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Volume 8
Number 16
April 16, 2003

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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A missing U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter and cylindrical UFOs spotted over Baghdad may provide clues to the puzzle of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's strange disappearance.

"Two U.S. airmen have been missing in Iraq since their F-15E Strike Eagle crashed Sunday," April 6, 2003, "U.S. Central Command said. The airmen, who are part of the (USAF) 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina went down about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Officials at Central Command are investigating the cause."

But on Thursday, April 10, 2003, USA Today reported, "Coalition rescue teams were searching for the crew of a U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter jet that went down Monday near Tikrit. The cause of the crash was unknown."

As of this writing, neither the aircraft nor its crew have been recovered by Allied coalition forces.

Tikrit is Saddam's hometown and was the last Iraqi city to fall. Saddam reportedly has a large underground base at al-Ouja, 3 kilometers (2 miles) north of Tikrit, which is where the F-15E was lost.

Also, on Monday, Saddam was photographed taking a stroll in Baghdad's al-Firdos Square, looking cheerful and confident.

(Editor's Comment: I saw that photo and thought Saddam looked almighty chipper for somebody who had half the U.S. Marine Corps on his doorstep.)

Video footage of Saddam and his sons, Uday and Qusay, meeting with top officers of the Iraqi Republican Guard was shot on Monday and aired on Iraqi TV on Wednesday, April 9, 2003. This was the last time they were seen in public.

On Sunday, April 6, 2003, at about 1 a.m. Baghdad time, five cylindrical UFOs were seen hovering over the Khulfafa mosque in the Shebab district, on the east bank of the Tigris River. The faintly luminous cylinders were "caught by a fixed, night-vision camera" and aired live on FOX (which would have been 4 p.m. Saturday, April 5, 2003 in the USA--J.T.)

"My friend Hiba Rashid said there was a UFO sighting in Shebab early Sunday morning, but she provided no details," said Ayesha al-Khatabi, one of UFO Roundup's Middle East correspondents. "I have not heard from her since Baghdad was overrun by the Anglo-American coalition. She lives in Arassat (a residential area on the south side of Baghdad--J.T.). Her family was preparing to flee across the Tigris to Karada (district) when last I heard from her."

On Monday, April 7, 2003, a USAF B-1 Lancer bomber dropped four 2,000-pound JDAM bombs on a house in Mansur, an upscale residential neighborhood in western Baghdad. Saddam and his sons were seen entering the house just 12 minutes earlier. The house was utterly destroyed, and nine civilians nearby were killed.

"Multiple U.S. intelligence sources put Iraqi President Saddam Hussein inside a Baghdad building before it was leveled by American bombs, U.S. officials said Wednesday."

"Intelligence officials described the information that led to Monday's strike as solid but did not provide details. One source was believed to be an eyewitness who watched Saddam go inside the building."

"Britain's Guardian newspaper quoted an unidentified intelligence source Wednesday as saying Saddam 'was probably not in the building when it was bombed.' The Times of London quoted an unidentified source who said, 'We think he left the same way he arrived in the area, either by a tunnel system or by car.'"

"Ahmad Chalabi, the once-exiled leader of the Iraqi National Congress, told CNN television Wednesday that he had heard from sources inside Iraq that Saddam and his two sons survived the bombing and were in a town northeast of Baghdad when the U.S. Marines arrived."

This was the second "miraculous" escape by the Iraqi dictator. Saddam survived a similar bombing during the early morning hours of Thursday, March 20, 2003, when the war began.

By Wednesday morning, not only had Saddam and his sons dropped out of sight, virtually the entire Iraqi high command had vanished, including Abid Hammoud al-Tikriti, Saddam's cousin and personal bodyguard; Barzan Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti, a.k.a. "Uncle Barzan," Saddam's half- brother and leader of the Mukhabarat (Iraqi secret police- -J.T.); and Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam's other half-brother and former Minister of the Interior.

(Editor's Note: On Sunday, April 13, 2003, Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti was captured by Allied forces in Rabia while trying to slip across the border into Syria.)

"They just didn't show up for work on Wednesday," a U.S. intelligence source was quoted as saying.

