EXPERTS HUNT FOR CLUES IN COLUMBIA DISASTER
Both NASA and the inquiry board hunted for clues that would identify the cause of the disaster that befell the space shuttle Columbia on Saturday, February 1, 2003.
Scientist Tom Hutter noticed an intriguing anomaly at the time of the Columbia disaster. In an exclusive email to UFO Roundup, Hutter stated that he had studied "an X-ray flux chart from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website, which includes GOES 8 and 10 satellite data from within the time window of the shuttle disaster."
"Being the (GOES 8) chart is using Universal Time (UT), the (X-ray) spikes must be calculated to the local time of the reported incident," Hutter stated, "I don't know what effects X-ray flux would have on the shuttle, but there certainly was some heavy activity at the time."
As the Columbia was flying over California on its final approach, it was struck by an unusual purple energy bolt, which was photographed by an amateur astronomer in San Francisco. (See UFO Roundup, volume 8, number 7 for February 12, 2003, "Columbia destroyed by weird energy bolt," page 1.)
One theory is that the bolt was a blue jet, a little- known electrical phenomenon of the upper atmosphere. Atmospheric scientist Walter Lyons of FMA Research in Colorado described blue jets as "upward lightning strikes." The high incidence of X-rays, as reported by Hutter, might have created an environment conducive to the triggering of a blue jet.
On Monday, February 17, 2003, "NASA asked Western (USA) farmers and ranchers to watch for pieces of the space shuttle Columbia during spring plowing. Officials said fewer pieces are being found two weeks after the disaster."
"Pieces of the shuttle began falling to Earth while Columbia was streaking over California, the (inquiry) board also said. The shuttle disintegrated over East Texas. No debris has been found west of Granbury, Texas, which is roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Fort Worth."
"More than 2,600 pieces of the shuttle are in a warehouse at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and 10,000 more are on their way" from the collection point at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. "By weight, those pieces represent only a 'tiny, tiny fraction' of the shuttle's 178,000 pounds," Harold Gehman, chairman of the inquiry board, said.
On Tuesday, February 18, 2003, the inquiry board admitted that "the space shuttle Columbia was shedding pieces as it approached California."
"The comment by James Hallock, chief of the (USA) Department of Transportation's aviation safety division, confirmed what some videos seem to suggest."
"'We have been poring over the films,' Hallock said, 'From the timing I've seen right now, it does look like things were beginning to come from the shuttle as it approached right about California' on its re-entry path."
Also on Tuesday, "Shuttle Columbia's nose landing gear has been found largely intact in woods near Toledo Bend Reservoir," located on the Texas-Louisiana state line. "Navy Capt. Chris Murray said residents found the gear Tuesday and notified divers who were searching the lake for shuttle debris."
On Thursday, February 20, 2003, "search teams combed the desert 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Las Vegas (Nevada) in search of debris from space shuttle Columbia. Air-traffic control radar led investigators to the spot."
"The search focused near Caliente, Nev. (population 1,123). The shuttle flew south of Caliente three minutes before it disintegrated over Texas on Feb. 1. All seven crewmembers perished."
"During Columbia's liftoff, not one but three chunks of debris flew off the 15-story external fuel tank and hit the orbiter's left wing, according to a document NASA made public Friday," February 21, 2003.
"The document, dated Jan. 24, is third in a series of reports that analysts at Boeing, a major shuttle contractor, prepared to help NASA judge if the debris endangered the shuttle and its crew of seven astronauts."
"The first report talked of 'a large piece of debris,' not three. All three reports, completed while Columbia was in orbit reassured NASA that any damage from the debris would not threaten the flight."
"NASA officials said Friday the new Boeing report was part of a number of documents being released slowly in response to the Freedom of Information Act requests from journalists and others."
"Officials also said the fuselage of the space shuttle Columbia, probably including the crew cabin, remained largely intact for at least a half-minute (30 seconds) after pieces of the left wing began breaking away and NASA lost contact with the astronauts."
