PHANTOM PANTHER TERRORIZES OMAHA
"When a mountain lion shows up in the middle of a Midwestern city, it's bound to make news and this was the case last week when it entered into Omaha (population 390,007)," the largest city in the USA's state of Nebraska.
"It was the first confirmed sighting of a mountain lion (puma in UK--J.T.) in the eastern third of Nebraska, officials said."
"The lion was captured just a few blocks from one of the city's busiest intersections after being pursued by authorities. It was hit with a tranquilizer gun and then shot again by a policeman with a shotgun when the cat lunged from cover."
"The (shotgun) pellets were removed from the cat's hip and thigh and he is expected to survive the encounter in good shape. The cat is recuperating at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission spokesmen say the lion will be released back into the wild, but not in Nebraska. Another possibility could be a zoo."
"The male lion weighed 108 pounds and measured nearly seven feet (2.1 meters) from its nose to the tip of its tail, and is two-and-a-half feet (0.7 meters) tall. The cat's claws are not worn from walking on concrete, and his aggressive nature appears to confirm the lion was wild and not a former pet."
"So, the question is--where did he come from?"
"Although mountain lion sightings in Nebraska are rare, they do occur. Most, however, are in isolated areas in the (rural) western part of the state. However, 11 confirmed sightings have occurred in the eastern part of the state."
"The most recent was at the edge of the small community of St. Paul (population 2,218) in Howard County, some 200 miles (320 kilometers) from Omaha. That was November 28, 2000, and the animal was shot by police as it loitered around a school. On December 1, 2001, a hunter reported sighting a lion in Brown County."
"Mountain lion attacks are rare, but they do occur. No attacks have been reported in Nebraska, Iowa or South Dakota."
"A large male mountain lion was struck by a car near Harlan (population 5,282) in Shelby County (Iowa) in 2001. This confirmed that the cats were in Iowa. Sightings and tracks have been reported, mostly in the southern third and northern third of the state." (See the Sioux City, Iowa Journal for October 5, 2003, "Mountain lion shows up in Iowa." Many thanks to UFO Roundup's phantom panther expert, Robert Fischer, for this newspaper article.)
NO LETUP IN REPORTS OF UK PHANTOM PANTHERS
Alien big cats (phantom panthers in the USA--J.T.) continued to be sighted last week all over the United Kingdom.
"A walker (hiker in the USA--J.T.) has told of how shocked he was after encountering the 'Beast of Bucks,' a large predatory cat thought to be a panther."
"Ernie Carey, from Ickenham, near Uxbridge, had been driving for 30 minutes in Cookham (Buckinghamshire) with his wife Barbara when he sighted the animal."
"Mr. Carey said: 'The animal was jet black and was at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) high and about 4 feet (1.3 meters) long. It had a very long black tail and little ears. It was large and its paws were like a tiger's.'"
"He said they were going past a house in Cookham when the animal went past" about 10 to 20 yards (9 to 18 meters) away.
"Mr. Carey said: 'It just strolled right in front and crossed the road. Barbara was driving the car. I was just looking out the window in front of us. I was shocked for a split second. The car window was down so I shut it quickly. I didn't want it to get into the car. I didn't expect that. I wish I had my camera handy.'"
"'It was definitely not a cat. We've never observed anything like that. It wasn't doing anybody any harm. It was like a cat walking across the road. It was so huge. We both saw it, so it wasn't a case of mistaken identity. But we were still completely surprised to see such a thing.'"
"Danny Bamping, founder of the British Big Cats Society, said sightings are becoming more frequent. He said: 'These sightings are becoming more and more common in Britain, and last week we had 15 sightings throughout the country.'"
Elsewhere in UK, "mystery big cat sightings have shocked people across Suffolk."
"Two separate incidents have been reported recently in Eyke and Great Livermere, where big black cats have been reported prowling."
"June Fooks of Eyck, near Woodbridge, saw a black feline last weekend when she went out to fetch something from her car."
"She claims that she saw a cat which was bigger than her pet Labrador (retriever dog) prowling in her garden."
