PREHISTORIC OCEAN FOUND ON MARS
"A salty sea once existed on the surface of Mars, an environment that could have supported early life on the Red Planet, NASA scientists announced Tuesday," March 23, 2004.
"'We think (the rover) Opportunity is now parked on the shoreline of a salty sea on Mars,' says Steve Squyres of Cornell University, lead scientist of NASA's twin-rover Mars mission."
"The Opportunity rover uncovered evidence of the ancient body of water in a bedrock outcrop surrounding its landing site in a crater."
"Uneven deposits of salts in the outcrop and 'cross- bedding' of rock layers unmistakably show water currents-- gentle one-mile-per hour ones--laid down the bedrock layers at an undetermined point in Mars' past, Squyres said."
"The rover team had reported three weeks ago that water once saturated the bedrock, but scientists had not been certain until now that open water once existed at the crater. 'This dramatic confirmation of standing water in Mars' history builds on a progression of discoveries about that most Earth-like of alien planets,' says Ed Weller, NASA space science chief."
"'This result gives us impetus to expand our ambitious program of exploring Mars to learn whether microbes have ever lived there and, ultimately, whether we can.'"
"Opportunity and its twin sister, Spirit, which is on the other side of the planet, landed in January (2004). The $820 million rovers were sent to look for clues in rocks and soil to the Martian history of water. Water is thought to be necessary for life to have ever existed on Mars."
"Mars is a desert planet. It is notable for dust storms, freezing temperatures and a thin carbon dioxide atmosphere."
"But the mission's findings thus far suggest that billions of years ago, water flowed on the then-young planet. This could have given microbial life a chance to arise, some scientists say."
"The team delayed its latest results by two weeks so that six outside scientists could review the findings."
"'I'm convinced. It's very compelling geologic evidence,' says Melissa Lane of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson," Arizona, "an outside scientist who was not part of the NASA review team."
"The rovers' instruments detect traces of iron in their search for minerals rusted by water. Neither rover can detect organic materials or microbe fossils left behind by living organisms."
"Opportunity left its crater on Monday," March 22, 2004 "to explore the Meridiani Planum plain, overcoming slippery sand to make its exit." (See USA Today for March 24, 2004, "Traces of long-lost 'salty sea' found on Mars," page 1A.)
(Editor's Comment: UFO Roundup would like to offer a posthumous Nostradamus Award to science-fiction author Lin Carter (1930-1988). Lin predicted the existence of prehistoric seas on Mars in his 1967 novel, The Flame of Iridar.)
FAYETTE FACTOR CAUSES HAVOC IN THE USA
The Fayette Factor wreaked havoc in the USA last week, causing a series of cascading disasters.
The Fayette Factor is a little-understood phenomenon in which strange and paranormal events occur in places that are named for Marie-Joseph de Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, one of the USA's Founding Fathers and a prominent Freemason.
The deadliest incident occurred in New Hampshire, where a Massachusetts woman was killed by a freak snowstorm on Mount Lafayette.
"Searchers on Tuesday," March 23, 2004, "covered about a 15-square-mile area in (New Hampshire's) White Mountains to find a Massachusetts couple who failed to return home after a hike Sunday," March 21, 2004.
"Russell and Brenda Cox, of Andover, Mass., who are in their 40s, had hiked Mount Lafayette several times, said Fish and Game Lt. Todd Bogardus."
"About 30 volunteers, including mountain guides, search-and-rescue teams and helicopters, resumed searching trails and drainages after battling hip-deep snowfalls on Monday," March 22, 2004. "Over a foot (18 centimeters) of snow fell Sunday night, covering up any tracks, and the wind chill made it feel like 60 degrees below zero" on the Fahrenheit scale.
"The couple, who work in electronics, are avid hikers and outdoorspeople, Bogardus said. They have two sons; one of them called police Sunday night after the couple didn't come home."
"A day after they had become stranded in the White Mountains by blinding snow and winds, Brenda Cox crouched in a hollowed rock as her husband, Russell, used his body to shield her from the elements."
"The Coxes, who shared a love of the outdoors, tried to talk each other through the horror as they became increasingly disoriented on Lafayette Mountain."
"'At some point Monday night, as they were both drifting in and out of consciousness, talking, Russell realized that Brenda was not moving, and he figured that she had died,' Matthew Cox said" on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 "from his grieving brother's bedside at Massachusetts General Hospital" in Boston.
"Russell Cox's worst fears were realized the next day. Brenda Cox, a fit, petite woman, had frozen to death by the time they were taken to New Hampshire's Littleton Regional Hospital Tuesday."
"Sunday started off as a nice day as the couple, both 43, set out on their hike. On their way up the mountain, however, the Coxes heard from fellow climbers that the weather had suddenly changed. They turned round but were confronted with a whiteout."
"'The powerful winds and the whiteout were so intense they could not see the rock cairns that guide you,' Matthew Cox said."
"The Coxes built a snow cave, where they spent Sunday night, warm and safe. On Monday, they thought they spotted a break in the weather, so they put on their snowshoes and made a run for it."
"'The wind was so severe that their goggles froze over on their faces, and they couldn't see,' Matthew Cox said, 'If they left the goggles up, the precipitation hit their eyes and blinded them.'"
"The couple headed back to find the snow cave, but couldn't. They finally sought refuge in the hollowed rock."
