eastward drift through the night and instead drift back towards the west for a period of several weeks.
Exhibition tells how Charles Dickens was spooked by ghost tale doppelganger
The spirits which terrorise and ultimately reform Scrooge in A Christmas Carolmay have been due to a nightmare brought on, as the miser put it, by "an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese".
Now a new exhibition at the British Library marking the bicentenary in 2012 of Charles Dickens's birth suggests that the real-life mystery of another ghost story by the author may have had an equally prosaic beginning: a manuscript he allegedly stole from a rival.
Dickens wrote some of the best-loved spooky yarns in the English language – but he did not please one artist who accused him of plagiarising his apparition in a piece published in 1861.
The author and artist Thomas Heaphy bitterly accused Dickens of underhand dealing and blatantly ripping off his own story which he had sent to the printers.
Friend and biographer John Forster described Dickens as having "a hankering after ghosts".
But Andrea Lloyd, curator of the British Library exhibition, says the author was always careful to include a possible rational explanation in his ghostly writings.
He was fascinated by the occult, a genius at evoking eerie atmosphere and powerful, malign characters, and knew there was nothing like a spinechiller to boost circulation for magazines which published his novels in installments.
In 1861 Dickens published a piece in his own All the Year Round magazine called Four Ghost Stories. One of the stories featured a beautiful young woman asking a portrait painter if he could remember her face well enough to paint it from memory months later.
The artist replied in puzzlement that he possibly could, but would much prefer conventional sittings.
"Impossible," she replied. "It could not be."
It transpires that she is already dead, and the portrait is needed to console her grieving father.
The story is hardly Dickens's finest effort, but it certainly caused a reaction in Heaphy, a now almost entirely forgotten Victorian artist. (Tate and the National Portrait Gallery both have works by his father in the collections, but nothing by him).
Heaphy wrote to Dickens in a rage, claiming that not only had he written up an identical story, ready for publication in the Christmas issue of a rival magazine, but that it had really happened to him – and on 13 September too, the very date Dickens had added in pencil in the margin of his own version.
There was never any explanation of the mystery: Dickens insisted that he was completely innocent of plagiarism, deliberate or psychic.
He called the episode, Forster wrote, "So very original, so very extraordinary, so very far beyond the version I have published that all other stories turn pale before it.
"Everything connected with it is amazing; but conceive this – the portrait painter had been engaged to write it elsewhere as a story for next Christmas and not unnaturally supposed when he saw himself anticipated in All the Year Round that there had been treachery at his printers."
The exhibition includes a very rare publication, a small booklet entitled A Wonderful Ghost Story Being Mr H's Own Narrative, which the artist published years later, giving his own version of the story.
Despite including in very large type "with unpublished Letters from Charles Dickens", it was not a success.
Although Dickens conducted a running battle with spiritualists over exposés in his magazines of fake mediums and seances, he did however believe in the so-called new science of mesmerism.
He was convinced he himself could heal others by putting them into a hypnotic trance.
Catherine, his long-suffering wife, pregnant by him for most of their 22 years together (10 of their children survived) before an acrimonious separation, made a rare protest when he devoted day after day of a holiday to gazing into the eyes of a beautiful young woman who claimed to be tormented by anxiety and insomnia.
In reference to this, the exhibition includes an indignant letter he wrote to Catherine years later, raking over the coals yet again.
There is also a copy of The Terrific Register, a "penny dreadful" weekly magazine which the teenage Dickens devoured, enthralled with and terrified by stories about murder, ghosts, incest and cannibalism.
Within five weeks of Dickens's death on 9 June 1870, spiritualists in America were claiming the last laugh. The spirit of the credulous sceptic, had been in touch, they insisted, and had dictated various messages through raps and knocks including the ending to his unfinished last book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood- guardian
Battling to keep its food costs down, the sheriff's department argued that King himself admitted "healthism" was the so-called religion justifying this request. But Johnson wasn't daunted, calling a sidebar with King's lawyer, Fred Thiagarajah, and the county prosecutor and asking for suggestions about a religion he could cite in the kosher-meal order to nail the issue down once and for all, reports the Orange County Register.
