NEAR LANDS ON EROS
"NASA engineers successfully landed the first space probe on an asteroid Monday," February 12, 2001, "and reported continuing contact with the craft."
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) robot spacecraft entered orbit around the asteroid Eros, located 13 million miles (21 million kilometers) from Earth, in February 2000.
"'We're still getting a signal,' said mission chief Robert Farquhar of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland during a live Webcast of the event. His lab is responsible for the NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft."
"With the craft running out of fuel, and the $223 million mission coming to an end, planners decided to try the landing in a final bid to capture the best asteroid images possible."
"A gripping five-and-a-half hour descent featured five separate firings of the spacecraft's engine, which gently deposited the spacecraft onto the surface" of Eros.
"'It's been a really exciting mission and a heck of a ride,' team scientist Noam Izenberg said in an interview."
"The probe's instruments and cameras have for a year investigated the surface of Eros, a 21-mile-long (34-kilometer-long), shoe-shaped asteroid whose eccentric orbit carries it, at its closest, to within 13 million miles (21 million kilometers) of Earth."
"The information gathered by the mission might help scientists decide how best to deflect a similar asteroid if it headed for Earth."
"Mission engineer Andrew Santo said a morning burn went off smoothly, irrevocably removing the probe from an altitude 16 miles (27 kilometers) above" the asteroid. "Four more (rocket) burns cut landing speed down to about four miles per hour."
"As it fell, the probe captured images of surface features as small as four inches (10 centimeters) across."
"Mission controllers report a continuing weak signal from the spacecraft, which appears to have landed., as hoped for, with its antennae and solar panels still functioning." (See USA Today for February 13, 2001, "Probe lands on gigantic near-Earth asteroid," page 1A.)
LANTERNS OR UFOs? A MALAYSIAN MYSTERY
"Flashes of bright orange light were sighted over Bandar Sunway, 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Petaling Jaua," in the Southeast Asian country of Malaysia "on Monday, February 5, 2001."
"The spectacle lasted for ten minutes before the lights disappeared from the clear skies."
"Witnesses said the lights resembled eight flaming balls which floated north in a straight row over the office buildings in the Plaza Mentari at about 8:10 p.m."
"Scores of people who witnessed the incident were baffled over the sight and many called up the district police headquarters to ask for a clarification."
"A witness, who declined to be named, said the objects appeared to be moving towards each other before disappearing into the night sky."
"The (Malaysian) Department of Civil Aviation in Subang, located 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the incident, said an aircraft was flying in the vicinity at that time."
"The staff running the control room of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF)" base near Kuala Lumpur, the national capital, "said they had not received any reports about the sightings. They declined to comment further."
A couple of days later, the Malaysian newspaper The Star reported that it had an answer to the UFO sightings in Petaling Jaya. "UFOs spotted hovering near a Malaysian city turned out to be 'good luck' lanterns."
"Traffic came to a standstill in Petaling Jaya as people stared at the red, orange, pink and white lights."
"But a newspaper reporter followed the UFOs and discovered they were 'good luck' lanterns released from a local temple."
"Wani Mathiah of The Star said the paper lanterns were being released as part of the Chap Goh Meh celebration." (See The Star for February 6, 2001, "Flaming UFOs spotted," and for February 8, 2001, "UFOs were 'good luck' lanterns." Many thanks to Gerry Lovell, John M. Novak and Todd Lemire for these newspaper articles.)
(Editor's Comment: So the Malaysian UFOs were just floating paper lanterns, eh? Then what are we to make of the following report?)
FLIGHT OF ORANGE UFOs PASSES OVER THAILAND
On Friday, February 9, 2001, at 9:30 p.m., Elizabeth Wigg and her husband were walking along a street in Chang Mai, a city in northern Thailand when they spotted some unusual lights approaching from the south.
"We saw approximately seven to ten glowing orange and pink balls in the sky above us," Elizabeth reported, "Very high up in the sky, moving at a very rapid speed, moving towards the north. They were not interacting with each other but moving independently. They were glowing orange and pink--almost a fire colour, and were completely round. "
The UFOs' altitude "was hard to say but when in the sky, they covered about a quarter of our vision (field of view--J.T.) in about a minute, which was how long we watched them before they disappeared behind some office buildings."