"'They were focused on surviving and waiting it out and hanging on until the rescuers came or until the weather broke,' Cox said."
Later the same week, in New England, "Drivers on Interstate Highway I-95 were forced to take a slow detour onto city streets and back roads" in Bridgeport, Connecticut Friday, March 26, 2004, after a fiery tanker- truck crash that could snarl traffic for weeks along one of the busiest highways in America."
"The wreck burned so fiercely Thursday night," March 25, 2004, "that it caused the steel beams in an overpass to melt and buckle, forcing the closing of a one-mile stretch of I-95, the main highway connecting" New York City to the USA's New England states.
"No one was seriously injured in the crash. State police said the truck driver, Gilbert Robinson, 33, was trying to avoid a car and hit a concrete barrier" at an overpass between Exits 25 and 26. "The truck was carrying 12,000 gallons of home heating oil."
"The southbound side of the overpass, where the truck crashed, sagged several feet and must be torn down."
"'It's a mess,' said salesman Joseph Gerharty, 52, who was stuck in Fairfield (Connecticut) on his way home to Framingham, Mass."
"'The ripple effect can likely go through the whole country,' said Bob Costello, chief economist with the American Trucking Association. 'It's going to cost businesses money.'"
After the crash, motorists were detoured at Exit 27 onto nearby Lafayette Boulevard in an attempt to circumvent the crash scene.
In Washington, D.C., "Lafayette Elementary School will remain closed throughout the week, following a basement fire at the school on (Monday) March 15 (2004)."
"School officials said workers will complete repairs needed because of the fire, and crew are taking the opportunity to perform preventive maintenance as well."
"Lafayette students are to continue to report to the school building each morning to be bused to the alternate site for the day, and back to Lafayette at the end of the school day."
"Fire investigators have said that it looks like the Lafayette fire was started by someone, but they haven't determined if it was accidental or intentional."
In St. Louis, Missouri, the city's "Health Department has asked federal health officials for help in determining what made dozens of St. Louis elementary school pupils sick last week."
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) gave St. Louis health officials "advice on what to ask students at Lafayette Elementary School who vomited and became nauseated after eating smoked turkey and potatoes au gratin for dinner last week."
"The city may also turn food samples over to the Center for Disease Control. State officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees school lunch programs, have joined the investigation."
"'We have done all the tests we can do' at the local level, Larry Kettelhut, chief of environmental health services said Monday," March 22, 2004.
"Also on Monday, city health inspectors met with Lafayette parents to gain permission to further query the students about how they got sick. City officials are keeping in quarantine meals from Cloverdale Farms, which make the pre-packaged lunches. The Health Department has, until further notice, barred school cafeterias from serving any food from the Ohio-based Cloverdale."
Finally, there was yet another strange incident in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, the site of the stone- throwing poltergeist incident two weeks ago.
"A Fayette County man arrested last year for hiding in ductwork at Connellsville Area High School is in trouble with the law again--this time for allegedly breaking into a house and trying to get in the shower with a woman inside."
"Eric Jensen, 20, is facing charges of burglary, trespass, stalking and indecent exposure.""According to authorities, the female homeowner
complained about Jensen making unwanted advances and calling her at work."
"When Jensen entered her home Wednesday night," March 24, 2004, "officials say he undressed and tried to get in the shower with the woman, who screamed."
"Police say Jensen fled and later turned himself in to authorities. He's being held at the Fayette County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bond."
"This isn't the first time Jensen has been in hot water. Last March (2003) more than 1,300 students at Connellsville Area High School got a day off after custodians found him hiding in a crawl space above the girls' locker room showers." (See the Boston Globe for March 23, 2004, "Mass. couple missing in White Mountains;" the Boston Herald for March 25, 2004, "The mourning after: Hubby grieves for wife lost in storm;" the Minneapolis, Minn. Star-Tribune for March 27, 2004, "Truck wreck in Northeast could shut key highway for weeks;" the Washington Post for March 22, 2004, "Lafayette School to remain closed;" the Kansas City, Mo. Star for March 23, 2004, "St. Louis schools turn to CDC for aid;" and the KDKA-TV Channel 3 report from Pittsburgh, Pa. for March 26, 2004. Many thanks to Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark for these news reports.)
(Editor's Comment: No doubt about it--the current Fayette Factor flap is evolving into one heavy-duty jinx. Keep your gaze fixed on Pennsylvania, though. Fayette County has racked up two paranormal incidents in as many weeks. What's next?)
A TALE OF TWO OBELISKS
Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman has found another two Masonic sites in the USA which might become targets of Al- Qaeda terrorism.
Loren writes, "In your Roundup today, I must point out that you overlooked in the summary what may be the two most important Masonic structures with ties to 'Egyptian symbolism' in the USA--and thus possible future targets."
"They are, in D.C., the Washington Monument, and in Boston (Massachusetts), the Bunker Hill Monument, two major Masonic obelisks."
Strangely, the "Fayette Factor" is at work here. Both obelisks have links to Marie-Joseph de Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, one of the USA's Founding Fathers and a prominent Freemason.
Loren is "very aware of the Bunker Hill Monument's Masonic links because I studied it very closely-- physically and in the literature. I actually lived in Cambridge," Mass. from 1975 to 1983 "and opened and headed the Charlestown office of the Department of Social Services, which was housed at the Masonic temple at Charlestown Square--named in honor of Dr. Joseph Warren, the martyr of Bunker Hill."
