UFO ROUNDUP

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Volume 9
Number 5
February 4, 2004

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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OPPORTUNITY LANDS SAFELY ON MARS

"NASA scientists raved Sunday," January 25, 2004, over dramatically new views of Mars, transmitted by the rover Opportunity from within a small crater on the planet's surface."

"By coming to rest inside a crater, the golf-cart- size rover fulfilled mission scientists' dream of a close- up look at rock layers holding clues to the planet's geologic past."

"'We have scored a 300-million-mile interplanetary hole-in-one,' chief mission scientist Steve Squyres said at a Sunday afternoon new briefing. 'We are actually inside a small impact crater.'"

"Opportunity's flawless landing late Saturday night," January 24, 2004, "was followed only hours later by a batch of photos revealing geological features more diverse than those encountered by Opportunity's sister rover, Spirit, three weeks ago."

"While images from Spirit and previous Mars landers have offered mundane scenery reminiscent of West Texas, Opportunity's seemed more like postcards from the Martian version of a national park."

"Other sites have been littered with pebbles and boulders, but Opportunity encountered a landscape with jagged bedrock foundations jutting through a smooth reddish-gray soil."

"'It looks like nothing I've ever seen before in my life,' Squres said early Sunday as the first images appeared at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena," California. "'I'm just blown away by all this.'"

"Opportunity's successful landing made NASA two-for- two in delivering the twin spacecraft making up the $820 million Mars exploration mission."

All last week, "the rover Opportunity continued to beam back intriguing postcards and panoramic images of its eerie new home in a shallow Martian crater."

"The NASA rover rests in a smooth-bottomed, 6-foot (1.7-meter) deep crater on the opposite side of Mars from Spirit, the ailing rover that landed January 3 (2004). Opportunity is located on Meridani Planum, a plain (prairie in the USA--J.T.) the size of Oklahoma that is notable for its layers of hematite, a mineral that on Earth is usually produced near hot springs."

"'Pretty spectacular landscape; it's turning out to be a fascinating place,' said the mission panoramic camera chief, Jim Bell of Cornell University."

"NASA's Opportunity rover stretched out its rear wheels Thursday," January29, 2004, "in preparation for rolling onto the surface of Mars. Except for its robotic arm, Opportunity finished unfolding and standing up from its landing position and was ready to travel the final 10 feet (3 meters) from its lander to the surface of Mars."

"Engineers consider roll-off the riskiest maneuver of the surface portion of each mission."

"The rover Opportunity took its first roll on Martian soil early Saturday morning," January 31, 2004, "and scientists offered the most tantalizing evidence so far that the landing site once lay in liquid water."

"While ice still exists near the poles, most of Mars, including the equatorial region where the Opportunity set down, is devoid of water, liquid or frozen. But some scientists believe Mars was warm and wet early in its history and may have possessed an environment where life could have arisen."

"At a news conference Saturday at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dr. Philip Christensen, a professor of geological sciences at Arizona State University, confirmed that an instrument on the Opportunity had detected the iron oxide hematite in the dark pebbles and gravel that dot the landing site."

"Furthermore, Dr. Christensen, the lead scientist for the instrument, said, 'I think the preliminary evidence is consistent with hematite forming at low temperatures in chemical reactions with water."

"The instrument, known as the mini-thermal emission spectrometer looks at infrared light radiated from the rocks and soils."

Opportunity's landing site in Meridani Planum is about 6,600 miles (10,560 kilometers) from Spirit's landing site, Gusev Crater. (See the Duluth, Minn. News- Tribune for January 26, 2004, "Second Mars rover scores 'hole in one,' pages 1A and 5A; and for February 1, 2004, "Rover finds further hints of Mars' moist history," page 5A. Also USA Today for January 27, 2004, "Mars crater is a land of Opportunity," page 13A and for January 30, 2004, "Opportunity prepares for jaunt on Mars," page 3A.)

AILING SPIRIT GETS MEDICAL CARE...FROM EARTH!

On Thursday, January 29, 2004, NASA "said Opportunity's twin, Spirit, 'will be perfect again' after repairs of crippling software problems."

"Engineers continued to make progress on the Spirit rover, which has been sidelined for more than a week" in Gusev Crater. They were preparing to wipe its memory clean of science and engineering files that have stymied its software, said Jennifer Trosper," Spirit's mission manager.

"Spirit resumed acquiring data Thursday, using its panoramic camera to focus on two rocks scientists have called Cake and Blanco."

"Spirit landed in Gusev Crater, a 95-mile (152- kilometer) depression that once may have contained a lake."

The rover's "failure to follow orders from Earth was beginning to look like a glitch familiar to many earthly computer users...Somebody forgot to dump all those old files--leaving an electronic clutter so confusing that at one point the rover began reporting data it thought it had gathered on Mars in 2053."

(Editor's Comment: Most intriguing! Did Spirit pass through a time warp that took it fifty years into the future?)

"Mission manager Jennifer Trosper says there is growing conviction that Spirit's erratic behavior--at times verging on outright disobedience to orders from mission control--was the result of electronic baggage left over from its 300-million-mile journey through space."

"Once Spirit was safely on Martian soil, most of the 'cruise files' stored in its computer memory were of no real value for surface operations."

"Engineers were then horrified to find that the rover's flash memory, for reasons unknown, had retained hundreds of files containing flight data and was still juggling them along with the daily flood of new data from its activities in Mars' Gusev Crater."