"A NASA spokesman said the space agency believes the final breakup of Columbia came 32 seconds after voice communication was lost."
"NASA said Friday the analysis of sporadic telemetry data transmitted during the 32 seconds is far from complete, but engineers have extracted information from the first five seconds and the last two seconds."
"Significantly, the last two seconds show that the shuttle had lost all pressure in the three hydraulic systems for the left wing. A breakup of the wing would have allowed hydraulic fluid to drain away. All other systems were functioning normally in the final two seconds." (See USA Today for February 18, 2003, "NASA asks farmers to watch for debris," page 3A; for February 19, 2003, "Inquiry panel suspects that breach hurt space shuttle," page 9A; and February 21, 2003, "NASA searches for shuttle debris in Nevada," page 2A; and the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for February 19, 2003, "Pieces were lost as Columbia reached California," page 2A; for February 20, 2003, "Columbia's front landing gear found," page 3A; and February 22, 2003, "Three hunks of debris hit shuttle," page 7A.)
VIRGIN MARY APPARITION SEEN AT A SYDNEY BEACH
"The joke is on whoever has been vandalising the fence at Coogee Beach," in Sydney, Australia, "where believers have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary (birth name: Miriam bat-Joachim--J.T.)"
"The attacks in recent weeks, in which the fence has been knocked down, painted black, urinated on, had a toilet chained to it and been the stage for rosary-throwing contests, has only made the devout more determined, say locals."
"They say 6,000 people descended on the spot the weekend after the first attack. And even before the (neighborhood) council fixed the fence, old Greek women could still see Mary standing on the clifftop."
"From all over Sydney," Australia's largest city, "people have come to place flowers, photos, letters, holy cards, rosary beads and candles at the shrine, which has sprung up at the base of the fence, which doglegs along the clifftop above Giles Baths."
"On Friday (February 14, 2003), when the sun broke through the clouds at about 3:30 p.m., gasps went up from the crowd 100 metres (330 feet) away across the sand as the white blob above the freshly-painted fence came into view."
"A woman rushed towards" reporter Miranda Devine "shouting with excitement, 'Ave Maria! Did you see her?'"
"Three Tongan-Australian women sat on the brown grass, eyes closed, saying the (prayer) Hail Mary over and over in a low singsong."
"'I think it's marvellous,' said John Randall, 64, a builder from Eastwood," New South Wales (N.S.W.) "'It's getting people together, getting them to pray. The world is in a hell of a mess at the moment, and prayer is very important.'"
"Richard, 63, an optical dispenser from Dubbo, N.S.W. was sceptical, but said, 'With all the crises going on in the world, a few more prayers can't hurt.'"
"John Rifkin, a 39-year-old father of four from Clovelly, N.S.W. showed" Ms. Devine "his rosary beads, which he claimed turned from silver to gold two days ago. He thinks it might be a sign he needs to use them more."
(Editor's Note: A similar phenomenon was reported at the recent Marian apparition in Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA a few weeks ago. See UFO Roundup, volume 8, number 4 for January 22, 2003, "Virgin Mary appears in Massachusetts." )
"He comes to Coogee every afternoon and knows the perfect spot to see the apparition: on the second step of the Beach Street Gallery Laundrette across the road."
"New Zealand-born laundromat owner Christine Cherry, 54, was the first to notice something strange about the fence. She has lived above the laundromat for four years and had never seen the apparition until early December (2002) after the clifftop was renamed Dolphin Point in memory of the Coogee Dolphins footballers killed in the Bali bombing."
"Cherry and her manager, then seven months pregnant, were having a cup of tea on the steps when they spotted what they thought was a white sheet draped over the fence post. 'Look, there's the Virgin Mary,' they joked."