"In 1794, King Solomon's Lodge of Charlestown (now meeting in Somerville, Mass.--L.C.) erected a monument on Bunker Hill on land donated by Brother Benjamin Russell for the purpose. It was a Tuscan pillar 18 feet (5.3 meters) in height, 8 feet (2.4 meters) square and fences round. The Bunker Hill Monument Association was founded in 1823 for the purpose of erecting on Bunker Hill a more fitting and enduring monument to the memory of the brave men who fell there in the cause of human liberty. King Solomon's Lodge gave the Association the ground which it owned, together with the monument it had erected to the memory of Brother Warren on condition that some trace of its former existence might be preserved in the monument to be erected."
"On June 17, 1825, the Grand Lodge opened at 8 a.m., and a procession was formed on the (Boston) Common which marched to Bunker Hill in Charlestown. There, in the presence of Brother (the Marquis de) Lafayette (the apron he wore is in the Grand Lodge archives--L.C.), representatives from five New England states, along with the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, Grand Master John Abbott and Senior Past Grand Master Isaiah Thomas, assisted in laying the cornerstone, and Lafayette and Brother Daniel Webster (the Senator from Massachusetts--J.T.) addressed the great gathering."
"The monument was completed and dedicated June 17, 1843, but without the presence of the Grand Lodge. It was during the anti-Masonic era, and a resolution to attend was defeated."
"Inside the present obelisk is a model of the first monument that had been erected by King Solomon's Lodge. It is made of the finest Italian marble and, including the granite pedestal on which it stands, is about 9 feet (2.7 meters) in height and bears sustantially the same inscription as the first one."
Since 1976, the Bunker Hill Monument "is now under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and anybody can climb the 294 steps to the top without charge."
The Washington Monument in the heart of the USA's capital also has numerous links to Freemasonry. "On May 18, 1800, the House of Representatives suggested the building of a pyramid, 100 feet (30 meters) square and 'of proportional height'" as a monument to George Washington, but the idea was shot down by the Senate.
"The notion that a pyramid would best represent the idea of George Washington extended even beyond the United States. In 1800 the American painter Benjamin West (then president of the Royal Academy in London) commissioned the English architect George Dance to design a monument to the first president: the imposing design offered by Dance was an ornate wall, flanked by two huge pyramids."
"The Washington National Monument Society was founded by a group of people responding to the leadership of George Watterston in 1833. The first design for the memorial was by Peter Force, who clearly admired the proposal of May 18, 1800. Peter Force was then one of the most influential men in Washington D.C.--he was at one time its mayor and in 1832 had written the National Calendar of the United States. His design--an enormous pyramid--is distinctly Masonic in concept, involving a 'human' pyramid within a greater 'cosmic' pyramid. The hollow interior of (Force's) larger pyramid contains a central triple-tier hollow, surrounded by four hallways and four corner rotundas."
"Although the Washington Monument now has all the outer appearance of a gigantic Egyptian obelisk, this was not the original intention. The (obelisk) design produced by the Freemason architect Robert Mills, and selected by the Washington National Monument Society in 1836, was to be surrounded by a colonnaded rotunda about 250 feet (615 meters) in diameter and 100 feet (30 meters) high. Its entablature would carry staturary of four-horse chariots-- the quadriga of the (Greek) sun god, Helios. The driver of the chariot was to be a representation of George Washington; the Republicans who opposed kingship seemed quite prepared to equate their hero with the sun god."
(Editor's Note: Robert Mills was a Mason but his lodge affiliation is no longer known. He is best remembered as the Mason who greeted the Marquis de Lafayette as "Illustrious Brother" during the latter's USA visit in 1824-1825. Incidentally, the chairman of the Washington National Monument Society in 1836, who approved the Mills design, was that distinguished Mason from Virginia, Chief Justice John Marshall of the Supreme Court.)
"In accordance with Masonic practices, construction of the obelisk began on July 4, 1848, with a ceremonial laying of the enormous cornerstone, which had been donated by the Mason Thomas Symington, who owned" the Symington Beaver Dam Quarry in Baltimore County, where the granite blocks came from.
"The ceremony was conducted by Benjamin French, wearing the Masonic apron and sash George Washington had worn when he laid the cornerstone of the Capitol" building in September 1793.
(Editor's Note: In 1848, Benjamin French was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the District of Columbia.)
In his book The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital, David Ovason observes, "The moment of the ceremonial cornerstone laying of the monument has been preserved and from this it is possible to reconstruct the (astrological) foundation chart. I have already observed that the Moon and the lunar node were in Virgo at this moment. However, I should add that there were other astrological forces at play...In many ways, it is a remarkable horoscope, for it reflects precisely the same sort of stellar magic as was practiced in ancient Egypt, millenia ago."
Researchers have pointed out a Masonic sub-text to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. The Twin Towers were said to be symbols of the twin pillars that stand in every Masonic lodge.
This was the theory, and, in early March 2004, two Islamic terrorists attacked the Scottish Rite Masonic lodge in the Kartal district of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, shooting at Masons and setting off bombs.
