UFO ROUNDUP

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Volume 9
Number 18
May 5, 2004

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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CHUPACABRAS GO ON A RAMPAGE IN CHILE

"A family in Collipulli," a small town 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Concepcion, Chile, "is going through hard times after having discovered the remains of 12 hens kept locked in a henhouse beside their house."

"'This looks abnormal,' said Orlando Coronado, still painfully disturbed by the macabre spectacle that revealed itself before his eyes yesterday morning (Monday, April 25, 2004) and which affected his household located at Calle Agromedo 807 (street) in this city."

"'I don't understand what happened. I opened the chicken coop like I do every day to feed my birds, and I'm faced with this. All of them were dead. Some were headless; others were missing their legs, and the strangest thing is that there wasn't a drop of blood. I really don't understand how they were slain, or exactly what happened.'"

"There are two fierce dogs in the Coronado backyard, but neither of them barked. As for himself and his family, they heard nothing, in spite of the fact that the master bedroom isn't far from the henhouse."

"'We heard no sound at all. Nothing.'"

"'I keep my hens under lock and key every evening, so there's no explanation. We don't know what happened, and we don't understand it,' he said, showing the dozen or so dead and exsanguinated birds."

"The event caused a stir among Collipulli's inhabitants. Word spread immediately that a 'Chupacabra' attack had taken place, attributing the event to the legendary contemporary character to whom hundreds of poultry attacks throughout Latin America have been blamed."

"A less sensational explanation involves a mink, a foreign species that has caused serious losses to residents of the north Aysen region after having been introduced there a few years ago."

Elsewhere, "a new series of animal slayings occurred in Tocopila," a port city in northern Chile just south of the border with Peru, "reviving old fears about the existence of a pitiless creature that attacks without leaving a trace or explanation as to how the deaths occur."

"Yesterday (Tuesday, March 9, 2004) in the Tres Marias section of town, north of the port area, the Chupacabra legend was brought up in the small household of Eduardo Covarrubias, when 32 farm birds were found dead. Their bodies were scattered within the henhouse, which showed no signs of forced entry by trespassers or other animals from the region."

"Covarrubias made the macabre find when he went to feed his animals, as he does every day, coming across the unpleasant scene of the lifeless hens."

"The (Chilean) police were immediately informed. Alarmed by the violent animal slayings, law enforcement reached the site swiftly. Carabineros (Chilean national police--J.T.) cordoned off the area to avoid losing evidence, while bloodhounds aided in collecting the final bits that would explain the strange event. However, area residents blame the legendary Chupacabra, who has returned to trouble their nightmares, a belief substantiated by the manner in which the deaths occurred."

"It was possible to ascertain that the birds showed a single orifice (wound) on the base of their necks, being almost the same depth" among all of the hens. "Furthermore, it was not possible to find vast amounts of blood on the ground despite the magnitude of the killings."

"Add to this the deaths of only two roosters, who were beheaded during the attack."

"Covarrubias was shaken by the attack, which represented" a personal loss of 300,000 Chilean pesos. "Research personnel conducted a thorough investigation at the site, taking some of the dead hens with them for more detailed tests."

Another Chupacabra attack was reported in Ancud, in the far south, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of Santiago de Chile, the national capital.

"Arturo Strange is adamant. He insists that it is not common for a dog attack to result in all of the prey bunched up, as he has seen inside his henhouse--one chicken piled on top of another."

"Furthermore, he maintains that 'there is a hole in the back through which the creature came in. As far as I know, dogs don't dig and travel underground.'"

"A henhouse suffered a bloody attack, and 25 hens were the victims. The owner of the birds is a long-time resident of the barrio Pudeto Alto (neighborhood) in Ancud, a region where the urban borders the rural."

"No one can disabuse Strange of the notion that the animal that killed his birds is a strange beast--the Chupacabra. He is so convinced of this that, despite having lost all his birds, he has summoned a veterianrian to undertake an analysis."

"In what is now known as 'the Ancud case,' it is possible to believe that the Chupacabra was actually involved. Veterinarian Andres Norambuena visited the scene of the attack at 1 p.m. at Calle Pudeto 772 (street). Without discarding any speculation, the professional has ventured with some certainty that a dog could be involved. But Strange is unconvinced, since he insists that 'the only dog I had barking yesterday was my own. The hens didn't make a sound. They were nice and quiet.'"

"Strange's belief has been corroborated by local residents particularly on the Calle Las Americas (street) where two residents witnessed an unknown animal. The creature was described as having 'an elongated body, pointy head, slanted eyes and stands on two legs...I only saw it for a few seconds,' says Jacqueline Cordero, one of the locals, who only six months ago saw an unidentified creature that she believes claimed the lives of six chickens." (See the Chilean newspapers El Diario de Araucania for April 25, 2004, "More mutilated animals," and La Estrella del Loa for March 10, 2004, "Strange animal deaths." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales, Liliana Nunez y Marco Reynoso para estos articulos de diario.)

(Editor's Comment: And welcome to South American Monster Mash Week here at UFO Roundup. The monsters are running wild in South America. Maybe they heard that Van Helsing will be released next week.)