The "hot gossip" in Iraq's UFO community attributes both of Saddam's incredible escapes to a group of alleged aliens hiding out in Iraq. According to this legend, a UFO crash-landed in Iraq during either Gulf War 1 in 1991 or during Operation Desert Fox in 1998. Saddam supposedly granted the aliens sanctuary in Iraq in exchange for technological information that would keep his armed forces on a par with his enemies--the USA, UK and Israel. The aliens were reportedly staying at an underground base in Zarzi or the ancient citadel of Qalaat-e-Julundi, both located in the as-Zab as-Saghir (Little Zab) river valley north of Tikrit.

"Once again, they say the aliens saved the lives of Saddam and his sons," Mohammed Daud al-Hayyat stated. "They appeared at the Mansur house while the American bomber was enroute. They shined the mysterious beam at the wall, and once again the circle of light, or portal or vortex or whatever it is you UFO Roundup people call it, was created. Saddam, Uday, Qusay and Abid Hammoud stepped into it, followed by the aliens. And then they vanished."

"When Saddam emerged from the circle of light, he found himself at the underground base in Al-Ouja. He discussed the situation with the aliens. Uday was very loud and angry. He demanded that the aliens give his father Drona Parva weapons so they could strike directly at America. The aliens ignored him."

(Editor's Note: The Drona Parva is a book of the ancient Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, describing energy weapons that make nuclear bombs look like Fourth of July firecrackers.)

"The aliens told Saddam that they could not save his regime. However, because he had protected them from the Americans, they would show their appreciation by helping him and his family escape into space. They would not allow Saddam to fall into the hands of his enemies, the Zionists. A large UFO was summoned to Al-Ouja, and Saddam and his family departed. As to where they have fled, no one can say."

"And another thing--why is as-Zab as-Saghir north of Tikrit the only part of Iraq that has not been invaded, not even after the (Iraqi) 5th Corps surrendered? Why has the Anglo-American coalition cordoned off this region?"

If Uncle Bandar's Mukhabarat agents knew about the presence of the UFOs on Sunday, that might explain Saddam's strange confidence when he was photographed Sunday afternoon.

The critical question here is exactly when the F-15E went down and what its mission was north of Tikrit. Did an AWACS plane pick up the radar image of the cylindrical UFO over Al-Ouja? Did U.S. Central Command vector the F- 15E Strike Eagle after this surprise "target?" Did the same UFO that supposedly picked up Saddam shoot down the F-15E?

As of this writing, the final fate of Saddam and his sons is still unknown. (See USA Today for Wednesday, April 9, 2003, "Hunt underway for missing airmen" and "How the strike against Saddam unfolded," page 4A; for Thursday, April 10, 2003, "No one ready to declare Saddam, sons dead," page 4A and "Pockets of stubborn resistance dot the map," page 5A; and the tabloid Globe for April 22, 2003, "Saddam Fakes It!" page 27. Many thanks to Robert Fischer, Ayesha al-Khatabi, Mohammed Daud al-Hayyat, Steve Wilson Sr. and others for this report.)


On Saturday, April 5, 2003, at 11:15 p.m., Patrick Combes, 20, and his 30-year-old brother were watching TV at their home in Marsannay-la-Cote, a town near Dijon in the department Cote d'Or in eastern France. Patrick reported, "Then, after the broadcast ended, my brother went out on the terrace to have a cigarette. One minute later, he called me loudly, but I did not react because I thought he wanted to make a joke. He called me again, wanted me to hurry."

"Then I went out very quickly. He asked me to look into the sky in a northerly direction, and then I saw five lights which I consider five identical objects. Because these five 'objects' moved very fast, around each other, mixing them like a swarm of bees. But they remained grouped, going away northwards."

The elder Combes added, "I was smoking my cigarette, then I saw a small light in the sky. At first I believed it was a plane but then I looked at it again. I saw five lights coming from the east, going westward. They moved by jerks, then formed a triangle (formation). During the sighting, we heard no noise. It was the first time my brother and I had seen such a phenomenon."

Dijon is about 200 kilometers (120 miles) southeast of Paris. (Merci beaucoup a Robert Fischer pour ces rapports.)


On Thursday, March 20, 2003, at 2 a.m., about 40 people working the night shift at a local factory were on break when they spotted a UFO over Kolbiel in central Poland.

