UFO ROUNDUP

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Volume 9
Number 17
April 28th, 2004

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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ALABAMA CESSNA SHOT DOWN BY A UFO?

"Federal investigators said a single-engine plane hit an 'unknown object' at 3,000 feet (900 meters) before it crashed in a swampy area near Mobile, Alabama (population 198,915) on October 23, 2002, killing a veteran pilot."

"The pilot, Thomas J. Preziose, 54, of Mobile, had reported sighting a FedEx DC-10 near his flight. But the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators found that the FedEx aircraft wasn't damaged, and the object that hit the small plane remains a mystery."

"In a report this week, the NTSB said there were unidentified red marks on the severely damaged nose and front belly of the crashed Cessna, but tests failed to find the source of the red streaks."

"The crash occurred minutes after Preziose took off from (Mobile's) Downtown Airport to deliver business documents to Montgomery," Alabama's state capital.

"NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway told the Mobile Register that agency officials 'don't know of any other accident that we have in our files that states 'collision with an unknown object.'"

"A full NTSB analysis of the crash is expected within a few months, said Holloway."

"'It's just a great thing that this kind of thing didn't happen to an airliner with a bunch of people on it,' said Don Godwin, a veteran pilot and chief executive officer of Mid-Atlantic Freight, which owned the plane."

"Preziose was working for Mid-Atlantic Freight, under contract with the delivery company DHL Worldwide Express, and had flown this one route numerous times."

"An air traffic controller at Mobile Regional Airport apparently gave incorrect positions to Preziose about the location of a DC-10 in his area, according to the report."

"An FAA official at Mobile Regional Airport said Tuesday," April 13, 2004, "he wasn't aware of any equipment malfunction."

"The report says the Mobile Regional controller alerted Preziose, flying at 3,000 feet (900 meters), to the presence of the DC-10, which was 7 miles (11 kilometers) straight in front of him, flying at 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). Preziose acknowledged it."

"A minute later, the controller told Preziose the DC- 10 had crossed the smaller plane's path and remained at 4,000 feet, the report says."

"'Roger, I've got him above me right now,' Preziose replied, apparently confirming he saw the FedEx plane."

"But, moments later, the report states, he came back on the air," saying "'I needed to deviate...I needed to deviate...I needed to deviate...I needed--'"

"Based on the best radar information they could find, investigators concluded the Cessna never crossed paths with the DC-10, contrary to what the air traffic controller had told Preziose, the report states. While the DC-10 was said to be crossing his path, it was still 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) away, the report says."

"Mobile lawyer Greg Breedlove said his firm has been retained by Preziose's family and is examining several possibilities, including that the Cessna simply got caught in turbulence caused by the FedEx plane."

"The Cessna wreckage was found in shallow waters about a mile north of the Mobile Causeway. Its Pratt & Whitney engine block was split in two, the report says."

"'That's a big deal,' said Godwin, who believes the Cessna was shattered by a collision in flight. 'That airplane could fall out of the sky and hit concrete, and it's unlikely it would've broken the engine in half like that.'"

"Along with failing to find the source of the red streaks, investigators were also unable to identify the source of 'a small piece of what appeared to be black anodized aluminum, which was embedded in the left wing' near the (Cessna's) fuselage, the report states." (See the Mobile, Ala. Register for April 14, 2004, "NTSB: Unknown object downed Cessna in swamp." Many thanks to Robert Fischer for this newspaper article.)

SECOND SIGHTING OF INDIANA UFO REPORTED

On Thursday, April 8, 2004, at 10 p.m., Ross F. Lucchetti reported, "While driving home" in Sheridan, Indiana (population 2,570), "my wife and I saw a small light grow in the north and then become a horizontal thing of 6 to 8 lights, perfectly spaced and perfectly horizontal, just above the tree line. It lasted only a few seconds and then went out or disappeared."

"Only the lights were visible. It appeared to be very large and didn't move in any direction from our vantage point. I told my brother, who did some research and learned of the UFO that was seen the same night in Rochester, Indiana."

Sheridan, Ind. is on Highway 38, just north of Indianapolis and approximately 97 miles (155 kilometers) south of Rochester, Ind. (Email Form Report)

HOVERING UFO SEEN IN FORT MYERS, FLORIDA

On Saturday, April 17, 2004, at 7:30 p.m., eyewitness K.M. and her family were in Fort Myers, Florida (population 48,208) when they spotted a UFO approaching from the west.

"This weekend we were in the Fort Myers area for the Challenger Baseball Festival. On the way back from the barbecue, we saw this sliver of light in the western sky. If it was curved, I might have thought it was a new moon or something, but it wasn't. It looked like what the sliver of moon might look like if it was straightened out."

"It was at an angle. It did not move. There were no clouds in the sky. The sun had just set. We were looking at it for about ten minutes."

"During that time, a bright light appeared at the very top and then would disappear. This happened several times."

"Then it started to fade and then disappeared before our eyes. It was very strange. I could not figure out any explanation for it. It was almost like a slit in the sky had opened up, and then it closed. We have a picture of it."

Fort Myers is on Florida's Gulf of Mexico shoreline, located approximately 116 miles (185 kilometers) south of St. Petersburg and Tampa. (Email Form Report)

WHITE UFO WITH RED LIGHTS SPOTTED IN BERKSHIRE, UK

On Monday, April 19, 2004, at 8 p.m., Geoffrey Fox was outdoors at Forest Park, Bracknell, Berkshire, UK when he spotted a diamond-shaped UFO coming towards him from the east.