"'We're going to do a lot more debugging today, but we're getting ready to delete a large number of cruise files on Spirit,' Trosper said, 'And in the future, we are going to be much more conscious of the limitations.'" (See USA Today for January 30, 2004, "Opportunity prepares for jaunt on Mars," page 3A; and the Duluth, Minn. News- Tribune for January 27, 2004, "Electronic clutter confuses Mars rover," page 6A.

MYSTERY VAN SEEN BY MANY IN ARIZONA

The silver-grey UFO Roundup mystery van was seen and photographed by several people in northern Arizona last week.

Ufologist Mike Fortson reported, "I've been reading about the van for some time now, so I was really floored when my customer told me she saw it Saturday (January 24, 2004) in Prescott Valley, Arizona (population 23,535). And it scared the living hell out of her!"

The silver-grey van, which carries the Web site address of UFO Roundup's parent site, UFO INFO, has been seen in various states of the USA since 1998, when it first appeared in Warsaw, Indiana. The van is not the property of either UFO INFO webmaster John Hayes or UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor. At present, the owner and operator of the mystery van is unknown.

Mike Fortson is a regional sales manager who lives in Gilbert, Arizona (population 109,697), a city just southeast of Phoenix. He added, "My customer has known me for 12 years. She knows I'm quite active in UFOs and the weird stuff that goes on in northern Arizona. So she felt comfortable telling me. She was placing an order when she told me what she saw."

"They were pulling out of the Wal-Mart parking lot" in Prescott Valley "and the van immediately drew their attention. It was one of those extended vans, silver grey, and had U.S. government markings, and the license plate was from Georgia. The top of the van was covered with small satellite dishes. And there were many radio antennae, as well."

"There were two occupants in the front seat. Both were in military uniform. There were no windows on the side of the van other than the driver and passenger (seats). The van had the markings of Delta Force."

Also last week, ufologist Bill Hamilton of Arizona MUFON contacted UFO Roundup and reported, "Your fancy van advertising your website was spotted and photographed in Bagdad, Arizona (population 1,578)," a small town at the end of Highway 96 in the Aquarius Mountains, located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Prescott Valley.

"If not yours, you are getting free advertising," Bill added, "I have been sent half a dozen pics (photographs of the van) in all."

Note: Bill Hamilton wrote to say: "I have not been in Arizona for six years. I am with MUFON Ventura currently and ED of Skywatch International."

Rear view photo of the "UFOINFO van"
For full size image and more photos Click Here.

Arizona MUFON is investigating the sightings and trying to learn the identity of the van's owner/operator. (Email Form Reports)

ALIEN SPOTTED BY THREE IN MANCHESTER, INDIANA

A tall, extremely thin, humanoid alien was spotted on North Hagen Road in Manchester, Indiana on Saturday, January 24, 2004, at 7:30 p.m.

According to ufologist Kenny Young, "a 17-year-old motorist traveling about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Aurora, Indiana (population 3,965) at night claims to have encountered an unusual 'figure' in the roadway."

"The witness lives in Manchester, Ind. and is a senior at South Dearborn High School. He has one sister enrolled in college and lives at home with his mother and father," Kenny reported.

"While driving his black, two-door 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier southbound along North Hagen Road, a 'figure' was spotted in the headlights of the automobile as it was crouched down near a puddle of water. From the driver's perspective, the 'figure' was spotted out of the windshield on the right side of the car."

"'I passed it and looked in the rear-view mirror,' he said."

"After passing the frail-looking figure, the driver looked into his rear-view mirror and again observed-- illuminated by the tail lights of his car--what he described as a tall, abnormal figure that moved strangely with pointed joints (elbows, knees and heels--J.T.) that 'buckled out.' He estimated that the 'figure' stood about 6 feet, 7 inches (2 meters) tall."

"'I don't know what it was,' he said, 'It had protruding joints and moved very strangely.'"

"The driver said he was able to ascertain (that) the figure, alleged to be dark gray or black and 'pencil thin,' stood up and took several steps toward the woods along the roadside."

"The 'figure' definitely walked on two legs and was thought, somehow, to be male, although no clothing was observed. No face or eyes could be seen, but the witness had the impression that the 'figure' was looking straight at him."

"The driver continued on for a small distance after passing the figure and finally put on his brakes, coming to a stop at an estimated 'two-minute' walking distance from the location of the sighting. He looked back to further observe the entity."

"At this point, a second car came into view," approaching from the south, "and then reached the spot on the road where the 'figure' was thought to be. The 17- year-old motorist reportedly watched closely" as the second car swerved at that spot. "Then the car turned around and pulled up beside him on the grass."

"An elderly couple was in the car, both of them in their late 60s or early 70s. The (male) driver, who wore glasses, said, 'Boy, did you see something back there? I'll tell you right now--that was no person.'"

"'It was no person,'" the female in the front passenger seat said, "'It was no man.'"

"The elderly couple were reportedly 'spooked' but offered to follow the first witness down North Hagen Road to his destination at a friend's house." There "he called home to tell his mother of the encounter, advising her to lock her doors," and then called his uncle.

Kenny Young interviewed the uncle, Jerry Schedel, who "traveled to the area with his wife some 90 minutes later but did not see anything."

"'I have no explanation for what that thing was,' Schedel said, 'I think it must have been some type of alien.'"

Manchester, Ind. is on Route 48 in Dearborn County, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Columbus. (Many thanks to Kenny Young for this news story.)

CHUPACABRA SPOOKS BUS DRIVERS IN CENTRAL CHILE

"Juan Berrios, a 40-year-old (bus) driver and old- fashioned Chilean (Roman) Catholic has never driven his vehicle again since his run-in with the monster."