"These anti-Masonic attacks make a kind of sense when you consider that Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, was born in Egypt, is a nephew of the Grand Mufti of Cairo and joined the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1960s. As an adept of the Sufi mystics of Islam, Dr. Zawahiri sees himself as the guardian of the 'pure' tradition of the Egyptian mysteries," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor explained. "To Dr. Zawahiri, Scottish Rite Freemasonry is an abomination--a perversion of the true Oriental Masonry. The Scottish Rite is also an offshoot of the Knights Templar, an order of Crusaders. Remember, Dr. Zawahiri's first name for the group that became Al- Qaeda was the 'International Front to Combat Jews and Crusaders.'"
"I think the Joint Terrorism Task Force is missing the boat if it ignores 'magickal thinking' on Al-Qaeda's part," Trainor added, "To Dr. Zawahiri, any site associated with 'Crusader Masonry' is a legitimate target. That could be the Bunker Hill Monument, the Washington Monument, the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Charleston, S.C., Dealey Plaza in Dallas--site of the first Masonic lodge in Texas--any of them. I think the Kartal attack proves that Dr. Zawahiri is out to get Masonic sites." (See The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital by David Ovason, HarperCollins Perennial Books, New York, N.Y., 2002, pages 125 to 141; and The Freemason's Repository of November 1881, Volume 11. Many thanks to Loren Coleman for this background information.)
UFOs SIGHTED IN THE LAKE SUPERIOR REGION
"Ellen Pfeiffer of Ironwood (population 6,293)," in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, "called the Globe to say she and a friend had seen the bright light reported by a Kimball, Wisconsin man as an unidentified flying object Sunday evening," March 21, 2004.
"Pfeiffer said she and Darlene Korhonen were coming out of the Pioneer Park Apartments around 6:15 p.m. when they saw something in the sky that was neither a star nor an airplane."
"'It was absolutely awesome,' Pfeiffer said, 'I never saw anything so bright. We couldn't figure out what it was.'"
"Forrest Wiedbrauk of Kimball, Wisconsin told the Iron County Sheriff's Department that he had seen 12 bright lights over his house. The lights turned orange, and the craft took off over the house, according to the report."
On Friday, March 12, 2004, eyewitness M.N. "was driving eastward on Wellington Street in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, Canada," at the southeastern end of Lake Superior. "As I came to the central part of the city (known to us residents of the Lake Superior region as "Soo, Canada"--J.T.), I noticed a straight beam of light hovering in the early morning sky" around 4 a.m. "from the top of the hill that was on my northern side."
"My vehicle came to a complete stop at a cross street, and I looked all the way down to the end of the street (7 blocks away--M.N.) because the street ends at the base of the hill and has a metal stairwell leading to McDonald Avenue."
"Although being 7 blocks away, my eyes were able to focus on a little dark figure that was standing very still. This caught my curiosity, and, as I slowly drove towards it, it started moving from side to side with fluid movements, as if it was hovering in mid-air. It moved as if it was confused, or afraid, and didn't know what to do."
"As I got closer, the figure's appearance seemed to have metamorphosed into a transparent, shadow-like entity that very swiftly flew up the stairs. To my astonishment, the beam of light that I had seen in the sky a few minutes ago, and a couple of miles away, was now at the top of the hill, only about 100 feet (30 meters) away."
"With my heart racing and blood pumping, I drove as fast as I could eastward along the base of the hill until I came to the nearest hill street and drove up McDonald Avenue to see what was happening. In a matter of seconds, travelling from the bottom to the top of the hill, I arrived at the top of the steps only to find three circle- shaped burn markings on the pavement of the street."
"Approximately 10 seconds later, I heard a very weird kind of gunshot sound, looked up to the sky and saw a bright light shooting up into the stars. As I was watching the spectacle, a surreal kind of peaceful feeling came upon me, and it felt as if every hair on my body were standing on end. The feeling only lasted for what felt like 30 seconds, but when I looked at my watch, it was a good 40 minutes later."
"I drove home in astonishment and only told a very few good friends. Since that night, I have heard other accounts of some kind of bright light hovering across the summit of that hill very slowly, with a beam of light shining down from it." (See the Ironwood, Mich. Globe for March 24, 2004, "A confirmation on the UFO." Many thanks to Jim Hickman for this newspaper article. The Soo encounter was an Email Form Report.)
UFOs REPORTED IN OHIO
On Thursday, March 11, 2004, a witness in Clifton, Ohio "reported a high 'star-like' object that had unusual brightness, thought at first to be a satellite traversing a good portion of the sky at a routine clip until the object undertook a 90-degree banking maneuver. Size of the object was 'star-like.' No sound heard. Viewed about straight overhead," and its final direction of departure was to the northwest.
"The object was seen near the intersection of Vestry and Straight Streets near the Deaconness Hospital" in Clifton.
On Wednesday, March 17, 2004, at 7:02 p.m., the witness was outdoors in Dillonvale, Ohio (population 781), a town on Route 152 about 15 miles (25 kilometers) north of Wheeling, West Virginia, when he saw a UFO. He reported, "I, my son and a friend witnessed a very large black object hovering in the eastern sky, approximately 45 degrees due east. The object was at 2,000 to 3,000 feet (600 to 900 meters)" in altitude, "hovering still with the breaks in the passing low-level clouds we had last night. For about two minutes in duration, the object was perfectly still (as I could see the passing clouds moving), and then it slowly moved due east and, within 30 seconds, disappeared into the clouds around 30 degrees above the horizon. There were no lights whatsoever on the object, and the object made no sound."