"The object was a large white light," Geoffrey reported, "A diamond-shaped white light, vibrantly glowing. It had two red lights randomly flashing on its right hand side. It was just over 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the ground. It didn't seem to move across the sky, and I'm unaware of its speed."

"I observed it hovering in the sky for two to two- and-a-half hours. After a brief period indoors, I went back outside, and it had moved to the other side of the sky (west--J.T.) and was still hovering."

"My father, who lives in Crowthorne, also observed the anomaly." (Email Form Report)

MAJOR UFO FLAP BREAKS OUT IN NORTHERN IRAN

A major UFO flap has broken out in northern Iran, just south of the Caspian Sea, with thousands of people standing in streets and home gardens to watch the luminous objects darting across the night skies.

On Tuesday night, April 13, 2004, a luminous disc "was seen over the city of Meshkin Shahr" in northern Iran.

On Wednesday, April 14, 2004, at 9 p.m., "a UFO crossed the sky over the small city of Bileh Savar. The object looked oval. It hovered over Bileh Savar for 30 minutes and was seen by hundreds of people who gathered in the souq (market place) and by the side of the highway. Then it flew in a straight line and seperated into four distinct flying lights."

Half an hour earlier, at 8:30 p.m., "many people in Tabriz," a large city located 500 kilometers (300 miles) northwest of Tehran, the national capital, "saw a flying light with two small stubby wings. The wings emitted light beams in many dazzling colors."

On Saturday, April 17, 2004, at 8:30 p.m., "hundreds of people saw a luminous oval-shaped UFO over Azad Shahr in northern Iran. The strange object flew around in the city's sky for over 60 minutes. This object frequently changed color."

On Sunday, April 18, 2004, at 11 p.m., "people reported an oval UFO over the city of Poldokhtar in western Iran. This UFO flew around for 30 minutes. Residents watched from their rooftops and gardens."

On Wednesday, April 21, 2004, "just after dusk, people in Gorgan saw a UFO 'emitting a strong pink light.'"

That same evening, UFOs "appeared over three cities-- Sari in northern Iran, Ardabil in the northwest, and Ghonbad-Kavous near the Caspian, where a UFO was seen on April 12. Residents described them as 'strong lights flying in the sky.'"

On Sunday, April 25, 2004, "the disc-shaped UFO returned to Meshkin Shahr and was seen by many people."

Iranian ufologist Hassan Hashemi reported, "The government Channel TV-1 in Tehran aired a short video of the UFO in Ardabil. The footage was taken with a hand- held videocamera."

"Now there is even more talk about an underwater alien base on the floor of the Caspian Sea. The entire UFO community in the Middle East is talking about these incidents in Iran," Ayesha al-Khatabi, UFO Roundup's Middle East correspondent, reported, "Some speculate that these are the Zarzi aliens who were last seen in the as- Zab as-Saghir (Little Zab River valley--J.T.) in Iraq. But others think they are another alien race entirely." (Many thanks to Hassan Hashemi, Kufa Yildaz and Ayesha al- Khatabi for these UFO reports.)

MYSTERIOUS NOISES HAVE FOLKS SLEEPLESS IN EPSOM

"A group of Epsom residents, sleepless in suburbia, fear they have little prospect of catching some shut-eye after experts told them they were powerless to pin down the mystery noises keeping them awake."

"Light sleepers in Manor Green Road" in Epsom, a suburb of London, "have failed to clock-up a decent night's slumber in six months because of the sounds which regularly wake them up."

"The residents said they have been hearing five repeated thuds in the middle of the night and cannot trace the source."

"Double-glazed windows and ear plugs have been no match for the tumult."

"So intolerable is the situation that one homeowner has considered seeking a deep-sleeping buyer with a dreamy nature to restore her silent nights."

"When Claire Stott, 50, enlisted the help of Epsom and Ewell Borough Council's environmental health department, she was told to collate more information."

"Officials insist that they are unable to identify the sound because it occurs at irregular intervals."

"A spokesman told The Guardian: 'We need a starting point. When we last received a call about the problem in February (2004), we were not in a position to help. We really have to have a better suggestion of where it is coming from.'"

"Residents, however, said it was their failure to trace the source that prompted them to return to the department."

"In a desperate bid to get a good night's sleep, the tired residents are calling on Guardian readers to solve the riddle of the racket."

"Mrs. Stott said: 'Everyone is baffled. The noise is driving me mad. It's like someone beating loudly on a drum.'"

"'People say you can just get back to sleep, but it's not that easy. You are thinking all the time of when it will come again. I just hope someone will recognise the problem and come forward.'"

"Builders working in neighbouring Long Grove Road have put forward a water pump as the possible culprit."

"But residents say it is too far removed to generate the noise, which is penetrating the double-glazed windows." (See The Guardian for April 19, 2004. Many thanks to Robert Fischer for forwarding this newspaper article.)

(Editor's Comment: Oh, no! Don't tell me the Deros are building an underground base in Epsom. There goes the neighborhood!)

BLEEDING JESUS STATUE CAUSES STIR IN ALASKA

"A statue of a crucified Christ in the Yukon River valley village of Marshall (population 360) is causing a stir after villagers claimed it started bleeding."