"She said: 'I looked up and I saw it standing about 100 yards (90 meters) away from me.'"
"'It all happened in a matter of seconds, but I got a really good look at it. The sun was then setting, and it was shining right on it.'"
"'It had a really shiny coat and a big tail. It saw me and then slinked off into the hedge.'"
"Mrs. Fooks said that after talking to several people about the cat, they admitted they had seen it, too."
"Her neighbour, Anne Downing, remembers seeing one like it about 18 months ago in Rendlesham Forest."
(Editor's Note: Rendlesham Forest was the site of a UFO landing back in 1980.)
"She said: 'I was coming along a pathway with my daughter and saw this black animal in the distance. It was almost in a pouncing position and, when we got too near, it simply fled into the bush.'"
"Mike Jennings of Kelsale said he saw a similar cat while out shooting in Great Livermere at the weekend."
"He said: 'It was a good distance away from me, but I was on high ground so I had a good view. It was about 100 yards (90 meters) across the field, looked back and then went through a hedge. I'm out in the country a great deal, and I've never seen anything like it before. It was dark and catlike, about the size of an Alsatian (dog), maybe a bit bigger.'"
"The British Big Cat Society received reports of 24 sightings in Suffolk last year (2002) whilst 113 sightings were listed in Norfolk and 129 in Essex."
Meanwhile, In Lincolnshire, "after years of false leads, exaggerated stories and made-up claims, it's official--a forensic enquiry at a government-accredited laboratory has confirmed for the first time that at least one big cat is living in Britain."
"A study of hairs taken from a site in Lincolnshire has revealed they belong to an animal from the leopard family."
The hairs were found in Heningsby, Lincs. at a caravan (trailer in the USA--J.T.) belonging to Sandy and Julie Richardson. "In July this year (2003) Sandy had returned to the caravan at the end of his garden to get a spare spring for his lawnmower."
"He said: 'I was looking along the shelves when I felt something staring at me. I turned around, and this big cat was right behind me. Its eyes were like orange street lights.'"
"The beast opened its mouth in a soundless snarl: 'I could see its big brown teeth and it started to move towards me, so I backed out the door and managed to shut it.'" (See the UK newspapers Bucks Free Press for October 10, 2003; the Ipswich Evening Star for October 16, 2003, "Big cat roams Suffolk;" and the Louth Leader for October 15, 2003, "A big cat is roaming the Wolds." Again, many thanks to Robert Fischer for these newspaper articles.)
CHUPACABRA STRIKES NEAR COQUIMBO, CHILE
"A new attack by the mythic predator," Chupacabra, "took place yesterday," Saturday, October 18, 2003, at Pan de Azucar, near Coquimbo, a port city 300 kilometers (180 miles) north of Santiago de Chile.
The attack took place "on the property of Carlos Errazuriz of Hacienda Venus. Reinforcing the fear that is already felt by local residents since the first (animal) deaths occurred (Wednesday) October 15 (2003), the fact is that the landowner was faced with the deaths of 15 of his canaries through exsanguination (the birds' bodies had been drained of blood--J.T.)."
"The birds were not eaten."
"Before the startled eyes of the dwellers, who did not hear any noises during the night, the unknown entity opened the mesh screen of the birdcage to subsequently get in and slay all of the canaries, which were found dead the following morning and strewn all over the yard, showing the same strange (puncture) wounds which supposedly appear on the Chupacabra's victims."
"Errazuriz dismissed the possibility that a dog or another animal--such as a fox--could be considered, since considerable strength would be spent to open the gate and, furthermore, none of the birds was devoured or even bitten."
"'It's as if only their blood was sucked,' he said, looking at one of the prints left by the mysterious assailant."
"Due to the large size and shape, they do not belong to any known animal."
"The first time that a Chupacabra attack became known in this region was in May 2003, when 40 mutilated chickens were found in Salamanca." (See the Chilean newspaper El Dia for October 19, 2003, "New animal attacks in Coquimbo reinforce Chupacabra hypothesis." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Liliana Nunez Orellana para esto articulo de diario.)