"'He reached the truck stop in a state. His legs trembled,' said one of his co-workers, half-jokingly, at the same time he made the Sign of the Cross--just in case."

"Until two weeks ago, the barrio Santa Filomena was nothing more than a long and lonely alleyway in the village of Viluco in Buin," a city located 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Santiago, the capital of Chile, "where the peace was disturbed only by vehicles driving past it at high speed."

"The town is beginning to shake off its lethargy, not because of the arrival of unstoppable modernity but because of the appearance of an indescribably bizarre creature that hops across the streets with some small wounded animal in its maw and which has been seen by the drivers on the Buin-Maipo route, who decided to speak after experiencing real fear."

"On (Monday) January 5 (2004) at 5:15 a.m., Berrios was driving through Santa Filomena toward the Las Vertientes (bus) terminal when he suddenly noticed a strange figure in the middle of the road 70 meters (231 feet) away. He rubbed his eyes and kept going. Some five meters (16 feet) away, the figure reappeared, and the shock of the horrible sight almost caused him to lose control of the vehicle."

"'I have never seen anything like. It had something like a dog bleeding in its muzzle, and it lost itself in the bushes in a single leap,' he told his co-workers minutes later. He was believed, just from the expression of indescribable panic on his face."

"After his second road trip, he was intercepted by another driver, Juan Maulan, who took him aside and asked him to describe the monster. After a few minutes, Maulan confessed, 'Yes, it's the same one.'"

"It was a bipedal animal standing 1.5 meters (4 feet, 6 inches) tall, with hind legs like those of a kangaroo, small curved hands (forepaws) ending in talons, a sharp mane (of spines) like that of a porcupine running along its back, a tail with a rattle, a muzzle like that of a fierce wolf, several rows of teeth and voracious red eyes."

"'It jumps a lot,' said Maulan, 'It can easily jump 5 meters (16 feet).'"

"He had kept quiet out of fear of being dubbed the local madman. 'I almost died of fright. I had to go out in the morning just like Berrios, when I suddenly saw this thing in the middle of the road. I slowed down and the beast stared at me. It took some time to look me up and down and then jumped aside,' he recalled very calmly, now certain that the beast exists. Just to give the thing a name, he says it could well be the Chupacabra."

"'I think it's a hoax. I've been living here 35 years, and the nearest thing to monsters I've seen are old men riding bicycles,' said Rosa Marileo, widow of Roberto Nancur and mother of five children. 'This has been circulating for a long time. Everyone says that when the monster comes out, it does so in the morning, and I wouldn't dream of walking around at that time because this street is pitch black,' she added, bringing the conversation to a close."

"At Cerro Cullipeumo (mountain) on the border of Las Vertientes in Buin, some abandoned gold mines from the 1950s could prove to be the lair of the 'Viluco Monster,' a singular beast with a kangaroo-shaped body and a wolf's muzzle that terrorizes local farmers and has a remarkable resemblance to the legendary Chupacabra."

"'El Dinamita' and 'El Fena,' assistants at the Buin- Maipo bus line, claim two drivers came across the creature in lonely Santa Filomena and told (the newspaper) La Cuarta that they have been hearing stories from old-timers about a monstrous beast living in the forgotten gold mines."

"'As soon as we're ready, we'll take a look. The groundskeepers, old men who've worked there all their lives, always say that strange stuff goes on in that mountain. They even say that those who poke their noses in too deeply never come back,' said 'El Dinamita,' who was itching to venture into the abandoned mines."

"Anibal Montes, also known as 'El Viejo Choclera,' confirmed through stories told by Don Ramon, eldest of the group, that mystery has long surrounded Cerro Cullipeumo. 'Shadows can be seen running uphill, vanishing into the mine and disappearing. But this is nothing new. It's been going on for many years.'" (See the Chilean newspaper La Cuarta for January 29, 2004, "Kangaroo-legged monster threatens Buin," and for January 30, 2004, "Viluco Monster may hide in abandoned mine." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Liliana Nunez para estos articulos de diario.)

(Editor's Comment: Hmmmm, this looks like a job for...Cave Carson!)

UFO SIGHTINGS SURGE IN CENTRAL CHILE

"In January (2004) alone, over 10 UFO sightings have been reported in San Jose de Maipo," south of Santiago de Chile, not far from Buin, the site of the Chupacabra encounters.

"No one knows why they appear, but the fact is that strange lights cross the area (of the Rio Maipo--J.T.) regularly, to the extent that the residents of Cajon del Maipo consider it a normal occurrence."

"So frequent are the sightings of this phenomenon over the skies of Cajon del Maipo that local residents consider it a part of their daily routine."

"Oscar Farias, who lives in Las Vertientes, said both he and his wife, Maritza Valero, have repeatedly seen UFOs in the foothills of the Cordillera."

"'We've seen truly remarkable spheres and flying saucers,' Oscar said, 'Only two weeks ago, with my cousin and around 8 a.m., we saw a silver saucer in the El Alto del Canelo sector, moving at an average speed and losing itself in the west.'"

"Patricia Aros, 37, works for a service corporation and claims having seen strange lights in the higher reaches of Cajon del Maipo on a regular basis. 'It's common to see large and small lights moving over the area,' she said, 'I no longer fear them. We aren't alone in this immense universe, and if these otherworldly beings intended to harm us, they would've done so already. I think we should be eventually prepared for what's going to happen in the future. Who knows if tomorrow human civilization will establish contact with beings from other worlds.'"