"Judging from where I was viewing the object," the witness added, "I would guesstimate that it was directly over the Kenwood Mall/Madeira area and moved due east after that." (Many thanks to Ohio ufologist Kenny Young for these reports.)
THREE UFOs SIGHTED IN HERTFORDSHIRE, UK
On Friday, March 19, 2004, at 11:45 p.m., eyewitness R.A. was outdoors in Codicote, Hertfordshire, UK when she saw "three UFOs hovering in the same area. There were three objects in the sky" with an "oval shape and silver colour. One object was circling, and the other two were sort of chasing each other."
"The one that was circling was not moving very fast, but the two that were chasing each other were moving fairly fast. I observed these objects for 10 to 15 minutes. The sighting took place in the village of Codicote, and the objects stayed in the same area."
"When I first saw these objects, I thought they might be the lights of a car reflecting in the sky, but, when no car went past, I thought it strange. So I ignored it. When I looked, I believed it to be a strobe light, but there was not a beam coming from the ground."
"I asked my boss to take a look, and he agreed with me that it was not a strobe light or car lights. We looked for a little while longer and then went home. He got his daughter to take a look. He also got his video camera and took a recording, but because the camera is old," the image "has not come out that well." (Many thanks to Canadian ufologist Brian Vike for this report.)
UFO HOVERS OVER THE RIO DE LA PLATA
"An unidentified flying object was reported this morning," Saturday, March 27, 2004, "in the vicinity of the coastal highway" near Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
"Several eyewitnesses claim having seen a luminous object that changed colors incessantly and flew slowly over the Rio de la Plata," a broad estuary between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, the capital of neighboring Uruguay.
"Subsequently, a witness claimed having seen it over the town of Morin" in eastern Argentina.
Earlier in the week, on Monday, March 22, 2004, "an unidentified flying object that 'shone and swirled' hovered for a few minutes over the waters of the Rio de la Plata not far from the shoreline of Buenos Aires, according to the Fuerzas Aereas Argentineras (FAA or Argentinian Air Force--J.T.), which received several accounts from eyewitnesses who phoned in their reports."
"Air Commodore Guillermo Losada, press officer for the FAA, confirmed that 'several phone calls' were received, which alerted them to the presence of the UFO. He added that their existence could not be officially confirmed 'through the air traffic controllers or through any pilot testimony' since there were no flights in the vicinity at the time."
"'There has apparently been some sort of sighting, but we cannot confirm the type of object seen,' added Losada." (Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Gloria Coluchi para estas noticias.)
WEIRD PHANTOM TERRORIZES A SMALL TOWN IN ARGENTINA
"A silhouette of a man who walks on rooftops, drags heavy chains and makes strange noises" is now known as El Fantasma (Spanish for The Phantom--J.T.) "and has made residents of Monte Maiz restless."
Monte Maiz is a small town in southern Cordoba province, on the south shore of the Rio Cuarto, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of Buenos Aires, the national capital.
"As is common in these cases, the accounts of those who claim having seen or heard this ghostly shade spread by word of mouth and eventually reach local police authorities without the persons who claim having undergone the experience ever being identified."
"Opinions on the phantom were diametrically opposed. Some claim having seen 'a figure 2 meters (6 feet, 6 inches) tall, dressed in black and with spectacular agility,' while others say it's all imagination."
"Journalist Carlos Meldoni has not hesitated to say that the culprit 'is a foolish or stupid person in disguise, with a face mask, red eyes and white cape over his shoulders, who ventures out at night to terrify women living alone."
"Police, in any event, are patrolling the streets and listening to the stories of terrified residents."
"The pace of this town of 9,000 inhabitants in the department of Union has been interrupted during the past three weeks by a strange creature who rides the night to terrify residents. It is seen in outlying neighborhoods close to the city limits, where people wait for sunset to shut themselves in their houses under lock and key."
"The residents call it El Fantasma. Those who have seen it say it is a young person, very tall and slim, with red eyes. It dresses in white, sometimes black and other times grey. Always wears a hat and covers its face with a mask or hood."
"The sounds on the rooftop begin after 9 p.m., as do the calls to police."
"Residents claim that it walks on the roof, shuffles and runs, drags chains, scratches at windows and bangs at doors. It doesn't speak or yell. It has only been heard to laugh in the dark or whistle; some claim having heard it imitate the howling of a dog."
"One of the characteristics the locals agree on is the creature's agility. 'They say it runs swiftly and jumps over barbed wire fences and walls without touching them,' according to concerned neighbors. Its agility has made law enforcement's task all the harder, since the person runs whenever it encounters the patrols surrounding the town. Police say it appears to have no intention to commit burglary--only to frighten."
"'It's a sick person that's causing residents of Monte Maiz to lose their sleep,' said Sheriff Jorge Vivas.""The sheriff added, 'Given its M.O. (modus operandi-- J.T.) we suspect (the phantom--S.C.) to be two youths with a thorough knowledge of the town and the community. (The phantom) moves very quickly and can be in two different neighborhoods within minutes. It knows which houses to upset and chooses those with women."