"They all watched a large flying object in the shape of a drop-sphere, which was moving without making a sound," reported Polish ufologist Tomasz Wierszalowicz, "The object moved slowly from a high altitude down to the ground. While it was near the ground, the people saw a red circle of light, a kind of halo or glow, moving over the terrain as if the object was shining a spotlight." (Many thanks to Tomasz Werszalowicz of Polish UFO Reports for this news story.)


According to Colombian ufologist Edgar Arce, on Monday, March 17, 2003, during a UFO watch sponsored by the group Contacto OVNI, "eighty witnesses were present and saw several orange-colored UFOs hovering and performing aerial maneuvers over Mount Juaica, in the Tabio region near the city of Cundinamarca."

"Two days earlier, on Saturday, March 15, 2003, between 10:45 p.m. and mdnight, the witnesses had seen orange lights in the distance, which later seemed to dim in intensity. Then, minutes later, they observed small red and blue lights flying up from the ground into space for a period of 10 minutes."

And, in Brazil, "daylight UFOs were photographed as they flew over Ilha Porchat (island) and later Ilha Urubuqueraba (island) in the South Atlantic." The islands are just offshore from Santos, the main seaport of Sao Paulo state. "These objects were of a spherical shape, colored silver, and had small interior lights." (The Colombia report appeared in NotiOVNI for April 6, 2003. Muchas gracias a Daniel Munoz para esas noticias. Por o caso do Brasil, muito obrigado a Pedro Teixeira.)


On Wednesday, April 2, 2003, Patricia F. and her companions were hiking along the Kaibab Trail at the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. She reports, "We were taking a night hike and we heard a loud noise in the sky. We did not know what it was. Then we looked up and saw the mysterious mothership. It was glowing bright blue, and we were terrified."

"Then there was a flash of light, and the object split in two. Then the objects headed in different directions. One piece headed west and one east. The initial object was huge, and it was cone-shaped, but the ends were rounded. It was three miles up (5,000 meters) and it was going at 70 miles per hour. We were too scared to even think about it. This is the first time that we've reported it." (Email Form Report)


"The Ertzaintza (Basque state police--S.C.) has availed itself of a boar to hunt down a 'black panther' that has become lost in a community of Vizcaya province" in Spain.

"The animal, whose origin is unknown, was seen by a local resident and by a police agent in the vicinity of Armintza," in Vizcaya province, "according to information presented by an Agence France Presse photographer."

"The boar, named Kinito, belongs to one of the Ertzaintza agents taking part in the panther hunt, in which a helicopter is also being used. Authorities are convinced that the wild boar's highly-developed sense of smell, which is greater than a dog's by 20 percent, may aid in finding the panther, which was also seen on Wednesday (April 2, 2003) by a police officer."

"The feline's origin remains a mystery. Police speculate that the animal may have escaped from some property where the owner kept it as a companion animal. The fact that no missing animal report has been filed with law enforcement has led authorities to believe that the owner kept the animal illegally." (See Agence France Presse for April 8, 2003, "Ertzaintza employs a boar to hunt for alien big cat." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Jordi Ardanuy para esas noticias.)

(Editor's Note: It's been a bumper year for sightings of this phenomenon, which is known as phantom panthers in the USA and alien big cats in UK. For more on the UK sightings, see UFO Roundup, volume 8, number 12 for March 19, 2003, "Phantom panthers run wild in United Kingdom," page 2, and UFO Roundup, volume 8, number 14 for April 2, 2003, "Woman photographs phantom panther in Somerset, UK," page 5.)


"Desert nomads were reported yesterday (Monday, April 7, 2003) to have discovered an abandoned vehicle and a network of tunnels in a remote region of southern Algeria, thought likely to provide clues about the mysterious disappearance of 29 Western (European) tourists in the Sahara over the past seven weeks."

"Germany's ARD television channel said the off-road vehicles were found in a mountainous district north of the Algerian town of Tamanrasset at the weekend by a camel train (caravan--J.T.) of nomads passing through the region."

"The vehicle was left parked outside the entrance to a complex system of underground caves linked by tunnels. The nomads said they suspected the caves 'were inhabited' although they had not entered the system to find out."

"The nomads' find appeared to be the first clue so far in an increasingly desperate search for the missing tourists, whose number increased to 29 last week after Austria announced that eight of its citizens had disappeared in the region."

"Sixteen Germans, four Swiss and one Nederlander (Dutchman) have gone missing in the Algerian Sahara since the beginning of March (2003)."