"The statue began leaking from classic stigmata points on Sunday and Monday," April 11 and 12, 2004, "and has continued to do so, according to witnesses in the Yupik (indigenous Alaskan people--J.T.) village of 360 people."

"The 'miracle of Marshall' began during midnight Easter services" on Sunday, April 11, 2004, "at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, said resident Maureen Fitka-Larson. She belongs to the local Russian Orthodox Church but has visited Immaculate Heart of Mary every day this week to pray and watch the statue."

"'You wouldn't see it dripping or anything, but over a period of time,' Fitka-Larson said, 'You go up and check

it the next day, you notice.'"

"It is unclear whether the statue had any painted blood as part of its original design, and church officials could not be reached for comment Friday," April 16, 2004.

"Word of the bleeding crucifix quickly spread up and down the (Yukon) river this week, and by Thursday," April 15, 2004, "pilgrimages had already begun."

"A spokesman for Hageland Aviation Service in nearby St. Marys, Alaska (population 500) said the company flew several charter flights over to Marshall this week for people wanting to see the statue."

"Religious statues and icons that allegedly bleed or weep pop up regularly all over the world (as readers of UFO Roundup are well aware--J.T.). They are dismissed by unbelievers as hoaxes, and the (Roman Catholic) Church usually keeps its distance from any claim of miracles."

"The Fairbanks Diocese on Friday sent copies of a letter signed by Bishop Donald Kettler to (Roman Catholic) parishes, saying a diocese representative visited the village 'and this person reports (along with other members of the village) that they could not tell if anything did or did not happen.'"

"'I will continue to gather information and will proceed slowly, carefully and prayerfully,' Kettler wrote."

"At the request of parishoners, Rev. Max Isaac of the village's Russian Orthodox Church, went to visit the Catholic crucifix. He didn't get too close, he said, 'but between Sunday and today (Wednesday, April 14, 2004), I did notice that even more color was evident.'"

"The village is a 'melting pot of emotions' over the crucifix, Isaac said. 'There are some people who are scared, some people are glad. I can only say we've had an increase of telephone calls from many different villages throughout Alaska and in this region.'"

"Isaac and Fitka-Larson rejected the possibility that someone in the village might be doctoring the statue so that it appears to bleed."

"'Nobody, out of respect, would go into the church and do that,' Fitka-Larson said."

"She accepted the miracle and believes the blood is a message from Jesus."

"'I think in his own way he is trying to tell us something--to go to church more, to pray more, to love more,' she said." (See the Juneau, Alaska Empire for April 19, 2004, "Yukon villagers claim 'bloody' crucified Jesus statue is a 'miracle.'" Many thanks to Rose Daugherty for this newspaper article.)

PHANTOM PANTHERS RUN RIOT ACROSS UK

"Is a black panther roaming the streets of York?"

"That's what's got two city women in a real flap as they claim they came within a whisker of the deadly beast as it scoured their garden."

"But the sighting has caused experts to 'paws' for thought--with one rubbishing the claim and another confident the animal is just one of many on the loose."

"Hairdresser Nikki Winterburn, 20, and Katie Ibbotson, also 20, made the sighting at their home in Lilac Avenue, off Hull Road" in York.

"'We were sitting watching telly (TV in the USA-- J.T.) when this massive cat appeared and stared at us from the garden through the French windows,' said Nikki."

"'We were really scared. It was bigger than a Labrador (dog). I called the police but I don't think they took me very seriously.'"

"Nikki said the animal was about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long with green eyes. 'My friends think it is a panther escaped from a zoo. We looked for it all night, but it never came back.'"

"The girls spotted the mystery animal at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday," April 7, 2004.

"A York police spokesman confirmed a report had been made about a large cat-like animal walking through a garden in Lilac Avenue, although officers are not believed to be spending the lion's share of police time on the sighting."

"Big cat expert Sean Drayton, of Flamingo Land, said he was 'highly sceptical' it was anything other than a dog. 'Every time someone sees a big cat, they always vanish into thin air.' he said."

"'If it was a panther, some sort of trace would be found. They are capable of killing and eating a dog.'"

"Ken Harrison has studied big cats since an enounter on his Hovingham farm tripped calls from across the country reporting similar sightings."

"'You'd be amazed at what's running wild in this country,' he said."

"Big cat sightings are not uncommon in the (Yorkshire) region. In February 2002, a motorist claimed to have come face-to-face with a black panther as it prowled a country lane near York."

On Sunday, April 18, 2004, an eyewitness reported, "I was a passenger in a car being driven from Norwich on the (motorway) A140 this evening at 6:15 p.m. when we spotted two large cats in a field to the left of the car's passenger side. They were both black, probably the size of a large dog, with long tails that appeared to curl up at the ends. The light was excellent, and they were clearly NOT any type of dog. They even bounded over the ground in a cat-like way."

In Cornwall, "servicemen on night manoeuvres at a Cornish air base have reported sighting a large black puma-like animal." (The puma is better known as a cougar or a mountain lion here in the USA--J.T.)

"They say they saw the creature in a series of separate sightings around the RAF station at St. Mawgan," Cornwall, UK.

"Now motion detectors are being put around the base in a bid to track the animal and catch it on camera."

"Witnesses, who did not wish to be identified, compared the cat's size with a fox that was in the field at the same time, saying it was 'five times the length of the fox,' with a head like a puma or a panther."