"Even San Jose de Maipo's mayor, Miguel Marquez Olivarez, witnessed a 'filmworthy' close encounter when he was literally assaulted by a UFO."

"'On this occasion, I was in the Del Ingenio sector, driving my pickup truck with my family and a group of friends (as passengers--J.T.), when we suddenly saw an oval-shaped vehicle issuing multi-hued lights of great intensity as it hovered over the village. Suddenly, in a matter of seconds, the strange object took off and hovered above us, killing my truck's engine. It lit up a radius of 4 kilometers (2.4 miles) with an intense white light which could be seen as far as the town of San Gabriel.'"

"'The experience was truly intense even though it lasted no more than a minute,'" Marquez said, "'Because, from one moment to another, the light shut itself off, and the phenomenon vanished.'" (Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales para esas noticias.)

WHITE UFO HOVERS OVER FORTALEZA, BRAZIL

On Tuesday, December 16, 2003, at 11 p.m., Daniel D. was outdoors in the city of Fortaleza, in Ceara state, Brazil when "I spotted a UFO sitting stationary in the southwestern sky."

"It was a small oblong white object seen as clouds passed by. It did not move, and it did not look or behave like a kite. It remained long enough for me to go upstairs, get my Kodak 35mm camera, come downstairs and snap a photograph. I would estimate that it was 45 degrees above the southwestern horizon. I did not see it approach or depart. It appeared in the clear portion of the night sky. Then the next cloud passed, and it was gone."

Fortaleza is on Brazil's Atlantic Ocean coast, located about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) northeast of Brasilia, the national capital. (Email Form Report)

WOMAN PHOTOGRAPHS A UFO IN CANNES

On Monday, January 15, 2004, at 8:55 a.m., Fabrice M. reported, "I had coffee on my terrace before going to work" in Cannes, a seaport city in the department Alpes Maritimes in southern France. "I often look up at the sky. Moreover, I had viewed things in the past, but I had no camera."

This time was different. "As soon as I saw the strange light hovering in the sky, I took my digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 5700 with an 8X zoom, and took some pictures of what I saw. Then the brilliant shape left in the reverse direction, at a slow speed. There were no clouds where the UFO was. On the other hand, there were clouds over the (Mediterranean) sea, and some sunbeams managed to pass through these clouds. The UFO had an oval shape, and it was about 3 kilometers (2 miles) away, I think."

Photo 2 of 6. This is the clearest shot
Click image for full size

Cannes is 200 kilometers (120 miles) east of Marseilles. (Merci beaucoup a Robert Fischer pour ces nouvelles de OVNI.)

UFO PHOTOGRAPHED NEAR MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

"A mysterious photograph has sparked a UFO frenzy in the city's (Melbourne, capital of Victoria state, Australia) north."

"Both believers and sceptics are scratching their heads over a picture, snapped in Beveridge, Vic. by a council officer last week."

"Whittlesea Council is considering informing NASA and has already sent the image to Australian authorities."

"The photographer, Whittlesea Council traffic engineer Roland Rozario, said he could not explain the digital photo, which shows a small round object passing through the top right side of the frame."

"Mr. Rozario said he and a colleague were doing a routine check of a railway level crossing about 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 15 (2004)."

"'We didn't see or hear anything when we were there,' he said, 'I took about 10 to 12 photos, looking east and west.'"

"'Then I came back to the office, downloaded the images and noticed an object in one photo.'"

"'I still don't know what it is. I passed it around the office, and people don't know what it was. A few said it didn't look like a bird, an aircraft or even a bug in front of the camera.'"

"Mr. Rozario said a train passed through the crossing just seconds after the photograph was taken and believes a passenger may have spotted something in the sky."

"Whittlesea Council's communications officer, Jim Linton, sent the image to the Chief Defence Scientist, (Australia's) Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the Civil Aviation Authority."

"Weather bureau senior forecaster Peter Blake said the photograph did not look like anything meteorological."

"'It almost looks like a plane from the rear. It certainly isn't a weather balloon,' Mr. Blake said."

"Local flying saucer experts also struggled to explain the photograph."

"Victorian UFO Research scientific director Bernard Wilson said the group needed more information in order to make a full assessment."

"'There are some interesting aspects to the photo. The sun reflections from the object and the rails appear to be fairly consistent,' he said, 'There appears to be some motion blur to the left of the image which might indicate a fast moving object.'"

"But the Australian UFO Research Network (AUFORN) Victoria director George Simpson said a digital photograph was not considered acceptable evidence of a flying saucer."

"'They cannot be verified. They are too easily manipulated on the computer, and you don't have a negative,' he said."

"Mr. Simpson said he had not heard of any other sighting in Melbourne's north. But he said a local member will investigate the sighting for his group." (See the Australian newspaper Herald-Sun of Melbourne for January 24, 2004. Many thanks to Jim Hickman and Mary Lou Jones- Drown for this newspaper article.)

NWO TROOPS SEEN IN ALABAMA AND ARIZONA

For the first time since the run-up to Y2K back in 1999, people are reporting sightings of New World Order (NWO) troops in the USA.

On Sunday, January 25, 2004, Robert S. and his son "went to the Senior Bowl (football game) in Mobile, Alabama (population 198,915) and I couldn't believe what I saw," Bob reported, "At the entrance to get into the stadium, there were people dressed in camo and looking like military, checking everyone's bags."