Chang Mai is about 375 kilometers (225 miles) north of Bangkok, the national capital.
(Editor's Comment: Interesting. Another sighting of UFOs in Southeast Asia four days after the event in Petaling Jaya. Were these the Malaysian 'good luck' lanterns traveling hundreds of miles to the northwest against the prevailing wind? Or a flight of UFOs heading back to their base in the Himalayas?)
SKUNK APE PHOTOGRAPHED NEAR SARASOTA, FLORIDA
"Bigfoot researchers are going ape over photographs of a Bigfoot-like creature living near Sarasota, Florida."
"The photos were taken last September (2000) by a 65-year-old woman and shows what appears to be a white-bearded creature that resembles the monster from the 1987 movie Harry and the Hendersons."
"Although the woman's identity is unknown, she sent photos of the so-called 'Skunk Ape' to Sarasota County police and asked them if there had been any reports of missing orangutangs."
"So far, no creatures have been captured, but cryptozoologist Loren Coleman says Sarasota cops have received reports of 'an apelike animal bothering people.'"
"Coleman isn't ruling out a hoax but thinks the photos might be the first true evidence of the Skunk Ape, a smaller version of Bigfoot."
UFO Roundup readers can view and download these Skunk Ape photos by visiting Loren Coleman's website. Set your browser for http://www.lorencoleman.com (See the Boca Raton, Fla. Sun-Sentinel for February 10, 2001. Also the Tampa, Fla. Tribune for February 12, 2001. Many thanks to Loren Coleman for these newspaper articles.)
T-SHAPED UFO SIGHTED OVER COLUMBUS, OHIO
On Thursday, February 8, 2001, Stephanie H. and two companions were driving on Highway 2 near Kelso Road in Columbus, Ohio when, she reported, "another person in the car said, 'Is that an airplane?' It was hovering above (the corner of) Hudson Street and Indianola Avenue. It hovered about 10 seconds. Then we tried to get closer and it took off. It was going a bit faster than an airplane would. It was in the shape of a T. It looked a little squared. It had lights hanging from the bottom of the craft. that were giving off light. I am assuming it (the UFO) was black." (Many thanks to Cliff Capers of Skywatch International for this report.)
CIGAR-SHAPED UFO SEEN IN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
On Friday, February 9, 2001, at 7:10 a.m., Richard S. spotted a bright cigar-shaped UFO over the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
"At work I have an opportunity to face due east with a clear view of the Sandia Mountains all day long," Richard reported, "Large windows from floor to ceiling. There was heavy gray cloud cover that morning with a patch of blue sky. The sun just peaked over the mountains."
The UFO approached from the northwest, "very high," he added, "A flash out of a patch of high clouds descending into another dark cloud bank. The UFO was higher than 35,000 feet (10,500 meters) greater than 45 degrees (above the horizon--J.T.) dipping to a lower cloud level at an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,500 meters). The sighting lasted no more than two seconds as it dropped into the cloud cover."
Richard described the UFO as "a fat cigar shape with a magnesium flash color, a dark center, a glowing orange border very bright and very large. Its size was approximately that of an eyeglasses nose piece (held) at arm's length." (Email Form Report)
YELLOW UFO HOVERS OVER BECCLES, SUSSEX, UK
On Wednesday, February 2, 2001,at 11:15 p.m., P.Y. was at his home in Beccles, Sussex, UK when he saw an unusually bright light approaching from the southeast, over the ocean. ""It was a yellow light, very bright, shining downwards, surrounded completely by smaller red lights. The whole thing appeared to be circular. It was stationary in the sky for about five minutes and disappeared instantly when car headlights coming up a hill approached it. I would place the height (altitude) at about 1,000 feet as it was visible just above some trees."
He described the UFO as "a very bright yellow light, circular in shape, surrounded by six to eight smaller red lights which appeared to be joined to the main light."