"Squadron Leader Dave Webster said: 'We need to maintain the integrity of the sighting area so that zoologists can ascertain whether or not the creature was in transit or if it has become a more frequent visitor.'"

"Squadron Leader Webster warned: 'This is an active military installation, which is regularly patrolled and guarded. In the present security climate, it would be extremely unwise for anyone to attempt to venture onto the

base to see if the creature is still there."

"According to one observer, the animal is at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) long."

"Group Captain Jim Goodbourn, the base's commanding officer, has given authority for specialised monitoring and detection equipment, including motion detectors and night-time recording devices, to be stood around the area

where the sightings took place."

Elsewhere in UK, "big cats are still alive and well and roaming around Gloucestershire."

"And, while cast-iron evidence is always tantalisingly out of reach, there are still dozens of sightings every year. There were 64 sightings of beasts in Gloucestershire between January 2003 and March 2004."

"And the South West as a whole has been branded the UK's hot spot with 21 percent of all 2,052 sightings reported to the British Big Cats Society."

"Founder of the society, Danny Bamping, said: 'Over the last 15 months, we have been inundated with information--it's been rather overwhelming at times.'" (See the York Evening Press for April 10, 2004, "Big cat flap." Many thanks to Robert Fischer, UFO Roundup's phantom panther expert, for these news stories.)

FAYETTE FACTOR CALLS DOWN TORNADOES

The USA's spring tornado season got underway last week, with what looks like a slight assist from the Fayette Factor.

"A tornado killed eight people in Illinois on Tuesday," April 20, 2004. "All eight deaths were in Utica, Ill. (population 977), a small town 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Chicago."

"Storm spotters logged at least 51 tornado sightings across five states."

"The (USA's) tornado 'season' runs from March through midsummer, but tornadoes can strike in any month. The peak period is April through June. April is the deadliest month."

"The Utica twister was by far the most destructive of the 51 tornadoes that tore through the Midwest before the storm system wore out."

"The storm developed so fast that forecaster skipped issuing a tornado watch for LaSalle County and issued a more urgent tornado warning at 5:32 p.m., 26 minutes before the first funnel cloud was spotted near LaSalle and 37 minutes before another hit Utica."

In neighboring Indiana, "at least three tornadoes touched down before 5:30 p.m. in Michigantown (population 406), causing sporadic damage to the small town 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Lafayette, Clinton County Emergency Management Department officials reported."

Fortean researcher Loren Coleman commented, "For those who have some awareness of Jim Brandon's past comments on the intriguing way that tornadoes, trailers and the Fayette Factor seem to frequently overlap, you have to do nothing more than look at the unfolding spring tornado season" in the USA.

A mysterious fire destroyed an automobile in upstate New York.

"A Waterloo man faces drunken driving charges after his car impacted in a ditch in Fayette, N.Y."

"Marty D. Colegrove, 27, of 9 East Elizabeth Street," Waterloo, N.Y., "is charged with failure to use a designated lane and driving while intoxicated when his car went off the road on state Road 414 and went into a ditch."

"The Seneca County Sheriff's Dept. reports Colegrove tried to get himself out of the ditch by driving out, but heavy acceleration caused flames to engulf the vehicle. No injuries were reported."

In Tennessee, as if mimicking the mysterious air crash in Mobile, Alabama in October 2002, a small airplane went missing in a thunderstorm.

"Authorities have found the wreckage of an experimental airplane and say only one person was found dead at the scene."

"Shelby County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Shular says the debris was spotted by the department's helicopter. That was shortly before 1 p.m." on Thursday, April 22, 2004 "just north of Oakland in Fayette County."

"The Federal Aviation Administration had notified local authorities that the plane had disappeared from radar as a thunderstorm passed through the area around 10 a.m."

Unusual deaths and weird crimes rounded out the rest of last week's Fayette-related incidents.

"A young Fayette County couple has been ordered held for trial on charges that they let their five-month-old son freeze to death while they attended an outdoor beer bash back in mid-autumn 2001."

"Michael David King, 23, and his wife, Jennifer Sue King, 22, both of 275 Washington Street, Oliver (Kentucky) each have been charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of reckless endangerment."

"State police allege that the Kings left their two children in the family car when they went to a bonfire at the site of a former strip (coal) mine in Stewart Township, near State Gamelands 51 and the village of Chalk Hill."

(Editor's Comment: There might be a lexilink here, as in "Gamelands (Area) 51.")

"Witnesses testified that about 20 people attended the November 10, 2001 party, which had a keg of beer."

"The younger of the Kings' two children, Jonathan Michael, died of hypothermia early the following morning," November 11, 2001. "Their daughter, 23-month-old Courtney, had to be hospitalized for respiratory problems, according to police, but she survived."

"The Kings remain free on $25,000 assured bond."

In North Carolina, "a Fayetteville teenager has been charged in Tuesday's abduction of a three-year-old Salem County girl, Jai-Mya Lamon Glover." The suspect is being held on $500,000 bail bond.

In Arkansas, "Work began Wednesday," April 21, 2004, "in Fayetteville, Ark. to restore a historic monument that has been vandalized several times."

In Massachusetts, "homeless rights activists are up in arms after eight people landed in jail last Wednesday night during a rally in Lafayette Square" in Somerville, a suburb just north of Boston.

Finally, Loren Coleman got a shock Tuesday, April 20, 2004, when he read this strange little story in the Lexington, Ky. Herald-Leader.