"I talked to the person at the gate and asked if he was in the military. He said no, he was part of an organization which volunteers to do this kind of work and that they were not being paid for the service."

During the Atlanta Falcon cheerleaders' half-time show, Bob left his seat and "checking the other gates, I found that all of these gates had someone dressed in camo, checking bags and telling people what they could or couldn't take into the stadium."

Bob then approached one of these mysterious guards and struck up a conversation. "The man I talked to was ex-military and told me he was not in the military, but he was considered to be military. There was also a woman with him at the gate, when I asked to see her military identification. She whipped out an ID that said something about Defense or something, but it didn't say military. I found out that the woman was the wife of the man I was talking to, and he apologized for his wife being snappy."

"He took me over to his boss who was also dressed in camo. None of them had guns, I might add. I asked him about their operation, and he told me that they were an organization which took their orders from the Governor (of Alabama--J.T.). He said they were not military. I also found out that the man in charge was from England (UK) and was raised in India, and he told me that he was in the Merchant Marine in the past."

Bob then asked the "boss" if "anyone could join their organization if they didn't have a criminal record. I asked him if I could join the organization if I were a member of the John Birch Society. He said I couldn't because no one that was in an organization which spoke out against the government could join."

"Another thing that bothered me was that a police officer was at each of the gates, but they just stood there and didn't do a thing. The camo man told me that the police officer was whom he took his orders from."

But Bob S. wasn't buying that story.

"To top it all off, some of the people in camo had MP on their arm." Bob, a veteran, knew that only members of a U.S. Army Military Police company are permitted to wear the black-and-white MP shoulder array. He returned to his seat, more puzzled than ever by the uniformed people's presence.

In southern Arizona, "well before dawn on a chilly Saturday morning (January 24, 2004), reporter Chris Simcox of the Tombstone Tumbleweed had an unusual encounter with armed troops in strange olive-drab uniforms.

Chris was on assignment for the Tumbleweed, watching "volunteers of Civil Homeland Defense on position along the ridge along the San Pedro River, scouting for groups of people entering the country (USA) illegally."

"Through binoculars," Chris "spotted two military- type vehicles parked at an abandoned ranch just across the Line." (USA-Mexico border--J.T.)

With Chris were two freelance journalists from Texas, Mike and Cesar.

"We loaded into my truck and drove to within a couple hundred yards (200 meters) of the Line," Chris reported, "I parked the truck behind some trees and thick brush...I took the two journalists through the brush, parallel to the border fence and came up through a wash (arroyo or gully--J.T.) in a low area that was hidden by a dirt berm."

"Just as I peered over the top of the berm, I heard something in the wash to my right. Suddenly, three armed men appeared from the brush. They walked quickly to the fence. One slung the rifle over his shoulder and leaned over to put a leg through the fence. We were no more than 25 feet (8 meters) away. As the young man leaned over, he turned his head and looked right along the fence into my eyes."

"The three men moved away from the fence and broke into the thicket of mesquite and tall grass, shouting to others as they hastily retreated back to the ranch. There was another group of three men. They also immediately retreated back up the hill. Six men emerged from the brush right near the thicket and all ran the 300 yards back to their vehicles."

"A moment later, 10 of the men jumped into one of the troop transport vehicles and drove down the hill in our direction. They stopped directly in front of us on the dirt road that parallels the border fence on the Mexican side. Four men (armed) with M-16s and FN-FAL (automatic) rifles jumped from the truck and approached the fence."

The squad leader "asked if we were Immigration. I told him no. He then told us in Spanish it was prohibited for us to film them. We told them we were media and we had the right to film. He became a bit agitated at this point and asked for more specifics about who we were and why we were there. He told us they were just protecting the border--doing their job. We asked if they were military. They did not respond."

"None of the (olive-drab) uniforms the men were wearing had (unit) patches, names or insignia of any kind indicating that they were Federales (officers of Mexico's Policia Federal--J.T.) or Mexican military personnel."

"Two of the men standing next to the leader kept their weapons in the ready position. The leader again firmly asked us to stop filming. Cesar and I continued to film with our video camera. Mike obeyed and lowered his 35mm camera with its zoom lens. The leader told us we were 'angering and belittling' his group. He said we should leave the area. We did not reply."

The mysterious platoon then departed, returning to the ranch house where Mexican civilians were gathering. Later that day, nine illegal immigrants were detained by the American civilian volunteers and turned over to the Border Patrol.

The San Pedro River crosses into Mexico a few miles south of Palonlinas, Arizona, located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south-southeast of Sierra Vista.

The identity of the mysterious soldiers, who were apparently escorting illegal immigrants over the USA/Mexico border, is not known. (See the Tombstone, Arizona Tumbleweed for January 29, 2004, "Unidentified military unit caught crossing U.S. border." Many thanks to Jim Danvers for this newspaper article.)

CAPTAIN AHAB'S REVENGE?

"A dead sperm whale while being transported through Tainan City," on the island of Taiwan, "on its way to a research station, suddenly exploded yesterday," (Monday, January 26, 2004), "splattering cars and shops with blood and guts."

"Certified as authorities as the largest beached whale on record in Taiwan, the 17-meter (56-foot) 50-tonne carcass was being transported by a flat-bed trailer truck to a special research location after National Cheng Kung University officials and security guards refused to allow the whale on campus."

"The whale was to be preserved and the autopsy performed at the Shih Tsao Nature Preserve in Tainan County by a team of marine biologists and taxidermists."