"Eyewitness accounts follow:
"Ivana Molina: 'I went out to the yard and saw a man dancing, whistling and slapping his hands. The neighbors heard similar noises. I went out the next day, and the same man tried to grab me. I ran into the house and phoned the police. It banged on our bathroom window and wrote Mueres (Spanish for You will die--J.T.) with its finger.'"
"Oscar Gonzalez: 'I was standing in the yard and saw a shadow walking along. I could see its red eyes. We went out with another fellow to find it, and (the phantom- -S.C.) jumped into the neighbor's yard. It was dressed in white. On the following day, it whistled at us again. We went out to chase it and it vanished.'"
"Veronica Bertrando: 'My husband saw it as it crossed our patio. He said it was dressed in grey with a hood over its head. When it went by, the dog barked, my husband went outside, and it took off running. He tried to find it but couldn't find it. (The phantom--S.C.) hides in such a way that no one can find it.'" (See the Argentinian newspaper La Manana de Cordoba for March 22, 2004, "The Monte Maiz Phantom." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Gloria Coluchi para esto articulo de diario.)
CHUPACABRA KILLS 20 HENS IN SAN RAMON, COSTA RICA
"Several groups of dead hens were bled dry in the backyard of the Rodriguez household."
"A nocturnal Chupacabra attack took place last Tuesday night," March 16, 2004, "in a chicken coop owned by Gonzalo Rodriguez of barrio San Juan (neighborhood) of San Ramon, Ajuela province, Costa Rica."
"Nearly 20 beautiful plump hens--the type that take pride in laying large eggs--were found dead and without a trace of blood, bearing twin puncture marks on their backs. The birds were completely dry."
"It was late at night when Rodriguez heard strange noises and a ruckus coming from the henhouse on his property--a commotion that was far from being normal. He decided to send his son to check with a flashlight (torch in UK and Australia--J.T.), to make sure chicken thieves weren't at work."
"The youth obeyed his father and, flashlight in hand, approached the huge henhouse stealthily, becoming terrified upon seeing a strange black animal some 40 centimeters (15 inches) tall and resembling a small dog with a long tail and standing on two legs. He recalls, from what little he was able to see through the flashlight's beam, that the animal had a very long tongue. Upon seeing the light, the creature fled into the vegetation, skillfully leaping over a wall."
"An investigation of the henhouse revealed that 20 hens had been slain. Police authorities of the nearby town of San Ramon were notified, and Officer Marcos Hernandez reported to the scene to corroborate not only Gonzalo Rodriguez's account but the testimony of frightened neighbors."
"The officer was able to ascertain that several 'bunches' of dead hens lay near the property's fence. The birds were whole, and the only sign of damage to them was two small holes on the back, through which is presumed that the strange assailant drove its fangs to remove or suck their blood."
"Witnesses immediately ascribed the blame for the chicken slayings to the legendary, sinister and mysterious creature known throughout Central America as the Chupacabra."
"What occurred two nights ago at the Rodriguez household was immediately associated with an earlier, similar event, in which dead sheep have been found with the same characteristics: twin puncture marks on their necks or back and not a single drop of blood."
"Neighbors have rejected the possibility that a weasel, a wolf or a hen-killing predator such as a fox could be considered. What startled them most is that formerly one or two hens would vanish--now 20 did so at the same time." (See the newspaper Extra of San Jose de Costa Rica for March 18, 2004, "Chupacabra exanguinates hens in San Ramon." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Gloria Coluchi para esto articulo de diario.)
POLTERGEISTS PLAGUE A VILLAGE IN INDIA
"People of a village in" India's Madhya Pradesh state "are facing hostility from an unseen and a mysterious enemy."
"The people of Ratria village in Neemuch, a district in western Madhya Pradesh, for the last week have been coping with unexplained fires and stone pelting. And they do not know who is behind this."
"Not only the villagers, even the district administration and the police have until now failed to provide any solace to the village."
"The village feels that if their problem is not solved soon, they will be facing a shortage of water."
"'Our wells have started drying up from fighting all the fires,' one villager said."
"Ratria is a village 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the district headquarters of Neemuch, with a population of 1,000 people. Most of the villagers are farmers."
"It all started a week ago when a fire suddenly broke out in the village. The villagers did not find anything unusual in the fire. Assuming that the fire resulted from the stub of a cigarette or a short-circuit, they doused it."
"But, to the horror of the villagers, the outbreak of the fires soon became very common."
"'Fire breaks out anywhere in the village and at any time of day,' says Sirdar Singh Gurjar, the headman of Ratria village. 'We drew water from the wells of the village to douse the fires. The wells have started drying up. Major fires have broken out in the village 11 times in the past two days.'"
"According to the villagers, they suddenly had to face a shower of stones."
"'Many people have been injured in the stone pelting,' Gurjar said."
"The harassed villagers informed the police in Neemuch about the matter."
"'I was going to my fields in the normal manner a couple of days ago when stones started hitting me from all directions. I ran for cover,' said Ram Deo, a farmer of the village."
"'I thought it was a mischief. But the same thing happened on the following day also,' he said."
"Taking the incidents seriously, district police chief Yogesh Beshnukh visited the village. But much to the surprise of Beshnukh, he and his men also came under the shower of stones and had to scamper to save themselves."