"Lester Coleman, the conspiracy theorist and former Lexington, Ky. radio host convicted in 2000 for check fraud is suing Fayette County, the state and Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson for allegedly violating his constitutional rights."

"In the federal court, Coleman says that Circuit Judge Thomas Clark went against the jury-recommended four- year sentence by sending him to prison for ten years. Clark did so by making the sentences for the check-fraud counts run consecutively rather than concurrently."

"In 2003, Coleman admitted he violated the terms of his probation by leaving Kentucky without permission. He was arrested in Florida and had been residing for months in New Orleans, where he said he found God."

"Coleman gained international fame for his theory that PanAm Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 because of a drug sting gone sour."

Loren Coleman is no relation to the Kentucky radio host. But, he notes, earlier in his writing career, a newspaper mistakenly identified him as "Lester Coleman."
(See the Chicago Tribune for April 22, 2004, "8 killed seeking shelter in pub" and "Rescuers come from across state;" the Rochester, N.Y. Democrat & Chronicle for April 19, 2004, "Waterloo man accused to DWI after car catches fire;" Channel 3 news broadcast from Memphis, Tenn. for April 23, 2004, "Missing plane found, one dead;" and the Lexington, Ky. Herald-Leader for April 20, 2004. Many thanks to Loren Coleman and Rose Vrabel for these news stories.)

(Editor's Comment: When I read the headline, CONSPIRACY THEORIST COLEMAN, on the article about Loren's unusual "doppelganger," I thought for a minute I'd wandered into an episode of The Twilight Zone.)

AUSTRALIAN WITCH PUTS A HEX ON THE PRIME MINISTER

"Aborigines invoked an ancient curse on Australian Prime Minister John Howard by 'pointing the bone' at the conservative politician to protest his decision to scrap a top Aboriginal elected body."

The bizarre incident occurred in Colac, Victoria state, Australia on Tuesday, April 20, 2004, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) west-southwest of Melbourne.

"An Aboriginal woman, dressed in opossum skins, confronted Howard" after he made a speech in Colac. Without a word, the woman, known only as Moopor, "aimed an inch-long animal bone at him. Afterward, she refused to speak to reporters, citing unspecified Aboriginal cultural reasons."

"Howard decided to abolish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), which advises the (Australian) government on indigenous issues. The government wants to appoint a panel of Aboriginal experts to advise it."

Aborigines are reportedly the poorest and least educated segment of Australia's overall population of 20 million people.

"It was not clear what effect the curse was intended to have on" Howard.

However, nothing happened to the prime minister when he visited the 1,000 Australian troops in Iraq on ANZAC Day, Sunday, April 25, 2004. (See USA Today for April 21, 2004, "Aborigines curse Australian leader," page 5A, and The Age of Melbourne for April 21, 2004.)

SECOND MYSTERY BLACKOUT STRIKES L.A. AIRPORT

"Los Angeles International Airport suffered its second power outage in eight days" on Monday, April 19, 2004, "although flights were not disrupted thanks to backup batteries."

A week earlier, on Monday, April 12, 2004, a mysterious blackout knocked out the airport's power for a few hours. Outgoing flights were delayed, and incoming planes were diverted to other airports in southern California.

"A malfunctioning transformer was blamed for leaving some airport buildings without regular electricity for nearly two hours Monday. The cause of the electricity problems wasn't known."

"'It's a little disturbing,' said Bob Marks, regional vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. 'This sure seems like a fragile power infrastructure.'"

"The airport's April 12 power failure lasted less than a second, but caused radar and communications systems at the tower to malfunction and forced dozens of planes to be delayed. Officials suspect a bird landing on a wire was the cause."

"Monday's blackout began at 11:31 a.m., causing lights to flicker in the airport. Alternate power returned immediately to some buildings; others remained on emergency lights until 1:19 p.m." (See the Los Angeles Times for April 20, 2004. Many thanks to Jim Hickman for this newspaper article. And be sure to visit Jim's Web site at http://www.thehickmanreport.com.)

AN ISRAELI ASSAULT ON THE ANTARCTIC REICH?

Strange incidents last week involving the State of Israel and New Zealand, Chile and Antarctica have some observers wondering if Ariel Sharon's world war is about to go south in a big way.

In New Zealand, "police set a trap for the Mossad spooks when officials became suspicious about a particular passport application and, noting an irregularity, contacted the illegal applicant, who turned out to be not only wheelchair-bound--but also in residential care."

"According to officials, the man who made the passport application was one Zev William Barkan, who had an American or Canadian accent. He claimed to be going to Australia to get married and was therefore in a hurry."

"The police were informed, and the trap was baited. Barkan left the country and arranged to have the passport picked up by his two friends, Eli Cara and Uriel Zashe Kelman."

"Someone contacted the passport office on March 23 (2004) but would not pick up the passport in person. Instead, it was sent to a company, Travcour, that is in the business of procuring visas and other travel documents. Later Travcour was contacted by someone who told them to deliver the passport to an address in St. Paul, Auckland (New Zealand). The landlord at this address told police that he had been in contact with a former tenant, who said he was expecting a package, and that he would send a taxi to pick it up."

"When the taxi approached, Cara, who was sitting in a nearby cafe keeping a close watch on the proceedings, followed the taxi driver into the building. The police soon swooped down on Cara, and in the process caught his accomplice, Kelman, who was waiting to pick up the package. He tried to walk away and his his cell phone in some bushes, but the cops got him, too."