"She gave a photo to the local (newspaper) Southern Courier in January (2003) and all hell broke loose. Journalists from as far away as Germany and Japan, along with the faithful.""The daily influx of devout visitors from the less
fashionable parts of Sydney has enraged some locals, with the result Cherry has received hate mail which is now in the hands of police."
"Cherry says the morning after the fence was first attacked, six dolphins were seen frolicking off the point. A friend of Bali victims Gerry and Steve Buchan, she says the number is significant because six members of the Coogee Dolphins were killed in Bali."
"The locals are full of such stories. They point out (that) the apparition sits between a telegraph pole in the shape of a cross and the cross on the steeple of Saint Brigid's (Roman) Catholic Church, where the funeral of Bali victim Ben Roberts was held in November (2002)."
"'By 4:30 p.m. on Friday, as the shadows lengthened, the blob on the fence appeared larger and had a blue tinge,'" Miranda Devine reported, "'I can't say I saw the face or clear features that others said they did, but the effect was of a shape which looked roughly like a child- sized statue of the Virgin Mary with arms outstretched. From 100 metres away, it requires concentration to make out.'" (See the Australian newspaper Sun-Herald for February 16, 2003, "A few prayers can't hurt" by Miranda Devine. Merci beaucoup a Robert Fischer pour cette article de journal.)
(Editor's Note: Strangely enough, the apparition at Coogee Beach occurred on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Australia's strangest paranormal event--the glowing cross of North Lismore, New South Wales. For more on the cross, see the feature story later on in this issue.)
LARGE SILVER UFO HOVERS OVER SCOTTISH MALL
"The appearance of a UFO in the sky above Kingsgate Retail Park" in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK "last week caused spooked drivers to bump their cars."
"Several people reported seeing a large silver object in the area as they drove past at around 8:45 a.m. last Wednesday," February 12, 2003.
"Drivers were so distracted by the bizarre sighting that at least two minor bumps (collisions in the USA--J.T.) were reported, as the attention of motorists wandered from the more mundane forms of transportation before them on the road."
"A local man, who did not want to be named, contacted the News to describe the experience of a friend who was driving toward the retail park ( mall in the USA--J.T.) at the time."
"He said, 'My friend saw something hovering, which was silver in appearance and looked like one of the dishes you see on the side of television transmitters.'"
"'It was large, and it was pulsating. He wasn't the only one who saw it, as you couldn't have missed it. He saw it and thought, Good God! and was really shaken by the whole thing.'"
"'Then the object suddenly disappeared. It was so strange. My friend thinks the accidents of Kingsgate were the result of people seeing this thing, as well.'"
"The sighting also intrigued the East Kilbride UFO Club, whose members were warned in advance that they might be able to spot something strange in the sky."
"Colleagues in Cumbernauld had seen a similar object around half an hour previously and alerted their South Lanarkshire counterparts that it appeared to be heading in their direction."
"Lee Close, of the Anglo-Scottish UFO Research Agency (ASURA), has been investigating last week's events in tandem with the local UFO club."
"He said, 'This is the first time I've come across a UFO causing a car crash, although I'm aware of it having happened in America before.'"
"'People in Scotland tend to think, Oh, there's something in the sky, and just carry on, so the fact that it's caused two fender benders is quite unusual. The fact that it's in daylight interests us immensely, too." (See the Lanarkshire Home News for February 19, 2003, "UFO spotted over Kingsgate Retail Park during morning rush hour." Many thanks to Loren Coleman for forwarding this newspaper article.)
TWO LUMINOUS UFOs SEEN IN FORT COLLINS, COLORADO
On Monday, February 17, 2003, at 10:35 p.m., eyewitness M.D. spotted two luminous UFOs in Fort Collins, Colorado (population 118,652). "I just saw them hovering over," M.D. reported, "They would move higher and lower according to the clouds. When a cloud was near, they moved up. And when it passed, they would appear closer to the ground again."