“I said Festivus,” Thiagarajah tells a newspaper--and Festivus it was. The holiday (Festivus for the rest of us) was created by the writers of the popular Seinfeld television show, county counsel argued to no avail.
King, however, has now served out his sentence, so further argument over the issue may be mooted.
Hello - I have a weird story I'd like to present for your consideration. There is no explaination as to what occurred, though I personally believe the supernatural was at play.
It was the Christmas season in 1958. My parents and I lived in a small home in eastern Tennessee. We survived on what little money my Mother could make doing odd jobs for other people in the area. My Father was wounded during the Korean War and he received a monthly pension from the government. I was 8 years old at the time. After school, I would work around the house and help care for my Father. I knew that money was tight and figured there wouldn't be any gift-giving that year, but we made the best with what we had.
A few day before Christmas Day, I was lying in bed and started hearing noises coming from outside my window. It sounded like children playing and laughing. I got out of bed and looked out the window. I noticed several blue lights bobbing about in my Mother's garden. I went and woke my Mother. She got up and we walked out onto the porch. We both clearly witnessed the blue lights moving up & down above the garden. It was very cold, so we went back into the house and watched from my bedroom window. The lights were there for over an hour and continued moving about. We were very tired, so we both went back to sleep.
In the morning, we were sitting at the table eating breakfast. My parent were discussing the blue lights. My Father said that he heard of a similar occurance when he was a boy. The deacon at his church commented to several of his congregation that he noticed blue lights outside the rectory one evening. His explanation was that these were angels watching over the church. The next few nights I watched for the lights but they never returned.
On Christmas Eve a few family friends stopped by the house during the day to wish us happy holidays. My friend Larry came over also. We listened to the radio for most of the afternoon. Neither one of us had ever had a television in our homes. I mentioned that it would be nice to have one but I knew that we could never afford it. I told Larry about the blue lights and the story that my Father had told me. Larry said that his Uncle Joe told him the same story about the blue lights outside the church rectory, so I figured that must have actually happened. Larry also said that his Uncle Joe mentioned that there were 'little people' with big heads and large eyes who lived in the mountains. I asked Larry if his Uncle Joe had ever seen these 'little people.' Larry said that he didn't think so.
That evening my parents and I were sitting in the front room when we heard what sounded like footsteps on the porch. My father went to investigate, but he didn't see anything unusual. I then told them what Larry's Uncle Joe had told him. My Father just smiled and said that old Joe told a lot of 'good' stories though most were just not true. My Father then said that he remembered a story that old Joe told him one day.
My Father said that old Joe told him that the 'little people' of the mountain would bring gifts to folks they liked. He said that old Joe thought that the 'little people' were really aliens because he had seen lights fly off the mountain at night. I prodded my Father to tell me more but he said old Joe told too many stories that were flat out lies. It was about 10 PM so I was sent off to bed since we were going to church on Christmas morning.
I woke in the middle of the night to get a drink of water. I did't notice the time but I believe it was around 1 AM or so. I walked out of my room and into the hallway. I noticed that same giggling and laughing I had heard the night I witnessed the blue lights. The sound was coming from the front room. I slowly walked down the hallway and peered around the corner. There was nothing there, but I did see a square shape on the floor by the bookshelf. I turned on the room light. It was a brand new television set - a Motorola. I remember letting out a scream and hearing my mother running down the hallway. She saw me standing in front of the bookshelf, not knowing what was going on. Then she noticed the television. I can still remember the strange look on her face. She turned and ran back into her bedroom yelling all the way. I could hear her asking about the television, while my Father answered 'what television?'
We sat in the front room just staring at the television, occasionally looking at each other. We never did figure out how it got there. I'd like to think it was the 'little people' in the mountain. In fact, that's what old Joe told everybody who'd listen. MM
The Mammoth Book of Unexplained Phenomena
Unexplained!: Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena
Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century