"New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is furious and has vowed 'a strong and public response once the court action has concluded.'"

While the Mossad has been picking up phony passports in New Zealand, soldiers of the Zahal (Israeli Defence Forces or IDF) have been sighted in extraordinarily large numbers in southern Chile.

Kawther Salam, a Palestinian tourist, reported, "In January (2004), I went for vacations to the Chilean Patagonia. I found a land of wild beauty almost impossible to describe, but I also found my old acquaintances from Hebron, the IDF soldiers. I saw the Israelis myself, first on the ship from Puerto Montt to Chaiten and then everywhere until Candelario Mansilla to the south."

"They always travel in groups of five to seven persons, always with one or two women among them, and they avoid contact with the locals and others to the utmost degree. A Chilean with some knowledge in these matters that they travel in configurations which would correspond to missions of reconnaissance and insertion."

"Nobody knows for sure why the Israeli military is sending their soldiers on missions to Patagonia. Several hayalim (Hebrew for soldiers--J.T.) told my (Chilean) friend that the IDF finances their trip after they complete their military service."

"At the boat ramp in Candelario Mansilla, there were two units of Israeli military apparently waiting for the (Israeli) officer aboard the ship. They all surrounded him and exchanged information between each other, the three officers apparently exchanging information on handheld devices that they had with them. Later the officers retired to a private place in the nearby woods, while their troops waited for them on the ramp."

Finally, a massive project is underway in Antarctica to build a year-round, all-weather road from McMurdo Sound to the South Pole.

"Six Americans have just ended a second year of what looks like an impossible mission--carving out a road to the South Pole."

"The 1,020-mile 'ice highway' from the (Antarctic) coast directly south of New Zealand will enable hundreds of tons of supplies and equipment to be hauled across the world's most inhospitable wilderness on tractor-pulled sleds to the pole's Amundsen-Scott base, a research station."

"Currently, cargo planes fly in scientists and supplies during the four-month summer."

"Where once there was only ice wilderness, now there is a packed surface 20 feet (6 meters) wide lined with green flags, winding through huge crevasse fields, snow 'swamps' and flat pack ice."

"After two summers of hard going, the $20 million South Pole Traverse Project has carved 425 miles (680 kilometers), and manager John Wright is convinced it can be completed, although not by next summer as originally hoped."

"The completion date--the end of the polar summer in 2006, followed by an international environmental review before it can be used, probably no more than three times per year."

"In contrast, C-130 cargo planes use ice runways in Antarctica several times a day during the summer."

"'It's just a matter of time and work,' Wright told" the media in an email interview from the USA-operated McMurdo base on Antarctica's coast.

"'Last year, it took three months to go three miles (5 kilometers) across a crevasse field filled with dozens of hollow crevasses. This year, we are 'breaking trail'...a long, slow, slog in soft snow.'"

"In the 'snow swamp,' a 180-mile (288-kilometer) wide, 6-feet (1.8-meter) deep field of powder snow, progress slowed to as little as 6 miles (10 kilometers) per day for the three tractors towning accomodation huts and fuel tanks."

"Instead of gliding along on the surface, tractors and sleds plowed deep into the snow, stuck fast and had to be hauled out by vehicles traveling behind them."

"Wright said the road's newly compacted surface will remain solid over the winter (April to October 2004--J.T.) and will be useable next year, though the road itself will move, as the ice shelf is in slow, fluid motion."

"From one summer to the next, the crevasse field moved about 1,000 feet (300 meters) north and grew about 100 feet (30 meters) higher."

"'The ice had stretched,' he said."

"Also, five new crevasses appeared in the road's surface during the eight-month winter and had to be filled with snow and ice before the tractors could continue. Crevasse filling is expected to be an annual chore."

"The U.S. National Science Foundation is paying for the project."

Since the 1950s, there have been rumors of an Antarctic Reich, a colony called Neuschwabenland (German for New Swabia--J.T.), located in the Muhlig-Hoffman Mountains of the Princess Astrid Coast. Founded in 1944 by 12,500 SS refugees who fled Europe in large U-boats, the Nazi enclave is now rumored to have about 2 million residents.

Of the original SS "Last Battalion" and women of the Antarktisches Seidlungensfrauen (ASF), only a handful of octogenarians are left. The current residents are children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the "Aryan settlers" that Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler sent to the southern continent in the last days of World War II. For 60 years, the enclave has been completely cut off from the outside world.

"The presence of Israeli combat troops in Chile is interesting," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor noted. "It sounds like Ariel Sharon is getting ready to attack Colonia Dignidad, a very real Nazi enclave in the Andes of Chile. But even more intriguing is the ice highway to the South Pole."

Trainor pointed out that the ruins of Kadath, a colony of the lost continent of Atlantis are also rumored to be in the same area as Neuschwabenland.

"The ice road can accomodate tanks as well as supply tractors. Is Sharon planning to use the Amundsen-Scott base as a springboard for an Israeli armored assault on the Nazi colony? Is that why he's moving all those troops into Chile and New Zealand?"

"There might be another reason," Trainor added. "Perhaps there really is a secret archaeological dig in Antarctica. Maybe the ruins of Kadath have been discovered. Large alien artifacts might have been found at the site. Too big to be flown out. And the ice highway is needed to haul them to the coast." (See the New Zealand Herald for April 10, 2004 and the Fortean Times daily bulletin for April 14, 2004.)