"I saw two bright lights very close together. They would come together and form one light. I got binoculars to see a closer view. There were red, blue, yellow and green lights. It seemed to have a triangular formation with a red light on top and many other different colors on the bottom. There were at least five (UFOs) in the area."
"They were moving quite a bit in the same area but stayed in the same vicinity for a substantial amount of time. Every once in a while, they seemed to shut off lights and/or have bright lights circling around the object. They seemed to be tilting in my direction." (Email Form Report)
UFOs SEEN FREQUENTLY OVER WISCONSIN
On Saturday, February 1, 2003, the female witness reported, "My son and I were visiting a friend of mine in Weyauwega, Wis. (population 1,806). The general location was just north of Main Street on the east side of Highway 110 and south of the Wisconsin Central Railroad tracks. My boy was sledding in the snow, and I was taking pictures. It was in the evening and starting to get dark pretty quickly (estimate: about 5:45 p.m.--J.T.). My son pointed up to the sky, and we noticed some lights coming in from what I believe was the southwest."
"At this point, I just pointed the camera and took shots. The object really gave us the impression of a balloon, except for the lights. The object passed almost directly overhead and then headed south towards the train tracks. As the object passed, I could make out more of a disk shape than a balloon shape. I just remember my son asking me over and over what it was, and I didn't have a clue."
Weyauwega, Wis. is just north of the intersections of Highways 10 and 110, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Green Bay.
Two days later, on Monday, February 3, 2003, at 9 p.m., eyewitness Michael J. was at his home in Milwaukee, Wis. (population 596,974) and "was letting my dog outside. When I looked up, I saw a strange light (that) almost looked like a falling star in the sky. Thinking it was, I watched it for a while. But, unlike a falling star, it moved very fast to one location and stayed still for about five minutes. Then moved very slowly for a while, moving north. It stopped again and just hovered, so I grabbed my camera and tried to take a photo of it. After my camera flash, the sky (itself) seemed to flash back lightly."
Michael said he saw the UFO "around 62nd Avenue and Bluemount Avenue in Milwaukee. It was white and yellow. Now, I'm not crazy or on any kind of drugs, but this is the first time I've ever seen anything strange."
The next day, Tuesday, February 4, 2003, Thomas E. "was driving west on Old Sauk Road in Madison, Wis. (population 208,054)," the state capital, "when I saw ahead of me what I thought was a plane. As I continued west, the object appeared to be stationary, and I drove under it."
"I estimate it to have been 30 to 40 feet (9 to 12 meters) in length, maybe 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) wide, hovering at an altitude of 200 to 300 feet (60 to 90 meters). It appeared to be shaped roughly like a boat. There were lights or windows running along each of the sides, and there appeared to be people at the windows...at least black circles in the 'windows' which I interpreted to be occupants. There appeared to be about 10 'occupants' on either side of the craft. The craft was itself dark except for the yellow lights in the windows. None of the lights were blinking, and the craft made no sound." (Many thanks to John Hoppe of UFO Wisconsin for these reports.)
YOUNG MOTHER SPOTS A UFO IN SMITHERS, B.C.
On Thursday, February 20, 2003, at 2:40 a.m., the female witness "was up with her baby at 2:40 a.m. and has a great view of Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers (population 5,624)," a small city on Canada's province of British Columbia. "Her blinds were semi-open and allowed her to see a very bright light crossing the mountain, and then coming to a complete stop over one of the longest (ski) runs, which is called 'Cold Smoke.' She went on to say that the light was 'dead center over the run,' and wondered if it was just hovering, or 'maybe' it had landed."
"She also reported hearing a clicking sound from the direction of the object. The object moved from east to west before coming to a complete stop over the run. Approximately five minutes went by, and a Canadian Pacific train could be heard coming in the distance, and the object disappeared, in her words, 'turned off.'" Many thanks to Canadian ufologist Brian Vike for this report.)