"There are no street lights of any kind in that direction as I live in the countryside and that direction is the sea approximately four miles (6 kilometers) away. I am a 57-year-old man and not given to fancies and certainly not tired or drunk. I do believe I have seen something unusual." (Email Form Report)
UFO FLAP BREAKS OUT IN NORTHERN ARGENTINA
"Older residents call it a 'strange light phenomenon' but younger ones straightforwardly classify it as a UFO. At least ten residents of" of the barrio Oro Blanco in the city of Saenz Pena in northern Argentina "agree that for the past four days, between midnight and 1 a.m., luminous boldly-colored objects have been flying over the area at low altitude."
Saenz Pena is just south of the border with Paraguay and is located about 520 kilometers (312 miles) north of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
"According to the locals, the color and movement of the objects do not correspond to that of a satellite or an airplane nor any other commonly-sighted object. An older woman living on Calle 19 (street) in Oro Blanco claims having seen them since last Tuesday and Wednesday (February 6 and 7, 2001) and the last time others saw the object was on Friday (February 9, 2001)."
"Now people are meeting every night at the same time on this city block in order to see the lights and try to figure out what is happening. Skeptics are also invited to join in so they could see with their own eyes."
"'It flew very low, didn't come from a high elevation, looked like a large star but at low altitude,--it became larger later on. It appeared from the south and headed northwards. It then began to rise until it became smaller as if suddenly going upward and becoming a tiny little star,' said Rodolfo Acosa, pointing to the horizon and describing what he claims to have seen on Friday," February 9, 2001.
"On Thursday, (February 8, 2001) residents claimed having seen something similar to what would be seen the following day but traveling in an opposite direction."
"'It began about 12:45 a.m. and it traveled from east to west. It looked like a luminous ball, much larger than a star and flying at low altitude,' another witness remarked."
"They finally realized that it could not be an airplane since they were familiar with airplane flight times, and these lights were perfectly distinguishable from aircraft, they noted, 'One night, the airplane was up front and the object was following from behind. Furthermore, the airplane was flying much faster,' remarked young Maria Lujan."
"Residents of Oro Blanco took advantage of the presence of an expert, Senor Galvan, who works at the airport control tower., and he told them--according to the locals--that people had been calling the airport and reporting the same phenomenon for several nights."
"'They say it's a research satellite or something like that but, but what happens is that it doesn't always keep to the same orbit. One day it's going in one direction, and the next day it's going in another. It appears with a 20 to 25 minute time difference more or less, and it is also extremely shiny,' remarked another resident named Acosta." (See the Argentinean newspaper Diario Norte de Chaco for February 11, 2001, "Alleged UFO causes stir in Saenz Pena." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales, autor de los libros Chupacabras and Other Mysteries y Forbidden Mexico, y tambien Gloria Coluchi para ese articulo de diario.)
MYSTERIOUS PREHISTORIC BONES FOUND IN AUSTRALIA
"Reports have been received of very old human remains found near Lake Mungo," New South Wales, Australia, "that supposedly are quite distinct and separate in their DNA from all other known human populations."
The remains "presumably represent a population even more ancient than 'African Eve.'"
"The remains are thought to be hundreds of thousands of years old. Scientists have managed to extract DNA. They have come to the conclusion that they have found a fully human person who is not genetically similar to anyone else who is alive today. All human beings alive today can be traced by mitochondrial DNA to a single human female living in Africa about 200,000 years ago."
(Editor's Comment: If the Australian find needs a name, how about Mungo Jerry?)
The Australian find "is not part of the 'genetic lineage'.' The scientists have tentatively concluded that that there were entire human populations tens of thousands of years ago who have completely died out leaving no trace."
Some theorists believe that the remains may belong to the Yowie, a black-furred hominid, smaller than Bigfoot, that has been seen from time to time in the Australian Outback.
Another theory is that "Mungo Jerry" might be a member of the prehistoric population of Australia that was wiped out during the Deluge.