ISRAELI DISTRIBUTOR DEFIES LIKUD BOYCOTT

It looks as if Mel Gibson's controversial movie, The Passion of the Christ, will finally be screened in the State of Israel.

A Tel Aviv film distributor is defying the boycott proclaimed in February 2004 by leaders of the Likud, the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"Comparing The Passion of the Christ to Nazi propaganda, a Tel Aviv film distributor nevertheless has agreed to screen Mel Gibson's blockbuster after the controversial film was rejected by other companies in Israel."

"'Even if the film is problematic, it still must be shown,' said Alon Garboz, the manager of Cinematheque told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot."

"Some Jewish groups in the USA have sharply criticized the movie on the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus. Garboz said, 'Even if the film has an anti-Semitic message, it is worthy of being screened. When we screened Nazi propaganda films (like Jude Seuss and Der Erwige Jude--J.T.) it wasn't because we supported Nazi policy. It was meant to show how far the propaganda machine can go to serve awful causes.'"

"Objections to the film by (Israeli) politicians will only increase interest, Garboz said, 'I don't think anyone has the moral authority to prevent someone from seeing a work of art. Objection will only increase the size of the audience, as was the case with Jenin, Jenin (a Palestinian film about the Intifada uprising--J.T.)."

However, members of the Likud are dead set against The Passion ever being screened in the Jewish state.

"In February, Eli Yishai, head of the (Orthodox Jewish) religious Shas Party, charged, 'This movie repeats a blood libel from the dawn of history.'"

"Garboz plans to show Gibson's movie just one time, within the next few months, accompanied by a debate with scholars focusing on the boundaries between anti-Israeli criticism and anti-Semitism."

"Garboz said that the film's cost, $150,000, is more than twice the typical price to release a film in Israel, which makes it an even greater risk for distribution, worried about protests and boycotts."

Made-in-Egypt pirated DVD copies of The Passion are selling briskly in the West Bank and Gaza, reported Ayesha al-Khatabi, UFO Roundup's correspondent in the Middle East. "They are being purchased by 'the stones.' These are the Palestinians who believe in the lordship of Jesus. (Yasser) Arafat bought his own copy. He called the Gibson film 'historic and impressive.'" (See the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot for April 22, 2004. Many thanks to Ayesha al-Khatabi for this newspaper story.)


From the UFO Files...

1964: MYSTERIOUS CAVES OF THAILAND

One of the best scenes in Robert E. Howard's novella, A Witch Shall Be Born, comes when the witch Salome confronts her twin sister, Queen Taramis, and reveals where she's been for the past twenty-odd years.

"Then there were camels and yellow-skinned men who wore silk robes and spoke in a weird tongue. Strayed from the caravan road, they passed close by, and their leader saw me and recognized the scarlet crescent on my bosom. He took me up and gave me life."

"He was a magician from far Khitai, returning to his native kingdom after a journey to Stygia (REH's name for Egypt circa 10,000 B.C.--J.T.). He took me with him to purple-towered Paikang, its minarets rising amid the vine- festooned jungles of bamboo, and there I grew to womanhood under his teaching. Age had steeped him deep in black wisdom, not weakened his powers of evil. Many things he taught me--"

She paused, smiling enigmatically, with wicked mystery gleaming in her dark eyes. Then she tossed her head.

"He drove me from him at last, saying that I was but a common witch in spite of his teachings, and not fit to command the mighty sorcery he would have taught me. He would have made me queen of the world and ruled the nations through me, he said, but I was only a harlot of darkness. But what of it? I could never endure to seclude myself in a golden tower, and spend the long hours staring into a crystal globe, mumbling over incantations written on serpent's skin in the blood of virgins, poring over musty volumes in forgotten languages."

In his essay "Hyborian Genesis," Patrice Louinet points out that The Tower of the Elephant is one of the best Conan stories, in which Howard masterfully inserted as many elements of the Hyborian world as was possible."

Meeting the teenaged Conan in the wizard's tower, the imprisoned alien Yag-Kosha also makes mention of mysterious Khitai. "All this we saw, neither aiding nor hindering the immutable cosmic law, and one by one we died; for we of Yag are not immortal, though our lives are as the lives of planets and constellations. At last I alone was left, dreaming of old times among the ruined temples of jungle-lost Khitai, worshipped as a god by an ancient, yellow-skinned race. Then came Yara, versed in dark knowledge handed down through the days of barbarism, since before Atlantis sank."

Khitai and its capital, "purple-towered Paikang," appear frequently in the Conan stories, usually as a metaphor for elder magick.

But fans of Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) who debate whether or not the author experienced flashes of retrocognition (psychic glimpses of the prehistoric past-- J.T.) while writing these stories, wonder if "Khitai" was a real place.

The numerous references in the Conan stories are remarkably consistent, never failing to mention towers, minarets, impenetrable jungles, elephants, shaven-headed priests and silk robes. This suggests that Southeast Asia, rather than China or Tibet, was the site of Robert's "Khitai."

One region of northern Thailand fits all of REH's descriptions and is the site of a mystic tradition dating back millenia, to boot.

This is the Soppong region, or Pai valley, midway between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son (Thai for City of the Mists--J.T.) on the border with Myanmar, formerly Burma.

The limestone hills around Soppong form the easternmost extension of the Himalayan system. The region is honeycombed with caves, many of which date back to before the Pleistocene Ice Ages.