"On Sunday (April 6, 2003), a team of five investigators from Germany's Federal Criminal Bureau were dispatched to Algiers to join Algerian and other German police in the hunt for the missing tourists. All 29 were in three groups that were exploring the region independently in off-road vehicles."

"The last evidence of their whereabouts is a photograph taken by a friend of the missing tourists that shows six of the explorers with a car and three motorcycles while taking a break on a pass in the Algerian mountains on February 21, 2003. Two days later, the first group disappeared."

"German and Algerian investigators suspect that the tourists may have been taken hostage by a militant Islamist group known as the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), which has links to Al-Qaeda. The GSPC is fighting the Algerian authorities and has been active in the central Sahara for years."

"However, no ransom demand has so far been made."

"'We cannot rule out any possibilities. There have been no demands,' said a German Federal Criminal Bureau spokesman. He said the search had been widened to include the use of helicopters equipped with heat-seeking cameras." (See the UK newspaper The Independent for April 8, 2003, "Saharan tunnels could solve mystery of missng tourists." Many thanks to Robert Fischer and OVNI Maroc for this newspaper story.)

(Editor's Note: Aside from the possibility of alien involvement in these strange disappearances, the caves of that region have links to the lost continent of Atlantis. For more, see Atlantis Rising No. 39 for May/June 2003, "Atlanteans across the Sahara" by Frank Joseph, pages 38, 41 and 68.)

From the UFO Files...


In late April 1934, a package wrapped in brown paper, postmarked Waco, Texas, landed on the desk of Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales magazine. It contained a short story from one of Weird Tales' "workhorses," 28- year-old Robert E. Howard of Cross Plains, Texas--yet another installment of his "Conan the Cimmerian" saga, entitled A Witch Shall Be Born.

Of all the Conan tales, this one shows the strongest signs of "channeling" or trance medium influence.

REH biographer and science fiction author L. Sprague de Camp described the story: "Conan, now a mercenary soldier in the employ of Queen Taramis of the frontier kingdom of Khauran, in confronted by Constantius, the leader of an army of the queen's wicked twin sister, the witch Salome. Overwhelmed by numbers, Conan is captured, the queen imprisoned, and the city taken."

"In perhaps the most famous of all scenes in the Conan saga, Conan is crucified by Constantius's order. As the barbarian hangs near death on the cross, a vulture flies down to peck out his eyes. Rallying his fading strength, the Cimmerian bites off the bird's head. Obviously, for a man of such fortitude, the end is not in sight. A group of nomads from eastern Shem rescue him and help him defeat the enemy. When Constantius in his turn hangs on the cross, Conan watches with satisfaction."

What is not generally known, however, is that Robert E. Howard wrote A Witch Shall Be Born immediately after months of mind-bending labor on his one-and-only Conan novel, Hour of the Dragon. He worked on Dragon from December 1933 to April 1934, then submitted it to a British publisher, Pawling and Ness. They accepted the novel, but sadly went out of business a few months later. The novel was finally published by Gnome Press as Conan the Conqueror in 1950.

So there was Bob, mentally exhausted after months of writing, sitting in his Cross Plains study with the window facing an empty field, trying to type out the latest Conan "reminiscence" flooding his consciousness.

What came out was not at all like a typical Conan short story.

For one thing, A Witch Shall Be Born is remarkable for its shifting point-of-view.
The story opens with Queen Taramis surprised in her bedchamber by her evil, long-lost, twin sister Salome, who is in the process of executing a palace coup. It is all written from Taramis's point-of-view, and it is hard to believe that a man could have written this, particularly its horrifying impending-rape scene at the end.

Bob describes Taramis/Salome as having a head that is "small, delicately molded, superbly poised, with a high- piled mass of lustrous black hair...lithe legs...scillant eyes...the curl of her full red lips." Indeed, our heroine bears a suspicious resemblance to Novalyne Price, Bob's girl friend of the time.

But no sooner has Taramis taken center stage than she's tossed in the dungeon, and the point-of-view shifts to Valerius, a young Khaurani soldier who describes Constantius's slaughter of the Queen's Guard on the palace steps and Conan's arrest. From there we jump to "the savant Atreas, traveling in the East" and writing to another philosopher back home in Nemedia. Atreas provides the reader with a remarkably detailed overview of Khauran, its people and history, and the progress of Constantius' and Salome's "revolution."