EL UNYUDO CAUSES A PANIC IN WESTERN ARGENTINA

El Unyudo (Spanish for The Clawed One--J.T.) is South America's newest monster. He made his debut in San Luis province, in western Argentina, a few weeks ago.

"Local residents, police and community protection brigades went in search of the elusive creature, but it managed to escape yet again."

"First it was a source of amusement, and very few paid it any attention. But the fact is, since Wednesday night," April 7, 2004, "El Unyudo went on to become the main topic of conversation in Justo Daract," a small town in San Luis province, located about 560 kilometers (350 miles) west of Buenos Aires, the national capital.

"As reported by this newspaper, the strange creature drew attention when it appeared before some young women who work for the Community Safety Watch; one of them fainted."

"In any event, the most serious episode involving the creature occurred on Wednesday night when a child heading home from doing some errands was startled by it."

"According to the information collected, the 11-year- old boy was returning home when on the darkened corner of Calle Liniers and Calle Los Andes (streets) in Justo Daract's barrio Norte (neighborhood), he felt something tap him on the back. Upon turning around, he saw something or someone who frightened him considerably. Terrified, the boy ran home screaming, alerting neighbors to the situation. They immediately came out of their houses to find out what the commotion was about."

"While residents of the sector, north of the train station, started their search, elements of the 18th District Sheriff's Department combed the area, as well, without positive results."

"Journalist Maura Avila of radio station RJD-1 reached the scene to conduct interviews as the search continued. She told (the newspaper) El Diario de la Republica the following: 'I was informed that there was a great deal of movement in Barrio Norte, near the hospital, and we headed there just as the police arrived. We heard that El Unyudo had appeared--a character who has gained notoriety in Justo Daract because he has been appearing for several days now, and he terrified an 11-year-old on the corner of Liniers and Los Andes.'"

"'Those who claim having seen El Unyudo say that it doesn't have human form, rather an animal one, adding that it walks on four legs and hops, being capable of very swift movements.'"

"The search, conducted by residents, volunteers and community watch workers, concentrated around the railroad tracks, since 'some claimed having seen it climb to the very top of the grain silos found there. Some even climbed them but found nothing abnormal. They also searched nearby wells without any results. It managed to escape once again.'"

"Regarding the child, the journalist confirmed that 'he was taken to the hospital to see if he had experienced any injuries, but it was clear that he had only suffered a good fright.'"

"Beyond the remarks and questions regarding the phenomenon, Maura Avila stated: 'Personally, I've seen nothing at all, and I think there isn't much relating to it, and a good deal of psychosis. It is time that much is being said about the character in Justo Daract, especially among the kids, but it could be a case of mass hysteria.'"

"She added that El Unyudo isn't the only weirdo being spoken about in town: 'There have been other cases and not only featuring this entity, and they always take place in poorly lit locations. For example, a naked man is believed to appear in certain areas, as well.'"

"Avila finally added that 'it is worth noting the time at which these events take place, that is to say, Easter Week. In this regard, there are those who speak of the existence of black magic cults that could be involved in these events.'"

"A resident of Barrio Norte told the Panorama Informativo radio show, hosted by Maura Avila, that what happened was 'a little boy was frightened and the neighbors, especially the men, ran everywhere and couldn't catch it, although many saw it. The lad was taken to the hospital, as the entire neighborhood was alarmed, since this character, whom I believe is known as El Unyudo, had already appeared in this area twice before.'"

"The woman added that 'there is very little light in the neighborhood, so let's hope the (municipal) commission can do something because you can't see a thing at night. But there is a great deal of concern now because it's not normal. It's not a game any more, and an end must be found to the situation.'"

"Many sources claimed that several police officers were able to reach the mysterious intruder on Wednesday night, and were able to trap it, but, in a display of tremendous strength, and because of its slippery body, it was able to slip away and escape with prodigious leaps and bounds."

"Sheriff Miguel Miranda of District 18 rejected such stories, stating that 'it's true that there was running about a person dressed in black, but officially we have nothing--no reports making reference to such an event. In any case, we have increased our patrols as a preventive measure.'"

"The police officer acknowledged having heard remarks that the creature 'walks on four legs and hops like a kangaroo, but there is no evidence to corroborate such statements.'"

"While some alleged witnesses describe it as a mystical, almost ethereal animal, others have described it as a tall man, dressed in black and caped, covering his face with a mask and using gloves equipped with long, seemingly metallic claws, a detail which earned him the name 'the Clawed One.'"

"His latest apparition leads to the belief that it's a person disguised with the purpose of frightening the population. Added to this is the fact that the children and teenagers of Justo Daract are fond of X-Men cartoons, whose participants are mutants. One of them--Wolverine-- has metallic claws as his main weapon for fighting crime."

"On the other hand, the exploits of this mysterious creature are reminiscent of those who aroused popular curiosity at this time. Last year (2003), and on the same date, there was talk of El Cuervo (Spanish for The Crow-- J.T.), a being described as similar to the bird in question; while in 2002, several locals claimed having seen two individuals in white robes; and others recalled another character whose brief fame earned him the nickname El Encapuchado Verde (Spanish for The Green Hood--J.T.) until he was identified as a mentally impaired individual."