Archaeologically speaking, Soppong is the oldest inhabited area in Thailand. The valley "was inhabited more than 10,000 years ago. Farming implements dating from 3,500 B.C. have been uncovered at Spirit Cave near Mae Hong Song. Here bronze tools and other implements dating from 3,000 B.C.--earlier than those discovered in the Middle East, which was thought to be the center of the Bronze Age--were found. So, too, was decorated pottery, as well as evidence of agriculture, which indicates that the area supported a thriving and sophisticated culture."

Tham Lot or Spirit Cave was surveyed by American archaeologist Chester Gorman in the 1960s. "Digging through layers of earth to the bedrock floor of the cave, Gorman discovered carbonized plant and animal remains, pottery shards and stone tools. These were carbon-dated to show the slow evolution from basic hunting and gathering to the beginnings of agriculture, ceramics and advanced stone production. What makes this Spirit Cave so important is the antiquity of the plant and seed remains, which were almost certainly cultivated. If Gorman's theories are correct, what is now Northern Thailand may well have been home to the earliest agriculturalists in Asia, more than 10,000 years ago."

Also within the Tham Lot National Park, 8 kilometers (5 miles) from Soppong are "the wonders of Tham Nam Lang, a 12-mile (19 kilometers) long cave that is one of the longest in Southeast Asia."

Indeed, local tradition holds that Tham Nam Lang is connected to the fabled "Atlantean tunnel system," said to crisscross most of Asia. All of these ancient tunnels lead to the Himalayas and to the hidden city of Shambhala in northern Afghanistan.

"Some years ago, a group of four Australian spelunkers climbed down into the cave, which runs almost half a mile (0.8 kilometers) below the surface, walking through the darkness of the subterranean world and exploring vast chambers larger than football fields. They were lost for several days but fortunately managed to retrace their steps and emerge to safety. Their experience should serve as a warning to all."

(Editor's Comment: What would have happened if those Australians had kept on heading south? Could they have found one of the Atlantean tunnels? If so, it's possible that they could've walked all the way home to Murrurundi, New South Wales!)

One site which interests your editor is Yim Lot, "another challenging cave" that is "almost 300 feet (91 meters) across and more than 600 feet (182 meters) deep."
The Pai indigenous people call it "the Well of the Spirits," as it resembles a perfectly circular well. Yim Lot is identical to the cenotes, or pre-Columbian wells, I've seen in South America. It was thrillingly strange to see a cenote in Thailand, although South America, too, has its legendary pre-Cataclysmic tunnels, known up and down the Andes as las socabones.

In 1957, Gnome Press Inc. published the novel The Return of Conan, which was written by Bjorn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp. Clearly a fan of "Khitai," Nyberg made the shadowy kingdom the home of Yah Chieng, a sorcerer of the Black Circle who kidnapped Conan's new bride, Queen Zenobia.

Was there a real-life Master Yah Chieng in the Pai River valley?

We can answer that one with an unqualified...maybe.

About 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Soppong is the jungle-covered mountain of Doi Chiang Dao. Standing 2,285 meters (7,500 feet) high, it's the third largest peak in Thailand, a green wilderness of teak and liana and bamboo.

(Editor's Comment: If you go to visit, be sure to sharpen your machete during the songthaew (van) ride from Soppong. You'll need it.)

"Tucked away at the base of this mountain is Tham Chiang Dao," an underground complex "with two major caverns and several smaller openings, best explored with the guides--and their lanterns--who wait near the entrance."

"Tham Ma is a completely darkened cave set with stalactites and stalagmites, imaginatively named after their odd shapes."

Much more mysterious is the second large cavern, Tham Num. As you enter the cave, you are startled to see several gold-plated statues of Buddha perched on ledges at varying levels. Although sunlight can enter the cave from the entrance, mounted floodlights make the golden Buddhas gleam and bring the reddish-brown limestone formations and rippled walls into sharp relief.

According to indigenous Shan folklore, statues of Buddha were placed at spots where the spirits manifested in ancient times. And why were the spirits so active?
Because over the cave of Tham Num stood the palace of a powerful sorcerer whose name has long been forgotten by history.

In the Twelfth Century, Chama Devi, a queen of Mae Lanna, made a pilgrimage to Tham Num and had a golden Buddha of her own placed in the cave.

It is intriguing to think of a mighty chedi (pagoda) built of sturdy yang khao wood challenging the other purple towers of Paikang 12,000 years ago, and of fountains and paved plazas where now the rain forest flourishes.

An enterprising archaeologist might find some surprises if he digs deep enough into the clay of the Pai River valley. (See Thailand by Phil MacDonald and Carl Parkes, the National Geographic Traveler, 1998, pages 36, 235, 236 and 237; Thailand Handbook by Joshua Eliot and Jane Bickersteth, Footprint Handbooks, Bath, UK, 1999, pages254, 255, 288 and 289; Thailand by Ben Davies, Passport Books, Lincolnwood, Illinois, 1993, pages 90 and 91; The Mighty Barbarians, edited by Hans Stefan Santesson, Lancer Books, New York, N.Y., 1969, page 173; Conan the Avenger by Robert E. Howard, Bjorn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp, Ace Fantasy Books, New York, N.Y. 1983, pages 161 to 167; The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, Random House Publishing Group, 2003, "Hyborian Genesis" by Patrice Louinet, pages 429 to 452.)

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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