"National Cheng Kung University marine biologist Dr. Wang Chienping was on the scene and said he had ordered the trailer to move the carcass so the whale could be used for educational purposes and an autopsy could be done."

"The beached whale was found along a stretch of coast in Yunlin County on Saturday," January 24, 2004.

"'The animal was close to death when someone found it beached on shore on Saturday,' Dr. Wang said, 'Because of the natural decomposition process, a load of gases accumulated, and when the pressure holding was too great, the whale's belly just exploded and spilled blood and innards on the street.'"

"Local news reports showed a number of people who had gathered to take photographs of the whale before it exploded in Tainan City, as well as residents and shop owners following the explosion. Many were wearing gauze masks and trying to clear up the spilled guts and entrails with their brushes and brooms."

"'What a stinking mess! The blood and other stuff that flew out onto the road is disgusting, and the smell is really awful,' said one resident."

"The news also showed one section of the street, along with several parked automobiles and pedestrian walkways covered in red with carcass entrails and spattered with blood."

"Lying on the truck was the dead whale--underbelly exposed with a large elongated tear where the gaseous blowout took place. Beside the shocking red bloody mess, large piles of whale intestines and guts were strewn along the road, leaving an unpleasant and ghastly scene for residents." (See the Taiwan News for January 27, 2004, "Sperm whale explodes in Tainan." Many thanks to Chen Jilin for forwarding this newspaper article.)

(Editor's Comment: Obviously, this was a terrorist plot by Captain Ahab, formerly of New Bedford, Mass., using a shoulder-fired Stinger missile.)

READER FEEDBACK:

IS HITLER IN A LONG SOLAR ORBIT?

Concerning rumors of an Antarctic Reich (See UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 3, "1944: Secrets of the Antarctic Reich," page 8), David Grey of Australia writes, "What I think they did is put Hitler and Eva (Braun) on a near-light-speed craft, accelerating them to 99.9 percent of the speed of light, and then orbiting our solar system for the appropriate time until they return to their underground base in Antarctica."

"Surely, no body of the most-hated Dictator? Surely they must have done experiments on how long it would take to burn (with petrol--D.G.) two bodies to a point where they could no longer be recognized. I have to wonder if repatriating Hitler and his henchmen was done for scientists and spies is not beyond question. Mr. Bush's grandfather will have to explain a lot."

"Thanks for your report. Strangely, I saw with my girlfriend two very bright 'stars' around late December (2003). They were already way high up and tracing a large erratic arc (not moving as a satellite or meteorite--D.G.) The speed and brightness ruled out any type of plane. Two of them were about an outstretched hand in the sky. I live in Melbourne and have never seen anything I could call a UFO before. The two objects had no other description than 'unidentified.'"

"Anyway, something is going on up there. Intervention in our planet's affairs seems to have been common enough in our past. Now we need it in a positive manner. To my end, the UFO 'people' might as well make themselves known, or the planet will be f***ed anyway."

"Have a good New Year. I hope this is the Big One."

MYTH OF THE MASONIC PILLARS

Concerning the story on Al-Qaeda and Dr. Ayman al- Zawahiri (See UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 4, "February 2: Zawahiri's day of destiny?" page 16), Lee Graves of Montana wrote, "I have been a Mason for over 30 years, and Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Montana seven years, and this is the absolute first I have ever heard of Jachin and Boaz stemming from the twin pillars of Atlantis."

"All Masonic lodges have the two pillars, 'the one on the right hand and the other on the left, called Jachin and Boaz.' And they represent the pillars in the temple of King Solomon. In lodges, they are usually placed in front of the Senior Warden's station, in the west."

"I do find it interesting that the Twin Towers of New York have any Masonic connotations for anyone. And who is Hoagland, by the way? But, of course, one can read anything into anything one chooses."

"Perhaps God is a Freemason, too, since he created the constellation Gemini, or the Twins."

"Honestly, let's get serious. Freemasonry has no more of an interest by Al-Qaeda than the man in the moon."

"I hope this clarifies the Pillars myth."


From the UFO Files...

1919: DANCE OF THE ASSASSIN

Tuesday, February 21, 1919, dawned cold and grey in Munich, with the threat of snow. The World War One armistice was exactly 100 days old, and this south German city, capital of the state of Bayern (Bavaria), continued to be wracked by food shortages, political rioting and postwar unrest.

"On the morning of the twenty-first a young officer named Anton von Arco-Valley had himself awakened early by the chambermaid of his pension (bed-and-breakfast inn in the USA--J.T.) He instructed her to lay out the warm clothing while he bathed, because, he said, 'it will probably be cold in the jail cell.'"

"She did not take the remark seriously. Anton Arco- Valley was a handsome young man and a Count; he frequently made scathing remarks about the unsatisfactory state of affairs in Munich and his intention to do something about it. Walburga Kaestele, the maid, did not believe that so charming a youth as Count Anton, known as 'Toni,' actually intended to harm anyone. But he did."

Born in 1897, the year of worldwide sightings of UFOs (then called airships--J.T.), Anton's feelings for Germany "were perhaps all the more intense because both King and Fatherland were adoptive, his birthplace having been Austria." At age 18, he had enlisted in the 1st Bavarian Cavalry Regiment, served on the Eastern Front in World War I, became a lieutenant "and was badly wounded and decorated."

For Anton, the end of the war had been traumatic. He had been part of the victorious German army that had imposed harsh peace terms on Lenin's Russia at Brest- Litovsk. But then, on November 7, 1918, a socialist revolution toppled the Bavarian state government. Two days later, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated and fled to the Netherlands. Two days after that, the new German government surrendered to the Allies at Compiegne in France.