(Editor's Comment: The Crow!? The Green Hood!? What is this--the Justice League of Argentina!?)

"Padre Fabian, (Roman Catholic) parish priest in Justo Daract, dismisses the phenomenon, saying that 'there are only three things to be said. First, there isn't enough street lighting in Justo Daract. Therefore, at night, one sees not only clawed ones, but also dinosaurs, sea serpents and other things, especially when there's a psychosis afoot. Second, if a prankster is involved, he will be apprehended at any time by the authorities, since the police force is on alert. Finally, if it is a supernatural force, it would evidently be some game of the Devil to confound people, since at this time of year their attention should be fixed on Christ. Of course, you can add the psychological element to all of this, especially in small towns and cities.'" (See the Argentinian newspaper El Diario de la Republica for April 10, 2004, "Concern in Justo Daract." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales, Mario Luis Bracamonte y Carlos Iurchuk para esto articulo de diario.)

EL LOBIZON FRIGHTENS MANY IN SAENZ PENA, ARGENTINA

"'I saw it...I saw it...it was so huge! I don't believe in such things, but others at the 10 service (petrol in UK--J.T.) station also saw it. It was a lobizon,' said Francisco, a young man who yesterday evening (Saturday, February 21, 2004) was driving along the Calle Belgrano (street) in his small Fiat Spazio, when suddenly, 'a dog the size of a calf crossed my path and uttered a very ugly cry. I pulled over because I was really scared,' he told a local radio station" in Saenz Pena, a large city in Argentina.

(Editor's Note: The Lobizon is Argentina's version of a werewolf, an accursed human who periodically transforms into a large, ferocious wolf.)

"The appearance of an animal similar to a large dog in the downtown area caused a stir in the city, and it wasn't long before" the story "spread--mainly over the phone--the 'the Lobizon is loose in Saenz Pena,' according to countless stories collected by radio stations contacted by dozens of frightened locals, who claim having seen and heard a strange beast they didn't hesitate to associate with the Lobizon."

"'Call Professor Lopez and ask for his opinion, because it's the same creature that appeared in Concepcion del Bermejo,' suggested an AM radio listener."

"The alleged Lobizon appeared suddenly--who knows how--in the downtown area. Witnesses claim seeing it around the Club Accion (Calle 15 (street) to Calle 16 and Calle 18--J.T.) and later along Calle 11 heading eastward, zigzagging in the vicinity of a service station."

"'I was on my motorbike, about to fuel up, when I saw that the service station employee got scared and ran into the office, but I had no idea what was going on. Then I stopped the bike and heard a howl similar to a human, something chilling, but saw nothing until a boy told me that the Lobizon was afoot. I tried to start the motorbike, but it wouldn't turn over...I almost fainted,' said Alejandro Soto to an FM radio station. He works as a security guard and was heading back to his home in barrio Puerta del Sol (neighborhood)."

"A well-known radio journalist from barrio Santa Teresita acknowledged that the howling of local dogs 'didn't let us sleep. Then I went outside and heard growls that gave me goose-flesh,' he said."

"Other accounts were also heard: 'Why shouldn't we be afraid, when a huge dog the size of a calf, with big ears and howling like a human, appears?" asked Martin Caballero, who was heading home along Calle 11 on his bicycle, returning home from a friend's house."

"'This was a hairy, long-eared critter that ran very fast--I saw it! It screamed like someone was beheading it,' explained Ramon Arroyo, who had just finished his work shift at this early hour of the morning."

"Jorge Garcia, director of the city's zoo, confirmed that the Lobizon was (in reality) 'just a poor, harmless aguara guazu' that was captured after a long chase that ended at a garage on Calle 17."

Garcia reportedly said that the reason for the aguara guazu's sudden appearance in the city was the prolonged drought affecting the province.

"Add to this the modification of its natural habitat, the expansion of the agricultural area and the permanent alteration and fragmentation of its natural environment, 'and the animal goes in search of a more hospitable habitat, disorientedly so, sometimes to a suburban or an urban area, finding an excess population of dogs, which frightens it. With every step, it hears more barks, more klaxons, and it begins a frightened race.'"

According to Garcia, this was the second time that an aguara guazu made its way into downtown Saenz Pena. (See the Argentinian newspaper El Norte for February 22, 2004. Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Gloria Coluchi para esto articulo de diario.)

UFO SIGHTED IN ARGENTINA'S CHALCHAQUI VALLEY

"'It was an intense light that suddenly began moving and stayed above us. I thought it would whisk us away.'"

"The terrifying story was told by Julio Rafael Espinosa, 39, a farmer of the La Poma region," in Argentina's northwestern province of Salta, "who, two weeks ago, in the company of his two sons and an elderly shepherdess, witnessed one of many luminous apparitions at Quebrada de Orozco, 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from La Poma, in the Rio Chalchaqui valley."