Most people are familiar with the story of Noah's Ark from the Bible. Yet there are ancient stories of a worldwide flood all over the world. Here are a few:
Greece--According to the sage Apollodorus, Deucalion was the king of Pithia, just south of Thessaly. He married Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora. Warned by the gods of Olympus that Earth was about to be destroyed by a gigantic flood, he built a small wooden ark for himself and Pyrrha, rode out the Deluge and landed on Mount Parnassus.
Sumeria (modern Iraq)--Ut-napishtim was warned of the Deluge by the god Enki. He built an ark even bigger than Noah's, square in shape, loaded aboard his wives, children, grandchildren and every animal he could find. His ark touched down on Mount Nisir in Iran.(Editor's Comment: History majors, it's pop quiz time. For extra academic
credit, see if you can answer the following two questions. The answers are
at the end of this story.
India--According to the Satapatma Brahmana, Manu the fisherman caught a small fish that spoke to him in a human voice. The fish said it was the god Vishnu and--you guessed it--the world was about to be destroyed by a giant flood. With his children Mitra and Varuna, Manu built a huge square ark and rode out the Deluge, ending up on a mountaintop in the Himalayas.
Burma (modern Myanmar)--Nan-chaung and his sister-wife, Chang-ko were at the pagoda when a god appeared and told them to build a large covered boat because the Deluge was coming. They, too, landed in the Himalayas.
Mexico--Teocipactli and his wife Xochiquetzal were at the now-vanished temple of Adkulel north of Lake Texcoco. The god Tlaloc appeared to them and warned of a gigantic flood that would sweep over the country and destroy the wicked city of Cholula.
The aboriginal tries of Australia have similar Deluge legends. According to the Kurnai people of Victoria state and the Narrinyeri people of South Australia, there was a black-skinned race living on the island continent before the great flood, and these people built cities in western New South Wales, just north of the Victoria state line.
The god Bunjil appeared to Nepelle and his three wives. He said the gods had decided to destroy the evil cities and told the quartet to flee to the south and not to stop until they reached the coast. Nepelle and his women took refuge on Point Macleay. They remained there until Borun the pelican told them that land had dried out enough to walk safely upon. The four trekked north after the flood and their descendants repopulated Australia.
Is "Mungo Jerry" one of the "Old Race?" It's a possibility. (See Folklore and Legends of Some Victoria Tribes by Mrs. Mary E.B. Hewitt. Many thanks to T. Peter Park for this story.)
(Editor's Comment: And here's the answers to our Sumerian pop quiz.
EGYPT UNVEILS MORE PREHISTORIC MYSTERIES
Conventional archaeology teaches that Egyptian civilization began with the Old Kingdom around 2700 B.C. But recent finds are showing that the civilization may actually be millennia older.
At the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Reno, Nevada last November (2000), Dr. Robert Schoch delivered a 15-minute address on Further Evidence Supporting a Pre-2500 B.C. Date for the Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt.
Dr. Schoch pointed out that limestone in the burial shaft of Queen Khent-icaus near the Red Pyramid at Dhashur showed evidence of severe weathering by torrential rains. The shaft may actually have been constructed prior to 6000 B.C. The Egyptians of the queen's reign (circa 2300 B.C.) might have re-discovered the existing shaft and lowered the queen's mummy to the bottom.
Further south, in Egypt's Eastern Desert, "a British team, led by world-famous digger David Rohl, found 6,000-year-old carvings on rocks, boulders and cliff faces showing what everyday life, special ceremonies and religious beliefs were like in ancient, ancient Egypt--the much-wondered-about time before the Great Pyramid of Giza was built in 2700 B.C."
"'Until the last two or three years, people had only been looking in the Nile valley, not considering what might be out in the desert, particularly as it seems so inaccessible and inhospitable today,' says Dr. Toby Wilkinson, an Egyptologist from Christ's College, Cambridge, UK., who recently led a group of experts around the area dubbed the Eastern Desert Survey."
"'No one had stopped to think that it might have been different thousands of years ago. In this last trip along, we discovered 30 new sites!'" he added.
Some of the prehistoric rock art the Eastern Desert Survey has turned up is truly amazing. Paintings show religious ceremonies and large oarboat galleys, propelled by fifty slaves, which carried on a thriving trade on the Nile. These galleys appear to have brought the wealth of central Africa into Egypt--gold, tropical fruits, live animals and lumber.