UFOs REPORTED IN OHIO
On Wednesday, October 15, 2003, at 8:45 p.m., Stuart Lindner was at his home in Hamilton, Ohio (population 60,692) when "walking past a window (facing north--S.L.) I spotted an unusual object."
"The object, Lindner said, was situated in the sky over the Hamilton High School and it was described as a multi-colored 'upside down diamond,'" according to Ohio ufologist Kenny Young. The UFO was "rotating in place very slowly."
"Lindner estimated that the object was 45 degrees above the horizon and at a possible elevation of 25,000 feet (7,500 meters), situated from his perspective 'directly over the high school.'"
Lindner "said that there were a few lights on the object, but, for the most part, it was 'luminous.' The witness described a multi-colored 'self-emanating glow,' which the object seemed to radiate, making the shape of the object visible against a dark sky."
"Lindner said the diamond-shaped object had changed color from red, green, blue to white, and the lights were rotating, not flashing. He estimated that the object was" 0.25 miles (400 meters) long but said that at arm's length, the object was as big as his pinky fingernail."
On Thursday, October 23, 2003, at 11 p.m., Mike Horton was outdoors in New Boston, Ohio "Mars watching about a mile north of the Ohio River" when he "saw a large object traveling east to west."
Horton described the UFO as "a black triangle seemingly gliding across the sky. Flashing lights in the rear. Had to be either close or large, as it obscured a portion of the sky. Not at all like a passenger aircraft that are mere points of light. As I recall, it was a little larger than it was wide," flying at an estimated altitude of 2,000 feet (600 meters) at 200 miles per hour (320 kilometers per hour).
Hamilton is on Ohio Route 27 approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Cincinnati. New Boston is on Route 62 in Scioto County, about 120 miles (192 kilometers) east of Cincinnati. (Many thanks to Kenny Young for the Hamilton report. New Boston was an Email Form Report.)
UFOs SIGHTED TWICE LAST WEEK IN UK
On Tuesday, October 21, 2003, at 8 p.m., Ben J. reported, "My friend and I were walking his dogs in a farm field" in Chilcompton, Bath, Somerset, UK when "my friend saw something and pointed it out. It looked like a shooting star except it was rising vertically at great speed."
"As we followed its progress, it began moving horizontally extremely quickly, and I heard a loud roaring sound. The white light turned red (possibly rear lights-- B.J.) and the object disappeared. We could still hear the rumbling for a good ten minutes after the object had disappeared. The rumbling stopped and, two minutes later, there was a flash that illuminated the northern sky. It was like lightning, but it was not accompanied by thunder. Approximately 15,000 feet (4,500 meters) high and going faster than any plane."
On Sunday, October 12, 2003, at 9:30 p.m., George Jones reported, "A UFO hovered over my home" in Walsall Wood, Brownhills, West Midlands, UK "for approximately 60 seconds. It was approximately 40 feet (12 meters) away. It was a ring of white lights with a red flashing light on top. The white lights blacked out, leaving only the red one. Then, a second later, it had shot off to the other side of Birmingham. There was no sound from the UFO, and the lights were very bright. So bright it was like daylight just below the craft." (Email Form Reports)
TWO LUMINOUS UFOs SIGHTED IN SWEDEN
On Wednesday, October 22, 2003, at 9:09 p.m., Mattias Cavero and Tina Hokansson were outdoors at their home in Alingsas, a town 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Goteborg in southern Sweden, they reported, "when we observed two lights approaching from the east in total silence. Two lights orange in colour and running two fingers apart."
"The lights were running in a parallel pattern and, when they had gotten a little more than halfway" across the sky, "they doubled the distance between them, only for a split second, just to return to their original line of travel."
"At first I thought, It's an airliner," Tina reported, "But the speed and absence of sound, plus the sudden increase of distance between the lights, gave me some serious doubts. The whole sighting lasted for about four to five seconds. Clear sky, 300 meters (1,000 feet) up, travelling at 100 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour)." (Email Form Report)
THREE WHITE UFOs SEEN IN AURORA, MISSOURI
On Saturday, October 18, 2003, at 5:25 p.m., Benjamin Sperandio was at work in Aurora, Missouri (population 7,014), a town on Highway 60 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Springfield, when he spotted strange lights on the northern horizon.