"'We have deployed policemen in plainclothes in the village. Secondly, we have decided to take scientists to the village to allay the fears of the people. We have also deployed cameramen on rooftops,' said deputy superintendent of police N.P. Varkade, 'We believe it's a mischief.'" (See the Indian newspaper New Kerala Times for March 21, 2004, "Villagers in Madhya Pradesh face mysterious enemy." Many thanks to Krishnari Bai Dharapurnanda for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: We seem to be having a real run on stone-throwing poltergeists lately. There was a shower of stones in barrio Santa Teresita in Saenz Pena, Argentina on February 19, 2004. And on Saturday, March 13, 2004, there was a stone-throwing incident in Bullskin Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. For more, see UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 9 for March 3, 2004, "El Pombero causes havoc in northern Argentina," page 1; and UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 12 for March 24, 2004, "Two new Fayette Factor cases reported in USA," page 1.)
BRAZILIAN PASTOR DIES DURING THE PASSION
"A Brazilian pastor has died during a screening of Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion of the Christ (In Portuguese, O Pasiao do Cristo --J.T.)."
"Jose Geraldo Soares, 43, pastor of a Presbyterian church in Belo Horizonte," the capital of Minas Gerais state in southeastern Brazil, "had booked an entire cinema to view the film with his congregation."
"Halfway through the film, Sra. da Soares noticed that her husband was no longer moving, and a doctor in the audience confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack."
"Friends denied that violent scenes of Christ's beating and crucifixion had caused Pastor Soares' death."
"'He was calmly watching the movie next to his wife,' said Amauri Costa, a family friend."
"Sra. da Soares noticed that something was wrong when her husband did not reply when she spoke to him during the film."
"The couple's two children were also in the cinema."
"The film, which opened in Brazil on Friday," March 19, 2004 "has been criticized for the considerable violence in its bloody portrayal of Jesus' final 12 hours. It has also been attacked for alleged anti-Semitism."
"But leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil have praised O Pasiao do Cristo as 'an accurate rendition of Biblical events.'"
Brunilda Barros, UFO Roundup correspondent in Brazil, reported, "O Pasiao do Cristo has drawn very large crowds here in Minas Gerais. I think every nun in the state has seen this film. It is even doing well in Bahia (state), where Candomble is very strong."
(Editor's Note: Candomble is a pagan religion in Brazil similar to Caribbean Santeria.)
"The Jews have bitterly attacked this film and Mel Gibson. There have been Jewish demonstrations in Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi but no violence."
"Pastor Soares is the second person to die during a screening of the film." On opening day, Wednesday, February 25, 2004, Peggy Law Scott died of heart failure during a screening of the film in Wichita, Kansas.
On Monday, March 15, 2004, actor James Caviezel, his wife Kerri and her parents were granted a private audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in Rome. During the meeting, the Pope "blessed James Caviezel, the actor who plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's epic, The Passion of the Christ, and encouraged him to continue making inspiring films."
"'You are on the right path,' said the Pope, 'You are helping to bring others to the Lord through your work.'"
The private audience was a real thrill for Caviezel, 35, who grew up in Des Moines, Washington state and attended Roman Catholic schools. He reported, "We were ushered in and I was fortunate to be able to talk directly with the pope. It was very short, very brief, only a couple of minutes. He had been told who I was ahead of time. He blessed me and, as he did, I began to shake with tears of joy and happiness.'" (See the Brazilian newspaper O Mineirao for March 20, 2004. Also the tabloids National Enquirer and Globe for April 5, 2004. Muito obrigado a Brunilda Barros por eso articulo de diario.)
BURGLARS RANSACK ELVIS MUSEUM
"Thieves made off with more than $300,000 worth of Elvis Presley memoribilia, but like his hit song, they laid off his $1 million blue suede shoes."
"The crooks hit the Elvis-A-Rama Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, using a tow truck to pry open a roll-up door in the back of the building."
"Within two minutes, they smashed three display cases with lead pipes and made off with 11 items, including a gold-plated handgun, his high school ring, a gold-and- diamond medallion with his initials and a $77,000 ruby- and-diamond star-shaped ring."
"Luckily, the King's prized (blue suede) shoes--which were on loan to the museum--were found behind a shattered display case."
"The burglary naturally has the owners all shook up."
"'It's devastating,' says Chris Davidson, whose collection is the largest outside of Graceland. 'You can't replace this stuff.'"
"His wife Dawnette adds, 'Clearly, they'll take it out of Vegas if they have any brains. We hope not. We hope they're stupid.'" (See the tabloid Globe for April 6, 2004, "Elvis bandits lay off his blue suede shoes," page 17.)
(Editor's Comment: Wow! The Rings of Elvis are missing. Time for another quest. Send out the Hobbits. Hmmm...say, Gollum, you wouldn't know anything about that star-shaped ring, would you?
Gollum: "It's MY ring! Mine! My precious! Besides, I deserve it. I can quote every line of dialogue in Viva Las Vegas.")
From the UFO Files...
1934: THE MYSTERIOUS LAMA OF LENG
In the English language, the first mention of the mysterious plateau of Leng appears in "Celephais" by Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937), which was published in Weird Tales in 1920.
Two years later, in 1922, Lovecraft mentions Leng again in his short story "The Hound," hinting that it lies somewhere in a sparsely-populated region of central Asia.