GIANT MYSTERY CREATURE WASHES ASHORE IN BRUNEI
The dinosaur-sized carcass of an unknown marine creature washed ashore on a beach in Brunei, a small Islamic kingdom located on the north coast of Borneo in Southeast Asia.
"What seems to be the skeletal remains of a big, unknown creature estimated to be 6 meters (20 feet) long were found washed ashore at Lumut Beach" in Brunei "yesterday (Sunday, February 16, 2003), police said."
"The stench resulting from the abandoned skeletal remains had caught the attention of a Brunei security guard who was patrolling the area Sunday morning."
"'We were patrolling the said area in our car when we were hit by the overwhelming odor of carcass. We discovered that it came from the skeletal remains of a large unknown creature,' one of the security officers said."
"Some flesh could still be seen on the remains, which resembled the tail of the creature. There were still other small joint skeletal remains scattered about five feet away from each other, but no one was able to make out what the creature was. Parts of the bones were also buried under sand."
"The skeletal remains of the unknown creature might have been washed ashore a few days back as a piece of bone bore a signature, an indication that someone else had stumbled upon the remains and left his mark."
"The (Brunei) police have already been called to investigate this matter." (See the Borneo Bulletin for February 17, 2003, "Skeletal remains of unknown creature found at Lumut Beach." Many thanks to Robert Fischer and "the Wild Man of Borneo, Sarawak's Number One party animal" for this newspaper story.)
LARGE HAIRY HOMINID KILLS COLT IN SALTA, ARGENTINA
A large hominid covered with black hair or fur, a creature resembling the Mapinguary, or South American Bigfoot of Brazil and Bolivia, has been sighted repeatedly in a rain forest in Salta province in northern Argentina.
"The Thirty-first Sheriff's Office at Rosario de la Frontera kicked off an investigation into the truth behind the existence of a strange bipedal animal standing two meters (6 feet, 6 inches) tall, with a humanoid appearance, accused of having devoured medium- and large-sized animals and of attacks on an undetermined number of people in the (rain) forested area of Arroyo Salado, 6 kilometers (4 miles) east of Rosario" and about 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of Salta, the provincial capital.
"According to witnesses, the beast had a hairy body, huge ears and eyes, powerful claws in its upper extremities and issued deafening howls."
"'As an initial measure, we have started interviewing all those who claim having seen or had an encounter with this specimen,' said the officer in charge of the delegation, Rene Humberto Tacacho. 'We will later request instructions from higher authorities, since if we are faced with an unknown species, the most logical thing (to do-- S.C.) is to capture it whole for subsequent study.'"
"While new details about the case emerged yesterday (Thursday, February 20, 2003), after first becoming known two years ago, when a pair of lovers at Arroyo Salado claim having been attacked by the unknown creature, Jose Exequiel Alvarez, the local fire chief and head of the Juan Carlos Rivas Archaeological and Paleontological Group, made plaster casts of the prints found in the area and found the bony remains of a colt, eventually devoured by the beast."
"'The bones were examined by veterinarian Luis Calderon, who confirmed (that) they had been gnawed by an animal with sharp teeth, powerful jaws and sharp incisors which perforated even the horse's bones,' Alvarez said."
"The fact that El Tribuno is interested in the subject has changed people's attitudes. They are now more inclined to talk, and I heard two astonishing stories: four young people who were attacked at Arroyo Salado, and two teenagers who saw it running along the river's edge, emitting deafening howls. We must solve this scientific riddle somehow,' he concluded." (See the newspaper El Tribuno of Salta, Argentina for February 21, 2003, "Remains of a colt devoured by a large animal have been discovered." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Cristian Hernan Quintero de Planeta UFO para eso articulo de diario.)
THREE GREAT NEW UFO BOOKS ARE NOW ON SALE
Three UFO books have recently gone on sale, and they're a must for any ufologist's library.