"I was working that Saturday and happened to have a chore to do outside," Ben reported, "As I was working, I happened to look up at the sky, facing north. What immediately caught my attention were three distant objects that appeared as small as to be little more than points of light. Shape was not very discernible. Two of them were bright white and the third was slightly dimmer and had a tone or hue to it, possibly blue. All three seemed to have a luminescence or faint glow like a neon light."
"The objects were hovering in the air over downtown Aurora, yet dancing around each other almost happily in a seemingly erratic pattern. Sometimes they closely approached each other and sometimes they drifted apart. A couple of times, they seemed to join together in a classic triangle formation for a brief moment."
"As the minutes passed, the group ever so slowly drifted northeast, almost as if caught in a very light breeze. Then, after about two to three minutes, I also noticed a fourth object a little to the west of the group. The fourth object, unlike the other three, was very dark (possibly black--B.S.) It hovered about in a similar erratic fashion."
"Of course, I was pretty stunned. These objects held my attention. As the minutes ticked by, I wondered if they could be what I thought they might be. While observing them, I was completely by myself."
"About five minutes had passed since I first spotted them, and the objects were very, very distant. I could barely make them out any more. The colored object faded away first and then the black one. I could still largely make out the two bright spots for a while longer. But then, I turned my head to check if anybody was nearby, and, when I turned back, I could no longer see them."
"My entire observation lasted between 5:25 and 5:30 p.m. As for my vision, I just got my eyes checked about three weeks ago. In fact, my new glasses came in, and I started using them the week before. If I had used my old glasses, I would have missed these objects." (Email Form Report)
POLICE SPOT A UFO IN NORTH CAROLINA
"It flashed across the sky like a shooting star, trailing a tail of green streaks."
"But what Durham, N.C. police Lt. Morris Taylor saw Monday night," October 20, 2003, "on Erwin Road was different from any shooting star he had seen before."
"'It was pretty wild looking,' Taylor said of the unidentified flying object."
"Durham police dispatchers began receiving calls about an unidentified flying object at around 8:45 p.m. Monday, and one resident even flagged down a passing police cruiser to report the object. According to dispatchers, about six reports were received in all."
"Durham County Sheriff's Deputy Brad O'Briant said he was checking property on U.S. 70 when he saw the flying object in the direction of Interstate (Highway) 40."
"O'Briant said the object was moving too fast to discern its color, but its tail had a distinctive greenish-white hue to it, he said."
"'It just went across the sky and disappeared as it got toward the horizon area,' he said, 'It was a lot longer than a shooting star would be. It was almost like a firework going to the ground or something.'"
"Air traffic controllers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport said they hadn't seen the object, but several pilots reported catching glimpses of it Monday night."
"Durham dispatchers said they received reports of sightings on South Miami Road and Page Road, Duke Forest, and as far south as the Little River area."
"'I thought it looked pretty neat,' Taylor said, 'I had never seen a shooting star like that before.'"
"Taylor said the object was 'humungous' compared to a shooting star." (See the Herald-Sun of North Carolina for October 21, 2003, "Six report UFO in Durham skies." Many thanks to Jim Hickman for this newspaper article.)
SECOND MYSTERY BOOM RATTLES RHODE ISLAND
"Emergency officials were inundated with calls Thursday morning," October 23, 2003, "from people" in Rhode Island "who said they had felt an earthquake"
"But the rumble was produced by a sonic boom from a military fighter plane, perhaps from Vermont."
"Safety officials at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I. (population 85,808) and the Hope Valley barracks of the Rhode Island State Police confirmed Thursday that the loud noise and tremors felt at 10:15 a.m. were the product of a sonic boom. The confirmation came after scientists at the Weston Observatory of Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), which monitors seismic activity in New England, ruled out the possibility of an earthquake."