(Editor's Comment: What really interested me was the painting of a warrior with an upraised shield. The painting dates from between 6000 and 5000 B.C. The very same image is found on the cylinder seals of ancient Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan and also on the rongo-rongo boards of Easter Island. Now I'm starting to wonder if this universal symbol might be an astrological sign--a representation of the constellation Orion. Perhaps Dr. Wilkinson and his team have found a prehistoric Egyptian calendar.)
"'These drawings are the Sistine Chapel of pre-dynastic Egypt,'" he added.
"The drawings depict a nomadic people who roamed the land with their cattle. Contrary to the uninhabited nothingness that exists today, the Egypt of 6,000 years ago (4000 B.C.) was covered with rivers, lakes and streams where the people had" their cattle drink.
"The etchings also show hippos and giraffes and an array of other beasts that populated the fertile, vegetation-rich land."
"And there are lots of boats but not primitive dugout canoes--the vessels are elaborate and technologically advanced, giving shocked archaeologists a glimpse of a past they never suspected."
(Editor's Comment: So it looks like Texas author Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was right about his supposed "Hyborian Age," at least in Egypt.)
'These drawings have huge significance,' says Dr. Wilkinson. 'Before we found them, there was a missing link between ancient Egypt and what went before.'"
"'We can also see a direct link between this religious art and the religious art of the Pharaohs 3,000 years later.'"
"'These drawings mean that we can no longer believe that Egyptian culture sprang from nowhere. They are forcing us to rethink the origins of that ancient civilization and their entire lifestyle, a culture developed long before we had originally thought.'" (See Atlantis Rising for February 2001, "New evidence for much earlier dawn of Egyptian civilization, presented to American Geologists," page 10; and the tabloid National Examiner for January 30, 2001, "Discovered: Egypt before the Pharaohs," pages 46 and 47.)
ATLANTIS FERRIES DISCOVERY TO THE SPACE STATION
"Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off Wednesday," February 7, 2000, "with the most expensive and pivotal piece of the International Space Station--a $1.4 billion science lab."
"Atlantis and its crew of five soared into a clear sky at 6:13 p.m. with a rising full moon providing a gleaming backdrop."
Crew members included shuttle commander Kenneth Cockrell, pilot Mark Polansky, and mission specialists Robert Curbeam, Marsha Ivins and Thomas Jones.
"'You got a good day to go fly,' launch director Mike Leinbach told the astronauts moments before liftoff. 'We wish you luck as you deliver the heart and soul of the International Space Station. And have fun.""
Nestled in Atlantis's cargo bay was the "crown jewel" of the ISS, also known as Station Alpha. This was the 16-ton $1.4 billion orbital laboratory called Destiny.
"The lab is shaped like a soda can but in size and surface--28 feet long (8 meters( long with a shiny aluminum coating, resembles an old (1948 Airstream) travel trailer."
Destiny weighed so much that it had to be stripped of its scientific equipment for this flight. The equipment will go aloft on the next shuttle flight. The "soda can" is also so large that it had only a couple of inches' clearance between its surface and the gunwales of the shuttle's cargo bay.
"Destiny is 28 feet (8 meters( long, 14 feet (4 meters) in diameter, and weighs more than 30,000 pounds and is made of up of 415,000 parts and 26 miles (42 kilometers) of wiring."
""The lab is being sent up with only five of its 23 'racks,' coat-closet shaped units that can be slid into and out of the lab's walls for easy replacement. The first five racks contain only basic utilities" needed to get the lab operational.
Atlantis, with Polansky on the flight deck, caught up with Station Alpha on Friday, February 8, 2001. The station was orbiting Earth at an altitude of 220 miles (352 kilometers).