"'On this night, around 8:30 p.m., we were waiting on National Highway 40, which links La Poma to San Antonio de los Cobres, waiting for the merchandise truck that passes by a few times a week bringing novelties and supplies with it,' the man recalled."

(Editor's Note: The camion de provisiones, or "store truck," is a common sight in rural South America. I hitched a ride on one to get from Casma on Peru's Pacific coast to Huaraz and Caras in the Callejon de Huaylas.)

"'We were with my two boys, ages 6 and 9, and with Grandma Braulia, 82, a shepherdess who is a neighbor of our stand in the Sauzalito area, when suddenly a luminous object appeared out of the slopes of Nevado de Cachi (mountain), flying at low altitude and zigzagging.'"

"According to the humble farmer's testimony, the huge object's luminosity increased and diminished in the measure that it approached the point where the group observed the phenomenon from the edge of the road."

"Espinosa says that they were perplexed and nearly frozen" with fear as "the UFO stood over their heads, which was the time of the greatest luminous intensity emanating from the vehicle."

"'It lasted only an instant. It was motionless in the air some 50 meters (165 feet) above us, and its white light suddenly became yellowish. It had no shape as it was like an enormous, reflugent mass."

"Espinosa said that 'after a few seconds, the object lost itself swiftly among the northern hills in the vicinity of the location known as Punta del Agua.'"

"'The UFO came from the area of La Poma, and the entire event lasted some three minutes, from the moment it appeared, stood over us and vanished. After that, we remained waiting for the truck, didn't say anything to anybody, and left. The next day, Grandma Braulia told me that that wasn't the first time she'd seen a similar phenomenon in the area. Before that, I thought I was the only one who had seen any flying objects. However, many more locals have witnessed the phenomenon,' the man said."

"Espinosa, a privileged witness to the new sighting, had already witnessed similar events, such as one last December (2003) as he traveled in the company of six people aboard a bus on the Tin Tin Highway. On this occasion, he managed to see lights similar to those of a UFO on the ground in the middle of Los Cardones National Park. But on this occasion, Espinosa claims having seen some aliens descending from the craft and who appeared to be taking samples of the soil or shrubs growing in the region."

"Somewhat more confidently, Espinosa dared to reflect that 'this area appears to be used by those strange devices as a passageway to the Cordilleran region because it's surrounded by large massifs, and the basin of the Rio Chalchaqui, could serve as a permanent means of communication with the Andes.'" (See the newspaper El Tribuno of Salta for April 27, 2004, "La Poma: Another sighting in the Chalchaqui valley." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Gloria Coluchi para esto articulo de diario.)

LUMINOUS UFO SIGHTED IN NORTHERN SPAIN

"On Thursday, April 22, 2004, a mysterious object was reported in the vicinity of the Biscayan town of Apatamonasterio" in northern Spain "at around 9:30 p.m."

"A 14-year-old boy was returning home when he saw lights in the sky that attracted his attention. He saw something in the far distance that 'didn't seem like an airplane and had different lights, aside from moving at faster speeds.'"

"According to his testimony, the alleged UFO changed direction, just to go right back the way it had come, losing itself in the night toward Durango."

The Spanish paranormal group "SEIP investigated the incident, and, a week later, we ran into a woman, almost by sheer coincidence, who told us of her own experience. It seems that on the very same day of the event, and at the same time--9:30 p.m., she observed three small white lights that appeared to be 'stationary in the sky.' The woman was unsure if it was a single object with three lights on it or three small objects in formation."

"Months ago, SEIP investigated a similar flap 'in areas of Bizkaia and Guipizcoa pertaining to luminous spheres and triangular objects.'" (Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y J. Manuel Duran de SEIP para esto informe.)

GOLDEN UFO SEEN OVER CANCUN, MEXICO

On Thursday, April 22, 2004, eyewitness Jeff Guy reported, "My wife Debra and I were on vacation in Cancun with my young daughter. It was another fine day, and my wife and I were sitting on a second-floor balcony at the Crown Paradise Hotel overlooking the ocean. The night skies were clear with patchy clouds. It was about 9 p.m."

"We were having a pleasant discussion when I suddenly noticed my wife staring over my right shoulder at probably a 45-degree angle. I asked her what she was looking at, and she pointed out an object that was deliberately moving in the sky. It was moving north-northeast (towards the Yucatan Channel--J.T.) with a golden glow. We could not tell how large the object was, but we knew it was not a plane, a helicopter or weather balloon. It moved very deliberately but in all directions, meandering through the sky. We watched it go behind clouds and then back in front" of them.

"At one point, it dropped a great distance in a very short period of time. It wasn't really like a dead drop, though, it looked like a powered descent. It stayed there for a brief period and then rose to its original level. After about ten minutes of this, the object flew to the northeast."

UFO sightings have been on the increase lately in Mexico's state of Yucatan.

On Friday, March 19, 2004, Nicte Ha Martin Loeza "had a multiple UFO sighting at 8:17 p.m. while she was at the Haltun Ha estate in Nolo, Yucatan, Mexico doing some stargazing."