"Mark Simmons of Simmons Aviation Services at the Westerly, R.I. airport, said many pilots were discussing the event on Thursday. He and other pilots said it was highly unlikely that a sonic boom could be heard or felt if it occurred in Vermont. But he said that Thursday's strong wind could have carried the boom a great distance."
WJAR-TV Channel 10 in Providence, R.I. reported Thursday night that the boom "was loudest in the western end of Coventry (population 8,600)," an area known as Greene village just east of the Connecticut state line. (See the New London, Conn. Day for October 24, 2003, "Mystery rumble felt throughout New England was sonic boom." Many thanks to Daniel Wilson and Mary Lou Jones- Drown for this news report.)
(Editor's Note: This is the second boom this month in the Greene section of Coventry, R.I. In the Eighteenth Century, the village was called Coffin's Corner, and, in 1837, it was the birthplace of occultist Whipple Van Buren Phillips, the grandfather of H.P. Lovecraft. For more on the first mystery boom, see UFO Roundup, volume 8, number 39 for October 15, 2003, "Mysterious sky boom rocks Rhode Island," page 5.)
OLDEST VERTEBRATE FOUND IN AUSTRALIA
"A tadpole-shaped fossil, believed to be the oldest vertebrate ever found, has been uncovered by a farmer in a rugged range of hills in southern Australia, a museum paleontologist said Wednesday," October 22, 2003.
"The fossil, of a 26-inch (65-centimeter) fishlike animal, is believed to be at least 560 million years old-- 30 million years older than the previous record."
(Editor's Note: 560 million years ago was the end of the Precambrian Period, during which vertebrates were believed not to exist. Another notion bites the dust!)
"The latest fossil was discovered in sandstone in the Flinders Range in South Australia state, an area well known for its abundance of fossils."
"'The fantastic thing about this specimen is that it's at least 30 million years older than anything else that could be even vaguely related to vertebrates,' said paleontologist Jim Gehling." (See the Duluth, Minn. News- Tribune for October 23, 2003, "Museum claims oldest vertebrate," page 2.)
ENIGMATIC "RED SPHERE" WAS ALSO SEEN IN OREGON
Concerning last week's report of the strange little floating red sphere in Yellowstone National Park (see UFO Roundup, volume 8, number 40, "An unusual phenomenon in Yellowstone Park," page 6), ufologist Bruce Maccabee writes, "I would like to point out to your readers that a 'red sphere,' possibly like the one reported here, was photographed in Florence, Oregon September 1, 2001. See 'Oregon Red Sphere' at http://brumac.8k.com/ORedSphere/ORedSphere.html."
Concerning last week's feature story on Yuliana Glinka (See UFO Roundup, volume 8, number 40, for October 22, 2003, "1884: One Hot Number," page 6), Ramon Andres writes, "Those who study Theosophy come to the highest understanding when they learn that it's all smoke and mirrors, being directed by a little man behind the curtain."
"Isn't the whole universe following a similar scenario?"
From the UFO Files...
1908: UFO FLIES OVER HANCOCK, MASS.
In his book New Lands, Charles Fort wrote, "It is said that 'mysterious bright lights,' believed to have come from a balloon, had been reported from many places in New England. The week before, persons at Ware (Massachusetts) had said that they had seen an illuminated balloon passing over the town, early in the morning. During the summer (of 1908), such reports had come from Bristol, Conn., and later from Pittsfield, Mass. and from White River Junction," Vermont.
So much for the mention made by "the Father of Ufology." Now, let's dive into the juicy details of the strange case of the Pittsfield UFO.
"When a clear sky dawned on Wednesday, October 21 (1908)," Luke J. Minihan, president of the Pittsfield, Mass. Aero Club, "gave the crew of (the balloon) Pittsfield, the Heart of the Berkshires, the go-ahead for an ascent. Daredevil aeronaut William Van Sleet arrived at the Aero Park at 8 a.m. and had breakfast with his co- pilot, Dr. Sydney S. Stowell. Meanwhile, crew chief Edward J. Nugent supervised the inflation of the Pittsfield's gas bag. Minor problems delayed the launch by about an hour, but at 11 a.m. Van Sleet and Stowell were ready to fly."