During the train ride home from Kiev, Anton read the proclamation from Kurt Eisner, the new Minister-President (governor) of Bavaria and leader of the anti-war Independent Socialists. The words made his blood boil.

"Soldiers, demobilization has not yet begun...The officers come back to you not as your superiors but as soldiers who wish to work for the common good of our people. You are not obliged to salute them on or off duty...The soldiers' soviet of Munich reminds officers at all times to remain aware of the new spirit of the Free People's State of Bavaria, to remove shoulder straps, to recognize a fait accompli and work as hard for it as have the soldiers since their victorious revolution..."

What was this "new spirit?" One of its leaders, Ernst Toller, described it as "the revolution of love." The revolution's "leaders, many of them Jewish, were pacifist intellectuals and literati, most notable among them Kurt Eisner, a fearful-looking gnome of a man with a mop of unkempt shoulder-length hair, a wild and ragged red beard, and myopic eyes behind pince-nez."

Ignoring the proclamation, Anton stepped down from the train in full uniform. He was immediately attacked by a group of Spartacist soldiers. They yanked off his shoulder straps, insignia and medals, tearing his feldgrau greatcoat.

Holed up at the pension, Anton brooded about the war and seethed with indignation. He wanted revenge for his humiliation at the train station, and so he found his way to the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten (Translated: Four Seasons Hotel) and began attending the Saturday meetings of the Thule Gesellschaft (Thule Society).

Thule was the brainchild of Adam Rudolf Glauer (1875- 1945), a railroad engineer's son from Hoyerswerda. An enthusiastic disciple of Madame Blavatsky, Adam changed his name to Rudolf von Sebottensdorff, promoted himself to freiherr (baron) and became an accomplished astrologer and occultist. For years he had lived in Turkey, where "he had been able to spend time reading Oriental philosophy and Theosophical writings, as well as engaging in Sufi meditation."

"He acknowledged that he had been a Knight of the Masonic Order of Contantine" in Istanbul. "Turkish Freemasonry, it seemed, had kept the ancient Aryan wisdom intact. 'It must be shown,' said Sebottendorff, 'that Oriental Freemasonry still retains faithfully even today the ancient teachings of wisdom forgotten by modern Freemasonry, whose Constitution of 1717 was a departure from the true way.'"

In no time at all, Thule became a magnet for New Agers, mystics, clairvoyants, disciples of Guido von List, adepts of Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels' Order of the New Templars, curiosity-seekers, right-wingers and groupies. The Society on its way up, having just moved from a cellar on the Zweigstrasse to the ballroom of the posh Four Seasons Hotel, with its seating for 300. "Grand Master" Sebottendorff was the hottest thing since Annie Besant.

Listening to Sebottendorff speak..."We don't acknowledge the brotherhood of people, only the blood brotherhood. We want the freedom not of herds but of duty. We hate the propaganda of equality. Struggle is the father of all things. Equality is death...", Count Anton Arco auf Valley, age 22, felt that he had come home. He introduced himself to the "baron" and asked to join.

"We test for race purity," Sebottendorff explained, "The one-year probationary period is only the first level in the new member's initiation. He must take a ritualistic vow of absolute obedience and loyalty to the Master of the Lodge. Symbolically, this signifies the return of the lost Aryan to the German family."

Uh-oh...problem! Way back in 1841, Anton's mother's father had married a Jewish woman. Anton flunked the "racial purity" test. Membership denied.

Now it's a question of who does Anton hate more-- Sebottendorff or Kurt Eisner.
"...rejected by the Thule Society as racially unfit. Not quite thoroughbred by the standards he most admired, not fully accepted where he most passionately wished to belong, Count Anton Arco-Valley resolved to prove himself the genuine article in the eyes of everyone, and his own."

On February 21, 1919, "freshly bathed and warmly clothed, he telephoned the Diet (Bavarian parliament building)" and, posing as a newspaper reporter, asked what time Eisner was expected to arrive. The Minister- President would arrive at 10 a.m. to address the assembly, he was told, and afterward there would be a press conference.

Strolling through Munich, Anton spied one of Thule's political handbills nailed to a telephone pole. He recognized it as the work of Dietrich Eckart, Thule's morphine-addicted "minister of information." Eckart had stolen the headline right out of Schiller's Wilhelm Tell. It read, "Mach hurtig, Landvogt, deine Uhr ist abgelaufen."
(Translated: "Make haste, Governor, your time has run out.")

Continuing on his journey, Anton thought about all the strange people he'd met at Thule. There was Eckart, of course, and Dr. George Gaubatz, president of Bavaria's Audubon Society, never without his gold swastika jewelry, and Johannes Hering, leader of the Pan-Germans, and Anton Drexler, the labor activist who was kicked out of the railroad workers' union and went on to found his own Deutsches Arbeiterspartei (Translated: German Workers' Party). Sebottendorff let the DAP hang around the Four Seasons Hotel because Drexler had no money to rent a hall of his own.

"At 9:45, Arco-Valley stationed himself in a doorway on the Promenade Platz where he knew the Minister- President would pass on his way to the Diet. He took the safety catch off the revolver in his right-hand overcoat pocket, and waited."

Let Sebottendorff cast his runes and play with his zodiac, Anton thought, I'm going to do what needs to be done.