"Suddenly, she noticed four white lights racing over her head. It was clear that they were not aircraft since there were no blinking (navigation) lights. She also remembered that no noises were heard."

"The weather was completely clear, and the sky could be seen perfectly. While she observed the movements of the lights, the third light that followed the first two vanished from sight and reappeared in front of the two others."

"Her first idea was that this was some sort of satellite but dismissed the possibility in view of the race that the objects seemed to be engaged in. The second light seemed to be catching up with the first. All of the lights vanished after being in view for two minutes." (Muchas gracias a Jeff y Debra Guy, y tambien Scott Corrales y David Triay Lucatero para estos informes.)

RECTANGULAR UFO SEEN IN SITTINGBOURNE, KENT

On Saturday, April 18, 2004, at 10:30 p.m., Sam Hanson reported, "I was out playing football (soccer in the USA--J.T.) and was on my way home" in Sittingbourne, Kent, UK. "Something caught my eye. When I looked up, I saw a big, box-like shape dipping out of the sky. A big, grey, box-like shape with flashing multicoloured lights. Then it shot straight back up like a flash of lightning. It was grey, box-shaped and had lights all around it."

The object's "approaching speed was about 200 miles per hour (320 kilometers per hour) and its departure speed was 300 miles per hour (480 kilometers per hour). (Email Form Report)

WOMAN SEES A UFO AT BREAKFAST POINT, SYDNEY

On Saturday, April 24, 2004, at 7:25 p.m., Susan Cruz was at Breakfast Point in Sydney, New South Wales, the largest city in Australia, when she noticed a strange object coming from the north.

"It had a very bright, fireball-like appearance," Susan reported, "At first I thought it was an aeroplane on fire, which lasted for approximately 15 seconds. It then reduced in size to a small white light, then to a red light which was flashing. Then it started toward the west and disappeared into the darkness of the sky." (Email Form Report)

MAN PHOTOGRAPHS A UFO IN CRADOCK, SOUTH AFRICA

On Wednesday, March 17, 2004, at 6:32 p.m., William van der Merwe was outdoors near his home in Cradock, South Africa, a small city located about 450 kilometers (270 miles) east-northeast of Cape Town. He had his new camera handy and planned to take a few snapshots of the sunset.

"I was taking a photo of the sunset and did not see anything while taking the photo," William reported, "After looking at the photo on the LCD (liquid crystal display) screen of the camera a few minutes later, I saw IT in the picture!"

"IT" was a flattened silver-white disc. William added, "The object was about 50 degrees above the horizon. I took this photograph at 84 Bree Street in Cradock," South Africa. (Email Interview)

DAYLIGHT DISC SIGHTED IN SPOKANE, WASH.

On Thursday, April 30, 2004, eyewitness S.N. was driving south on Highway 195, just south of Spokane, Washington state (population 195,629) when he spotted a strange glimmer to his right.

"In the western sky, I saw a white disk-like object traveling to the east, away from me. I watched it for about 40 seconds. It slowly disappeared in the southeastern sky," towards Mica Peak.

"It was traveling at an extremely fast rate." (Email Form Report)

MRS. SADDAM: "THAT'S NOT MY HUSBAND!"

"Last week, American authorities arranged a meeting of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with his wife."

"She was the first of Hussein's relatives to meet with the ex-leader of Iraq at the American military base in Qatar," an Arab country on the Persian Gulf.

Saddam's daughter, Ragad, has been trying unsuccessfully to see her father since his capture near Tikrit on December 15, 2003.

"Accompanied by Sheikh Hamad al-Tani, Sajida Heiralla al-Tuffah arrived from Syria aboard a private jet."

"The outcome of their meeting turned out to be quite scandalous. Sajida claims that the man she encountered was not her husband but rather one of his doubles."

"The wife has known Saddam Hussein for over 25 years. But it may be possible that Saddam has changed physically since day of his sons' (Uday and Qusay--J.T.) deaths on June 24, 2003."

"Hussein's youngest daughter, Hala, also arrived at the base, along with two of Hussein's grandsons. They were all invited by the sheikh's wife, Muza, to stay in one of his palaces" in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

"Eldest daughter Ragad and Rada, along with five more of Hussein's grandchildren have flown to Doha from Jordan. Most likely, the entire family will remain in Qatar permanently."

UFO Roundup correspondent Mohammed Hajj al-Amdar suggested that the prisoner-of-war in Doha "might perhaps be one of Saddam's clones, a creation of the aliens who befriended him before the war. This would explain why he has the same DNA as Saddam. It would also explain why he was only with two men when he was captured by the Americans. Surely one as important as Saddam would have had more bodyguards than that."

Mohammed still believes that "Saddam left Iraq long ago" and is now "living at an ET base on the moon with other humans and aliens." (See the Arabic newspaper Al- Elaf for April 13, 2004, "Hussein's family arrives in Doha." Many thanks to Mohammed Hajj al-Amdar for this newspaper story.)

FAYETTE FLAP DIES DOWN

The strange surge of Fayette Factor incidents, which hit a record high during the past month, finally began to die down last week.