In 1927, Lovecraft published the first of his short novels, The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. Here for the first time HPL definitively states that "Leng is a sinister region next to Kadath in the Cold Waste (Antarctica--J.T.)," hinting at "lands and mountains and temples of horror earlier than Asia and earlier than any human world we know."
In his Antarctic novel, At the Mountains of Madness, Lovecraft refers to Leng as "a windswept table-land which seemed the very roof of a blasted and tenantless world."
Others in "the Lovecraft Circle," such as Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard, also incorporated "the mysterious plateau of Leng" into their stories for "the unique magazine," Weird Tales.
So, that's all Leng is--a make-believe plateau dreamed up by H.P. Lovecraft. Right?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Recently two Fortean researchers have been conducting frame-by-frame analyses of a 1934 documentary film in search of a bald-headed Oriental monk who may be Leng's legendary Chocho Lama, first mentioned by Lovecraft in his stories.
In Fortean Times No. 180 for March 2004, writer Jay Nelson disputed a claim that "no Tibetan Buddhist monks could have been found in Hitler's Germany."
Jay adds, "There is contrary evidence in Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda (film) masterpiece, Triumph of the Will. Towards the beginning of the film, among the anxious crowds of peasants and fascists awaiting Hitler's arrival, there is a clear, if fleeting, shot of a shaven- headed, black-robed Tibetan monk, standing in front of a sable Buddhist banner. The image is very brief, lasting only several frames, and not mentioned in any article I've been able to find on the Internet."
Triumph of the Will was shot on location in Nuremberg by the controversial German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl during the annual Party Day rally in September 1934. Ms. Riefenstahl, who died last year at the age of 100, was criticized for decades by people who felt that her film had glorified Hitler and the Nazis.
Jay Nelson found the strange fleeting image "when viewing a video of the movie at a university media lab I worked at some years ago, so I can't say the exact point at which it appears."
"This only raises the mystery as the movie was made in the fall of 1934, some four years before the Himalayan quest sponsored by (Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich) Himmler. But if Tibetans were present in Nazi Germany years before the war and even participating in rallies, maybe other rumours so rigorously debunked could be true as well."
Jay's report prompted another UK researcher, Tom Ruffles, to view the Riefenstahl film on his own. Tom reported, "Jay Nelson claims to have seen the figure of a Tibetan monk in Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. Being sceptical, I spent rather longer than was good for my mental health running through the first section of my DVD copy at various speeds in an attempt to spot the elusive Buddhist. I think I have found what Jay has in mind, and he is right when he says that it only lasts a few frames. It is at 9 minutes, 23 seconds on the Moonstone edition, and I'm afraid that it is not quite as unambiguous as he claims."
"In fact, it is only the top of a bald man's head seen for a fraction of a second in a crowd gathered outside the house to which Hitler goes after his arrival, where he is shown at a window acknowledging the adulation. This may or may not be a monk holding a Buddhist banner-- the banner is furled, so it's hard to determine precisely what it is, but it is definitely multi-coloured, not sable."
"As for the black robes, it is impossible to see what the person is wearing, but in the previous shot, a black- uniformed SS-man is prominent in the frame, which dissolves to the brief shot containing the putative monk. so perhaps Jay combined these elements into a black-robed figure. Of course this might not be what he had in mind; many shots showing the crowds lining the route are fast pans of short duration, and the figures are not clear, so I may have the wrong bald head."
"Finally, he says that the crowds awaiting Hitler's arrival are 'anxious.' Far from it, all concerned look repulsively enthusiastic."
In his book One Foot in Atlantis, William Henry stated that "the Shining Ones," descendants of the survivors of the Cataclysm that sank Atlantis, made contact with the Thule Gesellschaft, the forerunner of the Nazi Party, in the 1920s. It has been theorized that these "Shining Ones" were emissaries from the hidden realm of Shambhala in northern Afghanistan.
But there's another possibility. What if initiates from hidden Shambhala had set up a lamasery in Antarctica prior to the Twentieth Century? What if Lovecraft's Chocho Lama was a real person?
The "plateau of Leng" has its real-life counterpart in the Ritscher Upland, located between the Princess Martha Coast and the Muhlig-Hoffman Mountains in the Neu Schwabenland (German for New Swabia--J.T.) region of Antarctica. Could this be the location of "Kadath in the Cold Waste," the prehistoric ruins mentioned on many occasions by Lovecraft?Perhaps Leni Riefenstahl's movie camera picked up a fleeting image of the Chocho Lama 70 years ago, while he was in Nuremberg for a private meeting with Hitler and the luminaries of the Thule Gesellschaft.
Perhaps Antarctica is not as uninhabited as we have been led to believe. (See One Foot in Atlantis by William Henry, Earthpulse Press, Anchorage, Alaska, 1998, pages 155 and 156; Himmler's Crusade by Christopher Hale, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J., 2003, pages 20 to 26; and At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels by H.P. Lovecraft, edited by August Derleth and S.T. Joshi, Arkham House, Sauk City, Wisconsin, 1985; Also Fortean Times No. 180 for March 2004, page 71, and Fortean Times No. 182 for May 2004, page 73.)
Well, that's it for this week. Join us in seven days for more UFO, Fortean and paranormal news from around the planet Earth--nd occasionally, Mars--brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you then.
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.