On Saturday, February 10, 2001, mission specialist Marsha Ivins had the most critical task. As operator of the shuttle's cargo arm, she had to ease Destiny ever so slowly out of the cargo bay, swing it into position and attach the cylinder-shaped lab to its station berth. Ivins told Voice of America that she had repeated dreams about this agonizingly precise maneuver in the days before launch. Yet the difficult maneuver proceeded without any serious difficulties. (See USA Today for February 6, 2001, "Shuttle will deliver floating lab," page 5A, and for February 8, 2001, "Shuttle totes space station's 'crown jewel,' page 7A.From the UFO Files...
1960: UPPER MICHIGAN'S STRANGE SPOOK LIGHT
"Dusk creeps slowly along the forested road near Dog Meadow between the sleepy villages of Watersmeet and Paulding in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. After the tourists have visited the waterfalls at Bond Falls Flowage and the casino in Watersmeet, they park their cars along Robbins Road in the Ottawa National Forest and gaze down the power line paralleling the old highway that still bears evidence of a long-abandoned railroad grade. They are waiting for the Paulding Light that regularly seems to dance along the wires of the tall power lines."
"Then a pinpoint-like firefly appears in the darkness, wavering, growing in brilliance and size, following the wires. The light swings erratically, then disappears. Occasionally smaller red lights appear and fade. All is silent except for the whispers of tourists and wind in the pines."
"Although most people refer to the Paulding Light in the singular, the lights do not limit themselves to to one occurrence a night, or indeed may not show up at all."
"'There are almost as many theories as there are visitors, including that it might be distant headlights from traffic on U.S. (Route) 45,' said Paul Blettner, Assistant District Ranger, U.S. Forest Service, Watersmeet Ranger Station. He said visitors should be given the option to choose whatever explanation they prefer."
"Residents do not recall when the wavering lights were first seen. More than thirty years ago, local teens were thrilling tourists with tales of the light they said followed the lines all the way from Cemetery Road in the distant hills to Dog Meadow. Girls squealed and grabbed their dates in terror. Boys heroically offered protection in their waiting arms. The best place to hear the stories of the Paulding Light is while standing alongside the road south of Big Rock as twilight slides into full darkness."
"Some say the eerie light is the ghost of the pioneer mailman who delivered the mail up and down the old route to Green Bay, Wisconsin. He ran the winter trail by dogsled. One snowy morning, when the mail was late, they found him and his dogs, with throats slashed, sprawled beside the sled. The spot where this grisly murder took place is called Dog Meadow to this day. Legend says the lights are those of the murdered mailman, returning night after night to gather up his dogs."
"The Forest Service tells a similar tale. A nearby sign reads"
This is the location from which the famous Paulding Light can be observed. Legend explains its presence as a railroad brakeman's ghost destined to remain forever at the site of his untimely death. He continually waves his signal lantern as a warning to all who come to visit. To observe the phenomenon, park along this forest road facing north. The light will appear each evening in the distance along the power line right-of-way.
"Others agree the light is a lantern but claim the railroad man was the engineer...He still returns at twilight searching for his soul."
"Other folks lean toward the tale of Pancake Joe. Pancake ran a pool hall in the nearby village of Watersmeet. He saved enough money to buy a rock farm at Paulding along the old Military Road. Life was good for old Pancake until the power lines went through, and he fought it all the way. Folks say he is still fighting, climbing the poles most every night to dance up and down the lines, raising sparks and scaring folks."
"'I have noticed that the longer our visitors have lingered in Jarvi's Bar down in the valley, the brighter the lights seem to be,' one long-time resident said."
"Visitors who return during the daylight hours see only forest, power lines and the boulder called Big Rock, where the road curves before ducking down into the valley. One piece of (local) literature gives directions on how to approach the spot where the light appears--'Approximately four miles north of Watersmeet on Highway 45, Robbins Pond Road. Stop at the top of the second hill, park and wait and watch!'"
"Residents find the light quite comforting. They blame it for everything from uncooperative weather to car problems, cranky spouses and even an occasional spell of poor fishing." (See the book Haunts of the Upper Great Lakes by DixieFranklin, Thunder Bay Press, , Grand Rapids, Mich., 1997, pages 3 to 9.)
That's it for this week. Join us in seven days for more UFO and paranormal news from around the planet Earth, brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2001 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their websites or in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.