The Fayette Factor is one of the strangest phenomena in Forteana. It's an extraordinarily high incidence of strange incidents and events taking place in American towns and cities named after Marie-Joseph de Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA and a prominent Freemason.

Fortean researcher Loren Coleman has pointed out that the name Fayette "is not even in the Top Ten of most common municipal names in the U.S.," which would tend to suggest that these happenings are beyond the realm of coincidence.

Last week's incidents all had to do with unusual deaths.

In Kentucky, "James Richie 'Jamie' Sinkhorn, 20, of Lexington was positively identified by family members Monday," April 26, 2004, "the Fayette County coroner's office said." Sinkhorn's remains were found over the weekend.

In Oregon, "a body was discovered in Terry Park, along the Willamette River in Lafayette, Ore., according to the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office."

In Georgia, "a 65-year-old man fatally shot his wife while she was being treated at a dental office, then killed himself, authorities said." The incident took place in Fayetteville, Georgia on Wednesday, April 28, 2004. (Many thanks to Loren Coleman for these reports.)

MARS ROVERS EXCEED ORIGINAL MISSION GOALS

"NASA's Mars rovers just keep rolling across the Red Planet."

"Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, have completed their original 90-day science missions, scientists and engineers reported Wednesday," April 28, 2004, "at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Opportunity reached its 90th day on Mars Monday," April 26, 2004," and Spirit reached the same milestone earlier this month."

"'We have now completed or exceeded' all mission goals, JPL's Matt Wallace says."

"And neither rover shows signs of stopping."

"The twins, golf-cart-sized mobile geology labs designed to investigate the history of water at two Martian sites, landed in January (2004). Detecting signs of past water is considered a first step in learning whether Mars ever harbored life."

"What's next? 'We want to get to them thar hills,' says Spirit rover Dave Des Marais of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California."

"Spirit has seen signs of volcanic rock at Gusev Crater, the Connecticut-sized in which it landed on January 3, 2004. But from space, Gusev looks as if it once held a channel-fed lake, which has made Spirit's findings a bit disappointing."

"But the Spirit team is planning to reach some nearby hills in mid-June in hopes that the terrain will reveal signs of an ancient lake bed."

"Opportunity discovered in March (2004) that a sea once covered its landing site, the Oklahoma-sized Meridiani Planum region. The rover found sedimentary rock laced with salt deposits lining the small crater in which it landed on January 24, 2004. Mission scientists have turned Opportunity toward its next target, a large crater named Endurance. From a distance, the crater seems ringed with more of the bedrock that provided the earlier evidence of water. The crater is about 430 feet (109 meters) across and is much deeper than Opportunity's landing crater. Its deeper rock layers may reveal the presence of water billions of years ago."

"Engineers hope to drive the rover to the crater's edge within the next week."

"'We'll face some fun decisions then,' says Opportunity mission scientist Scott MacLennan of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, as the team debates whether to send the rover into the deep crater. Getting in may be easy, but getting out may be hard. It took two tries to get Opportunity out of its shallow landing crater because of the slippery Martian sand."

"The big relief to team members in meeting their mission goals is that they are no longer working on Mars time, Wallace says. A Mars day, or Sol, is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day. As a result, some team members suffered from a skewed sleep schedule."

"'It's a wonderful thing being on Earth time,' Wallace says, 'You feel like you've come back from being someplace like Mars.'" (See USA Today for April 29, 2004, "Mars rovers are still going strong," page 6-D.)

CASSINI IS IN THE HOME STRETCH FOR SATURN

On Monday, May 3, 2004, "the Cassini Image Science Team released the last image of the whole of Saturn and its rings that can be taken" as the robot Cassini spacecraft closes in on the ringed planet.

"From now on, the rings will be larger than the (spacecraft) camera's field of view. The image was taken (Saturday) March 27 (2004) from a distance of 29.7 million miles."

Cassini, and its onboard planetary probe Huygens, are scheduled to start orbiting Saturn on July 1 (2004) and will collect data for four years."

"The Huygens probe will seperate on December 25 (2004) and descend onto Titan, Saturn's largest moon (and about the same size as Earth--J.T.) on January 14, 2005."

"Cassini-Huygens is a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency." (See USA Today for May 3, 2004, "Saturn gets ready for its closeup," page 6D.)

(Editor's Comment: I wonder if it's too early to begin drawing up the blueprints for Masinaigan Estates, UFO Roundup's planned subdivision on Enceladus.)


From the UFO Files...

1918: LADY SOPWITH

People sometimes ask if there were any unidentified flying objects during the First World War, comparable to the famous "foo fighters" of World War II.

Yes, there was a "mystery aircraft" flap in 1918, the last year of World War I, and it featured one of the strangest personalities of that conflict--a woman pilot who challenged all comers, Allied and German alike.

The strange saga began on a Wednesday, January 9, 1918. A British S.E.5 Scout, flown by Lt. Frederick Ardsley, was on an early-morning patrol between Amiens and Villers-Bocage in northern France. Ardsley was out looking for sausage-shaped German barrage balloons, tooling along at 10,000 feet (3,000 meters), the ice-cold slipstream tugging at his leather flying cap and silk scarf.