UFO DEFENSE TACTICS: WEATHER SHIELD TO CHEMTRAILS by Alicia K. Johnstone, Ph.D. (Hancock House Publishers, $14.95 U.S.) is a small but information-packed book that discusses the UFO sightings of 1995 through 1997 in explicit detail. One chapter has a detailed section on chemtrails, which Alicia defines as "chemically augmented contrails," plus a five-page gallery of crystal-clear chemtrail photographs that might just convince even the skeptics.
The book opens on October 29, 1996, with Alicia driving south on Highway 3 in Kitsap County, Washington state. Approaching the U.S. Navy submarine base in Bangor, Wash., she sees an unusual object in the sky. This proves to be the opening gun in a journey of discovery that brings Alicia face-to-face with some of the most unusual phenomena in contemporary American life, including weather modification, UFOs and tornadoes, hovering fireballs and the STS-96 space shuttle mission. For the dedicated ufologist, this book is definitely a keeper. (The book's ISBN number is 0-88839- 501-9. Readers can order online by sending an email to email@example.com. Otherwise, write to Hancock House Publishers, 1431 Harrison Avenue, Blaine, Wash. 98230-5005.)
UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS: STARCRAFT by Der Voron (PublishAmerica Book Publishers, $19.95 U.S.) opens with a little-known close encounter of the pre-Roswell era. During the Battle of Kursk in July 1943, Lt. Gennadi Zhalaginov of the Soviet Red Army spotted "a dark egg-shaped object that appeared above our (artillery) battery" and "rushed by at great speed; its middle part pulsated." Der discusses some of the best-known UFO incidents and spends some time on "the UFO crashes," notably the Kalahari Desert event of 1989 and the capture of the seven aliens at Varginha, Minas Gerais state, Brazil on January 20, 1996.
In Chapter 4, Der identifies and provides drawings of 31 models of extraterrestrial (ET) "starcraft," including classic saucers, spherical objects, egg-shaped objects, elongated cylinders, Saturn-shaped objects, toy-like tops and even a vimana straight out of the Hindu Mahabharata. In Chapter 5, he outlines theories of what constitutes a UFO "powerplant"--portable fusion reactors and energy capacitors. Der's book is very well-written and has the unique quality of appealing to both the first-time reader and the long-time "saucer buff." This is a very handy book to have, if ever you spot an unusual object in the daytime sky and want to find out what it is. (The book's ISBN number is 1-59129-738-9. To order, visit the website at www.publishamerica.com.)
HITLER'S FLYING SAUCERS by Henry Stevens (Adventures Unlimited Press, $18.95 U.S.) dumps the hypothesis of ET origin entirely and argues that UFOs were first developed by Germany's Third Reich during World War II. According to Stevens, development of the saucers was a wartime necessity. When the Russians re-captured the Caucasus and knocked out the oil fields of Romania, cutting off the Reich's fuel supplies, German scientists, notably Karl Ramsauer, Ludwig Prandtl, Kurt Deibner and Erich Schumann, had to come up with a revolutionary new means of powering aircraft. The first crude saucers flew in late 1943. Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler took control of the project and set up a special "saucer factory" at the German rocket research center at Peenemunde on the Baltic. The project was under the control of Himmler's trusted aide, Hans Kammler, 42, who mysteriously disappeared in February 1945.
(Editor's Note: Kammler was an architect who drew up the construction plans for the Vernichtungenslager (German for destruction camp) at Auschwitz-Birkenau in southern Poland.)
Stevens takes "man-made saucer" research to the next level and provides an impressive number of source documents relating to the secret SS project. His book is far more detailed than either Man-Made UFOs 1944-1994 or Renato Vesco's Intercept UFO. He also raises disturbing questions about some of the strange events at the end of World War II. Such as "the last saucers out of Berlin." Who--or what--was aboard the four silvery Flugschieben that lifted off the runway at Templehof the afternoon of April 24, 1945? And where did they go? (The book's ISBN number is 1-931882-13- 4. Order online at www.adventuresunlimitedpress.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Adventures Unlimited Press, One Adventure Place, Kempton, Illinois, USA 60946.)