"Shortly after the launch, Minihan and four club members set out for Troy, N.Y. in a borrowed automobile. They hoped to meet Van Sleet and Dr. Stowell when they arrived."
"The flight, however, got off to a poor start. Van Sleet's log tells how the balloon rose to a height of 500 feet (150 meters) and then drifted slowly across the city. Just before noon, the wind picked up and pushed the Pittsfield in a westerly direction. At precisely 1:43 p.m., the balloon touched down in Cohoes, N.Y., 45 miles (72 kilometers) northwest of Pittsfield."
"Meanwhile, the Minihan party had an unusual encounter deep in the heavily wooded Berkshires," the mountains of western Massachusetts.
According to the Berkshire Evening Eagle, "Luke J. Minihan, president of the Aero Club of Pittsfield...had arranged for an automobile trip to Troy (N.Y.) with his brother...(and) shortly after the balloon was released he started on his journey."
"As the automobile wended its way through Shaker Village (Mass., 4 miles or 6 kilometers west of Pittsfield--J.T.), the occupants of the car could see the balloon as it passed to the south of Potier Mountain."
"Mr. Minihan continued on over the Lebanon Mountain and was mildly surprised as he rode down the western side of the mountain that the ballon was then over Hancock," Mass.
"At this moment, remember, Van Sleet's balloon was still becalmed over downtown Pittsfield. The Minihan party mistook the UFO for their balloon and began chasing it."
The Eagle reported, "The (mystery) balloon flew to the north. To the occupants of the car it looked as if the balloon passed from the sight of the automobile, but as the latter reached Brown's Hotel near Crooked Lake in Sand Lake, N.Y., the airship could again be seen a short distance to the north. The balloon was traveling low at the time."
"Heading north on New York Route 66, the Minihan party lost sight of the object for about 30 minutes. But then, as they reached the outskirts of Troy, they encountered the genuine Van Sleet balloon."
Even the Eagle noticed the differences between this balloon and the one the Minihan party had seen earlier: "When Mr. Minihan and his party reached Troy, the balloon was then almost directly overhead. It soon took a more northerly direction, going toward Cohoes. When the Pittsfield party was going through River Street in Troy, the ballon appeared to go to a much greater height than it had been traveling."
But what happened to the other "balloon?"
"An Associated Press dispatch from Albany gives us a clue to its whereabouts after its departure from Sand Lake," N.Y.
"The balloon Pittsfield, the Heart of the Berkshires passed here (Albany, N.Y.) about 1 p.m. and at 2 p.m. was at Schenectady apparently traveling fast."
"Van Sleet and Dr. Stowell landed in Cohoes at precisely 1:43 p.m. Seventeen minutes later, an aerial object was seen passing over Schenectady, N.Y., 22 miles (35 kilometers) to the west."
"Although unaware of it at the time, the Minihan party had just seen the first of the October UFOs of 1908." (See The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover Publications Inc., New York, N.Y., 1974, page 507; and Fortean Studies Vol. 3 for 1996, "Monkey Business: The New England UFO Flap of 1908" by Joseph Trainor, page 266. See also the Berkshire Evening Eagle for October 21, 1908, "Followed by Automobile," pages 1 and 2 and the Brockton, Mass. Times for October 21, 1908, "Balloon Passes Troy," page 1.)
Ang Lee's film Hulk is now out on DVD and home video. If you missed it last summer, now's the time to have a look at this soon-to-be sci-fi classic. Sam Elliott turned in a bravo performance as General T.E. "Thunderbolt" Ross. After seeing this movie, I was just glad that Gen. Ross was out in the Nevada desert and not leading the helicopter raid on Professor Xavier's school in Salem Center, N.Y. I can just see T-Bolt flying around in his Blackhawk, peering out the window and saying, "Oh, look! There's Croton-on-Hudson. Turn it into a parking lot."
And we'll be back next week with 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 time!
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2003 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their Web sites 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.