All at once, Ardsley had a sudden compulsion to look to his left. He did, and then blinked in astonishment behind his goggles. Flying just a few feet away from his biplane was another S.E.5 of the Royal Flying Corps (forerunner of today's RAF--J.T.), complete with a brightly-painted red nose, a Lewis gun over the top wing and twin machine guns mounted on the fuselage right in front of the cockpit.

One of our chaps, Ardsley mused. Thank God for that! If he'd been a Hun, he'd have had me for certain.

The young pilot had the oddest feeling something was wrong. Then he realized what it was. The other S.E.5's engine was strangely muted. Indeed, it sounded more like a toyshop buzzing than the throaty roar of a Rolls-Royce engine. He also noticed that the other plane lacked the blue-white-and-red RFC roundels and any identifying squadron numbers. Instead, there was a curious golden symbol on the canvas fuselage--the astrological sign of Venus.

The other pilot gave him a jaunty salute. Ardsley nodded and waved back. Then the pilot reached up and pulled off the goggled leather cap, letting a cascade of golden hair unfurl in the slipstream. He heard her jubilant laughter over the sound of his own engine.

"What the bloody hell--!?" Ardsley bellowed, gaping at the female pilot.

She seemed to be teasing him, making exaggerated kissy-face expressions and winking her cornflower blue eyes. Then she began moving around in her own cockpit.

Now what's she doing? the stunned pilot wondered.

She was sitting on the cockpit's wicker rim, with her back to Ardsley. Suddenly, she leaned forward, gripped the voluminous khaki skirt, and performed a Can-Can routine that would have been the envy of La Gouloue. The slipstream blew the skirt aloft, exposing a shapely derriere clad in white satin.

Ardsley's jaw fell. The satin-clad behind moved in a rhythymic side-to-side motion. The RFC pilot could not believe what was happening. I must be dreaming, he told himself.

Laughing merrily, she pulled down the billowing skirt, plopped back into the cockpit, and, with another jaunty wave, banked sharply to the left. Ardsley hit the throttle and followed suit, his engine drone growing in intensity.

Ground observers rotated the cranks of their field telephones and reported a most unusual dogfight: an S.E.5 of 49 Squadron in hot pursuit of a red-nosed S.E.5.

Ardsley was an experienced pilot (meaning he'd survived his first three weeks on the Western Front-- J.T.), and he strove hard to keep up with the mad aerobatics of the mysterious aviatrix. Every time he had that rogue S.E.5 in his gunsights, she managed to dip, dart, barrel-roll or split-S out of danger. Or else a sudden burst of mysterious speed would carry her just out of range of his machine guns.

Suddenly, her S.E.5 began climbing, heading for a bank of clouds at 20,000 feet (6,000 meters). Ardsley listened closely, but, unlike his own, her engine did not seem to be laboring. He cocked both fuselage machine guns and fired. Both guns fell silent after four seconds. Frowning grimly, he reached up and triggered the Lewis gun. It jammed!

The high-altitude cold stung his exposed lips. He had trouble catching his breath. His engine began missing on all cylinders. He knew he was at the S.E.5's flight ceiling. His plane could go no higher. But her biplane flew effortlessly toward the clouds overhead.

Ardsley's plane began to stall. Its propellor whirled uselessly. The air up there was too thin for his flimsy machine. With a grimace of defeat, he pushed down on the yoke and sent the S.E.5 into a controlled dive. Glancing over his shoulder, he watched the mystery biplane enter those all-concealing clouds.

Two hours later, Ardsley faced an irate squadron leader at his field near Amiens.

"Are you going to tell me that fellow's number?" the older man asked, "Or am I going to have you confined to quarters?"

"It wasn't one of our chaps, sir. It was a woman."

"A woman!?"

"Yes, sir." Ardsley stood at rigid attention. "Somebody's popsy, I suppose. She stole one of our kites (RFC slang for planes--J.T.) and was out for a lark when she came up behind me."

And then he offered a detailed explanation of the encounter.

When he was finished, the squadron leader shook his head. "Ardsley, if I send that report to Trenchard, he's going to think I've gone stark raving mad. No, I much prefer the observers' version. You and another S.E.5 pilot fought a mock dogfight over the forward lines--"

"But, sir--!"

"Yes, that's the report I'm sending to Trenchard," he replied, "And you, lieutenant, are confined to quarters. Dismissed."

It was the world's introduction to Lady Sopwith.

In no time at all, this "new air legend ran the length of the front." In late January 1918, a German pilot, Albert Roehl, "was shot down and captured" behind the Allied lines. When brought to an RFC field near Amiens, he told the British squadron leader, "Sir, I should very much like to meet her."

"Her?" he echoed.

"The woman who shot me down. Die Walkure (German for The Valkyrie --J.T.)."

Nor was Roehl the only German pilot to encounter the mystery aviatrix.