From the UFO Files...
1907: A STRANGE DEATH AT MULLUMBIMBY
Twenty-five years ago, in February 1978, a weird manifestation began at the cemetery in North Lismore, New South Wales, which, in short order, became one of Australia's strangest mysteries.
To properly assess "the Lismore Cross" phenomenon, one must start at the beginning, with a railroad accident seven decades earlier that killed a likable 30-year-old railway guard named William Thomas Steenson.
W.T. Steenson "was a native of Kelso, near Bathurst" who came to Lismore in 1898 and "was the first employee whom Mr. Hanson met when he arrived to take charge of the Lismore-Tweed (railway) line. 'Billy,' as he was generally called, was one of the most popular men in the local railway service." He had a wife and two small children and was an enthusiastic member of fraternal orders, including Lismore's "local Masonic lodge, Oddfellows' lodge and Loyal Orange lodge."
On September 23, 1907, Steenson "met with a painful accident at the local railroad station" at Mullumbimby "whilst engaged in shunting. Attached to the train were a number of trucks (hoppers in the USA--J.T.) loaded with (sugar) cane, and whilst passing down the line the projecting cane from one of the trucks caught an empty truck that was standing on the siding, carrying it along."
Pushed along the siding by the stalks of protruding sugar cane, the empty car struck Steenson from behind, "pinning him between it and the goods shed platform, causing an abrasion to the hand and seriously bruising his hip and back. Dr. Connor was summoned, and was promptly on the spot, where he attended to his sufferer's injuries."
Two days later, Steenson was taken back to Lismore by train and, five days afterward, on Sunday evening, September 30, 1907, he died at Lismore Hospital. He was buried at the graveyard now known as North Lismore Memorial Park.
Steenson's family erected a memorial cross made of Balmoral red granite from Scotland over the grave. Engraved on the cross beneath the name W.T. Steenson was a Masonic compass-and-square symbol.
For several years, the Steenson grave remained quiet. And then the phenomenon started. At night, the stone cross began to glow like a light bulb.
In 1918, the cross radiated unearthly light for several weeks in a row. Albert Dann, a young boy at the time, recalled, "A game the children from the area played on newcomers was to offer the stranger to the neighbourhood a penny if he could read the name on the shiny grave."
"I, of course, being new to the area, was put through the ritual."
"I will never forget that bright moonlit night so long ago when with awful thoughts of ghosts and things unseen, I set out to earn my penny."
"I paused for a while at the little gate" to what was then called the Pioneer Cemetery, "and gazed fearfully at the grim lonely graves on the black slope."
"Forcing myself to move towards the main gate, suddenly, as I edged closer, a dazzling beam of white blinding light flashed from the centre of the cemetery and struck me fair in the eyes."
"I was rooted to the spot with a horrible fear, still indescribable to this very day. Somehow or other, I remember forcing my unwilling body about and with every horrible ghost and devil after me, I sprinted back along the metalled road (Terania Street--J.T.) to the comfort of a glowing gas lamp."
Yet, "the Lismore Cross" was only beginning its long and strange career. (See The Northern Star of Lismore, Qlnd., Australia for February 17, 1978, "'Cross of Light' has long history," page 3. Also the Sydney Morning Herald for February 21, 1978, "Mystery of the glowing cross," page 3. Also the Mullumbimby Star for September 26, 1907 and the Lismore Chronicle for October 1, 1907, "Mr. W.T. Steenson," page 2. Many thanks to Jeremy Fenton and Steven Fawcett for these newspaper articles.)
Next Week: The Lourdes of Australia?
Join us in seven days for more UFO, Fortean and paranormal news from around the planet Earth, brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you next week!
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2003 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their websites or in news groups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.