"Toward 10 o'clock Eisner emerged from the Foreign Ministry on the Promenade Platz and began walking toward the Diet building in the nearby Pranner Strasse. His months in office had done nothing to improve his appearance. With his floppy black hat and flagrantly unkempt beard, he still looked like the eternal Bohemian heading for a favorite cafe, rather than a Minister- President on his way" to make a major speech. "For escort, he was accompanied only by a sailor and by his secretary, the journalist Felix Fechenbach. About forty people were loitering around the square, some of them Spartacist followers of Eisner."

"Spotting his quarry, Arco-Valley drew his revolver and darted from the doorway. He closed in swiftly from behind and fired two shots," crying, "Vive la boheme!"

(Editor's Note: This was the phrase uttered by the French anarchist Ravachole in 1894. By the way, Ravachole has a walk-on in Nicole Kidman's movie Moulin Rouge. He's the weird-beard musician who throws a bomb at the stage in the climax. Listen closely and you'll hear his trademark phrase.)

"One bullet entered Eisner's brain, the other piercing his lungs through the back. He sank to the pavement and died on the spot in a pool of blood."

"The sailor wheeled and began firing at Arco-Valley hitting him where he stood and four more times as he lay on the sidewalk. Some of the bystanders who came swarming to the scene began kicking him in the face and body, and trampling him. They meant to kill him, and thought they had, but he survived."

Not quite so fortunate were Major von Jahreiss and a delegate named Osel, who died half an hour later in the "Tuesday Morning Massacre."

Thule member Walter Nauhaus sought out Sebottendorff and told him about the killings, adding, "This city has gone crazy!" Sebottendorff was dumbfounded, but Johannes Hering had an idea. He began distributing firearms from his hidden stash to Thule members. As an afterthought, he handed them out to Drexler's DAP people, too.

So it was that the DAP's newest member, Adolf Hitler, received a sawed-off KAR-98 rifle, a weapon that saved his life in the weeks to come.

Meanwhile, Anton lay in hospital, moaning, "Let me die." The surgeon paid him no heed and began extracting the bullet fragments.

The aftermath was a Bavarian version of the O.J. Simpson trial. Anton stood unrepentant in the dock. "During the war, I shot Bolshevik Jews in the Ukraine, and I was given a medal. I shoot one here, and suddenly I'm a bum. Where is the justice in that? Kurt Eisner was the grave-digger of the Fatherland, and I'm glad he's dead. I despised and hated him from my heart. Yes, I shot and killed that Elder of Zion. Go thou and do likewise."

The court swiftly returned a verdict of guilty. The sentence was death.

Anton's plight became a cause celebre on the right. One of his most vehement supporters was 19-year-old Heinrich Himmler, who urged his father "to join the Bayerische Volkspartei" and rescue Anton "before it's too late."

Dr. Gebhard Himmler the same opinion as the Munchener-Augsburger Abendzeitung (newspaper), which denounced Anton for "turning the Fatherland into Serbia."

Young Himmler confided his rescue plan to his girl friend, Maria "Maja" Loritz. He was going to hop on his motorcycle and ride up the steps of Munich's Landhaus, with his shotgun blazing. Sort of like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Not surprisingly, Maja dumped Heini and found another boyfriend.

Then the courts agreed to hear Anton's appeal. To the assassin's surprise, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In 1920, he entered the prison at Landsberg am Lech.

Four years later, he was ousted from his private cell by the newest "celebrity prisoner," the leader of the abortive "Beer Hall Putsch"...Adolf Hitler.

Freed on parole in the early 1930s, Anton entered obscurity. But only for a short while. In June 1934, he was arrested by none other than Heinrich Himmler, the very man who had plotted to rescue him 14 years earlier.

"According to Himmler the reason was that the Count had 'on his own admission planned a coup against the Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler.'"

Anton was taken to Dachau, where he remained a prisoner until he was freed by the U.S. Army in March 1945.

However, he did not enjoy his freedom for very long. A few weeks later, while walking along a roadside in Bavaria, Anton was struck by a speeding U.S. Army jeep. He died in a nearby hospital at the age of 48.

The day Anton donned his overcoat, put a revolver in the right-hand pocket, and set out for the Promenade Platz, the Armistice was 100 days old. Nobody knew it at the time, but, at 10 a.m. on February 21, 1919, Count Anton von Arco auf Valley fired the first shots of World War II. (See the books The Weimar Chronicle by Alex de Jonge, Paddington Press Ltd., London, 1978, pages 50 and 51; Munich 1923: The Story of Hitler's First Grab for Power by John Dornberg, Harper and Row, New York, N.Y., 1982, pages 38 and 39; Putsch! How Hitler Made Revolution by Richard Hanser, Peter H. Wyden Inc., New York, N.Y., 1970, pages 160 to 163; The Nazis and the Occult by Dusty Sklar, Dorset Press, New York, N.Y., 1977, pages 27 to 39; and Unholy Alliance by Peter Levenda, Continuum Books, New York, N.Y., second edition 2002, pages 46, 47 and 73 to 79.)

(Editor's Comment: We once had a case like this in the USA. On August 2, 1876, Jack McCall rushed into the Pioneer Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, South Dakota and shot James Butler Hickock, better known as "Wild Bill Hickock," in the back of the head while he was playing poker. The only difference is, when Jack squeezed the trigger, he yelled, "You son of a bitch!" not "Vive la boheme!" McCall wasn't considered a hero for shooting Wild Bill Hickock--quite the opposite, in fact. You can read all about l'affaire Deadwood in that great book by Loren D. Estleman, Aces and Eights.)

Well, that's it for this week. 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 time.

UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2004 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.

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