"In this period every German aviator who was shot down and captured within Allied territory--and there were very few--when brought in for interrogation claimed that he had been downed by a girl who was flying a red Sopwith triplane (affectionately called a "Tripe" by the RFC pilots--J.T.). In some instances, the plane was a red- nosed S.E.5..."

"No one refuted these claims, not even when some of the (German) captives went so far as to request an introduction to this militant female, before being sent to POW compounds."

"Dozens of Allied airmen claimed to have seen this blonde siren skipping about at twelve thousand feet, shooting the tails off unsuspecting Fokkers and Halberstadts. It was no optical illusion, brought on by equal parts of mist, sunshine and Guiness's stout. They had seen her clearly, and she was a beautiful dish. Her Irene Castle-styled bobbed hair fluttered in the wind as she zoomed and banked all over the sky," in her red Sopwith Tripe or red-nosed S.E.5 that outflew and outran every other biplane in the air.

"The (Allied) infantry adopted this fable with wholehearted enthusiasm, and in no time at all, this flossy figure was zipping up and down the enemy wire, shooting Hun gunners out of machine-gun pits and performing all sorts of fantastic deeds of aerial daring. Nothing in La Vie Parisienne could match this charmer."

Lady Sopwith was seen by civilians, as well. In May 1918, six-year-old Robert Tuchel was collared in the family farmyard east of Amiens by his irate mother, following some juvenile escapade. Madame de Tuchel seated herself on a bench outside the farmhouse, hauled her errant son over her knee and lifted her hand, ready to smack. Suddenly, the red-nosed S.E.5 zoomed over the rooftop, just above chimney height. Its engine let out a loud roar. Startled, Madame de Tuchel stood up, and her son rolled off her lap. Next thing you know, Albert was off and running across the field, waving his thanks to the blonde pilot for having saved him from a spanking.

As the Germans launched their big spring offensive in 1918, the question was on everyone's lips: Who is Lady Sopwith? There was no end to the theories.

British pilots believed that she was the sister of Captain Albert Ball, a famous RFC ace shot down only a couple of months earlier. "Ball's sister, Lois, a tomboy who loved him devotedly...was carrying out a scourge of family revenge."

Americans tended to think in terms of conspiracy. That Lady Sopwith was the prototype of a "secret squadron" of female pilots being developed by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. That she was a Suffragette on a special mission for President Woodrow Wilson. Or, more cynically, that it was all just a publicity stunt dreamed up by Wilson's Director of War Information, George A. Creel.

"Whenever the war situation became grave for the Allies, the girl in the red-nosed S.E.5 sometimes became a German fraulein flying a black-and-white Fokker. This particular damsel had long yellow braids that seemed to streak back all the way" to the biplane's rudder.

By June 1918, "American soldiers impressed with the story of the Red Knight of Germany (Manfred Freiherr von Richtofen, the top-scoring ace of World War I with 80 confirmed "kills"--J.T.) were certain she was a sister of the baron, out to take revenge for the death of her famous brother."

(Editor's Note: In actuality, Freida von Richtofen was married to British novelist D.H. Lawrence and spent 1918 interned in UK as an enemy alien.)

Long after the war, novelist Arch Whitehouse speculated about the origins of Lady Sopwith. "I think I know the actual basis for this flossy legend that began innocently enough on a field near Chipilly near the Somme. We had a squadron of S.E.5 pilots on the same field with us, and these young scout pilots were always up to some healthy devilment. Around Christmas of 1917...they decided to enliven the dreary days by organizing a squadron party complete with a theatrical performance. They were especially good at this, and one of the ringleaders was a female impersonator. He was young, beardless and probably should have been back at Rugby (School) conjugating Latin verbs."

Whitehouse thought that this RFC pilot, dressed in drag and wearing a blond wig, clambered into an S.E.5 cockpit after the performance, was seen at a distance by some mechanics, and so the legend of "Lady Sopwith" was born.

But this theory ignores the numerous times Lady Sopwith was seen in the air, plus the amazing stories about her aircraft's unusual performance capabilities. Indeed, no one ever saw Lady Sopwith make a landing. Eyewitnesses' last glimpse of her was usually the sight of the red-nosed S.E.5 plunging into a high-altitude cloud. I have often wondered how many Allied and German pilots pursued the red-nosed S.E.5 into that thick cumulous cloud...and never returned.

Kind of makes you wonder what was in that cloud.

On the last day of the war, November 11, 1918, German pilot Kurt Enniger entered the now-abandoned headquarters of his Jagdstaffel (fighter squadron). Picking up a piece of chalk, he jotted a few lines on the blackboard where missions were posted.

Die Walkure (The Valkyrie)
Im Krieg geboren (In war born)
Im Krieg gestorben (In war destroyed)

It was a fitting epitaph for the mysterious female who had dared to fight both sides in World War I. (See the books Heroes and Legends of World War I by Arch Whitehouse, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, N.Y., 1964, pages 328 to 331; and They Fought for the Sky by Quentin Reynolds, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, N.Y., 1957, pages 168 and 169.)

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 week.

UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2004 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup 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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