Robert set his Conan stories in "the Hyborian Age," circa 12,000 B.C., before the final Wisconsin/Wurm glaciation of the Pleistocene Period or Ice Age. His "Khauran" is now at the bottom of the Black Sea. More than any other, this story pounds home Bob's fervent belief in "world-ages," as evidenced by Salome's monologue to her captive twin sister: "It was always Salome the witch. It will always be Salome the witch, even when the mountains of ice have roared down from the pole and ground the civilizations to ruin and a new world has risen from the ashes and dust--even then there shall be Salomes to walk the earth, to trap men's hearts by their sorcery, to dance before the kings of the world, and see the heads of the wise men fall at their pleasure."

Although this is billed as a Conan story, we really don't see too much of the Cimmerian warrior. He doesn't appear until nearly halfway through the story, where he trades insults with Constantius, suffers on the cross, kills the vulture by chomping through its neck with his teeth, and then is rescued by the nomads called Zuagirs (ancestors of the Arabs--J.T.).

Bob describes Constantius as "He was handsome in an aquiline, ruthless way. His face was burnt dark by the sun, and his hair, which grew far back from his high, narrow forehead, was black as a raven. His dark eyes were penetrating and alert, the hardness of his thin lips not softened by his thin black moustache."

Although L. Sprague de Camp had a lot of fun with sly comments about the villain "twirling his moustache," I think he missed the point. The character "Constantius" bears a strong resemblance to Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, a.k.a. Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. An interesting choice of a "bad guy" on Bob's part.

But if Constantius is bad, then Salome is a whole lot worse. Consider this boudoir exchange on the eve of the battle with Conan's Zuagirs:

"We'll hold a fete tonight in the great square. My soldiers delight in flaying their enemies alive--we will have a wholesale skinning, and make these weak-kneed townfolk watch. As for Conan, it will afford me intense pleasure, if we can take him alive, to impale him on the palace steps."

"Skin as many as you like," answered Salome indifferently. "I would like a dress made of human hide. But at least a hundred captives you must give me--for the altar, and for Thaug."

(Editor's Note: Thaug is the toad-like demon Salome conjured up in the sanctum of Khauran's desecrated Temple of Ishtar.)

As the story moves on, it becomes less and less a Conan tale and more of a three-way "rite of passage" yarn. Taramis suffers hellish torments but is restored to her throne, a sadder but wiser and more compassionate ruler. Valerius triggers the counter-revolution, rescues the queen and takes Conan's place as captain of the royal guard. And, in the end, Salome becomes the victim of her own reign of terror.

As for poor old Thaug, after escaping from the temple, he is cut down by a hail of arrows from the Zuagir archers. It's almost an absurd anti-climax. For Thaug, it hardly seemed worth making the voyage to Earth.

Conan blithely tosses his day job and goes gunning for Constantius's soldiers, the Shemites, who "are utterly without mercy or compassion...The Shemites are the only armed force in Khauran, and the most hellish punishment is inflicted on any Khaurani found possessing weapons. A systematic persecution to destroy the young Khaurani men able to bear arms has been savagely pursued. Many have been ruthlessly slaughtered, others sold as slaves to the Turanians."

When it comes, payback is a bitch. (And so is Salome- -J.T.)

Taking his leave of the restored Queen Taramis, Conan says, "I wasn't made to dwell among marble halls anyway. But I must leave you now and complete what I've begun. Shemites still live in Khauran."

(Editor's Comment: Why do I get the feeling that, demographically speaking, the Shemite population of Khauran is about to hit zero?)

All in all, A Witch Shall Be Born, which some critics have called "a stillborn novel," reads more like a channeled "revelation," like Oahspe and other "spirit scriptures" of the Nineteenth Century. Short story or a "revelation" of an actual traumatic event in prehistory? Read it for yourself and decide. (See the book Dark Valley Destiny by L. Sprague de Camp, Catherine Crook de Camp and Jane Whittington Griffin, Bluejay Books Inc., New York, N.Y., 1983, pages 265, 277 and 278. Also The Mighty Barbarians, Lancer Books, New York, N.Y., 1969, pages 169 to 221.)

That's it for this week. Join us in seven days for more UFO, paranormal and Fortean news from around the planet Earth, brought to you by "the paper that goes home- -UFO Roundup." See you next time.

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